Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman’s Huberman Lab podcast has nearly 3 million YouTube subscribers for a good reason: Every episode is packed with science-backed advice on how to increase your healthspan and lifespan (something we’re pretty passionate about here at The Edge).
Huberman is a professor at Stanford University who focuses on brain development, brain function, and neural plasticity (how your brain and nervous system learn new behaviors and skills).
His lab’s work on human performance and neurology has earned notoriety. But it’s health advice and personal experiences—which he promotes on his podcast—that deserve your attention if you’re looking to live a longer, healthier life.
Here are ten ways Huberman stays healthy—and how to adopt them for yourself.
He’s Into Intermittent Fasting
Huberman has been following intermittent fasting for over a decade, according to a conversation he had with More Plates More Dates YouTuber Derek Cole (you know, the guy who exposed emails proving Liver King is on steroids).
“Basically for the last ten years I’ve fasted anywhere from 12 to 16 hours for every 24 hour cycle,” Huberman said. “I sort of fast until about noon and then I eat a low-carb meal,” usually some steak or ground beef, some Brazil nuts, and a vegetable.
While intermittent fasting has been linked to weight loss, Huberman isn’t fasting for aesthetics. As he noted on one episode of his podcast, IF has, “a very powerful and positive impact,” on “various health parameters” linked to a better healthspan, including increasing insulin sensitivity, decreasing blood pressure, lowering oxidative stress, and decreasing inflammation.
MORE INTERMITTENT FASTING
He’s Followed the Same Fitness Plan for 30 Years
He calls his routine the, “foundational template of fitness,” and uses it during the week to reach his daily, monthly, and yearly goals. “Fitness is vitally important for cardiovascular health, for strength, for endurance, for lifespan, [and] for healthspan,” he said.
“I weight train 45 minutes to an hour every other day and occasionally I’ll take an extra day off,” Huberman told Chris Williamson on the Modern Wisdom Podcast.
In a recent Instagram post, he outlines his decades-old training plan:
On his off days, Huberman jogs or jumps rope—his “favorite forms of cardio.”
A typical run lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. Other times, he throws on a 30 to 50 pound weighted vest for a shorter run or backwards hill walk.
When Huberman is working out, that’s his sole focus. “I keep my phone out or off for most workouts,” he said. “I really try hard when I’m working out to just focus on the workout.”
He Has Some Go-to Supplements in His Stack
Why this powder? On his podcast, Huberman says it helps him get the right amount of hydration and electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium—nutrients that he says are key for maintaining cognitive function and curbing stress and anxiety.
On an episode of his podcast about hormones and longevity, Huberman also shared his love of Athletic Greens (one of his podcast’s sponsors). He says the green drink covers his nutrient needs and supports his gut microbiome.
Muscle is, “vitally important for not just athletic performance, but for your entire life and indeed your longevity,” Huberman said on a podcast episode about growing bigger, stronger muscles. “[Muscle is] important for movement. It’s important for metabolism. The more muscle you have, and not just muscle size but the quality of muscle, the higher your metabolism is, and indeed the healthier you are.”
He also takes fish oil daily because it contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid.
“I am a big believer based on really good data, peer-reviewed data, that you want to get two grams of EPA in your system every day for the antidepressant effects, the blood lipid profile effects,” Huberman said.
He’s Dealt With Depression
Huberman first noticed he was “leaning toward depression” after reading a study that essential fatty acids were as effective as antidepressants, he told The 4-Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss on The Tim Ferriss Show.
There were times where Huberman was “definitely at the edge,” but has since “vowed to never go back to a place where living seems meaningless. And anyone who’s been close to that place, all I can say is, the work works.”
In addition to supplementing with essential fatty acids, Huberman manages his depression by going to therapy, and relying on diet, exercise, and quality sleep. “It’s a constant process,” he told Ferriss.
KNOW YOUR T
He Microdoses With Testosterone
In January of 2022, Huberman had a conversation with former powerlifter and podcaster Mark Bell on Mark Bell’s Power Project where he shared that he took “a small amount of TRT” to see “what the cognitive effects were.”
“I did blood work, I’m working with a doctor very carefully, it’s all legal and above board and the typical dosages suggested are 160 milligrams per week, you know, 0.7 mL’s of 200 milligrams per milliliter of cypionate divided into two doses, 0.4 and 0.3, in the syringe,” he said.
Huberman found TRT gave him a ton of energy, but he felt more anxious and had trouble sleeping. He cut the dose down and started injecting testosterone every third day—otherwise known as microdosing—and felt “really, really good.”
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He Seeks Out the Sun
“When I wake up, I make a beeline for sunlight,” Huberman told the Modern Wisdom Podcast. “The single best thing you can do for your sleep, your energy, your mood, your wakefulness, your metabolism is to get natural light in your eyes early in the day.”
“It takes about 10 minutes or so,” he adds. If you live in a cloudy environment, artificial light works just as well.
As much light you can get in your eyes “sets in motion a huge number of neurobiological and hormonal cascades that are good for you, reduces stress late at night, offsets cortisol, a million different things that are good for you,” Huberman said.
He’s Got a Killer Sleep Cocktail
Huberman told the Modern Wisdom Podcast that he goes to bed at 10:30 p.m. and wakes up at 6:30 a.m., getting around 8 hours of sleep.
It’s all thanks to his go-to sleep cocktail which consists of magnesium threonate and apigenin—a derivative of chamomile.
“Those two things work really well to essentially shut down the forebrain thinking [and] anticipating part of your brain to allow you to drift off into sleep really well,” he told The Joe Rogan Experience.
In the Huberman Lab’s Toolkit for Sleep, he touts sleep as, “THE foundation of our mental and physical health and performance in all endeavors,” and says sleep is the best nootropic, stress reliever, immune booster, and emotional stabilizer, among other benefits.
Best nootropic: sleep— Andrew D. Huberman, Ph.D. (@hubermanlab) September 16, 2021
Best stress relief: sleep
Best trauma release: sleep
Best immune booster: sleep
Best hormone augmentation: sleep
Best emotional stabilizer: sleep
Sleep Tools: Ep. 2 Huberman Lab Podcast, HLP interview w/Matt Walker https://t.co/TphgkozQyg
He details this sleep cocktail more extensively in the Toolkit for Sleep:
- 145 mg magnesium threonate or 200 mg magnesium bisglycinate
- 50 mg of apigenin
You can also add 100 to 400 mg of theanine. Huberman also takes 2 grams of glycine and 100 mg of GABA three to four nights per week.
He Doesn’t Rush to Caffeine
Huberman isn’t shy about his caffeine habits, but waits almost 2 hours until he takes in any form of caffeine because it helps offset an afternoon crash.
Yerba mate is his “favorite form of caffeine,” but you’ll also find Huberman with a cup of coffee.
As a “regular caffeine user,” Huberman knows the benefits to enhance alertness and reduce tiredness and fatigue. But caffeine also has “neuroprotective effects, antidepressive effects, and certainly performance-enhancing effects, both for mental performance and for physical performance,” Huberman said on his podcast.
I have a feeling this post from @harvardmed will evoke study critiques (which I welcome of course) but in the meantime, I’m going to continue to drink my coffee & yerba mate (and for those concerned about mate & cancer risks: it’s the smoked varieties that are the main culprits). https://t.co/W9exicV9Mw— Andrew D. Huberman, Ph.D. (@hubermanlab) March 6, 2022
He Loves Yoga Nidra
Huberman told The Tim Ferriss Show that yoga nidra has, “really helped reduce stress and allowed me to fall asleep more easily and control my state of mind late in the evening.” Yoga nidra is one of several protocols that fall under non-sleep deep rest (NSDR), a term Huberman coined to describe practices that direct your brain into a state of calm and focus.
Take 20 or 30 minutes a day—though Huberman notes it doesn’t have to be done every day—to lie down and do a body scan. “[Yoga nidra] involves some long exhale breathing which is really relaxing to the nervous system and really allows the mind to enter one of these pseudo sleep states,” said Huberman.
Based on research Huberman’s involved with, “that state of shallow nap or shallow sleep done in waking allows the brain and the person to get better at turning off their thoughts and falling asleep in the evening,” he said.
It also enhances rates of neuroplasticity, Huberman told Ferriss.
Huberman shares research findings that, “a 20 minute non-sleep deep rest protocol after a bout of intense focus or intense attempt to learn anything, skill learning or cognitive learning, accelerates plasticity by about 50 percent. So you are learning faster, much faster, and retention of that information lasts much longer.”