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Huberman Lab

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Jun 21, 2021

This episode I explain how we sense chemicals by way of smell, taste and pheromones. How things smell and taste and chemicals in the tears, breath, and on the skin of others have a profound effect on how we feel, what we do and our hormones. I explain the 3 types of responses to smell, the 5 types of tastes, the possible existence of sixth taste sense and how the act of sniffing can make us learn and focus better. I explain how smell and taste reflect brain health and can be used to assess and even promote brain regeneration. I discuss how eating specific categories of foods makes us crave more of those foods. Both basic science and protocols are described including how to make sour things taste sweet and how to develop a heightened sense of smell and taste.


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  1. What Is Color? By Arielle & Joann Eckstut
  2. The smell of tears lowers testosterone DOI: 10.1126/science.1198331
  3. Inhaling (sniffing) improves non olfactory attention & cognition:
  4. Smelling Salts & Improved Athletic Performance
  5. Taste Receptors Are Expressed By Ovaries & Testes doi:10.1093/molehr/gat009



  • 00:00:00 Introduction 
  • 00:06:02 Sensing Chemicals: Smell, Taste & Chemicals That People Make To Control Each Other 
  • 00:09:10 Vision Protocols Recap (Brief): Near-Far Viewing & 2 hours/day outside, & Correction 
  • 00:12:20 Color Vision: Excellent Resource: What is Color? (The Book) 
  • 00:13:54 How We Sense Chemicals: Enter Our Nose, Mouth, Eyes, Skin 
  • 00:17:28 The Chemicals From Other People’s Tears Lower Testosterone & Libido 
  • 00:21:16 SMELL: Sniffing, A Piece of Your Brain In Your Nose, 3 Responses To Smells 
  • 00:24:40 Smells and Memory: Why They Are So Powerfully Associated 
  • 00:26:40 Pheromone Effects: Spontaneous Miscarriage, Males & Timing Female Puberty 
  • 00:28:56 Sniffing Creates Alertness & If Done Properly Can Help You Focus & Learn Better 
  • 00:34:00 Protocol 1: Sniffing (Nothing) 10-15X Enhances Your Ability to Smell & Taste 
  • 00:35:50 Smelling Salts, Ammonia & Adrenaline  
  • 00:38:25 How You Can Become A Human Scent Hound, Detecting Cancer, & Tasting Better 
  • 00:43:45 Smell As A Readout Of Brain Health & Longevity; Regaining Lost Sense Of Smell 
  • 00:48:30 Dopamine, Sense Of Smell, New Neurons & New Relationships 
  • 00:50:20 Why Brain Injury Causes Loss Of Smell; Using Smell To Gauge & Speed Recovery  
  • 00:53:33 Using Smell To Immediately Becoming Physically Stronger 
  • 00:54:40 Smelling In Our Dreams, Active Sniffing In Sleep, Sniffing As a Sign Of Consciousness 
  • 00:57:35 Mint Scents Create Alertness By Activating Broad Wake-Up Pathways Of Your Nervous 
  • 00:59:48 Protocol 2 Pleasant Or Putrid: The Microwave Popcorn Test, Cilantro, Asparagus, Musk 
  • 01:03:00 Skunks, Costello, All Quiet On The Western Front   
  • 01:04:32 TASTE: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Umami, Sour; Your Tongue, Gustatory Nerve, NST, Cortex 
  • 01:08:45 Energy, Electrolytes, Poisons, Gagging, Amino Acid & Fatty Acid Sensing, Fermentation 
  • 01:13:48 Our 6th Sense of Taste: FAT Sensing 
  • 01:15:05 Gut-Brain: Your Mouth As An Extension Of Your Gut; Burned Mouth & Regeneration 
  • 01:19:30 Protocol 3: Learn To Be A Super-Taster By Top-Down Behavioral Plasticity 
  • 01:22:20 The Umami-Sweet Distinction: Tigers Versus Pandas. Aggression Versus Passivity 
  • 01:25:05 Eating More Plants Versus Eating More Meat, Cravings and Desire 
  • 01:27:15 Food That Makes You Feel Good Or Bad: Taste Receptors On Our Testes Or Ovaries 
  • 01:30:05 Biological Basis For The Sensuality of Umami and Sweet Foods 
  • 01:32:28 Appetitive & Aversive Sensing: Touching Certain Surfaces, Tasting Certain Foods 
  • 01:33:35 Amino Acids Are Key To Life, The Maillard Reaction, Smell-Taste Merge, Food Texture 
  • 01:39:00 How Processed Food Make You Crave More Processed Foods 
  • 01:39:44 Protocol 4: Invert Your Sense of Sweet & Sour: Miracle Fruit; Swapping Bitter & Sweet 
  • 01:43:03 Pheromones, Desire To Continue Mating: Coolidge Effect Occurs In Males & Females 
  • 01:46:40 Do Women Influence Each Others Menstrual Cycles?  
  • 01:49:19 Recognizing the Smell Of Your Romantic Partner  
  • 01:50:30 Differences In Odor Detection Ability, Effects Of Hormones 
  • 01:53:00 We Rub The Chemicals Of Others On Our Eyes and Skin, Bunting Behavior 
  • 01:56:40 Summary, Zero-Cost Ways To Support Us, Instagram, New Website, Sponsors, Patreon 


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.

Photo Credit: Mike Blabac -