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How to Achieve Optimal Rest and Recovery | Dr. Kirk Parsley

Episode 60, duration 1 hr 48 mins
Episode 60

How to Achieve Optimal Rest and Recovery | Dr. Kirk Parsley

Dr. Parsley began his journey into the realm of peak human performance when he became a Navy SEAL at the ripe age of 19 years and went on to serve during the Gulf War. After a brief hiatus from the SEAL community to complete his undergraduate studies, medical school, his internship and residency, Dr. Parsley then went full-circle and became the physician for the West Coast SEAL teams. His incredible success with the SEALs lead to him becoming the go-to medical human performance expert for not only the SEALs, but the entire special forces of the US military, even after his departure from the military practice and into private consulting. Dr. Parsley is currently a highly sought after human performance expert and works with the elite of the elite in their respective fields. Countless entrepreneurs, professional sports teams, top tier athletes, international corporations, and high level executives turn to Doc when they need that extra boost to ascend to their peak capabilities.


In this episode we discuss:
– Why better sleep is the most powerful thing you can do for overall health.
– What you can do to perform at your most optimal levels.
– How to counteract the effects of chronic stress.
– Peptides, Hyperbaric, Psychedelics, and other cutting-edge performance boosters.

00:00:00 Introduction

00:02:39 Navy SEALs: Kirk’s Story

00:09:31 Treating Fatigued Soldiers

00:15:54 Getting off Ambien

00:22:25 Peptides and Hormones

00:26:25 Nootropic Growth Factors for PTSD

00:30:40 Peptide Deep Dive

00:42:52 Testosterone Production in Men with Low Levels

00:46:29 Clomid vs. Enclomophine

00:50:30 What About Stimulants Like Caffeine and Nicotine?

00:51:36 Sleep Deprivation and Brain Health

00:58:25 How to Sleep With a Stimulant

01:06:21 More Anxiety-Relieving Drugs?

01:14:21 How to Lower Your Stress

01:25:22 Traumatic Brain Injuries

01:33:04 Hyperbarics and Chronic Head Injuries

01:42:15 Getting Enough Sleep

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Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:00:01]

Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show where I believe a healthy world is based on transparent conversations. In today’s episode of The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show, I sit down with Dr. Kirk Parsley. Dr. Parsley served as a Navy SEAL during the first Gulf War. He was tasked with being the SEAL team physician for the West Coast SEALs and really, after the realities of eight years of nearly continuous combat, were beginning to weigh on the SEALs, and Dr. Parsley was tasked with optimizing and maintaining the performance of the most incredible and toughest men in the world. He was struck by the disparity between health care and actually health. During this time, Kirk was forced to learn an enormous amount of alternative medicine, the alternative treatments in medical literature, synthesize and apply it in a way that was both effective and practical for the SEALs to maintain peak performance 365 days a year.

There are so much that we can learn from Dr. Parsley. He’s worked with thousands of elite performers and have had tremendous success from the physical to the cognitive to emotional performance. In this episode, we talk all about ways in which you can perform to your most optimal, peptides and other strategies for peak performance, and finally, the importance of sleep on training, life, and overall wellness.

Please take a moment to rate, subscribe, share this episode, and let’s dive in.


Now a word from our sponsor,BetterHelp.BetterHelp is a great sponsor for the show, and especially for this episode. Whether you are a veteran or non-veteran, your brain is designed for fight or flight.We have a warring brain, and how we experience our mind affects how we experience life. It’s important to invest time and energy to keeping your brain and mind healthy. There are plenty of ways to support a healthy brain like therapy.BetterHelp is online therapy. I have never met a patient who regrets speaking to someone or who regrets therapy. Again, whether you are a veteran or non-veteran, BetterHelp is an online therapy that offers video, phone, even livechat-only therapy sessions, so you don’t have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to. It’s much more affordable than an in-person therapy session. You can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. My listeners get 10% off their first month at’ve had some family members use this who absolutely love this. This company is very responsive.They have email sequences; reallywell done. If you want to be a better version of yourself, head on over to

Special thank you to KOZE Health for sponsoring this episode of the show. I have been using KOZE RedLight for quite some time.Here is how I use red light. I put the big panel on. I sit there for 10 minutes. I sit about four inches away, and I hang out. I read.It really helps with my skin. It helps with my mental cognition, the way I focus, really helps my body. I swear it makes me perform better at the gym and recover and really anchors my sleep-wake cycles. There has been a lot of research over the years on photobiomodulation, which is exactly what red light therapy is. KOZE makes an amazing product, EMF-free from four inches away, non-flicker.They will give you a 60-day money back guarantee on every product that you purchase. Customer requests are responded to within a few hours. If you don’t want a red light,while you should have one, they also make incredible light bulbs.We use their day and their night light bulbs all over the house to really help improve our environment for optimal health. KOZERed Light is offering my listeners 10% off your first order. Go to


Dr. Kirk Parsley, how did you like that intro?

Dr.Kirk Parsley[0:05:06]

Great. That’s all we need, and that’s a wrap.

Dr.Gabrielle Lyon[0:05:16]

I’m so grateful to have you on.You are a former Navy SEAL, physician, friend, colleague, overall amazing human.

Dr.Kirk Parsley [0:05:24]

You’re going to make me blush.Yeah, I’m a SEAL. I enlisted right out of high school. I actually dropped out of high school to join the Navy.

Dr.Gabrielle Lyon [0:05:34]

You dropped out of high school to join the Navy?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:05:37]

Yes. Well, that makes it sound more romantic than it was.Actually, I went through four years of high school, but I was only a sophomore by credits at the end of that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:05:45]

So really not a good student?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:05:47]

Never. I started getting D’sand F’s in third grade.I think I got pushed ahead by my classes.I just didn’t have any interest in school.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:05:57]

But you’re a highly skilled physician, highly trained SEAL, and you got D’s and F’s, finished four years of high school and dropped out.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:06:07]

I had a very dysfunctional, abusive home life that kept me up till one or two in the morning with the cops at the house and all this stuff, so a lot of coming and going, moving in with relatives.It just wasn’t a good environment to be a kid. I justrebelled at school.That was the only timeI had any safety or fun was at school, so I didn’t want to waste all that time reading.Plus, like I said, a total blue collar, redneck family, it’s like book learning’s for sissies.If you want to be a man, you learn to be a mechanic or welder, offshorefisherman or something, so I just didn’t value it. I still didn’t value it when I went to the SEAL teams. But then,in my day, you had to go get a job before you go to BUD/S because almost everybody fails,so you have to have a place to go back to.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:07:11]

Meaning, a job in the Navy like a corpsman.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:07:15]

Yes. I was a gunner’s mate, so I had to go to basic electronics school and then gun school, which was a bunch of hydraulics and all this stuff and I graduated the top of my class in all those.When I joined as a SEAL, nobody knew what the hell a SEAL was.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:07:34]

How many years ago was that? I mean, you’re only 25.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:07:38]

1987. Literally, when I came home to see friends and relativesand I’d tell them I’m a SEAL, they had no idea what that was.They’re like, is thatlike you work at SeaWorld?What does that mean, you’rea SEAL?We went from this dirty dozenragtagmisfits that we think we can keep out of prison and direct towards something useful.It washow the SEALs started. I mean, they were like the grubby troublemakers, people with authority problems and all that, but more flexibility that you could capitalize on. After a while,they started gaining notoriety, and especially post 9/11 and then after bin Ladenand all that stuff whenSEALs becamelike this celebrity status. Now you have peoplewith Master’s degrees coming in as enlisted because that’s the only way they can get in because it was so competitive to get there. However, the attrition rate never changed. It didn’t matter how many people you sent there. When I went through BUD/S, yourclass maybe started at 150 people, but you have 300-person BUD/S classes now.Guess what? It ends up the same size.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:08:52]

How many usually get through?

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:08:55]

It’s about anywhere from 10% to 15% who will graduate, and most of those you lose by the end of hell week. You lose a lot on the way to hell week, and then you lose a lot in hell week. We were just watching the video the other day. This BUD/S class right around the corner,it was right before hell week, and it just went on forever. It was like a train running by and then does a little SpongeBob one week later. Then 12 guys coming with two guys limping in the back. The attrition rate never changed. It didn’t matter what they did. When I went to training, you weren’t allowed to fail anything.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:09:38]

There wasno medical rollbacks or anything.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:09:40]

No. They just started medical rollbacks.I think they started that the year I came in. Before that, it was like you break your leg, whatever, it’s like, come back intwo years.That’s the way it worked. But I remember I think the first week you do part of the job improving where you have to do a flip off the side of the pool, and then no matter how you land, you can’t come back up. Then you swim to one end of the pool and come back. If you come up, you quit. If you pass out, you fail, so you lose 30 people. The attrition rate, it just stays the samebecause I think the only people who pass that are literally people who are willing to die over fail, willing to die over quit. That’s pathological. You shouldn’t be thinking that at 18 years old, but everyone I know who succeeded were that way.I remember plenty times thinking, I’m going to die, buthere we go.

In the military, when you’re the dumbest guy, they put you in charge, you see. I said,now you’re going to supervise everybody that knows more than you.Oh, great. The whole point of that is there’s that hallway that went between rehab and my office was in there. All the guys who came into rehab, or were in the bridge gym, they dropped by my officeand then shut the door and go, hey, let me tell you what’s really going on, because it’s a community.The worst thing you can do is put him on the bench, so they don’t tell the doctors anything.They lie to their teeth because they don’t want to be disqualified. Even if they’re really struggling or they’re going to go outside and pay some private health care provider to help them before they’re going to tell the doctor as a team. But because I had been a SEAL, and I’ve been a SEAL recently enough to where there’s still a lot of guys that I’ve been a SEAL with, that had been through SEAL training or deployed with, and I had good enough reputation where guys trusted me. They’d come in and say, hey, let me tell you what’s really going on. That’s all performance.They didn’t have a single disease, butthey’re getting weaker and fatter. They’re getting slower. They had poor control of their memory, their cognition, their emotional control, all that type of stuff, weren’t sleeping well, eating exactly what the nutritionist was telling them to do, working out exactly how the strength and conditioning coach wanted to do and getting worse. The biggest thing is they said they weren’t motivated.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:12:21]

Which is totally unusual for this group of people.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:12:23]

They’re still SEALs, and they’re still getting out of bed, and they’re still doing it, but they don’t feel like doing it. It’s like drudgery, and they’ve been doing it for years, and they’ve just been hiding it. They come in, and they just lay this bomb on me. It’s like, I can’t think straight. I can’t remember.I’m moody.I snap at my wife and my kids. I can’t pay attention during lectures. I’m giving a lectureI can’t remember. I can’t pay attention to my own lecture. I can’t sleep worth crap. I’m getting weaker and slower and fatter despite doing everything right. I can’t sleep well, libido issues, performance issues perhaps in that area as well. I’m like, I don’t have any idea.It sounds like you’re an old man. I don’t know what to tell you. Are you a fat old man because you don’t look like you are?Being a Western trained physician,I literally had no idea,so I just tested everything I could possibly think of.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:13:22]

Which was very unusual at the time. I have to say, you were very much at the forefront. You were doing hormonetesting and all this testing before anyone, before human optimization even was human optimization.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:13:37]

Right, and like I said, it was just purely by design because I was just like, what can I find? When you get the labs back, being a Western trained doctor, I want to fix that.But they didn’t think technically have disease. Out of a testosterone or 252 to 1,100, they were 257. But they’re 28 or 30. That’s not normal, but to an endocrinologist it’s normal, so they don’t have disease, so they’re not going to get treated for that. Plus, anything you give them on, any medication you give them that they require, that disqualifies them.What if they can’t get their meds?Theycan’t be forward deployed and not be able to get their meds and now they can’t operate.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:19]

Did you start seeing patterns?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:14:21]

I came in, and every anabolic marker was low. Every inflammatory marker was high. Insulin sensitivity was pre-diabetic, and these guys were fit dudes. Their cortisol was either off the chart or unmeasurable, but nothing normal, inflammation, high, oxidation, high, everything catabolic, high, everything anabolic low. So anything you can think of, IGF-1, testosterone, free testosterone, DHEA, everything anabolic was low.Everything catabolic was high. I wanted to fix it. Theirthyroid was all marginal, TSH of 2.2 or 2.7, not quite disease, but it’s not optimal for sure. I put a guy on thyroid once and he got disqualified.I’ll never make that mistake again. I had him on Nature-Throid, and I thought, it’s not a big deal. He can miss five, six, seven, eight days of thatand rose. But for them, it was a big deal.I felt horrible about that, so I never did that again.

What can we do? I started thinking, I’ve heard about maybe just before,in previous wars, you’ve heard of shell shock and combat fatigue, and I’m like, well maybe it’s that like. I started looking into that. Nobody ever figured it out, and they don’t know.So I’m like, maybe adrenal fatigue. I started reading about that. The great thing was because I was a doctor for the West Coast SEALs. I could just call anybody up and be like, hey, I read your book, can I come train with you? I saw your TED talk or whatever, and everybody fumbled over themselves to be helpful. I’ve never had anybody turn me down on that. So I got to learn a lot super quickly. I was messing around with adrenal fatigue, and I was givingMyers’ cocktails and adrenal support supplements and cortef tapers, and things like that. I get shut down by the Bureau of Medicine because I’m practicing outside of my scope, and I get investigated and all this stuff and get my hand slapped, and like, hey, you stick to what you do. I’m like, what I do is what these guys need. That’s what I do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:16:39]

What you do is what these guys need.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:16:43]

Yeah, and so I just kept going with that. Then maybe three or four months into that, struggle, six months into that, struggle because it’s something a patient said, I came up with the idea. I’m like, well, I wonder if– and this sounds stupid now, but you’ll identify.Think about 10 years ago, and you’rea doctor before you knew all this stuff, I was like, well, I wonder if Ambien could be affecting any of this? Because they were all taking Ambien. You look at the literature and what does the literature say? Ambien is totally safe. There are no side effects. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever. It seems hard to believe. But Ambien had just recently been sued because they caused the that dissociative fugue, and people go to Vegas and gamble away their houses and pick up prostitutes.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:17:34]

Just a regular Friday night.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:17:37]

Yeah. SoI started looking into Ambien.I’d taken pharmacology, I knew the mechanism of action, but I didn’t really know what the hell that meant. What is it? Okay, it’s a GABA analogue. But what does GABA do for sleep? I don’t really know. So I had to start learning about sleep. Once I started learning about sleep, I was shocked. It sounds like, oh, every single thing they’re complaining about could be explained by poor sleep. No, I didn’t think it would, butit looks like it could with every single thing they’re saying.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:18:12]

You were restricted. You were not able to put them on hormone therapy. You had issues with cortef. For people who are listening,cortef is–

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:18:21]

It’s basically a bioidentical cortisol. It’s essentially what it is. But that was a taper.It’s only two weeks. I wasn’t putting them on anything that was sustainable.As long as they’re back in the States andthey’re doing that as a temporary course, that was fine. But it couldn’t give them hormones. What it could give them was DHEA, and it could give them Arimidex to block the conversion of testosterone to estradiol.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:18:49]

Which you probably don’t even really use anymore, do you?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:18:51]

I do sometimes.There’s lots of things that I could do that wasn’t technically giving them hormones, but it was causing them to increase their hormones. But the biggest mover I had was getting them off of Ambien. For anyone in the audience or any of your listeners who don’t know, all of your hormones are reset while you sleep.Every single night, all of your hormones are rebalanced during sleep, and primarily during deep sleep, slow wave sleep cycles. When you first go to sleep, that’s when you flush out all the adenosine, flush out all the waste products, and then all of your hormones start getting measured and your pituitary starts sending out the signals to balance everything through the feedback loop so that you’re ready for the next day.

It turns out, because Ambien had been sued,they had to lift up the kimono, and we had to see all their literature. They knew this all along.They knew that Ambien decreases REM sleep by about 80%, then decreases deep sleep by about 20%, and alcohol does the opposite. You know the SEALs;you have one’s good, two’s better, three’s great. They’re taking way more Ambien than they shouldand taking it with beer or cocktails, andthey’re going to sleep and they’re really passing out.They weren’t sleeping; they were unconscious for four to five hours.They’re waking up and going, I can’t get back to sleep. I’m just going to go to work. I’m going to work out really hard. I’m not going to take any breaks. I’m going to work all day, and when I come home tonight, I’ll be really sleepy, and I’ll sleep well tonight. They’ve been doing that for four years or something. It hasn’t worked yet, but they’re still trying. Alright, keep going, I guess.

I didn’t have a solution, so I said,how can we get these guys off of Ambien? I couldn’t just say, suck it up, buttercup. They’re just going to go and get Ambien from someone else. So I did a lot of education and explained to everybody why it was bad. I motivated them with testosterone and growth hormone. One night of poor sleep is 30% lower testosterone, is 30% lower insulin sensitivity on a lot of tissues. It’s30% lower growth hormone, higher inflammation, higher oxidation, and just explain to them why they need to sleep because it’s not a culture that values sleep and neither is medicine,two worse professions you can come up with. I started motivating them for that. As I was getting with Ambien,all I could think of is just what supplements help?I just did a bunch of research, and I just gave them a handout. Go buy this, go buy that, and they were having to go buy it all everywhere. We did that for three years. Of course, when I left the teams, I left a total vacuum because they just put some other doc who’s biding his time to go back intoresidency and he’s just doing sick call stuff. Idestroyed my career because I got shut down and investigated so many times, there’s no way I could stay in the Navy.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:21:54]

Just because you were really trying to do right by the guys.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:21:57]

Well, because I wasn’t listening to the leadership. I don’t know.If I was better at politics, maybe I could have smoothed it out better. But I was just like, if you tell me, I can’t do it, I’m just going to do it without telling you. That was because I’m here for them. If you kick me out, that’s fine.I really don’t care. I don’t really enjoy the Navy, to be honest, but I enjoy working with this population. Then theSEALsharangued me into making that because they were having to–it’s pain in the ass. It was pre-Amazon. They had to go to all the different health food stores. This came in a 90-day supply, and that was a 30-day supply. That was a liquid, and that was a powder, these were capsules, and it was just like, dude, we can’t travel with this, can you make this product? That’s how the supplement came about.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:22:46]

You made a product.Did you find that the testosterone levels increased?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:22:50]

Yeah, once I got people off of Ambien.Now I didn’t just get anybody off of Ambien and say, that’s all I’m doing. As everybody was getting off Ambien, I was also supporting their hormone production. I was giving them DHEA.Depending on their levels, Iwas giving them maybe zinc citrate as an aromatase inhibitor, maybea pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitor. I was giving them pregnenolone pathway,a direct pathway for all of that. I was doing everything I could to support and drive everything in the right direction. Like I said, I was doing cortef tapers. A lot of times, I gave short courses of Nature-Throid of some sort.

Dr.Gabrielle Lyon[unclear 0:23:34]

It’s really helped jumpstart.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:23:35]

Yeah, just to get everything right where I wanted it, just make it happen. Of course, I got in trouble for that over and over again. But just doing that, so just taking over the counter supplements and starting to sleep, valuing sleep and getting rid of alcohol before our next lab,not taking Ambien,300% to 400% increase in total testosterone and free testosterone, doubling of IGF-1. CRP’s went from 3.6 down to unmeasurable, all of this stuff. They were already healthy guys. They were healthy, robust, strong, hardworking, motivated dudeswho were eating right, working out. They’re overtraining for sure, but they’ve been overtraining for so many years that they’re pretty well adapted to that. I had guys had guys in their 40s coming in saying, I PR’d todaythis lift or this run or this O-course or whatever.They didn’t mean theyPR’dfor their 40s. They PR’drecently. My entire life, I’ve never been this faster or this strong in my entire life. Because that group is 100% focused on performance, it’s my job now to understand performance. Anything that comes up that’s cool or exciting, or anynew developments in the performance world, I get to get really smart on really quick.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:24:55]

Let’s talk about that because you’ve been involved in peptides and hormones way before they were a thing.I would love for you to mention some of the peptides that you think are really effective. I consult you with patients, andjust most recently, I had a patient that really wanted to go on growth hormone. I called you and I said, listen, this guy did pass his growth hormone stim test, there is no clinical indication for him, what am I going to tell him? He’s hearing a lot of things. You and I talked about some peptides that were beneficial.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:25:29]

I’d say, peptidesfall into a few categories.I think what most people know about them is like the body comp aspects of them. One of those big ones, obviously, is something that’s called a secretagogue.Obviously, anytime you give a hormone, you run into a tachyphylaxis problemif you’re overbecause your pulse is really giving these big doses.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:26:04]

For the listener, will you explain what that is?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:26:05]

When you give the body more of anything that you’re used to seeing, especially hormones, so hormones have receptors, so if you put a thousand times more hormone in the body, your body’s a smart machine.It’s going, well, we have a thousand times more than we need. We only need 1/1000 of the receptors, so over time, all your receptorsdecay. Now if you ever take off that super dose of hormone and you have a normal amount, now you have a deficiency because you have so few receptors that it’s essentially like you don’t have as much hormone. It’s always tricky to give hormones in an intelligent way toward the body where they’re close enough to being like a daily pulsatile dose, which growth hormone is better than say, like testosterone. Most people don’t do testosterone every day. But most people do growth hormone every day. But it’s still like this big, super physiologic dose that then decays over the day, and you’re getting these big boluses instead of these steady little pulses through the day.

Anytime you’re going superphysiological, what happens? What do you know? What’s going to happen? We don’t know. I don’t know. That doesn’t exist in nature, so I don’t know. When they saygrowth hormone increases your risk of cancer, like exogenous growth hormone, it’s like, okay, probably because it’s a growth hormone. It’s causing a bunch of cellular division and growth, so I could see that. But your body has a feedback mechanism that says, we operate well as long as growth hormone isn’t higher than this. So you give a secretagogue, and that just has your brain. It just leads to your pituitary secreting more growth hormone, but the feedback loop is still in place. You can’t give somebody so much secretagoguethat they’re going to go super physiologic because their feedback loop is just going to shut it down.

You can do similar things for testosterone. There are peptides that will help you increase your testosterone production. There’s nothing for thyroid yet that I know of, but that would be nice to have.Epitalon is like a balancing of all your pituitary hormones, so you do that. That’s like the body comp performance thing. Then there’s peptides that work great for everything neurological.Of course, our communities have thousands of TBIs and PTSD. It turns out that chronic sleep deprivation damages the brain in a very similar way to TBI’s and nobody has PTSD without brain inflammation and brain dysregulation, so it’s all  the same mess, and it’s all treated the same way. So I don’t try to discern which is which.But say something like Cerebrolysin, that’s  a rebalancing of all neurotransmitters.It’s very new.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:29:13]

How does that work though?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:29:16]

There’s lots of things that are what we callneurotrophic. Of course, we used to think that you’re born with a certain number of brain cells, and that was it.Those just die over the course of your life.There’s no way to regrow them. It doesn’t turn out to be true. You can grow new neurons, which going down as the growth factors.The most common ones are the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and then there’s something called glial cell derived neurotrophic factors.They work on different aspects. Then there’s something called VEGF, which helps  with vascular growth. When you have a brain injury, what ends up happening is you have inflammation.That inflammation creates pressure, and then that pressure prevents blood supply orCSF flow. If you aren’t getting nutrients and you aren’t clearing away waste, then that brain region starts decaying. Anything that’s going to decrease inflammation, which, that’s the other category of peptides, things that work on your immunecascades, andthere’s lots there, and then there’s lots of things that help with neurotrophic growth, so the Cerebrolysinlike I was saying.Then there’sSemax and Selank.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:30:32]

Do you think those work well?

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:30:33]

They do. Everythinghas its pros and cons. Selank is a great anxiolytic, for example. That’s a nasal spray, so people don’t have to inject it, so it’s more acceptable for a lot of people.It’s a great anxiolytic, but it also helps with growth factors a little bit in the brain. This will help you restore a little bit like that. Testosterone and growth hormone actually increase the VEGF and BDNF. Hyperbaric increases that too.Then there’s Semax, which isthe opposite of Selank. It’s really good at growth factors, and it has a little bit of anxiolytic, possibly slight neurotrophicbenefit to it.There’s something calledDihexa,which is a great anti-inflammatory for the brain, which also increases VEGF, so you get new vascularization.It helps with brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and glial cell derived is the only one I know that does that. The most powerful for that is the entheogensor psychedelics; that’s actually increased the growth factors more than anything we found so far.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:31:40]

Interesting. Is the dose on Semax, Selank, Cerebrolysin important?Is Cerebrolysin IV or IM?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:31:49]

Cerebrolysin is IM. It’s very difficult to get. We’ve been getting it out of Austria. It’s hard to get.It used to be readily available when I first started doing peptides. It was just as easy to get as anything.But that’s when everything was easy. You could get Epitalon, MOTS-c, Cerebrolysins. It was all easy to get. Then they keep cracking down because those aren’t FDA approved for use. They’re FDA approved for research. But what I’m doing is clinical research, essentially because I’m not saying I know, or here’s the diagnosis, and this is the treatment. I’m saying, hey, the performance here isn’t what we want it to be, so we’re going to experiment with these different neurotrophichelping the brain grow and repair.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:32:47]

I guess in part, there is some treatment of disease processes, but you’re not—

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:32:53]

It’s a disease process, but it’s not a diagnostic code. It’s just like, I’m not saying you have disease. To back up a step, when you give a secretagogue, say like CJC,Ipamorelinor something, there’s  two different ways to secrete growth hormone, and it’s not really an important distinction for this,butthat one works really well. Tesamorelin works better.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:33:19]

How does Tesamorelinwork? Is it also the same way as the others?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:33:24]

Yeah.All themorelins are ghrelin homedics, I believe. Sermorelin, Tesamorelin, and Ipamorelin, all of those fall into the same category. Then they will elevate, and the limit will be the feedback loop of your brain. But they won’t all necessarily reach that. I haven’t had any success with Sermorelin. But CJC and Ipamorelinwas good. Tesamorelinwas the best, but apparently that’s too long. Because it was too many amino acids, they shut down the production of that.You can’t get that anymore because the FDA is always changing. DEA is always changing the rules about it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:34:08]

Sorry to interrupt. For the listener, one of the ways in which if a provider is giving a patient CJC and Ipamorelin or Tesamorelin, if they can get it, is IGF-1 will go up.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:34:22]

Right, which is the downstream marker of growth hormone.Then you make sure that they don’t have a bunch of carrier protein that’s depleting it. But what I was going to say is, you do that, and so you’re doing it for say general anabolic effect or something. Well it turns out that that’s growth hormone, so it helps with the brain function. It also helps with insulin sensitivity. But if you give say something like MK-677, which is the oral, really old, that impairs glucosesensitivity or insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:01]

Do you like MK-677?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:35:05]

No. I mean, the effects of it are amazing.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:35:12]

To give more information for the listener, it actually is originally used as an oral– it’s not a peptide. It’s an oral secretagoguethat works on ghrelin receptors. I think they gave it to kids to increase growth hormone.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:35:30]

Yeah. I have two sons. One is 6’4” and around 300 pounds, and his older brother is 5’7” and 130 pounds. He was really bitter about that. Well let’s see what we can do. So we gave him MK-677, and he gained 20 pounds of muscle, but he didn’t get any taller. But then it all went away so fast. That was awful for insulin sensitivity. You do that for three or four months, and you’re essentially a diabetic.It’s hyperbole, but you can–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:36:06]

Right. It affects receptors if you stay on it for a longer period of time.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:36:09]

You can’t stay on that for too long,whereas the Tesamorelin and CJC from around those types of things,I haven’t run into that at all. In fact, I continually see people’s insulin sensitivities increasing because they’re exercising more.They’re more anabolic. They’re maintaining more muscle mass.They’re eating better.There are other factors, but I’ve seen people definitely on MK-677 just have 30% to 40% increase in their fasting insulin pretty quickly.It’s something that there’s always– I’m not above somebody using stuff for vanity.If want to pack on some muscle to go on your vacation, that’s okay.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:36:51]

But what you’re saying is that MK-677 has very short-acting results. Basically, it does increase muscle mass, and it does increase hunger, for example, on receptors, and it does increase water weight. The biggest side effect that we’ve seen is that it increases substantial amount of water weight.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:37:11]

Substantial amount of water weight which goes away really quickly, and people think, oh, I lost it them all. You never really had that. You’re bloated, but you’ve still gained maybe. I mean, let’s face it, as an adult, you can put on 3 to 5 pounds of muscle, you’ve done something amazing. That’s a lot.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:37:31]

I do think for a lot of individuals, the hormone replacement can be done well, and it can be done poorly. I would love to hear some of yourperspective on starting dose, how you think about testosterone replacement.They have injection, which is intramuscular,or subcutaneous.There are pellets. There’s oral now, which is like this resurgence of oral testosterone, which I don’t actually use in my practice.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:38:01]

It’s too hard on the liver, in my opinion. The first thing that I dowhen I find somebody who’s, let’s say, completely naive to treatment–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:38:15]

You have a very select patient population now aside from the team guys, would you say most of them when they come to you, are they hormone naïve, or have they been on one of those?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:38:26]

By that, I meant naive to treatment. The vast majority of my private clients have already been on it. They’ve been really poorly treated. Most of them don’t really do it anymore. If they do it, they do it with apathy because they don’t feel anything from it because of that whole thing we were talking about earlier with the tachyphylaxis.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:38:49]

So they’re much too high of dose.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:38:50]

It’s very common for an endocrinologist to put somebody on 200 every two weeks or 300 every two weeks. That’s ridiculous. The testicles make somewhere between 75 and 125 milligrams a week in an adult male. That’swhat you want to replace.What I shoot for when I’m doing hormones is there’s all these bickering, and science bickers about all sorts of stuffbecause this is that, this study says this, and that study says this, so now we got to rethink everything. Where’s the case study in life? Where’s the big case study? When they start telling me, well,you give people testosterone, you’re going to increase their risk of prostate cancer. Really? Is that why 25-year-olds have prostate cancerall the time? Or same with estrogen for females; you’re going to cause breast cancer. Young women have a lot of estrogen. Older women have very little estrogen. Who has breast cancer? I’m not sayingthere’s no correlation. I’m just saying you haven’t fleshed this out. So what I shoot for is like a 25-year-old version of it.If I showed your lab to somebody and said, who do you think this guy is? They would say a 25- to 30-year-old male.That’s what I’m shooting for.

Now, I’m not going to make you 25, but I’m going to give youthe closest physiologic resilience you can have to that.We both know80% to 90% of all your success is coming from your lifestyle anyway.What I’m doing is a bridge. I’m helping you. I’m supporting you do it. The first thing I say is, how old are you? What are your levels? Do I think that I can get you there without testosterone or without giving you hormones? The reason for that, you just think about how volatile everything is politically, how volatile everything is legally, medico-legal. What if you can’t get testosterone all of a sudden?What if production is so low that the supply chain is down? Or what if the DEA comes in and really cracks down on it?But you’ve been on testosterone for five years or three years. Now you can’t get it at all.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:40:58]

Do you think it’s a possibility that could happen?

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:40:59]

I think it’s a low possibility. But there’s also traveling. There’s also an unexpected travel trip. Maybe people get caught up in a business bankruptcy and divorces and death of parents and family members with cancer or whatever, andthey just getcaught up in this world, andthey’re totally out of it for three or four months. My thought is let’s say you come inand you’re 50% or 60% of where I would like you to be where you’re kind of 25.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:41:35]

What number do you think?

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:41:37]

Well, so that’s an interesting thing. Somewhere between 2006 and 2008, the chair of Endocrinology at UCLA, he took the bell curve at about 250 to 1100 and broke it into quintiles. The upper quintile out of 1100, and he goes from 250 to 1100, so basically, upper quintile is somewhere around 825-ish up to 1100. It’s been so long since I read the study, but it was done over a long time, 10 years, at least, maybe 20 years. It was a pretty big study, multiplecenters, UK, East Coast and West Coast. What they found is the morbidity and mortality risk was the lowest in testosterone, independent of everything else. Every quintile you go down, your risk doubles. Death from any cause, any disease doubles each quintile.If that were anything else, you’d do medical malpractice to not give people in the appropriate quintile.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:42:44]

I agree. There aretons of issues.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:42:47]

But because just people, professional athletes use testosterone to cheat in sports, we got to control that. That’s a scheduled drug. We’ve got to be really careful who gets that. We don’t want to overdo it. Butif that was vitamin C and we had the same result for vitamin C,you’re losing your medical license if you let somebody stay in the fourth or fifth quintile. Whereas anything above the fifth quintile, you’re 16 times more likely to die from any cause or getany disease. That’s ridiculous. So I go for the upper quintiles is the long way of saying that. I’m shooting for that upper quintile. I really care more about the freethan the total because the free is what’s available.If I think I can get somebody up there, and it’s clinical, I couldn’t give you definitive guidelines, it’s a lot of stuff like what’s their lifestyle like?How healthy are they? How hard are they working out? Are they likely to change any of that? Have they been on hormone replacement therapy before? Did they have any brain injuries? I think it might be a pituitary stock issue.Do they have any testicular injuries that maybe that’s causing this?

There’s a lot of art to that bit of it. But my thinking isif I can support your growth of testosterone productionthrough supplements and pharmathat isn’t actually giving you the hormone, so it’s giving something like an LH analog, likeEnclomipheneor Clomid or something like that, but giving you the DHEA pathway and then Zinc citrate or whateverwe’re doing, you’re blocking DHT conversion, whatever, but we’re giving you things that’s enhancing your ability to produce.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:44:35]

So you’re very conservative.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [0:44:37]

Your feedback loop is still going to prevent you from going too high. If let’s say you do that for six months or a year, and then you say, Dr. Parsley is full of crap, I don’t want to listen him again, you’re better off than the day you met me. It’s going to take you years to decay back to where you were.Whereas if I give you testosterone for a year, then all of a sudden you can’t get it or you’re traveling too much or you’re going to a country where it’s illegal to bring it in there, which it does exist even if you have a prescription, there’s just complexities there, or for some reason we can’t get it. It gets too hard to get. It becomes prohibitively expensive because you lost your job,who knows?I had a 62-year-old guywho does conservative treatment, and he has a total testosterone of 1000 or 1100 all the time.Now he’s rare.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:33]

You use Clomid and Enclomiphene. Do you use it the standard way, so whether it’s 25 to 50 milligrams?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:45:43]

Clomid, I do Monday, Wednesday, Friday, but just because that’s so long-acting. I find there’s a lot of emotional lability with that if guys are sensitive that or prone to that, or that’s a big issue for them. There’s also a fair bit of complaints about visual changes with Clomid. That’s my second-choice drug. But the game withcompounding pharmacies,it’s like you’re taking Clomid now, or you’re not going to have to start Enclomiphene for eight weeks because that’s how long it’s going to take to get it. That’s a clinical judgment call. I prefer Enclomiphene, and you just take that before bedtime.It’s short-acting. You get your nighttime pulse. It’s essentially out of your system by the time you wake up, so you don’t have to worry about any of that other stuff. If you think physiologically, if we weren’t doing any of this, 90% to 95% of all the testosterone you’re going to make is going to be made while you’re asleep anyway. If you’re supporting that during sleep, it’s just the same thing with growth hormone, supporting that during sleep, who cares during the day?The day is just going to carry you through it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:46:52]

What’s the dosage on Enclomiphene?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:46:57]

It’s about 25 milligrams.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:47:01]

So it’s different.I haven’t used it in the clinic. We typically just use Clomid. But we do have the same responses. People say the same thing. Especially with emotional lability, some of them–

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:47:14]

I’ve taken Clomid.We were doing this podcast, and I had to keep myself from crying for some reason. I have no idea why. I’m not saying anything emotional, but all of a sudden, it’s just like, I get tingles. I’m super emotional. I’ve seen that with lots of guys. Stoicism aside, there’s certain guys that just aren’t really prone to crying. It’s just like, that’s not how they think about the world. That’s not how they emote. That’s not how they process information. Even those guys, a lot of times, those guys are worse. That’s a big deal to them if there’s somebody who’s frequently presenting or in a leadership role.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:47:55]

Is the mechanism of action the same?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:47:59]

Yeah, and Enclomipheneis really just the more potent [unclear 0:48:02]of the two. In the half life, it’s way shorterbecause obviously, in effect, their [unclear 0:48:09] wanted to stick around.I can’t remember if it’sleft or right, but whatever, it’s more potent one, and it goes away really quickly. Then 7-keto-DHEA, I give insteadof DHEAbecause of that 7-ketogroup, it can’t convert to estrogen, and it can’t convert to DHT. It’sa testosterone or nothingpathway. Then because of the cortisol, still I give a pregnenolone direct pathway.The thing that I think really goes unappreciated is obviously, all the sex hormones are starting with cholesterol. Then to get to testosterone, it’s like 17 steps. Probably every one of those intermediates are active.There areprobably some biological reason for every one of those intermediates. We know four or five that had been studied, and we know that those were good, probably all of them. Maybe it’s just a few seconds, but you’re losing something. Even if I have somebody on testosterone, I always support the back pathway as well becausemaybe we’re only getting 10% of your testosterone, 20% of your testosterone from your testicles. At least we have all those intermediates in there. Not knowing what they do is smart to have them around, so let’s maintain it while you can. Then the other thing that does is again, if they ever quit taking testosterone, they run out while they’re on a tripand they’re doing other stuff, they can still maintain, and they’re not going to crash. If you’re giving it exogenously,and 100% of their production is dependent on how much is coming out of that needle andthey stop that,that’s a big crash. Guys can feel like unable to get on a bed within a week. That’s a big issue.


Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:50:00]

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What about stimulant-type protocols, whether that you’ve used in the past or that you see a lot of the guys use, just in general, whether it’s nicotine, caffeine, bright light stack, loud music, just in terms of short bursts of cognitive performance?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:53:14]

I’ve used everything from pharmaceuticals, nootropics, over the counter. I think, over the counter, caffeine and nicotineare a no-brainer. Everybody’s afraid of nicotine. It’s like it’s better for you than caffeine, but it’s at least as safe as caffeine, if not safer than caffeine.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:53:40]

I think we should take a moment there.Nicotine, there’s some evidence to support. So yes, it is addictive. But there is some evidence to support brain function. There is evidence to support appetite suppression. There are all kinds of positives. I think that the poison is in the dose. Obviously, we’re not talking about smoking cigarettes.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:53:58]

I’d like to address that. You know, Ken Ford, runs IHMC, one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known. I was in his office.I was doing a lecture out there five years ago, something like that. I was chewing nicotine gum and he’s like, I can’t believe you’re doing that, Rick Rob; and he’s talking about Rob Wolfe. Rob Wolfe, the last time I saw him, he’s puffing and shuffling. He’s like, it’s so addictive. No, it’s not addictive. He goes, it’s the most addictive compound on the planet, nicotine.I’m like, come on.I chew nicotine gum on a regular basis, and I go overboard sometimes. I just don’t think about it. It’s really for the flavor, whatever, andI mix it with regular gum. I do low dose, but I’ll get totally out of hand with it.I’ll burn through what I have, andthen I just want to order anywhere. I don’t get any more, and I totally forget about it for three or four months at a time. It can’t be that addictive because I totally forget it if I don’t have it around and see it. I don’t need it. Anyways, that is delivery mechanism. If you inhale nicotine, it is the most addictive substance. If it’s passing through the buccal membrane, it’s not even close. It’s not even in the top 200. Caffeineis probably more addictive psychologically. What we actually didworking with people, because what’s really common in the SEAL teams is essentially not sleeping for four days because youget amission task and you got to plan it, you got to prepare, you load out all your equipment, go to your mission, come back.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:55:41]

I know. It sounds like having a newborn baby.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[0:55:45]

Yeah, but just 20 years of that.The cognitive endurance while sleep deprived is important.For anybody who doesn’t know, listening to adenosine is what build up. Every cell in your body works off of ATP, that’s an energy source. That’s triphosphate, you take off one, di, mono, and then just the A is adenosine. That actually causes sleep pressure, and it binds to receptors in your brain that says, hey, we’ve overused ourselves.It’s time to go to sleep. What most people don’t realize is that being awake is essentially catabolic and being asleepis anabolic. It’s almost that cut and dry. I know, it’s over simplifying, probably upsetting some people, but I don’t care.

While you’re awake, your brain is actually developing.You’re depositing beta amyloid plaques in your brain every day while you’re awake. Now whether or not those take root and actually start forming plaques depends on how well you flush that out. The adenosine is building up, and it’s causing that sleep pressure. Then every cell is obviously producing waste products. When you go into deep sleep, the glymphatic system, so that’s like yourstructural cells that hold or formthe shape of the brain,the just contract about 30%, and the CSF flushes out all the waste products. It even flushes out at noon, sothen it flushes out beta amyloid as well.You’re really damaging your brain by staying awake and not sleeping. When people ask,is sleep debt real, and can I pay it back?Can I sleep all weekend and make up for not sleeping? Can I sleep 24 hours in a row and make up for not sleeping three nights in a row? No, you can’t because you’ve damaged yourself. That beta amyloid has built up, and it’s caused plaques.We are hurtingour brain. This is one of the reasons that shift workers die prematurely. They have a much shorter lifespan, way higher risk of all diseases and all mortality or morbidity. When you’re doing stimulants, we’re doing stimulants to get the job done, but we’re not doing anything about the problems. You still need to get your sleep the best you can.

For that reason, I try to use the mildest thing that I can because if I start giving you Adderall or Modafinil or something like that, well I’m revving up brain function while you’re staying awake. I’m consuming ATP though, andI’m building up adenosine, which I’m essentially building up sleep pressure. So now as I start to go away, you’re getting worse. It’s the same thing with caffeine. The caffeine doesn’t actually stimulate the brain, it just blocks the adenosine receptor, so you don’t feel sleepy.But when that wears off, you have a normal amount of adenosine but not a heightened amount of adenosine. What we found is 60 milligrams of caffeineand 1 to 2 milligrams of nicotine depending on tolerance, you do that every four to six hours,and you can sustain pretty amazing cognitive levels.If you just do caffeine, it lasts six to eight hours and thenyou’re way dumber. You’reworse off than if you did nothing. Your attention, your problemsolving, all of that goes down. You’re actually better off in the long run. If you’re going to be up for 48 hours, you’re better off with no stimulant whatsoever over caffeine because caffeine only carries you through this first six to eight hours and then you get worse way faster. I don’t know exactly the mechanism for that. But anyway to get back to the story, I think caffeine and nicotine, no brainer. I think alpha-ketoglutarate,no brainer.Thatjust works.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:00:11]

How about methylene blue.Have you ever used methylene blue?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:00:14]

I haven’t messed around with that much.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:00:17]

I definitely think it works.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [1:00:20]

I downloaded an audio book on methylene blue to learn about it. We’re driving on a road trip maybe a year ago or something. It was so awful. I was just like, I can’t listen to this, and I just never got around to it. I’ve heard great things about it. I’ve read a little bit about what little is known about the mechanisms. Ianecdotally have a lot of clients and SEALs and other patients who’ve told me that they get great results from it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:00:51]

If you were to use, say, a stimulant, if you were to use Modafinil or Vyvanseor Adderall,do you think that there is a strategy to use it where the repercussions are not great? Is there some kind of protocol?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:01:06]

The key to any stimulant would be to use it as early in the day as possible and to go to sleep as early as you can that night.What you’re essentially doing is you’re accelerating all that damage that’s going to be done. You’re celebrating all the waste products, and you’re accelerating the adenosine buildup and all that. You need to figure out a way to take that as early in the day as possible and then get to bed as early as possible and sleep as long as possible. I know a lot of people using it because they aren’t getting enough sleep, and I understandthat.Then I would say experiment with milder things. I think Adderall would probably be my last choice.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:01:48]

Yeah, I know you’re not a huge fan of that.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:01:51]

One, just because it’s so pulsatile, even the XR,but it has such peripheral stimulation.It has so much jittering and sweatiness and peripheraleye movement. I feel like it’s an overstimulating crack.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:02:08]

It has dopamine. I’ve even talked to you about does it affectprolactinlevels? Are there things that it potentially impacts?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:02:17]

I’m not a huge fan of it. I don’t discourage it if people use it already and they want to keep doing it.I like atomoxetine; that’s Strattera.I likePitolisant. That’s basically a histamine analog, and histamine is alert wake promoting. It’s either histamine analog, or it’s a histamine agonist, whichever, but it works like histamine, so you don’t feel the peripheral stimulus, jitteriness. I think Vyvanse is a good drug if you control the dose.It’s really easy to go really high with that. But that seems like a good one foractually lasting throughthe day. Adderall is methamphetamine. It’s essentially just like doing meth. It has a huge peak and then a huge valley. I think it’s just really hard tocalculate the right dose to where you’re alert as long as you need to be alert, and then it’s gone so that you can actually get quality sleep.

One of the things that all the stimulants are doing, even caffeine but not nicotine, those are increasing your adrenals. You’re secreting more epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Again, those are all catabolic. If your catabolic, aka stress, hormones are highwhen you’re trying to go to sleep, even if the drug is gone, if that’s high,the lowest cortisol you’ll have in a 24-hour period is during deep sleep. Your first sleep cycle is almost all deep sleep, so that’s the lowest cortisol you ever have. That’s the lowest catabolic state you’ll ever be and the highest anabolic state you’ll ever be in.The adenosine causes a sleep pressure. You can still go to sleep with really high stress hormones if the sleep pressure is high enough.But then as soon as yourglymphaticspush all out the waste products and you rid yourself of some of that adenosine, as soon as you come back through wakefulness to go into your next sleep cycle, you’ll just wake up because your stress hormones are so high. It decreases the quality of your sleep and decreasesthe depth. How slow are the slow waves?Are you getting all the way down into the 3 to 5hertz range,or are youstaying up in the upper end of that not getting as much growthhormone secretion, testosterone secretion, neuro regulation of appetite, ghrelin, leptin, all that’s being set, thyroideven, everything’s being balanced during that period. If you have too high of stress hormones, then that’s impaired.It’s no different if let’s sayyou have a 30% higher stress hormones than you need, then it would be ideal to have. To be clear, stress hormones aren’t bad.They get the bad rap. What they do is they keep you alert in proportion to your environment. Right now, we’re not doing anything stressful, so they aren’t super high.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:05:43]

You mean, my interviewing you is not stressing you out?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:05:46]

No, I am. I’m super stressed. But if somebody is just banging on the door really loud or a car hits the building or something, all of a sudden,our stress hormones are going to go really high. They keep you alert in proportion to your environment, so we want to have them around. But they’re supposed to wake us up in the morning and then progressively get a little higher till about midday and then progressively go lower.Then they’d below enough for us to fall asleep, and thenyou’re really down to allow us to be really anabolic and repair, restore, and replenish.Even our immune systems balance during all that because your immune system is essentially the anabolic repair system as well. You’re balancing all of that during that deep sleep, so if your stress hormones are too high, you’re impairing that.

Ittakes eight hours to recover from being awake for 16 hours; this is the way the world works. If you only sleep six hours, you’ve lost 25% of that.Well if you sleep eight hours, but your stress hormones are 30% or 40%higherthan they should be, you’re probably doing the same as if you’ve slept six hours andyou had normal stress hormones. But the problem is also that if you don’t repair completely– the whole point of me going to sleep tonight is to repair everything that I’ve damaged, flush out my beta amyloid, flushout all the waste products in my brain, all my interstitium if I get rid of all the waste products, replenish allthe nutrients that my cells need, andthen prepare for tomorrow. So Iprune my brain off and get my cell optimized for tomorrow.My regulation, my appetite today is going to be used as a template to how hungry I am tomorrow, what nutrients I’m going to need and all that. If that takes eight hours and I only do six of those hours, then I didn’t repair and prepare all the way.If I could go to sleep and repair and prepare 100%, I wouldn’t age. I’d wake up exactly the same every day. The fact that I cut 25% off,I’m choosing to age 25% faster.

But then the reason I’m talking about that is if I cut 25% off, and we know it takes eight hours and I only slept six hours, well tomorrow is still going to come at exactly the same thing. All my responsibilities are going to be exactly the same tomorrow, whether I slept or not. How do I compensate?I compensate by secreting more stress hormones. Now my stress hormones keep getting higher because I’m not getting enough sleep, but my stress hormones get high enough to impair my sleep.Now I can’t sleep.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:08:19]

It’s a whole cycle.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [1:08:20]

I can’t sleep because I’m not sleeping essentially. I’m not sleeping enough, so now I can’t sleep because my stress hormones are too high. Every time I don’t sleep well enough, my stress hormones go a little higher. That becomes this vicious cycle. That’s what you see in the White House.When the guy becomes president and he looks young and healthy,four years later, he looks like he’s 15 years older. That’s what that is.That’s just constant stress hormones.He’s almost in fight or flight 24 hours a day.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:08:46]

Do you find that you’re very strict on sleepwake times knowing all this information? You are a very driven individual. Do you find that hard to follow some of your own studies?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:08:58]

I think the whole world works off the Pareto distribution. That’s the 80/20 rule.The whole point of living the right lifestyle and eating the right way and exercising the right way and controlling your stress and taking the right supplements and doing the right hormones, the whole point of all that is to be resilient. You have to have something to be resilient against.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:09:22]

I agree with you 1,000,000%.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:09:23]

The irony is I would say 80% of my sleep lectures, I’m giving while I’m sleep deprived because I’m traveling again, and I’m getting in late and I sleep at some hotel and I get up and like whatever. But the whole idea is I am going to do everything the best I can all the time. But 20% of the time, my efforts are going to suck.There’s just going to be too much to compensate for. But if I can do most everything right 80% of the time, that’s the whole key.Now I’m resilient enough to handle those periods.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:09:58]

You’ve always been that way,I think.My guess is that you’ve always been capable to handle those.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:10:04]

Well, when we’re younger, we’re all more capable.But the older you get, the fewer–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:10:07]

Well, the good news is you’re the oldest person in the room.Right, Randy? Is there any new anxiolytics, any new compounds that you think are coming out are going to be the next wave?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:10:22]

I actually think my favorite anxiolytic is actually Selank. That seems to work better than anything else I’ve tried for people as far as the pharmaceutical intervention.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:10:41]

Is Selank considered a peptide, and is itintranasal peptide?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:10:45]

Yes, that’s an intranasal peptide. I don’t think you can overdose on it. It’s expensive, so that’s usually the limiting factor on it. But the beauty of that is that you have something that’s decreasing your anxiety while it’s alsoneuroprotective and neuroregenerative. You’re actually improving your brain while taking those. I don’t know how accepting your audience of it is, but the best anxiolytics out there are the psychedelics.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:11:21]

They are very open. We had Kelsi Sheren on talking about all of her work with the psychedelics.She was a female gunner. I don’t know if you know her. She was on Jocko’s podcast recently.Very open, I would say my audience is interested in new and evolving science.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:11:39]

This isn’t quite correct, but for simplicity, we’ll say thecategory technically all those fall under something called entheogens, which is basically like, Theo is God. So it’s like how you know God or something like that. But everything is in that category. Starting with the simplest, you have say MDMA, and then you have ketamine, and then you have 5-MeO-DMT,psilocybin, Ayahuasca, Iboga or Ibogaine, all those have very similar effects. The big difference is the duration. If you doa ketamine infusion, which I prefer is the way to do that over IM because you can control it; you can dial it up and down.If there’s too much, you can turn it down.You can turn it off if they’re having a bad time. If they aren’t feeling anything, you turn it up. I think it’s a really good way to introduce people to it. Ketamine clinics are all over the country.It’s easy access; it’s legal. MDMA is not far behind.There’s a lot of clinical use for that now, it’s just a little harder to get into.

What all of those things do apart from drastically increasing all the neurotrophic factors in the brain and the vasculardecreasing inflammation, all of that great stuff they do, is they decrease amygdala tones, the amygdala being the little alarm system in your brain that tell you what’s a threat and what’s not. As you know in the SEAL community and first responders, law enforcement, all that, same thing. Everybody is hypervigilant. That hypervigilance has a price. I don’t know if you ever saw him, but for a while back inthe ‘90s or early 2000, there was this bigpush for these really elite guard dogs that cost $30,000. But there were these highly trained dogs that they brought and they put, and wealthy people obviously are buying this, they put them on your big compound, your mansion, whatever, but they just walk around with your kids and no chance they’re ever going to harm anybody in the family, but super aggressive if there’s any threat. Those dogs live half the lifespan they’re supposed to live. That’s because of hyper vigilance. Both sides of our brain have it. They’re part of the limbic system, and that’s our emotionalalert system.

When we see a threat, so genetically imprinted into us is a snake, so the movement of a snake.A toddler is afraid of that. They get a stress response from it. Heights, probably the striped pattern of a tiger, certain eyes, certain teeth, something like that, all of those things cause stress responsiveness. Then the longer we live in and moredanger we see and the more bad things we see and the less we trust our fellow man and the world and all that, the more things stress us out. Our cell phones are a stressor. Traffic is a stressor and bankruptcies and divorce and all the stuff that we consider normal life, those are all stressors, and they’re causing amygdala tone. What that does is that hyper vigilance, it changes your neuro chemistry to a point where it’s actually damaging your brain. That’s what a lot of our PTSD is.There’s a lot of head injuries, so that’s setting your brain up for failure right there. But that hyper vigilance has a cost on it. All of the entheogens decrease amygdala tone.Most of them like the big one, 5-MeO-DMT,psilocybin, Ayahuasca, and Ibogaine, they decrease the amygdala tone by 90%.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:15:51]

Does it stay?Does that decrease in terms of—

Dr. Kirk Parsley [1:15:53]

The difference between them is the duration. As I went to that scale, that was shortest acting to longest acting. One of the reasons I became so successful for the Special Forces community is they’re Superman, they went the hardest, fastest, most dramatic thing they can possibly take, andthen that gives you insight to a way to see yourself without judging yourself, and it gives you some opportunities to see maybe some things in life you’d like to change. But then you come out of there with 90% less stress than you’ve had probably since you were a kid. You have the stuff to work on.It doesn’t even take courage now. I mean, a little bit of courage, but you got most of the stress out of the way and most of the anxiety.It’s way easier to do that work. Ibogaine can last up to nine months because it’s in your fat.It’s so fat soluble. It’s in your subcutaneous fat.If you do some light zone 2 everyday, you’re microdosing Ibogaine.Now if you use that workto do other things, to help you control your stress, you can possibly prevent it from coming back up. Things like Kundalini Yoga and heavy breath work,those actually release DMT. Again, that’s decreasing anxiety.But things like breath work, just regular box breathing, that decreases amygdala tone and stress hormones.

Meditation, any type of mindfulness training, all that stuff is meant to– if it’s increasing heart rate variability, it’s decreasing stress. It’s essentially what it is.Those two go hand in hand. Very few people are parasympatheticdominant. Almost everybody is sympathetic dominant. Heart rate variability is basically a balance of those two. When those two are balanced, high heart rate variability, so anything you can do that’s going to decrease stress.While you’re coming out of it, you’re coming out of psilocybin, you have two or three months.Ayahuasca, you have four to six months, something like that. Then Ibogaine, you have six to nine months before all that’s going to be out of your system, so you get a chance to do a lot of work. However, if you think that the drug did the work for you, you’re wrong, because it is going to go away. If you don’t make any changes during that period, then no changes are going to be made.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:18:16]

That’s interesting. So essentially, it provides you with space to actually be calm and clear enough to execute off of whatever the dark side is happening.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:18:29]

We have a really hard time, no matter how balanced you are. Every thought you have, everything you think you know or think you kind of know or are somewhat sure that you know,that’s all based on thousands of presuppositions that go back your entire life. You can’t possibly untangle all of that becauseliterally every single thing you know could be wrong. That’s not even a far-fetched idea.That’s probably the more probable idea.It’s like everything you think is probably wrong. Ten or 50 years from now, everybody will be like, I can’t believe we even thought that. But we’re attached to it because that’s how we know who we are is by what we know and what our experiences are. If we don’t understand how the world works at all, how anxiety provoking is that?It’s like being a two-year-old kid and ending up sitting next to a freeway.You have no idea what’s going on and how to get out of that. That’s how you feel if you don’t have any idea how the world works.

But what these things do is they’re not saying, hey, we’re going to remove everything you know about the world. They’re just going to say, let’s get your ego out of it so that you’re willing to accept the idea that everything you know might be wrong. You can look back on yourself in a non-judgmental way while you’re under theheroic doses of these things and you’re dissociatedfrom your ego. You can look back and think about things and feel about things that you wouldn’t be able to think of otherwise. Your protection would go up in front of you because you’re protecting your identity.The ego is a good thing. You can’t get anything done without the ego. But excessive ego gets in the way of growth. You need to be able to drop that and say, well, I’ve always thought this.Since I was three years old, I believed this. But when I look back on my life while under the influence and not having my ego, I mean, I can look back and go, that’s dysfunctional there, that’s dysfunctional there,that’s dysfunctional there, so maybe I’d reconsider that.Well that could be a huge body of work. That could be something that takes you years of your life tountangle. But you would have never seen it without the drugs, and you definitely would have never had the opportunity to have so little anxiety and be so open minded towards it. Something like MDMA only last hours, but something like ketamine could last you days.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:20:41]

Can it be done?You said that it can’t be done without the drug.Do you believe it, or is it just accessing a different part of the brain that potentially wouldn’t be able to be leveraged otherwise?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:20:53]

I think you can do it without the drug. But it’s very unlikely that you’re going to do it without the drug. ASEAL was a SEAL for 20 years, but he was also somebody who was going to become a SEAL for 20 years before that. So now he’s 45, andall of his life, essentially, he’s been thinking and acting that way. There’s a lot to move out of the way.Having been at the pinnacle of a career and being so successful on such a small percentage of the people actually get to that level of success, and you’ve climbed that mountain and you’ve gotten there, it’s really hard to say, well, everything I thought was wrong, and that was all crap. How do you marry that with saying, I’m going to do everything completely opposite than I’ve ever done and expect to keep succeeding.Nobody’s going to buy that. But what I think the psychedelics do is they allow you to accept that possibility and be like, hey, probably a lot of what I’m thinking is wrong, or might have thought was wrong. I think it’s an easier way to get there. Kundalini Yoga is like a vigorous yoga that has breath work in it, but people can do it with just breath work. I’m not talking about something simple like box breathing.It’s like a lot of hyperventilation and a lot of deep hypoxic holds and all this stuff, and there’s rhythms and techniques to all of it. Again, that’s secreting DMT in your brain, and so that’s havingthatpsychedelic effect. Is that really different?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:22:34]

So you’re saying it’s still very difficult though.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:22:36]

But at that point, you’reusing the same drug that you’re taking because by and large, there’s other things involved, but psilocybin, Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, those all increase DMT in the brain drastically. That’s what the hallucinogenic aspect of it is. You can do anything, what people can do is amazing, but if you want a prebuilt pathway and something that you’re more likely to succeed with, I think those are really good tools. I’m just always cautious to emphasize to people how– that is just a tool. It’s no different than saying, hey, I’m going to give you testosterone and your life’s going to change. No. I’m going to give you testosterone; youhave the opportunity to change your life.I’m going to give you more resources to make the changes you need to make.That’s what the psychedelics and entheogens do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:23:37]

That’s really interesting. Do you think that it affects the military community differently? I guess the bigger question is, it’s not the same. I mean, humans are the same. But again, like what you said is that group of individuals are asked to do things that normal humans are not asked to do. When you remove the ego part of it, do you think that it’s even more difficult for them to be able to work through or accept that?Say, you see Ayahuasca clinics or trips all over, but I almost feel as if it will probably help them the most, but this is probably the most difficult group to really crack open.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:24:26]

One of the things I’ve always tried to do with every modality that came along, whether it’s neurofeedback, biofeedback, transcranial magnet, transcranial ultrasound, psychedelics, hyperbaric, whatever, I always go learn a lot aboutit, and if it’s appropriate, I’ll do it myself and see do I think my community would accept this?The psychedelics can be anything from something super clinical, like the group VETS that has that Ibogaineprogram down in Mexico, that’s run by Stanford physicians and it’s a clinic.You go in there and you’re taking a pill, it’s weighed and measured, and it’s like a dose and you’re in a heart rate monitor. There’s not a lot of spiritual woowoo stuff, but you do something like ayahuasca and you have a shaman in there, and they’re shaking chicken bones, and they’re gonging and doing crystal bowls and a lot of ritualization. I think it matters the setting that you’re in. But in my experience in messing around with this stuff and talking to a lot of SEALsand advising and educating or consulting them on this, what I find is that if you do it with your guys, whatever else is going on is irrelevant.

One thing that the guys are good at is adapting to an environment.It’s like, we can all adaptbecause we’re all here. The safety is here. We’re totally cool with all of that.Then it also takes your mind off of you because that’s the community; you care more about that guy than you do yourself. You’re more protective of him than you are of yourself. That’s just the way that works, so it changes the dynamic of the experience. I’ve done it without team guys there. I’ve done it with team guys there, andit’s night and day different. But I’d say there’s a couple of issues. One of the big issues is that these are like the Vikings that are guarding the gate, and that’s all they’ve ever done. That’s what they do. The idea of being vulnerable is ridiculous to them. Why would you be vulnerable?That’s when you’re going to get killed.That’s when you’re going to fail at your job. You’re never going to be vulnerable.Even with your boys, you know each other isvulnerable, but you’re doing it like in a joking, picking sort of way and giving each other a little harassment, but nobody’s sitting there really admitting any kind of vulnerability or weaknesses or fears or anything like that. The community is just designed that way because you have to be self-sufficient. You have to be you have to be really confident and proficient at what you do. What that requires is almost no vulnerability.You have to be the closest thing to bulletproof as you can be.

That’s hard for the community to accept. That’s not just SEALs, but I think SEALs are an extreme example of that, but any special forces guys, any military guys, and probably any first responder,and any law enforcement, and probably any UFC fighter,and that kind of guy, a certain archetype, you’re alwaysgoing to havethat issue.

But what I didn’t appreciate with the SEAL teams, we never really finished that backstory, but the sleep helped a lot, but something I didn’t figure out until about a year before I got out was the TBI issue.I had patients with TBI’s, but the way the military measure TBI is just like, do you have a known impact that left you unconscious or mentally altered for a period of time, and did you reach– if you go across that threshold, then you have a TBI.If you don’t go across that threshold, you don’t have a TBI. For example, I have a good buddy who was blown up by a grenade. A frag grenade went off at the toe of his boot, essentially. He had shrapnel fromthis blast all up through him, and it went up through the roof of his mouth and hit his optic nerve; he’s blind in one eye.He has shrapnel in his brain. But when he got to the military, they said he didn’t have a TBI. What? Well he never lost consciousness.But he has shrapnel in his brain; that’s a traumatic brain injury.What are you talking about? I started learning about that.I don’t know if you ever heard of a guy named Mark Gordon.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:28:46]

Of course.He’s going to come on the show.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:28:48]

I was at a conference, and Mark was lecturing on TBI. I knew I had a couple of TBI patients. So I said, let’s go see what I can learn on this. I go up there, and he starts throwing up his case reports.It looks identical to all the SEALs I’ve been treating, all the same hormonal dysregulations, the low anabolics, high catabolics, high inflammation, high oxidation, all of that, insulin sensitivity, the whole shebang. I mean, identical numbers. So I’m sitting there going, holy smokes, I wonder how come this is? I go home, and I start reading about it and start studying it. I find an article in JAMA 2008, 2009, I can’t remember.They did DTI, so it’s like a superhigh-resolution imaging where they could see a single neuronal trackbreaking in the brain and that was the threshold forTBI. They were just figuring out how much does it take you to TBI?But it turned out to be something like1.09 G’s. That’s obviously an extremely mild, you’re not going to notice a TBI. But they were getting that from the acceleration changes on a roller coaster. I thought, we have way worse than that all day every day. So then I started digging deeper and deeper and longer about it. Then I learned about the overpressurization injury. That’s what was totally unappreciated.

If SEALs are training in this room, and they come in the door, and you get four guys in this room all shooting, every bullet that comes out is 35G’s of pressure. The transit, the average, and this is impact, this isn’t blast, but their average impact is 60 G’s. They peak over 100 G’s. They’re on it for hours running 60, 60, 60. That’s why they have thosespring-loaded seats and all that stuff. But then you start looking at the weaponry. If you’re inside of a Humvee with a 50 Cal going, it’s like, I think, it’s either 55 or 65 G’s for every bullet, every time that goes off,a Carl Gustaf, that the anti-armor weapon, the person shooting in it gets 200 G’s, the spotter gets 300 G’s.

I was at a conference where we’ve had, like all the military, we’ve had suicide epidemic in the last 10 years or so. We have a fair number of guys now who are shooting themselves through the heart and getting their brains splattered.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:31:20]

I know. Unbelievable.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:31:23]

Yeah, awful. There’s a guy there that I was a SEAL with whose son committed suicide, though his son became a SEAL and he committed suicide.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:31:36]

This was after 9/11, right? So he wasn’t necessarily deployed in the same way.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:31:43]

Oh, yeah. Sure.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:31:46]

Is it in the training that these head injuries happened?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:31:49]

Well, the training, for sure, but thendepending on how much combat, that as well. He started looking, because everybody was thinking, well, it’s going to be likeboxers, or it’s going to be like football players. It doesn’t turn out to be that way. In fact, they’rehaving problems finding a localized brain injury. Then one pathologist, I think, just decided to stain the whole brain or something. What he does when he does this, he finds tau proteins across the entire brain in every region of the brain. But they’re hyper focused on these really linear patterns. Then what he figures out over time, and then they build a model to prove it. They take a skull, and they build a model brain, and everything gets reproduced. The dura is there. The vessels are there. The white matter, the gray matter, the vesicles, everything is structured exactly, different densities for different tissues. They do the best they can possibly do to recreate a brain, and then they do a blast and high-speed photography, so you watch the blast injury go through.

It’s intuitive after the fact. If you’ve ever seen an explosion, if you see the wave come through and everything moves at a different rate, depending on how dense it is, how heavy it is. If you see it go across a yard or something and the car moves, but not the same as the tree and not the same as the trash on the sideway, everything’s moving at a different rate. Well the same thing happens.The blast injury actually goes through your head, it doesn’t go around your head.It goes all the way through you. The dura moves at a different rate than the vessels underneath it, which was a different rate than the white matter underneath that or the gray matter beneath that, which moves at a different rate than the white matter, which moves at different rate than theperi-vesicles, so it shears.Everywhere it shears, and you do thousands of these a day for years and years and years. At all those shear sites, you have that.So now,once all that protein lays down, that’s essentially an inflammatory wall. It’s like, we’re going to block this off. So inflammation can’t get to it, that means repair can’t get to it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:34:11]

This is different than a CTE, right?

Dr. Kirk Parsley [1:34:14]

Yeah. It looks nothinglike CTE because it’s the entire brain, whereas CTE tend to have like a focal coup and counter coupfront and back where it makes sense.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:34:26]

For the listener, the CTE is chronic traumatic encephalitis.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:34:30]

Which got popularized with football, but a pugilist habit as well. The important part of that is that causes all the neuro dysregulation that we’ve been talking about, the same as sleep. If you look at the symptoms ofchronic brain inflammationand chronic sleep deprivation, you can’t tell the difference. It’s the same symptomatology. So now you have this inflamed brain that has tons of protective protein shields around it that are preventing blood vessels from going through, and they’re preventing neurotransmitters from flowing.It’s like atherosclerosis. It’s like you have all this calcium laid down to prevent the inflammation,but calcium is pathological.It’s the same thing in your brain. So now you have this broken brain, essentially.You have this damaged organ that you’re trying to use to fix that organ. Hyperbarics does a great job of that.We didn’t talk about that earlier, but hyperbarics does a ton of the same neurotrophic factors that the psychedelics and the peptides do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:35:44]

Not to pause you for a second, butdoes it have to be a hard or soft chamber? Does it matter?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:35:49]

The only valid research right now and the only real research out there that we know is hard chambers, and you need to breathe out too. The way that works essentially is you have– the pressure creates its own physiologic changes.You know when you watch football and basketball and they had the oxygen mask on the sideline.We knowthey’resetting 99.6%. They put this mask on high flow like99.7% or something like that. On the surface of the Earth, the only way we’re getting oxygen to any tissue in our bodies, it has to be bound to hemoglobin on a red blood cell. So if you don’t have a good vascular bed, like a good capillary bed around that, you could lose oxygen supply to that tissue. So that’s something like a brain injury or a heart attack where you don’t have good blood supply, you’re not getting oxygen in there. If you have chronic brain inflammation and you’re squeezing off vascular supply, and you have fluid barrier in there, you’re having a hard time getting blood supply to that, so that region of the brain is going to stay inflamed and is more likely to decay and necrosis. You have an impaired region of your brain.

Now if you do hyperbarics,you can actually crush air bubbles down into the plasma that don’t have to be bound to hemoglobin. So now, when they get to the end, they just diffuse out and they go into the interstitial tissue. The more hyperbarics you do, you just flood every region of your brain or every region of your body with oxygen, even if there’s no blood supply there. But that leads to an activity and the pressure itself leads to an activity to increase VEGF and BDNF, so you actually grow blood vessels to reach those areas as well. But you get so much oxygen into all these tissues that it’s essentially as though you have blood supply in it, and it’sdurable. It’s not durable in the last six months after you’re doing it. But while you’re doing it, if you’re doing treatments every day,so five days a week, you’re doing treatments, that builds up toa maximum concentration around four to six weeks. Then you keep doing it a little while after.This is so significant that your vision will actually change. It’ll change the shape of your eyeball becauseyou’ll dissolve oxygen bubbles into your aqueous humor.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:38:30]

Better or worse.

Dr. Kirk Parsley [1:38:31]

It depends on the shape of your eye.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:38:31]

Sign me up.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:38:34]

It’s making your eyeball bigger.If your focal point is going past the retina, it’ll make your vision better. John Welborne did, and he goes,did you notice when you did hyperbaric that your vision got way better? I was like, no, absolutely. I could not see anything after. I was so myopic after I got out there; I can’t see a thing. So it depends on the shape of your eyeball, but it can improve your vision or can make it worse.But it’s temporary. The oxygenwill eventually get consumed. But the point of all that is you’re getting oxygen everywhere. When you’re getting oxygenanywhere, then you’re increasing mitochondrial function and all that, and you’re increasing the metabolism of that tissue.With the hyperbarics, you’re increasing also, like I said, the neurotrophic factors and neovascularization. We get great brain repair from that.You don’t get the decreased amygdala tone that you get from the psychedelics and the peptides that increase neurotrophic factors. They don’t give you the oxygen, and they don’t give you the amygdala. I think all of those combined seems to be like what’s the magic combination? I have no idea. But all that works.

But anyway, my point was the only research that works or the only research that’s been proven is that in order to dissolve enough oxygen into your plasma, or in order to be able to dissolve oxygen into your plasma at all, you have to be way deeper than 1.3 ATA, which is all the soft chambers will do. So it looks like a minimum probably of 2.0 ATA, and that’s atmospheres total. We’re sitting at one atmosphere, so we have like a column of air from outer space on top of us, that’s one atmosphere. Then you go down 33 feet of seawater, and that’s one more atmosphere, and 66 feet is two. At 33 feet of depth, you have two atmosphereson there. So that’s 2.0 ATA.It looks like that’s probably the minimum for in somewhere probably around 2.5 to 2.8 is probably ideal, and then breathing100% oxygen.As we’re sitting here right now, we have obviously 20% oxygen in the air. That’s the partial pressure in our lungsand our tissues, it’s 20%. But if I start breathing100% oxygen, it’s still 20% because I can’t saturate hemoglobin anymore. But if I go down to two atmospheres sonow, I breathe 100%oxygen, and I diffuse all that oxygen into my bloodstream. So you have to have the O2 andyou have to have the pressure.The heart chamber’s the only thing at work.

One of the projects I’m working on right now is mobile heart chambers.It’s proven so beneficial for guys, but clinics run everywhere, and clinic is a big investment. They’re not going to be everywhere. Guys get on military and they go everywhere. That’s also a huge time suck. Even a one-hourdive, which isthe minimum time in a chamber would be an hour, that takes an hour and a half because it’s 15 minutes to get down and then nine minutes to get up, so you have an hour on the bottom, and you’re already there. But then if you’re changing clothes to get into it and all that, and if you go to a true clinic, then they’re going to take your vitals and they’re going to put you in a gown, all that stuff. Then it would be an hour drive there and another hour, and that’s half your day. So I had this idea of putting chambers in air-conditioned trailers, and you just drive them to somebody’s house, and you teach them how to operate it and say, come get it andyou can come pick this up in eight weeks. Knock yourself out.Get as much as you can get done.

That’sa big passion of mine. I don’t have the business sense or capital to do that, so I’m talking to and haranguing all the people around me who I know had the money and interest and capability to do that and to try to develop that. Then we can treat vets all over the country; you get enough of those. If they’re being used, you drop them off at somebody’s clinic who’s thinking about doing hyperbarics and you say, hey, we’ll put this in your parking lot for a month and you pay us and you can test it out and see if you want to do hyperbarics and if you do, we can install the chamber. If not, you can maybe buy one of these chambers. Probably somebody’s going to take that idea and run with it.I’m looking to get the guys treated. That’s what I do.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:43:17]

Dr. Kirk Parsley, thank you so much for coming on the show. I have to say, I have so much respect for you and what you are doing for the community. It really means a lot to everybody.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:43:31]

I feel the same way about you. I mean, you’re really highly regarded in the teams and SFF really values you. I know we have a lot of work to do, but it’s all good stuff, fun stuff.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:43:43]

I will include where everyone can find you. Any other things that you want to highlight that you are working on, that you have? I know you have a newsletter.You do have a supplement. You have a private practice, which you’re probably not accepting patients for. But is there anything?

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:44:02]

No, I mean as far as what’s valuable for the audience, I would say if they’re not sleeping well already,that would be the primary reason to go to my website. This is ironic. You and I talk all the time. You know the scope of what I do with patients is the same with you. It’s essentially everythingexcept primary care.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:44:40]

If you guys have pneumonia, stop calling us.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:44:44]

In terms of nutrition, exercise, stress mitigation, pharmaceuticals, hormones, peptides, HBOD, entheogens all of that, the most powerful thing I do is get people to sleep better. That literally is, and I know that sounds self-serving, but it’s just true. I used to teach there’s four pillars to health: sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress mitigation. I say no.There are three pillars that sit on the foundation of sleep because if you aren’t sleeping, none of that other stuff is working.Evenyour fuel partitioning changes when you don’t sleep well. Your appetite changes when you don’t sleep well. Your exercise tolerance changes. How much exercise is beneficial changesby how much you sleep, and then how much stress you have to mitigate changes by how well you sleep. The most powerful thing I do, and this is really ridiculous is telling you that’s a PDF we could send your audience too. We’ll just do your name, right? Is that fine?Do you want to do that? Or we can do something cooler if you want.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:45:54]

We’ll do Lyon.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:45:57]

Okay, let’s do that. Basically, it teaches you how to get stress out of your sleep. That’s the number one reason people don’t sleep well. Well the number one reason people don’t sleep well is they don’t value it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:46:07]

No, I think it’s because of children. I have an almost four-year-old and a two-year-old, and I will tell you.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:46:15]

That’s unquestionably true for parents.Actually, the research is done.You lose 25% of your sleep for the first two years of your child’s life.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:46:25]

Accurate. What about the other? My daughter is four, and she’s still not letting us sleep.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:46:30]

I did the same thing. I had three kids two years apart. So I was like, no sleep. As soon as that one was running out there,so I lost whatever I lost.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:46:44]

75 years of your life.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:46:48]

This PDF seems so simple. It’s basically making some list, making some agreements to yourself.A really short Reader’s Digest version of it is we talked about what happens when you sleep, and we didn’t go into great detail, but basically, you’re going to repair and prepare.Everything’s going to be reset. The most capable you will be in any 24-hour period is right after you’ve woken up once you’re really awake, so after some bright lightand whatever.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:47:18]

Two shots of espressoand a cup of coffee, maybe a piece of nicotine gum.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:47:21]

30 minutes to an hour after you wake up, that’s the best you’re ever going to be, so the bestproblem-solving skills, the best emotional control you’re going to have, every cognitive function, physical, that’s max. So why not handle the most important, most stressful hardest things in the day right after that? But if you sleep poorly, the worst you’re going to be is the first two or three hours after you wake up. So now you have torearrange your day to try to do all that stressful stuff later in the day, and now you’re going to have consequences fortonight’s sleep. It’s basically this protocol where you basically convinced yourself that sleep is the most important thing and that everything that you need to handle should be handled after you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. Then you make a list of all the things you need to handle and all the things you need to worry about even if you can’t control them. You don’t want to forget to worry.You have an alarm clock that says, time to get ready for bed, and you have alarm clock that says it’s time to wake up, and there’s some relaxation techniques and breath and some cognitive or behavioral psychstuff in there. It’s just really simple four or six-page of worksheet or something and you do that. That’s the mostpowerful thing I do. Out of everything I do, all my patients go, oh my god, this is like, I should just stop that. I should make a book and just put that in the last few pages.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:48:48]

I know that the audience will really appreciate it. So we’ll put out there, put it in the newsletter.Thank you so much.

Dr. Kirk Parsley[1:48:54]

You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.


Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:48:58]

The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon podcast and YouTube are for general information purposes only and do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice. No patient-doctor relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast, YouTube, or materials linked from the podcast or YouTube is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professional for any such conditions. This is purely for entertainment and educational purposes only.