How To Quantify Fatigue Like Never Before – #5

Rick Green and John Kalns
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Rick Green and John Kalns have created the first test that objectively measures fatigue. Using an at-home test for salivary peptides, you can now gauge exactly how much stress your body is under. This test can be used by athletes, or businessmen and entrepreneurs who burn the candle at both ends. This is the first test which allows you to know when you’re really pushing your self too far.

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What We Cover

  1. Everything you need to know about fatigue biomarkers.
  2. How to quantify fatigue by measuring salivary peptides.
  3. Why the military needed an accurate measurement for fatigue (and how you can benefit).
  4. The future possibilities of being able to objectively measure fatigue.
  5. How you can have your fatigue levels measured through an at home test kit.
  6. Why salivary peptide testing is superior to other forms of fatigue measurement like heart rate and blood lactate.
  7. How to use fatigue biomarker testing to avoid overtraining and measure your progress in workouts.
  8. How anyone can use this test to see how much stress is in their life.
  9. A walk-through of the entire testing process.

Links From The Show

Hyperion Biotechnology


Food & Supplements

Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter

Alderspring Ranch Grass-Fed Meats

Upgraded™ Glutathione

Paleo Pemmican Powder Upgraded™ Whey Protein

Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil

Probiotic Ultra Blend

Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein

Vitamin C


Listener Q & A

  1. How do you eat a Bulletproof Diet and save money?
  2. Should you modify the Bulletproof Diet for type-2 diabetics?
  3. How do you eat Bulletproof at a restaurant?
  4. How do the carbs in plantains and bananas compare?
  5. Can you eat a Bulletproof Diet and still have enough glycogen for workouts?
  6. Should you cut calories and have cheat days?
  7. Is decaf coffee toxic?

Biohacker Report (latest studies & research)

More Evidence That Spicing Up Broccoli Boosts Its Cancer-Fighting Power

Self-Delusion Is a Winning Survival Strategy, Study Suggests

Antibiotics May Be Permanently Altering the Guts of Humanity




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Listener Questions


This whole diet looks extremely tempting– I did the Blood Type diet in high school (type O, so somewhat similar to this), and that was the only time I ever lost weight, despite playing sports and working out. I’m just concerned with the cost of organic food.  As a college student, I have to worry about feeding myself on as little money as I can manage. How harmful would it be to follow the Bulletproof Diet with nonorganic vegetables and non grass fed beef? Ideally I would stick to the healthier stuff, but don’t have the resources to do it.


Great read. First time learning about the bullet proof diet. Graphs are very helpful. Any modifications in your regime for those of us with type 2 diabetes ?  (Xylitol?)


What do you do when you are traveling to follow the diet? How do you go out to a restaurant to eat?


Are the carbs in a plantain the same as a banana or more like a sweet potato?


1. What about the other concern about glycogen stores for athletic performance?

2. Also, if your goal is to lose fat as quickly as possible, is it still best to eat this way and not worry about creating a caloric deficit? It seems like long term your thyroid function might match any healthy food intake you have, but over periods of a few weeks to a few months it would be much more effective to use a low calorie week / cheat day type of approach.


Great stuff. Since i’m naturally jittery – Is decaf ok or is that toxic somehow?


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Click here to read the transcript.

Click here to download PDF of this transcript

Dave Asprey:  Today’s cool fact of the day is that the antibodies in your body that attack wheat gliadin, one of the proteins from wheat, also happen to attack your heart tissue. So much for when you see claims like heart-healthy whole grains, whether your an entrepreneur or whether you are a performance athlete, it doesn’t really matter, grains are not a part of being healthy cognitively, healthy from a cardiac perspective, or just healthy in general.

You are listening to Episode Five of Bulletproof Executive Radio. This is Dave from the Bulletproof Executive Blog talking about how you can upgrade your mind, your body, and your life to levels you never thought possible. Today, we have a great interview with Rick Green and John Kalns from Hyperion Biotechnology.  These guys have created a unique test that is the first of its kind to accurately measure fatigue. It actually measures salivary peptides to determine exactly how fatigued or tired you are, whether it is from some kind of athletic training or just from emotional or other forms of physical stress, which could even include job stress or relationship stress.  These are the kinds of stress that make you not bulletproof. This can even come from Venture Capital Fundraising stress.  It doesn’t matter where it’s from, but if you can measure your body to know what is going on, it’s really cool. This is a brand new test and we’re really excited to be able to share this new tool for self-quantification with you.

In our Biohacker report, we have new studies on spicy food and nutrient absorption, the possible benefits of actually being delusional, and how antibiotics permanently affect your health.

Last week we announced that whoever made the best tweet and copied Bulletproof Exec on twitter with a message could receive free one-on-one advice worth $100 from co-host and me.  Be sure to listen at the end of the podcast and you can see if you won.

If you’d like to learn more about us, you can find us on Twitter, get in touch on Facebook or sign up for our email newsletter by going to

co-host, what biohacks have you been working on this week for your self upgrades?

Co-host: Well, I’ve decided to do a little mental biohacking, I guess you would call it, this week. I worked on some meditation, so for me what that meant is just stopping in the middle of the day from research and writing and walking outside and dropping down in the middle of the yard and setting my stopwatch to make sure I sat there and didn’t start thinking about other stuff. I just sat there for about ten or fifteen minutes and focused on just my breathing and making sure I didn’t think about other stuff.  That’s one of my Chinese medicine friends talked about. He said his meditation mentor said – basically, what you do is you go out, you sit on your ass and you don’t do anything else. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing and it has helped. My focus is better and I’m going to keep doing it. What about you?

Dave Asprey:  That’s awesome. Mindfulness meditation even just for fifteen minutes a day is amazing and when you get plugged into the emWave, I think that you’ll find it’s even faster. Well, I’ve been working pretty hard this week on getting my latest EEG biohacking equipment set up. I’ve got it all plugged in and running, but it turns out I’m missing one driver that I have to go out and purchase. After that, I’ll be able to run basically a full set of brain signals and a full set of BioExplorer-based feedback on it. In the meantime, I was able to successfully get my first actual data off my head using the new equipment, so over the next week, I’m traveling in Germany, but when I get back I’ll be all set to actually start doing direct brain hacking. I haven’t done any neurofeedback in almost a year, so I’m kind of looking forward to that because it’s sort of like hours and hours and hours of meditation in a half-hour session. It’s very concentrated. So, that will be fun.

Co-host: Cool. Is that kind of like that thing you had on the recent presentation you gave where you were running that current across your head and that put you in a gamma state?

Dave Asprey:  That’s a cerebral electrical stimulation I was doing up there and that is a different thing. I could actually measure what that does using EEG. What I’m going to be doing with this is looking at my brain waves and listening to them. And when you do that, your brain actually helps to organize itself better, which increases your performance, lowers your stress, and it gives your body an increased ability to self-regulate. So, if you are looking to build resilience, both mental resilience but also physical resilience, giving yourself that kind of feedback for your parasympathetic nervous system, it’s actually amazing. Everybody improves performance when they do this kind of thing. It’s just something most people don’t really know how to do or haven’t thought to go out and go to a place where you can just sign up for it.

Co-host: Cool.  All right, so you are ready for some listener Q&A?

Dave Asprey:  Let’s do it.

Co-host: Katerine says, “The Bulletproof diet looks extremely tempting. I did the blood type diet in high school, somewhat similar to this, and that was the only time I ever lost weight despite playing sports and working out. I’m just concerned with the cost of organic food. As a college student, I have to worry about feeding myself on as little money as I can manage. How harmful would it be to follow the Bulletproof Diet with non-organic vegetables and non-grass-fed meat? Ideally, I would stick to healthier stuff, but I don’t have the resources to do it right now.”

Dave Asprey: You know, I hear this a lot. People say “Oh, this diet is expensive.” And frankly, it’s not. Vegetables are much less important than healthy meat and healthy butter. You’ll spend about three bucks for two sticks of Kerrygold butter. Kerrygold is basically two sticks stuck together, so that’s the normal size for half a pound of butter, which will feed you pretty well for a couple of days.  If you are eating a whole stick a day, you are talking about a dollar and fifty and that will fill you amazingly. I just bought a quarter of a cow for $3.25 a pound; I got that in Canada.  In the US, I was able to buy them for about $4.50, maybe $5 a pound. And you can buy pre-packed ground grass-fed meat for about $5 a pound if you have it shipped to you, maybe $6 – depending. So, just don’t go to the supermarket and be lazy. You have a freezer and you might as well use it unless you live in a dorm. And from a vegetable perspective, yes, go non-organic. And even better yet, you don’t have to eat fresh vegetables; you can get frozen vegetables that are cheap. Buy them at Costco. And don’t compromise on the grass-fed animal stuff. If you’re not going to eat grass-fed meat, look for some affordable Whey protein powder potentially; but eating grain-fed meat will destroy your health.  It’s better than eating bread, but not much better.  It’s terribly important. And also look at eggs.  Eggs, even if they are not pastured the way they should be, if you just get good quality, cage-free, organic eggs – not the omega-3 eggs, just organic eggs – you can eat a lot of those and they’re also relatively cheap. If you’re extremely cutting corners, you could even buy commercial eggs, just the normal ones that are non-organic, and those are not nearly as bad for you as grain-fed meat, so then you could shift to more eggs in the diet. I think it’s entirely possible to eat a very filling calorically-dense healthy diet, full of healthy fats for about $4 a day. That’s within range of a meal at McDonalds. You can do this.

Co-host: I would have to agree.  The thing with organic vegetables, as you said, really doesn’t matter that much. I don’t eat really organic vegetables. Every now and then, we get some organic spinach, but it matters a lot more for some than others.  Also, there are some cool charts that can show you this and how much some plants retain pesticides. There’s a cool website called whatsonmyfood, and you can look it up and it even shows you what types of pesticides are on there. So, maybe if you are somebody who cares more about your brain than your heart or something like that, it shows you exactly which pesticides are on there and how they affect you. And as far as the grass-fed meat – yes, totally – the grass-fed meat really matters. And we’re running a huge series on that right now, if you want to learn more about that, over at the Bulletproof Executive. But, if you still want to eat some meat as I would, then you should probably go for leaner cuts of meat and seafood and those kinds of things because most of the toxins are stored in the fat in the meat and so, if you get leaner cuts it will help reduce your toxin load.

Dave Asprey:  It’s kind of counter intuitive, so if you are eating grass-fed meat, get the fattiest cuts you can afford. Fortunately, ribs are usually pretty cheap, which are very fatty, but if you’re eating grain-fed factory meat, the fat on that is pretty much not something you should put in your body, so the most expensive cuts of factory meat are chicken breasts and filet mignon, which are the leanest cuts. You can eat those, but those are not cheap on a college budget either. What’s cheap are the chicken thighs, which are full of unhealthy fats, and the fattier cuts of factory meat, which are full of unhealthy fats are the really tough cuts. So, you’re not going to be helping your health or really saving very much money by doing that. And when it comes to fresh organic vegetables, they are a rip off. I see $5-a-pound stuff all the time in whole foods or even $2 to $3 a pound. The meat I’m buying right now is $3.25 a pound and even if you spend $6 a pound on your meat, why would spend $6 a pound on raw spinach or something? You’re getting almost no calories and you’re paying mostly for water. So, I am not against vegetables, but if you have to cut corners financially, cut the veggies first and get yourself the healthiest meat you can afford.

Co-host: Yeah, we’re going to be showing everyone how they can get meat as cheap as we do, too, in our series, so if they’re interested, they ought to check that out.

Dave Asprey:  Definitely.

Co-host: The next question is from Don: “First time I’m learning about the Bulletproof diet. The graphs are very helpful. Do you have any modifications in your regime for those of us with type II diabetes? Maybe using xylitol?”

Dave Asprey:  You know xylitol is on there and erythritol is on there as well. Those are actually two of my favorite sweeteners. I pretty much use xylitol most of the time, and occasionally I’ll use a little bit of straight glucose, which doesn’t have all the damaging effects of fructose. You don’t want to overdo that, but in fact if you have diabetes, you don’t want to use glucose or anything that’s an actual sugar that you metabolize. Xylitol, however, if you can get your gut used to digesting it, which takes a few weeks, you can have amazingly good meals that taste like they have sugar in them and it’s not going to raise your blood sugar the way normal sugars do. If you keep eating this diet, particularly with the focus on healthy fats, over time your body will recreate your cell membranes. Your cell membranes, when they’re built properly out of healthy fats, not hydrogenated or oxidized or omega-6 oils, will actually become more flexible and when they become more flexible, your ability to express receptors including insulin receptors through those walls gets better. As it gets better, your type II diabetes symptoms should go away. I was personally diagnosed with pre-type II diabetes.  They basically said, “You’re on the road; it’s going to happen real soon here.” That happened in my late twenties. Ten years later, according to my physician, I’m in the lowest possible risk category for type II diabetes. Thank you, Bulletproof Diet!

Co-host: But Dave, didn’t the high-fat diet cause type II diabetes? That’s what I saw on Science Daily.

Dave Asprey:  Oh yeah!  I guess it’s important to say what kind of fat you eat because I also heard that a diet with food causes type II diabetes on that same website.

Dave Asprey:  As I understand it, plantain is more like a banana, but I honestly don’t eat a lot of plantains unless I’m at a Cuban restaurant.

Co-host: I agree, too.  Chuck’s a friend, and so, I looked this up on the USDA Nutrition Database and you’re right – the plantains… Bananas are fairly starchy for a fruit. They have about the same amount of glucose and fructose – I think even a little more glucose – and they still have a lot of fructose, though – something like 7 or 8 grams. And the plantains are about the same. Sweet potatoes are almost all glucose and I believe they’re almost all glucose and maltose, which are extremely clean-burning. They don’t fructate with proteins like a lot of fructose does; but, bananas are not horrible, and if you’re just having one or two, it’s not a huge deal. I guess plantains are about the same, so that’s my take.

Dave Asprey:  Yeah, I would say a couple of bananas in one day is an awful lot of fructose. I wouldn’t do that, but there are times – I’ll eat half a banana to go with something.

Co-host: Right. This next question comes from Dave: “What do you do when traveling to follow a Bulletproof Diet? How do you go to a restaurant and eat Bulletproof?”

Dave Asprey:  This is when having that printout of the Bulletproof Diet at least in your head really helps. You can scan a menu pretty quickly and you want to look for wild cod fish usually.  If they don’t have wild cod fish, the safest dish you can usually find is a salmon; and order the grilled salmon, tell them you want it with no weird spicing or anything, just salt is fine, and that you want it served with green vegetables that are cooked in real butter and only real butter. People won’t look at you too weird for doing that; they’ll just thing you’re on a health kick. If you feel like you need some carbs, tell them you want rice with nothing in it – just steamed rice. And pretty much that will get you through most restaurants. There are other times, though, where you’re probably going to eat something with omega-6 that you shouldn’t have eaten but you did because it was socially mandated.  When that happens, as soon as you’re done, go home and eat as much butter as you can possibly hold and your body will preferentially use the butter – you can think of it as diluting the toxic omega-6 with more butter.  That sounds really weird, but I have tried it over and over and over and if you eat junk food, canceling it out by eating more healthy saturated fat from grass-fed butter actually makes you feel much better and MCT oil even more so than butter.

Another thing I’ve done, and I actually do this even when I’m going out on business meetings with Venture Capitalists and board members and whatnot, granted they kind of know I’m the Bulletproof executive, but I bring a little flask, like a little travel flask because I fly all the time; a three-ounce flask of MCT oil. And if I’m going to go to a restaurant, I can guarantee that whatever they serve me will be deficient in fat, so I’ll tell them, “Could you bring three of those little dishes of the real butter?”, even though its not grass-fed, at least is butter, and then I’ll pour my MCT oil, not all three ounces, just maybe one ounce, on whatever I’m eating that will absorb it. And just by upping the fat in a restaurant meal that way… You can also ask for an extra avocado – say, “Put a whole avocado in that, I’ll pay for it, I don’t mind.” When you do that, you generally get a higher healthy fat meal and you’ll be okay.
Co-host: Baked potatoes work really well, too.  Generally, it’s best to peel the skin off because they contain some glycoalkaloids, but if you ask for plain baked potato, those are usually okay if it is a higher-end restaurant.

Dave Asprey:  I don’t know, co-host.  I’m skeptical of potatoes because of the lectins that are contained in them. 20% of all arthritis is caused by the lectins in potatoes. I wouldn’t go that route. I would actually tell them if they don’t have rice, I wouldn’t order a starch at restaurant.  If you test yourself and you know you’re okay with potatoes, you can do that, but to know you’re okay you need to go for a week with zero potato and anything including potato starch in your diet and then eat three potatoes and nothing else and see what happens to you. If you feel perfectly okay and you’re not stiff the next day, you probably can handle them, but I wouldn’t call them bulletproof.

Co-host: Right.  I think most of the lectins are on the outside too. Just as I was saying, remove the peels. But yeah, if you have an autoimmune condition, you should not be eating any kind of nightshades, so yeah, I agree.

I just want to second that with Dave and the butter thing.  I actually didn’t know how horrible… I don’t really eat out anyway, so it’s not a problem for me, but I learned somewhere this little stuff they actually put in the fake or the normal butter that they would bring you and it’s kind of scary.

This next question is from Kent: “Do you have any concerns about glycogen stores for athletic performance? Do you think it’s possible to get enough muscle glycogen while following a Bulletproof Diet?”

Dave Asprey:  Well, yes, it is possible to get enough glycogen because there’s a whole category for starches and carbohydrates, and if you’re doing things like eating sweet potatoes and yams, yes, those actually preferentially create muscle glycogen. So, if you’re going to be doing a heavy duty endurance kind of workout, you’re going to need to eat more of those, but they’re certainly on the Bulletproof Diet. The idea here is that if you need to change your percentage of calories to incorporate more carbs, you can do it. You can also just eat more in general and increase the amount of carbs you eat because you ate more of everything, but the idea is choose the carbs that are least toxic and are going to do the most for you, and we have carefully laid out all the carb choices that you can make there according to how much fructose is in them and according to how many toxins are in them and how likely they are to contain secondary toxins that come from cooking or come from storage.  So if you do the Bulletproof Diet and you’re doing this athletic thing, you’re going to feel much better than if you don’t.

Co-host: I would have to completely agree, since I’m one of those crazy people who do triathlons and stuff and I’m all on board with the Bulletproof Diet. I’m completely strict and I don’t have a problem with this.  I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, yams – those are really the highest performance fuel you can get in terms of a good carbohydrate source.  I love carrots, too.  If you mash or you cook carrots enough so that they’re about the same consistency as a cooked potato, they are an incredibly good carb source.  Turnips are great, Cassava, Yucca, Taro – all these things are very good sources of carbs that are still pretty much in line with the Bulletproof Diet.  I think sweet potatoes are probably the best, and carrots run in there with them, but those are my choices, so, again it’s better obviously to eat a high-fat diet, but if you’re going to do that kind of thing, it’s totally okay.

Dave Asprey:  Yeah, if you need to eat carbs because you’re doing endurance athletics, which actually I don’t recommend because it’s not good for your longevity, but some people are kind of addicted to the opiates and some people just love it, so if that’s what you love, you can still eat the Bulletproof Diet.  If you are eating some carbs, that’s fine.  If you’re sitting at a desk all day or you are doing cross-fit or some other type of high-intensity training, which gives you the most bang for the buck, yeah, you can eat sweet potato, it is fine. But if you eat a bunch of sweet potatoes and you instead cut fat in order to eat more carbs, you’re not going to do very well.  If you’re going to eat a lot of carbs, keep your fat intake up and you will do fine.  If you cut your fat and you eat a lot of carbs, it’s going to tweak your body.

Co-host: I’d like to add something about cross-fit, too.  As you said, it’s a very high-intensity short workout and so you will need some carbohydrates, probably more in your diet and I know Matt Leland who tried a really low-carb approach on a cross-fit and it really burned them out and he had a lot of cortisol issues and things like that, so it is not a good idea to go ketogenic while doing cross-fit, but you don’t need a ton either, because as Dave said, it’s really short.

Dave Asprey:  The ketosis thing is a bit misleading.  Some of the most effective cross-fit you can do is at the end of a fast when you are in ketosis, but the second you’re done, you eat protein, carbs, and fat and that prevents the cortisol problems that come from being in an almost constant starvation mode there. But entering ketosis on a regular basis will make you more bulletproof and teaching your body that it’s okay and normal and natural to burn fat is important even if you are an endurance athlete. You should be in ketosis at least once a week, I believe.

Co-host: Oh, I know, I completely agree.  I’m saying if you’re doing a long-term ketogenic diet and if you are in complete ketosis for three weeks or something, which is what he did… I think it was even longer than that and he was trying to cross-fit all the time with no carbs afterwards or anything like that – then it might cause some problems; but you’re right.

Dave Asprey:  It also destroys your sleep.  You shouldn’t do that, but one of the bulletproof tenets is – don’t really do a lot of long-burning aerobic intensive exercise, do short-burst high-intensity stuff, and then, yeah, it is fine to eat some carbs afterwards, but don’t eat excess carbs.

Co-host: Yeah. That’s all I was saying. I actually go into ketosis, in it right now actually, and about eighteen hours into my fast… In conjunction with endurance training, and that does not bother me, so I completely agree.

Dave Asprey:  Excellent.

Co-host: Yeah, and Kent has a second question, “If your goal is to lose fat as quickly as possible, is it still best to eat this way and not worry about creating a caloric deficit?  It seems like long term, your thyroid function might match any healthy food intake you have, but over periods of few weeks to a few months, it might be much more effective to eat a low-calorie-a-week/cheat-day type of approach. Go for it, Dave.”

Dave Asprey:  You know, I’ll just answer this with a case study from one of the guys I’m coaching.  He weighed about 315 pounds when I started working with him.  He lost sixty pounds in sixty days.  Did he do a low-calorie week/cheat-day approach?  Absolutely not.  He did it with Bulletproof coffee, MCT oil and butter, at least a stick of butter every day, which is by no means a low-calorie diet, and he ate as much of that as he wanted until he felt full. And he did it every day for five days, and then he would follow that up, I guess you could call it a cheat day – he would eat two pounds of meat – of course grass-fed meat – six pastured eggs, another stick of butter or two or three yams, and then he would go another fiive days of 100% fat, XCT from Upgraded Self plus grass-fed butter and what this is – it’s a modified intermittent fast.  I basically call this ‘Bulletproof fasting’.  I’ve got a blog post coming up on it, but the bottom line is, you don’t have any of the bad effects of fasting, the tiredness, the weakness, the coldness, and the hunger. It goes away if instead you replace it with these amazing fats but you get all the benefits and you actually maintain muscle mass and lose weight faster.

So, the idea is that you need to use a low-calorie week and a cheat day: that’s more likely to break your thyroid function.  It’s about hormones.  It really is, and fat is an amazing stuff.

Co-host: Yeah, I think a lot of those cheat day type stuff comes from the old Tim Ferriss 4-hour Body thing, and I really like his book. I thought it was really good. I love a lot of the exercise part, especially the part on sprint training and hacking the NFL combine, but I have problems with these low-carb diets and the whole cheat-day-a-week thing. I was talking to one of my friends recently who was doing the whole cheat-day-a-week and he said he couldn’t keep doing the cheat day because it screwed him up so much for the rest of the week – he felt bloated, nauseated, and horrible. So, what he did as a kind of compromise, he basically started putting together some kind of Paleo substitute, so he had some Buckwheat pancakes and stuff like that or Tapioca cookies and that kind of thing and obviously, I wouldn’t call that great, but it is still orders of magnitude better.  Yeah, I just don’t do the cheat day thing.

Dave Asprey:  If you look the back at history and where this stuff came from, Tim didn’t invent the cheat day by a long shot.  As far as I can tell, the guy who invented it first was named Rob Fagan who wrote an amazing book I think in 1992 called Natural Hormonal Enhancement, and this guy was a natural weight lifter and he did, not a high enough fat diet, but he did a relatively high protein with some healthy fats in it, but he did this cheat day once a week, but his cheat day was, what do you know, a whole bunch of yams, and he did say you have to go into ketosis and then you have to get a whole bunch of muscle glycogen on Sundays and then you spend the rest of the week in ketosis, but to expand on that and say on your cheat day you can eat ice cream and 3 Musketeers and even wheat?  What will happen is the next day you will feel so crappy that you would end up losing about three days of performance before you’re at your best. I used to do a cheat day back in the late 90s and yeah, still someday of the week, I’ll eat more carbs than others and that’s my cheat day, but I don’t eat junk carbs.  I eat on the Bulletproof spectrum.  I’ll say I’m going to eat kind of bad today, I will have three servings of rice and I’ll have four potatoes with I’ll pour butter all over them and I’ll eat a pound of meat and some pork sausage that might have some kind of stuff in it that isn’t perfectly bulletproof, and I feel good, I get my muscle glycogen up, but it’s totally different if I stuff my face with chocolate croissants and followed it up with two hot dogs. The effect on me for the rest of the week is noticeable and repeatable and it is for anyone listening to this show.  Don’t eat crap on your cheat day if you have a cheat day.  Eat healthy foods.  Eat the Bulletproof foods that are healthy, just have more carbs.

Co-host: Well Dave, 3 Musketeer bars are low fat now, but I would actually have to agree.  I think people need to make a distinction between cheat days and just overfeed days, so there is some cool stuff that goes on when you follow a cyclical ketogenic diet as Dave was talking about.  We have five days or six days of ketosis and then you way over-feed on carbs and it increases leptin sensitivity and leptin production.  There is also some cool stuff that happens, but you don’t need to do it with Twix bars.  It shouldn’t be really even thought of as a cheat day.  In some way, it should just be, “Okay, I’m going to overfeed this day,” and I think just call it strategic overfeeding and that is what it is.

Dave Asprey:  Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, co-host.  I want to make sure that people listening understand this is not just for athletes. I have gone for the last two years without exercising on purpose.  I don’t have a regular exercise program.  I walk around.  You can see a picture of my abs on the website.  I used to weigh three hundred pounds, but I eat like this because whether or not you’re an athlete, if you eat properly, you look like an athlete.  So, if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re putting eighteen-hour days, which is pretty common for me to put in an eighteen-hour day, I will still eat this way because I’m higher performance for all eighteen hours.  So, it is not just if you’re running marathons or lifting weights or doing cross-fit; it’s if you’re working your ass off and you are burning the candle at both ends and you’re going back home to see your family; well, eating properly and doing these same things that weightlifters do will help you to be more resilient and to deal with your stress that comes from that lifestyle. And that stress is not so different than the physical stress that comes from lifting heavy things. Whatever your stress is coming from, if you eat right, then your stress will go down.

Co-host: Absolutely. And one thing I would like to tell Kent is, yes, if you’re trying to get down to 3% of body fat, which is not healthy anyway and also there are absolutely no benefits to ketosis to going below 5% body fat in terms of aesthetics or anything. You’re just going to wreck your hormones and cause all sorts of problems. But if you are insane and you are trying to do that for a body building competition, some slight caloric restriction or caloric cycling… I don’t believe caloric restriction in general is good in any case, just like saying, “I’m going to eat less than I burn every day,” but if you eat 10% less one day and 10% more the next, that can be kind of cool for getting really shredded, but just for general healthy looking good and being pretty ripped, you don’t need that and that’s not smart.

Dave Asprey:  Yeah.

Co-host: The next question is from Zingbo, that’s the comment handle.  “Since I’m naturally jittery, is decaf coffee okay or is it toxic somehow?”

Dave Asprey:  I love this question.  It’s toxic, don’t drink decaf.  Decaf is evil.  Now, you might ask, “Why is decaf evil?”  There are several reasons, but the number one reason is that caffeine is in coffee beans for a very specific reason.  Caffeine fights mold and it fights insects.  So, if you take a coffee bean and you strip out the mold-fighting stuff and you leave it sitting somewhere, mold is going to grow on that coffee bean and it’s going to be one of the toxic molds called Fusarium, which makes three different classes of nasty, nasty toxins.  So there are studies that show coffee causes cancer and there are studies that show coffee stops brain cancer, for instance.  The difference in those studies is that some coffee is good and some coffee is not good.

Co-host: So, one other thing I’ve noticed when I’ve tried decaf in the past and I hated it was that I hated it, the taste was just horrible.  Is that related to the mycotoxin content?

Dave Asprey:  Absolutely!  Any coffee roaster will tell you, “Oh!  I need to pick out the beans that have holes or pits or cracks in it them” because those are the beans that if you crack them open will have blue-green mold inside and that’s what gives coffee its nasty acid taste.  If your coffee requires sugar, it’s not good coffee; it’s bad coffee and you shouldn’t drink it.

Co-host: Right on.  So, that’s going to wrap it up for questions for this week.  If you have any questions for the podcast, you can contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or on the contact form in the shown notes of this episode.  We pick through all the comments on our articles, so if you comment on one of our posts, it’s likely to end in the podcast.

Now we’re going to move on to our exclusive interview with Rick Green and John Kalns from Hyperion Biotechnology.

Podcast Interview

Co-host: Hey folks!  It’s the co-host from the Bulletproof Executive and I’m here today with Rick Green and John Kalns, the inventors of the technology behind something called the Fatigue Biomarker Test, which we’re going to talk about today.  So guys, thank you so much for coming on the interview.

John Kalns:  Yeah, it is great to be here.

Co-host: Cool!  Before we get into this very deeply, what is the Fatigue Biomarker and how did you all discover this technology and get into it?

John Kalns:  Well, the story goes like this.  We had this idea that there was a real deficit in understanding how to make things better for soldiers that were being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan after the war on terror got started. What was ultimately happening was a lot of folks were having to pull pretty long duty cycles and not only that, they had to haul around huge amounts of weight. Like, one soldier, who is deployed now, had literally 120 pounds of gear that they are carrying including weapons and ammunition and water and a whole bunch of things going on. It’s very stressful.  They often are up for very long periods of time and the question came up: “How far can you push guys before they crack?” And you get into some real problem in terms of completing the operation.  The bottom line is you don’t want people to get hurt and killed if you can avoid it.  War is a messy business, no doubt about it.  So, the army came out with an idea.  They said, “Okay, are there ways that we can assess fatigue?” Because we know fatigue is a dangerous source of accidents and problems that we get into. Lots of things that happen are related to fatigue. So we need better ways of measuring fatigue so we can minimize it on the battlefield and basically use soldiers more effectively to accomplish the task that they have to do.  So, we looked at that as an opportunity.  We’re very interested in that idea.  We saw that it is something that really is unanswered in the private sector, too.  There is a big demand for ways of measuring fatigue in the private sector that you probably can think about.  So, we got a grant for $850,000 from the army to develop the Fatigue Biomarkers and long story short, we wanted to look at saliva because that is something that you can sample easily. You don’t have to prick someone in the arm and get a blood sample or do anything like that.  Capturing a urine sample is kind of nice sort of way to sort it, but it has some logistic problems, too.  Saliva seems like a really good way to go on this.

Second thing is we’re thinking that a lot of metabolic events are really probably what we’re going to be looking at and those metabolic events are often expressed as changes in removal of short little bits of enzymes that are related to metabolism.  And our idea was that these short little bits that are cut off of the big enzyme are going to wind up in the blood and ultimately in the saliva and if we can measure those things and measure metabolic events such as transition to burning lipids and the events that we will be able to detect with our marker technology.  So, we went into it with no assumptions about what we’re going to find.  We worked with the University of Montana on this. What we did is put people on treadmill, cycle ergometers for eight hours and we got saliva samples at various times. At the end of the eight hours, they were all very tired. And these are really healthy people. These are recreational cyclists, they are folks in very, very good shape; they’re very young, and they look a lot like the military population except they might actually be in better shape than a lot of the guys over there in Iraq.

Long story short, we compared the composition of saliva, we focused on the low molecular weight component, we focused mainly on peptides, and so we took a sample of saliva from one of these guys before they started their endurance exercise and at the end of the eight-hour period and compared the compositions using liquid chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and some bioinformatics tools that we invented here.  Finally, we identified a number of things that were sure enough related to physical performance capability. And a couple of those peptides, we actually had them simplified, we filed patent on them now, so it’s very hot stuff. And the bottom line is, when you’re fatigued, some of these peptides are reduced in their abundance by a thousand to ten thousand fold.  So, they’re high initially and they’re present in relatively large amounts in your saliva. As you get really, really fatigued, they virtually disappear.  And so, we have essentially a yes/no marker for fatigue.  And this is related specifically to physical fatigue and the ability to perform physical exercise.

We are very excited by this.  One application that we have used this is in training of special operation force and one of the issues in special operations is that guys get out of basic training, they’re in good shape, and they’re really, really motivated typically, but even despite all that, about 50% to 80% of the folks that go into special operations training never ever make it through. They fail in the first of what’s called the indoctrination session.  This is a fairly rigorous training cycle.  And one of the things we thought about was, if the guys are coming in fatigued, could we project who was going to fail and who was going to complete? Low and behold, our fatigue biomarkers did a very good job of predicting who’s going to fail or complete.  In terms of military operations, that is important because you can reduce the number of failures by judiciously selecting the right men to go into the Special Forces training cycle and to become Special Forces operators.  Another important thing to have in mind is that if you have fatigue detected with our markers, you can go to these guys and say, “Look, you’re fatigued, let’s find out why, and let’s make you less fatigued.”  And that’s the really exciting part where we can start applying different types of intervention, changes in training, changes in sleep, changes in diet, to essentially make a very fit person even better. And I guess that is kind of long-winded but short answer to what we think is a fascinating and ultimately a very beneficial technology.

Co-host: Yeah, that’s great.  That actually resounds pretty strongly with me right now.  My brother just got back from basic training and he was definitely pretty fatigued when he came home. So, yeah, that sounds great.  How long have people known about the relationship between salivary peptides and stress?  Is this something you all just discovered?

John Kalns:  Yeah, this is something that we discovered and I alluded to this idea that our original hypothesis was that we’re going to see some small fragments of enzymes that are related to energy utilization.  What we found though was something that was more exciting in a way and a little bit surprising. Mainly, the peptides that we found are fragments of a larger protein that is expressed only by the salivary gland and what we found out was that the abundance of these fractions is really controlled by the physical fatigue state and other types of state, which I cannot get into because of patent issues that are pending right now.  But, the salivary gland links up both to the dual endocrine system, immune system and the brain itself, so we know that those linkages exist and low and behold, as you get more fatigued, the behavior of the salivary gland as an exocrine functioning gland actually changes in a very profound and significant way that we can measure it by looking at the composition of saliva.

Co-host: So, could this test possibly predict mental fatigue and maybe immune system depression and those kinds of things as well?

John Kalns:  Well,I think you chap on a very hot area and I just have to say that I have to be very careful.  I really can’t comment on that, but I’ll just say this: we have a number of different research programs that are in the works right now.  We have a number of different collaborators in the the federal government and I think there is a real opportunity to understand the how the composition of saliva links to all types of different physical phenomenon. And I know I’m being cagey deliberately because I don’t want to have public disclosure of things that could jeopardize patentability of some of our technology coming online.

Co-host: Fair enough, sounds good. So, how do you go about measuring these peptides?  How is the test performed?  Does somebody spit in a little tube and mail it to you or how is it done?

John Kalns:  That’s exactly right.  What we will do is we will send you a 15 ml centrifuge tube, and 15 ml of saliva is about 2 tablespoons of saliva.  It will take you about three to five, maybe six minutes to accumulate that much.  You spit in the tube, seal it up, put it back in the mailer and send it to us.  One other thing that we know about our physical fatigue peptide is that they are relatively stable and so sending by regular US mail is just fine.  They come to us, we get the saliva, we do a bunch of proprietary processing to kind of clean up and refine it, get to the biomarker, and then we apply a technology that is called liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy and what that enables us to do is just separate all the different components of saliva after our preliminary test.  There is about five to ten thousand different chemical components there and so we separate them out using chromatography and then we use a very precise detector, which is a mass spectrometer and that tells us not only the abundance of the compounds of interest, but also their chemical identity.  This is really the cutting edge way that many analyses are measured in clinical laboratories and this is really state-of-the-art right here.  It’s not cheap, but it is the definitive way of doing this type of assessment.

Co-host: Do you see any opportunities in the future for doing a home testing kit, so you wouldn’t have to mail it in?

John Kalns:  Yeah.  One thing I was going to mention, co-host, is direct.  If you want, you can go to and order the test.  It’s $55 for a single test.

Co-host: Cool!

John Kalns:  And there are instructions for collection.

Co-host: So, in the future do you ever think, maybe there could be something almost like a pregnancy test, where you spit into a little a spot and it will tell you on a graded scale what your fatigue marker are?

John Kalns:  Absolutely.  One of the great things there is that we have worked with some company to actually define the components of the type of test and we have talked to a number of companies.  The trick here is, to make a pregnancy test what you need is a molecule, which will recognize and bind to your molecule of interest with very high affinity.  Specifically, for all of these, what are called, point-of-care tests like this, you raise up antibodies immune response, collecting antibodies on the detection platform. It does two things for you. One – it can shorten the times to get a test completed from literally days or week, which is what we’re looking at right now, to perhaps as short as an hour or even half-an-hour.  There is another technology that is coming online that can make this almost real-time, where you can get test results essentially in thirty minutes, maybe a few minutes even.  So, we’re going down that road and we hope to have something like that in maybe another year or two.

Co-host: Well, it sounds great.  Let’s say I took the test and my biomarkers were high, but my salivary peptides were low, how do you know whether I’m actually fatigued or not?  What kind of standard are you comparing it to for reference?

John Kalns:  Yeah, it’s a great question.  This is part of the very interesting philosophical issue that surrounds the whole idea of fatigue.  What is fatigue?  How do you define it?  I think there are a lot of questions about that.  What we’ve tied it to in terms of this are different types of outcomes. For example, when we did the cycle ergometer testing, we were looking at the ability of folks to maintain a standard mechanical output on the cycle ergometer.  Can they pedal at the same rate all the time?  That’s one way of assessing it.  If you become fatigued, you can’t maintain a steady rate of energy output like that.  As you well know, you get a little choppy and your performance becomes a little bit less consistent.  Another thing that we did was to ask about their, what is called, a POM score.  This is an assessment of how one perceives their exertional output and how difficult the task is.  There is really extensive literature on use of these types of measure.  It is essentially a visual analog that says on a scale of 1-20 – was this really hard, the hardest thing you ever did or maybe it is not such a hard thing at all? And so we were tracking using this measurement scale over time and linking that to the biomarker.  So, essentially as folks got more tired, there was a correlation between the fatigue that they express and the levels of the biomarkers.  Now, the question obviously becomes – why don’t you just ask people how fatigued they are, where you get into problems that their perception of fatigue is altogether something different than the actual fatigue status and the actual capability of the individual. And as you well know, there are a lot of factors that play into how one does in a race or in any kind of athletic competition and then there are a lot of factors that go into that and physical fatigue is only one of them.  We hope that this would be a positive feedback where folks would get this information back and say, “Well, look, I am not as fatigued as I thought I was,” or “I’m really fatigued according to the Biomarker test, but guess what – I am not doing as bad as I could be”.  There’s a lot of ways of seeing this, and ultimately what you use the information for is to make yourself a better more capable athlete and a better person ultimately and that is where we’re going.

Finally, the really complex outcome, which is success in the Special Forces guys, predicting who will succeed and who will fail.  And I’ll tell you Special Forces training is very complex, not just an athletic challenge.  There’re a lot of mental challenges there, too.  And in fact, the mental challenges are probably more significant.  So, when we found out our biomarkers can project success or failure, we’re very excited because this really validates the whole claim that we’re predicting something which is very useful in life in general, not just in terms of physical performance though of course the physical performance is really where this thing blinks. Again a complicated issue is fatigue. I think we don’t even have a good language of talking about it yet, but I think our technology will certainly enable that as we go forward.

Co-host: So, when you we’re testing the people who were going into Special Forces training, what kind of accuracy does this test have, what percentage of the Special Forces people who had high levels of fatigue ended up failing?

John Kalns:  Well, it’s a statistic distribution.  But I can tell you this – if your marker comes in suggesting fatigue, let’s say at a level of 0.1, which is very fatigued, your chances of failing are about 90%.  If you come in at a level of 1 or above, this suggests you are not very fatigued at all and your chances of succeeding are about 80-90%.  Now, folks that fall in the middle of that range, which is maybe about 30-50% of the folks there – their likelihood is a little bit mixed.  You can’t make such profound conclusions about it, though again there are trends there.  If you’re on the low end of the high part of the scale, you’re more likely fatigued than if you are in the lower end, but there are some absolute cutoffs here really that would be useful in determining definitively why you are really fatigued or “Hey, you’re doing pretty good and your body is good off and that is what you are ever going to be in terms of your physical capability.

Co-host: Yeah, it’s amazing.  What is the scale for how fatigued somebody is? You said 0.1 to 1? Have you ever had somebody who was more than 1 or so what is the scale graded on?

John Kalns:  Well, the way we look at the scale, this is the kind of feedback that we will get back for somebody who actually takes the test. If your level is above 1, you’re essentially in pretty good shape and you’re probably doing the right thing.  There is probably some room for improvement and this is something – we just honestly need more data.  I’m a scientist and I’m always a little cautious to make too many conclusions.  I think the higher you are – and we did measure some people as high as a 100… I’m not exactly sure what that means, but if you’re above 1, you’re in pretty good shape.  Now if you’re between the range of 1 and 0.1, you are somebody that could be improved.  You are showing evidence of fatigue and there are probable interventions or changes that you can do in your life that would probably improve your fatigue score and probably improve your physical capabilities.  Now if you’re below 0.1, that suggests that you’re really fatigued, that you have some real issue that needs to be addressed for you to come up anywhere near to where you should be, and that is the person who you want to reach out to and say, “Look, find out where your life is, find out what your training is about, find out about your personal life, think about it introspectively and we invite you to make some changes and measure the fatigue biomarker after you make those changes and see if it improves.”  That’s the great thing about this, and over time this allows people to get better and improve their own physical performance capabilities.  That was really exciting.

Co-host: Yeah, it is. There are a lot of other measures for fatigue I know – depressed heart rate is one measure, your general mood, your performance and workouts, your blood lactate, all sorts of other measurements – what makes this better or worse than those?  What kind of advantages does this Fatigue Biomarker test have over the standard measures of fatigue?

John Kalns:  Right, it’s a really good question.  I think what plagues a lot of things like lactate, cortisol, and some of the heart measures that have been around for a very long time, is that they are highly variable and they are dependent on a lot of different factors that come into play.  Ultimately, when we did some of our testing here, we did measure things like salivary cortisol, and we did measure lactate and when we stood them up against our marker, the thing that really comes out is that the variability for our marker is much, much smaller than it is for some of these other measurements and what that means is that we’re seeing things decline by a thousand to ten thousand fold.  When you see changes occurring in cortisol – you’re lucky if you’re seeing something that is maybe between two fold, three fold, four fold.  Lactate spike – again, you can see pretty significant increase in lactate, but the variability even within a single individual is so large and so, we see with our marker that is essentially an off-on switch and within a population of people, again we see very tighter distributions here, and that’s the main advantage.  The heart rate measures like what you can get out a Polar monitor or other type of things, yeah, they’re useful, but again they are susceptible to a lot of different input and the software, I would argue, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting out of it and there are also a lot of things that can affect heart rate variability or R-R interval measures.  Ironically, we are working __________ technology to use R-R interval measures with a chest strap and the results are interesting, but we don’t see a really great relationship there to physical performance, not as good as what we have with our marker.

Co-host: Yeah, I actually would have to completely agree. I’ve stopped using heart rate monitor a long time ago, just because there is no predictable data, you’re right.  So, are there any factors that could affect the test?  As you said, it is a salivary peptide test, so it seems like if you ate something before the test it might throw it of – is that true?

John Kalns:  That is a great point and in fact, when we did our initial exploration studies at the University of Montana, one of the things that the exercise physiologists that we were working with was interested about carbohydrate loading taking place four hours into this endurance test and exercise physiologists, as you know, are very interested in different ways of tweaking things to make people perform better.  What we found out was that intermediate meal of carbohydrate had no more effect than feeding of a placebo.  So, the answer is, we don’t think food has a great effect on this.  Carbohydrate loading doesn’t seem to have a big effect on this.  Hydration is one of the things that comes to mind.  When you’re dehydrated, especially after a long endurance event – our test actually measures two peptides and one of them is something that we use to normalize for the effect of dehydration.  So, actually we’re not measuring just dehydration when we measure the peptide, we are actually normalizing, particularly the dehydration event and so, our test is even more accurate than it otherwise would be.  So, I hope that kind of answers the question, but it is a complicated issue and when we really invite people explore, again not all the people are the same and some interventions will really be more effective than others.
Co-host: Yeah, that was perfect.  So, is this meant to provide an overview of stress in someone’s life accounting for numerous factors or is it more of something you might use after a workout and then send it in and see exactly how fatigued you really were during the workout?

John Kalns:  Well, this is a very interesting question.  When we discovered this thing, again we were looking for dramatic changes in composition that were associated with acute short-term endurance exercise.  That’s what we were looking for.  Now, whether that folks that were undergoing short-term bout of exercise acutely stressed with stressors in their life – Well, I don’t know, I think the answer is probably not to a great degree.  However, this is the really cool part, I think, when you look at the Special Forces guys that were coming in and we were measuring a single saliva sample at the outset of the training regime.  They go through a 12-week training regime – the Special Forces guys that we looked at.  A single saliva sample before they started training indicated whether or not they were going to fall out during that 12-week period.  Now that would suggest to me that we are looking at more simply the acute phase performance characteristic of an individual.  When we observe a low level of the marker, we’re looking at something, which tells greater about the totality of the individual’s performance capabilities, and I think that totality is influenced to a great extent by emotional stressors, psychological stressors, immunological stress, and the whole galaxy of different things that could predict whether or not someone is going to succeed during the Special Forces training.  So I think the answer is yes, but we need more data and I think that is the bottom line and we’re working on that right now.

Co-host:  Cool.  I’m curious, as people begin to take this test, are you like accumulating a large body of data that you can draw on to look at these kinds of things?

John Kalns:  Yeah, absolutely. That’s what makes this really cool, I think.  Over time, we hope to accumulate a lot of data on people, both from controlled studies and studies that are relatively uncontrolled.  I think we’re just potentially going through something, which is kind of viral where people are talking and discussing among themselves about what they did and how it affected their Biomarker level.  You can imagine that a lot of folks are going to start sharing information about supplements, and I think this really talks to the whole supplement industry because we both know that something winding up at a MuscleMag with some celebrity making an endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean that the supplement’s applications are safe, right?  This is the way that people are going to answer for themselves – does this supplement really help me objectively or not?  And placebo effect can be profound with regards to the supplement use and really for any kind of intervention, whether you’re going with a new trainer, new foot gear whatever it is, you tend to believe that that stuff will work – this is not meant to degrade that, but to enable you to really understand objectively whether the interventions that you are doing are really effective for you or not. The results might be surprising and we hope that the community shares through Hyperion this information and the users share it among themselves.  Once the discussion gets going, it’s going to revolutionize the supplement and really athletic pursuits overall.  I think it’s going to be absolutely revolutionary.
Co-host: This is great.  That is one of the things I’ve been working on for a while, as you often hear like one of the factors for selecting supplements should be whether you really feel a difference or not, but oftentimes, you’re not going to feel a difference.  They might be very subtle, but you still want to know it’s working and this seems like it would be a perfect way to actually make sure you’re getting what your money’s worth.  That sounds absolutely amazing.

John Kalns:  I think a really good and well-studied analog to this is the use of depression medication.  Why bring that up? Depression medications, when they do the big controlled studies by the pharmaceutical companies, about 40% of the people that are treated with the placebo show significant positive benefits from taking the placebo, and that’s a big, big deal.  In fact, the drugs often show just a minimal improvement over placebo.  There’s been a lot written about that lately and I think folks that use supplements ought to take that to heart.  If you have a positive outlook, that could make all the difference in the world, but still it may not really be having any demonstrable real effect on your body.

Co-host: Right.  So, I’d like to get a little more into the details.  Actually, one more thing before I get into the details of this. Let’s say there is somebody who is not an athlete, but they are just hard working like mom or something like that, like a soccer mom who’s working really hard trying to get her kids all over the place, could she use something like this to try and quantify the amount of stressors in her life?  So, basically any person could actually get an objective marker for their stress?

John Kalns:  Yeah.  I think that is the really exciting part that this marker really could be a great benefit and give people some pause and think about what they are doing in their lives.  There are so many people that are pushing themselves so hard and they have so many different things going on – they have got the kids, they have got the job, they have got things to pick out and do at home, they have got activities, they are spending two hours a day on the road – I mean, it is absolutely endless.  I think this kind of states that, “Hey, look, take a rest.  Think about what you‘re eating.  Here it is in black and white, here’s the result.  Are you on the right path?  Could your life be better?”  This is the enabling technology that we really need for this stuff.
Co-host: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. One other thing, my mom is a teacher, so she works a lot and it’s often hard for teachers and other people in any job to come in and really say, “We’re being overworked,” and the person hearing it would say, “What do you mean?” There is no objective measure for overworked and so, this might be useful for somebody who’s trying to explain to somebody else how far they’re really pushing themselves and they can show them with numbers: “I’m like this fatigued, I need to take a break.”  So, that might be useful for that.

John Kalns:  Well, there are a lot of professions where the stakes are really high and I think stakes are really high for teachers too.  I think you’re absolutely right.  When you are in a position where super fatigue is operating on you, I think the answer is no.  And so, there are a lot of applications out there and there is a lot of interest in the technology.

Co-host: Yeah, actually one of the things I was doing research on recently was sleep deprivation and its effects on interns.  They made something like 70% more drastic medical mistakes when they hadn’t had sleep for 18 hours or some period like that.  And this test seems like it would be a perfect marker to really show how much it was affecting people.

John Kalns:  Yeah, you bet, and that’s where you get so much excitement.  I went to the American Association of Clinical Chemistry meeting and actually, I had a lot of physicians come up to me and ask that question specifically about medical residents saying, “Hey, we really need to talk about this.”  I think that is the really big one.

Co-host: Cool. So, now I’d like to hear a little bit into the details of the test. So, when somebody orders the test, what happens? Can you take us through the process of what it’s like to get this test done on yourself?

John Kalns: Right. First comes the money – we have a credit card-enabled website. So, what you do is basically punch in your credit card information, secure website, and then what we will do is we will send you a sample collection kit, which is just brutally simple.  It will have some collection tubes in it with some very simple instructions.  Don’t brush your teeth, don’t drink a lot of water right before taking the test and then spit in the tube until you get the required amount, seal it up, and put it back in the mailer, and drop it in the mailbox.  It’s really that simple.  And then what we do is, again, we do some fancy chemical preparation of the saliva, we really clean it up and separate it and then we stick it in our LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy) machine and we get a readout.  Now, that readout will give you the concentration of your fatigue biomarkers and we will express that to let you know in terms of our population and knowledge, where you fall.  Again, 1 and above is good; 1 to 0.1 – well, you’ve got probably some of the issues that are addressable; or less than 0.1, which means that you’re really fatigued and you really have got to take care of what your life is all about.  And, then from there we have some suggestions.  We suggest on the website that you could actually run your own, what is the called, crossover study, where, for example, if you are doing a ten-mile run, you take a sample before the ten-mile run, after the ten-mile run, and then you do it, a few days later, but you’re doing some supplement that you are hopeful makes you better and less fatigued.  Well, you repeat, take the supplement, measure your biomarker before the run, and then after the run.  And what we will do is give you a detailed assessment of how your fatigue level was affected by the supplement, and again that’s where we see a lot of value.  I forgot what’s the cost of that one, Rick?  But, it is highly discounted absolutely.  For those four tests, I think it’s $110 or something like that.  So, if you order a little bit more, you get a lot more value back as well.
Co-host: So, how does somebody see their test results? Are they mailed to them in an email or Snail mail or is it on the website? How does that work?

John Kalns: Well, we would email it to somebody and again, it would be a nice PDF form.  I think it would be very descriptive to tell you about the technology, tell you about the interpretation of the results.  We have put a fairly succinct document and something that would not be overly technical, though again, we invite people that really think about what it is that they are doing.  We like that kind of technical discussion.  In fact, we would really like to talk to people about their ideas of what they would want to be measured and we’re willing to work with them to define a testing regime that really makes sense and answers the question that they want answered.  There is more than one way to skin the cat.  We’re really looking forward to working with people on this.

Co-host: So, how long does it take for the test to get completed once somebody sends in their saliva sample?

John Kalns:  Well, we can turn around the test in about a week; kind of depends on the workflow, maybe as little as just a few days, depending again.  This is a fancy test.  No two ways about it.  It’s expensive.  It’s time consuming.  But the results are really, really, we believe, revolutionizing.  So, we’re looking at about a week.

Co-host: So, if for whatever reason, there was a mistake on the test, would the person get a new one?

Rick Green:  Absolutely.  No questions asked.

Co-host: If somebody wanted to learn more about this technology, where can they go?

Rick Green:  Well, one good source is and also we have more information I need to check up on what the website is about.  But, once you order the test, we will give you some more information about the test.  There are some published studies out.  There is one article on military medicine that I can send to you and we will be happy to have that distributed, though we have to be mindful of publication rights and that kind of good stuff.  We have another couple of publications coming that are coming out in the peer reviewed Scientific Literature as well that talk about the utilization of the test and it is more common, it’s really a scientific thing that we’ve got here and it’s not all celebrity endorsements and that is what makes our product so different.

Co-host: Great. I’d love to get those studies and I’ll definitely publish those in the show notes too, so people can look at them and see for themselves and thank you so much for doing the interview.  That was great.  I hope to talk to you again soon and I hope your company does well because I certainly plan on trying it out.

Rick Green:  Good.

Co-host: Cool. See you man. Thanks.

Biohacker Report

Dave Asprey: Welcome to the Biohacker report. This is the part of the show where we bring you some of the latest research that caught our attention.  We’ve got three interesting studies here.  The first one is one from Science Daily that shows more evidence has come up that spicing up your broccoli boosts its cancer-fighting power.  Now, people might not understand this, but raw broccoli probably isn’t good for you because it inhibits your thyroid function, but cooked broccoli has some pretty important stuff in it.  What these guys found out is that if you add mustard or horse radish specifically in higher amounts to your broccoli, it activates the enzymes in it that really help it fight cancer.  So, if you’re really worried about cancer or you’re just deciding, “If I’m going to spend time eating this low-calorie vegetable”, at least I might as well roll it in butter and after it’s rolled in butter, maybe wrap it in bacon and then put on some mustard.  So, that way the mustard will help you absorb the nutrients from that otherwise kind of low-density food that you’d be eating called broccoli.

The second study that came up is a self-delusion study that says self-delusion is a winning survival strategy.  And this is actually a really, really funny study.  Scientists went through and they looked at how people behave in political situations, they used an evolutionary model, and they’ve found that if you have an, even mistaken, inflated belief that you can easily meet a challenge or win a conflict, it’s actually good for you and this overconfidence actually beats the accurate assessments in a wide variety of situations including sports, including business, including even war. What this means is that the young, brash entrepreneur who says “I can do it and I know I can do it and I know I’m going up against the big boys, but I’m going to kick their ass anyway,” he has actually got the right attitude.  And it’s very much a bulletproof attitude.  This is the sort of attitude that guys like Sergey and Larry from Google had. When Google was launched, there were already very large, billion-dollar search engines like Yahoo and __________ and other things like that and a lot of people said, “Oh god, do we need another one of these?”  And, look where they are today and this is that sort of mistakenly inflated belief.  No sane person would have launched a search engine when Google did it.  They did it because they were being unreasonable and they were deluding themselves that it was a good idea, and they were right. So, what this means for you from a health perspective and a personal performance perspective is that the first and important thing you need to be able to do, whether it’s sleep hacking or anything else, you need to believe that you can do it.  Even if you’re not positive, you can do it.  Even if you might be wrong, if you believe you can do it, you will move yourself in that direction and that’s the whole tenet of the bulletproof program. You don’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to always do it just right. You just need to make a decision and believe that if you make a decision that moves you in the right direction and you know the right direction, you can continuously improve over time. So, I like seeing this study that pointed that out.

The final one here about antibiotics shows that antibiotics may be permanently altering human guts. This came out of New York University’s Langone Medical Center and what they found was that taking antibiotics even just a few times permanently alters the healthy bacteria that live in your stomach and that they usually never ever recover.  Now, this is a problem.  In fact, the scientists who did the study were so concerned that they said only very young children who are at risk of death or maybe pregnant women who are at risk of losing their pregnancy should even take antibiotics.  So, the rest of us ought to just toss them out because it’s not worth it.  I spent almost 15 years taking antibiotics every month because I had chronic and persistent sinus infections or strep throat that would not go away.  They go away, they come back.  This was when I weighed 300 lbs.  I was pretty profoundly unhealthy to be perfectly honest despite my best efforts and I completely reversed that situation and those sorts of things really don’t happen to me anymore, especially sinus infections.  But, my gut bacteria has been something I’ve worked on for more than 10 years, including taking at least $40,000 worth of probiotics in order to understand how they work, what they do, etc, etc and I’m still really picky about that and I’ve fixed my gut to the point that I don’t have the problems that I used to have at all.  But one of the things I do is I take specific genetically identified strains of probiotics, not just sort of random, “Oh, it’s Acidophilus” There is a gazillion Acidophilus and some are much worse than others and some are actually toxic.  We have a form of probiotic actually on that I take today that includes lactobacillus nato.  These are the type of bacteria that make the clot-busting enzymes in natokinase.  So, by populating your stomach with those bacteria rather than whatever randomly go in there, you actually get some of the benefits of actually eating nato, but it just sort of auto happens inside your body.  It’s a neat hack.  I also cover antibiotics pretty extensively in the Better Baby Book, which should be coming out later this year or early next year from Wiley & Sons.

The winner of the Twitter contest from last week’s episode was @mirabaigalashan.  Mirabai wins $100 worth of free consulting from the co-host and me, sort of the executive coaching that we do.  Mirabai, we will be reaching out to you on Twitter to get in touch with you for that.  Meanwhile, you can find links to everything we talked about today in the show notes at  If you enjoyed this, there are several things you can do to help out.  One is, just leave us a positive ranking on iTunes.  That really, really helps other people find our content and makes us feel motivated to keep doing this.  If you want to learn more about biohacking, you can also follow us on Twitter and check out the blog at  If you appreciate the content or you got something good out of this, you could consider ordering something from  We stock some of the things we talk about.  Every single thing that is on that site is something that I use personally and most of the things on it are there because you really can’t get them somewhere else or because I think they are some of the top most important things that I found in my own health.  It’s not a large enterprise by a long shot.  It’s just there to support the blog.

Co-host, thanks a ton. I’ll see you next week.

Co-host: You, too. See you and have fun in Germany.

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By Dave Asprey

  • Guest

    You recommend eating a lot of lamb/steak. Can you talk to the common belief that eating a lot of red meat contributes to colon cancer?

  • Love this. Armi! Awesome of you to stop and meditate. That’s helped me tremendously over the past couple of years. It’s huge!

  • Ersin Pertan

    The site is down, FYI…

  • Ben

    Your discussion of coffee reminded me that about 30 years ago after having taken up the habit of drinking cofee for a couple years, I realized that I felt like crap about a half hour after I drank it. Sure enough I stopped drinking the coffee and I started to feel better. In need of some sort of caffeine rush I started drinking diet coke and was up to two 64 oz in the summer ( I live in Phoenix.) A couple of years ago I switched from diet coke to tea and have been drinking it ever since. Recently I have been adding mct and butter to my morning tea. I have noticed that while in both Mexico and Peru I could drink the local coffee with no noticeable down side. I guess that I was experiencing micotoxin effects thirty years ago and did not know.

    • Dave Asprey

      Way cool! See if different teas affect your brain differently too!

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