Saturday, October 1, 2022
Cold Thermogenesis

Using Cortisol & Adrenaline to Boost Our Energy & Immune System Function | Huberman Lab Podcast #18

This episode I describe the biology of two essential hormones we all make: cortisol and adrenaline (also called epinephrine). Cortisol and adrenaline powerfully regulate our levels of energy, focus and immune system function. I describe various science-supported tools and practices to increase or decrease cortisol and/or adrenaline, depending on one’s specific needs and goals. I also describe the biology of nootropics, and how cortisol and adrenaline can improve or degrade learning. Finally, I review the scientific data and tools for timing the release of these hormones to improve memory, energy and immune system function.

Thank you to our sponsors:
InsideTracker –
Athletic Greens –
Headspace –

Our Patreon page:

Supplements from Thorne:

Instagram –
Twitter –

Intermittent Fasting & Growth Hormone Mechanism
Habitual Coffee Drinking & Changes In Brain Connectivity

00:00:00 Introduction
00:05:41 Energy & Your Immune System, & Learning Faster
00:08:34 Why & How Intermittent Fasting Increases Growth Hormone
00:11:56 Why Your Stomach Growls
00:13:09 Hot Baths & Hormones
00:14:35 Energy, Adrenaline (Epinephrine), & Cortisol
00:15:48 Cortisol & Cholesterol, Competition With Testosterone & Estrogen
00:17:54 Adrenaline (Epinephrine) Is Your (Immune Systems) Best Friend
00:18:48 Cortisol Basics In Two (Actually 1) Minute/s
00:19:48 Adrenaline Basics In Two Minutes
00:21:32 Tool: Time Your Cortisol Peak To Waking Using Specific Light Intensities
00:27:20 Brief Increases In Cortisol & Adrenaline Boost Energy, Focus & Immunity
00:30:04 Ways To Increase Adrenaline, Epinephrine & Cortisol & Why That Is Good
00:35:00 Does Mindset During Stress Matter?
00:36:15 Protocols: Adrenaline Breathing Described
00:39:00 Practices To Increase Energy Without Increasing Stress
00:45:00 Using Stressors to ENHANCE Our Immune System: Science & Tools
00:55:11 Timing Thyroid Release For Energy
00:57:02 Adrenaline/Stress Increase Performance & Memory. IF They Are After Learning
01:02:45 An Optimal Learning Protocol
01:03:20 Coffee Changes Your Brain & Increases Connectivity Of “Anxiety Circuits”
01:05:43 Nootropics: Two Kinds, & How & Why They Work, “Neural Energy”
01:09:00 Biology of Comfort Foods: From Negative to Positive Feedback Loops
01:14:00 Bombesin: Energy Without Eating
01:15:00 How Stress Makes Our Hair Gray, & How To Prevent Stress-Induced-Graying
01:18:05 Blunting Chronic Cortisol, Including: Ashwagandha & Science Of
01:25:50 Licorice Increases Cortisol & Blood Pressure, & Reduces Testosterone (by Glycyrrhizin)
01:28:50 Apigenin: Anti-Cortisol
01:29:53 Protocols For Optimizing Energy & Immune System Function (& Learning)
01:37:00 When Fasting, Exercise, Cold & Intense Breathing Become Detrimental
01:39:00 Prescription Compounds
01:39:47 Tools For Accessing Alert & Calm States of “Energy”: Separating The Brain & Body
01:42:11 Ways To Apply Knowledge Presented Today
01:43:20 No-Cost Ways To Support Us, Feedback, Sponsors, Patreon, Partners, “Office Hours”

Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman’s teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac –


Similar Posts

45 thoughts on “Using Cortisol & Adrenaline to Boost Our Energy & Immune System Function | Huberman Lab Podcast #18
  1. Thank you for the very interesting talk and all the useful tips.
    I just wondered about the mechanisms through which steroids (e.g. prednisolone) affect cortisol. I was prescribed steroids on a couple of occasions and noticed a marked improvement in my energy and performance. Not that I am suggesting anyone should take steroids but it would be interesting to know what they do.

  2. Andrew isn't much of our likes and dislikes subjective meaning we can love something we previously hated just by focusing on positive v negative and the reticular activating system of the brain wants to reinforce our beliefs so by saying you love something your brain will want to reinforce that belief by allowing in information that does?

  3. Unbelievable that you do these lectures out of your own time and for free.. I find it insane that I can access this sort of information and be as invested as I am towards them. Hats off to you from across the seas..

  4. Not sure if this is hard to answer, but I'd love to know how cortisol and adrenaline are affected by subtle but ongoing worries. Is it more the things that stick out and cause strong emotions that result in their increases? Could the underlying worries of life that bother some people but on an ongoing and calmer level result in increases also? Perhaps it would be hard to tell within this grey area person-to-person without regular testing!?

  5. I'm really interested in the idea of getting sunlight within 30 minutes of waking. My husband gets up for work very early, usually around 3am. How can he get the morning cortisol spike if there's no sun for a few hours after him waking up? Are any indoor UV lights effective?

  6. Thank you prof. Huberman!
    Am a huge fan of your work! Appreciate all the hard work that it takes to produce such a well researched and informative podcast that a common man can follow!

  7. I’m interested to know if you have found reputable studies on the varying effects of different protocols of high temperature saunas (for example 3 – 15 min bouts combined with short cold exposures between vs. a 45 minute single session). Thanks.

  8. I don't know how he does this, but it feels like Dr H is talking directly to me when he speaks. I'm sure it feels like that for everyone. Is there a word for having the ability to do that? I feel like it would be very useful for the teaching practice in general.

    Maybe it's something intangible like his integrity/authenticity/caring nature, but if he could package it and teach it to people, the world would be a better place. It's a pretty unique skill.

    Also, thank you for explaining my I've always loved horror films so much! I always thought it was like training for coping with trauma, and here we go. Wow.

  9. I have a question. Instead of getting sunlight in the morning can u also just use a cold shower for realising cortisol and adreanline to start the inner clock?

  10. I love this podcast so much. Thank you for all you're doing. I'm wondering about your thoughts on meditating first thing in the morning. It seems like a cortisol spike right before or after waking is ideal, and I wonder if I'm blunting that by sitting first thing in the morning. Thanks again and again.

  11. Can you do a series of short (10 minute) videos (without the long dopamine explanation) on what actions we should take to enhance learning, focus etc

  12. Hey Andrew, thank you so much for all the amazing practical knowledge you share 🙂 I wanted to revisit the emulsifier episode but I cannot seem to find it, some people actually supplement with lecithin but I'm guessing processing it makes it strip the mucosa? Wanted to ask about sunflower lecithin in almond milk, is it harmful in very small amounts?

  13. P. S. As a trainer, I'm researching Feldenkrais exercises because it might be beneficial to calm down the neurvous system when there's an overload of adrenaline/ and or cortisol (since in this stadium, HIIT training is working out counterproductive). However, as far as I have learned this method isn't backed up by much scientific research so I was wondering if you know studies about it? I'm very open for any suggestions and ideas about this. Thanks again for hosting your amazing platform, very much appreciated!!!

  14. Is here someone using the light meter app ? If yes, may you consider to point out into their feedbacks about Professor Andrew references to his podcasts? … the least they can do is a small donation to his lab relevant to light as a thank you for their free advertisement . Thank you

  15. I just want to express some gratitude for your existence, Andrew. I literally have stacked 20 pages worth of hyper-condensed notes accumulated from every single episode and it's been great, it incorporates so easy into my dietetics and sports science framework which additionally applies supremely well to accelerate my studying philosophy, and computer and data science at uni.

    Just a humble flex but that's how much this podcast has done for me, it's the foundation for all of my serious work. Thank you.

  16. Does a luminotherapy lamp (10'000 lux) would have the same effect as going outside?
    During the winter I get up so early that is completely dark.

    With my Philips lamp, I felt an increase of energy but not sure if it's the effect of cortisol.

  17. I've got two questions left:
    – What to do if I have to rise before the sun? Are there any artificial light sources that can be equivalent to morning sun?
    – If the blood-barrier is transparent for cortisol (cortisol from the body can pass through to the brain), why is it possible to "seperate" body alertness from brain alertness? Do Cortisol and Adrenalin affect "brain-alertness" differently, so that it's only important not to release Adrenalin in the brain, but the passing Cortisol is okay?

  18. First of all – I don't know if I can express how extremely useful and interesting is this podcast. So much, that almost all my social interactions with friends end up on discussing one of the subjects you've covered in these series. I have already adopted most of the practices you describe and am already seeing the positive effects in practice… And the second part could you please elaborate further on how come one's intention is key when accessing neuroplasticity but you say that it doesn't matter what you are thinking when you expose yourself to cold. As I understand it facing this stressor voluntarily and thinking and telling yourself that you can handle it has tremendous effect on how much one's stress tolerance is increased.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.