Patients can benefit from a number of biohacking secrets including optimizing diet, sleep, attention to hormones, monitoring cardiovascular health and more
Biohacking puts you at the forefront of rethinking how we approach body image, self-care, healthy behaviors, social and emotional wellness, and longevity in areas such as genetics, lifestyle, physical span and brain health. Biohacking is a current approach to optimizing diet, sleep, performance, hormones, cardiovascular health, etc., by applying recent scientific discoveries and advanced technologies along with ancient methods to help people reach their full potential.
As a chiropractor I like calling what I do “biohacking” because I’ve always led with preventative wellness development. As part of my sports injury, acute and chronic pain practice, I have a full-time weight-management person in my office. Personalized treatment programs with an emphasis on self-care, based on assessments, new science and technologies and biohacking secrets help keep my patients at the forefront of optimal brain and body performance.
Focusing on what patients can do
Excess fat, especially around the waist and deep within the abdomen around and inside organs, is commonly associated with metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
There are many non-diet factors and approaches to a healthy body fat composition, like physical activity, and that body fat depends on genes, gender, age, bone structure, daily activity and lifestyle. Biohacking focuses on what you can do.
Where to start with patient assessment
I start by measuring the patient’s body composition with a device that only takes a few minutes to use. Important numbers are the total body fat percentage and how much that weighs in actual pounds, lean muscle mass percentage and how much that actually weighs in pounds, hydration levels, phase angle, and calories burned per day.
The best strategy for losing abdominal fat is to limit the number of calories consumed and to burn calories by exercising on a regular basis. I have done it this way for more than 30 years. These particular calorie-limiting biohacking secrets are no secrets.
Fat loss for health and longevity
Fat is distributed all over the body. If patients have an excess of even 5-10% body fat, I know helping them lose that fat will achieve one of the most powerful hacks for health and longevity. Some people carry more fat around the chest or the mid-section (apple shape) while some have fat around the belly and the thigh area (pear-shaped body). Knowing where the fat is concentrated is important.
You can at least measure the waist-to-hip circumference and compare it against the hip circumference. If the waist circumference is higher than the hip circumference, then you have an apple-shaped body. On the contrary, if you have a smaller waist circumference than hip circumference, then you are pear-shaped. Fat in itself is not a bad thing, but it is important to get rid of excess fat to prevent the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
When is a patient at risk?
If a woman between the ages of 20-40 has a body-fat percentage of 21-33%, she is considered to be healthy by government standards. I think 20-25% is ideal for women. Be certain that anything greater than 39% becomes a cause of concern. However, for women aged 41-60 it differs. In this case healthy body-fat percentage is considered to be between 25-35%. A percentage greater than 40% increases the risk of obesity by a huge margin.
Similarly, a man between the ages of 20-40 should aim for 8-19% body fat, which is considered healthy. My first goal for my patients is 15-20% — any margin greater than 25% is very risky health-wise. For men aged 41-60, ideal body-fat percentage is considered to be between 11-22%, whereas body-fat percentage greater than 24% is considered to be obese.
Biohacking secrets: turning back the body clock
The hack I like to use for patients is to pick a body-fat percentage goal that is about 10-20 years younger than their current age and target that goal for life using biohacking lifestyle changes including diet, metabolism (eating metabolism-boosting foods), temperature changes, working out, sleep, avoiding being sedentary, etc. Keep in mind that body fat below 14% for women and 8% for men may have health-related risks too.
Among biohacking secrets, our full-time weight management coach in the office uses a ketogenic program where consumed fats and carbs are reduced and about half the person’s weight in grams of protein is consumed daily. Some patients may need additional potassium, omega-3, calcium, magnesium and a good multi-vitamin during the weight-loss phase.
We are biohacking results in aesthetics, with the understanding that spot-reducing is just not possible. However, cellulite that is fat deposited beneath the skin can be improved. Cellulite is not caused by either toxins or impurities. Ninety percent of women and about 10% of men can attribute cellulite to a genetic predisposition.
Not among biohacking secrets: calories in vs. calories out
We let our patients know that eating fat does not make you a fat person — consuming more calories than you expend does. Aging is inevitable, and as we age we tend to have more fat, especially around the midsection. However, it is not inevitable. Getting the right amount and type of exercise, hormone optimization, paying attention to sleep hygiene, digestive health, and consuming fewer calories is the hack for fat loss.
JEFFREY TUCKER, DC, is the current president of the ACA Rehab Council. He practices in Los Angeles, Calif., and can be reached at DrJeffreyTucker.com.