Darn it, Dave Asprey.
Your new book Head Strong just cost me $440.31.
Sure, I folded over a crap ton of pages that describe cheap, free and easy ways for shutting down neural inflammation, increasing mitochondrial efficiency and density, and increasing the overall energy of my brain and nervous system.
But I also stumbled upon a whole host of biohacks that I surprisingly haven't yet tried or even heard of – biohacks that sent me scrambling over to Amazon lastnight (see screenshot of my shopping cart above) to order up new ways to enhance my brain and body. There were in fact seven (count 'em below) unique biohacking discoveries from near and afar that I wouldn't have found had I not decided to defy my suspicions that your new book would be a giant sales brochure for mold-free coffee and to instead crack open the pages and take a deep dive into cranial enhancement.
So without further ado Dave, here is why my children are going to be forced to eat rice and beans this month, possibly drenched in MCT oil and hot buttered coffee.
1 – Wearable Sound Vibration System
On page 197, you note, my dear Dave that…
…”Perhaps the vibration from sound helps to structure the water in our cells. I’m not sure, but I do have a sound therapy system installed in my infrared sauna. It has “bass shaker” sound transducers mounted to the seats, so when you play sound therapy tracks, you feel it in your bones. You can get these for home theater use for a couple hundred dollars, but the best option is to use a SubPac device, which transfers sound waves directly to your body, on the back of your desk chair or in a wearable vest…”
Well, I'm certainly into killing two birds with one stone, especially when it seems as though one could even use something like this as a weighted vest for, say, pushups or squats. So I mozied on over to Amazon to see how easy it is to grab a sound emitting vest and behold: the SubPac M2 Wearable Physical Sound System.
$299.00. Damage done.
2 – Blue Light Blocking TV Box
On page 236, part of a chapter that delves into everything from LED to flouroscent to infrared light and beyond, I learned to:
“Manage your TV, too. Go into your television’s settings and dim the monitor’s brightness and reduce the blue tone. But because you want more brightness during the day and less at night, you may have to tweak it regularly. The easier (but not that cheap) solution is to get a fantastic HDMI box from Drift TV that permanently plugs into the HDMI input on your TV. It works by slowly removing blue spectrum light from your TV screen about an hour before your bedtime using an on-screen menu, and it restores normal color after your wake-up time.”
Now granted, I don't watch TV all that much, but if I'm going to optimize every nook and cranny of my home, I want to do it right. Enter the driftTV Blue Light Blocking Box for $199.95, which promises to allow me to “enjoy TV without the harmful effects of blue light”.
Done, but this thing better not make the movie Avatar turn into an old-school black-and-white film.
3 – Methylene Blue Nootropic
Geez. More blue. First I'm supposed to block the stuff, and now I'm supposed to eat it.
OK, I'm listening.
“Before its use as a smart drug in antiaging circles, the chemical methylene blue was used as a dye during diagnostic tests. Scientists found that the blue dye increased oxygen flow to different parts of the body, particularly the brain. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and acts as an antioxidant in the brain. It also improves the efficiency of your mitochondria by carrying more electrons into the electron transport chain and increasing your mitochondria’s oxygen consumption. Initial studies on methylene blue as a smart drug are promising, and it is now available in tablet form or via IV.
A 2007 study showed that it can increase a cell’s life span. In 2011, another study showed that it can delay the effects of dementia after it has been diagnosed. This is significant because most existing Alzheimer’s treatments can only prevent the disease before it has been diagnosed. Animal studies also show that methylene blue is a powerful nootropic. Rats that were treated with methylene blue showed improvements in cognition and memory retention.13 So did humans in another study, where methylene blue was shown to help short-term memory.
Methylene blue definitely helps mitochondrial respiration, and you can feel the difference if you try it. And if something is inhibiting your mitochondria, methylene blue can trap leaking electrons and keep your metabolism going. The problem is that as doses get higher, methylene blue becomes a pro-oxidant and can do the opposite of what you’d expect—cause oxidative stress. Larger doses may also harm your gut bacteria, and if you have high blood pressure, it’s not a good idea to try this one. It’s also really harmful for babies. After the first study came out in 2007, I started experimenting with methylene blue, with mixed results. The biggest concern is getting good-quality methylene blue, given that most of what’s on the market is chemical grade or used to keep fish tanks clean. I found pharmaceutical-grade methylene blue and kept the dose low.
The safe range is 1–4 mg per kg of body weight. At this point, if you’re a super athlete and methylene blue is allowed in your sport, it’s worth experimenting with. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome or another mitochondrial disorder that is hurting your quality of life, it’s worth experimenting with.”
Good news: I hunted down a bottle of pharmaceutical grade Methylene Blue Stained Dye Nootropic. If I poop blue, I'm blaming you Dave.
4 – The Tomatis Method
At first, I thought this was a fancy Italian tomato cooking technique passed down from your Sicilian ancestors Dave, but it promises to be far more interesting than that.
From page 288:
“Whenever I was in a noisy environment, I got really tired and was less able to focus. I went through a special ear training called auditory integration training (AIT) to fix that. This type of training is not well known, but it is very effective for improving your hearing and your brain energy if sound processing makes you tired. For this training, I went to my audiologist’s office, where she tested each of my ears to see how good they were at hearing all frequencies. It turned out that I was able to hear both very high and very low frequencies, but I had some hearing gaps in the middle. This was something I was unaware of. The gaps weren’t big enough to prevent me from passing any standard hearing test with flying colors, but they left me tired and foggy when my brain struggled to process gaps in information that I simply couldn’t hear.
You can think of this as a road with potholes. Is a road with a few potholes still paved? Yes. Can you drive over it without much of a problem? Sure. But it’s still stressful to drive over those potholes day after day. And the AIT found the potholes in my hearing. First, I had to listen to music that consisted of only potholes. I was listening to all of the things my brain couldn’t process. And initially it sounded awful because my brain was working very hard to try to fill in those potholes. Thanks to the brain’s ability to grow and change, little by little my brain filled in those gaps and the potholes were smoothed out. Now I don’t get abnormally tired in noisy environments because my brain isn’t struggling to process certain frequencies and sucking up energy that I’d rather use to do something meaningful.
This is not really a mitochondrial hack—it’s just a way of using less energy than you normally would so you can use that extra energy to kick more ass. But it deserves your attention if you care about your brain function as much as I do, and you’ll grow neurons faster during the training if you use the other techniques in this book.
At your audiologist’s office, AIT will cost you about $500, but there are cheaper versions that you can try at home. The Tomatis Method uses specifically designed sound tracks that are like weight lifting for your ears—and your brain. They go very quickly from high to low frequencies, forcing your ears to listen and your brain to work hard to process a great deal of information efficiently. There are also apps you can download that use a similar method of training. Fair warning: this training is not fun or relaxing. It is training in the true sense, meaning it’s hard work, but it does make you stronger. I highly recommend using one of these training programs after completing the Head Strong program. First, it’s important to use the two-week program to turn up your energy production and get rid of the toxins that are sucking your brain energy. Once you complete the two-week program and get a sense of how capable you are as a human being when your energy systems are running efficiently, it’s a good time to use some of that extra energy to get even more Head Strong with auditory training.”
Admittedly, I didn't yet purchase full access to the complete program at The Tomatis Method website, but instead decided to learn a bit more about audio and aural enhancement by reading the related book Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Our Lives. Stay tuned for a podcast and update on what I learned from this book.
It's no secret that modern lighting equates to a complete suckfest for your biology. I even talk about that myself in this podcast.
Hence the recommendation on page 234 to…
“Go through your house and cover all of the blue, white, and green LEDs you can find (red are okay). These might be on air-conditioning units, televisions, USB chargers, and other electronic devices. You can cover the lights with old-fashioned electrical tape, which completely blocks the LED but doesn’t look so nice. Or you can use transparent TrueDark™ dots that are designed for this exact purpose. They block the harmful frequencies but still let you see the LED status. Biohacked (biohacked.com) makes these pre-cut dots, which look much more natural and unobtrusive than black tape. Plus, you can still see whether the LED is turned on (it’s just a lot dimmer and a different color).”
Dave, you'd be proud of me. Since I'm such an overachiever, I snagged the LED covers that block 100% of the light. I fancy these might be a good addition to my travel bag for when I wander into one of those hotel rooms that looks like a Las Vegas casino with lights blinking from the alarm clock, TV, router, fancy bedside iPad thing and beyond: LightDims Light Dimming LED Covers.
$7.99. There. That wasn't all that painful.
More light blocking madness? You bet.
From page 238, which teaches one how to look and feel like a rock star…
“You have a choice about what kind of glasses to wear to complete your rock star look. There are cheap amber safety glasses available online that help with blue light, but they don’t cover all of the spectrums that affect your sleep rhythms. The gold standard—and what I use—is a type of patented glasses with a lens filter that blocks every single one of the light frequencies documented to impact sleep rhythms. The glasses are called TrueDark™ and are from biohacked.com, the same company that makes TrueDark™ dots to cover junk light LEDs.
You can still see when you’re wearing these glasses, but your biology believes you’re sitting in the dark. I wrote more than 90 percent of this book at night when my kids were asleep, and I was wearing TrueDark glasses the entire time. Glasses that help your brain think it’s dark will help your brain make more melatonin, which will improve your sleep. When you get more quality sleep, you’ll increase your rate of neurogenesis, and you’ll reduce eye damage from blue light. It’s worth looking a little goofy to grow a bigger brain and wake up with more energy.”
Alas, Dave. You tease. At the time of this writing, all I was able to find was this Biohacked trademark for these mysterious TrueDark™ glasses. Perhaps that's my punishment for getting an advance copy of the book to read. Update: found 'em – click here to check them out.
So, while I'm indeed intrigued, I will for now, continue to sport by day my own pair of custom Irlen glasses with built-in amber lenses, along with a pair of fashionable Swannies by night so I don't look like a complete creeper at evening parties and social events.
7 – Mitochondrial Meditation
Transcendental Meditation. Mindfulness Meditation. Forest Meditation. Slap any word before the word “Meditation” and my ears perk up.
And so, Dave, when you described mitochondrial meditation, I was actually quite intrigued…
“I have been meditating for years, and in many different ways (including with lots of sensors glued to my head), but I wanted the Head Strong meditation to specifically benefit your mitochondria. So I sought out a five-thousand-year-old Chinese energetic medicine practice used to protect China’s emperors. It translates to New Life Energy, and Dr. Barry Morguelan is one of twelve remaining grandmasters of this form of training in the world, as well as a highly respected UCLA surgeon. He spent years at the top of a mountain in China while he was growing his Western medicine practice, studying and doing the kind of training where you sit with your shirt off and learn to melt snow around you with your body heat. Talk about mitochondrial function!
Barry is one of the most powerful energy medicine workers I have ever met; he has helped me in many tangible ways, he has treated the presidents of multiple countries, and he flies in for Tony Robbins’s big events to help keep Tony’s impressive energy at its peak. I could not imagine a more qualified person to design this meditation for you. The entire practice of New Life Energy is built around increasing and controlling the mitochondria, allowing them to create more energy and to direct it with more power. This is a core meditation from the practice, one Dr. Barry selected specifically for mitochondrial function.
There are no clinical studies of this specific form, but I’m happy to go with five thousand years of observation from the creators of this school of energy medicine. And if I’m wrong, it’s still an amazing meditation! A meditation like this is best experienced with headphones, and there’s a recording with Dr. Barry available for free at ***URL KEPT SECRET***. Here is the written version, but you owe it to yourself to try the audio version…”
Ha! You see what I did there, Dave? I kept the fancy, secret meditation audio download URL you give out on page 250 a complete secret. So anybody else reading this has to actually buy your new book to get their hands on what you describe in the text.
But hey, at least this last tip is 100% free.
Well Dave. That adds up to, I'm afraid, a total of $440.31.
I'll gladly take any Paypal donations you want to send my way to cover my dizzying expenses on the newfound biohacks above. Or perhaps I'll just consider this to be an investment in better living through science and move on, ignoring the funny glances I get as I waltz down the street sporting a sound-emitting vibration vest, bright blue stains on my lips, and funky glasses that serve as the equivalent of a chastity belt for my precious retinas.
Either way, thanks for the cool book. I think.
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dave or me about the new book Head Strong or anything else mentioned above? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!
Also published on Medium.