Hey there, I’m Alex, from Alexfergus.com. In this blog post I’m going to talk about the most important biohacks I’ve learned over the last two years.
I’ve been optimising my performance foryearsif not decades.
I competed in rowing and bodybuilding, for instance. At first, I was focusing on mainstream dietary and exercise strategies to enhance my results.
I ate a low-fat diet, for instance, with lots of grains, because such diets were recommended by governments all around the world. I also trained myself into the ground, sometimes exercising several hours a day.
Over the years, I learned that most of my previous belief were flat out wrong. I began training (much) less, included many new foods into my diet such as bone broth, grass-fed beef, full-fat milk, butter, organ meats, and shellfish.
I also began focusing on domains that I previously didn’t have a second thought about such as sleep quality.
Today I wear blue-blocking glasses several hours before bedtime, tape my mouth to improve my sleep quality at night, sleep on the ultimate Samina mattress, and use red light therapy to push my sleep over the edge.
And yet, throughout the years, I’ve also learned that I never stop learning.
In this blog post, I’ll therefore cover the cutting-edge biohacks that I’ve become acquainted with in the last few years:
I see this tendency everywhere:
Ingesta lotof high-quality natural foods, such as vegetables, fruits, animal meats and bones (for bone broth), wild-caught low-toxin fish, butter, carbohydrates that you tolerate well - and people will tell you:“no need for supplements!”
The assumption there is that nature providedallthat you need to thrive. Another assumption is that once you ingest adequate amounts of nutrients, there will be no more benefit in adding in supplements. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, I kind of had to re-think this idea.
On an ordinary day, I already consume up to 5,000 calories even though I don’t have the most physically intense occupation in the world. I’m a blogger who works a couple of hours a week on the farm. I also need to keep my wife an almost 1-year-old son happy, so a lot of calories are spent there as well.
In total, I might consume 160 grams of protein, 250 grams of carbohydrates, and 250+ grams of fat, all from whole food sources.
And yet, when I tested Qualia, a full-spectrum nootropic with almost 30 different ingredients, my sleep quality shot through the roof.
Don’t get me wrong, Ialsogot cognitive benefits from this supplement--but thesleep enhancementupside totally caught me by surprise.
In fact, the last few years I was already sleeping great and I’ve got tons of experience biohacking my sleep. I’ve even written a book on improving sleep quality,andhave a paid course on systematically biohacking insomnia.
But back to Qualia:
Before taking this supplement, I generally experienced 1.5 hours (or 90 minutes) of deep sleep each single night. Deep sleep is the period in which your body and brain rejuvenate, and the amount of deep sleep you get goes down with age
With Qualia, however, my deep sleep shot up to 3 hours (or 180 minutes) every night. That increases is a potential game changer - the proof can be viewed on my Oura Ring reading right here:
In essence, the synergistic combination of ingredients in Qualia, that boost neurotransmitter (brain signalling compound) levels, is very hard to recreate by taking 20-30 different herbs and spices from nature.
Hence, I’m now beginning to believe that high-quality supplements can add something above and beyond what you can achieve by purely natural means.
Want another example? Try someBrain Octane Oil and observe what it does with your cognitive performance.
Moving on to the second lesson of the last few years:
In another sense, you stillcannotcheat nature.
Remember my earlier example of sleep?
To sleep well, you need to at least have the basics covered.
Even if it’s 2020, many people don’t recognise how revolutionary biohacking is.Blue-blocking glasses, for example, are a truly essential biohack for sleeping well, and yet, 99% of the world’s population still doesn’t wear them.
Why these weird blue-blocking glasses?
Well, blue light is normally emitted by the sun, but balanced by red and infrared light. Blue light tells your brain it’s daytime when it hits your eyes.
At nighttime, however, that same signal can be created by artificial light coming from television screens, tablets, smartphones, and light bulbs. The end-result is that your melatonin levels tank and that you’re unable to sleep.
Blue-blocking glasses prevent blue light from entering your eyes after sunset, and therefore massively improve your sleep quality.
Of course, you can go very deep down the rabbit hole when dealing with sleep improvement. Examples are:
You get the drill…
Up to 50% of people in the modern world are chronically sleep deprived. You can tell whether your sleep deprived by asking whether you need an alarm clock in the morning to wake you up, or need coffee to get you through the day. If you do, then you are sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation, in turn, means that you don’t have the basics of your health covered. Eating a diet that’s high in soda and junk food, or not integratinganymovement into your life, are similar to being chronically sleep deprived.
Maybe I haven’t spent as much on lab tests as Dave Asprey, but the full bill still amounts to tens of thousands of dollars.
Was the money worth it?
And you know what? More and more people are taking the guessing game out of the picture and are using lab tests for precise quantification of the lifestyle interventions they’re implementing.
The fact that more people demand such services means that prices are coming down. Of course, lab testing is still somewhat expensive - if you’re earning a minimum wage, you’re probably still priced out of such options.
But in other cases, you gain vital insight into yourself for a couple of hundred dollars. As an example, a complete analysis of your genes plus (lifetime) information about their effect can already be purchased for $250.
A company calledLet’s Get Checked is another example. While the company is not yet available in Australia and New Zealand, it does offer a new paradigm in lab testing.
Many important biomarkers such as your thyroid levels, vitamin and mineral status, steroid hormone levels, and other variables can be tested.
The result is thatyou, as a consumer and health-conscious person, gain more and more power over your own health.
Simple: you no longer have to ask your family physician permission to run a couple of tests.
For a long time, the question of whether your doctor could check your testosterone or inflammation levels was checked with skepticism.
And if you could convince your doctor that running a few tests was the right thing to do, you might only be met with the answer that“all is fine”.But seeing the actual numbers?“Sorry, that’s not possible”.
Such outcomes are lunacy, and yet, they’re an everyday experience for people who are taking their own health into their own hands.
Prices coming down and accessibility increasing for lab testing is thus a great development that prevent you from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to gain insight into your own health.
Since last year I’ve been focusing much more on air quality. The environment has always played an important role in my thoughts about health.
A few years before that I had been concentrating on the light in my environment. Back then, I started wearing blue blockers, integrated sensible sunlight exposure into my life, and became aware of the devastating effects of artificial light in the environment.
Right now, I’ve done tons of research into air quality and have changed my behavior around that area.
Don’t get me wrong though: I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, and air pollutant levels are very low in my environment.
Many people on this planet aren’t so lucky though. In fact, air pollution is atremendouscause of health issues in the world today.
Just look at the numbers: the WHO estimates that7 millionpeople die each year because of breathing in polluted air.9 out of 10 people are also breathing in polluted air.
If you’re living in a big city, or a country such as India or China that has high levels of pollution,you have to take action
You cannot wait for the government to fix the issue because air pollution problems have been aroundfor decades now.
At the minimum, you need to use a high-quality air purifier to remove most of the pollutants from your indoor environment.
Yes, believe it or not, but I’m actuallyquite optimisticabout an individual’s ability to control the levels of air pollutants in their environment - even if you’re living in a big city!
I visited theHealth Optimisation Summit in London.
Spending time with tons of influencers in the space, I learned a ton and saw even more opportunities for the future of biohacking.
I spend time with James Carroll ofNovothor, for instance, who may bethemain researcher in the area of red light therapy today. Carroll’s company, Novothor, offers many high-tech red light therapy options.
I learned that red light therapy can be used as a side-effect free painkiller in dentistry, for instance. Just imagine that your dentist applies red light therapy before pulling a tooth in the future.
I also spoke with companies offering a high dose of bioavailable niacin - or vitamin B3. Niacin forms such as nicotinamide ribosidemayimprove the amount of NAD that is supplied to each cell, which if you’re older, might restore the youthful energy you had when you were a teenager.
And there wasmuch more in London:
Experiments with hydrogen water, snow rooms in saunas, ultra-optimized wine from Dry Farms (the stuff still gives you a hangover if you drink too much!), and more.
In 1995, very few people could imagine the developments the internet would have in the coming 2 decades.
Back then, people laughed at you if you predicted that in 15 years time, you could order almost any item through the internet and that brick and mortar department stores would become obsolete.
And yet, half a generation later you and I are living in that future.
Biohacking is similar: the science and the number of individuals in the space are growing at an exponential rate.
Prior to modern electrical sources of light, people used to divide their sleep time into two segments, separated by several hours of night-walking. This sleep pattern is called segmented sleep.
The space between first and second sleep is a quiet-wakefulness, a meditative silent space for prayer, reflecting on dreams and creative activities. With new information available, waking up in the middle of the night is considered to be completely normal.
Exogenous ketone supplementation, precisely in the form of ketone esters, can enhance performance and possibly reduce anxiety-like state. Combining ketone esters with ketone-salts or MCTs may also enhance motor performance. The addition of keto esters to a ketogenic diet may also provide benefit in reducing the long-term elevations in lipid and cholesterol that can arise from a persistent ketogenic diet alone.
Nowadays, the idea of ketone ester diet has already been utilised by nutritional companies like Ketone Aid, which received positive feedback from athletes claiming a boost to their typical performance compared to training without the ketone ester supplementation.
Glucose or Ketones? Carbs or fats? Carbohydrates have been a staple part of meals for centuries, but there is evidence that ketones produce more energy per mole of substrate than glucose, while optimising body composition, cognition and sports performance.
Following a ketogenic diet allows our body to tap into fat stores to produce energy during extended periods of low glucose availability. Burning ketones instead of glucose preserves carbohydrates in muscle. Therefore transitioning the body’s energy dependence from glucose to ketones could be beneficial in the long run, both mentally, and physically.