Podcast fans, you’re in for a real treat this week as we welcome a very special guest to the Pod of Inquiry – Dr. David Hardy from the popular and informative podcast: The Hardy Brain.

Dr. Hardy is a brain health expert who explores the latest research and insights about the brain on his top-rated show and in his practice.

During the interview, Dr. Hardy will discuss:

  • Some effective daily habits for optimizing brain function and neurological health
  • Simple lifestyle adjustments that can improve memory, focus, and cognitive abilities
  • And many more fascinating things.
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Show Notes from this episode

Dr. David Hardy is the founder of “The Hardy Brain.”  His profound interest in the intricate workings of the human brain, he dedicated his career to understanding and optimizing cognitive function. He is an experienced educator, weekend warrior athlete (rugby, martial arts, Ironman triathlete, mountain biking, etc.), Doctor of Chiropractic medicine with a focus in Functional Neurology.

Dr. Barrett 00:00

My guest today is Dr. David Hardy. Dr. Hardy is a Doctor of Chiropractic who has then gone on to develop a specialty in functional neurology. He has a vast experience in neurodegenerative disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders and has developed some very unique ways of improving cognitive performance and executive function. I think you'll find this interview very interesting as he brings out some really salient points that we don't often think about every day. So please enjoy this conversation that I have with Dr. David Hardy. Well, good day, everyone. Welcome to the pod of inquiry, I have a great guest today who was very kind enough a few weeks ago to host me on his podcast.

Dr. Hardy 02:00

Absolutely, yeah, I'm excited to be here. And geek out with everyone, and see where things take us?

Dr. Barrett 02:09

So, tell the audience how you got to this place of expertise and interest.  What's the story?

Dr. Hardy 02:21 Tells his incredible story

Dr. Hardy 07:37 Discusses complex movements

Dr. Barrett 08:35 Foundational Treatment?

Dr. Hardy 08:52 Physical rehab for the brain

Dr. Barrett 10:43 What is the effect of exercise physiology on the brain?

Dr. Hardy 11:32 Discusses different approaches

Dr. Barrett 13:51

So, you're having to mix multiple modalities?

Dr. Hardy 14:19 Balance studies and robots

Dr. Barrett 16:38 Goes a bit tangential

Dr. Hardy 17:17 Different parts and pathways

Dr. Barrett 20:16 Emotional and cognitive players

Dr. Hardy 20:57


Dr. Barrett 20:58 From motor to cognitive?

Dr. Hardy 21:37

All the time.

Dr. Barrett 21:39

All the time. That's pretty incredible!

Dr. Hardy 21:44

It's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. And the research is backing this up, and it's starting to come out more and more notice. But, yeah, clinically, that is what we would constantly see with this. And I use the example with balance there. How well do you think if I spun you around made you dizzy?

Dr. Barrett 22:10 Neurological resourcing

Dr. Hardy 25:56 More neurophysiology

Dr. Barrett 27:35 Neurology of balance

Dr. Hardy 30:00

Absolutely, and to, out of all the senses that we have going back to the brain being a sensory motor organ, we take in information from the receptor, nerve, spinal cord, or cranial nerve into the brain. And that builds the oscillations of the brain. So most of these oscillations are, are built or firing, basically from sensory stimulation from the universe around us. And from inside of us from these receptors. And when we think vision, we're so visually dominant, but we close our eyes. And especially as we sleep, no visual input is put into the brain, right? But the only sense that fires 24/7 and never quits, is a sensation from gravity. And this goes into all the zero gravity studies that NASA and other agencies have done on brain health to and what happens to people when they go into space and don't have this stimulation from gravity is that gravity is really kind of where we're rooted based, first in our brain and nervous system, when it comes to stimulation, setting these oscillations and, and brainwave patterns. And that becomes exciting from kind of, well, a spiritual perspective, down to a rehabilitation perspective, as well, is that we're really just this vessel for all the information coming in from all around us. And then we've got the capability to think, feel and adapt to it. And what was that we can take that? Yeah,

Dr. Barrett 31:50 What about gravity?

Dr. Hardy 32:22

All of the above? Yeah, all of those are coming. There's a limited amount of time, brain wise, is well, that you can spend up there right now. And yeah, we think about it as muscles that you're raising. But yeah, it's also brain deteriorating from that lack of feedback, and then put that in a longevity perspective. Yeah, brain start to kind of decline at the same time, muscle mass declines as well. So, there is that huge connection between the two. And not in all cases, of course, but kind of a general pattern is that that's what occurs. And then to what they found are one of the symptoms that astronauts report is that their vision actually increases. But that's one of the stimulations that they still have. So, when one sense kind of gets taken away, then other senses can kind of start to creep into other parts of the brain and become more heightened. But there's a limited amount that that can happen because we're multi-sensory beings. We need all these senses to be working together and all this feedback from how we actually developed from a little single cell organism to where we're at now. So, it does route us into kind of that perspective of how life has moved evolved, and how we're a part of this is amazing, amazing.

Dr. Barrett 34:03

Let me ask you this question about visual, the visual cortex, the occipital cortex. I have heard, I don't know that this is true. But I have heard that the reason we have REM sleep is so that there's a stimulus every 90 minutes or so to that occipital cortex to kind of keep it from going offline, for lack of a better way to put it. Is there any truth to that?

Dr. Hardy 34:28

I would say there is Yeah. And then to basically when we're sleeping, we're consolidating memories.


Dr. Barrett 36:23

So, if I want it to tune up my brain, I would think it you would definitely want to look at the cornerstones of health primarily first, if you have a patient who is not sleeping, well, that would be one of the things that you would want to try to dial in. So, I mean, you have to look at their whole physiology and their whole habitat ology what are what are they doing? What are they eating? What are they hiding? The I mean, these are all really, I mean, you're kind of handcuffing yourself in this fight, if you don't have somebody who's sleeping pretty well. So, when a patient comes to you, you evaluate all these things, are there things that you do to try to program their sleep a little bit better? Because that's going to have huge benefits cognitively? I mean, you know that, that well, no, no, it's, it's, it's, you know, it's been proffered that you could decrease a student's performance by 40%, by just depriving them sleep the night before a test. I don't know how true that is. But I would think that it has a lot of merit to it. Because I know when we don't get good sleep, we don't really think well.

Dr. Hardy 37:39

Exactly. And yeah, we need to look at sleep as well. And, and that is one way we can start to kind of hack the sleep is with different frequencies of light sounds. And we know that yeah, there's different sounds or music that we're prone to if we want to calm down and relax. And then of course, breathing is a huge one. Breathing exercises, and these go back to these ancient principles of breath work, you know, all these other things is that the breathing centers, once again, are in that lower part of the brainstem. Right, and breathing is involuntary till we think about it. And this is one way we can use our cognition to hack into Pareto centers, is that, yeah, we have this opportunity to be able to think, Oh, I'm in this panicked hyperventilation state where I'm anxious, and I'm, I'm awake. Okay, well, how do we slow that down? Well, breath work is a great tool to do that. To slow down that heart rate that's already way too high, those thoughts that are just bombarding us and keeping us awake, right now, we can do breath work to calm that down. And by doing that, too, yeah, we're getting oxygen, which is great for the brain and every cell in our body. But also, we're firing into this primitive part of the brain, that's going to be more associated with Delta, rest, parasympathetic, all of these things that we know that are going to lead to deep relaxed sleep, where we recover, we form memories, and our body is now able the next day to do what it's supposed to do.

Dr. Barrett  39:28

What I mean, I think breathing is something that most everyone does, hopefully, and most of you need to… Yeah, and most everyone doesn't need to really think about it until you start getting into some type of breath work program. And, you know, to go from the relationship of breathwork to cognition, or at least whatever's going on in mine. I mean, I've heard people talk about Wim Hof then all of his is deep breath and they're almost able to get into like this absolute psychedelic state without any type of drug or agent. So clearly it, it can play a huge role in how the brains functioning. We know that I mean, after about four hours after about four minutes operating, there's not a lot of activity, but you see what I'm saying?

Dr. Hardy 40:25

Oh, for sure. Yeah. And I use the example people always go to well, what should I eat for brain health? Or what should I eat for to be physically fit? And then after that, they go, oh, yeah, I shouldn't be hydrated too, right. Oh, yeah. And, and maybe they think about breathing. But if you think about it, how long can a human being go without eating? months to years? Right, right. Like it's a long time until we die off from probation? And then how long can we go without being hydrated? Well, days, days? And then how little time does it take for somebody to pass away if they don't breathe? So out of those three things, why are we concentrated on nutrition so much? Well, we should be. But shouldn't the bass be raising since we need it way more than we need magnesium and calcium? Right,

Dr. Barrett 41:24

There was an article about how the use of psilocybin may actually prevent the development of early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Hardy 42:03

Yeah, more research is coming out on it. And then articles I've read before that got me thinking was the stoned ape theory. Yeah, so one of the reasons humans might have a larger brain is that, yeah, they were in an environment where they were eating mushrooms, psilocybin, and all of a sudden, something changed and in the evolution there, and to we look at all these substances, kind of from a chemical space. But sometimes it's also the stimulation of the nervous system. And I'll go into another popular wine, which is like dark chocolate, or cacao is that it's a bitter flavor. And it's not necessarily maybe the compounds in it, that are healthy for us a lot of healthy compounds, of course, but also, what it does is it fires that taste receptor in the back of our tongue, and that it's cranial nerve number nine, which fires into our lower brainstem. So, it's also got this stimulation effect to it as well. And I can see that with psilocybin, it's not just the chemical aspect of it, but it's also basically how it stimulates the nervous system. And then the nervous systems firing, and making those new connections and everything on top of it. So, it is a combination of both the chemical and the stimulation side of this. And on top of all of this, we've been talking so much about wiring and pathways and everything else. But as you know, with the work you've done with neuropathy and tissues and trying to get tissues to heal up, is that yeah, there is this Metabolic and immune component to things. And thing about the nervous system is yeah, we do need to look at this more and more because there's so much immune dysregulation out there. But the brain and then cells, neurons, peripheral nerves, all of these, they're so metabolically demanding it, those cells work and die off so fast, so quickly, that they really need the immune system to clear away that debris and to work with tissues and healing, that a neuron needs to be supported by somewhere up to like nine immune cells to help regulate it. And right that becomes this arrow side of things as well. So, and the nutrition metabolic and all of these to make healthy living tissue that has been once again the function destroyed and well that not working is one that

Dr. Barrett 44:52 The Glymphatic system

Dr. Hardy 45:41 Massive effects!!!

Dr. Barrett 48:18

But before we jump off, how do people get a hold of you? Let's say somebody wants to get their brain dialed in? How do they get a hold of you? And I'll put it in the show notes as well. But why don't you share that info with that?

Dr. Hardy 48:48

Probably the best way is through my website, the Hardybrain.ca or through LinkedIn. Okay, I’m constantly on LinkedIn. That's, that's kind of my platform.