As one of the world’s top fitness coaches, Ben Greenfield has a lot of experience with self-optimization. So what does he have to say about psychedelics and psychedelic microdosing as tools for personal development? We discuss rites of passage, ego loss, and holistic health – and how spirituality can be an important complement to physical fitness.
Disclaimer: in this podcast, Ben briefly discusses stem cell therapies. These are mostly unapproved and have often been associated with deadly scams. Please don’t take Ben’s experiments as medical advice.
0:00:24 Paul Austin: Hey, listeners. Welcome back to The Third Wave podcast. I'm your host, Paul Austin and we have a podcast for you today that I recorded a couple of months ago. Now, we've kind of been saving it and we're really excited to get this out the door and into your earbuds. And this is with Ben Greenfield, who's the founder of Ben Greenfield Fitness. In 2013 and 2014, Ben was named one of the world's Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. And by 2015, Ben was coaching the world's top CEOs, chefs, biohackers, poker players, tennis, motocross and endurance competitors as well as professional athletes from all over, also, while advising and investing in top companies in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. Basically, Ben and I had a fantastic conversation about the intersection of biohacking and psychedelics. We talk a lot about how we could potentially integrate microdosing from a personalized medicine, getting deep into the nitty-gritty details of what that would require as well as just hearing quite a bit about Ben's story with psychedelics. He's one of the more influential people in the biohacking space. He has quite an audience and has really been publicly and openly talking about psychedelics to his audience.
0:01:45 PA: We also dig into why that is the case and where psychedelics and personalized medicine are going. We had a fantastic conversation as always. I think you'll get a ton out of it and if you do enjoy the podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. I also will have some other podcasts coming out in the near-ish future. I recently just attended a retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a number of Bay Area entrepreneurs talking about that relationship between psychedelics and entrepreneurship in the future. I'll also be excited to bring that to you when it comes out, but without further ado, I bring you Ben Greenfield.
0:02:36 PA: I was digging around a little bit before our interview this morning, just doing some research on the specifics of what you get into, particularly from a biohacking perspective, which we've talked about on the show a little bit, but not extensively, and I'd love to hear about this recent procedure that you had, where I think it was something involved with stem cells.
0:03:00 Ben Greenfield: Sure.
0:03:00 PA: And exosomes. I'd love... Yeah, just to hear about that, 'cause that, when I saw that, I was like, "Whoa, what's going on here?"
0:03:06 BG: For better or for worse, over about the past year. I've kind of become almost like this poster boy for longevity enhancement and I think it began way back... Well, not way back, but like a year, a year and a half ago when Men's Health magazine approached me and wanted me to write an article on anything and everything that a man could do to enhance his sexual performance, right? Everything from Ayurvedic and eastern techniques like reverse orgasm and refraining from ejaculation for certain periods of time to gas station dick pills to what they call Platelet Rich Plasma injections, where they take out your own blood and they concentrate the growth factors and then they re-inject that into what's called the corpus cavernosum, basically, the shaft of your unit. There were a few other things that they had me try as well. One was a digital penis pump, which is kinda like the Cadillac of penis pumps, which I managed to attempt to use hands-free because I love to multitask and wind up getting one of my balls sucked into the penis pump and that was one of the more disruptive parts of writing that article, watching my left ball turn black and blue as I attempted to yank that digital pump off of my dick.
0:04:33 BG: Ultimately, the apex of that article was that they wanted me to inject stem cells into my penis. I'd never really done much with stem cells before. I knew a little bit about professional athletes like Peyton Manning going over to Europe and getting their knees or their shoulders injected and some of the uses of it for injuries and anti-aging. And I looked up some of the PubMed articles on the use of stem cells and I saw that it was indicated for what's called Peyronie's disease, as well as erectile dysfunction and had actually been used to re-spark sexual performance in men who had issues. And so my thought was, "Well, it could work for this article. I don't have erectile dysfunction. I don't have any funky things going on in my crotch." But I figured it might be yet another thing I could write about in the article that would take a guy who wanted to go from good to great, from good to great.
0:05:31 BG: I went down to the US Stem Cell Clinic in Florida and what they did there was they laid me out on the table. They told me I should have eaten a lot more donuts beforehand because I was very skinny and lean because I race professionally in things like triathlons and obstacle course racing, that's one of my gigs. They poked around with this long liposuction needle on my back for like 90 minutes. I have the whole thing on Facebook Live on my Facebook page. It was an extremely uncomfortable procedure, but by the end, they'd managed to fill several syringes full of my fat and for the next four months, they actually used what's called an enzymatic process to concentrate the Mesenchymal stem cells from that fat which could be used to inject joints, which I've since done which could be used to literally IV systemically into your blood stream so that the stem cells can travel anywhere they need to go to repair tissue, of which I've also done.
0:06:30 BG: They could be used if you had a head injury, car accident, you can actually inject the stem cells along with a special sugar called Mannitol. Mannitol increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and causes the stem cells to cross into the brain. And actually several weeks ago I had Mannitol and my stem cells sent up to my house and did this because I was hit by a car while riding my bike. I had a concussion. And so I had this Mannitol and stem cells injected into my bloodstream at my kitchen table. And the reason for that is a lot of medical clinics won't do this for you. It's kind of the Wild Wild West still. Stem cells are regulated by the FDA in the same way as supplements are.
0:07:13 BG: So the procedure of course that Men's Health Magazine was interested in was stem cells injected into the penis. So I had the stem cells that they grew from my fat sent up to me several months after they'd done the procedure and I had a local clinic inject them. They did a nerve block, they did three injections, one in the middle, one in the right, one in the left and honestly it worked. My dick was black and blue and looked like it'd been run over by a semi-truck for a few days. But it vastly improved my sexual performance. Of anything that I did for that article as far as lasting effects from orgasm and sperm volume and erection firmness, everything that folks would be looking for for something like that, it did improve that all.
0:08:00 BG: Ultimately, because I guess it's such a catchy, sexy story have a guy who injected his dick with stem cells, I got contacted by a lot of media, right? The LA Times and some French newspaper and one of the bigger Joe Rogan had me on his show and I was talking about it. And Gizmodo, a reporter from this website Gizmodo called me. And Gizmodo is great at creating viral stories on the internet. And she interviewed me and she said, "Why did you do this?" And I told her what I just told you, Paul, wanna increase my sexual performance. And I'm writing this article about how a guy could go from good to great. I didn't really have any issues but I wanted to see what could be done in terms of cutting edge science to enhance male sexual performance. And she said, "Well, did it get bigger?" I said, "Well, funny enough it seems like it did. My wife commented that it seems a little bigger. When I looked at myself in the mirror, it seemed a little bigger." And she finished up the interview.
0:09:01 BG: And the next day the article comes out on Gizmodo and I believe it was something along the lines of, "Man attempts to make dick bigger with stem cells". That's a whole article. So I turned into the guy with the small dick, the French newspaper was something... They have a picture of me with a needle, which wasn't even me injecting... They somehow got a picture of me with a needle to make it look as though I injected my own penis with stem cells which wasn't the case. I did this in a medical clinic under medical supervision by a physician. But the French magazine it was something I remember doing the Google Translate, and essentially it was the same thing. This guy has a small dick and he's doing everything he can to make it bigger and he injects stem cells. And so I turned into the guy with a small dick who does stem cells.
0:09:45 BG: Ultimately though after that article went viral and a whole bunch of media picked it up, I began to get contacted by other organizations who wanted me to try out other French procedures. I went to Forever Labs in Berkeley and had them put a big needle into my hip and extract bone marrow which is essentially like a bone broth soup full of stem cells. And so they store that. I think that's stored in the Cayman Islands right now should I want to use that for let's say injecting the 35-year-old me into my bloodstream when I'm 40 or 45 or 50 or whenever. And from what I understand, the stem cells that you get from bone are actually quite good for that, whereas the stem cells that you get from fat would be more indicated for things like joints and brain issues, things along those lines.
0:10:34 BG: And then I received an email from a guy in Park City, Utah named Dr. Harry Adelson. Harry sent me some fascinating papers and research studies on these tiny little components that our cells actually make called exosomes. Exosomes would be part of what's called the paracrine system, the cellular communication system within the body, the way that cells talk to one another. So if a cell is going to carry a message to another cell, exosomes interact with the receptors on the surface of the cell to relay that message whether it be to grow, or to repair or to differentiate into a different type of cell such as bone or muscle or cardiac tissue or whatever. And the idea is that when combined with stem cells and injected into various joints, blood stream, etcetera, the body, you basically take stem cells, you give them a multiplictory effect. You maximize their effects. You cause them to travel more readily throughout cells in the body, you increase the efficacy of a stem cell treatment.
0:11:34 BG: And he said he had this thing he wanted to try. He called it a full body stem cell makeover in which he would take bone marrow and extract the stem cells, combine those stem cells with exosomes. Exosomes are derived from at this point placentas from healthy donors that they screen, they then have a process in which they destroy the cell, they remove the DNA, they concentrate the exosomes. And so you've got these tiny tubes full of millions and millions of exosomes. You then combine them with the stem cells during this procedure where you're just under general anesthesia all day and they inject everything. So they injected my cerebrospinal fluid, they injected my joints, they injected my penis again, they injected my scalp, they injected my face. You may notice my face is just slightly red right now. I'm supposed to stay out of the sun. It's a little scarred 'cause they literally had hundreds of tiny needles into my face.
0:12:26 BG: All the joints, everything. I literally just came out of that procedure about 72 hours ago, felt like I got hit by a truck for a couple of days. Not just my dick, but my whole body. And so ultimately, it's called a full body stem cell makeover. I know it's a long answer to your question, but that's what I just got done doing. And the particularly unique part of that procedure is the use of these tiny little cells called exosomes, that allow those stem cells, you have a bit, they take the bone marrow and a bone broth from my own body and carry it throughout my body. So that in the future, what will happen is the increased stem cell availability in all of my joints, my cells, my blood stream, that can be used to heal me more quickly. And I think like Wolverine and X-Men when I get injured, I'll be able to bounce back more quickly, increase the integrity of my vertebra, my disks, because it was injected all up and down my spine and including the cerebrospinal fluid. Of course, the beauty enhancement and sexual enhancement involved all skin, hair, face, genitals, everything that one would wanna do for beauty or for sexual performance.
0:13:36 BG: And ultimately I really can't comment as to the results right now 'cause I'm still in that post-surgical setting. While I'm talking to you, I'm just walking on my treadmill to keep blood flowing and get everything delivered. I've been doing a lot of photobiomodulation or like infrared light therapy to really help the skin to heal. I've been doing a lot of what's called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF, which opens and closes the cell membranes. It's almost like exercise for the cells, but that will help to drive it more deeply in the tissue. I've been doing a lot of ketones and DHA and fasting, all of which can enhance your stem cell growth, stem cell availability, decrease inflammation, things along those lines. And so I'm just trying to bio-hack my body back to recovery while at the same time increasing the efficacy of the surgery.
0:14:30 PA: And that's fantastic. And I think that encapsulates the narrative of who you are in many ways. I was looking through and reading your website, and you're really at the forefront of, from a fitness perspective in particular, all these new emerging methods to hack not only the physical body. Something that I also noticed about you is, also from a mental, emotional, but also a spiritual perspective, there seems to be an element of, you're really taking this holistic approach. So I saw, for example, the Christian gratitude journal that you've developed, which obviously has a very spiritual aspect. Right now, like you said, you're walking on a treadmill, you're wearing an Oura ring to help probably with tracking sleep quality. What is it that drives and motivates you to really go to the outer reaches? I'd love to hear about that motivation.
0:15:19 BG: To return to what you mentioned about spiritual health, spiritual wholeness, not just mind and brain optimization. Not just bio-hacking the body, but also caring for spirit and the soul. To me a big part of that is that we have one part of us that is here for eternity, the one part of us that no matter what happens to my body should I get hit by a car and become a quadriplegic, or should I begin to lose my mental function due to early onset dementia or Alzheimer's, God forbid, the soul, the spirit, is still there. You can take away everything from a man or a woman in terms of their flesh and their blood, but the one thing that remains is their soul and their spirit. And so I believe that... And if we look at a lot of the blue zones, this is certainly the case. There's even a corollary between spiritual health, and either absence or presence of disease. Family, life, love, relationships, when we look at all these blue zones, these hot spots of longevity, that trumps a low glycemic index diet, it trumps wild plant intake, it trumps low level physical activity throughout the day, it trumps sunshine, it trumps nature therapy. All these things that we know help you to live longer are all beaten out by belief in a higher power and love, life, family and relationships.
0:16:40 BG: And at the same time, I remember I first became aware of this fact when I interviewed a professional basketball player who had developed bone cancer and moved towards the area of Northern Galilee. And I was there in Israel, and I had a chance to interview him. And we had a very in-depth discussion that I later released on my podcast about how bitterness and anger and hatred literally settle in your bones and settle in your body, and can result in things like cancer and chronic disease. I think that there's certainly a great deal of wisdom when we're reading the Bible, for example, that you should not let the sun go down on your anger, or that bitterness settles in your bones.
0:17:19 BG: So this whole idea of spirituality, of caring for the soul, is not only important to me because that is the one part of me that's gonna be around forever, but it's also important because it ties right into the whole aspect of holistic health. Caring for the entire human machine includes not letting your soul just shrivel up and be that neglected part of you. So for me, that means optimizing time with my children, time with my wife, and making sure all the relationships that I have in my life are solid and that I'm spending time in prayer and meditation and breath work and yoga and a lot of these things that would be considered spiritual practices. It's incredibly important.
0:18:02 PA: One other word that's often used for psychedelic is entheogen, the divine within. These substances that can help to facilitate, as Johns Hopkins and the research there showed, a mystical experience, which is this divine oneness with God. And so what we're noticing is, with the research that's coming out of places like Johns Hopkins, what seems to be responsible for healing end-of-life anxiety, and healing potentially treatment resistant depression is the psycho-spiritual experience that people go through. It's not just a biochemical matter. It is this holistic development. I'd love to hear about what psychedelic experiences have you had, if it's just been microdosing or higher doses as well? And how have those facilitated your own development and growth?
0:18:55 BG: When it comes to spirituality, the one thing that I think holds us back from being closer to God or being able to really set aside our logic, left-brained approach to life, and get more in touch with our purpose, our fulfillment, what it is that's truly important. A big part of that is the loss of ego. And that involves, it's not only a little bit of a merging of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, but also the ability to simply be able to check out from that logical highly left-brained thought pattern. And some of the more meaningful and impactful moments in my life have been moments in which I've really come to a very cognizant realization of my purpose in life and developed answers to questions about what it is that I should be doing to my life that I don't think I would have otherwise done without plant medicine.
0:20:00 BG: A few such situations would be the use of psilocybin. And I remember one particular trip on the beach in Kauai, where I was trying to make a decision about whether I was going to simply continue to be a stay-at-home author and podcaster or whether I wanted to develop more of a globally recognizable wellness brand that would truly change the world. And one was a quite formidable and daunting task, and one seemed a little bit more conducive to just staying at home with my kids and writing. And that's certainly something that I knew would make me happy. But I wasn't sure if I should embrace greatness and go big instead. And I realized I had a very intense moment where God spoke to me there on the beach in Kauai, and told me to be open to greatness, "Be open to greatness."
0:20:49 BG: And of course, every time that I go on a plant medicine journey, I always have a journal, and I always do write down what I've discovered. And be open to greatness was something that developed or led to the development of my company Kion, where we're publishing things, like you mentioned like a Gratitude Journal. And we're teaching people how to achieve this whole mind, body and spirit optimization via content and coaching, and even the development of formulas and supplements, that all arose from that psilocybin trip. Another example would be, I recently... This was very recent. Using more of a synthetic, I think this was... It's a synthetic DMT. There are these newer compounds called Lysergamides I think is the technical term for them. There's a company called Lysergi, for example, that deals with some of these.
0:21:40 BG: But they're more synthetic derivatives. And this was, I think was 5-AcO-DMT that I mixed volumetrically in alcohol, and had a very intense spiritual journey for about eight hours. And during that journey, the message that I kept receiving over and over again, was that I needed to not only transition from boyhood into manhood because I've never really had a formal vision quest, as many men in our society have not had. I've never had a formal rite of passage. Most of mine have been things like doing an Ironman Triathlon or going and training with the Navy Seals, or doing any of these masochistic events I've spent the past couple of decades immersed in. I realized a big part of that is me just never having gone through that distinct recognizable event of becoming a man, when I was a boy. We don't have a lot of that in our Westernized society. I came to a stark realization of that and also realized that I need to do the same for my 10-year-old twin boys, to really create for them a vision quest, a rite of passage. And I've spent the past six months setting that up. I have dialed in already a guy who's gonna take them, the gentleman who's been teaching their wilderness survival school that they attend each year anyways.
0:22:55 BG: He'll be taking them on their own rite of passage where they'll survive in the wilderness for seven days with a knife and a bow that they make, and a fire making kit, and their backpack and that's it. And between now and then, I recently purchased five books for each of them that have been very life-changing books for me like Way of the Superior Man, and Soul Keeping, and Be A Man. And I actually buried these books on our property. We live on about 10 acres out in the forest. And I set up clues for them. And then they went on a night quest to go and discover these books with headlamps and shovels, and following the clues, and they dug them up. And now between this time, they're 10 years old, and when they're 13 we're going through each of those books, me with them. We were sitting on the couch last night, just going through a few... There were a few chapters they were reading when I was gone. And this is all inspired by that recent trip with more of a synthetic DMT derivative. And I never really would have set aside my ego and come to that intense realization, and been spoken to by what I believe is God to make that transition for myself and also for my boys from boyhood into manhood.
0:24:14 BG: Another example was another trip with psilocybin in which I realized that I don't wanna go into the second half of my life with baggage, with skeletons in the closet, with anything. Returning back to the cancer and disease and bitterness in your bones issue, with anything that is not set right between me and others in my life. And this led to a very uncomfortable discussion between my wife and I, in which in tears later that night, after having walked in the sun for five hours and thought about everything in my life that needed to be set straight in terms of my relationship, I confessed to my wife of an affair that I had nearly six years ago. And it was one of the most uncomfortable discussions I've ever had. But it says though you have this enormous emotional release, and it's made our relationship stronger than ever. And again, something I never ever would have even thought of doing or been convicted of without checking my ego at the door, listening to God, setting out with my journal, and going deep into plant medicine experiencing that merging of the left and right hemispheres and experiencing that deep, deep and intense. What I can only describe and this always happens to me when I go on a plant medicine journey a voice of God telling me what I need to do. And it's always strange because it's always something different and it's always exactly what you need right then.
0:25:44 PA: One question that comes up for me that I struggle with or deal with, and I think this is true for many more masculine men who have this drive, this desire to build something great like you spoke about. I think there are a lot of people who then express some level of skepticism about... Well, isn't this whole drive towards greatness driven by ego? I was doing a plant medicine retreat in Costa Rica maybe eight months ago, and there was a phrase that... There was a spiritual leader there leading a workshop and there's a phrase he used, where it's like you don't let your soul serve your ego, you let your ego serve your soul. So in other words, ego is always present to some degree, and having then this ability to check it, so to say, with potentially psychedelics, but also other modalities, breathwork, meditation, even these things that you were talking about these initiations that you're putting your boys through that's often an experience to see beyond the ego, this post-egoic experience, then facilitates at least from my experience, this ability for people who have the courage or who have the resources to take on additional responsibilities in the hopes of lifting everyone else up.
0:27:03 BG: And I see that in your work with what you're doing about... You know it is, we both run for example personal brands to some degree and with what you're doing, the clear motivation at least to me, is to improve the quality of life for other people by first testing things on yourself to see how it goes so that you can then spread the message and the word. And I think this is why the conversation around psychedelics right now is so relevant and it's tremendous. I don't know if you've seen all the recent press that's come out in the past week or so, but with Michael Pollan and the new book that he's publishing and it's really good. And so I think this then represents this awakening where more and more people can recognize psychedelics as tools that can be utilized to check the ego at the door, so that people can find more purpose and meaning and drive.
0:27:55 BG: You're correct that some of this checking the ego at the door can be accomplished with means that are alternatives to plant medicines. I don't know if you've done an episode on holotropic breathwork, but that's certainly been something that in the few that I've done have been done in California, one of the more intense ones in Encinitas when I was actually doing. I did the equivalent of Navy SEAL Hell Week for civilians with Commander Mark Divine, at US CrossFit down in Encinitas and we actually culminated a five-day Academy that was part of that course with about a two-hour long holotropic breathwork session and that's the most intense out-of-body experience I've ever had without the use of any chemicals at all. And again, I went deep outside my body, I was looking down upon the planet earth from far out in space, and it's interesting, many of my experiences come down to... They come down to family, which is very important to me. It's probably just because I was raised in a large family, and I understand the importance of, like I mentioned earlier, family, love, relationships.
0:29:11 BG: And I realized that everything that I do in life is really not meant to be about me and in that particular situation, what it was about was my boys, the two little smiling faces of my boys, I felt their soft hair, I could feel their skin like a very, very intense and real presence of my two boys being there and a voice came and it said, "It's not about you, it's about your boys." And ever since then, coming out of that holotropic breathwork session, I have had a deep sense of legacy, I've built a family trust, I've built a family crest. I'm working with an organization to literally set up my entire business, every corporation I own. Everything is all directed towards almost like a Rockefeller-esque situation of building the Greenfield Legacy, and that's actually changed my approach to many things in life.
0:30:07 BG: For example, there was a time when I was very interested in open relationships and polyamory and I realized that as fun and interesting as something like that is, it does fly in the face of family and legacy and some amount of societal stability. And so because of that, I've placed a great deal of importance on monogamy and fidelity and loyalty. And instead, building up this great legacy. I'm purchasing land here in Washington and Idaho and building homes, just building up an entire, entire vision of legacy and setting up the foundation for that to occur with my family. And again, none of that would have happened unless I had had that holotropic breathwork session where I realized it's not about me, it's about the generations to come. My two boys, my children, my children's children etcetera. So I thought of that when you mentioned breathwork, and that's yet another example of the places you can go with this stuff.
0:31:08 PA: What are your experiences or what have been your experiences with microdosing?
0:31:12 BG: Now in terms of microdosing, I've certainly used it and honestly where I've gotten the greatest amount of utility out of microdosing, one would be with LSD or PLSD, which is a synthetic dirt of LSD that in my opinion, considering that it's less expensive and seems to work just as well. And I'll typically just buy a blotter tab and volumetrically dose with about 20 micrograms or so. I originally got into that because I wrote a fantasy fiction book over the past two years, called The Forest and found it to be quite useful for that merging of the left and right hemispheres that allowed me to both organize the book, keep track of all the characters, which is a real pain in the ass. It's the hardest part of writing a fiction book, and I don't know how the guy who wrote "Game of Thrones" did it with as many characters and lands and locations and plot lines that are woven throughout that story. But for me, just keeping track of everything and needing to access my left brain, and then also you need to really tap into creativity while working on that book. I began to use LSD for that and then realized that it's quite efficacious for sleep deprivation and working through day of sleep deprivation, very useful for conferencing days or days where I'm off speaking and just have to be really moving and shaking the whole day long, again, a lot of times in a jet lagged or traveling or a sleep-deprived state.
0:32:35 BG: So, LSD and PLSD I've, I found to be, that's probably my favorite way to microdose would be with about 20 micrograms of that. Psilocybin, I've used that for hiking and nature experiences of course, because I find that it does cause a little bit more of a nature appreciation in terms of noticing the blades of grass, the color of the flowers, the wind, the sway of the trees, but I've also actually used microdoses of psilocybin for hunting. I bow hunt and with bow hunting, it's very challenging and not only do you typically have to be within at least 60 yards of an animal to take a good shot, but you need to be very aware of the swirl of the wind, whether it's coming from the left or the right, the scent of the animal, because a lot of times when you're hunting for example, wild sheep or bear, they've got some pretty intense odor that you can pick up a lot better if you're microdosing. And in addition to that sight, sensory perception, everything becomes brighter and so it really does to a certain extent, turn you into the ultimate predator when it comes to hunting in psilocybin. So I'm a fan of that.
0:33:39 PA: There's a plant from Gabon called ibogaine, iboga, there's stories of the Bwiti tribe who use iboga in a ceremonial setting to again facilitate this initiation but there's also stories particularly from the late 19th century, of them using microdoses on hunting expeditions and I've had other friends who have spent time in the Amazon, and same idea, in terms of microdosing to help with going through the deep Amazon. And it's so interesting then to hear a modern story about that because there's these modalities, so to say, that have some sort of ancient wisdom in them as well, which we're now rediscovering, whether that's working on other things.
0:34:21 BG: Absolutely, and that's funny you should bring that up, because I've used about 300 milligrams of iboga extract for some pretty difficult workouts and a couple of more intense long ultra races and it comes in quite handy for that. For a while, I was just microdosing with THC and CBD just in the five to 10 milligram range for some of the longer trail runs, some of the longer races, where you just need to shut down pain, but that microdose of iboga, it really does put you into what I would almost classify it as like voyeur mode, right? Not quite a frenzied mode, although I would imagine just the way I feel with that 300 milligram dose, I actually haven't taken higher doses than that. I'm not a big fan of excessive central nervous system stimulation, being over-caffeinated, using things like [unclear speech] derivatives etcetera, I just don't like that feeling. But 300 milligrams of iboga is more than enough to get through a tough work out as well. So that's another one.
0:35:22 BG: And then there are some of these lysergamides that I've been experimenting with. I wish I had it in front of me, but there's one for sexual experiences that's very interesting, especially, when combined with a microdose of LSD. It acts like DMT. I got it from Lysergi it's, I should have remembered to bring it down here. I've got a few bottles up in my pantry right now, but it's essentially, it's not similar to MDMA, it's very similar to what you'd experience with psilocybin, but you get, again, enhanced sensory perception, and especially, it seems enhanced sexual perception. And that's another one, I blank on the name of it, but I can find it later and shoot it off to you, but that combined with a microdose of LSD for sex is actually really, really good. And then I've also, I've joked about this on a podcast, I was interviewed, I think Aubrey Marcus and I were joking about this in the last podcast I did with him. I've used before, a microdose of THC about 10 milligrams or so, you can buy these capsules and I live in Washington State, so I literally can just wander into a dispensary and get these little THC capsules, typically, they're packaged with coconut oil.
0:36:35 BG: Using that as a suppository prior to sex, about 20 to 30 minutes prior to sex, you actually, almost get this localized high for your crotch. That's another one that's kind of interesting in the realm of sexual experience, just basically a THC 10 milligram suppository. Those are, that's a smattering of some of the microdosing that I use.
0:36:57 PA: What got you into these in the first place? From reading your bio, it sounds like you grew up in rural Idaho, maybe homeschooled.
0:37:07 BG: Oh yeah, I grew up as a homeschooled Christian, right?
0:37:10 PA: It just doesn't...
0:37:11 BG: Very clean, really didn't even touch anything aside from a little bit of alcohol until I was 30 or 31, and that is when, based on some of the changes in legality in Washington State, I began to use weed. And then of course, at the same time, you know how the fitness and the health world has seemed to become a little bit enamored with everything from ayahuasca to DMT to a lot of these microdosing concepts, it seemed to rise at about the same time that the prevalent use of nootropics and smart drugs arose, and I think that was influenced. The latter, probably influenced by folks like Neurohacker Collective out of San Diego and Dave Asprey of Bulletproof and a lot of these people who are in the nootropic scene, and then the former influenced by people like Tim Ferriss or Joe Rogan or Aubrey Marcus or a lot of these people who have to a certain extent, one foot in the plant medicine camp and another foot in the fitness or the health or the wellness sector. And so the fact that I kinda run in a lot of those sectors and talk to a lot of these folks, I just became interested in it just out of, frankly, the fact that it was being talked about a lot among my peers.
0:38:25 BG: And so that's what really got me into it. And the first thing that I used was psilocybin and a microdose of psilocybin followed by a larger dose of psilocybin, and that was after I'd already begun to kind of experiment with THC and CBD. I later even got into the CBD business and developed a CBD capsule that was blended with ashwagandha and lemon balm and magnesium. That was actually our top-selling supplement for a couple of years, but the problem is a payment processor shut you down and you gotta change your URL and it's too much of a pain versus just finding the good ones that I like and being an affiliate for them and then when they get shut down, as they inevitably do, then you move on to another good brand and that's the way that the business works these days. And then I've also done a great deal investing in medical marijuana in Canada, a few different edible manufacturers here in Washington State, and then one other company in California in the marijuana sector. So for me, it's been a little bit of a business as well at this point in terms of just investing in some of these companies.
0:39:48 PA: Hey, listeners, quick interruption. There really isn't any major news announcements in the psychedelic space this week. It's been a pretty quiet a couple of weeks, probably something to do with the fact that it's mid-July and summer time, and people are just relaxing. So I just wanted to update you on a few Third Wave things that are going on. I'm in the process of planning two talks, one in San Diego, that will be the week after Burning Man. So the first week of September. And then one in LA, which will be that weekend, the weekend of, I believe, September 8th through 9th. So just keep an outlook for those if you happen to be in the South Cal area, and we will be announcing other speaking dates pretty soon.
0:40:31 PA: So that is happening with Third Wave. We're also in the process of looking for a full-stack developer, someone who we can bring in and who can help amplify our mission and message by making changes on an ongoing basis. And that will be a paid position. So if you know someone, we have a job application description at thethirdwave.co/jobs. The last piece of announcement is that we're still in the process of growing and amplifying, and for that reason appreciate your support in any way possible. You can support us by either looking at our microdosing course, which is about optimizing your microdosing protocol, or by visiting our Patreon page at patreon.com/thethirdwave. Any and all support will be significantly helpful in the work that we're doing here at Third Wave. So without further ado, let's go ahead and head back to the podcast with Ben Greenfield.
0:41:52 PA: Now there was a recent guest on your podcast, maybe 2017, who I believe was a medical doctor who talked about some of the negative health implications of microdosing...
0:42:05 BG: Dr. Anthony Beck was concerned that folks who are homozygous or heterozygous for the MTHFR gene, which is a reductase gene for methylation, that he had seen it to deleteriously affect their lab work, their inflammatory markers and result in higher levels of homocysteine, with the idea being that if you're unable to properly methylate or add methyl groups to certain compounds in your body, the excess folate from vitamins or from folic acid sources, etcetera, can get converted into a potentially inflammatory compound called homocysteine.
0:42:52 BG: And, so methylation deficit, it can be fixed via the use of methyltetrahydrofolate, meaning rather than consuming multi-vitamins that might have folic acid derivatives in them or consuming cereals and packaged foods that have been fortified with folate which is actually very common. You would instead look for methyltetrahydrofolate. And in addition to that, eat very absorbable forms of folic acid particularly from dark leafy greens. And so he was going into how, if you did have an MTHFR deficit, not only should you be doing those things like using MTHF and eating lots of dark leafy greens, but you should also be careful with the use of something like psilocybin, which seemed to result in even more of an impaired methylation ability.
0:43:37 PA: And so that got me thinking a lot about not only the future of psychedelics and how they intersect with optimization, but also the way that people at home, and I don't know if you've given any thought to this, but I wanted to put this question to you. If you were to set up your own an equals one optimization experiment to actually test and attempt to measure the efficacy of psychedelic substances whether in high doses or lower doses on certain biomarkers, how would you go about doing that? What technologies would you use? What markers would you measure? There are basic ones like sleep quality.
0:44:13 PA: I'm currently setting the foundation for one where I'm using uBiome and Oura Ring full blood panel, and then using a few supplements and then only putting microdosing in as the variable to test to measure that. And I'd be curious just with your exposure to all the different technologies that we have, how would you go about settings of like that?
0:44:35 BG: Chemistry is okay, but in many cases, you're looking at either having to hire a phlebotomist, or got to Quest Labs or LabCorp. And it might not be that sustainable for a lot of folks. And it's somewhat expensive. There's a urine panel that's pretty comprehensive. Well, there's one that's urine and blood that still would involve the issue with the phlebotomist or the lab. And it's made by Genova, it's an amino acids profile, 40 Amino acids and ION. It's called an ION profile by Genova. It's more comprehensive than just about any blood work and it involves both urine and blood.
0:45:10 BG: Gives you neuro transmitters, gives you a amino-acids, gives you a whole host of parameters. And if I were gonna test anything in combination with a supplement, I would choose that one. So a Genova ION panel with 40 Amino acids, you can order that through a company such as DirectLabs. That would be about a $600 panel. So that would be the bee's knees to put in combination with a couple of the other more low-hanging fruit home self-quantification tools that I'll tell you about. But if you were gonna test internal biology I would go for something like that, Genova ION panel, and just order it through. You'd probably get the best price through a company like DirectLabs.
0:45:47 BG: The other things I would do is I would definitely track the nervous system, I would track the central nervous system along with the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches on the nervous system. The former you can do quite easily via a relatively inexpensive app called a CNS Tap Test and you could simply do that each day just as it sounds, it measures the number of times you can tap with the left thumb, and then also the right thumb on the screen of your phone, and you can track that each day and then correlate that to neuronal firing rate. And you would, of course, associate a decrease neuronal firing rate with a nervous system deficit when it comes to whatever compound you might be using. For parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system balance, you would want to test your... What's called your heart rate variability. And many things like that ring you mentioned I'm wearing, the Oura Ring. That'll test your heart rate variability, which is the measurement of the amount of time spent... The delta in terms of the amount of time spent in between each heartbeat.
0:46:46 BG: And the higher that is, the more balanced that your nervous system is, but I would suggest you also take it one step further and actually look at both branches of the nervous system. The parasympathetic and the sympathetic. And for that, you'd need a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor, like a Polar H7. In my opinion, the most sensitive Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor out there for testing the nervous system is made by a company named Viiiiva V-I-I-I-V-A I believe is... It might be four Is or three. I don't know why they have so many damn Is, but it's a Viiiiva heart rate monitor, and you would pair that... There's another app called the Nature Beat app, and that would allow you to look at what's called your high frequency score, which is the robustness of your parasympathetic rest and digest nervous system, and then your low frequency score, which is the robustness of your sympathetic nervous system. And a heart rate variability score combined with a CNS tap test would be very very good for testing the nervous system.
0:47:49 BG: And then for sleep, I would test not... I would look at sleep as a whole, right? How many sleep cycles you're going through. Your sleep latency, or how long it takes you to fall asleep. Your overall sleep quality, but I would in particular look at deep sleep. Deep sleep is, in my opinion, the most reflective of whether or not something is hurting or harming you. So for example, something that would absolutely crush my deep sleep, and we do a percentage lower than about 5%, when in fact, you should ideally be 10 to 15% for your deep sleep is an antihistamine like a NyQuil or ZzzQuil or something along those lines. That just crushes deep sleep. You can say the same thing for Valium or any diazepam. GHB shoves your deep sleep through the roof. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get, and there's a lot of legality issues with that, but that would be... And it's highly addictive, but that vastly amplifies deep sleep.
0:48:44 BG: THC lowers deep sleep. CBD increases deep sleep. These are all things that I know from my own testing. And so for me, the deep sleep part of the sleep quality pattern is the most important one to track when you're looking at deep sleep. And then that's important too 'cause that's where a lot of your nervous system repair takes place. A lot of memory consolidation and learning takes place. That's where the lion's share of good things that happen during sleep happen, which is why people who take let's say Valium take it to sleep each night get sleep, but it's not quality sleep, and they rack up immune system deficits and recovery deficits and memory deficits even though they're sleeping, in many cases eight or nine hours a night, or at least spending that much time in bed.
0:49:29 BG: So in summary, I would do a CNS tap test. I would do HRV measurements preferably that includes sympathetic and parasympathetic balance. I would look at deep sleep, and then if you've got a little bit of extra money to spend and you want to look at internal biology, of all the tests out there, I would go with a Genova ION panel.
0:49:46 PA: That's so helpful because the ways that I'd set it up, it was much different. There's an element of... For example, I'm so optimistic about the future of psychedelic medicine, in particular when it looks at combining it with optimization, but the tools that are available are still... They're not great necessarily to be able to measure and track. What would be your expectation? How soon could we... For people at home, who are using psychedelics, for something that's more simplified, to have a personalized medicine approach to their psychedelic use. What would be your anticipation in terms of a timeline for something like that?
0:50:28 BG: For something like a home blood panel?
0:50:30 PA: Or just generally being able to understand yourself well enough and then an equals one basis that you know that if you do psilocybin at three and a half grams or MDMA at whatever else it might be.
0:50:46 BG: Yeah, what was that Star Wars tool that would just allow you to track everything all at once. I forget the name of it.
0:50:51 PA: Oh was there something like that in Star Wars?
0:50:53 BG: Yeah, I forget what it was. It was like a full body scanner there's some... Or not Star Wars. Star Trek. I'm sure some Trekkie out there is just screaming at... And I wasn't a Trekkie, so I don't remember what it was called where the doctors hold it up and know everything that was going on in your body. And there was, of course, the company Theranos which claimed to be able to do that with a drop of blood, and they got shut down 'cause they really couldn't. And now, there's another company called Thorne that... They've actually got a lot of money. They just took on a big investment from a Japanese company, and they're developing these little micro-needles. It's just a patch you can put on the skin.
0:51:26 BG: Boom, you put it in an envelope, and you can get lab results pretty quickly. They're already rolling out a lot of really good home kits, but as far as the dongle on the phone that you put a drop of blood on, that tells you everything, I would... There are some companies that are doing all right with ketones, lactic acid, glucose. I would not be surprised if in the next couple of years, we could get at least 150 to 200 different biological parameters from testosterone to CHP to homocysteine to magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium. All of that from a drop of blood via dongle on the iPhone, right? And if you were able to then... And this would be very simple if someone... An app developer could set this up with a couple cups of coffee in 48 hours if you could simply tie an API into that such as Apple Health. And then have the blood work goes into that, and the Apple Health or the API would pull in, let's say your Oura Ring data. So then you're getting sleep, HRV, body temperature. The Oura Ring, I've got no financial affiliation with the company, but they test a lot of stuff.
0:52:36 PA: I just ordered their new ring, their new ring that I think it's shipping this month at some point. They're a few weeks late now, but it's not as obnoxious.
0:52:43 BG: I was the first westerner to buy that ring a few years ago when I was at a bio-hacking conference in Finland. I brought it back over, and a few months later, Dave Asprey came up and spoke at a conference I put on in Spokane and he saw and he put one on his finger, and of course, he has a gradual visibility in the bio-hacking sector and between he and I and a whole bunch of other hackers started wearing it, and all of a sudden it's taking the world by storm. And I'm kicking myself for not having just freaking invested in the company or I would have met them there just give them $25000 and let that ride 'cause I think they're doing pretty well now, but ultimately, yeah, you pull an Oura Ring you pull a drop of blood you tie that into an API to keep track of these parameters.
0:53:25 BG: All the technology exists, I think there are few probably tweaks that would need to be made to whatever dongle that would plug into the iPhone, very similar to a blood glucose stick to be able to keep track of not just a dozen but hundreds of biological parameters, but I would say, equipped with a phone a blood stick or who knows now they've got infrared technology that can read your blood glucose non-invasively, and then a ring or something, you'd wear or even a chip that would then tie into that app as well. You know, I would say one and a half, two years, we should see something like that.
0:54:00 PA: MDMA and Psilocybin are looking like they'll be medicalized in the United States for treating some of these conditions, because I think if we look at MDMA's efficacy in treating PTSD, for example, and this isn't really a topic that we went into because we're obviously more focused on the optimization aspects but there's research that shows there's this really good book I'm reading right now called "Your Body Keeps the Score" which talks about how trauma that happens to us, we internalize it, and it actually shows up then... And obviously, people who have PTSD, for example, have shorter telomerase than those who don't, meaning their life longevity is shorter because of the trauma that's happened. So all of a sudden when you take something like MDMA, which in phase two trials that maps has done cured PTSD and I believe 69% of cases, and all of a sudden you can take a personalized medicine and probably because obviously a man who's 225 pounds, let's say Aubrey Marcus is going to need a different supplement, a different level, a different amount of MDMA than a woman who's 100 pounds, all of a sudden when you can start to customize the actual delivery and not only the molecule itself in terms of how much is being given, but also the approach.
0:55:11 PA: So, for example, some people are finding that combining MDMA with body work helps to facilitate a deeper sense of healing or combining psilocybin with breath work, as we already spoke about. So then looking at how we can take all these different modalities combine them with personalized medicine, all of a sudden psychedelics could go from being this thing that cures potentially 60% of people from PTSD or 50% of people, when we roll out of phase three trials to a much higher degree because of the impact it has, again, on the mind on the brain and this is something that I kinda go over my mind about quite a bit, like I started thinking about this a year ago, there's no really business opportunities that have rolled out, but I think that would be like a phenomenal fantastic one.
0:55:54 BG: But we need to take companies like Thorne who are rolling out these new lab tests. And then pairing that with supplement recommendations, food recommendations, exercise recommendations, etcetera, via single dashboard and being able to tie some of these antigens and plant medicines into that as well. I think that would be fascinating. And then that might be the company that does it, 'cause honestly they just launched their own derivative of like a hemp... So they're very open to these type of things. I think that one's just called Thorne hemp. But they also have access to technology and money to be able to do it so if I can name one company, that I think could probably do something like that it would likely be Thorne. And they also own WellnessFX. The lab testing company. So that would be one.
0:56:34 BG: That's funny that you said that about body work too the last time I was at the human garage in Venice Beach, which is this amazing place. You can go to where like three or four body workers at a time are working on you and they're diffusing specific essential oils and binaural beats. It's the most intense body work experience you've ever had like this back alley place you knock on the door, they buzz you in and it's just basically a bunch of celebrities and pro-athletes and folks like that, and the last time I was there, Mike Bledsoe, who you may know was there and he was getting worked on beside me and I think he was on... I'm just gonna, I'm gonna totally expose him here. But I think he was on six to eight grams of Psilocybin.
0:57:15 PA: Oh my god!
0:57:16 BG: And getting body work down there, just groaning, so but I don't think he cares he's...
0:57:21 PA: Well I think he's been on like a...
0:57:22 BG: He's quite public about his use of...
0:57:25 PA: He is, 'cause he went to like...
0:57:25 BG: His very liberal use...
0:57:26 PA: I think he went to the Ayahuasca retreat that Michael Costuros runs, this Entrepreneurs Awakening in the Sacred Valley. So, Michael, we've had him on the podcast, before he's... Do you know Michael all of you, have you met him?
0:57:40 BG: Yeah, he's a friend.
0:57:41 PA: Okay, so I think Mike maybe went on that and that's kinda how I first heard of them and then, from them.
0:57:48 BG: Yeah. Were you asking me if I knew Mike Bledsoe or were you referring to a different Michael?
0:57:51 PA: Mike Costuros who was former...
0:57:53 BG: No, I don't know this guy, Mike Costuros, no.
0:57:55 PA: So every year or, he leads a group of entrepreneurs and executives down to the sacred valley where he starts a three-month business mastermind with Ayahuasca.
0:58:07 BG: I gotcha.
0:58:07 PA: With like a 10 day retreat where they drink ayahuasca three to four times, and then they come back into the states and then have a three-month mastermind around that, and they're obviously, that's also another really exciting potential is that relationship between psychedelics plant medicine and next generation business. In fact we started now doing retreats in Amsterdam, where psilocybin truffles are legal, where we're bringing people in and facilitating profound, meaningful experiences with them within a context or a container of how do you orient it towards professional development and growth? And I think that's also another really really interesting avenue. Before we wrap up here, just a little bit about your future plan so what's on the horizon for you in the next six months to a year to two to three years and then... And what are you most excited about with what you're doing next?
0:58:57 BG: A real continued focus and infatuation on the anti-aging and longevity sector. I'm steering my company Kion in that direction we're really working hard right now with formulators and researchers and a lot of what I'm studying up on myself to develop formulations that specifically enhance endogenous stem cell production potentially even enhance the health of those exosomes that I was talking about earlier, along with a lot of things that we're already working on and have available for things like joint health and growth hormone but, I think for me, a big part of it is I'm making a transition from being a professional athlete into realizing that it's... That I have a growing interest in not just beating up my body with masochism, but instead just feeling really good all the time and knowing that I'm equipping my body to live a long time.
0:59:53 BG: So I'm spending most of my time, A, working on new formulations and B, I'm about 700 pages into a very comprehensive book that I'm writing on the marriage of performance and longevity. Obviously, though, that'll hit the cutting room floor, and once it comes out, it'll maybe be you know, 550-600 pages, but it'll be a tome on longevity for sure. And part one is mind, part two is body, part three is spirit. And it's pretty much every bio-hack and supplement and food and strategy and some of the things we've mentioned on this show, that I know of to enhance the mind, body, and spirit and achieve that optimum combination of performance, health, and longevity. So, primarily working on that book, which will be called... Well, we've got two working titles right now one is "Superhuman RX", and then one is "Key". And then just continue to work on developing unique formulations for my company Kion.
1:00:48 BG: And I just, like I mentioned, trying to take my two young men and help to transform them into resilient young human beings who will grow up to change the world and also growing more and more in love with the woman who I'll be spending the rest of my life with. And aside from that, that's it. We live in a little off-grid plot in the forest out here, and we grow our own food. I hunt most of our meat, and we have chickens and goats and lots of sunshine and fresh air and trees, and it's very hard for me to leave the house. But yeah, that's generally my favorite place to be is just right here at home either outside surrounded by nature, and everything that this Pacific Northwest forest has to offer and all the ancestral medicine and wisdom and plants that are out there or inside surrounded by literally, at this point, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bio-hacks and anti-aging tools just basically playing with things. So that's kind of how I live my life with one foot in the ancestral wisdom camp and the other in kind of the modern science bio-hacking camp, and I gotta admit. It's pretty fun.
1:02:02 PA: It's a good place to be. And I think that marriage is just... There's gonna be a continued growth of interest in that because of its efficacy in facilitating healing and development. So, where can our listeners find out more about your work and your...
1:02:17 BG: Google, it's pretty good, in my opinion. Better than the search bar on my website, but yeah, just google me. My company is Kion. K-I-O-N. So just google Kion, K-I-O-N or my name and I have a podcast, a blog, a bunch of supplements I've developed, some books and knock yourself out.
1:02:33 PA: Well, thanks again for joining us. It was such a pleasure to have you on the show. And I'm excited to get this out.
1:02:39 BG: Awesome. Thanks for having me on, Paul.