[Transcript] – How To Fix Your Brain And Biology With Plants: An Interview With Neurodietetics Author Richard Aiken On The Best Diet For The Brain.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/03/the-best-diet-for-the-brain/

[0:00] Introduction/Organifi Green Juice

[2:25] HealthGains

[5:37] Dr. Richard Aiken

[8:13] Neurodietetics

[9:47] Xenohormesis

[23:14] Lithium

[32:12] Supplements for The Brain

[34:47] Art Of Charm Podcast

[37:17] Quick Commercial Break/HumanCharger

[38:29] ZipRecruiter

[39:57] Continuation/Dr. Aiken's Hibiscus and Green Tea Workout Drink

[50:59] Flax seed

[59:57] Dr. Aiken's Super Smoothie Recipe

[1:10:49] Dr. Aiken's Sleep Hack

[1:19:56] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hello, ladies and gentlemen.  It's Ben Greenfield.  I'm still in the Bahamas and I decided to bring to you an interview with a guy who I've interviewed before who came back on the show, this guy I interviewed about how to biohack your smoothie.  He knows a lot more than that.  You're going to dig today's episode.  But speaking of smoothies, I want to tell you about a component that is in just about every smoothie I drink these days and that is mint.  Yes, mint.  I bet you didn't know about all the wonders of mint leaves, did you?  But mint, in addition to being great for your digestive system, which you probably already knew, provides a considerable amount of vitamin A, surprisingly.  Nine hundred twenty four international units of vitamin A, which is good for your skin and your immune system.  It's also a really good source of minerals.  It's high in iron, it's got about 15% of your daily iron intake, manganese which is good for brain function, and the iron will help provide yourselves with oxygen and the manganese feed your brain.  And the winds, do you hear the wind?  There's no wind in mint, but wind is creeping over the Atlantic Ocean right now and blowing through my microphone because I'm recording this for you straight from the beach in the Bahamas.

Anyways though, I digress.  So mint, along with spirulina, moringa, chlorella, beets, matcha green tea, wheat grass, ashwagandha, turmeric, lemon, and coconut water is also all in my smoothie.  But I don't actually wake up and go wander half naked through the forest collecting all this stuff in order to get from the jungles of wherever jungles produce moringa and spirulina.  Not quite sure.  Actually, I think spirulina is from the ocean.  Anyways though, I just open a handy dandy bottle of green powder, gently dried superfood powder, and some of the tastiest superfood powder on the face of the planet.  It's made by FitLife.  It's called Organifi.  It's got all this stuff in it with no shopping, no juicing, no blending, no hunting, no cleanup.  It's organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and tastes freakin' awesome.  You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife and use discount code Ben to get 20% off this stuff.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife, and use discount code Ben, and you automatically save a ton.  Twenty percent.  So check it out.  Get your mint on into your smoothie.

This podcast is also brought to you by another way that you can get it on, HealthGains.  HealthGains is this groundbreaking, noninvasive medical treatment for men and women who want to improve their sexual performance with no medications and no special devices, a.k.a. pumps, no surgery.  And they offer all sorts of stuff.  They give you like shots for women, shots for men in your nether regions to actually improve sexual performance.  They also have this painless, high frequency acoustic wave treatment that opens up all blood vessels and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels down there.  And you'll feel amazing.  I've had it done.  I got massive results in one treatment.  Some people go back for like three, or six, or twelve treatments.  I just did one and I've been rock solid, so to speak, ever since.  It's been a few months.

So if you want to try this, you can go to the same place I had it done, which is Miami, and you go to gaineswave.com and just click “Find a doctor” and “Find a doctor near you”.  Or if you want to get a fat discount, a fatty discount I should say, go to, it's hard to talk about GainesWave without making jokes like that.  Anyways, you can go to the Miami clinic, they'll give you a big discount.  Or you can just text the word “Greenfield” to 313131.  And when you text the word “Greenfield” to 313131, you will automatically get 150 bucks off your first GainesWave treatment.  This thing freaking works.  No Viagra, no Cialis, no pills required.  Check it out.  And now on to today's show.  I hope you like smoothies, baby, and vegetables.  And all sorts of stuff like that.  You're going to dig this one.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“The ascorbic acid increases the reaction between polyphenol oxidase and polyphenol.  So it doesn't allow the oxygen, which is coming in a tornado speed, to oxidize the antioxidant.”  “It's a fantastic medication in psychiatry.  It's the only psychotropic, or one of the only psychotropic medications used in psychiatry that doesn't have what's called a ‘black box warning', which is kind of anonymous with danger of death.”

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield, and a couple of years ago I actually released a podcast episode with a fellow named Dr. Richard Aiken, and the name of that podcast was “How Blenders Can Destroy Food, Why I Eat 20-25 Servings Of Vegetables Each Day, The Vegan-Paleo Debate, And Much More”.  And during that show, Dr. Aiken explained, among many other things, the potentially damaging effects of high speed blending, which many of us do, including myself, on food, and even talked about an experiment he did on bananas to figure out how to create less damage to food when you blend it.  And later on, I actually published an article kind of based off this banana experiment that Dr. Aiken did, and I'll link to that in the show notes for this episode, it's called “How To Biohack Your Green Smoothie, And Can High Speed Blenders Really Damage Your Food”.  And I'm going to link to all this for you if you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.

Anyways though, now, a couple of years later Dr. Aiken is back.  He just wrote a new book.  It's called “Neurodietetics: The Dietary Science of Human Flourishing”.  And Dr. Aiken is an MD, he's a PhD, he's a chemical engineer, he's a physician.  Obviously a pretty smart cookie.  And this particular book kind of goes into how diet has a pretty profound influence on our minds, and our brains, and how using food, we can relieve suffering and reverse pathology, because he actually works with a lot of issues related to the brain and the mind and has figured out how to use food to kind of like hack your head.  Wait.  That didn't quite come out sounding right.  Hack your head is probably not quite as elegant a way to put it as much as hacking your mind, hacking your brain.  Hacking your head sounds like something they would have done back in the medieval days.  Anyways though, Dr. Aiken, welcome to the show, man.

Dr. Aiken:  Thanks very much.  It's great to be back again, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah.  Are you ready to talk some head hacking?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah, yeah.  Head, mind, body, soul hacking.  Let's do it.

Ben:  Alright.  Cool.  So first of all you call this book “Neurodietetics”.  Did you make that word up or is that a known term in the realm of psychiatry or psychology?

Dr. Aiken:  It's not a known term.  I made it up.  Now that doesn't mean I made the rest of the book up though.  I have over 600 references, both from peer-reviewed.  Individuals, and I wanted this to be a book that is kind of on the frontier of psychiatry that is based upon, not my opinion, but upon the very latest research in psychiatry, and food, and how to be all you can be from a cognitive behavioral standpoint.

Ben:  Yeah.  And you get into a lot of things in this book, a lot of things that we haven't even discussed on the show before.  Like one concept I came across in the book, in reading, and of course, as with many of the books I read, we've got a bunch of pages folded over in this thing.  But one particular paper folded over that I found fascinating was the section that you have on xenohormesis, as in X-E-N-O hormesis.  And I've talked about hormesis before, it's why I go and jump out in a cold pool in the morning buck naked, or shine infrared light on my genitals, or do any other manner of things that cause slight damage but result in long term positive results.  You get into xenohormesis though.  What is xenohormesis exactly?

Dr. Aiken:  Well, I think the definition would be any kind of a phenomenon where a foreign organism, that is an organism foreign to yourself, in this case a human, when that organism experiences this stress, that it can yield some hormonal or some kind of chemical effect that can benefit other different organisms.  So in this case, I'm speaking of plants being stressed, and as a result, producing compounds that are useful to humans.  And Ben, this actually is kind of the origin of why I got into nutrition as a psychiatrist, and a physician, and a scientist about six to eight years ago.  I wanted to answer the question why is it that it seems that all human nutrition originates from plants.  Of course, you could eat animals who eat plants, but it comes down to all the tradition comes from plants.  And what the heck, why is that?  Are they like altruists or something?  Like plants just exist for our health and pleasure?  And really I try to understand this.  I asked many different individuals, read different sources of information.  And I came up with an answer.  I have an answer for you.  Would you like to hear?

Ben:   So the answer to the question of why plants are altruistic?  Is that what you're saying?  Because I thought xenohormesis was kind of based on this concept that plants are kind of trying to kill us and that actually helps us out long term as long as we consume them in an intelligent way, like soaking, or sprouting, or fermenting, or things along those lines?

Dr. Aiken:  That was the answer to my quest.  Altruistics.  They would like to generally, plants would like to kill us.  Now there's some exceptions of, “Okay.  Sure, we eat seeds and we disperse them,” and so on.  But I think they could do without that, at least it probably wouldn't be evolving in that direction had it not been for the existence of some animals.  So I don't think that's a big issue.  For example, I mean this is a crazy example, but there are some plants that have seeds that don't disperse with animals involved.  And I just don't think that that's a major aspect to what they do.

Ben:  Okay.  So backing it up here, what you're saying is that like, we've been taught in many cases to believe that one of the reasons that plants can damage the digestive tract, let's say like quinoa and the saponins that cover quinoa, like that soap-like irritant, it would allow a mammal to eat quinoa and then poop out the quinoa seeds somewhere because it wouldn't be digested, the seed wouldn't be digested.  What you're saying is that plants have the ability to propagate without the necessity of being puked out by a mammal, and so that there are other reasons in addition to just passing unscathed through the digestive tract that a plant would have defense mechanisms that could potentially harm or kill a mammal that eats it or an animal that eats it?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  But I think it's not appreciated that much of the phytochemical production that plants make is to defend against pathogens.  And I mean they make fantastic pesticides for bacteria, viruses, funguses, insects obviously, and for animals.  The bitterness, I think, turns a lot of animals off.  I mean a carnivore cannot eat a plant because of bitterness, for example.  Fortunately, those phytochemicals that are kind of pesticides don't usually kill larger animals, although they can make you sick.  And then there are some exceptions, where you don't know if you could die.  So that's balanced by some phytochemicals that are produced by plants that have health benefits to humans, and these are called phytonutrients and there's tens of thousands of them.  The classes are carotenoids, they're fat soluble, and polyphenols are water soluble.  And most of these, or many of these are used in xenohormesis for plants a signaling some kind of stress.  So they're like hormones for plants.  An example, big example, interesting example, salicylates, or salicylates.  They fight fungus, viruses, and insect invasion in and most all plants.  I mean almost all plants produce an amount large…

Ben:  As in like salicylic acid?  Like what we'd find in, for example, aspirin?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah, yeah.  That would be a little bit modified version, but absolutely.  It's an inflammatory in humans.  That doesn't work that way in the plant.  So that's an example that we're all familiar with is hormesis.

Ben:  Yeah.  And I think that it's really interesting.  You talk about, specifically in the book, when it comes to salicylate production, cucumbers.  How cucumbers, when they get stressed by fungus or they get stressed by viruses, they produce salicylate.  And so then when humans consume the cucumber, we actually get benefits, in this case, against vascular disease, one of the reasons that people might be advised by their physician to, say, pop an aspirin.  And willow is another thing you bring up.  Willow seedlings, like the seedlings of a willow plant, or I suppose it would be a willow tree, those can get stressed by beetles that would eat the tree.  And you talk about how in response to that, they produce salicylate.  And so if we eat something related to the willow plant or willow seedlings, we would also get benefit for a heart, for vascular disease.  And so I love those examples that you give of xenohormesis.  You also talk a little bit about things that go beyond salicylate that a plant would produce.  Like you were talking just now, was it carotenoids that you said?  Or another stressor, or another bioactive product released in response to a stressor?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  The carotenoids are very common in most all plants as well as polyphenols, and these are, I think the carotenoids and polyphenols, the phytonutrients are generally plant hormones that signal and there's something going on that we need to, as a plant, respond to.  But the salicylates, for example, are present in every plant.  Every plant has this.  Now the willow, inside of the bark of a willow tree has a very high concentration that was the original extract that then was produced into aspirin by [0:17:44] ______ in Germany.  They had to give up the name aspirin though, that was their brand name, but now it's a generic name.  So it actually had to make their branding generic.  I think it was a World War II thing.  I'm not sure.  But there are other compounds, like cumin, that has so much salicylates that it's almost equivalent to a baby aspirin at 81 milligrams, one teaspoon.  And then you don't have the side effects of GI bleeding, and some cases death on just a baby aspirin a day.

Ben:  And it would be, when you look at turmeric, in the book you talk about how heat stress, for example, is what would cause turmeric to actually have increased concentration of curcuminoids, which you talk about in the book and can help out with things like mood disorders.  I've talked on previous podcasts about how curcumin can be really good for helping with brain inflammation, or helping with blood-brain barrier leakage, and some other components that are related to mental health of course too.  But it's interesting that when you stress the plant, in this case turmeric, with heat, or you stress it, another example you bring up in the book is nutrient deprivation, ironically by not taking care of a plant, or by almost like abusing a plant, or exposing it to environmental stress, it turns around and creates something, in this case like curcumin, that winds up being a mild hormetic stress to the human body that actually gives us some benefit.  What's really interesting about this, Dr. Aiken that I think is kind of cool is it's really kind of related to the wine industry too.  You even bring up like grapes, how heat or water deprivation can increase concentration of phenolic compounds.  And when you go and visit many vineyards these days, a lot of them have these big luscious large grapes that actually produce really kind of like sugary wine low in phenol compounds.  I had a podcast a while ago with the folks from Vine Wine, and we talk about how they just like beat the hell lot of their plants, and they water deprive them, and they get exposed to heat, and they're grown in rocky soil.  And the result is a grape that's actually very high in antioxidants, and low in sugar, and very high in these phenolic compounds all based on this concept of how when you expose a plant to environmental stress and then eat it, it turns out to be pretty dang good for the human body.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Now there's no question that agriculture these days is more centered on flavor which commonly is associated with sweetness, like corn's going through a terrible evolution, and the way that they look, the production, how much you can make in a square foot of land and so on, but there's not as much of an interest in the phytonutrient aspect because it's just not usually a taste factor and it doesn't help the economics so much.  But I mean even the hydroponics, for example, plants hate it, hate to be grown in this water environment.  But it's very nutritious because they hate it.  It used to be go in your garden, and you love your plants, and say nice things to them, and, I don't know, play Mozart or something. (chuckles) The way they do it is to, I don't know, go out and scream at them, and not give them as much water as they like, and that kind of thing if you want to maximize their utility to you.

Ben:  Yeah.  It's a really fascinating concept that you get into in the book, and I like the table that you have in the book where you go over other things like dandelion and how when you expose it to abuse, it can create more phenolic compounds, and how oregano, when it gets infected by bacteria, produces more of the active anti-inflammatory ingredient carvacrol, and how like St. John's Wort, when it gets exposed to water deficits, it creates more hyperforin, which is an anti-depressant.  It's really kind of an interesting table that you have in there.  But then you talk about a few other things in this book that I think are interesting.  For example, lithium.  When I interviewed Kevin Rose on a podcast a few weeks ago, we talked about lithium as kind of like being one of the new darlings of the nootropic industry, or the smart drug industry as like a something that they'd combine, like lithium combined, or bound to a mineral or a salt.  I think in this case it was orotate that we were talking about how it was bound with, or how they used to use in 7-Up as a nootropic, but you also discuss lithium in your book as one of the things that you consider to be an essential component of plant foods.  Can you talk a little bit about lithium, and why it is that you like it so much, and how we can get more of it in our diet?

Dr. Aiken:  You bet.  So I did listen to that podcast, as I do most of your podcasts, and he discusses Dr. Greenblatt's book on nutritional lithium.  I forgot the title, but it's something like “The Cinderella Drug”, meaning that it's really important but nobody likes it or nobody gives it attention.  There's a lot of such compounds, but his first chapter in Dr. Greenblatt's book is nutritional psychiatry, which is sort of like what I call neurodietetics.  And, wow, lithium's crazy stuff.  I mean I remember playing with it in a chemical lab when I was in college as a metal.  And he put this in the air, it starts on fire.  You put it into water, it explodes in small amounts.  It's of course the problem behind Samsung’s Note 7 that you can't take it on board an aircraft, and I'm surprised as not more difficulties with both lithium ion batteries generally.  But just an aside, lithium chloride used to be used as a substitute for sodium chloride.  So you would take home a salt shaker full of lithium chloride because it doesn't increase your blood pressure.  Unfortunately, it would become toxic, and sick, and has a very narrow therapeutic index so you get nauseated, vomited, have tremors, dizzy, diarrhea.  In psychiatry, we use concentration between 600 and 1800 milligrams per day.  It's a fantastic medication.  It actually was first used in the United States at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Washington University where I did my training, and residency, and fellowship, and child fellowship.  For mania, it was a miracle.

Ben:  Now what is mania exactly?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Mania is, you've heard of manic depression or bipolar disorder?  In the throes of mania in which you're making decisions that are not in your best interest and kind of acting pretty crazy, and there's degrees of it.  But bipolar type one is just a wildly terrible state of being.  You'd hear and see things, and give all your money away.

Ben:  Now in a situation like that, what would be a typical pharmacologic dose of lithium?  I'm just trying to wrap my head around like what they'd use in psychiatry versus what we'd find in plants.

Dr. Aiken:  Something between 600 and 1800 milligrams in a day.  And so compare that with what you find commonly in lithia waters, like in some communities they have their water supply tied into kind of some deep spring runoff, and that's about two milligrams per liter.  So if you drink a couple liters water, you get four or five milligrams a day of lithium.  And that, I speculate, was very common thousands of years ago, in which was more available, it wasn't buried so deeply or washed into our oceans.  In fact, if you look in deep waters of the ocean, mineral contents are way beyond the surface, including lithium.  But it's a fantastic medication in psychiatry.  It's the only psychotropic, or one of the only psychotropic medications used in psychiatry that doesn't have what's called a black box warning, which is kind of synonymous with danger of death, and the danger of death is typically for secondary to suicide or suicidal thinking.  This is anti-suicidal.  So oftentimes, it's used together with antidepressant as an adjunctive medication to kind of reduce the likelihood of suicidal thinking.

Ben:  Gotcha.  But it has like more of a nootropic, or like a neuroprotective effect when used in smaller quantities.  I mean like for example, I had a night of, well, let me put it this way: I stayed up late reading.  My son and I are very much alike.  When I was a kid, I used to stay up 'til about 2 or 3 AM reading books, and last night my eight year old son Terran read until about midnight, and I also was up also just reading underneath the red lamp with my blue light blocking glasses on, but nonetheless, up reading last night.  And so this morning, because I only slept about five or six hours, I took what I call the “God pill”, which is like this smart drug that I use called Qualia, and it has about 50 milligrams of lithium orotate in it, and that's to help with cognitive function, when I'm a little bit low on sleep.  And so in this case, from what I understand, there's some neuroprotective abilities, and improvements in mood, and also cognitive function.  And what you're saying is that we actually find lithium as well in plant-derived foods and drinking water?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  It depends on your community and your soil.  I mean the mineral content, particularly of these trace minerals, just vary tremendously from location to location in the soil.  And in drinking water, same deal.  Some communities that have, I think this was mentioned on your other podcast, that some communities that have, on the order of a daily intake of three milligrams a day of lithium, those populations tend to have less suicide, and violent crimes, and that sort of thing.  So, yeah.  I'm totally interested also as a psychiatrist in these trace levels of lithium.  And I'm trying to understand it.  Apparently, it's neuroprotective for cognitive decline, like Alzheimer's, and improvements in mood, cognitive function, irritability, kind of minor tendencies toward mood disorders, not the major.  And I would say also, I'm familiar a little bit with the “God pill”.  I may have some things to say.  I have a “God smoothie”.

Ben:  Really?

Dr. Aiken:  Sort of.

Ben:  Is this kind of like your super smoothie?  ‘Cause I want to ask you about your super smoothie that you go into in the book.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah!  Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  I'm going to save that question for a little bit later, but just really quickly, correct me if I'm wrong, but because we find lithium, in many cases, in mineral rich water, I'm a big fan of shellfish, I know you eat more of a plant-based diet, but I know lithium can be in concentrated things like shrimp, and lobster, and crustaceans, and mollusks, and things like that.  But can you also find it in sea vegetables like kelp, or phytoplankton, or algae, or things of that nature?

Dr. Aiken:  I can't tell you numbers, but I would speculate yes.  Because in the sea, especially the deep sea, there is a higher concentration a lithium.  But all animals require lithium.  It's not like, we used to joke that a patient is lithium deficient, or is thorazine deficient, but it's actually true that you must have a certain amount of lithium.  I don't believe it's clear exactly why and how it's used.  And in plants, it's even more misunderstood of why in the heck plants need lithium.  But they tend to, if it's available, they tend to bring it up into the plant.

Ben:  Interesting.  Now are there any other compounds that you derive from plants that you eat or supplements that you take that you would recommend, while we're on this topic of nootropics or mental performance, that you would recommend specifically for the brain, for the mind, or to improve mood?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  And to kind of tie in and complete our conversation about lithium, there are lots, I have a theory.  I have this theory that, I haven't really verified in the literature, but I think that there are a lot of mineral insufficiencies, I'm not a supplement guy so much.  I like to take up whole foods and not extracts.  But I think something has happened over the millennia of glacier movements, soil erosion, and so a lot of minerals like lithium, but also the zinc which is very much important in brain health, selenium, important in immune function, you just can't get selenium very easily.  It's in Brazil nuts, garlic, onions, and things.  And iodine, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world.  And there's a problem with it, putting iodine in salt's a great idea, but people who don't want to use to additional salt for blood pressure reasons, it's a problem.  And talking about foods that I recommend for mental performance, by the way, I was listening to the intro to your show, and you mentioned that your podcast is to help to increase physical and mental performance of your listeners.  And I'm totally there.  I mean that's what this book is all about, flourishing from a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral standpoint.  You don't have to be depressed or mentally ill.  There's a whole spectrum of degrees of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral excellence related to this kind of stuff.  There's eudaimonia.  But anyway, getting back to specifics on foods, got to make, as a tradition, got to make a statement, talk with your physician before self-treating and testing this stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  But before taking in boatloads of lithium, talk to your doc.

Ben:   But when it comes to getting a better body and brain, I don't really think that there are many people on the face of this planet who have figured that out more than, say, a general.  It's not very often that you get to hear a general get interviewed, but my friend Jordan Harbinger who has this podcast called The Art of Charm Podcast interviewed General Stanley McChrystal recently on his show and picked up a ton of solid advice from this guy.  I actually managed to get to Jordan on for a quick snippet here to fill you in on what he learned from General McChrystal.  So, Jordan, what did this guy tell you?

Jordan:  This guy is awesome.  He spent 34 years in the service and he was our special operations guy.  He was the guy who was in the trenches with Green Berets, SEALs all these guys in Iraq.  I mean he's just a super interesting guy.  Worked with a lot of foreign services as well.  Talk about a guy who has to make tough decisions.  So he talked about leadership from a Special Forces perspective, flexibility and adaptability, and how that's kind of the cure for an unpredictable landscape.  And you can apply that stuff to business, you can apply it to health, you can apply it to just your regular soccer mom life if that's you.  And this contrasts strongly with a lot of us who have these strict rules that are strictly adhered to that might limit us, rather than like guide the best practices.  So a lot of talk about flexibility in ourselves, relationships within organizations, and like I said, making tough decisions when the consequences really matter.  So even if you don't run a business or you think like, “What am I going to learn from this general guy,” he's an amazing well-spoken person who has been through a lot of stuff.  And I think just given the audience of your show, there's a lot of go-getters listening, and this guy definitely speaks to them.

Ben:  Yeah.  And for those of you're listening in, one of the things that I appreciate about Jordan is he does a really good job getting inside the heads of a lot of these folks, like finding out what makes them tick, which I think I do a pretty good job of figuring out what they eat for breakfast, but Jordan kind of delves into their psyche a little bit.  Better than I do.  So you can check out any of Jordan shows, including this interview with General Stanley McChrystal for free.  All you do is you go to wherever you like to listen to podcasts.  For me it's iTunes, for you it might be Stitcher or whatever else exists out there for listening to podcasts, and just look for “The Art Of Charm Podcast”.  The Art Of Charm Podcast with Jordan Harbinger.

Ben:  Hey, hey.  I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about the sun in your pocket.  That's right, I've got the sun in my pocket.  I'm not just happy to see you.  Literally, I do have this little tiny black device in my pocket right now.  It has these little ear buds that attach to your ears and it shines bright blue light into your ears to calibrate your circadian rhythms to cause you to release serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline.  There's no other light therapy method that actually does this.  And I travel everywhere with it, but I even use it at home just to get myself a little cup of coffee for my brain when I wake up.  It interacts with the photosensitive proteins on the surface of the brain using this calibrated white light that literally passes through your ear canals and it's called the HumanCharger.  You can check it out at humancharger.com/ben, and the good folks at HumanCharger, which I've been using, by the way, since summer of 2015.  So it's been a couple of years now I've been wearing and swearing by this thing.  humancharger.com/ben, you get 20% off your own HumanCharger.  Just use code BFitness.  That's BFitness at humancharger.com/ben to save big time.

This podcast is also brought to you by ZipRecruiter.  ziprecruiter.com.  What is that?  Basically it allows you to find candidates for any job that you want to fill in any city or any industry around the nation.  Anywhere in the nation, the mighty nation of the United States.  You can screen candidates, you can rate 'em, you can hire 'em.  There's no juggling e-mails or calls to your office.  Bunch of Fortune 100 companies and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses use it.  The cool thing is you can post a job to 200 plus job sites, this is nifty, listen to this, like Facebook, Twitter, social media networks, you name it, all with one click.  So you don't have to spend all your time going to Facebook and getting sucked down the rabbit hole of Facebook messages and cat videos.  Instead, you just send your job description over to ZipRecruiter, they take care of the rest for you.  And the coolest thing is you get to post for free you just go to ziprecruiter.com/first.  So ZipRecruiter, just like it sounds, ziprecruiter.com/first, and you get to try all this out for absolutely free.  So don't blame me when your business takes over the world 'cause you've got amazing hires.  Yeah, thank you very much.  ziprecruiter.com/first.  Check it out.  And now, back to today's show.

Ben:  So you mentioned selenium, iodine, I know a lot of those are also important for the thyroid as well.  You talk about l-theanine quite a bit in the book as one of the things that one can use to, say, increase alpha brain wave production, and it also has some pretty cool neuroprotective properties.  And I noted that you have this little kind of, I guess you could call it a biohack in a way, this green tea workout drink that you make.  You call it your hibiscus and green tea workout drink.  I know it's got, because of the green tea, some pretty concentrated sources of l-theanine.  But can you walk me through the recipe for your hibiscus and green tea workout drink and why you chose the specific ingredients that you did.  And you even get into, in the book, how you soften the cell walls and increase the solubility of the cellular content.  So I was wondering if you could get into the nitty gritty details of your hibiscus and green tea workout drink, 'cause I find this one fascinating.

Dr. Aiken:  Yes.  I surely will.  I hope I can get to my favorite number one whole food little performance, and that's flax seed and omega-3, but this drink, I use all the time, and I really like and I recommend it.  First of all, of course, it's based on two main ingredients, well three: water, green tea, and hibiscus flowers.  Green tea is the most consumed beverage of the world because it's psychoactive.  I mean it's legal, but wow, it has some great stuff in it.  Green tea is the natural state of the plant, black tea is more oxidized and less useful.  It's the popular one in the United States.  It's got caffeine, obviously.  But that's stimulating effect of caffeine is modulated by this l-theanine.  And so the idea is to be kind of focused, but without being nervous and anxious.

Ben:  Right.  And it can take some of the edge off of the caffeine.

Dr. Aiken:  Bruce Lee, the less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.  That's kind of the [0:42:13] ______ behind this.  But theanine, it crosses the blood-brain barrier, which is tremendous.  Not all compounds do that.  It's anxiolytic, its calming effect increases neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine.  It increases alpha waves being fully present, being in the moment, power of now, meditation.  And it's great for depression and mood too.  So it has those features.  Also in green tea is polyphenols, rich in polyphenols.  In fact, it's got like, 30% of the dry weight is polyphenol.  So it's really high in polyphenols.  For intense physical exercise that produces oxidative stress, it's really fantastic.  Now this effect may not happen during the time in which you're exercising, depending upon the length of the exercise, if it's hours and hours long, then it may.  But certainly afterwards.

Hibiscus, again, loaded with polyphenols, significant in flavonoids, antioxidant effects.  But the reason I would use it is that there's an endothelium dependent relaxation effect that I think is from a nitric oxide production that decrease a blood viscosity.  You make TBO away, you put some water on the stove, take some teabags out, and you dump the teabags into the cup and you solubilized the polyphenols, which are water soluble, and the temperature helps to soften the cell walls and increase the solubility and bring out the… it takes about 5 minutes.

Ben:  Okay.  So basically the first thing that you're doing is you're taking your hibiscus flowers and then your green tea leaves, or can you just use hibiscus tea bags and green tea teabags and steep those and prepare them as you would normally prepare tea?  Is that like the first step?

Dr. Aiken:  You certainly could.  You certainly could.  But I don't do that.  I'm a blender guy.  So I biohack this idea of making tea.  And so what I do, don't use bags, tea bags, I get in bulk.  Much, much cheaper.  I buy like a pound or two of green tea leaves and a pound or two of hibiscus leaves and put a couple of teaspoons of both right into the blender.  And what happens is I can make this very quickly, because at high speeds you can break down the size of the particles of the tea below a hundred microns, actually blasting the cell walls as well as the organelles.

Ben:  And that will assist with the actual absorption to get the size of these particles below a hundred microns?

Dr. Aiken:  Right.  It's faster to transfer the polyphenols into solution because of the agitation effect and the effect that you have blasted the cell walls apart.  And so…

Ben:  Okay.  So you're not even making them into tea.  You're not even steeping them in hot water.  You found that you can reduce, so instead of steeping for five minutes, you're just taking the bulk raw dried hibiscus and then your green tea leaves, and you're simply blending those like thirty seconds using like a high speed blender?

Dr. Aiken:  Right.  The thing is, it's kind of a negative, is that you do get a kind of a slush.  So you do need to take, I put this into about maybe 50 ounces of capacity of the solution in my blender.  So it's about three of these the typical sized workout drink bottles.  And then so, but you have to strain it.  You have to strain that because I don't want to be sucking on these bottles with particulates in it.  I want it to be like tea, just kind of clear.  So you have to strain it.  Big deal.  Does it take long?  I usually make three of these for three different workout days.

Ben:  Now you're obviously, you're not just blending this into some powder.  You add liquids after you blend the tea leaves and the hibiscus leaves, don't you?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Yeah.  You have to as a result, but you do throw out some of the goodies.  There's still some fiber, probably not 100% polyphenol extraction, but I mean a whole lot more than a teabag and hot water.

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha.

Dr. Aiken:  Pretty intense stuff.

Ben:  Now in the article that you wrote that I featured on the site a couple years ago, you talked about how you found me, you did that banana experiment that you could help to protect the antioxidants in some of these compounds when you blend them, and one of the things you talked about was the addition of like citric acid, like something that was rich in vitamin C, like lemon juice or lime juice.  Are you using that as your smoothie as well?  And the main reason I ask is ever since I interviewed you and you talked about that, the first thing that I do when I'm making my green smoothie in the morning is I add ice to reduce the temperature.  So that goes in the bottom of the blender.  And then I squeeze half a lemon over the ice so I get the citric acid and the antioxidants to protect some of the components from getting oxidized when I blend at those high speeds.  Are you doing that when you make this workout drink?

Dr. Aiken:  Absolutely.  Every time I blend anything, I begin that way.  And I usually just put the whole lemon or the whole lime into the blender with water or ice, and then I blend that at high speed before I start anything.  And that, just to review, what that does is this ascorbic acid decreases the reaction between polyphenol oxidase and polyphenols.  So it doesn't allow the oxygen, which is coming in at tornado speeds, to oxidize the any accidents, which would be a pretty bad thing.  So if you do that step first, you can reduce tremendously that reaction.  It still happens, but at a lower lower rate.  And if you've got a few hours before there's significant oxidation depending upon how much citric acid, ascorbic acid you put in there…

Ben:  Okay.  Cool.  I know you've got the whole recipe in your book, but it's just basically the hibiscus, the green tea, and then you blend that up with some kind of ascorbic acid, like lemon or lime juice, you add ice.  And after you've blended that, then you just basically strain it to get all like the grit from the leaves and stuff out, and you fill water bottles with that.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  And it's one of the few cases in which I will remove any of the whole food.  But again, you're on your bike you don't want to be choking on fibrous material, or just clogging your water bottle.  And with phenols, this kind of a technique really gets into solution.  I don't know the percentage, but I'm betting a large percentage of the polyphenols are available for you there.

Ben:  Okay.  Cool.  I like it.  Now one of the other things that you mentioned that I want to make sure I give you a chance to talk about before we delve in your super smoothie recipe, or I think what you called your “God smoothie” recipe, you mentioned one other specific whole food that you like for mental performance that I didn't give you a chance to talk about much, and that was, I believe you said like a flax seed.  Was it a flax seed powder, or a flax seed oil, or flax seeds?  What was it about flax seeds that you mentioned?

Dr. Aiken:  Right.  Yeah.  I appreciate it because this is definitely my kind of go-to food if I had to recommend, I only take one food, I guess, it probably would be actually green leaves, plants.  But it's pretty fantastic.  And in fact, I gave a presentation at the Southern California VegFest in November in which I actually, I handed out flax seeds for everyone.  You can get flax seeds in these little packets of two tablespoons worth that are already ground and protected from oxygen.  It's pretty cool.  So here's my thoughts on the flax seeds.  First of all, it's got so many goodies in it.  Obviously it's got the omega-3's, which I want to mention a few things about, which is so important.  Omega-3 is pretty close to an anti-depressant.  But flax seed is also an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant, which is related to their effect on depression.  Soluble fiber, anti-hypertensive.  This is omega-3 that I'm so interested in.

Ben:  A quick question about omega-3's.  Because I know that DHA is of course the long chain fatty acid that can be made from ALA, which you find in flax seed, and that's manufactured by all plants.  It's a short-chain omega-3 fatty acid that eventually winds up becoming a long chain fatty acid in the body.  But is DHA synthesis, from an alpha linoleic acid, like an ALA, source, such as flax seed, compared to a direct or more concentrated DHA source, like let's say, fish, is that sufficient or have they shown that there is a sufficient supply in that to supply the adult brain with DHA?  Or I suppose a children's brain with DHA.  Like that's one thing that I've found, kind of the research seems to go back and forth on it.  I'm curious to hear your perspective on that.  ALA conversion to DHA, and the amount to which that occurs, and whether we get enough from something like, say, flax seed or a plant-based source.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Well, this has been very confusing to me.  And just a couple of years ago, there were some studies that sort of summarized some other studies and contributed additional information about this, and it looks to me, like the research would indicate, there's no question that you can make sufficient EPA and DHA from ALA in a certain diet that has enough of the ALA, which I think is about, this data comes from the National Academy of Sciences, but I'm not sure it's correct, 1.6 grams per day for men, 1.1 grams per day for women of ALA is the essential omega-3 that then can make EPA and DHA, the DHA is made in the liver.  DHA is then transported across the blood-brain barrier, and it is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid that the brain uses.  But if you get your ALA, your home good.  But why do that?  Why not just eat fish?  Well, here's the problem as I see it.  First of all, wild caught fish, you have the toxic POCs, persistent organic pollutants, dioxins, pesticides, BCDs, heavy metals, mercury, lead, cadmium.  Farm raised is low in omega-3's.  You don't usually have algae, which the omega-3's come from.  Fish don't eat that, so you don't have it in farm raised.  They use, a lot of times, most of you are eating farm raised or wild caught.

And research, at least from my standpoint, for cognitive emotional health, does not indicate that increasing your fish in your diet has a very strong relation to improvement in mood.  And these were studies done in Japan where the highest consumption of a certain type of fish.  Okay, then what about fish oil supplements?  Well, my understanding is that the omega-3's in fish oil supplements are rather unstable and they decompose, and they actually unleash free radicals.  So it's a little problematic getting omega-3 from fish sources, wild caught, farm raised, or fish oil.  What about flax seeds then?  One tablespoon and you're good to go.  But this bring up a bigger question, Ben…

Ben:  Is that, by the way, is that one tablespoon ground or is that one tablespoon whole?

Dr. Aiken:  It's ground.  And that's a problem because you can't eat whole of flax seed.  They just kind of go through there really hard, you chew some, but I put them either in my coffee grinder or I just throw in my high speed Vitamix every morning.  And I use these little packets.  I can put it on salads and oatmeal in the morning.  It's kind of nutty, it doesn't taste bad…

Ben:  Yeah.  And I think it's interesting because this debate does go back and forth.  I delved into the research a little bit and some of the more relevant and recent research, you highlight in the book a particularly study called “Is docosahexanoic acid synthesis from alpha linolenic acid sufficient to supply the adult brain?”  This appeared in the Progress and Lipid Research Journal.  I actually went through and I read that entire study, and I found it pretty interesting in that they found that concentrations of DHA in the human adult brain were similar when you compared DHA intake and ALA intake.  I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the total quantity that they used in this study of this alpha linoleic acid, but you're saying it's close to the equivalent of about one to two tablespoons of like a ground flax seed source?

Dr. Aiken:  Yes.

Ben:  Okay.  What I'm going to do, if people want to delve into that study, 'cause I know plenty of folks want to kind of  read the research, I know we have lots of nerdy listeners, I'll link to that study in the show notes if you want to dive in and take a look at that because I found it fascinating.  Now one thing I should throw out there is that, and I don't know how you feel about this Dr. Aiken, but in the same way that fish oil, if you consume like rancid, heated, oxidized fish oil, which much of it is, you can make the same error with seed oils too, like heated seed oils, oxidized seed oils.  So you'd want to be careful with your flax in the same way that you'd want to be careful with your fish oil.  I mean I actually threw out an entire bottle, I think it was about a $60 bottle of fish oil last night because it was a fermented cod liver oil and it was in the refrigerator on the lower shelf which is where my children's supplements are and have been taking a fermented cod liver oil, but I noted that the cap had come off and it had been, for the few days I was out of town, getting exposed to light, and heat, and oxidation.  And as much as it pained me to do it, I threw it out 'cause I know taking a bad, rancid oxidized fish oil is worse for you than not taking fish oil at all.  So I tossed it and told my kids, “Next time, make sure you keep the fish oil cold and keep the lid on it.”  But I'll link to this article in the show notes.  I know we've been going for a little while, and I really really want to make sure that we get a chance to talk about your super smoothie recipe, 'cause I know you're a real smoothie guy, man after my own heart.  And so, I know we've had a little bit of a build-up to this, but can you go into your super smoothie recipe?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I kind of make some highlights on this.  Yeah, you're right.  I'm a smoothie guy.  When I make smoothies, first of all, I'm making them for maximum health.  I don't call them “God smoothies”, but it's kind of like that.  I mean the Qualia pill, or set of pills, they just have so much stuff in 'em.  It's kind of like a shotgun, maybe some of them will hit and do something good, and there's some danger on that too because from an evolutionary standpoint, we didn't have 25 different ingredients in that one swallow.  But nevertheless, I agree with the experimentation, as long as you're not obviously putting any toxic food as one of the elements.  So what I do on my smoothies, most every morning, not every morning but most every morning is I first get stuff from the fridge that is beginning to get old and doesn't look good, and maybe doesn't taste quite as good because I can put them into my smoothie and I can kind of camouflage it.  But I'm…

Ben:  You're not talking about fungus and mold, you're just talking about maybe the parsley that might be close to getting to turn but is not yet smelly?

Dr. Aiken:   The tomatoes that are kind of mealy…

Ben:  Yeah.  I'm kind of the same way.  I'm almost like the garbage compactor when it comes with the smoothies.  I rummage through the fridge for all the stuff that probably isn't going to last much longer.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Now actually I prepare, sometimes about 12 of these in advance, 12 of these smoothies and put them in an evacuated bag and then put them in the freezer.  But typically I'll begin with, of course, the lemon or lime, quartered.  Usually quarter it, but put the whole thing, the rind and everything in with ice and start that, get that all ready.  And then I'll put in my green leafy vegetables, one of the most important ingredients for me, and it's hard to get down a leafy vegetable that is bitter.  I don't like them, personally.  In fact, my smoothie, I don't really care what it tastes like.  I'm just going to, I mean if it tastes bad, it's like, “Wow.  This must be good for me,” like medicine.

Ben:  That's why I keep a tiny little bottle of organic butterscotch stevia and organic vanilla stevia in my fridge.  I use this company Omica Organics, and I've found that with a little bit of sea salt and a little bit of stevia, I can turn just about any failed smoothie experiment into a tasty little surprise.  That's my hack.

Dr. Aiken:  I know if my wife or someone else is going and want to sample this or have for breakfast, I'll pay more attention to that.  Usually just adding dates, dates are fantastic but very high in sugar…

Ben:  Yeah.  That's why I use the stevia.

Dr. Aiken:  Yep, yep.  So I may think that's fair enough.  And then I usually have, as backup, I've got bags of organic broccoli, cruciferous vegetables, carrots, zucchini, and all these berries of various types, red, dark colored and various colored berries.  I always put that in to the mixture.  Always my little heaping tablespoon of flax seed, maybe two.  Usually turmeric and a couple pinches of a ground pepper to make the bioavailability better.

Ben:  Yeah.  I'm a huge fan of that.  And you add turmeric and black pepper, not only are you making that, you've added to that smoothie more bioavailable, but you'd be surprised.  Turmeric and black pepper don't taste that bad even in like a morning, you'd think it'd almost be too savory, too much like visiting an Indian or a Thai restaurant for a morning smoothie, but I find I barely taste it, I've been adding both turmeric and black pepper to a morning smoothie just to get the most out of all those goodies I'm putting into the smoothie jar and it doesn't really seem to affect the flavor deleteriously at all.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Well, this is where actual, I think, recipes can come in handy.  If you go over the line a little bit too much with one or two ingredients, then it can affect the flavor inversely, or positively.  But I don't care.  I just want to make this thing like a “God smoothie”.  And this is where the “God smoothie” comes in.  I have in the glass jars, lined up, I don't know, a dozen glass jars full of stuff I know that's good.  I have some reason for it, and I've written each one in the book.  Some are recovery-type of antioxidants, some are good for various standpoints.  I do this, I try to work out every morning, and this is my kind of post-workout drink too.  But then I had this biohack that I do all day of rather than flooding yourself with goodness, I'll take some pretty good swallows.  And then during the day, I will take a swallow between patients and just kind of like have a long-acting nutritious meal throughout the day.  So my system…

Ben:  Now that is actually something that I don't do.  And the reason for that is, and there's actually a pretty recent article about this, how circadian rhythms tend to be optimized, and I'll put a link to this one in the show notes.  By the way, the show notes, everybody, it's at bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.  This study that recently came out in 2017 actually about time restricted feeding, and about eliminating like frequent fluctuations in blood sugar, or constantly kind of like getting little snacks in here and there, it goes into how that tends to sustain what they call in the study a robust circadian clock, which may prevent chronic disease and some characteristics of aging.  Basically what they found was a better timed circadian rhythm in people who ate right around in the range of two to three meals per day versus like erratic eating patterns, or grazing, or snacking.  And what I've tended to do based on that research is I have all my smoothie at once in the morning as like this big cue to my body, this big circadian rhythm cue to my body in the morning.  And then mostly, I've just been sipping teas and non-calorie based foods where I'm still getting antioxidants and some other components into my body, but not actual calories.  Based on this research and some previous research I've seen in terms of time-restricted feeding and avoiding, specifically, fluctuations and in blood sugar.  So I get where you're coming from with that, kind of like sipping it throughout the day, especially when you're busy, and you have patients, et cetera.  But I've adopted an opposite approach.  I've actually gotten this bandwagon where I'm just like eating anywhere from two to three times a day and spending very long periods of time in between meals.

Dr. Aiken:  Well, I want to read that.  It's something that I really haven't put into the equation.  And it would be nice to not have to drag around an 80 bottle cooler all day, which I do with my smoothie.  But the other thing that you need to take into consideration though is I used to kind of like these, particularly the bad tasting smoothies, bitter and what have you, I slam 'em.  I mean I just like chug 'em.  And I got to understand, “No, you kind of want to sip and swirl.”

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I eat mine with a spoon.  I eat my smoothie with a spoon and kind of chew it.   I chew my liquids.  I typically take, for like that morning smoothie, I take about a half hour.  And typically for me, I'm kind of going through some articles and catching up on reading stuff.  I try to avoid stressful activities like e-mail when I'm eating my foods.  But I'll read and things like that when I'm doing the morning smoothie.  In the book, you reveal not only your full smoothie recipe that you just went into, including of course the addition of the two, probably the two most important things I learned from you when I interviewed you earlier was the addition of ascorbic acid and the addition of ice to reduce the oxidation and the increased temperature that can occur when you blend.  So all my smoothies now, there's always at least a handful of ice in there.  There's always lemon and that's always at the bottom of the smoothie.

People will have to of course get your book to see this part, because I don't think we have a ton of time to go into it, but you have a really cool recipe for your Buddha bowl in there too.  And I have a giant mortar and pestle on my kitchen counter, and love your concept of crushing plants with the mortar and pestle.  If anybody has not experimented with taking a bunch of seeds and things like onions, and garlic, and even grains, especially grains that you've soaked or grains that you've sprouted and then just like pounding it to heck in a mortar and pestle, you're missing out on some pretty cool recipes that you can make.  And I love some of the ingredients that you're adding to yours, like the flax seeds, and the turmeric, and the black pepper.  So for those of you listening, check that out in the book.  But there was one of the thing that I wanted to, if you have the time Dr. Aiken, I wanted to squeeze in, and you were telling me right before we started recording, about sleep and this new kind of like sleep, I suppose you could call it a hack, not to overuse this word on today's show, that you were experimenting with.  Can you tell me what you've been doing in terms of sleep?

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  So I went on to a floating conference, “The Continuing Medical Education Conference on Women's Health”, and bunch of physicians were there.  And between the break, we're talking about what's the most, I don't know, kind of difficult to handle question that your patients give you.  And across the board, no matter what your specialty was in medicine, it was saying patients saying they can't sleep.  And I certainly have experienced that.  I mean it seems like nobody can sleep.  And so one of the individuals, one of the physicians there, a gynecologist said, “Well, have you heard of Alteril?”  Like alter-ill, A-L-T-E-R-I-L.  Alteril.  And I had not.  And this is over the counter, but I got some of this Alteril.  It's kind of expensive and it's kind of stinky, the pills were kind of large.  But if you can get past that, then, wow.  I tried this myself personally before I would give it to patients, and I've since given it to patients, and they've had quite some success.  But here's what happened.  First of all, it's kind of a mixture to of, nothing like God's pill, but it has the usual l-tryptophan, and glycine, and melatonin.  But it's got like skullcap herb, and chamomile herb, and passion flower herb, and some kind of top extract.  And…

Ben:  It sounds like lots of inhibitory neurotransmitter precursors.

Dr. Aiken:  Yes.  And, of course, it has my favorite l-theanine.  So this is my own experience.  You take this an hour before lights out, and then I try to get out of my head and meditate and get into the moment, and that kind of thing.  But what happens is I start, thoughts come into your head.  But rather than thoughts that are associated with what you did that day or what you should be doing the next day or something, they're arbitrary thoughts that have nothing to do with anything.  They could be shapes and almost visions.  And so you're sort of this hypnogogic state of hallucination, kind of like a dream wake state, which is really fascinating.  Actually it's what a lot of us experience just before sleep, but it's more prolonged.  You can kind of play with it a little bit.  But you know you're going to sleep.  So it's a sleep hack.  It's kind of a mind hack.  It's legal.  I mean I have no reason to believe that this has any negative effects.

Ben:  Yeah.  I'm looking at the ingredient label.  There's only a couple concerns I have.  It's got a huge number of magnesium stearate, and stearic acid, and silicone dioxide, and FD&C Yellow No. 5, and some things that would give me, like I like the basic ingredients, but all the fillers are kind of.  You know what I need to do is I need to send you some of this Sleep Remedy.  It's got a lot of similar things that Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy, it's basically vitamin D3, and magnesium, tryptophan, 5-HTP, and some phGABA, and microdoses of melatonin.  I swear by mixing that with just a couple capsules of CBD, or even like a couple pulls on like a CBD vape pen.  And it doesn't have some of these binders and fillers that have to be added to these capsules.  I'm looking at the ingredients and I like the ingredient list of this Alteril stuff, but I don't know if you've taken a look at the fillers.  That's my concern is like anytime I see like the yellows and the blues, I'm just like, “You know what?  I don't care if the tablet looks pretty.  You didn't have to add that into it.”  That's some of my concern.  But I'll tell you what, after the call, I'll get your address.  I'll drop a few packets of this sleep remedy in the mail over to you so you can try it out.  But it's called Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy, and man, I freaking swear by that stuff.  Even if you wake up at like 3 or 4 AM, you can take it and sleep 'til 6 and wake up and not be too drowsy.  This Alteril stuff though is interesting.  I'd wish they'd produce it with a little bit less of the fillers.  But obviously, when you look at the ingredients like l-tryptophan, and GABA, and valerian, and melatonin, you could pretty easily kind of like hack together your own version of this, I guess using some more like raw organic ingredients.  But that's interesting that you found it to be so effective.  It's good to know some of the ingredients actually work.

Dr. Aiken:  Yeah.  Maybe we can add these ingredients to your ingredients and make a “God's sleep hack”.

Ben:  Yeah.  I'm working quite a bit on some custom supplement formulations, new formulations for everything from testosterone, to sleep, to some really unique mixes that I haven't been able to find out there in the supplement industry that I've always wanted to make, and I'm finally pulling on my big boy pants from a business standpoint so to speak and going out to raw ingredient manufacturers, and actually you know, getting some of this stuff put together, rather than, I guess, heavily promoting other people's products, kind of trying to design my own spin on things.  And so, yeah.  That might very well be the case, that quite soon there'll be something coming down the line for sleep.  Anyways though, in the meantime I think we've given people plenty of brain food, or in this case a brain diet, and also a little bit of info on this book Neurodietetics, which is fantastic.  So if you're listening, I'm going to link to this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.  I've taken copious notes.  I'll link to Dr. Aiken's book, some of the previous episodes we've done, and articles from Dr. Aiken that have appeared on my site, some links to studies that we talked about such as circadian rhythms, and time-restricted feeding, and DHA synthesis from alpha linoleic acid, plenty more in there that you can go and have fun with if you're listening.  So again, that's all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/braindiet.  And in the meantime, Dr. Aiken, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man.  You're a wealth of information and I love your passion for using food to heal the body and the brain.

Dr. Aiken:  Well, I think I can diddle that.  I mean that's what you do, and I think there's something to be said for mental performance as well.  Sports psychology you know is important, but sports ecology, not just for energy but for mind-body synergism is another aspect of sports performance and mental performance.

Ben:  Absolutely.

Dr. Aiken:  I really appreciate being on your podcast.  I'm a regular listener and talk with you again soon.

Ben:  Cool, cool.  I hope so as well.  Keep doing what you're doing, man.  And for those of you listening in, I'm Ben Greenfeld along with Dr. Richard Aiken, the author of “Neurodietetics: Food For Flourising”, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.



A couple years ago, I released a podcast episode with Dr. Richard Aiken entitled “How Blenders Can Destroy Food, Why I Eat 20-25 Servings Of Vegetables Each Day, The Vegan-Paleo Debate & Much More

During the show, Dr. Aiken explained the potentially damaging effects of high-speed blending on food and referenced a recent experiment he performed on bananas.

Later, Dr. Aiken was kind enough to send me the complete results of that experiment, published in their full, scientifically nerdy details at “How To Biohack Your Green Smoothie (And Can High Speed Blenders Really Damage Your Food?)“.

Now, after publishing his new book “Neurodietetics: The dietary science of human flourishing“, Dr. Aiken is back. Dr. Aiken, MD, PhD, is a chemical engineer and physician, and studies how diet has a profound influence on our minds and how, using food, we can relieve suffering and possibly help reverse pathology.

He highlights in the book how – even if we don't have clinical signs or symptoms of physical, cognitive or emotional decline – we can achieve a profound state of mind-body wellness, eudaimonia – human flourishing with proper lifestyle choices. This book is about the science of mind flourishing through dietary choices that Aiken calls “neurodietetics”.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What exactly is Xenohormesis when it comes to consuming plants…[9:30]

-Why you should eat cucumbers that have been exposed to high amounts of heat, grapes grown in poor soil and water deprived turmeric…[19:00]

-The “Cinderella drug” you can find in plants that barely anybody knows about…[23:05]

-The hibiscus and green tea workout drink that Dr. Aiken considers to be a physical and mental performance game-changer…[38:00]

-The two crucial ingredients to add to a blender to “biohack” your smoothie and concentrate the antioxidants…[40:20]

-The single seed that Dr. Aiken recommends most highly for mental performance…[50:30]

-Why Ben threw out a 60 dollar bottle of liquid fish oil…[58:30]

-How to “rescue” any smoothie from tasting bad (even when you add the potent one-two combo of turmeric and black pepper)…[62:35]

-The brand new sleep hack Dr. Aiken has been experimenting with very successfully…[70:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Neurodietetics: The dietary science of human flourishing

My podcast on “Fit Vine Wine”

Lithium discussion with Kevin Rose

My article on “The God Pill”

How To Biohack Your Green Smoothie (And Can High Speed Blenders Really Damage Your Food?)

Organic green tea leaves

Organic hibiscus leaves

Study: Is docosahexaenoic acid synthesis from α-linolenic acid sufficient to supply the adult brain?

Omica Organics stevia

Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging

Alteril Sleep Aid

Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy



Ask Ben a Podcast Question

3 thoughts on “[Transcript] – How To Fix Your Brain And Biology With Plants: An Interview With Neurodietetics Author Richard Aiken On The Best Diet For The Brain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *