On this solosode, Faraz Khan shares some of the recent hacks he has been testing to improve different areas of his life.
Please note that these are not the entirety of what I doing currently. I will do a part 2 (and maybe part 3) later on in 2021 to take you behind the scenes of how I am hacking my system to stay younger for longer, have the energy, skin, hair and vibrance of a much younger person.
I have been using the Oura ring to track my sleep for a while. I recently got a new FitBit Charge 4 and have been looking at some of the metrics in that device as well. While the amount of tracking these trackers can do these days is nothing short of impressive, I am looking at specific markers and analytics to help me in the journey of anti-aging and longevity. I also review measurements for every night of sleep using the Oura ring.
Here are some of the main ones and their benefits.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
Experts have been analyzing resting heart rate (RHR) as a marker of health for quite some time. Many studies have shown that low RHR is associated with health and a longer life. The flip side is also true, a high RHR is associated with disease and adverse events. Longitudinal studies (which track people for a long time) have shown a clear association between increase in RHR over time and adverse events.
In addition, genome-wide studies in the general population have demonstrated a causal link between RHR at rest and how long people live.
Furthermore, the development in personal digital devices such as mobile phones, fitness trackers and eHealth applications has made heart rate information and knowledge in this field as important as ever for the public as well as the clinicians.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
HRV is measured as the variation in time between heartbeats. If your heart rate (just heart rate, not RHR) is 60 beats per minute (bpm), it doesn’t mean that your heart beats once every second. Within one minute your heart may beat after 0.9 seconds, or it may be 1.1 seconds before it beats again. The greater the variation between your heartbeats, the more ready you are to face the day. A low HRV means your body is not as rested and you should take it easy. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) determines the timing of each heartbeat.
HRV is a tug of war between the two branches of your nervous system (sympathetic vs. parasympathetic). The sympathetic nervous system controls your fight or flight – and it causes your heart to beat faster. The parasympathetic (or the rest and digest) system causes your heart to beat slower. When there is balance betweeen these two systems, then you have more variability in your heart beat aka higher HRV.
I have a podcast coming up where we will go deep into HRV, so stay tuned for more on this topic.
Your blood oxygen level measures how much oxygen is circulating with your red blood cells. You can measure your blood oxygen level using a couple of methods. The easy way to measure oxygen saturation is with a pulse oximeter. That’s a small device that clips onto your fingertip. It shines a light into the tiny blood vessels in your finger and measures the oxygen from the light that’s reflected back.
Your blood oxygen level (Sp02) is measured as a percentage: 95 to 100 percent is considered normal. Keep in mind that Sp02 during sleep is usually lower than daytime SpO2 due to the fact that your breathing rate is usually slower during sleep.
The Fitbit measures your oxygen saturation during the previous night’s sleep. This is a decent indicator. A better indicator would be if it could tell me blood saturation at the current moment – but you could always get an inexpensive pulse oximeter to do that.
Your breathing rate measures the number of breaths you take per minute. The typical breathing rate is 12-20 breaths per minute, and your body adjusts your breathing rate to help you get enough oxygen.
Your breathing rate after a strenuous workout or a sprint is much higher than your breathing rate during sleep.
Your breath is a tool you can use to control stress levels and switch your body into a parasympathetic state. I will be exploring the link between deeper/longer breathing and a longer life. Stay tuned on this one. Both the fitbit and the Oura device measure this metric.
Deep Sleep/REM Sleep
Deep sleep is the restorative sleep when your muscles relax and your body repairs itself. Your blood pressure drops and you wake up feeling refreshed. REM is the part of sleep when you dream and helps consolidate memories and improve your mood. Needless to say, it is essential to get a good amount of both.
Both the Oura ring and Fitbit Charge 4 measure deep sleep and REM sleep, but there is a discrepancy in the reporting of my deep and REM sleep cycles and their duration. At this point, I consider the Oura to be a more accurate measure of these metrics. I will keep you posted if my thoughts change.
I also look into other sleep metrics such as overall sleep scores, time asleep, restlessness and heart rate during sleep.
Peptides are a blocks of amino acids which string together to form proteins. Peptides can contain as low as 2 and as much as 50 amino acids in a single chain. Peptides are naturally occurring in our body, but their production declines as we age – as all good things do. Peptides can serve as neurotransmitters, hormones or be used in cellular signaling.
Peptides are drawing a lot of attention due to their therapeutic benefit with targeted actions. There have been dozens of peptides identified that help regenerate the body. This is an area of interest for me – and I have been trying out a few peptides. Let’s discuss 3 that I have been trying.
Epithalon is the synthetic version of the peptide Epithalamin which is naturally produced in the pineal gland. It was discovered by the Russian scientist Professor Vladimir Khavinson. He and his colleagues have conducted epitalon-related research for decades in both animal and humans.
Epitalon increases the natural production of telomerase, a natural enzyme that helps cells reproduce telomeres. Telomeres are the protective end caps of DNA, and they are thought to protect the DNA from damage especially when is a cell is undergoing cell division. Once telomeres get too short, your cell stops dividing and can enter a senescent stage (where it acts like a grumpy old man).
Your body produces less telomerase as you get older. This causes the telomeres to shorten and stop cell replication and cause a decline in health. Epithalon can help kickstart this pathway and encourage longer telomere length which is beneficial for longevity.
Epithalon also improves the level of melatonin in your body, which promotes deeper sleep. It also helps improve mood and is an anti-oxidant.
Dosage: 5-10 mg/day for 10-20 days. I do about a 50 mg dose every 6 months.
Thymosin Alpha 1
Thymosin Alpha 1 is a small protein produced naturally by your thymus gland which is located in your breastbone. The thymus is where immune cells known as T cells mature. These cells are released into your bloodstream when prompted by the Thymosin Alpha 1 peptide. This action is said to improve your adaptive immunity against foreign invaders
This peptide can also destroy old or senescent cells and suppress tumor growth. It is known to be an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It can also protect your body against oxidative damage.
Thymosin Alpha-1 is approved in more than 37 countries for the treatment of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and as an adjunct to chemotherapy and various vaccines. T α 1 has been found to have a profound effect on the immune system and is the active ingredient in the immune modulating drug, Zadaxin®
Dosage: 1.5mg twice a week
GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide 1)
GHK-Cu is a naturally occurring peptide in the human body found in human plasma, saliva and urine. It has some fantastic benefits such as promoting activation of wound healing, attracting immune cells, having anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, stimulating collagen and glycosaminoglycan synthesis in skin fibroblasts, and promoting blood vessel growth.
Because it has anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties, it is used most commonly as part of topical serums for the skin. However, it can also be injected subcutaneously.
I use copper peptides in my skin serum and for woung healing. I have also done a single cycle of GHK-Cu injections.
Dosage: Use 0.05%-1% in your topical serums.
Advanced Blood Tests
I recently got some advanced blood tests done to look under the hood, so to speak, and see how the engine of my body is working. These are just serum tests. I realize there are better ways to measure hormones or other tests I should consider (gut health) etc, some that I am missing (full thyroid panel with antibodies etc.). They will all come in due time.
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
- Alkaline phosphatase
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
- Apolipoprotein A-1
- Apolipoprotein B
- Bilirubin (total and direct)
- Blood urea nitrogen
- Carbon dioxide (bicarbonate)
- Calcium (Ca) in blood
- Chloride (Cl
- Complete Blood Count w/ differential
- Ferritin, serum
- Free Fatty Acids
- Hemoglobin A1c
- High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
- IGF-1 (Growth hormone surrogate)
- Iron, TIBC
- Lipid Panel
- Lipoprotein (a)
- Luteinizing Hormone
- Phosphate in blood
- Potassium (K) in blood
- SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin)
- Sodium (Na) in blood.
- Testosterone + Free Testosterone
- Total serum protein
- Uric Acid in blood
- Vitamin B12
Lumen Metabolic Measurement Device
Lumen claims to be the world’s first hand-held, portable device that measures your metabolism in real-time.
Lumen uses RER as the core data point to bring the same measurement to a home environment by measuring the CO2 in your breath through the sensor and flow meter, based on the RER metric.
Respiratory Quotient (RQ) is the best measurement for directly determining metabolic fuel usage, but it is a process that requires taking measurements from blood and is not inexpensive. Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is the indirect method for determining metabolic fuel usage by your body. It can be determined in several ways, for example in a metabolic testing facility.
Lumen contains a carbon dioxide (CO2) sensor that measures differences in CO2 levels between inhaled breath (room/ambient air) and exhaled breath, and has an airflow meter that measures the volume of air in each exchange. This allows it to determine your usage of metabolic fuel (all fat, all carbs or somewhere in between).
I am using the Lumen in a few different scenarios. Firstly, when I wake up to check if I am burning carbs or fat. Secondly, I sometimes use it before or after exercise to see how my metabolism shifts with my workouts.
I realize this is a long read – but I wanted to share a few of the metrics I am tracking and the devices/biohacks I am using in my quest to stay younger for longer, feel vibrant, and have the confidence to take on the world.
I will do a part 2 (and maybe part 3) of this series in a few months.
Please let me know of any questions in the meantime.