303. Performance Medicine: Adrenals, Circadian Rhythm, Peptides, NAD, Ketamine w/ Dr. Craig Koniver

Dr. Craig Koniver

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.

Dr. Craig Koniver of Koniver Wellness has been practicing Performance Medicine for over 18 years. Not satisfied with the disease-based model of modern medicine, Dr. Koniver seeks to help his clients optimize their health and performance through time-tested, nutrient and science-driven protocols that are the cutting-edge of medicine.

The founder of Koniver Wellness has been practicing Performance Medicine for over 18 years. Not satisfied with the disease-based model of modern medicine, Dr. Koniver seeks to help his clients optimize their health and performance through time-tested, nutrient and science-driven protocols that are the cutting-edge of medicine.

Dr. Koniver is the founder and creator of the patent-pending FastVitaminIV® as well as re-engineering the NAD+ IV protocols, now called Brain Refuel™.

Dr. Konivers client list includes Navy SEALs, NFL players, PGA golfers, UFC Fighters, Hall of Fame NHL players, world-class professional athletes, Fortune 100 Executives, US Congressmen, well-known celebrities and TV personalities.

In addition, Dr. Koniver offers a comprehensive training program of the Koniver Wellness Model to physicians across the world.

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.

Today’s episode combines some much-needed Inspiration with tactical information for next-level living. Healing the adrenals, optimizing your circadian rhythm, biohacking your body and mind with peptides and NAD+ IV, the potential uses of ketamine therapy — there’s some crazy stuff here, but this is the future of medicine.

And our guest is one of the world’s foremost experts in Performance Medicine. Dr. Craig Koniver has been practicing Performance Medicine through his practice Koniver Wellness for nearly two decades, helping clients like Navy SEALs, world-class professional athletes, and Fortune 100 executives optimize their health and performance through time-tested, nutrient- and science-driven protocols that are the cutting-edge of medicine.

I’ve been working with Dr. Koniver personally and it’s no exaggeration to say that he changed my life. I’ve wanted to have him on the show for a while now and I’m stoked that I can finally share his wealth of knowledge and insight with all of you. We NEED more doctors like this.

If you’re interested in trying out the peptide protocols or working with Dr. Koniver, you can use the code “Luke10” for 10% off anything at www.koniverwellness.com/shop.

12:55 — What the hell is Performance Medicine?

  • Optimization Vs. the standard allopathic model
  • Why Dr. Koniver was never satisfied with the allopathic or functional medicine models
  • Going beyond just feeling well
  • The difference between living for a long time and having a long life worth living

18:00 — Decoding circadian rhythms and sleep cycles

  • We’re all hardwired for a certain cortisol rhythm
  • The role of light in shaping our rhythm
  • Why you want to go outside as early as possible every day, even for just a little bit
  • The one change you can make in your routine to see the biggest difference in your sleep
  • That groggy feeling when you sleep in too late
  • Sleeping at the “wrong time”

27:15 — How to restore adrenals (and how they actually work)

  • The liquid fruit and Hydrocortisone protocol that Luke has been using
  • What are the clinical markers for adrenal fatigue?
  • How your adrenals respond to stress, good or bad, real or simulated
  • The lie we’ve been told about multitasking

37:50 — Does taking hormones or supplementing with other things that your body makes deregulate your body’s natural production?

  • Yes, so these have to be used tactically
  • We have to be particularly mindful of hydrocortisone
  • Dosage guidelines to avoid suppressing the adrenals

43:45 — How Dr. Koniver has been using Ketamine to help improve his clients’ emotional and spiritual well-being

  • How the architecture of our nervous system is shaped during the first five years of our life
  • The role of Glutamate in our body
  • How ketamine can start to change your perception of self
  • Breaking dysfunctional patterns from your past
  • How professionally-guided ketamine therapy is being used to heal emotional trauma and depression
  • Why Dr. Koniver and others have referred to ketamine as a “magic molecule”
  • Ketamine prescription products that might be coming soon
  • The cosmic MD on LSD, Ayahuasca, & Nootropic Awakenings w/ Dr Ted Achacoso #227

59:50 — The time Luke accidentally fell into a K-hole

  • Transcending the ego (but in a kinda scary way)
  • Observing yourself
  • Feeling like he’s stuck in another dimension or maybe dead
  • The trend of using ketamine to “turn off” your consciousness

01:12:05 — Biohacking performance with oxytocin (AKA “the love hormone”)

  • Why oxytocin pairs so well with ketamine
  • How it can help in relationships
  • Why you don’t really need to worry about throwing off your body’s natural production of oxytocin 

01:16:45 — Dr. Craig Koniver’s work with Sovereignty

  • Check out the herbs and supplements at sovereignty.co/luke
  • My two favorite Sovereignty supplements: Purpose and Dream
  • Why I use Purpose before every podcast recording (including this one)
  • Why fermented herbs are more bioavailable than the traditional formulas
  • The best supplements for sleep

01:22:30 — The best supplements for sleep

01:30:38 — What are peptides and how do they work in a clinical environment?

  • A peptide is a short chain of amino acids
  • Why they first became popular for anti-aging and high-performance athletes
  • How peptides are administered
  • How Dr. Koniver is combining peptides in a novel way
  • It doesn’t work for everyone, but nothing does
  • The potential risks of buying peptides that you don’t know much about
  • The peptide that’s almost too effective at giving an erection
  • Emerging discoveries in the world of peptides

01:40:30 — Everything you need to know about NAD

  • NAD = Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
  • NAD is found in all living cells
  • Why we need NAD and its role in our metabolism
  • The various ways to supplement with NAD.
  • Why he prefers straight NAD to the NAD precursors available on the market
  • How NAD helps addicts get clean
  • The relationship between metabolic function and addiction

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00]Luke Storey:  I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Dr. Craig Koniver, good to see you, dude, welcome to the show.

[00:00:30]Craig Koniver:  Thank you, Luke. Good to see you. Appreciate you inviting me here.

[00:00:33]Luke Storey:  Oh, I'm excited, man. We've had quite a few really fascinating phone chats. And every time we talk on the phone, I'm always thinking, man, I should have just recorded this. This might as well have been a podcast. So, I'm going to do my best to summarize some of the things we've talked about before, some of the work I've done with you in the past, and also, of course, find out what's new and exciting in your world of performance medicine.

[00:00:57] So, I think for people that are new to your type of witch doctory in performance medicine, in general, if you could just kind of explain what is performance medicine and what you do in terms of optimizing people versus standard allopathic or even functional medicine that's dealing with causes and treating the symptoms or getting down to the root. But you seem to be at their level, where you're like, cool, you're well, let's get you more well.

[00:01:28]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. I think certainly, it's evolved over time. And I'm family medicine-trained, so for me, coming out of medical school, I was most interested in building relationships with patients. So, that's first and foremost. And I think the heart of it for any doctor, probably, that's where it lies. And then, it's changed. I never was really satisfied with allopathic medicine, which we'll get into about just prescribing pharmaceuticals, which I don't think people realize how new that is in terms of healing modalities. We're talking about a hundred years or so compared to other modalities which are thousands upon thousands of years old.

[00:02:05] And then, I was never really comfortable with the functional medicine groups who focus on, it's more to me like robotic medicine, treating everyone kind of the same. They tend to order gallons of lab work, and then prescribe tons, and tons, and tons of supplements. And that's never really was satisfying for me personally. And then professionally, I just didn't really see results. So, for me, performance medicine really encapsulates not only helping people feel well, but perform well. And I think in this day and age, that's a really critical thing. Like we don't want to just live a long time, we want to be our best, performing our best a long time, you know what I mean?

[00:02:46]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I do. And it's an interesting observation I've made going through my journey as someone who's really into alternative healing and health, and what has recently been called biohacking, which to be a thing. I think Dave Asprey came up with that term. And it's apt because you're really learning the systems of your own body and having agency over what's happening rather than having to run to the doctor every time something goes wrong.

[00:03:11] But I do see a correlation between the paradigm of allopathic medicine, where something goes wrong with your body, you go to the doctor, they look at the symptoms, they give you drugs or surgery to alleviate those symptoms without addressing the root cause as to why that symptom has persisted or presented itself. And then, in the functional medicine space, it's a huge improvement because you're going in and you're going, I have these symptoms, and then as you said, you're then, at least, looking at the root cause in most cases with the good functioning med doctor.

[00:03:43] But as you said, you're also going through this litany of lab tests, which can be really expensive and also time-consuming. And then, at the end of that, essentially, rather than being prescribed pharmaceuticals, you're being prescribed different dietary restrictions, or lifestyle practices, or as you indicated, tons and tons of supplements. So, it's like, I still don't think either of those really hit the mark when it comes to, especially someone who's relatively healthy already and just wants to take it to the next level. I've done labs a bunch of times and I think I fixed some things through functional medicine. And it's been great and I'm grateful for it. But it hasn't necessarily taken me to the upper reaches of capacity in terms of performance.

[00:04:28]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. And I think of two things. I think, one, functional medicine is basically the same paradigm as allopathic medicine, which is, take this for that, right? And there's a huge problem with that, because most people, to get to the next level, to heal anything, you have to go well beyond just taking this for that. It's a full mindset shift. And the other problem is, for most people, I think, and this has been my observation, I think most of us in medicine get stuck on, I have to have a diagnosis. I have to have a diagnosis. But what I find is that most people just want to feel good, right? 

[00:05:06] Like that's what's missing versus people not even being in touch with what feels good or let alone feeling great. And so, my goal always is to help people feel good first, and then we can reverse engineer and figure out how to keep them there, as opposed to, okay, we need to figure out this diagnosis. Okay, you have heart disease, diabetes, you're depressed, whatever it is, and we're going to work on that. And most time, that leaves people feeling like stuck. Like I still haven't gotten anywhere. I don't feel good. Yeah. Now, my blood pressure is controlled, but what does that really mean? So, that's a different paradigm. 

[00:05:39]Luke Storey:  Right. So, I think I want to start then with some of the things that I've found effective working with you and heard you talk about this. And it's just like, when you explain this biological system or process, I always think, oh, man, that's what's going on with me. And that has to do with circadian rhythm and the adrenals, cortisol, and all of this stuff. As someone who, historically, throughout my life, has, for whatever reason, felt like a night person, when the rest of the world is not, unless you're dealing with the different time zone, people are way earlier than you or later, as the case may be. But when we talked before, you sent me this licorice root. And is it hydrocortisone?

[00:06:31]Craig Koniver:  Correct. Yeah. 

[00:06:32]Luke Storey:  Drops, and man, if I have those when I wake up in the morning, I'm like not groggy, I have tons of energy, I don't feel jittery like I do from being over-caffeinated to compensate for that. And I mean that when I'm on that routine, that I naturally start to get tired at a more appropriate hour at night. Like I'm actually ready to get to bed at 10:00 or 11:00 versus 12:00 to 1:00, or even 2:00. So, can you break down how that cycle works and all of those molecules in our body indicate to us what time it is and when we're supposed to be awake and alert versus groggy and tired or sleepy?

[00:07:10]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. I mean, the way I think about it, and it's simplistic, but we are hardwired for certain cortisol rhythm. And so, that certain cortisol rhythm, to keep it simplistic, is like following the sun rising and setting, right? So, the sun rises in the morning, and that's, when we wake up, that's when we want our cortisol levels, cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands, to be at its highest point. And the way I think about that is, if we think back to primitive times before electricity and all this artificial everything, that is when people needed to be at their highest level of performance.

[00:07:44] And so, why is that? Well, we need to get up. We need to find food, right? However we did that. We need to make shelter. We need to find safety. We have to do all those things as early in the day as possible, because guess what, at some point, that sun is going to set. And if you didn't have that taken care of, literally, your life would be in danger, and that causes more stress. So, we needed to take care of the things we need to take care of as early in the day as possible.

[00:08:09] That's, in part, why I think, okay, we're created with this cortisol rhythm, highest in the morning. As the day goes on, we just don't need to be operating in our highest level of efficiency, because as that sun goes down, the sun sets, our cortisol drops, and now, it's nighttime. Well, the nighttime is critical. Really, why is sleep critical? It's because we have to repair, mend, heal our tissues ourselves, because guess what, the sun is rising the next morning, we got to do it all over again.

[00:08:38] Most of us, certainly, probably most of us listening to you talk on these podcasts don't have these life or death issues, that we're scrambling and fighting for our lives, which is a blessing, for sure. But hard-wired in cortisol-wise, we're still kind of wired that way. And so, if we treat them that way, and I think most people can relate to that, is most people would probably tell you their most effective, if we really distill it down, concentration-wise, focus-wise in the morning, getting stuff done and leaving things of less importance to later in the day.

[00:09:14] Because when the day starts to end and you switch over tonight, you really do need to be focused on sleep. And it's going down a different path here. But sleep, we just undervalue sleep. We just don't take it seriously because we just think we don't really need to sleep. Like we could be doing anything 24 hours a day now. And that just gets us so far out from the rhythms that are just hardwired into us. 

[00:09:37] So, the way I think about it, cortisol is catabolic, meaning wear and tear, right? It allows us to do the things we need to do, get done with them. Cortisol sets like the sun sets, we go to sleep, and then the anabolic hormones start to take off. That would be melatonin, testosterone, growth hormone. Those hormones allow us to mend, repair, heal our tissues so that we can, again, sleep our best, recover, wake up, and do it all over again. I hope that makes sense.

[00:10:08]Luke Storey:  Yeah, it does. And I'm wondering, additionally, how light plays into this, the different spectrum of light. And this might be outside of your area of expertise, but I've interviewed Jack Kruse a number of times. Of course, he's in circadian biology, and specifically, different wavelengths of light and how they signal your biology to start producing one side of that cascade, right? And I have used, at different times, sunrise sun-gazing and sunset sun-gazing to get my circadian rhythm back into alignment. It used to work really well. It takes about a week of doing that. 

[00:10:50] However, that also requires a really high degree of discipline, because if you're like me and you living a busy life, living in a city, it's not always practical to be up an atom at 5:30 AM and find yourself a vista where you can see that nice red light sunrise on the horizon. Well, when I'm able to do that, I do, but I'll use like specifically a blue light, this thing called the Varilux when I wake up, can't get to the sun, and I use my Joovv red light therapy. So, I'm kind of using technology in some cases to mimic those light signals. So, how much does that play into it?

[00:11:28]Craig Koniver:  I think everyone has some degree of sensitivity to it. I think even though if you can't, I think still, it's an important point that you bring up. When people wake up, they really should get outside and get as early morning sunlight as early in the day as possible. One of the reasons is, it takes melatonin about 12 hours to reset from the first kind of natural light. So, if you're not getting that light till 11:00 PM noon. I mean, 11:00 AM or noon, well, then your melatonin is not going to start to kick off until 11:00 PM or midnight. And then, from there, it's going to take you an hour or so just to start to feel tired.

[00:12:08] So, that alone pushes back those times, whereas even if you're not watching the sun rise, but you're getting early morning sunlight at 8:00 AM, well, then that's going to trigger about 12 hours. Your melatonin will start to kick in at about 8:00 PM. So, by 9:00 PM or so, you'll start to feel tired. So, even if, I know what you mean and there are great devices we can use, and even at nighttime, blue-blocking glasses and things to minimize those effects on the retina into the brain, I think a more simplistic view is just try your best to live with the sun, right? If that's all you did, if you wanted to make one change in your routine, people just did that, they would notice after whatever period of time that they feel much more in-tune with kind of the synchronicity of the way life presents itself.

[00:12:59]Luke Storey:  What's the deal with that sense you get when you sleep in too late? You think like, oh, I need eight hours' sleep or nine hours' sleep, I really want to crush it tomorrow. And I know personally, if I sleep in, it's difficult to do. But if I'm able to sleep in because I'm really fatigued, say, past 9:00 or 10:00, I'll think, wow, okay, good, I got enough sleep. But if I passed the certain time in the morning, then I find myself super groggy, lethargic, kind of brain fog all day, even though technically, I got like more sleep, it was seemingly sleep at the wrong time.

[00:13:33]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. I think it's a really interesting subject, and the point probably needs to be further explored, but the way I think about it is we probably, all of us, have some individual kind of set number of hours, which is our sweet spot, right? Trouble is, if we're missing that, and probably most of us miss that because we don't sleep well, we go to bed late or whatever, we have a poor-quality night sleep, we're going to build up some sleep deficit.

[00:13:58] And so, I think the number, eight hours, came about because we thought there was four distinct sleep cycles where you go from REM sleep, which is very superficial, all the way down to Delta wave sleep, deep sleep, and then work your way back up to REM. And each of those cycles lasts about two hours. So, if we have four of those, that's about eight hours. I think that's where the eight-hour came out. But some people, it's six hours. Some people, it's 10 hours.

[00:14:23] Well, if you have some sleep deficit, you want to make up for it. Most people can do that on the weekend. But then, we overshoot, and now, instead of getting 10, now, you've got 12, you're off that sweet spot and you just feel a little bit—I mean, I totally experienced it a lot of times, where you sleep in on the weekends, you're like, oh, I slept in, but I don't feel right. Like I want to go back to sleep, but I shouldn't, I need to be up, and it's this weird limbo place. Yeah.

[00:14:46]Luke Storey:  What's the mechanism of action of that hydrocortisol and licorice root mojo juice that you sent me? I mean, I love that stuff. When I run out, I'm like, I just need a gallon of this, so I just have it the rest of my life, and it's effective.

[00:15:03]Craig Koniver:  So, cortisol, there's no like bioidentical cortisol, there's no cortisol, per se. It's hydrocortisone, that's the molecule we use, mimics cortisol in the body. So, when the adrenals put out cortisol, it's basically the same thing. And then, we couple that with licorice root because licorice root prolongs the breakdown of cortisol to cortisone. And so, having both together, what it does, the way I think about it, when someone takes that externally, you're going to give your adrenals a break, so they don't have to work as hard, right? 

[00:15:39] So, you're going to supply that hormone that the adrenals are putting out in the morning with hydrocortisone, which is the biequivalent of cortisol, and then that licorice root helps keep it to be more active. And so, when you have both on board, it's like your adrenals, they're saying, ah, thank you, they can rest. And then, you still have the energy because you have the cortisol working for you.

[00:15:59] And generally, if people do that long enough and can hang in there, you can literally restore the adrenal function because you've allowed your adrenals to take a break. And it becomes a math game a little bit, because on average, we estimate that most adults put out about 35 milligrams of cortisol in a day. So, as long as we're staying below that 35 milligrams, we're not going to suppress the adrenal output. And so, you're able to do it for a long time. In general, it takes years for people to recover from this adrenal fatigue, for sure.

[00:16:32]Luke Storey:  And what are the markers that you would use to determine if one has clinical adrenal fatigue? I know this is a term that's thrown around a lot. A lot of people seem to think they have it. And I never get a clear indication that it's been kind of proven that that's the case. I think people have ideas about drinking coffee, that they wear out your adrenals, even someone the other day commented on my Instagram, and said, oh, you shouldn't do ice baths because they cause adrenal fatigue and things like this. I think there's a lot of confusion and misinformation around how the adrenals actually work.

[00:17:06]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, I think there's a lot of confusion and I think most people don't take it seriously enough to even warrant a proper discussion. We just don't value it enough. I value it. The way I think about it is, our adrenals will put out cortisol any time we perceive stress. And so, that stress isn't always negative, right? So, the stress could be exercise. The stress could be, like you said, an ice bath, right? Temperature change would be stressful.

[00:17:36] Eating the wrong foods, pain in the body, blood sugar changes, obviously, emotional stress, thinking about things in the future, the past, that stress us out because we perceive a negative outcome. All of those things will signal the brain, part of the pituitary to put something out called ACTH, which then travels through the bloodstream and tells the adrenals, put out cortisol. In primitive terms, and this is just the best way to describe it, even though it's extreme, the classic example is being chased by a lion in the jungle, right? 

[00:18:09] So, if you're under attack, you need to put out cortisol to save your life. And what that cortisol does is, literally, several things. One, it travels to your liver ,and says, make me blood sugar, so you'll have fuel. It turns off pain receptors. So, if you fall down or get injured, you can get up and keep going. And it's very anti-inflammatory. So, it's really a buffer in your world. Cortisol, though, the way I think about it, in primitive terms, was a very acute hormone.

[00:18:38] So, if you were under stress, real stress, life or death stress, you would put out a bunch of cortisol save your life or not. And then, that episode would end and your cortisol would come back down to normal. What's happened over time, I think we've changed cortisol into a chronic hormone. And so, now, we're in traffic or we have deadlines. We're worried about this or that, and we're signaling to our body, albeit most of the time, silently, put out cortisol.

[00:19:06] And if we do that over and over, we're going to chip away at our ability to keep up with cortisol demands. And when we chip away, where we see it most is either in the morning cortisol, where it should be highest or what happens is people, commonly, they will put the kids to bed or they're calmed down at night. They eat their dinner. Now, turn on a TV show, get on their phone, and now, they activate like, okay, I'm ready to get going in my day. And now, they elevate their cortisol when it should be low. So, in terms of how to define adrenal fatigue, get back to your question, and there's a couple of ways, you can look blood work, you can check cortisol levels. 

[00:19:44] Urine tests, you can check cortisol levels. I think the gold standard, though, is a saliva test, where you're checking cortisol throughout the day. And you're looking for that cortisol to be highest in the morning, and then come down gradually. So, by the nighttime, 10:00, 11:00 PM, it's at its lowest point. I consider adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue, where there's a disruption in the rhythm. And a lot of times, that's more important than actually the volume of cortisol. And then, you work backwards to do some things to get that rhythm back. Yeah. 

[00:20:13]Luke Storey:  Well, you just explained why it's had such a negative impact on sleep when one gets on emails at 10:00 PM, starts engaging with social media, as you said, watching TV, that would elicit a nervous system response, watching some suspense, or drama, or horror, or something like that, I've noticed, subjectively, really had to be very disciplined about what I put my attention on as the evening wears on because I've become really awake. 

[00:20:44] And even if I fall asleep, my sleep onset is pretty good, I find I'm waking up at 3:00 in the morning with restless legs, going like, what? I was so tired. Why am I awake now? And I think it's what you just described, right? You're stimulating the brain with even those micro-stress as just checking politics on Twitter, especially now, where in the world, it really does take a lot of discipline to kind of train your behavior so that you're not sending the wrong signal at the wrong time to your brain and interrupting that rest process.

[00:21:15]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. And I also think one of the lies we've been sold is that multitasking is what we should shoot for, whereas no one can truly multitask. I think that's a total lie. No one can do more than one thing at a time. No one can put their attention somewhere more than one thing at a time, right? So, monotasking is so much healthier. This is compounded to the nth degree with all the digital messaging, social media, email messaging. 

[00:21:45] And we feel now compelled to react and to respond to our phones, and our computers, and the people around us in ways that are totally not natural, right? And so, people really struggle, and they think, oh, I can do it, right? I can get back to you, watch this, send this message, type this out all within a five-minute span, but the way I think about that, that just puts extra tension on your nervous system. And our nervous system really, at some point, can't handle it.

[00:22:11] And I would argue that most of us keep up probably into—for most of us and probably into the third decade of life, where we're doing okay. We're flexible in how we modulate both our neurotransmitters, our nervous system, cortisol, stress. But for most people in that third decade, certainly in the fourth decade, it starts to break down. And a lot of that, if you think about it, if you're putting, if you're not focused and present in the present moment, and you're starting to put attention on multiple things at the same time, and you keep doing that, you're going to put tension on that nervous system, that compounds over and over.

[00:22:47] So, by the time you're ready to go to sleep, you're wide awake, right? You may be tired, but your nervous system, it feels like, I'm ready to keep going. And that then compounds on itself because you don't get restorative sleep. And over the course of your life, you have this maladapted stress response. Your nervous system is wired when it shouldn't be. And this is where people break down and get big problems, big diseases, things like that.

[00:23:12]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Actually, I'm putting the pieces together now of all the different inputs now with especially so many of us working remotely, which I've been doing for a few years. But now, due to the current situation, we're being forced to work remotely even more. And also, just as a business owner, many people realize having people on W2s and dealing with real employees is much more cumbersome and expensive.

[00:23:35] And you're dealing a lot more with the administrative elements of having people on your team versus hiring contractors. And there's different laws, which indicate, if you have an employee, you can tell them where to be, what to do, when to be there, all of that. When you have a contractor, legally speaking, at least in California, you just give them tasks to do and you can't tell them where to be at what time because they're an independent contractor rather than an employee.

[00:24:01] And that necessitates the use of all of these different means of communication. I'm on Slack. We're using Dropbox. We're using Trello. We're using Asana, email, texting, the more private texting apps like Telegram and Signal. I mean, WhatsApp, right? So, it's like not even including social media DM. So, your points of contact now through digital communication, I mean, there's obviously benefits to that, but the points of contact are so numerous that really is actually quite difficult to monotask, and just to sit down, shut the world out, turn all notifications off, and do what you're supposed to do.

[00:24:40] And this is something I'm constantly working on refining because I do sense that just the levels of stress that are experienced in responding to all of those inputs is insane. I mean, lately, I'm going, why am I so stressed out? Like I have a good life. And I realize, it's because of that multitasking and trying to do a million things at once rather than just sitting down, and turning everything off, and opening up a Word document, creating that document or whatever it happens to be. And I think that's really sage advice. And I've just known subjectively the effects of that, but I had no idea why. So, that's a really critical breakdown for people. 

[00:25:18] One thing that I found interesting that you said earlier was, if we're using this hydrocortisone in an effort to give our adrenals a rest, it's counterintuitive in the sense that when, oftentimes, we're using, or at least, this is my understanding, when we're using things exogenously, that our body would normally produce, that there is a risk of your body down-regulating the production of that endogenously, because it's saying, oh, we don't need to make that anymore, it's already here, as would be the case, perhaps, and correct me if I'm wrong, with something like chronic use of melatonin, or glutathione, or things that your body actually has the ability to produce. What are your thoughts on that being a phenomenon in reality or not?

[00:26:07]Craig Koniver:  Now, it's a true reality. And so, we will down-regulate, and all of those molecules you mentioned, I think one has to be careful. And even with cortisone, hydrocortisone in the the example I use is, people are familiar with prednisone, for example. Prednisone is a potent steroid that we use. For example, if someone's got an asthma attack, they've got bad poison ivy, they've got skin rash, something where you need major anti-inflammation.

[00:26:36] What people don't realize is prednisone is four times as potent as cortisol. So, often times, where this gets into the play and it's a little bit complicated, but children, for example, will get some sort of infection or inflammation. Their doctor puts them on a course of antibiotics and steroids to calm it down because why not throw the kitchen sink, you want the child to feel better? But if you do that over and over in a child who doesn't have a strong immune system, for example, and now, you're constantly calming it down artificially, well, because you've given them, for example, prednisone, maybe even in a low dose, maybe 10 milligrams, 20 milligrams, that acts like 40 or 80 milligrams of cortisol.

[00:27:17] You've just shut down the adrenal function a little bit. And if you keep doing that, you're going to suppress that adrenal function over, and over, and over. So, again, for this example, maybe in their 20s and 30s, they just can't respond the way they should be responding, right? And then, it compounds and it trickles down to, now, they don't sleep well. Now, they can't get up in the morning, so they can't focus. And now, they take Adderall, take a lot of stimulants. 

[00:27:43] And you can see how that picture, it's a web that can't be woven well. And so, we do have to be mindful, particularly of replacement hydrocortisone. And that's why we do monitor people over time. But more so than that, it's just, we have some guidelines for sticking with dosages just so, in general, we don't want to suppress the adrenals because we don't want people—I mean, you could. For example, a good example is testosterone replacement, right?

[00:28:11] Men and women need testosterone, men need more testosterone. As they get older, they require replacement, most men, because we lose the ability to make testosterone. Well, taking testosterone exogenously is going to down-regulate your own internal production. And so, that's not as big of an issue to me because you've already weaned down the own natural production of testosterone, so you taking it exogenously, it doesn't matter so much. Cortisol, though, we don't really want to wean down. We don't want you to change your—again, following that rhythm.

[00:28:44] And so, we do have to be mindful. But I think to your point, anything that people take, and it goes beyond just taking exogenous hormones, I would argue nutrient supplements, food, fitness, and thoughts will change, we adapt to those things really well. And for example, if you keep the same thoughts in your head, if you exercise the same way, you render all of those modalities less effective for you. And this is why people get stuck, right? Because we are the same. People with the same foods. They work out the same. They never get outside of their own little reality. And then, they wonder why they don't feel good, or they're stuck, or whatever it is. So, I think it's a big point.

[00:29:24]Luke Storey:  I think something interesting about your approach, too, and we've not gone into depth with this, but we have discussed ketamine and psychedelics, things like that, which I'm going to get to, but I get the sense that maybe in your practice as well, but just personally, you seem to be pretty tapped into emotional well-being and spiritual well-being. And this is often overlooked in terms of Western medicine, because it's this mechanistic biological approach to fixing whatever is broken, right? 

[00:29:56] And when you talk to this, your adrenals and how your emotional state is going to indicate to them what to do and what to put out, it brings to mind something I've been researching for the past couple of years, and that's damage to the limbic system from emotional trauma that many of us experienced in our childhoods and throughout life, whether it's an abusive parent, or a car accident, or some critical moment in which you experienced a high degree of stress or chronic stress that your brain can actually get locked into this limbic system response, where it's continually just dumping adrenaline and cortisol into your system even when the threat isn't real. And so, you're just kind of living in this heightened state of, as you indicated, future anxiety or past regret. And there really is this emerging bridge between our psyche, and the body, and how it responds. What's your take on that as a phenomenon?

[00:30:55]Craig Koniver:  I think it's something we're learning a lot more about. I think the cool part here is connecting all these things together. So, let's talk about that, because I think it's an important point. Let's talk about ketamine, because we've been using it a lot over the past several years and we're just at the tip of the iceberg. But the way I break it down, again, it's a simplistic version, but I think it's worth noting. So, we know that the majority of our personality is formed before the age of five, and that personality within us is shaped by the sensory experiences that we bring into our ourselves.

[00:31:33] And a lot of that then, the architecture of our nervous system is built upon the neurotransmitter glutamate, to make this discussion really simplistic. Glutamate, I think, is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the nervous system. If you get too much glutamate, for example, people have MSG, which most people are familiar with, you just feel out of sorts. You feel like your brain is kind of almost like you got a fever, you're inflamed because we know that too much glutamate is toxic to your nervous system.

[00:32:06] Why ketamine is going to play such an important role here going forward, and I'll break it all down for you biochemically, is ketamine is going to help people and it's helping people form new architecture in their nervous system, right? So, let's take an example. We know that if a child, a baby who's born doesn't get to see their mom's face within the first 12 hours of life, that they will need another 22 months to catch up to build that memory and bond. 

[00:32:38] Now, there's redundancy here in kind of how we memorialize experiences in our life. And for all of us, there's milestones that are really important to be met. And the way I think about it, that first five years in shaping the architecture of our nervous system helps to define if someone views the world as safe or not safe. And most of us actually have, as you point out, some microtrauma. It doesn't have to be abuse. It doesn't have to be terrible trauma.

[00:33:07] But we do have experiences where something has gone awry. Our parents may not have reached out to us when we wanted them to. There may not have been affection. It may not be totally traumatic in the terms of severe PTSD. But for most of us, there's something that's not totally perfect. No one has a perfect childhood by any means. And so, the way that works is we experience the sensory input that we bring in. And then, a lot of those memory consolidations happen through that glutamate exposure.

[00:33:38] And so, when we bring glutamate across the nervous system, it's going to help to form memories. Now, sometimes, those memories will be missing because we've missed out on experiences. Sometimes, those memories will be bad. And then, hopefully, a lot of times, those memories will be really positive. But in the case where they're not, we then, I think, develop a nervous system or part of our nervous system, which sees the world, in part, is not safe.

[00:34:01] Well, that happens within the first five years of life and that determines, in many ways, how your view, how your outlook is for the rest of your life. And so, now, when you're 25, 30, whatever, you have never changed that formal architecture of your nervous system. You've always seen the world as that. That is your impression. That's how you go about the world. This is how I view it. So, what ketamine does, tying it back in biochemically, ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, which, what that means is that one of the neurotransmitters that has direct control over is glutamate running across our nervous system. 

[00:34:40] And why it's so important, why it's so intriguing and fascinating is when you give people ketamine, what we do is we slow down the influx of glutamate across that nervous system. And if you slow down glutamate, you'll actually get clarity of thought, clarity of mind. You start to change your perception of not only yourself, but you get insight into other experiences in your life. So, if we take, for example, the severe, someone has PTSD, where they've had a really traumatic event, could be early in life or could be later in life, and now, you apply ketamine, and now, you can see because you literally slowed down that memory coming back to you.

[00:35:20] You see it happen in a new perspective. It allows you then to make a new memory that you can consolidate and replace the old trauma. And it doesn't mean that that trauma goes away. It means, you've healed it. You've worked through it. So, now, again, in a very simplistic way, you've taken something that's made you unsafe and you've replaced it in a way that's made you safe again. And doing so, you've done it in a very positive way, because not only do you do that, but that slowing down of glutamate helps you form new memories, helps you reach new neural networks. So, you've literally changed your brain. You've changed your own reality because you've changed the architecture of your nervous system.

[00:36:04]Luke Storey:  Wow, that's fascinating. That makes perfect sense. And I'm seeing correlations between different plant medicine and psychedelic experiences I've had. And I'm sure the mechanism of action is different, but there is congruence in those experiences done consciously and intentionally. Of course, I always add that. We're not talking about going to a rave and doing ketamine or acid and going to a concert. But in those experiences, subjectively, I have had the ability to observe different things that have transpired in my life that were, in fact, traumatic because something did happen, or in some cases, because something that is naturally meant to happen, especially earlier in life, did not, in fact, happen in terms of just nurturing and care of the young, being you. 

[00:36:51] And having the ability to observe and go into those what would sometimes be scary places in terms of memories that would elicit an emotional response that we would experience as discomfort or even pain, there is inability to go in objectively in a zoomed out 30,000 feet and go into the nooks and crannies, even to the depth of some of those things and really root them out. And I've never known why. It's just like the mystery of these molecules, whether they're pharmaceutical, or coming from plants, or something like a cap therapy of ketamine, assisted therapy that I've talked to. 

[00:37:25] I talked to Dr. David Rabin about it on the show and was scheduled to do, in fact, myself, and then just got busy and we haven't done it yet. But I think it's a really fascinating area of medicine. And just the breakthroughs that I've been able to have, or I mean, after years and years of therapy, and spiritual practices, and breath work, and yoga, and all of the things, years and years of meditation, I've been able to pierce through some of those seemingly unsolvable emotional issues that just kept resurfacing as dysfunctional patterns in my life, relationships, work, et cetera. It's just absolutely fascinating to me. But until you just explained at least that one, I'm like, I don't know why, but it works. In your practice, being a medical doctor, not a psychiatrist that would take someone on a ketamine journey to heal childhood trauma or something, how do you clinically use ketamine yourself to help people?

[00:38:21]Craig Koniver:  I mean, it's in similar ways. I mean, what we do, which is a little different, is we combine it most of the time, the vast majority with using intravenous NAD. We can talk about NAD. And so, what we found is that there's a lot of synergy with doing both at the same time. So, what we'll do in the office is we'll—because we do a lot of intravenous NAD, and for select people who we feel are good candidates, and by that, which will be most people who we're seeing because most people we're seeing have some degree of anxiety, depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, on some level. 

[00:38:54] They've come to us because they want help with some of those issues. Sometimes, it's severe. Sometimes, it's not as severe. And so, NAD plays a foundational role for people healing a lot of their nervous system just through the benefits of adding more biochemical energy through ATP to the nervous system. But what we do is we'll do intravenous NAD, and then we'll give them intramuscular ketamine, which is different than what most people do because most practice are using intravenous ketamine.

[00:39:21] And what we found is we like that combo better because, one, it's really, really safe. We don't really need as much intense monitoring of the patient. And it's more predictable, right? Because we give a patient a shot of ketamine and it's going to last about 30 minutes. It's very hard to get beyond that 30-minute time frame. And that allows us to really be able to kind of package that therapy for them in a meaningful way. A lot of times with intravenous ketamine, it takes a lot longer because they have to administer it slowly.

[00:39:55] And we've just found, over time, that adding an with it, it's a more synergistic effect. So, you're doing a lot more healing a lot faster. But the key you mentioned is the integration, too, is being able to talk to people and help them integrate for what came up, right? Because for some people, in fact, many people who we work with on a regular basis have told me that ketamine has been the most meaningful experience of their life. And these are people who've had vast experience with plant medicine. 

[00:40:28] Most of these people are coming back and saying, ketamine's it, like ketamine's the magic stuff. And it is a magic molecule. I mean, I have conversations with people every week, if not every day, who have said that to me, how well it works, very, very safe. And again, I think from our perspective, combining that with NAD, and then we can talk about peptides, you're talking about three things that, synergistically, like heal a nervous system that's damaged, get it back online, and then get it to new places in a very short amount of time, which is amazing. It's amazing.

[00:41:07]Luke Storey:  That's incredible. I find that ketamine thing so fascinating due to the widespread reports of its efficacy for the treatment of, let's just say, I mean, you mentioned PTSD, but let's just say clinical depression to someone who's just been sad for a very, very long time, can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Their life could be going in one direction or the other. It doesn't really matter. The externals in their experience are not influencing their subjective, emotional sense felt of being. 

[00:41:34] And then, one, two, maybe three ketamine-assisted therapies, they're not just like alleviated of depression temporarily, like I feel better today, and then tomorrow I'm back to the same old shit, they're cured. Done. Like no more depression. I mean, that is absolutely incredible, especially if you consider the great lengths and the potential net risks and costs of a long-term pharmaceutical approach to something like depression and all of the inherent side effects of which I am intimately familiar. It's just like, wow, that's really exciting.

[00:42:13] And it's incredible to me that that's not front page news. But then, again, ketamine, I'm assuming, is relatively inexpensive. And if you have a therapy that is one to three times and done, that's not a very good business model for a company manufacturing any kind of pharmaceutical substance, right? I mean, business model one, unethically speaking, you want someone to come back again and again and be on Zoloft the rest of their life or whatever. You have a lifetime-value customer versus a ketamine journey, that someone just like, cool, I'm done, don't need to take that anymore. 

[00:42:45]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. And we see it because there's now coming out soon a new ketamine nasal spray, which is S ketamine, which is an isomer of ketamine that is going to be very expensive, that went through clinical trials, to say, oh, using this type of ketamine in a nasal spray help people with a variety of things, got FDA approval, that's super expensive. And we've been using compounded ketamine. We put it with oxytocin, the nasal spray for years, and it's not very expensive.

[00:43:13] And I would argue we're probably going to get better results just of the synergy with something like oxytocin. This is a huge problem with the pharmaceutical companies and modern medicine, is they come at all of us, saying, we don't know enough. We're not qualified. And then, they want to scare the hell out of us. If we don't do what they say, we'll never get to where we want to be. And that model just sucks and it doesn't work. In our model here, and certainly, we're not the only ones, but we want to get people who are well to be super well.

[00:43:44] And I would argue that ketamine now should be included in kind of these performance tools for optimization. Like you can use it when you're well and you have healed even a clinical depression or PTSD. But if you want the best clarity of mind, you want to be your best for focus, creativity, and doing all the things you dream of, why not give yourself this amazing tool that's super, super safe and can help accelerate that for you? And so, just flipping that whole script upside down, you know what I mean?

[00:44:15]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I do. And I forget, I think it was Dr. Ted Achacoso. Yeah, he recorded podcasts and gave me some ketamine troches and some oxytocin troches. And at the time, I only knew ketamine as like a party drug. And I'm like, Ted, he seems to really have his act together. He does not seem like a guy who's like partying with ketamine. Brilliant doctor and amazing being, very conscious being. And he kind of explained briefly to me what it was about and left it.

[00:44:44] And I started experimenting with my meditation. So, I'm going to hyperbaric chamber and listen to a Joe Dispenza meditation or whatever I happen to be doing, Binaural Beats, this kind of thing, and had some really subtle journeys that were always beneficial and gave me clarity, as you said, about things that I wanted to work through. And if nothing else, just dropping me kind of into that quantum space where the physical realities of life were able to subside for a brief period of time, and just kind of get a break from everything, and step back, and expand my vision. 

[00:45:18] And then, when I started working with you, I got some of the ketamine oxytocin spray and would periodically do the same thing. And then, I've told this story, I think, when I interviewed Dr. Ted, but I think that was like 150 per spray of the ketamine spray, and I did that a few times, and it was, sometimes, a somewhat profound, yet as you indicated, brief journey, both official. And then, I got the lozenges, which I think we're 300 milligrams.

[00:45:46] And I looked at the bottles, and said, well, if I do two sprays of the 150, that's 300. So, I'll do one of these lozenges. I texted you about this, but I just want to relay the story because it was hilarious, actually. But I was laying in bed one night. My girlfriend had fallen asleep. And I just had the idea, I thought, I'm just feeling kind of restless, there's no way I'm going to fall asleep, and just do a little ketamine journey, and then just fall asleep afterward, which is normally what I would have done.

[00:46:13] And I took one of the lozenges and put on a playlist. That's a really strange kind of electronic music. Dude, and I sunk into the strangest place of reality. And I've done, in the past couple of years, considerable amount of psychedelics and plant medicines, intentionally and ceremonially, et cetera, but in this particular journey, I was like under the tranquilizer effect of the ketamine. So, I probably could have moved if I really exerted my will, but it didn't seem like I could move. 

[00:46:49] So, in a sense, I was kind of in this paralysis, which is okay, I was able to breathe into that and just kind of surrendered. But then, I went into this space that was extremely psychedelic. I mean, like to the point, and I'm not even exaggerating, my personality, egoic self had kind of disappeared and my consciousness was observing the phenomenon of me laying in bed. And there was a certain threshold that I crossed and I seriously thought that I might be permanently kind of trapped in this other dimension and unable to come back to my house, and my girlfriend, and my life.

[00:47:33] And it was as if this hologram of the human experience, which I personally believe, it is, in its essence, had all disappeared and there was no going back to it. It was like, this pretty, I don't want to say terrifying, that would be an overstatement, but disconcerting experience in which I really had to surrender this earthly existence and the fact that it might be gone, and just allow myself to just breathe and just exist there until it was over. 

[00:48:04] And I think the strangeness of the experience was compounded by the fact that I hadn't indicated to my girlfriend that I was going to take it. We haven't been together that long, and she's a shaman. She doesn't really gravitate toward pharmaceuticals, regardless of how effective they are in the ways you've just described. She's more on the natch, ceremonial, traditional plant medicines, et cetera. She's even a big plant medicine person. So, I'm laying there, and I'm like, I don't want to nudge her, and be like, am I still alive? 

[00:48:35] Because I don't want to freak out and like call the cops, or the paramedics, or something. So, I just have to kind of like be there within the space myself. And it was in that moment, I realized, if one's going to go that deep, it would be well-advised to do so under the care of a physician, a therapist, or to at least indicate to the people that are around, hey, I'm going into this experience. If you hear me grunting, or moaning, or call for you, come remind me that I'm still a body here and that everything is well.

[00:49:03]Craig Koniver:  Wow. 

[00:49:04]Luke Storey:  It was really interesting. But the net effect of it was, in that moment of surrender, kind of I've had a similar experience with 5-MeO-DMT, where it's about as close, I think, as you can get to being dead, for lack of a better term, and is very much similar in its experience, in the way it's described by people who have had near-death experiences, where you kind of leave this dimension and it's actually okay. And so, when you come back, there's less fear, just the general percolating fear of, like you said, the world's a threat.

[00:49:43] How am I going to survive? Looking for obstacles in your path and trying to keep yourself safe. That was absolutely diminished, because I thought, well, I basically just died and came back, so there's nothing to be afraid of on the other side, with the exception of letting go of the attachments to this earthly experience. So, it was one of the most far-out things that has ever happened to me in my life and I've had a really far-out life. 

[00:50:08]Craig Koniver:  Now, it's a crazy, interesting story, but that's kind of the newer trend with people using ketamine is, particularly, when we use in the office, if we look at, classically, it's an anesthetic. So, for example, they're using a big dose and they're going to essentially anesthetize someone to turn off their consciousness so that they can go through surgery. They won't remember it. They won't even be there. And then, we're using a much lower therapeutic dose where people can have a different perspective on themselves.

[00:50:41] Well, there's another dose where you can go in between the low therapeutic dose and the turning off your consciousness to create a near-death experience. Because to your consciousness, you're going to basically say, you're no longer there, but you still are, right? And so, that's that middle ground where people are now venturing into that space. And I think it's a really interesting topic, especially with COVID, because there's this whole sense that, at least from where I sit as a physician, where I read and we're talking about how people are so afraid to die, and like, oh, it's not fair that I died from COVID. 

[00:51:23] And it's like, well, why not? Right? You're going to die of something. And this is just a virus, a simple virus. And it's our fear of that death, in many ways, which is driving this ridiculous pandemic, I think, is that core issue that we are so afraid to die that it's a famous quote that we don't even know how to live. But that's really, I think, at the heart of a lot of this is that fear. 

[00:51:47] And so, for people looking to work on exploring that, this is a really interesting tool that can be used safely, clinically, as you said, in the right setting, with the right support, with the right integration. Because once you can have an experience like that and understand like it's okay, like I can embrace, not that I'm looking forward to it, but it's okay with me, it does change your day-to-day operations and how you present yourself to the world, for sure.

[00:52:15]Luke Storey:  It certainly does. It's that ability that one can cultivate to be in the world, but not of the world, right?

[00:52:21]Craig Koniver:  Yeah.

[00:52:22]Luke Storey:  You're going through the humble, I got to do the emails. I have a career. I have a family. And you value that. You honor that. You're there, here on the earth, boots on the ground, doing your dharma. But at the same time, like when the tax bill comes, or the divorce comes, or the dog gets sick, or whatever, the house burns down, there is this sense of, how do I say it? It's like you're able to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing, knowing that this reality isn't the whole reality, right? 

[00:52:54]Craig Koniver:  Yeah.

[00:52:54]Luke Storey:  But there's a threshold of reality that's far beyond our immediate physical material experience. And I think when one can safely and intentionally explore the further dimensions of our reality, then when you do come back here, it's kind of like, alright, I'm a little irritable today. I'm stressed out because this thing's happening or that thing's happening, but you're still able to not take it entirely too serious, which is really good, including the masks, and all the oppression, and the loss of employment, and loss of sanity, and sovereignty that we're experiencing in the world now over something that, in my opinion, has very low risk of hurting anyone in terms of the numbers that we're now seeing. 

[00:53:39] But anyway, that's a whole other topic. I've done shows on it ad infinitum and probably will, but I really see a lot of value in that experience for that reason is that when you do come back, like you said, it's like, alright, I don't have to be in so much fear of like my physical safety because you understand that you are much more than your physical body. And as you said, facing death is probably psychologically the healthiest thing we can do on a regular basis, of just understanding, like yeah, a few more years, I'm leaving this body, might as well accept it.

[00:54:10]Craig Koniver:  I totally agree. And then, also, I think it brings to light what as I see people take, for better or for worse, a lot of this work so seriously. Like a lot of the plant medicine work, a lot of the psychedelic work, people go into it like it's always got to be so heavy and deep, and they've got to unpack all this. The reality, it's like, just enjoy it. Like just enjoy it and keep it light. Because the more serious you make it, the more serious it becomes. And I think then people have this changed perspective, like I got to do all this heavy lifting, where, yeah, you want to do some heavy lifting every now and then, for sure. But for most of it, keep it light, and fun, and jovial. Absolutely.

[00:54:50]Luke Storey:  When you're taking people through the ketamine treatments, are they blindfolded and listening to music? And that's kind of-

[00:55:00]Craig Koniver:  Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, we do it for the most part. We do have some couples who do it together on a regular basis. But for the most part, they're going to be in an individual room by themselves, and then we're going to blindfold them. We're going to play certain music. We give them the shot. And then, some people who qualify and who do well, sometimes, we will give them a second shot. We don't want them to come back all the way, per se.

[00:55:28] So, at about the 20-minute mark, we may come in and give them a second shot. This will be negotiated well beforehand, so they know. And for those people, they go even deeper. It allows them just to have a more intense experience, for lack of a better term. But we're checking on them all the time. They're not really aware, but we're checking on them. And then, as they come to and start to move around, then we're there with them, talking to them, helping them integrate what just happened.

[00:55:56] And it's interesting because the people who have some experience in the arenas of plant medicine, because they say, by the book, ketamine is very sterile. It's not spiritual. That's not true, I don't think. I think that for people who have a context of exploring these other realms, ketamine can be just as spiritual as any plant medicine, for sure. And I've heard that time and time again.

[00:56:24] And so, really, for a lot of people, it's the most profound experience they've had and it just is tremendously impactful. And then, especially in helping them understand, okay, here's what happened. Here's how we can explore. Here's how you can work on it. And then, most importantly, here's how you bring it back to your everyday human existence to make yourself a better person so that you can serve others in the capacity you want to. 

[00:56:49]Luke Storey:  Right. I think that's the important thing about these type of explorations, is what you're able to bring back and actually apply in your life. Why is it, you're just seeing trippy colors and patterns and it's a little bit of an escape for however long that particular medicine last. But the real magic is in, for me at least, entering that quantum field where there is no time and space, and your consciousness is in there, and you can actually explore, and work on things, and create, and as you said, even have some fun in there, and then come back, and put it to use, and manifest that here in this reality.

[00:57:26] I think that's where the future really lies in these type of explorations, is not just having a brief experience and going about your life, but having them fundamentally change you in how you interact with your world thereafter, which is absolutely been my experience almost every single time I've done something like this. Could you define the mechanism of action of oxytocin as it pertains to the ketamine theory, and then how you use oxytocin for other optimization purposes?

[00:58:00]Craig Koniver:  Yeah, I mean, oxytocin, people are familiar with it as the social bonding love hormone, which it is, but there's so much work and research being done with oxytocin because it allows someone in that very real way to feel safe. So, it pairs really well with ketamine, where someone's going to have a change in consciousness, a change in how they perceive themselves, the world around them. Oxytocin, to me, provides a safe landing, provides some comfort, provides like a big hug to that experience.

[00:58:34] And so, we generalize, and say, women kind of have more oxytocin present in their world and men tend to use a little bit of a boost in getting to that same place. And so, it just pairs really well. We also can use oxytocin in combination. We have a nasal spray where we use it with NAD. And again, other ones with testosterone. And again, it's just a safe landing. And I had a patient, this was a couple of years ago, we do a lot of intravenous NAD, and he's just so busy, couldn't get in, so we started him on a NAD, testosterone, oxytocin nasal spray. 

[00:59:14] And he came back after about four weeks, and he's like, I got to tell you, like now, I'm off my Adderall. He says, I don't have daily headaches and the relationship with my wife is at an all-time high. Like we are just so affectionate. We were much more just intimate with each other and how we see each other. Well, a lot of that's oxytocin. Like, how awesome is that? Because that's the real relationship, especially with your partner, is really where a lot of us get meaning in our life. And being able to kind of cross over some thresholds there with just that molecule is pretty fascinating.

[00:59:48]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I love that stuff. I have experimented with the sprays or I forget if I got the lozenges or sprays from you, but in any case, I've tested it in moments where I hit a fight or flight situation because I'm just freaking out about whatever happened to freak out about it in that moment, like I'm super triggered. And I think, let me see if this works. And I'll do a couple of the sprays, and I'll be damned, if you're like pissed off or triggered, in about 10 minutes, you'll have totally forgotten about whatever you're pissed about. And it just like immediately resets you. It's absolutely fascinating.

[01:00:22] I mean, I obviously recommend that people deal with their underlying issues and not just put a band-aid of oxytocin up your nose, but it is pretty effective in easing the tension. And I have used it even in one case when the tension involved a partner and there needed to be a fairly triggering conversation that took place. And we both did some of that. And just like the resolution came so easily because our nervous systems are able to just kind of relax and feel safe so that we could, in an emotionally healthy way, communicate what our individual experiences were, and be there to support one another in a way that would not be possible when we're both in that triggered place. 

[01:01:03]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, that's a good description. I think, again, it's one of these molecules that helps people feel more safe. And in a world where there's a lot of chaos, especially nowadays, anything you can do to make someone feel more safe is going to be welcome, for sure.

[01:01:17]Luke Storey:  In terms of the down-regulation phenomenon, do you think because the typical dose one would take of oxytocin exogenously, I'm assuming it's much, much less than your body would produce in a hug, or an orgasm, or in kissing, or in breastfeeding, or these other human behaviors in which oxytocin is naturally produced, it seems to me that the down regulation wouldn't be as much of an issue? Is that-

[01:01:43]Craig Koniver:  I agree. Yeah. Now, I totally agree with you. I think that we've had people using, particularly, the ketamine, oxytocin nasal spray for a couple of years. And it's not like there's any falloff, or change, or anything like that. I mean, very, very, very safe. Super safe. And there's just a plethora of research in how we can utilize oxytocin, the benefits of oxytocin alone, and then combining it with other molecules. So, I don't really worry about like other hormones. We're going to overdo it. I just don't get that sense that you're going to challenge that with exogenous oxytocin. Yes. Uh-uh.

[01:02:19]Luke Storey:  Cool. Okay. Awesome. Recently, you started consulting for this brand, Sovereignty, sovereignty.co. And they make up of products that I really like. I mean, as you can imagine, I get a lot of stuff in the mail, which is, I put for because I'm a guinea pig, and I just want to try everything, and find something that works. But these two particular products that that company makes, as you know, but for those listening that don't, they're powders that come in a little pouch. One's called Purpose and one's called Dream.

[01:02:47] And I've found them to be really effective. And I wanted to see what your take on them is. And something specifically that I thought was unique about them, as I understand it, they have like a fermentation process that's going on with these herbs. And I wanted to kind of find out what those two products are about and what the fermentation process does that makes them different than something else that would have whatever, ashwagandha or any kind of traditional herb that's used to calm down, or get energy, or whatever.

[01:03:19]Craig Koniver:  Yeah, I think there's a couple of key differences. Number one, just broadly, I think as powders, I like them because in order to consume a powder, you have to do some work to get it in your system, right? And so, we talked about at the beginning of, one of the troubles, I think, is that when people just swallow capsules, is there's this, you just don't have the sense of what you're doing, especially it's very aimless, especially with pharmaceuticals, but even with nutraceuticals, right? 

[01:03:47] People take all these nutrients and supplements, I mean, like I don't feel any of it. And I think I related to using a powder like this to like making tea. Like you can put some ceremony to it, even if it's three minutes, it's at least pausing yourself in your day to be conscious and mindful of, okay, I'm going to take this powder. I'm going to mix it with whatever I want. Water, I'm going to stir a bit. I'm going to sip some of it. I'm going to slow down for a second.

[01:04:12] And so, just that, putting the brakes on how you get it into your body is fascinating to me and I think really beneficial. Number two, when they set out to make these products, they were really focused on CBD, CBG, CBN, working with the very best CBD extract so that it's the highest, highest quality and potency, and they've achieved that. And then, to your point about combining it with other botanical herbs and nutrients in very unique ways, Purpose is for the morning and Dream is for the evening, like you, I find them to be really impactful and just your kind of daily, weekly routines. 

[01:04:54] I don't use them every day. I try not to use anything every day, consistently change it up. But I find that using Dream at night, I like the kind of sweet sleep quality. I think Purpose in the morning is a nice little burst. Some of that's from the CBG, which tends to have the U4 component. And then, fermenting anything seems to be a healthy way to render it more potent. I think of that with any sort of fermented product, we kind of distill it down, so we're getting the very best extracts. So, I think it's unique on several levels.

[01:05:28] And then, I like how they're going about kind of bringing it to the world and the society at large. As a husband and wife, you just had a baby, and they basically have taken a big RV, and they're traveling around the country, and organically, growing support by going from city to city, and meeting people, meeting doctors, showcasing it, which is very different, right? It's very relationship-driven, very organically driven. And some of these big companies come in and just blast you with emails, and say, buy our product, right? Like that's everyone. They're doing it very differently and I have a lot of respect for that. Yeah. 

[01:06:04]Luke Storey:  Yeah. That's cool. Something that I think drew me to those particular products was what you indicated that I really don't like. I mean, I'm someone that takes a lot of supplements and stuff because I'm always experimenting, but I don't like taking capsules for different reasons. The main ones being, I really trust the body's innate intelligence. And so, what I'll do, basically, is I just end up undoing all capsules and just making drinks out of them anyway.

[01:06:31] So, just contact companies, and be like, hey, can you just send me like a kilo of this powder so I can just take a teaspoon of it, instead of emptying five capsules into my blender or whatever. But there's something about the body, I don't know, it's like a fairness to the body to give it an indication of what's going in. And so, just getting that mouth feel and the bitterness, or the sweetness, or whatever, the astringents, whatever there is in those particular herbs or compounds to kind of let your body know, hey, this is what's about to go into the GI tract.

[01:07:04] Get ready for it. In just terms of the enzymatic response that your body's going to have. Anything, it's always felt a little bit weird to just pound down 15 capsules of something, and then inside you, they start to come undone, that gelatin melts or whatever. And there's like this explosion of a bunch of pills inside you, which I'm sure isn't bad for you, per se, but I do like just the ritual element of taking something that goes down slowly. And your body's like, oh, we know what to do with this. There's just an introductory process there, I think, when you're taking something in the form of a tea versus pounding a bunch of pills. So, that's one thing that got me to do that, too.

[01:07:44]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. And I think if you look at it historically, what have cultures done with botanical herbs over thousands of years is they would taste them, right? That's how they would first get a sense to your point. And we don't do that anymore, right? We just swallow things because our mind is we have six other things we've got to be doing, so why pay attention to the things we're putting in our body?

[01:08:04]Luke Storey:  Yeah, for sure. I want to back up to the sleep topic a little bit because we went all around that, and the adrenal issue and circadian issues, and things like that. What are some other supplements, or medicines, or anything like that that can be used to compound sleep? I think I've heard you talk about taking glycine and everyone knows about magnesium at bedtime, but do you have other protocols you've used with, say, in addition to this product called Dream, where you can just really nail those sleep cycles for people?

[01:08:40]Craig Koniver:  I think there's a couple of products, are my go-to. As you mentioned, glycine. Glycine is the smallest amino acid. It's great for phase two liver detox. But what's the best part about it is it's very calming to the nervous system. And so, most people don't take enough. Like they'll take 500 milligrams, 1000 milligrams. One can take a lot of glycine. And in general, if one takes a lot, anywhere from five to 10 grams at bedtime, you're not going to shut your nervous system down by any means, but you're going to slow it down.

[01:09:10] And slowing it down allows people to get to that more restful, deep sleep. And then, when they wake up, so you're almost pushing that nervous system. Most of us are in a state of sympathetic dominants, sympathetic, meaning foot on the gas, we're always doing stuff, whereas the parasympathetic side is where we're just being and we're more relaxed. Most of us struggle from going from sympathetic to parasympathetic. And so, glycine, in a very real way, when you take enough of it, really helps push you or coax you into that parasympathetic space, which is awesome, because then, you can relax, and then you can hopefully have deep sleep. 

[01:09:49] Again, I don't like people taking the same stuff all the time, because then, you render it less potent. So, we'll couple that. I like glycine. I like theanine as well. Theanine comes as an amino acid, too, and found in like green tea, black tea. It's calming, too, helps promote alpha wave function in the brain, which is our kind of relaxed state. And again, most people don't take enough theanine so you can take 300 milligrams, you could take 1000 milligrams, you can take 3,000 milligrams.

[01:10:15] There's really no upper limit, per se. Combining the two, theanine and glycine works really well. We now make an oral spray where it's theanine and glycine, so you can spray it in your mouth if you wake up in the middle of the night. So, that way, it's absorbed through the cheeks, under the tongue, kind of then just put you back to sleep pretty quickly. I find a lot of people can fall asleep okay, but then, they wake up at 2:00 in the morning, 3:00 in the morning, and that's where they struggle.

[01:10:40] And they just can't get back to sleep. Their mind starts turning on, oh, my goodness, I can't sleep. They get anxious. They can't sleep. Yeah. And so, this is just one tool to kind of get that off their mind, just put them back into the sleep space. Yeah. And then, we use a variety of injectable peptides. It's a little bit more aggressive, but not really. So, we use things like epitalon and kind of smaller doses or microdoses. Epitalon is another peptide that, historically, has been used for longevity, but it really helps to structure their circadian rhythm as well. 

[01:11:14] So, if you use it at bedtime, you're going to help to keep the cortisol flow as best as you can. And you couple that with something like pinealon. Pinealon is another peptide that works on the pineal gland, which, the pineal gland releases melatonin, among other things. And so, those two coupled together, you're going to help kind of direct the flow of your circadian rhythm. So, it's not just, oh, a volume thing, like I want to put out more melatonin or I want to control cortisol. It's directing when you want things to come out. 

[01:11:47]Luke Storey:  Is there any research for that? What's it called, pinealon?.

[01:11:50]Craig Koniver:  Yeah, pinealon or pinealon. Yeah.

[01:11:53]Luke Storey:  Is there any research that would indicate that that has any mechanism of action on the calcification of the pineal gland?

[01:12:01]Craig Koniver:  Probably. I have a doctor colleague who and we do a lot of trainings with different practices and help them get going with all the tools we use. And this is a couple of years ago. We trained them. They're out in Denver. And I don't know, a year ago or so, he mentioned, he said, hey, I got to get you on the phone, I got to tell you the story. So, they're giving a pinealon to a patient and the patient messed up. Instead of doing the prescribed dose, she used the entire vial of pinealon. And when she came in and told the the doctor that she said, the interesting thing is, she started to become clairvoyant, is she started having dreams where she would predict the future.

[01:12:39] And so, that's pretty interesting, right? Like how is that happening? Right? So, those are one of those things that are trial and error, that heck no, I don't want to wait for research studies. I just want people to try and see what happens. Not to say that, oh, people go out, get a bottle of pinealon and see what's going to happen, because 99% of us, that wouldn't even be possible. But I think there's something to it, right? I think there's something energetically to it. I think that you're going to make that specific gland or organ work more efficiently so you can then protect against the calcification like you're alluding to, for sure.

[01:13:18]Luke Storey:  Cool. Wow. That's really interesting. Yeah. I never knew if that was just like a new age, woo-woo myth, that thing because you hear this talked a lot about in spiritual circles, et cetera, about the fluoride in the water causing calcification of the pineal gland. And I remember in one of the first interviews I did with Jack Kruse, he's cracked open a lot of heads and looked at a lot of brains as a neurosurgeon. I said, is that real? He's like, oh, yeah, absolutely. It's absolute. But what you imagine it to be is this, like when you get a lime scale build up on your sink or something, that's what I pictured like a hard pineal gland.

[01:13:53] He said, it's not like that. It's more of a milky, it's just this chalky, milky substance that you'll find around the pineal gland. But it still does block the electromagnetic mechanism of action that's inherent to that particular gland, which relates, of course, to the production of melatonin, and then the substrates of melatonin, one of which being dimethyltryptamine or DMT, that your body, as you know, I'm sure, endogenously produces. So, putting all those pieces together as a spiritual seeker myself, a very committed one, I'm always interested in anything that is going to assist the pineal gland in reaching its full activation.

[01:14:31]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. 

[01:14:31]Luke Storey:  And so, that's super interesting.

[01:14:34]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, we'll get you some so you can play around with it because it's super, super safe. And actually, as a peptide, I believe it's the smallest peptide that's manufactured. It's only three amino acids. So, super, super safe. Really no side effects. Certainly, nothing negative. And I think the sky's the limit. Anything is possible as long as you believe it.

[01:14:55]Luke Storey:  Back to the sleep peptides. One that I've experimented with a bit myself is the DSIP, the deep sleep-inducing peptide. And I've noticed that it is effective. But the interesting thing about it is it seems to be effective the next day. So, last night, I was like, I really wanted good sleep last night. So, I took some and I checked my Oura Ring score this morning, my deep sleep was about what it is average, hour-and-a-half, something like that. But I bet tonight, I'll get like two-and-a-half hours of deep sleep.

[01:15:24]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. And, again, I cycle that. I don't take it all the time. Like as you indicated a couple of times, I don't want to become dependent on these things. But have you seen good results with that particular peptide in relation to sleep?

[01:15:37] I have. I think the caveat being that if one's going to use it, you probably shouldn't use it more than twice a week or so because it's going to start to change some of that sleep architecture. Because it's Delta wave sleep-inducing peptide, you're going to start to front-load a lot of that deep sleep into after using it. And while that can be okay in the short term, what we've experienced, just observationally with patient's feedback, who use things like Oura Rings or whatever to look is it does change how that Delta or deep wave sleep and REM sleep kind of condition over the course of the night and the week. I just think you have to be mindful of that. So, yeah. 

[01:16:15]Luke Storey:  We kind of jumped off the peptide train here, I think, without giving people listening, perhaps, some context of what peptides are. Maybe you could explain what they are and when they became popular in the anti-aging and optimization scene like you are.

[01:16:33]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. So, peptides are just chains of amino acids. What we're talking about are molecules that are synthesized in the lab that we use for the most part, the vast majority we're going to be injected. So, they're injected subcutaneously into the area fat, and then they kind of migrate to the bloodstream, and then exert certain actions. I kind of grew up in the fitness world. A lot of these optimizations tools do. Especially in the crossfit world, a lot of crossfitters, and we work with a lot of high-performance athletes, they want an extra edge, particularly with recovery.

[01:17:04] So, probably the most used class of them will be the growth hormone-releasing peptides. I don't know about the first one, but the most popular at the time was something called sermorelin. And now, we have a host of them from ipamorelin to GHRP 6, GHRP 2, tesamorelin, hexarelin. And the way, I think, that those work is you inject them. They're going to go up to the pituitary in the brain, bind growth hormone a little bit, so you direct and put out some growth hormone.

[01:17:30] As we get older, as we stress our bodies, we start to decline in growth hormone, so we don't mend as well, we don't recover as easily. We become less durable. So, when you add these peptides in, you're helping to create more growth hormone in your world, which is always a plus. So, people become stronger, fitter, faster. The recovery is awesome. And their sleep is better. Their skin turgor tend to burn some fat. So, they're very, very positive.

[01:17:58] But there's a host of them from, other popular ones, BPC 157, body protection compound, which is an anti-inflammatory molecule. There's the Russian peptides we call C Max and selank, which help with cognition, help people recover after a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. There are mitochondrial peptides. There are immune peptides. There's a whole host and growing number of peptides. What I like about them, super, super safe.

[01:18:24] And then, what we do here is we combine them in a novel way where we're creating using multiple peptides at the same time, because one of the challenges, people don't like filling up syringes and doing three to five shots a day. So, we've found a way to do it where we can prefill the syringes, and get them to people, then they don't have to think about it. And they're giving themselves one shot and they're getting the benefits. They don't work for everyone. Nothing does. But they're really interesting. And we find that they really help to move the needle for a lot of people in very real ways.

[01:18:55]Luke Storey:  Yeah. You just reminded me of my first foray maybe a couple of years ago into peptides and trying to figure it out myself. And the site where I've ordered them is called peptidesciences.com. And from what I gather, they're reputable. But still, there is a lot of shady stuff going on in the peptide world online. Just, you could be getting ground-up rice from China or something. I have no idea. But I've noticed that they have an effect.

[01:19:23] So, that would indicate to me that they're real and just God-hoping that they're purified, and clean, and safe, and all of that. But one thing that I found very challenging about peptides is the mathematics involved in actually mixing water. It's like, I'm researching all of these threads, going deep into these like group chat things, and, oh, my God, the mathematics. Wow. Just this many milligrams of water.

[01:19:50] And actually, once I figured each one out, the BP 157 and the different ones I've used, I've put it in my Evernote so I'd never have to figure it out again because it was that laborious. So, it's cool to hear that you're actually doing the heavy-lifting not only with the safety compliance element to ensure that they're safe, the real thing that they say they are effective, but I love this idea of pre-mixing them, because, of course, I don't want to give myself five shots a day.

[01:20:16] I wouldn't be mad at it, but it's just more of like, it's the mixing part to me that was a huge pain in the ass. And kind of really to buying more even though they were really effective, it's just like, oh, man, I don't want to go through this again. Every time I buy a new one, there would be a new, like, what was that movie? Was it Good Will Hunting almost? No, what was the one where the kids like doing the math equations on the chalkboard? 

[01:20:41]Craig Koniver:  I know what you're talking about, yeah.

[01:20:43]Luke Storey:  Yeah. What's his face? Anyway, it was like that. I'm just like, oh, God, there has to be an easier way. I got this one, I think I'm out of it because it was pretty fun, but it sort of like acts as Viagra. It was-

[01:20:59]Craig Koniver:  Well, there's a couple. There's PT 141, Is the main one. And so, that came off of a peptide called melanotan. Yeah. Melanotan is the tanning peptide, but it also—well, it works by stimulating melanocyte-stimulating hormone, MSH, which has an effect on the melanocytes to turn them on, but also has a really strong immune component. So, if people are really struggling with any sort of chronic immune condition, can benefit from melanotan. Trouble is it will tan you.

[01:21:31] And it tans you this kind of funky orange color. But what they found with melanotan is that part of it, this started in rats, obviously, made those rats increase their arousal. And so, in both female and male rats. So, it's like Viagra, although it's not vascular. It's more neurogenic. For men, the challenge is it can make men pretty nauseous, but they do an injection at some point later in the day, they can have an erection that lasts four to six hours. So, I mean, it can really work. You just have to be careful.

[01:22:05] Yeah. The PT 141, that's what it was. And, I've just been experimenting. I tried that out and it was—I mean, like I said, I went through a whole bottle so I didn't hate it. But it's interesting because it's very difficult to time. It's like 8:00 at night, and I think, well, I'm probably going to get frisky with my lady at some point. So, I take it, and then I didn't really notice anything different, just went about my normal lovemaking routine.

[01:22:31] And then, I wake up at 4:00 in the morning with a pup tent. It won't go down. It's like, wait, how do you get the timing right on this? Because it really does do that in an incredible way, but there's no like, as you said, with the circulatory-based pharmaceuticals, your face gets red. It's very uncomfortable. I've never liked that experience, but there's none of that with this. And I didn't feel any nausea. It was just like not that useful because the timing of it was somewhat unpredictable.

[01:23:01] It's very true. It's very true. And here's the thing about peptides, and I think people, to set the record straight, is these are very safe for people who are looking for double-blind, placebo-controlled, really formal clinical studies, you're probably not going to want to use peptides because that's not where it's at, right? So, we're relying on anecdotal data, and then small research data to support the safety and efficacy. 

[01:23:27] For all of these peptides, really, really safe, but there's not necessarily a hard and fast dosage for everyone because they just are not studied the same way as, say, a pharmaceutical that comes through the pipeline. In a way, it's FDA clearance. That's not what we're talking about. We're really talking about a supplement that is different because it's injected at the end of the day. That's what makes it different.

[01:23:50] But what I tell patients is, because we have a lot of patients on peptides, and they say, well, when will I start feeling the effects? I think anything you're injecting in your body, you probably should be experiencing some result within a few weeks. It's not something that, oh, I need to wait three months. If you're injecting something in your body and you're not feeling it after a couple of weeks, probably not working for you. 

[01:24:09]Luke Storey:  Right. I do think that my concern is warranted about just randomly going online and buying peptides from these sites that claim to be pure and verified and all this, I mean, how-

[01:24:26]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, I mean, Peptide Sciences, as you mentioned, is a great one, a highly reputable. And that's actually one that people really can trust. They make a really high-quality product, for sure, well-researched, well-tested, and they're probably the best. Some of the others, I think they could work. I just think it's some of the Wild, Wild West still, and we'll see what happens. And yeah.

[01:24:52]Luke Storey:  Do you think there's any risk of regulatory overreach into the world of peptides because they are effective, and in some cases, could essentially replace the need for certain pharmaceuticals for some people? 

[01:25:05]Craig Koniver:  I do. I mean, there's one pharmacy in Kentucky which does a lot of peptide work. Tailor Made Pharmacy, which did get hit, got a letter from the FDA a while back, saying, they couldn't compound a certain size of peptides. I think it's there, although I think it's very, very small. This comes up in the IV world a lot with IV nutrients that people get scared that these things are going to go away. But, again, the agents we're talking about are very, very safe.

[01:25:34] And then, if you look at the difference or the amount of people using pharmaceuticals compared to using this, it is so vastly different that you were just not on the radar of these big three letter organizations, right? Because it's just, again, very, very safe. We're not causing harm. And the amount of people using one versus the other, it does not even compare. So, I don't worry about that.

[01:25:55]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, I think it is a really fringe group of people that are in the peptide world, as you said, those high-performance athletes and people like me that just like to experiment and feel. Let me see. I wanted to talk about before we before we wrap it up here something that you use a lot, and that's NAD. And it's kind of coming into vogue. I mean, even here in LA, there's a place called NextHealth, and you can do a NAD IV there. And it's becoming a bit more widely known. And then, the other side of that is in the supplement end, you have the precursors that supposedly help your body, signal your body to produce more of its own NAD. So, if you could kind of break down NAD, history, case uses, different types, including the precursors or the real deal.

[01:26:45]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. So, I'll try to keep it concise because I could talk forever about this. 

[01:26:50]Luke Storey:  I need a whole NAD episode, I realize that.

[01:26:52]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. So, NAD is a B-3 vitamin derivative. So, it's a chemical cousin of niacin, first studied in the 1930s or so, and actually, found helpful for addiction. It turns off cravings for both opiates, alcohol, and then, more modern times, even things like Benzos, Adderall. It's very powerful that way, very, very safe, largely ignored by modern medicine until resurfaced in the 1990s where people travel to Mexico to get intravenous NAD for some sort of addiction.

[01:27:21] In 2005, a gentleman from the states traveled to Mexico, he had a pain medicine addiction, got the NAD protocol, changed his life. And then, he purchased the distribution rights for the injectable NAD for America, which he still owns. And the company making was out of South Africa. That was in 2005. He set up a clinic in Atlanta called ExecuCare, where all they did was addiction. I got to know him because I've been using these nutrition IVs for a while.

[01:27:46] And at some point, he came to me, and said, I need some help. He's not a physician. There's a lot of people using NAD, and that's where we got our hands on it and started to kind of test the different protocols and see how it works. All around the same time, there's a plethora of research. The way I explain it is, we started measuring lifespans in lower organisms like yeast by caloric restriction. So, giving yeast a less-caloric diet showed that it extended their lifespan.

[01:28:15] And then, they found that using the nutrient, resveratrol, that people are familiar with and potent antioxidant, polyphenol, did the same thing, right? And that activated a set of genes that then extended longevity in those yeast. Well, that process was mediated through a group of enzymes called the sirtuin enzymes. At the time, there's only one, sirt1, and that sirtuin 1 was an NAD-dependent enzyme. So, from there, if you're following what I'm saying, is to extend life, we have to activate sirtuins. And to activate sirtuins, we need NAD.

[01:28:52] And so, what we found through a lot of rigorous academic research is that people, as they age, have lower levels of NAD. And we get NAD from two dietary sources, niacin and tryptophan. But as we age and stress our bodies out, different genetics, things like that, we recycle or make less and less NAD. So, this is where the oral NAD precursors came out, things like NR, NMN, which can work, but I think they're weak. I just don't think that compared to the direct molecule of NAD. 

[01:29:23] And since we are privileged, we get to work with NAD, that's what we focus on. Not that NMN and NR don't work, because they do and there's published data that they do, but for us, NAD, and we use it intravenously, we use it sublingually, we use it intranasally, we use it subcutaneously, but primarily intravenously, and we probably have overseen more NAD treatments than anywhere else in the country, potentially the world. We're really invested in it because we've seen not that it just helps people feel better, I mean, it's transformational.

[01:29:55] It's literally transforming people's lives from where they are to where they want to go, whether that is someone PTSD traumatic brain injury or someone who's well, who just wants to be performing at their best. We call it the anticancer molecule, anti-aging, anti-diabetes. It's all of that and more. And so, there's still a lot to learn about NAD, but I tell people, anyone who is interested in optimizing their health and performance needs to consider NAD in some shape or form, need to touch it somehow. It's that good.

[01:30:25]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I agree. I love it. Any time I've had the IVs, it's not the most comfortable experience. Not that bad for me, honestly. I just kind of breathe through it. But I know some people get really cramped and stuff, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. But when I've done it over at NextHealth, as I said, they've given me a little bit of the history and how it's been used to treat addiction, as you indicated, what would be the mechanism of action to turn off cravings A and B if someone had a really acute physical addiction, say, to pharmaceutical opiates or some derivative, street drug opiates, whatever, would that be something that would be administered after a detox protocol or is that part of the detox protocol? In other words, is it prevention of relapse or is it actually in part of the process of getting someone off of those addictive drugs?

[01:31:18]Craig Koniver:  You can do it both ways, although most centers are not going to be set up for this. But I mean, just in the last month, just to give you an example, we don't do a lot of addiction work, but we had a patient who was on an addictive substance and she was using on a daily basis. And we got her from a moderate dose off within five days. No more cravings. Saw her a week later, she's doing as well, she came back here. It's been a month now and she's done stupendously well.

[01:31:48] We've taken people on oxycodone at high, high dosages like 240 milligrams a day and gotten them off with no withdrawals. So, yeah. So, used properly, we can do that. We can detox someone pretty rapidly. I don't think anyone could give you a good answer. I think people would bee making it up if they said this is exactly how it worked to turn off cravings. I think there's some central molecules. NAD seems to help, whether it's opiates or alcohol, and it takes a couple of treatments to turn those cravings off. 

[01:32:17] And so, the key is, you have to have someone who's first willing and wanting to get off the illicit substance. That is the key. You can't take someone who is like, because I've had this a lot, it comes up, hey, I'm on oxycodone and I'm thinking about cutting back, I think I'll try some NAD. And I'm like, no. Like if we're going to do this, we're going all the way. We're not just going to do this half-assed. And so, it really matters the intention of people, right? And I think there's a lot of misconception. People look on the internet, and say, oh, I'll just do some NAD, then I'm good for life. Absolutely not.

[01:32:48] Like NAD has to become your new best friend. For people who are truly addicts, they need to surround themselves. And again, the frequency we have as individuals, I think, to figure out, but it's very powerful. We have a lot of patients who we've gotten them off the illicit drug, and then we have to maintain a maintenance course of NAD to help keep their nervous system active. It seems to make all of our neurotransmitters more efficient. Again, the way I think about it, it works on the level of the mitochondria, the highest level of mitochondria per cell line is in the nervous system. So, as we're giving those mitochondria more and more energy, we're able to do more, feel better, and be more efficient.

[01:33:27]Luke Storey:  Wow. So, there must be a direct correlation between metabolic function and addiction because of the relationship to neurotransmitters. So, you're having anxiety, stress, depression, et cetera, which could be, obviously, the psychological elements there, but physically, it's just like a lack of cellular energy, basically, that's manifesting itself in these seemingly psychological issues that necessitate you going and drinking or doing drugs to feel better. So, this is really like a root-cause approach, then because you're addressing the energy needed to regulate your neurotransmitters, that regulate your mood. Is that-. 

[01:34:08]Craig Koniver:  Absolutely. No, and you can say the same for attention deficit. I mean, I think it's a spectrum. And so, if we go back to, you can tie-in the emotional experiences the way I think—I think one of the challenges with addiction is that we go about addiction, and here's where I think we get it wrong, we say the opposite of addiction is sobriety, where it's really not. If you really look at addicts and really dig in deep, the opposite of addiction is connection, right?

[01:34:31] They've missed that connective part of meaningful relationships on some level, at some part of their development of their nervous system. And so, if you go at them, and say, okay, we're just going to take away that substance, you're basically taking away all of their emotional pleasure and comfort as well. And that's why it doesn't work, just to take someone, and say, don't drink anymore or don't do this drug because you're going to leave them hanging. You haven't done anything to fulfill that need. 

[01:34:56] For them, it's very significant. And that doesn't mean we just keep people on alcohol and opiates just because, but I think we would do a better job if we help them. And this is why NAD can play a critical role. We help them to rewire their brain, right? And then, we use something like ketamine to then help them shape a new neuronal connection, make new meaning for what was missing. 

[01:35:20] And the success there, and actually, tying in some peptides, we use the peptide, selank, which helps supply more GABA to their nervous system, you literally can change someone's world view, not only how they see the world around them, but how they see themselves. They'll want to find more connection in more meaningful, affectionate ways with individuals. That's super powerful versus just saying, hey, come off this substance and make behavioural change because that just doesn't work.

[01:35:47]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I've experienced that subjectively as someone who is plagued by addiction for the first half of my life. And I'm now thankfully, always give praise to God for this one because I'm coming up on 24 years sober. And the interesting thing, I mean, there's a lot to unpack there. But just in summary, in relation to what you just said, I wholeheartedly agree from my own experience because the first thing that was necessary was that 100% complete willingness to do whatever I was asked to do in the beginning.

[01:36:21] In other words, like I was told I needed to get sober my whole life and it would just make me do more drugs if you ragged on me about doing drugs, that rebellious nature. And then, when I wanted to, that was the first step. And then, seeking connection. And I think this is really at the foundation of why 12-step groups are widely successful in helping people get sober, because what do you find there? You find unconditional love and you find people that want nothing from you other than to just create a safe space in a community where you can share openly and honestly about what your experiences, and heal together, and seek a spiritual way of life. 

[01:36:58] But the fact is that even with that connection, and with that willingness, and agreements with like, yeah, I'm willing to go all out, you still have the underlying issues, as you've described, that begin to come to the surface after some time, the unhealed trauma, all of these things. And that's where the real heavy-lifting of maintaining long-term sobriety exists, is in having a framework and having support to really unearth that stuff.

[01:37:28] So, I think the work you're doing in that capacity is insanely cool because you're supporting the biology, and the nervous system, and the neurotransmitters to actually be able to go in, and do that work, and unearth, and heal all of those things that are eventually going to cause someone to feel so uncomfortable in their skin, in sobriety, even sometimes with the support of a group. It's too much and they're just going to go back to the default, which is like numb everything out, the highs and the lows, and everything in between, and enter back into that life, which they might never be able to escape from.

[01:38:01]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, I think you articulated it really well. And I think another component, what you brought up, is for a lot of people, have lost that connection with God or the spiritual power and reclaiming that because that's such a significant thing for whether it's addiction or really any sort of healing process. I think when people get out of touch with that, it becomes so much harder for them to do the heavy lifting because there's not that meaning there. And without that meaning, it doesn't matter what you do behaviorally, it's going to become chaos again.

[01:38:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Absolutely true. Man, so cool. You've got some really cool things going on there, dude.

[01:38:38]Craig Koniver:  Well, thank you. Yeah.

[01:38:38]Luke Storey:  I'm glad that we're able to have this conversation and I just love being able to expose people like you and the work that you're doing in the world with vast numbers of people, who I'm guessing, many of them had never heard of any of this stuff, going, wait, what? There's this whole other world of medicine that's emerging through pioneers like you that just has the potential to heal and help so many people that would otherwise be destined to go down the path of just surgery, drugs, whether pharmaceutical or illicit, to deal with their problems. 

[01:39:12] There are so many other solutions available to us now. And it's just like the emergence of this new paradigm is so exciting to me. And I've been able to explore and experiment with a lot of it, as we've indicated here. And I'm just like, cool, what's next? Let's do this. It's a really exciting time to be alive, where consciousness is now really merging with medicine. And science, as Ben Greenfield says, but better living through science, and also, integrating consciousness work and emotional healing, man, that's the path, is the mind, body, spirit approach.

[01:39:46]Craig Koniver:  Now, I totally agree. And I so much appreciate you having me on today. I really thank you. But now, it's combining the conscious changing technology with the cellular technology. I mean, that's where it's at. And it's really like, the way we see it, we really want to empower people, help them change their mindset so they understand they can come from a place of abundance where anything is possible, where you can have all the tools you want, right? 

[01:40:10] You don't have to have just pharmaceuticals, surgery, but anything is possible, and that we can help unlock people's potential by just getting them feeling better, and then giving them lots of options for them to feel empowered. And an experiment. A lot of it is experimentation. It just is. And so, being open to that is really critical. So, I thank you for having me on and look forward to working with you more.

[01:40:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah, absolutely. So, for people listening in there, like, wait, I need to do all this stuff, which I'm sure is most of them, you're in South Carolina, and right at the time of this recording, travel is possible, but difficult for some people that are nervous. And I don't want to travel just because I don't want to wear a goddamn mask, you know what I mean? But it's kind of allowed me to just kind of hone-in on life here in Los Angeles and get a lot of important and boring things done. But for people that are on the move, like is it possible for anyone to book your clinic, and come see you, and explore some of these treatments? And if someone doesn't have the opportunity to travel now, how do you work with people remotely?

[01:41:14]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. Now, we do both. We have people who travel here before COVID hit. I mean, we would host people here really every week. And then, that's still happening. That's picking back up a little bit. But we'll work with people remotely, do phone calls, whether over the phone or Facetime, things like that, Zoom. And then, we offer a number of products that people can try on their own. Nasal sprays, rapid dissolve tabs, peptides, different things, that we want to support people because we realize not everyone can get here and we don't feel like everyone fits into the box of the traditional office visit, going and seeing the doctor, like we're well beyond that. So, yeah, we just want to support people where they are. And so, we'd like to do it both ways, for sure.

[01:42:06]Luke Storey:  Cool. What's your site? Where can people find you and your work?

[01:42:10]Craig Koniver:  So we're at koniverwellness.com. So, it's K-O-N-I-V-E-R, wellness.com and we want to offer your listeners a discount for anything they want to buy, purchase, they can enter in the code, Luke10, and they'll get 10% off of anything and everything as a thank you. Yeah. But koniverwellness.com, and then on Instagram, we're @KoniverWellness, keep it simple.

[01:42:34]Luke Storey:  Cool. Alright. Well, thanks for the discount code. So, Luke10 for people that want to explore that. That's awesome.

[01:42:39]Craig Koniver:  Yeah, for sure.

[01:42:40]Luke Storey:  And then, lastly, my last question that I hope I remember to ask every single guest, might have missed a couple, and that is, you've taught me so much today, and I'm sure the same could be said for our audience, so who have been three teachers or teachings that you've learned from that we might be able to go learn from as well?

[01:42:58]Craig Koniver:  That's a good question. Let me think for a second. I think nutrition-wise, I'll just break it down, nutrition-wise, I'm a big fan of Weston Price, the Weston Price Foundation, eating traditional foods, getting back to a traditional diet. That's had a big impact on me over time. In terms of just because it's impactful for me with a lot of patients in terms of hormones, there's the Broda Barnes Foundation, which a lot of people don't know about. Broda Barnes was an endocrinologist, I think, back in the '30s and '40s, maybe '40s and '50s. The Broda Barnes Foundation has a lot of interesting tools that people can learn from. Third one, challenge here. 

[01:43:45]Luke Storey:  When I asked some people, they just like rattle them off, and some is like, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.

[01:43:52]Craig Koniver:  That's how I feel. Oh, you put me on the spot. I don't know. Now, I'm blanking. Because you asked me, I'm blanking. I'll think of it.

[01:44:04]Luke Storey:  You seem to, as I said earlier, have a spiritual inclination, mindset inclination, what's a book, or a teacher, or a teaching that is instrumental in your perception of the world on that level?

[01:44:17]Craig Koniver:  I'm reading a book now, it's called The Magic of the Ordinary. And it's written by this rabbi who kind of, he was an Orthodox rabbi who then kind of went out into nature after kind of different things happened in his life and found a connection to nature and kind of relearned how to practice his faith, Judaism, in a way more natural as well as primitive setting than most people have ever heard of in terms of thinking of going to a synagogue and using the Torah.

[01:44:54] And he presents things in a very—I mean, you'll read like you're reading from like a Native American guide. And there's a lot of connection there in terms of ancient Judaism and the Native American way. And his whole point is, where we find the spectacle of life is in the ordinary, is in the blades of grass, is in the stone you walk by, is in the wind that flows. And you can't get to any higher spiritual place until you recognize that God breathes life into all of that as well. So, it's a really interesting, interesting take. It's certainly one of the best books I've ever read.

[01:45:35]Luke Storey:  Wow. I love that message. That's amazing. I'm going to check it out. And I'm sure everyone else do, too. I knew you'd have a good one in that category.

[01:45:42]Craig Koniver:  Yeah.

[01:45:42]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I've never heard of that. That sounds amazing, though.

[01:45:45]Craig Koniver:  Yeah. The magic of the Ordinary.

[01:45:47]Luke Storey:  Great title, too, right?

[01:45:49]Craig Koniver:  Yeah.

[01:45:50]Luke Storey:  So, as we enter into this life that is increasingly complex and we're trying to find our way, it really is fundamentally in the present moment and just identifying the simplicity of the now. And it's so much easier to do that when we're in our natural environment.

[01:46:07]Craig Koniver:  Absolutely.

[01:46:09]Luke Storey:  I mean, I have this happen all the time, especially after a couple of pretty profound psilocybin experiences in nature that really reminded me of the majesty of creation. And now, I find myself as a result of that, just really starting to pay more attention to a spider web, just going like, get out of my way, spider web, you know what I mean? I can get to the ground, I just stop, and look, and go, wow, let's just take a moment of appreciation before I have to move it out of my way or maybe I don't, maybe I can go around. It's in those just microawarenesses that we're able to have. So, that's a really beautiful place to end it. I thank you so much for coming on the show, man. I'm glad we finally got to-

[01:46:49]Craig Koniver:  Thank you, Luke. Yeah. I appreciate it very much. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

[01:46:53]Luke Storey:  Until next time, I bid you farewell.

[01:46:55]Craig Koniver:  Okay. Thank you, Luke.



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