In today’s interview I get to speak with US board-certified internal medicine physician, Dr John Limansky.
We talk about some easy & his best biohacks that anyone can do (regardless of location or budget) to start improving their health today.
Not only is he a certified physician, he is an avid n=1 biohacker.
John and his, The KetoHacking MD podcast co-host, Jimmy Moore, share and discuss the results of some of their interesting self-experiments.
Due to the metabolic and genetic differences amongst us, the one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.
We get a chance to talk about the importance of self-experimentation and how to go about it safely.
If you know someone who is interested in learning more about:
- What is biohacking according to Dr John Limansky
- Wants to learn how to try some easy biohacks to improve their nutrition, sleep, and general wellbeing
Then this interview is for them.
I enjoyed this interview and was excited to pick Johns’ brain about the best biohacks he recommends.
We covered numerous topics during our chat and he shared some great tips, whilst keeping in mind people’s constraints around time and budget.
While all the fancy gadgets we now have available can be helpful tools, his advice can be easily applied without expensive purchases or time investments.
Special thanks to John for joining me on the show.
Enjoy the episode!
Table of Contents
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[00:19] – Introducing, Dr John Limansky, US board-certified physician of Internal Medicine and co-host of the popular keto podcast, The KetoHacking MD. John feels that most of the common diseases he encounters everyday are a direct result of the typical American diet.
[01:10] – John explains how his interest in biohacking started with nutrition and then spread beyond that to biohacking other aspects such as sleep and stress reduction. He used to follow all the recommendations for exercise and a low fat diet, but became insulin resistant and pre-diabetic in his early twenties. After doing his own research he discovered the benefits of the low carb and keto diets.
[03:38] – Has the focus for medicine changed from treating and managing disease to looking at lifestyle and prevention? John explains why we are not that good in prevention. In the US, diabetes accounts for 50% of the money spent on health care (~245 billion dollars per year on treatment and lost wages).
[06:02] – Dr Barry Marshall and Robin Warren who discovered the H.pylori bacteria, were ridiculed at first before the medical community came around and gave them the Nobel Prize for this discovery. John discusses how H.pylori impacts on our stomach lining.
[08:04] – The number one biohack to start off with is nutrition. John prefers the low carb high fat (LCHF), ketogenic diet, but for metabolically healthy people it doesn’t have to be extremely ketogenic/low-carb as not all carbs are bad. John recommends people take it in steps by removing refined food with fructose and high-fructose corn syrup first.
[10:21] – If cost is not an issue, labs are very important to help direct treatment. The most important labs John recommends include: fasting insulin with C-peptide, fasting glucose, hemoglobin A1C as well as the NMR lipid profile for cholesterol.
[12:15] – John has been doing self-experimentation for 12 years or so to try and figure out how all the medical information applies to him. He explains how medical studies are performed and why they don’t always apply to the individual. After teaming up with Jimmy Moore, they decided to get this information out and share the different hacks with the public.
[14:25] – John describes their experiments, why they decided on trying them out and some of the interesting results they shared on their podcast. The three experiments were: the seven-day water electrolyte fast (which according to John is one of the most beneficial biohacks we can do), the high protein experiment, and most recently, the 90% fat and 10% protein experiment. What were the main takeaways?
[18:04] – John and Jimmy had some different results, with Jimmy experiencing hypoglycemic episodes. On their podcast, they discuss why that is and bring in experts such as Dr Ben Bikman to dig deeper into the experiments. These n=1 experiments highlight how different metabolic responses can be, depending on individuals’ metabolic and genetic make-up. (Biohackers Lab tip: click here for our interview with Dr Benjamin Bikman, discussing the best diet for insulin resistance)
[19:02] – John explains why he doesn’t believe weight should be ‘the barometer’ for health. It is much harder (and will take a lot longer) for people to lose weight if they have a lot of metabolic damage, even once this damage has improved. (Biohacker Lab tip: Listen to our interview with Dr Tro Kalaysian, on how to lose weight if you are obese)
[20:14] – People often say high protein diets are very satiating. John explains why this is only in the short-term and that for a more realistic satiety response, he believes people need to also be consuming more fat along with the protein.
[23:09] – Is there an adaptation process? Seven days is not enough to adapt to any change in diet. With the carnivore diet at least 30 days is needed to get a sense of how you are responding. (Biohackers Lab tip: Listen to our interview with Dr Shawn Baker or Mikhaila Petersons’ carnivore diet story)
[24:18] – With the 90% fat diet, is halting weight loss a concern? John explains that calorie wise he was consuming only 1400 calories and clarifies that being in ketosis is not the same as losing weight. For people trying to lose weight, he recommends avoiding a lot of liquid fats as they don’t give you the same feeling of satiety as consuming the fat from meat.
[26:10] – If we have access to high-quality food, odds are we don’t have a significant need for supplementation. However, for most people it can be difficult to find these sources. In that case, John recommends taking sodium, potassium, magnesium, high-quality fish oil, and NAD+ supplements. In times of extra stress on the body we may need to take extra supplements. John, warns we need to be careful that supplements are from a quality source. (Biohackers Lab tip: listen to our interview with Kevin Kennedy for more on benefits of grass-fed butter)
[29:34] – We often aim to ensure mitochondria are healthy as they are at the base of disease. The ketogenic diet improves oxidation at the mitochondrial level, making it more fuel efficient with less metabolic damage and aging. (Biohackers Lab tip: listen to our interview with Dr Lee Know for more on mitochondrial health )
[31:22] – What about IV supplementation? John tried glutathione and this was an unpleasant experience. For most people who are looking at affordable and realistic solutions, it is not necessary. In fact there are other ways to provide the same benefits. E.g. extended fasting increases NAD levels, significantly.
[34:27] – Other than fasting and nutrition what are other biohacks that wont cost you money but will improve your health? We have heard from numerous experts that sleep is extremely important. One simple thing you can do to improve the quality of sleep is turn off electronics with blue light emission 3 hours before going to bed. (Biohackers Lab tip: Listen to our interview with Dr Amy Bender to hear more about how a lack of sleep affects you or here for more on using the Blue light filter software from Iris)
[37:36] – We discuss the symbiotic relationship between different factors impacting on our wellbeing. Even if we live in a city environment, surrounded by EMF etc., we can do simple biohacks to improve everyday life, e.g. grounding, filtering your drinking water, getting some sun exposure, exercise, considering the circadian rhythm which we now know impacts on every organ in the body. (Biohackers Lab tip: Listen to our interview with Scott Compton for more info on how to deal with EMF’s)
[41:36] – Johns explains his approach to biohacking is to consider if there is a harmful negative effect, if there is good research that backs it up and then trying it himself. He recommends people take 10-15 min to go outside and do some grounding and meditation. (Biohackers Lab tip: Listen to our interview with Dr Freddy Starr for more info on neurofeedback training benefits)
[43:50] – Meditation can be difficult but it is a free biohack that has great benefits even with just 10 min a day; it can reduce stress, be calming and can be beneficial for mental acuity.
[44:44] – We discuss social media and the importance of community and relationships with others for better health. While there are positives to social media, it can also get in the way of real human connection.
[48:06] – Another two biohacks John feels strongly about are infrared sauna which has tremendous benefits on mitochondrial level and it is important for brain health, and cold therapy (cold thermogenesis) which activates brown adipose tissue, has benefits for sleep, decreasing cortisol, as well as a positive impact on mitophagy. John explains mitophagy and why it’s important.
[50:01] – John prefers the infrared sauna as benefits are greater but in terms of access hot or cold are also beneficial as long as you are consistent (19-20 min, four times a week). John shares his routine and explains why stacking hacks, such as fasting, exercise and sauna for example, improves the outcome exponentially.
[52:27] – Taking into account today’s busy lifestyles, John recommends high-intensity training (HIT) exercise that is easy to complete within 30 min. Cryotherapy can also be done cheaply at home using ice baths 30-40 minutes before bed. John’s tip: for a more tolerable experience fill the bath with cold water first, get in the tub and than put the ice in.
[55:30] – To follow or contact John, visit his website biohackmd.com, Twitter @johnlimaskymd or Facebook or YouTube where he will be talking about biohacks and how you can do them in a cost-effective matter.
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