Providing patients with biohacking information and resources can give them the tools to slow the aging process, strengthen immunity and take charge of their wellness
When you think about your patient population, there are a variety of ailments and wellness issues — everything from those coming to be healed from an injury to those who desire regular tune-ups. There are also patients who want to do everything they can to live longer and prevent the aging process as much as possible. With these, there is a lot of additional information you can give to them to keep on keeping on, essentially providing an age biohacking guide for patients.
Jason Hamed, DC, clinical director and head of the chiropractic, rehabilitation, and regenerative services at The Wellness Connection, took time to answer questions and give targeted information for these patients seeking an age biohacking guide to longevity and health. In addition to being in clinical practice for 17 years, Hamed is a lifelong athlete who has finished the NYC Marathon as well as an Ironman triathlon.
What follows is Part I of an interview with him which has been edited for length and clarity.
The longevity and wellness movement is popular — how can chiropractors help, and should DCs bring this up to their patients or wait for them to begin the conversation?
In order for the body to live longer or to last longer, it must be able to move effectively. Chiropractic is a huge asset to improving one’s longevity through improving better and more efficient joint movements.
The better aligned the spine, the better it moves. The better it moves, the less inflammatory actions that are occurring around the joints. The less inflammation, the less likelihood of degenerative processes — like arthritis — developing. Further, the chiropractic adjustment, and its benefit on spine and extremity movement, will in turn stimulate brain function. The better we move, the better our joints and neurological tissue work.
As a health care and/or thought leader in our communities, it’s vital for chiropractors to initiate this conversation specifically during the educational process of the examination and/or the report of findings. Many people come to our offices thinking that chiropractic is only good for back pain. What people are not aware of is how better alignment and movement slows down the arthritic process and creates better longevity for their joints.
Far too often I have witnessed people who neglected to take care of their spines and now are riddled with arthritis. Their ability to live life on their terms is diminished. And I believe if more people were educated on proper spinal hygiene earlier in their life, they would have the opportunity to take actions — such as chiropractic care, mobility training, and exercise — that would greatly reduce the likelihood of developing irreversible damage to their bodies.
I like to tell patients that longevity of their body revolves around three types of fitness: cellular, structural, and muscular/cardiovascular fitness. Within each of these pillars of fitness lies strategies and science to not only feel good, but also to allow their bodies to last a long time.
Once they’ve begun the conversation, what can DCs recommend to their patients about providing a biohacking guide for avoiding disease?
First is the role of spinal alignment and movement through regular chiropractic care.
Second is to evaluate their nutritional habits and ultimately strive for an anti-inflammatory based diet.
Third is to incorporate exercise — resistance and cardio training — as well as flexibility work into their week.
What are the most important actions patients can take to live longer?
“Motion is Life” is a mantra we teach our patients. Exercise is a critical aspect of health and longevity.
My views on exercise have matured over the years. I used to believe that the only type of exercise that served people — myself included — was the kind that left you bent over gasping for air and leaving a puddle of sweat. Yet through my investigation into more cutting-edge research and my own testing, I have found that lower intensity state exercise not only yields phenomenal results, but also does not overtax the nervous system. It allows the body to get positive effects of exercise without putting it into an adrenal stressed/sympathetic dominant state.
Keeping this philosophy at the core, patients should utilize submaximal effort resistance training — not going to muscular failure — and low heart rate cardiovascular training. Patients can use weights, machines, or resistance bands for their resistance training.
Brisk walks, cycling, swimming, running, or rowing are great cardiovascular exercises. Using a heart rate monitor during cardiovascular training is key to avoid allowing the heart rate to get too high during exercise. When coaching patients on this topic, I align with Dr. Phil Maffetone’s ideal heart rate zone calculation of “180 – (minus) their age.” 1
Frequency of the exercise is also important. I have seen a great deal of benefits, both personally and with patients, when exercising 4-5 times per week. This again is dependent on the type of exercise and the amount of intensity that the person is training.
In keeping with submaximal training philosophy, a person has “some left in the tank” after each session. Therefore, they have a greater ability to recover and train more frequently throughout the week. However, many people may not be willing or able to train 4-5 days per week, so I encourage these patients to start by getting 20 minutes of exercise in at least three days a week.
What about supplementation as part of age biohacking?
Supplementation may also help with longevity. However, there is not a cookie-cutter approach to this as this too must match the clinical needs of the patient as well as the patient’s goals.
With that said, if I had to establish a foundation of supplements that most patients could benefit from as well as improve longevity, they would be:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin D3
- Magnesium Glycinate
Each of those has been shown in clinical studies to demonstrate improvement in immune response, cardiovascular function, nerve and muscle function as well as improve immune system function.
- Maffetone and Laursen. Maximum Aerobic Function: Clinical Relevance, Physiological Underpinnings, and Practical Application. Frontiers in Physiology, 2020.