Below we’ll look at the supplements Andrew Huberman uses and discusses, related to:

  • Improving sleep quality
  • Boosting testosterone
  • Improving cognitive performance
  • Mitigating stress

It’s important to note that Andrew is not an MD, and does not give medical recommendations. He stresses the importance of talking to your doctor before making changes to your supplements.

Andrew Huberman Supplements List

For Improving Sleep Quality:

Andrew takes all 3 together ~60 minutes before bed.

For Increasing Testosterone:

Andrew combines these two, but they can also be taken separately.

For Boosting Cognitive Function:

Generally taken at separate times, rather than combined.

For Reducing Stress:

Andrew occasionally uses Ashwagandha to reduce cortisol during particularly stressful periods.

For Maintaining Good Cognitive Function:

Sleep Supplements Andrew Avoids:

^ Andrew and Joe Rogan talking on JRE #1683

Now for a more detailed look at these supplements:

Supplements for Sleep

Andrew hopes that most people are able to fall asleep without assistance. However, for those who can’t, he’s quick to point out there’s a middle ground between doing nothing, and taking sleeping medication. The latter of which can come with nasty side effects and sometimes addiction.

The 3 supplements that Andrew says have been amazing for his sleep are:

  • Magnesium Threonate – 140mg
  • Theanine – 100-300mg
  • Apigenin – 50mg

All 3 taken ~60 minutes before bed.

It’s worth noting that for many people, even just the addition of magnesium and/or theanine may have a positive effect on their sleep. See the apigenin section below where Andrew notes that he doesn’t recommend women take apigenin, due to it being a mild estrogen inhibitor.

^ A clip from Episode 28 of Andrew’s podcast

Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium is super important to the human body, and is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions1. Specific to sleep, it appears magnesium supplementation can activate the parasympathetic nervous system2, which is responsible for, among other things, slowing the heart and relaxing the muscles – producing a calming effect.

Andrew personally preferences Threonate, but notes that Bisglycinate appears to work well too – as both can cross the blood-brain barrier.

Note that in terms of dose, Andrew says 100-200mg in this YouTube video, then 200-400 in this interview. Then in this tweet he says 140mg – which is coincidentally what the suggested dose is threonate bottles (144mg):

^ Image source

I imagine the dose is dependent upon the form of magneisum. If it’s magnesium threonate, then less is needed, whereas with bisglycinate, the standard dose is higher.

Examples of reputable brands of threonate include:

Andrew’s Dose: 140mg

Theanine

Theanine, which is an amino acid found in tea, can have calming effects when supplemented3. One of the ways it does this is to increase “alpha brain waves” – a type of brain wave that is associated with calm and relaxation4. As opposed to Beta and Gamma brain waves – which are associated with alertness and problem solving.

Andrew notes that theanine can increase the intensity of dreams, and thus may not be suitable for those with night terrors or who sleepwalk.

Again, as with threonate above, Andrew has mentioned different doses at different times. For example, 100-300mg and 200-400mg. Granted it’s all in the same ball park. If you’re new to theanine, it’s probably best to start at the bottom end of the dosing scale (~100mg) and gradually increase as you see fit.

Andrew notes that for a small percentage of people, Theanine can be too stimulating:

^ Image source

Examples of reputable brands include:

Andrew’s Dose: 100-300mg

Apigenin

Apigenin is one of the active ingredients in chamomile tea, and according to Andrew can help promote sleep and sleep onset.

Andrew notes that apigenin is a mild estrogen suppressor, and he doesn’t think women should take it.

He also notes that for men, taking estrogen levels too low can affect brain health and libido.

Authors note: Based on apigenin suppressing estrogen, it appears to be a supplement you’d want to be cautious of taking regularly. At least until there’s more research.

Examples of brands include:

Andrew’s Dose: 50mg

Increasing Testosterone

Andrew appreciates the importance of healthy levels of testosterone, and suggests before adding any supplements “the basics” need to be in check, which are:

  • Good quality sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise (but not over trained)
  • Avoiding chronic stress

However, once those boxes are ticked, he mentions 2 supplements that have been useful for him; Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis. He says that 6 years ago, his total testosterone was at around 600. After he started taking Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis, it went up  approximately 200 points to the high 700s / low 800s (ng/dL). He continued taking these supplements consistently for several years.

^ Listen to the full podcast here – this section is ~2hr mark

As of early 2021, Andrew has started experimenting with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), as part of research for a book he’s writing on hormone optimization. For more on his use of TRT – see this post.

^ Andrew teaching via his YouTube channel

Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali comes from a plant that’s native to Southeast Asia. There it’s treated as a medicinal plant and has many different uses5.

Andrew explains that Tongkat Ali will increase testosterone when taken at 400mg daily. He suggests:

  • Taking it early in the day as it can have a little bit of a stimulant effect.
  • Taking it day, rather than once-off, as the effect appears to improve as you get into the second and third month of use.
  • No need to cycle it, unless something has spiked on your blood tests – such as liver enzymes – suggesting the need to stop.

Examples of brands include:

Andrew’s Dose: 400mg per day

Fadogia Agrestis

Fadogia Agrestis is a plant found natively in Nigeria, for which the stem is used as a herbal medicine to treat a range of issues.

For the purposes of testosterone increase, Andrew describes Fadogia Agrestis as a Luteneizing Hormone mimic, which stimulates the testes to produce more testosterone. When measuring his bloods, Andrew notes he didn’t see an increase in estrogen, or a down-regulation in lutenizing hormone – which was good.

In terms of daily dose – he has found 425mg once per day sufficient.

Examples of brands include:

Andrew’s Dose: 600 mg per day

For Boosting Cognitive Function

Alpha-GPC

– For hard workouts or work sessions

One of Andrew’s preferred supplements for supporting cognitive function is Alpha-GPC. If he really wants to push workout, or a work session, he’ll take 300mg of Alpha-GPC prior, and then drink some coffee or yerba mate to go along with it.

^ Listen to the full podcast here – this section is around ~2hr 13m mark

Examples sources include:

Brand Capsules Cost per bottle Cost per 300mg
Jarrow – AlphaGPC 60 * 300mg $23.07 $0.38
NOW – AlphaGPC 60 * 300mg $26.46 $0.44

Andrew’s Dose: 300mg

L-Tyrosine

– For improved focus and attention

Very occasionally Andrew will use 500mg of L-Tyrosine – which is a precursor to dopamine.

L-Tyrosine -> L-Dopa -> Dopamine

He finds it enhances focus and attention, but does come with a crash after. Noting that you don’t want to use it when you’re already sleep deprived.

He uses it occasionally, and has found it useful for working late to meet a deadline, but generally tries to avoid that.

^ Listen to the full podcast with Kevin Rose

Related, Andrew mentions a supplement called Mercuna Pruriens which contains the direct precursor to dopamine; L-Dopa. However, he avoids Mercuna Pruriens because he finds it too intense with too much of a crash after.

Examples of L-Tyrosine supplements include:

Brand Capsules Cost per bottle Cost per 500mg
Pure Encapsulations – L-Tyrosine 90 * 500mg $27 $0.30
Thorne – L-Tyrosine 90 * 500mg $22 $0.24
NOW – L-Tyrosine 120 * 500mg $9.22 $0.08

Andrew’s Dose: 500mg

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamine, also known as beta-phenylethylamine, or PEA for short – is supplement, like L-Tyrosine, which increases dopamine. Interestingly, chocolate is naturally rich in PEA.

Andrew says he takes it occasionally as a work aid to enhance focus, about once a week or once every 2 weeks.

He combines 500 mg of PEA with 300 mg of AlphaGPC, and says it leads to a sharp and transient increase in dopamine that lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. He finds the feeling from PEA more regulated and even than L-Tyrosine.

Note: It’s easy to mix up Phenylethylamine with the supplement Phenylalanine (names look similar) – but the effects are quite different.

If you’re thinking of trying PEA, it’s worth glancing over the potential side effects at this link prior.

Examples of PEA supplements include:

For Reducing Stress

Ashwaghandha

Andrew explains in his Tools for managing Stress & Anxiety video that he occasionally uses Ashwagandha during stressful periods.

It’s a plant that grows natively on the Indian sub-continent, and has been used for >3,000 years in ayurvedic medicine for a variety of isuses.

Andrew notes that there has been significant research confirming this effect, such as a randomized controlled trial that found a 20% reduction in cortisol, and a 40% reduction in perceived stress, compared to the placebo group6.

^ Cortisol reduction results from an Ashwagandha Study

However, Andrew doesn’t like to take it chronically, and will stop after a few days, or max a week, and then go back to his normal routines. This is to avoid dependence and a build-up of tolerance.

Andrew doesn’t expressly say in his video how much he takes, but to refer to examine.com for doses – where they suggest a low dose is 50-100mg and an upper dose range is 300-500mg per day with food.

^ Listen to the full podcast here

Examples of reputable brands with doses from low to high:

For Maintaining Good Cognitive Function

Omega-3 Fatty Acids / EPA

Andrew explains that the most important food element for brain function is fat.

60% of the brain is made up of fat, and the remaining 40% is made up of water, protein, carbohydrates and salts7.

Noting that while most of us get enough omega-6 fatty acids, it’s common to under consume omega-3s.

Andrew suggests that everyone should be striving to get at least:

  • 1 gram of EPA omega-3 oil per day

Potent sources include sardines, mackerel, salmon and caviar. Vegetarian sources include chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.

Andrew aims to consume 2-3 grams of EPA per day, opting to take it as a fish oil supplement, on the basis that he rarely eats fish.

When it comes to omega-3 sources, it’s easy to just pick up any old option, and tick the box. However, as with many things, the more you learn about them the more complexity there is.

For example, as with all oils, it’s possible for them to ‘oxidize’. This is an undesirable chemical reaction involving oxygen that degrades the quality of an oil. There are levels of oxidation from very little, all the way up to being noticeably rancid tasting.

Another aspect is the presence of heavy metals. As you’re probably aware, fish accumulate heavy metals, and the bigger the fish, typically the more heavy metals they contain. Therefore, ideally your fish oil is sourced from smaller fish such as sardines and anchovies, which typically contain less heavy metals.

So how does one choose fish oil that contains low levels of oxidation and heavy metals?

Ideally you want to choose products that have been tested and found to reliably contain low levels. We’ll go on to discuss how to do this.

Although it’s worth pausing for a moment to point out that omega-3s sourced from algae, rather than fish, generally have low levels of oxidation and heavy metals.

The downside? Per gram of EPA & DHA they’re a lot more expensive.

Algae based omega-3s, as you’d imagine, are particularly popular with vegans and vegetarians.

So, how does one check this in the fish oils that they’re interested in buying?

Probably the best source is one called IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) who offer a certification to brands who opt in. They will then test batches and report on heavy metals and oxidation levels.

It’s their total oxidation data that I’ve included in the table below.

A second source is labdoor.com.

Below are examples of reputable fish oil brands, along with the 3rd party testing data (I could find) on total oxidation. The Carlson product is lemon flavoured, whereas Thorne and Via Naturals are unflavored.

Product Quantity
Price
EPA / DHA $/gram Total Oxidation*
Viva Naturals Triple Strength 90 capsules $22 $0.35 / $1.02
5.94
Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 – Lemon 90 capsules $35.92 $0.64 / $1.60
6.09
Thorne Super EPA 90 capsules $33 $0.86 / $1.36 Unable to locate

* Oxidation levels come via IFOS batch tests. Lower is better.

Sleep Supplements Andrew Avoids

Interestingly, Andrew avoids some popular sleep supplements, so I’ve summarized them below:

Melatonin

  • Whilst Melatonin is one of the most popular sleep supplements on the market, Andrew personally avoids it.
  • He explains this is due to its affects on sex steroid hormones – the pathways related to testosterone and estrogen, and not wanting to interfere with them.
  • He discussed with sleep expert Matthew Walker how a recent meta-analysis, in healthy (not older age) adults showed melatonin only increases sleep time, by on average, 3.9 minutes, and efficiency by ~2%.
  • In that discussion, Matthew suggests the most robust benefits are seen in the 60+ age range. Aging can cause calcification of the pineal gland, which decreases melatonin release – making supplementation more beneficial.

Andrew discusses these points with Matthew Walker from 1hr 36m of their podcast together (link).

^ Short clip on why Andrew avoids melatonin, see full interview here

5-HTP, Tryptophan & Serotonin

  • Andrew personally finds that with 5-HTP, tryptophan (serotonin precursors), and serotonin itself, he falls asleep easily, has vivid dreams, then wakes up wide awake about 3 hours later.
  • This then negatively affects his sleep for several days after.

^ Short clip on why Andrew avoids 5-HTP/Tryptophan, see full interview here

Tracking & Measuring His Health

Andrew explains that he tests his blood twice per year in order to track and monitor his health.

This helps him to monitor the effect supplements are having on him. For example when he added Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis to boost his testosterone, he already had a baseline reading from previous blood tests. He was then able to test himself after using the supplements, to measure how they had impacted his testosterone and other hormones.

One company he has specifically mentioned for blood tests are Inside Tracker – who are also a show sponsor of his podcast.

InsideTracker offer 2 main blood tests:

For 25% off their blood tests, use this discount code.

Roundup

That about covers the main supplements Andrew talks about in the context of sleep, stress, testosterone and cognitive enhancement.

To stay on top of Andrew’s great content, check out his YouTube channel, or his podcast on iTunes.

For any questions on the above, please leave them in the comments section below.

References:

  1. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease – Bindels et al. | 2015 | Physiological Reviews
  2. Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake – Nolden et al. | RCT, n=100 | 2016 | MMW – Fortschritte der Medizin
  3. Theanine consumption, stress and anxiety in human clinical trials: A systematic review – Naumovski | Meta-review | 2016 | Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism.
  4. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state – Owen et al. | 2008 |Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  5. Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): A review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance – Karim et al. | Fitoterapia | 2010
  6. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults – Chandrasekhar et al. | 2012 | Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
  7. Essential fatty acids and human brain – Chen et al. | Acta Neurologica Taiwan | 2009

Posted by John Alexander

Hi, I'm John, a researcher and writer.

With a keen interest in health and longevity.

Note: not an MD or PhD.

Hope you enjoy the site. If you've suggestions for content you'd like to see - let me know.

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boy
boy
20 days ago

This is a really great resource. Thanks for making this, it has been extremely useful.

Nathanael
Nathanael
1 month ago
Awaiting for approval

Good job, I think you’ve missed Omega-3? He talks about 3 to 6 ratios in early episodes on eating/diet, and says he takes 1000mg daily of Omega-3 supplements, that Nordic brand. That’s for the EPA content

Tommy
Tommy
2 months ago

Holy moly this is amazingly condensed. Thank you for doing the work for me man.

AMG
AMG
2 months ago

Thank you for this condensed but thorough version of information! I greatly appreciate it, as I haven’t had time to watch all of Huberman’s videos.

This helped me a lot!!!