How about some biohacking tips to boost your immunity and to fight off viruses like Covid-19? Biohacker Oksana Andreiuk (M.Biotech) shares her advice on boosting your immunity through specific biohacks associated with sleep, nutrition and supplements, exercise, stress management, taking a cold shower, and intermittent fasting. Biohacking is modifying your internal and external environments to take better control of your own biology. In this time of social distancing, Talk About Talk advocates physical distancing and being creative and proactive about maintaining our ever-important social connections. Stay healthy everyone!
References & Links
BIOHACKING TIPS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
SIX WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
- Nutrition & Supplements
- Manage your Stress
- Take a Cold Shower
- Try Intermittent Fasting
#1 BIOHACKING TIP is SLEEP
- When it comes to boosting our immunity, Oksana’s #1 biohacking tip is SLEEP. She highlighted research that demonstrates how just one poor night’s sleep can adversely affect our immune system and a week of too little sleep can significantly increase your chance of contracting a virus.
- If you’ve shifted from commuting to and from work every day to now working from home, use that extra time to SLEEP! When we sleep, our bodies recover and repair.
- Adequate sleep has multiple benefits, including making us more likely to exercise and less likely to over-eat. Sleep affects all of our body systems – including respiratory!
- The quality of our sleep affects our communication. It makes us nicer people, less irritable and improves our emotional control. A good night’s sleep also helps our ability to perceive others, and it affects how others perceive us.
NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS
- Consume more whole food and less processed food
- Avoid sugar. Look for food with a lower glycemic index.
- Do not eat within 3hrs of bedtime so your body can focus on recovery & repair.
- Consider intermittent fasting (see below)
- SUPPLEMENTS – suggestions from Oksana:
- Overall, to ensure the immune system is functioning properly, it’s important to avoid deficiencies in protein and micronutrients, particularly iron, zinc & vitamins A, D, E, B6 & B12, and ensure the body has sufficient electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium.
- For added immune support/boost, consider the following:
- Vitamin C (min 2,000 mg per day)
- Vitamin D3 (in liquid form with vitamin K2 for better absorption)
- Anti-oxidant support, Glutathione (liposomal is best) or I personally prefer to take N-acetyl l-cysteine (NAC), which helps the body restore its natural intracellular levels of Glutathione. As a bonus NAD can assist in treating upper respiratory conditions.
- L-lysine amino acid
- Propolis spray (from bee pollen)
- Reishi mushroom
- Shiitake mushroom
- Turkey tail mushroom
- Try HIIT training (high intensity interval training). It may be the most effective and efficient.
- Try online workout videos
- Try yoga to workout and reduce stress at the same time.
- Yoga can help you wind down in the evening, lower stress and cortisol levels.
- Meditation and breathing exercises are also proven to help us manage stress.
- Minimize your screen time and monitor the type of news you’re consuming.
- ** SOCIAL INTERACTION positively impacts our mental and physical health. In this time of physical distancing, we need to be socially creative and proactive about maintaining social contact.
Reduce stress with online social contact –
Try a video conference call with a friend!
TAKE A COLD SHOWER
- Cold showers elevate our immunity by activating our BAT (brown adipose tissue).
- We can make cold showers less unpleasant by building up our tolerance day by day:
- Have a cold shower after a workout.
- Start with your feet and then work your way up our body.
- After the shower, recalibrate (or warm your body up) naturally.
TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
- Intermittent fasting activates cellular autophagy, which is your body’s way of clearing out damaged cells.
- For men, try fasting for 14-16hrs, then eat within an 8-10hr window. For women, try fasting for 14hrs, then eat within a 10hr window. If you eat dinner 3hrs before bedtime then sleep for 8 hours, you’ve already fasted for 11 hours when you wake up!
REFERENCES & LINKS
Oksana Andreiuk, M.Biotech
- Canadian Biohacker website – https://canadianbiohacker.com/
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/oandreiuk/
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/canadianbiohacker/
- Twitter- https://twitter.com/CDNBiohacker
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CanadianBiohacker/
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR6KunOu-T5XANwGbaaNlHQ
Talk About Talk & Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
- ? Andrea’s email – Andrea@TalkAboutTalk.com
- ? Free Communication Coaching via the Email Blog – https://talkabouttalk.com/blog/#newsletter-signup
- ? Website – https://talkabouttalk.com
- ? Subscribe to the Podcast – https://talkabouttalk.com/podcasts/#subscribe
- ? Private Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2512948625658629/
- BOOK: “The Blue Zones of Happiness” by Dan Buettner – https://amzn.to/2xcexTG
- “Positive Self-Talk and the 3Es of Wellness” with master wellness coach Tosca Reno – https://talkabouttalk.com/27-positive-self-talk-with-tosca-reno/
- “The Drive” with Dr. Peter Attia – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-peter-attia-drive/id1400828889?mt=2
Dr. ANDREA’S INTRODUCTION
Well, hello there. I’m your communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki. Please call me Andrea. Thanks for listening. Talk About Talk is where you can learn to communicate more effectively, so you can advance what to do if you think you’ve lost your career and improve your relationships – with everyone around you.
If you go to TalkAboutTalk.com, you can see the full archive of all the communication skills topics that we’ve covered in the podcasts and email blogs. We’re releasing podcasts bi-weekly, every second week, and email blogs every week, so you can always go to the talkabouttalk.com website and catch up on everything you missed.
This week, you’ll hear my conversation with Oksana Andreiuk, a biohacker, who shares her biohacking tips for how to boost our immunity during this Covid-19, coronavirus outbreak. As you’ll hear from Oksana, a biohacker is anyone who is trying to optimize their mental and physical health performance. Biohacking is the art & science of modifying your internal and extremal environment to take better control of your own biology. Including, for example, boosting your immunity to better fight off the corona virus!
In this episode, you will learn a lot, I promise, including:
- More about the definition of biohacking, including Oksana’s personal biohacking goals in the short term and the longer term
- Four categories of things we need to focus on to optimize our general health (including the one things that Oksana identifies as the most important biohacking things we can do)
- Plus a few extra biohacking tips to help us further boost our immunity
And yes, some of the advice you will hear here is focused on communication. Like how our social support affects our longevity and ways to increase our social interaction when we are physically isolated from others. That’s why I’m a fan of the term PHYSICAL distancing, and opposed to social distancing. We need to proactively maintain our social interactions even when we are physically distant, right?
OK – let me introduce you to Oksana now. Then we’ll get right into the interview and I will summarize most of the important points at the end. As always, you can find the detailed shownotes, including references, Oksana’s list of biohacking tips and recommended supplements for boosting immunity, the interview transcript, and more, all in the shownotes. Just go to talkabouttalk.com and click on podcasts.
I met Oksana Andreiuk a few weeks ago at a networking event. Yes, a networking event. For those of you who haven’t heard it yet, I hope you’ll listen to the most recent podcast episode on NETWORKING where I interviewed executive recruiter Sharon Mah-Gin. I took the advice that Sharon shared with us in the episode, and amongst other things, I met Oksana Andreiuk. So that you to Sharon for that!
The theme of this conference was the Future of Food. For one of the sessions, there was a panel of four experts on stage. There was Oksana, sitting next to an amazing young organic farmer. I think she freaked him out a bit, with her focus on bio-technology. But I was impressed. So I went up to Oksana afterwards, introduced myself and started firing Qs at her. Turns out she has degrees in genetics and biotechnology, and she hopes to live to be 150. I asked her “what are the 5 things I should do right now to live longer?” Her answer surprised me. She said there are many many things we can do to live longer. She said she wasn’t sure about the top 5 list, but she is confident that she knows what the one most important biohacking tip is. Can you guess what it is? It surprised me. SLEEP.
The next day, Oksana and I connected on LinkedIn and then on email. Then we started talking about how sleep can affect our ability to communicate effectively. She started citing all this incredible research and I was enthralled. We decided to do a podcast interview for TalkAboutTalk in a few months. Then, as you know, the world changed. Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. Schools shut down and employers told their workers to work from home. Businesses are reducing hours or closing. Amongst other things, toilet paper is being hoarded. And social distancing is now a common term. A mandated term.
So I reached out to Oksana and said “hey. Can we do this interview – like NOW? And can we shift the focus to biohacking tips to boost our immunity?” It took less than 24hrs for us to schedule and record the interview. Oksana is so gracious. Here we are.
Oksana Andreiuk (@CanadianBiohacker) is a biotechnology scientist, biohacking consultant, and speaker. She is the founder of Canadian Biohacker and Toronto’s first and largest biohacking meetup group with a mission of bringing biohacking and anti-aging science to the mainstream.
Holding an HonsBSc in genetics and biotechnology and a Master of Biotechnology from the University of Toronto, Oksana has a long-standing interest in the applications of biotechnology to optimizing health and performance. She believes the future of healthcare lies in disease prevention as well as delaying (and even reversing) the aging process, ultimately extending healthspan and lifespan.
Oksana brings an extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry having worked in private, non-profit, and public health sectors across Canadian and US markets.
(Transcribed by https://otter.ai)
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki: Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your expertise today. Oksana.
Oksana Andreiuk: Oh, this is so great. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited for our conversation.
AW: Me too. So I have to start by asking you, what is a biohacker?
OA: Love that question. So what comes to mind often, people think, Oh, you know, are you inserting chips into your body? Or it sounds scary or very technical. But it’s not at all. A bio hacker is anyone who’s trying to optimize their mental and physical health performance. And so biohacking is a term can be defined as the art and science of modifying your internal and external environments to take better control of your own biology. And what I find exciting is that we now have the technology available to us and all the tools to quantify and monitor our biomarkers. But at the at the root of it, biohacking is really getting the fundamentals right and optimizing how you feel every day.
AW: I know from your biography that you’ve made this your life work you are highly educated in the field of biotechnology and you have the Canadian bio hacker meetup group. So why did you personally decide to become a bio hacker?
OA: I’ve always been into biotech and how can we use our technology to optimize our biology and how we feel and I’ve always had a focus on healthcare. You know, when I was in university, I never thought that I would get into biohacking or optimizing health to this extent, what really sparked my interest in it is discovering the field of medicine related to longevity science, which looks at treating aging as a root cause of chronic diseases. And you know, when I was in university that wasn’t really talked about there was genetics, there’s biotechnology, and that was my stream.
I was very interested in that. But when I discovered that, hey, there are all these scientists that are looking at treating aging as a disease. You don’t really hear about that because people just kind of assume that Oh, You know, aging is a natural is a natural process, and we’re all going to go through it. But the truth is, is that in 2013, we actually characterize what the cellular processes were of aging. So other cellular level, we now know what happens with the aging processes. And so there are all these companies that are working on aging solutions on reversing or slowing down the aging process.
And I thought, you know, if it’s gonna take them about 10 years or so to get something truly viable on the market, but I can start taking or using whether it’s a therapeutic or another solution, what can I do right now to optimize my own biology in the state of my health so that I’m at that prime health level when I get to that longevity solution, and so that opened my eyes to this whole field and area of biohacking. But as I mentioned, you know, at the root of it, it’s just about optimizing your mental and physical health performance. And so it doesn’t need to be something extreme or scary or something that takes up all a lot of time it’s being mindful of your daily habits and how you’re taking care of your health on a more preventive level.
AW: when you were defining biohacking, I was thinking that a lot of athletes are probably biohacking. Right? So they’re doing everything they can to…
OA: Absolutely. Yeah, athletes are a great example of biohacking. And really anyone you know, if you’re, if you’re mindful about your nutrition and exercise and how you’re sleeping like you’re already biohacking, I think most of us are actually biohacking without realizing it.
AW: So I have a question for you then what is your main goal as a bio hacker?
OA: I mean, I’m hoping to live to at least 150 years, there are some exciting developments in the fields of longevity science that are actually looking to reprogram cells using epigenetics that will essentially reverse our age back to about 20 years at any point that we want, so potentially 150 years is very conservative.
AW: That’s amazing than I have not even come close to hitting midlife.
OA: That’s why this is gonna go on who knows, you know all the things that we want you to be able to fit into our lifespan.
AW: Okay, so bring it on, tell me what some of the main things are that I can do to optimize, I guess, maximize my lifespan and optimize my health.
OA: So number one, I always say sleep. It’s the number one thing that anyone can do and we’re living in a sleep deprived generation and time. Over the past hundred years, we’ve actually reduced our average night’s sleep by about 15 to 20%. So imagine that 100 years ago, people were getting on average two hours more of sleep every night than they do now. That’s huge. You know, it’s it seems like such a luxury to be thinking, Oh, you know, someone could be averaging nine hours of sleep a night. That seems crazy.
AW: So what’s happening inside our body that is so important when we’re sleeping? Why? Why would I choose to spend more of my time on this planet sleeping?
OA: Sleep affects every single bodily system, your cardiovascular health, your metabolism, your ability and stamina to exercise that day, which actually has a feedback loop because if you exercise you sleep better, and if you sleep better, you have more energy to exercise and affect our hunger levels as well. If you’re sleep deprived, your body is going to want to store more energy. And so you’re more prone to overeating as well. That affects your mental health, your emotional control how you communicate, so you know anything to do with the brain. There is not one system in your body that doesn’t benefit from more sleep, or doesn’t get negatively impacted by a lack of sleep, essentially. So sleep is number one for longevity, I would say.
AW: So you I didn’t want to interrupt you there. But you mentioned one of my magic words communicate you said so sleep affects how you communicate, can you share with us how sleep affects our interactions and social lives?
OA: For sure, yeah. So with sleep, it affects your emotional control, right? How you respond to those around you, you may be you know, a little bit more cross have a shorter fuse, but also being able to read other people’s emotions. So your emotional intelligence gets affected with your ability to scan the room or you know, read the person you’re speaking to and what they’re feeling. It also affects how people interact with you as well. So there was a study done with people seeing faces of sleep deprived individuals, and they were asked to rank them, so sleep deprived to not sleep deprived, and those who were sleep deprived in their picture, our brains are actually able to register someone who is a little bit sleep deprived. And what that tells us is, we don’t really want to communicate with those people.
We don’t want to interact with them. It tells our brain to kind of avoid them or you know, maybe that person is sick, or something’s not right with them. And so it’s very- it’s such a wild concept. I found it fascinating because it’s not something that happens at a conscious level. It’s very subconscious. It’s those micro signals that our brain is just picking up automatically. You know, you, it’s hard to just kind of pinpoint, oh yeah, that person got four hours of sleep per night for sure. But our brain is able to do this. So when you’re sleep deprived, it’s not only that you are communication with others is affected, but how other people perceive you and how much they want to interact with you as well.
AW: Amazing, amazing. So I want to get into that both I guess the quantity so the number of hours that we should be striving for and as well as the quality of sleep you and I spoke a little bit offline about that when we met you were talking about how important it is to ensure you have quality sleep. Before we get into that nitty gritty I just want to mention the elephant in the room and that is the corona virus and Covid-19 and based on your biohacking. I’m sure you have some very strong and well informed opinions. about things that we should be doing and maybe even things that we should not be doing.
OA: For sure. Yeah. So with any type of virus we’re always going to go through these winter seasons where a lot of people are getting sick or picking things up, the best thing is keep your immune system as much as you can. And so number one, again, I go back to sleep. So with sleep, even one night of four hours of sleep, reduces your immune system function by up to 70% for the next day.
AW: Wow. thats huge.
OA: and for someone who is gets about five hours of sleep per night, for the previous week, they’re about at a 50 50% risk of contracting the common cold if they’re exposed to it, versus someone who has been getting an average of eight hours of sleep. They have about an 18% risk if they’re exposed to the virus. So that’s huge, right? Like, do you want to be the person Your expose, your body has a 5050 chance of contracting the virus or do you want it to be at around 18%?
AW: Anytime that sounds compelling, but right now it’s imperative. Right?
OA: Exactly, exactly. And I know it’s hard. But hopefully now with a lot of people working remotely to a with that reduces the amount of hours you’re spending and commuting. Maybe you can buy a little bit of more sleep time, fingers crossed. So sleep is absolutely imperative. And then nutrition, of course, so watching what type of foods you’re eating, so less processed food, avoid sugar, focus on whole foods that are nutritious to your body, about something about 16 to up to 70% of our immune system comes from our gut health. And so supporting our gut with proper nutrition is just so important for immune function as well.
AW: Can you describe what a healthy gut is? I mean, you just you just said less sugar less processed foods.
OA: Yeah, so I mean, everyone’s microbial or gut health looks a little bit different, their profile will be a little bit different. But avoiding sugars is a big one for sure.
AW: Okay, so refined sugars. And then also, I guess any kind of simple carbohydrates, just keep them to a minimum.
OA: Yes, especially closer to sleep. So avoid eating about three hours before bedtime, that will be optimal. If you do then at least avoid simple carbs and sugars. Focus more on complex carbs. So an example of a simpler carb would be bread versus a sweet potato would be a more complex card.
AW: So you said Try not to eat within three hours of going to bed.
OA: Yes. So you want to be focusing on recovery while you’re sleeping. So our bodies are constantly in either state of growth or repair. And so when we’re putting nutrients in our bodies, or it signals to our bodies that Okay, it’s time for growth, you know, you’re metabolizing you’re utilizing those nutrients, your body’s not really focusing on repair so much and so Especially when you’re sleeping, that is such a critical time of recovery for like full body regeneration when you’re sleeping and so try to avoid going to sleep on a full stomach because that can affect your sleep quality, and also your ability of your body to repair while you’re sleeping.
AW: Okay, so we’ve got sleep hygiene, we’ve got quantity of hours of sleep, we’ve got nutrition in particular reducing our glycemic index not eating before we go to sleep and just reducing sugar. What else?
OA: I would also say avoiding deficiencies in proteins and micronutrients. So this is where supplements can come in as well. And I’m always a little bit careful with supplements because people should be using supplements as supplements or at least you know, that’s my stance on it. We shouldn’t be replacing whole foods with supplements but to boost the immune system, there are supplements that you can incorporate into your diet namely, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B. Glutathione is a great supplement as well. So that is kind of like the big antioxidant, and NAC (N-Acetyl L-Cysteine) you can buy the supplement. It’s actually a precursor to the amino acid cysteine and it’s also great for respiratory problems as well. So when we’re dealing with a respiratory type of virus going on, NAC could be a great supplement to incorporate as well. So trying to keep the energy up and ensuring you have the micronutrients in your body as well to fight off any virus or infection.
AW: I think this is great advice, especially for the age that we’re living in right now with the corona virus. So you know what I’m going to ask you when we go offline, I’m going to ask you to email me a list of what the specific supplements are that promote immunity, and then I’ll include them in the show notes so people can just click on it and see what they are. That would be really helpful.
OA: Yeah, for sure. I’m sure I’m missing some right now. But I’ll email you a list.
AW: That’s great. Thank you. What about other things? Like what about exercise? What about socializing? Any other?
OA: Sure, yeah. So there’s, you know, the basics for me are, how you’re sleeping, how you’re eating, how you’re moving and how you’re managing our stress. So I covered the first two, but exercises absolutely so important for your immune system, it boosts your immune system function. For exercise, I would say HIIT training is the most effective, so high intensity interval training. And it combines a little bit of cardio, a little bit of strength training, and it just kind of gets the best bang for your buck in terms of the amount of time spent exercising and the effects that you get versus other forms of exercise.
So if someone’s looking for a quick workout routine to do at home training is great and there are so many free youtube videos available to I’m working remotely right now as well and you know, doing the social distancing and isolation and it’s just such a great repository, you just look online, okay, YouTube video, let’s go 30 minutes you got your mat, do a quick workout and you can you know, get back to work and can be a great break throughout the day or whenever you have the time.
AW: That’s amazing. I have to tell you this afternoon I actually we created a zoom meeting with a bunch of girlfriends and one of them had her screen showing an online workout and we all did the workout together. It was so fun. We said, so it’s not social. We are physically distant from each other. But we’re still being physical and we’re definitely being social.
OA: Yeah, I love that. The yoga studio that I go to, they sent out a notice that they’re going to be doing virtual classes now too. So such a great idea. And it actually goes into stress management too. So I find Yoga is so great for helping to wind down and I find that my sleep metrics are always a little bit better on the evenings that I do some form of yoga in the evening. It helps to power down and lower stress, but also you know, meditation or breathing exercises can help manage trust, too. Especially at a time like this, where you want to be boosting your immune system and kind of getting your cortisol levels down as possible, because there’s just an onslaught of media news and, and, you know, having everyone in the house, so it can be a very anxious time, especially right now.
AW: So that’s a great point about the cortisol. You know, I was talking to a friend of mine, who’s in great shape talking about high interval training, she’s intense woman anyway, and she’s, and she said, You know, I have this craving to do yoga. So her body was probably craving just to breathe deeply.
OA: Exactly. And it’s a great point to that you bring up because, you know, cardio training is great from an exercise standpoint, but sometimes when you do vigorous exercise, it can kind of get your body a little bit, you know, more worked up. And if you’re already on high alert, it can be a little bit much. So it’s important to kind of have that balance, too. So that’s a great point, adding yoga into your routine as well.
AW: I think tomorrow I’m going to do yoga. So before we move on To the five rapid fire questions, I want to get a little bit personal. If you don’t mind, I’m guessing that the listeners would be curious to know how old you are.
OA: Before we get into that, can I add another immune booster, please?
OA: Bonus. So another great one is cold showers and intermittent fasting. So, cold showers are probably an unpopular one, but it’s so worth that and I find that your body gets so used to it so quickly and it’s a great immune booster. You know, even for me, if I take a long break from doing cold showers, I’m just like, I don’t want to do this at all. Everything every cell in my body just doesn’t want to go through it. So with cold showers, a great biohacking tip is trying to do the cold shower right after a workout, your body’s really worked up and kind of heat it up your blood flows going. So it can be a little bit more tolerable to do the cold shower at that point.
And also, you know, you don’t have to go to the maximum cold temperature right away you can build up Your tolerance day by day. And so start with a cold shower not super cool, but you know cold where it’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable and start with your feet. So this is this is a common misconception that you have to just like go into the shower and let the water hit you know, when the cold water hits your head first your body kind of goes into this hyperventilation mode of like something’s not right, you know, my head is called This is uncomfortable, and it kind of freaks out. But if you start with your feet and kind of body part by body part, work your way up and breathe through it. So take a breath in, and then as you breathe out, move up the water, but a lot more tolerable, just helps your body not freak out
AW: What is it about the cold water that helps our immune system though.
OA: So one of the things that it does is first of all boosts the immune system but also increases or activates fat adipose tissue stores. And so it causes our bodies to kind of up it’s homeostasis. So it’s it’s thermogenesis. It’s balancing and managing fluctuations in your body. I’m probably butchering the explanation here. Essentially one of the one of the things with cold showers too is when you get out of the shower, allow your body to warm up on its own, because it really activates your body’s natural system of recalibrating if you will. And so that’s that’s one of the things but other than that, yeah, so with intermittent fasting, what’s happening there is you’re activating autophagy.
So cellular autophagy is a process where your cells are clearing out any cellular waste, any damaged cells, damaged proteins out of your body. And as they mentioned, your body’s constantly in a state of growth or repair. So if you finish eating three hours before bedtime, you’re essentially starting your intermittent fast until the next morning. And so you’re not only basing the recovery while you’re sleeping, but when you’re intermittent fasting, which essentially means you’re limited Your food intake into about like a 10 hour window or so or some people do less. But for women especially, I would stop at around 10 hours when you’re eating wouldn’t decrease that window any less.
AW: I’ve heard eight to 10. you’re recommending 10.
OA: Yeah, for women, I would say just based on the research that I’ve seen for men, it actually is seems that fasting for longer in a day has more benefits for women long term, and not for all women. Of course, it’s so personal. But that’s essentially what aging is, is that accumulation of damage in your body, that time then becomes a pathology. And it’s much easier to prevent damage than to try to reverse damage that’s already happened.
AW: That’s true. You’re reminding me of some research that I’ve read. And I think I saw a TED talk about this. One of the main predictors of longevity is actually your social circle, right. In some of the Blue Zones on this planet where people are living for a long time, they do identified that they’re social. Do you know? Do you know about the research on that?
OA: So yeah, that’s a great point. And I think for your listeners to, that’d be really interesting to check out to looking at Blue Zones by David Buettner. He’s done a lot of research into that he has a few books out and a TED talk as well. So that’s what they found is there are certain parts of the world where people they have a higher density of people who live to 100 years and over. And so they looked into what are some of the things that they’re doing? How are they eating, you know, what is their lifestyle, like and found some commonalities and social, you know, social circles and social support was definitely a strong had a strong correlation with longevity. So I love your point about you know, getting on, on zoom on webcam with your friends, and you know, your social distancing. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut off your communication with your social circle because social support is so important to longevity.
AW: Yeah, you know, I saw someone, I kinda stole that idea last night it was on Twitter and someone posted hashtag social distancing is not what we need. We need hashtag physical distancing. Yeah, that’s true. And then people were Oh, no, you’re being it’s just semantics. I’m like, no. I think the point is that we need to maintain proactively maintain our social relationships, especially nowadays when we’re cut off from people physically.
OA: Absolutely. Yeah. Mental health is so important. Yeah.
AW: Okay, so let’s get into the personal stuff then.
OA: All right.
AW: You’ve deflected the age question now. Y’all noticed.
OA: I came up with two more! haha.
AW: So you’re not going to tell us how old you are?
OA: Oh, no, yeah, I’m happy to share I’m 28 years old. And that is my chronological age. But my biological age which I just got tested, it’s called DNA age. If anyone is interested in testing there’s there are a few different test kits out but that’s the one that I did: MyDNAge. You showed us 24 years old. So it is amazing to see that I’m essentially, you know, four years younger biologically, I was it was so scary opening up the results. Report in my inbox, I kind of stopped there like, boy, when I click this button, reveal it or not, because you really don’t know how it’s what it’s gonna turn out to be. And so I was I was curious to see what it was I’m happy with the result. But now my next goal is can I get that down to 20?
AW: Amazing. Well, congratulations. But you know, I’m not surprised because you’re implementing research-based hacks, right? It’s not like you’re doing stuff that’s flaky or whatever, you’re actually reading the research. And you. You mentioned tracking sleep metrics. And when I met you in person you were telling me about, you were said you were I think you said you were doing the keto diet and every month you were doing your blood testing. So can you share a little bit with us about some of the things that you’ve done that you think of made a difference in what you’re measuring.
OA: Yeah, so with the keto diet, I’m, I can’t share all the results yet because I’m still doing this four month experiment. But yeah, so I started the keto diet. almost four months ago, I committed four months away because it takes your body about 16 weeks to become fully fat adapted. so committed to four months, I did all my biomarker testing. So my blood labs, I did my hormone panel, I did this biological age as well, before I started the keto diet.
My goal with the keto diet is to improve my insulin sensitivity and improve my glucose metabolism as well. So we’ll see what the results show but yeah, to your point every month, I’m also doing a prolonged fast and while I’m doing the prolonged fast and measuring my both my ketones and my blood glucose levels, with a monitor and mapping those curves, so it’ll be interesting to see in month to month how those curves change.
AW: So I have two questions related to that. One is, are you sharing the results of this publicly? Or are you blogging about it on your website?
OA: We’ll see what results show but yes, that is my that is the intent is to share that out. It’s information and it’s spreading awareness and different things that I’m trying that might be useful information for someone else. So I’m always happy to share on my social channels and constantly sharing whatever I’m learning, I share out that information. So I’m hoping to do the same thing with this four month experiment yet.
AW: Yeah, I can’t wait to see what your results are. I’m already following you on social media, but I’ll put the link so that the listeners can as well. And my the other part of my question is are you going to continue to do all of the testing after you’re in the maintenance phase of keto because I’ve heard a lot of people say keto works when you’re on it, but then you when you shift to the maintenance phase, and then you go off it. Sometimes you rebound back to you know your your pre diet weight or you actually gain weight. So are you gonna keep tracking?
OA: I’m, you know what I’m hoping to switch to a cyclic dive between keto and carbs. Again, if you like that one, you have to fiddle around with it and see what works for you. So I’m going to need to figure that out across the road. But I will keep testing my biomarkers. I mean, even before this diet, I was getting my full blood panels done every year, and just tracking those slight changes in my biometric data. But what the reason why I went on the ketogenic diet wasn’t for weight loss, it was really to improve the insulin sensitivity just from a hormone health standpoint. So it’ll be interesting. Yeah, my year to year to see how it fluctuates or if the improvements lost. And again, I’m happy to share that out what I learned as well along the way.
AW: Yeah, I’m excited to to track to watch your progress. You know, I was thinking what I was doing putting together some of the questions for this interview that I, I hope that we can do another podcast sometime when you know Covid-19 is ancient history and coronavirus is wiped off the face of the planet. We can get into all the details about things like sleep hygiene, and I know you’re a huge proponent of that.
I think, honestly, we could do an episode, which is what we were originally planning to do, right just sleep hygiene and affects our social life and what you know so much statistics and research on that and you have so many great biohacking tips, but we’ll save that for another episode. Is there anything before we move on to the five rapid fire questions that you want to add? And I specifically focused on, you know, this time of social distancing or physical distancing and the Covid-19 virus?
OA: I mean, I would say take care of yourself and I feel like mental health is so important too. You know, I’ve been going out on my balcony. Getting some sunshine on my face and getting that straight vitamin D from the sun. I think, you know, cutting off digital communication for a period of time during the day can be so helpful as well, because especially now that everyone’s working remotely, that’s how most of your communication is happening, right?
Like before someone was working in an office, you’d have more of those personal discussions in the hallway or someone comes by your desk. Now it’s all digital. And it can feel like a lot sometimes because you have your work emails and zoom calls and messages, slyke, WhatsApp, your personal digital channels, too, it can be a little bit overwhelming. And then you add in all the media and the news headlines that you get so carving out a little bit of time, during the week or even during the day where you just kind of disconnect and reconnect with yourself can be so helpful and it’ll improve your sleep too.
AW: Back to the sleep hygiene. I love it. I think thank you for sharing that. It’s really, really important point. I I can tell you in our household, we’re really fighting hard to not fall into that kind of easy just playing on your phone and your laptop all day. We’re trying to come up with activities and taking turns, you know, making meals and playing games and having movie nights with with no phones. It’s tough though. It really takes a lot of discipline, but it’s really important.
OA: Yeah, yeah. That’s great. I agree.
AW: Okay, let’s move on to the five rapid fire questions. Are you ready?
OA: All right.
AW: I’m not I’m not literally gonna fire something on you. Okay, first question. What are your pet peeves?
OA: This is a tough one because I feel like I try not to get too riled up by things that are out of my control. Like if someone cuts you off in traffic, it’s like Alright, well, that’s their life. I, I’d say a pet peeve is people not giving up their seat to pregnant women on the on public transit, not necessarily not necessarily health related, since that’s kind of our topic, but I see that all the time. Just kind of like, you know, just common courtesy and be polite, even if they say no, at least, you know, offer. It’s a nice gesture. But yeah, that’s, I’d say that’s a pet peeve because it kind of does rile me up.
AW: Okay, question number two, what type of learner Are you visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or some other kind of learner?
OA: I would say I’m a visual learner. Like, I’m always a person, I need to take notes. Definitely not auditory. Even with podcasts. If I listen to a podcast, it has a lot of information, I will go home and re-listen to it and take notes on it and press pause, write it down, because even if I never look at those notes, again, just the fact that I wrote it down, helps me memorize or keep it in my head. Um, so in terms of learning, I would say visual, but then in terms of communication, I was thinking, you know, like, what, how would a visual learner communicate? I’m not quite sure I would say.
AW: Well, I was I was just gonna say You just reminded me when I first met you, it was when I saw you on stage, you were speaking at a panel. It was at a conference that was focused on food. And it was hilarious because you were sitting beside a gentleman who was a farmer. He was an organic farmer. And you were talking about, I can’t remember what you’re talking about, but you were freaking him out.
OA: I was talking bio-technology.
AW: Yeah, the two of you had this great rapport. And I instantly wanted to actually go and talk to both of you. And thankfully we did. So you’re great on stage.
OA: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.
AW: Okay, question number three, introvert or extrovert?
OA: I would say social introvert. And maybe, I don’t know, you know, I’ve thought about this one quite a bit too. Because, again, I with my biohacking meetup group, I ended up starting the group and then suddenly I did 15 events in 15 months. And this was, you know, just in my free time that I was doing this as just a passion project, if you will, and I had people reaching out saying, There’s no way you’re an introvert Like friends of mine, saying, there’s no way that someone who’s an introvert just voluntarily will go up and speak in front of an audience and give these talks and you know, get all these social gatherings together.
But I feel like if I’m speaking on something I’m passionate about, it’s a little bit different. Where Yes, I’m getting a lot of my energy and I always feel like I need to recharge after events like that. I just kind of need to talk to anybody and give myself that time. But when I’m there, I’m having so much fun. I like I enjoyed so much and connecting with people at events and even when I go to just social gatherings that have nothing to do with biohacking or longevity.
I feel that when I’m there, I want to put my best energy forward. And so I want to enjoy my time there. I want to make those meaningful connections and so it almost like gets my energy up to be at those gatherings but then I do need to go home and kind of recharge and I can easily spend a full Just Home Alone doing research on different things and nerding out and I love that, you know, so I’m not sure it’s a social introvert I guess.
AW: I think that’s exactly what you are from. I mean, I’ve done a lot of research and reading on the social on the introvert and extrovert scale, and you are definitely describing someone who is an introvert, but your passion trump’s your introversion, right, so you said you feel energy when you’re on stage, but then you need to go recharge and and also your your friends are a little bit wrong, and I guess their definition of introversion, because that doesn’t mean social anxiety, right? It just means where you get your energy and you’re clearly not socially anxious. So that’s something else entirely shyness and yeah,
OA: yeah, yeah. Yeah. I was looking forward to your opinion on that because…
AW: The other thing is I ask it as a binary question. Are you an introvert Or are you an extrovert and I asked it that way to be provocative. The truth is that most of us are in the middle, right? But I think based on what you’ve told me, You are an introvert who also has this passion project where you get your energy also is from sharing information about your passion. So that’s fantastic.
OA: Amazing. Okay.
AW: Question number four – communication preference for personal conversation?
OA: Yeah. So you know what I would love to say, pick up the phone every time because nothing trumps that kind of personal back and forth communication that’s alive and in real time. But reality is everyone’s in different schedules. And everyone’s so busy. And so I definitely do schedule time to connect with close friends and say, Oh, right, can we have a phone call this week, we need to catch up, you know, and we’ll do that. But if it’s just day to day, then I find I’m usually using WhatsApp and again, because I have friends in different countries on different time zones, and so it’s just, it’s just faster to kind of send a message there and I would say Instagram too, but it’s, it’s a lot of times, you know, if someone is reaching out to ask a question, I’ll just respond to them there.
So let’s say yeah, like day to day, it’s what’s happened and Instagram, and then the other digital channels as well. Voice notes are helpful too, because then you know, you can get your thoughts out and they hear your voice and it’s a little bit more personal than just a text to Now, most communication channels offer that functionality. So I’m finding that in sending voice notes to but it takes some getting used to not not everyone’s into voice notes.
AW: Well, in the day, we used to call it just leaving a voice message right on your answering machine. Here I am highlighting the years between us, Oksana! Okay, last question. Is there a podcast or a blog or an email newsletter that you find yourself recommending the most these days?
OA: Um, I would say the one that I would recommend the most is Dr. Peter Attia’s podcast, The Drive. I love that podcast because essentially it’s like learning from a clinician. It’s just so much great information and he explains it in such easy to understand terms. I feel like anyone can really listen to it without a strong scientific background. Some episodes do get a little bit more technical, a little bit deeper, but overall, I think it’s absolutely fantastic because he’s a, he’s a physician that does focus on longevity as well and sort of health optimization overall and more on the preventative health side. So I would recommend that one and the emails that he sends out are free to send us a lot of right there.
AW: I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. There’ll be lots of things that people can reference in the show notes. Is there anything else you want to say to the listeners?
OA: I would say come out to the next biohacking events. Once this corona-situation subsides, I would say look out for the next event. And in the meantime, I’m always sharing tidbits of information, anything I’m learning about optimizing physical and mental health on my social channels. So definitely check it out. And I look forward to connecting with everyone. If you have a question for me, feel free to reach out. I love talking about this kind of stuff.
AW: That’s great. Thank you. Thank you so much, Oksana for sharing your expertise. It really was a pleasure. Thank you.
OA: Thank you so much for having me. You had such fantastic questions. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
AW: Oh, good. I can’t wait to get this out.
Dr. ANDREA’s CONCLUSION
Thanks again to Oksana Andreiuk for generously sharing her expertise and advice with us. Did you notice how she deflected the age question there? Let me tell you, Oksana is stunning and very youthful. Personally, I was curious how old she is, and I thought you might be curious too – especially given her focus on biohacking and longevity. I was impressed, but not at all surprised to learn that her biological age is 4 yrs younger than her chronological age.
Speaking of age, did you notice how Oksana described voice notes? Is it just me or did that sound a lot like voicemail? First we had answering machines, then voicemail, and now voice notes. I mean, aren’t they all the same thing? We need to hear each other’s voices, right?
OK as promised, I’m now going to summarize the main points we covered in this episode. And as I mentioned, you can access a printable summary of all this in the shownotes on the talkabouttalk.com website under the PODCAST tab. So you can listen now, and then go access the notes later.
To make it easier to follow along, I divided the learnings into Oksana’s four main categories of biohacking tips, then some bonus biohacking tips to help with our immunity.
Do you remember what Oksana said are the four main areas where we should focus?
There’s how you’re sleeping, how you’re eating, how you’re moving and how you’re managing stress.
For those of you who have been listening to Talk About Talk podcasts, you may remember the 3Es of Wellness. That was in episode #27 with master wellness coach Tosca Reno . Tosca’s 3Es of wellness are Eating clean, Exercise and Emotional well-being. Sounds similar, right?
Oksana pulls out SLEEP as the first and her primary biohacking focus. So let’s start there
BIOHACKING TIP #1 – SLEEP –
- I asked Oksana to list the benefits of sleep, and it became apparent that there are many. Sleep helps our
- Cardiovascular system
- It helps with our Metabolism and digestion
- Sleep also makes us nicer people, less irritable and improves our emotional control.
- Having a good night’s sleep makes us more likely to Exercise
- And having a good night’s sleep makes us less likely to over-Eat
- So you can see that all of these things – sleeping, nutrition, movement or exercise, mental health, they’re all interconnected.
- Oksana specifically outlined a few ways that sleep helps us communicate:
- As I just said sleep helps with emotional control (when we are sleep deprived, we may have a shorter fuse. NO kidding.)
- A good night’s sleep also helps our ability to perceive, to read others
- It also affects how others interpret us. People know innately if we are sleep deprived. People will avoid us when we are sleep deprived.
- When it comes to boosting our immunity and preventing Covid-19: according to Oksana, sleep is #1. She highlighted research that shows how
- one poor night sleep (like say a 4hr sleep) can affect our immune system by up to 70%
- And someone who sleeps only 5 hrs a night for a week? They have a 50-50% chance of catching a common cold if they are exposed to it. Whereas if we get an average of 8 hrs of sleep? The chance of catching that virus is down to about 18%.
- Those statistics are pretty compelling, aren’t they?
- One last thing about sleep. If you’ve shifted from commuting to and from work every day to now working from home, Oksana suggests using that extra time to SLEEP! That is sound advice.
BIOHACKING TIP – HOW WE’RE EATING – NUTRITION
- When it comes to NUTRITION, we need to consume less processed food and avoid sugar.
- 60-70% of our immunity stems from our “gut heath” – which is different for each person but eating more whole foods and lower glycemic index foods is a good thing.
- Oksana also advises us to not eat within 3hrs of bedtime so our bodies can focus on recovery & repair. Great biohacking.
- Under the umbrella of nutrition, Oksana highlighted that SUPPLEMENTS should be used as just that – supplements. We should get most of our nutritional needs from real But we can use supplements to boost deficiencies. And, perhaps to boost our immunity during a global pandemic. If you go to the shownotes at talkabouttalk.com under the podcast tab, you will see the full list of supplements that Oksana provided.
BIOHACKING TIP – HOW WE’RE MOVING – EXERCISE
- Oksana suggests we try HIIT training – High intensity interval training.
- It may be the most effective. It’s more efficient too.
- And while we are socially distancing, we can still do online workout videos, right?
- Related to this point of exercise and also the next point of managing stress – Oksana also encourages us to do some yoga.
BIOHACKING TIP – HOW WE’RE MANAGING STRESS
- We can wind down in the evening, and lower stress and cortisol levels with yoga.
- Meditation and breathing exercises are also proven to help us managing tress, which is critically important
- Of course we need to manage our stress level be conscious of our hours in front of screens and the type of news we’re consuming.
- And at the same time, we need to be proactively creative about how to maintain social contact. We talked about Blue zones, those 5 areas on the planet that index high on centurions, meaning where is a bigger proportion of the population lives to be at least 100. Well, according to research on these Blue Zones, strong social support is a significant correlate of longevity. In other words, hang out with your friends if you want to liv longer. Got it?
Alright – so the four biohacking tips to focus on are how we’re sleeping, how we’re eating, how we’re moving, and how we’re managing stress. Two other biohacking tips that Oksana shared specific to boosting our immunity: Cold showers and intermittent fasting.
BIOHACKING TIP – TAKE A COLD SHOWER
Apparently a COLD SHOWER is a great immune booster. Had you heard that? I had no idea.
Oksana said that cold showers activate our adipose tissue. I was curious about this, so being the nerd I am, I looked it up. I discovered that brown fat or BAT, that’s “brown adipose tissue” is activated when we shower. And related to this brown fat? There’s research showing having a cold shower can actually help us lose weight. I’m definitely trying that!
- But cold showers sound so unpleasant, right ? According to Oksana, we don’t have to jump right in. She suggests having a cold shower after a workout. And building up our tolerance day by day. Starting with our feet and working up our body. Then after the shower: Oksana advises us to warm our body up naturally – to re-calibrate naturally
BIOHACKING TIP – INTERMITTENT FASTING
INTERMITTENT FASTING: I’ve been hearing a lot about intermittent fasting lately. I had no idea that it helps with immunity though. Intermittent fasting activates cellular autophagy, which is your body’s way of clearing out damaged cells. That sounds good to me!
So I worked this out for us. Oksana said that based on the research men can limit their food consumption to 8-10 hrs and women to 10 hours. So for 10 hours that’s a 14hr fast.
She also suggested that we stop eating 3 hrs before bedtime, remember?
So here’s an example. We could have our last meal at 8pm, then go to bed at 11pm. If we sleep 8 hours and get up at 7am, we gone 11hrs. We need to wait just 3 until 10am to have breakfast. DO you think you could do that? Now that I know this intermittent fasting is helping clear out damaged cells I’m definitely going to try.
Alright that’s it! how we’re sleeping, how we’re eating, how we’re moving, how we’re managing stress, taking cold showers and intermittent fasting. Got it?
I will definitely invite Oksana back to talk with her about how sleep affects our ability to communicate effectively.
- In the meantime, I hope that you stay physically healthy in this socially, or at least physically isolating time. I encourage you to boost your immunity by incorporating these biohacking tips into your new routine. And specifically, I encourage you to look for creative ways to be social and communicate with colleagues, friends, and family. Pick up the phone and call someone. Better yet, try a video conference – facetime, skype, zoom, whatever.
Alright, that’s it. If you enjoyed this episode and you learned something, I have two asks
- Please tell your friends! You can send them an email or post this episode on social media or yes, you can tell them iRL! I would really appreciate it.
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Stay healthy. And we’ll talk soon!
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