Stephen Porges: The Polyvagal Theory & The Vagal Nerve – #264

Stephen Porges: The Polyvagal Theory & The Vagal Nerve – #264

Why you should listen –

Stephen Porges comes to Bulletproof Radio to share his pioneering research on the vagus nerve, how the cues it receives play a major role in stress, social behavior and the nervous system and some tips on how to improve its response. Enjoy the show!

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Dr. Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he directs the Trauma Research Center in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he directed the Brain-Body Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, where he chaired the Department of Human Development and directed the Institute for Child Study. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders.

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What You Will Hear

  •   0:00 – Casper
  •   1:31 – Cool fact of the day
  •   2:37 – Welcome Stephen Porges
  •   4:00 – What is the Polyvagal theory?
  •   7:07 – Dying from fear
  • 16:23 – How heart patterns in babies indicate vagal function
  • 21:55 – The vagal paradox
  • 29:40 – How to regulate the vagus nerve
  • 36:38 – The potential impact of C-sections
  • 41:02 – PTSD, autism, depression and the vagus nerve connection
  • 44:10 – Friends, community and the vagus verve
  • 46:57 – The role of gratitude on the vagus nerve
  • 54:26 – Top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!


A selection of Dr. Porges publications

Talks by Dr. Porges on Youtube


Polyvagal Theory

Autonomic nervous system




Vagus nerve

Heart rate variability

Vagal tone



Homeostatic functions

Nucleus ambiguus


Myelinated vagus nerve

Pranayama yoga

Cranial nerve 5

Cranial nerve 7

Dr. Sue Carter

Dr. Lana

Health registry database in Nordic countries 

HIV’s impact on vagal recognition 

Ventral vagal state

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

On Combat



Heart rate variability training

HeartMath Institute

Bulletproof Road Map

Bulletproof Cookbook