[Transcript] – The Secret Sauce Of Brain-Stimulating Supplements – The Most Advanced Smart Drug Formulas Known To Humankind, With “Mr. Noots” of Nootopia: Mark Effinger.

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Transcripts

https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/noots/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:41] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:34] Guest Intro

[00:08:31] How Mr. Noots got started 

[00:29:04] Mark's three-stage process for how to get people off drugs

[00:30:40] Determining what neurotransmitter deficits or imbalances you have 

[00:34:08] Dopa Drops and “You4ea” capsule

[00:37:45] Podcast Sponsors

[00:43:45] What about the NectarX?

[00:51:39] Are there scalability issues, given the quiz is super-customized?

[00:56:28] CollaGenius

[01:02:55] Do you stack psychedelics like psilocybin, Huachuca, LSD, or LSA, traditionally used for microdosing?

[01:05:40] Many people stack psilocybin with Lion's mane for enhanced creativity

[01:06:22] What Ben thinks of plant medicine microdosing

[01:07:48] What about nootropics and sleep?

[01:13:52] Other projects in the pipeline

[01:20:01] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Mark:  Once you've gone from feeling like crap to feeling like a rock star, it resets your belief system that maybe there's something more than just living or surviving. There's actually this kind of superhuman or at least super optimal performance state that you can achieve.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

Let's talk salt. You may often see me wearing a giant fanny pack. I think most people think it's a gun in my fanny pack. Occasionally, you could be correct, but most of the time, it's things like electrolyte packets, vitamins, little bits of peppermint oil for my tummy, and salt. I also have a bag of salt in my fanny pack. I am a fiend for amazing salts. I'm a sucker for wide variety of some of the best tasting salts in the planet for the cells; Kona black salt, you name it. But, my favorite salt bar none, and trust me, I've tried a ton of them, it's called Colima salt. Super Delicious, super crunchy, great finishing salt for steak or cookies or anything else that you want. It's totally free of ocean. More in microplastics. The flavor profile is astounding. It's harvested from the Colima salt flats in Mexico. They actually support all the salineros down there, which are the people apparently who collect the salt. There you go. You've learned a new word. And, you get your first bag for free. That's the best thing, maybe, besides the deliciousness you're going to induce at your home or wherever else you cook. You'll impress your friends because suddenly your food will taste good, and all you changed was the salt.

No, seriously, I go through bags and bags of this stuff. You get a free bag. Here's how. Go to GreenfieldSalt.com. Yes, it's that simple. Go to GreenfieldSalt.com. You need to switch to the salt that I use and your taste buds, your friends, every aspect of your life will thank you. GreenfieldSalt.com.

We've established the fact that I am super into salts. I salt a ton. And, one of the reasons for that is when I used to race Ironman triathlon, we had a exercise physiologist from Gatorade come up and test our whole team. I raced for Team Timex and it turns out that I had an enormous amount of sweat sodium loss, three times the average amount. I began to use a lot of salt, around 6 grams a day, along with a host of other electrolytes like full spectrum electrolytes. And immediately, performance got better, recovery got better. I would go to sleep at night and not feel my blood pounding in my ears, which I'd grown so accustomed to and that I thought was normal. And, I am still super into electrolytes, but I want them to taste good. I want to be free of sugar and artificial ingredients and coloring. I don't want, well, let's cut straight to the chase, Gatorade or any of these other multi-colored basically sugar bottles that you can buy, they're just chock full of all sorts of crap.

So, I think one of the best electrolytes formulas out there is one that is low carb, paleo, keto, fits into whole food diets. Good for fasting. Good for athletes. Good for a wide variety of health conditions. Designed by a trusted friend of mine whose name is Robb Wolff, designed with a host of science on the actual ratios behind things like the sodium, the magnesium, the potassium, the calcium, et cetera, and used by a wide variety of special forces, tech leaders, professional athletes, you name it. It's called LMNT. Whether you're a mom or an exercise enthusiast or big sweater or a sauna lover or you want a dynamite no sugar Margarita with citrus salt flavor, yes, it's good. Then, you need LMNT. You'll get a free gift from LMNT if you go and order some with my link and your body is going to thank you big time because this stuff tastes good and is good for you and solves the electrolyte equation, stops it in its tracks when it comes to anything related to an electrolyte deficiency or imbalance. So, go to DrinkLMNT.com/BenGreenfield, DrinkLMNT.com/BenGreenfield. Get your free gifts with your purchase, DrinkLMNT.com/BenGreenfield.

You may have glutes, you may have abs, but what about your gut or your inputs and outputs? What you put into your body affects, for lack of a better word, your poop? The truth is we could all be pooping better, I think. Taking a daily probiotic and prebiotic is one of the game changers in this poop department. Enter Seed, pretty good name, pretty good website, they're at Seed.com. I don't know how they scored that URL, but it's pretty good. Seed makes what's called a DS-01 Daily Synbiotic, 24 clinically and scientifically studied probiotic strains not found in yogurt and most supplements or fermented foods or beverages specifically designed for easy poops and gut health. They've got a fully sustainable monthly refill system, packaging designed to be gentler on the planet, refillable glass jar, compostable biobased pouches, ecological paper made from LG that would otherwise damage fragile marine ecosystems, and green cell foam made from corn that you can watch dissolve in water or eat. Seriously, it's the most sustainable company on the planet, and perhaps more importantly for you, did I mention easy poops?

So, it's called Seed. And, like I mentioned, Seed.com. Go to Seed.com/Ben because if you go there, you can use code BEN15, that gets you 15% off your first month of Seed's Daily Synbiotic. That's Seed.com/Ben, S-E-E-D.com/Ben and use code BEN15 for 15% off your first month.

Alright, folks, a long time ago, well not that long ago, I guess it was last year, I released a super popular two-part article series on my website that was all about nootropics, like a bunch of different strategies to maximize your brain's performance, what kind of things to pair with these so-called nootropic or smart drug-esque stacks that a lot of people rely upon now to go after the whole feel of that movie “Limitless” with Brad Cooper; how can you do more and potentially sleep less, accomplish more and turn up the dials in your brain. And so, this article also went into some crazy formulas, things like one called Nectar, one called Brain Flow, another one called Aggressive Strength, one that I'm on right now called Focus Savagery, which I stacked with Nectar this morning. And so, these are some of the most unique nootropic compounds and stacks that I've ever found.

And so, I wrote this article series about them, but a couple of times in that article, the name Mr. Noots came up. And, I didn't know who Mr. Noots was at the time because the person who had designed these supplements I was talking about is my friend Matt Gallant of a company called BiOptimizers, which you may know as a company that does magnesium and digestive enzymes and things like that. But anyways, Matt kept telling me and telling me, telling me about his crazy smart friend named Mr. Noots who he relied upon as the formulator for these compounds that he was making. And so, this guy's a crazy mad scientist with a background from advertising, to laser technology, to internet, and software. And, I've been asking him out for a long time if I could interview him. Finally, I got connected and I've got Mr. Noots on the show with me today to really dig into all the different ways that you can upgrade your brain so to speak and a whole lot more.

So, I guess my first question is, Mr. Noots, do you go by your full name or do you just fly under the radar and keep yourself as Noots? And, I just want to make sure I don't break protocol here.

Mark:  No, no, totally cool, man. Ever since Asprey outed me, it's been a combination of Mark “Mr. Noots” Effinger.

Ben:  What do you mean Asprey outed you?

Mark:  On a podcast with him a year ago, he's going, “Dude, dude, come on, we got to expose this. This is ridiculous.”

Ben:  Okay, so your actual name is Mark Effinger.

Mark:  It is.

Ben:  Alright, but I'm going to put the shownotes for everything we talk about at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Noots. So, if you guys are listening in, everything Mark and I talk about, crazy formulas, anything like that, you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/N-O-O-T-S. 

So, don't even want to talk yet about nootropics and brain performance. I don't know how you got into all this in the first place, because it seems a stretch to go from internet and software into formulation.

Mark:  Yeah. Have you ever had a health crisis, Ben?

Ben:  I would say that I'm not much of a wounded healer. No. My journey in health has always been inspired by wanting to push the body from good to great. But, I've never really had much of a what you would call a health crisis, I suppose. My wife would laugh at me if I said I did because she just tell me she carried twins for nine months, so quit crying about your health crisis, Ben.

Mark:  Hey, all my children were born at home. And so, the last one, Livy. Yeah, it was fine. It was fine, as you can imagine. First one in a hot tub, Kaylee. My second one in a birthing chair in the master bedroom —

Ben:  Really a hot tub?

Mark:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

Ben:  I've heard about doing birthing pools but not hot tubs.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, it was an inflatable hot tub we brought into the house into a spare bedroom and then have the birth there. It was pretty fun. Even had cameras and journalists there. It was kind of fun.

My last one was born on a couch in front of the fireplace. And, in reflection of your wife's don't be a wuss, I've just carried these sons of guns for the last nine months, and you're complaining about your stub tail.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Mark:  As my daughter Livy was crowning in front of the fireplace, my wife reached out to my hand, grabbed it, crushed it, as is norm for a woman under that pressure, and said, “You're getting cut.” 

Ben:  And, for those of you unfamiliar with the word crowning, that's literally when a baby's head starts to show through the vaginal opening. So, anyone who didn't have that word in your vernacular, you've now just learned something that might be the only thing you learned in this whole show. But anyway, so back to crowning the healing crisis question. Why'd you ask me that?

Mark:  Well, a couple things. One is I've had a couple of pretty severe health crisis. When I was a white rat for Accutane back in the '80s, which is a really, really dangerous drug used to control acne, out-of-control cystic acne. And, I was in the Air Force at the time, and so I was a involuntary volunteer. You sign your rights away when you sign that paper that says you're going to go fix airplanes or be a spy. So, that was the first one. So, I was put on megadoses. I was a bodybuilder at the time. So, I was put on megadoses at that, and that led to —

Ben:  Wait, megadoses of Accutane?

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ben:  What that have to do with bodybuilding? You had acne related to bodybuilding?

Mark:  No, I had cystic acne from the time I was 14 or 15.

Ben:  Oh, okay.

Mark:  So, they saw me as this incredible opportunity because I was 215 pounds and running 8 to 10% body fat, very athletic endurance, bicycling and motorcycle road racing and free climbing in Yosemite and those kinds of things. And so, I was the kind of person they could throw a ton of stuff at and if I didn't die, if the LD-50 of Mark wasn't too bad, then maybe we can continue to make this drug.

Ben:  So, you just had a super-duper high tolerance for stuff?

Mark:  I did or so I thought. The thing is as you're well aware is that there are some things that impact you or that don't impact you today or that you think are great today. And, 10 years down the line, they suck. As was the case for me on this. So, the Accutane does an interesting thing, it burrows itself into what we believe is maybe the muscle fibers and some of those areas of the body that are difficult or challenging to detox over time depending on what the chemical bond is. So, in this case, a decade after that, after taking the Accutane and being on the use and getting out of the military and starting my first startups is I was at a bed and breakfast completely burned to the ground, just completely shelled out, chronic nose drip and all kinds of stuff. Now, living in the northwest as you're very well aware, especially if you're living on the Pacific side is it's not nearly the Spokane-ish four beautiful seasons, it's one season of rain punctuated by a very short summer. 

So, I went to bed and breakfast. The doctor who happened to own it I didn't know he was a doctor and an ND at the time. He put me on EWOT, exercise with oxygen therapy.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.

Mark:  I did a 30-minute EWOT session on a treadmill, and a sore opened up in my lat that was the size of silver dollar oozing clear fluid.

Ben:  Do you think that was due to the hypoxia, hyperoxia kind of driving stuff out of the tissue with the EWOT protocol?

Mark:  Absolutely. And, in fact, it became a standard for me. I mean, EWOT is one of the things that we're investing in because it's an incredible technology and there are ways to optimize and amplify it.

Ben:  I did it three times a week, by the way. I've had this thing called a Vasper and there's a live O2 next to it, so I can switch from hypoxia to hyperoxia, 21 minutes three times a week, and that's my main form of cardio when I'm home.

Mark:  So, you are a testament to it as well then. So, aside from the clarity and the wakefulness that happened from it, don't you find that it resets all of your cycles, so sleep cycle works better, waking cycle works better, cycles work better, all of those.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, anything related to oxygen uptake.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah. And, performance too. You do good air squats. You do air squats to failure, multiple times. Do those every week and you'll find that you're not just your hill climb thrust, but anything oriented with running or endurance are increased.

Ben:  Yeah, you lose weight too because I do 40 air squats every time I go to the bathroom to control glycemic variability. I picked that up from Tim Ferris's book “4-Hour Body” way back in the day, and I still do it even on airplanes.

Mark:  I love it. I ended up buying cases of Tim's book when it was coming out as a favor and a friendly nod to the great stuff that he was doing. It's such an important book.

So, yeah. So, that's how it started. And so, what he found out in that process was that I was hypothyroid. So, I got on supplemental thyroid, desiccated thyroid at the time Armour was a gold standard. And, that was the kind of aha, because once you've gone from feeling like crap to feeling like a rock star is it resets your belief system that maybe there's something more than just living or surviving. There's actually this kind of superhuman or at least super optimal performance state that you can achieve. And, that was the big wake-up call. And then, I got into human growth hormone supplementation secretagogues, not the actual direct HGH, but secretagogue.

Ben:  Can you explain to people the difference between an HGH administration and a secretagogue?

Mark:  Sure, sure. So, HGH administration, you're going to do a shot and that's going to basically get you human growth hormone into your system. And, that can be really, really powerful for anti-aging, for repair, it's a critical factor. Human growth hormone is the thing that takes us from birth all the way up or from pre-birth all the way up through our max growth somewhere around 25, 27 years old typically. And then, it falls off like a Cliff. So, what's really important is how do you supplement that in an effective way where your body can actually resolve it and do something with it. 

So, I didn't want to get into medical grade HGH because I didn't want what's called downregulation. And, there's a thing that when you start taking exogenous or exterior external components, some of them especially hormone-oriented, they can basically tell the body, they signal to the body that, “Hey, I already have enough of that.” So, it quits making it, and that's when you start getting it. And, that help us neurologically with certain meds. There's a lot of things that downregulate systems in the body.

So, that was kind of a key. And so, what I wanted to do was I wanted to say, “Okay, wait, when you go to bed at night, is there some components you could take? Are there some molecules you could take that during the period that your body would normally be releasing human growth hormone, which is anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours to 3 1/2 hours after your head has hit the pillow, once you get into that deep delta sleep stuff, the first sleep cycle that you go into is the optimum time to take advantage of human growth hormone secretion?” So, if you preload your system with the amino acid and amino acid precursors that are easy to convert, arginine is a well-known one, then suddenly you'll get a secondary boost in human growth hormone. And, it's really, really powerful and it doesn't downregulate your own human growth hormone secretion. So, you're basically just leveraging that cycle. 

I got big into that and I created a company with that. I went online with it back in the '98 and it was incredibly successful very quickly to the point where anybody that's ever been in the nutrition world will know this one or recognize it is merchant accounts are skittish about things that they don't understand.

Ben:  Yeah. Meaning the way that you process credit cards. I actually know this because I used to have a CBD business, like back when CBD was new and we kept having to switch payment processors and switch URLs because CBD was kind of like the Wild West, probably like kratom is now.

Mark:  Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I built a couple of products called Kratom Kick that were right around that, and it's the same exact thing. And plus, the merchant account rates that you pay are outrageous and all kinds of stuff, and the hold back, hold back fees. How's that? Anybody in the merchant business will recognize this rambling dialogue on what not to do.

But anyhow, so I was shut down 30 days after we opened our doors doing our human growth hormone secretagogue effervescent tablets because they couldn't believe that a company online outside of Amazon could go from 0 to over $200,000 in a month, and we did. They thought we were dumpster diving for receipts.

Ben:  Wow.

Mark:  So, yeah, yeah, we corrected them. I actually did a press release, a three-page press release on a Friday. I sent it to the CMO with a note, the CMO to the largest credit card processor at the time, Cardservices International is who they were. And, I said, “Here's the deal, we didn't dumpster dive. Here's our business plan. Here's how we did it. Here's online. This is what online is. This is this whole Internet thing you may not have heard of.”

Ben:  [00:18:55] _____.

Mark:  Right. Exactly, Ben. And so, I said, “If we don't hear from you Tuesday at noon, this is going live on PR Newswire.” And, it basically said, “Cardservices International does not believe in the Internet and hates small business.” And then, it was literally three pages, fully optimized press release. I got a call from the CEO and CMO on Monday at noon and we resolved our conflict. So, that's kind of it.

So, I got into that and then internet was coming along so quickly and I wanted to be involved in the eCommerce side, so I developed a product called Kwik-E-Mart named after Homer Simpsons —

Ben:  Kwik-E-Mart, but this wasn't a supplement, this is a software?

Mark:  Yeah, software. And, sold that and then got really involved in the combination of health and wellness in an external way. Ben, have you ever wanted to create a workout machine? Like, if you ever said, “Gosh, dang it. I wish they had something that did this.”

Ben:  You know what, I haven't. About the closest I ever got to inventing anything related to workouts was I almost launched the series of airport gyms when I was literally just gone on to college. That was my big money-making endeavor and wound up finding out it wasn't scalable, the insurance and real estate and airports, et cetera. But, as far as fitness devices, no, I never ever got into that. Although the first thing I ever bought to get fit was an ad scene on TV, ad training device, but no, I never invented anything. Why do you ask?

Mark:  A couple things. One, you never did a Soloflex or a Bowflex?

Ben:  Actually, my friend's dad invented the Bowflex, so I have worked out on a few times. He was actually a bow hunter. That's why he invented the Bowflex, to help him pull the bow back. But, no, I've never invented anything similar.

Mark:  Alright. Well, I got involved in a company called TRIKKE, T-R-I-K-K-E.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  It's a three-wheeled scooter that you stand on the back wheels and you use cambering throwing it left and right to make it go forward. And so, got super excited about that and we helped and helped build that company and it's still live down in Santa Barbara area. So, that got me into this hold it, I can actually have a super optimum body and I can get into a state of fitness just using primarily body weight and some adjustable hand weights and realize that and an inflated ball could do incredible things to your body but also that the mind accompaniment with that was important, and that I was kind of the poster child for ADHD at the time and I was the CMO of a company called eagency.com down in Newport Beach, California. 

What I realized was that if I would watch a half-hour episode of the TV show “Kung Fu,” there was a 1970's TV show with a guy named David Carradine, and it was an incredible show about this Kung Fu artist that came out of the monastery and he traveled in the Old West. And, he was always really gentle with people, but he was restrained killer power. Jordan Peterson kind of talks about that. You want to be strong and restrain that strength. It's a really, really powerful place to be.

So, watching this 30-minute old '70s TV show would get me in this amazing state of focus for about four hours. And, that combined with some meditation, and I started getting into binaural meditation, eventually buying a Pzizz device that was actually a hardware device in 2004.

Ben:  What was it called? A Pavis?

Mark:  Pzizz, P-Z-I-Z-Z.

Ben:  Okay. That's what you said, by the way, because I used to have an app that I really liked that produced binaural beats called Pzizz, P-Z-I-Z-Z on my phone but it wasn't hardware, it was just a piece of software like an app on the phone.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, I still use it today. Actually, I just used it before I came into this call.

Ben:  Same thing.

Mark:  Yeah, 20 minutes. It's just incredible. Yeah, right. So, learning how to cycle energy and how to actually achieve the state like I'm an introvert that acts like an extrovert. So, for me, when I want to get into a group of people, I've got to psych myself up. And then, I typically try to find somebody in a crowd who's responsive or who's saying something interesting or who looks like they've got the intellectual depth that we could actually go way, way, way deep down to a subject like yourself. And, I'll pick them out and then I'll isolate us and we'll have martinis and talk until 3:00 a.m.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  So, that was it. So, this state change thing became a big thing. So now, fast forward. In 2008, my wife commits suicide on oxycodone.

Ben:  Oh, my.

Mark:  That was a byproduct of the birth she gave on that couch. 

Ben:  Holy cow.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah. My wife tore a little bit. They actually handed me some scissors and they said, “Hey, do you want to cut your wife's vagina?” And, I said, “No, I don't want to cut my wife's vagina.” Because we're having a hard time getting the baby out, baby was crowning, crowning but not coming out. And, we didn't want to do a C-section.

Ben:  And, that's the thing, you would use scissors to cut a vagina?

Mark:  Yes, it's called a [00:24:07] _____ —

Ben:  I've never heard of that before. Wow.

Mark:  Yeah, ask your wife about it.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  A [00:24:12] _____ —

Ben:  Yeah, I'll ask her at dinner tonight. Great conversation.

Mark:  Yeah, over steaks. So, the midwife gave her four oxycodone. At that time, the Sackler family hadn't been outed. And, she just fell in love that it was like, “Oh, my God, this is the best thing in the world.” And, she was very good at hiding or covering her. So, a decade later, 2008, she commits suicide on oxycodone, methadone, and alcohol. So, yeah, it was a devastating loss. Great mom with three kids, but man. And, just proof again that these addictions can hit anyone. It's non-discriminatory. 

So, I moved to northern Washington to Blaine, Washington, and a good friend of mine, David McInnis, who founded PRWeb.com and I sequestered and spent the next four years. I started going, how do I get people out of addictive states? How do I get them to perform well? And, at the time, I was in business with the founder of Century 21 real estate. And, we did brainstorming software. We did stuff that helps people think laterally like Drew Carey used it for writing his comedy and writing his book and Hallmark cards uses it I think still today to write their cards, which is not necessarily a great statement but still something.

And so, teaching people how to think creatively and how to be effective in going from concept to cash flow or creativity to productivity was the thing that I taught all over the United States and Canada. And so, I already knew a little bit about how neurons fired and what neurochemicals were key to achieving certain states, but I didn't have the programming talent to be able to go, “Okay, take this and it'll get you there outside of meds.”

Ben:  Right.

Mark:  So, what I did was I started combining. I went back to my past of doing these HGH secretagogues and said, “Hold it, what amino acids convert to what neurochemical precursors that convert to what neurochemicals that excite or can be signaled with what other components, what other molecules can excite them and get them to perform?”

Ben:  This would be based off the idea that amino acids are precursors for neurotransmitters or building blocks for neurotransmitters.

Mark:  Absolutely, perfect. Yeah. And, it was a big deal. So, I started with pyroglutamic acid, which is a really great mainline precursor to a number of neurochemicals. And then, I started compounding and compounding. What I'd do is I would pair molecules together. I had a group, almost 400,000 customers in our software company. And, a lot of them, I mean, these are super bright people. They're interested in getting smarter. They're interested in thinking more creatively or being more focused. So, I had this perfect test bed to be able to send people blank test tubes of crappy-tasting powder and saying, how does this make you feel? And, I put up an online form that they could fill out, they could log in and fill out and tell me what their performance was on it or off it or how they took it, or what kind of conflicts.

And so, that's how I started. And so, I just started pairing molecules, sending out test tubes, getting response, pairing out more molecules, trying it myself, of course, trying on my kids, trying them on the neighbors.

Ben:  To guinea pigs.

Mark:  Yeah. It was creative. It's kind of funny when Matt and I are at events like Dave Asprey's or something like that, or RUNGA or any of those is you know there are two kinds of biohackers. There are the biohackers that you hand a product to. They take it and they go, “Hey, what's that? And, what's it do? And, what's in it?” And then, there's the other biohackers that grab it, they stand back from you and they go, “Tell me exactly what's in it and how much, and then I'll tell you if I can take it.”

Ben:  Right.

Mark:  Right. And so, I was really lucky out of the 400,000 people, I could get a little over 1,000 that would say, “Hey, I don't care what's in it, you've never killed me yet in all of our stuff that we've done, spent time with. Keep sending me that stuff, I'm interested.” And so, it was really great that I had this warm group of people who trusted me already and who I had a relationship with, who I knew were really bright that I could hand the stuff to and they could give me honest feedback. And so, that's exactly what it did. So, that became the core of starting to build these stacks up. And then, I wanted to build a pill. I really did, but I couldn't fit everything that we needed to put in this —

Ben:  You mean the one pill to rule them all type of thing?

Mark:  That's it. If we could all make NZT and just have a little clear pill and a solo bag, it would be the ultimate solution to getting people. For me, it was, how do I get people off drugs? What would happen?

Here was the three-stage process that I was thinking if I could get you to think clear. Let's say that you were an addict in anything. I don't care. You could be a billionaire and be an addict or you could be struggling on the street. If I could get you or help you think clearer and then I could give you — the second part of the formula was, a lot of people that became addicts, they burn out adrenals, they burn out brain cells, they burn out the physiology and neurology. And so, you get them off the drug, but then they're either addicted to something else. The thing that helped him get off the drug. The drugs they give you in the rehab center, those kinds of things. But, the other side of that was they didn't have the energy to execute after that. 

So, what happens is, okay, so now I can think clearly, but I can just barely function as a human being. That's kind of the thing. And, I wanted to go beyond that. So, okay, if I could give you cellular energy, ATP-based energy, and the neurological components that would help you to perform well, so you're thinking clearly, now you have the energy to execute, you're going to get some level of success. And, repeated good positive reinforce able thinking just supports itself. And then, you get the spiral of success that goes up and you start getting the feedback loop of not only your recognizing the success you have but other people recognizing it and that will change the world for anybody that's ever been down that route. So, that was the basis for this.

Ben:  Okay. So now, when I, for example, the first time I wanted to get one of these boxes that have each of the different stacks in them that I wrote about in this article like the one for Brain Flow or the one called Apex or there's the Zamner Juice that you spray in your mouth, the focus savagery one for a pre-workout, all these different formulas, I went and I took a questionnaire. And, the questionnaire was asking me a bunch of stuff. It kind of reminded me, I don't know if you read my book “Boundless,” but in Chapter 3 of “Boundless,” I get into the idea of neurotransmitters, amino acid, neurotransmitter imbalances, and even some of these dominances like people who are choline dominant or dopamine dominant, serotonin dominant, etcetera. Now, the quiz was kind of like asked me a lot of these questions along with what do you struggle with sleep, energy, focus, et cetera. So, based on that is what you're trying to do to determine what neurotransmitter deficits or imbalances somebody might have and then ship them the exact formulas that would address those specific needs.

Mark:  That's it, exactly. And, it's a symphony. Your neurochemicals, it's not just one neurochemical that you want to affect, you want to do a symphony of those, you want to do a balance of those. You want to create an orchestra or a band. Like for me, I want to create a rock band. And, you want that band to have these different neurochemicals, whether it's dopamine, serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine. You want to have these working in concert together so that you get the desired outcome. Like, do you want motivation? And, do you want reward? That's a dopaminergic activity. But, if you just jack up the dopaminergic activity, you become an asshole because you start to find that the emotional connection goes away, and your ability to handle things like interruptions or sideline activities —

Ben:  That sounds like somebody who's hyped up on Modafinil, for example, which is that off-label narcolepsy drug that a lot of people use for productivity. But, that's a common a lot of people make like it's dopaminergic, it kind of turns you into an asshole robot.

Mark:  Right, right. Exactly. Yeah. You lose the connection with people. So, bringing up dopamine and so now you know you're going to get motivation and reward, and those two things, which are really key, really key to success, but then also bringing up serotonin enough that you don't lose that intimate connection with people and you recognize whether through body language or speech styles or the rest that they have some need and you're able to address the whole human not just that one aspect.

Spock was a great example on “Star Trek.” Spock was a great example of a guy that was just brutally logical but had zero emotional connection. And, we don't want that. You want to be able to optimize all of the neurochemicals, but you also don't want to bring them all up at the same time to the same level because that's a different state and it's a burnout state as well. So, you want to bring up the necessary neurochemicals to provide the specific state change you want. You and I were talking about these in some of the emails we sent back and forth. So, you got the thinking and memory stuff, right? Acetylcholine 101.

Ben:  Right.

Mark:  So, thinking memory, but those are anchored with dopamine. So, that's a that's a primary acetylcholine. You want to bring your acetylcholine up and then you want to anchor it with the dopamine, that reward thing that starts to burn that neural pathway. And, I mean, burn in a positive way.

Ben:  Now, is that something similar to the new formula that you sent me, these Dopa Drops? Because I've used those a few times. You said the label says Dopa Drops. You just sent these little handwritten labels like they came out of some mad scientist laboratory. But, the one that I had that actually I tried and I really like is Dopa Drops plus it said like euphoria but it was spelled weird. It was like Y-O-U-4-E-A. Is that the acetylcholine-dopamine combination? Is that what that is?

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, in fact, that's a great example of that. So, we just released the Dopa Drop, and I built that as a multi-stage dopamine release mechanism that doesn't downregulate your own dopamine stores. That's one of the big challenges with dopaminergic heavy stuff, Adderall is a great example, is that you start burning up available dopamine. And, that's why when you go off of it, when it burns out right for the day —

Ben:  Crash.

Mark:  Right, crash, feel like crap, lack of motivation, there's nothing there. So, what you want to do is you want to bring the precursors of dopamine up, you want to bring them in the system of the neurochemical precursors that bring the dopamine up and you want to do it in the stage that the body normally uses. Phenylalanine to l-tyrosine, to DOPA, then there's decarboxylation of the DOPA, and then B vitamins. Make sure you get the proper enzymatic activity in the brain. And, some C in there as well.

Ben:  Yeah. And, is that why it seems a little more advanced? Take one and then you got to wait a certain period of time to take the next one like you have these kind time release strategies.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, exactly. And, what you didn't see inside of the You4ea capsule, which we haven't released yet, we're doing a secondary tertiary testing on it to make sure that we can make it really, really reliable is there's a capsule within a capsule on that. So, the outer capsule breaks down in the gut.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  Right. And so, that's going to break down at around to four acid level and then the inner capsule is going to break down in past the duodenum, so it's going to break down right around 6, 6.5.

And, in fact, I heard you speak on this recently in one of your podcasts, which is monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mark:  Right, and how they modify the behavior and the way the breakdown rate of certain neurochemicals and then use the vagus nerve and the gut-brain connection to be able to facilitate some of that activity. That particular capsule, what it does is it basically the outer part of the capsule breaks down in the gut, in the outset and the gut, so then it starts to mute the monoamine oxidase which then allows the secondary part of it to release more norepinephrine as well as dopamine and serotonin. And, it does it in these nice peaks and valleys. So, you feel it. 

What I like it for is if I need to do something where I know there's going to be resistance like Steven Pressfield type resistance, I use the Dopa Drop You4ea combination, and I basically program it in an hour to 90 minutes before I have to hit that activity wall. And then, that is one of those things where it's a tool that I can use to get me through that wall and to the next stage of what I'm doing. And, it's really powerful because it makes stuff that normally you dread, it turns it into a game. It gamifies the crap in your life so that you can get through that crap and do something meaningful and valuable.

Ben:  I get tons of questions about drinkable ketones. I did a podcast with the folks from a company called HVMN. They make this stuff called KetoneIQ and they sent me a bunch to try. And essentially, it's like this cheat code on ketosis, because you drink them and you achieve the same level of brain and metabolism-boosting ketones that you get if you are fasting or engaged in excessive carbohydrate restriction. Both of which here and there can have their health benefits. But, by drinking the ketones, you generate almost 30% more energy, more efficiently than sugar alone. So, it allows you to do more with less. Like when I used to use these things when I've raced Ironman Triathlon, meaning ketone esters, I would be able to consume a quarter of the normal amount of carbs that I'd normally have to consume to get me through a whole race.

So, Ketone IQ had a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, and partnerships with a bunch of researchers in ketone science, and they created this truly kind of cutting-edge drink. It was really called Ketone 1.0, now it's called Ketone IQ, gives you a ton of energy with no insulin spikes, no caffeine jitters, no mid-afternoon energy crashes, you don't really think about food at all after you have one of these. Sometimes I get annoyed because I'll have one and then wind up at a restaurant and not be as much of a foodie as I usually am because I'm not hungry. It works out well.

So, they're called Ketone Esters. Visit HVMN.me/BenG and use code BENG20 for 20% off any purchase of Ketone IQ, HVMN.me and use code BENG20 for 20% off any purchase of this Ketone IQ stuff. That's an exclusive offer for you.

So, you may have seen me slathering a special red powder on a lot of the meats that I cook these days. There's a reason for that. Okay, I use it as a meat rub that absolutely caramelizes and intensifies the flavor of every meat dish that I use. The red powder I use for this is USDA organic, certified gluten-free, glyphosate residue-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO, 100% organic whole food designed as this potent antioxidant blend with this ingredient profile that's off the charts, beets, freeze-dried berries, blueberries, acai, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberry, cranberries, cordyceps, which is this crazy medicinal mushroom with incredibly strong adaptogenic qualities, Siberian ginseng, which is this super popular herb in Russia that helps to balance hormones, Reishi mushroom, the queen of mushrooms, grounding mushroom, very powerful adaptogen also, rhodiola for mental clarity, for focus, for physical endurance. The list goes on and on, but it's all organic and you get all of these benefits. 

And, it was designed not as meat, but it was designed for juice. It's healthier than coffee with no crash. I like to travel around with little packets, just dump them straight in my mouth. I just got back from an airplane flight and had one right before the flight took off for a little bit of cellular protection. This stuff is so versatile. My kids love it. My wife loves it. I absolutely dig it. It's got zero caffeine levels. Only 2 grams of sugar. A fraction of the cost of what you'd pay for red juice at your local overpriced juicery shop.

And, you get an additional 20% off. It's called Organifi Red Juice, Organifi Red Juice. You go to Organifi with an I, O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/Ben and that gets you 20% off of your Organifi red juice. You got to check this stuff out. You're absolutely going to love it.

Look, you may or may not be aware of this, but I spend countless hours each week, knee-deep in the latest research on everything from performance, to digestion, and gut issues, to hormone optimization, anti-aging, fat loss, mental performance, hyper-productivity, nootropics, smart drugs and a whole lot more. And then, for the very small select number of VIP clients who I work with on a weekly basis, I take all that knowledge in over 20 years of experience optimizing the human body. And, I supply each of my clients with the exact fitness, nutrition, supplementation, biohacking, and lifestyle plans that they need for full optimization. I'm incredibly thorough. I dig through every last shred of your data, from blood work and biomarkers to DNA saliva, to stool and urine. I walk you through the whole process. I even track daily metrics like sleep rhythms and heart rate variability. 

In other words, I'm the CEO of your health and my number one goal is for you to be a high operator. Basically, like the Navy SEAL or whatever industry you happen to be in, whether you're a hard-charging executive, elite athlete, or a father, a mother who just wants to get the most out of life and wants a no-guesswork program that allows you to wake up in the morning and know exactly what to do, and also know that somebody's watching your back and taking care of everything for you 24/7. I do all that for you.

Not only that, but I've trained a team of elite coaches, so even if you can't work with me because it's outside your budget or because there's no openings to work with me, you have full access to a well-trained team who have learned all my knowledge and who meet with me on a monthly basis for office hours to continue to learn more and to talk about how we can deliver to you the most benefit using a very unique combination of ancient wisdom and cutting edge modern science that's constantly developing based on everything that we learn and then apply to you.

So, if this sounds like it's up your alley and you want to join the ranks of those who have access to every last shred of knowledge and experience that I've gained over the years, then you can go to BenGreenfieldCoaching.com to get started. It's BenGreenfieldCoaching.com. Fill out the form there. Someone will be in touch with you within 24 hours to get you fully dialed in because it's time for you to start looking, feeling, and performing the way that you deserve. So, go to BenGreenfieldCoaching.com, select any option that works for you from a monthly phone call with me to VIP upgraded work where I'm taking care of everything for you 24/7. It's all there at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com. See you there.

That's exactly what I notice, like incredible amounts of motivation and things I would normally have a little bit of cognitive resistance to, including a workout just like jumping into the workout smooth as silk with no resistance actually getting in and doing it. I really like that formula. The Dopa Drop is one, but I have to ask you about another one because it's probably my favorite and I want to know how it works because I feel so freaking good on it. And, I mean, this ingredient labels on these powders and these formulas. I mean, it's omnipept, uridine, citrulline, phenylalanine, arginine, ribose, rhodiola, it's these crazy blends in these stacks. But, this one in particular, I want to know about probably my favorite one besides those Dopa Drops so far, NectarX. It's like the powder that you pour into water. Tell me about that one and why do I like that so much? What's it doing?

Mark:  Well, a couple things. One is there's a right around and depending on who you are because remember, we custom and optimize these for your physiology, neurology, and the tests you take. So, everyone is made custom for you. So, you're going to have anywhere from 24 to 27 different compounds in there, maybe up to 30. And, that was the first product I developed. It was actually what I developed starting in 2008. And, what came out of that is NectarX. 

And, NectarX, what's really cool about it, and this is kind of our stack design methodology is what we found is that most people have a resistive component in their brain and body that they're fighting. They're fighting inflammation, they're fighting adaptogenic response, the adrenals are burning, are burned out. They're not flowing very efficiently or effectively. They may have a deficit in dopamine or maybe a surplus of dopamine. Same thing with serotonin. GABA may be totally out of whack. They can't relax when they need to, they don't know how to chill. Their heart rate is running at an excessive rate all the time. It never really comes down to a 40, 50, 60 that would be more healthy for their age.

And so, the idea was, let's make sure that for every solution that we make, and you'll see the same thing Ben in our capsules. The reason there are multiple levels and that the stacks were so complex isn't because we thought it would look cool or that it would be a really interesting place to play. What we found was that to make stacks really, really effective, you need to start systematically eliminating the biggest problems that people have so that you can actually get the nootropics to be effective. We said the first thing that people are dealing with that seems to be one of the primary causes of ineffectiveness in other nutritional compounds that they're taking is they've got excess inflammatory response. So, the inflammatory response is up and we needed to put that in check. 

So, we built an anti-inflammatory stack component to each of our stacks. So, a sub stack within our caps, and our sprays, and our drinks, and our powders is this anti-inflammatory stack. One of the other issues that people are really dealing with is their adaptogenic response. They're responding too hardcore to stress and so we needed to mute that to a certain extent so that they handling stress in a much more effective way. So, we built an adaptogenic stack in there.

Well, then the next thing was as we start getting into the nootropic area was B vitamins. A lot of people were very low in specific nutrients or vitamins that were critical to the enzymatic activity going on in the body and brain. So, we built a very, very powerful methylated B stack in every product we make. And, that was a key. That was actually a really, really critical key. What people don't realize is B vitamins are also enzymatic activators within the body. When you've got the B vitamins, especially methylated B vitamins working effectively in the body, all of these co-processes are happening much more effectively. And, that was the key. 

That got into the fact that when those enzymatic activities are happening, especially within the brain, in other words, beyond the blood-brain barrier, which is this protective barrier between the body and the brain that helps to filter out all the crap that otherwise might get into your brain. Once you get the nootropics and other neurochemical precursors within the brain, then you've got this enzymatic activity happening. The B vitamins are helping the nootropics to breakdown into the acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, anandamide, and other neurochemicals that are necessary for the performance increase.

So, while that's happening, that's actually an activity or it's a weight on the system because this thing is happening. Well, what we did with that was we said, “Okay, so since that's happening, let's build a very gentle, very progressive, very effective stimulant later that's going to bring them an increasing wakefulness without getting them too much buzz or too much any grittiness to it so that you could effectively convert those neurochemical precursors into the primary neurochemicals that you need to really, really rock your day.” And so, we did that. So, we did this gentle stim layer, multiple layers of different stimulants and cofactors that help the stimulants to not get too gritty. And then, from there, we have two other factors. One was the nootropic that we're using or the combination of nootropics we're using. And, those are going to basically be the really, really radical strong precursors to the key neurochemicals that you need to operate at a superhuman level.

And then, the next component of that is when your neurons are operating at this very fast level, one of the key neurochemicals is acetylcholine. If you don't have enough acetylcholine in your body, what happens is it starts taking it from your traps and your neck and it'll start pulling it from the muscles. Well, when it does that, the problem is is that it tightens those muscles up and it makes it so that you get a headache as a result of these very tight muscles. Again, it's sucking the choline out of your body. What we did is we put what's called a choline donor. And, the choline donor lends enough choline to the process that it doesn't have to take it out of your body. And, it's a very, very effective way to build a stack. So, every one of our solutions is built with this stack and technology in mind, and it helps it to make it so that you always get the proper amount and spectrum of neurochemicals without having a drag on your system. Very, very effective. But, the problem was, how do you get these to more than your top thousand plus customers on your software company? And, therein lies the rub, right?

When I was building these, everybody that I talked to, and I said, “Hey, I'm going to do this thing as a nutrition solution for people, but it's going to be completely customized and optimized for every individual.” So, we're going to fill out a customization form, an intake form, and then I'm going to figure out how to measure out and weigh out each of the components and stack them in a capsule and make it functional, and deliver it to the customer. And, everybody said, “Dude, when pigs fly.” So, as the company started growing, I started getting these flying pigs from people. They would send them from all over the world, so I've got a nice collection of flying pigs.

Ben:  Now, how's that even scalable to do that? I mean, obviously, people are doing customized supplements, but are you literally going through the results of every single quiz and then hand packing these capsules and powders based on somebody's replies or do you have a set like 12 different supplements and well, this person needs, this person needs that versus customizing it based on, I don't know, weight or something like that?

Mark:  No, it's very customized.

Ben:  Wow.

Mark:  Weight, age, sex, what stims you take during the day, how much coffee you drink, what meds you're on, what vitamins you take, or nutritional supplements you take.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  Are you ketogenic? Are you —

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, it's not that long but probably take about 20 minutes filling this whole questionnaire on the website.

Mark:  And, when you come into the website at Nootopia, the first thing you get is let's do a neurochemical analysis of you. Let's figure out where you're dominant, where you're subdominant, and where you've got challenges. And then, the second one is, who are you? How do you operate? What are your biggest challenges? And, what are your goals? And, we break that out into sections. There's about six different sections on that. And then, you get these sliders at the end. You say, “Well, I want more of this. I want more focus, but I don't want to be jittery.”

Ben:  Right.

Mark:  I want more chill, but I don't want to be unmotivated, those kinds of things. And then, those go to our Vancouver, Washington facility and our people there. We've got some incredible people there. And, what they do is they basically take a look at that. We have an analysis that compares everything to the millions of data points that we have in place. And, we go, “Oh, okay, based on these factors, this person could benefit from this stack design.” And then, they put it together for them. And, critical factors like, are you sensitive to caffeine? Are you allergic to anything? All of these components. And, we custom stack them from there.

Ben:  And then, some of them can be combined. For example, you've got one, I don't know, like the social command stack is one that you guys talk about that I wrote about in the article that's for the ability to be verbally adept and have verbal fluency and emotional intelligence, but it's not just one of the supplements, it's like, what is it, Upbeat with Power Solution and you time in a certain way?

Mark:  With Brain Flow. Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah. And, Brain Flow is another example of a capsule inside a capsule but floating in oil. It's kind of cool. And, we didn't do it just because it's, again, not just because it looks cool because it's actually super functional. But yeah, and that's a really important one. So, you want to have enough GABA flowing that you're able to stay on task, but you want to have enough serotonin flowing that you're connecting with people and you actually are enjoying the connection with people.

Ben:  Okay.

Mark:  And, you want to have enough energy that you can execute on that conversation and you have enough lateral thinking capacity that you can pull the ideas together in a very fluid manner so that you got that verbal fluency that's super important for having effective conversations. I know for a fact that when we are face-to-face at some time, there will be guns going off as we're just going down these rabbit holes of really cool things. And, we'll be coming up with solutions and we'll be cueing these solutions.

One of my best friends ever lives in Spokane. His name is Eric Kinney. He's been a programmer and a business partner of mine through five different companies.

Ben:  What's his last name?

Mark:  Eric Kinney.

Ben:  Kinney. Sounds familiar. I might have run into him before.

Mark:  Lives in Deer Park. Great guy, great guy. And, what Eric would do is I would go over to his lab. It would do all the software development with me. As we're in these conversations about what the big problems were that people were having, we'd go down rabbit holes and he would start pulling his fingers out and you go, okay, thumb and then forefinger. And, as he got to 10, he would then go stop and then he would put his thumb in and he would continue down that hole and say, “Let's solve this problem.” And then, nine, let's solve this problem. And, he would whiteboard them out and write them out, and we would suddenly have this incredible mind map if what you know that is.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mark:  Yeah, we'd have a visual mind map of here are all the problems and here's where this Venn diagram of the problem, the cost matrix, and the solution all come together. And, in the middle of it was where we should focus our energies. It was a very powerful thing. And, our product, what you talked about there and especially when you're talking about verbal fluency, that's where Brain Flow and the Upbeat come together to go, “Okay, I want to laterally think and I want to do it in a smooth way that isn't on the edge and I'm not feeling like my heart's about to beat out of my chest.” But, I also want to be able to connect with that person and not be afraid to answer more intimate questions: “How's your wife today? What's going on?” Those kinds of things. So, really key.

Ben:  Yeah, it's fascinating.

Okay. So, the other one that I wanted to ask you about was something I put into my smoothie this morning because I know I was going to be interviewing you, so I figure, what the heck, I might as well stay on brain and do this. I took wild blueberries, a little bit of bone broth, some ice, a touch of yogurt, and then some stevia and sea salt, and I mixed in a few scoops of this stuff called CollaGenius. And, it didn't come in my Nootopia box, it was separate from that but it's a brown chocolatey powder. Tell me about that one because it seems to work really well, but I'm just curious how it actually works because it's not a traditional protein powder, but it's a little different from what I understand.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. In fact, it's radically different. The design of it came from a conversation that Matt and I were having one day. This is a couple years ago. He said that lion's mane was one of the most incredible molecules for helping him repair his brain after addiction and drug abuse.

Ben:  Yeah, he did super high dose. Didn't he?

Mark:  Oh, yeah, yeah. He was doing 6 grams a day, 8 grams a day, 11 grams a day. Yeah, yeah, up to the point of gastric upset. I mean, I'm sure that's where MassZymes probably came from was trying to keep up with that, which is a BiOptimizers product. Great one.

So, he said that. And so, I'm trying to make these highly concentrated capsules. My whole thing is extraction technologies and what we call potentiation where you take a little bit of something onto this molecule that you're trying to increase the effectiveness or the absorption rate or the bioavailability or one of those factors and you combine the two together and it turns half a gram into 10 grams. Everybody knows the curcumin piper and that that whole thing.

Ben:  You mean, when you blend turmeric with black pepper and you get better absorption?

Mark:  Exactly, yeah. In fact, clinically it's 2,000% higher absorption by combining piperine or pepper with turmeric or curcumin.

Ben:  Which is actually not something you do if you're taking turmeric or curcumin for the gastric anti-inflammatory effects because it winds up just getting absorbed, so you could leave the bio pairing out in that case.

Mark:  Right, exactly. Yeah. Isn't that an interesting dynamic?

So, CollaGenius was developed. What happened was my assistant, Chastity, was pouring all of these things and indexing them and getting the certificate of authenticity and the source and the extraction method and all those things. She was taking all that data down for me pouring it into things. And, she's going, “Wow, this smells really chocolatey.” As we started going from a 1 to 1 extraction, to a 10 to 1, to 20 to 1, to 50 to 1, to 100 to 1, these mushrooms started getting more and more chocolatey. She's also a chef, an incredible chef. So, she goes, “Hey, why don't I just make some stuff? We'll combine these together and make some stuff and see how that works for you.” So, she did that and she started making this really delicious drink. She just turned 50. I just turned 60. So, he said, “Okay, cool. We could use some collagen in our diet.” She's going, “Great, I'm going to put collagen in this because they're really complementary and some of the mushrooms help the collagen in its absorption and its half-life, extends the half-life.” So, started doing that. We gave them away as Christmas presents a year ago or so. And, Matt said, “This is awesome. Let's refine it.” He gave some incredible input on how to make it even better.

And so, what we did is we made a BDNF, brain-derived nuerotrophic factor product, which is what we get out of the mushrooms combined with a really, really great 1-3 collagen blend that essentially is not just great for the brain but also great for the body and the skin. And, it naturally taste like chocolate. We did add some cocoa butter and some other things because it helps the absorption and it smooths out what they call mouth feel. So, it just makes it better but it's an incredible product for again, I call it an OS for the brain. So, it's an operating system for the brain, so you take CollaGenius and you'll feel this rise in wakefulness but it's not the kind of thing that if you take it in the late afternoon, it's going to keep you awake like a coffee might do or a caffeinated drink might do.

Ben:  It's not like a central nervous system stimulus.

Mark:  Correct. Exactly. So, we build that as the OS. And now, that's doing this what we call BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is the precursor to neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells and the facility of those. And so, now when you take the nootropics, and you do an Upbeat or you do an Apex — I don't know if you've had tried Apex yet.

[01:01:13] How about the Apex?

Ben:  Yeah, I have. That's one of the ones that comes that black box. And, I forget what that one's advertised as being good for — Was that the one that you're just supposed to take on an empty stomach because it's got those oils in it that you don't want to compete with proteins? Because you have some very specific instructions on some of these capsules. Was that the one that's like a blend of calmness and energy, the Apex one?

Mark:  Yeah, exactly. It's about a 12-hour energy, but it's not an energy like people think of in a stim way. It's a nice wakefulness and it has this really cool ability. You can ping it by thinking like, “Okay, I need a little bit more endurance on this.” It automatically puts you in the state, this operating state of no problem. So, it's got enough of this very steady dopamine flow without jacking up your adrenals. It has a very smooth adrenal flow. Very, very low level. Again, you can fall asleep at any time on it if you want, but it also is one of those things that at 11 o'clock at night or 12 o'clock at night, you're going, “I could go another two or four hours on this project if I wanted. I could pull an all-nighter without feeling fatigued.” But, it'll let you sleep when you want to sleep. It's really powerful. One of my favorite products. That was one of the hardest ones to develop in terms of getting it to operate at a level within a single capsule that would give you that kind of performance.

And, I have some new ones going to you, Ben, that I just created before I was leaving tomorrow to go meet you that are incredible. So, I've got some Upbeats and some Apex that I've dramatically modified will be coming out with these. But, I wanted you to have first crack at them.

Ben:  I can't wait to check them out.

Now, there's this whole separate category of nootropics that people use traditionally, things that would normally be psychedelics, psilocybin or wachuma, even people doing LSD or LSA. Now, do you ever stack any of this type of stuff with some of the traditional plant medicines people use for microdosing? And, if so, do you notice any type of effect?

Mark:  So, one of the great things about nootropics is that you can create custom stacks that address various neurotransmitters. And, in the same way, you can say, “Okay, so I'm going to be on a certain psychedelic or I'm going to be going through this experience or I'm going to a place where it's legal or I'm doing some therapy with psychedelics. And, I want to improve the performance of the psychedelics, but I don't want to do it by taking a greater and greater dose.” This is where nootropics can become really, really valuable is that they allow you to take a reduced dose of the psychedelic and utilize the leverage or the potentiation of the nootropic to expand on the potential of those as well as increase the neurogenesis that occurs with really good psychedelics.

So, my experience with those has been ]when I was very young, when I was 16 years old, I had done psychedelics and had some really profound experiences including playing district and state tennis on mushrooms and being very competitive, but I hadn't done anything after that. I had a number of clients who have done psychedelic experiences and they've used the nootropics as potentiators for those experiences as well as for an avenue to be able to get greater results with, again, less psychedelic and expand the results and get actually potentiated results that are more predictable by knowing that they've got a certain amount of serotonin or dopamine or GABA in the synaptic cleft so that they're actually getting this outcome that they're looking for and increasing predictability for it. Those are the kind of factors that I'm intimately aware of in terms of how psychedelics work with nootropics.

And, I think you're going to see more and more of that. I think you're going to see stack development done with nootropics and with psychedelics in the future, especially as they become legal. This will be something that I think you'll see more and more popular in this process, especially when it comes to therapeutic results of these compounds.

Ben:  That's interesting.

Now, a lot of people stack psilocybin with lion's mane. Have you ever tried doing something like that like make it a CollaGenius smoothie but then putting a microdose of psilocybin in there for enhanced creativity?

Mark:  My friends have done that, yes, and been very successful. That CollaGenius is a great base for those kinds of experiences. Really effective. And, the cool thing is when there are people that are just looking to trip and there are people that are looking for a profound experience that brings them to another, a permanent another level. Back to Jordan Peterson, he talked about that recently in the fact that these pseudo-spiritual type of events — and, I know that you've been writing on it recently as well, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah. And, my take on it actually of late after a great deal of study and reflection and prayer on the matter is that I actually think the best use for these type of compounds is actually in a microdosing controllable context where one isn't out of their mind slobbering on their back on the floor somewhere with an eye mask on. And occasionally, I think there's some use cases for things like trauma therapy, perhaps end-of-life therapy. Depending on the type of compound used, I'm a fan of these so-called clarogenics where you actually do have some impairment of motor function but it's really not this dark spiritual weird entity-like energy with these things, it's more like your brain turns into a super computer but your body goes limp for a while and you can still talk and record what you're saying. 

And, I think those are interesting, but where I've drawn the line of late is that I feel people began to use a lot of these medicines as a crutch for a spiritual experience or to find God or to seek wisdom from the universe or whatever you want to call it. I didn't want to send the message any longer to people that you got to somehow use drugs to find God or use medicine to have some kind of a spiritual experience. So, I don't think that they're that great for that, even though short to me might have some pleasurable experiences. I think, long-term, it just kind of becomes a crutch and actually distracts or detracts from true spiritual growth. That's my take on it.

Mark:  I'm in grid alignment with you on that.

Ben:  The other one that I wanted to ask you about was what you're doing with sleep because kind of similar to how you mentioned with the Dopa Drops, you take one and you take another certain amount of time later. You send me some sleep stuff and you said, “Well, you got to take this, you got to wait a little bit of time and then do a few more sprays.” Explain what you guys are doing with the sleep stuff because I helped to formulate a product recently for Kion on my supplements company Kion, it's called Kion Sleep, that's some theanines, GABA precursors, tryptophan, et cetera. But, this one that you formulated, it seems a little bit different. What's going on with the sleep stuff?

Mark:   By the way, I really appreciate you getting into that. What I mean by that is it's super important that those of us that are on the side of super high performance don't err in the side of, well, sleep's not a big thing or going crushing it with Gary Vee 24/7. It's probably not a great way to live. That kind of out-of-balance thing will eat you alive eventually both in our heart and soul and also in our relationships.

The sleep side of it, what we were doing was a couple of things. One, we talk about down-regulation or we talk about adaptation is the other way to kind of phrase that, is the sleep solutions that were on the market that we found, the majority of the sleep solutions on the market that we found relied heavily on melatonin as their key component and then they just built around it. And, not a bad thing, melatonin is incredible antioxidant, it has some really great benefits, but it also has rapid adaptation, taking exogenous melatonin just a single dose of exogenous melatonin has a tendency to create an interrupt cycle so you have a very short cycle like a four-hour sleep cycle on typical melatonin.

Ben:  Yeah, I've had that happen before.

Mark:  Yeah. And so, of course, what the typical companies do is they go and they add more and more melatonin. Well, okay, so we're going to beat the four-hour thing by going to 5 milligrams or 10 milligrams of melatonin. And, clinical studies have shown up to 60 milligrams a day is your body will adapt to it eventually and it'll actually there's some positive stuff. But, that's not exactly the way you want to live because the pineal gland, which is responsible for secreting the majority of the melatonin, you do not want to mess with that sucker and any kind of a way that might create adaptation or downregulation because then you start messing with everything.

So, what we did is we created a non-melatonin-based drink that you've got there. You've got the powder.

Ben:  And, there's no melatonin in the powder?

Mark:  No melatonin in the powder. No. And, what we did is we looked at what are the typical deficits in people's chemical makeup, and let's go and correct those. And then, on that side of the sleep, in previously sleep, let's focus on those elements so that you can have that quality of sleep and duration of sleep without the hangover. That was the big thing. I mean, some people drink themselves into a coma night after night or they take meds to get to sleep, diphenhydramine, or things like that that are typically used. And, those are really, really bad for quality sleep, your delta sleep kind of goes away with those typically, and your heart rate has increased and there's some other sideline effects and you wake up with a hangover. You don't wake up clear fresh clean ready to go.

Ben:  Yeah.

Mark:  So, we solved that with a powder and making a drink and then we augmented it, whether you're using it for jet lag or if you're using it as an augmentation you need to get a specific amount of sleep. Well, I put together a spray that does have melatonin in it and it has a California poppy seed among other things.

Ben:  Okay. So, the spray does have melatonin.

Mark:  Yes, it does.

Ben:  Okay, cool.

Mark:  And, the purpose of the spray was sleep onset. If you're having trouble with sleep onset, meaning the period of time from the time your head hits a pillow to when you actually go to sleep. If you're having trouble with that, this is a great way to get you into this deeper sleep with or without the powder, with or without the drink that we make.

The other part of it is if you want to use that sleep onset but you don't want to wake up four hours later, and if you haven't trained hard enough that day or some other factor that you're aware that you're probably going to be up later than you'd like to be, my recommendation is take a spray or two or three or even four sprays under your tongue, sublingual, let it dissolve over a couple minutes. And then, 20 to 30 minutes later, you'll start to feel that sleep onset happening. You'll start to feel the eyelids getting heavy and you'll hear your brain start to quiet down and the distractions and you'll maybe even start to feel that pre-dream state where you start going, is that reality or is that dream?

Ben:  Yup.

Mark:  And then, take another spray or two or three, and what that does is during that 30-minute window between those two, that overlap extends in the early morning. In other words, it's growing bigger and bigger that overlap where that 30 minutes between first sprays and the second spray. So, at 4 o'clock in the morning when you're going to wake up, when you think you're going to wake up, that's covered because of those two different sprays at different times are overlapping to the point where instead of getting that typical wake-up call where your body temperature changes, you're suddenly getting your cortisol levels. So, instead of all of that waking you up and keeping you awake, it covers that area so that now you can wake up at 6: 00 or 7:00 or 8:00, whatever your cycle is. And again, you wake up clean, you don't have that hangover.

Ben:  Well, they seem super unique and they do seem to work like that. You actually don't have that interrupted four-hour wake-up when you take a sleep supplement, which I think is pretty common.

And again, I'll put all the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Noots, N-O-O-T-S.

Anything you can open up the kimono on in terms of stuff coming down the pipeline that you think is going to be pretty cool that you guys are working on?

Mark:  One of the things that we've talked about here is that the Nootopia nootropics are deeply focused on getting into state optimization. Meaning, how do you want to operate? How do you want to feel? What the kind of operating state that's going to make you most effective for the kind of thing that you need to go out and do today? So, we talk about things like thinking in memory or focus, or flow, or intensity, or even aggression, or your mood, or your happiness, or your love, kindness, sensitivity, your connection with other people, or your loved one, your fun, your joy, humor, lateral thinking, creativity, and those kinds of things, your energetic nature and fulfillment, reward, execution, those kinds of things. All of those were basically building the ultimate stacks to be able to accomplish those things. And, we're making the current ones that we have significantly better.

On the dramatically new product alignment, we have a new product that will be coming out sometime next year and it is a DHA and omega-3 dominant oil stack. It's kind of beyond cool, man. It's incredibly powerful even at low doses and with as much as a 7,000% increase in key bioavailability factors. We think that's a pretty much a game changer as the brain is primarily DHA. We believe that this kind of a solution can both enhance the nootropic benefits but also in the effects of helping to do both anti-aging and to help solve some of the challenges right now in dementia and Alzheimer's and other factors. So, that's one of the big ones.

We have a gaming solution coming out, pretty excited about that, in the near future. I can't say more, but think of what would happen if professional gamers could select their optimum state and jacket to the limit without burnout. That's what I'm talking about. So, we're also upgrading every product we make, everything on the BiOptimizers line as well as the Nootopia line. And, we're doing it with this molecular madness with our Ph.D. team at International Birch University. We've greatly expanded the team both in depth and breadth really incredible brain trust dedicated to making BiOptimizers and Nootopia solutions more powerful and backing it by unmatched scientific rigor. So, that to me is really critical because we want to be known as a company that doesn't just produce really cool stuff that makes a radical change or improvement in your physiology and neurology, we also want to back it up with absolute accurate scientific research. That's a big thing. 

And then, of course, our personalization technology, the ability to create these nutrients, supplements, extracts, and compounds that are matched to your physiology and neurology and your goals are really important.

So, one of the things we've done is we've created a robotics division. We've hired a guy we call Mr. Robot, and he's creating precision automation technologies so we can serve more people with greater accuracy, higher levels of personalization, and keep that closed-loop effect of being able to have you tell us what you need, giving you that thing that you need to help you improve your condition and then being able to continue to escalate that over and over and over again. And, I really can't wait to give you a tour of our facility in the coming year. I think you're really going to dig it. That's some of the stuff that's on the drawing board, man.

Ben:  I absolutely love what you guys are doing. And obviously, as you guys can probably imagine to go take the questionnaire and get all these smart drug-esque type of compound ships your house in this sexy little black box, it's not inexpensive. I think it's 400 bucks, get the whole box full of stuff. I mean, you get the Apex, the Brain Flow, the Nectar, the Power Solution, all this stuff, and then you can get the CollaGenius too to go along with it. It's probably one of my favorite stacks now as far as really, really cool ways to get energy without the crash. Again, that Nectar stuff I'm hooked on, I've been using the CollaGenius in the smoothie, kind of messing around the sleep stuff. I love the Dopa Drops. And so, I just had to get you on, Mark or Mr. Noots I should say, to actually make sure people are aware of what's going on behind the scenes here because this is not just any old nootropic. And, I've been using them long to where I had to ask all my dumb questions. And so, I'm pretty grateful to have you on the show. And, what I'm going to do is if folks go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Noots, N-O-O-T-S, I will include some discount codes and things like that to a lot of the compounds that Mark and I just got done talking about.

Mark, I wish you could have come out to Spokane. Just so folks know, we had some hurricanes and flight issues, so Mark and I weren't able to have this chat at our kitchen table as I had planned on. But, we'll have to get you out here to yield stomping grounds at Spokane sometime. You and I can play some tennis or perhaps even my new infatuation pickleball.

Mark:  Oh, dude. Yeah. In our lab here, I'm building a pickleball court upstairs.

Ben:  I'm building a new house in Idaho and I'm going to put a coverall-covered pickleball court out there in Viola, Idaho. So, should be pretty cool. That would be another year or so. But anyway, so we'll get together, we'll take some nootropics and we'll go play pickleball or tennis or both. So, I appreciate you, man. I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing all this with us.

Mark:  Oh, thank you, brother. Really appreciate. And, there's so much more stuff. I'll make sure and send you some notes over afterwards that may be included. Alright.

Ben:  Yeah. Anything you send, I'll add to the shownotes. And again, folks, it's going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Noots, N-O-O-T-S. And, until next time, I'm Ben along with Mr. Noots, Mark Effinger, signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.

 

 

My inspiring, intriguing, and mad scientist-esque smart drugs and nootropics expert guest on today's show is Mark Effinger, AKA “Mr. Noots.”

This guy is an absolute genius at nootropics chemistry, extractions, and brain optimization.

Mark's business partner, Matt Gallant, is the CEO of biOptimizers and one of the world's leading experts in formulating unique supplements. Together, Mark and Matt masterminded Nootopia, the first-ever company to offer 100% personalized, customized nootropics stacks. I've discussed nootropics quite a bit, including in a comprehensive two-part article series, and I've also had Matt Gallant on my podcast:

A seasoned entrepreneur and intrapreneur (meaning, behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization), Mark has been successful in industries from advertising to lasers to software and more. Companies turn to Mark for his clear grasp of the startup-to-sellout process, and he's passionate about working with CEOs, company founders, and management. Mark is a specialist in biochemistry, hormone and brain optimization, product development, social media, online media, software development…you get the idea. The dude is crazy smart and a real unicorn.

The death of Mark's former wife from a painkiller overdose put him on the path to creating high-performance experiential nutritional supplements. After four years of development, he released a product called “Limitless NZT-48,” as in the movie. Mark applied LEAN Startup methodologies, bootstrapped it, and experienced 3,500% growth over the first year (now 5,100% over 29 months)—an ideal blend of head and heart in important, life-enhancing technology.

Mark considers the biggest challenge with nootropics to be that everyone’s brain chemistry is unique. For the first time ever, Nootopia has solved this with a personalized process and product. First, you fill out an intake form. They use this to evaluate your goals and brain chemistry, then customize their nine core blends. Whether you want to say goodbye to afternoon energy crashes, increase your verbal fluency, boost your emotional intelligence, or reach other optimization goals, Nooptopia gets you 100% personal help every single day. The system even comes with an app that guides you every step of the journey and allows you to give feedback to customize your blends even further.

Mark's vision is for the resources from the company to move the needle in terms of making a difference while they make healthy profits (as he says, they've got employees to feed, right?). He firmly believes that Nootopia can add value both locally (in how they treat employees and our environment) and globally (in how they empower people and how much they give back)…all while having fun.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-How Mr. Noots got started (from his internet and software business to nootropics formulation)…08:31

  • White rat for Accutane back in the '80s
  • Mark’s health crisis: Put on mega doses of Accutane (for cystic acne) while in the Air Force 
    • Accutane burrows itself into the muscle fibers and other parts of the body; challenging to detox over time
    • Doctor placed him on EWOT (exercise with oxygen therapy)
      • BGL article:
      • Ben uses Vasper
      • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris
      • 2nd health crisis: found also to have hypothyroidism
        • Put on Armour Thyroid medication
        • Had an aha! moment; maybe there's something more than just living, there's a superhuman or at least a super-optimal performance state that you can achieve
      • Human growth hormone (HGH) supplementation
        • Not the actual HGH but secretagogues
        • HGH administration vs. HGH supplementation
        • Founded a company that became very successful but was shut down after 30 days
        • They couldn’t believe a company online outside of Amazon could go from zero to over $200,000 in a month
      • Got involved with some products:
        • TRIKKE three-wheeled scooter, you stand on the back wheels and use cambering, throwing it left and right to make it go forward
        • CMO for eagency.com
        • Pzizz app for focus and meditationAside from the clarity and the wakefulness that resulted from it, it also resets your sleep and wake cycles
      • Mark's wife committed suicide in 2008 on Oxycodone, Methadone, and alcohol 
      • A devastating loss; great mom of three kids; proof that these addictions can affect anyone
      • Worked with David McInnis, founder of PRWeb 
      • For the next four years, worked on:
        • How to get people out of addictive states
        • How to get people to perform well
      • Created a brainstorming software to teach people how to think creatively and how to be effective in going from concept to cashflow or creativity to productivity
      • Already knew how neurons fired and what neural chemicals were key to achieving certain states, but lacked the programming talent to “take this, and it'll get you there” outside of meds
      • Back to secretagogues to explore what amino acids convert to, what neurochemical precursors convert to, which neurochemicals excite which molecules to get them to perform
      • Started with pyroglutamic acid and pairing with other molecules
      • Some of the 400,000 customers in his software company started testing the drug
      • At events, there are 2 kinds of biohackers 
        • The ones that take it and ask you what it does
        • The ones that ask what it is in it and how much it is before deciding to take it

          Mark’s three-stage process for how to get people off drugs…29:02

          1. Make someone think more clearly
          2. The person is now thinking more clearly but can just barely function as a human being (just got off drugs and might now be dependent on another drug, prescription they give for treatment)
          3. Give him cellular energy, ATP-based energy, and the neurological components that would help him to perform well
            • You're thinking clearly
            • Now you have the energy to execute
            • You're going to get some level of success 
            • Repeated good, positive, reinforced double thinking
            • You get the spiral of success that goes up, and you start getting the kind of feedback loop of not only you recognizing the success you have but other people recognizing it

          -Determining what neurotransmitter deficits or imbalances you have (the quiz) and then shipping the exact formulas that address those specific needs…30:41

          -Dopa Drops and “You4ea” capsule…34:09

          • Dopa Drops (discount automatically applied at checkout)
          • Dopa Drops were built as a multi-stage release mechanism that doesn't down-regulate dopamine stores
          • Bring the precursors of dopamine up, make sure you get the proper enzymatic activity in the brain by adding C and B vitamins
          • Time release strategies to avoid burning up all dopamine
          • “You4ea” is still in secondary and tertiary testing; has a capsule within a capsule
          • Outer capsule breaks down in the gut, and the inner capsule past the duodenum

          -What about the NectarX?…43:45

          • NectarX was the first product developed in 2008
          • Stack design methodology
          • Most people have a resistive component in their brain and body that is fighting inflammation, fighting adaptogenic response 
          • To make stacks effective, you need to start systematically eliminating the biggest problems that people have, to make the nootropics effective
          • The primary cause of the ineffectiveness of nutritional compounds people take is an excessive inflammatory response
          • Component stacks built into the capsules (sub-stacks within the caps, drinks, powders, and sprays)
            • Anti-inflammatory stack to mute excess inflammatory response
            • Adaptogenic stack to mute the adaptogenic response to hardcore stress
            • Methylated B stack to address the deficiency of B vitamins and specific nutrients critical to the enzymatic activity of the brain and body (B vitamins are enzymatic activators)
            • Stim layer of very mild multiple stimulant layers and cofactors to bring increasing wakefulness without being too much buzz and grittiness
            • 2 other factors:
              • The combination of neurotropic precursors to key neurochemicals needed to operate at a superhuman level
              • Choline donor to lend enough choline to the process so that it does not take choline from your body 

          -Are there scalability issues, given the quiz is super-customized?…51:39

          • About a 20-minute customized quiz:
            • Weight, age, sex?
            • What stims do you take during the day?
            • How much coffee do you drink?
            • What meds are you on? 
            • What vitamins or nutritional supplements do you take? 
            • Are you ketogenic?
            • And more
          • When you visit the Nootopia website:
            1. Do a neurochemical analysis to figure out where you are dominant, where you are sub-dominant, and where you have challenges
            2. Who are you? How do you operate? What are your biggest challenges? What are your goals?
              • Break down into 6 different sections
              • Sliders to tweak personal preferences
            3. Result is then sent to a facility where it is compared to a million data points
            4. Stack design is then determined for the person
          • Social Command stack
          • Mark’s friend Eric Kinney 

          -CollaGenius…56:30

          • Ben added CollaGenius to his morning smoothie
          • Design came out of a conversation between Mark and Matt Gallant
          • How they accidentally made the product
          • The mushroom helps in the absorption and extends the half-life of collagen
          • BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) from the mushrooms
          • BDNF is a precursor to neurogenesis
          • CollaGenius is like an OS for the brain (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
          • It's like a central nervous system stimulant
          Ben Greenfield Collagenius Slides

          -How about the Apex?…1:01:14

          • A blend of calmness and energy
          • Apex is 12-hour energy but not in a stim way
            • A very steady dopamine flow with very low adrenal flow that does not jack up adrenaline
          • Ben has modified Upbeats and Apex stacks

          -Do you stack psychedelics like psilocybin, Huachuca, LSD, or LSA, traditionally used for microdosing?…1:02:56

          • You can create nootropic custom stacks that address various neurotransmitters
          • Nootropics allow you to take reduced doses of the psychedelics; increase the neurogenesis
          • Expect to see more stacks that combine nootropics and psychedelics in the future, when they become legal and more popular

          -Many people stack psilocybin with Lion's mane for enhanced creativity…1:05:40

          • Mark's friends have done it
          • CollaGenius is a great base for those kinds of experience (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
          • People looking for a profound experience that brings them to another level

          -What Ben thinks of plant medicine microdosing…1:06:23

          -What about nootropics and sleep?…1:07:49

          • Kion Sleep
          • Sleep solutions in the market rely heavily on melatonin
          • Typical sleep cycle of melatonin is 4 hours; some companies add more melatonin to increase the cycle
          • The downside of melatonin is it  interrupts the sleep cycle that you already have
          • A non-melatonin-based drink for quality sleep and duration of sleep without the hangover
          • The spray has melatonin in it

          -Other projects in the pipeline…1:13:34

          -And much more…

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          Resources from this episode:

          Mark Effinger:

          – Podcasts:

          – Other Resources:

           

          Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Mark Effinger or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

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