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OPP 022: Serotonin Brain Food Creator Abelard Lindsey



Serotonin controls ourmood, anxiety, fear, andgut health.


Serotonin Brain Food creator Abelard Lindsay discusses our brain's neurotransmitters, optimizing mood, productivity and how to use Serotonin Brain food on Episode #22 of the Optimal Performance Podcast.

Abelard Lindsey, the creator of CILTEP, Dopamine Brain Food and Serotonin Brain Food is here to help us understand our brain, our moods, our feelings and teach us how to increase intelligence and live forever! Sit back and enjoy this one!


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What You'll Hear From Abelard Lindsay and learn about Serotonin in this episode:
  • Mechanism of Action - how serotonin controls our mood, fear, anxiety and our gut
  • The link between stress and depression
  • Brain Foods: providing the raw materials our brains need to perform optimally
  • Should we take Serotonin Brain Food daily?
  • Abelard agrees with Dr. Rhonda Patrick - SSRI's are not our friend & gut health is CRUCIAL for optimal living
  • What sugar cravings tell us about our Serotonin levels
  • The enormous link between mood and productivity and using Serotonin to "be in the moment"
  • When and how to take SBF - best practices from the creator himself
  • The big red flush with Niacin (Vitamin B3) and niacinamide
  • Stacking SBF, Dopamine Brain Food and CILTEP
  • The importance of understanding your own brain
  • How motion and exercise boost mood and therefore, productivity!
  • The future of the Natural Stacks Brain Food line! (HINT: Acetylcholine and GABA coming soon!)
  • Some inside secrets of CILTEP usage & Tim Ferriss chooses CILTEP over Modafanil.
  • Why Astragalus should be your new best friend
  • Get more from Abelard
  • Abelard's Top 3 tips to Live Optimal

Links & Resources

Abelard's Research

Abelard on Twitter (@ciltep)

Abelard on PDE4 Inhibition and increasing intelligence

Abelard's Racetam & Mitochondrial products with Axon Labs: Nexus & Mitogen

The Braverman Test

Other Benefits of Niacin & Niacinamide:

Astragalus on Amazon

Natural Stacks Performance Optimizers

Serotonin Brain Food

Dopamine Brain Food

Krill Oil

Leave us a comment or ask Abelard your question in the comments below.

Abelard Lindsay Serotonin Brain Food

Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you're into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance check out

Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! I'm your host Ryan Munsey and today we have a very special guest with us, a VIP here at Natural Stacks, Mr. Abelard Lindsay. Abelard is the creator of CILTEP and our Brain Food lines so get your science lab glasses on and get ready to nerd out with us on some awesome science today. Abelard, thanks for joining us!

Abelard: Thank you! Pleasure to be hear.

Ryan: Hey, we're really excited to be able to do this. Before we really dive in, a couple of housekeeping notes for all of our listeners. Make sure you guys head over to, you can get the show notes, links, resources. I'm sure there will be a ton of stuff that we talk about today that you wanna follow up with, see links to studies, whatever it might be. All of that's gonna be on the blog at along with the video version of this and every other podcast. Also, make sure you head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review like this one from lrivero88: 'Great podcast. Loved it and recommending it to anyone and everyone.' And that gives me a great idea to ask you guys if you listen and you like the Optimal Performance Podcast please share it with your friends, help us spread the message and help more people and better more lives. Alright, so with the advertisements out of the way, Abelard let's talk about serotonin and our new product Serotonin Brain Food today. So, tell us about serotonin. What role does it play? Why is it such a big deal? 

Abelard: Well it's a neurotransmitter in the brain and it's very important for regulating mood, fear, aggression and anxiety. And it's recently come into the popular consciousness through anti-depressant drugs and generally as a mood associated brain chemical. It also plays a lot of - a very important role in the gut, you know, there's an actual brain - there's neurons in the gut that control and interact with digestion and a lot of serotonergic drugs have actually been used to improve symptoms of people who have um, irritable bowel syndrome or other intractable digestive problems. It's almost as if their - the neurons in their gut or serotonin system in their gut has some sort of mental illness. And so there's [laughs] yeah, there's this brain - it's very important in the brain-gut connection. And it's metabolized from tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that's found in egg whites, soy beans, turkey and is available as a nutritional supplement and in Serotonin Brain Food. And that tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP. Now, you might see 5-HTP on the shelves of the supplement aisle and, yeah I was considering putting that in Serotonin Brain Food but the problem is is that the body closely regulates the amount of 5-HTP in the body by manipulating the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase how much of it there is. So I decided that it's not a good thing to bypass those rate-limiting steps. I tend to try and make it so that all the necessary precursors and - are there and that the enzymes that are controlling that particular neurotransmitter are all activated and primed so, with all the co-factors and so forth so they can work optimally. So that wasn't included. But then 5-HTP is, you know, turns into serotonin and then turns into melatonin which is important for sleep, of course.

And, but there's also this other pathway, the cyanuric acid pathway and that gets activated more when you're more under stress in their cortisol levels are increased. So, that - that's kind of a way that stress and depression are linked. And, so the - in order to maintain really a, you know, a positive mood it's important to make sure that the tryptophan is getting converted to serotonin and not this cyanuric acid pathway which eventually results in the production of niacin. So, the - so by freeing up that pathway, you know, with enough niacinamide being available in the body it's sort of - and lowering cortisol [unclear [00:05:46] Rhodiola and cortisol is, I mean Rhodiola is great for cortisol. You cannot get stressed it - I mean I cannot get stressed if I take Rhodiola, I take it before I - I mean I used, you know, before I was taking the Serotonin Brain Food I'd take it before I went to the dentist. And I go to the dentist and, you know, they could do whatever they wanted to me and I didn't really care you know, it was just absolute hard upper limit on the amount of stress that I can feel if I take Rhodiola just because it - and studies have shown this - that it very much limits the increase in cortisol.

Ryan: It's one of the most powerful and popular adaptogens, you know, as far back as ancient Chinese and it's been used in Chinese and ayurvedic medicine for years, or thousands of years.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: So, um, so that's really cool. It sounds like with your immense knowledge of how the body works and how the neurotransmitters work, you've been able to identify the complete pathway, any leaks - any potential leaks, any potential disruptions and, you know, this Serotonin Brain Food is a product that as you said is going to just supply all of the raw materials so that our body can do what it is supposed to do. I think that's an important distinction that we are not - the product is not serotonin, you're not just taking serotonin, you're not pumping that into the body, that you're allowing - you're giving the body what it needs to do what it's supposed to do.

Abelard: Yeah. And it's, I mean, there's another popular serotonin-enhancing supplement St. John’s wort but that can - that basically has serotonin reuptake inhibition effects. And - but I mean that's, you know, the SSRIs have their issues. It also has issues with going out in the sun, causing people to more easily sunburn, it's just not the kind of thing that I want to take on a regular basis. And I designed these supplements so that they could, you know, be taken 1 to 3 on the, you know, depending on need, on a fairly regular basis.

Ryan: Well that's a good time to ask the question. Is Serotonin Brain Food something that we should be taking on a daily basis? Is it as needed? Could you do it either way? Should people experiment with anywhere from 1 to 3 pills to find the proper daily dosage for themselves? Because everybody's gonna be different.

Abelard: Yeah, well I mean, I'm a big fan of the Braverman test of course and, you know I've taken those tests so many times that I've kind of memorized the questions. So, you know at any point in time I can start asking myself those questions just and then, you know, how many of them I get and yeah I answer yes to. So based on, you know, what my - what my Braverman score for serotonin would be on the day I, you know, I take more or I take less. Usually I take between 1 and 2 pills or if I'm having, you know, a really bad day maybe 3. Or, you know, I'm gonna go to the dentist or something like that.

Ryan: Right. I think that's a really important thought process that people need to keep in mind. I mean I know when I was younger I would just, whatever supplement I had at the time because I bought it and had it I took it every day and I never really thought twice about it and I think a lot of people may still fall under that umbrella. And, you know, with our Brain Food line the purpose isn't to buy all of them and take all of them every day. If you use the Braverman and follow that kind of quantified self-thought process of, you know, just like you're saying, Abelard, where it's, you know, you start to recognize the symptoms of certain deficiencies. So, you know, maybe you've gotten to the point where you don't have to take the Braverman test every single say to be able to self-diagnose. So for our listeners it's start to pay really close attention until you get to that point where you can auto-regulate. 'Oh I'm feeling a little bit down, I'm feeling the symptoms of low acetylcholine or low dopamine or low serotonin. Now I can modulate that with what I take each morning.'

Abelard: Mhm, right. Exactly. Yeah, it's important to keep, yeah, with the Brain Food line it’s sort of a different philosophy, it's - you - they're kind of like levels on your hi-fi stereo, you know, the bass, the treble [laughs] and turning those up and down kind of tuning so you get to the optimal state. Yeah, like if I - for instance if you were having a really good day and you took, you know, 3 Serotonin Brain Food you might feel a little too good and maybe you just want to have enough stress that you're, you know, it's optimal. 

Ryan: Okay, good, good point. Now, when we had Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the podcast here, she talked a little bit about, you know, her dislike for SSRIs, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. A lot of that was based on how they impact the gut, a lot of that was also based on the fact that people can become dependent on it and it can mess up their regular serotonin metabolism. So I guess, two questions here for you in regards to Serotonin Brain Food. First, talk about how this is sustainable and it won't have the negative impact of an SSRI on normal or regular serotonin metabolism.

Abelard: Yeah, well SSRIs, they artificially manipulate enzymes that remove serotonin from, you know, from the synaptic cleft reuptakes and so forth and so, you know, the cells in the body are gonna get confused by that because they aren't used to seeing that on a regular basis. But, you know, things that they're very familiar with like tryptophan, you know, magnesium, zinc and - are not - the body has systems where it understands how to process these vitamins and regulate their levels. And also I didn't - as I was saying earlier - I didn't go past the tryptophan hydroxylase enzyme and work around it with this 5-HTP. So, you know, the body's in control of how much serotonin it's generating, it just has enough to not - it just has enough of the precursors to not get diverted down these negative pathways or, you know, cause increasing cortisol which would also divert it down - diver tryptophan metabolism down the cyanuric acid pathway. And Rhonda Patrick actually talked about that pathway as being, you know, a stress associated pathway.

Ryan: Okay. So, I want to pull out and kinda highlight what you just said with Serotonin Brain Food and I'm pretty sure with the entire Brain Food line this is gonna be the case, and again it goes back to what we mentioned earlier. Because this Brain Food line is providing the raw materials for these neurotransmitters, our bodies are able to ramp up and meet the current demand of our body for that specific neurotransmitter so it's not like we're getting too much or too little, we're getting just what we need with those raw materials. So, with that let's go back to part 2 of that original question then and the impact of Serotonin Brain Food on our gut health and how it can help us with optimal digestion, appetite, things like that.

Abelard: Well, serotonin is involved in appetite and that's why, you know, when people get depressed they wanna eat a lot of choc- you know, they wanna eat a lot of those sugar 'cause you know, sugar causes a short-term serotonin boost like one of the, um - and it causes that because it changes the concentration of tryptophan in the blood stream so that's why people who are in a bad mood crave sugary substances.

Ryan: Yeah, so let's highlight that. And you mentioned earlier that you've gotten to the point where you can recognize the symptoms of being serotonin deficient. So, that is one of them. If you find yourself craving sugary foods for no apparent reason or you're wanting, you know, as we say 'comfort foods' then maybe that's what it is.

Abelard: Yeah, and that's, you know, that's your gut initiating a lot of that, too, so - 

Ryan: It's very subjective, we should point that out, I mean that's not pure objective science but the more you recognize that, and it could also be caused by other things but high stress and low serotonin are going to want us - make us want high sugar foods.

Abelard: Sure. And the - the gut, you know, it has its own brain as I was saying earlier and keeping it happy, it has - it's been linked to digestive health this - with the use - with some of these neurological treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. That's certainly been an important link in the understanding of the brain-gut mood connection.

Ryan: So, let's talk about how mood impacts performance. There's a lot of research going on right now and a lot of studies coming out talking about how our mood affects productivity, task efficiency. So, you know, not only can Serotonin Brain Food modulate our stress but it can improve our mood and help us be more productive and get more accomplished in our work day.

Abelard: Oh, absolutely! You know, if someone's depressed it's very difficult for them to be productive, to focus on their work. You know, I've - the subjective experience that I have with low serotonin versus higher serotonin is that, you know, it's being in the moment. If - rather than consumed with internal, focused internally it allows one to be present and focusing on the situation that they're in and getting what they need to do done. It's absolutely key to that. I mean there's - the difference between the low levels and high levels and just being able to function and be a productive, you know, in the moment person is amazing. 

Ryan: Yeah, I will have to second that. I think the very first time I took the Serotonin Brain Food I felt like I had just ended a float session. It's that very calm, peaceful, nothing else matters but the here and the now. It was very, kind of, Peaceful Warrior if you've seen that movie, you know, I am this moment and nothing else kinda - it's just, it's very hard for anything to pierce that bubble. You know, we're big fans of floating here. You know, unfortunately that's not something that all of us can do as often as we want so the Serotonin Brain Food can definitely help achieve that feeling during the day or at night. So let's talk about that, Abelard. Is Serotonin Brain Food better taken in the morning or at night? Does it matter? Does it depend on your goal?

Abelard: It's better to take in the morning. Rhodiola can, you know, being an adaptogen can be stimulative to people so it's - yeah it can make it more difficult to sleep, definitely. 

Ryan: Okay. Now, tell us a little bit about how you came up with this stack and, you know, I'm sure that this isn't the first version of it. How many different versions did you go through before it came to market? What were some of the - what did you try that didn't make the final cut?

Abelard: Right, right. Okay, well, you know, well I have a pretty wide knowledge of all of the herbs and, you know, and precursors and vitamins and co-factors that are involved in serotonin. And, you know, I tried a bunch of different ones. You know, 5-HTP, St. John's wort, tryptophan at various levels, zinc, magnesium in various levels, niacin, niacinamide, all - Rhodiola, you know, some various ayurvedic herbs that are lesser known like Shankhpushpi which is kind of an interesting one, think a few others. And just, you know, read up on all of them and tried a bunch of different variations of them and over a period of days and saw how they affected my mood and for example, you know, taking high doses of niacin with really long-lasting significant flush with niacinamide is a lower - is well-known to not have as significant of a, you know, much more reduced flushing level. And, you know, niacin is a great vitamin and it's such a powerful serotonin anti-anxiety supplement that I just absolutely wanted to have it included. And then, you know, the synergy between the Rhodiola and the niacin for that cortisol control really created something special. I mean I didn't want to, you know, just have a supplement that would - that people wouldn't - that wouldn't be powerful enough for people to really feel like, you know, they were getting their money's worth when they were, you know trying to improve their serotonin levels if you will.

Ryan: Right. So, my question here is, you know, a lot of early feedback, I know some people, customers are taking Serotonin Brain Food with Dopamine Brain Food. You know, it has been kind of my, I guess, guess for hypothesis that you wouldn't take those together unless as we said earlier with Braverman test that you were extremely deficient or deficient on that day in both areas. Can - can taking those together negatively impact, you know, what you feel from Serotonin Brain Food?

Abelard: Well, they should be taken at least an hour apart in my experience just because vitamin C and niacinamide if taken together they can, I mean, they can interact with each other, I mean you know, they're great together but just separated by some time otherwise they can cause some stomach - some mild like stomach discomfort.

Ryan: Which one should we take first?

Abelard: I would take - I would take Serotonin Brain Food first.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: Yeah.

Ryan: Now let's say somebody was gonna take CILTEP on that same day. So, should we wake up, take serotonin and CILTEP together first thing, start drinking our coffee and then later in the day, you know, an hour later like you said, once you kind of get that momentum going then you take the Dopamine Brain Food?

Abelard: Yeah! Yeah, that would be good. I mean CILTEP works better on an empty stomach, so.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: You know, first thing in the morning. And, you know CILTEP shouldn't have any interaction with Serotonin Brain Food.

Ryan: Okay, alright. So, with the flushing is there - obviously niacinamide was chosen over niacin to, you know decrease the amount and the duration of the flush. Are there any other reasons that we may have longer or, you know, some people flush, some people don't. Is it just sensitivity to niacinamide?

Abelard: Yeah, it's - it varies from person to person and the flushing is a well-known effect of niacin and it's temporary and, you know, it doesn't cause any health issues.

Ryan: So, and I mean, is it even possibly a positive thing that it's going to increase circulation, it's gonna show us that hey our circulation is good, our capillaries are doing what they're supposed to do, you know, if your ears get all red and tingly?

Abelard: Yeah, yeah, it can certainly wake you up in the morning!

Ryan: We should see if it has the same positive benefits as like inversion or something else where you get that immediate blood flow rush to areas that don't normally get flushed.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Right, well we'll have to look into that. I'll make a note and we'll see if we can't find anything on that and if we do, listeners, we'll put that in the show notes for you. Alright, so Abelard, what else should we know about Serotonin Brain Food? What have we not asked you that - you know, this is your baby - what do you want us to know about it?

Abelard: Well, I think each person should really get to understand their brain as far as neurotransmitter function. And, you know, it's important to observe one’s consciousness as one goes from, you know, different - through various levels of serotonin and just to find the right level that's good for them because it - in most - in a traditional understanding of mood and just basic functioning as a human it's - I think this brain chemistry access to understanding is much, it makes things a little bit richer. You know, 'cause you can think like: 'Well why am I in this mood that I am right now? Oh, I have low serotonin or I have low dopamine.' Or whatever. And that lends a whole different dimension to life that can - it's almost like the modern better version of - of previous eras of psychological understanding. So, that's one thing that I think is really important about the product.

Ryan: Alright, that was - that was just deep and, you know, it's an inward journey so I think folks have to be prepared to go inside their own head and, you know, you're going to be assessing your current state, trying to figure out how you are or why you are the way you are in any current moment, on any current day. And it's - it's not a journey that you figure out in one or two explorations, is it? It's a long journey.

Abelard: Right, right, it is. And [laughs] you know what's kind of interesting about it is that when I'm communicating, you know, with my wife about our moods from time to time we'll [unclear 00:26:51]. And so you know, my GABA is not so great today or, you know, I have a lot of serotonin right now or, you know, you talk about, you know, I have a lot of dopamine like to do a whole bunch of stuff, like, you know it's [unclear 00:27:07] dopamine like, it's um, it's interesting because it's this 4-dimensional axis that I kind of live my life on. I have you know - and we share this understanding together it's almost - it's almost a different language of talking about emotions and how we are. 

Ryan: So, I had a mentor one time tell me that motion creates or dictates emotion. So, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on that so, you know, if you're feeling down or blue or sorry for yourself, you know, that you just, you get up and, you know, dance to the Footloose song or do some jumping jacks and start doing something and you build this momentum. Can you talk about how motion can impact those neurotransmitters and what's really going on there?

Abelard: Oh, yeah. Well it is a - exercise is of course a well-studied treatment for depression and works wonders and it's been investigated as a serotonin production enhancer. And the, you know, there has been a lot of study of that. So exercise totally affects your body's production of, you know, various neurotransmitters and your mood and so forth. So, you know, working out, aerobic exercise, I mean that's all fantastic ways to improve your mood and your neurotransmitters.

Ryan: Alright, very cool. Now, you've mentioned that you talk to your wife about your GABA levels or your acetylcholine levels and you mentioned that Bacopa was researched when you were looking at Serotonin Brain Food. Acetylcholine Brain Food, GABA Brain Food, are these things coming soon?

Abelard: Yeah, yeah! They're in the pipeline. There's a lot of careful, you know, formulation of these that occur because acetylcholine is a tricky one because too much acetylcholine which is easy to do with a lot of nootropics, you know for instance acetylcholine [unclear 00:29:32] inhibitors like Huperz for example. It can cause a really negative mood, so you have to, you know there's certain careful manipulation that has to be engaged and to not overdo it, you know? [laughs]

Ryan: Right. 

Abelard: And, you know, the thing with GABA. There are, you know with GABA you really have to work around the edges of GABA Metabolists because direct agonists for GABA receptors cause lots of problems. So, you know, you have to really extend and enhance that - that process of enabling the GABA to be created and then to the brain but not directly manipulating the system. So that's the challenge developing those.

Ryan: Okay, so it's more like the old saying is you know, you don't run straight at a bull you kinda have to corner it, so you're trying to find a way to coax the body to do what we want it to do without, you know, revolting and bucking and really messing things up.

Abelard: Yeah! You don't want to - well it's - you don't wanna push all the but - you don't wanna push the buttons that make the machine run really fast but then it doesn't run as well later on. 

Ryan: It's all about longevity, right?

Abelard: Yeah, it's all about being able to take these things every day so, you know, you can feel your best and live optimally and not just, you know, chase the short-term, have a good short-term effect but not a good long-term effect and that takes a lot of careful experimentation and - and understanding.

Ryan: So, with that being said, and I know you've talked about this before, my first introduction to you was actually when you were a guest on Bulletproof Radio talking about CILTEP. I know you've talked about CILTEP before but since we are talking about longevity and being able to optimize performance now and for the long-term talk about, you know, how CILTEP does just that.

Abelard: Well, CILTEP improves the function of the secondary messenger systems in the body and the neurons being the - through inhibiting phosphodiesterase 4 and increasing cAMP levels. So what that does is it makes the increase in cAMP levels in certain neurons in the brain prolonged and that increases the -

Ryan: cAMP being cyclic AMP?

Abelard: Cyclic AMP [laughs]. And yeah, just become so familiar with that chemical [laughs] I call it cAMP. 

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: Anyway, and what this does is it increases the function of CREB, cAMP response element-binding protein which causes transcription in the nucleus of proteins that cause the neurons to grow and connect and form long-term memories, so-called vate long-term potentiation, I mean, which is great for studying and improves motivation and so forth. And - 

Ryan: So it improves focus and motivation in the moment but then as you, if you're using it to do new things or learn new things it actually helps you remember them.

Abelard: Yeah it increases the sense of, subjectively increases the sense of wonder, you know, when one is learning from a really fascinating teacher and remembering anything it's sort of - that's an aroused state and I think it increases that and prolongs that state which tends to make it really easy to remember stuff and remain interested in learning.  

Ryan: Okay. So, we just - we recently put a video on our YouTube channel where Tim Ferriss was unboxing his quarterly box and it had CILTEP in it so if you haven't seen it we've gotta tell you that Tim Ferriss said that CILTEP is better than Modafinil. Or if he could - if he had to only choose one to use he would choose CILTEP so, you know, that's a pat on your back. But also, I kinda want to hear your thoughts on Modafinil. I think I know where you're gonna go with this based on what you said earlier, but your thoughts on Modafinil.

Abelard: I've taken Modafinil a - 1 or 2 times and, you know, so I wouldn't call myself, you know, somebody who's a Modafinil expert but it kind of made me forget I was tired. But I didn't really [laughs] - I didn't really feel the intense interest that I do when I take CILTEP stacks in learning. So um, you know, it was sort of like I'm awake and I can just kind of keep going but it didn't really create this wonder in my - in me that's - this fascination that, you know, I feel when I take CILTEP. That really makes it great for learning. I mean I - when I take, you know some of the - even the very strong CILTEP stacks like [unclear 00:35:13] which kind of makes me anti-social and not see the point of interacting with other humans I just wanna watch math lectures all day, it's [laughs].

Ryan: You gotta explain this to our listeners. What are you taking it with and why would you wanna do that?

Abelard: Okay well there's - there's - CILTEP, when I started designing it and experimenting around releasing it to the people on LongeCity, we experimented with a lot of different variations. And the artichoke variation is the best one because it's the kind you can take every day and interact normally with the rest of the world and feel good [laughs]. But there's stronger versions of it that were, had more intense effects but they kind of made one a little obsessed with learning.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: So, you know, before - like when I - there's this PDE foreign inhibitor derived from this South African plant called kanna and it's called Zembrin and when taken instead of artichoke in CILTEP stack it makes the stack very, very strong and makes learning almost as addictive as say like playing video games. And so I took that for about a month and all I wanted to do was go home and take online classes. And just, you know, watch math videos and - and it was kind of addictive and weird and I just didn't see the point of human interaction. And so, you know, that's if I have to cram like, I don't know, if I wanna just spend all day just sitting or just reading stuff. [laughs] It's a little too intense for, you know, taking on a regular basis, so, but yeah.

Ryan: Couple of things I've gotta ask you. One, repeat the name of that supplement, we'll put a link to it in the show notes. 

Abelard: Yeah.

Ryan: Starts with a Z. Spell that for us.

Abelard: Zembrin. Yeah, Zembrin also has SSRI components to it, too, you know, so it has that negative edge on it.

Ryan: Okay. Now - 

Abelard: There are even stronger stacks I took and I have days of - memories of days from like years ago kind of burned into my memory but I didn't feel very good on those, I - so I don't really tell a lot of people about them. I mean, if you dig like deep into the LongeCity thread you might find that stuff.

Ryan: Woah. What does your - what does your cabinet look like in your kitchen? I mean you've gotta have formulations that never saw the light of day of all of these products.

Abelard: Yeah, there's a lot of stuff in my cabinets. You know, over the years I've really geeked out on this stuff as you can imagine. I mean you know, I've been into smart drugs and supplements for more than 10 years so, yeah, it's definitely been kind of a life long journey to understand all this stuff. I mean I'm also fascinated with longevity science and um, exploring that. I mean there's - you know, I mean there are two kind of nerdy supplement quests if you will. It's how to live forever and how to increase intelligence. And, you know, I've definitely dug deep into those.

Ryan: So, give us your best how to increase intelligence and how to live forever.

Abelard: [laughs] Okay. Oh! 

Ryan: In a decade of studying this, boil it down and feed our podcast listeners. 

Abelard: Okay. 

Ryan: Your best.

Abelard: Well the 'how to live forever' stuff is pretty well trodden ground, there's a lot of people trying to figure that out. And, you know, the most famous being the Stem Research Institute and they've identified 7 different causes of damage that occur during ageing. And, you know, and I think the most important sources of damage are glycation - and glycation is basically like, you know, when you put a cake in the oven and it turns brown, it's like called the Maillard reaction and it's non - 

Ryan: Non-enzyme.

Abelard: It's a non-enzymatic reaction that, you know, occurs with sugars. And what these sugars do is they, they start sticking stuff together in the body tissues like - and that's what causes wrinkles and arteriosclerosis and so forth. And also they bind the DNA, so they stop DNA from being able to generate the right proteins that it needs and being able to turn genes on and off, this is DNA glycation. So - and it's very hard to reverse, they haven't figured anything out about that. But the best thing you can do is to not eat a lot of advanced glycation-N products. And if you want to go really, really hard core on that, which I'm not able to, you can be a raw vegan but [laughs] - but I wouldn't recommend that because it's a big pain to do. But I mean if you see some of these raw vegans that are like in their, you know, in their 60’s and their 70’s somewhere and look really, really good.

Ryan: Mhm! Some of them.

Abelard: Yeah.

Ryan: The ones who realize they need to supplement with vitamin B12 and things that are devoid in their raw vegan diet.

Abelard: Yeah. And that's because it - those have like the lowest level of glycation - advanced glycation-N products in them. And then the other half is maintaining telomeres and that's easier because you can just take Astragalus and there's a lot of guys on LongeCity that are, you know, take lots of Astragalus every day and they measure their telomeres and they have some pretty good results there.

Ryan: So, let me stop you right there because we've already had two guys on the show, Andy Hnilo and Crosby Tailor who are both living in L.A., both working as models and these guys are - they're shredded, they're performing at the highest level both optimally and - I'm sorry, both mentally and physically. So, and they've both talked about Astragalus, they both have extensive knowledge of herbs. What's - what's the dosage there? How can our listeners throw that hack into their daily supplement regimen?

Abelard: Well I take a quarter teaspoon of organic bulk Astragalus so I, you know, I just have like, teaspoons and measuring spoons and it tastes pretty good actually so it's the kind of thing you can take bulk. And that - and that has - and there's a lot of like really high-priced products that claim to have taken the essential ingredients out of Astragalus and concentrated them but they're astronomically expensive. So, and that's - that's - and then there are other longevity roots that are sort of revered in ancient Chinese medicine but have less supporting evidence for longevity like Fo-ti and gotu kola and so forth. But those have less evidence behind them. Also! Also another thing is the resveratrol and has some evidence of improving longevity through this SIRT1 genes and AMPK and the - there were a number of studies that came out that said that that was through PDE4 inhibition which is how CILTEP works. So, you know, I wrote an article on this on the blog so there could be - there could be a connection there.

Ryan: That's on the Optimal Performance Blog.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Alright, so we'll have a link to that in the show notes as well. So, what you might be or might not be hinting at is that CILTEP can not only increase intelligence but it might be able to help us live longer.

Abelard: Yeah um, yeah. Well that might - 

Ryan: That's not a claim! We're just joking.

Abelard: Yeah. [laughs]

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: That's - that's speculation.

Ryan: Okay. You mentioned Fo-ti which is also Ho Shou Wu. That's something that I take and when I - I thought it was doing something and I ran out and I stopped taking it and for the 2 weeks that I was out of it I was just like - that zest was not there. That's the only way I know how to describe it. So, that's definitely one that I continue to take and there may not be as much science backing it up but, you know, personal experience I can say that it's definitely something that I would get behind. Okay, so we talked about how to live forever. Any other tips to increase intelligence besides CILTEP, Braverman?

Abelard: Well, you know, there's also - I'm a big fan of racetams of course.

Ryan: Okay.

Abelard: And, you know, we have our Axon lab stacks which are more synthetic than the Natural Stacks stacks. For instance, you know, and a racetam is made in a lab, it's not a natural product at all. And, you know, CDP-choline, Pycnogenol, phosphatidylserine, you know, these are all beneficial for cognitive performance, short-term cognitive performance and, you know, combined with fish oil especially.

Ryan: So, two questions there. Those racetams, some of the Axon Labs products, since you are kind of a product formulator for both Axon Labs and Natural Stacks.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Are they designed, obviously they're designed to be taken together but let's hear that from your mouth.

Abelard: Yeah, yeah! No every - every day I'll take CILTEP, Nexus, Mitogen, they - they work great together. Mitogen is the mitochondrial performance stack and that basically works at every - well not every - but most of the aspects of mitochondrial performance because, you know, basically the mitochondria are making ATP in the cell, and in order to do that they have to, you know, take, you know, take fuel and reduce it and basically pump protons out of the, you know, out of the inner membrane of the mitochondria and then they come back through ATP synthase and like EDP. But at each one of those pumps there's a you know, complex 1,2,3,4 there's supplements that I put in Mitogen that positively impact those processes and also further up where, you know, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex where it's turning, you know where it's taking - after a long chain of processing glucose it's turning glucose into fuel for the pyruvate - at that point pyruvate into fuel for the mitochondria. So that's - you know and that may - increases energy levels and um, improves just, you know, feelings of well-being and so forth. Yeah but I take all 3 of those on a daily basis and I love them.

Ryan: Okay. Very cool. You've taken me back to college, man, and I'm not a fan of that.

Abelard: [laughs] Yeah! I don't know, I always like to get down to the molecular bio level. I know it's so -

Ryan: No, it's - the science is fine, it's just the flashbacks to college are not because I didn't have smart drugs and nootropics and CILTEP in college so I didn't have the appetite to learn that we're talking about today.

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Okay, well we talked about how to live forever, how to increase intelligence, we talked about Serotonin Brain Food, we talked about CILTEP. We've covered a whole lot of stuff today. Before we let you leave, we're gonna tell our listeners a couple of things. One: make sure you go to and check out the blog version of this. You'll get all the show notes, links, resources. Also, Abelard will be back on the show at least 3 more times to talk about the other brain foods. Dopamine is out now so we'll get you on soon to talk about dopamine metabolism and all that good stuff and then we'll have you back to talk about the other two points of the axis by which you live now - GABA and acetylcholine, right?

Abelard: Right.

Ryan: Okay. So, with that all being said, tell our listeners where they can find more of you if they have any questions for you.

Abelard: Yeah, I have a personal website with an archive of all my podcasts, appearances and articles, that’s And yeah. And then on Twitter I'm @ciltep and, you know, that's where I post link to like all the new exciting science that's coming out and just, you know, my latest articles and stuff.

Ryan: Okay. Very cool. Now, normally our guests have to answer a question, what are your top 3 tips to live optimal? We gotta - we gotta change that up a little bit for you. I tell you what, today we'll have you answer your top 3 tips to live optimal but your next 3 times on the show you don't get that question, you get a different closing question.

Abelard: Alright, yeah that's important. Definitely learn how to, you know, learn how to think and, you know, understand scientific information and that just comes with practice and reading about, you know, rhetoric and reasoning. And yeah just, you know, just studying techniques for that kind of thing. And then the second thing I would say would be to understand your own personal brain chemistry and how to optimize it. That's really important. And lastly, you know, just being - be constantly learning and working on your understanding of the world and improving your ability to get more out of life that way.

Ryan: Those are awesome. Abelard, thank you for hanging out with us today. For our listeners, go to to see links, show notes, the blog and also head on over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show, ask us any questions and until then we will see you next Thursday. Thank you guys for listening!


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