How to Optimize Your Brain-Body Function & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #30

In this episode of the Huberman Lab Podcast, Professor Andrew Huberman discusses interoception, which refers to our ability to sense our internal landscape, including heartbeat, breathing, gut health, and chemical balance. Huberman emphasizes the importance of interoception for bodily and brain health, performance, and healing. He explains that the vagus nerve is responsible for communication between the brain and body and that proper regulation of the mechanical and chemical environment of the body can help the brain function better.

Breathing techniques can be used to control heart rate and set the conditions of the mind. Inhaling deeply and exhaling quickly increases alertness, while emphasizing exhales through a physiological sigh can calm the mind. The body also senses pressure in the lungs through piezo receptors and regulates breathing based on carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream. Balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are necessary for the health of all tissues, and elevated carbon dioxide levels can trigger a panic response.

The podcast also delves into the importance of maintaining proper gut chemistry and acidity for a healthy brain and body. The microbiome in the gut and other mucosal tissues is affected by the acidity of the environment, and a proper balance of acidity and alkalinity can enhance autoimmune function and overall health. Fermented foods have been shown to reduce inflammatory markers and improve gut chemistry, outperforming high fiber diets in positively impacting the gut microbiome and immune function. Adjusting the gut microbiome has also been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function and symptoms of autoimmune conditions.

The podcast discusses various ways to improve gut health, including consuming fermented foods, taking glutamine to alleviate leaky gut, and adjusting gut acidity with caution and medical supervision. The host also discusses the concept of interoception and how it relates to our emotions, emphasizing the importance of tuning up interoceptive awareness to improve mood, focus, and overall experience of life.