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Podcast #112 - What A Biohacker Can Teach Us About Optimizing Brain Function | Gregory Kelly, ND 

The Science of Self-Healing Hosted by
Dr. Sharon Stills With Gregory Kelly, ND

About Gregory Kelly, ND

Gregory Kelly is Director of Product Development at Neurohacker Collective, naturopathic physician (N.D.), and author of the book Shape Shift. He was the editor of the journal Alternative Medicine Review and has been an instructor at the University of Bridgeport in the College of Naturopathic Medicine, where he taught classes in Advanced Clinical Nutrition, Counseling Skills, and Doctor-Patient Relationships. Dr. Kelly has published hundreds of articles on natural medicine and nutrition, contributed three chapters to the Textbook of Natural Medicine, and has more than 30 journal articles indexed on Pubmed. His areas of expertise include nootropics, anti-aging and regenerative medicine, weight management, sleep and the chronobiology of performance and health.

Episode Highlights With Gregory Kelly, ND

  • The NeuroHacker Collective started in 2015 offering education, supplements, and effective biohacking strategies for upgrading brain performance, with the ultimate goal of creating a better world. They are always connecting with expert thinkers in the field of neuroscience to optimize brain performance. 

  • The NeuroHacker Collective offers a product called Qualia, which is a nootrophic blend that supports optimal brain function.

  • Our brain is just a voracious consumer of energy - consuming somewhere between 20 and 25% of all the energy that our cells burn through in the day. And so it's also the weak link. When energy is somewhat depleted, the brain is typically the most affected.

  • When mental energy is depleted people can become irritable and edgy. The best solution is to recharge the brain. Recharging allows a shift of resources in the brain to those from where they weren't used, to where they are now exhausted. A huge part of brain performance is energy, resources, and opportunity to recharge.

  •  Neuroscientists call recharging “attention restoration”, and to recharge the brain it is best to do something completely different than what our brain was doing before we took the break. 

  • Today our attentional system is way overloaded in a much narrower way than we would have evolutionarily evolved. Brains today are overloaded with stressors, and it is important to reduce these. Ruminating over things is an indicator that the brain is overloaded. 

  • Essential nutrients such as DHA and Phosphatidylserine (PS) are important for brain functioning, and egg yolks contain both of these.

  • Neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and dopamine are also critical for focus, concentration, and memory. Acetylcholine or alpha-GPC are the two most nootropic forms of choline. Acetylcholine helps our brain with the neuroplasticity that reshapes the brain's landscape to make us more expert in something.

  • Dopamine responses have played a role in our evolution by reinforcing a behavior to be repeated.

  • The only way to really reset the dopamine system is to spend a lot of time away from activities which are so rewarding. 

  • One habit biohackers and high-performance people do is that they don't start their day on their phone or social media. They'll complete tasks and other activities before they'll check their phone. 

  • Attention can be compromised in two ways: boredom or lethargy and when the brain is going too fast and struggles to focus. The frazzled brain responds well to supplements such as astragalus and Bacopa, while the boredom brain does better with food sources of L-Dopa, such as fava beans and mucuna extract, which is the immediate precursor to dopamine. Offering games or challenges are also effective ways of encouraging motivation.

  • The gut microbiota plays a significant role in shaping the brain and our behaviors. The gut-brain axis is a complex network of connections involving multiple biological systems that allow bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. Here are the key components of the gut-brain axis: Vagus Nerve: There is a direct connection between the gut and the brain via the vagus nerve. About 90% of the traffic between the gut and the brain goes from the gut to the brain, while 10% goes the other way. Enteric Nervous System: The enteric nervous system, often referred to as the "second brain," lines the gut. It is responsible for keeping the digestive process going, even if the vagus nerve is severed. Immune System: The immune system also plays a role in the gut-brain axis. It is estimated that 60 to 70% of the body's immune system is located in the gut. Gut Microbiota: The gut microbiota refers to the community of microorganisms that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. These microorganisms produce a variety of metabolites that can influence brain function and behavior.

  • All the same neurotransmitters our brain uses to communicate, the gut microbiota uses as well. About 50% of the dopamine, and about 90% of the serotonin in our body is made in the gut.

  • There was a 12-week study conducted on the probiotic, LactoSpore, involving participants with both gastrointestinal (GI) issues and mood issues. The study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of the probiotic strain for major depressive symptoms and irritable bowel syndrome. The results of the study concluded that the GI issues corrected quicker than the mood issues. The study suggests that working on the gut through the use of the probiotic may lead to improvements in mood, but it may take about 12 weeks to see significant changes.

  • Mood disorders, memory, and cognition decline with aging. There's definitely a leakiness aspect to the blood-brain barrier.

  • There's a thousand different species of bacteria in the gut in just a single human, and thousands across the human population. One such species of bacteria, Akkermansia, is considered a keystone species since it has make a significant impact on the structure and functioning of the gut ecosystem and is currently receiving much attention for it's health benefits. 

  • Akkermansia prevents leaky gut by reshaping the microvilli and sending compounds that help seal that gut. So by supporting the growth and abundance of Akkermansia, it's possible to prevent or reverse leaky gut. 

  • The Neurohacker connection offers a psychobiotic (supporting the brain and gut) supplemental gut brain product called Qualia Symbiotic and it's a combination of lactospore along with two other spore-based probiotics. 

  • Prebiotics are fundamentally the food supply for the gut microbiota and are very important too. Sunfiber and baobab are two important prebiotics. 

  • Postbiotics (the abiotic element of an ecosystem) are also important for the immune system.

  • In aging, senescent cells, "zombie cells", start to linger and over time accumulate and can cause nearby cells to become senescent too. This can result in inflammation. 

  • Senolytic compounds help to remove senescent cells.

  • Dr. Kelly leaves you with the message to be kind and generous to each other. :)

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