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Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman on Foot Fetishes, Drugs, and NoFap | Andrew Schulz’s Flagrant with Akaash Singh

Check out the Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Many fetishes at their extreme reflect “a flip” in the body’s normal reaction to something, such as being attracted to a dead body instead of averse to it
  • Prolactin is released in men and women when they have kids, which suppresses sexual desire, increases body fat, and encourages stillness in an effort to direct the parent’s energy toward raising the newborn 
  • Young people who watch pornography are developing their arousal template – that is, the spectrum of things that get them aroused – to very extreme sexual experiences
  • What one finds physically attractive can be boiled down to ratios, which can signal fertility, i.e. the better physical ratios a person has, the more attractive they are
  • The data suggests that most women’s top priority for a long-term partner is that the person be kind to them
  • “The number one thing for health is quality sleep, and the best way to get quality sleep is to get sunlight in your eyes early in the day.” Dr. Andrew Huberman 
  • Avoid the “afternoon crash” by not drinking caffeine for the first 90-120 minutes upon waking
  • Alcohol disrupts the quality architecture of your sleep, meaning you can fall asleep, but the sleep is not restorative
  • “If you’re going to drink, you can probably have two drinks, maybe three, per week. No problem.”Dr. Andrew Huberman  
  • Nicotine is an amazing nootropic, but the delivery device will kill you
  • Addiction is the progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure; it is also the progressive narrowing of the things that bring you the effect you want
  • Cannabis is not “bad”, but smoking high-THC cannabis is “really risky” for individuals that have a predisposition to bipolar or schizophrenia
  • You can change your facial muscles in 2-3 months with corrected nasal breathing and jaw exercises
  • Storytelling is such an effective communication method because humans synchronize their physiological responses when they hear a story together
  • Peptides stimulate massive hormone release and help you recover faster, increase fat loss, improve muscle repair, and stimulate libido
  • Everyday Health Tips: Get sunlight in your eyes each morning, get high-quality sleep, lift weights 3x per week for 60 minutes, do cardiovascular work 3x per week, control your stress using breathwork, establish a discipline that fosters resiliency, and avoid toxic relationships 

Intro 

  • Dr. Andrew Huberman (@hubermanlab) is a Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford Medicine and host of the Huberman Lab Podcast. He is focused on science and health research, in addition to public education. Dr. Huberman recently launched the Neural Network Newsletter, a free monthly newsletter on the latest in neuroscience, health, and science-related tools that is read by +100,000 subscribers.   
  • In this unexpected crossover conversation, Dr. Andrew Huberman and the Flagrant crew discuss foot fetishes, how pornography rewires the brain, why kindness is the most attractive quality to women, how sunlight affects your health, how substances ruin sleep, Adderall, nicotine, cannabis, mushrooms, addiction, how mouth breathing affects your facial structure, the power of effective storytelling, why everyone in Hollywood is taking peptides, everyday health tips that everyone can implement, and much more    
  • Check out these Podcast Notes on Dr. Huberman’s Science-Based Tools for Increasing Happiness 
  • Hosts – Andrew Schulz (@andrewschulz), Akaash Singh (@AkaashSingh), AlexxMedia (@AlexxMedia), and Mark Gagnon (@Markygags)     

The Science Behind Fetishes 

  • In the clinical sense, a fetish is something that somebody actually requires to get aroused 
  • Fetishes related to feet, feces, and dead bodies tend to evoke an aversive response; you want to get away from them  
  • Historically, feet had the potential to be sites of infection
  • There are people who have an appetitive approach to things that are historically  infectious, such as feet
    • Appetitive definition: an instinctive physical desire   
  • Many fetishes at their extreme reflect a “flip” in the body’s normal reaction to something, such as being attracted to a dead body instead of averse to it
  • People don’t tend to develop fetishes with water bottles or tables, for example; fetishes mostly dance between aversiveness and appetitiveness 
  • You have a map of your body surface in your brain
    • There are certain areas in your body where you have very little sensitivity and others where you have a lot 
    • Feet, genitals, and lips tend to be the most sensitive, known as erogenous zones 
  • In males and females, the representation of the feet and genitals are next to each other in the brain 
  • It is common for pavlovian reactions to form in the brain
    • Example: A person has a nice meal with someone, they later engage in sexual activity, and then he associates the nice meal with the sexual activity  

Objectification, Attachment, and The Dad Bod 

  • The human dance around mating is based on possibility and negotiating power
    • The book Can Love Last argues that sexual attraction is rooted in objectification, which decreases as the couple enters into a relationship and is one of the reasons why people have affairs
    • Long-lasting relationships tend to cycle between objectification and attachment
  • Prolactin is released in men and women when they have kids
  • The release of prolactin suppresses sexual desire, increases body fat, and encourages stillness in an effort to direct your energy toward raising the newborn 
  • The “Dad Bod” is a physiological thing; it is the laying down of fat stores to anticipate the nights of no sleep 
  • Our species is fundamentally about making more of ourselves and protecting our young

NoFap Rewires The Brain 

  • Young people who watch pornography are developing their arousal template – that is, the spectrum of things that get them aroused – to very extreme sexual experiences   
  • They are developing their arousal template with extreme experiences without engaging in any real-world experiences 
  • Their brains are developing wiring to become aroused watching other people have sex instead of having sex themselves 
  • Anecdotally, about 25% of the people who contact Dr. Huberman about porn addiction are women 
  • Anytime we experience a powerful, emotional or physical response (sexual arousal, hunger, fear, excitement), whatever proceeded that response becomes the thing that our brain thinks leads to it 
  • The brain is a prediction machine; it generalizes to try and predict 

What We Want vs. What We Think We Want

  • People are attracted to different phenotypes 
  • What one finds physically attractive can be boiled down to ratios, which can signal fertility, i.e. the better physical ratios a person has, the more attractive they or are  
  • People tend to match up closely, in terms of attractiveness, when looking for a long-term partner 

Kindness Is The Most Attractive Quality 

  • The feature that most women report to be the most attractive feature of a long-term partner is kindness to them
    • Not necessarily kindness to everyone, but kind to them 
  • The data suggests that most women’s top priority for a long-term partner is that the person be kind to them 
  • There is something special to people about the other person who is desired by a lot of people treating them particularly nice
  • Your brain’s prefrontal cortex is a rule-setting machine; it can develop new rules that can change how you behave

How Sunlight Affects Focus, Mood, and Sleep 

  • Dr. Andrew Huberman encourages people to get sunlight in their eyes, especially early in the day, because it helps wake you up and improves mood, hormone output, and focus
  • Do not look directly at the sun; instead, look in the general direction of the sun for 2-3 minutes
  • Viewing the sun through sunglasses or windows will not elicit the same benefits as viewing it with no obstructions  
  • Sunlight hitting the neurons in your eyes sends a “wake up” signal to your brain
  • Benefits of getting sunlight in your eyes early in the day:
    • Improves mood
    • Increases testosterone
    • Increases metabolism 
    • Improves focus 
    • Sets an internal timer that improves sleep quality 
  • Get as much light as you safely can throughout the day 
  • Try and view the sun again in the evening before it goes down 
  • Dim the lights in your home at night 
  • “The number one thing for health is quality sleep, and the best way to get quality sleep is to get sunlight in your eyes early in the day.”Dr. Andrew Huberman 
  • The sun is still there even on cloudy days when you can’t see the sun
    • To compensate for the weaker sun, get a few extra minutes of exposure
  • See Dr. Huberman’s comprehensive sleep toolkit here 

How Substances Ruin Your Sleep

  • Get enough quality sleep 80% of the nights of your life
  • Get enough sleep so that you feel rested during the day 
  • Naps are great, as long as they don’t mess up your nighttime sleep
  • A nap should be no longer than 90 minutes 
  • It’s not a big deal if you’re not a napper; you don’t have to be a napper 
  • Needing a nap in the afternoon to reset is totally normal 
  • One way to avoid the afternoon crash is to not drink caffeine for the first 90-120 minutes after you wake up
  • Avoiding caffeine in the first 90 minutes allows adenosine (the sleepy molecule) to be cleared away
  • “At first it’s kind of painful to do [avoiding caffeine in the first 90 minutes of your day], but you’ll just go all day feeling great. It’s pretty fantastic.” – Dr. Andrew Huberman 
  • Alcohol disrupts the quality architecture of your sleep, meaning you can fall asleep, but the sleep is not restorative
    • Full podcast notes on how alcohol affects the brain and body here 
  • The first part of your nighttime sleep is for repairing the body, and the second half is for
  • Emotionally-laden dreams occur in the second half of your sleep
  • Poor quality sleep leads to people holding onto the emotional load of various stressors in their life, whereas quality sleep allows their brain to process the stressors and move on
  • Drinking alcohol tends to screw up the first part of the night of sleep, the part where the body physically repairs itself
  • Context is of vital importance; the occasional poor-quality night of sleep is less detrimental if the other health-related aspects of your life are dialed in
  • On the argument about red wine being good for you: you would have to drink red wine all day to consume the amount of resveratrol that is associated with its benefits
  • “If you’re going to drink, you can probably have two drinks, maybe three, per week. No problem.”Dr. Andrew Huberman 
    • The good doctor does not tell people what to do but encourages people to know what they are doing

Adderall, Nicotine, and Addiction 

  • Cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and fentanyl should unequivocally be avoided (this is not an exhaustive list) 
  • “Adderall is prescription cocaine, basically.”Dr. Andrew Huberman 
  • “Unless you have clinically diagnosed ADHD, I would steer clear of Adderall, Vyvanse, even Modafinil.” – Dr. Andrew Huberman 
  • There are certain supplements that are safer than Adderall but don’t work quite as well, such as 300 mg of Alpha-GPC
  • Nicotine is an amazing nootropic, but the delivery device will kill you
    • Smoking, vaping, dipping, and snuffing are not good for you 
  • Dr. Andrew Huberman takes Alpha-GPC sometimes because it stimulates nicotine release and allows him to focus like a laser
    • “I don’t need it, but I do enjoy it every once in and a while. It is safe-ish, for me.” – Dr. Huberman 
  • Nicotine focuses the brain in an incredible way 
  • The problem with Adderall is that it is very addictive 
  • There is (1) use, (2) dependency, and (3) addiction 
  • Addiction is the progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure; it is also the progressive narrowing of the things that bring you the effect you want 
  • You’re becoming dependent on Adderall if you need it to focus
  • More than 80% of college students take Adderall, Vyvanse, or Ritalin at some point
  • Amphetamines are not good for your heart because they tend to push all of your blood toward your core organs as a stress response
  • Too much caffeine is the amount that doesn’t let you sleep 
  • Theanine is included in energy drinks to reduce jitters, which encourages more consumption
  • Supplements great for sleep: magnesium threonate, theanine, apigenin, and inositol
    • “I’d rather see people use supplements like that than rely heavily on melatonin, Ambien, and any barbiturates.” – Dr. Huberman
  • See Dr. Huberman’s sleep cocktail and full routine here 

How Cannabis Affects Your Brain and Body 

  • Young people vaping high-THC cannabis that have a predisposition to bipolar or schizophrenia can trigger psychosis later in life
    • Vaping in particular because of the speed at which the THC enters the bloodstream
  • Dr. Huberman is not saying cannabis is bad, but smoking high-THC cannabis is “really risky” for individuals that have tendencies of bipolar behavior
  • High-THC in terms of the ratio between THC and CBD
  • Dr. Huberman considers “high-THC” to be passed a 50:50 ratio of THC to CBD 
  • The more high-THC cannabis that people smoke, the higher probability they’re going to have a psychotic episode later
  • Antipsychotic drugs tend to block dopamine, and people don’t like to have their dopamine blocked 
  • Cannabis has its medical applications, but it’s probably best to allow your brain to fully develop before using it
  • See Dr. Huberman’s full overview of the effects of cannabis on the brain and body here

Mushrooms 

  • Psilocybin at the macro dose (1-5g) used once or twice in a therapeutic setting can really help people move through depression, trauma, and maybe even eating disorders
    • It seems to create some sort of opportunity for learning new relationships between things 
  • Sixty-six percent of patients in one trial showed lasting relief years after taking psilocybin at the macro dose in a therapeutic setting
  • There is little evidence to suggest that microdosing psilocybin at frequent intervals is more effective than one-time macrodosing
  • Psilocybin is moving toward legalization; they are decriminalized in a lot of places
  • Following the use of psilocybin, the neuroplasticity of your brain – that is, the ability to change your brain – goes on for several weeks after the hallucinogenic experience
  • Ayahuasca is a DMT experience where massive amounts of serotonin and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) are released into the brain  
  • Ayahuasca tends to bring up a lot of heavy issues from your past
  • It is not clear whether or not ayahuasca is safe, given the small amount of data on it 

MDMA

  • The safety profiles of real MDMA are quite high
  • Sourcing matters for MDMA to ensure it is not cut with things like methamphetamine 
  • Many of the MDMA studies were done on Mormons, a group that has low levels of prior drug and alcohol usage if any 
  • MDMA is not on the banned substance list for members of the Latter-Day Saints
  • MDMA off the street tends to be cut with amphetamines 
  • A problem with MDMA is that it makes you feel attached to anything 

 Ketamine Therapy 

  • Ketamine is a legal dissociative anesthetic
  • Ketamine and PCP are basically the same things 
  • Ketamine makes people feel like they’re in the third person
  • The shortcoming of ketamine is that its positive effects do not tend to last as long as the positive effects of psilocybin
  • The pharmaceutical industry is jumping into psilocybin and ketamine research because the studies are showing them to be some of the most effective treatments of depression ever observed

How Nasal Breathing Impacts Facial Features 

  • The fastest way to quickly calm down and decrease anxiety: double inhale through the nose until your lungs are full, then long exhale
  • A lot of people who are really overweight, or even mildly overweight, who have sleep apnea have more anxiety because they’re not getting rid of CO2
    • They are literally suffocating in their sleep
  • Try not to mouth-breathe when you do cardio; instead, breathe through your nose 
  • Taping your mouth shut with athletic tape when you sleep will ensure your nasal breath throughout the night 
  • The book Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic shows how nasal breathing and chewing on hard foods vastly changes facial structure, jaw shape, and nasal passages 
  • All of your teeth should fit in your mouth; there is really no reason why any of us should have braces 
  • The tongue is supposed to rest on the roof of the mouth; this is called “mewing”  
  • The Jawzrciser has become popular in Hollywood, which is an exercise device for your face, jaw, and neck
  • You can change your facial muscles in 2-3 months with corrected nasal breathing and jaw exercises 
  • Facial structure is something that can be modified without plastic surgery 
  • Humans used to have to really chew their food before being able to swallow it; the softening of our food has contributed to the softening of our jawlines
  • Nasal-breathing is a zero-cost health improvement that is not emphasized enough 
  • People chew mastic gum to strengthen their jaw and improve facial structure 
  • Animals in the animal kingdom have beautiful teeth, and they don’t have braces

Dance Evolved Into Language

  • Non-human species that have language, such as birds, use dance to communicate
  • Elaborate language is not found in species that can’t dance dance
  • Song and dance likely evolved before speech as we know it today 
  • Dance is likely the original form of communication 
  • The representation of the hands is right next to the speech area in the brain, which is why it is common for humans to use their hands when they speak
  • Language is built up from primitive forms of breathing
  • Language is just controlling the air as it leaves your mouth; it is controlling the exhale 

Why Storytelling Is So Powerful

  • Stories are the most powerful way to communicate information
  • We synchronize our physiology when we hear stories together 
  • There is something about sharing the same physiological response with other humans that is deeply rewarding
  • Humans are the storytelling species
  • The most successful lawyers and politicians are the best storytellers 

Politicians

  • The media is masterful at storytelling 
  • Politicians are just trying to navigate the next 12 hours of the news cycle and make someone else look bad so the lens is off them, according to Dr. Huberman
    • This is one of the reasons why the most competent people in society do not run for office

Peptides Will Make Everyone Swole  

  • The peptides category of performance enhancement is wedged in between supplements and prescription drugs    
  • Both men and women use peptides for performance, the most popular types being secretagogues, sermorelin, tesamorelin, and ipamorelin
  • Peptides are taken via injection and can be bought with or without a prescription, depending 
  • Peptides stimulate massive hormone release and help you recover faster, increase fat loss, improve muscle repair, and stimulate libido 
  • Dr. Huberman takes sermorelin about 3-5x per week
    • It improves his sleep, stimulates the release of IGF-1 in his body, and helps him recover faster
  • The downside of peptides is that they cause the growth of “all things”; for example, they will accelerate the growth of cancer in the body if small amounts are present
    • This is why people tend to cycle their use of peptides
  • “A lot of the bodies you see in Hollywood films are on peptides.”Dr. Andrew Huberman
  • BPC-157 is another peptide with minimal data, but anecdotally has delivered some incredible results for Dr. Huberman and other injured athletes
  • Taking testosterone replace therapy (TRT) too young will shutdown your sperm production, and you won’t be able to conceive kids unless you’re doing something to offset it
  • TRT makes sense for some people in certain stages of their life
  • Optimizing testosterone is more important than only trying to increase it 
  • “I don’t want to get beat up by the MMA crowd … but some of the athletes are either genetic freaks or they’re using in the off-season.”Dr. Huberman 

Everyday Health Tips That Everyone Can Use 

  • Focus on the foundational things to improve your health:
    • Get more sunlight in your eyes in the morning 
    • Get your sleep right
    • Minimum three days a week of weight training for 50-60 minutes
    • Three days a week of cardiovascular work
    • Take one day off per week as a recovery day
    • Have some non-pharmaceutical tool that helps you control your stress
    • Breathe through your nose and not your mouth 
    • Establish some practice that makes you more resilient (sauna, cold tub)
    • Avoid toxic relationships
  • Dr. Huberman’s full fitness toolkit can be found here  
  • Mix up your cardiovascular work on those three days
    • Do a long, slow jog on the first day (or a long, slow bike, swim, treadmill, etc.) 
    • Do sprints on the second day (10 reps of 30-45 second sprints with 60-90 second breaks in between)
    • Do something that you enjoy on the third day, such as basketball, skateboarding, or pilates
  • Stay out of the sauna and hot tub for at least 60 days if you’re trying to conceive
  • There is a massive surge in dopamine that lasts for several hours after getting out of the cold tub
  • Start building habits around the foundational areas of health as early as possible in your life
  • The best way to outperform your competition in business is to take excellent care of your health
  • People who are really good at their craft take really good care of themselves
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Notes By Stan Rizzo

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