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The Beginner’s Guide (Top 7 Hacks!)

Warning: This is going to be interactive.

Biohackers believe in experience-based learning. Or in plainer terms… we like to touch stuff. If you don’t try it, how do you know it works?

If you have a coffee near you, pick it up and chug it.

Your Challenge: To read this article FAST.

Jim Kwik, accelerated learning expert and conference keynote, asked the audience to remember FAST learning.

  • ForgetForget your preconceptions.
  • Active: Read actively and participate in the demos.
  • State: Feel the excitement and curiosity to learn. Sit up, lean forward.
  • Teach: Read as though you must teach this to others.

Jim teaches these techniques in his accelerated learning classes. Your challenge is to apply them while reading this article.

Do you accept the challenge? If so, take a moment to manage your state.

Alright, let’s dive in.

When Biohackers Gather

“This is like Disneyland for adults!”

With the three massive flow-state inducing swings, the hyperbaric chambers, the neurofeedback booths, the ARX Fit workout machines, the nutrient injection stations, the vibration plates, the oxygen bar, the Bulletproof Coffee bar, and the other 30+ technology exhibitors, the 2014 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference certainly felt like a health-focused amusement park of the future.

Conference speakers included flow-state expert Steven Kotler, mobility expert Kelly Starrett, memory expert Jim Kwik, nutrition expert JJ Virgin, brain expert Dr. Daniel Amen, and more than 35 other health and performance leaders.

With three consecutive 12-hour days of non-stop information, I’d have needed Jim Kwik’s brain to absorb and recall everything.

Here’s my attempt at mapping all the topics discussed:

To simplify, I filtered it down to 7 actionable biohacks that you can start doing immediately:

Movement, nutrition, rewilding, awareness, music, flow, and gratitude.

But first…

What the heck is “Biohacking”?

Biohacking is a crazy-sounding name for something not crazy at all—the desire to be the absolute best version of ourselves.

The main thing that separates a biohacker from the rest of the self-improvement world is a systems-thinking approach to our own biology.

You know how coffee feels like a shot of energy to your brain?

Pre-coffee you is sleepy….zzzzzz…

Post-coffee you is WIDE AWAKE!!

The only difference is the coffee in your stomach.

The lesson is this: What you put into your body has an ENORMOUS impact on how you feel.

We all know this. What we eat and drink is one way we alter our state.

Music is another. If you put on smoooooooooooth jazzzzzzzz, you’ll feel different than if you blast T-T-T-TECHNO.

The things we put in our stomach and ears are inputs into our biology.

As humans, we are complex systems. What goes into us affects what comes out of us, and I’m not just talking about our poop. Our behaviors, our health, and our performance in all areas of life are outputs.

If we want better outputs—to have more energy and focus, to be free of disease, to have a better memory, to perform optimally in business and athletics—then let’s tweak the things we put into our body and mind to stack the deck in our favor.

Biohackers use the tools of the Quantified Self to measure these inputs and outputs, and to experimentally test the effect of different tweaks.

As I mentioned earlier, biohacking is about getting your hands dirty and learning from experience.

Do that with me now.

1. Gut Punch Your Posture

biohackingWe all know sitting for long periods is terrible. It causes muscle tightness and destroys our potential for athletic performance. Eventually, it causes injury and chronic pain.

We aren’t supposed to feel that pain.

Kelly Starrett, founder of MobilityWOD and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard and Ready To Run, gave tips for restoring our natural mobility.

  • Tip 1: Spend 10 minutes foam rolling each day. Simple and effective.
  • Tip 2: Maintain a neutral-spine position.

He had everyone follow a sequence to stabilize their spine. Try this with me now.

  1. Squeeze your butt.
  2. Breath out and pull your ribcage down.
  3. Engage your abs 20%.
  4. Set your head in a neutral position, ears inline with shoulders (imagine someone grabbing the top of your head above your ears and pulling upward).

(Image source here.)

This same stabilizing sequence can be used while standing. While standing, also twist your feet into the ground (like a screw) to add more stability.

Unfortunately, this posture is really hard to maintain while sitting.

A more stable sitting position is to sit cross-legged or in a butt-to-ground squat in your chair. You’ll look silly doing it, but you’ll get the last laugh.

Kelly also had us play a game. If you see someone who isn’t engaging their abs, smack them in the stomach. A couple gut-smacks and you’ll be much more aware of your posture.

Recap 1: Spend 10 minutes foam rolling each day. 2: Every hour, practice resetting your posture by following the neutral-spine sequence. 3: Punch friends in the gut if they aren’t engaging their abs.

2. Eat The Right Nutrition

Nutrition was a popular topic at the conference.

Dave Asprey, creator of the Bulletproof brand, outlined the new Bulletproof Diet. In short, eat…

  1. lots of veggies lathered in grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a common brand)
  2. grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and low-mercury fish (like wild sockeye salmon)
  3. moderate starches and fruits

Cook lightly, if at all. Drink Bulletproof coffee.

That’s my massive simplification to get you started. For full details, go here:Bulletproof Diet Book

JJ Virgin showed how sugar is linked to almost every common disease. It’s also MORE addictive than morphine.

Looking for an impactful biohack? Try removing sugar from your diet.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan discussed the gut-brain connection. If you have a food sensitivity but eat that food anyway, you get inflammation. Inflammation makes our brains dumber.

Test for your food sensitivities, then stop eating those foods.

Food sensitivities can be tested through an expensive but thorough alcat test, the Bulletproof Stress Detective app (using heart rate), or by doing the HR test yourself.

Recap 1: Eat veggies, healthy fats, high quality protein. 2: Reduce sugar 3: Avoid food sensitivities

Fun fact: In just three days at the conference, over 200 lbs of butter was consumed in the coffee alone! If you weren’t sure, that’s a LOT of butter. Like a 200 lb person made of butter.

3. Rewild Yourself With Nature

Did you know every dog is a descendent of the Gray Wolf?

That adorable golden puppy with big blue eyes curled up in your lap… yep, he’s a wolf. His great-great-great-great-great grandfather wouldn’t be rolling over asking you to rub his belly. He’d be eating you for dinner.

In a very entertaining talk, Daniel Vitalis showed how we, as modern humans, are no different than that puppy.

We have domesticated ourselves and made it taboo to think otherwise.We are not as fit, resilient, or adaptable and much more prone to chronic disease than our ancestors.

If domestication is the problem, then re-wilding is the solution. Daniel outlined four systems for re-wilding our natural nutrition.

1. Eat Living, Wild Foods

Humans, like most animals, eat living (or once-living) things for fuel—broccoli once cut from its stem, the leg of chicken amputated from its body, those mushrooms plucked from the ground, sauerkraut covered in tiny microbes.

We need these wild foods.

If you want to be a real wolf, go outside and forage these foods yourself.

2. Drink Unprocessed Spring Water

What we drink is as important as what we eat, but most of us aren’t aware that our water is as processed as the processed food we now know to avoid.

Most water has minerals removed and chemicals added. Instead, find a natural spring and load up. You can find one near you here: http://www.findaspring.com/

Otherwise, it’s better to drink water bottled in glass than tap water.

3. Breathe Air From Nature

Do you think about the air you breath as nutrition?

As you can guess, natural air is more rejuvenating than the moldy air in our homes. Go outside.

Another tip: To absorb oxygen most effectively, fill your lungs by breathing deeply through the diaphragm.

4. Expose Yourself to Sunlight

Sunlight is part of our natural nutrition, so expose your skin to those warm rays of sun.

It’s time to rewild.

Open your eyes and see that you are that little puppy. To become the wolf, go back to nature.

Start by just spending a little more time outside.

Recap 1: Eat living, wild foods. 2: Drink unprocessed spring water. 3: Breathe air from nature. 4: Expose yourself to sunlight. 5. Go outside.

5. Go Outside

But outside is dangerous and scary!

Joe De Sena, creator of the Spartan races, says to Spartan Up and change your frame of reference. A long time ago, people had low expectations and a high tolerance. Today, we have high expectations and can tolerate very little.

My great-grandfather came to the US with no money, no family, and no plan. He was happy to be alive.

Low expectations. High tolerance.

On my flight to LA, someone loudly complained about the wifi not working. “Life sucks!”

High expectations. Low tolerance.

It reminds me of this Louis CK bit: everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy (4 min video).

How can you change your frame of reference then?

1. Make Yourself Uncomfortable

  • Attempt a Spartan Race
  • Take a cold shower
  • Try Rejection Therapy. My experience is here: http://vimeo.com/79453884 (5 min video)
  • Contemplate death. Read Seneca or Marcus Aurelius.
  • Be homeless? I’m currently doing this, but that’s a story for another day ????

2. Meditate

To change where we direct our attention, we need to become aware of our attention. Then, we can consciously create the internal states, behaviors, feelings, situations, and meaning we desire.

Meditation is the tried-and-true path to enhanced awareness.

There are advanced methods of meditation, like neurofeedback and 40 Years of Zen, but meditation is always accessible and free. Start with meditation.

Tim Ferriss has a general rule about meditation: the less time you think you have to meditate, the more time you need to spend meditating.

Recap 1: Put yourself in uncomfortable situations to lower your expectations and raise your tolerance. 2: Meditate.

Challenge Check-in!

Are you still reading FAST?

Are you participating, inquisitive, and eager to teach this to others?

Check your posture. Is your spine stabilized or does someone need to punch you in the gut?

Just checking…. okay, let’s continue.

5. Hear Music, Change Your Brain

Here’s my personal secret to hacking focus:

Put on headphones. Open Spotify. Play instrumental rock or electronic music.

When that’s on, the world around me disappears and I can get lost in my work.

To dig deeper into audio as a biohack, it’s important to understand how the brain works at a high level.

Your brain has 100 billion neurons that use electricity to talk to each other. At any moment, millions of neurons are talking at once, which produces a lot of electrical activity. When this activity is measured with an EEG, the result is a wave-like pattern called a brainwave.

The frequency of this brainwave depends on what you are doing.

Brainwaves 101:

  • Beta (14–30 Hz): awake, concentrated, alert. We spend most of the day here.
  • Alpha (8–14 Hz): meditative state, awake but relaxed, twilight state between sleep and waking, improved memory recall.
  • Theta (4–8 Hz): light dreaming, access to unconscious mind.
  • Delta (0.1–4 Hz): deep dreamless sleep, restorative, complete loss of awareness.

In a process called Frequency Following Response, a consistent sound wave has been shown to change your brainwaves.

In Bill Harris’ talk on dramatically increasing awareness, his research showed that audio entrainment helps meditators create awareness 8x faster than traditional meditation.

Binaural beats are one example of audio brainwave entrainment. Here are a few others:

 https://www.focusatwill.com/ https://www.centerpointe.com/v2/

Recap 1: Put on headphones. 2: Try audio entrainment.

6. Hack Flow

A theme of this year’s conference was the elusive “flow state”. Flow is that optimal state of consciousness when we feel and perform at our best. Time slows down, you forget yourself, and you perform at a higher level than ever before.

In other words, you know those times when you are kicking ass and nothing can stop you? That’s flow.

Steven Kotler, author of Rise of Superman, realized that action and adventure athletes are the only ones who consistently enter this state. As he says, since their sports put them frequently in life or death situations, it’s either “flow or die”.

Kotler’s research identified 17 triggers to enter flow

He also learned that flow is cyclical.

Before you enter flow, you must experience a struggle. This is the learning phase. Your brain shows beta waves in this phase (awake, concentrated).

Next, you must release completely. This is when your subconscious can do its magic—consolidate the information and relax. Your brain shows alpha waves here (meditative state, awake but relaxed).

Then there is flow. Theta waves (access to unconscious mind)

Finally, you enter a recovery phase. Delta waves (deep dreamless sleep, restorative).

If you are struggling to complete something, push yourself a little longer. Then stop and do something completely different, like foam roll in the park. That release is a critical step to entering flow.

Recap 1: Work hard on something, then break and disconnect completely. When you return later, you’re more likely to experience flow.

7. Show Gratitude

Interactive demo! Try this.

Think this sentence and then pause and notice how you feel.

“Ugh, this guy has wasted the last 12 minutes of my life. I’ve learned nothing and this demo he is asking me to do is bullsh*t.”

… hmmm ok …

Now try this one.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to expand my worldview. I am practicing my ability to read information and filter what is meaningful to me.”

… pause a moment …

Now one more.

“I am MASSIVELY grateful this author injected caffeine into his veins to have the energy to compile all this useful information into one concise article. I am grateful to be learning something new today and am giddy to apply one of these techniques in my daily life. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!”

Wait, why weren’t you already thinking that?!?

If you weren’t, you should watch this.

You get the point though: We can think about the same experience in many different ways. If we are grateful, we positively change our perspective on the events in our lives.

UJ Ramdas presented gratitude as a biohack and offered four techniques to start your daily gratitude practice.

  • Gratitude Journal. At it’s simplest, just write down 3 things you are grateful for each night. Pro tip: If you want email reminders, set up a google form (here’s a template) and use IFTTT to email yourself that link (If 10pm, then email me the link to that form).
  • Five Minute Journal. The journal created by UJ. Answer three questions each morning and two before bed. Puts you in the right mindset to start and end your day. (Link here)
  • Gratitude Walk. UJ recommends doing this on your way to work. Be very present and feel gratitude for everything you see and experience during that short walk. Try to feel the gratitude in your heart.
  • Gratitude Visit. Write a letter (300 words) of love and gratitude to someone important to you. Set up a time to meet them, then take out the letter and read it to them. UJ says it is extremely transformative.

Gratitude is a daily practice, similar to meditation. Like meditation, it becomes more natural over time. In fact, gratitude and meditation go very well together, like peanut butter and jelly. (For those wondering, PB&J is not Bulletproof.)

Remember: What you put into your body affects what you get out. In this case, your thoughts create the world you experience. If you put gratitude in, you get gratitude out.

Recap 1: Develop a daily gratitude practice.

Your Mission

  1. Pick one: Mobility, Nutrition, Nature, Attention, Music, Flow, Gratitude.
  2. Try it. Commit to it for 7 days.
  3. Make it failure-proof. Read the bonus biohack below to upgrade your willpower and make this habit failure-proof.

By Mark Moschel. This post originally appeared at Medium.com – thank you to Mark and Medium for allowing me to repost it.


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Hack To Get the Benefits of Cold Thermogenesis

I’ve spent some time experimenting with sitting in ice baths to induce cold thermogenesis, a fat burning state with wide-ranging health benefits from fat loss and faster muscle recovery after workouts, to better sleep and reduced inflammation [1-5].

Using this kind of therapy can have a ton of benefits, but it is still difficult for the average person to do.  The initial shock of sitting in a tub full of ice can scare most people away from doing it again. It’s time consuming and expensive to fill your bathtub with ice, and working up to tolerating a tub of ice can take a month. (In my experiments, I once got 1st degree ice burns over 15% of my body…going too fast can be dangerous).

The good news is that there is a quick, easy, and cheap way to get your body adapted to the cold, and to get many of the benefits without the pain and the hassle of sitting in the tub with 20 pounds of ice – brrr. 

Watch it here:

This is an old trick from meditation that has been borrowed as the entry path to more advanced cold thermogenesis practices like sitting submerged in ice, like the Iceman Wim Hof.

Sticking your face in ice water works because the vagus nerve in your face is connected to nerves in the rest of your nervous system throughout your body [6-9].  By using this simple trick to get the nerves in your face used to the cold, it will translate over to the rest of your body as well, and allow you to tolerate ice baths and cold showers far more easily.

The protocol:

  • Fill a shallow pan or dish with water and put it in your freezer.
  • When the water is frozen solid take the pan out, add water on top of the ice, and stir it up to chill the water.
  • Hold your breath and put your face into the pan for as long as you can hold your breath, or until you can’t take the discomfort from the cold anymore.
  • You can start slow with just a few seconds at a time, and build up to longer periods of time soon.

Tip #1: The optimal temperature for an ice bath is around 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit (because you want to get your skin temp down close to 50-55 degrees). You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water until you get good at estimating it.

Tip #2: I ended up using a snorkel so I could keep my face submerged for up to 5 minutes at a time (seriously, I’m a professional biohacker!). ????

Doing this trick before bed every night will drop your body temperature and help you fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper. I noticed profound changes within a week when I started experimenting with this 3 years ago.

 

References:

http://jap.physiology.org/content/95/4/1584

[2] http://www.jci.org/articles/view/60433?key=5e3684aee3d55b74adc8

[3] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0808949#t=article

[4] https://blog.daveasprey.com/cold-thermogenesis-in-tibet-and-the-dangers-of-biohacking-made-real/

[5] https://blog.daveasprey.com/3-hacking-fatigue-with-tim-noakes-plus-more-4-hour-body-fun/

[6] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566070200002150

[7] http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/189/3/282.full

[8] http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628951.900-gut-instincts-the-secrets-of-your-second-brain.html?full=true

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18753395

Read more on Cold Thermogenesis and Sleep Hacking:

Sleep Technology:

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MOLDY, The Toxic Mold Movie: Watch It Now

MOLDY, the first ever documentary about toxic mold, just came out: watch it here now!

Hidden toxic mold in your home or work may be making you sick or impacting your performance every day: how do you know if it’s impacting you, and if so what can you about it?

Watch the teaser here, then click here to watch the full documentary:

Our goal is to raise awareness around toxic mold exposure and poisoning, an issue many people don’t even realize exists.  Please share this documentary with your friends: http://bit.ly/moldymovie

Is Mold Going Mainstream?

In fact you may have noticed a pick-up in the media recently around this issue.

First, Dr. Oz ran a segment on mold illness a few weeks back.  Then, a few days ago Suzanne Somers released her new book “Tox-Sick: From Toxic To Not Sick” on how she recovered from mold poisoning and other toxins.

Even more recently, CSI: Cyber episode 103 featured some of the work of my friend and colleague Dr. Shoemaker when it aired an episode with a patient injured by taking a counterfeit capsule laden with aflatoxin.  Aflatoxin mentioned twice, as was Aspergillus.

Frankly, it’s awesome progress at all that mold poisoning is really starting to come to light in mainstream media!  It took me years of research to get to the bottom of my mold sensitivity, back when hardly any doctors were talking about this stuff – not to mention even knowing it existed.

Learn About Hidden Mold In Your Home, Work, and School

Learn more about toxic mold exposure, poisoning, and illness:

Want to learn more about media/TV coverage of mold and mold toxins?  Check them out here:

MOLDY, the movie, is out!

Moldy has now launched: watch MOLDY here now!

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Resources For Avoiding Toxic Mold Exposure At Home

Hidden toxic mold in your home or work is making millions of people sick every day.  How do you know if mold toxins are impacting your performance, and what can you about it?

It’s time to find out.

You can now watch MOLDY, the first documentary ever made about toxic mold exposure – and how to avoid it.

Watch the teaser below, then submit your email address here to download the free infographics and get information how to purchase the full documentary.

Our goal is to raise awareness around toxic mold exposure and poisoning, an issue many people don’t even realize exists.  Please share this documentary with your friends if you think it could help them feel better: http://bit.ly/moldymovie

MOLDY Resources: What Do You Do About It?

Find yourself a healthcare practitioner experienced with treating and remediating mold!  But even before that, how do you know if you are at risk?  These resources should help you find then deal with the sources of mold in your environment.

You can also find many mold survivor community resources to learn from the experiences of doctors leading in this area and others who have gone through similar experiences.

How Can You Help?

One of the organizations we partnered with to create Moldy, run by friend and colleague Lisa Petrison, needs your help furthering awareness and research around toxic mold!

Paradigm Change is conducting a research survey about people who have survived or worked to avoid mold poisoning: please read more about this research then take the mold avoidance survey here if you have a couple minutes!

Is Toxic Mold Going Mainstream?

You may have also noticed a pick-up in the media recently around this issue.

First, Dr. Oz ran a segment on mold illness a few weeks back.  Then, a few days ago Suzanne Somers released her new book “Tox-Sick: From Toxic To Not Sick” on how she recovered from mold poisoning and other toxins.

Even more recently, CSI: Cyber episode 103 featured some of the work of my friend and colleague Dr. Shoemaker when it aired an episode with a patient injured by taking a counterfeit capsule laden with aflatoxin.  Aflatoxin mentioned twice, as was Aspergillus.

Frankly, it’s awesome progress at all that mold poisoning is really starting to come to light in mainstream media!  It took me years of research to get to the bottom of my mold sensitivity, back when hardly any doctors were talking about this stuff – not to mention even knowing it existed.

Want to learn more about media/TV coverage of mold and mold toxins?  Check them out here:

Learn About Hidden Mold In Your Home, Work, and School

Want to learn more?  Read the existing research and listen up on toxic mold with these posts and podcasts:

MOLDY, The Movie: Now Out

Moldy, Bulletproof’s new documentary on the risks of airborne mold, has launched: click here to watch MOLDY now.

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Walter Crinnion: Environmental Toxins & Autism

Why you should listen –

Bulletproof Radio welcomes Walter Crinnion, a Naturopathic Doctor with over 30 years of medical experience and an expert in the field of environmental medicine. Walter shares how excessive environmental toxicants are leading to autism, autoimmune diseases and weight gain and what to do about it. Enjoy the show!

Bulletproof Executive Radio at the iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

Click here to download the mp3 of Walter Crinnion: Toxicants Role On Fertility, Weight Gain & Mental Health – #265 

Walter Crinnion received his Naturopathic Doctor degree in the first graduating class from Bastyr University in 1982 and went on to develop the most comprehensive cleansing facility in North America in the Seattle area. Individuals at the facility were able to reduce their body burden of environmental toxicants and recover their health – with spontaneous remissions of all autoimmune disorders, certain cancers, chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, Parkinsonism and even ALS.
Dr. Crinnion has been a faculty member at four different Naturopathic Medical Schools and was the founding department chair for Environmental Medicine at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Tempe, AZ) from 2003-2013. He now focuses on training other healthcare professionals in Environmental Medicine.

Follow Along with Interactive Transcripts!

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What You Will Hear

  •      0:00 – Wix
  •       1:10 – Cool fact of the day
  •      3:00 – Welcome Walter Crinnion
  •      5:43 – Toxicants and autoimmune diseases
  •    10:50 – BPA, infertility & endocrine disorders
  •    17:30 – The emmergence of environmental medicine
  •    23:47 – Mental illness or environmental illness?  
  •    28:43 – How to fix damaged mitochondria  
  •    35:00 – Toxicants and children
  •    45:36 – How mitochondria impacts weight loss  
  •    52:00 – Understanding fat toxins
  • 1:00:28 – Alkaline water, is it right for you? 
  • 1:04:42 – Top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!

Featured

Clean Green and Lean

Crinnion Opinion

Dr. Crinnion of Huffington Post

Resources

Autoimmunity

Immunotoxicity

Cytokines

Hashimotos

Sculoderma

Lupus

CDC.gov

Plasticisers

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Organophosphate pesticides

Bisphenol A (BPA)

PubMed

MEDLINE

BPA exposure during pregnancy

Stachybotrys

Linus Pauling

Methylated B vitamins

Electrostatic air filters 

High end air purifiers 

Environment Health Symposium 

Gilles-Éric Séralini

Epigenetics

www.endocrinedisruption.org

TEDX

Our Stolen Future

Phthalates

How arsenic is brown rice? 

Bulletproof

Green Wave EMF Filter

Glutathione

Mycotoxins

Collagen

Activated charcoal

Bulletproof quarterly boxes

Better Baby Book

Ketosis 

Mitochondria

Rapid Fat Loss Protocol 




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3 Simple Ways To Hack Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter is here, and it can bring with it bouts of the blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately abbreviated SAD) is your body’s response to the darker, shorter days of autumn and winter. Generally, SAD is subtle. While some people do plunge into a deep depression as the seasons change, more often the winter blues are mild. An estimated 10-20% of Americans get mild SAD with the changing seasons, with higher risk in darker, more northern locales; if you do get it, SAD usually starts in your 20s, and it tapers off as you age [1]. Common symptoms include:

  • Increased sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Depressed mood
  • Trouble focusing

Fortunately, you can hack SAD. Three effective methods are light therapy, supplementation, and exercise. Here’s a closer look at each one.

 

Bright light therapy: the seasonal antidepressant

A primary reason for SAD is the decreased daylight that comes with the colder months. The shortened days throw off your circadian rhythm so you have trouble sleeping. Adding more light to your day can reverse seasonal depression. One placebo-controlled, double-blind study found that 30 minutes of bright, non-UV, white fluorescent light first thing in the morning improved seasonal depression as well as Prozac did [2], and a 2005 review of light therapy research found that bright white or blue light and antidepressant treatment are equally effective at relieving SAD [3].

One of the best sources of light is a good old-fashioned work lamp, like the ones construction workers use on job sites. A halogen work lamp will run you about $40, and it’ll be easier on your eyes than a fluorescent one will. These things are BRIGHT. Shine one or two work lamps on yourself for half an hour right when you get up. Make sure the light is hitting your eyes at an angle; looking directly into a work lamp can damage your retinas.

Avoiding bright light at night is important, too. Bright white or blue light suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin [4], and low evening melatonin levels can decrease your sleep quality. Use the free app f.lux to filter blue light from your computer after sunset, and opt for dim, amber or red light at night. These low-blue night lights work well.

Tweak your supplements

As the seasons change, you may want to change your supplements, too. Decreased sunlight means you’re probably getting less vitamin D than you were during summer. You make vitamin D in response to UV-B light, and while you get plenty of UV-B from the sun, many indoor lights have UV filters. Vitamin D deficiency is common [6], and low vitamin D links with poor sleep [7]. Taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement like in the morning may help you sleep better (don’t take it at night – D3 suppresses melatonin). (Vitamins A, D, and K are complementary fat-soluble vitamins that work together for heart, bone, and immune health. You can ingest all of them in one supplement now: Vitamins A-D-K.) Also get a blood test to check your vitamin D levels before increasing the amount you take.

St. John’s wort also stabilizes mood in depressed people, often performing as well as low-dose prescription antidepressants without the antidepressants’ side effects or withdrawal [5,6,7]. While St. John’s wort is excellent taken alone, it can decrease the effectiveness of common medications, including blood thinners, antivirals, and birth control pills, and it can increase the effect of SSRIs [8]. Before you add St. John’s wort to your winter supplement list, check here to see if interacts with anything you’re taking.

Move more

Exercise is great for mood. According to a review of more than 40 studies, aerobic exercise like running improves symptoms of depression considerably, strength training is even more effective at boosting mood, and the combination of the two works best [8]. While any movement is good movement, high-intensity interval training will give you the biggest mood boost in the shortest time.

Exercise also increases energy levels [8], making it ideal for beating the mid-afternoon slump that comes from a 4pm sunset. If you find you aren’t motivated to go to the gym, join a recreational sports league, take a dance, yoga, or martial arts class, chase your kids around the house – whatever makes movement fun. Find something active you enjoy. Adults benefit from playtime, too.

Have you tried these seasonal affective disorder hacks before? Do you have any of your own to add? As always, personal stories and recommendations are great. Thanks for reading!

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder
  2. http://www.ubcmood.ca/sad/CAN-SAD%20AJP.pdf
  3. http://litebook-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/ckeditor_assets/attachments/8/original_apa_journal_light_therapy_for_depression.pdf
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21552190
  5. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.8.1361
  6. http://www.sound-mind.org/support-files/internal-medicine-st-johns-wort.pdf
  7. http://img2.timg.co.il/CommunaFiles/32117163.pdf
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244918384_Mental_Health_Benefits_of_Strength_Training_in_Adults

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Regain Energy & Lose Weight #273

Why you should listen –

Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D., is the author of Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet.  A weight-loss and natural anti-aging transformation expert, Dr. Petrucci has a private practice and is a concierge doctor for celebrities in New York City and Los Angeles. Dr. Petrucci is a regular guest on television shows including The Doctors, Dr. Oz, and national news programs. She comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss the incredible performance enhancing properties of bone broth, how to reverse aging and more. Enjoy the show!

Bulletproof Executive Radio at the iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

 

 

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What You Will Hear

  •      0:00 – Avant
  •      1:15 – Cool fact of the day
  •      1:45 – Wix
  •      3:34 – Welcome Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
  •      7:55 – Why bone broth?
  •    16:29 – Why do you have food cravings?
  •    21:26 – How to make bone broth
  •    31:04 – The importance of bone marrow
  •    39:18 – Boosting your immunity
  •    43:58 – Fish broth
  •    48:37 – The health benefits of organs & chicken feet
  •    59:00 – Pigs ears
  • 1:02:27 – Top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!

Featured

Wix

Avant

Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

Living Paleo for Dummies

Boost Your Immunity for Dummies

PBS – 21 Days to a Slimmer You

Resources

Irlen lenses

Microbiome

Glutamine

Glutamate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

B6 deficiency

Chris Masterjohn

Broths and immunity

Zinc

Bulletproof

Bulletproof Cookbook 

Brain Octane

Upgraded Collagen

Questions for the podcast?

Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!




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