The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #93 - Shawn Wells
Shawn Wells has spent the last three decades of his life as a biochemist, nutritionist, and dietitian, helping others utilize the world's best ingredients to unleash their limitless potential. Overcoming numerous health and mental issues like chronic pain, auto-immunity, and depression has led Shawn to dedicate his life to educating others, optimizing their health and longevity, reducing pain, and living their best life.
As a globally recognized formulator, Shawn holds more than 10 patents and has formulated over 500 products globally and consults with the world's leading fitness brands as CEO of ZoneHalo.
Shawn has been featured on podcasts with Joe Rogan, Dave Asprey, Ben Pakulski, Ben Greenfield, Kyle Kingsbury, Elle Russ, Drew Manning and many more. He's been on ABC, NBC, FOX, WGN and numerous other channels.
Shawn was selected to be one of the internationally-recognized experts interviewed in three different globally-recognized documentary series, The Real Skinny on Fat (keto), The Answer to Cancer and Supplements Revealed.
His book, The Energy Formula, is a the culmination of a lifelong pursuit to overcome sickness and fatigue and help you live a vibrant and energetic life.
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8:25 - Shawn's Beginnings
14:00 - Orthorexia
16:00 - The Role Of Fear In Health
21:40 - Being a bio-hacktivist
24:25 - the relationship with biohacking and supplements
25:25 - bad supplements on the market
27:35 - is there any type of certification?
29:20 - FEALS: Feals Makes CBD Oil Which Satisfies ALL Of Melanie's Stringent Criteria - It's Premium, Full Spectrum, Organic, Tested, Pure CBD In MCT Oil! It's Delivered Directly To Your Doorstep. CBD Supports The Body's Natural Cannabinoid System, And Can Address An Array Of Issues, From Sleep To Stress To Chronic Pain, And More! Go To Feals.Com/Melanieavalon To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!
32:00 - how are vitamins and supplements made?
35:20 - what about transdermal patches?
38:15 - NMN vs NR
38:00 - intranasal Application
41:10 - glutathione supplementation
42:35 - L-Ergothioneine
46:10 - the power of mushrooms
44:55 - taking exogenous Antioxidants; vitamin c
47:00 - polyphenols and Xenohormesis
49:40 - whole food vs supplements
53:20 - CBD
56:00 - isolated vs full spectrum CBD
57:00 - powdered processed foods
59:20 - whey protein
1:00:30 - collagen
1:02:20 - importance of amino acid ratios
1:04:10 - Glycine
1:06:00 - What is CD38?
1:08:20 - Berberine
1:10:30 - Berberine's Anti-Viral Properties
1:18:05 - SUNLIGHTEN: Get $200 Off Any Sunlighten Cabin Model Or $100 Off The Solo Unit (That Melanie Has!) AND $99 Shipping (Regularly $598) With The Code MelanieAvalon At melanieavalon.com/sunlighten. Forward Your Proof Of Purchase To Podcast@MelanieAvalon.com, To Receive A Signed Copy Of What When Wine!
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #38 - Connie Zack
The Science Of Sauna: Heat Shock Proteins, Heart Health, Chronic Pain, Detox, Weight Loss, Immunity, Traditional Vs. Infrared, And More!
1:19:20 - How Do You Know If Your Supplements Are Effective?
1:22:55 - Shawn's Top Picks
1:24:15 - Thoughts On Breaking A Fast
1:29:10 - Exogenous Ketones; RBHB Sodium
1:31:45 - MCTs
1:35:40 - BAIBA
1:37:45 - Anandamide
1:41:45 - Dehydrozingerone
1:45:10 - Nucleotides
1:46:10 - Tetrahydrocurcumin
1:50:00 - Raspberry ketones
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends, welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. I get really excited when I get to interact with people who have such incredible work that I personally relate to, and that resonates with me and that I think will resonate with my audience, but especially on top of that, when I know them personally, and they are just fantastic, beautiful human beings. I am so honored to be here today with somebody that my listeners probably know pretty well, he's very well known in our health sphere, and that is Shawn Wells. He knows so much when it comes to paleo, keto, diet, fasting, biohacking, supplements. I asked my audience for questions regarding supplements, and I got so many questions.
I've been wanting to interview him anyways, but the timing was perfect because he is releasing a new book called The Energy Formula: Six Life Changing Ingredients to Unleash Your Limitless Potential. Friends, when I read this book, I don't want to say I could write it because I'm not saying I could write your book. reading it, I was like, “Wow,” everything you said, is basically everything I think about all the time. Really, really beautiful book, really valuable resource. I can't wait to dive deep into everything. Shawn, thank you so much for being here.
Shawn Wells: Thank you, Melanie. I reflect all that back to you. I am a huge fan of yours. I think you're an incredible human being. I think you could write this book. I mean, maybe our stories part would be a little different, but I think this is something that is meant to be accessible. I could have gone more hardcore, I could have gone into super expensive devices and 40 Years of Zen and all that kind of stuff. I wanted this to be something that everyone could use, that my mom could use, things like that. Most of this stuff in it is free or will save you money from what you're currently spending.
Melanie Avalon: I didn't know that was your personal goal with it, but that is completely how it ended up. It's so incredibly comprehensive, but like you said, it's not too of a deep dive where you feel lost or feel you're lost in the minutiae. It's very practical. You walk away feeling very, very empowered. Actually, you've already touched on it, but as far as your story goes, because you're saying that we might have slightly different stories, but I think there is often a common thread with people in the holistic health sphere where their own personal health challenges was a big part of their journey. Would you like to tell listeners a little bit about some of the struggles that you went through in and your health journey and how that ultimately led to you writing the book today?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, thank you. I grew up in a chaotic home that led to me being a junk food junkie and becoming morbidly obese and then laughed at and bullied at school. All of that led to me just not being mentally healthy, having a very depressed childhood, but also swinging into being the comedian, and with self-deprecation and all that kind of stuff, as a way to mentally survive that. I went to college and I got into a good school, Babson College. It was a business school. That was what I was told to do, by everyone around me, I didn't know what my passions were at that point.
I started working out using creatine and protein and going through the dumbbell racks. Just every time I'd go to the gym, I was picking up a new set of dumbbells, and that was kind of addictive. My body was starting to change a little bit. I was getting excited about that. I was reading these bodybuilding magazines and getting super interested in all the supplements and going to GNCs and spending hours and they're just reading labels. I went to my physician in between my sophomore and junior year, and I asked him about supplements, and told him how passionate I was. I was expecting he was just going to laugh at me. Instead, he did something really incredible. He drew this lifeline between 20 and 80 and said, “Why not be happy between here and here?” That blew me away. It gave me the freedom to pursue this dream of mine that I didn't even know I had, he totally changed my life path. I decided that I was going to become a supplement formulator and my dream was to go to UNC Chapel Hill to get my master's in nutritional biochemistry. I was on my way, I decided to finish up my business degree.
Then, I ended up going to UNC Greensboro to get all my prerequisites. I needed about two years’ worth of sciences, 26 credit hours a semester, it would be pretty tough. The guidance counselor at UNCG was the opposite. After I told him my whole dream, he laughed at me. He said, “You're a business student, and you'll fail miserably and you're not even in that good a shape.” That night, I almost committed suicide because that was like my whole dream felt it was just disappearing. That was horrifying to me and sad. Then luckily, I had the resolve to work through that. I didn't take my own life, I had alcohol and pills ready to do that that night. I ended up hating that person, keeping him in mind every day in maybe a borderline unhealthy way. I ended up getting straight As, getting into UNC Chapel Hill. While I was at UNC Chapel Hill, I was again pushing hard, working probably about 80 hours a week, my body was in better shape. But I wasn't happy, still battling some depression, focused on achievement. I ended up getting Epstein-Barr virus, Hashimoto’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia. I was in bed for about six months in pain and inflamed. Never thought I was going to get out of bed again. I thought, again, my life was over and I'd never be this formulator or my finished my masters.
Again, I contemplated suicide and was horribly depressed, but I ended up stumbling into keto, and that helped pull me out. I felt so much better, the pain and inflammation went away. I was able to go back to class, finish up my master’s and start my career, and that was incredible. I worked for about 10 years as a chief clinical dietitian but there was frustration there with everything going on that, like I had to give low-fat diets to people with coronary heart disease, I had to give low-sodium diet, people at hypertension had to give carbs all day long to people with diabetes, give Ensure to people that didn't have quality nutrition, and that's just corn syrup solids and garbage. I ended up finally leaving healthcare and just going into my dream job, which was being a formulator, like at Dymatize as Director of R&D. Again, I was pushing 80 hours a week, they were trying to sell the company, I was director of R&D doing all the formulations there, and I got a brain tumor. I've been on this path of a lot of health issues. It was only up until about two years ago that I actually started speaking.
I've always talked about my health issues to some degree that it was in the past and all this stuff has healed me and look at me now. I finally started talking about that I still deal with a lot of this stuff, and that I'm not perfect and there is no filter. I fight depression at times, and I've had all these battles with my weights. I've been morbidly obese, I’ve been anorexic, I went from 300 pounds to 150 pounds, where I was weighing myself every time I peed. Then, to see if I was a little bit less, and then I was orthorexic, 220 pounds ripped but working out four hours a day and still hating myself. I've had immune system battles, and all of it was from really my push and desire for achievement and lack of self-love. That has been a shift of recent with plant medicine. It's been a long journey, but I'm far from perfect. I now talk about that my broken is my beautiful, and I'm proud of where I've come and I really feel like it's what's given me my passion. It's what helps me connect with others. It's my journey. Without it, I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't be talking to you right now. I'm proud of all of it.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, that is so incredibly powerful. Thank you so much for being so open about all of that. I think so many people relate to that. I personally relate to it so much. I've had my own health challenges. just like you, I feel like I existed in a world for a while where I was like, “I'm just going to wait until I'm completely better and then I'm healed and then I can talk about.” One of the biggest things in healing is maybe having that moment of acceptance where it's not like you're healed or not healed. We're always experiencing challenges and that's okay. I think just being okay with everything is just so important. Reading your book, now hearing you say that as well, it just makes sense why there is so much heart in this through line throughout it of perspective that I think is so important.
One of the quotes that really stuck with me is you talked about how the opposite of love isn't hate, it's fear. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that the role of fear and health. When it comes to health, because in your energy formula you have all these different things that affect our energy and affect our health. What do you think has the biggest effect, is it the mindset, the fear, the love? Is it the diet, the biohacks, the sleep? Is any one thing more important?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I would say the most important thing of all to me now is mindset. As your mind goes, so does your body. For years, I did all this biohacking, all the things that I've learned, all the hacks, all that when I was traveling, the supplements, the cold showers, the laser beams I used. Right now, I’m at Dr. Daniel Stickler’s office, and I have oxytocin and ketamine right next to me and I'm doing transcranial electric stimulation right after this call. All this stuff is so cool, but I was doing all of it to survive. I was trying to survive what I was putting my body through my myself through, through with self-loathing, like body dysmorphia, the disordered eating, the drive for achievement to get to the next level, to the next level, to the next level, to the next level, and it never ended. Here I am, I have a super fancy sports car, I’m making seven figures. I'm going all over the world. I'm on TV and documentaries, and I'm miserable
There's a great quote by Jim Carrey that he says, “I wish everyone could be rich and famous so they could see that's not the answer.” I've met so many people and these masterminds and things that are billionaires, that are people that are celebrities that you think would be so happy, and they're not. They feel alone, and they're actually more isolated. There's just a general sadness, I think, throughout our society because of a lack of connection, because of isolation, because of self-loathing, because of imposter syndrome, because of filtered social media. We just feel sad and hurt, and we're dopamine addicted. We're just not in a healthy mind state. A growth mindset that I get into in the book, in the chapter, that's the G in Energy Formula. The growth mindset is critical, that stoic mindset where the obstacle is the way instead of wishing for there being no obstacle, instead of wishing for a way around the obstacle, you want the obstacle to be the way because that agitation creates the adaptation, the hormesis, just with physiologic things, like cold showers and plunges or red-light saunas, and fasting that are hormetic stressors, eustressors that create greater allostatic load, a bigger stress bucket.
The same is true for your mind. The more capacity you can have to deal with stress mentally, the more you will have physiologically and vice versa, so it's really important that you have a reframing mindset. There's two things that almost all successful people have in common that Tim Ferriss interviewed for Tools of Titans. One of which was a daily morning routine. The other was that they are an experimenter or a reframer. They're good at reframing things, or seeing things as experiments. They don't view things as win or lose, it's win or learn, or now I know what it's not, so now I can continue down this path. That reframing mindset is just so critical. You can call it the optimist, like the glass is half full kind of thing, but it's critical to being successful in life, having greater health. If I could have built my last 20 some years on top of that healthy mind state, all those biohacks would have been amazing. They would have truly been optimization. But a lot of times I was doing these biohacks, one, because I hated who I was. I was trying to lose weight or gain muscle or these things because I didn't like myself. Or, two, I was trying to build on sinking sand essentially with no real foundation. I would go from healthy to sick, to healthy to sick, to healthy to sick, and I didn't have that solid foundation of self-love. That's where it all starts. That would be my number one biohack.
Melanie Avalon: I love that so much and it's funny because this is the Melanie Avalon Biohacking podcast, but I can't tell you how many times, well, I've thought, I would never want to have to feel the desire to need a biohack ever again. I don't want to turn to these “biohacks” because I feel like I'm lacking something or that I need them to be complete or be whole or be healthy. I really desire this relationship with the biohacking tips and tools and techniques where it's just adding things to my life, but I'm not lacking because of it. That was another thing I loved in your book. You reframed biohacking and talked about the importance, not so much of biohacking, but of being bioactivists.
Shawn Wells: Yes. Bioactivist, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: What do you mean by that?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, that's funny. You know what it's funny, too, Melanie, is that that word triggers me. I'm on Clubhouse’s Biohacking, obviously use that word a lot. That word triggers me a bit as well because if I think about my periods of really being depressed and self-loathing, that the word “hack” means like, I'm trying to cut something out. It's visceral and like I don't like myself, and I want to get through it as quickly as possible. Then, the other parts of my life, I was grinding, I was sacrificing, I was heads down and you think about that word ‘grind’ and there's heat coming off and smoke and pieces breaking off. It's no wonder over the years that my body is just breaking down in this ultra-sympathetic mode. It's just not healthy. I was never mindful or present in the middle. I was always trying to hack or grind, get it out fast or sacrifice slowly and grind. I want to be present in connecting with myself and with others and enjoying the moment and loving life. I feel that's often missed. I tried to transmute the term that was triggering me, biohacking to biohacktivism.
Biohacking is a mashup term of hacking your biology, trying to elicit greater performance with some shortcut. But the term ‘hacktivism’ is a term that's used in hacking, like computer hacking. It means doing it for social good, like hacking for activist reasons. I liked mashing up these two mashup terms to biohacktivism. It means that instead of just end of one, instead of just trying to elicit greater performance for the quantified self, instead of just being “selfish” and trying to live longer and be better, I want to be heads up, I want to be thriving, I want to be affecting the world around me, and having a positive impact. Because I feel when we're thriving, we're in the right place, right time all the time. If we are heads up, if we are optimized, you don't have to wait for that someday to come. You don't have to wait for that savior to walk through the door. You can be your own savior, you can live in the moment, you can manifest all the things you want, if you're thriving and not just surviving.
Melanie Avalon: I'm wondering, did you ever have that same thought about at least the worries about feeling like you need to do these different biohacks in order to be well, perceiving an unhealthy relationship with them? Did you ever have that surrounding supplements as well because you're so well known, you have so much expertise in the supplements world but I think a lot of people, myself included, it can be overwhelming to know like, what to take and then, do you need to be taking this and then if you stop taking it, is that a problem? There's a lot of overwhelm, I think a feeling of almost fear surrounding supplements. Did you ever have that experience as well?
Shawn Wells: Oh, 100%, and that's what's led me to be so passionate about supplements is that there's so many bad ones and there's so many bad players in the industry. I bought hundreds and hundreds of supplements that were either ineffective or were counterproductive to my health. They were poorly formulated, or there was poor quality control. I've definitely been through it, and I've gotten actually almost deathly sick one time. Bodybuilding supplements were pretty bad at one point. There was a lot of pro-hormones and things that were really unchecked by the FDA that were going on in the industry and it got pretty out of control. There were some really illicit substances that you assume are just safe because they're on the market and you can just order them on websites or whatever, and it should be safe but that's not necessarily the case. FDA has a little purview, but not a whole lot of purview to really be a watchdog on the whole industry.
I do go into the book on some red flags and how to find a good supplement. Some things I look at as proprietary blends, I'm very against those. You can see it'll say 770 milligrams of the muscle and strength blend, and you'll have 17 ingredients in that blend. The first ingredient is because it's an order of descending mass could be 769 milligrams, and the other 16 ingredients could be that one milligram. It's a very deceptive practice. It's often done for good reason, the first ingredient will be something that's $4 a kilo, and all the other ingredients could be super, super expensive. You think, “Oh, well, they're all there, they're listed on this bottle and seems like a good dose here, 770 milligrams, so I'll just trust that they're doing things right.” They're not. 99% of the time, they're not. I just would not buy a product that has proprietary blend. You really should look for each ingredient to be listed with how it standardized the dose, the form, the species, the genus, like everything should be listed out with clarity, so that you can go to examine.com, and go look it up and see, “Okay, that's the right dose, that's right form. This was in a study, this is what I should expect,” etc.
Melanie Avalon: Like I said, when I asked my audience for questions about supplements, I got so many questions. Is there any sort of certification, like, one of my listeners, Teresa, she says, “I look for supplements with UPF certification.” Is there another way to tell if a supplement is what it says it is? Is it just trusting brands basically? Or, how do you trust?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, for the most part, you want to see that they're made in a GMP facility, good manufacturing practices, but mostly it is. It's well-respected brands, brands that have been around for years, like now, Jarrow, Doctor’s Best, Thorne, Metagenics, Xymogen, Life Extension Foundation.
Melanie Avalon: What about Pure Encapsulations?
Shawn Wells: Yes, excellent. I love that one. Yeah, those are excellent brands. I list them out in the book as well. Those are brands that I would rely on, and they've been around for decades. I think the brands that I would rely less on are the ones that you might see in Walmart, or Amazon or that you don't know the brand name, or it's a little bit cheaper. I would at least try the Thorn or Pure Encapsulation ones the first time and see how it works for you. Then see if you want to try one that's cheaper, if you want to try a different one, then give that one a try after you tried the best, that that's what it's supposed to do, what it's supposed to feel like.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and for listeners, I cannot recommend enough that you get The Energy Formula, because all of this is in there, and so much that we can't even remotely touch on, so just quick plug. Here's a really, really good question that I like from Ashley. This is something I've thought about so much. I just personally don't understand how supplements are made. Ashley says, “I don't understand the vitamin-making process. I understand, for example, how Rosehip Syrup is high in vitamin C, but I don't understand where they get the stuff they put into the capsule or press it into tablets. Why are some easier to absorb? What kind of fillers do they use? I've always wanted to tour different vitamin-making facilities to see the process. They have wine tours, so they should have vitamin tours.” I've thought about that as well though. How are the supplements even made? Are there some basic go-to processes or what's happening there?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, it depends on the format whether it's like a ready-to-mix powder or ready-to-drink drink or shot can be cold fill or hot filled, and there's tablets and there's capsules. There would be different things for different formats. Typically, it's done at a contract manufacturer, which means that's their business is to make these supplements for these other companies, these brands. Usually, it's at least 10,000 units that are run at a time, upwards to several 100,000 and for a tablet, you have a lot of binders to keep that tablet together. For a capsule, you have fillers quite often that add the bulk to capsule so that it can look full in the capsule and not just be a half-empty capsule. Those are different things that you'll see. There's different binders, different fillers. It's common in tablets, so that they're white, and they have a certain consistency that they'll have something like a calcium carbonate or some form of calcium. Calcium also has anti-humectant effect, like a drying effect, which helps to keep moisture low, moisture content is the enemy of these things. The whole absorption thing isn't really true with tablets versus capsules, or whatever that you just poop out tablets and capsules are somehow better and all that stuff. That's not really scientific.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of absorption, what about the transdermal patches? Katie says, “Are over the counter transdermal vitamin patches legit or scam? On the surface, they seem like revelation, but they seem too good to be true. I've used them because I hate, hate, hate swallowing pills.” I actually personally, this is me talking now, Melanie. I have some patches that I ordered, but I actually never-- I don't know why, I haven't put them on yet. How do you feel about the transdermal absorption?
Shawn Wells: That's tough. I honestly, it's really like wacky science. It's going to really be affected by whatever the transdermal carrier is, there's stuff like DMSO that helps take these ingredients across that barrier. It'll also make a huge difference about how much circulation there is at the surface. This is a little graphic, but men have used transdermal stuff, like it works better on the scrotal sack, because it's so thin, to get to the circulatory system, to get through the skin to the circulation. Whereas other areas could be much thicker dermis and body fat, and not necessarily get that type of absorption. One, it matters how clean your skin is. Two, it matters, the transdermal carrier. Three, it matters what the ingredients are, and if they can be carried. Four, it matters, like thickness of the skin, all this stuff. There's a lot of factors there. I use a transdermal NAD, actually with Dr. Stickler.
Melanie Avalon: That’s what I was going to ask you about.
Shawn Wells: I take a patch, but it's an electrified patch. It actually has a battery and current on it. It actually feels it hurts a little bit, like a minor bit, but for like an hour while it's working, to actually use that current to get the NAD which is a positive ion NAD Plus, like across the barrier of the skin to the blood. That's just not happening with these other companies. Like I said, the amount that you're going to get is going to be so widely varied if it works at all, it's hard for me to say like, there's just very little research. If they said, “Apply it here, here's what you should expect, here's the plasma levels we saw, on average,” you're not seeing that from these companies. To me, it's just like even if it was somehow “better bioavailability,” I would rather take something that's well understood and that there's science around and consistent research around and consistent understanding around and take a shot in the dark.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of NAD, do you have thoughts about the benefits of NMN versus NR?
Shawn Wells: I do.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. I'm always dying to hear everybody's thoughts on this.
Shawn Wells: NR pretty much sucks. I'll just put it that plainly. All the data is pretty equivocal. If you look at where it is in the pathway, it's one step further removed. NMN is much more direct. If I was to pick one, NMN would be the one. Obviously, it might be better to find a way to directly increase NAD in the circulation, and that could be transparently, like I was just talking about IV, which is not fun for three hours of feeling like you're going to puke or doing intranasal. I don't have much data on that, but that one seems really accessible. You don't go through the awfulness. What is going to be a huge variation is how much NAD is in the intranasal spray. Here again, that's a way that you can access blood vessels very easily because of how thin that membrane is, like I was saying with the scrotal sack idea, is how thin that membrane is in your nose. That's why the intranasal thing works well or even rectally because your rectal vein, a portal vein, all that stuff. That's why some of these things get taken up and they get taken directly to the blood, instead of getting processed by the liver when done orally and digestive tract.
Melanie Avalon: Have you tried some nasal sprays?
Shawn Wells: I have. I did notice a difference. I did feel an energetic difference, actually more so than even the NAD IV. I've actually messed with subq injections, too, just into the intraabdominal fat. I can't say that there's definitive science yet or any studies around the intranasal, but I'm very interested in it. It can get very expensive to get one that's high dosed. I mean, you can find ones that are like 50 bucks, and then you can find ones that are 500 bucks. It just varies greatly, I think, on the companies offering it. I don't know who's necessarily the best one, and then the dose that's going to be in there could be 10, 100-fold different. It's hard to say but I think there's a lot of promise there, but if I was to take a supplement, it would be NMN.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, I've currently been doing NMN and NR, both, but that's good to hear. My injecting story is-- so I'm always doing all these crazy, like I said, biohacking things and putting things on my body and trying different things. I ordered glutathione to be injected intramuscularly, and it was the one thing I chickened out on, I don't know why. I was like, “I don't think I can put this into my muscle.” Then, I tried and it was burning, and it was an epic fail. What are your thoughts on glutathione supplementation?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I've used it intravenously before, certainly added to my stacks when I've done some immune system enhancement kind of things, especially during the COVID time, like I've done. When I'm about to travel or gotten back from traveling, sometimes I'll do like 30 to 50 grams of IV vitamin C, like 3 to 5 grams of glutathione, and some additional lysine. I guess, with glutathione, it is the master antioxidant, but I think there's other things that you can do, just taking an acetylcysteine as a supplement is going to boost glutathione levels. Taking oral glutathione, I don't really feel like is that effective. There's some studies that show if you take a big enough dose, that it will be broken down and then built back up into glutathione and help increase glutathione levels. Typically, those doses are way above what you'd be taking. That's not an effective strategy, so taking an acetylcysteine, I think makes more sense to me. Then, there's an ingredient that I mentioned in the book that's really fascinating on the antioxidant side of the equation that it was considered for vitamin status. It's called L-ergothioneine [unintelligible [00:33:04].
Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask you, I'm so excited. I was like, “Tell me more.”
Shawn Wells: [laughs] Yeah, and it'd be nutrition as MitoPrime. What's really cool is, here's why it's crazy, is that you actually have transporters in your body, ergothioneine transporters, ETT, that carry ergothioneine to the mitochondria directly. What's fascinating about that is clearly, if we have a transporter that's dedicated to this ingredient, we’re meant to use this ingredient. We can find it in certain organ meats, in certain beans.
Melanie Avalon: Is it in mushrooms, right?
Shawn Wells: In mushrooms, yeah, in those ingredients. What's really cool also is that, like I was saying that it works on the mitochondria level, and that makes it unique in how it works versus typical cellular antioxidants, that I feel have never really panned out, where you have a threshold where they can be counterproductive, they can become prooxidant, where they can impair the body's endogenous antioxidant activity. I just feel typically antioxidants don't work, especially when used chronically in the way we want them to work. But this mitochondrial antioxidant actually has its own storage system, too, where your body can store enough of it that as needed, it can pull from it. It's a really cool ingredient. It's actually an amino acid, trace amino acid and you only need about 5 to 10 milligrams of it. It's a very interesting ingredient. We're finding so many powerful things that come from mushrooms. One of my favorite immune health ingredients is AHCC from like Reishi and Shiitake, and then the polysaccharides we're finding boosts the immune system, beta glucans, boosts the immune system, you're finding Lion's Mane and some of these mushrooms enhance resilience and are adaptogenic and Lion's Mane enhances BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Mushrooms really seem to be an area of hot research and have so many health benefits.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you brought that up. That was actually a huge question that I had about antioxidants, specifically vitamin C. I, as far as actual medication, “actual medication” goes, I have hypothyroidism, so I have compounded thyroid medication. Then, I also take low dose naltrexone. I get my supplements compounded with vitamin C is the filler. I've always had this question because it seems that taking exogenous antioxidants, especially in the fasted state, for example, might short circuit our bodies own things that would be doing in the fasted state, like it could possibly be not beneficial. Susan, also, she said, “How concerned should I be about vitamin C and antioxidants hindering muscle growth?” I think a lot of people think that that might be an issue as well. Do you have thoughts about the actual dose of vitamin C needed to stop these processes that might be happening endogenously?
Shawn Wells: Vitamin C is different than something like glutathione. We don't make vitamin C and other species do, and it does seem vitamin C, like I said, occasionally I go into like a super, super high dose, you really can't go that high dose orally, it'll cause GI distress, and you just won't get the same effect, that IV you can go very, very, very high dose, and you'll get considerable benefit from it, in terms of it actually can kill cancer cells, for example, but actually help with protecting healthy cells. It's really interesting. It's like how ketones can be used as fuel for healthy cells, but not for cancer cells, and cancer cells use glucose. That's a similar idea. You're right, like, most antioxidants, like I was saying before, I really don't feel pan out with all that we hope they would, people aren't feeling younger, doing better by taking tons of antioxidants. There is one exception, I really feel like and that's what I go into in the book, besides that ergothioneine that I was talking about, and I do like vitamin C in general. There is an exception, and it's that class of polyphenols. There’s xenohormetics, like where they've actually taken on stress for the plant. It's super cool that when you take these compounds, things like resveratrol from red wine, pterostilbene from blueberries, EGCG from green tea, quercetin from onions and apples, fisetin, apigenin is another one. They are sirtuin gene activators. They're like caloric restriction mimetics. They are hormetics to your body and they are, in fact, like, what was dealing with the stress from the plant. They have a similar effect on you.
That's what I like, this common theme in the book is talking about resilience and that allostatic load bucket and being able to increase the size of your stress bucket. The polyphenols do that. Things like adaptogens do that. Antioxidants really don't pan out the way that they should. So, I agree. When it comes to workouts, I would not put them around the workout. Different antioxidants are going to work on different oxidants. So, it's not as straightforward as that. Some of them may actually improve your recovery from a workout, even after a workout, but it's ideal to just not put them directly around the workout.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, have no fear, there is a full transcript of this at the show notes, which again is at melanieavalon.com/energyformula because I know we're talking about a lot of things which are also all in Shawn’s book. I'm just going to try to summarize what you just said. Is it basically that when we take things, antioxidants, like vitamin C, that that's kind of-- I mean, it's giving us something potentially beneficial and that it's cancelling out oxidants are helping with that, it's not like a hormetic stress that's encouraging us to get stronger. It's like it's giving us something rather than teaching us how to do something.
Shawn Wells: Exactly. Those polyphenols or the ergothioneine or the adaptogens are enhancing our resilience to do deal with stress, instead of trying to combat the stress like with an antioxidant. That's almost like removing the obstacle, it's trying to remove the obstacle, versus we have a greater capacity with some of these other compounds that I'm talking about to overcome the obstacle.
Melanie Avalon: That might make sense why, perhaps when there is a really beneficial role for taking high dose antioxidants would be when you're sick, for example, when you need all the help, you can get.
Shawn Wells: Right. Yeah, and taking them acutely, and not chronically. It's very different.
Melanie Avalon: Also speaking to that, because you spoke about all of these, like polyphenols, for example, found in things like blueberries and red wine, and how do you feel about the health potential benefits from whole foods versus supplements? We actually got a question from-- you might know him, do Marty Kendall, Optimising Nutrition?
Shawn Wells: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: He actually has a question. It's a two-parter. How much of supplements are absorbed in a usable form versus when they are contained in whole food? To what degree are the synergistic complimentary nutrients important to getting the same benefits as you get from whole food? How do you feel about nutrients and vitamins and food versus supplemental form?
Shawn Wells: It's a super convoluted argument, it's not that easy. There's going to be certain nutrients that are going to be taken up better when they're fat soluble, when you have a fatty meal. Things like ASDA Xanthan, or fish oil, or whatever is going to be taken up better when you have that fatty meal, or vitamin D, for example. When taken with food or when taken with oils, other oils, it's going to enhance it. Some supplements are just easier to digest, they don't have the GI distress, like, when you have it with a meal. There's also some supplements that are actually taken a better on an empty stomach. It's not that straightforward. Then, the people that just say, “I'm going to get everything for my food.” What food are you getting all this stuff from? I mean, one, our food is kind of depleted of nutrients or soils depleted of nutrients, then there's these orthomolecular doses that we're looking at, that certainly can't be achieved through food. It's not that straightforward.
Then, yes, it would be good if you're adding supplements onto an already healthy diet. Some people don't have a healthy diet. I think the supplements are better off than doing nothing. All those arguments I always hear about supplements, not supplements, whole food, this and that, it's just not that straightforward.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that completely makes sense. The mechanism of action with fat being important for absorbing vitamins, I thought it was because the fat was somehow transporting it across the membrane, but then I was told it's because fat stimulates the release of bile, and then you need bile to absorb the vitamin, is either or both of those correct?
Shawn Wells: The bile would be breaking down the fat and emulsifying it, so that it can be transported easier. There's some truth to that. Essentially both of those are fairly true.
Melanie Avalon: I was interviewing the Caltons, who wrote Rebuild Your Bones. They were saying if you took supplements with just MCT oil, it wouldn't stimulate bile, and so it wouldn't provide absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, that's not always true. I don't believe that to be true. There's actually cases that have been shown with MCTs enhancing bioavailability of fat-soluble compounds.
Melanie Avalon: The CBD I take is formulated with MCT. You have a great section on CBD in the book. Would you take CBD every day or at all?
Shawn Wells: I do. I don't really take anything every day because of that kind of exogenous/ endogenous push/pull. I'd rather just take things here and there and not use anything just forever. Just because I don't want my body just fully adapting to getting this one thing and then that becomes baseline. There's not tons of data on that, that's just more of a mindset for me that I just want to use something. Like with adaptogens, I might use like Rhodiola for a month, I might use Ashwagandha for a month, I might use Lion's Mane for a month and then nothing, and then cycle back through. That's just the way I've approached it, it just makes sense to me.
Melanie Avalon: With the CBD, what does that look like for you, for your schedule?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, exactly. I just use it when I feel inflamed or when I feel I really could use a great night's sleep, like if I'm traveling or things like that. The endocannabinoid system is fascinating. I think people just think CBD, like cannabidiol, it's good for a couple things and it's just one of the cannabinoids similar to THC or CBN or CBG, maybe some of these ones you've been hearing about. This endocannabinoid system is a system like the circulatory system, like your neurological system. It's so critical to your body into your health, but we only just discovered it, I don't know 15, 20 years ago, and has so little research and it controls your mood, your appetite, your wellness, your ability to fight infections. There's so many things that are getting attributed to it now. So many people have deficiencies of their endocannabinoid system. People are seeing massive effects on their immune system on pain, on cancer, on mood. It's a really fascinating exploration with these endocannabinoids that are happening in the body and where there might be deficiencies that these phytocannabinoids, these plant cannabinoids, might be filling in gaps.
Melanie Avalon: I think it's interesting that CBD has only-- I mean, relatively recently become sort of accepted, and now it's everywhere, which I think is often a problem with regulation and purity and making sure you're getting quality products. I personally respond really, really well to CBD. It just feels like my nervous system had a massage or something when I take it. Then, things don't seem to bother me as much. I don't get that bothered, but it has a really, really beneficial effect on me. Do you prefer isolated CBD versus full spectrum or do you have a preference?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, that's an interesting discussion too, because I say in the book, I prefer that, because again, I know what the effect will be consistently. If I have to take a higher dose, I'll take a higher dose. But when it's isolated or fully synthetic, then I know, it's just pure CBD. I know what it's going to do. When you take the full spectrum, yes, there's the entourage effect and it may enhance its bioavailability, it may enhance some of the things it's doing. But bottle to bottle, lot to lot, company to company, every single time you use it, it's going to feel different, be different, do different. For me, that's just hard to work with scientifically. I would rather have something consistent that I can try and dose appropriately and figure out with my body than something that's like a moving target.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that makes sense. Have you tried the Feals brand? That's full spectrum, but that's the brand I use.
Shawn Wells: I haven’t.
Melanie Avalon: They're incredible. Or, I respond really well to it. I had such stringent criteria, and so many CBD brands would approach our podcast wanting to partner, and I was like, “No, I’ve got to wait until they hit all of my dots.” It is full spectrum, but it's organic, MCT carrier tested. I'm a big fan.
Shawn Wells: I have heard really good things about it. I would like to try it actually at some point.
Melanie Avalon: I will get them to send you a bottle for sure. Try it out. Let me know what you think. Some more questions for you. We already touched on this, it relates to the food question. Well, I'll just say it. We have question from Leslie and she said, “How are powdered substances good for you. We say don't eat processed foods, but powdered whey protein or collagen is good for you?” Then, Rose also said, “Whey powdered protein does not seem natural to me at all.” How do you feel about the-- especially within the paleo movement, there's this whole idea of natural and what we would have eaten in evolution, how do you feel about the “naturalness” of supplements? You talk a lot in the book about like whey, for example. Thoughts there?
Shawn Wells: Yeah. These are great questions, because they're things that come up a lot. It's the discussion, like, I remember with bodybuilding and sports nutrition that, like what is a natural bodybuilder. They'd say, “Well, he doesn't take steroids, and it's like, “Well, does he take supplements? Does he manipulate his diet through the ketogenic diet? Does he use red light therapy? What's natural? Where do you draw the line on what natural means?” All these biohacks are unnatural. The ketogenic diet isn't very typical or intermittent fasting or, like I said, red light or cold plunges or what is defined is natural?
Going back into the powders, I understand what she's saying, and certainly if you feel you can achieve all these things through whole food, awesome. If you're eating bones and bone broth cartilage and tendons and ligaments and skin, then you're getting your collagen. If you're eating plenty of bioavailable protein, maybe you don't need the whey protein. But if you're not getting those things, if you're not eating like that, then whey is one of the best biological value proteins in existence. It's the highest in BCAAs and in particular, leucine that drives muscle protein synthesis. It has in about 25 grams of whey, it has over 2.5 grams of leucine. That is the most key amino acid to drive anabolism, growth and recovery of the muscle. Then there's other growth factors that are present in whey. It's just convenient to get 25-30 grams of protein that can really help spike, again, that bolus of leucine and then also the essential amino acids to reinforce of the growth and recovery, and positive nitrogen balance. Collagen is a totally different type of protein, about a third of the body is made up of collagen, like I said, hair, skin, nails, ligaments, all this connective tissue like fascia, all this stuff, like your bones, and joints. That's why you feel better, your skin looks brighter, your joints feel better when you take collagen.
Ideally, you actually get something like whey and collagen at the same time. There's hardly any leucine, hardly any BCCAs or essential amino acids in collagen. There's hydroxyproline, proline, glycine, some other amino acids that are again responsible for more this connective tissue, this glue, it's where the word ‘colla’ comes from, in the body. Taking the two together be great. Now if you're eating a whole animal, you're getting the skin, the tendon, the ligaments, the muscle, you're getting all this stuff, but do like that? No. If you're truly paleo and you're paleo gangster, and you're just eating nose to tail, and going all in? Cool, but if you're not, and that doesn't sound good to you, again, it's like, what are you eating? How you eating? Taking supplements, certainly better than nothing. I'm more of a realist.
Melanie Avalon: I was actually reading-- I don't know if it was an article or a study, but it was basically positing that red light therapy should be banned, I think, in the Olympics. It would be the same thing as taking like some sort of supplement or--
Shawn Wells: Like performance-enhancing drugs. Yeah, PEDs.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay, this is such a random rabbit hole tangent, but I have to ask you, while we're talking about all of the glycine, the leucine, all the things. I went down a rabbit hole, the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes, researching the balance of different amino acids, and particularly the benefits of glycine. There's this fascinating study where they were comparing like scallops, cod, and then I think two non-fish, probably chicken or something, and all of the effects on the body. The effects from the scallops, which this journal article was hypothesizing was all from the glycine content was-- saying like the inflammation, the effects on the liver, so many things. Then I started researching glycine more and more and more. I've been doing an experiment where I-- because I eat a lot of meat and seafood, and now I'm eating just scallops basically. The effects on my inflammation, my sleep, my just overall being has been pretty intense.
Now, I'm wondering more and more if the health benefits of plant-based diets, for example, how important is the methionine ratio and glycine, and all of these things? Do you have thoughts about amino acids and longevity and the ratios and plants and animals, and all of that? It's a lot.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, it's a great question. It goes back to what I was talking about before. It makes sense that you really should have a certain ratio because, yes, eating muscle is going to help your muscle, having enough of these essential amino acids are going to be anabolic for your muscle recovery and that nitrogen retention, and again having enough leucine to drive muscle protein synthesis as well as prevent muscle protein breakdown. It's kind of a net ratio that equals muscle accretion. If your muscle protein synthesis is higher than your muscle protein breakdown, then you're having a greater amount of muscle gain. To have all the other protein, like this connective tissue that's so critical to your body, to support that muscle through the joints, the tendons, the ligaments, the bones, the skin, the fascia, super important. Obviously, having that ratio of both of those things, like that would occur if you were eating an animal nose to tail, that makes sense to me, just evolutionarily and it's something that we've clearly gotten away from. We're just eating skeletal muscle. We're not eating skin and tendons and ligaments and bones and all the other things, so we're certainly out of alignment there. We're not nourishing all that connective tissue to support that muscle tissue.
Melanie Avalon: It goes back to just getting back to the way things naturally would have been. The studies on glycine and alcohol intake, in particular, are really fascinating. Basically, one of them was showing that it almost reversed liver damage just by adding a lot of glycine to the diet, it was really, really fascinating.
Shawn Wells: That's a great amino acid to take at night. It is a neurotransmitter. It does taste sweet, which is cool, because it can be like a sugar replacement. You can take it at night and it will help relax you. It's nice to take-- magnesium glycinate is actually one of my favorite forms of magnesium. It's enhancing the bioavailability of the magnesium by being an amino acid chelate, plus you're getting the glycine to help you relax. It's just a win-win.
Melanie Avalon: I'm still trying to figure out because, like I said, I've been eating scallops by the pound, if the sweetness is from the glycine or-- some people online say it's the glycine, some people say it's glycogen. That's actually carbs, like sugar. I don't know. [chuckles] It's taunting me.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I don't think that there's a whole lot of carbohydrate in scallops. I don't think that there's much stored muscle carbohydrate in the scallop is glycogen. That seems odd to me.
Melanie Avalon: It does.
Shawn Wells: The glycine thing seems more likely.
Melanie Avalon: It does to me, too. They also do list carbs on the back, which is really fascinating, like on the nutrition label.
Shawn Wells: You would think that that glycogen could vary highly based on how active it is.
Melanie Avalon: How active the little scallop is. [laughs]
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I don't know. That's weird.
Melanie Avalon: Literally what I was thinking, we're on the same page.
Shawn Wells: If it's a keto scallop, then no. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Speaking of keto, another rabbit hole question. You mentioned briefly in the book, CD38. Do you have thoughts about-- I was reading Joel Green's Immunity Code book, and I also brought him on the show. He talks about the potential long-term detrimental effects of keto diets and CD38. Do you have thoughts about CD38? What is CD38?
Shawn Wells: CD38 is like NADase. It's going to be lowering your levels of NAD present, which is cellular fuel to produce energy. We make less NAD as we age, but we also catalyze more of it break it down more quickly as we age. There's just a lot less of it hanging around. That's where taking NMN could be helpful, taking these NADase that we talked about or IVs, taking also the polyphenols, typically, most of them increase of levels of NAD. Then there's a couple of the polyphenols that actually inhibit CD38 or NADase, like apigenin and quercetin. They actually inhibit the breakdown of NADase, they help it hang around longer. There could be some synergy in taking those things.
Yeah, I think CD38 in keto, I think it's because you're metabolically a little bit different. It's when people say that keto lowers your thyroid. Yes, it does, but it enhances the thyroid sensitivity. We're just very metabolically different when we're in a ketogenic state. If you look at almost any animal model, with the ketogenic diet, or intermittent fasting and/or both, elevated ketones, lower blood glucose, lower insulin, these animals are living dramatically longer. It may not pan out the same way in humans, but in typical animal models, they're living like 30% longer. I don't see anything that would lead me to believe that you're somehow reduced. Are you less adapted to using glucose in those pathways if you're ketogenic? Yeah, but does that mean that you're not more efficient? It's a really interesting discussion, and we don't have all the science on that. It's hard to say.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you said blood glucose. I would have been so upset if I forgot to bring this up. Berberine. I've gone through about six or seven rounds of CGMs, and experimenting with berberine, I think this is actually the first thing you and I talked about on Instagram, was berberine. I saw massive, massive beneficial effects on my blood sugar. I've been getting a lot of questions about berberine. You talk about berberine in the book. What are your thoughts on berberinetine? I don't know if it's teen or tine. She wants to know if you have any brands you recommend or dosages. Susan wants to know, “Are there any studies looking at taking it longer than three months?” Amy wants to know, “What might it mean if after taking berberine I get a massive headache.” I do get other questions from listeners wanting to know if it had detrimental effects potentially on muscle. Berberine. Oh, is that one that you take every day?
Shawn Wells: I get all those answers.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, good. I'm excited.
Shawn Wells: No, not every day. I do take it quite often. Berberine is a glucose disposal agent similar to metformin. Metformin is a drug that's so popular in anti-aging. It's been used for decades and people are seeing enhanced lifespan and health span through it, with lower CRP levels, lower hemoglobin A1C levels, improved sirtuin activity, etc. Metformin is one of the most powerful compounds we know of, for antiaging, reducing advanced glycation end products, etc. Berberine is the herbal equivalent of metformin. In a head-to-head study, berberine actually outperformed it on several markers, including with lipids and inflammation.
Melanie Avalon: Can I ask you a really quick question?
Shawn Wells: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Like was berberine the model for metformin, do you know? Was that the plant they were--? I mean, I don't know.
Shawn Wells: Yes, actually. If you actually go back, what's interesting is berberine and metformin were originally used for antivirus before they were actually known to help with blood glucose and glycation, the original purpose was to be an antiviral, with malaria and some things like that. I do believe that they will help dramatically. There isn't the research to show this yet, but there's some research with the flu. I believe that because they've shown that metformin when given with a flu vaccine enhanced its effect. I believe that berberine or what I'll talk about in a second, dihydroberberine, or Metformin would actually help against the battle of COVID-19, by the way. That’s a complete rabbit hole for sure. Yes, I think berberine is really that's a natural glucose disposal agent that was found in nature. Yes, the drug was based off of that.
It's a glucose disposal agent, they all are. Whether you're talking about berberine, metformin, dihydroberberine, it works via AMPK, AMP kinase. There's some people that think that that's a catabolic process, so you maybe shouldn't use it, because it might hinder muscle gains, which is what you were talking about. That's not necessarily true. Peter Attia was talking about this recently on one of his podcasts. There's a study with an animal model that shows that they had just as much strength, slightly less hypertrophy, but just as much strength. There actually may be greater muscle density by using a glucose disposal agent. Further, you're increasing insulin sensitivity, you would be enhancing the shuttling of amino acids into the muscle, you're having better nutrient partitioning, which means you're more likely to store glucose in the muscle rather than in the fat. There's a lot of things that are going on that are preferential towards body composition. I would say it's not something to worry about, but again, I might not use it around a workout specifically. Just use it at times other than the workout.
To get into berberine versus dihydroberberine. Both berberine and metformin have similar bioavailability. They can have some GI distress. Berberine does not have the B12 deficiency issue that metformin has, and metformin was pulled from the market recently for being tainted. While I love it as a drug, I do think berberine or dihydroberberine are preferred. Dihydroberberine is the one I've been involved in in terms of patenting. The original research showed that it was about five times more bioavailable and didn't have the GI distress because in your body, you convert berberine to dihydroberberine at the gut level, and then it gets transported to the plasma, and then converted back to berberine again, and so you don't have to convert it for that step. It's more bioavailable and less of that GI distress. Then you can take a much lower dose.
What's really cool is we just finished a study, it hasn't been published yet, but we were actually seeing like a 12x difference with the dihydroberberine. What's really crazy is it lasted a lot longer, too. Usually you don't see this, or something like spikes much higher. Usually, it goes away quicker, depletes faster as well and you're not going to see it last longer. But this is a case where it's dramatically better bioavailability and it's half-life is dramatically better. Instead of taking 500 milligrams three times a day like you might recommend with berberine, with dihydroberberine, we're recommending 100 to 150 twice a day and we're getting incredible results.
I myself when I was originally working with berberine before I patented dihydroberberine, I had-- this is insane. I was testing glucose challenge, so taking 75 grams and normally in a hospital you do 75 grams dextrose load, I was going to have fun and have-- I think it was like three Oreos and two frosted pop tarts., and I did this one challenge one week with the berberine and one without. I looked at a blood glucometer every 30 minutes for two hours. The first time I did it without the berberine, I was at 65, 70 somewhere in there for blood glucose, and I went all the way up to 199, and which is insanely high, by taking these Double Stuf Oreos and the Pop Tarts and all that stuff. That 199 was at two hours. I don't even know if I was how soon I was coming back down. When I took the berberine, I was at 60 to 70 as well for my baseline. I never got above 100, and at one hour, it was already coming back down. Insane difference.
Melanie Avalon: This is the dihy-- How do you say it again, dihy--
Shawn Wells: No, this is regular berberine. Dihydroberberine is even more effective at a much lower dose. That was the beginning of my research that led me to dihydroberberine. I'm like, “This stuff is insane.” [laughs] There's no other-- It's literally like my number one antiaging-- everyone should be on this compound. When someone's like, “What's your top supplement?” I'm like, “Berberine, dihydroberberine.” If you want to support me, my research, my patent, dihydroberberine, but if you just want to get something cheap and get on it, get on just regular berberine. It's an incredible compound that is potently antiaging, there's no reason you shouldn't be taking it. Even if you think, “Well, I'm not diabetic, I don't need that stuff.” If you're diabetic, there's zero doubt, you should be on it. Even if you're not diabetic, lowering insulin, lowering blood glucose, lowering advanced glycation end products, lowering inflammation, dyslipidemia, all these things are going to be profound for extending life. Some people say-- another thing that's come up with metformin or and then is extrapolated to berberine, is that it has a negative impact on the mitochondria. It's going back to that idea of hormesis. It has a mildly hindering effect on the mitochondria, but what we see is that it's actually causing mitohormesis. So, it's like taking your mitochondria to the gym and giving them a little bit of a workout.
Now, if you took way too much of this stuff, maybe it could like cross the threshold where it's actually counterproductive to the mitochondria. As we're seeing it at the doses we're taking it and why it's enhancing lifespan, it's actually improving the mitochondrial effect.
Melanie Avalon: I don't think I realized that you had the patent on that. That's incredible. Do you produce a version of it that people can buy?
Shawn Wells: I don't produce it. I have patented it and worked with a partner on a number of ingredients that I've patented and researched. Glucovantage is the name of the ingredient, dihydroberberine. One of my favorite products that has it is Genius Blood Sugar. That's a great brand. I love this brand, Genius. I don't make any money from them. They just make really, really good products and use all branded ingredients. I love that. Straightforward labeling, none of their proprietary blends. They're just a great company.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, for listeners, I'll put that in the show notes. I want to be really respectful of your time. I think a nice question to bring everything full circle. She's asking about supplements, but I think it can speak to everything that listeners might utilize or start doing from after reading your book. Supplements, lifestyle, diet. Anna says, “How do you know they're actually doing anything? Sometimes, I wonder if anyone else has the same sentiment. Everyone will say I took a drop of “unicorn tears” B42 and feel amazing. Then I just feel I've been taking this for three weeks, and I'm not dead, but I'm not sure if anything is different.” Then Sarah also said, “How do you know if something is really working? I just have no idea if some things are working.” When it comes to supplements that we're taking, diet, lifestyle, the different mindset approaches people might try, how do we know if things are working? Is it all intuition?
Shawn Wells: To some degree, as I've explored the plant medicine space that's interesting you say that, when you become more attuned to your body, I think you become more present and mindful, like we were talking about at the beginning of the show, that you become more centered, you can become more aware of what something is doing to your body. If you're spinning out of control, if you're hacking, or you're grinding, you have no idea what's happening to you. You're just surviving, you're in transition, you're not present and aware of what's going on in your body.
To your point, that bio-individuality is something I go through in the book that you really should look at one thing at a time. If you’re kitchen sinking it, then you have no idea what's going on, or what's attributable to what. You really need to do one change at a time, one intervention at a time. Then you can see, “Does that work for me, does it not?” Not every supplement is experiential, but some that you're just going to have to take on faith. Something like maybe CoQ10, or whatever, that might be more of a kind of faith thing. A lot of the ingredients I work on are experiential. I feel you can test them, and if not just feeling them, at least for example, with the dihydroberberine or berberine, you could look at that with a CGM or with a glucometer, and you could see the difference. I think within weeks, you'd see the difference in your waistline, or in your ketone levels, if you're on keto, and how you feel. These ingredients, many of them can be felt, but it just depends on your presence of mind and how centered you are and how aware you are of your body. People are in very different places, and it's hard to say. Again, bio-individuality means, some supplements work for some people, some don't.
We actually saw in the dihydroberberine study that I was just alluding to. There were hyper responders. There were people that were like dramatically different than the other people. Trying to deduce why that is like, that's actually something we're looking into. I see that in a lot of studies. There's nonresponders, there's average responders, and then there's hyper-responders. Then, we typically get the study data as being, like, this statistical average. You don't see that like, there's like wildly different effects from the supplements on various people. That's not something that we actually talk about much, but it's something that I see in a lot of studies.
Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you for saying all that, that really brings everything full circle, the importance of mindset, intuition, individuality. Listeners, get The Energy Formula, it is one of the most comprehensive, amazing, beautiful, inspiring, helpful books that I can personally ever recommend. Do not hesitate to get it. Okay, so I have a random question for you, Shawn.
Shawn Wells: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: We talked about a lot of things, a lot of different compounds, supplements. I'm just dying to know-- because I took a lot of notes, and I read your book, there are so many things you talk about, are there any specific compounds we didn't talk about already that you are feeling the need to share with the audience that you think would benefit them greatly.
Shawn Wells: I'd love to go through several of them that I think are really exciting and I think your audience would love it as well. There are ingredients that I've personally worked on, so let's just get into them. One is exogenous ketones right off the bat. I know you're a ketone fan being a fasting queen that you are. Some people wonder whether exogenous ketones are even something you should take or not, whether you should take them on a fast or not. What makes the difference between ketone esters and salt? Which salts are best? There's a lot of good questions there. First off, should you take them during a fast? I'm curious to know actually your thoughts on breaking fast. I just ran an extended fasting challenge. My thoughts are people get so caught up in breaking a fast and what that means, and sometimes I feel like maybe something that you took with “break your fast” for five minutes or an hour but does it really matter if it ends up helping you go an extra five hours?
To me, the biggest thing is the mental component of it versus autophagy or weight loss or some of these things and breaking fast like you permanently break it and you start all over. That thought is crazy to me. I love the idea of with an extended fast how you tap into your willpower, and you see that it can be done. I can do things that most people think are impossible. To me, if you do some bone broth or ketones or something that helps get you through, awesome. That's awesome, good for you, and then continue to explore maybe not doing those things next time, or whatever. We're doing it a little further out next time, but that's a grander discussion. Do you have anything on that?
Melanie Avalon: I’ll comment [laughs] of this topic. As you know, I'm also the host of The Intermittent Fasting podcast, and we get this question every single day of my life. On that show, my cohost, Gin, do you know Gin Stephens?
Shawn Wells: I don't.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I’ll have to introduce you. She wrote Fast. Feast. Repeat., which came out in June-ish. It was a New York Times bestseller, which was really exciting for both of us. In any case, so her thing is very much “the clean fast” and not breaking the fast. It's very much like water, black coffee, tea only, nothing else. I am more lenient in that. I've different thoughts. One, I think that there's some things that if you put them in your body, and they create similar epigenetic changes as fasting. If it's creating something that is similar to what fasting is creating, I don't really see how that's breaking the fast if it's, in a way, amplifying the fast.
Shawn Wells: Right, like MCTs or exogenous ketones that are just putting you deeper into--
Melanie Avalon: Well, MCTs, I'm on the fence. I know C8 MCTs would be the closest thing. The reason I'm on the fence is that you might take in C8 MCTs, it's not affecting insulin, it's not affecting mTOR, you're still in a “fasted state,” but you could be taking in an exuberant amount of calories. I feel it's important to understand that in that state, you might just be running off the MCT, not your body fat anymore. I think that can be important information for people to understand.
Shawn Wells: Most people are taking like a tablespoon or even like a teaspoon of MCTs. I don’t think it had impact on and how long like-- if you're not eating any food, how long would you be running off fat like, I don't know, 30 minutes an hour? Again, I just wonder, like, when someone has more energy for life, and they're not feeling, “I just have to lay around and then I just want to eat, and screw this fast.” To me, that’s like someone does that, then they have energy, and then they're like, “I'm going to stick with this fast for another eight hours.” That's a massive win, so like take something that keeps you going. I know there's a lot of .
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think in that case, it's perfect. I think some people, like for me, if I take MCTs during the fast, it makes me hungrier. I've seen a lot of people have that response. I think if it doesn't have that response, it has a valid place for a lot of people, like you said, when taking it is going to make it easier or extend their fasting potential. Listeners might be shocked.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I think by and large, I just encourage people that just explore and not beat yourself up. The perfect recipe for you is out there, and you can do something that's autophagy focused that next time. This time can be more about exploring how long can you go? When are you feeling tired? When do you get energized? What does that look like? For me, I felt 7 PM at night was a great time to start because when I hit 24 hours when I'm getting really hungry, I'm going to bed, and the next morning is around 36 hours is when I'm feeling energized and not as hungry. It's all stuff I've learned along the way. Anyway, I digress. [laughs] I was just curious on your thoughts on that. Exogenous ketones, which I do feel is okay on fast, but it just depends what your goals are. They're pretty incredible when it comes to getting deeper into ketosis. If you know what that feels like-- there's a lot of people that do keto that really don't know what ketosis feels like, because they're always hovering around that kind of in, kind of not in, because they're doing net carbs and maybe they're in a caloric surplus and all these different things that they're not really that deep into ketosis, and they might not be doing glycogen depletive exercises and all that kind of stuff or using glucose disposal agents or that. If you actually do use ketone esters or salts, you can feel what it feels like to get into a much deeper state of ketosis, like being in an extended fast.
When you use them on a fast, they can help more to get into that cognitive clarity to induce greater satiety, to not feel as much appetite wise, and it can be a fuel source as well. My favorite form of ketones that I was involved on the patent of is the active isomer, RBHB, or it's also called DBHB, and not the mixed isomer. Most of the exogenous ketone supplements are mixed isomer. The act of isomer is going to raise ketone levels in the plasma about two to three times better. Why this is really good is because most of these are mineral salts, and you get to a threshold where too much calcium, magnesium, sodium can be overwhelming to your body, and you might have GI distress, you might have hypertension, or something like where it's just not ideal, so you're reducing that mineral load substantially by using the active isomer and then feeling the ketones more. Then beyond that, interesting data that I have from examining these various mineral salts is that the sodium BHB is about 30% better than the other forms, the magnesium and calcium in particular was the worst performing, it tends to have almost like a buffering effect. I don't know the sodium potassium pump kind of thing, it just gets taken up better, and plasma BHB rises more. So, interesting thing there.
I do like taking about 5 grams of RBHB sodium, so that's my favorite. Then, some other ingredients, so MCTs been involved on C8 MCT is caprylic acid, that's the best form out there, the most ketogenic of the MCTs. C12 lauric acid doesn't really raise ketones, and is antiviral. I do love monolaurin when it comes to improving the immune system. C10, which is about 50% of most MCTs, is just okay, at raising ketones. Then C8 is just markedly better, like anywhere from 20% to 50% better than C10. That's the one you want to get. You just look for caprylic acid or C8 MCTs or something like that.
Melanie Avalon: I have a quick comment on that.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, go ahead.
Melanie Avalon: We were talking about this before. I just interviewed Dave Asprey the other day, and we were talking about the C8, C10, C12. I hadn't heard this before, he actually said that the C12, it was a pretty arbitrary assignment of it being a medium chain triglyceride. Like the person who decided that just arbitrarily decided that number was medium, but it really actually has a long chain, like in spirit.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, and C6, some people consider medium chain and some people consider it a short chain. There are some of these transitional ones that are a little confusing, if you will, that might have some benefits of both. There is some data with C12 on it, improving astrocyte health, like pretty markedly, especially with Alzheimer's, so that could be the case where having coconut oil along with the MCTs might have additional benefits. It's not just one is the best and all the other sucks, but C8 is definitely the best when it comes to being ketogenic.
Let's see, BAIBA. BAIBA, super, super awesome really wanted to talk about this exercise mimetic. You might have heard of AICAR, GW501516. These are compounds that mimic the effect of exercise. Literally the holy grail known as exercise in a bottle, even though we can't say that FDA wise, you have to have a disclaimer around with healthy exercise and diet, I believe, is the term. What we look at with those compounds is that they augment exercise. They enhance every rep or every step. BAIBA, which is beta-aminoisobutyric acid, is something that your body makes, it's really cool. When you're exercising intensely, your body will catabolize the BCAA muscle pool amino acids for fuel, and specifically it'll take valine, which is one of the BCAAs and it will convert into BAIBA. BAIBA then becomes the signal for your body that your body is intensely exercising. What's really cool is almost everything that's associated with intense exercise, think of increased bone mineral density, reduced fat mass, improved muscle mass, better glycogen storage, improved VO2 max, increase BDNF in the brain, brain derived neurotrophic factor, neuroplasticity, improve brown adipose tissue activity and number. You can just go on and on and on, like neuromuscular activity, all this stuff is associated with enhanced levels of BAIBA in the plasma.
We've been working on this compound, and it really is like a Holy Grail. If we can enhance levels of BAIBA, then you're going to get enhanced adaptation effects from exercise across the board. This is really cool, to literally think of your 30- or 45-minute workout being an hour workout, or your 8 reps being like 12 reps, your body or things like that. Really excited about this compound, we're doing more research on it. We just showed in animals and in humans that when you orally administer it, it does raise it in the plasma, and now we're doing exercise studies. I'm just really, really pumped about this compound, because it's just super exciting.
Melanie Avalon: When do you think that'll be available?
Shawn Wells: It's available now. We're already selling it. Some companies are kind of ahead of things, like before we have our full human exercise trial is published, those studies are underway right now. There's companies already selling it because the data-- there's literally, like, I don't know, 20, 30, 40, 50 studies on BAIBA when it comes to the endogenous form, and how it is the Holy Grail. There's actually a lot of data there. There's a number of studies with administration to animals, but there's not any studies with humans yet, and that's what we're working on. We did do the data on grass and toxicology, meaning generally recognized as safe, so we've proven that it is safe for oral consumption. Again, we've done human studies where we're showing that it does raise levels in the plasma. We're just waiting on the data to come out with the human exercise trials.
I've been using it for about a year and have several other people using it and seeing tremendous results. There's a number of companies, Mann’s, Fortes, Alpha Lion, I can't remember them all. There's probably about 10 or 12. companies already that are using it, and we just released it maybe a month or two ago. That's one to look for, and I will keep you posted on. Anandamide is literally the bliss chemical in the endocannabinoid system. If you know the ECS in the body, that's one of the systems that's really underappreciated. Obviously, you hear about the nervous system and the circulatory system and all these kinds of things, but we never hear about the ECS, and it's literally known as the master regulator system. It controls mood, and well-being, and pain, and inflammation, and a lot of these things and no one talks about it. There's no doctor of the ECS, no medical doctor, like they specializes on-- Yeah, I deal only in the endocannabinoid system, like, you don't hear that. You hear a lot about the data on CBD and certainly THC and some of these things. There are deficiencies, both genetic and diet that people have, that leaves them to not have an ideal ECS activity.
What's really cool is one of the compounds in particular that's made endogenously is called anandamide. Anandamide is literally the bliss chemical. You feel a euphoria when you have some of these phytocannabinoids, which means the plant-based cannabinoids that can act on the endocannabinoid system. If you think about not only the compounds from marijuana or hemp, but they're actually present in skullcap and lemon balm, and oregano, and a number of plant-based compounds have phytocannabinoids. In particular, this anandamide raises that feeling of bliss or euphoria. I've been working on this compound for a while. It's a fatty acid so it kind of looks like coconut oil at room temperature. Just a small amount for 30 minutes or so and you can feel like a massive mood uptick. Similar to when I take oxytocin or something like that, like you just feel happy and good. We're actually working on ways to extend its activity, there's an inhibitor that I'm working on that will maybe make it last for a few hours. That's really cool too.
Melanie Avalon: Does taking it downregulate natural production of anything, like as a negative?
Shawn Wells: No, not that we've seen. If anything, taking anandamide would, again, stimulate parasympathetic nervous system and reduce-- it would increase endorphins, and reduce pain and inflammation. I don't know if you've ever had like that-- what JLo calls like the Goosies on their TV show, the dance show or whatever. Whenever you feel that euphoric flash, you also feel pain and inflammation leave your body, this would be like that. There's no real downsides from what I know. Maybe if you were chronically taking it 24/7, there might be some potential disparity. For the most part, if you think about-- I can't remember the exact number. When we're children, we're smiling and laughing, literally on the magnitude of 100x to what we are as adults. It's not normal how serious and tough we are on ourselves. I think taking something like this from time to time would be ideal, if anything.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome.
Shawn Wells: Dehydrozingerone, this is a compound that comes from ginger, and it's an active metabolite that raises the metabolism. We've known that ginger is thermogenic for a long time, and it's got that spicy burn. That's common with things like cayenne and capsaicin, and some of these other compounds that have been explored for being thermogenic. Meaning, increasing body heat, and therefore caloric expenditure. What's nice with things like capsaicin, or this dehydrozingerone, is that they're not doing it as a stimulant. They're doing it as a thermogenic spicy compound. This is an active compound that does that. What's really cool is vanillin receptor that these compounds tend to work on. Also, again, going back to that pain and inflammation idea, it helps modulate pain and inflammation. That's why if you use like Icy Hot or these capsaicin creams or whatever, they blunt pain and inflammation, and it's a really fascinating effect. We're seeing not only is it going to increase metabolism, but it's going to reduce pain and inflammation.
There's another compound that works similarly called grains of paradise that I’ve really seen tremendous results from, and only 40 milligrams is burning an extra 100 calories a day, one dose. We don't even know what 80 milligrams does once a day, or what 80 milligrams would do twice a day. We're exploring that now. That's a very potent effect. What's really cool is, we don't know grains of paradise if it does this, but we know of grains of paradise that it does, that it affects brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue is kind of a Holy Grail going back to that, like, it may be the reason that some people can eat and eat and eat and not gain weight, because it's the most thermogenic, most metabolically active tissue. It's the reason the tissue is brown is because it's mitochondrial dense. You only have about six or seven ounces of it around your collarbone, your clavicle. I think it's there because it's protecting the organs of the core, particularly like the lungs and the heart. Even if your limbs get cut off, like you could maintain some level of heat. Up until about six months, we lack the ability to shiver as a baby. The way that we maintain heat for homeostasis of our body temperature is through brown adipose tissue.
Some people have more brown adipose tissue in terms of number and some people have more active brown adipose tissue in terms of its activity. We don't know 100% why, but things like cold thermogenesis, so jumping in the icy lake like I have or jumping in a cold plunge or cold showers are going to help, we've seen that, and also taking something like this compound, which is a gingery-spicy compound that's actually used in Sam Adams beer and you can use as a pepper on your foods and all that kind of stuff. Grains of paradise, especially this one that standardized for 6-paradol, upregulates for adipose tissue activity and number. It's going to enhance that that thermogenic caloric expenditure effect. Again, just super small dose, and a fascinating dive into what its effect metabolically is on us, if you were to take it more often or higher doses, and that's something we're exploring right now.
Nucleotides. Nucleotides are the building blocks of RNA and DNA. They can be conditionally essentially similar to amino acids, when you're exercising or stressed at a high level. If you're someone who's intensely exercising or you're someone who's going through a lot physically, mentally, etc., then these nucleotides can help with your recovery. These building block compounds, so that's something that I've been exploring more as well, almost like as the basics, along with essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids, and maybe certain sugars or carbohydrates that could feed the gut in certain ways, I've been looking at these nucleotides as well, so pretty cool stuff.
Tetrahydrocurcumin is my next one, and last one. That one is a metabolite of regular curcumin that comes from turmeric. Tetrahydrocurcumin is the more active metabolite, it has a greater antioxidant effect, a greater anti-inflammatory effect. It's not yellow and staining, like typical curcumin. It's actually a white powder, and it's more concentrated at a smaller dose. I'm always looking to do these things like I think I talked to you about the dihydroberberine, like being a more active form of berberine. It's about anywhere from 5x to 10x, more bioavailable, and it lasts 2x the time in the plasma. We're seeing this with tetrahydrocurcumin too. Yes, there's some curcumins out there that have enhanced bioavailability, like C3, I think by Sabinsa and Curcuwin by Omniactive, I believe. There's some curcumins out there, but this is actually taking the metabolite that's downstream, that's far more effective that curcumin turns into. That's why I do like a lot of my research, too, is looking at these compounds and looking at their metabolic path and seeing what could be the more active version, the more bioavailable version so that we can take lower doses and have greater effects.
Melanie Avalon: That is incredible. I have a curcumin question. They often say to take turmeric or curcumin, the normal type with black pepper. Then, I've actually heard that that is not what you want to be doing.
Shawn Wells: Yeah, that's because of the whole cytochrome P450 inhibition. It depends. What you're doing is you're reducing the liver’s natural detoxing effects, minimizing compounds, not allowing a compound to be too strong or too potent, versus when you inject something or it's internasal, or even anal deliveries, etc., where it goes directly to the bloodstream and bypasses the liver. When you consume things orally, it's a natural protective system, so that not only a compound might not be too potent, but toxins and other things that might be present can't be too potent either, and your body can deal with them over time as you digest it as you deal with it and then absorb it, and etc. The thing with black pepper is if you're consuming the curcumin, yes, you can enhance its bioavailability. But yes, if there's heavy metals present, or some toxin present, or glyphosate present, that was on the curcumin or whatever, you're also taking that up at a higher level. It's the kind of thing that you'd want to be careful with, especially if you're consuming other supplements around it or eating other foods or consuming other beverages or things like that. It's just something to be mindful of that-- and especially it's not just black pepper in particular, it's piperine it's, which is called BioPerine from the one company Sabinsa, that it's an extract from black pepper that really is potent for that effect. Having black pepper on your food is going to enhance bioavailability to some degree, but this is 10x that, 50x that, when you have this compound.
Melanie Avalon: I have another random supplement question. This was way, way back in the day before I was even remotely familiar with ketosis or ketones or anything, and I think the name might be a little bit misleading, but you mentioned it in your book as something that, I don't know, the phrasing you used, but you were like, “Don't ask me about raspberry ketones”?
Shawn Wells: Oh, yeah. [laughs] That's just because I was the first one to bring that to market. There's not tons of data on it, but with preliminary research, I found it to be thermogenic. It occurred naturally in food, so it wasn't difficult for me to synthesize it and bring it to market. I didn't know about patenting, or intellectual property. At that point, I was just like, “Cool. This would be cool to bring out for this company.” We were the first to bring it out. People loved it, and it was cheap. A very cheap ingredient overall. It ended up being in 500 products, 1000 products. Literally, I walk into a pharmacy and see 100 products on the shelf, in the store that were all raspberry ketones, and I was like, “Oh my God.” Then they died down for a little bit. Then Dr. Oz talked about it. Then there is again, like 2000 products on the market with raspberry ketones. I was just like, if I had done any work on this, in terms of intellectual property, I would be a multi-multimillionaire. It's just a lesson for me on how to start patenting things and doing intellectual property work.
Melanie Avalon: I had a feeling that that was going to be the exact story. [laughs] Good times. Good times in the life of Shawn Wells.
Shawn Wells: Yes. Yeah, I've had a number of lessons. I patented theacrine and dynamine. There were some lessons learned there. Those are hugely popular energy ingredients. Then, I put patents around dihydroberberine and exogenous ketones and some other compounds now. Now, I have a team with this one partner in China that has 400,000-square-foot facility, that's GMP with over 100 scientists working with them. Then two partners, Dr. Martin Purpura and Dr. Ralf Jäger. They're two of the most well-known sports nutrition and supplements researchers, they've done work around HMV, and peak ATP, Alpha-GPC, all these compounds worked with the biggest companies, including like Abbott and EAS, and just tons of huge, huge companies, Iovate, that's my team now. I've honed in the process, and I have attorneys that I work with and patent experts. Now it's in a very different place. If anyone has ingredient ideas, I would love to hear them and I work with people on that stuff, too. Melanie, if you got some ideas, let's team up.
Melanie Avalon: I know, now I'm thinking I'm like, “What ideas do I have?”
Shawn Wells: I'm sure you do. If you come across some cool study, and you're like, “Hey, can this be made?” Then, let me know and I'll let you know. If you want to develop a Melanie Avalon product line, let's talk about that too, because I'm a big Melanie Avalon fan, I think you have that, and your people are demanding it. What do you think?
Melanie Avalon: I am so in awe of the work that you do. I feel like I would be emotionally stressed out about having my name on a product. I'm very much in awe of what you do. I would be so concerned that it works perfectly for everybody that it would be a lot. I will be thinking if I come across something. I'm excited.
Shawn Wells: Well, I'm excited to hear from your community if that's what they want from you.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Listeners, if you have any ideas or [laughs] anything you'd like to run by either of us, definitely reach out.
Shawn Wells: Yes. Thank you so much for having me on the show and letting me talk about my book, The Energy Formula. Yeah, you can go to energyformula.com, and it's in presale right now for 99 cents about 90% off, once it launches, it'll be $10. It's an Amazon bestseller in seven categories already and was in the Forbes top 21 books of 2021 at number nine.
Melanie Avalon: Really?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, and was listed on USA Today, in the 20 books you need to optimize your life. Yeah, pretty exciting stuff so far. It comes with a fasting for energy guide that includes fasting for women. I have a very large section on that and what that's like. It comes with a hidden chapter on natural movement. The book is 400 pages with over 100 scientific citations, 60 full color diagrams. These formulators corners that go through all the supplements, resource hacks that go through the various apps and devices that you need, and techniques, like different breathing techniques. Then there's surveys in there to judge your baseline and how you've evolved, and your progress. I mean, it's pretty awesome. All that for $99, ridiculous.
Melanie Avalon: I can echo all of that, listeners. This book is absolutely incredible. Hands down one of the best books I've read in recent history, and it just covers everything, and it's so approachable, it has such a beautiful mindset. It's a very welcoming book. It's very motivational encouraging. It goes into all aspects of health and wellness and particularly, like I said, the mental aspects, so cannot recommend enough that listeners get it. We'll put links in the show notes to everything. Besides the book, how can listeners best follow your work?
Shawn Wells: Yeah, I'm at Shawn Wells, S-H-A-W-N-W-E-L-L-S on Instagram. Then shawnwells.com. Again, I have many guides there on things like how to start with keto, how to start with fasting immune supplements, my top supplements for exercise performance, all these guides that I have on there. Yeah, those are probably the two places to start. Then I do have a bunch of YouTube videos as well, from a number of my podcasts, awesome podcasts like this one. Cool speaking engagements that I've done and different documentaries and TV things that I've done. I'm not a TV star quite like Melanie Avalon, but I've gotten on there some, so.
Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely amazing. The last question that I ask every single guest on this show, and it's just because I realized more and more each day, how important mindset is surrounding everything, which I believe we're on the same page with that. What is something that you're grateful for?
Shawn Wells: I am grateful for you and this show, and I am so grateful that we're friends, and that you desired to connect with me, and that you read the book, and you found value in it. You're just an incredible human being. I'm really just a massive fan of you and it's just great to be in your presence and connected to you, and that feels spiritually in line with me. I'm blessed to be here. I just have so much gratitude for that. Thank you.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you, Shawn. I am just absolutely beaming right now, and I already said I echo it all back, but I do, you are an incredible human being. I'm so happy that I found you, found your work. I love all that you're doing. I love your spirit. I can't wait. We were talking before this recording, we need to meet in person, so that will be beautiful.
Shawn Wells: Yes, maybe we should do like a meetup and meet some Atlanta peeps, a little biohacking meetup going.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, my goodness. That would be so amazing.
Shawn Wells: Maybe even a meat-up with M-E-A-T, get some barbecue.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, [laughs] yes. We can have the carnivore people come. That'd be amazing. All right. Well, Shawn, thank you so much. I'm sure I'll be talking to you a lot in the future. Can't wait to meet you in real life. I will talk to you soon.
Shawn Wells: All right. Thanks, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Bye, Shawn.
Shawn Wells: Bye.