Episode # 99 Dave Asprey, Biohacker, Anti Aging And Health Advocate

Dave AspreyIn this week’s episode, we talk with Bulletproof biohacker Dave Asprey about a whole host of health topics. Find out how you can get your own health back on track, and what might be making that quest a whole lot harder. How can you make biohacking work for you, and start to reduce your need for conventional medicine? Take control of your own health and discover what makes your system perform at its best.

Dave Asprey is the author of New York Times’ bestseller ‘The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life’. He is also the founder of Bulletproof Coffee. We discuss how the Bulletproof system works and the difference it can make to your health. Learn more about finding foods which change your hunger hormones and your energy levels -as well as reducing inflammation.

We also take a look at the effects of toxic mold in your home, and how the conditions they cause can upset a person’s metabolism, energy levels and more. Have your property tested to ensure mold isn’t affecting your health – see the link below for details.

Further reading:

Take a look at Dave Asprey’s site here
Visit Moldy Movie, and discover more about the ERMI test

Twitter: @bulletproofexec
Facebook: /asprey.net

Order your copy of The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

MELISSA: Welcome, Dave. Thanks so much for taking time to be on the program today.

DAVE: Happy to be here.

MELISSA: Dave, when I met you a few years ago, you were one of the only people I think I’ve ever met who had so many major health issues that were overcome. I think you had, I probably wouldn’t get them all but you had arthritis, you had thyroid problems, you had Lyme disease, mold poisoning and you’re overweight, all these things, but you were able to-

DAVE: I also had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

MELISSA: That’s on the end of the list, yeah.

DAVE: Okay.

MELISSA: And when I met you, of course, you had overcome these and it was sort of amazing because you look like the picture of health. You look like this guy in great shape and everything was going great. But you basically “biohacked” your way out of these things and these are not minor things to overcome and I can speak from having some of those myself and gotten way better from them. I feel a lot of the tips of the things you’ve done but can you explain exactly what Biohacking is and how you applied it to these major issues in your health?

DAVE: Sure. Biohacking is not as complex as it sounds. A hacker finds a system that they wanna have control over and then they take control using any means necessary. So Biohacking is the art of changing the environment around you or the environment inside you so that you have control of your body. And the reason it works is that your body doesn’t really listen to what you want. In fact, it’s not really wired to do that. It listens to the world around you. And since you now have control of the world around you using technology and just using choices that you can get the body to listen to that even if it won’t listen to you. So that’s kind of the backdoor that lets you in to have control of your biology. And control could mean recovering from chronic autoimmune conditions. It could also mean just looking really good or having tons of energy or not aging as quickly or growing a third leg, if that’s really what you’re into.

So you’re in charge. You decide what matters. And it may be different for different people but the idea that there is a pathway for you to have more control than Mother Nature really meant for you to have, and let’s do that.

MELISSA: And what actually made you sort of step back from conventional medicine? Was it just answers weren’t coming for you from your physicians or what was that moment when you said this just isn’t gonna work. I can’t get any sicker or I can’t continue down this path.

DAVE: There are a couple of things that really come to mind. There is a time after I had three knee surgeries before I was 23 and I said, “You know, I’ll never gonna let this happen again.” Actually, I only had two knee surgeries because the end of the story is I had a third one. But after two knee surgeries, I spent 18 months working out for an hour and a half a day six days a week. I cut my calories, cut my fat, and I was like I’m gonna be so strong and so healthy that I’m just never gonna have another knee surgery. That was too painful. And then after this, the very first time I trusted myself to go out and do something that might be risky on my knees, I played laser tag, of all the dumb things, and I blew the anterior cruciate ligament after 18 months of working out all this time. And I was just like, “This sucks.” And it’s not fair, I put all my effort into this. That was part of it.

And then, I started paying different attention to my diet because I just realized that eating less and working out more just hadn’t made me thinner and it hadn’t made me stronger. It had made more resilient. And I was a little frustrated that I still was fat even after all that exercise. But when I fast forward a couple of years, I moved into a house that it turns out had toxic mold, didn’t know it, and I started gaining weight again and I started getting really profound fatigue and brain fog. And as it went, it was scary and I went to the doctor about it a couple of times. And the first time he said, “Maybe you should lose some weight.” And I’m like, “Really? You think?” It’s like telling a fat person they’re fat. They’re like, “Yeah, I kinda have a mirror. I knew that.” And he said, “Well, maybe you should eat healthy.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I tried that. It doesn’t work.” And he said, “No, you didn’t. You obviously didn’t. You weren’t trying hard enough otherwise it would have worked,” which is a complete vicious lie that most fat people believe.” And then I told him that vitamin C made me feel better. And he looked at me, he got scared and he said, “You have to stop. Three grams of vitamin C, like that’s so much it could kill you.” And this is absurd. And I said, “What about Linus Pauling who won two Nobel prizes and took 90 grams a day, not 3 grams a day?” And this doctor didn’t know who Linus Pauling was. And said, “Linus who?” And I just looked at him and said, “You’re fired.” And I walked out. I never paid. They sent two collections and I said “Services weren’t rendered. Sorry guys.” Okay, maybe that was kind of a punk angry 20-year-old, 20’s kind of thing to do, but it really did motivate me. And for the next four years, I didn’t see any doctors because I’m like, “These guys have nothing for me.” And it turns out I didn’t understand what is now called functional medicine or orthomolecular medicine. I didn’t understand that there were doctors who study these kind of things.

And it was actually through the Life Extension Foundation, one of the oldest groups looking at anti-aging, they have a list of alternative doctors. A very long time ago, I looked at this list and I found one near me and I went in and I said, “I have one of these seven conditions and I want this test from this lab and this treatment protocol if it’s that one.” And I basically mapped out massive amounts of functional medicine. And she just kind of looked at me and was like, “Well, would you mind if we started, you know, if I prioritize the list based on what I know?” And I’m like, “Alright. Fine.” And she said, “Yeah, you have Lyme disease.” And I did have an active case of Lyme disease. But I also had toxic mold at the same time and a bunch of other stuff. So we worked through it all. And I found that if I’d been less stubborn and had sought out the right kind of care provider, I probably could have saved some money and probably could have had faster results. At the same time, my story is so difficult. The people who have multi-symptom weird things, which is way more people than even know it, they just think it’s normal. But they go to the doctor and doctors are generally taught, if you have more than three or four symptoms, you’re pretty much crazy. And maybe Prozac could be the right treatment for you.

MELISSA: Yes. That’s a big one.

DAVE: Yeah. And it’s completely not true. And one of the things that was most vindicating for me in this whole experience was when I was filming “Moldy,” my documentary about toxic mold.

MELISSA: Yeah, I wanna talk about that in just a sec.

DAVE: Cool. There’s a physician I interview in there and she says this exact thing, “Oh yeah, if someone comes in with 10 symptoms, you know they’re crazy.” And I start having 10 symptoms. And then I’m like, “I must be crazy.” But then, my temperature was elevated so I knew I wasn’t crazy. So we biopsied every organ in my body and still nothing happened. And I’m like I just had this little, like inner smile to myself like, wow. This sort of in a position, heal thyself kind of thoughts because there are lots of people who are actually sick and there are also some hypochondriacs who are crazy. But I think the people who are actually sick are the majority in hypochondriacs so the minority.

MELISSA: Yeah. And that give you the calming medicine is so typical. I’ve had that a number of times back in the day before they wised up. But I want you to just touch on for a minute and then we’re gonna jump—I wanna go over the mold thing because I think that’s super important and right when you were getting ready, I think you were talking about doing that. I had ignored a bunch of things in the past and it turned out that some of the things may have been affecting me as well. But I wanna—because you did a lot of testing and continue to do I think blood work and tests and allergy things. What did you find to be the value of some of those tests? I found it from my own point of view, but you had so much more wrong with you, so I’d like to hear it from you. But from my point of view, it was invaluable for me to do like the WellnessFX, a big panel, because it showed me right in front of myself how bad things were and then the improvement when I redid them three months – six months later. Also, it was like right there in a graph in front of me and it was so helpful and so mentally supporting of what I was doing.

DAVE: Well, there’s two big values for doing testing. One of them is you know where you are. And so, like okay, it’s motivational just to see like, “Yikes, I kind of have to work on that.” But the other one is that when you do something, you often times have no idea if it works. So “oh, I exercise, oh I change what I’m eating,” or “I took some supplements,” or “I did whatever intervention I decided was most important. I started meditating.” But I didn’t know if I did it right or if I made a difference. So seeing data before and after both validates that the effort you’re putting into it worked but it also gives you sense of control. And it’s the sense of control that’s really important. When you’re like, “Oh, I’m unhealthy. I’m trying to be healthy and it doesn’t seem like it’s working. I don’t have control.” And if you don’t have control, you’re powerless. When you see the data, even for the first time before you’ve seen the results of your efforts, now at least you know you have something that’s not subjective, it’s objective. It’s real. And that takes something out of “I’m a failure. I didn’t try hard enough,” to “There’s a quantifiable problem, now I have control over the quantification of that problem and I’m gonna fix it.”

MELISSA: Yeah. I mean, that’s so true and I hope people pick up on that because, like I said, I looked at a really bad blood panel when I first got going. Really, I thought it was an insurmountable mountain to get over. And as what struck me was how quickly within 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, what doctors had said was can’t be recovered from in terms of liver and fatty liver and all these things, just boom, the results were from red to green and like probably faster than I realized. I should have done the tests sooner. And the doctor was like, “What? What’s going on here?” And I’m like, “Yeah. So I guess I won’t be needing those handfuls of medicines for that.”

DAVE: There are lots of people whose doctors are saying, “What you just did to your fatty liver isn’t possible, especially given what your diet looks like.” You can’t eat fat and get rid of fatty liver. And it’s like you can’t not eat fat and get a fatty liver in my world.

MELISSA: Yeah, so it was so funny because that was one of the things as like, “What are you eating?” And that was before I started to work with my performance doctor who said, “Oh yeah, that’s fine. What you’re doing is fine.” But it was like, “No, that can’t be working. Definitely can’t be working.” I’m like, “Well, there is the blood work. It says it’s totally reversed here so I guess it’s working for me.” But something that I wanted to touch on too is you made a whole movie—financed, I believe by yourself out of your own pocket—about mold and mold poisoning and exposure to mold and how that can definitely make you crazy make a whole bunch of things happen to you but you don’t realize it’s a real insidious situation, particularly for people who live in parts of the country that may have older houses or older construction and things have gotten wet over time or in the South areas, or just anywhere basically. But talk a little bit about why—you had mold poisoning yourself and recovered from it—why you went great guns on that project?

DAVE: Well, 1 in 4 people, roughly 28% of the population has genes that make them almost permanently disabled when they’re exposed to water damaged buildings that have toxic mold in them. This is huge and this is a global phenomenon. It’s not limited to one race or anything like that. So given that and the fact that according to the people in the movie and my own experience, at least half and maybe as high as 80% of buildings have water damage because we build buildings out of cardboard and we don’t follow proper building techniques, mostly to save money. What we have here is this huge epidemic and mold in these places, for everyone, contributes to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. And for this 1 in 4 people, it basically makes you have symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. And it triggers autoimmunity. It gives you gluten sensitivity that you didn’t have before. It gives you allergies to foods like milk you didn’t have before. It gives you thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and it directly damages your mitochondria, it produces excess estrogen, it is one of the biggest contributors to cancer out there.

So you look at all this and people don’t know it and like, “Oh yeah, my basement smells a little funky, but I put my home office down there and then I gained 30 pounds and my life was never the same again and I don’t know why.” And I literally had this conversation with a really, really gifted person three days ago and she’s like, “Oh my god. I never put two and two together.” Yes, and here’s how you can feel better in about four or five days because if you understand that neurotoxins that are circulating in the air around you when you breathe them, that they stick to the fat in your nervous system, and then they make you feel crappy and you realize you can get rid of those, all of a sudden, these huge crowds, like hundreds of millions of people who are running at half their potential, it’s not that hard to fix it if you know it’s a problem. And if you decide that I’m gonna live in a house without condensation inside the walls that’s driving black mold to grow. And it’s one of these things that’s so big that no one talks about it. It’s bigger than asbestos. It’s bigger than a lot of other pollution things because they didn’t have to be a toxic spill. There was just a little bit of moisture in the wrong place and then a week later there’s black mold growing and it’s putting out things that are directly poisonous to all humans, and like that’s bad and no one knows that’s why I did it.

MELISSA: Yeah. And what do you recommend that people? Is there a preferred test or any kind of other than looking, turning the walls out, looking around for that you can do to determine if you might have some hidden mold some place?

DAVE: Yeah. There’s a test called “ERMI” and it stands for environmental relative mold index. People can get it at home through a company called www.MyERMI.com, or you can—and the preferred way is actually go to a local mold inspector who offers ERMI tests. And if you have someone in your area like that, go ahead and do it. But for people who don’t have that, there’s the option to do it at home. And what you do is you suck some air through a little special filter in the house and outside the house. And you compare the numbers. I had this done in a house where I was living and the levels of—I believe this was penicillium, one of the toxic molds in the kitchen were 88 times higher than they were outside. It was a pretty clear sign that that leak under the dishwasher that was there for a couple of years before we found it was creating the thing that was making me sick. In fact, it was making my whole family sick.

So stuff like that is—wait, when I say “sick,” it’s not like, it’s just one thing. It’s like, well, your risk of pneumonia goes up dramatically, chronic sinusitis that won’t go away, you can almost always find mold in the buildings where someone with chronic sinusitis lives. You have joint paint, you wake up feeling groggy and fatigued, and you have massive PMS. And it’s just like stuff doesn’t work the way it used to. Well, unfortunately, that’s what happens when you get these sneaky poisons that directly affect your cells.

MELISSA: Yeah, well, we’ll put a link in the show notes to the tests, the type of tests you’ve talked about and also to your—is the movie still partially on YouTube, or…?

DAVE: It’s on www.MoldyMovie.com.

MELISSA: Okay, www.MoldyMovie.com.

DAVE: And it shouldn’t be on YouTube. If so, it’s a bootleg copy. And I’m not charging very much for it but I’m really hoping to get the large investment back. Yeah, like it’s far under water but the way I look at this every time someone sees a movie, there’s two goals for it: one is so that people who have these symptoms can see this and go, “Oh, now I know what to do. There’s hope for me and there’s about a dozen people whose lives have been really seriously altered, who’ve come back from this or in it.” And there’s also about a dozen practitioners. But the real other thing that’s important is if someone sees the movie, if you look to your left and your right, the odds are very high that one of those people has the genes that make them kind of canaries for this kind of stuff. And you’ll see it all around you in terms of people. And one of the things that normally happen since it sounds like you’ve experienced some of this too is people say you’re crazy when you have all these symptoms.

Well, there is no physician out there, no care provider who can look at this and say, “Oh, people are just crazy.” There’s a lot of times where people get divorced because of toxic mold. One partner gets sick, the other partner doesn’t get sick, and says the other partner is just whining all the time and they’re tired, they can’t get out of bed. And they’re whining, and you know, this isn’t fun. And the fact that both people are getting sick by it, but it was at a different rate isn’t apparent maybe until many years later. So now, people who don’t have the symptoms can understand people do and people who do have the symptoms can understand what caused it, and that’s kind of what should be goes for it.

MELISSA: Yeah. And like I said, it can be very—if it’s hidden somewhere and you don’t realize it, you’re just continuing to get exposed if you’re susceptible and unless you know what to look for, you’re gonna have difficulty. So definitely, people, we’ll put links in the show notes so they can check it out and link to the www.MoldyMovie.com where they can look at the movie all the way through.

Now, this dovetails perfectly into you have written a few books, but your latest book out, which I believe is New York Times Bestseller, “The Bulletproof Diet” book, it kind of condensed everything you did nutritionally to help yourself overcome a lot of your issues. And why is that book—I’m of course a fan and follow that before it actually came out, you might as well I had the pre-copy a couple of years before you refined it a little bit more. But I definitely used it and one of the things I think some people might have missed but I wanna let you talk about it was the focus on vegetables—clean vegetables and what the importance of that nutritional element to get all your mitochondria back and working again in your body. Give us a little overview of the book.

DAVE: There’s an algorithm to eating that just works. And you’ve gotta eat enough of the right kinds of energy-dense foods which is essentially, you gotta get lots of the right kinds of fat and moderate amounts of the right kinds of protein and some carbohydrates, and there are arguments for different diets about those ratios, but there’s an argument in The Bulletproof Diet that says, “Well, if you’re doing a high-fat diet with high energy density, people generally recover from weird things faster and they perform better and there’s all kinds of science behind that.”

But the next two things are equally important. So if you get that first level right, the second thing is stop doing stuff that makes you weak. And when it comes to every category of food, there’s a road map, the one-page road map. You can download it for free from the website or you can go ahead and buy the book where I explain all these in more detail and give you more recipes and whatnot. You can look—Bulletproof lists those foods that generally don’t have toxins in them and that are very high in nutrients and high in energy. There’s a set of suspect foods, and these are foods that might be okay for you, but for substantial portions of the population, they’re just not okay. An example there would be the nightshade family.

MELISSA: Nightshades, yeah, I was gonna say that. Yeah. I found that to be very—the road map—to be very helpful and I encourage people to get that off the website because, like you say, experiment with some of these so-called “bad foods,” and you will see right away when you clean some of those up or eliminate them for a while and then go back to them that they can be a problem for you and you don’t realize it.

DAVE: And it’s also meant to provide a way for you to—well, I’m gonna cheat today, I’m not gonna eat perfectly, but maybe I could make a less harmful decision. So there’s also a category called “kryptonite foods,” and these are foods that are just not something that people should be putting in their body. Like there’s always a better choice. And things like MSG, margarine, chemical colorings/flavorings, soy proteins surprisingly for some people, gluten is on that list. You can always do better than that. So you cut out kryptonite foods always. You figure out which suspect foods are guilty for you and when you take out foods that cause chronic inflammation, it’s amazing what your brain will do. And then you eat more of these things. And so on the vegetable front, a Bulletproof Diet plate isn’t covered in meat, like a paleo plate would be, it’s actually covered in vegetables. And there’s a moderate amount of super high-quality protein from animals. And there’s tons of fat from select type of fat.

And when you do that, it changes your hunger hormones, ghrelin and CCK. It changes your ability to have energy all day long. And so suddenly, you don’t have food cravings anymore. Your energy is up and stable and inflammation’s down. And it’s that combination that enables you to heal from all sorts of stuff or if you’re already performing really well, you’re like, “Wow, I just got a performance upgrade. Like I feel different than I did. Things work better.”

MELISSA: Yeah and I think once you get that formula dialed in, I know I interviewed Dr. Jade Teta a while ago who works with people over in—I think he’s in Georgia—anyway, he was saying exactly that, that when you get the right combination for you, for your body dialed in of the vegetables, you know, the right portions there, you’ve got sort of a cheat sheet almost that you can use to make yourself feel better any time, no matter what the situation is. You can just put your ratios in and you’ll be on top of your game, which I think he said that’s invaluable to have because once you know what it is for you, you can always make yourself feel better or make better choices. And I never really heard it put that way but you’ve also got that down in the book.

DAVE: Yeah, it really comes down to if you eat right, you can manage will power and energy. And if you have more willpower, yeah, you can lose weight. You can also buy companies or not yell at your kids when they’re whining. It doesn’t really matter. You can just spend your willpower on bonbons and watching reruns if that’s what really you wanna do, but it’s your energy. And right now, you’re wasting it on foods that make you weak. And the Bulletproof Diet is designed not to do that. Oh, and I have to mention this, coming out December 1st, “Bulletproof: The Cookbook” is coming out. And if people go to www.BulletproofCookbook.com I would give them free shipping and a big discount on the book. This is 125 recipes built around this and a foreword by Brandon Routh who actually plays a superhero in CW now and is actually a former Superman. So it’s kinda cool, he’s like on the Bulletproof Diet. And he was Superman, but www.BulletproofCookbook.com.

MELISSA: Okay, cool. We’ll put a link in the show notes for that too. And also, I wanna mention to people who might be really skeptical about, “Oh, you’ve written this diet book,” but you also had pretty much run the gambit of, I believe you were a vegetarian. I know you were raw vegan, but you tried some other things for health, correct?

DAVE: I used the Atkins Diet to lose weight a while back. I mean, you can lose half your weight on the Atkins Diet, even if you’re morbidly obese. Like, if you have 100 pounds to lose, you can lose 50 pounds and you’ll feel amazing, and the next 50 will never budge because you’re eating the wrong kinds of fat and you’re eating too much protein and Atkins, as amazing and wonderful of a groundbreaker as he was, he didn’t quite have the oxidized fats are bad for you thing quite down. So pork rinds work on the Atkins diet may not work on the Bulletproof diet even though if they taste delicious. So like there’s some important differences there. I’ve also done the Zone Diet. I ended up eating handfuls of almonds all the time. I’ve been around the block on low-fat, high-fiber, high-protein/low-fat. And I was very committed raw vegan for a while until it stopped working and my teeth hurt all the time and I started having big performance declines which is a common thing with raw vegans by the way. As good as you feel for the first few months, it doesn’t usually stick around. And if it does, you get really angry at everyone.

MELISSA: Right. Now, before we’re coming up on time here but I got a couple of more things I wanna squeeze in, and one is an outlet up in Silicon Valley called the Silicon Valley Health Institute which you’re the chairman of. And one of the things that’s interesting about this group, you talk about it sometimes, once in a while, I’ve heard you talk about it but when you’re giving your presentation there a couple of years back at CreativeLive, I know you mentioned it. And they’re doing quite a bit of work on anti-aging and things you can do in the Biohacking way to help yourself improve memory or not suffer memory loss or let yourself sort of head down the path of not being able to do, as you like to say, perform at your top of your game no matter what your age. Can you talk a little bit about that group and how people can find out more about it?

DAVE: Sure. The Silicon Valley Health Institute, the website is www.svhi.com, is this 20, maybe 22-year-old non-profit that for this entire time has been bringing leaders in fields of anti-aging and nutrition and research and medicine, and all sorts of just people doing cutting edge work. And they give free lectures, well, almost free, once a month in Palo Alto. It’s about four minutes from Google’s campus, a few minutes away from Stanford. And part of what I champion while I was there was giving 10 years’ worth of those videos online. And those videos are currently online for free. The meetings cost $5 because we have to pay for the room when they’re in. So it’s a very low-budget non-profit and we basically cover the charges of taking the videos to share all this knowledge. But it’s groundbreaking knowledge and just a chance for me to spend 10 years having dinner and chatting with all these luminaries in different fields. I absolutely learned a lot about Biohacking from these people and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do at Bulletproof and I wouldn’t have the mind and body that I do today if I hadn’t relied on a decade of anti-aging research and knowledge from this people. So it’s one of those amazing community resources where people could go in and the whole time I was there, four minutes from Google’s headquarters, twice we had Googlers come into the audience, which kind of makes me laugh but one of the problems is old people care a lot about aging, but people, when they’re causing aging with the things that they’re doing when they’re younger don’t really pay attention to it. So with Bulletproof, it turns out that there’s performance angle that’s a little bit different and so there’s a broader audience with what I do there. But a lot of the principles are the same.

MELISSA: Yeah. Well, it’s a good site that I recommend. We’ll put a link again in the show notes to that. People should check it out and are the videos available on the site or—

DAVE: Yeah.

MELISSA: -oh, okay. Cool. So they can watch them. Yeah, there’s a lot of fascinating talk on there about telemirrors, which I’m fascinated with, on how you can perhaps you can get yours to not shrink, which would be the detriment of that is that your health tends to decline if they get shorter and shorter as opposed to either keeping them the same or I don’t know if you can extend them. Can you extend them? What’s the theory behind that?

DAVE: You probably can. There’s a couple of different technologies for that. That includes some supplements that I’ve used. So it’s likely but whether you do it or not, there’s also questions about whether it’s really gonna make you age less, but it’s a really interesting avenue for research. And if you’re concerned about getting old, you might say the jury is probably still out but it’s a good idea to lengthen your telemirrors. So you might as well get right on that.

MELISSA: Yeah. Right. Now, one of the things people who haven’t heard of you before might not know is that of course you are the Bulletproof executive and you have a products company as well as you have a massive following online at your blog site. I think The Upgraded Self has now become www.Bulletproof.com, am I right with that? Okay. So the products company is now kind of tacked on there to your site as well. But you’ve sought out kind of a whole bunch of products and of course one that’s known around the world is Bulletproof Coffee. Why is Bulletproof Coffee and the products that you sort of curated in your products business, why are they so different than things you could just whip off Amazon?

DAVE: Well, most of the products, the ones that were manufactured using different standards and, most food items are created around either cost or flavor, and it’s somewhere around that pyramid, like what does it do for you? How do you feel after you do it is what I look at. So, now, Bulletproof Coffee is a type of—it’s brewed with a kind of coffee bean that we sell. We went down to specific plantations in Central America where they use different agricultural techniques to grow higher-quality coffee and then we changed the green coffee processing. We put in infrastructure that prevents fermentation because most governments around the world have laws limiting the amount of fermentation or mold toxins that coffee can have, but the US has no limits. So coffee that’s illegal to sell in Japan gets dumped in the US and then we drink it and we feel cranky and anxiety and jitter and all.

So it’s coffee beans that have a lab-tested process and it’s called Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee beans. You brew the coffee and instead of milk, which inactivates the antioxidants in coffee, we use grass-fed butter and an oil called “brain octane oil” which is about 6% of the fat in coconut oil. So you get sick if you have 18 spoons of coconut oil, but you don’t get sick if you have one spoon of brain octane. And brain octane specifically raises ketones in the body almost like you’re fasting. So all of a sudden you’re like, “I don’t care about food. I don’t have food cravings. I feel energized. I have stable energy.” And like your life changes when you do all these things at one time. And I say that and it sounds amazing. It’s so amazing that I opened a coffee shop in Santa Monica so people could just try it. And you go there. It is quite a different day when you start out Bulletproof Coffee and that’s why it’s taken off because it’s not some kind of marketing guru. It’s just because people tried and like, “Oh my god. That was not coffee. That was something else.”

MELISSA: Yeah, I think one of the things that is so different about the coffee itself, even if you drink it non-Bulletproof formula, if you drink Bulletproof, the brand, black, is you don’t—the coffee, like you said, it has to be the toxins that are in other coffees or something is all I can say because, yeah, I don’t get the same effects even if I drink it without butter as I do from other coffees. So it doesn’t seem to have, it’s just really smooth to me anyway, but that just could be me. But if you do the whole Bulletproof recipe for the first time, it will blow any brain fog you have away like a thunderstorm because that was one of the first things I noticed when I did the Bulletproof mixture was that all of a sudden when it was time to work, my brain was sharp and fast and ready to go as opposed to being, “what was I doing? Oh, okay.” And it was just like night and day. So it was really dramatic.

DAVE: Yeah, it’s something that I used. I used to use Modafinil, a prescription drug that they give to fighter pilots to stay awake all the time. I took that for eight years every day. And when I got rid of the toxins, I figured out the problem with mold toxins in coffee, and I started just using this recipe and the Bulletproof diet. I went off this incredibly potent smart drug because I just didn’t need it. I still take other smart drugs, but for me, having lived with brain fog, profound brain fog for so long, this was my own way of turning the lights back on.

MELISSA: What do you think, Dave, is the future or is the current, you might even say, for nootropics and things like that? Do you think it’s wide open for more and more things to be developed for people to use or do you think it’s sort of a passing fad?

DAVE: Nootropics are here to stay. And there’s kind of two kinds of nootropics: one kind is pharmaceutical drugs. The pharmaceutical industry loves these things, but it’s hard for them to make those claims. Like for some reason, we have this strange puritanical idea that life is supposed to be hard so taking smart drugs would make you a bad person because you made your life easier because your brain worked all the way. I don’t share that perspective, but some of the regulatory agencies do. So drug companies who make cognitive enhancers often times have a really hard time selling them. So I’m really hopeful though in the pharmaceutical side, we’ll get more capability for the big pharmaceuticals to make things that actually work and don’t have big side effects which is a big risk.

And then on the natural supplements front, there’s a huge number of companies coming out right now with essentially me-too products. Oh, we’ll enhance those cytocolin. But there’s also some real innovation on this supplement side of things. Things like brain octane that have never been used for cognitive enhancement I think is a genuine thing. I make some may call “unfair advantage” that uses a novel pathway of increasing mitochondrial function which has cognitive effects. And the things like that are happening. And there’s other companies working on ways of bringing sort of orphan status, things like Piracetam into the mainstream and that’s also a big regulatory, kind of question mark area. So I’m very helpful and I’ve never been more excited about the nootropic field, both the supplement side and the pharmaceutical side.

MELISSA: Yeah. I encourage people to take a spin by your website, www.BulletProof.com because, as I say, you have sort of curated a lot of products that you’ve found and are now supervising the manufacture of it. So there’s a very, very serious number of high-quality products and some of them which I got the chance to sample at one of the conferences a couple last year. I guess it was not this year. But they’re all really, I just encourage people to try them there as opposed to just hunting around on Amazon and buying any old thing, because when you know the source they’re coming from and the person that’s tried them out, it sort of gives you great peace of mind.

DAVE: I fully agree.

MELISSA: Well, Dave, we’re out of time but where can people find you all around the Internet and other places?

DAVE: Well, on iTunes, you can find Bulletproof Radio which is a top-ranked health radio show. You can go to www.BulletProof.com to find Bulletproof Coffee ingredients and some of the other nootropics we talked about. And there’s almost half a million words written now for free on www.BulletProofExec.com, and check out www.BulletProofCookBook.com to get free shipping and a big discount on the new book that’s coming out in about a month.

MELISSA: Cool. And also, I wanna mention to people if they go to the blog site, that there is a pretty active group of people there that you can ask questions of and they’ll answer and do things like that, so if you’re reading something that’s on there, you can sort of type in questions and make comments and people will talk back to you from around the world. Thanks so much, Dave.

DAVE: You’re so welcome. Thanks for having me on.

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