Biohacking

Nutrition! Longevity! Biohacking!

​This page is deliberately “off the beaten path”; it’s intended primarily as a place for me to stash interesting things in a convenient, easy-for-me-to-get-to place, but I wouldn’t leave it here in semi-public view if I didn’t want my patients seeing it.  That said, I don’t (yet?) fully endorse everything I might place here, but at a minimum it will be stuff that I find interesting, medically relevant, biologically plausible, and worthy of consideration.

  1. Dr. Sarah Hallberg talks about reversing Type 2 Diabetes with diet. It starts with ignoring nearly all of the the nutrition advice that the American Diabetes Association has been foisting on diabetics for years.
  2. Speaking of diabetes, if you don’t have the normal blood sugars of somebody without that disease, you might want to own and read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. I don’t fully agree with everything in that classic book, but in fairness to the author, he probably wouldn’t either – science has marched on since the last edition was published in 2011. The important thing is that Dr. Bernstein not only developed the methods that let him live longer with diabetes than probably anybody in history so far (he was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1946), but he’s also turned around the lives of more people with diabetes than anybody, anywhere. There is no reason you can’t become one of his many success stories if you want to.
  3. Do you think that eating fat makes you fat? Butter Bob begs to differ. He speaks great truths about human nutrition and he puts these truths in simple, easy-to-understand terms that can help you turn your life around. (He has a huge number of other interesting and informative YouTube videos, too. Check them out!)
  4. Interested in a low-carb diet but need some help getting started? Ready to take some concrete steps? Diet Doctor offers an approach to low-carb nutrition that works pretty well for a lot of people.
  5. Some extremely interesting, easily digested, and probably even true factoids about the effects of B-Vitamins on mood and many other things can be found here.
  6. Dr. Robert Lustig had some interesting things to say in his classic 2009 lecture on sugar, fructose, insulin, and what sometimes feels like a conspiracy to make us all fat and sick. He’s a bit on the angry side for a lot of people’s tastes–but frankly, I don’t really blame him. It can be hard not to get enraged when you thoroughly understand what the Sugar Association has done to our public health. If you don’t already know that #sugarkills, the lecture is a great place to get yourself oriented and on the path to living a longer, healthier life.  A more recent (and shorter, but not necessarily better) Lustig lecture is available here.
  7. Got iodine? Maybe you need more, possibly to treat a thyroid condition that mainstream medicine isn’t very good at picking up. Or maybe you have skin problems, ovarian issues, fibrocystic breast disease, prostate problems, or problems in just about any other gland in your body. Here are three perspectives:
    • Dr. Brownstein is an interesting character. He’s a bit less rigorous than I prefer, and it’s somewhat difficult for me to decide just exactly where he is on the visionary vs. quack scale.  Still, he has a lot of interesting things to say; if even half of them are true, then supplementing with iodine is probably a pretty good idea.
    • Dr. Jorge Flechas also gives an impressive lecture, one that might convince you of the critical importantance of iodine for intelligent kids/ADD prevention, immune system function, reduction of cystic disease all over the body (thyroid, breasts, ovaries, among other places), prevention of breast and prostate cancers (among others), skin health, fibromyalgia symptoms, and much, much more.
    • This article by Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price foundation provides an excellent (and much more balanced) look at the pros and cons of iodine supplementation. Ultimately it still leaves me feeling good about iodine supplements, but it makes clear that there can be some significant issues to consider that Drs. Brownstein and Flechas don’t really get into. Iodine is potentially toxic for some people under some circumstances; before you start significantly supplementing it, you should at minimum make sure you’re replete in selenum and magnesium. Failure to do so can lead to autoimmune (Hashimoto’s) thyroiditis – or possibly worse.
  8. Rhonda Patrick, PhD has some amazingly interesting discussions available on her Found My Fitness blog. Highly recommended for people who are well-motivated to learn everything they can about keeping themselves healthy for many years to come. Somewhat technical at times. Biogeekery at its finest for people who like to know more than their doctor about how their bodies work.
  9. There’s been a lot of debate back and forth about where there is such a thing as non-celiac gluten sensitivity” (NCGS).  It so happens that the more I learn about it, the less I think that NCGS is a real issue. That said, the NCGS supporters are still onto a very real problem – they just (oops) accidentally fingered the wrong culprit. Huh? Well, beyond the myriad health problems caused by high-carb foods such as refined wheat, it turns out that there are other wheat proteins that coexist with gluten that do indeed cause a lot of people a lot of problems. In fact, they might even be the real cause of much of what has previously been thought to be celiac disease. They’re called amylase trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) and you can read about them here.
  10. Using NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) is the conventional medical approach to treat osteoarthritis, and it seems to be a fine idea when you consider their benefits (including delaying onset of Alzheimer’s disease!)  Unfortunately, this practice also has some pretty significant downsides. Like what?  Well, gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach problems for starters. Many people in pain may say “okay, but my arthritis is really bad… it’s worth the risk for me”.  Okay… but if you believe (as I do) that much of the inflammation in our body (e.g. arthritis) can be traced to increased small intestinal permeability (aka “the leaky gut syndrome”), then the cure may be making the problem worse.  Not to say that NSAIDs are always bad for everybody, but this is still a problem. A temporary fix would be to use another medication to make the NSAIDs safer.  A wiser approach might be to take curcumin as part of a larger strategy to heal leaky gut, as it happens to also be great for both osteoarthritis AND Alzheimer’s prevention.

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Some miscellaneous research papers and abstracts I want to keep track of:

The trace element selenium and the thyroid gland.

The Impact of Iron and Selenium Deficiencies on Iodine and Thyroid Metabolism: Biochemistry and Relevance to Public Health

​Selenium and thyroidal function; the role of immunoassays.

The use of low-dose naltrexone (LDN) as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic pain

Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia

Gut Microbiota Regulate Motor Deficits and Neuroinflammation in a Model of Parkinson’s Disease