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               What Is Nutritional Biohacking?   
            

            
               And how will it help improve your physique, performance and biological foundation   
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


          This Blog At A Glance…    The term ‘Biohacking’ is a broad term that can refer to many things these days. The first mention of the term was used back in 1988 in an article in the Washington post. This article actually discussed how biotechnology could be bought to the masses by ‘fiddling with the genetic code of a living organism’    Biohacking as it applies to your nutrition falls into the ‘Nutrigenomics’ category and involves everything you eat and drink which has a positive effect on how you think, how well you sleep, how much energy you have, how quickly you age, how you look, how you feel and how you perform.    The bottom line with nutritional biohacking is that it really just builds on the premise that our bodies are constantly changing, evolving and improving, and using what we have discovered through biohacking and nutrigenomics helps us do this better.    The right supplements, taken at the right time can be the cornerstone of the most dramatic of nutritional Biohacking transformations. They should never be used as a complete substitute for other more powerful ‘hacks’ but as the name would suggest, they should be used to ‘supplement’ them.    By using resources such as the ha’k:d website, our YouTube channel and various other social media channels available, our mission is to allow you to achieve your best transformational results through the most effective biohacking strategies, hints, tips, cheats and of course ‘hacks’.              Biohacking….a brief history    Whenever I speak to someone about Biohacking or mention in one of my conversations, podcast or videos that I am a ‘Biohacker’ I get most peoples reaction of …    “You do what?”    So, If you are new to the world of biohacking, have never heard the term before, are just slightly intrigued into how much this could be of benefit to you, or want to know if it is even a ‘thing’,  please let me explain some more….  ‘Hacking’ is everywhere today, and I am not just talking about the maleficent business of stealing other peoples personal details, identities, credit card details or breaking into someone computer and making them pay £££ to get it unlocked again.  ‘Hacking’, to give it the modern sense and understanding of the word is all about finding new, easier, more cost effective and better, clever ways of doing things.  These days this can range from getting more miles per gallon out of your car, slashing home heating bills, cutting your grocery shopping in half, getting more done in less time and of course improving your health by making changes to your daily sleep, exercise and nutrition habits.  Of course, the type of hacking we are interested in here at ha’k:d is all about this last one…. making changes to your lifestyle and nutrition in order to ‘hack’ your body’s biology to improve how it performs, grows, adapts and develops…. I give you Biohacking!!!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The term ‘Biohacking’ is actually quite a broad term that can refer to many things these days. The first mention of the term was used back in 1988 in an article in the Washington post. This article actually discussed how biotechnology could be bought to the masses by ‘fiddling with the genetic code of a living organism’  [1]   Biohacking actually falls into three main categories. These are;    Do-it-yourself Biology    Grinder Biohacking    Nutrigenomics (Nutritional biohacking)    Biohacking, as it applies to your nutrition, falls into the ‘Nutrigenomics’ category and involves everything you eat and drink which has a positive effect on how you think, how well you sleep, how much energy you have, how quickly you age, how you look, how you feel and how you perform….  Don’t worry - I won’t blow your mind or confuse you further by going into the other two right now.  Nutritional Biohacking has come a long way since this early mention and ideas, and experts such as Dave Asprey and, of course, ha’k:d are developing a simple but effective way everyone can follow a positive biohacking lifestyle which will benefit them greatly, especially with regards to their nutrition choices.  But, in reality, nutritional biohacking is nothing new and has been around, although not in name, since our early forefathers started studying the effects of herbs and nutrients on the human body.   “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. “— Hippocrates (460BC — 370BC)    At ha’k:d we try and sharing our experiences, results, what some refer to as ‘secrets’, hacks, hints or tips to help our followers manipulate their body weight, body image, fitness, physique, performance and health all through their nutritional choices.  Trusts me, Nutritional Biohacking done properly will enable you to ensure all of these things not only become more positive in your life, but also allow you to do it far more easily, more quickly and more effectively.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Why we need to ‘Biohack’ our nutrition today  Food is a huge part of our lives and of course provides all of the fuel and nutrients we need to grow, develop and survive.  If you do nothing else, you can improve the quality of your whole life by just paying more attention to what you put into your body, and of course what you leave out of your body.  Modern farming has changed dramatically over the last one hundred years, mainly to keep up with consumer demand, and this has had a massive impact on the quality of the nutrients we now consume, especially with the addition of chemical fertilisers and other toxic chemical sprayed onto the crops and injected into the meat we now eat.  It isn’t just farming, mass production manufacturing has now created ‘food like substances’ which don’t even resemble what even our grandparents wouldn’t recognise as real food. All these products are packed full of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives or crammed with toxic levels of sugar, whilst all of the naturally beneficial nutrients, such as fat, are removed, with fat free everything!  It really should be no surprise that we are experiencing mass epidemics in poor health conditions, obesity, food intolerances, IBS and a rise in even premature deaths, and a lot of this can be traced back to our food and eating habits.  By being more aware of what you are eating and drinking, what’s in it and where it has come from, eliminating things like artificial ingredients and refined sugars you can go a long way to reducing and reversing any negative effects your diet may be currently having and begin to thrive.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     What results can you get by ‘Biohacking’ your nutrition?  As I have mentioned, if you learn the secrets (or should I say ‘hacks’) to Biohacking your nutrition properly you can improve your results, and get them quickly and more efficiently in many different areas such as;    Quicker and more permanent weight and fat loss    Increased muscle and strength gain    Greater, more balanced energy levels    Better athletic performance    Increased growth hormone and testosterone levels    Better endurance    Better Sleep    Clearer Skin    Improve digestion and digestive issues such as IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, etc.    Balanced hormones    Better mood and motivation    This list, of course, is not exhaustive and continues to expand the more people experiment and the more we study and understand how different foods, herbs and compounds interact with our bodies.  The bottom line with this style of biohacking though is that it really just builds on the premise that our bodies are constantly changing, evolving and improving, and using what we have discovered through biohacking and nutrigenomics helps us do this better, quicker and a little easier.  Biohacking also offers us the freedom to explore our own biology, without the pressure of having to listen to the ‘experts’, the doctors, traditional nutritionist and personal trainers. Nutritional Biohacking allows you to dig deep into the results you can get for yourself, just by becoming interested in how small changes in what you eat can make a huge difference to you.  Food, exercise, sleep and supplementation can change your body’s function and nutrigenomics involves learning how these interactions work for the best for you.  No matter how deep you decide to explore into this nutritional rabbit hole, everybody can get something from this form of biohacking. It doesn’t have to be complicated, restrictive, expensive or invasive.  It’s more just about being a little smarter with our nutrition and fuelling our bodies in creative new ways, and most of all taking more responsibility for our own biological development.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How to begin your nutritional biohacking journey.  The good news is, and what makes nutritional biohacking so popular, is that you don’t need to employ the services of a dodgy chemist, mad scientist or techno-nerd who who’d love nothing more than adding implants into your brain or running crazy experiments on your mind and body to get these positive results.  In reality, it really isn’t that glamorous, instead it means learning and using various shortcuts or ‘hacks’ with what you eat, drink and supplement with to see how it can change and improve your physique, your performance and overall biological foundation (otherwise known as your health).  As complicated, technical and futuristic as it may sound, gadgets and technology are also not necessary to make the most out of your nutritional Biohacking experience. On the contrary, I find that the best way is to actually strip back what you are currently doing to its very basic level and question everything by always asking yourself ‘why’.  By looking at what you are eating and drinking and asking yourself the simple question of ‘why am I doing this’? and ‘Why does this effect my body, mood, energy levels, mind, digestion, etc. etc. in this way’? you can then begin to make even the smallest, but necessary changes to get the specific, or overall, improvements you are after, such as fat loss or muscle growth.  You should also be asking yourself if there is a better, quicker or easier way to achieve what you want and what are the pros and cons of adopting this new way?  This can cover everything from using caffeine to your advantage, adding more fat to your diet or adopting an intermittent fasting style of eating for faster fat loss and a whole host of improved health benefits.  The basic rule is;   “If it is working for you then stick with it….If it isn’t then ditch it and find a better way’”   ..and yes, this is despite what anyone else will tell you that you should be doing!  Move onto the next area you want to improve and do the same. Do your research from sources you can trust and adopt a new nutritional lifestyle little by little and you will be sure to make the positive differences you want and need - quicker, better and more effectively.  Of course, this can be time consuming and a bit of a minefield when first starting out, knowing where to begin for the best.  This is where nutritional Biohackers and coaches like me can help and advise you - to get you on the right path to Biohacking greatness and the best, easiest, most effective results you may have ever achieved, all through the benefit of our experience and already tried and trusted ways.  By using resources such as the ha’k:d website, our YouTube channel and various other social media channels available, our mission is to allow you to achieve your best transformational results through the most effective biohacking strategies, hints, tips, cheats and of course ‘hacks’.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The role of supplements for Biohacking.  Whether you love them, hate them, use them or avoid them like the plague, the right supplements, taken at the right time can be the cornerstone of the most dramatic of nutritional Biohacking transformations you will experience.  They should never be used as a complete substitute for other more powerful ‘hacks’ but as the name would suggest, they should be used to ‘supplement’ them.  Of course, as everyone will tell you, supplements are not essential to transform your physique, performance or biological foundation and health but then neither are any of the ‘hacks’ in the world of Biohacking.  If you haven’t caught up already, nutritional Biohacking is about doing the things that make your efforts to achieve improvements in your body quicker, easier, more cost effective and better, and this is where really effective supplements really come into their own.  With supplements, there comes a bit more of the ‘pros and cons’ balancing act which will determine what types and what brands of supplement you include into your Biohacking regime.  To give an example of just two very popular types of supplements which people use - Whey protein and Fat burners - they may help you achieve what they say they will, such as helping to build muscle and strip body fat, but if they do this by negatively impacting on your digestive system (which a lot of cheap Whey proteins can do) or do irreparable image to any other part of your metabolism or body’s normal way of functioning then they are actually probably best avoided for the sake of your long term biological health and sustained results.  Without going too deep into what I consider to be the most effective supplements that you should try to help Biohack yourself (as I think this deserves an article all of its own) a few that have been shown to be the most effective include;    Nootropics    Probiotics    BCAAs    Creatine    Thermogenic Fat Burners    Testosterone boosters    Which supplement you choose will obviously depend on what results you want and a number of factors, including type and amounts of specific, and proven to work, ingredients. Also combining specific supplements together can give a greater effect than if used on their own, and provide you with more bang for your buck if used properly.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In summary.  There is a belief (and certain skepticism) especially amongst some scientists, doctors and medical professionals that researching and altering your nutrition, sleep and exercise routines beyond the basic ‘eat less and move more’ mentality has actually very little effect on your body compared to the difference modern medicines or drugs can provide.  In my opinion and experience, I am here to tell you that this is, of course, a completely false assumption to make, and although not always proven in a way to satisfy ‘scientific research’ there are plenty of anecdotal studies and personal experience stories proving that nutritional Biohacking can be an extremely effective way of improving your physique, your performance and even give you the answers to health concerns that you may have suffered from for years.   “You already have everything you need, you just need to work out how to use it”   Figuring out easier, quicker and more effective ways of getting to your goals should be a fun and interesting process too, it should be exciting to see how you may be able to maximise your physical potential through more natural means, working with your body instead of against it all of the time, It is important to remember that this is a process, which is there to improve your life not dominate it to the point of obsession and anxiety around everything you are eating, drinking and supplementing with.  There is also no need to go to extremes and seek out weird, wacky and probably very expensive ways of hacking yourself, particularly if it involves pushing your body to extreme limits or using chemical and technological enhancements to do things your body may not have been designed to do.  To begin this process properly, I would always recommend taking a completely natural approach to your nutritional and supplementation Biohacking. Start asking questions and do your research - note down how some foods and supplements make you feel and what effects they have on your results - this can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to really understand the true effects. Also try experimenting with when you eat (and when you don’t) as you may discover that eating in a particular ‘eating window’ such as in an intermittent fasting style makes you far more productive with work and training.  Finally you should remember that transforming yourself through experimentation and nutritional biohacking is a journey of experience and finding what works for you. It will take time, may become a little frustrating at times and may require a bit of effort, It is not an exact ‘science’, but it is a journey that could make your life so much more phenomenal and will be so worth it.  Start (bio)hacking into your true potential and see how much better you will look, feel and perform - in 6 months from now you will wish you started today!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       References;     Michael Schrage. Playing God In Your Basement. Washing post. 31/01/1988   https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1988/01/31/playing-god-in-your-basement/618f174d-fc11-47b3-a8db-fae1b8340c67/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5b4deadb224e

Biohacking as it applies to your nutrition falls into the ‘Nutrigenomics’ category and involves everything you eat and drink which has a positive effect on how you think, how well you sleep, how much energy you have, how quickly you age, how you look, how you feel and how you perform.

     

  

    

       

         

           
               
             

             
             

           

         

        
         
           

            
               The Power of Taking Probiotics   
            

            
               Discover how a simple little pill can transform your gut, digestive and overall health   
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


          This Blog At A Glance…    The word ‘probiotic’ comes from the Greek words pro, meaning ‘promoting’ and biotic, meaning ‘life’. If you haven't discovered them yet, I urge you to read on and see what a difference they could take to your overall health and life.    Anyone who suffers from any regular ill health or ailments such as acne, eczema, rashes, hives, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome or other bowel disorders, or your daily routine is riddled with depression, irritability, anxiety and stress, it is most likely they have poor digestion and nutrient absorption linked to an imbalance or lack of good bacteria.    Improving digestion and nutrient absorption probiotics ensure your body functions properly by receiving vital vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids from the foods you are eating. They are also required for generating certain B and K vitamins, folates and short chain fatty acids.    By increasing your healthy gut bacteria it will train your immune system to determine the good microbes from the ones that cause you damage and are making you unwell, making probiotics the best front line defence against infection.             What are probiotics?    Years ago I began to study, research and listen to comments from clients, customers, friends and family about how probiotic supplements have helped them relieve, and in some cases eradicate altogether, ( insert your chosen health problem or ailment here ) and realised how beneficial they are for everyone to take regularly.  The more I found out, the more I realised how important these tiny micro-organisms are to our health and well-being and how much they can benefit weight loss, digestive health, immune function and more. [1]   If you have ever taken a good quality probiotic supplements you will already know how powerful they are and the difference to how they make you feel just so much…better!  The word probiotic comes from the Greek words pro, meaning ‘promoting’ and biotic, meaning ‘life’.  If you haven't discovered them yet, I urge you to read on and see what a difference they could take to your overall health and life.  Probiotics are basically micro-organisms that reside in our intestines and are a completely natural part of our body’s defence system. These are the ‘good’ bacteria that help fight and keep in check the number of pathogenic microorganisms and harmful bacteria that can cause numerous health problems. [2]      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     What do probiotics do?  The main role of probiotics, as they inhabit the intestines, is to aid digestion and assist in vital nutrient absorption, contributing to proper biological function throughout the stomach and intestines.  If you suffer from any regular ill health or ailments such as acne, eczema, rashes, hives, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome or other bowel disorders, or your daily routine is riddled with depression, irritability, anxiety and stress, it is most likely due to poor digestion and nutrient absorption linked to an imbalance or lack of good bacteria. [3]   To improve any health, mood, performance or physical problems your nutrition should be the number factor you should be looking at, But, not just what you are eating, what you are actually absorbing and what you body is actually able to use. In order to achieve better absorption you could do a lot worse than experimenting with ways to increase the friendly bacteria in your system, through either eating fermented foods, or more conveniently, supplementing with probiotic supplements to increase your probiotic levels.  Research into the positive effects of probiotic supplementation has been extensive and has shown great benefits for an array of health conditions ranging from asthma, allergies, digestive and bowel disorders, skin problems and urinary infections.  Adding in more healthy bacteria you can literally crowd out the bad bacteria’s ability to thrive, inhibiting its ability to cause infection, inflammation, and disease.  Improving digestion and nutrient absorption probiotics ensure your body functions properly by receiving vital vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids from the foods you are eating. They are also required for generating certain B and K vitamins, folates and short chain fatty acids.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Probiotics for fat and weight loss.  Studies have shown that probiotics may actually help with fat and weight loss through the number of different ways that they affect processes in the body. For instance, some dietary fat in the intestine is actually prevented from being absorbed from some strains of probiotics. This fat is then excreted through waste, as opposed to being stored as fat in the body. [4]   Some probiotics also cause an increase in certain hormones in the body responsible for making you feel fuller for longer and can actually burn more calories.  More than this, fat and weight loss can also be directly effected by probiotic supplementation. In one study, dieting women who took a strain of Lactobacillus for a 3 month period and lost 50% more weight than women who didn't take this probiotic. [5]    Probiotics for digestion and bowel health.  This is the main reason a lot of people start taking probiotics, as a result of suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions which effect their digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Leaky gut, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which it is estimated currently effect over a quarter of a million people in the UK. [6]   This is, unsurprisingly, one of the main areas of study for probiotics and it has been found that certain types of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains have improved symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis.[6]  Whatever you may (or may not) be suffering from a great deal of research suggest that probiotics may have great benefits for a range of bowel disorders, including IBS and those listed above. [7]      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Probiotics after taking Antibiotics.  The body literally thrives when in a balanced and is constantly fighting to adapt and bring about that balance.  If you have ever been prescribed and taken antibiotics you will have more than likely  (almost certainly) depleted your good bacteria to very low, ineffective levels. If we look back once again to Greek meanings, Antibiotics literally translates as ‘anti-life’ which is obviously the exact opposite of probiotics. They are designed to kill all bacteria indiscriminately, not just the bad stuff.  Taking antibiotics is like dropping an ‘A’ bomb on your immune system, which in most cases never properly recovers….unlike the bad bacteria, which unfortunately seem to thrive and multiply quite quickly after, causing an obvious imbalance.  Just one side effect of having all of your gut bacteria being unbalanced by antibiotics is diarrhoea. However to counteract this, several studies suggest probiotic use is associated with a reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.  In one study, researchers found that taking probiotics reduced antibiotic-associated diarrhoea by 42%. [8]     Probiotics to boost your immune system.  If you get colds or flu symptoms regularly, each year, or catch everything that is going no matter what you do, you may want to try supplementing your diet with a good quality probiotic supplement.  By increasing your healthy gut bacteria it will train your immune system to determine the good microbes from the ones that cause you damage and are making you unwell, making probiotics the best front line defence against infection.  Some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of the bodies natural antibodies, boosting immune cells that actually hunt down and kill harmful bacteria that make us unwell.  Studies have determined that taking probiotics can reduce the likelihood of catching , as well as the duration of, respiratory infections. One particular study found that taking a particular Lactobacillus strain reduced the frequency and severity of respiratory infections by 17% in the 570 children tested. [9]    What else can probiotics and a healthy gut do for us?  The latest research into how probiotics can help us has also suggested that there is a link between the bacteria in our digestive system and our brains. Called the ‘gut-brain’ connection, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have proven that by optimising the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut we will improve neurotransmitter function.  This has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress and may even improve the ability to learn, memorise and focus our minds during stressful situations.  The conclusion of reviewing 15 human studies determined that supplementing with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains for 1–2 months can improve anxiety, depression, autism, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). [10]   Further research papers have also linked pretty much every health condition in some way to either a failing immune system or the lack of healthy bacteria in our gut.  It has been suggested that our gut bacteria literally 'talk' to our DNA, telling our cells when to replicate, how to replicate and when to die. This process is of course important in protecting ourselves against rogue cells which could then go on to become cancerous (if the immune system doesn't catch them first).     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How should you get started increasing your healthy bacteria levels?  If you decide that you should try supplementing with probiotics to improve your health, which let’s face it, why wouldn’t you in the face of all of the overwhelming research? Then there are a number of things you will want to look for to ensure you get the best results.  Firstly, any foods that claim to contain probiotic cultures (such as commercial yoghurts) are pretty ineffective as they are normally in very low bacteria which never survive the digestion process, so never get where they need to go to make a difference.  It is pretty pointless eating a 'probiotic' which will be digested by our stomach acid and killed off before reaching the gut. Remember - Probiotics need to be alive to do their job!  Probiotics need to be taken in capsule form and have a thicker than normal coating to resist the stomach acid and deliver them exactly where you need them..... ALIVE !  The next thing to check is how many strains and number of live cultures each capsule provides. The general rule of thumb is the more the better and the stronger the better. You can’t really overdose on probiotics (unless you have a serious gut disorder) as they are a natural part of the bodies make-up and we have on average ten times the amount of bacteria than we have cells in our bodies at any one time, so overdosing on too many is extremely difficult!  Excess amounts are simply excreted in a normal functioning digestive system, but as with anything, it is always best to start slowly and build up if necessary. A lot of the people I have advised to take probiotics have experienced great results by using a capsule with 20 Billion live micro-organisms split into 8 strains. These strains are simply the different groups, families and cultures of bacteria that aid the digestive and protective processes within the body, so again, the more the better.  You really do get what you pay for in the supplement industry so you should try to ensure you are taking the best form of probiotic supplements to get the best results.  Finally, as with any supplements you take, ensure it is from a trusted, high-quality source, cheap supplements may seem like you are getting a good deal, but you very much get what you pay for and spending just a few pounds on a cheap supplement will be a complete waste of those few pounds.    References;     Chapman CM, Gibson GR, Rowland I. Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains? Eur J Nutr. 2011 Feb;50(1):1-17. doi: 10.1007/s00394-010-0166-z. Epub 2011 Jan 13.    Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, Gibson GR, Merenstein DJ, Pot B, Morelli L, Canani RB, Flint HJ, Salminen S, Calder PC, Sanders ME. Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Aug;11(8):506-14.    Clemente JC, Ursell LK, Parfrey LW, Knight R. The impact of the gut microbiota on human health: an integrative view. Cell. 2012 Mar 16;148(6):1258-70. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.01.035.    Angelakis E, Merhej V, Raoult D. Related actions of probiotics and antibiotics on gut microbiota and weight modification. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Oct;13(10):889-99. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70179-8.    Sanchez M, Darimont C, Drapeau V, Emady-Azar S, Lepage M, Rezzonico E, Ngom-Bru C, Berger B, Philippe L, Ammon-Zuffrey C, Leone P, Chevrier G, St-Amand  E, Marette A, Doré J, Tremblay A. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 28;111(8):1507-19.    Saez-Lara MJ, Gomez-Llorente C, Plaza-Diaz J, Gil A. The role of probiotic lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and other related diseases: a systematic review of randomized human clinical trials. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:505878. doi: 10.1155/2015/505878. Epub 2015 Feb 22.    Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, Cremonini F, Foxx-Orenstein AE, Brandt LJ, Quigley EM. The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Gut. 2010 Mar;59(3):325-32.    Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, Wang Z, Miles JN, Shanman R, Johnsen B, Shekelle PG. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012 May.    Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Pönkä A, Meurman JH, Poussa T, Näse L, Saxelin M, Korpela R. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 2001.    Wang H, Lee IS, Braun C, Enck P. Effect of Probiotics on Central Nervous System Functions in Animals and Humans: A Systematic Review. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016.        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

 
   
     
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Probiotics are basically micro-organisms that reside in our intestines and are a completely natural part of our body’s defence system. These are the ‘good’ bacteria that help fight and keep in check the number of pathogenic microorganisms and harmful bacteria that can cause numerous health problems.

     

  

    

       

         

           
               
             

             
             

           

         

        
         
           

            
               Benefits of BCAAs   
            

            
               How Branched Chain Amino Acids Can Benefit Your Performance and Optimisation   
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


          This Blog At A Glance…    Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are so called due to their structure, consisting of the three essential Amino acids; L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine and are the building blocks of protein, responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects.    BCAAs have been proven to prevent muscle breakdown during strenuous or prolonged exercise and play an important role in the overall synthesis of proteins as well as keeping blood sugar levels consistent and stable.    If you are consuming adequate BCAAs, in the right quantities and at the right times, the research, as well as personal and client experience has shown that you will definitely reap the rewards of the many proven benefits.    If you are serious about your training and getting results then it should be a ‘no brainer’ that supplementation with BCAAs on a regular basis.             What Are BCAAs?  Amino acids can come in many forms but Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are so called due to their structure, consisting of the three essential Amino acids; L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine.  These Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects, including increased protein synthesis, energy production, muscle building and enhanced recovery and are essential for increasing and maintaining maximum muscle performance.  BCAAs are considered ‘essential’ in that they are not produced by the body and must be obtained through our diet. Basically, If they are not present in the food we eat, we won’t get enough of these essential nutrients and ultimately we wouldn't be unable to survive.  Survival issues aside, ensuring your body is supplied with optimal amounts of these Amino Acids will guarantee you can get the extra performance benefits of improving muscle strength, power and endurance.      
   
     “ BCAAs actually comprise around 1/3 of the protein within our muscles and therefore contribute to the recovery, regeneration and growth of muscle mass. ” 
   
  
 
     Although present naturally within foods, such as dairy products and red meats, supplementing with a good quality Branched Chain Amino Acids supplement are an extremely popular choice amongst athletes, fighter and bodybuilders due to their versatility, cost-effectiveness and ease to consume.  As an added bonus they are also virtually calorie free so wont effect your calorie or macronutrient intake, or bring you out of a fasted state if you train whilst ‘fasted’ or if consumed within part of your 16:8 Intermittent Fasting nutrition strategy.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How Can BCAAs Help Improve Your Physique and Performance?  BCAAs have been proven to prevent muscle breakdown during strenuous or prolonged exercise and play an important role in the overall synthesis of proteins as well as keeping blood sugar levels consistent and stable.  In fact BCAAs are responsible for up to 40% of blood sugar production during exercise as they are continuously released from the liver and other internal organs into the bloodstream.  Protein synthesis is also directly affected by the amount of L-Leucine in our systems, even more so than Insulin.  As Leucine is degraded during exercise, therefore reducing our bodies ability to synthesise protein, it should go without saying that supplementing with BCAAs to increase Leucine levels both before and during exercise would be of huge benefit to the repair and growth of muscles. [1]   Because it is so important to have Leucine available for protein synthesis, if you do your training and exercise whilst ‘fasted’, or you don’t replenish your protein levels shortly after exercise, you’re going to breakdown more protein than you can rebuild.  The solution to this is to consume adequate BCAAs during this time, especially L-Leucine to actually enhance your protein synthesis.  All of these benefits are, of course, vital for ensuring maximum performance potential and in theory will limit central nervous system fatigue for both endurance as well as strength training athletes.  There is an argument given for not consuming additional BCAAs by people who believe they are consuming enough protein from their diet to actually need them. However, this is misguided as BCAAs are the only amino acids not degraded in the liver; instead they enter the bloodstream directly, increasing the concentration of Amino acids in the muscles and adding to the real performance benefits to be had by taking a good quality BCAA supplement, providing it is available to the body when it is needed.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     How should you use BCAAs for best results?  If you are consuming adequate BCAAs, in the right quantities and at the right times, the research, as well as personal and client experience has shown that you will definitely reap the rewards of the many proven benefits such as;    Lowering lactic acid levels caused during resistance training [2],    Improving muscular oxidation,    Increasing growth hormone circulation,    Directly influencing muscle growth,    Decreasing muscle damage and    Dramatically improving overall recovery.     BCAAs are also directly used as an energy source during exercise, so they are an important fuel supply to keep muscles functioning at an optimal level and keep the mind and concentration levels sharp over a prolonged period. [2]   In addition to all of these benefits, adequate consumption of BCAAs may help manage your body fat levels, minimise any muscle mass loss, and regulate glucose/insulin levels and balance.  Whats more, getting the benefits from BCAAs are extremely simple - as simple as preparing your usual pre, intra and / or your post workout drink or simply adding a scoop of BCAA supplement powder to you usual bottle of water at any other time.  In order to reap the maximum benefits, I would suggest (from personal experience) that you begin supplementing with just 5g of BCAAs per hour of moderate exercise and 10g per hour of intense exercise.  It is best taken by mixing the powdered form into 250ml of water per every 5g and start sipping approximately 10 - 15 minutes before you start your training and then throughout your exercise session.  Also, taking in any form of simple carbohydrate and amino acid combined drink during and after exercise and training can cause an insulin spike, which will help shuttle BCAAs into the cells where they are needed. (This is obviously not a good combination for fasted training).  So, runners, cyclist and triathletes who take energy gels during their training or competition whilst sipping BCAAs from their bottles will really notice a difference in their energy and performance.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In Summary  So, without going to ‘scientific’ and getting too deep into the ‘how’, hopefully you can already see the real benefits you could be giving to your body, and the way it will perform for you when you supply your muscles with enough BCAAs prior to, during and after your chosen training session.  If you are serious about your training and getting results then it should be a ‘no brainer’ that supplementation with BCAAs on a regular basis, and by regular I mean ‘all the time’, will certainly do you no harm and could mean the very real difference between winning and losing in whatever arena you compete.  Those of you who follow a 16:8 Intermittent fasting nutrition strategy, such as is highlighted in   The ha’k:d Plan   ,  should be consistently supplementing with BCAAs without a second thought and as a matter of course, in order to keep the recovery and muscle building process rolling along during the fasted phase of this optimal strategy.  References;    Kimball SR, Jefferson LS. Regulation of protein synthesis by branched-chain amino acids. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2001;4:39–43.    (De Palo EF et al 2001). Plasma lactate, GH and GH-binding protein levels in exercise following BCAA supplementation in athletes.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

 
   
     
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Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein and are responsible for a host of potential physique and performance enhancing effects, including increased protein synthesis, energy production, muscle building and enhanced recovery and are essential for increasing and maintaining maximum muscle performance.

     

  

    

       

         

           
               
             

             
             

           

         

        
         
           

            
               What Foods Boost Testosterone?   
            

            
               Increase Your Testosterone Levels Naturally With These Foods…   
            

            

           
         
        

       

    

  


          This Blog At A Glance…    Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for Muscle growth, Motivation, Fat loss and performance amongst other positive benefits.    Testosterone decreases with age but these losses can be limited by eating the right foods.    Supplementing with the right supplements can also help boost Testosterone.    Eating Eggs, Shrimp, Broccoli and Bananas, amongst other foods help increase natural Testosterone levels.             What is Testosterone and What Does it do?  As you may already know, Testosterone is the male hormone that is responsible for a number of beneficial (in terms of physique, performance and virility) processes in the body and include, amongst other things…    Muscle growth,    Fat loss,    Motivation,    Sex drive,    Athletic performance,    Of course, this is just a summarised list of what testosterone can do for you, but many other things associated with physique transformation and performance optimisation also occur when the body produces testosterone.  Maintaining a relatively high level, or should I say the highest natural level possible of testosterone, should be a priority for every male, especially those of you who are nearing the age of 30 years old and over as this is when it can rapidly decrease if not nurtured, maintained and looked after.  It is quite easy for time to pass us all by at a rapid rate and start to develop health and performance issues that we just put down to a result of the natural ageing process and this is very true when our testosterone levels start to drop.      
   
     “ Now, no matter what we do, testosterone will continue to decrease as we age, but we can limit these losses if we give our body what it needs in terms of the right foods and supplements. ” 
   
  
 
     Maintaining or boosting your testosterone production to peak levels is obviously essential for those wanting to increase or maintain their muscle mass to improve physical performance and / or physical appearance, but it isn't just for those of us wishing to continue to perform and look at our best in the gym.  Every male over the age of 30 should be looking to optimise their male hormone levels for a host of health and wellbeing reasons, keeping you in peak condition in all areas (and yes.....this includes the bedroom) just like we were in their 20’s and teenage years.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The Effects of Mother Nature on Your Testosterone.  The bad news for all of us men ‘of a certain age’ is that mother nature isn't a fan of the ageing male and allows the production of this extremely useful hormone (For all things athletic and aesthetic) to peak during your late teens to mid 20’s.  After this age our testosterone then rapidly begins to decline unless you become consciously aware of it and then start to manage to do something about it.  The problem is also compounded as, at the same time your testosterone is decreasing, your body is also increasing the stress hormone cortisol which basically impairs testosterone production even further, giving you in effect a ‘double-whammy’.  Before you know it, if you are not consciously monitoring these effects and fighting back against them you can literally wake up feeling old, looking soft and flabby, out of shape, tired and couldn't maintain an erection for longer than 30 seconds even if you had the desire to! (Okay, this might not happen overnight….but trust me guys, it's coming if you don't do something about it!!!).  In the not too distant past this was almost accepted as getting old and responsible for terms such as ‘middle-aged spread’, but we are a bit more educated in these things now and know this doesn’t have to be the case.    Fight Back Against The Ageing Process  Before you start to think that you may as well just give up and go and buy a pipe and slippers, It's not all a done deal.... the battle against ageing is not lost for us men!  No matter what age you are you can help your body help itself and keep testosterone at peak levels by doing a number of things, but including more 'testosterone producing' foods in your everyday nutritional intake is a big one that you should definitely look into seriously if you value your testosterone!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Include These Foods In Your Daily Meals or Snacks  By including more of the below foods into your everyday meals and snacks, you will help your body to increase and produce its maximum potential of testosterone. This will both assist your testosterone production and also help stop cortisol and oestrogen from robbing you of any potential muscle gains, performance, motivation and of course your libido.    #1 - Eggs  The cholesterol found in egg yolks is the precursor for testosterone production. Yes, you read that right...Dietary Cholesterol is actually a  good thing!!  As the fears of cholesterol in eggs raising your own cholesterol levels have now been found to be pretty much false, feel free to get some good quality egg yolks down your neck and raise your muscle building potential.  Eggs are also rich in vitamin D which also supports testosterone production. So not only are they a very versatile food packed with protein, vitamins and minerals and almost natures perfect food they will help with raising your testosterone levels.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     #2 - Honey  Honey contains a mineral called ‘Boron’ which is directly linked to higher testosterone production.  One study on the male hormone production took 8 healthy males who ingested 10mg of boron per day for 7 days. After this period they had raised their free testosterone levels by a massive 28%. [1]   The only word of caution I would give here is to remember to get a good quality, natural honey, and remember it is high in sugars and calories, so limit the amount you use on a daily basis.           #3 - Shrimp  These little crustaceans are a great source of vitamin D, and studies have shown that vitamin D has a strong link to testosterone production.  Is is no coincidence then that men who were tested and found to have higher levels of Vitamin D also had higher levels of Testosterone. [2]   If you are not a fan of shrimp, prawns or other seafood you can get your vitamin D from exposure to the sun or by supplementing with a good quality vitamin D supplement.           #4 - Pumpkin Seeds  Pumpkin seeds are packed with Zinc, and zinc is a key mineral involved in testosterone production.  Similarly to the study above, men diagnosed with low testosterone were found to have very low zinc intake. [3]   Again, you may want to seriously consider supplementing with Zinc if you simply can't stand eating seeds or of course have an allergy to them.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     #5 - Guavas  Although not one of the most common fruits that spring to mind, this fruit has literally masses of Vitamin C (228mg per 100g) and Vitamin C fights cortisol production.  Vitamin C is normally associated with helping you fight colds, but it is also a well known powerful antioxidant, which will not only help fight free radicals and keep your cells healthy but as mentioned will help control cortisol levels. [4]   Cortisol kills testosterone, which in turn will effect how much muscle you can maintain and build, so the more you can do to control it the better.  Any fruit high in vitamin C will of course help but Guavas are the daddy when it comes to this vital mineral.           #6 - Bananas  Staying on the fruit theme, bananas contain the enzyme ‘Bromelain', which some studies have suggested boost the male libido (Sex Drive).  Bananas are also packed with B vitamins like riboflavin, essential for the manufacture of testosterone, so you will get a double bonus for eating them.           #7 - Broccoli  A study has shown that increasing the intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower helps rid the body of the female hormone oestrogen.  It should go without saying that by reducing the levels of this female hormone in your body, testosterone is automatically increased or at least the effects of it are. essential to increasing your performance and physique.  Vegetables such as these also help with weight control which is also another great natural way of increasing your testosterone levels.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     #8 - Brazil Nuts  The key ingredient with eating this nut is magnesium, and Brazil nuts have an abundance of this testosterone producing mineral.  A recent study found that athletes who took 750mg of magnesium every day for four weeks increased their testosterone levels by 26%!  Just be careful that you don't consume too many of these due to their very high fat and calorie content which can lead to weight and fat gain which is counter productive when it comes to increasing testosterone.           #9 - Garlic  Garlic contains the chemical ‘Diallyl disulphide’ which stimulates the body to release a hormone that triggers the production of testosterone.  Further more a Japanese study found that when combined with a high protein diet for a month there was a considerable boost to testosterone production.  As a bonus garlic also offers some anti-inflammatory benefits which in turn can decrease cortisol levels quite nicely.           10# - Raw Dark Chocolate  Yes - Dark chocolate (85% cocoa and above) does have some good properties to help your testosterone levels.  Although refined sugar blocks testosterone production, so should normally be avoided at all costs - for any number of reasons, dark chocolate is normally low in sugars but very high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants, as mentioned above, of course, fight oxidative damage and stress within the body which in theory will lead to significant reductions in cortisol production.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In Summary  So there you have it, ten, easy to find, everyday foods which you may already include in your nutritional intake, which have been shown to not only help increase your production of testosterone but also help fight off those things which can inhibit it.  You should obviously try and include as many of these types of food in your weekly meal plans as you can to ensure that you help keep your testosterone levels as high as possible,  just keep an eye on the calorie content of some of them as you don't want to be gaining too much body fat as this is counter productive.  References;    Naghii MR, Mofed M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. (2011)  Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines.     Nimptsch,K., Platz, E., Willett, W., & Giovannucci, E. (2012).  Association between plasma 25-OH vitamin D and Testosterone levels in men.      Prasad, A., Mantzoroz, C., Beck, F., Hess, J.,& Brewer, G (1996).  Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults.      Peters, E., Anderson, R., Nieman, D., Fickl, H., & Jogessar,V. (2001).  Vitamin C supplementation attenuates the increase in circulating cortisol, Adrenaline and Anti-Inflammatory polypeptides following ultramarathon running. International journal of sports medicine.        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

 
   
     
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        Sign Up For FREE With Your Email Address To Receive The Latest Nutritional Biohacking News, Updates, Advice, Product Information, Discounts and Exclusive Special Offers.    Get 10% Discount On Your First Order As A Thank You For Just Signing Up.  
     

     

       

        
          

            

          

            
               

                 
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Testosterone - the male hormone that is responsible for, amongst other things, muscle growth, fat loss, motivation, drive, athletic performance, etc. etc. should be a priority for every male to maintain, no matter what their age, but especially those who are nearing the age of 30 years old and over.