One of the peculiarities of keeping a personal blog is that the things you write about yourself diverge from your current state, either quickly or slowly. I feel an obligation to you, the reader, to occasionally provide an update re: how my views or habits have changed from what I’ve previously written. So without further ado …
Category: Health/Body-hacking (Page 1 of 12)
There are a few supplements I take regularly, including conservative amounts of vitamin D and fish oil (both of which help keep me free of asthma symptoms). Recently I’ve added 25-50mg of niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, similar to niacin but without the flushing side effect) a few times a week to my regimen. Here are the reasons why:
I broke the middle three metatarsals of my right foot on the evening of December 9th (that will be the last time I skateboard at night on a poorly paved road). The foot doctors initially thought I would need surgery (pins and/or plates), but after a week in a compression splint my remedy was revised to seven weeks in a cast.
That was tough (especially on my family, who had to pick up slack around the house), but now the cast is off and I’m walking around with a velcro boot/splint while the healing completes. X-rays show much improvement and my podiatrist seems pleased with the rate of healing. There’s still some pain and swelling, and I’m out of shape and will probably need some chiropractic adjustments down the road, but I’m thinking and hoping I’m over the worst of it.
I’ve been consuming more of the following foods and supplements in an attempt to accelerate my bone healing. I have no idea if it’s helping or not, but I figure it can’t hurt to supply an abundance of the necessary building blocks. The list, for what it’s worth:
Kefir: good source of calcium and phosphorus, and most brands provide the additional benefits of l. rhamnosus, the incredible GABA-enhancing friendly bacteria. Great for mood and resilience when I need it most. I’ve been eating more of other calcium-rich foods as well: cheese, yogurt, canned salmon and sardines (with bones), broccoli, and almonds.
Oats: high in silica, which enhances bone and connective tissue health. I’ve also been taking a horsetail supplement for additional organic silica. Some nuts (brazil, almonds, walnuts) also contain silica.
Fat soluble vitamins: I’ve increased both my vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 intake from supplements to increase calcium absorption and get that calcium into my bones. I’ve also reduced my vitamin A intake, as there is some evidence that excessive vitamin A intake can increase risk of fracture.
Citrus: I’ve been craving citrus and eating a lot of it. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production (a component of bone), so that’s probably a good thing.
Magnesium and zinc: I take supplemental magnesium as part of my asthma protocol, so I assume I’m getting enough. I’ve increased my zinc intake to support the healing process (from both food–mostly oysters–and supplements).
Bone broth: I’ve had some bone broth lately. More probably would have been better, but when it comes down to it I don’t like the taste of most of the store-bought stuff. On the other hand I love the broth we make at home from chicken bones and vegetable scraps. We usually add some white wine vinegar to help leech the minerals out of the bones into the broth (and to improve the taste).
Avoiding potential antinutrients: Ideally I would have quit drinking caffeine and alcohol, as both can reduce calcium absorption and/or slow down healing. But I kept drinking coffee and red wine in moderation (both for health benefits and also to not feel like I was depriving myself–life has been hard enough with reduced mobility). I’ve been just OK about avoiding sugar–I was strict during January but I’ve indulged in ice-cream a few times, and I eat dark chocolate pretty much every day. I’ve eaten fewer beans due to phytates reducing calcium absorption. I don’t drink any cola, so I’m not worried about excess phosphorus. I’ve also reduced my turmeric intake–it’s a great healthful spice, but in large doses it’s as powerful as over-the-counter NSAIDs and I don’t want to inhibit my inflammatory response.
I’ve still got some healing to do, so feel free to chime in with your nutritional suggestions below!
Just a quick post here, a reminder to eat your cruciferous vegetables. Dr. Rhonda Patrick presents convincing evidence (in the video below) that eating at least three servings a week significantly reduces risk of of death from cancer and heart disease.
I mentioned cruciferous vegetables in this cancer prevention post, but watching Ms. Patrick’s video convinced me to bump them higher in the list and add a bunch of these veggies to the perma-shopping-list in Evernote.
Apparently eating cruciferous vegetables raw or lightly cooked is important in order to obtain the phytochemical benefits; excessive heat destroys sulforaphane and other health-promoting chemicals. Broccoli sprouts are the champs in terms of sulforaphane, but there is strong evidence for the health benefits of consuming the more palatable members of this vegetable family as well. That’s good, because I’m not going to grow or eat broccoli sprouts. Nor am I going to put anything with leaves in a blender. IMO one should not drink leaves, even if they bestow immortality. But I’m more than willing to eat one of more veggies from the following list everyday:
Back in 2014 I reviewed the diet aspect of the DNAfit genetic analysis service. Recently DNAfit contacted me again to give them some feedback and potentially review the latest iteration of their services, and this time offered me the full package (diet and fitness recommendations, and a one-on-one consult with an expert to interpret my results).
Two-and-a-half years ago I received an email from a young man named Rob who was developing a hair regrowth technique based on intensive, long-term scalp massage. He had read my post Modulating Testosterone Levels (For Men) and had some thoughts about DHT and hair loss. Rob agreed that male hair loss resulted from DHT shrinking/inactivating hair follicles, but he disagreed that hair loss had anything to do with circulating levels of DHT. It was the accumulation of DHT in the follicle due to reduced blood supply and calcification of the scalp that caused the problem.
This theory matched my intuitive observations. My own hair loss, starting in my early thirties, hadn’t coincided with raging male hormones, but rather with an unhealthy period of my life that included too much alcohol, many late nights, a high carbohydrate diet, significant weight/fat gain, and most likely lower levels of testosterone and DHT. Just an n=1 observation, but the idea of a direct correspondence between hair loss and circulating DHT left something to be explained. I was intrigued by Rob’s idea.