My Personal Biohack Stack for Optimized Brain Performance
As a professional biohacker, I am constantly asked: what’s your stack? The realist in me is hesitant to share, because I know that not every thing is for every body. But there is a lot of conventional wisdom in what I take on a daily basis, so there can be a little something for everybody here. Just to make sure I have all my readers with me here, a “stack” is defined simply as the different supplements I take every day. This list is the stack that has allowed me to have the brain energy and cognitive function that I need to kick all the ass I need to kick (and there’s a never-ending sea of ass to kick). It’s also had a radical side-effect in effortlessly resetting my metabolism to the equivalent of three racehorses, which led to a loss of 10% bodyfat without stepping foot in the gym. I know it sounds too good to be true, I had to see it to believe it myself. Now, I did make some substantial and permanent lifestyle changes in tandem with these supplements, so don’t think for one minute that a few pills will get you these kind of results alone—because they just won’t.
Head’s up to a new reader, I am the CMO of LifeVantage, a company with a goal to help people optimize their health today in order to live longer, healthier lives. So naturally, I do have a bias towards LifeVantage products. Let’s dive in…
My Morning Stack
- Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer (by LifeVantage). This is a patented formula clinically proven to reduce oxidative stress in humans 40% in 30 days by activating the Nrf2 pathway in the body. I know a lot of you probably haven’t heard about the Nrf2 pathway, but every biohacker is working to put their oxidative stress into check, and the Nrf2 pathway is hands down the best way to do it because it turns on your own body’s mechanism to remediate oxidative stress. Nothing else even comes close. It’s best to take with food, which is why I take it along with the rest of my morning stack. Protandim is made from five ingredients that work synergistically together, all powerhouses with loads of research and cultural proof of their anti-aging properties in each of their own rights: Milk Thistle, Bacopa, Ashwagandha, Green Tea, and the hipster’s current obsession du-jour, the mighty mighty Tumeric. By synergistic I mean that the Nrf2 activation benefit is greater than the sum of each ingredient when in the right ratio of Protandim’s proprietary formula. I like to take Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer with food for better absorption, which is why I like to take it in the morning with the rest of my morning stack.
- PhysIQ® Probio (by LifeVantage). Your microbiome in your gut is often referred to as your second brain because of the direct impact it has to your brain. The research here is getting more compelling by the day. In fact, I have read some experts call the gut microbiome an organ, which blew my mind when I first heard it. I had to put down my book and go find my wife so I could share this incredible information. Naturally, a probiotic supplement in order to support the healthy ratio of all the good bugs you need for optimized health is a must if you’re going to optimize your brain.
- Magnesium L-Threonate. An often overlooked essential mineral, it’s estimated that up to 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. That’s a staggering number when you consider everything that Magnesium helps support in your body: Activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis, and is even a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin. In the words of Ron Burgandy, It’s kind of a big deal. It’s the mitochondrial support factors that I am personally interested in here. For the record, I take 2000 mg everyday.
- Bulletproof Coffee with Collagen Peptides. If you would have told me a decade ago that coffee would be a major part of my daily routine, I would have laughed in your face. I grew up in a household where coffee was a religious no-no. I never even tasted it until I was in my thirties, and my initial reaction was one of complete disgust. I also have a really high tolerance for caffeine, so I don’t get the same caffeine benefit that most people get from coffee. It was simple math, really. Bad taste + no caffeine benefit = not for Ryan’s belly. But after reading about all the other benefits from David Asprey’s invention of Bullet Proof coffee, I felt like a would be remiss to at least give it a shot. Hot damn, I am so glad I did. The way this makes me feel for hours on end is a game changer for me. The Brain Octane oil, grass fed butter, and coffee beans without the mitochondrial-inhibiting micotoxins from mold (which, by the way, are found more prevalently in American coffee than any other food source thanks to the lack of regulations from our government) blended along with the collagen peptides are the perfect answer to my energy issues. If you haven’t tried it before, do yourself a favor and give it a shot this week with Dave’s instructions here.
My Evening Stack
- Omega+ (by LifeVantage) The standard american diet has lead to a massive skew of the appropriate ratio of healthy fats in the body. Ideally, we should have a one-to-one ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in the blood, whereas most Americans have a six-to-one ratio. Wow! Considering that a third of the brain’s weight is Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acid, this off-balance ratio is something that everyone should be concerned with improving. Research shows that supplementing with DHA fish oil can help support healthy neurogenesis in adults. That means you can create more brain cells, yes please! When it comes to fish oil, though, you need to be careful. It can oxidize really easily and become harmful, believe you me, no one wants rancid fish oil. A lot of cheaper brands sold in the US are oxidized, so you’ll want to make sure that your Omega-3 supplement is coming from a company that you trust and that can be traced from boat to bottle. I take around 1000 mg of DHA/EPA everyday, and LifeVantage’s formula comes with the added Vitamin D3 and Omega-7. DHA is an important ingredient to the brain’s restoration efforts while you sleep, which is why I like to take this one in the evening a couple hours before I go to bed.
- Protandim NRF1 Synergizer (by LifeVantage). If you are looking to supercharge your brain, then you are going to be minding your mitochondria pretty much every waking (and sleeping for that matter) moment. You may remember the term “powerhouse of the cell” from high school biology class. Every cell in your body has these little guys to produce cellular energy, the ATP that I was talking about earlier. The NRF1 pathway is the fastest way to enhance the healthy function of your precious mitochondria. Protandim NRF1 Synergizer uses synergistic ingredients just like Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer in order to to get a more activated pathway than the separate ingredients alone. It’s used to improve performance through optimized cellular energy production, enhance your cellular health, promote better sleep and cellular repair, and even boost mitochondria production and their ability to network. That’s right, your mitochondria actually talk to each other! Fun fact, outside of the ovaries, your brain has the highest concentration of mitochondria per cell than any other part of your body. You brain also uses about 25% of your body’s total cellular energy. It naturally follows that a supercharged brain starts with giving your mitochondria what they need in order to perform at their best, which is exactly what this product is all about. Because this also helps promote restorative sleep, I take this a couple hours before I plan on hitting the sack as well.
Sometimes I need an extra cognitive edge—like before an important board meeting or a big presentation in front of thousands of people. When I really need a boost of cognitive kick-assity, I have a few arrows in my quiver to give me that extra punch.
My ‘When Needed’ Additions
- Unfair Advantage (by Bulletproof). The perfect blend of nootropic ingredients CoQ10 and Active PQQ with a little bit of Brain Octane Oil. The result is clean, focused energy that the company calls “feeling on your game.” I don’t use it all the time—but when I need my own awesomeness times two—I reach for Unfair Advantage.
- AXIO (by LifeVantage). Also a nootropic, AXIO is Nrf2 activated with 100 mg of caffeine to boot. AXIO is a powder that comes in a convenient stick pack, so I can pour it right into any water bottle wherever I’m at, give it a good shake, and then let the deliciousness give me extra concentration, energy, and focus for the next 4–5 hours. This one is also I not a daily product for me, but I do take 5 or 6 just about every week to keep my performance running in top gear. AXIO comes in a few flavors, if you were wondering I am a Sour Cherry kind of guy myself. Oh yeah, if you would prefer AXIO without the extra caffeine, AXIO Decaf has only 15mg.
Just like I said, not every thing is for every body. The key to becoming a biohacker is experimenting with yourself and building your awareness of what is working and not working for you. Now that you know what works for me, I would love to hear what works for you!