The ever-increasing popularity of medicinal mushrooms has led to the industry to boom, and today many companies sell mushroom products. But not all mushroom supplements are created equal – in our conversation, Jeff walks us through in detail everything you, as a savvy and well-educated consumer, need to know about mushrooms including what makes mushrooms so healthy, how to choose a top-quality mushroom supplement (make sure that you are NOT unknowingly consuming grains instead of mushrooms!), some of the key health components in mushrooms such as beta-glucans, ergothioneine and sterols, and a lot more!
2:50 What makes mushrooms so healthy and beneficial? Fibers, beta-glucans and much more. 6:30 Mushrooms – the forgotten food that promote longevity 9:30 Beta-glucan 101 15:00 Mushrooms in Japan/Asia 20:20 Could Jeff have predicted the current level of mushroom appreciation? 23:20 Beverages, chocolate and other products with mushroom extracts 26:20 How to choose high-quality mushroom supplements 31:20 Shocking truth about grain-grown mycelium sold as mushroom supplement 38:30 Telltale signs for false mushroom products 41:00 How Jeff makes sure his mushroom product is certified organic and tested for harmful chemicals 47:00 Dried mushroom powders vs. mushroom extracts: the latters are much more concentrated 50:40 Drugs made from mushrooms, PSK, Lentinene made from shitake, D-fraction made from maitake 53:10 Greenhouse vs. wood log grown mushrooms; do their nutritional profiles differ? 58:00 Where does Jeff see the mushroom business is going to? 60:20 Ergosterol, Vitamin D2
Dr. Lustgarten is a scientist at Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University with a mission to conquer aging through rigorous tracking of biomarkers. His Youtube videos, in which Dr. Lustgarten crunches scientific data in formats easily digestible by everyone and also provides his own biomarkers, are super educational and have inspired me personally in many ways. In our interview, we discuss his Youtube videos, his book Microbial Burden, his cutting-edge research on microbiome’s impacts on aging and much more!
Video – Watch the interview on video
Audio – Listen to the interview
1:30 Dr. Lustgarten’s approaches to longevity; quantification through biomarkers 7:00 Dr. Lustgarten’s Youtube videos; health optimization and longevity 10:30 Reference values vs. optimal values; why you should focus on the latter 17:00 Dr. Lustgarten’s longevity strategies including dietary and exercise based approaches 20:00 Exercises’ impacts on maximum and average lifespans 21:40 Nutrition-dense food 33:40 How to optimize mineral intakes? “Small scales vs. big scales” 37:50 What’s adequate Vitamin K intake? RDA is not always optimal 38:55 Organ meats, carnivore diet 43:00 How to optimize mitochondrial health; exercise, fasting 48:00 Body’s water content (hydration); impacts of vegetables, muscle mass 51:07 Dr. Lustgarten’s book: Microbial Burden 57:56 Microbial metabolites 67:50 Exercises’ impacts on gut microbiome
I cannot recommend highly enough Dr. Lustgarten’s videos on Youtube! They provide bite-sized takeaways for everyone that are based on solid sciences/measurements, whether you are a novice just getting started with biohacking or a seasoned biohacker.
We all breathe as an absolute necessity, yet, many of us breathe sub optimally. In this interview, Anders, author of a highly rated book Conscious Breathing, walks us through the seven components of Conscious Breathing. We also discuss fascinating and less-discussed topics around breathing, such as the importance of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our body, sex hormones’ interactions with breathing and much more!
1:40 Anders’ path to become one of international leaders in breathing 4:40 What is Conscious Breathing; its seven habits 5:40 Importance of nasal breathing 6:40 Low breathing, not the same as deep breathing 9:10 Roles of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) in our body, mitochondria, ROS 28:00 The importance of right posture 32:00 How to improve the lung and diaphragm muscles 34:30 Rhythm of breathing 38:00 Relaxator by Conscious Breathing; how it affects heart rate and HRV (heart rate variability) 42:00 How hormones affect our breathing 49:00 Sleeptape by Conscious Breathing 55:50 Relaxator’s positive effects on HRV 64:00 Habit #7: quiet breathing 65:30 Exciting future plans: breathing suit, breath analyzer
Many of us wear several health wearables, be it Whoop, Fitbit, or in my case, Lief Therapeutics, take tests such as comprehensive blood panels, Organic Acids Test (OAT) etc., all from different providers. The results are available through their own platforms/apps, making it hard to get the maximum values out of these data. Seqster, a company who creates customer-centric interoperability solution for all types of health data, is on a mission to change that all.
Tasty and nutrition-filled energy bars are everyone’s favourites! Upgrade your healthy snack with added grass-fed collagen for further health benefits.
Most often, collagen is associated with skin benefits, but collagen’s health benefits go much deeper than just skin deep. It is very rich in amino acid glycine – a 100 grams of grass-fed beef collagen contains ca. 21 grams of this important nutrition. Higher serum glycine level is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and better lipid and inflammatory profile in plasma, such as higher HDL and lower triglycerides .
Feel free to experiment with the nuts/seeds in this recipe. After many trials, the combination below is my personal favourite, but other nuts and seeds of your choice can create nice variations.
Catharine discovered the power of algae while searching the best nutritional support for her sister who was fighting cancer. Upon witnessing the powerful health benefits of algae, she decided to dive deep into researching algae and their health benefits and founded ENERGYBits, a company that specializes in top quality microalgae (spirulina & chlorella). Catharine discusses algae’s amazing health benefits, differences between spirulina and chlorella (they do completely different things in the body), algae’s benefits for mitochondrial health, scientific studies supporting algae’s unique health benefits, tips for choosing the highest-quality algae products, and much more!
From the very first day I had Lief on, it changed my life completely providing insights previously unavailable. This may sound a little dramatic, but for me, who had no clue for why my HRV is routinely so lousy, continuous HRV data finally pinpointed which types of activities and/or life choices are hurting my HRV score.
But how is it like to use Lief? It comes with a wearable ECG hardware and an app that shows your HRV data. Are they easy to use? Which features do the app offer? Do I wish for any improvements? This article covers those and many other questions. If you are also interested in my personal HRV discoveries that I found out using Lief, you may find interesting these articles; “Is Standing Workstation Hurting HRV?”, “Try This One Thing to Improve Your HRV Instantly”.
The Lief Wearable
Lief is a clinical-level ECG wearable, attached to the chest area with two adhesive electrode patches. I can usually reuse the same patches well over 3 weeks while wearing them every day. If the adhesives are getting weaker, you can wipe them with a wet paper/towel to make them sticky again.
Lief is flexible and adjusts to the body’s dynamic movements. As such, it’s super comfortable, and I often forget that I’m having it on me! It can be worn during sleep, too, and if you choose this option, you can turn off the biofeedback vibration (more about Lief’s biofeedback feature later) while you are asleep. I personally wear Lief during my aware time, because I’m primarily interested in discovering and implementing actionable insights to improve my HRV.
ECG vs. Optical Sensors
Let us take a closer look at sensors, one of the key components while considering an HRV (or many other types of) wearable. The choice of sensors is important, because it affects the wearable’s accuracy greatly. When it comes to an accurate heart’s signal measurement, a direct measurement of the heart’s electronical signals with ECG is the clinical golden standard – that’s why you’ll be hooked to an ECG machine, when you go through a heart checkup at the doctor’s office. For a wearable, though, many manufacturers choose optical sensors instead, for a cost or other reason.
Optical sensors flash LEDs through the skin and detect blood flow. The resulting reflection of the light is converted into a heart rate via the wearable’s algorithm, making it more prone to inaccuracy. Moreover, there are two types of LEDs used for optical sensors: red and green. Optical sensors that emit green light can result in even less accurate data especially on a darker skin, because melanin, the skin’s color pigment, is an excellent absorber of the green light.
In my interview with Rohan, founder & CEO of Lief Therapeutics, he shares fascinating background for why ECG sensors were the best and most natural choice for Lief.
In this Kickstarter page, you can see Lief wearable’s technical spec with a picture of the ECG sensors.
The Lief App
Live HRV tracking
The Lief app shows three variables; heart, HRV and HRV zone in a colored bar form. The HR and HRV are live data i.e. you will be seeing your HR and HRV of this moment. The HRV zone gets updated every 5 minutes, and the color and length of the bar visualize the average zone you were in. Lief customizes the zoned according to your previous data. For example, Restore Zone (the “best HRV zone”) for me at this moment is any HRV values over 19, whereas the same values for other users can be within the Alert or even Tense Zone (the lowest zone).
You can initiate Lief’s biofeedback vibration in three different ways; by choosing the Train option in the app’s menu, by tapping the wearable and having a very low HRV in the Tense Zone that will automatically trigger the vibration. On the app, you will see prompts to exhale and inhale. Lief customizes the durations of the exhalation and inhalation basing it on your breathing data. The vibration is noise-free and discrete – only you will know that it’s on.
Lief offers basic statistical insights including average HRV over a given period. Under app’s menu “Progress”, you can display the average HRV, HRV range, Downtime Dosing, and Wear Time during a week, month or a customized period. To move to the previous/next period, you need to re-choose the desired period rather than just swipe the screen to the left/right.
Lief app displays your actual HRV only real-time; for any previous period before now, you can see only the average HRV under a 5-minutes period as the HRV zone bar and/or average HRV during a given period (eg. a week) in Progress. Since Lief doesn’t include HR in its analytics, it only provides real-time HR data and doesn’t record your past HR for a later view/analysis.
Considering getting an HRV monitor?
You may find Lief uniquely valuable if you primarily want to:
monitor your real-time HRV while performing your daily activities, including light physical activities (Lief wearable tolerates a light sweating)
gain actionable insights about your HRV (i.e. what actions/situations hurt/improve your HRV)
get a clinical-level accurate HRV measurements
instantly improve your HRV through biofeedback-led deep breathing
You may find Lief less attuned for your needs, if your primary goals are:
to collect detailed data about your HRV and/or HR
to gain insights of your HRV trends via statistics
to have an “all-in-one” wearable that provide data beyond just HR and HRV (e.g. activity level)
Use code EEVA at checkout to get a 5 % off from your purchase/subscription at Lief!
Use code KENKOHACKS to get 10 % off from your entire order at biostrap.com
Rohan left his academic job as neuroscientist to spend almost an year with monks in Tibetan mountains. Initially focusing on scanning monks’ brains, his focus shifted to heart rate variability (HRV) as a way into the state of our mind. In this interview, Rohan discusses HRV both as a measurement of and intervention to mental wellbeing, Lief Therapeutics and its wearable continuous HRV monitor, the often unknown power of biofeedback to control our body, and much more!
Growing up in Japan, I never paid attention to certain cultural teachings around me that I only now, as a grown-up living outside my home country, realise are super valuable insights into a long and healthy living.
In my conversation with Martin Kremmer, he reminded me of one of these biohacks that kids growing up in Japan naturally internalise as a part of their cultural upbringing: “Harahachibu” = literally meaning eating only 80 % full or not eating oneself full, a popular Japanese expression.
The wisdoms below may not sound completely novel per se; yet, I find that having them as well as many other cultural health adages as a part of my natural vocabulary helps me to make better and healthier choices in life. I hope that you find interesting as well as helpful lessons from my childhood from Japan when optimizing your own health wherever you live!
Harahachibu: Harahachibu is a shortened form, and the health wisdom in its entirety goes as “harahachibume ni isha irazu”, which literally means that if you habitually eat only 80 % full, you won’t need a doctor. It was coined by Japanese philosopher Ekken Kaibara (1630 – 1714) and today commonly used in everyday conversations to remind someone with a seemingly grand appetite not to stuff themselves with foods. It’s interesting that the longevity benefit of moderate eating was already known such a long time ago that modern science now demonstrates through caloric restriction experiments!
Naru hara ni tatari nashi: Can roughly be translated as “let your stomach rumble”, the adage tells that it’s important to eat not only moderately at one sitting, like harahachibu does, but also infrequently so that the stomach gets an idle time when it’s empty of food. Modern researches of fasting have proven spot-on this ancient observation, demonstrating that fasting improves metabolic and many other aspects of health. Additionally, it appears that the squirming movements that accompany the rumbling may help to clean the stomach and small intestine, moving forward anything left in these organs.
Yamai wa ki kara: The expression means that your frame of mind can make the course of an illness better or worse and is commonly used to encourage someone to keep a positive outlook for and/or not to excessively stress about their illness. The more knowledge I gain about stress, autonomous nervous system and their impacts on our health, the more appreciable I become of this ancient wisdom, which strikingly illustrated the importance of body’s psycho-somatic dynamics a long time before our modern understanding of neurosciences, psychology and the connection between mind and body.
Kusuri yori youjyou: There are multiple expressions in Japan that highlight the virtue of prevention of disease over treatment, this one being probably the most often used in everyday conversations. The expression literally means “better to take a good care of oneself than to take a medicine” and often said to remind someone that it’s better to prevent an illness and/or recover from one by a proper selfcare, such as healthy eating, exercises, regular raising and bed times etc., rather than relying on medications alone. Today, I’ve became increasingly aware that the teaching of the proverb is applicable not only for physical but also mental illness; In my interview with Paris Prynkiewicz at CrookedIllness, we discuss the importance of good selfcare for mental and emotional health.
Hayane hayaoki yamai shirazu: Often shorted into just “hayane hayaoki”, it means that “one who goes to bed early and rises early knows no illness”; Go up with the sunrise. Go to bed shortly after the sunset. Living in this way ensures that we follow the body’s natural circadian rhythm, making sure that we are exposed to the right kind of light at the right time of the day. For many of us however, this seemingly simple teaching can be tricky to implement in practice for various reasons. Additionally, most of us live in today’s world that is mal-illuminated, giving the body wrong signals for what it’s supposed to do. Can we do something about it? In my interview with Tord Wingren, founder of BrainLit, he discusses the importance of optimal indoor lighting that considers our body’s circadian rhythm.
Warai wa hito no kusuri: “Laughter is medicine”. It sounds intuitive that laughter makes us feel great and is healthy. Sciences validate these intuitive feelings by demonstrating that laughter has quantifiable positive physiological impacts . Studies show that both spontaneous and self-induced laughter are effective to reduce stress, decreasing blood pressure and cortisol level as well as increasing serotonin. How much do you laugh every day? Give yourself a 30-day challenge to laugh 30 minutes each day and see how it improves not only your psychological but also physiological wellbeing!
Today, biohackers are widely aware of the importance of NAD+ in the body, whose level dramatically declines as we age. Amid the increased awareness, NAD+ precursors like NR and NMN have gained tremendous popularity. But is supplementing with an NAD+ precursor the best way to restore NAD+ to a youthful level? Nichola discusses why fixing the body’s own NAD+ salvage pathway (“body’s NAD+ factory”) may be a superior alternative to taking precursors, how she applies her background in drug development to make efficacious anti-aging supplements available for everyone NOW and much more!