Thursday, June 29, 2017

Geoffrey Woo - biohacking to live a healthier, more productive, longer life

LLAMA podcast #19:  Human enhancement is the new mantra in Silicon Valley. The tech world, hitherto known for phones, computers, games and personal devices, has embraced biology as its as its new frontier for self-improvement. If proof were needed, a burgeoning nootropics company, Nootrobox, has just changed its name to HVMN (pronounced "human") to better describe its mission to quantify, manipulate, and optimize the human system.

"We fundamentally believe that humans will be the next platform of innovation," says Geoffrey Woo

HVMN co-founder and CEO. A biohacker and entrepreneur, Woo sees the body as a machine, with inputs and outputs, that can be manipulated to improve its performance. The evolving science behind nootropics, which are legal compounds designed to improve cognitive function, is a growing field. Woo, a Stanford-trained computer scientist, with no formal training in medicine or physiology, adopts an evangelical approach to self-experimentation for self-improvement. When we met in San Francisco recently, he was wearing a continuous glucose monitor to get a minute by minute read-out of his blood sugar levels.

"I think everyone will be fasting in the next couple of years"

Woo, who works closely with doctors and like-minded "biohackers," has also embraced intermittent fasting, to optimize the performance of his body. Inspired by scientific data that suggests fasting can promote good health and longevity, he takes part in a weekly 36-hour fast, along with almost every other employee at his company.

"It really became like a cultural thing where it was a fun to do it together," he explains.

The practice has evolved into a rapidly growing community, known as WeFast. Strangers around the world are linking up online to share fasting experiences and take park in post-fast BREAKfasts, to celebrate their adherence to the art of not eating. Woo's ultimate goal is to optimize the "living experience" and delay death for as long as possible.

"It's sad to see people lose function. We've all had experience with grandparents and you see them deteriorate over time - I think it's a fact of life that we've gotten used to."

Woo refuses to accept the traditionally accepted "trajectory of becoming weaker and dying". I share his enthusiasm for pushing the boundaries of science and human potential, although there is much research still to be done to test whether fasting enhances the human body over the long term. Nootropics are also in their infancy and continuing studies are needed to analyze their efficacy and long term safety.

I am a willing self-experimenter too. The data looks promising. Woo is correct - going hungry can be fun and BREAKfasts are even better.

No one should adopt a fasting regime without first consulting their doctor. It can be dangerous and could kill.

Listen to Geoffrey Woo at the LLAMA website 
Subscribe via iTunes
Subscribe to the LLAMA podcast's weekly newsletter

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Victoria Atkin on becoming Extinct

It is always fun to catch up wth a fellow Brit who is doing great things in La La Land. Victoria Atkin is a best known in the UK for playing Jason Costello, the character in Hollyoaks with Gender Identity Disorder. It was her first television role. Now, 5 years later, Victoria has a burgeoning career in Hollywood. She starred as Evie Frye in the video game Assassin's Creed Syndicate and is just about to appear in the new sci-fi show EXTINCT. I spoke to Victoria with 5 Live's Rhod Sharp on Up All Night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

James Maskell - creating a community with a life expectancy of 100

LLAMA podcast #18: James Maskell is a writer, public speaker, entrepreneur and advocate for a new paradigm in healthcare. The author of The Evolution of Medicine, James is the founder of the Functional Forum, an integrative medicine conference that curates discussions with leading medical practitioners around the world. Next week, James will co-host the launch of an ambitious project to make Guernsey the first community in the world to achieve a life expectancy of 100. Named 'Journey to 100,' the goal is to radically improve the health and longevity of people living on the island through a greater emphasis on preventative medicine, purpose in life and a proactive approach to wellbeing.

Listen to James Maskell at the LLAMA website 
Subscribe via iTunes
Subscribe to the LLAMA podcast's weekly newsletter

Monday, June 5, 2017

LLAMA podcast #16: Sue Albert - defying age and physical challenges to become a competitive weightlifter

On this week's episode of LLAMA podcast we hear about Sue Albert's remarkable journey to health, strength and longevity at Results Fitness. When she retired from a career in nursing she was stressed, physically challenged and hypertensive. Sue (71) had difficulty walking and knew dramatic steps were need if she was enjoy her retirement. Now, she is a competitive weightlifter competing on the world stage.

Listen to Sue Albert here
Subscribe to the LLAMA podcast's weekly (email) newsletter here

Saturday, June 3, 2017

LLAMA podcast #15: David Gems

The biological mechanisms at work during the aging process have long since intrigued and baffled scientists. Indeed, the very definition of aging continues to be the subject of much debate. The relationship between growing old and chronic disease is pivotal to the understanding of human longevity and the focus of many clinical studies. 

Dr. David Gems is a professor of biogerontology at the Institute of Healthy Aging, University College London. A leading voice in the quest to unravel the mysteries of aging, he works with tiny worms, called nematodes, to try to shed some light on the process. In this in-depth interview, David reveals why his theories about aging have shifted over the years. He argues that there in no central “underlying aging process” caused by damage or the body wearing out, as scientists once thought. The reality, he says, is “more complex and nuanced”.

Listen to David Gems here
Subscribe to the LLAMA podcast's weekly (email) newsletter here