Upgrade your Brain and Mind, for higher performance in all aspects of your Life

Claudia Von Boeselager, the Founder and Host of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast  became a Moderator of the Panel Discussion on Biohacking for Health and Performance Optimization at BiohackingCongress in Miami. Claudia is a serial entrepreneur, investor, conference speaker and mentor to female leaders and start-ups. She began her career in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs, later founding, investing in and advising start-ups across the tech space, including Health- and Med-Tech. Claudia is a futurist, passionate about science, technology, innovation, conscious living and biohacking to live smarter, healthier and longer.

The first question was to everyone: “What in your view is the difference between Brain and Mind? Why is upgrading both so important for peak performance and what are your top three tips for each?”  

“In my view, things are starting to come together a bit more and people are starting to look at the brain and mind together.  I think what's very interesting, especially in photobiomodulation research, is that people are starting to look at that together like maybe the microtubules which is a structure in the brain could be the seat of consciousness, and how do you then blend that. So top tips it's of course getting back to nature. I think a lot of what these biohacks are doing is utilizing what we already know about nature,  and certainly light with photobiomodulation is mimicking the sun,  so you know, getting up with sunrise really being connected and then utilizing these technologies to maximize that effect.  That's not three tips but there are excellent tips.“ - Sarah Turner replied.

Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, PhD(C) said -  “I believe that the human operating system represents or encompasses two major systems: the brain and the mind, which are two very different and separate systems that interact with each other. You can think of the brain as the physical construct of human consciousness and the mind as  not physical in nature. The brain can be thought of as the hardware of the human operating system and the mind is like the software. So the way to upgrade these systems is various ways, but I would say you want to focus on these three areas: the neuro electricity, so this could be done through neurofeedback, and through the psychological component would be enhancing your emotional intelligence connecting with yourself.  There are various ways to do it and then on the neurological side I would say the biggest hack that shouldn't be a hack, it should just be part of a regular lifestyle is quality sleep, because our brain does not function without quality sleep, and I guess those would be my top tips.”

“The brain is the physical organ,  and you can break down  electrical, structural and neural chemicals.  The newer structural things, the transformation for biomodulation, are all great devices to help optimize your feedback which I've done about seven weeks of my life.  It's probably the most powerful thing you can do to really optimize your human weapons,  and then we optimize the chemicals.  We'll talk a little bit more about that, but when you get all three optimized your great performance goes to different dimensions.  As far as that's a mind, it's more difficult to describe. You can  learn mental models, which will also learn that books and models,  when you learn to just think better you will produce smarter decisions, if you again conquer devices and of course the spiritual connection, which is the racial consciousness is the last piece that's for meditation.”  -  Matt Gallant said.

Ken Davidov replied - “My idea of the brain is the physical part of it  you're using for  learning or for any kind of physical activity, and then the mind and  mental health. How we react every day with our bodies and how we treat other people, and your feelings and emotions. I think that for me it's  been a really great journey to build a product that deals with both sides: the physical side and the mindfulness side.  I would say my tips, in general,  in terms of brain  health or optimization, would be a great diet, and that would be however we feel and how our brain feels,  I think has a lot to do with what we eat, what we put into our body. Another thing is -  exercising. And number three is  focusing on today, focusing on the present.”  

The first question was to Kayla Osterhoff, Founder & CEO, BIOCURIOUS “What is your advice on how to promote neurogenesis and what hacks can you recommend?” -  Claudia asked.

“There's a big difference between neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. I think oftentimes especially in the biohacking community those two are lumped in together,  and the reason why I'm a neuroscientist to begin with is because it's such an amazing field. There's so much more to uncover, and in fact so much that we actually didn't know that the human adult brain was capable of neurogenesis which is the creation of new brain cells, new neurons. 

The human adult brain was capable of neurogenesis which is the creation of new brain cells, new neurons. Promoting neurogenesis is very different from promoting neuroplasticity whereas neuroplasticity is actually the wiring of the brain, its neural pathways and changing and shifting those. There are different things that can boost both on the neurogenesis side. It's really about giving your brain the cofactors,  the building blocks needed to create healthy neurons and so omega-3s can be and lipids, in general, are very important. They create the membrane of the neuron,  as well as the myelin sheath of the neuron as well. I would say that the biggest  hack that increases BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor is important for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. So doing things like a workout for instance, or fasting can increase that neurogenesis and for women specifically, during the luteal phase which is the back half of the female hormone cycle,  women have a couple of neurological things that happen that enhance their neurogenesis and neuroplasticity,  and it has to do with progesterone which sparks production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor neuronal growth factor and boosts neuroplasticity as well as enhances gaba neurotransmitter activity and so that's I  call The grow phase,  literally.” - Kayla replied.

“Let's move on as CEO of BiOptimizers  and your recently launched venture Nootopia, can you tell us more about what nootropics actually are? Obviously,  I think there's a lot of people here, who are familiar with it, but for those that maybe are less familiar, and what the effect is on our brain chemistry, and the benefits of it are.” - Claudia asked

“We have neural chemicals in our mind. Anyone here ever struggle with procrastination, lack of drive, lack of motivation?  All of those things can be attributed to neurochemical deficiencies. If you're lacking dopamine you're not going to be able to drive yourself and keep going and doing hard things. Dopamine is the key molecule that we need, and almost everyone that's hyper successful has very strong genetic dopamine systems.  Now the cool thing is we can use the tropics to optimize that acetylcholine, which is the molecule of focus. If you're deficient in that you will be struggling to maintain focus on even a small task, so you can optimize your acetylcholine, you can maintain focus for hours. Serotonin helps stabilize your mood. It makes you a better human, being higher emotional intelligence. So any of those deficiencies compromises your ability to be a great, the best version of yourself. With nootropics we can optimize all of those and there's many other ones anamiz: noradrenaline, adrenaline, all of those things. If they're at the right ratios will help you become the best version of yourself on a daily basis.  That's what we do.”  

Does your customization also include women? Does it make that differentiation or not yet?” -  Claudia continued her question.

“We're big on hormone optimization as well we're working on some female hormonal stacks,  because  as we know, testosterone is an incredible molecule as well for the drive for aggression for facing tough obstacles and for women it's very different. So yes, we are working on them.” - Matt replied.

“Sarah, let's talk about photobiomodulation, specifically red and near infrared light therapy for brain health.  Can you explain, what red light therapy is particularly about the benefits for brain health and what the impact on the brain and gut connection is?” - Claudia asked Sarah, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at CeraThrive.

“Most biohackers know about red light, and there's several theories about actually how it works.Mainly people talk about the mitochondria and an enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, but actually, I think there's a lot more to it than that, and I think we're really at the cutting edge of this kind of research, where people are really starting to look at  the body is covered in light receptors actually.  The body is also a connected system no one thing works in isolation and that's why actually the whole mind body connection is interesting,  because not even that works in isolation.  Firstly,  I am very interested in this kind of systemic use of photobiomodulation for the brain. Historically, it is fairly difficult to get light into the brain; we don't know how much light is actually penetrating the cranium.  There are a lot of things that block light to the brain, so  if you're using some kind of device that will scatter the light,  skin pigments are different ages. Do you know you have different densities of the skull? So using a remote location for the brain is something that is now being investigated more. And the reason why for my device I'm also targeting the gut in the brain. Is because there's some excellent data on a mouse model of Alzheimer's, where actually they did some experiments, where they irradiated the gut they irradiated the brain they got a good effect on the mouse model. 

Our cells don't only receive light, they also output light. Our cells are putting out light at very ultra low  frequencies, but they are out of frequency so  that's some kind of field effect in the brain.  Fascinating , I could go on forever,  because there is actually so much new research that's coming out, new mechanisms of action, new ways that our bodies are potentially working.  Maybe that fits in with some quantum theories about how the brain and the body works.   - Sarah concluded.

“Ken, let's talk about neuroplasticity and how neurostimulation, through devices like your lifted  neurostimulation device can impact things like focus attention, alertness and for higher performance?” - Claudia asked Ken Founder and Partner, Global Lonics LLC

“Liftid is a transcranial direct current stimulation device that uses a mild electric current that passes through two electrodes. We place it up on this frontal lobe area and we target this area that's known for cognitive, benefit focus attention, memory productivity and performance. It's a part of the brain that's well known for this area so that's why I developed and designed this device.  I wanted to make it simple to use and I also made it a nodal.  A nodal meaning that it's a positive, it's excitatory so it's exciting the neurons and that's what gets focus and attention going. But you also can inhibit and suppress neurons by cathode currents. We built our device this way so what you do is you use Liftid once a day for 20 minutes and that is what induces over time what they call neuroplasticity which is the brain's ability to learn and adapt and reorganize. If you're using Lifted or any kind of transcranial direct current stimulation device, it gives you that same sort of boost, that same sort of energy that you would need to fight through what you're doing without having to put a chemical into your body. I mean I use Lifted and I'm getting better at what I'm doing.  so if I'm doing so that's where neuroplasticity comes in that you're training the brain.  The brain is actually adapting and it's understanding that those neurons that they're wired together and that they're going to they're going to get better at what you're doing. It's like training the brain , so over time if you use Lifted when you need it or every day -  you'll get better at your task and the after effects are longer lasting.

If you're really in tune with your body you can use all of these devices and the supplements and all kinds of things to maximize your day and your health.” - Ken finished.

“I'd like to move on to a group question for everybody: what is the most exciting thing that you see happening in the biohacking space in the next two to five years?" - asked Claudia Von Boeselager 

“I'm super excited about becoming a trans-human genetic upgrade brain to computer interfaces. I think the neural link is going to be an absolute game changer. First of all we can create constant feedback loops with what's happening with our minds. These feedback booths, whether it's electrical or other things that we're not measuring, give us the ability to learn in real time. It's the difference between a constant glucose monitor versus pricking your finger.  When you see a constant stream of data you get way more insights. I think in the technology biohacking space as we create these sensors that give us constant data streams whether it's blood markers, hormones, the brain, it's going to transform our ability to optimize your health for sure very exciting.“ - first to answer the question Matt.

"I'm most excited about seeing more female scientists like myself and women leaders step into this field and bring attention to something that the biohacking community has been ignoring up until now, and still largely does ignore, which is the recognition that feminine biology is much different than male biology. These significant differences are not well represented in the research so it's a job, it's a responsibility of the biohacking community.  Our responsibility is to bring forward this education and this information to promote female health, and also shine light on where it's not done." - Kayla replied.

“I think it's very interesting that people are starting to talk a lot more about consciousness, spirituality, energies, things like that in relation to biohacking and biology. I think this cross-discipline approach that's in biohacking is something very exciting for me, because it enables things to progress faster if you're trying a combination of people from all different disciplines. People are looking at biophotonic emission:  how does that relate to biology, how can we apply that to the therapy. For me that's fabulous to see. I think that's important.” - Sara shared her thoughts.

“I'd like to also ask if you have any parting thoughts or messages for the audience on optimizing your brain and mind for peak performance” - Claudia asked in conclusion

“The message is not new. I was talking to someone and here in the States there's a focus on technology in Europe there's much more a focus on natural cure. So homeopathy is really you're biohacking,  if you're getting up you're seeing the sun rise, you are having healthy relationships,  get in good sleep, that's an easy message and then all of this other stuff is like icing on top “ -  Sara replied.

“I'm going back to this gap in health science for women, because it's so essential to all of our work. Half of our clientele is women, and so we can't just ignore them and treat them as if they're men, as if their biology is the same. So what I would love to see is a  greater focus on the female biorhythm, all four phases of it, the physiological and biochemical signature of each of the four phases and mapping our biohacking routines into that and just for instance.” - shared with the audience Kayla.

“Don't ask yourself if these things work or not. They do. You know which one you are going to do and you try one at a time and you keep stacking these new technologies and habits and your life transforms. So as far as our products go, my suggestion is go to the optimizer booth to give Newtopia a shot at the feedback we're getting. People's lives are being transformed. “ - Matt concluded

“We're developing products that use the human body in a mild electric current.  I'm going to keep developing products that's my niche,  that use this mild current, because there is a benefit of these products working, and that's a really great thing to have a community that welcomes all of us that's important to me so I am going to keep doing my thing.” - Ken replied. 

BiohackingCongress's Team is very grateful to all participants of the excellent and educative Panel Discussion for joining our Biohacking conference and giving an incredible speech. 

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Based on the Panel Discussion with Claudia Von Boeselager, Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, PhD(C) and  Ken Davidov, Matt Gallant, Sarah Turner.





Authors: Julia Smila , Olga Chern