Dr. Casey Means: Transform Your Health by Improving Metabolism, Hormone & Blood Sugar Regulation

Dr. Casey Means: Transform Your Health by Improving Metabolism, Hormone & Blood Sugar Regulation

Dr. Casey Means (00:00:00)

  • Dr. Casey Means is a world-renowned expert in metabolic health.
  • She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University.
  • Mitochondria are involved in energy production within cells.
  • Proper mitochondrial function is essential for body composition, physical and mental energy, and regulating hormones and blood sugar.
  • Exercise, sleep, nutrition, and certain micronutrients can impact mitochondrial and metabolic health.
  • Mitochondrial inflammation and reactive oxygen species can contribute to obesity.
  • Managing these factors can reverse obesity, diabetes, and enhance overall health.
  • Prioritize simple exercises like walking, sleep, and more vigorous exercise.
  • Focus on nutrition, including types of foods, timing of food intake, and food quality.
  • Consume specific micronutrients that support mitochondrial and metabolic health.
  • Manage mitochondrial inflammation and reactive oxygen species to improve metabolic health.
  • Dr. Casey Means' new book, "Good Energy: The Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health," provides valuable insights into metabolic health.

Sponsors: Maui Nui, Eight Sleep & AeroPress (00:02:18)

  • Dr. Casey Means hosts a podcast that provides free science-related information to the public, separate from his teaching and research roles at Stanford.
  • Sponsors of the podcast include Maui Nei Venison, which offers high-quality venison products with an excellent protein-to-calorie ratio, Eight Sleep, which produces smart mattress covers that regulate temperature to optimize sleep quality, and Aeropress, a coffee maker known for brewing the perfect cup of coffee quickly and without bitterness.
  • Dr. Means is a health expert focused on improving metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar control, emphasizing the significance of a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
  • Dr. Means' approach to health and wellness is grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices, impacting individuals in the USA, Canada, and over 60 other countries worldwide.

Metabolism, Metabolic Dysfunction, Medicinal Blindspot (00:06:32)

  • Metabolism is the process of converting food energy into human energy and is the foundation of overall health.
  • When metabolism is not functioning properly, it leads to various symptoms and dysfunctions in different cell types.
  • The current healthcare system focuses on treating downstream symptoms of metabolic dysfunction rather than addressing the underlying root cause, resulting in a chronic disease epidemic and reduced life expectancy.
  • Many individuals are affected by metabolic dysfunction, which can be compared to an assembly line producing faulty automobiles.
  • To improve overall health outcomes, a focus on metabolic function as the center of the healthcare system is necessary.
  • Individuals should take proactive steps to enhance their metabolic health by understanding the root causes of metabolic dysfunction and making appropriate lifestyle changes.

Trifecta of Bad Energy (00:14:17)

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction, caused by modern environmental changes such as processed food, lack of sleep, reduced movement, increased stress, and exposure to toxins, leads to various health conditions.
  • Chronic diseases like sinusitis, arthritis, Alzheimer's, diabetes, obesity, and erectile dysfunction are often linked to dysfunctional mitochondria.
  • Treating downstream symptoms of these conditions is ineffective and costly as it does not address the root cause.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction initiates the cell danger response, releasing extracellular ATP and triggering an innate immune response, leading to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Tools and tests are available to assess metabolic health and provide insights into inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, allowing for targeted improvements.

Western Living, United States, Specialization & Medicine (00:24:02)

  • The US has the worst chronic disease rates and the lowest life expectancy among high-income countries.
  • The US spends twice as much on healthcare as the second-highest spending country.
  • Siloing conditions into different specialties is profitable, leading to over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
  • 75% of American adults are overweight or obese.
  • 50% of American adults have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
  • 30% of teens have pre-diabetes.
  • 40% of Americans have a mental health diagnosis.
  • Cancer cases are set to reach 2 million in 2024, the highest ever recorded.
  • Alzheimer's, fat liver disease, and autoimmune diseases are all skyrocketing.
  • Infertility rates are increasing rapidly.
  • All of these diseases are linked to metabolic dysfunction caused by our environment.

Insulin Resistance, Tool: Mitochondrial Capacity & Exercise (00:27:57)

  • Metabolic issues arise from inefficient mitochondria, leading to excess fat storage and downstream health problems.
  • Insulin resistance occurs when mitochondria can't convert energy efficiently, causing cells to block glucose uptake and store it as toxic fats.
  • To improve metabolic capacity, we should promote mitophagy (recycling old mitochondria), mitochondrial biogenesis (creating new mitochondria), increase individual mitochondria's oxidative capacity, and enhance mitochondrial fusion (forming efficient chains of mitochondria).
  • Simple habits like endurance exercise, high-intensity interval exercise, resistance training, and walking more than 7,000 steps daily can improve mitochondrial function and overall health.
  • Walking acts as a glucose disposal signal, aiding the body in removing glucose from the bloodstream.

Sponsor: AG1 (00:33:33)

  • Huberman has been taking AG1 daily since 2012.
  • AG1 provides vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, and micronutrients that may be lacking in a whole food diet.
  • AG1 supports gut health, immune system health, brain health, and various cellular and organ processes.
  • AG1 is designed to provide foundational nutritional support for mental and physical health.
  • Special offer: 5 free travel packs and a year's supply of vitamin D3 K2 with purchase at drinkag1.com/huberman.

Tools: Walking & Glucose; Frequent Movement (00:35:03)

  • Regular short walks throughout the day, even for just a few minutes, can significantly improve glucose disposal and mitochondrial function.
  • Aim for at least three short walks per day, but more is beneficial.
  • Walking 7,000 to 12,000 steps per day has been associated with a 50% to 70% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
  • Muscle contraction, such as walking or doing squats, stimulates glucose channels to move to the cell membrane, allowing glucose to be processed by the mitochondria.
  • Regular muscle contraction throughout the day is more effective in improving metabolic health than a single intense workout.
  • Short movement breaks throughout the day, even for just 2 minutes every 30 minutes, can significantly improve glucose and insulin levels, and overall metabolic health.
  • Rebuilding constitutive movement into daily life, such as taking a short walk after a meal, can drastically reduce the glucose response and has additional benefits like reducing anxiety and stress.

Tools: Exercises to Improve Mitochondrial Capacity; Desk Treadmill (00:44:25)

  • Different types of exercise have varying effects on mitochondrial function and biogenesis.
  • Endurance exercise promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, while high-intensity interval training enhances mitochondrial fusion.
  • Resistance training increases muscle mass, which demands more mitochondria.
  • The basic physical activity guidelines for Americans recommend working every major muscle group three times a week, engaging in 75 to 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of strenuous activity per week.
  • Walking at least 7,000 steps daily is advised for additional health benefits.
  • Under-desk treadmills are an effective tool for increasing daily activity and improving overall health.
  • Starting with 5 minutes and gradually extending the duration can help establish a habit of using the treadmill desk.
  • Even at a slow speed of 1 mile per hour, 2-3 hours on the treadmill desk can accumulate 6,000-8,000 steps.
  • Incorporating short walks throughout the day can further boost daily step count.
  • Regular movement is crucial for maintaining good health, and under-desk treadmills offer an accessible and affordable way to integrate it into a daily routine.

Soleus Push-Ups & Fidgeting, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) (00:51:18)

  • Solus push-ups, which involve raising the heels while seated, have been found to disproportionately use blood glucose and positively impact metabolism and blood glucose utilization.
  • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to the calories burned through fidgeting and moving around, and it is beneficial for weight management and overall health.
  • NEAT is a potential intervention for the obesity epidemic as it stimulates the body to stay metabolically active throughout the day.
  • Modern lifestyles have significantly reduced movement compared to pre-industrial times, emphasizing the importance of incorporating movement into daily life.
  • Simple lifestyle changes such as walking more and increasing movement throughout the day can prevent chronic diseases and promote overall well-being.
  • Simple habits that are known to be healthy fundamentally improve cellular biology, positively impacting mitochondria, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

Dr. Casey Means: Transform Your Health by Improving Metabolism, Hormone & Blood Sugar Regulation (00:00:00)

InsideTracker (00:57:14)

  • InsideTracker is a personalized nutrition platform that analyzes data from blood and DNA to help users understand their bodies and reach health goals.
  • It provides information about lipid levels, hormone levels, and metabolic factors, along with actionable items to optimize these levels.
  • InsideTracker Pro enables coaches and health professionals to provide premium and personalized services using InsideTracker's analysis and recommendations.
  • To try InsideTracker, visit insidetracker.com/huberman for a 20% discount on any plan.
  • Dr. Casey Means is a physician, scientist, and entrepreneur who specializes in metabolic health, hormone optimization, and longevity.
  • He is the founder of the Means Method, a comprehensive approach to health and wellness that focuses on optimizing metabolism, hormones, and blood sugar regulation.
  • The Means Method is based on the principles of functional medicine, which focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of health problems rather than just treating symptoms.
  • It involves a combination of lifestyle changes, nutritional interventions, and targeted therapies to optimize health and well-being.
  • Nutrition: Focuses on a whole-foods, nutrient-dense diet that supports metabolic health and hormone balance.
  • Exercise: Includes both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to improve insulin sensitivity, build muscle mass, and support overall health.
  • Sleep: Emphasizes the importance of quality sleep for hormone regulation, cellular repair, and overall well-being.
  • Stress Management: Incorporates techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing to reduce stress and improve overall health.
  • Supplementation: Uses targeted supplements to support specific health goals and address nutrient deficiencies.

Benefits of the Means Method:

  • Improved metabolism and weight management
  • Balanced hormones and reduced symptoms of hormonal imbalances
  • Stabilized blood sugar levels and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Improved mood and cognitive function
  • Enhanced athletic performance and recovery
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders


  • Dr. Casey Means' Means Method provides a comprehensive approach to health and wellness by optimizing metabolism, hormones, and blood sugar regulation.
  • By combining lifestyle changes, nutritional interventions, and targeted therapies, the Means Method can help individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.

Tool: Blood Test Biomarkers, Vital Signs & Mitochondrial Function (00:58:21)

  • Key blood tests for assessing overall health include fasting glucose, fasting triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c, total cholesterol, waist circumference, and blood pressure.
  • These biomarkers indicate metabolic dysfunction, affecting most American adults.
  • Optimal metabolic health is rare, with only 6.8% of Americans achieving it.
  • Key biomarkers of metabolic health are waist circumference, blood pressure, and hemoglobin A1c.
  • High triglycerides and fasting glucose levels, even within the normal range, can signal underlying metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance.
  • Hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over 9 to 120 days.
  • Insulin resistance elevates insulin levels, reducing nitric oxide production and impairing blood vessel function.
  • Basic biomarkers like glucose, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and blood pressure provide insights into cellular health and mitochondrial function.
  • These markers can be improved to healthy or even fantastic ranges within a short period.
  • Basic blood tests, such as apoB, uric acid, fasting insulin, HOMA-IR, hsCRP, liver function test, and GGT, can reveal mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation.
  • Direct-to-consumer lab testing companies offer affordable biomarker testing, eliminating the need to argue with doctors for information.
  • Regular biomarker testing allows individuals to determine what health strategies work best for them.
  • Optimal biomarkers and feeling incredible indicate fundamentally healthy cellular function, regardless of the specific diet or exercise regimen followed.
  • People are now including health metrics, such as biomarkers, in their before-and-after diet and exercise photos on social media, inspiring a more scientific approach to health and fitness.

Tool: Environmental Factors; Food, Life as a Process (01:16:46)

  • The Seven Pillars of Optimal Metabolic Health are: food, sleep, movement, emotional health, toxins, relationship with light, and relationship with temperature.
  • Food is a crucial pillar that most people get wrong and need to correct to improve metabolic health.
  • Food is the molecular building block of the body and the cell signaling functional molecules that tell our cells what to do.
  • The microbiome, a collection of microorganisms in our bodies, acts like a pharmacy, producing molecules that impact our health.
  • Food, while providing calories, also carries molecular information that significantly affects cellular health.

Tool: Ultra-Processed vs. Real Food, Obesity, Soil & Micronutrients (01:21:58)

  • Prioritize nutrient-rich, unprocessed whole foods over calorie counting to improve metabolic health and overall well-being.
  • Processed and ultra-processed foods lack essential nutrients and can lead to overeating, weight gain, and chronic diseases.
  • A study by Kevin Hall demonstrated that consuming ultra-processed foods resulted in increased calorie intake and weight gain compared to unprocessed foods.
  • A healthy diet should include fiber, Omega-3s, adequate healthy protein, probiotics, and high antioxidant sources.
  • Metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar regulation are crucial for maintaining overall health.
  • Improving metabolism can aid in fat burning, boosting energy levels, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Balancing hormones can regulate mood, enhance sleep, and improve reproductive health.
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels prevents energy spikes and crashes, leading to sustained energy and reduced cravings.
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management positively impacts metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar control.

Ultra-Processed Foods: Brain & Cellular Confusion (01:32:03)

  • The brain's hunger and satiety circuits primarily drive us to seek amino acids for metabolic processes and tissue repair.
  • A highly processed diet confuses the brain's hunger and satiety circuits because it provides taste, calories, and macronutrients without the corresponding micronutrients and amino acids.
  • Eating natural, unprocessed foods allows for intuitive self-regulation of hunger and satiety.
  • Processed foods cause mass cellular confusion and chronic inflammation in the body, leading to insatiable hunger and chronic diseases.
  • Processed foods act as a variable reward, triggering the dopamine motivation pathway in the brain and making it difficult to stop eating.

Tools: Control Cravings, GLP-1 Production, Microbiome Support (01:39:10)

  • Nutrient-sensing cells in the small intestine produce satiety hormones when stimulated by nutrients, but processed foods lack these nutrients.
  • Increasing GLP-1 levels can be achieved by increasing the number of L cells, enhancing GLP-1 production per L cell, or inhibiting GLP-1 breakdown.
  • Fiber, fermented foods, polyphenols, and ginseng can stimulate the production of L cells and GLP-1 secretion.
  • Protein, especially valine and glutamine, as well as certain foods like black beans, Mexican oregano, rosemary, guava, berries, cranberries, peppers, and Swiss chard, can also stimulate GLP-1 secretion.
  • A diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods, including lean protein, fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs, can promote satiety and reduce cravings, leading to successful weight loss and maintenance.

Ozempic, GLP-1 Analogs; Root Cause & Medicine (01:51:42)

  • GLP-1 analogs like OIC are expensive medications used as appetite suppressants and are being increasingly prescribed, with over 20 million prescriptions in the US last year.
  • The pharmaceutical industry is pushing to classify obesity as a genetic and chronic disease to increase insurance coverage for GLP-1 analogs, potentially making it the highest-grossing medication in history.
  • GLP-1 analogs do not address the root cause of chronic illnesses, which is mitochondrial dysfunction caused by the toxic environment we live in.
  • Simple habits like eating real food, moving, walking, and getting sunlight can significantly improve mitochondrial capacity and overall health.
  • GLP-1 analogs may be an option for those who have struggled with weight management due to various challenges, but they should be combined with lifestyle changes for long-term success.
  • The medicalization of chronic issues through pharmaceuticals has not been successful in reducing their rates, as evidenced by the continued prevalence of depression, type 2 diabetes, and obesity despite the widespread use of SSRIs, metformin, and OICs.
  • The root cause of chronic conditions needs to be addressed through multimodal gentle nudges in daily life habits and environment, rather than relying solely on medication.

Tool: Deliberate Cold & Heat Exposure, Brown Fat (02:00:54)

  • Cold exposure stimulates mitochondria to work harder, improving metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar control.
  • Reduced body temperature can indicate mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased energy production.
  • Cold exposure promotes brown fat, which is metabolically active and helps regulate body temperature.
  • Heat exposure activates heat shock proteins, improving metabolic health and antioxidant defenses.
  • Deliberate cold exposure, though uncomfortable, can be beneficial for metabolic health.
  • Light and temperature are linked, with longer days and higher temperatures promoting brown fat activity.

Tool: Intermittent Fasting & Metabolic Flexibility; Insulin Sensitivity (02:07:27)

  • Compressing eating windows to 6-8 hours during the daytime can enhance metabolic health by lowering glucose and insulin levels.
  • Intermittent fasting (time-restricted feeding) may have benefits, but a study suggesting increased cardiovascular risk in a 6-hour feeding window lacks peer review and is still in abstract form.
  • The average American has 11 eating events per day and 50% eat over a 15-hour window, potentially contributing to metabolic health issues.
  • Processed foods, prevalent in grocery stores, hinder the body's ability to burn fat due to their high content of refined sugars and grains.
  • Fasting can improve metabolic health but should be introduced gradually to avoid stress on the body.
  • Eating earlier in the day, around 9:30 am, leads to lower glucose and insulin responses compared to eating the same meal later in the evening at 8:30 pm.
  • Melatonin, secreted as we approach sleep, may impair insulin sensitivity, making it less effective at absorbing glucose from meals consumed later at night.
  • Consuming carbohydrates later in the day can help reduce carbohydrate cravings, especially after resistance training to replenish glycogen stores.
  • Eating high-quality foods is crucial for overall health, while processed foods should be limited.
  • Dr. Casey Means offers insights on improving metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar regulation for better health.

Tool: Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) & Awareness, Glucose Spikes (02:17:03)

  • Continuous blood glucose monitoring provides insights into how diet and lifestyle choices affect the body.
  • Certain foods, like grapes, can cause blood sugar spikes.
  • The French method of eating (soup, entree, salad) results in steadier and lower glucose rise compared to other meal orders.
  • Saunas may temporarily raise blood sugar due to dehydration or sensor inaccuracy.
  • Sufficient dietary fat, especially olive oil, can help reduce blood glucose spikes.
  • Adding fiber-rich foods like basil seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds to meals can lower glucose excursions by slowing glucose absorption.
  • The purpose of glucose monitoring is to gain curiosity and understanding of how different dietary and lifestyle strategies affect blood glucose, not to manipulate the system for flat glucose levels.
  • Keeping blood sugar levels healthy throughout life, avoiding spikes, and maintaining insulin sensitivity is crucial for longevity and preventing diabetes.
  • Glucose monitoring over time is more valuable than a single annual snapshot.
  • Early prediction of metabolic disease can be done by observing how long it takes for glucose levels to come down after a meal.
  • In a healthy body, glucose should spike and come down within 45 minutes to 2 hours after the last bite of a meal.
  • Elevated glucose levels for more than 2-3 hours could indicate insulin resistance.
  • A low area under the curve (AUC) of a glucose spike indicates a quick return to normal glucose levels, while a high AUC is associated with insulin resistance.

Tool: CGMs, Glycemic Variability, Dawn Effect, Individuality (02:24:34)

  • Glycemic variability (GV), measured by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), indicates the spikiness of glucose curves and is associated with adverse metabolic biomarkers even in non-diabetic individuals.
  • CGM can detect glucose dysregulation patterns missed by standard tests, such as the dawn effect (glucose rise upon waking), which is linked to insulin resistance and stress.
  • CGM helps identify foods that cause glucose spikes, including some perceived healthy options like sweetened green juice and instant oatmeal.
  • Glucose spikes and crashes negatively impact health, particularly in menopausal women due to decreased estrogen levels.
  • Personalized nutrition is crucial as individuals have different glycemic responses to the same foods.
  • Sustained glycemic variability over time is detrimental to health.
  • Lifestyle strategies like improved sleep, post-meal walks, resistance training, cold plunging, and breathwork can help manage glucose spikes.
  • High-carb, high-starchy foods cause significant glucose spikes followed by crashes, leading to reactive hypoglycemia and increased carb cravings.
  • Reducing the extent of glucose spikes aids in managing cravings and promoting overall well-being.
  • CGM provides valuable insights into glucose patterns, energy levels, and cravings, empowering individuals to make informed dietary choices.

Sleep; Continuous Monitoring & Biomarkers (02:33:10)

  • Sleep, particularly the last few hours, is essential for regulating blood glucose levels and metabolism.
  • Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can track blood glucose levels and other analytes like hormones, lipids, ketones, lactate, and alcohol.
  • Continuous monitoring allows individuals to understand how their environment affects their biology and make informed choices to enhance cellular health.
  • Dr. Casey Means stresses the significance of proactive healthcare and expresses enthusiasm for future advancements in health and wellness.
  • The discussion will center on optimizing metabolism, hormone regulation, and blood sugar control.

Mindset & Safety, Stress & Cell Danger Response (02:37:39)

  • Mindset, psychology, and our relationship with fear and control significantly impact metabolic health.
  • Stress and loneliness negatively affect mitochondrial function and increase the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Continuous exposure to fear-inducing media disrupts cellular metabolism and promotes a state of defense and threat response.
  • Creating a sense of safety in the body is crucial for metabolic health and can be achieved by addressing unresolved childhood trauma, limiting fear-inducing media consumption, and addressing existential fears.
  • Americans face mental health challenges due to various factors, including childhood trauma, fear of mortality, and a poor mental healthcare system.
  • This diversion of resources in the mitochondria towards defense, threat, and alarm can lead to metabolic health issues.
  • To address this, it is important to identify and address the true fear triggers in our lives and create a sense of safety in our minds and bodies, regardless of external circumstances.

Tool: Being in Nature, Sunlight, Fear (02:44:04)

  • Spending time outdoors can significantly improve metabolic health, reduce fear and anxiety, and regulate mitochondrial function.
  • Nature teaches us about cycles and patterns, instilling a sense of harmony and abundance, and fostering a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
  • Prioritizing outdoor time can lead to improved overall health and well-being, promoting a joyful health journey rooted in connection rather than isolation.
  • Modern society often instills fear and a sense of loss of control, but nature provides a sense of safety and reduces anxiety, with benefits such as reducing myopia and improving overall health.
  • Cellular biology, molecular biology, and macroscopic actions like walking, resistance training, cold exposure, sleep, and high-intensity interval training all play a role in improving health and can be integrated with connecting to nature.
  • Dr. Casey Means is appreciated for taking a holistic approach to health, empowering individuals to take control of their well-being.

Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter (02:54:44)

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  • Dr. Casey Means is an expert in metabolic function.

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