Brain Health

#183: Dave Asprey- Food Quality VS Macros, Increasing Brain Energy and Thinking Faster

by Deanna Mutzel, DC


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Mike Mutzel Podcast High Intensity Health

About Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey is founder and CEO of Bulletproof, the world’s first human performance and nutrition company. Dave is a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur who spent two decades and over $1 million to hack his own biology. Dave is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Bulletproof Diet. Dave is also the founder of 40 Years of Zen, a $2.5 million brain training and cognitive performance facility and host of the largest biohacking conference in the world.


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Show Notes

02:23 Origins of Bulletproof Coffee: In 2004, Dave was in Tibet at 18,000 ft. elevation and 10 degrees below zero. He was given yak butter tea and within 5 minutes, he felt his brain turn on. He tried putting regular butter in tea when he got home, but it tasted bad. Grass fed butter made a positive difference because of butyric acid and CLA. He began investigating other fats and how they affect the brain and ageing. By removing things that make you weak and adding things that make you strong, you end up with a zero insulin-moving breakfast that directly raises ketones. His Brain Octane product is exogenous ketones and is more concentrated than MCTs.

04:15 Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting: Dave was an early adapter to intermittent fasting. By drinking Bulletproof coffee, he found that he could boost his ketones without effecting protein metabolism and without effecting insulin. It makes intermittent fasting far more tolerable and makes you more functional. Bulletproof coffee has exclusivity on their raw ingredients and there are trade secrets on the processing to prevent the formation of molds and other toxins.

07:29 More Neurologic Resilience: Mitochondria take food, light and direct electrical current and convert them into electricity within you. Your body prioritizes its use. Ketones provide extra fuel to the brain. Your neurons will chose ketones for fuel over glucose. Glial cells, the immune cells in the brain, will chose glucose. Neurons have 15,000 mitochondria per cell. Normal cells have a few hundred to a few thousand.

09:36 Ketones and Your DNA: To manufacture protein in your cells, like neurotransmitters, repair proteins and bone synthesis, you need to be able to read the DNA. It is easier for your body to read DNA in the presence of ketones. There is also a reduction in inflammation from ketones.

11:21 Combine the Ketogenic AND Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Many ketogenic diets include NutraSweet, a mitochondrial toxin. Some are not organic, so you ingest glyphosate, a mitochondrial toxin. Highly damaged fats, like corn oil and pork rinds, are also inflammatory. Inflammation means that your mitochondria are not functioning properly. You want fats that have specific biological effects. If you plateau in your weight loss on a ketogenic diet, it is because of these mitochondrial toxins.

17:05 Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators: Within the past 2 years Dave has increased his polyphenol intake and he has been using selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). Dave took the SARMs to increase mitochondrial density and he put on muscle without a change in protein or exercise. He was most interested in GW-501516. Studies showed that it increased mitochondrial biogenesis by 50%. He took these drops and the others on his protocol on his website before bed each night. Mitochondria talk to each other. By increasing muscle mitochondria, chances are you are increasing brain mitochondria. By using SARMs and testosterone, he ended up cutting his thyroid medication by 70% over the course of 6 weeks. Mitochondria make infrared. They make heat. If blood ketones are above .5, you will get the mitochondrial changes, though it is not nutritional ketosis.

24:25 Excess Cortisol: Excess cortisol negatively impacts mitochondrial function, causes weight gain and impedes muscle growth. Dave learned meditation from the masters in Tibet. He has created the 40 Years of Zen program to increase the efficacy of meditation.

26:35 Mitochondria and Meditation: There are a quadrillion mitochondria in your body, way more than total cells in your body or bacteria in your gut.  They are an ancient red bacteria from 2 billion years ago and are the impetus for our base emotions. They cause us to feel like we want to hide or fight, to want to eat doughnuts, and to have a relationship to reproduce. When they are stressed about food, you will find no peace. Even low levels of ketones, as well as meditation, address these cognitive issues. Everything gets easier. In his book, Dave has a mitochondrial meditation.

30:13 The Power of Mitochondria: Mitochondria drive your emotions and behavior. They decide if a cell lives or dies. They decide whether you get cancer or not. They decide how a stem cell differentiates or a neuron fires. They decide if you insulate your nerve with myelin or you don’t. They decide neurogenesis in the brain. You don’t decide. They listen to the world around and inside you that stress you, like the food you consume, the light you are exposed to, the temperature, when are you sleeping, how much you exercise and when, as well as toxin exposure. You need to control your environment and treat them as an ecosystem, like you do your gut bacteria. When they are happy, you are happy and have more energy.

34:42 Light’s Affect upon Mitochondrial Function: We have a deficiency of red light. We are too often exposed to blue light. Our eyes are full of mitochondria that get stressed, passing on that stress to mitochondria in your brain and to you, turning up your desire for sugar (in case you need to run away). Red light balances blue light. We evolved to receive red light in the morning, full spectrum light at mid-day and red light again at sunset. We also had pitch black at night. Mitochondria make biophotons. LED lights make photons. Mitochondria are semiconductors. Mitochondria on your skin, your eyes and your brain are highly sensitive to light. Mitochondria talk to each other when it is pitch black or near pitch black. Dave has red light on all day to balance the blue light and he gets sunlight whenever he can. At night he wears True Dark glasses that block all spectrums of light that effect the melanopsin sensors in your eyes. Infrared light is part of sunlight and incandescent lights, but not part of LED or fluorescent. Exposure to natural spectrum LED lights is junk light and will cause macular degeneration, an increased risk of skin cancer and more blood sugar dysregulation.  Dave also has True Dark dots to place over LED lights to filter the spectrums that interfere with sleep. When traveling, Dave blocks light leaks in hotel rooms. He uses the hotel hanger to pinch drapes together. He even brings red light bulbs with him when he travels.

49:15 Tracking Willpower:  Willpower requires electrons, which requires fuel. Every decision you make costs you something.

50:02 Dave’s Work Routine: His calendar is booked every minute of every day for the time he has agreed to work. He sets aside time to drive the kids to school, for biohacking etc. Most mornings for the first half hour he is on the phone with his EA while standing on the Bulletproof Vibe, whole body vibration platform. He stands naked in front of a high end ultraviolet B focused lamp. It causes less aging than ultraviolet A. Mitochondria love it. He may jump in his cryotherapy unit or do some neurofeedback. Everything, including family time, is calendared.

51:26 Dave’s Challenge: He believes that one of the most important things is to have quality unstructured time. That allows for creativity. He would like to have two mornings a week where nothing is scheduled.

55:49 Training Intuition: Dave consciously trains his intuition. Neuro Minor software is designed to teach you what is going on in your brain when you are not paying attention. Your intuition happens when you mitochondria are working at full function. Your brain has 2 modes, default mode and active mode. It is not one or the other, but a sliding scale. When you are in daydream mode, there is a little active mode. When you are in focus mode, there is a little daydream mode. Dave has trained himself, with the Neuro Minor software, to remember his passive mode, where all of the intuition and creativity happens. He keeps a thread of awareness while he daydreams so he can write it down. It is also very important to recall your dreams and write them down.

58:00 Dave’s Favorite Superfood: Coffee is his choice. The caffeine from 3 to 5 cups of coffee can double your morning ketones. Coffee is also a rich source of polyphenols and it tastes good.

59:19 Dave’s Elevator Pitch: It is time to go after Monsanto. Cease their assets and use them to repair the damage they are doing. We need diversity in our agriculture, and Monsanto controls the seeds. They use the legal system to destroy farmers who are being contaminated by their products. They are poisoning us and they are poisoning our children. Glyphosate does poison people. We are mostly bacteria and glyphosate kills bacteria. Glyphosate has been shown in studies to negatively affect your mitochondria and your collagen. It does not break down in the environment. Glyphosate punches holes in your gut lining and affects your entire system. Going organic is more important than ever before.




  1. Thank you so much for this interview. I bought Head Strong yesterday and can’t wait for it to be delivered. Now if I can just get my two sons, who are it a few years older than Dave, to read it I will be happy! Also I have been taking Restore for about 18 months now and have healed my gut.. Regards,

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