Self Directed Adaptive Plasticity?
Updated: Aug 24
Be Your Own Neuroscientist!
You may not think that your bio-hacking and self-betterment practices qualify as neuroscience, but you are employing various tools of neuroscience whenever you actively work to make changes to your life and to how you experience life.
When we choose to use Nootropics (and we DO!) we are ingesting substances that alter our internal neurochemical environment without any sort of self directed effort.
I know exactly what to take to increase Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Gaba, Serotonin...I've even played with oral Oxytocin! And I've played with these substances for so long that I'm pretty damn good at knowing which neurotransmitter "button" to target and when to push it.
Now, if you've spent any time with me you've likely heard me say "I like to EARN my happy chemicals." That statement may seem to contradict my penchant for playing with nootropic substances, but it does not.
Self Directed Adaptive Neuroplasticity.
I believe we should employ ALL tools available to us as curious, sentient, striving primates towards the end of living our best possible lives. Huberman speaks of the self creation of specific neurotransmitter states as acts of "Self Directed Adaptive Plasticity." I've also seen this concept referred to as Self-directed Neuroplasticity. Personally, I like to think of it in terms of exogenous vs endogenous neurochemical creation.
I can take L-Tyrosine or Macuna to increase Dopamine, but NOTHING gets Dopamine flowing for me like learning something new or adding additional miles to a difficult mountain run. I can take AlphaGPC or chew some Nicotine gum to get Acetylcholine flowing, but to keep it flowing I need only direct my focus on a topic of interest (there are genetic and nutritional components at play here as well).
Serotonin? I can gather together a group of friends OR take some 5-HTP. Oxytocin? Order a nasal spray OR cuddle with my puppers! Elevated Ketones? I can take some of HVMN's epic ketone esters (I have & will do so again!) OR I can stay in the ketonic state and train fasted to get my own endogenously produced bump in ketones.
A More Conscious Role In Your Neurochemistry.
The point here is that there are MANY ways to effectively and predictably alter our neurochemistry. I have though found that the BEST PRACTICES in self directing one's neurochemistry involve learning how to create and re-create various mental states without outside substances. We can then artfully & with precision begin dropping nootropic substances into the mix.
Back to Dr. Andrew Huberman. This guy. Huberman explains this entire realm in a way that I've not heard or read before. He offers science alongside actionable tools that we can all use to better our brains. If I may, start with this interview he did with Kyle Kingsbury on the Onnit Human Optimization Podcast. In this chat you'll learn about balancing states of excitation and inhibition in terms of your nervous system. You'll get an education in prolactin & the Coolidge effect. You'll learn a bit about breathing, mediation and the criticality of morning sunlight in sleep and circadian rhythm. Full disclosure...I've listened to this one at least four times. I listen to ALL of Dr. Huberman's interviews multiple times. I take notes and use those notes as jumping off points for further learnings. Such is the life of a high dopamine nootropically enhanced autodidact.
Yep. This May Seem Like A Lot...
Yea... I'm clear that I'm a bit exhausting for many people. The beauty, though, of learnings such as those offered by Dr. Huberman is that he offers tools based on neurobiology and encourages us to live in a way where we're both driven and less exhausting to OURSELVES.
In this community of self-driven, self-optimizing, biohacking autodidacts, balance is key. We ARE our brains. And the neurochemicals and hormones coursing through our brains and bodies are the lens through which we view and experience existence. Keep up the learning and evolving friends!
And if you fall as hard into intrigue & curiosity with Dr. Huberman as we have, this link lists out all of his podcast appearances. We highly recommend filling your ears and your brains with his teachings.
Stay well out there! And thank you for your willingness to jump down rabbit holes with us. We appreciate you! In case you need some additional focus to keep up with Huberman, here's a 20% off coupon for use on your next purchase of our Keto Brainz Nootropic: "LOVENOOTS!"
Big love to you human friends! <3