540. Tobacco-Free Nicotine's Nootropic Superpowers for Learning, Memory & Focus

Nicco Magnotto

May 28, 2024

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Nicco Magnotto, co-founder and CEO of Nic Nac Naturals, a cleaner solution for nicotine delivery, shares the benefits of nicotine, including anti-aging properties, along with focus and memory advantages – plus, what common toxins are in traditional nicotine products.

Nicco Magnotto is the co-founder and CEO of Nic Nac Naturals. Nicco started off as an electrical engineer, immediately got bored, obtained his MBA, and moved into the health food space. He's worked in product development, supplements, and specialty ingredients. Nic Nac is his first startup with the hopes of providing a much-needed cleaner solution for nicotine delivery.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

On this, another amazing Tuesday to be alive, we welcome Nicco Magnotto, the co-founder and CEO of Nic Nac Naturals, to the show. Nicco has a wealth of experience in product development, supplements, and specialty ingredients, which eventually led him to create his first startup, Nic Nac, serving a mission to offer a cleaner solution for nicotine delivery. 

I myself am a huge fan of nicotine and appreciate having a natural option with Nic Nac, and am excited to uncover nicotine’s nootropic powers for learning, memory, and focus in this episode. If you’re into nicotine like me, I couldn’t recommend this natural alternative more. Visit lukestorey.com/nicnac and use the code LUKE to save 10%.

During our conversation, Nicco shares how his transition from engineering to health entrepreneurship, sparked by his personal struggle with migraines, inspired him to create a cleaner nicotine product. We get right into caffeine and nicotine’s cultural significance, and have a candid discussion on whether smoking organic tobacco is as harmful as we think. 

We also talk about the ceremonial and energetic aspects of tobacco use and the science behind nicotine's impact on neurotransmitters. Plus, we discuss an exciting animal study suggesting nicotine might have anti-aging properties, and theories on its potential use for long COVID.

Nicco shares his insights on the surprising benefits of nicotine, the clean ingredients he’s chosen for Nic Nac, and the rigorous process of navigating regulations in the nicotine industry. We discuss the economy of big tobacco, the dangers of vaping and why opting for a safer alternative is so important. 

Teasing upcoming innovations, Nicco unveils some exciting patents and products in the pipeline and admits he’s always looking to improve the product (made in their facilities in Spokane, Washington) based on consumer feedback. I love having guests who set a high standard for doing things right, and Nicco’s commitment to quality and transparency can’t be overstated.

(00:00:08) Nicotine’s Bad Rep: Historical, Spiritual & Health-Boosting Uses 

  • Nico’s struggle with migraines leading him to look for alternative healing methods
  • Suffering and discomfort leading to growth 
  • Recognizing the historical precedent for caffeine and nicotine
  • Is smoking organic tobacco actually that bad for you?
  • Are rolling papers bad for you?
  • Ceremonial and energetic aspects to tobacco and nicotine
  • Why Nico takes nicotine breaks 

(00:15:41) A Safer Alternative to Smoking: Nicotine Dosage & Effects

  • Visit lukestorey.com/nicnac (use the code LUKE to save 10%)
  • The amount of nicotine in a cigarette vs. cigar
  • How nicotine impacts neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Explaining the dosage of Nic Nac
  • Exploring the dangers of vaping

(00:24:07) The Surprising Benefits of Nicotine

(00:42:00) Common Toxins in Smoking Alternatives & Nic Nac’s Clean Ingredients

  • Toxic ingredients present in nicotine products or smoking alternatives
  • Documentary: The Bitter Truth
  • Should we be concerned about natural flavors in oral tobacco products?
  • Why you can't swallow nicotine 
  • How using xylitol in nicotine products can increases your oral pH 
  • Using essential oils for flavoring 
  • Why they use synthetic nicotine 

(01:05:40) Navigating Nicotine Regulations & Advocating for Product Transparency

[00:00:05] Luke: All right. Nicco, so you are a nicotine expert. I got to ask. Is Nicco a stage name so that it aligns with the word nicotine?

[00:00:13] Nicco: No, just serendipitous.

[00:00:16] Luke: That's super funny that you ended up finding this particular niche, and that's your name. It's like when you think about old names, like your name's Joe Shoemaker, and somewhere back in your family line, your great-great-great-great, grandfather made shoes. He was a cobbler or whatever.

[00:00:35] Yeah, I think maybe in my line, I share the same thing actually. Now I think about it, Storey, I tell stories, and I share stories with people. So that's the first thing I wanted to ask you. What got you into nicotine as a health and life enhancing molecule?

[00:00:54] Nicco: Yeah, absolutely. So I started off in my past life as an electrical engineer and didn't really resonate with me, found it boring. Really got passionate about health, and I had these migraines. And so it became almost like a necessity. It started coming out that there might be even brain damage occurring with each migraine.

[00:01:18] So it's like, okay, I got to nip this in the bud. And to me, the conventional route just wasn't an option. It's like, hey, clearly, I got to start this health journey. I got to figure it out. So I started doing a ton of research. I started going to chiropractor, and getting my skull adjusted, and taking a bunch of magnesium supplements, and all sorts of stuff tested, cut out seed oils. Covered a lot of the basics, and they went away. Haven't had a migraine in years, which was just amazing, because if you've had them, they're the worst.

[00:01:53] Luke: What's the difference between a migraine and a regular headache?

[00:01:57] Nicco: A normal headache, which most people have had, your head hurts, and it's not that big of a deal. A migraine is a wildly oppressive hours long, for some people, days long. It's a headache, but often it comes with nausea. For me violent vomiting.

[00:02:18] Luke: Really?

[00:02:19] Nicco: Oh yeah, no, it was just like I was getting punched in the head, and I was super nauseous. Thankfully, they didn't last as long for me. One of the key indicators is you often have an aura or something like this beforehand. It's almost like something's going on with the blood flow in your brain where it drops off and then comes in super hot. So I would have these terrible auras to the point that it was almost like stroke symptoms.

[00:02:44] I would get numbness in my hands. I'd have even some errors in my speech, which was terrifying. So I would know what I was trying to say, and the words just won't come out. Either the wrong words, wrong order, and I was really scary. I scared my family, scared myself. And obviously, this was a major wake-up call.

[00:03:04] And in a lot of ways I'm grateful for it because it got me on this path, and it also taught me how to suffer. So that's one of those things that you aren't necessarily grateful for at the time because suffering isn't the best. But that was a lot of the worst suffering in my life, and at the end of the day, it's not that bad.

[00:03:25] But the temporal suffering of migraines is not nothing. So that got me on this path, and then I became super passionate about health. I was like, yeah, I'm not going to be an engineer. I want to do something a lot cooler, a lot more interesting than that. So I went and got my MBA, started working for my dad's business, which conveniently enough was in the health food space.

[00:03:44] So started learning about specialty sweeteners, supplements. Yeah, specialty supplements, mineral supplements. Went down that rabbit hole, and then got into the biohacking space, did some crazy fast, did cold water plunges and all that. Did a little bit of crazy ones.

[00:04:03] I would do like a dry fast and sauna. And then, of course, I had my Oura Ring, so it was freaky. One time I got my heart rate down to 34 beats a minute, and I was like, oh, wow. Either I'm really healthy, or this is really stupid. So I like to do fun stuff like that, and then one of the things that kept popping up in the literature, being the huge nerd that I am, was nicotine.

[00:04:25] And then I heard about it from people that you've talked to, Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield, people like them. Definitely, I was following them and seeing what they're doing. So I was like, cool, well, I want to try nicotine, and I want to see if I can get anything out of it. Because I had never used any nicotine prior to coming up with this really.

[00:04:44] I tried some toothpicks. That was the only product I could find that met my orthorexic standards in terms of ingredients. But it made me realize that there's this major problem, which is the delivery methods for nicotine are not so good. So I was like, well, what could we do? So I started making up what I affectionately call crack rocks in the kitchen, or basically using old school confectionary techniques to mix it with nicotine and see what I could do, and eventually it evolved into this.

[00:05:16] Luke: Epic. Well, I love your perspective on suffering and discomfort. I think that many of us go through challenges, and obviously, when we're in the midst of it before we found the solution, it can be pretty oppressive and depressing. But then when we get past it, oftentimes we've changed our entire way of living as a result of solving that problem.

[00:05:39] And there's no way to know, but it's interesting to look at, to me, how many other problems I might have had down the road, and how many other degrees or varieties of suffering I might have experienced had I not had that one initial one that set me on the path. So if you didn't have the migraines, you might have just been a NPC and just normal person, eating regular groceries, regular food.

[00:06:02] Nicco: Yeah. Yeah, I could have been one of those 50% of men that get cancer or whatever, right?

[00:06:06] Luke: Yeah. And then you could have had a lot of other problems down the road.

[00:06:09] Nicco: 100%.

[00:06:09] Luke: As an electrical engineer, I'm curious. Were you, on job sites, around a lot of electricity?

[00:06:18] Nicco: Oh yeah. So originally, I did a little bit of time working in San Diego in defense. I had problems with that personally, ethically, so I was like, I'm not going to work in defense. So I went and switched over to the utility space. It's like, okay, I'm providing a necessary service. I was in Arizona at the time.

[00:06:36] It's like, yeah, people are going to die if the air conditioning turns off. I think this is a relatively noble path, which to me was really important. So yeah, no, I've been in huge switchyards. I've been to nuclear plants. I've been to all of them. I remember going to one switchyard in general, and I was with a bunch of people, and they're like, oh, let's go stand underneath the reactor.

[00:06:59] And it's with women, so their hair would stand two feet over their head because the magnetic field is so powerful. And I was the loser, health nerd, and I was a mile away. I'm exaggerating, but looking at them like, you guys are crazy. That is a very powerful magnetic force that you guys are walking into. I've been around probably too much electrical equipment but--

[00:07:22] Luke: I wonder if there was any correlation between the migraines and all of that EMF exposure.

[00:07:27] Nicco: I think it happened before that. I wasn't in the field that much. I've had a number of concussions, so I think that's more than likely where it started you. You get a few concussions a month. There appears to be some genetic predisposition that's there as well.

[00:07:45] Luke: Got it. One of the things I've contemplated when it comes to nicotine and also caffeine is that, over history, so many of the great works of art have been created under the influence of those two substances. And even thinking about this country, the infrastructure of the country is essentially built by people that smoke cigarettes and drink coffee.

[00:08:09] And I don't know how many great artists, how many great compositions in classical music, or renaissance paintings, or things that have really stood the test of time as great contributions by human beings. There's no way really to quantify it, but logic would dictate that a lot of that has been assisted. Great works of literature, for example.

[00:08:30] When you think of the archetypal, timeless author, they're sitting there smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee as they work on the typewriter and produce their opus. So there's definitely a historical precedent for both caffeine and nicotine. And I think one of the problems, and I'll get your take on this, is that if you look at the history of lung cancer, for example, prior to around World War II, human beings have been smoking tobacco probably for all of recorded and prerecorded history, but there was virtually no lung cancer until we started growing tobacco commercially with fertilizers, and then spraying it with pesticides.

[00:09:18] And then, all of a sudden, you have this massive wave of lung cancer from cigarette smokers. Have you looked into that correlation? Is smoking tobacco actually that bad for you if it's organic tobacco that you grew yourself in your homestead or something versus commercial RJ Reynolds, pesticide laden, chemical laden tobacco?

[00:09:41] Nicco: Yes, I strongly suspect that's the case. So when you go to the grocery store and you see the cigarettes locked up, there's a big warning sign above it that says all these companies literally designed to make these products more addictive. They're just like Big Food. They're formulated to be as addictive as possible.

[00:10:02] And then there's also a number of crazy regulations that contributed to making them worse. But there's something like 600 additives that you're allowed to add to tobacco. None of them have to be disclosed, so you don't see the ingredients on the package.

[00:10:14] Luke: Really?

[00:10:15] Nicco: Yeah. And so for example, flight cigarettes, they added pyrazine hypothetically to make them more addictive. But I think one of the big things that's contributed in addition to the arsenic, the pesticides, the rat poison, and all this stuff, to maximize a crop is, in the United States, flame retardants are required to be in cigarettes. So you cannot buy cigarettes in the US without flame retardants.

[00:10:43] Luke: Flame retardants?

[00:10:44] Nicco: Yeah. Because a few people were smoking cigarettes, sitting in their lazyboy, and they fell asleep, and they burnt their house down.

[00:10:50] Luke: Oh, so they don't keep burning.

[00:10:52] Nicco: They won't keep burning. So unless you are buying your raw organic tobacco leaves and chopping it up yourself and rolling it, then yeah, I think you're going to have more problems than otherwise. Smoke in itself is still carcinogenic. So I think limiting smoke exposure is wise. But yeah, modern cigarettes are definitely worse. Again, it is just like the correlation with Big Food

[00:11:17] Luke: What about the paper? I've always wondered about rolling papers, because when you look at rolling papers, which I haven't used in a very long time, but I used to roll a lot of smokeables up back in the day, and there are these little lines on, zigzags, traditional rolling papers. There's these little lines on them that help them to burn evenly, just for example.

[00:11:37] But even if you just think about printer paper, that was once tree pulp, and then it's been bleached in hexane, and God knows what chemicals to turn it white, make it thin, and make it pressable into paper. Have you looked into not just what's in the tobacco but the actual rolling papers?

[00:11:54] Nicco: I haven't peripherally. I'm semi-familiar with the paper industry, and yeah, they're using sulfuric acid and all this stuff. So intuitively, it seems like a bad idea. I don't smoke, but I've heard that organic rice paper is the best option, which it's, say, food, very well-known substance. So if you're the person that's going to do that, that's what I'd recommend.

[00:12:21] Luke: Got it. Another thing that's interesting about nicotine in the form of tobacco is the ceremonial use by indigenous cultures. Anytime I've ever participated in a plant medicine ceremony, for example, with people that are doing it according to some tradition, the use of tobacco, whether it's just diffused into the air or people are actually smoking it is a huge, huge part of that experience.

[00:12:52] So it seems that there's some, I don't know, energetic element to tobacco and nicotine that's also very interesting. If it wasn't meaningful in any way and had no relevance, why would those traditions have lasted so long?

[00:13:10] Nicco: Absolutely. I think there's this romantic side to tobacco that I personally love and enjoy. Especially in the biohacker community, we tend to overemphasize the stimulant side of things. I take periodic breaks from nicotine. Also, that's the biohacker side of me. I try to test the limits. So I'll try to use as much as I can and then see how long I can stop.

[00:13:34] I took a month break just earlier this year, and one of the things that I found most interesting about it was, when I was working and in the flow state, I didn't miss it. I didn't even think about it. I didn't care. I wanted it the most when I was relaxing on Sunday with my family, having good conversations, because I find that it enhances the moment. And so that's my personal experience. I find that I speak better. I find that I enjoy the moment more, and that I'm more present. So for that, those personal reasons, I really particularly enjoy it.

[00:14:11] Luke: I do too. I particularly enjoy smoking cigarettes and cigars too. I was never someone who'd be like, I'm going to take a month off. It's like, maybe take an hour off max. So I've had an ongoing love-hate relationship with tobacco products and nicotine. So you created this company called Nic Nac that, as far as I can tell, is the cleanest version of nicotine on the market.

[00:14:38] You have these ZYN pouches that someone left one on my floor the other day. I don't even know who it was. I just found one. I didn't look at the ingredients, but I'm like, that can't be good. There's probably aspartame and all kinds of weird stuff in there. And we will talk more about that. But in terms of the dosage, the ones that you make are, what, 3, 4, 6 milligrams?

[00:15:00] Nicco: Three and six. Yeah.

[00:15:01] Luke: Three and six. Okay. Per. And it's like a little mint, a lozenge.

[00:15:04] Nicco: Yeah. It's a lozenge.

[00:15:06] Luke: I'm wondering, how much nicotine is someone getting milligram wise if they're smoking a cigarette or smoking a full big ass Cuban cigar?

[00:15:16] Nicco: Yeah, that's actually a little bit controversial, and it's been hard to measure. So we think, at least the studies show, that it's somewhere between two and five milligrams, so it's actually a lot less. So there might be 15 milligrams in a cigarette, but often it's as low as two milligrams that you're actually absorbing.

[00:15:37] But there's also a lot of other things in cigarettes, and there's a lot of other reasons why they're so addictive. There's oral fixation. And then there's actually these other chemicals in there. One of them, I can't remember its name. It is an inhibitor for the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters.

[00:15:56] And so it almost turns up the noise on your brain. And this is just another chemical that happens to be in tobacco. I think they're [Inaudible] or something like that. Anyways, if you have dopamine in your brain or you name them neurotransmitter, all of them are being sustained longer.

[00:16:14] So your brain isn't breaking down these neurotransmitters as quickly, and so it's, like I said, almost like turning the noise up in your brain. So this is another factor. And then there's other stuff in tobacco too. These plants are incredibly complicated in terms of the number of alkaloids, and nicotine has risen to the top in terms of the ones that people have studied and isolated. But in no way is that the whole story.

[00:16:37] Luke: Interesting. Well, one thing that trips me out about that and why I asked about the dosage of a cigarette or cigar, or even chewing tobacco, is if you're not a user of tobacco or nicotine, if I just handed the average person a really strong Cuban cigar and they hit on that thing for 15 minutes, they'd probably be throwing up and have to lay down, be sweaty, and freak out.

[00:17:03] But I remember being a little kid when I used to steal cigarettes from my mom, like cool menthols, and I wanted to be cool like the adults. So we'd go out in the field and smoke a cigarette, and I'd just be laid out, practically puking. One time my dad gave me some of his Skoal to trick me into not doing it. He's like, yeah, go nuts. You can have some. You're a man now. And I was probably 10. Didn't tell me not to swallow it. Sick for a whole day. Just puking my guts out.

[00:17:26] Nicco: Oh yeah.

[00:17:27] Luke: So it's interesting that like with your Nic Nac product, for example, it seems like the delivery method through the mouth or the low dose of nicotine doesn't really seem to have that effect. At least it doesn't on me. I feel totally fine on it.

[00:17:43] Nicco: I'd put you in the high tolerance category. We certainly have people that think, oh six is twice as much as three. And so we get people all the time. It's like, oh yeah, let's get the six milligram. And they can't handle it.

[00:17:55] Luke: Really?

[00:17:56] Nicco: Oh yeah. Most people, the large majority of people, even smokers and vapers, depending on the vape, because some vapes are crazy high. But often, like I said, because it's going through your lungs, a lot of it isn't being absorbed. It's less than you would think. So even them, potentially the six milligram can hit too hard.

[00:18:16] Luke: So it's just a tolerance thing then.

[00:18:19] Nicco: It's partially a tolerance thing, but a lot of it is the individual physiology. So some people metabolize nicotine really well, and they'll be on the lower end of the half-life. So it might be a 30-minute half-life if you're a super nicotine metabolizer. And then if you're not so good, it might be more like two hours, which if you compare to caffeine, is still really fast. Caffeine being five to six hours for most people. So generally speaking, humans metabolize nicotine pretty dang well.

[00:18:46] Luke: So it's individual like caffeine. You have some people that can't touch coffee because it totally sketches them out, and they have a coffee at 9:00 in the morning. They can't sleep the following night, for example. And then you have another type of person that can drink a coffee with dinner and go to bed at 10.

[00:18:58] Nicco: Exactly.

[00:18:59] Luke: Got it. Okay. I think that a lot of the nicotine products like nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, like you make, etc., before the biohacking thing and people discovered it's an incredible nootropic and mood enhancer as you described, having Sunday with your family and you feel really good.

[00:19:17] I love nicotine. I use way too much. I think I would err on the side of abuse. I'll just admit that. However, a lot of people are using these type of products to quit smoking because of all the issues we've talked about. Cigarettes are just not good, especially standard ones.

[00:19:34] One of the things though that seems more problematic even perhaps than cigarettes is vaping. Have you looked into not only the chemicals in vapes, but some of the chemical reactions and things? I've heard some pretty nasty things about when you turn glycerin into an aerosol, you create some other really toxic metabolite and so on. I don't know the details, but it sounds pretty gnarly.

[00:19:56] Nicco: Yeah, they're definitely a bad idea. So the way that vape started was, here's all these ingredients that are fine, maybe, individually. And I hate on a lot of them to start, but generally speaking, they're acceptable ingredients, and let's go ahead and just make this cocktail, and let's see what happens.

[00:20:17] But no one ever thought about, hey, we're taking all these unstable chemicals, and what happens when you put them at 500 degrees and you inhale them? I don't know of any good research actually documenting all the reactions, and it might be because there's too much variability, but these compounds are obviously unstable.

[00:20:35] So you have artificial sweeteners because that's the go-to sweetener for anything because they're the cheapest, often 300 to 600 times sweeter. We can take a deeper dive on artificial sweeteners if you like. We have those which are definitely unstable, and then who knows? Artificial sweeteners, even artificial flavors.

[00:20:55] Luke: The cherry vapes.

[00:20:56] Nicco: Yeah.

[00:20:57] Luke: You could just tell they're toxic because you're at the gas station, or someone walks by you with a cherry vape cloud, like it just smells nasty.

[00:21:05] Nicco: Oh yeah. And then they stay in the air way too long. And obviously there's propylene glycol, which is the PEG, and so that may cause popcorn lung. I thought it was really interesting that vitamin E acetate took the fall. That was what came out in the years, was like, hey, it's vitamin E acetate that's causing these problems.

[00:21:22] I was like, I don't understand why you're singling out vitamin E, which is known to be one of the safest supplements ever. So I thought that was interesting. Maybe it's true. Maybe there's some chemical reaction that happens with it. I don't know, and I'm not aware of any research that actually shows what happens. Intuitively, it seems like a really bad idea.

[00:21:43] Luke: Have you received anecdotal reports from people being able to get off of smoking or vapes using an oral nicotine product?

[00:21:56] Nicco: Yeah. It's anecdotal. I should just go out and say it right now.

[00:21:59] Luke: Not making medical

[00:22:00] Nicco: I'm not making any claims ever.

[00:22:02] Luke: Yeah.

[00:22:04] Nicco: Wouldn't dare make any claims. As I'm sure you're aware, we're under a ton of scrutiny, so no, not making any claims. But yeah, I had a lovely lady email in and say, hey, I've been on cigarettes for 45 years, never could quit. Started using your product, and I quit. And some other really cool stories, some other really interesting medical problems too.

[00:22:26] So, really cool. Obviously, all anecdotal, but yeah, it's been really rewarding to be able to get that feedback from some of our customers that say, hey, you guys better keep going because we really depend on your product. It's like, wow. Awesome.

[00:22:40] Luke: What was it like starting a company that is adults only, a controversial molecule in terms of finding your way through regulations and rules, and all of that stuff?

[00:22:51] Nicco: Oh, to this day it's a huge fight. We're going to just keep on fighting the best of our ability. Obviously, ton of red tape. In many ways, rightfully, nicotine's under a lot of suspicion. And so we have a lot that will see our product and say, oh, you're going to kill people. How dare you, and all that.

[00:23:14] And we just have to say, well, we hope not. We don't think so. But we're trying to rebrand nicotine and make it more acceptable. And in a lot of ways, we owe ZYN some credit there. There's something like 50 million people plus just in the United States that use nicotine.

[00:23:33] It's like one in seven adults. So in our mind, and from an ethics perspective, we're just trying to give people the best possible option. I think there's a need for a lot more research on nicotine, especially in humans. And outside the context of tobacco, we have so much data on what tobacco does, even though, like I've mentioned earlier, we don't really know exactly what's going on.

[00:23:59] But I think there's some exciting research starting to happen now within the nicotine space, and I can speak to some-- especially animal models that are happening now that are really exciting.

[00:24:10] Luke: Let's do it. Roll it out. I knew it was blowing up when Andrew Huberman did a podcast or two about it as a proponent of the health benefits, which is one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you, because I'm a contrarian. And it's just like, when there's a publicly held belief about something and then I start to find evidence to the contrary, I'm very interested in exposing that evidence.

[00:24:34] Nicco: Yeah. Nicotine is fun because it is rebellious. It has this rebellious heritage. It's fun. And that's part of the problem. It's alluring. So yeah, right away, for all the people that think nicotine causes cancer and that's the source of the cancer, even the WHO and the US Surgeon General both say, hey, not enough evidence to say that nicotine causes cancer.

[00:24:59] Obviously, a lot of people are looking at it for what it does in that cholinergic acetylcholine pathway. I think a lot of people are starting to get familiar with that. Obviously, there's some very interesting things that happen when you stimulate that cholinergic pathway. You stimulate the vagus nerve.

[00:25:16] You strengthen that gut-brain connection. It seems that nicotine has the potential to really reduce cytokines, which is really cool. So there's definitely this immunomodulation that occurs. It's a wildly complicated process, but it seems that the initial results, especially in animal models, are really strong. So that's really cool.

[00:25:38] The study that I just found that I'm particularly stoked on was in male mice. First of all, they found that as part of the mitochondrial process,  Nicotine might be-- it's likely a metabolite, and it acts as a signaling molecule for an enzyme called nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase, which is--

[00:26:03] Luke: How long did it take you to memorize that?

[00:26:06] Nicco: Way too long.

[00:26:07] Luke: I can never remember words like that. Some of you, like Ben Greenfield and these guys, will rattle off stuff like that. I'm like, dude, it'd take me five years to learn how to say the word, let alone what it means.

[00:26:18] Nicco: Yeah. I probably didn't say it right, but that's okay. But yeah, I think the acronym's NAMPT. So anyways, this is a really important enzyme because it helps create NAD+. And obviously, NAD+ has gotten a lot of hype recently. We found that too much is bad. Not enough, also really bad.

[00:26:37] And anyways, in these male mice, this is super cool, they found that low dose nicotine created NAD+ homeostasis. So basically, if you're familiar with the concept of productive stress, which for people that aren't, the NAD+ is the positive molecule in your electron transport chain in your mitochondria.

[00:27:00] And if the electrons don't have a place to go, they can bleed off. And electrons, of course, are highly reactive. They want a home, so they're going to either bind to oxygen or something worse, and they're going to make reactive oxygen species, ROS, which, especially audience familiar with ROS, it's very aging.

[00:27:17] Your body has to then use glutathione or whatever else to deal with basically these ROS, these reactive oxygen species that are going to beat up your body. So what's thrilling about this, at least in mice, and will be exciting to see if it's true in humans too, is when you have NAD+ homeostasis, you're making more ATP, which is critical for everything's function.

[00:27:40] And then  if your metabolism is working correctly, almost everything downstream works better. So they found in these mice that they had way less overall inflammation. They had less likelihood of developing cancer. They had better organ function. Prevented a lot of symptoms of aging, which is really exciting and not something that you would expect from nicotine.

[00:28:01] It's not something you would expect from a stimulant. I usually think, oh, it activates the sympathetic nervous system. It's going to increase your cortisol, all this stuff. It's like, well, maybe not. I'm particularly excited about it as an anti-aging compound which is a wild plot twist. And I didn't see it coming.

[00:28:18] I was researching. So nicotine is super close to nicotinamide, which is vitamin B3. And so obviously, these molecules are really, really closely related. And I was like, okay, well, it has to do something in the mitochondria. And there's the obvious evidence that like, hey, smokers, generally speaking, they're lean. They tend to have more energy, all these things, which you wouldn't expect.

[00:28:45] If someone's in a highly inflamed state, generally speaking, they get insulin resistance. They get diabetes. They get all these things that you don't want when you're chronically inflamed. So it's like, okay, well, what's going on here? Let's see if anyone's ever figured out what it does in the mitochondria. And so finally stumbled upon this study and, like I said, I'm just thrilled. And so I'm really excited to see where this research goes.

[00:29:05] Luke: If three to six milligrams of nicotine for an adult human is low dose, I wonder what low dose is for a mouse.

[00:29:13] Nicco: Yeah, they do it nanograms.

[00:29:15] Luke: Are they micrograms or nanograms?

[00:29:16] Nicco: Nanograms per milliliter is how they did it. It was a tricky study.

[00:29:20] Luke: I wounder if the mice get super productive and focused, feel good.

[00:29:24] Nicco: Well, the older mice perform better in neurological tests.

[00:29:28] Luke: Really?

[00:29:28] Nicco: Oh yeah. So they do the mace tests and all that stuff. And the mice that had the nicotine maintained their youthful performance.

[00:29:38] Luke: Well, isn't it neuroprotective in some way too?

[00:29:42] Nicco: Yeah. The research indicates that, from a signaling perspective, and then again, obviously, your brain has a lot of mitochondria. You need a lot of energy for your brain. And so if those mitochondria are functioning well, there's this metabolic side that's probably contributing.

[00:30:01] So there's been a ton of focus on the acetylcholine pathway, which, from a signaling perspective, also appears to be highly neuroprotective. But it appears that the effect might be even twofold.

[00:30:14] Luke: You mentioned the cytokines, and that reminded me of during the Convid era of the past few years, I saw a few things percolate even out of the mainstream science space, which has proven itself to be largely untrustworthy, to say the least. But there was some substantial evidence coming out about using nicotine for whatever that thing was, and spike proteins, and the cytokine storms, the kind of reaction that people were having from getting ill. Have you looked into any of that?

[00:30:46] Nicco: Yeah. On two fronts. So a lot of people are using nicotine for long COVID. This is anecdotal. I don't know. But at least in one study, they found, I think it was like five people, which again, that isn't a great data point, but it's a starting point. And they found people that were suffering from the fatigue, loss of smell, all this stuff.

[00:31:08] And they gave him nicotine, and they found, at least for those five people, within hours to within a few days, all of them, the long COVID was gone. So I don't know how true that is, but I think it's definitely a call for more research. The theory behind it is they both bind to that ACE2 receptor, and supposedly, if your body can't clear the spike protein from that cholinergic pathway, which is really high in that receptor, then you're basically dampening that critical part of your nervous system.

[00:31:44] And nicotine binds so well, it's why they're called nicotinic receptors, hypothetically outcompeting the spike protein, kicking them off the receptor, and then allowing the body to actually finally clear the spike protein. This is the theory. So that appears to be the case. Again, need more research, but the preliminary findings are really cool.

[00:32:06] For an overactive immune system, there is some evidence that nicotine might help by dampening those cytokines, and that's why some people have had really good results for ulcerative colitis or even potentially Crohn's. MS is another good example, even though it's not digestive, that you'll see dampening in that over-responsive immune system, which is pretty fascinating.

[00:32:32] Luke: I just had an idea for your next product for Crohn's and colitis, nicotine suppositories.

[00:32:41] Nicco: It would work.

[00:32:43] Luke: Get the payload right where the problem is. You know what I mean?

[00:32:46] Nicco: Yeah. Nicotine gets in your bloodstream pretty effectively, so I don't know if that would be necessary, but it might be more fun.

[00:32:55] Luke: Just thinking outside of the box.

[00:32:58] Nicco: Absolutely.

[00:32:59] Luke: I'm halfway jokey. How many times has John been on the show, Jared? Eight times or something at this point? Dr. John Lieurance, he's got a company called MitoZen.

[00:33:07] Nicco: Oh, yeah. I love his products.

[00:33:08] Luke: And he makes suppositories, which is a method of delivery taken from the pharmaceutical industry because it's better absorption. It's less painful and inconvenient than an IV. And so it's just a superior method of delivery. But I love talking about it just because it's just funny.

[00:33:24] I talk about it so much. People are like, wow, he really has a butt thing. It's like, he must really enjoy it. I'm like, no, I actually don't enjoy it. I just enjoy getting the benefits. I want the maximum impact of whatever molecules I'm trying to get into my body.

[00:33:38] Nicco: Oh, totally. Yeah. What is it? The 100 milligram melatonin, 100 milligram CBD.

[00:33:43] Luke: Yeah.

[00:33:44] Nicco: SandMan, I think.

[00:33:44] Luke: Yeah, the SandMan.

[00:33:45] Nicco: That product, it definitely kicks.

[00:33:48] Luke: I do those a couple of times a week. If I got a poor night's sleep the night before and I'm super tired, I'm like, wow, I got a big day tomorrow--

[00:33:56] Nicco: You find that you metabolize it fast enough, or do you crank citrus?

[00:33:58] Luke: Well, with the melatonin, the high dose, when I first started using his stuff, this is probably three years ago or something like that, I've had to find a sweet spot. I use the one that, I think, it's 250 milligrams of melatonin. It's got a bunch of glutathione, magnolia bark, and a lot of other great compounds in it.

[00:34:17] But what I found is I would be groggy the next morning, and I was like, what the hell? I thought it's supposed to metabolize. But I was taking it too late. So now when I use it, I'll take it at 7:00, so I start to get tired at 10:00, and then the half-life of it seems to be such that if I wake up at 7:00 or 8:00 the next morning, I wake up refreshed. But yeah, it depends on the person, but for me, I think I've probably metabolized melatonin a bit slower than some.

[00:34:47] So if I take it like at 11:00 or midnight, yeah, I'm not going to be able to wake up. I'll wake up all groggy and super weird brain fog kind of thing. But you also get used to it over time too. That's the thing. Because even now, now that I think about it, sometimes I will take it a bit later, and I'm like, ah, I'm pushing it. It's 10 o'clock or something. And I think, well, I'm going to just wing it, and then I actually do pretty well with it. So I think over time, you just learn how to work with it.

[00:35:11] Nicco: Totally. I found that over the smaller doses actually works better too. Some people say that melatonin might actually turn into serotonin, which might be problematic. So I've noticed that at those smaller doses, I might have nightmares, something like that, or an overactive mind, which I know a lot of people experience, especially at that five to 10 milligram dose.

[00:35:32] But I found that if I go up to 30 or 50, it seems to be that more of just super anti-inflammatory, really deep rest. And I don't know if there's a breaking point where you get over that hump and then if there is the negative effects of too much serotonin, if that's actually canceling it out. And you would probably know better than I, but just thinking about that.

[00:35:53] Luke: No, that's interesting. I've never heard that. I feel like every show now I talk about plant medicine. It's ridiculous. But I have observed how in the ceremony space it's more common that these are taking place at night, which I don't prefer personally because I don't like messing up my sleep, but I'm going to go with the program.

[00:36:18] But I've thought about that in the correlation to Joe Dispenza's work, how you put on an eye mask and you create darkness when you do his meditations and stuff, and then the breathing exercises, the breath holes, all of that. The way Dispenza describes it is you're basically putting pressure on the pineal gland, and there's a piezoelectric effect on the crystals in the pineal gland.

[00:36:38] And then that creates this chemical cascade of, I forget the order, but if it's melatonin to the metabolite of serotonin to the metabolite of dimethyltryptamine, DMT. And that's why you can do meditative and breath work practices, and you can see visions, and I don't want to say hallucinate, but definitely see fractals and colors.

[00:36:58] And I've witnessed people who are like, never taken a drug in their life, stone cold sober, and they were tripping balls doing Joe Dispenza's stuff-- my dad being one of them. We took him to a retreat, and he took off his eye mask, and he's all-- I go, how was it, dad? Are you okay? And he's like 80. And he's like, oh, that was interesting. He said, I started seeing all these colors and lights, and I thought my eye mask was off.

[00:37:18] And then I realized it was on, and I was still seeing all the lights. I was like, yes, you hit it. But to your point, I'm sure there are people that are much smarter at science than I am, but there definitely is a cascade effect of melatonin, serotonin, dimethyltryptamine, and all of that.

[00:37:35] So I've always just suspected there's something to do with that when people are wanting to work with entheogens, that it's happening at night because 3:00, 4:00 in the morning is when your highest melatonin is. And so there must be some sort of assistance that we humans have become aware of over the ages of indigenous peoples developing these rituals and ceremonies, and they know it has to do with the cosmos, and where the moon is, and your melatonin, and how that all affects your brain and stuff. It's all very interesting to me.

[00:38:05] Nicco: Yeah, absolutely. I think, too, symbolically, that the mystery of darkness, there's that aspect too. That there's a veil.

[00:38:14] Luke: Right.

[00:38:15] Nicco: All ideas, I think, contribute too, which is fun, whether or not people are aware of them or not.

[00:38:20] Luke: Yeah. It still works. But that's interesting that you've had some funky dreams or nightmares and stuff working with the medium dose of melatonin. I've never experienced that. I just don't notice it. If I don't take a lot, I'm just like, eh.

[00:38:32] Nicco: Yeah, only at the lower level. If I go to the higher level, sleep great. Kind of interesting. And I think a lot of people, at least talking to other people, have had similar experience.

[00:38:42] Luke: Cool. So you seem like a classy guy. We just met, Nicco, but I don't think you're going to try to shit on your competitors. Most people I have on the show, if they're trying to interrupt a market, they're usually pretty--

[00:38:57] Nicco: You want to play nice.

[00:38:58] Luke: Respectful at calling out ZYN or whatever. But just speaking objectively and broadly, what are some of the problems in terms of ingredients you found with other smoking alternatives or other nicotine products?

[00:39:16] Nicco: I think that a lot of these companies have actually done a great service. They've provided, in my opinion, a much better product. And like I said--

[00:39:25] Luke: Much better than smoking.

[00:39:26] Nicco: Yeah. Again, you got 50 million plus people that use products that are known to cause cancer. They're known to cause all these problems. So they're ushering all these people. They're not going to quit. Nicotine's highly addictive. We all know that. At least, it makes me feel great. I love the way it makes me feel, so I have no desire to quit, so it's given them a better option.

[00:39:49] So I'll give them that credit, and I think that's great. And look at what Swedish Match has accomplished in Sweden. Sweden went from being super high population smoking. I think it's down to 6% something. Almost no one smokes. They still use Snus, which it's tobacco within a pouch.

[00:40:07] Luke: Yeah. I used to use those.

[00:40:08] Nicco: Yeah. It appears to be a lot healthier than smoking.

[00:40:12] Luke: They're strong though. They'll knock you on your ass.

[00:40:15] Nicco: Oh yeah, they're way more nicotine, which might be indicative that nicotine's not the problem. They're getting more nicotine. But obviously that evolved into these now nicotine pouches that they don't contain any tobacco. What I don't love about them is, of course, they have artificial sweeteners.

[00:40:32] Things like sucralose, I think, are highly controversial. There's now research showing that a certain amount of sucralose probably degrades into a chemical called sucralose-6-acetate, which might be genotoxic, which to me, is not good. They might cause gut dysbiosis. A lot of people complain about them and don't tolerate them. Well, it certainly appears to be the case.

[00:41:00] Luke: Have you found anyone using aspartame in those nicotine products?

[00:41:05] Nicco: Oh yeah.

[00:41:05] Luke: Really?

[00:41:06] Nicco: Oh yeah. They use aspartame, acesulfame K or Ace K , sucralose. All three of those are very popular in pouches. I can't remember exactly to which product, but yeah.

[00:41:18] Luke: Yeah, that's one of those things I really try to avoid. Aspartame, it's not talked about that much, but when I got into this 25 years ago or whatever, there was a documentary, I think it's called The Bitter Truth or something, and it was a whole expose on aspartame. It was terrifying.

[00:41:38] Nicco: It has a sorted history.

[00:41:40] Luke: Yeah. I became super paranoid. All I remember about it is, a, it's really, really bad for you. Don't ever do it. And Donald Rumsfeld was involved in the legislation of allowing it to slip into our food.

[00:41:51] Nicco: Well, it got rejected multiple times.

[00:41:53] Luke: It did?

[00:41:53] Nicco: It got rejected multiple times. And then, yeah, finally, I can't remember if it was Rumsfeld or someone else actually forced it through.

[00:42:01] Luke: I think it was him, because this is back in day--

[00:42:04] Nicco: They call it a conspiracy theory now, which is funny.

[00:42:06] Luke: When I first became a conspiracy analyst, this is during the Bush era, the Iraq war, Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, all those nasty Republicans. Now I realize they're all just the same, fighting for the same team.

[00:42:19] Nicco: Oh yeah, one camp. Yeah, for sure.

[00:42:20] Luke: When I saw the Rumsfeld name, I was like, definitely not taking it now. Because they were all just such just gross war criminals and whatnot. This is something that there's a lot of debate about, not necessarily exclusively to nicotine products, but all healthy alternative products and that is natural flavors.

[00:42:40] And we know that there's a lot of legalese around a lot of the terminology used in food additives and stuff. And I personally am not really that uptight about natural flavors. I know they're not natural unless some brands will use organic fruit extract flavoring. Because I've quizzed people on my show that have products.

[00:43:02] I don't think it was Ben Greenfield. I think it was his partner from Kion. I was like, all right, what's up with the natural flavors and your aminos? People are getting on my case because I promote it and stuff. I don't know. Some people are just super, as you mentioned, orthorexic, and I'm pretty paranoid when it comes to food, but I don't know dude. I don't really care if there's citric acid in something and natural flavors. You walk outside and do some breath work, and you're breathing chemtrails. You know what I'm saying?

[00:43:32] Nicco: Yeah. There's always so much you can do, for sure

[00:43:35] Luke: Yeah. There's only so many things you can control. That said, if there are better alternatives when it comes to natural flavoring, I'm all for it. But I'm just personally not that concerned if I drink a healthy energy drink, like my Update drinks, I think, has some natural flavoring. I asked them about it. They're like, we checked into it. It's all good. It's the cleanest you can get. Good enough for me. So what about the flavorings in these oral tobacco products?

[00:43:58] Nicco: Yeah.

[00:43:59] Luke: And feel free to shit on everyone if you want.

[00:44:01] Nicco: No, no, no, no. I think I'm with you. I think for the most part they're probably fine. I think the danger of them is you don't have to disclose what cocktail they are. From a chemistry perspective, some of these molecules are pretty freaky.

[00:44:16] The citrus ones are pretty safe, is my understanding. A citrus natural flavor is going to look pretty close to what you actually find in a citrus fruit. Some of them are a little bit freakier, and they might react with stuff, but at the same time, who knows? And they're so potent that you don't need that much.

[00:44:36] I think the worst bit is you don't know. No one discloses what it is. They don't disclose what plants they're getting it from, or animals. And generally speaking, this is me being a little bit biased towards the chemistry side is, like a compound is a compound.

[00:44:52] I'd rather people just disclose what compound it is. I don't really care as much where it comes from because purification steps are wildly effective in modern chemistry. So you can get an unnatural source of something, and if it's wildly pure, it's like, okay, well, a compound's a compound. Generally speaking, it's going to work the same way with your physiology. At least that's my understanding and what I've observed.

[00:45:15] Luke: So, for example, a synthetic experiment flavor or something like that that's made in a lab in New Jersey is not as good as an essential oil experiment, obviously, but there is some rigor involved in the purification or in the manufacturing.

[00:45:33] Nicco: 100%. So I personally wouldn't be freaked out about it. There are some of them that are freaky chemicals, but I don't know that it's that big of a deal. In my mind, so much of the food industry is like penny pitching. It's like, hey, we're not going to use a natural sweetener because artificial sweeteners, they're 600 times sweeter.

[00:45:55] We use almost none of it. So let's go with that. So our mindset was, let's deliver the best product we can, do the right thing, and then we're not going to penny pinch, so that we just deliver the best possible product. So we're like, well, why wouldn't we do the thing that costs 2 cents more that then we can say, hey, this is actually spearmint oil from a spearmint plant and has this wild chemistry that you can't make in a lab because it isn't just one chemical. That's why it's always a cocktail.

[00:46:25] So some plants make just a crazy mixture of things that also the human body has been consuming for thousands of years. Your body knows what it is, generally speaking. And there's actually cool research showing that there might be different things that happens with these different oils, which, I think, is fun and might contribute to just a more elevated product.

[00:46:46] I think that what's really special about our product that is a little bit different, and this might be a little bit too chemistry heavy, but most of these products depend on pH adjusters. And the reason why-- and this is why you can't swallow nicotine. Nicotine needs to be in an alkaline environment for it to be absorbed.

[00:47:04] Nicco: So that's why if you swallow it and it goes in your stomach, it's like swallowing capsaicin. It's very irritating because it's in an acidic environment, your body doesn't absorb it, and it just sits around and makes you nauseous.

[00:47:14] Luke: Interesting.

[00:47:14] Nicco: Yeah.

[00:47:15] Luke: I wonder if that's why you get so sick if you take a dip of Skoal or Copenhagen, you don't know better, and you swallow your spit, and you're like, you want to die.

[00:47:24] Nicco: Exactly.

[00:47:25] Luke: The worst ever.

[00:47:26] Nicco: Have you ever taken capsaicin?

[00:47:28] Luke: I don't think so.

[00:47:29] Nicco: Yeah. I've messed around with it once.

[00:47:30] Luke: Is that like a black pepper extract?

[00:47:31] Nicco: That's a cayenne extract. Yeah. So very spicy. The spicy component in a pepper is the capsaicin. And so it appears to have all these really awesome benefits. It stimulates mucus production, all this stuff in your gut. If you take it on empty stomach, as I learned, you'll get pretty dang nauseous because it irritates the crap out of your stomach.

[00:47:49] So nicotine, very similar, and that's why you get a burning sensation from it. It's inherently a spicy chemical. So these companies, they know that depending on the absorption rate of nicotine, it hits more of the dopamine side of the brain.

[00:48:05] And so that's why people love the really quick hit, the really fast absorption, you're getting more of a dopamine response and less of the acetylcholine response. And so with the slower absorption rate, you're actually biasing those neurotransmitters towards the acetylcholine side, which also, hypothetically, could make it less addictive.

[00:48:26] So the way that we got around that, I suppose I should talk about why that might be a problem. So the go-to chemical to accomplish this is sodium carbonate, which sounds like baking soda, but it's not. It's the more alkaline cousin to sodium bicarbonate. And so what this does is it, of course, increases your oral pH like crazy, and makes you absorb the nicotine really quickly.

[00:48:48] The downside of that though is you're putting something really caustic against tissue that's fairly sensitive. Just like if you're exposed to other caustic chemicals that cause caustic burns. And so there's an interesting study called, Is Sodium Carbonate a Causative Factor in Oral Mucosal Lesions? And I actually think this is where the myth arise that there's fiberglass in chew. You've ever heard that before?

[00:49:13] Luke: No.

[00:49:13] Nicco: Oh yeah. People say, oh yeah, there's fiberglass in chew. It tears up your gums. And I don't think that there's fiberglass in chew, but I think that this chemical might be contributing to those experiences where people are noticing that their gums are inflamed, that it's very irritating.

[00:49:30] And nicotine is irritating in itself to some degree, but I think that part of the reason that this is a go-to chemical is because when you flame the area, you draw more blood to it, and you further accelerate that absorption. So I think this is a little bit of a trick, like, hey, let's put this in here.

[00:49:46] Let's get that pH super high, and let's just agitate the crap out of that buccal tissue and really draw the nicotine in. And so the way that we got around that, because we made this product for everyone, not just crazy biohackers--

[00:50:01] Luke: I'm going to have one right now, by the way. All this talk about nicotine, I'm like, it's probably about time I throw one of these Nic Nacs in.

[00:50:08] Nicco: I'm with you. I'll join you.

[00:50:10] Luke: So if we start talking like we have marbles in our mouth, folks, that's why. Carry on.

[00:50:17] Nicco: Absolutely. So this is something that we're going through the patent process on, but xylitol is such a cool and interesting polyol. It's a sugar alcohol. It's a five carbon as opposed to six carbon, like glucose. It's very close to glucose. It actually has a really cool history. It's originally from Finland because it's from birch trees.

[00:50:39] And during World War II in Finland, there was a sugar shortage, but they had all these birch trees, like, oh, well, let's have xylitol. We still want to have treats or whatever. And so, there's this xylitol heritage in Finland. So if you ever go to Finland, you'll notice that there's xylitol in tons of stuff on the shelf.

[00:50:58] But anyways, what they found, and based on whatever World War II data we have, I don't know how accurate it is, but what they found is that cavities became non-existent, and there's actually a 50% reduction in ear infections. So it appeared to have this amazing effect on the global population.

[00:51:19] And the literature indicates that it's because it's super potently gram-positive. And what that means is basically it's super preferential to good bacteria. So it kills bad bacteria and feeds the good bacteria. So it's like a double whammy because if you're killing the bad bacteria, you can end up with dysbiosis.

[00:51:39] But this is better than that. It's killing the bad bacteria, and then feeding the good bacteria. So they're actually start to outcompete. And they found that if pregnant women consume xylitol, they have better outcomes in terms of even their baby's microbiota. So it's a pretty powerful prebiotic, which is really cool.

[00:51:55] But what happens in your mouth is it kills these acidifying bacteria. That's the bad thing. That's what you don't want. These strange streptococcus that make your mouth super acidic, and then obviously you're mixing your clearly alkaline, your calcium-based teeth to something that wants to bind to that.

[00:52:18] So it kills those bacteria, and then, of course, it makes you salivate. And then our physiology is so amazing. When you salivate, your body actually releases all these really good alkaline chemicals, releases these calciums and magnesiums. Because your body is trying to restore at least the neutral pH in your mouth.

[00:52:35] So what we're trying to patent-- we've submitted all of our patents for-- is this mechanism of using xylitol as something that increases your oral pH as a means of then delivering the nicotine without having to use these really caustic chemicals. So that's fun.

[00:52:52] Luke: Wow. That's cool.

[00:52:53] Nicco: Yeah.

[00:52:54] Luke: That's interesting because I've heard some of that about xylitol, and I never made the correlation between obviously oral nicotine products, but there are a lot of mouth washes, and nasal sprays, and things like that with xylitol. And I've used them from time to time just because you hear they're good for you. And I didn't really look that deeply into it, but that makes sense. There's definitely a correlation there because other people have figured out other health supporting products using xylitol.

[00:53:21] Nicco: Totally. It's a little bit controversial because dogs don't metabolize it. So we've gotten flagged. They like, oh, dogs can't have xylitol. It's like, okay. Yeah.

[00:53:30] Luke: Well, you want to give your dog nicotine anyway.

[00:53:32] Nicco: Yeah. Your dogs don't have to stick to cigarettes.

[00:53:34] Luke: Yeah, yeah.

[00:53:35] Nicco: But just so people know, because people think, oh, if it's bad for dogs, it's bad for humans. And this is why animal models don't translate to human models. Because in humans, xylitol's, non insulinogenic. You don't have an insulin response. The calories you get from xylitol are actually because it's fermented in your gut and makes butyrate, and that's why it's totally keto friendly. For dogs, they have an insulin response.

[00:54:01] But it doesn't increase your blood sugar. So this is the problem. So if you get something that doesn't replace glucose, you're not getting any calories from it, but you have an insulin response, and you go hypoglycemic, obviously super problematic. And this is why it's toxic to dogs. Humans don't have that response at all. Therefore, not toxic to humans.

[00:54:20] Luke: That's so weird about dogs, how they can't eat certain foods like chocolate, avocados. I'm sure there are others.

[00:54:28] Nicco: Onions, grapes, I think.

[00:54:29] Luke: Really?

[00:54:30] Nicco: Supposedly.

[00:54:30] Luke: I knew another one. Years ago, I dated a girl who had a little dog, a tiny little dog. And they used to love eating blueberries. My dog loves freaking frozen blueberries. It won't eat raw ones, only frozen. Weird. And I used to eat a lot of acai, and so, usually, I would Google something. Can a dog eat X, Y and Z? Because I'm trying to feed him all kinds of weird super foods and stuff.

[00:54:56] And so one day, I gave the dog some acai, and I didn't look it up because I thought it's a berry. He likes blueberries, whatever. Same difference. Dog got super sick, and then I Googled it. It was like, dogs can't have acai. It's super toxic to them. Yeah, it's weird that canines in particular have their own little [Inaudible]. There are just certain things they can't tolerate that most other animals and humans do very well with.

[00:55:20] Nicco: Yeah, it's really interesting. Yeah. It's almost like for some things, rodents are actually better because they're so robust, which is fascinating. And then humans are wildly robust. Humans are amazing. The amount of insults that we can tolerate, I'm just amazed at like the general population. Like, yeah, they're really sick. It's true, but they keep on trucking. And I'm honestly often amazed at that, how robust humans are.

[00:55:41] Luke: Yeah. Me too.

[00:55:42] Nicco: Yeah, dogs are funky. Especially if you look at like how similar our digestive systems are. It's like we're both highly acidic stomachs and short digestive tracks. And honestly, pretty similar teeth that you would think they're like, oh, well, we're both omnivores. It should be pretty dang close. But yeah, it's fascinating, the differences, for sure.

[00:55:59] Luke: Yeah. So people listening, no acai for the dogs. All right, so you guys in Nic Nac are using xylitol. What are you using for flavoring? You're doing essential oils?

[00:56:10] Nicco: Yeah. We only use essential oils. In the tobacco industry, just like alcohol, you have no obligation to put your ingredients on the label. We do it entirely voluntarily because it's part of our company ethos that we want to be just ridiculously transparent in everything that's going in there. We're doing the best we can. We're trying to use the best possible ingredients. And I can get into why we use synthetic nicotine, non-tobacco nicotine.

[00:56:38] Luke: Yeah. That was my next question.

[00:56:38] Nicco: Yeah. So we can get into that too.

[00:56:39] Luke: Are you peeking at my iPad?

[00:56:40] Nicco: No, I didn't. I didn't see it. Well, that's one of those things I like to explain because it is complicated. Yeah, essential oils are awesome. The flavor is incomparable.

[00:56:52] Luke: This one's pretty good.

[00:56:53] Nicco: Yeah. Real essential oils taste really good.

[00:56:55] Luke: What flavor did I have?

[00:56:56] Nicco: Grapefruit.

[00:56:56] Luke: Oh, grapefruit. That's good.

[00:56:58] Nicco: Yeah. Thank you.

[00:56:59] Luke: It does have a nice little spice to it too.

[00:57:01] Nicco: Yeah. The nicotine still comes there, for sure.

[00:57:03] Luke: When I first got these I was like three milligrams, six. I don't know if that's strong enough for me. Pretty high tolerance, but maybe it's that xylitol effect you talked about. I do actually feel a nice little refreshing zing in there.

[00:57:15] Nicco: Oh, yeah. We can't make everyone happy, so some people complain, oh, your product doesn't hit hard enough. It's like, yeah, well, we don't have pH adjusters, so it's not going to hit as hard. And we're trying to delay that response because we're trying to make it, if it's possible, as little addictive as possible.

[00:57:33] So we're trying to do all these things that are beneficial to the customer, and that doesn't always translate well. But that at least was our goal. But yeah, real essential oils. It's just like if you have really quality mint. The ones that taste really good are the ones that use the real ingredients.

[00:57:48] And it's like you're having a bite of grapefruit versus something that's obviously fake grapefruit. So I think it's just more fun. It's a better experience. And there is one interesting study on giving rodents-- I think it's particular rats. They're giving them super high dose nicotine, like one milligram per kilo. That's really a lot.

[00:58:13] Anyways, what they found was if they gave them either melatonin or spearmint oil, it restored almost all of their bio markers to normal levels. So even at that crazy high dose, they found that, okay, most of the-- if you go too high on nicotine, and this was really evident in that NAD+ study I mentioned, you do hit a point where the effects are negated, which is already, like, if you scale it up to humans, it's a pretty high dose where you negate the effects.

[00:58:42] And then if you go really high, then yeah, there's going to be negative effects, just like anything else. And again, this is why we need more human research, so we can find the optimal dosing. Because humans probably metabolize nicotine better than rodents do. Anyways, I thought that was interesting about spearmint oil that just happened to be in the study that that was having an effect.

[00:59:03] Luke: I find it all interesting. And by the way, never feel bad about geeking out into the science and research and stuff. I personally love that, and I'm sure there's a fraction of people that listen to this show that want to take the deep dive.

[00:59:15] Nicco: I know your audience is all for it.

[00:59:16] Luke: They could go listen to a five-minute Lewis Howes show if they want something quick. You know what I'm saying?

[00:59:22] Nicco: Heck yeah.

[00:59:22] Luke: We go deep here. That's how we're set up. So always feel free to just tangent away.

[00:59:27] Nicco: For sure. Well, should I jump into the nicotine side?

[00:59:30] Luke: Yeah.

[00:59:30] Nicco: All right. Will do. So there's a number of reasons why we opted for what's referred to as synthetic nicotine. We'd argue that it's still natural. I think it's up for debate. It's derived from natural starting ingredients. It's non GMO. And the benefit, all nicotine comes from a lab. Anytime you have a highly purified substance, it has to come from a laboratory. It's the way it is, if you want anything pure.

[00:59:55] And there's good reason why you'd want it to be pure. Because there's other stuff in tobacco that's potentially problematic, like the pesticides, and the tar, and all this stuff. And so we're like, well, let's just do the best possible thing and get-- it is synthesized, but it's from natural non-GMO starting ingredients, and they can make something that's just ridiculously pure, and you don't have to deal with this crazy dirty crop.

[01:00:24] And to us, it just made sense. Here's something that's void of heavy metals, void of pesticides, void of GMOs. It's basically as pure as it gets. If you use the product, I think it feels comparable to nicotine derived from tobacco. I don't notice a big difference. It's even the same isomer, the effective isomer, if you guys want to get really nerdy. So that's why we opted for that, and we think that it's absolutely the best stuff you can get.

[01:00:52] Luke: In terms of dealing with regulatory agencies and marketing a nicotine product, is there any difference in the barrier to entry, selling something commercially if you're using a tobacco product versus a synthetic version of nicotine?

[01:01:07] Nicco: It used to be. So now there's no benefit. But there was a random omnibus bill in 2021 where they magically said all nicotine is now tobacco, according to the FDA. And FDA has jurisdiction. Correct. So yeah, we're at foul with the FDA. We have to do all that. It's not for the faint of heart.

[01:01:24] Luke: You picked a tough lane just in terms of--

[01:01:28] Nicco: We're tilted at windmills, if you're familiar with the expression. It's not an easy gig. There's always the fear that someone's going to show up or send us a letter or try to shut us down. So it's definitely a nervewracking experience, but--

[01:01:42] Luke: There's some industries like that anytime you're dealing with tobacco, alcohol, and then on the regenerative medicine side, stem cells, exosomes, peptides. Peptides specifically, there's so many companies that I've ordered peptides from, and I vet them. It's my great source, and I'm ordering them, and then I go back, and the website's just gone. You know what I mean?

[01:02:04] Nicco: Yeah. That's crazy.

[01:02:05] Luke: I wrestle with that, and I've talked about this with other guests on the show who are in the fringes of biohacking or alternative medicine. It's like, on one side, as a consumer, I can see that these regulatory agencies would be serving an integris purpose because you don't want a guy like you coming to market with your Nic Nac product and it's full of fucking cyanide, right?

[01:02:29] Nicco: Yeah.

[01:02:29] Luke: Someone has to be watching out for the public. But then we now know, especially over the past four years, that these agencies are compromised so dramatically, to say the least. And they're essentially arms of the pharmaceutical companies. And then you have these pharmaceutical cartels that own the regulatory agencies through lobbying.

[01:02:58] And so now you've got the fox guarding the hen house situation. So it's like, I feel bad for people like you that are really being conscious about what you're doing, and you have to jump through all these hoops when there are nefarious characters out there producing various products that not only harm people, but in many cases, as we're seeing now, cause people to die suddenly in a very widespread way. And it's just open season, no regulations. It's all good. No clinical trials needed, just whew. Throw it on the market, and get in everyone. It's crazy.

[01:03:34] Nicco: We live in strange times, for sure.

[01:03:35] Luke: Yeah. So it's like the good guys now are being penalized while the bad guys who have the deep pockets are just wild west, do whatever they want, and everyone's making a bunch of money, and meanwhile people are being hurt.

[01:03:45] Nicco: Yeah, it's interesting. I think, historically, the goal has been innocent until proven guilty. And I think that was, generally speaking, hey, go for it. This is America. Go start. Go do cool things. And then we'll pull it if people complain about it. I think that was historically the way it worked.

[01:04:05] On the nicotine front, I think Europe has taken a much better stance. Basically, they're like, hey, people are not smoking. This is getting people to not smoke. Why would you stifle this tobacco free movement? Let people go nuts. I think the FDA messed up so much on vape. I think that was their big whoopsies that now I think they're little gun shy.

[01:04:32] Luke: Did you see that documentary? I think it was about Juul, about vapes.

[01:04:38] Nicco: I'm pretty familiar with it, so I didn't watch it because I was like, I'm pretty familiar the history.

[01:04:43] Luke: That's not my generation. I'm not the vape generation, I don't think. Whatever, X, I think I am, Gen X. So I didn't know about any of that, and it was a great documentary, but it was also shocking. From a entrepreneurial business perspective, it's just one of those things where people scale too fast, and it gets all crazy, and they make zillions dollars, and then just are completely annihilated.

[01:05:09] Nicco: Crazy roller coaster for sure.

[01:05:11] Luke: So it's from that perspective, but also a lot of people were being negatively affected by the product.

[01:05:16] Nicco: Yeah, I think so. I don't know if that's to some degree overhyped, just to play devil's advocate, because the vape industry became a major thorn in the side of big tobacco in the US. You think about this industry that was highly, highly centralized for decades. You had basically three players in the US making just handover fist money. It costs 11 cents to make a pack of cigarettes. The margin is insane.

[01:05:46] Luke: What is a pack of cigarettes these days? 12 bucks or something?

[01:05:50] Nicco: Well, I think that's their cost of goods.

[01:05:52] Luke: No, I mean if you go to the gas station.

[01:05:54] Nicco: If you're in a state that has excise tax, which most of them do, and most of them it's pretty steep, yeah, they're 10, 12 bucks.

[01:06:00] Luke: That's wild.

[01:06:01] Nicco: Part of that is the government taking their cut, which also, might be part of the reason why the government likes it.

[01:06:06] Luke: I haven't bought a pack of cigarettes since, I don't know, very long time. When I first started smoking back in the '80s, cigarettes were, I think, $2 a pack, like some camels.

[01:06:16] Nicco: Oh yeah. Well, if you go to Mexico, there still are. They're a $1.50. That's probably what they should cost.

[01:06:23] Luke: That's still a good margin. If it's 12 cents a pack--

[01:06:26] Nicco: It's insane margin.

[01:06:27] Luke: And you sell at two bucks, you're killing it.

[01:06:28] Nicco: Oh yeah. And that was the problem. All of a sudden, you have an industry that's highly distributed. You have all these mom-and-pop shops, people going in and getting whatever they want, and that drove a lot of that economy away from big tobacco.

[01:06:49] Obviously, I still think vape is terrible, but I could also see the flip side of it is you are going to want to put out some hit pieces and take down vape. If you're the big guys and want to get people to usher it onto the products that you own, sensible business strategy.

[01:07:03] Luke: Totally.

[01:07:04] Nicco: So both sides.

[01:07:05] Luke: I wish they would've had vapes when I was a cigarette smoker because, and this is free oral nicotine like you make, but I used to just panic on airplanes because I'd be jonesing for a cigarette. And then now I've smelled vape when I go in the bathroom on the airplane. I'm like, God, damnit I wish we had those back in the day, man. I would've been in there up in the fan.

[01:07:26] Nicco: Oh yeah.

[01:07:26] Luke: Raging on my vape.

[01:07:29] Nicco: I'm always surprised just flying down here. There was a guy that's just sneaking hits, and I was like--

[01:07:33] Luke: In his seat?

[01:07:34] Nicco: Just in his seat. Like, wow. Bold, man.

[01:07:36] Luke: More power to him.

[01:07:37] Nicco: Yeah. Whatever. You go for it.

[01:07:39] Luke: Well, when I was a kid, dude, in the '70s, there was smoking and non-smoking sections on the airplane. And so I'm five years old, flying back and forth to see my divorced parents, and as a kid, they wouldn't put you in the smoking section, but there'd be three people right behind you just smoking Marlboros the whole flight. It's like, it's so funny. Sometimes public health measures are so ridiculous as we now know more than ever.

[01:08:07] In the nicotine pouches, one thing that's cool about what you're doing obviously, as we've discussed, is you have complete transparency every single thing that's in your product. You can go right on the package or on the website and see what it is.

[01:08:22] One thing about the nicotine pouches that has always skied me out a little bit is like, what is the actual pouch made of? It's not organic cotton or something. Is there any fiberglass, or microplastics, or anything like that, that you're aware of that people are putting in their gums using that type of product?

[01:08:40] Nicco: It's definitely cost for concern. I haven't been able to find anything. Obviously it came out that people's tea bags were full of microplastics.

[01:08:48] Luke: Exactly, yeah.

[01:08:49] Nicco: So that totally came out supposedly their natural cellulose fibers, so I'm hoping that they're doing it right. I've not found any evidence otherwise. Generally speaking, companies that take shortcuts with things like artificial sweeteners, you would suspect that they're going with the cheapest possible option.

[01:09:08] I'm not aware of any research actually analyzing that, so it's something I'm worried about. I've looked into it, but I'm not able to find any clear answers. Supposedly it's pure cellulose or some type of cellulose. And if that's true, then most likely it's probably pure, because you can get-- again, going back to my previous comment about highly purified chemicals, you can get highly, highly, highly pure cellulose, and if that's what you're making out of, it should be fine.

[01:09:38] Luke: Right. A lot of supplement capsules are made of cellulose, which is basically just melted plant material or something.

[01:09:45] Nicco: Basically, yeah.

[01:09:47] Luke: Yeah. I think it's a wise practice for consumers to become Karens. I'm a water Karen, so if I start to like a drink, some, I don't know, kombucha drink or whatever,  I'm the asshole that will email them at customer service and be like, I need to know the water source. And then they'll get back to me, oh, it's-- because on the label, it'll say purified water.

[01:10:12] Nicco: Mm-hmm.

[01:10:13] Luke: That can mean anything. It's very ambiguous. So I'll say, what's your water source? What type of filtration do you use etc.? If it's something I'm drinking all the time because I don't want to drink a bunch of fluoride and stuff. So I think it's smart if people are concerned to actually just email these companies and call them to task and say like, hey, I want to know this particular ingredient, where does it come from? What's in it?

[01:10:36] And start to create a public demand for more transparency. You just took it upon yourself. You're like, I want to be legit. I'm going to do this the right way. And people don't have to email you because you can like literally pick it up and read the ingredients and every ingredient's there.

[01:10:51] But I think as consumers, especially in the health and biohacking space, it'd be smart of us to really just start to push these companies because the consumer demand is going to be what creates change, as we all become educated from listening to incredible podcasts like The Life Stylist and we start to learn about some of these nuances again.

[01:11:10] We try to not be too neurotic and freaked out about it all because we're all going to die. That's the thing I like to remind myself. It's like, I don't care how well you live, how perfect you live. Life has 100% death rate. And so it's always a balance to me of not being too paranoid, and constricted, and uptight about everything.

[01:11:31] But if it comes to a drink that I'm going to be drinking every day, it's not going to hurt to send an email and just say, hey, are you guys doing reverse osmosis? Because that's the only thing that's going to get fluoride out, for example.

[01:11:41] Nicco: 100%. 100%. And actually, we've gotten a ton of great customer feedback in that vein that we used to have silica on our product, which I think that's open for debate whether ingested silica is really that big of a deal. I would argue that it's probably not that big of a deal. Silica is insanely effective.  It'd be like the least thing we put in our product. But one of the feedback we got was, hey, we don't like it. And so we were like, hey--

[01:12:08] Luke: What was the purpose of having it in there to begin with?

[01:12:11] Nicco: Essential oils and nicotine are both liquids, so when you make--

[01:12:15] Luke: Oh, you got to bind it to something.

[01:12:16] Nicco: When you make a tablet, you're really not supposed to put liquids in it. So we've broken the rules, and the tableting is this really strange art. We manufacture this, our product, ourselves, by the way. Literally, I helped install the equipment, and I hand mix these formulas.

[01:12:34] Luke: Really?

[01:12:35] Nicco: Oh yeah. I still do.

[01:12:36] Luke: So it's not made in China?

[01:12:38] Nicco: Not made in China. No, no, we make it ourselves. So we're intimately familiar of the product.

[01:12:43] Luke: Where's your organization at?

[01:12:44] Nicco: Just, yeah. Spokane, Washington.

[01:12:46] Luke: Really?

[01:12:46] Nicco: Yeah.

[01:12:46] Luke: You guys make it up there?

[01:12:48] Nicco: Just make it there. Yeah.

[01:12:49] Luke: That's cool.

[01:12:50] Nicco: Yeah. We got our facility there, and yeah, it's been a wild ride figuring out how to do all this stuff. It's pretty crazy. But it was a lot of fun, and in retrospect, it was miraculous, but really cool to have it come together. So we're like, well, whatever. Let's test it without silica and figure out a way to do it. And actually, I think now we have an even better product.

[01:13:11] Luke: Have you considered going into the gum space or doing pouches or anything like that?

[01:13:19] Nicco: Yeah. We've totally thought about doing pouches. We found a source of hemp-based fiber pouches, so it's only been an avenue of doing it. And we are a small startup. We've been at this for only a little over a year. Pouch machines are not exactly quick.

[01:13:34] Luke: It's only been a year, huh?

[01:13:36] Nicco: A little over a year.

[01:13:37] Luke: Have guys raised any capital or are you self-funding?

[01:13:39] Nicco: Yeah, we raised some money to get started, and then we've totally hustled to make it happen, long hours of figuring this stuff out ourselves and not paying a multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical consultant to dial it in for us. So been a lot of trial and error. Super fun, super crazy. Definitely a lot of nights up to 3:00 AM just trying to fix something. So if you haven't done a startup before, highly recommended. It will test you. So that's been awesome.

[01:14:06] Luke: I have a lot of respect for anyone that tries to start a business. It's never easy. But I especially respect people that start a product-based business, which I've never done. It's always just been education, service, etc. I've only had a couple of businesses, this being one of them, but it's just information products.

[01:14:26] It's just like intellectual property. Well, I sell these T-shirts, which by the way, you can get it lukestorey.com. No, wait, no. What is it? No. lukestoreymerch.com. This is one of my favorites. Born again and again and again and again. It's the first products I think I've ever had. Oh, I have my blue blocking glasses, but I don't make them. I don't make these shirts. I just hired a company to handle it all, but I always find that very daunting, the idea of, a, developing a product, and then manufacturing it and sitting on inventory.

[01:14:58] Nicco: Oh, it's crazy.

[01:14:58] Luke: It's such a liability because you have an idea and you don't really know if it's going to fly, and you don't know necessarily how to nail the marketing, especially something like you're doing, where it's a niche product and you have to have warning labels, and only adults can use it, and there's so much more red tape and legislative restriction involved in it.

[01:15:16] Nicco: Absolutely. It is tricky.

[01:15:18] Luke: I have a lot of respect for you, dude. You're taking one for the team.

[01:15:21] Nicco: Yeah. It's not been easy.

[01:15:23] Luke: I bet.

[01:15:24] Nicco: But it's been awesome. We have a great team. My wife's amazing. She's super supportive and has tolerated the ridiculously obsessive nature of startups. So that's been amazing. Just have the right team and all that. So it's all been--

[01:15:38] Luke: Well, I want to let people know you can go to lukestorey.com/nicnac, N-I-C-N-A-C, and you can save yourself a fat 10% off with the code LUKE. lukestorey.com/nicnac, and we'll put that in the show notes that you can click on your app and all that stuff. Where do you see yourself going in the future? 10 years from now what's Nic Nac going to be doing?

[01:16:02] Nicco: Oof, good question. Well, I think it would be fun to expand into those products you mentioned. I think it'd be cool to do a gum. If people aren't aware of it, almost all gum is made of plastic.

[01:16:13] Luke: Really?

[01:16:14] Nicco: Oh, yeah, yeah.

[01:16:15] Luke: I didn't know that.

[01:16:16] Nicco: Yeah. My understanding is that almost all gums are basically petrochemicals. Because that's how you make it something that you can chew forever. That isn't something that's normal. So it'd be interesting to do something like a mastic, gum-based nicotine. It'd be interesting. Have to do some experiments for sure. So that's something I want to look into. People love the pouches, so maybe we could get into the pouch space too. That'd be fun.

[01:16:39] Luke: What about IVs for the high dose folks?

[01:16:43] Nicco: Yeah. We joke that we want to do a snortable. Call it Nic Nac Snorties.

[01:16:49] Luke: Totally, totally.

[01:16:51] Nicco: We won't be doing that. That's a joke.

[01:16:54] Luke: Well, speaking John Lieurance, he makes this hape-based spray, Zen spray, which I was using a couple years ago, and I started using it too much, and it was problematic for me because it's pretty high dose. It'll knock you on your ass too. So I think nicotine is great in moderation.

[01:17:14] Some of us, like myself, are a little more prone to habitations/maybe leaning into addiction, but I know a lot of people like you that just are able to use it as a supplemental, a cognitive enhancement tool. And there's no downside for people like that. And if you're someone who has a propensity toward addiction, it's like, well, we all have to take responsibility for ourselves in our decisions.

[01:17:36] Nicco: For sure.

[01:17:37] Luke: And you play around a little bit, and you fuck around and find out. You know what I mean?

[01:17:41] Nicco: As I say.

[01:17:42] Luke: That me and my long journey with nicotine. I was like, oh, I could probably smoke a cigar. Boom. I'm on five cigars a day. It's just like, wow. But most people I know don't have that kind of tendency. And I also look at it like, man, I have a pretty clean life. I'm super healthy. It's like, I got one little vice. I'm not going to kick my own ass about it too much.

[01:18:03] There's also, like anything you have, the consequences of whatever you're doing outweigh the benefits, and there's always that scale. And I think if we each apply a little self-honesty, and if you have the ability to be honest with yourself, you can go, ah, okay. Jogging too much is bad for you.

[01:18:22] Nicco: Oh yeah, of course.

[01:18:24] Luke: There's always a tipping point there with anything you do or any product you use where it can be good for you, and then past a certain point, maybe not.

[01:18:33] Nicco: Yeah. Obviously, lifespan was a big thing for biohacking, and then it turned into health span. And then for me, I've been thinking more about just, well, maybe we should throw that all out the window and just go for quality over quantity. Don't start a startup if you want to live long time.

[01:18:52] Luke: Yeah, totally.

[01:18:53] Nicco: I got more gray hairs now than I should, but I'm grateful for them. And it's almost like the search for meaning and doing the right thing over all else. And I have found that more profound, more rewarding, and certainly keeps me going when a lot of things are telling me not to. So I have found that, at least for me, to be the right balance, and I'm going to keep doing it. And yeah, I'm probably not going to be 100 years old, and that's okay.

[01:19:24] Luke: Yeah, at least you'll be happy and live well.

[01:19:26] Nicco: Exactly.

[01:19:27] Luke: Well, thanks for joining me, man. And thanks for your commitment to quality, transparency. I love having people on the show that are doing it right. It sets a standard for other people that are creating products that are supposed to be healthy. There's so much stuff out there. If you go into like the Whole Foods vitamin section, it's like 80% of it is either totally ineffective and useless or toxic. You know what I mean?

[01:19:49] Nicco: Or both.

[01:19:50] Luke: Yeah, when I find something and-- you guys sent me some of the stuff. I read the label, and I was like, damn, dude. Well done. Well played. No complaints. My inner Karen has nothing to email you about.


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