Rob’s Notes for Joe Rogan Experience #459 – Dr. Rhonda Patrick


•   Vitamin D regulates Serotonin

•   Tryptophan converts to 5-HTP, which then converts to Serotonin

•   5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and convert to Serotonin in your brain, while Tryptophan has to compete with other branch-chain amino acids to get transported into the brain, and what ends up happening is that most of the time you’re not getting enough Tryptophan transported into your brain. This is why it’s good to supplement with 5-HTP as well. Also, exercise boosts Serotonin in your brain by allowing Tryptophan to easily transport because you utilize a lot of branch-chain amino acids to make muscle, which, as a result, alleviates competition between those branch-chain amino acids. Therefore, Tryptophan has a higher chance of being converted.

•   People with depleted Serotonin are comparable to meth/cokeheads. They act impulsively and long-term thinking grinds to a halt.

•   The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) ( is considered to be accurate in determining what people are getting from their diet. The surveys tell us that the majority of Americans are not getting what they need in terms of micronutrients.

•   Vitamins and Minerals are co-factors for many different bio-chemical pathways in your body. Vitamins and minerals are co-factors for Enzymes, which means they need to be there for the Enzyme to work optimally. Enzymes and Proteins are what we need to keep our body functioning.

•   Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that controls the expression of over 1000 different genes in our body.  Most people are not in the sun a lot, so most people (about 70% in the U.S.) have a vitamin D deficiency. The way we determine what’s adequate is based on vitamin D’s classical function of bone homeostasis (to make sure our bones don’t breakdown). In fact, vitamin D does 1000 other things and we don’t know how much vitamin D we need to do those things, but to at least maintain bone health is considered “adequate” (30 ng/mL of the precursor vitamin D called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D).

•   The more body fat you have, the less of the vitamin D supplement is released because it’s fat soluble and gets stored in fat. People with a lot of body fat need much more vitamin D in order for it to be bio-available.

•   A good marker is 1000 IUs per every 25 lbs. It could be 25 lbs. of muscle, rather than fat, so this can get confusing. The best way to do it is to get tested. If you have health insurance, it will pay for it. There are other places where you can get vitamin D levels tested very cheaply. It’s worth it. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. personally takes 4000 IUs per day. You should have higher levels in your blood that’s higher than the “adequate” status. One study she spoke about showed higher levels linking to longer lifespan.

•   Erroneous facts: (1) That people get all of the micronutrients they need from their diet. (2) That multivitamins are bad for you and vitamins don’t work (biased study explained).

•   45% of the U.S. population doesn’t have adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential co-factor for DNA-repair enzymes.

•   Every day, mitochondria takes food that we eat (carbs, protein, and fat) and generate electron-reducing equivalents through the Krebs Cycle.  Electron-reducing equivalents have hydrogen which has an electron and a proton. These electrons get passed along inside the mitochondria, and they shoot out protons at the same time, and this is how it generates energy that you breathe in, which makes water, and then ATP. During this process, you start making reactive oxygen species (superoxide anion) in your mitochondria every day. These reactive oxygen species react with your DNA, with lipids, with proteins – and they damage them. This can cause DNA damage. It can even cause a break in your DNA strand. As a result, when the cells start to replicate, it can cause a mutation to occur. This can really screw up essential processes in your body. To counter that, there are things called DNA repair enzymes. They require MAGNESIUM.

•   DNA damage is something you can’t see right away, but after decades of this you can come down with cancer or other problems. MAGNESIUM IS ESSENTIAL FOR DNA REPAIR!!!

•   Folate is an essential B vitamin. It’s fortified in a lot of bread, chips, crackers, etc. Not many people in the U.S. are deficient in folate.

•   Folate is essential to make one of your nucleotides in your DNA, thiamine. You need folate to make new DNA for new cells that you make in your body every day. If you don’t have folate it can cause breaks in your DNA and mutations, which leads to cancer eventually.

•   Someone who already has cancer shouldn’t take a lot of folate because it breeds more cancer cells, since it helps them to divide. Cancer cells take over everything that should be good for you. That’s why the multivitamin study was biased because they gave it to people who already had cancer. The conclusion that multivitamins are “bad” is incomplete. It gets press because it’s attention-grabbing. Also, a lot of medical doctors aren’t trained in nutrition and preventative medicine. They’re trained to understand how different pharmacological drugs act on receptors, but they don’t know about nutrition, and because of the wealth of disinformation it becomes too confusing for most MDs, so they deny the value of it.

•   Some studies have methodological errors. They don’t have any bio-markers to measure levels of any vitamins and minerals. They were, instead, measuring some outcome like cardiovascular disease or cognitive function without any bio-markers (“we gave them this, this changed”). One study gave people an inadequate dosage of vitamin D according to the National Institute of Medicine, and of course, the outcome was a deficiency. Duh!

•   D3 is optimal for conversion to the active hormone. Take Vitamin D3!

•   Most vitamins need to be taken with food. You can get nauseous if you take it on an empty stomach. If you have too much of an acidic environment in your stomach, then you can’t absorb it. Also, your gut bacteria play a part in what you are absorbing.

•   Science is so often grey. So often NOT black and white. A lot of skeptics take on a fundamentalist attitude. It becomes like a religion.

•   Human beings vary greatly. Example: 40% of North Americans have a polymorphism in a gene called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR – the Mother Fucker Gene) that doesn’t make it work correctly. Unless they take more folic acid to compensate for that, they’re going to have higher levels of homocysteine in their blood, which will lead to vascular problems and cognitive decline.

•   Your biology adapts to things based on environment. Example: When Europeans brought alcohol over to North America, the Natives couldn’t handle alcohol. Whereas Europeans have been drinking it for centuries, Natives didn’t. It was a foreign substance introduced to a new environment. Your body adapts to its diet, its genes, etc. There are so many variables involved.

•   People who have diets with mostly meat and fat have guts that are geared to breaking down amino acids, lipids, and glutamine because you’re giving it a ton of it. On the other hand, people who eat mostly vegetables and carbohydrates have a lot of bacteria that is involved in amino acid synthesis. But you can take this person that’s had this long-term diet and give them a vegetarian diet, and within 24 hours they’ll start to get the bacteria that starts to break down those amino acids instead.

Modify message.

•   The bacteria in our gut is very important. The environment in your gut can contribute to your mood and various aspects of your immune system.

•   Having high c-reactive protein has been correlated with depression!! That can be a bio-marker. Instead of saying, “I feel this, I feel that,” let’s actually measure your levels of c-reactive protein. There’s a study where depressed patients were found to have high levels of c-reactive protein, and they were given 2 grams of EPA a day (omega 3 fatty acid, which is anti-inflammatory), which lowered their c-reactive protein and helped with their depression.

•   Telomeres are caps at the end of your chromosomes that prevent your DNA from degrading and getting damaged (like the tips of your shoelaces). When you’re young, they’re long.  Each time your cell divides, they get shorter and shorter with each year. You lose about 22 nucleotides a year off of your telomeres. It’s a biological sign of aging.

•   Stress has been correlated to taking 5 years off your telomere length! The opposite is true. There is an enzyme (telomerase) that can rebuild your telomeres, but we don’t express them in high levels. Meditation can boost the expression of telomerase, and cause your telomeres to get longer!! That’s the bio-marker (the length of your telomeres).

•   Vitamin D affects telomere length also. Google “Vitamin D receptor mice.” http://perfecthealthdiet.



•   There was a study on twins where they measured their vitamin D levels and looked at their telomere length, and they found that the twins with the highest vitamin D levels also had the longest telomeres, which corresponded to being 5 years younger!

•   Another study in twins showed that those who exercised the most had telomere length that corresponded to being 10 years younger! Your lifestyle is affecting the way that you age.

•   35% of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough Vitamin K. Vitamin K is found in plants because they need it for photosynthesis, so if you’re not eating enough green plants, you might not be getting enough vitamin K.

•   Vitamin K is important for coagulation, or making your blood clot right. It also prevents the calcification of your arteries. People who are given Warfarin, which is a common drug for inhibiting vitamin K, develop problems with calcification in their arteries.

•   If you’re walking around with acute deficiencies, your body uses what it can to survive and reproduce, but you won’t be functioning optimally. Most symptoms you’re not going to notice right away.

•   There was a study on anti-psychotics, which they routinely give to people with schizophrenia. They followed them over 15 years and showed that the higher the dose of anti-psychotics they were on, the greater brain atrophy.

•   If you’re inhibiting serotonin from being metabolized (re-uptake), your body starts to downregulate serotonin receptors, which is how your body responds to serotonin. There are feedback things going on that we don’t fully understand. One out of ten of Americans are taking an SSRI.

•   30% of your brain is made of DHA, which is an omega 3 fatty acid. It’s been shown that DHA affects the way dopamine is signaling in your brain. You make dopamine in your frontal cortex. The dopamine you make there negatively feeds back on the dopamine you make in the back part of your brain. If you don’t have that negative feedback, you start making more dopamine in the back part of your brain, which can lead to paranoia and hallucinations. DHA has been given to schizophrenics, and it’s been shown that it elevates the dopamine in the front part of the brain!

•   Inflammation has been shown to be correlated with depression. Studies have shown that EPA (omega 3 fatty acid) inhibits things that are involved in inflammation.

•   Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides, which is 12 carbons or less. Lipids, on the other hand, are long chains of carbons that are bound together with hydrogens. The way your body processes long-chain fatty acids is very different from how your body processes short-chain fatty acids.

•   Medium-chained fatty acids are digested differently. It goes straight to your portal vein, it goes to your liver, and then it goes into your mitochondria without going through a transport system, it slightly uncouples mitochondria, it’s thermogenic and has all these great benefits for mitochondria.

•   Lauric acid has been shown to be an appetite-suppressant. It’s also anti-microbial, so it’s been shown to kill off candida albicans, which is a yeast. It’s naturally in coconut oils, but the MCT oils that people put together, a lot of them don’t have lauric acid in them. Lauric acid is a 12 carbon medium-chain fatty acid, and a lot of MCT oils have less than 12 carbons.

•   Plastic, in the presence of heat, can leach chemicals into the product. Keep in fridge because it slows down the oxidation process. BPA can have estrogen mimicking effects, which could be a concern in developing males.

•   60% of your brain’s dry weight is fat. Your cell membranes are fat. You NEED cholesterol. There are tradeoffs, though. When you digest fats, you make bile acids in order to absorb them, and some of the acids are carcinogenic (i.e., deoxycholic acid or DCA). Every time you eat fat, your body is creating DCA, which damages DNA. This means that you should be aware to not eat too much fat (60 or 70% fat diet is a no-no).

•   Eating fat also increases IGF1 (a growth hormone), which is popular in the fitness community because it helps bulk on muscle. However, IGF1, if you have too much of it, doesn’t die when there is DNA damage, which makes it highly correlated with cancer.

•   When your pituitary gland makes growth hormone and then stimulates the liver to make IGF1, that IGF1 negatively feeds back on the pituitary to shut it off, but people that have a pituitary problem don’t have that negative feedback, which leads to problems. Even though IGF1 can make your muscle cells insulin sensitive (which is good), it can also (in certain conditions) cause insulin insensitivity in liver cells (bad).

•   Growth hormone can be increased from exercise, and also from the sauna. It’s a great thing to go into the sauna after a workout. It’s also great when you’re not working out if you’re injured because it prevents atrophy of muscles! It could also help with mental stress. It elevates your core body temperature. The increase in growth hormone lasts about a couple hours after sauna use.

•   Growth hormone and IGF1 are considered very good, it’s anabolic, and it helps with neurogenesis in your brain, but there’s a tradeoff. They’ve shown that reducing IGF1 signaling in lower organisms (like worms, flies, and mice) extends their lifespan. If you knock out the growth hormone receptor in a mouse, it can live 50% longer!

•   People who have polymorphisms in the IGF1 receptor, are associated with centenarians (living to 90-100+)! That’s mostly because they aren’t getting cancer. In lower organisms, the reason is that having reduced insulin signaling helps them deal with stress. They have an increased gene expression for various different genes like antioxidant genes, and genes that help them deal with proteins. The same is probably not true for humans.

•   Injecting growth hormones in massive amounts may not be a good idea because it could reduce your lifespan.

•   Myostatin is a secreted growth differentiation factor that inhibits muscle differentiation and growth in the process known as myogenesis. Animals lacking myostatin have significantly larger muscles. It can happen sometimes in humans.

•   Caloric restriction is known to extend lifespan. A 27-year experiment with monkeys was conducted. They gave some monkeys less food, and this had a huge impact on the way they aged. Age-related disease is less, cardiovascular disease is less, cancer is less, brain atrophy and nerve degeneration is less. The calorie restricted monkeys weren’t smaller, but they looked better! Caloric restriction changes the expression in 1000s of genes. There are a number of theories as to why this works. Hormesis is when you have a low level of stress, and that stress changes the expression of genes that are involved with stress overtime. It’s like conditioning your body to deal with stress. Exercise is also stress, and overtime you would condition your body to be able to deal with stress.

•   Epigenetics is causing a change in your genes. They are factors that sit on top of your genes and they activate your genes (they turn them on), and the genes become what’s called, “expressed.” They are expressing the genes, which means they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Other factors can sit on top of them and turn them off. These epigenetic factors don’t actually change the DNA nucleotide sequence, like a mutation would. These epigenetic factors are regulated by what we eat, by stress, and by exercise – by all these different factors in our environment.

•   The Swedish government keeps extensive records of what people eat, what diseases they’ve had throughout their life, when they were born, if they were depressed, what they died of, etc. They also have extensive agricultural records like if there was a lot of famine or a crop harvest during a period of time. During the 1800s in the northern part of Sweden, it was hard to get in and out of there for whatever reason, so people really depended on the crops that were there. If the harvest was good, people ate a lot. If the harvest was bad, people were calorically restricted. Swedish scientists decided to see what effect this had on future generations. Is there a trans-generational epigenetic effect on longevity? This, of course, is not a controlled study, and there are a lot of factors missing, but it is interesting. They found that males between the ages of 9-12, and if they lived during the famine years, they had children and grandchildren that lived on average about 7 years longer than the children and grandchildren of those that grew up during the abundance years. When they corrected that to include people within the same socio-economic status, the grandchildren of the men that were between the ages of 9-12 during the famine years lived 32 years longer. There were also Swedish studies that showed that the grandchildren were ¼ less likely to get diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

•   A theory as to why you have to be 9-12 and a male is that during that time period, something in the sperm DNA gets changed (a little bit of stress changes the expression in your sperm genes, and that gets passed on).

•   Something as complex as learning and memory can be modulated by your environment. A study took mice that were transgenically modulated to get nerve degenerative disease. They took the mice and put them in an enriched environment, and they gave them toys that stimulated regions in the brain like the cognitive, motor, and somatosensory regions. They found that the mice scored better on learning and memory tests. They also increased the expression of a gene that’s involved in long-term potentiation, which is a signal that you’re making when you’re learning. What’s really interesting is that these mice had offspring mice that were also genetically engineered to have nerve degenerative disease, only this time they were placed in a boring cage with no stimulation. That epigenetic factor was still passed on (through the female egg) to the offspring mice, even though they weren’t exposed to that enriched environment that their parents were exposed to!

•   NASA is working on 3D printing non-living bio-molecules like woodchips and dental enamel.

•   NASA did a study where they took cancer cells and they cultured them in space because they wanted to see if space could epigenetically change the expression of genes, and they found it did. Gravity does affect genes that are involved in metastasis, and when you culture these cells in space it down-regulates genes involved in metastasis. Therefore, cancer cells become less aggressive. They then tried to figure out what was causing this. They took the cancer cells and they cultured them and centrifuged them (spun them at a certain rotation per minute to mimic micro-gravity). They found the same effects! The gravity changed the expression of genes involved in metastasis.

•   A study showed that 70% of herbal supplements on the market aren’t actually what you think they are.

•   There’s a whole homeopathic industry that’s essentially selling you sugar pills. A study was done where they tested homeopathic products, and a lot of what was in the ingredients was sugar. Nutrition and homeopathy are two different things, and a lot of people want to peg nutrition into the same category due to ignorance.

•   There was a study that gave people a placebo using sugar pills. The whole point of the study was to see if the placebo effect is real, and it absolutely is real. They actually feel better or don’t get sick as much. If the mind believes the medicine is there, it conducts business as if this newfound healing property exists.

•   You can change someone’s behavior by depleting tryptophan in the brain. We should be optimizing our brain as much as we can with nutrition/supplements

•   Studies were done on schoolchildren where they were given omega 3 fatty acids and multivitamins, and it has absolutely affected their IQ scores. Also, studies have shown that giving juvenile delinquents omega 3 fatty acids and multivitamins improves their long-term thinking, their behavior, etc. It’s also affecting their serotonin, and so they’re not as impulsive. There was another study where they gave prisoners omega 3 fatty acids and it affected their aggressive outbursts. What are they getting fed in prison? They’re probably deficient in multiple micronutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. We’re spending money to keep people in prison, so why not give prisoners the proper nutrients they need to try to heal the brain and to make it work better? Privatized prisons and prison guard unions – the whole system is based on keeping them in prison. They’re not trying to fix them. The idea that they’re trying to rehabilitate them is bullshit. It’s just a system.

•   Dave Asprey’s claim that 70%+ of all coffee is infected with mycotoxins, and they make you sick and make the coffee taste bitter. People have known about mycotoxins for a long time, but good coffee providers have been able to resolve that issue with wet processing. Onnit tested 4 different coffees (2 random ones – one from Whole Foods and one from Starbucks, and 2 from Onnit – Bulletproof coffee that Dave produces and Caveman coffee). None of them tested positive for mycotoxins! None of them are using his so-called “bulletproof” process, which he won’t reveal publically. Joe’s friend, Tait Fletcher, who runs Caveman coffee, tested two bags of his coffee and the upgraded coffee, and allegedly he found below threshold levels of mycotoxins in Dave’s coffee. Joe wasn’t a part of that test and doesn’t know if it’s true. Onnit still sells it because it’s good coffee, but they removed all the literature on mycotoxins. When you talk to people who are in the know in the coffee industry (coffee growers and people who grade coffee), they have a rating system and your coffee loses points if it tests positive for mycotoxins. Dave has created this issue. His claim that coffee is bitter because of mycotoxins is unsubstantiated. If you burn it, it gets bitter. Also, there are no tests available to prove that all of these 70%+ coffees tested positive for mycotoxins.

•   With coffee, people have figured out that wet processing gets rid of mycotoxins. That problem has been taken care of. They know how to store beans so they don’t get moldy, and they know how to prevent these things from happening. Joe thinks that Dave used his platform in a way that wasn’t totally ethical. He likes Dave. Dave is a collector of ideas, but he doesn’t have a formal education in nutrition. When Onnit tested the coffee, they found 0 mycotoxins, but what Tait found was below threshold levels of two different types of mycotoxins, which isn’t going to affect you at all. If anything, it will possibly increase the expression of genes that are involved in stress resistance. The other thing is that the process of roasting the beans destroys the mold that causes the mycotoxins, 70-80% of it in some cases. Coffee experts all call bullshit on Dave’s claims, not just providers or growers, but coffee tasters/experts. Create a problem and offer a solution = profit. Joe doesn’t think it was intentional, but once you have a product out and new info comes out refuting it, it’s difficult to be honest about it.

•   Coffee experts want to know when it was roasted. There’s a time between when it was roasted and how long you should keep it when it’s still fresh. Dave doesn’t offer that info. They’re calling bullshit on that too. There should be a “roasted on” date.

•   Mercola and others talk about lectins. They say that you can’t have beans because beans have lectins, and lectins cause an immune response in your gut, and that will cause leaky gut. That’s not the whole story. Lectins are inactivated by heat, so unless you’re chewing raw kidney beans or raw lentils, you’re probably not activating an immune response in your gut. Beans are also high in fiber, and fiber gets broken down into short-chain fatty acids, which actually prevents the immune response in your gut!

•   Non-experts can really fuck with peoples’ heads.

•   Brian Dunning has something on his website claiming that vitamin C has no effect on cancer incidents, and he points to other studies that “repeated” it to disprove Linus Pauling’s studies. The problem is that it was NOT repeated. The methods were different. Linus used intravenous administration of vitamin C because the body absorbs it through your bloodstream, whereas orally can only absorb so much. These Mayo Clinic studies used oral administration. That’s a huge difference. When you’re critically evaluating these studies, you need to focus on those details because they’re very important!

•   A recent study took female patients who had ovarian cancer, and they gave them vitamin C intravenously with standard chemo. It actually killed cancer cells better and alleviated a lot of the negative effects of chemo. This study was published in Science Translational Medicine, which is a good journal for translational research.


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