Last week, I attended my first biohacking event (!), sponsored by Well+Good, and heard from some experts in the fields of health and wellness, a.k.a. biohacking superstars.
Here’s what I learned:
- Many health recommendations are based on the 24-hour male cycle, which involves a peak of testosterone in the morning and a gradual decrease throughout the day. In contrast, women have a unique 24-hour cycle on top of an ever-fluctuating 28(ish)-day cycle. Thus, women should be judicious in jumping into any significant health or lifestyle change that cites benefits based solely on research with male subjects.
- Fads in biohacking should be regarded with the same skepticism as fads in any other realm. “Bulletproof Coffee” has been a buzz phrase for quite some time and was initially popularized by Dave Asprey, founder of the Bulletproof trademark. There is nothing wrong with Bulletproof Coffee in and of itself; it’s a great way to consume healthy fats (like MCT oil) early in the morning to get that jump start of energy and satiation. However, when introducing something new–like a high-fat coffee–into your daily diet, you should consider yourself an N of 1 experiment. You are the only test subject that matters! Lauren Berlingeri, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of HigherDOSE, detailed her experimentation with a traditional form of bulletproof coffee. The popular version she was drinking was not right for her body, and she began to feel some negative effects. Now, she still uses the standard MCT oil but tweaks her coffee by adding nutritional and medicinal mushrooms, adaptogens (for adrenal support), turmeric (for inflammation), cinnamon (for regulating blood sugar), and cashew milk. If you haven’t loved the way traditional Bulletproof Coffee makes you feel, you may want to try some tweaks of your own.
- We are too clean. Period. In the same way that it’s important to maintain our gut microbiome, it’s important to maintain the unique microbiome that exists on our skin. Jasmina Aganovic, president of Mother Dirt and MIT alum (nbd!), discussed the importance of being (somewhat) dirty. That’s right! We are now excessively antibacterial-izing ourselves, so our skin microbiome doesn’t have a chance to survive or thrive. Robin Berzin–MD, founder and CEO of Parsley Health–explained that she has never washed her baby with traditional soap. Instead, she mixes a bit of coconut oil into his bath water; coconut oil contains just the right mix of antifungal and antimicrobial properties to keep him clean enough (not squeaky, scary clean).
- Alisa Vitti, hormone expert and founder of both FloLiving.com the MyFlo app, revolutionized my thinking about the “proper” exercise for my body when she explained that women should really be syncing their exercise choices with their menstrual cycles. High-intensity workouts are better to do during the follicular and ovulatory phases, and strength training and yoga are better to do during the luteal and menstruation phases. Women: Have you ever joined a kickboxing class and been super motivated for two weeks, only to drop into a period of lackluster excitement and energy shortly thereafter? This was probably the fault of your ever-cycling monthly hormones, not your lack of drive or motivation! Once you realize that your body craves different types of exercise at different times of the month, you can be more forgiving and accepting of your changes in energy levels.
- Finally, we must greatly reduce the amount of blue light we’re exposed to each day if we want to optimize our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. I plan to invest in blue light-blocking screens for my phone and computer. For the time being, I put my iPhone on permanent “Night Shift” (Settings –> Display & Brightness –> schedule it to run for 24 hours) to filter out a large percentage of the blue light it emits.
Overall, the event was a great success. I look forward to attending future Well+Good and Biohacking events, so stay tuned for more…!
In each blog post, I aim to bring you food for thought (pun intended. Note: my day job is teaching English), but don’t take my word for it! Click on and read all of the links above to become your own expert on this topic; knowledge is power. The more you know and understand the “why” behind each biohack, the easier it will be to stick to it and realize you can’t live without it!
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