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Last Updated: 12.06.23

Nutrients For Brain Health & Performance

Huberman explores science-​​supported nutrients and tools for brain health and performance. He covers Omega‑3, creatine, phosphatidylserine, anthocyanins, choline, glutamine, and their cognitive impact. He discusses gut-​​brain signaling, taste, and learned associations in food preferences.

Key Takeaways

High level takeaways from the episode.

Quality sleep, social connections, and mental health are vital for overall health and indirectly impact brain function

Neurons use glucose and ketones as fuel, but the structural integrity of neurons comes from fat

Omega-​​3s (EPA and DHA) are crucial for brain function

  • Most people get enough Omega-​​6s but not enough Omega-3s
  • Omega-​​3s can help with mood and well-​​being, and can be as effective as some antidepressants

Sources of Omega-3s:

  • Fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, caviar)
  • Chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and other plant-​​based foods


  • Modest effects on cognitive function
  • Found in meat and fish


  • Important for Acetylcholine production (neuromodulator)
  • Enhances focus and alertness
  • Found in egg yolks, potatoes, nuts, seeds, grains, and fruits


  • Shown to improve neuronal and brain function

Creatine supplementation can enhance brain function in certain contexts

  • Especially useful for people not consuming meat or other creatine-​​rich foods
  • Threshold for cognitive benefit: at least 5 grams per day

Anthocyanins have data supporting improved brain function

  • May be due to direct effects on neurons or lowering inflammation
  • Found in blueberries, blackberries, dark currants, and other thin-​​skinned purplish berries

Studies show anthocyanins can:

  • Reduce DNA damage
  • Slightly reduce cognitive decline
  • Improve verbal learning and memory in elderly individuals

Glutamine supplementation can offset negative effects on cognition caused by altitude and oxygen deprivation

  • May be useful for those with sleep apnea, which can contribute to cognitive decline

Hidden sugars in processed foods activate subconscious mechanisms to seek more of these foods

Healthy gut microbiome promotes healthy food seeking

  • Ingesting 2–4 servings of low-​​sugar fermented foods daily can enhance gut microbiome

Experiments show that consuming artificial sweeteners with food that raises blood glucose can lead to increased insulin release later, even when consuming the artificial sweetener alone

  • This increased insulin release can lead to insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes

It is recommended to consume artificial sweeteners separately from foods that raise blood glucose levels

Consuming artificial sweeteners over time can tap into the dopamine system and lead to increased consumption and preference for these sweeteners

  • This can lead to a “conditioned” response, where artificial sweeteners are paired with an increase in blood glucose, leading to increased dopamine release and alterations in blood sugar management

Food preferences are largely learned responses

Belief effect: subjective thoughts about a food can impact physiological measures like blood sugar and blood glucose

To adopt consumption of healthy foods, pair them with foods that increase brain metabolism (e.g., ketones for ketogenic diet)

  • Food preferences can change within 7–14 days of consistent pairing with metabolism-​​boosting foods


Science-​​based tools and supplements that push the needle.

Nutrients for Brain Health & Performance


Glutamine for Sleep Apnea /​​ Hypoxia in Brain


Separate Artificial Sweeteners from Foods that Raise Blood Glucose for Insulin Sensitivity


Protocols for Changing Food Preferences to Like Healthy Foods



We recommend using this distillation as a supplemental resource to the source material.

  • Nutrients For Brain Health & Performance

    Huberman Lab #42

    Huberman delves into nutrients and tools for brain health and performance, including Omega‑3, creatine, and phosphatidylserine. He explores taste, preferences, and actionable strategies to improve brain function.

Full Notes

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