This episode is all about what we can do to reenergize the brain and maximize brain performance.
Dr. Greg Kelly is a naturopathic physician (N.D.) and lead product formulator at Neurohacker Collective. His special interest and expertise areas include nootropics, anti-aging and regenerative medicine, weight management, and the chronobiology of performance and health.
Also, Dr. Greg Kelly is the author of the book Shape Shift. Plus, he is the past editor of the journal Alternative Medicine Review. He has been an instructor at the University of Bridgeport in the College of Naturopathic Medicine, where he taught classes in Advanced Clinical Nutrition, Counseling Skills, and Doctor-Patient Relationships.
In this podcast, How To Strengthen The Brain To Handle Stress, we cover:
How your body will focus its energy and ways to boost your energy levels
The difference between fast thinking and slow thinking
How to overcome mental fatigue
The best ways to keep your brain healthy
About supporting the body’s ability to self-regulate using nootropics
How Your Body Will Focus Its Energy
The body is continually assessing where it needs to focus its energy. One of the primary sources of fuel for the body would be sugars, basically glucose molecules and sucrose molecules. So, your body will take that fuel and use it when needed. For instance, during a conversation, your visual system, hearing, and attention are probably much more “on” than the average moment over the course of the day. If you were to have a brain scan, it would be showing a lot of activity because of the blood flow to the brain. That blood flow is carrying the substrates to make ATP. Eventually, we cause local depletion, and we hit a mental block because we don’t have enough energy to keep going.
Fast Thinking Vs. Slow Thinking
In Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, there are two characters: the fast thinker and the slow thinker. The fast thinker is your intuition, and your brain will give a fast response to something. When we are thinking fast, it is basically the low energy mode. While on the other hand, the slow thinker is the one that takes a lot of deliberation and executive function. When we are slow thinking, it is a much more energy-intensive mode for the brain. So, what typically happens when we don’t have enough energy to go around, we default into that fast thinking system. When we do this, it’s a sign that we need more energy.
How You Could Be Depleting Your Brain Energy
The brain does a whole bunch of skills that collectively we call “thinking.” Some of those skills are grouped into different, more significant picture domains. So we’ve got attention – a classic one. Another skill is memories. Plus, we have an executive function – which is things like the willpower to fast. It’s also the ability not to do something that wouldn’t be quick for us. This skill also lets us plan to put ourselves in positions where we can change our minds. Next, we have another domain – social cognition. So, that’s your empathy or your awareness of the emotions that are going on in your body. When we don’t have enough energy, it’s hard to get to the things that take more of it. Avoiding distractions will take more energy. So, when we don’t have enough energy – it will be easier to get distracted. Overall, there’s only so much brain energy, and it’s easy to deplete it.
Supporting Your Brain
Do you ever have to reread the same thing over and over? That means you aren’t staying focused. The first question you should ask yourself is how much sleep are you getting? When you get more sleep, your brain will be more efficient. We do all these crazy things that our brain just isn’t designed for and then wonder why our brains are not performing the way we hope. So nootropics and fasting are things that will help. But ultimately, you want to also put in place sound strategies to keep your brain working well. It would help if you had some time and strategies to recharge. That way, it will help power up your brain to use the energy efficiently and put it in suitable locations.
Dr. Greg Kelly 0:00 We need more energy in our brain cells. And if we have that most of what the brain has to do can be done easier. To me, that’s the most finite resource. We only have so much like brain energy, and it has to get put into all these different things that we’re trying to accomplish.
Dr. Mindy 0:19 I am a woman on a mission that is dedicated to teaching you just how powerful your body was built to be. I like to do that by bringing you the latest science, the greatest thought leaders and applicable steps that help you tap into your own internal healing power. The purpose of this podcast is to give you the power back and help you believe in yourself again, my name is Dr. Mindy Pels, and I want to thank you for spending part of your day with me.
Okay, resetera, I brought you another brilliant mind. On this episode of the resetter podcast, I got the pleasure of picking the brain of Dr. Greg Kelly. He is a natural path, and he is the product formulator for neuro hacker supplements, which are incredible supplements. We’ll talk about it in the episode. But what’s super cool about Dr. Kelly is that he literally has over 30 journal articles that have been indexed on PubMed that that is aka. He’s a very brilliant man who spends a lot of time in in science, analyzing science, and doing his best to bring us the most current research. So On this episode, we dove into the brain like you’ve never heard before. So you will see I we ended up going down a path of what can we do to re energize our brain? What strategies do we need to apply during the day we talked about sleep, we talked about food, we talked about habits that will maximize brain performance, we talked about when should you power your brain down and how you can power your brain up. And it was one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve had on brain health in a really long time. So if you’re looking for new strategies to keep your brain strong, and you want to know how to move through 2021, with a really happy brain, this is the episode for you. So I hope you enjoy it. Dr. Kelly.
Let’s talk about sleep hacks. So I want to bring to your guys attention, a new product I’ve been using to wind myself down. It’s called gold tea, it’s put out by Organa phi. And what I love about this is I just put a scoop in some warm water, add a little bit of cream. And really quickly like within an hour, I can feel my whole Nervous System start to relax. It’s become part of my protocols for getting a great night’s sleep. I can even see the results the next morning on my work bag. So if you’re looking for better tools to get a great night’s sleep, check out or getify their gold tea, you can go to Organa fi.com backslash pills, and they will give you 15% off.
Let me just start off by welcoming you, I we have had some of the greatest discussions this year with some of the greatest minds. And yet I feel like there’s this gapping hole around the discussion of brain health I have I’ve brought on experts that we talk about anxiety. We’ve talked about sleep like we’ve danced around this idea of brain health. But a large piece of why I wanted to bring you on is because you and neuro hacker you guys look at the brain as a whole as a whole system that’s connected to the whole body. And I think that is something that I really want to unpack and address. But I want to start off with what can we just go right at and help people with this year because anxiety is just I mean, people are feeling anxious, they’re feeling hopeless, there’s a lot of fear. What can we do to strengthen our brain so that we can handle this really incredibly difficult moment that we’re in. So invariably, for me, if I just had to cut right to the chase, it’s about energy. So even like one of the positive effects of doing the type of fast that you do every month or the ketogenic diet, those things essentially help the mitochondria that we do have the powerhouses in ourselves make more efficient use of what we consume so that we can produce more energy and per, like proportionately. Our brain while it’s a little bit of our overall weight uses about 20% of the energy that we produce. So to me, no matter what brain issue, we’re talking about stress, mood, things like having anxious thoughts or trouble with depressive thoughts, or just wanting to perform better at work or a great workout or how
Dr. Greg Kelly 5:00 have the willpower to do a monthly fast like all those things to me unify around this idea, we need more energy in our brain cells. And if we have that most of what the brain has to do can be done easier. Interesting. I think, to me, that’s the most finite resource, we only have so much like brain energy, so to speak, and it has to get put into all these different things that we’re trying to accomplish. And
like, I don’t know how much you are, yeah.
Dr. Mindy 5:32 Yeah, so we know a lot, because one of the things that we’ve done as a group as a resetter group is we really dive into what the needs of our mitochondria are. And so when you say energy, I think mitochondria. And then my question to you is, is it true that places like the prefrontal cortex has the most amount of mitochondria, or maybe just the brain in general, compared to the rest of the body?
Dr. Greg Kelly 5:58 I think, um, so I’ve heard different things. But I think some of the reproductive organs actually have dense, like more mitochondria per cell than other places, I’ve heard the retina, but we can pack a lot of mitochondria in the cell, like in general, you know, we would have 100 to a few 1000. And that are being more active need, obviously more to produce that energy. Or if we would take something like the immune system, an immune cell may have to travel, you know, the equivalent of you or me walking halfway across country in a really short period of time to go someplace to do their job. So what happens then, is, the mitochondria actually relocate in those immune cells to propel it and then wrap drastically up regulate the amount of energy they produce? So the same like if our brains more active than it’s a much higher demand on mitochondria? And that’s like, I mean, in general, my sense is that often no matter what the like, what issue we have, from a brain perspective, if we can do a better job with brain energy, than the chances that we’ll be able to accomplish what we’re trying to in that cognitive domain, much, much higher.
Dr. Mindy 7:13 So is it fair? God?
Dr. Greg Kelly 7:18 No, I was just gonna say, does that make sense that, but it’s mitochondria. It’s absolutely true. So a lot of what I think of is the nootropic substances, things that would be studied to help the brain perform better. Often, when you start to dig into these, you’ll find that one of the, the research areas that they tend to help with would be mitochondrial performance.
Dr. Mindy 7:40 Amazing. Yeah. And I want to get into a little bit on nootropics, because I find them fascinating, and different little hacks. That here’s one of the questions I have on that is, is it like the body is always assessing where it needs to focus its energy. And so if it’s fighting an infection, it’s going to focus its mitochondrial energy there, if it’s sitting doing a podcast interview, it’s gonna put us it’s mitochondrial energy there, is it that simplistic where it’s rationing where it sends the energy to,
Dr. Greg Kelly 8:13 I think it’s, um, it’s more partitioned. And so one of the main sources of making fuel would be sugars, basically, glucose molecules, sucrose molecules, and our brain has its own supply. Now that gets resupplied through our bloodstream eventually. But if our like, during this podcast, our visual system, our hearing our attention, all those things are probably much more on than like our average moment over the course of a day. So what will happen if we were measuring like an eg scan, like the beautiful pictures of the brain, we would see some of those with a lot higher activity right now. And what that’s measuring is blood flow to those regions of the brain. And the blood flow is carrying the basically the substrates to make ATP. And what can then happen is we cause local depletions. And when that happens, that we kind of just hit a mental block there. We don’t have the energy to keep going. And so I love to have you ever read condiment book Thinking Fast and Slow?
Unknown Speaker 9:18 Yep, yep. Well, I love
Dr. Greg Kelly 9:20 two characters. He has his his fast thinker and his slow thinker and the fast thinker. That’s intuition and like a fast response to something. And it’s basically the low energy mode. The slow thinker is the one that takes a lot of deliberation and executive function. And that’s a much more energy intensive mode for the brain. So what typically happens when we don’t have enough like energy to go around then the we default into that system, one character, even when it’s not the best way to approach something? And so we find a sense that’s almost always a sign that okay, we need more brain energy. The other thing I’d like I think it’s important anyways is that the brain has has a does basically a whole bunch of skills that collectively we’d call thinking. And some of those skills are grouped together into different bigger picture domains. So we’ve got attention would be a classic one memories, another, we’ve got executive function, which is things like, you know, the willpower to do the fast, stick with our good intentions, it’s also the ability not to do things that wouldn’t be quick for us, and to plan and to put ourselves in positions where we can change our mind, quite literally. And then we have another domain, that social cognition, so that’s your, your empathy, or your ability to be aware of the emotions that are going on in our own bodies in the moment, or to be doing what you and I are doing right now, which is seeing each other’s facial expressions or body languages and being able to read information from that. So that that’s another domain social cognition. And what it seems like in both research and my personal experiences, when we don’t have enough energy, it’s hard to get to the things that take more of it. So the executive function mission, we can still get the attention because that’s a lower energy type thing, but right hold attention or avoiding distraction, those take more energy. So when we don’t have enough, it’s easier to get distracted, or they’ll lose our focus. So to me, like I, I said at the beginning, what invariably you see is we’ve woven through all these different domains and skills as this unifying idea of, there’s only so much brain energy, and it’s easy to deplete it. And when that happened, it’s just hard to be the best version of ourselves in general, but especially in that particular area. So I one of my love that glories would be like, I grew up in Boston area, super hard working dad executive at a big engineering company in Boston, but crazy commute, you know, he would drive probably only 2530 miles through the bird flies, but probably a two hour drive, you know, going each way during rush hour. So by the time he got home, like my story would be my dad used all his mental energy, you know, long before he walked back in that door. So we were much more likely to get a grouchy irritated dad. And if he, you know, could shine his shoes and read the newspaper and maybe have a drink or do something to relax a little bit to recharge the system, then we get a much, you know, kinder, gentler version of my dad. So the I’m a big fan of like the context, the circumstances around things like blaming or not at seven o’clock at night, after a long day crazy commute for being irritated isn’t really fair, that’s not the car, we the causes. Like, essentially, he used up all the juice and now had to recharge the battery and giving him we got you know, that much more social cognition, which I think for most people, social cognition takes a lot of energy. Like I’ve seen studies where they’ve had people do an empathy test, and some people are naturally good at it. Most people not so. But the people that aren’t invariably one of the common things they said is it was just it just felt like too much work. And when you hear that word work, you can almost bank on Okay, that’s an energy issue.
Dr. Mindy 13:32 Okay, yeah, that actually is the the most clear way I’ve ever heard the brain, the way that the brain is functioning. Just the simplicity of that makes so much sense to me. I a couple weeks ago, I was going through I had a lot of interviews on different podcasts. And at the end of the day, I at the end of the week, I kept saying, I feel like my brain hurts, like, I just can’t like even put my words together. And now I could actually rephrase that and just say, I think I just used all the fuel in the brain. Would that be accurate? Yeah,
Dr. Greg Kelly 14:07 I think that’s that’s much more fair. Okay. I think we can really, you know, like, like I said, it’s, it’s, there’s only so many resources to go around, they’ll get into the part of the brain that’s most important. So like, I think the brains job one is keeping us safe. So that’s going to take priority over everything else. So senses vision hearing, they use a lot of brain energy, even when we’re sleeping. So one thing I did never learned in nature Pathak school, was that there’s a huge surge in ATP just as we start to go into deep sleep. And the reason presumably, is because during that deep sleep is when things that we learned during the day get moved around in our brain so that they can be stored if they’re important. Integrate with other things that that needs to happen, but even during sleep, our mitochondria are still doing a huge amount of work. So, you know, I remember hearing Dave Asprey a couple of years ago talking about how important he felt mitochondria were for sleep. And so my guess is, we see two things move in parallel. As we get older, mitochondrial dysfunction is way more prevalent. and older, sleep becomes way more challenging. And my guess would be there’s not a that’s not a coincidence.
Dr. Mindy 15:35 Interesting. Okay. So it’s it? Would it be fair to say if you wanted to get better sleep, then you need to have better mitochondria?
Dr. Greg Kelly 15:43 I think that would be fair. I don’t think there’s been the research to say like, for sure we know this. But my intuition would be yes, that would be very likely to be true.
Dr. Mindy 15:53 And what do you feel like are like good, good old fashioned strategies? I know in fasting, we talked about this a lot how ketones, the mitochondria love ketones, and so not that people should be in ketosis all the time. But ketones are really helpful for getting more ATP out of those mitochondria. What what other strategies can we apply if if we know sleep as an issue, if we know our brains not functioning, the way we want? Is there are there like proven scientific things we can do to start to power these up?
Dr. Greg Kelly 16:27 I think it would be mostly preclinical, because the way to study mitochondria is really animal experiments. But there’s just a huge amount of animal experience or experimental evidence that polyphenols from plants really toughen up. So when I think of mitochondria, I always refer to it as a network. So each cell has their, you know, network, right? That that networks constantly reshaping itself. So there’s terms like mitochondrial biogenesis, and vision fusion, but basically long story short is our mitochondrial network is constantly adapting itself to in response to what we do now, I believe, so that it’s better prepared to deal with something in the future. So to me, exercise would be a classic example. I don’t believe our muscles get bigger and stronger, because we lifted weights as much as they get bigger and stronger, because they expect we may do that again. And they want to be better prepared. So
Dr. Mindy 17:28 that’s interesting, that’s better prepared.
Dr. Greg Kelly 17:31 Like we’re a complex adaptive system. So our systems, always trying to make predictions about what it will need. And yes thing so the mitochondria within a cell do that. But then within the muscle tissue would do that. So if we lift weights for sprinting, the mitochondrial networks will both get fitter but in different ways. So brain that if it depending on we need to challenge it, we need the fuel like the ketones or being able to use the carbohydrates that we get in our diet efficiently. Obviously, we need air because air is the thing that drives that the first stages of converting those fuels into ultimately ATP. So we need all these different things. But I think challenge is one of the things that to essentially say, Okay, I bet I should be more prepared. And that’s what this will look like. And so what Polly females tend to do, and this is a broad generalization, right? So is, poly females tend to be they’re called secondary metabolites in plants. So there are things that plants don’t use for their own fuel they use for some other reason. But the most common one is they’re the stress molecules, plant snake. So resveratrol would be a classic poly fino. So grapes will make that in greater concentrations if, if it’s dry, or if the sun’s more intense, if they’re not getting enough water. So it’s a drier environment. And they concentrated in the things that interact with the environment. So the the skin, and then typically the seeds. And so it’s a plant adaptogen basically, right? It’s the plant’s way of adapting to the stress of the environment, totally get it. And when we consume that plant that has more of that polyphenol compound, the sense is that that’s probably forewarns our cells, our mitochondria, like, oh, the environments tougher for this plant. That probably means I should be prepared for it to be tougher for me. So hence, the mitochondrial network, toughen up in advance. So that’s, that would be the general sense of how polyphenols would work.
Dr. Mindy 19:41 So I’m wondering if you have my wheels spinning now because I’m thinking that fasting may work the same way. So the way that we really teach fasting in our resetter group is varying your fasts. So you have your short fast, you have your long fast and you have your no fast and that I love this idea of a hormetic stress, and that if you put your body into a little bit of stress, it builds itself stronger. So what I hear you saying is that we need to approach the brain with that same idea of a little bit of stress, getting it nutrients that have like the polyphenols that have already been stressed, so that we can use stress to our advantage, not something we’re necessarily trying to run away from. Is that correct?
Dr. Greg Kelly 20:27 Yeah. So I tend to use challenge. So yeah. So my undergraduate degree, I was an engineer. And then I was an officer in the Navy never really used by degree but you know, have the math science background. And after the Navy, I decided to take classes at the University of Hawaii eventually got a grant where I studied. My master’s degree was in essentially Thai language and culture. But my focus in my classes was nutritional and medical anthropology. But I did a lot, you know, every day I would spend a lot of it speaking Thai or learning Thai. And it was a January 1, I believe, of 1993. I had met a bunch of nature Pathak, doctors in Hawaii, I thought their life was awesome, was trying to do next. And so I was just sitting, you know, on this beautiful point in Ottawa, and why trying to decide for sure what I wanted to do, and decided, Okay, I’m going to whatever I have to do, I’m going to be in nature Pathak school somewhere in September. And, you know, so this was January 1, two days later, I couldn’t remember how to write my name and tie string together a coherent sentence. So I went from not fluent by any stretch of the imagination, but very competent in Thai to basically being illiterate. And I what I believe happened is my brain just said, Okay, this math and science stuff is going to be way more important, based on that. To make room for that, I’m going to like, turn off all this and return. And Okay, so what I know seems to work for me, is convincing my brain, something’s important. So if if I do that, it automatically then shifts the resources there, I don’t really have to worry about it. My job is really
Dr. Mindy 22:19 important. So if there’s something like if I decide today, I wanted to learn a second language, and I went all in, that my I would literally be reprogramming my brain to say, whatever, whenever I hear this language, whatever, I’m studying that, that I need to, I need to pay attention and, and focus in on that.
Dr. Greg Kelly 22:41 And you and I believe, again, getting back to that resources are finite. So. So again, like I, I don’t I wish I knew the book. But it was some point in the late 90s, early 2000s. I read this book. And in it, there was a chapter on the person that at the time they felt had the best memory ever tested. Now, if you’d asked me before reading that, I would have said, Oh, like more memories better, like more, it’s just if, right, memory is already good, if it can be better, like I’m all good. But what I left with reading that is there were certain things I take for granted that this person could not do, because they require doing a little bit of forgetting in his brain couldn’t do that. So I made me think like it’s not, it’s more of a zero sum game, right? Like, you can get better here. But at the cost of over here. Oh, brilliant. And so like, that seems to be how my brain works, at least that, that, you know, when I shifted from, you know, medical, nutritional anthropology, Thai language, that back to having to do basically pre med, it just shifted, where you know, what part of my brain was getting attention and getting the resources. And so that me like, language is perfect. I’m not at all good in Spanish, but I took secures a bit as a kid lived in Mexico when I was 14. And that summer, my Spanish was way better than it was three years later, despite continuing to take it in school, right? Because there’s nothing like being around it every day, to convince my brain that this is really important. And there’s no substitute in just taking it maybe an hour a day in a class. So even today, if I’m going to, I go to Spain most years for a vacation. And if I just start to listen to Spanish radio, in advance of that, it starts to, again, that convincing strategy Oh, this is important. We’ve had a warm up and put that part of the brain back on online.
Dr. Mindy 24:42 Oh, so this makes so much sense. And I feel like you’re connecting dots for me because I used to always say that I have an obsessive brain where when I hook on to some new information or some new strategy, like my brain can’t stop thinking about it. It can’t stop trying to learn on it. And I actually have come to learn that I actually do better if I allow this obsessive brain to unfold. So for example, I’m in the process of writing my fourth book. And I found that the best way for me to tackle a book is to really just not stop thinking about it, like, be all in it, and really get myself in the vibration, whether I’m writing or not writing, there has to be sort of this all in experience for me. And what I’m hearing you say is, that was just a way of me shifting my brain power to put it into something that’s very important. And out of that I get Brett better brain function. Is that correct?
Dr. Greg Kelly 25:42 Yeah. And because a lot of insights come out of things, we’re not really planning, right? Like if Yeah, if my brains focused on something like, Lately, I’ve been working on vision as the main like category, but specifically, things that we might be able to do as a supplement that would protect our eyes from looking at screenings, because we’re on screens, a crazy amount, and Oh,
Unknown Speaker 26:03 yeah.
Dr. Greg Kelly 26:04 Last year, and now, you know, with education and all these things moving on online, it’s, it’s much more and it’s, that’s a big stress. I mentioned earlier that our visual system is one of the big energy demands of our brain. And now it’s just being, you know, stressed for many more hours a day with all the light from our computer monitors or other screens. So you know, when I’m, when I shift into a project like that, it’s very helpful to be able to really shift into it, as opposed to, you know, like juggling three different formulas at the same time. So at least from the brain works.
Dr. Mindy 26:41 Yeah, it makes perfect sense. So if anybody was like wanting to have maximum brain power for a specific task, then it’s almost like you have to tell your brain This is important. I’m going to go all in on this topic, or this, whatever it is, and just in acknowledging that the brain needs to prioritize that the brain will put its energy sources there. Women, let’s talk menopause, I am incredibly excited to bring you my next book. It’s called the menopause reset, and it is what I changed in my lifestyle. The five things I did different. As I moved through my 40s. As I moved through perimenopause, and menopause to balance my hormones out, I’m really excited about this book, this is going to help so many women, you can pre order your book today at the menopause, reset. book.com. Enjoy.
Dr. Greg Kelly 27:38 Like, the other thing that we learned from fasting is it’s the fasting and the refeeding. Right? They’re both important, right? Very much. And so, you know, like, it’s activity and recovery. You know, like, yes, we want them in focus. But even for me, I like most of the work, as I said a little. It’s called stand up, I believe it’s Yeah, but I just have it set. So every 30 minutes, it reminds me to get up. And yeah, many times during the day, I’ll just do a quick two or three minutes, just walk outside. But oftentimes, during that walk, something will pop in, that’s a better way to say something I’ve been trying to ride or like, you know, like, like an idea will pop into my head. It’s like, oh, but that would be you know, something to follow up on when I get back. It’s those little breaks, I think that are also important. I remember teaching nature Pathak students in the early 2000s. And like, one classic thing that, you know, that sticks with me to this day was a student came up after class that, you know, they’ve been really struggling and basically said, you know, Dr. Greg, I feel like I have to reread the same thing over and over. And, you know, it’s hard for me to stay focused. And my first question was, you know, how much sleep Are you getting? And they said, Well, I can’t really afford to get more than a few hours because they have to. And I said, Well, you, you’re doing something, both that we’re not studying, right, like you’re not being efficient, you’d be better served, get the more sleep and let your brain be more efficient with this studying time that you’re allocating, as opposed to thinking we have to do to do that. Whether it’s sleep or whether it’s, you know, sitting uninterrupted for many hours a day in front of our computer or doing our job or you know, I remember in nature Pathak school, and I’m sure it was the same in chiropractic school, as we’d literally sit in a class during our first two years for eight or nine hours a day.
Dr. Mindy 29:31 Oh, yeah, that’s right. All
Dr. Greg Kelly 29:34 right, like, that’s just way beyond what our short term memory can take and deal with. And so what ends up happening, we do all these crazy things that are inefficient that our brain just isn’t designed for, and then wonder why our brain is not performing the way that we hope so nootropics and, you know, the fasting, things like that, you know, they’ll help but ultimately, we want to also put in place good strategies. Well, love is the piece that you like, like we’re all about doing and seldom does the recovery piece get the attention that it really merits.
Dr. Mindy 30:10 Yeah, because if you’re recovering, it’s I’m thinking that it’s a little bit like your cell phone, that if you’re using it all the time, and you don’t plug it in, eventually you’re not going to get any information from it, it’s going to die. Would you say that the brains the same way, that if you, you’ve got to have some kind of recharge that’s powering it up so that it can use the energy efficiently and put it in the right locations, or places that you have prioritized?
Dr. Greg Kelly 30:37 I would say absolutely. And I think that’s why things like walks in nature, you know, end up being very brain supportive. I think my dad’s strategy of when he got home, you know, basically doing his own thing. And, and most of it was what I think of as ritualistic behaviors, things that didn’t take a lot of thought, right? polishing your shoes, or, you know, reading the paper, or he used to be a pipe smoker, this was, at least at one point in his life. Yeah, it’s quite, he would do something that was essentially could make that system one character be the only thing that needed to be on stage. And I think the one thing that we can all do to our loved ones is at the end of the days, give them that space to do what they recharge. Because I think the the expectations out of romantic relationships are a lot higher now than they were in my parents generation. And so fortunately, my mom didn’t expect my dad when he came home, like I remember to this day, she’ll say, well, we had six kids, so my mom had her hands full, but she wouldn’t share any problems that happened that day with my dad until after he recharged. And so I think even little things like that my mom’s intuition was right, like my dad, if she had shed her right away, she would not have got, like, I know, we would have got a bad response for you know, adding that into my dad’s day where an hour or two later that was back on the menu to share that and get a more resourceful person. So I think just understanding how the brain works, we can be kinder to ourselves, but also kinder to the other people and just realize that this isn’t, because my you know, my partner is, you know, like mean, irritable, or whatever it’s like, you know, they’re just tapped out right now and need a little bit of time to recharge.
Dr. Mindy 32:27 So it’s fair to come home at the end of the day, and just say, Hey, I just need my brain to recharge, I’m gonna go ahead and sit down over here, give me a few moments to get let my brain recharge itself or amp itself back up?
Dr. Greg Kelly 32:40 I absolutely think so. So, remember, I mentioned earlier, like the social cognition and empathy and, you know, body language. So I tend to think of these different cognitive things as a bit of a pyramid. And the higher up things take more energy be the simple story. And for most people, social cognition skills set pre hire, if not at the top. So this takes a lot of energy for most people. Now, people that are naturally really good, maybe it’s a little lower on their pyramid, and, you know, logic and executive function are a bit higher. But those, those system to character type of tasks, just take more energy. And so when it’s already largely depleted, it’s, it’s just not reasonable to expect that we’re going to show up as our best version with those things that take. So like, classically, what I would see, and maybe you’ve seen the same as you would, like, the best version of yourself shows up at work. And for strangers. Yeah. And when the time you get home, your, your least resourceful version is what walks in the door. And so my story would be is that’s not a character thing. That’s just a you’ve used up most of what allows you to be the best version. And if he gets some recharging time, then it’s much more reasonable now to expect you to be the better version of yourself you’re capable of.
Dr. Mindy 34:04 Yeah, okay. I wish I had this conversation with you. when my kids were like five years old. They’re now they’re now 20 and 18. But I remember the simple task of just reading them a book, when I would come home after work was just overwhelming. And I didn’t have words to put to it. So I hope every working parent out there is is giving themselves some grace on this. What do you think happens if we if I come home and I start going through my phone and I get on social media and I start looking at or I get on the TV I start looking at the news is that I mean, even though it’s it feels better on the brain, it’s not as high level of an interaction is that recharging us? Is that depleting us? Where does that fit in the spectrum?
Dr. Greg Kelly 34:53 My guess is it would vary person to person but so I’m a big fan of Han cell use work in stretch. Right, he’s the godfather of that domain. But one of the things that he like I think of the principles that he was able to articulate based on his research, but basically, one of them was when a system stressed, doing anything different will tend to then decrease that stress, like he called it, I think deviation. So like, like, stressed to the point of exhaustion, then not deviation doesn’t help, it’s just an additional. So I think, like my intuition is, it’s not the best strategy under most circumstances, because it would be a similar type of stress to probably what we were doing during the day looking at the screen for many people. So there wouldn’t be, it wouldn’t be much of a deviation strategy under the best of circumstances. And if we’re already maxed out, then it would just be another stress added in
Dr. Mindy 35:55 another math. Yeah. And when I think about this generation that’s growing up right now and how and especially in this pandemic, where they’re sitting in front of screens, and then they get off their school on a screen, and they get on to their phone on a screen. And I just see what my own children are going through and how demanding that has been. Do you feel like the online version of school has a different effect on the brain? Or is it individual, or their individual cases, I do hear a lot of parents and a lot. And I’ve talked to my own kids about this, that they’re just not enjoying the, the they want that human interaction, they want to hear from a teacher that’s not on a screen do screens create more drain on our brain energy?
Dr. Greg Kelly 36:42 I think so just because it’s more stress on our visual system. If nothing else, I mean, I would guess there’s more than not, but screens put a huge stress on our visual system. So we’ve got that I can go into it like, like quick and dirty is we’ve got macular carotenoids. So those are things like lutein and zeaxanthin, that are found there, you know, pigments and plants, that those are used, essentially exhausted, as our vision deals with light. You know, we’ve got mitochondria in our retina that are really active, but basically, lots of modern screentime, like I was looking at, like there’s no agreement on eyestrain and the related things like that from screen time, but it’s somewhere, this was, obviously previous last year, but it was somewhere between a third and two thirds of people that worked on a computer during the day had one or more symptoms, that would be because of excessive screen time. And I’ve seen it suggested that more than eight out of 10 people, if they’re on a screen from more than two hours in a row will have some degree of high strain related symptoms. so fascinating. I mean, it’s, it’s ubiquitous. And one of the things that happens, I think, again, goes back to energy is that we become less capable of concentrating. Right. So that would be classically, what you would see with children or teens now zoom is that their ability to concentrate like, you know, be focused attention is going to be harder when they’re doing this online than it was in a classroom. And when in the classroom setting, it’s not easy, you know, if you’re being taught at four hours in a row, so
Unknown Speaker 38:33 yeah, yeah.
Dr. Greg Kelly 38:35 But my sense is that it would be more demanding on our brain and nervous system than that same education, not on screens.
Dr. Mindy 38:42 Yeah, that’s one of the things we love to do in our family is sit down to a big meal and, and just sit and talk. And I’ve noticed this year in 2020, that I’ve found that my kids are craving it more that it’s like that human interaction mixed with not like not like the social media of Tick Tock and things like that, where it’s really fast, like, they just seem to crave like sitting and talking to a real person. And as we’re, you know, doing this interview, it’s ended 2020 I think one of the things that was so interesting about 2020 is it kind of sideswiped everybody. And I think now that I’m listening to you talk, I’m wondering if we went into 2020 already with a depleted brain, and we didn’t control what we focused on. Then what I’m hearing from what you’re saying is that our brain it would be easy for our brain to fatigue this year, it would be easy for our brain to go into fear this year, it’d be easy to stay stuck in an anxiety loop. But if we want to change that for 2021 then we’re gonna have to reprioritize what we look at, and it sounds like we’re gonna have to read prior to ties like what our daily habits are, so we could power our brain up would that be fair to say?
Dr. Greg Kelly 40:00 Yeah, yeah, I think absolutely fair. And I think like I know, you know, just friends family that have shared with me that the number of their that acquaintances that have some degree of mood challenges is way higher. And so, like, I saw something, this is probably within the last two or three weeks, so it’s still fairly fresh in my mind, but the gist of it was, if we go on a diet very, like anyone that’s done, this knows we’re going to, like hunger will go up, right, we’re gonna, we’re right, when we don’t get enough food. So basically the gist of this study was it vary by person, but that when we didn’t get our social needs met the brain crave that interaction in the same way appetite creates food. And so be so I think of myself like a camel. When it comes to social needs. I don’t think my needs are what others are. But we all have those. And for anything, that’s a basic need. If it’s not met, then job one of our our body and our brain basically, is to get that need met. And so the core needs are. So in the hypothalamus, there’s things like appetite regulation, and sleep drive, and thirst regulation and body temperature regulation. Like sex drive would be there. But I think that there, whatever social drive we have is likely in there somewhere as well. And if one of those isn’t met, then what seems to me to have been the case when I was in practice, was whenever one wasn’t mad, the common thing was people’s appetite.
Dr. Mindy 41:47 Like that. Yeah, we’re hearing that the difference?
Dr. Greg Kelly 41:50 Yeah, well, if you didn’t get enough to meet your hydration needs, then you know, you gained weight appetite went up if your romantic life was unsatisfying, then very common to see weight challenges pop up. activity is another thing that’s in their sleep, we know if someone doesn’t get their sleep needs met, they basically almost become hybrid natori, right, they put on a lot of body fat. And I believe, again, the sense that, okay, I’m not sure when this person’s going to catch up on all the sleep that they’re not getting now, so I’ll be more prepared and prepared as for body fat stored, just like having a Tory animal. So I think a lot of these things, you know, go back to what I mentioned, this idea of our brain and body, like right down to the mitochondrial networks in cells are always doing the best to try to match us to what they expect will happen. And you know, the further we get from a environment or lifestyle that supports, you know, like all our needs being that and rocking health, the more they then have to adjust and cut corners in different areas to make up the difference.
Dr. Mindy 43:00 So would it be fair to say that in 2021, we need to look at all our needs are needs being met, in order to get like, we need to find outlets for social. And we you know, we need to work on thirst and appetite and sex drive like are all of those things going to if we work on satisfying it to the brain, then the brain will be more prepared to handle the day to day activities.
Dr. Greg Kelly 43:25 Yeah, I think those basic survival things eat up to like, you’ll see the term bandwidth a lot when it comes to Yeah. And like a classic site. So we go on a diet, we decided on January 1, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to go on a 2000 calorie diet, whatever, you know, for the month of January. So we’ll get off to a great start. And, you know, three or four days in, it’s just like being on survivor, the TV show, right? They’re hungry. They want to talk about food, our bandwidth being consumed with thoughts about food. And that will typically just that pressure will grow until we willpower gives out we fall off the diet regain the lost weight. And that’s the classic thing. But in the interim, we used up most if not all the bandwidth, thinking about food, because we just want that resource scares the the brain shifted to making sure we get that. So the key thing with these basic needs is when we start ruminating about them, that’s a sign that that needs not being mad. And it’s important to do that to free up the bandwidth so we can go into these more important areas.
Dr. Mindy 44:37 Okay. Yeah, makes sense. Yeah. So I’m just trying to I’m putting it in terms of in my brain right now. fasters because one of the things we talk a lot about in fasting is this desire to create this metabolic switch, and if we’re eating all day long, we’re still staying within one energy source. We haven’t switched over into the ketogenic metabolic path and pathway. And I think one of the mistakes we’ve learned in the health movement is people think, well, if ketones are really great, and the ketogenic pathway is really wonderful, I should just be over there all the time. But what I’m really teaching, and what I see in the in the science is that it’s the switching in and out of these two states of energy, being getting glucose, giving you energy and ketones giving you energy and you want to go in and out of both of them. But to get to this place, where you can thrive and the ketogenic pathway takes some willpower, it takes some your brain is gonna is going to have a little bit of a tantrum. Are there any hacks we can use when we’re trying to make changes and the brain is is chatting at us? Are there any hacks that you know of that we can use to override that?
Dr. Greg Kelly 45:49 So I think when we do need to tap our willpower more, that’s when nootropics can help.
Dr. Mindy 45:54 Great. Tell us about that. Yeah, so
Dr. Greg Kelly 45:59 so. So nootropics, basically are just a category of things that can help our brain perform better. So they can be doing very different things some might be serving as precursors to the neurotransmitters that our brain makes. Some may help us make and use those neuro transmitters, some may help our brain make more energy, they can be doing a range of things, but if we need our brain to be doing more, in general, I think our chances of being able to do that are more likely to be optimized when we’re doing some kind of a well thought out nootropic stack. So you know, something that typically has mean, several, two more ingredients combined. Yeah. Caffeine is by far the most used nootropic substance probably is. But caffeine. So when I talked about that pyramid, so the base I think of as being, you know, awake, vigilant, caffeine, just rocks there, like that’s, that’s what it excels at. But it’s not typically going to make us our best social version of ourself in terms of the may make us think we are but you know, we’ll be irritable will actually be a worse version of ourselves. So what you see is what a lot of the nootropic compounds is their, their format to use the term use, you mentioned early, right that there’s a Goldilocks zone where, you know, there’s just right amount where it’ll help us. So caffeine as a nootropic, it tends to be somewhere between like maybe a six ounce cup of coffee and maybe like a 16 ounce more caffeine than that will keep us maybe more awake, but it’s not going to make our cognition that and then you have things like coli and that helps our brain make acetylcholine. So Coleen donors, you have something called l theanine that helps the alpha brainwaves, which is much more like calm, relaxing, brain wave pattern that helps us with focus. So there’s lots of things that can be stacked together, and what you like the goal should be for any of these brain supplements that you feel that your brain is able to do more right like ultimately, within the biohacking space, there’s the your mileage may vary. That so different things can work for different people. But to me a good nootropics should be subjectively felt and felt quickly. And definitely got day.
Dr. Mindy 48:20 Would you use it in the moment of stress? Like where you’re like, Okay, I know I’m, I’m having I’m requiring a lot from my brain right now. So when I lean into a nootropic to help me get over that hump, whether it’s fasting or a big work day, or for a student who’s studying and then I can at the end of the day, go and recharge the brain? Is that how you would use a nootropic?
Dr. Greg Kelly 48:45 It depends on what like I category is really anything that helps the brain perform better as in the nootropic category. So if it if it has caffeine in it or a caffeine light thing that to me, that’s it for me personally, that’s an early morning thing. I do fine with caffeine. Yes. Yeah. We about 11 to noon, and then after that, it will definitely affect me trying to sleep well that night. But there’s nootropic compounds like gotu Kola, generally Baedeker curb, that’s completely fine to take at dinner. We actually have it in our we call it quality night, but it’s basically a nootropic stack, intended to be taken at dinner to help our both asleep better that night. But to de stress help us move into a more relaxed space, but then help our brain work better over time. So one of the the idea of ATP in the brain. So when I was looking into that, I was trying to find studies on things that had increased the ability for the brain to make ATP. And one of the things I found and again, this was an animal study. We just don’t see these types of studies on you. Yeah, yeah. Measure brain ATP II. Yeah. And, but all of polyphenols were something that I came I’m not really in the essentially we’re able, if those are fed to old mice, they could make the brain make the ATP levels that would have in a younger mice so far, right? So I think there’s, there’s lots of things that can be nootropics. And it’s one of the things neuro hacker collective does when we create a formula, there’s almost Well, today, every product we’ve created has some element of mitochondrial energy support. Because whether it’s for the immune system, as I mentioned, with those cells, needing more energy to get to where they need to do their work, or the brain or an anti aging product or something in that category, and again, like mitochondrial dysfunction just would be a common to most of the things I end up working on
Dr. Mindy 50:49 anti aging one definitely lot more mental clarity. And so it’s a mixture of mitochondrial nutrition mixed with this nootropic idea of getting the right. I don’t know a better word, but hacks into the brain herbs, what we call like lion’s mane, and things like that are nootropics out of the caffeine category. those are those are all great, and they make your brain feel great shit, would you worry about taking them too much so that the brain doesn’t know how to do it on its own. So that erroneous? No, I
Dr. Greg Kelly 51:25 mean, I’m so I like one of my core beliefs is that the thing that our brain and body are excellent at is adapting to things. The downside of that is if we do the same thing every day, we’ll usually speed up adaptation. And if we do higher doses of things, we may speed it up really, really fast. So like my model, think of an upside down U. and down the bottom would be time. So it’s like duration. And exercise is a good example. So we decide we’re going to January 1, get into lifting weights, never done it before, pretty much anything you do over the first six weeks, you’re going to improve. But if you keep doing the same thing, every day, every day, don’t get any recovery, you’ll plateau very quickly, and then overtraining, right? So it’s the thing that you were doing hasn’t changed, but you track through that, from poor performance to improving performance to plateaued to worsening performance to optimally maybe back almost as poor performance as when you started. So I believe that most if not everything, will eventually track through that. And the way that an exercise that we would help someone not to track through that quickly, would be to alter their workouts. So they don’t do the same workout everyday. Maybe they do pushing today and pulling exercises tomorrow. And then Wednesday, they take the day off, and then they repeat it. And then what you commonly see with exercise is every maybe six to eight weeks, you do a D loading week, where you take the week off, or you’ll do a third or half of what you would normally do right as a as should our recovery. So I think Timmy with supplements and with nootropics, especially, it makes a lot of sense to approach them in the same way you would exercise. So the nootropic stack, I take quality in mind. I take Monday through Friday, I take usually personally about just over half the recommended dose that seems to be perfect for my normal work day. But last week, I was driving from San Diego to Santa Barbara. So that day I took double the dose, right because with the traffic with the challenge in my brain and nervous system with with bass, in that four hours of driving, that’s not something I’m as used to. So I figured, okay, I need more support today, at the beginning of my day, because that’s, that’s the time that you’ll need it now wrapping up. And then Yep, I said, the nootropic that we designed, geared more towards the end of the day is very different. It’s you know, wouldn’t have anything stimulating but has things that again, would support that the shift that our brain needs to make as it moves in tonight because what you really see what the brain is the pathways like acetylcholine and dopamine that we need for executive function during the day. Those ramp up first thing in the morning, but then they they start to ramp down in the evening. Yeah, but an adenosine. The things that eventually help us to move into that sleep state start to rip up melatonin, the other ones so the clouds that we need for support in the morning, or you know, invariably not the ones we want. One of my pet peeves is when you see a supplement like take this three times a day, you can almost guarantee that it’s not going to work well that
Dr. Mindy 54:52 Yeah, we’re taking the same one all the time. To your point i you’re speaking my language because With fasting, we see so many people, they get really excited about one meal a day. And they just do one meal a day over and over and over and over again. And then they get stuck, because of that exact thing that you just said, where they have been doing the thing that got like the first time they entered into doing one meal a day, they got this incredible benefit. But they didn’t vary it enough. And so then eventually the body gets stuck. And they’re like, Oh, see, it’s just another diet. It’s just another, another fad. It’s not working for me. But what I think we really need to get out into the world is that variation is what the body needs, you go into stress, like you said, you come out of stress. So I love your example of how you use those supplements, like use them here and then back away from them up the dose down the dose, that the hard part is for the lay person to find that rhythm for themselves. Would you say that that’s accurate, especially with supplements? Yeah, it’s
Dr. Greg Kelly 55:55 way easier for people you know, and this goes back to when I was in practice, just say, like, do this every day,
Dr. Mindy 56:01 take this Yep.
Dr. Greg Kelly 56:03 Where when you add nuance in that becomes, you know, more challenging, but I think that nuance is ultimately where we want to get people. So to have a sense that, okay, this, you know, whatever the supplement, this is the amount I need, and I’m going to be now for the holiday is traveling across country, and it’s going to be more stressful. So, you know, maybe more support, or, you know, to today, like if I’m lifting heavy, I’m going to do more supplementation in the recovery that day than I would on a weekend day when I’m going to the beach personally. So I think as long as we don’t expect too much at the beginning of ourselves, but have these principles to work with, then we’ll get there. So I think the key thing, just letting people know that very few things need to be done every day. So like going back again, to vision so that the vision product that I’ve been working on will have a few fat soluble compounds in. So in studies, you’ll usually see that was given every day, but fat soluble things bioaccumulate, right? They they build up. So you don’t if you don’t take it for a couple days or a week, it really you’re not going to go deficient that quickly. Basically. You know, and the my one exception would be things like insulin or diet or things like that, you know, your body’s depending on and that you need to do. But supplement rarely would fall into that world, they’re going to be much more like exercise.
Dr. Mindy 57:30 Yeah, well said Well said. So 2021, I feel a little bit like, we’re not going to be fooled this time, like Fool me once. But don’t fool me twice. So 2020 sideswiped everybody there was I feel like just between our online community, our clinic community, just chaos and a lot of brain distraction. But going into 2021, we know that this may be the sort of the long haul, we may be getting these viruses more or we might be, who knows, I mean, I’ve got a kid that’s applying to college right now that we have no idea what college will look like, in the fall, like there’s so many unknowns. So what I’m thinking would be the way I want to approach 2021, based off of what you’re saying is I want to use as many of these tools to power my brain up. So my brain is able to handle whatever 2021 throws at me. And what I’ve heard you say is polyphenols, we’ve talked about nootropics. I want to ask you another question on that in a second. Sleep decompressing, like what the example with your dad, supplementation, what else can we do if I want to be proactive so that I can make sure that whatever 2020 throws at me, my brain is going to be at its best, what other habits? What are their strategies can we use?
Dr. Greg Kelly 58:49 So I think the like one of my so I’m a big fan of the transitions of things like our nervous system cells, everything’s really designed, I’ve changed. So one of my favorite things. And I don’t know why this was never in my anatomy and physiology books, but I believe it’s called hook we were locked. But basically the gist of it was in the mid 1800s, when they did experiments to see how our hearing and vision work. It’s the change, it’s more specifically the ratio of change that drives those. So the example for the audience is if you walk into a completely dark room and let one candle you’d notice crazy big difference. But if there was 100 candles lit and you’ll get one more, not so much, right? So the quantity the one candle is not that important. It’s the proportional change between that one candle and all the others that were not lit. So that’s why our hearing is based on like a log scale the decimal. And so in general to me, we time periods of contrast the beginning and ends of days like sunrise, sunset, or things we can do to create contrast. So the fasting and the refeeding especially like, to me, long, fast, don’t particularly make sense. But integrating lots more short. Mini fast through the year absolutely do. So what I would say, Timmy if I was like, What habits? So what can you play put in place at the beginning of your day. So the the morning walk and natural life, probably. I don’t know anyone personally that hasn’t done that and felt better putting that habit Well said. So that mean like super low tack. You know, maybe while working from home, it’s definitely easier for people to do but if even if working from the office, parking our car a little bit and walking maybe to get coffee or taking a bit longer walk. So that can be important. A huge fan again, then at the transition at the end of the day. So I think it’s the musical Rand isn’t the key song. They’re like, measure your life and sunsets is one of them.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:03 Ah,
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:01:04 okay, getting to see the sunset, right? Because that shifts our brain into, essentially, oh, I need to start getting ready for nighttime. And do you?
Dr. Mindy 1:01:15 Do you need to go outside? Or can you just look out your window, do you like actually like, go walk the dog like get outside at those times, or
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:01:23 better to be able to do that and to get into a routine in the new year. So it becomes our habit. The other thing, I’m a huge believer that don’t try to start all a bunch of habits at the same time, pick one or two, you know, do those for for six weeks until it feels like it would be hard and not to do then keep doing and that’s the time to put a new habit in play. So we don’t want to like typically, I saw this more than I want to share in practice where someone would change 10 things at once. and a month later, the wheels would come off. So I’m much more selective. Try to do one or two new things, but wait until they’re implemented and then do another. But yeah, natural light. I don’t think we need to be outside to get a lot of that signal. But I think we get more of it outside. And I live. I live in Oceanside, California San Diego. Yeah,
Dr. Mindy 1:02:15 yeah. But I need to say that
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:02:17 and the sun. So I’m staring at the ocean right now. It’s right outside. And in the middle of summer, the sun sets way up there. So I have to go outside to see it. Right now. It’s setting directly in front of me. So you know, but I still walked outside my dorm. Most nights are over to the beach. I think it’s just nicer to hear the ocean. And there’s an experiential part. I can’t get just looking out my window is what makes sense.
Dr. Mindy 1:02:44 Get it?
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:02:46 Don’t get most of the way. Maybe.
Dr. Mindy 1:02:48 Okay, so. So your body. So it’s like you’re, you’re telling your body, it’s day. Look outside, there’s actually more red light in the morning in sunrise and sunset. Is that correct.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:02:59 So I think of the beginning of the day is more blues. And the end of the day is more orange, reds and yellows. Okay, just because of like the colors of the sky. And natural if you think of a candle or a fireplace, that those are going to be disproportionately yellow, red, orange, and much less blues and greens. So the beginning of the like the time when exposure to blue and greens is something that’s alerting and essentially signals the body, it’s the beginning. But at the end, we want to be blocking out the blues and the greens as much as possible,
Dr. Mindy 1:03:35 I think will be really helpful for our resellers. Just this like I said, this year really sideswiped so many people. And the human spirit is resilient, the brain is resilient, the body is resilient. And so I just feel like understanding how our brain works is so incredibly important. If you don’t train the brain, you the world will train it for you and to to sort of, you know, dovetail on what you’re saying, what I’m hearing is if you don’t create rituals to build the brain power and energy up, you’re gonna find you’re living with a depleted brain more often than you would like.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:04:15 Yeah. And I think it’s why we use terms like brain fog, and like, you know, feeling mentally exhausted. I think it’s why those are ubiquitous terms, people can relate to them because they’re, you know, they’re true for a lot of our population. And to me, those are all, you know, really commentary on a brain not being able to make enough energy. So like the, you know, like a bulletproof coffee or keto often will very quickly remedy those feelings of brain fog, right, because on an energy level, we’ve shifted things dramatically. So, you know, I’m a big fan of, you know, intermittent fasting and periodic longer fasts, like the recenter is to think that Yeah,
Dr. Mindy 1:04:57 yeah, you really speak our language because I I’m all about very Everything very, you’re fast vary your food, let’s not get stuck in this rut of doing the same thing over and over again. Because if if diet was meant to be done the same way over and over again, we would have figured out the most perfect human diet, and everybody would be following it. But that’s not how it works. Our body is meant to be in more of a variation mode.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:05:23 I he’s passed away now. But one of my nutrition teachers when I was a nature Pathak student was named Ron Smith. And, you know, this goes back 25 years, but one of the few things that stuck in that he taught was, there can be a big difference between a diet to take someone that’s unhealthy and lose them to healthy, and one that keeps them there. So one of the things at least that I’ve tried to remain focused on is that don’t get attached to the the tool or the dogma of something that brought you there, but really build skills to be able to discern whether, you know, is this still supporting you or not? Because quite often, like you mentioned, the thing that will help you. If you don’t vary, it will invariably move you. Right? Right past helping into some other new area.
Dr. Mindy 1:06:11 Right? I love that. I love that this was I, I thought I knew a lot about brain and health and nutrition, but you just elevated my thinking on all of this. So I absolutely love this. And let me finish up I have five, five specific questions to you. And then I want to chat about where people can find your products. And what are some of the best products for brain health. You mentioned a few. So I want to make sure people understand those if they if that’s of interest to them. Okay, what’s the one habit that you do every day for your brain? That you would not give up that you feel like this absolutely supports my my healthy brain.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:06:51 So I don’t know that I do this absolutely every day. But I talk to myself a lot. So I, I, I essentially let my brain or body know what to expect. And then, you know, so like, if I was going to tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Europe, from San Diego, I would have already told my body like, hey, we’ve got this on the menu, you know, better than me, what do you need to do to get us ready so that we can hit the ground and be possible. And so I just I don’t assume that because I know something’s going to happen. The parts of my brain or body that need to rise the occasion would know, I just tried to let them know. And then I’ll frame things as a challenge. Like if I was caught, like, oh, like how quickly can you do this? Or can you do this without a scar? Like, let me see. So anyways, I just think it would be the same with with learning in the brain. let it know, like, this is what I this would be what I would love to have. We’re going to be studying Spanish language starting in January. I would really like to excel at that. You’ll let me know what you need. And you know, I’ll make it a priority. You know that, that were exposed to it. Basically, that like that self talk piece I’m a big fan of and I don’t think that gets enough attention. It’s Yeah, we will. But to me, it’s so
Dr. Mindy 1:08:17 I love it. I wouldn’t have ever thought to do that. That it’s almost like a magic. It’s like it’s a magic eight ball. You have to like shake it around and like get it to have the right message.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:08:28 Yeah, that mind body things when I was both in practice and teaching nature path. And I just think it’s like, there’s no downside to it, I guess? No, my belief is that there’s a lot of potential upside. So
Dr. Mindy 1:08:43 yeah, I love it. Okay, what’s your favorite? nootropic? I first heard it. I love the word nootropic that it has we all intrigued, but there are so many incredible nootropics. And I think people just don’t understand them or utilize them enough other than caffeine. We just don’t think of it as a nootropic.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:09:03 Well, I really don’t have like a favorite ingredient. But I would say that like my like if you were just stating I’m going to like create like something to make my coffee work better or the caffeine I’m getting do better than it would be stacking that without fanning would be the thing that would be the if you’re just starting out, that’s where you should go like, Why? Because that balance that tends to make what coffee doesn’t do well, it does well. So like that combination of two things for many people will be felt as more focused or less distractibility work coffee on its own just would not get you there as reliably. So basically what I would say is my favorite thing with nootropics is stacking things together and ah The neuro hacker products, one we created about a year and a half ago, it’s a little energy shot is basically what the form factor. We call it quality nootropic energy. But that was designed from the ground up to be felt. But like I remember when I was working on, I’ll typically give pet names to products while I’m trying to develop them. And so that one was, um, had, for me at least to do with personal best. So I’m a morning workout person. And when I do like that, I made up just the powder, and I would mix it with water before going to the gym. And time after time, I was doing personal best after personal best, but I have the ability to do that is mental energy. So one of the I was interviewed about a year and a half ago, and the journalist premise was that they’d be some exercise that benefits from being zoned out, and some from being in a more in a flow state like zoned in or in the zone. And I say, well, that’s odd, because they all benefit from being in the zone, and I don’t know, any that benefit from being zoned out, right. So invariably, what what ends up happening physically, to do our best our brain disengages way before our we reach our physical limits. And so, like, my favorite, you know, of anything is that you just shot, like if I was going to go do a heavy leg day in the gym, or do something. And I wanted to make sure my brain, you know, really shifted gears quickly. That would be so it’s called, it’s we just call it nootropic energy shot, but it’s okay. Like a about 10 nootropics blended together and an energy shot
Dr. Mindy 1:11:43 of it. Could you do it before, like you took a test or a speed shake? It’s not just physical energy.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:11:48 Before podcast, though, it does have caffeine. So for our podcast, I didn’t. But if this was the morning, I would have done it before that. So yeah, so I think of, you know, rather than a nootropic. It’s like a stack of nootropics. Right? And then find one that that you feel, and that can be different for you then.
Dr. Mindy 1:12:08 Okay, I love it. I’m gonna have to try that. And well, I’ve got a couple of patients on my mind that I think could could really use that as well. What Talk to me a little bit about your sleep, what it do you have a ritual around the time you go to sleep, the time you get up, how you how you protect your sleep, do you feel like sleep is important for the brain?
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:12:30 Absolutely. So, you know, so I was an officer in the Navy spent, you know, a good chunk of my, those six years on ships doing, like, my first watch was in the engineering, there was only two of us that could stand it. So it was called port and starboard, so I wouldn’t be on watch for six hours, then he would replace me for six. And we just cycled like that. And then in your time off while he still had to do your job, he sleep. So during that time period, I was lucky if we brought a team to sleep four hours a night. And so I left the Navy already knowing how important sleep was because I you know spent is most of the lack of it, or degree of sleep deprivation. So for me, like my metaphor for sleep is think of it like sleeping like a boss that comes on a schedule. So you know, for me, the sleep bus pulls in pretty much around 10 at night, every night. So I’ll usually feel it like I’ll start to feel like oh, this The bus is coming, which for me, that’s signals I’m miserable. And whatever I’m doing at that point in time I just stopped doing and go to bed. And so on my aura ring, or if I use another app, I always come sound asleep within three to five minutes. So I have no plan out while we asleep. But I think it’s because I get on the sleep bus when it goes in
Dr. Mindy 1:13:49 that I don’t
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:13:50 get on that bus. And then you know, so now I’m going to watch like another episode of something on Netflix. And it’s 11 to decide, okay, I want to go to bed now. But that’s not my choice. I have to wait till the next bus comes. And my experience is most people the buses come about an hour and a half to two hours apart. So to me the key thing is just catching that first bus, which, you
Dr. Mindy 1:14:13 know, I love that.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:14:14 That’s what I do. If I had one, like could wave my magic wand it would that everyone would be more aware of that those signals that the sleep pass, it’s coming. And then just I got I don’t worry about it. I don’t need to say oh, I go to bed at 10 every night or protect anything. I just pay attention for the sea pass. And if it came tonight at nine, I bought it.
Dr. Mindy 1:14:35 Oh my gosh, I’m gonna have to start using that last night. We do a big family night dinner on Sunday night. And it got it ended up we sat down and ate like at nine o’clock at night, which is very unusual for us. But that’s where my sleep bus was coming. And so I missed the first bus and that it took a couple more buses before I hopped on so I’m gonna start using that. I’m gonna say hey, it’s my sleep buses here. I love that,
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:15:01 like so for me, if I miss a note, like, I’m not going to beat myself up, I’m just not going to expect that I can now lie down at 1030. And fall right to sleep. That’s just for me, not on the venue. So but when that next sleep bus comes, then I’ll be able to get on it and fall right asleep. So, so anyways, I love that. But yeah, I would love to just talk an hour about sleep. I love things to do with sleep. So
Dr. Mindy 1:15:24 yeah, well, we’ll bring you back to talk about sleep for sure. Because it’s one of the number one issues that we deal with, that our resellers are dealing with. So I love that concept. Okay, if you could have a conversation with one person in the world right now that you admire, or you’d like to pick their brain? Or maybe you have something controversial, you want to you want to bring to them? Who would that person be? And what would you talk about? Wow,
Unknown Speaker 1:15:50 um,
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:15:53 you know, I don’t, there’s no one that comes to mind. But a people that I really, you know, would love to have a drink with sometime. Malcolm Gladwell would probably be number one.
Dr. Mindy 1:16:03 Yes.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:16:04 I mean, he’s just, I love his work in luxury. You know, there’s a few people like that, but he would be I don’t know, like, he’s the one that comes to mind.
Dr. Mindy 1:16:15 I love that he would be a great mind to pick as well. So awesome. And then my last question, and we ask everybody this is, if you had one message for the world that you could implant in everybody’s brain, what would that message be?
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:16:31 So I don’t know the best way to phrase it, but be, you know, kinder to other people, like, like, rather than. So this would be my tendency by like, if it’s what I’m trying to overcome, but if someone does something that I would judge us, like, Well, that wasn’t very nice, are very friendly. I much prefer now saying, well, that person probably would have shown up better if they had more great energy. So like, on flack, right, like, that’s my own story. And I think that helps me. Like, whether that’s true or not, I just believe that it makes me a better version of myself, when I try to come up with a better story of why someone did something that I might have judged as not, you know, not something that I learned.
Dr. Mindy 1:17:19 It’s like a good twist on that you never know what that person’s been through. But I love that, like, you don’t know what that person’s brain energy is right now. And you may not be getting the best version of them.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:17:31 This was, you know, pre this last crazy, but maybe a year ago, in the fall, I was it was, you know, I was meeting some friends for happy hour in La Jolla. And, you know, so this was just on the road going into kind of the mall. So you know, like a slow moving traffic. And I stopped because the car in front of me, had to stop because someone was pulling out and got rear ended. Not hard, right. But still, like, you know, like, it’s inconvenient to get your haircut. And the poor guy was like, I could tell that he was just say how to brutal debt. I mean, he looked like that. He said, like he had. So rather than being mad at him, you know, it was just like, Well, you know, if I was, if I’d had his day, I might have been not so great at focusing now, as well. So yeah, so anyways, I think, to me, one of the things with spending a lot of time looking at the brain and energy, it’s just understanding that a lot of what we blame people for, it’s not a character flaw, it’s that, you know, they, they don’t have the energy to be doing what I’m expecting them to do here. Given the energy they have, they’re literally doing the best. They can. Yeah.
Dr. Mindy 1:18:46 Ah, I love that. I love that. Well, Dr. Kelly, this was an incredible interview for me if that the Dallas, you just really expanded my vision of of the way to look at the brain. So thank you so much for taking your time and I will bring you back to talk about sleep because that’s, that’s a biggie. Tell us a little bit about where people can find neuro hacker and we’ll leave links in the show notes, where if they go to your web page, what should they Is there a product they should start with? How do they get into your line?
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:19:17 Yeah, so I’m with neuro hacker.com and we don’t have a lot of products. So I would say depending on like, like right now sleep is just a huge issue. Maybe bugs in the background. One of the things I I started surprised me is that the sleep category and the dietary supplement mood in the slashgear from 88 to either one or two, it’s gone. Wow. I think and I’ve seen all kinds of you know, surveys and statistics that is poor sleep was before 2020 Wow. was a tough year. So I would say the probably for you know a good chunk of the audience are calling in night which is our evening nootropic stack that For most people will subjectively be thought to something that supports better sleep, be where I would not, if sleep isn’t an issue and you want, like more a brain product to start your day than either quality of mind or the nootropic energy shot there, either or you wouldn’t take off. So I wish to would be where I would encourage people to start.
Dr. Mindy 1:20:22 Okay, beautiful. Well, we will test it out and we will we will unleash our resellers on your products. And I definitely want to try the sleep one. So when you come back, I’ll let you know what if I’m, what I’m hoping it’s going to do is it’s going to make the bus arrive a little bit earlier. Sometimes the nine o’clock bus doesn’t always come sometimes it comes at 11 o’clock.
Dr. Greg Kelly 1:20:46 Yeah, I think it will, to me, we put a lot of in it that would be more calming and relaxing. So you know, like a, like a mushroom like Reishi as an example, which is something that in Chinese medicine was to come the shot basically to create like that piece trackball. So I subjectively feel the quality of a product, as my hands almost always feel that warm, cozy feeling about an hour after I take it. So physiologically, it also usually makes my heart beat a little bit slower. So it’s not dating, but it definitely seems to shift my body and and bring it into that more like state, you need to be that relaxed, calm. Evening that just makes it so that you’ll be more attentive to the C class. Yeah,
Dr. Mindy 1:21:32 I love it. I love it. Well, thank you again for taking your time and I can’t wait to chat sleep with you and get you back on my schedule. So so grateful for the work you guys are doing. And just amazing products like this just born around 2030 years ago. And so when we get brilliant minds like you working on products that we can the everyday person can benefit from it’s that that is a beautiful thing. So thank you so much for joining us and for everything you’re doing me. Yeah, yeah, beautiful. Have a beautiful day. Hey, resellers, I just want to start off by saying thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews. And those of you that have left me comments on iTunes. I just greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and how much you guys are enjoying these episodes. And it seems like you’re enjoying them as much as I am enjoying doing them. One of the things that I’ve learned in just interacting with so many people is that we’ve really lost the art of deep conversations. And for me, the reseller podcast stands for having meaningful conversations with people who are thinking about health, about life about mindset in a way that we may not be getting on social media or in mainstream media. And so I just want to say give you guys a shout out and just say thank you for participating in this process with me. Because as much as I absolutely love delivering the information to you, I love even more knowing that it’s impacting your life. So please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make this podcast more customized to you to make it better. We are now officially in season two. And we are working to bring you the best conversations that health influencers have that mindset changers can give and to really deliver you something that you’re not able to get anywhere else. So from the bottom of my heart, as I always say my YouTube from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply appreciative of you. I am deeply grateful to be on this journey with you and let’s get healthy together.