We know that things like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress are all connected. But often we don’t know how. The truth is that our daily decisions are more intertwined than we could ever imagine. Josh Clemente is trying to change that, by empowering individuals with real-time data on their glucose via continuous glucose monitoring technology. Josh argues that such technology isn’t just for sick people – it’s also essential for healthy people so that they can stay healthy. As a guest on the Cleaning Up the Mental Mess podcast, Josh talked to host Dr. Caroline Lead about the science behind insulin resistance, and how bad habits are like potholes that will eventually wreck you if small yet important steps aren’t taken to course-correct.
6:24 – SpaceX: where it all began
Josh first learned about metabolic health when he was working on a project to keep humans safe and healthy in space – and his own health started falling apart.
“I was one of the first four employees that worked on the human spacecraft program at SpaceX. That second half of my career at SpaceX, I started to really dig into the important parts of keeping a person alive and much of that has to do with the metabolic system like breathing in oxygen, taking in vital nutrients, converting those into energy for ourselves. I was working on the breathing side of that with the systems I was designing, but I was reading about the metabolic side of this. And to make a long story short, as my stress levels and my personal responsibility at SpaceX kind of ramped up rapidly, my quality of life and my energy levels seem to be deteriorating equally rapidly. I was reaching this point where I needed to be performing at my best. And yet I felt like I was performing at my worst, despite no change in my physical appearance and my fitness levels…So that led to a personal experience where I started experimenting with measuring blood sugar, and ultimately came across continuous glucose monitoring.”
9:25 – The quest to get a continuous glucose monitor
Josh read about continuous glucose monitoring in Wired to Eat. That’s where he realized that glucose could be the key to understanding how well you are processing the food you eat.
“I read this book that talked about a new technology called continuous glucose monitoring. And this book was Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf. And it was actually about a diet program, but he talks about continuous glucose monitors briefly. And essentially this technology was developed for people who are managing diabetes. And it allows you to get a high-resolution, real-time data stream continuously of your blood sugar. So without pricking your finger, you just get streamed to your phone your glucose information in real-time. That’s really helpful for someone who’s managing diabetes. But for me, I was fascinated by its ability to give deeper insight into the way the metabolism was functioning, how well I was processing the foods I was eating, and how my hormones were responding and sort of reacting to the macronutrients I was consuming and vice versa, and how my macronutrient intake was affecting my hormones. So I really wanted one of these. I asked my doctor for one and he at the time just said this is really for sick people. You do not need this. And really no one needs to worry about these things until there’s a diagnosis and there’s a reason to manage them. And that struck me as backward a little bit.”
11:18 – We are fighting the wrong battle
Blood sugar spikes are like potholes that break down your body’s systems if you keep driving over them repeatedly. Instead of letting your body slowly wreck itself over time, you should be focused on implementing healthier habits.
“A very small disturbance in one corner of the system can easily get out of control and create essentially havoc on a system if it’s not being measured and managed. An easy way to think about this as a shock absorber in a car. As it’s traveling, if it hits a single speed bump, it absorbs that quite well. But we’ve all seen videos or driven in vehicles over potholed roads where the suspension starts to couple with the road surface and you end up with massive shaking and vibrations and things start to break down. And so that’s an example of a dynamic system where the feedback is breaking. And because you’re moving at a certain speed and kicking the system over and over again at the right pace, you’re breaking that system apart. It’s outside of its design criteria. And so the way systems engineering works is that you measure and control everything because you don’t want it to break down, not after it’s already breaking down. And so in my mind, I was just thinking, huh, this is strange. I know the statistics that 95% of metabolic dysfunction is according to the CDC, chronic lifestyle-related, this is preventable stuff. And yet we’re limiting access to the information that could be instructive.”
13:34 – Shocking insight into your body
Josh learned that the way he was feeling was a direct result of his day-to-day actions. He experimented with CGM technology on himself, then iterated and improved it by creating Levels.
“I can now see the direct correlations, and that was just a shocking insight into my body. And I realized, yeah, I’m actually doing this to myself. This whole thing that I thought was a terminal illness was directly correlated to what I was doing every day, trying to power myself more effectively… I then used that same data, the same technology, and started to kind of trial and error and iterate towards better nutritional choices. Understanding that sleep has a major impact. And really modifying my stress management approach too. And introducing some mindfulness and breathing practice into my day-to-day, just sitting down and trying to collect my thoughts when things were getting out of control. And yeah, so that personal transformation led to much better quantitative blood sugar. For me, I’ve improved my glucose dramatically over the past few years. But more importantly, a recognition that I think the accessibility of this technology and the actionability of it could be dramatically improved. And we could spread this to people who can use it in advance of ever receiving a diagnosis. So that’s what Levels is.”
19:41 – Understanding the mechanisms of stress
Being stressed releases a hormone called cortisol. That creates a hormonal cascade that spikes your blood sugar and inhibits your ability to absorb it.
“When I first started using this technology, I was in my late twenties still. I felt like, ‘I’m young, I’m healthy. I don’t need to worry about stress. Stress is something I worry about later in life.’ And most of that was because I didn’t understand what the mechanisms were. Stress felt like a description rather than a mechanism. I now understand that it’s a class of hormones called glucocorticoids. And the reason that glucose is in there is because it directly affects the glucose production system of the liver. So by introducing psychological stress, your brain responds to this fight or flight scenario by releasing cortisol, which primes the body to prepare for a fight or a flight. And to fight or flight, you need energy. And guess where that energy comes from? It comes from sugar. That’s the main energy molecule in the body. So your liver, when that cortisol is present, starts to just flood the bloodstream with more sugar. So it’s taking your storage sugar, your glycogen or even body fat, and converting it through gluconeogenesis into more blood sugar, and just flooding the system.”
25:23 – The science behind insulin resistance
When you pour large amounts of glucose into your body, it is also flooded with insulin. Over time, the saturated cells stop responding to insulin properly.
“How the human body works is it’s essentially a giant chemistry set. You pour one chemical in through the food you intake and then other chemicals respond to it. It should be proportional to what you’re consuming. So some of those chemicals are insulin. It’s a hormone that essentially has to tell you to open up and let glucose in, in order to be turned into energy. And so when insulin responds to glucose, typically that is a very quick process. Over time, if you’re constantly pouring large amounts of glucose into the body and you’re introducing large increases in insulin in order to get that glucose quickly out of the bloodstream, you can create an environment that is constantly flooded with insulin…you can introduce an environment where your cells are so saturated with insulin so often that they can’t respond to it anymore. They’re numb. Imagine you walk into a kitchen where there’s a very strong smell and you smell it and it’s very intense. And then 10 minutes later, you can’t get that same intensity of smell. You’ve adapted. That seems to be what’s happening to these cells, they adapt to the new levels of insulin and they can no longer respond to it.”
31:03 – How to prevent dementia
Studies have shown that when your blood sugar spikes, it creates a hormonal cascade. That stops your brain from functioning properly in the short term, and can lead to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive declines in the long term.
“It seems like if you create one of these situations where you spike your blood sugar, there’s a big hormonal frenzy that responds to it to try to clean up that situation. And in the fallout after that dynamic spike and response, our brains just are not functioning optimally. And that could be an inflammatory thing. It could be the insulin. Or it could be the postprandial hypoglycemic dip. When our blood sugar drops out of its ideal range, because our body overcompensated to the spike, we just maybe don’t have the energy available. And so the mechanisms aren’t entirely clear, but that connection between glucose response and how metabolically fit you are, how capable you are on quickly metabolizing the sugar that you’re consuming, that directly correlates to these cognitive function tests. And so for those of us like myself, who in their family have a history of late-onset dementia, they have to optimize their cognitive health well into the future. I don’t intend to just be physically fit. I also want to be mentally all there. It’s really important to me that for more than just weight loss or weight gain, it’s important to me to control my metabolic fitness long-term to avoid these memory declines.”
37:48 – Everything is connected
We know that diet, exercise, sleep, and stress are all connected. But often we don’t know how. In the future, we’ll be able to see exactly how things like sleep affect the body in real-time.
“I think that the future is understanding how everything is connected. You know, this is all the contexts that you’re building. And that’s the beauty of seeing that sleep is not – for someone like myself, I used to have this gung-ho attitude about sleep. You can sleep when you’re dead, sleep is for other people. It’s not for me. I’ve now recognized that if I really want to have a long, independent life that I’m constantly in control and able to maintain my mental and physical wellbeing, I have to recognize that sleep is critical to that. I need to allow my body time to recover and to modulate. And yes, seeing the blood sugar response, that one mechanism, seeing that molecule and how it fluctuates differently after poor sleep has totally changed my perspective. And I now value eight good hours of sleep in a dark room. I try not to eat too close to bed. And I avoid alcohol as much as possible towards the back half of the day to help as well.”
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:00:00] If you haven’t heard about Anchor, it’s the easiest way to make a podcast. This is how I make my podcasts. Let me explain. It’s free. There’s creation tools that allow you to record and edit your podcast right from your phone or computer. Anchor will distribute your podcast for you, so it can be heard on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and many more. You can make money from your podcast with no minimum listenership. It’s everything you need to make a podcast in one place. Download the free Anchor app or go to anchor.fm to get started. The link to the Anchor app will be in the Show Notes.
Hi. I’m Dr. Caroline Leaf, and you’re listening to my podcast, Cleaning Up the Mental Mess where, I share tips and scientifically tested strategies to help you clean up your mind and life. And we are interviewing experts and specialists on ways we can heal and improve our mental and physical health.
In today’s episode, I interviewed Josh Clemente. One of the founders of a company I’m obsessed with called Levels. Levels uses cutting edge technology to help you easily track your blood glucose in real time, so you can optimize your diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices and mental health. I recently tested out Levels and it was so fascinating and fun to see how certain foods affected me and to see how stress affected my blood glucose levels. I even ran a few experiments on myself testing to see how effective my 5 step NeuroCycle was in helping me lower spikes caused by stress. Let me just say it was amazing how quickly the five steps of the NeuroCycle helped. Josh and I talked about the importance of tracking your glucose, how to know what changes to make based on the data, techniques to help balance your glucose and improve metabolic flexibility, how sleep affects glucose levels, how to use a continuous glucose monitor to optimize mental health and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and so much more. At the end, Josh shares how you can get started with Levels.
Before we begin. I want to remind you that you can now pre-order my new book, “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess,” wherever you buy books. When you pre-order, you will get access to some amazing bonus content and products like exclusive chapters with applications for children, a free downloadable workbook, discounts on mood boosting products from my favorite supplement company, BiOptimizers, and more. But these bonuses are only available if you pre-order now and register your pre-order at cleaningupyourmentalmess.com. This book details how to use my scientifically tested 5 step NeuroCycle process to reduce anxiety, depression and toxic thinking by up to 81%. It’s simple, practical and my best one yet. So hurry over to cleaningupyourmentalmess.com to pre-order your copy today.
Now onto today’s episode.
Josh. I’m so excited to talk to you, the founder of Levels. I’ve just been using the glucose monitor and you’re going to tell everyone what this is all about, but I’ve just used it for the last month and so have my family, a couple of people in my family and I have learned so much. I know a lot about the brain and the body being a neuroscientist and food and we eat keto and organic and farm to table and I do fasted workouts every day and I do the whole story, but I learned so much interesting stuff. So before I talk about that, welcome in, I’m so, so excited to talk to you. Welcome into the studio today. Thank you for joining me and I’m so excited to hear from the Founder of Levels, all the fantastic things that you do and what Levels can do for us.
Josh Clemente: [00:03:43] Thank you Dr. Leaf, for having me on, I’m really excited to dig in. This is certainly a passion of mine personally and now professionally, which I’m lucky to be able to work on such an interesting and I think new and exciting space for innovation.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:03:56] That’s wonderful. It’s fantastic. Before we begin, do you mind just – Listeners have heard your bio, but just tell us a little bit more about yourself personally and maybe something that’s not in your bio and just how you got into this and your background and working with SpaceX and you got a super interesting story.
And by the way, those of you, if you do decide to get the Levels app, it’s wonderful because there’s some incredible articles and the whole story of Levels on the Levels apps. But I will let Josh explain it way better than what I can, but tell us your story.
Josh Clemente: [00:04:23] Yeah. So my background is in aerospace engineering. I actually was originally a gear head obsessed with vehicles generally when I was a teenager. And so that convinced me to go straight into mechanical engineering without thinking twice. It was almost a natural thing when I applied for school. That was what I was going to do. And so I, yeah, completed a mechanical engineering degree, focused on thermodynamics, nothing related to the body or human performance, but I was always an athlete as well. I loved playing sports, had a ton of energy growing up and, yeah, I played ice hockey and lacrosse and rugby and just a ton of high energy sports.
And so when I got out of school, I started working at SpaceX, which was my first engineering gig out of college. And that was a real dream for me. It was taking my love of vehicles and machines to levels that I had never imagined I would be able to ever work on. I assumed I would work on cars or motorcycles or something, and so being able to work on spacecraft and rockets was a phenomenal experience. My passion for sports transitioned into a little bit of a lull where I wasn’t playing sports. I was working a computer engineering job, definitely more stationary than usual, high stress, didn’t really have an outlet.
And so that led me to CrossFit. I decided I needed to get back into fitness. That’s something that’s really important to me. It helps me maintain balance and certainly as it relates to mental health, my physical health is – It’s a two-way street, as you know. You cannot compromise on one without compromising the other. So it was important for me to get back into that. So I became a CrossFit trainer and started to do that on the side, and it kept me really going physically.
But as my professional career ramped up, I started to take on more and more responsibility inside of SpaceX and in particular, we were moving from a space company that launched satellites only, to wanting to build spacecraft that could launch humans. And so I was one of the first four employees that worked on the human spacecraft program at SpaceX. And so that second half of my career I started to, or at SpaceX, I started to really dig into the important parts of keeping a person alive and much of that has to do with the metabolic system, breathing in oxygen, taking in vital nutrients, converting those into energy for ourselves. And so I was working on the breathing side of that with the systems that I was designing, but I was reading about the metabolic side of this.
And to make a long story short, as my stress levels and my personal responsibility at SpaceX ramped up rapidly, my quality of life and my energy levels seemed to be deteriorating equally rapidly. I was reaching this point where I needed to be performing at my best and yet I felt like I was performing at my worst, despite no change in my physical appearance, my fitness levels. It was this mental cloudiness, this mood deterioration, this general feeling of malaise and midday crashes that I was experiencing.
And so as I started to get into the human space flight program and read more and more about what it takes to be healthy as a human being, I discovered the massive component that nutrition and stress management play. And I had never really thought about this as someone who was just an athletic person who liked to work out. So that led to a personal experience where I started experimenting with measuring blood sugar, ultimately came across continuous glucose monitoring, discovered that I had an underlying glucose dysregulation. I spent most of my time in the pre-diabetic blood sugar zones and that changed my life and that led to where I am now.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:07:43] Wow! That’s insane because that’s – First of all, what a fantastic career and how exciting and so super interesting, but also so interesting that you said you were so focused on being intellectually stimulated as well. And so you were brain building and doing what’s really important for mental health. And you were a CrossFit trainer so you were focusing on the exercise, but you had neglected the nutritional side and the mind management side and when that started coming into play and then you got into – So okay. So now set us fast-forward to Levels and what that is and how you – ? Because this obviously is this the background story?
Josh Clemente: [00:08:13] So the way it played out was that I was experimenting with just measuring my glucose almost as just a side quest, just to figure out what’s going on. I wanted to learn more about myself. I had no objective data that I was grounding my decisions in and I’m reading about NASA’s approach to training astronauts to go on long orbital missions. And they’re all about tracking blood levels, and they’re all about stress management and making sure that exercise is good but that nutrition is excellent. And so you have a very good understanding that this person who’s going to go into space is not going to end up with a chronic illness. And I was just thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of objective data that I don’t have and every day I’m making choices all day long that I think are healthy, but I really actually have no reason to believe that I know what I’m doing.”
And so pricking my finger to measure blood sugar was just a thing that I thought might lead somewhere. I read this book that talked about a new technology called continuous glucose monitoring and this book was “Wired to Eat” by Robb Wolf and it was actually about a diet program, but he talks about continuous glucose monitors briefly. And essentially this technology was developed for people who are managing diabetes and it allows you to get a high resolution, real-time data stream continuously of your blood sugar. So without pricking your finger, you just get streamed to your phone your glucose information in real time. It’s really helpful for someone who’s managing diabetes.
But for me, I was fascinated by its ability to give deeper insight into the way the metabolism was functioning, so how well I was processing the foods I was eating and how my hormones were responding and reacting to the macronutrients I was consuming and vice versa, how my macronutrient intake was affecting my hormones.
So I really wanted one of these. I asked my doctor for one, and he at the time just said, “This is really, it’s for sick people. You do not need this and really no one needs to worry about these things until they’re, until there’s a diagnosis and there’s a reason to manage them.” And that struck me as backwards a little bit. It felt like –
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:10:05] That sounds like medicine – Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but that sounds like medicine today where it’s, get sick and then we’ll manage it rather than being proactive. So you decided to be proactive.
Josh Clemente: [00:10:14] Right! That was my intention. Even if it’s just for information just to understand more about my body, isn’t it odd to limit access to data that’s there. My blood sugar levels are changing every day and whether or not I measure them, it’s happening. And so my own awareness of it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not trying to manage anything, I just wanted to know. And so it felt backwards and then also, as a systems engineer, when you have these complicated dynamic systems, a very small disturbance in one corner of the system can easily get out of control and create essentially havoc on a system if it’s not being measured and managed. An easy way to think about this as a shock absorber in a car. A car as it’s traveling, if it hits a single speed bump, it absorbs that quite well, but we’ve all seen videos or driven in vehicles over potholed roads where the suspension starts to couple with the road surface and you end up with massive shaking and vibrations and things start to break down.
And so that’s an example of a dynamic system where the feedback is breaking and because you’re moving at a certain speed and kicking the system over and over again at the right pace you’re breaking that system apart. It’s outside of its design criterion. And so that’s the way systems engineering works is that you measure and control everything because you don’t want it to break down, not after it’s already breaking down.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:11:25] Exactly.
Josh Clemente: [00:11:25] Yeah. And so in my mind, I was just thinking, “Huh! This is strange.” I know the statistics that 95% of metabolic dysfunction is, according to the CDC, chronic lifestyle related. This is preventable stuff, and yet we’re limiting access to the information that could be instructive. So in my own experience, I just, I continued to look around for ways to get access to this technology. Ultimately, I did get one. A friend of mine was in Australia and he brought one back because they’re over the counter there. And within about two weeks, I had enough data to know that my glucose was severely irregular. I was spending the majority of my time outside of the average ranges, sorry, the normal ranges rather. My average glucose was above the pre-diabetic threshold and my post-meal levels were really bad. High spikes – They would sustain high levels above these American Diabetes Association thresholds, and then they would come crashing back down and I would feel this overwhelming fatigue and it was really well synched to my mid afternoon, 2:00 to 3:00 PM, just brain shut down, where I would just want to put my head on my desk and fall asleep and/or drag myself to the cafeteria for another coffee.
And so seeing this stuff, this closed feedback loop between the actions I was taking, that big lunch where I would want to calorie up or carb up because I was going to work out later and I knew I had a bunch of meetings between now and then I wanted to have energy. Then I see that my blood sugar goes through the roof. It stays up there for a little while. I feel flushed. I feel this tingling sensation and then it comes crashing back down and my whole energy system just shuts down. All of that mental and physical fatigue that I’ve been seeing or experiencing, I can now see the direct correlations. And that was just a shocking insight into my body and I realized –
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:13:01] Yeah.
Josh Clemente: [00:13:02] I’m actually doing this to myself. This whole thing that I thought was a terminal illness was directly correlated to what I was doing every day, trying to power myself more effectively. And so that personal experience, that patient zero opportunity, I then used that same data, the same technology, and started to trial and error iterate towards better nutritional choices, understanding that sleep has a major impact and really modifying my stress management approach too and introducing some mindfulness and breathing practice into my day to day, just sitting down and trying to collect my thoughts when things were getting out of control. And yeah, so that personal transformation led to much better quantitative blood sugar for me. I’ve improved my glucose dramatically over the past few years, but more importantly, a recognition that I think the accessibility of this technology and the actionability of it could be dramatically improved and we could spread this to people who can use it in advance of ever receiving a diagnosis.
And so that’s what Levels is.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:13:58] Here’s a fun fact. My family and I love, actually we’re obsessed with high quality avocado and olive oils. We somehow go through buckets of this stuff and these are not cheap. So with the amount that we go through, I’m always on the lookout to find more affordable options for high quality products. And that’s why I love Thrive Market and cannot recommend it enough. It’s our go-to one-stop shop for all things high quality and healthy and at amazing prices you won’t find anywhere else. Thrive Market is an online membership based market on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. Shopping with Thrive Market is healthy without the hassle. You can easily shop for 70 plus diets and values like keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, fairtrade certified, BPA free and more. Skip the store and the lines. Enjoy guaranteed savings and member only prices. Thrive Market members save an average of $32 on every order. Just this past year since becoming a Thrive member, we’ve saved hundreds of dollars on my groceries.
Thrive Market is good for you and the planet. Orders of $49 or more are shipped for free and delivered with carbon neutral shipping from their zero waste warehouses. When you join, you give back through Thrive Gives, the one-for-one membership matching program. Every paid membership sponsors a free one for a low-income family. Thrive Market has two new great membership options. One month membership for $9.95 per month or 12 month membership for $5 a month billed at $59 95. Join Thrive Market today to get 25% off your first order and an exclusive free gift. The only way to get this offer is by going to thrivemarket.com/drleaf. That’s T-H-R-I-V-Emarket.com/drleaf to get the exclusive offer of 25% off your first order and a free gift. You can’t get this offer anywhere else. Go to thrivemarket.com/drleaf.
Thank you very much for sharing that.
So basically when we received the Levels from you, we received a little package and it’s a little, like a little – I should have actually – Mine’s finished, so I’ve thrown it away. But it’s a little contraptions. It’s very simple. You basically just push it into your arm and you have a little thing sticker that is over that and then you put the app on your phone and you scan it after whatever, after breakfast, or – I always do a fasted workout, so for me, it was fascinating to see when I had done the fasted workouts and after Hot Yoga and Orangetheory and then meals and certain different meals. But what was for me the most interesting, because we do eat a very healthy diet, was I saw the most spikes occurring when I was very busy, so stressed in a busy way where I wasn’t managing it and my whole – I’ve written 19 books and my 19th book “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess,” which is just about to come, coming out on the 2nd of March. But essentially that’s about how to manage your mind. So I know the techniques.
So this was super interesting for me, Josh, because here I’m thinking, “Oh, I’m managing. I’ve got my mind under control.” Your glucose monitor showed me, I’d done my own little experiment, that when I wasn’t managing my stress, my glucose levels shot through the roof. One day they went like to 200, which is pretty high. Because I was always in the average, a very good average and it was pretty much always. So there’s only two things that ever spiked me, and I wanted to ask you about this, was when I was extremely stressed from either a work issue or family issue or just whatever, life stuff, the stuff that happens and then when I ate a certain type of keto sweet, funnily enough, because we do all keto. I eat keto all the time. But there’s a certain type of keto sweet that’s supposed to be keto, so it shouldn’t spike and they both spiked in a similar way. But coming to the stress thing, this may be interesting for you as well because I decided to do my own experiment over the three weeks, and each time when I was feeling anxious or stressed or I was under a lot of pressure work-wise or family-wise, or there was something going on, I would measure it. It would shoot up between 180 to 200. I would then apply my mind-management technique of the NeuroCycle, which is what I’ve developed over 38 years, a scientific technique for managing your mind, basically managing stress, managing the symptoms like stress, anxiety, depression, etc., of how you’re managing your life. So those are symptoms of underlying causes. As soon as I applied that within minutes, it came right down on the glucose monitor. So that was super exciting for me to be able to say, “Wow! I can actually see my glucose response totally related to my emotional response.”
Now I’ve just done clinical trials. I looked at people’s psychological narrative, what they’re doing, managing that and I looked at blood and I looked at DNA and I looked in the brain because I’m a neuroscientist and we showed the direct link with stress and cortisol, which we all know, but I showed that when you manage your mind, you can drop your cortisol ratio, DHEA, all that good stuff and he had this glucose monitor, it was telling me a similar story. So that was really interesting. So I just wanted to share that with you. So pick up from there. Tell us what’s going on.
Josh Clemente: [00:18:50] It’s an amazing example and it’s something that I also learned. So when I first started using this technology, I was in my late twenties. Still I felt like I’m young, I’m healthy. I don’t need to worry about stress. Stress is something I worry about later in life. And most of that was because I didn’t understand what the mechanisms were. It felt like, stress felt like a description rather than a mechanism. And I now understand that cortisol, that stress hormone, it’s in a class of hormones called glucocorticoids and the reason that gluco is in there is because it directly affects the glucose production system of the liver. So by introducing psychological stress, your brain responds to this fight or flight scenario by releasing cortisol, which primes the body to prepare for a fight or a flight and to fight or flight, you need energy and guess where that energy comes from? It comes from glucose, typically. That’s the main energy molecule in the body. So your liver, when that cortisol is present, starts to just flood the bloodstream with more sugar. So it’s taking your stored sugar, your glycogen or even body fat and converting it through gluconeogenesis into more blood sugar and just flooding the system. And it actually inhibits your ability to store that sugar. So insulin is interfered with for a while. And so you’ll see these large blood sugar elevations in myself. Going into stressful meetings, I immediately saw this myself. So I could be in a fasted state, no calories, go into a meeting and I’d see a little heart rate elevation, which was typical. It’s okay. That makes sense. But when my blood sugar went 140, 150 mg/dL, that’s well above most, the average –
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:20:21] It’s high.
Josh Clemente: [00:20:22] The normal response to a meal, even with carbohydrates should be below 140. And so I have eaten nothing and this is just due to psychological stress. I just suddenly realized, “Wow!” This connection not only is really important for mental health because by managing that, you can eliminate these hormonal cascades that I think over time start to just break us down. We’re so used to being in this – Yeah. We’re used to being in this elevated set of stress, but secondarily for people who are, for example, trying to lose weight, that glucose that gets flooded into the bloodstream is then going to get, shortly thereafter when you don’t use it for a workout, it’s going to get absorbed back in and converted into fat.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:20:58] Exactly.
Josh Clemente: [00:20:58] And we can actually stress ourselves into obesity.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:21:01] That’s exactly – You’ve explained it beautifully. And in my clinical trials, I showed that direct link between – I didn’t look at nutrition and things on purpose. I just wanted to show people that if you manage your mind, you’re going to change how your brain and body function and we saw those immediate responses.
So that’s why your glucose, the Levels monitor was fascinating for me because you saw it – Like you said in that meeting, that your stress levels increased really high and then once you got it under control. So in other words your monitors are a way of visually seeing what is actually happening in your body. It’s a really cool way of seeing it.
And also, it’s immediate. If you managed your mind and immediately applied my techniques and it worked – My one daughter, she was upset about something and her thing shot through the roof and then we did a NeuroCycle mind-management, within minutes, it came down. So that was exciting.
What was confusing was why the keto sweets did it. That was just an interesting factor. These erythritol and monkfruit and all these sugars, which are not supposed to spike glucose, but they did it. In our family, all of us are on the glucose monitor. So it just shows you, maybe someone else will respond differently. But what I love about your Levels monitor is every person, and you stress this in your description in articles you have on the app, that it’s very unique for each person. And we saw that in the four of us that used it in our family. We all had similar responses to stress and to the keto sweets, but the rest of the day it was very much the individual patterns. It was super interesting to see that.
But what I wanted to ask you now for the sake of my listeners, you have lots of great articles and you’ve got four that I’m just going to capture the title and then I’d love to just take each one as a brief question to show people how Levels, which is this constant glucose monitoring device that you basically put in your arm. It doesn’t hurt and you scan it and you can track your nutrition, your diet, exercise, etc.. You can make stress work for you, not against you, which is exactly what I’ve just been saying the glucose monitor helped me do and that you described. And you’ve got all different things about exercise and weight loss, but I’m going to focus in on energy, mental clarity, and mood and let’s just quickly touch on, “Can controlling my glucose levels give me more energy?” Could you quickly touch on that? You make a few couple of very good points there, fatigue, decreased energy, reduced alertness associated with glucose swings, etc., etc. Just talk to us in a few minutes through energy and glucose and how Levels can help.
Josh Clemente: [00:23:06] Yeah. So the whole core concept of Levels is optimizing our metabolic function. And so a lot of people think of metabolism as how fast my metabolism runs or how quickly I digest an apple or something along those lines. But the reality is that the metabolic system and metabolism itself is defined as the systems, the processes that all of our cells perform to convert our food and environment into energy. So if you think about the human body as just a massive number of cells, every single one of them needs energy, and every single one of them gets that energy from food and sunlight essentially. Those are the main environmental factors. And the primary molecule for that energy is glucose, for most people. Now you’re in a ketogenic state, it sounds like. You’re constantly eating a ketogenic diet, so you also have probably high levels of ketones circulating, which are a form of fat for energy. So that’s the two sources of energy that we can use in our modern human diets. So for the average person, we’re consuming food all day long and that’s being broken down into glucose and/or fat and then that’s being either stored or used for energy immediately. And the way that it is stored or used for energy is through hormones and these are – This is how the human body works is it’s essentially a giant chemistry set and you pour one chemical in through the food you intake and then other chemicals respond to it. It should be proportionally to what you’re consuming. So some of those chemicals are insulin. It’s a hormone which essentially has to tell your cells to open up and let glucose in, in order to be turned into energy. And so when insulin responds to glucose, typically that is a very quick process. Over time, if you’re constantly pouring large amounts of glucose into the body and you’re introducing large increases in insulin in order to get that glucose quickly out of the bloodstream, you can create an environment that is constantly flooded with insulin. This is called hyperinsulinemia and it seems, the mechanisms are not entirely clear, but Dr. Gerald Schulman for example, is digging into the mechanisms and we’re starting to learn more and more through his work at Yale and others like Benjamin Bikman and Dom D’Agostino, we’re starting to understand the way these things start to break down. But essentially you can introduce an environment where your cells are so saturated with insulin so often that they can’t respond to it anymore. They’re numb. It’s similar to, if you imagine – If you ever walked into a kitchen where there’s a very strong smell and you smell it and it’s very intense. And then 10 minutes later, you can’t smell anything. You’ve adapted. That seems to be what’s happening is that these cells adapt to the new levels of insulin and they can no longer respond to it. And so this is the state of insulin resistance wherein even though you have a huge amount of energy technically available, your glucose levels are high, there’s a ton of fuel circulating. You can’t use it because the lock and key mechanism of insulin and the cell is broken. And so this is the situation where fatigue starts to set in and fatigue is one of the number one markers of metabolic dysfunction, both for Type 1, diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, even pre-diabetes and even pre-pre before you’ve even been told anything is wrong, you can associate, and when you start to see your glucose levels in real time, you can start to associate the experience of low energy with the fluctuations in your glucose. And you can start to see how this might be counterintuitive. You could have high glucose and still feel low energy because of this background hormone process, because that’s a little bit of the way this is working.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:26:26] Beautifully – Yeah. Beautifully –
Josh Clemente: [00:26:27] Thank you.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:26:28] No, beautifully explained. That’s excellent. That’s spot on. As a neuroscientist – You explained it. You nailed it. I love it and that’s what I love about the monitor. You can actually see that. And so what we did, which was interesting, Josh, was when we ate the keto sweets and we found we had that spike, we actually had some apple cider vinegar afterwards, and that then immediately brought that spike down. So it stabilized the glucose. So what the glucose monitor did for us was show us the impact of mind-management immediately and also the impact of when you do have a spike from certain foods that are supposedly good for you, you can counter with other – There’s many ways to counter those and bring your blood sugar level down. so you don’t experience that fatigue because definitely, with a spike comes a low and that’s where the fatigue comes in. And as you said, the chronic insulin, chronic glucose problem creates that chronic incident problem and then the lock and key mechanism doesn’t work. And so the glucose monitor isn’t going to fix it, but it’s going to show you what’s happening. Am I right? So that you can actually understand it, see it, and do something about it.
Josh Clemente: [00:27:23] Exactly. Yeah. We believe in this theory of behavior change that the way to change behaviors is to close feedback loops. So the shorter the amount of time between when you take an action and when you experience a reaction, you get feedback on how that went for you, the better your decisions can be going forward. So if I can see very quickly the response to my action, I can then modify that. Whereas, if I take decades to wait for a diagnosis or months to see the scale in the bathroom increase, I’m not learning about how lunch is treating me, if that makes sense.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:27:51] Absolutely. With the NeuroCycle process that I’ve developed as well, which is how you basically drive neuroplasticity in your brain, you get immediate feedback and you will see an immediate feedback over time. So that is important in your behavior change in the way you’re feeling. So I totally agree with that. If we can see something and experience something quickly and then as well as over time, because your glucose monitor teaches you over time, that does help people. As you said, you close that feedback loop. I love that.
Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about optimizing mental clarity. Most people are aware that large swings in glucose can in fact affect memory, specifically the hippocampus. We also saw that at my clinical trials. So talk a little bit about glucose, elevated glucose, mental health, memory, etc. You’ve got a great article on that in here too.
Josh Clemente: [00:28:30] Yeah. There’s a ton in there, but I’ll just –
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:28:32] Just briefly.
Josh Clemente: [00:28:33] I’ll summarize – Yeah. I’ll summarize one study that I found was really compelling, which is essentially, research took people who had evidence of insulin resistance. So they didn’t have diabetes. There was no diagnosis yet. And they showed that these 122 young, non-diabetic participants performed worse on cognitive function tests as a function of how well they process glucose. So essentially the people who had the worst blood sugar responses to a drink that had some sugar in it, so you can imagine like a soda.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:29:01] Yeah.
Josh Clemente: [00:29:02] Those people were far more likely to do worse on memory tests. And these were tests that did word recall, paragraph recall, I think the order of words on a list. So directly correlated with how well they could process the sugar they consumed. These people responded on the memory tests after having this large sugary drink. So what this tells us is that when you spike your blood sugar, you drink a sugary drink, your blood sugar goes very high, for those of us that don’t do well at getting that blood sugar out of the bloodstream, there’s an inflammatory response.
So this is a second situation, but your body wants to keep very tightly controlled glucose levels. If they’re too high, you can start to cause tissue damage and inflammation. If they’re too low, you can – You risk –
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:29:44] Go into a coma.
Josh Clemente: [00:29:45] Yeah. You can go into a coma. You could die. And it wants to very tightly control it and it seems like if you create one of these situations where you spike your blood sugar, there’s a big hormonal frenzy that responds to it to try to clean up that situation. And in the fallout after that dynamic spike and response, our brains just are not functioning optimally, and that could be an inflammatory thing. It could be the insulin or it could be the post-prandial hypoglycemic dip when our blood sugar has now dropped out of its ideal range because your body overcompensated to the spike, we just maybe don’t have the energy available. And so the mechanisms aren’t entirely clear, but that connection between glucose response and how well, how metabolically fit you are, how capable you are of quickly metabolizing the sugar that you’re consuming, that directly correlates to these cognitive function tests. And so for those of us like myself who – In my family, we have a history of late onset dementia – I want to optimize my cognitive health well into the future. I don’t intend to just be physically fit. I also want to be mentally all there. Yeah. It’s really important to me that for more than just weight loss or weight gain. It’s important to me to control my metabolic fitness long-term to avoid these memory declines.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:30:49] So this is very important. I’ve done a lot of work with dementia and Alzheimer’s and your mind is first order and you’re using what you basically – If I listened to how you’ve described this, what you’ve done once again, you nailed it so beautifully how you described it. We need to use our mind all the time to be monitoring everything. So we’ve got to be very proactive in being preventive, and we can be. Just because your family’s got that propensity, it doesn’t mean you have to get it. That’s something we need to stress. People are dying 15 to 25 years younger from preventable lifestyle diseases and it’s being tracked back to how people are managing their mind to manage things like diet, exercise, stress, etc. So things like Levels, we’re talking about your particular concept today, Levels, is a great visual way of actually helping to monitor glucose. And glucose spikes will affect memory and we saw that in my research too. Every time when you talk about memory, this is what thoughts look like in the brain and I always use this analogy and you talk about spikes effecting the memory in that study and in this article, you talk about the hippocampus. The hippocampus is part of the brain that converts short to long-term memory. And what’s really interesting is you need the energy to do that. And these thoughts can actually disintegrate and break down and we don’t get access to them and they’re blocked and they’re whatever, all kinds of things, if we don’t have the right kind of energy in our brain.
So that’s really great. Thank you for bringing up that study. I just wanted to add that to [inaudible] that this is really important. I really believe in what you’re doing and teaching and your whole system. It’s fantastic.
Josh Clemente: [00:32:09] Yeah. And just one final point on that is, there’s also research that shows that hippocampal shrinkage, so parts of the brain that shrink in older people, it’s directly connected with impaired glucose tolerance. So it could be bi-directional. So as your brain starts to deteriorate, you also lose metabolic function. And some medical schools are now teaching that Alzheimer’s is a form of Type 3 diabetes. So it’s just the strength of the connection between cognitive function and metabolic function are just very strong. And as you touched on there, and I really just want to underline that point is that, this is not something that is binary. You’re not either metabolically healthy or unhealthy. And that’s why we talk about metabolic fitness. So with focus, effort and repetition, just like what you put into your mindfulness practice or going to the gym to get stronger, by focusing on better decisions with our daily lifestyle choices around sleep, stress and nutrition, we can also improve our metabolism and our metabolic function.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:33:00] Totally!
Josh Clemente: [00:33:01] There’s absolutely no question.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:33:02] Absolutely! Totally! I totally agree with you. I thought my metabolism was pretty good and it was pretty good right from the beginning of using Levels, but using three weeks or four weeks of the Levels, I saw an improvement.
So I improved the way that my metabolic function was working and it was pretty good in the beginning. So there’s always room for improvement and that’s so important what you said about the hippocampus shrinkage and I’m so glad you brought up about Alzheimer’s Type 3. I’ve written about that in my books about you’ve got to look at Alzheimer’s differently. It’s very related to diet and very related to mind-management, to stress as well, which also causes that hippocampus shrinkage. So even if you’re eating a great diet, and you’ve actually said this but I’m just going to re-emphasize it, even if you are eating a great diet and you are doing exercise, if you’re not managing your stress, your glucose levels will still go crazy, which can still set you up for Alzheimer’s. This is a way of actually monitoring and seeing.
Let’s talk about depression. You’ve got one thing on here about glucose and mood swings, and then you’ve also got about to sleep. So let’s just touch a little bit on monitoring glucose for sleep, monitoring glucose for mood levels. I think those are two quite interesting things.
Josh Clemente: [00:34:00] Absolutely. So the sleep connection for me has been really impressive to see in real time. So the difference between how your baseline blood sugar responds to one single poor night of sleep and how your body changes its response to the same meal after poor sleep is profound.
And so one study, and I’m going to try to recall specifics, but one study showed that a single night of going from eight hours of sleep to, I believe four hours of sleep caused these participants to have a 40% worse blood sugar response. In other words, 40% more insulin was released in order to clear the same amount of glucose from their bloodstream.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:34:37] This is crazy.
Josh Clemente: [00:34:38] And essentially what’s happening here is some sort of adaptive insulin resistance where the brain – Because your body is in a hyper stressed state, because you did not sleep well, your brain and body weren’t able to recover, you are in another mode of essentially stressed adaptation, where you’re trying to just get through it and your brain and body are, it seems like, preserving resources to try to just get through the stressful time. And I’ve seen this myself. If I get off a red-eye flight, I’ve slept very poorly and my responses to meals are significantly worse. And what’s scary is that many of us know that after a poor night of sleep, when we’re tired, we’re stressed, we’re trying to get through the workday we’ll oftentimes comfort ourselves with worse food. So those are the days when we’re going to indulge because I had a rough day and I didn’t sleep well and I just want to, I want to eat something to feel good. It’s becoming more clear that when we’re compromised on one lever – So there’s four big levers, stress management, sleep, exercise, nutrition – When we’re compromised on one of those, it’s far more important to make up for it on the other three. So if you have the information, if you see that your blood sugar is elevated, you’re in an alert, high-stress environment because of poor sleep, you can now see that feedback and recognize, “Oh, my body is compromised right now and I need to treat it even better than I otherwise would.” So rather than indulging on something that’s going to further the kick to my system, I’m going to bias towards something that’s really – I’ve seen it work really well for me in the past. Or eventually as Levels improves, Levels will recommend, “Here is an opportunity for you to eat this instead of that because you didn’t get good sleep last night,” and we can recognize that and preserve those opportunities for you to treat yourself even better.
And so I think that’s the future is understanding how everything is connected. This is all the contexts that you’re building. And so that’s the beauty of seeing that sleep is not – For someone like myself, I used to have this gung-ho attitude that you can sleep when you’re dead. Sleep is for other people. It’s not for me. I’ve now recognized that if I really want to have a long, independent life that I’m constantly in control and able to maintain my mental and physical wellbeing, I have to recognize that sleep is critical to that. I need to allow my body time to recover and to modulate. And yes, seeing again, blood sugar response, that one mechanism, seeing that molecule and how it fluctuates differently after poor sleep has totally changed my perspective and I now value eight good hours of sleep, dark room. I try not to eat too close to bed and I avoid alcohol as much as possible towards the back half of the day to help as well.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:37:01] Brilliant! I love how you say that.
I am a big believer in the healing power of CBD. But with so many CBD products out there, it can be hard to know what is the base quality and worth the money. So after doing extensive research and tasting different products, I switched to Ned. They produce the highest quality full spectrum CBD extracted from organically grown hemp plants all sourced from an independent farm in Colorado. Ned is a trusted wellness brand, offering science backed and nature-based solutions that offer an alternative to prescription and over the counter drugs and they do not cut corners nor spare expense when it comes to CBD production. They use zero isolate or synthetic ingredients and share third-party lab reports for full transparency. Ned’s high quality products can be used as a sleep aid and help with insomnia and anti-inflammatory and natural pain reliever to treat anxiety and PTSD, to treat depression, as a rich source of antioxidants, treatment of serious chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more.
If you want to check out Ned and try their CBD for yourself, I have a special offer for you. Go to www.helloned.com/drleaf or enter Dr. Leaf at checkout for 15% off your first one-time order or 20% of your first subscription order plus free shipping that’s H-E-L-L-O-N-E-D.com/drleaf to get 15% off your first one-time order or 20% off your first subscription order plus free shipping. Subscription orders are already discounted 15% of the one-time purchase price. Your discount code will add 5% off for a total of 20% of subscription orders. The link and offer details will be in the Show notes.
I love everything you’ve said. I want to just emphasize is you talk about this, almost the concept of self-regulation and it’s something, if my audience knows me, I say self-regulation all the time. We’re designed to self regulate, we’re actually designed to self-regulate every 10 seconds. So what you’re providing is another pillar of helping visually to self-regulate to looking at your glucose because glucose tells us such a story. And you said the word self-regulate, you can actually look, you can self-regulate, you can look at the patterns you can – So you’ve got some guidance, some guidelines to increase your self-regulation skills. And as a human, we can stand back and observe our own thinking and then our frontal lobe goes into a certain state and we can do that every 10 seconds. That’s what my research has shown as a neuroscientist and here you’re providing a way to make that easier to do. And you said something else I want to emphasize that’s fantastic that you’ve got the four pillars. Yes. But also that those systems operate in isolation and that’s such an important concept because in today’s current way that health and medical information is given to the public, it’s very isolated. This gene causes this and that that it’s almost like everything’s – if I take that out, then I’ll be fine or if I add that – But nothing works like that. You said it earlier on, everything is a system. So you’ve got glucose. It doesn’t mean glucose is the thing, but it’s certainly telling us a story, but it’s linked into everything else. So it’s giving us a little bird’s eye view to self-regulate, but be sure if you’re glucose is spiking, it is having a multitude of effects across the entire system of all the systems of your body and your brain, which is – I’m glad you said that.
Josh Clemente: [00:40:20] Exactly. I love the way you put that. And one way I like to think about it is historically, human beings have been constantly searching for their next calorie. We never knew where our food was going to come from and so we were in a state of scarcity and any calories we came across, we consumed because we needed to have that energy available. So we never evolved the mechanism to have a negative consequence for eating certain foods. We don’t have a feedback loop because we never had an abundance that could harm us. And so now we’re in a position where we can live sedentary lives. We can eat more processed calories in a single sitting than a human a few hundred years ago would come across in their lifetimes. And so now we’re able to basically break the system in the other direction. We’re able to, we can actually get illnesses of abundance and because we don’t have that sensory feedback loop, our body’s never evolved it, we have to supplement that. And I think that this data, this real-time data that shows you, the person, how you are responding to your choices. You can guide yourself. That can be your sensory feedback mechanism, and nobody wants to hurt themselves, but I think we can show people the effects of their decisions, and then they’ll be able to make better ones and it won’t be really a struggle. It won’t take even motivation because you don’t want to harm yourself.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:41:29] I love it. We can show people the effects of their decisions and that’s – I love it. You’re speaking my language. I talk about that in my work as well. That ability to self-regulate and show people the effects of their decisions. I don’t know if you’re aware of the population studies that show that we are actually – With the advances in medicine and technology you’d think people would be living longer, which they have been for decades. But that trend has reversed. Between 2014 and 2015, people are dying younger with all the advances and it’s really coming down to preventable lifestyle diseases, which comes down to mind-management and I see your Levels program and your Levels concept. This physical thing that you can put in your arm and you can monitor your metabolism, your glucose functioning is one of the ways that we can start training ourselves again to actually become more self-regulated and become more aware of all of the ways that we should be functioning. And you said another thing about how the survival instinct to eat healthy calories in our diet and how we’ve become so sedentary and how that’s affected our lifestyle. That’s also contributed to people, there’s many factors, but it’s one of the lifestyle factors. And that is so important to understand that if we constantly are doing that kind of thing, we’re going to affect how we function. We can just become more aware of that. It’s so good. So you’re helping to do all of that kind of thing.
Can you end off, Josh, with just telling us a little bit about – I wanted to ask about the – You’ve got a great article on a little bit about mood. So if we can briefly touch on that mental health mood. We’ve spoken about stress, sleep, whatever, and we know sleep is going to contribute to mood, but just tell us a little bit about how Levels can help with mood monitoring.
Josh Clemente: [00:42:54] So this is one that anecdotally I have benefited tremendously from. By taking control of my metabolic health – My mood has really transformed over the past few years from that low point where I was really feeling poor physically and mentally, but I also had, I was at my lowest point in terms of my mood in my entire life.
And so we don’t understand the mechanisms very well. There are a few links that have been established, but just to lead off, the link between disorders of glucose control and increased risk of mood disorders is really strong, and in fact, people with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have depression as those without, and then a diagnosis of anxiety is basically 20% higher in those with diabetes than without.
And some of the mechanisms, again, it’s not entirely clear, but it seems like insulin resistance is another really big one. So insulin resistance in the brain, it’s a symptom of, or potentially a driving mechanism of Type 2 diabetes, seems to cause these mood dysfunctions where it could be firing in the brain, then hijacked by poor insulin function. Or it could be chronic stimulation of stress hormones. So you’re in an inflamed state all the time. Your body’s at a heightened inflammatory condition and stressed out because you have high glucose levels that you can’t control because you’re insulin resistant. And so you’re basically just in this constantly inflamed state and your brain is focusing resources elsewhere and/or your brain tissue is being affected in some way, which again, I’m not an expert here. So I have to defer this one a little bit. But my understanding is that this chronic inflammation is causing hyperstimulation and affecting mood in some way that could be due to hormones or some other mechanism that I hope that we can uncover eventually.
But that link between the rates of depression, the rates of anxiety and other mood disorders and these preventable metabolic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes is so strong that it’s just, it’s too much to ignore. And just having experienced myself a small degree of blood sugar dysfunction that I was able to correct and the corresponding improvement in not only my energy levels and the consistency of them, but my mood. My mood has been restored and that is one of the best quality of life indicators for me is just how I feel.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:44:53] That is fantastic and I can correlate, I can actually support what you’re saying by my most recent clinical trials, where we saw a significant change in cortisol where cortisol was too high and it dropped to the levels that were safe, which meant that DHEA went up and also their homocysteine, which indicates inflammation also dropped significantly. We saw that through mind-management through the NeuroCycle that I’ve developed, which I’ve been mentioning a couple of times, is basically how you get your mind under control in situations. So whether it’s dealing with tumors, toxic traumas, habits, day-to-day, just day-to-day stress or just living, it’s basically how you manage your mind all the time. Until we saw an immediate link and then also a sustainable link at seven days – 4, 7, 21, 42, today is 63. But the point is that if your cortisol is dropping, it means that your glucose levels are dropping as well or going back to normal levels because you can’t have – If your cortisol is high, glucose is going to be doing this, and if cortisol is calm and DHEA is up, glucose is going to be stable. And if cortisol is up and glucose is up, homocysteine will be up and that’s inflammation.
So in the brain, what we saw was that pattern. People that were highly anxious, highly depressed that hadn’t dealt with – And that’s not an illness, it’s simply a symptom of an underlying cause. When they didn’t manage that, then they had the patterns and I bet you, if they had your Levels monitor on, we would have seen crazy spikes. But as they got control, we saw massive changes in the brain in the different energy levels, gamma, delta, theta, alpha, gamma, beta, and so on. And we saw rebalancing. We saw homocysteine dropping almost immediately. So it makes me excited to think we should do some research with you with the Levels monitor to actually check the glucose because that would have been affected for sure.
So yes, there is a mechanism at play. Mood will definitely change. If glucose stabilizes, if cortisol stabilizes, homocysteine stabilizes, and a million – even prolactin, which is another neurohormone, which is in males and females, will change. Your DNA will change. Your telomeres will change. When your glucose is going crazy, your telemere is shortened. So yes, there’s multiple mechanisms backing up what you’re saying in terms of monitoring glucose. We should be monitoring our glucose. It’s so important.
Josh Clemente: [00:46:55] Yeah. I love hearing more about those mechanisms that I don’t fully understand, but it’s amazing to hear the research you’ve done and I definitely think that this real-time biowearable technology, starting with glucose, but I think branching into more molecules. We, by the way, are starting a clinical research program, which intends to continue to define the mechanisms that underlie normal metabolic function. And yeah, certainly we’d love to learn more about how we can maybe collaborate, but generally speaking, I just think we need to embrace the advancements of this technology and broaden its applications. There’s no reason that everyone shouldn’t have information about how they’re functioning and we aren’t entirely sure what we’re going to discover, but I can imagine that more data will get us there.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:47:35] Absolutely.
Josh Clemente: [00:47:35] I’m excited.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:47:36] So on that note, Josh, I want to thank you so much for this great talk and so fascinating. There are so many different avenues we could have continued down and it’s absolutely fascinating.
Where can people get hold of this Levels and find out more about you and your work and how they can actually get the glucose monitoring into their life?
Josh Clemente: [00:47:53] Yes. First of all, thank you very much for having me on, and this was a great conversation. I recommend that everyone start off with the blog. So if you go to levelhealth.com, you can click the blog there and not only cover the topics and articles that we briefly touched on here and I tried to summarize, but dig deeper into them and into a whole lot more about metabolic awareness, metabolic fitness, and how it touches you.
We all have a metabolism. We’re all somewhere on the metabolic health spectrum and every one of us has room for improvement. And so learning about metabolic optimization techniques, that’s what we publish about on the blog and we’d love to hear your thoughts. You can then sign up for our wait list on the homepage at Levels Health. That’ll sign you up for the newsletter, get you onto the waitlist where we’re working really hard to get this to everyone. Right now, we’re still in development and so we’re in an invitation only beta, but this year we’re going to be broadening access. And so please sign up, stay in the loop and we’ll be getting information on how you can get access to the Levels kit.
Dr. Leaf, I think you have a link where people can potentially jump right to the head of that wait list and get started on the beta if they’d like to participate in development.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:48:52] Which is fantastic. Yeah. We do have that.
Josh Clemente: [00:48:53] Great!
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:48:56] That will be in the Show Notes.
Josh Clemente: [00:48:59] Perfect. So in the Show Notes. And so if you’d like to be a part of our development program, that’s where to do it. You can get early access to Levels right now, and you can help us understand how our product is working for you and where we can improve. And so definitely appreciate anyone that does that. And then I recommend everyone follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Levels. And I personally have an Instagram @josh.f.clemente if you’d like to follow along with me.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: [00:49:20] Fantastic. Thank you so much. That’s absolutely wonderful. Thank you for a great discussion. It was really great.
I hope you found today’s podcast interesting and helpful. If you want more tips and help with managing anxiety, depression and mental health, be sure to visit my website at drleaf.com. And to sign up for my weekly newsletter, we also include a schedule of my speaking events and so much more, and follow me on social media. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Just look for Dr. Caroline Leaf. Also I love seeing all your posts on social media about this podcast. I love seeing what resonates with you and what you’ve learned. So be sure to continue posting and tagging me and letting me know what you think and How these tips worked out for you. And don’t forget, leave a review and keep spreading the word about this podcast.
Thank you for joining me today. I really hope you learned something new and helpful. Till then, I’m Dr. Caroline Leaf.
This podcast represents the opinions of myself and my guests. The content here should not be taken as medical advice. The content here is for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult your healthcare professional for any individual medical questions you may have. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we are sharing is accurately, we welcome any comments, suggestions or corrections of errors.