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Huberman Lab

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May 3, 2021

This episode I describe the biology of two essential hormones we all make: cortisol and adrenaline (also called epinephrine). Cortisol and adrenaline powerfully regulate our levels of energy, focus and immune system function. I describe various science-supported tools and practices to increase or decrease cortisol and/or adrenaline, depending on one's specific needs and goals. I also describe the biology of nootropics, and how cortisol and adrenaline can improve or degrade learning. Finally, I review the scientific data and tools for timing the release of these hormones to improve memory, energy and immune system function.


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  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:05:41 Energy & Your Immune System, & Learning Faster
  • 00:08:34 Why & How Intermittent Fasting Increases Growth Hormone
  • 00:11:56 Why Your Stomach Growls
  • 00:13:09 Hot Baths & Hormones
  • 00:14:35 Energy, Adrenaline (Epinephrine), & Cortisol
  • 00:15:48 Cortisol & Cholesterol, Competition With Testosterone & Estrogen
  • 00:17:54 Adrenaline (Epinephrine) Is Your (Immune Systems) Best Friend
  • 00:18:48 Cortisol Basics In Two (Actually 1) Minute/s
  • 00:19:48 Adrenaline Basics In Two Minutes
  • 00:21:32 Tool: Time Your Cortisol Peak To Waking Using Specific Light Intensities
  • 00:27:20 Brief Increases In Cortisol & Adrenaline Boost Energy, Focus & Immunity
  • 00:30:04 Ways To Increase Adrenaline, Epinephrine & Cortisol & Why That Is Good
  • 00:35:00 Does Mindset During Stress Matter?
  • 00:36:15 Protocols: Adrenaline Breathing Described
  • 00:39:00 Practices To Increase Energy Without Increasing Stress
  • 00:45:00 Using Stressors to ENHANCE Our Immune System: Science & Tools
  • 00:55:11 Timing Thyroid Release For Energy
  • 00:57:02 Adrenaline/Stress Increase Performance & Memory. IF They Are After Learning
  • 01:02:45 An Optimal Learning Protocol
  • 01:03:20 Coffee Changes Your Brain & Increases Connectivity Of “Anxiety Circuits”
  • 01:05:43 Nootropics: Two Kinds, & How & Why They Work, “Neural Energy”
  • 01:09:00 Biology of Comfort Foods: From Negative to Positive Feedback Loops
  • 01:14:00 Bombesin: Energy Without Eating
  • 01:15:00 How Stress Makes Our Hair Gray, & How To Prevent Stress-Induced-Graying
  • 01:18:05 Blunting Chronic Cortisol, Including: Ashwagandha & Science Of
  • 01:25:50 Licorice Increases Cortisol & Blood Pressure, & Reduces Testosterone (by Glycyrrhizin)
  • 01:28:50 Apigenin: Anti-Cortisol
  • 01:29:53 Protocols For Optimizing Energy & Immune System Function (& Learning)
  • 01:37:00 When Fasting, Exercise, Cold & Intense Breathing Become Detrimental
  • 01:39:00 Prescription Compounds
  • 01:39:47 Tools For Accessing Alert & Calm States of “Energy”: Separating The Brain & Body
  • 01:42:11 Ways To Apply Knowledge Presented Today
  • 01:43:20 No-Cost Ways To Support Us, Feedback, Sponsors, Patreon, Partners, “Office Hours”


Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac -