Simple Hacks to Upgrade Your Body | Dave Asprey & Vishen Lakhiani
Vishen: All right.
So let’s start with the first question.
Dave, we were talking about hacking eyesight
and hacking hearing, why you believe that
we can actually take our eyesight which might
be astigmatism or myopic, and heal it instantly
with the right techniques.
Let’s talk about that.
What would we do for those of us here who
want to hack eyesight?
Dave: Well, it just so happens that I had
That’s one way to do it.
I actually don’t recommend you get that.
I wish I hadn’t done it because there’s a
After 10 or so years of that kind of surgery,
my vision had gone about 20/80 in my eyes
and I had astigmatism in one eye.
You know, time to get glasses and all that
kind of stuff or I did something called developmental
And I spent one hour every Saturday morning
for three months, plus a few other minutes
during the week, doing eye training and strengthening
and flexibility exercises.
And I got rid of my astigmatism and I brought
myself back to 20/20.
There’s a couple books you could read, “Yoga
for Your Eyes,” by Meir Schneider and there’s
something called the Bates method which is
for some reason Wikipedia is like, is opposed
to a lot of things that work if it’s not,
like, paid for by Monsanto and that sort of
Unfortunately, there’s been a bit of censorship
there, but the Bates method does work and
it’s not complimented on Wikipedia.
But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work.
You can find a developmental ophthalmologist
and what they do is they teach your brain
to interpret your vision differently.
It’s absolutely doable.
I did it and it changed things.
Vishen: And Bates is spelled as B-A-T-E-S,
the Bates method.
And development ophthalmology.
That’s something else.
You guys can google it.
Dave: The second one though and I still have
30 seconds left is hearing.
If you see a qualified audiologist, they can
measure not just, can you hear the dog sounds,
you know, the really high pitch, really low
pitch which we’ve all heard?
It turns out there’s many nuances in your
hearing and what I did is I went in, they
did something called auditory integration
And it runs about between $1,000 and $3,000.
They get a very fine map of what frequencies
each ear can hear and there are some frequencies
that are harder to hear in your left ear versus
your right ear, then they make a special CD
for you, or they take Mozart and they cut
out the parts of Mozart that would be hard
for you to hear.
So there’s nothing there at all and then you
listen to this for a while.
It makes you feel really odd when you do it.
The music sounds muddy and weird.
But what it does is it makes your brain pay
more attention to the parts where it’s weak
and it actually fills in the gaps.
Isn’t this awesome?
What do we Google to find that?
Dave: Auditory integration training.
Vishen: Auditory integration training.
Let’s go for something a little bit more impolite.
So is it okay if we bring up some of the stuff
that we share in our private conversations?
Vishen: All right.
Let’s talk about that time…
Dave: I do think you’re cute, Vishen.
Vishen: Thank you.
Let’s talk about that time you stuck four
injections in your penis.
Dave: You saw the video.
Was it all right?
Vishen: So explain to us.
Dave: The video didn’t actually show anything.
Vishen: Explain to them the toe thing in the
Dave: All right.
So we’ll tell them what we did and then I’ll
do the toe demo.
Dave: So, I went to Park City with my wife
and we had our bone marrow tapped and some
fat taken out.
And they pulled the stem cells out of this.
And I had the stem cells injected pretty much
everywhere I could think to have them injected.
So around my face, hair, every old injury
I have and we had some extra stem cells.
And well, there’s this thing called the P-Shot.
They injected into the organ that starts with
P and there’s the equivalent for the woman
called the O-Shot.
And this is some powerful medicine.
And in the video I’m shooting myself.
I’m laying on this table and you see just
And then you see a needle come down beyond
the blanket and you see my feet there.
I’m wearing my ugly shoes just so I can show
And then all the sudden when the needle hits,
my toes go, “Wing.”
So it’s a powerful video because everyone
who sees it, especially guys, are like, “Hah.”
Dave: But it creates a youthful vigor.
Is that the right word?
Vishen: So what exactly did that do?
Dave: Well, they actually talk about improvements
in length and girth, and my new nickname is
It’s hard to say what it’s like to be a teenager
again, but it’s kinda like that.
The effect actually on my wife is even more
We were talking about toes earlier.
When you get at a certain point in life and
you had a couple kids like, toes don’t curl.
Well, with stem cells, they curl again.
So you guys know where you’re going after
Let’s talk about smart drugs.
Dave: All right.
One of my favorite topics.
Vishen: What are your favorite smart drugs?
And first, let’s define what a smart drug
Dave: There’s a term called…
Well, actually, we’ll just talk about smart
But there’s a bunch of other internet companies
talking about nootropics and things like that.
The term “nootropic” is a classical term for
both drugs and natural substances that increase
And smart drugs are just the pharmaceuticals.
When I was working full-time at a startup,
we ended up selling the startup in Silicon
Valley for about $600 million in value.
I was also getting my MBA at Wharton at a
program that was the number of hours of a
full-time program as an executive thing.
So they flew the professors to you, so you
didn’t have to go to the professors, which
And I was probably not gonna finish the program
because my brain would not work.
I didn’t understand I was dealing with environmental
I was eating some foods that were not compatible
with me and I was pushing…
My pedal was…
My foot was all the way in the accelerator.
I was pushing the pedal through the floor
and I couldn’t bring it anymore.
I’d sit there for a test and there was just
So I got brain scans from Daniel Amen and
realize there’s no metabolic activity in my
prefrontal cortex which was cool because that
day, it went from being a moral failing to
being a biological issue that I could hack.
And that was one of the things that turned
me into a biohacker.
But the first thing I did was I said, “All
I’m gonna order every smart drug possible
So I researched smart drugs and I ordered
$500 worth of things like aniracetam and hydrogen.
But the big gun is one “Limitless,” the movie
is based on is called Modafinil.
And I’ve been on ABC “Nightline” and CNN,
and most of the other big networks talking
about this because I was one of the first
executives probably to put it in my LinkedIn
At Wharton I’m like, “Guys, I’m doping.
Here’s the smart drug I’m taking.
It’s not illegal and I’ll give you some if
But this is what I’m doing.
So Modafinil for eight years absolutely changed
Vishen: And Modafinil I know was just approved
by the FDA.
Dave: I know.
It’s been around since a long time.
Vishen: So is this something you’d recommend
for people here?
Dave: If you have not tried Modafinil for
at least occasional basis, if you get jet-lagged
or you ever have a time in your life when
you need to bring it no matter what or you
need to drive and not drive off the road and
die, you should have a Modafinil in your purse,
or in your man purse, or whatever you carry.
It’s a safety thing for driving and for those
And also if you’re gonna fly around the world
to give a keynote presentation and you get
there and you’re a zombie, and you’re like,
“I think I’m gonna do this.
I’m gonna stutter.
I’m just not gonna bring it,” if you have
Modafinil in your bag and some of the other
biohacks too, like, I’ve been off Modafinil
for three plus years now because I don’t need
Like, I run this way without that drug, but
for eight years, it was 50% my performance
when I started taking it.
I would not have an Ivy League MBA.
I wouldn’t probably not have had a lot of
the jobs I’ve had without Modafinil.
So I recommend that you have access to it.
I’ll warn you, five out of a million people
can get a life threatening autoimmune reaction.
It’s the same one caused by ibuprofen with
about the same risk level, but there is…
It’s not risk free, but it’s relatively low
risk in the overall scheme of things.
And on my blog, I tell you which genetic variants
are associated with that.
So if you’re really worried about the five
out of the million kind of risk, you could
look at your 23andMe, get a genetic test,
and then make sure that you’re not one of
So I would say, yes with that caveat which
is very small.
It’s worth trying and some of you will just
get headaches from it, but for those of you
who get the, “Oh, my God,” it makes you a
lot more of whatever you are.
If you’re a dick, it will may you a big dick.
Vishen: So you said you got off Modafinil,
And I know you’re doing a lot of things right
Many people know about the Bulletproof Coffee
brand which is huge, but there’s also that
other brand, 40 Years of Zen.
Let’s talk about both of them.
First, let’s talk about Bulletproof Coffee
and what is it about, and why are fats so
Dave: So Bulletproof Coffee came about when
I went to bed.
I spent three months in Asia.
After I got my MBA I got divorced from a bad
marriage and I’m like, for the first time
in my adult life, I’m just gonna go travel
by myself and I wanted to learn meditation
from the masters.
So I went to Tibet where the masters are and
realized they were actually more of them in
So I did some meditation courses in Nepal,
but I wanted to go to Mount Kailash which
is in very remote Western Tibet.
It’s the headwaters of the Ganges and Indus
rivers and it’s where Buddhists and Hindus
believe the gods reside on this mountain.
It’s never been climbed, but what you do is
if you’re staying during summer, you walk
in a circle up to 18,000 feet, about 26 miles
of rugged trail and you’re supposed to walk
around it three times.
I just did one time, but it’s like a spiritual
The problem was it was way after tourist season.
It was 10 degrees below zero and when you’re
at an altitude like that, you feel like crap.
I’ve done the high altitude mountaineering,
I really enjoy it.
And I was expecting to feel like a zombie.
And this little Tibetan lady gives me a bowl
of tea, yak butter tea.
And I drink and it was like, “What just happened?”
I drink, like, 20 more of those every day
and I perform better than I ever expected.
And I came back and started trying to replicate
And after thousands of tests and iterations,
the formula is Bulletproof coffee beans where
we change the coffee to not have stuff that
makes you jittery and anxious.
Because jittery and anxious is the opposite
of high performing.
So there’s a special process for the coffee.
It’s grass-fed butter and it’s an oil called
brain octane which is distilled from coconut
It’s kind of if coconut oil is weak beer,
this is Everclear or vodka.
Like, it raises ketones in the body in a way
that changes hormones you don’t care about
It has other energizing effects.
So you blend these things together, you drink
it, and you feel very, very different right
So that’s the Bulletproof Coffee side of the
things and you’re asking about also 40 Years
Vishen: About fats.
Vishen: What is this about fats?
There’s this whole conversation right now
where fats are good and sugar is bad.
Dave: I wish it was that easy.
Some fats are bad and that’s why when you
see these questionable things about fat, you
can take hydrogenated fat, you can take the
the seed oils, canola oil, and corn oil, and
things like that and those are actually not
good for you.
So the idea that protein’s good or bad or
fats are good or bad, it’s a big question
of which fats are good or bad.
And what research is showing is that more
of the right kinds of fat give you more energy.
And when I say give you more energy, when
you digest a gram of fat, it has more calories
in it, right?
Like, compared to sugar.
Guess what a calorie is?
Guess what happens when your brain has enough
You’re happy and satisfied, and full, and
you wanna go kick ass.
Guess what happens when you burn sugar?
Well, you get less energy program and your
body gets hungry very quickly.
And it’s not happy, it’s not satisfied, and
it’s not full of energy, instead, it’s seeking
So the idea is actually calories are not bad
Calories do not by themselves make you fat.
Calories actually give you energy.
So when you’re getting calories from the right
kinds of fat, you’re less inflamed, you have
less cravings, your hormones work much better,
your cells are all made out of fat, your brain
is made out of fat.
You don’t make testosterone or estrogen or
progesterone without fat.
So we need it and we were lied to by some
well meaning, but really pretty inexperienced
researchers starting around the year I was
Around 1970 is when we started to just go
off the rails nutritionally.
A 28-year-old nutritionist who had never treated
one obese person made up the idea that fat
makes you fat.
Gave it straight to the government, they spread
the idea, and ever since then, if you say
anything to disagree with it, they just kill
your career in academia.
The internet has changed things.
Vishen: So let’s talk about your experiments
And what I like about Dave is it’s not just
Dave is also big on hacking consciousness.
Let’s talk about 40 Years of Zen.
Tell us what is that and what impact did it
have on you.
What did you get from meditating for 10 weeks
with your brain hooked up to machines?
Dave: 40 Years of Zen is a structured program
where you go in for five days and glue electrodes
to your head, and then learn what’s going
on inside your head.
The first thing you learn is how do I raise
my alpha brain waves, which is correlated
with this heart opening experience.
When you’re in a kind of a jittery focused
athletic state, you’re more in beta.
When you’re in a meditative state or one of
the meditative states, you’re in alpha.
And you do this by sitting in a dark room,
eyes closed, listening to sounds, and the
sounds are your brain waves.
It’s a direct interface to your brain.
The only problem is that then we give you
a challenge and the challenge is make the
And after a little while, you realize that’s
So then comes the hard work and the hard work
is, the sounds only get louder when you change
You have a bullshit rule that you got somewhere
and it’s almost always from a trauma or from
someone that you’re holding a grudge against.
So you go through this process of radical
forgiveness that you’ve got in your book and
during this process, if you forgive something
right, the sounds get louder.
If you don’t forgive something and you tell
yourself you forgive something, the sounds
don’t get louder.
So what it really rapidly becomes is a kind
of meditation around forgiveness.
Developing a forgiveness practice is a whole
focus of major arms of meditation.
The problem is that you never know if you
did it right.
So there’s people, “Oh, yeah.
I forgave mom.”
No, you didn’t.
I put a lie detector on your thing and then
say, I forgive mom.
And then the lie detector is like, “Buzz.
No, you didn’t.”
You’re like, “I don’t understand what’s going
And then you do the digging.
And what ends up happening when you do this
is all of those automated rules that we talked
about earlier, the meat operating system,
they were set by something.
It wasn’t you who set them.
It was the environment who set them, but you
have the power with this kind of technology
to go in and change what your body believes
The reason the voice in my head shut up is
that I went through and I forgave all of the
people that my nervous system was mad at.
I wasn’t even mad at some of them.
I’m like, “I’m done with that.
I don’t care.”
Well, my body cared.
So you end up communicating better with the
body and the mind.
And that’s changed everything for me.
Vishen: Brilliant stuff and I can vouch for
I did the same thing with Dave.
JJ was there as well and you have to go through
radical forgiveness and in the end, your brain
waves just change.
And when you come out of it, it changes the
way you live life.
It changes the way you view things.
You feel as if you’ve just went through two
or three years in growth, in wisdom, and in
So it was really amazing, but tell them…
You told me something.
I don’t know if this is public, but you told
me about how if it wasn’t for 40 Years of
Zen, you wouldn’t be where you are today because
it changed you that much.
Dave: Every day, thousands of times, you will
check yourself and there are countless decisions
There’s two forks in the road or maybe there’s
no forks and you have to come up with the
Well, if you can tilt the odds in your favor
even just a little bit, it changes things
But what normally happens is we have hard
wired behaviors that will do.
They’re invisible to us, but they affect us
in business, they affect us especially in
And you don’t see them.
The reason you don’t see them is the same
reason that when you put your hand off the
hot stove, you didn’t think about it.
You just pulled your hand off the hot stove
and you assumed that there was a reason you
did it because the stove was hot.
If someone else was driving when that happened,
what ends up happening is you become aware
of that part of you who’s driving and it stops
being able to drive.
And that’s why I can grow Bulletproof the
way I do and people are saying, “How are you
doing all that?
How do you reach all these places?
How do you do all these things?”
I’m like, “Because those three Fs, like, I
own those bitches.”
And that’s what it came down to is the fear,
I own that fear.
Like, if I feel fear, like, whatever.
I’m not gonna die and I can turn it off.
And the food thing, I can fast for 72 hours.
I might get a little tired, but there is no
I’m gonna starve to death instinct left from
that kind of thing.
And on the sex thing, I can go 30 days.
I’ll have lots of sex or I’ll have no sex,
and I’m not gonna die.
That was the hardest one, by the way.
But with all that, like, okay, life just got
a lot easier.
And 40 Years of Zen is at the core of all
of those skills.
Vishen: That’s incredible.
That’s some really good stuff.
Let’s talk about a couple more things while
we have two minutes left.
What are your tips for exercise?
Because I found that to be one of the most
intriguing parts of your book.
You said that we do not have to spend hours
at a gym, that there are optimized exercises
we can do in minutes that give you the same
Dave: Exercise is stress and I didn’t talk
much about stress in this…just today at
But there’s useful stress that causes a change
and then there’s useless stress like, “Oh,
I’m gonna die if I don’t get the cookie.”
And they’re both stress.
Just one didn’t do anything, one did.
So I got rid of all the useless stress and
then when you exercise, you want to maximize
the stress in the minimum amount of time,
which means lifting really, really heavy things
without any rest at all as hard as you can.
Even 15 minutes once a week of doing that
or sprinting until you throw up basically.
Sprint, pause, sprint, pause, sprint, pause.
Do that for 15 minutes, you’ll probably hurl
unless you’re in really good shape.
You might wanna do that twice a week if you’re
like, really want to get in good shape and
you can do lots of movement.
I’m not saying you don’t need to move.
I’m saying that was your exercise.
Go for a walk if you like to go for a walk,
go for a swim if you like to go for a swim.
That’s not really exercise.
It’s just moving around.
Moving around a lot is good for you, but it
doesn’t necessarily make you a better person.
If you took the stairs, you don’t get exercise
Your dumb little wrist tracker, although I
was CTO of one of those wrist tracking companies,
they actually do useful stuff, but they don’t
tell you how many calories you burned going
up the stairs.
That’s just a myth.
So, what’s going on there is high input to
the system causes high adaptation, low input
to the system causes low adaptation.
So you could go to the gym, “I’m gonna sweat
every day, and, you know, breathe the exhaust
from the person in front of me on the little
You could, but, like, “Don’t you have something
better to do?”
Vishen: So basically, exercise routines like
minimum effective dose, Tabata, high intensity
training are the ones that you would recommend.
And you can do your yoga practice or something
I’m a fan of yoga.
I can put my ankle behind my head and that
sort of thing.
But that isn’t necessarily your exercise.
And you can get some of this from yoga.
If you’re doing a very aggressive body weight
bearing, lots of handstand sort of things,
that would get you some of the way there.
But you’ll get more from very focused, very
And final question, would you put your ankle
around your head?
Dave: I might knock my headset off and I din’t
warm-up at all.
But let me see if I can pull this off.
I totally didn’t warm-up.
I haven’t stretched in, like, a while.
I’m gonna make sure you don’t fall.
Vishen: That’s impressive, Dave.
Big round of applause for Dave Asprey.
Thank you, Facebook.
Dave: All right.