Dr. Joel Rosen: All right. Hello, everyone. And welcome back to another edition of the truth about your health podcast where we teach exhausted and burnt-out adults the truth about their health, so that they can get their energy back quickly.
nd I’m really excited to interview our next guest, who has recently released the second edition of his best-selling book unstoppable, which is a 90-day plan to Biohack your mind and your body for success. Ben Angel is here with us. And Ben, I want to thank you for joining us today and sharing your time with us.
Ben Angel: Yeah, it’s my absolute pleasure. I’m excited to dive into it.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, so Well, let’s dive right in. So you have the second edition of unstoppable and it’s a 90-day biohacking plan for success. And I guess I would just start with what inspired you to go down these rabbit holes and write a book like this? Because I don’t think that’s where your background is in. Right. So maybe give us a little journey through memory lane.
Ben Angel: Yeah, so it was kind of out of necessity at the time. For the first kind of 15 years of my professional career. I’ve been a professional speaker, helping coach CEOs, and entrepreneurs, and also in the area of marketing. But it was I think, about almost five years ago, that I did a three-month trip around the US. And when I finally got back home to Australia, I was suddenly here with fatigue, depression, and anxiety that wasn’t typical of me at the time. And I had to give up my speaking career because I couldn’t find the right thoughts. I wasn’t comfortable getting up on stage anymore.
And I didn’t speak at an event for three years. And I used to speak at over 60 events per year. So that was a big deal for me at the time. I was going to various doctors, I wasn’t getting the answers that I needed. And people asked, okay, well, what were you eating? What were you doing? I had the strictest healthiest diet possible. I was doing CrossFit. I was meditating, I was doing everything that you should. And just nothing worked.
And it was, I think one conversation interaction with one doctor that inspired me to go on this journey and research the book was I explained my symptoms to them. And she effectively just said, Well, you’re tired, you might have chronic fatigue, most people just don’t get over it. So just kind of deal with it to a large degree. And at the time, I was suicidal. And I walked out of that doctor’s office in tears going this is the fifth doctor that I’ve seen in the past year, I’ve been constantly dismissed that you kind of not necessarily saying it outright, but you kind of just have to deal with it and get over it.
And I was supremely frustrated because I realized at the time, I could go in one of two directions. One was to accept it. But accepting it meant I would never be able to speak on stage again because I wasn’t functioning. And the second thing I’d have to accept is that I wouldn’t be able to write any more books. And that’s, you know, that’s my soul’s purpose. That’s what I love doing. So I got to this crossroads. And I thought, Well, how am I going to fix this problem? So I came up with in hindsight was probably one of the craziest ideas I could think of which I thought, Okay, I’m an author, I’ll pitch to Entrepreneur magazine at a time when I was providing business education videos, to I’ll pitch to them the idea that I would go on this 90-day mission to buy a hack my way back to health.
And, you know, I didn’t think it through at the time because the truth was, I didn’t know if I was gonna get better or not. I could have done that, signed the book contract, and then had to refund the book advance at the end of it because I wasn’t any better. And I certainly wasn’t going to lie to people through a book. So that took me from Australia to Florida, here in the US to interview functional doctors, different gut health, TSA even traveled to Canada to interview biohackers and nootropics experts different like biohackers as well as neuroscientists, psychiatrists, counselors, nutritionists to start to pull the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s probably one of the hardest but most rewarding journeys I’ve ever been on.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, it’s a good intro. There are so many things that I think of there in terms of you coming to that crossroads where you can go left or right. I think a lot of reoccurring themes with the clients that we work with, have that ready fire aim mentality where they just sort of jump right in and now Hey, It’s sink or swim, and I’ll give you an A quick little analogy as I remember when I went to chiropractic college in the US, I grew up in Toronto, and I didn’t have enough financing to get through a full year.
And I did everything you needed to do to be able to show the US immigration to be able to qualify for a student visa. But I also remember thinking, holy crap, how am I going to get through the year because I don’t have enough money. And I gotta find and I ended up getting I joke around, I ended up getting a loan from an agency. If it wasn’t Luigi and, and Carmine that were going to come and get me once I didn’t pay it back. It was just crazy interest rates, but I had to do it.
But the bottom line is, are my buddies, the best man of my wedding said to him, What are you doing? Like what, like, what happens if you don’t get through it? And I’m like, Are you sure? And yes, it created my stress. But it wasn’t an option. Right? It’s sort of like burning the boats of Cortez and not allowing the option of failing to be a reality. Yes, it’s stressful. But you are going to find your way. And I think it’s it’s indicative of why you got the success that you did.
Because even though it was a daunting task, I guess there was no option but to get better. So yeah, as far as what was the? I guess the question would be is, when you heard the words, there’s you just got to accept them. And that wasn’t good enough for you? What was it? Do you feel that that made you continue to search? And part B of that question was, was the term biohacking already on your mind? Or do you already know about it? Or functional medicine? So more long, like okay, no, I’m not going to take no for an answer. And I know that there’s this alternative world that I need to explore. So maybe kind of give us a little insight on that.
Ben Angel: Yeah, I think the reason that I kept going is I grew up on a cattle farm in South Australia. So which is farming is the original hustle into a dying culture as far as I’m concerned. And unfortunately, farmers have some of the highest suicide rates out of most professions, because it is a sink or swim environment, if you don’t plant the crops at a certain time, he can’t. So the crops later. And so I grew up with a very strong father, who I witnessed go through seven years of drought, making no money, still making a work somehow. So I had those values instilled in me, but it was also because I am an author, and I’ve been in office since I was 23 years old, was that interest and kind of sparked a little bit of interest in me that I thought, Okay, what else is out there? What are the questions that are not asking myself that I need to be asking myself?
And also what are the questions that the doctors aren’t asking me? Because they know if I’m not getting the answer, and I’m not getting better, they’re not asking me the right questions. And hacking did pop up on my radar at one point, I think it was through Dave Asprey at the time. And it was then that I kind of looked at that field of expertise and started branching out but also backtracking to go or what was the sequence of events that occurred in the months before that I was suddenly here with depression. And there were certain things such as taking a course of antibiotics for sinus infection.
Now, as we know, here, the chances of depression after taking two courses of antibiotics biotics go up by 45%, because we need a healthy gut microbiome as well as the right nutrition to produce the right neurotransmitters. Now, my gut did not heal, as it should have after those the course of antibiotics. But of course, when you’re in the thick of it, you don’t understand any of that, because you’re taking a medication that your doctor has recommended at the time, yes, I needed it. But what I also needed was a protocol to heal from taking the course of antibiotics, which I just wasn’t educated on at the time.
And I think throughout this process, I came to understand and look at myself kind of like a mobile phone. So for each of us, when we go to bed at night, we typically put our phone on the charger and we wake up in the morning, it’s fully charged, and it’s good to go. But throughout the day, the battery starts draining the background tasks start slowing down. And when we hear maybe five or 10% charged left, it’s typically when power saving mode comes on, which is when everything slows down. You can’t use your flashlight. You can’t make many calls because it’s about to die.
And I started to look at myself as Okay, I have this energy and the Morning for a couple of hours where I can focus and I’m good. But as the day is driving on, I get depleted. So I had this energy deficit between my goals and how much energy I had to be able to reach those goals. But there was this gap in the middle where it just wasn’t enough. And in speaking with neuroscientists, psychologists and counselors, actually asked, one counselor said, Is there a particular time of day that you do not take patients?
Because you just don’t get results? And she said, Yes, well, there’s one client that I will not see after two o’clock in the afternoon, even if she begs to see me because those sessions are always ineffective. And that’s where I created this, I guess a biohacking framework, and put individuals into four different identity types. Because as our energy drains throughout the day, our identity shifts, the second we get hangry, we get moody, we get grumpy, we can’t focus. So we go from defenders who are kind of zero to 25%, psychological and biological energy.
So they’re the ones in that hyper-vigilant state, they are in hyperarousal where every single thing in their environment is a threat, then we have guardians who are 25 to 50% Charge, very similar to defenders, they’re just a little bit better, then, above the 50% threshold, we have synergies, and then we have catalysts for the peak performance. And what I found is when we kind of hit the 50% threshold of how much energy we have, we automatically switch into self-preservation mode, which is where fight or flight comes on, and your primal brain is trying to prioritize vital bodily functions are over your goals, it doesn’t give a damn about your goals. It’s just trying to get through the day. So automatically, our behavior changes to protect what resources we have left.
And in understanding that and for people listening, map out your day, like at what point do you hit that self-preservation mode? Or are you constantly stuck in it like a defender is because becoming aware of that takes the self-hatred and self-loathing off of your shoulders because you’re no longer blaming yourself? You’re just understanding yourself, which we’ve seen life-changing for 1000s of people when they kind of understand how that concept works.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, and you have a quiz that you can take, yes, we can put that in the link. But what is the link for them to take that quiz?
Ben Angel: Yeah, it’s how you unstoppable.com. And we’ve had over 75,000 people take that quiz, there are 30 questions based on both psychology and biology. I believe we’ve collected over 1.5 million pieces of data. And you start to see very specific patterns occur from the biological side versus the psychological side to go, okay, the prevalence of gut health issues in the lower group, such as defender or guardian might be 80 to 85%.
All those groups are all so likely to suffer from depression, fatigue, not be able to focus not be able to reach their goals. So provided us and when I first launched that would serve I think about 1000 to 2000. But as the data keeps coming in daily, these patterns keep being instilled.
Dr. Joel Rosen: With amazing, it’s like your own little study, and I would love to help you look at the data and say, Hey, there’s another thing in there. But for me, for purposes of today, a couple of things that I think have been I think about there was a study in I think it was Israel, Israel, and they worked stuttered, studying judges, and the closer they got, or the further they got, was that in your book, or was that but or was that just something I’ve read somewhere else where the closer they got to or the further away they got from eating their food, or the more their decisions were not in favor for the defendant. So it kind of tells us about when we have an energy supply and demand problem. It impacts us just like I explained this to our clients think of your body as a business.
And if you have more income than expenses, then your business is thriving. And you could do a lot of things that you plan on growing and scaling but think of it as if your expenses are bigger than your income. You’re going to have to make some decisions and at the cellular level that’s going to impact reproduction, motivation, libido, because those are not priorities when you’re just wanting to cool down the body when it’s hot or warm it up when it’s cold or increase the respiratory rate or blood flow.
But what I love is that you have this understanding of there’s a psychological price that is paid when there’s an energy crisis. So why don’t you share with us how that supported your recovery process? And your aha was that you had when there’s a demand and supply problem that impacts your mood and your and your thought processes and your emotions and so forth. So you can go down that.
Ben Angel: Yeah, well, I think the biggest aha moment for me is coming from the so the field of personal development was that I realized that with the hustle and today’s culture, we constantly telling people to work harder and faster, jump higher, you know, work those long hours, if you don’t get enough sleep, it’s kind of like a badge of honor. And part of the problem with that is that if you’re biologically depleted, as well as psychologically depleted, then that kind of mottos that toxic positivity causes you to constantly blame yourself.
And I ask people the question, which is what would happen to a peak performer if you depleted them of vitamin D, vitamin D, and magnesium, obviously critical for brain health? What would happen to a peak performer if you disrupted their gut health, and changed their diet? Well, they would end up depressed and motivated and procrastinate just like the rest of us would. And I think it’s understanding that when I came across that aha moment, for me, it was like, Well, okay, I need to stop blaming myself, for everything and just start to look at the pattern that’s unfolding.
And I think that was probably the biggest key to healing for me to understand, okay, my energy is dipping up and down throughout the day. That’s a natural, normal part of life. But why is it being stuck here? Instead of blaming myself for having a lack of willpower? What’s going on under here? So I have a journal as well biohacking journal, where each day, I look at 16 different triggers. And I asked myself the question, how is my gut health today? Am I chronically stressed out right now?
And my shallow breathing? Because I’m working too hard? Or I’m filming videos? What’s the ventilation like in the room? Am I hydrated? Or have I had too much caffeine, which is a great topic, I’d love to talk to you for a second as well. But understanding that answering those questions daily, stops that self-blame from occurring. And when we look at depression, and anxiety, we constantly beating ourselves up.
And then there is for me, I think there’s a dark side to the self-help industry, that we just look at the psychological perspective when someone is depressed, but we don’t look at the biological perspective enough, either. And that’s been reinforced through I don’t know how many years of self through the self-help movement. So I like to tell people to look at it as one coin, there are two sides to every coin. One is biology, and one is psychology. And if you’re just focused on one or the other, then the answers you get will always be imbalanced. And you won’t necessarily get the answers that you need to heal.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, oh. I think that’s a great point I explained to some of the clients I work with this, you can’t be the Dalai Lama, and still have a major oxidative Ember that’s not being extinguished in the body, and not address that and expect your willpower or your positive, positive mental attitude to overtake everything. And now on the flip side, even if you do all of that, and you’re not thinking about the, I guess, the plasticity or the impact that the repetitive fatigue has created in your brain to etch out the program to run automatically, as soon as a stressor happens, the emotion of I’m not good enough, or I’m just not going to be able to do it, or I don’t deserve to be healthy. All of them need to be worked on and then identify.
Ben Angel: And the biochemistry will only support a positive thought as long as it’s been balanced, and it’s looked after. And it’s not to say we should put more emphasis on one or the other. So we need to cover all of our bases. And I mean, I spoke to a clinical counselor when I was researching the book and she had one particular patient who was constantly suicidal for almost five years and thankfully she hadn’t acted on that and anyone listening, please ring a helpline and get support as soon as possible. But through the conversations I had with her, she messaged me a few months later and said, then my patient had a vitamin D test done and found that she was severely deficient.
And within three months of dealing with a deficiency, the suicidal tendencies laughed, she changed her job, she started a new business, and she reconnected with family and friends whom she had spoken to for years. Now, that’s not to say vitamin D is the only thing, of course, it’s not. But to just be working with that client. And for my friend, particularly, it was such an eye-opening experience with her, who she now sends all of her clients to the doctor and make sure that they get a full panel done on their blood tests to make sure that there aren’t any deficiencies.
And we get, we get emails from doctors and psychologists every single month saying that they’ve changed the way that they treat their patients after reading the book, which is incredibly humbling to me. Because I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nutritionist, I looked at this from a kind of research, investigative research perspective, to heal myself. And to give people a framework to say, here’s the framework, here are some of the key areas that you need to start with. And here’s where you kind of need to branch out next.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Oh, that’s awesome. It’s sometimes it’s, it’s not rocket science, right at the same time, like, we want to think about it as there’s a lot of sophisticated moving parts. And it does get very scientific and a lot of people that are in that frustration and just exhaustion, they have to use the energy, the limited that they have to be their advocate and go down those rabbit holes. And it can be very complicated. But at the same time, it isn’t rocket science. I have a gardener who’s older, and his wife passed. And I called him the other day, and he didn’t sound coherent. And he didn’t make it to our house.
And I thought, Oh, that’s weird. Let me call him again. And I said, Hey, Fred, are you having challenges since your wife passed? I mean, are you cooking your meals? Like, when was the last time you ate? Well? Are you getting nourishment? And he hadn’t, and he’s out all day. And I said, Listen, you got to get food that is your grandmother would recognize, right? Because it’s got to come from the earth. And it’s got to be plentiful. And it’s got to be nutritious, and you’re drinking enough water.
And I know that he’s already doing better because of that major fact. So you talk about what I like that you talk about that. And it’s exciting to hear that you’re changing practitioners, Mo, and their whole way of looking at things which is fantastic. So what I like to get into now is as far as the bio hacks, so I guess what would you say for someone who I think at this day, unless we’re living in a cave, we understand what biohacking is. But what would you say biohacking is given your definition of what you’ve been through? And then maybe let’s start to talk about what you feel are some of the best bio hacks that you are still implementing recommend?
Ben Angel: Yeah, biohacking by definition keeps changing depending on each person you speak to. So for me, I’m specifically looking at okay, what are different bio hacks to improve brain function, mood, and improved digestion through the gut-brain access to ensure that we’re functioning at our absolute best. Now, that can include a myriad of different things. So my giant in dopamine, looking at nutrition, getting blood tests done getting the gut health tests done, can also include different devices like the one that I have sitting on my desk right here, which admits it’s a PMF device.
So it emits a specific frequency and you pop it on your head. So your brain starts to sync with the frequencies that are submitting. So if I’m stressed out, I pop it on, I will put a theater frequency on and I did it before the interview, just to relax. So I can just let my brain process the information. And I find things like that helped a lot. But I think when it comes to biohacking, people just need to be aware that they do need a framework to work within. And when I first started before I wrote the book, I didn’t have a framework of the four different identity types to compare myself. So each week I take the online quiz myself and say, Okay, I’ve dipped a little bit this week. What does that mean?
What do I need to do this week, and then I’ll look at a specific Biohack that might help that. So maybe I’m stressed out because I just wrote 5000 words in one day. And my brain is overstimulated and to address that, that might simply mean putting an ice pack on my forehead before I go to sleep, to call the prefrontal cortex down. So things like that I’ve learned to use to make sure that I’m performing at my best and to also make sure that I don’t slip into depression again. Because it can be incredibly easy.
And like you said, with your friend, the gardener, that when you’re going through chronic stress, you’re been hit by both the psychological and biological side. And it’s very hard to solve the problems yourself. So it’s very hard to kind of, conceptualize and for people suffering from trauma as well, if you’re trying to deal with childhood trauma, on top of vitamin D deficiency on top of a magnesium deficiency, on top gut health issues, then all of those underlying issues are going to amplify that traumatic experience because the body and the brain are in a complete state of disarray. So sometimes we need to work from the bottom up, we need to address these other issues, and get our brain functioning, the best it can.
And then what we found with a lot of people that have read the books or done my online programs, is that once I addressed those other issues, the amplification of the stresses in their life tends to either disappear, or they’re in an actual position where they can logically think through and deal with it. So to me, biohacking. It’s one of those terms, it’s going to keep changing based on the technology that we have, as well as the supplementation as well as nootropics, and smart drugs. And it’s quite astounding what we’ve got coming through the pipeline in terms of a new medicine that’s coming out, it’s exciting. On the other hand, it’s also we need to be hyper-vigilant and that we don’t just fall for anything and everything, which I think a lot of people are doing right now.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I mean, more. So I like your definition, I look at it as also data tracking. You want to know objectively where you are and where you’re going. Because a lot of clients or even people that I talked to, they’re doing so many things, and it throws whatever crap against the wall that you can and you don’t know if it’s making a difference or not. So you can track with key metrics as to whether it is so that you have those shades of grey being identified, that you may not notice until it’s changing colors at the subjective level that it’s going in the right direction.
And I think that’s key because I had a conference, the biohacking Congress conference that I spoke about I spoke at, and I think that most biohacking isn’t so much for optimization. Right now. It’s more for ending pain, I think it’s we’re on the defense. And so you look at the pandemic and how it’s a metabolic issue that created such a bad response to something that we would I think normally be able to address or deal with.
But that’s more of a pointer of, it’s the best of the best and the worst of the worst. So yes, it’s an exciting time to see that we have ideas on how your genomics work so that you can customize a recovery strategy. We have all these cool things that we could implement and have amazing results. But yet, we’re surrounded by 5g if more daily, and glyphosate and pesticides and sprays and social media and just a frenetic pace of life, that it’s also an epidemic in terms of how problematic and so I always say it’s the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
Ben Angel: Yeah, I think that we have to be very careful because you can become obsessed with every single individual component of what’s going on. Now if you’re obsessed with every single thing, you know, I am concerned that to a degree some of the biohacking how much has been pushed could create mental health disorders or anxiety where it shouldn’t exist in the first place. So if we’re talking about toxins in our food, etc, then we do need to be wary of okay, the dose always makes the poison.
And I think the most important thing for me personally because I did go through that complete obsession phase of tracking every single little thing to make sure that I’m doing it right. But at the end of it, I kind of came out of and said, Okay, well what’s working for me and what’s not working for me right now? I don’t give a damn what the next kind of evil thing is being positioned as in the biohacking space which happens because it drives I was clicks, views, and comments.
I’m from a social media background, I also understand how PR and media work. So I think it’s very important for people to understand, that just because an issue has been brought to your awareness, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s affecting you individually. Take a step back, look at your diet, if you eat a food that’s been demonized right now, and you’re fine, then based on your bio-individual individuality, maybe your body can process that food right now. But if you’re already depleted, maybe you’re extremely affected by it. And that’s up to the individual.
So it’s very easy to go down a scary rabbit hole. Based on some of the information that’s being put out there, though, I’ll be honest, some of it has been disheartening in the past couple of years to me, where I’ve taken a step back and said, you know, you’re, you’re scaring people without needing to scare them. And I think, based on bio-individuality, we just need to take a step back, find a good functional doctor or someone such self to look at, okay, what’s affecting the individual instead of being bombarded with all of this information, because we have all these supplements and products out there.
And there’s always something that they’re fighting against to sell the product. And I think it’s really important for people to understand that so they don’t get sold on stuff that they potentially don’t even need.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Those are really good words, to listen to bad. You know, again, it comes down to simplicity and the Pareto principle, and what can you do 5% change that will give you 95% improvements? Or what are the big rocks don’t trip over dollars to save pennies and so forth, like, and I think that was one of the challenges I had with my coaching clients is, I want to teach you how to understand what your weak links in the chain are for yourself so that you don’t pull on them and how it expresses.
And I want you to be aware of these certain numbers or metrics, but at some point, it becomes do the ends justify the means you’re getting stressed to try to figure this stuff out? Yeah, it’s making you crazy, right. And so with that being said, what would you say then what are for you and what you’ve researched, that are some of the 95% improvements with 5% impact given that you realize that it’s not just taken this pill because that’s frustrating for me, I get a lot of comments that say, Hey, can you recommend a supplement, or I’m part of biohacking Facebook groups, and hey, what’s the bio-hack for this? What’s the bio-hack for that, and you know what I want to say there’s no free lunch, you could do a long time to get to where you got to, and it’s going to take you time to get out of where you got to.
And once you create a surplus you will refer to this as one of the other things are saying the body will take care of itself. So if you have a demand and supply problem, and you start making more biological income, then you do expenses, you don’t need to micromanage how the body’s going to use that it’s going to fill up the cups that need the most filling up in the first place. So with that being said, though, what would the listener do? What could you want to tell the listener that, hey, these are the things that I know, I’ve seen the best results for me? And it may be different for you. But here are the ones that I love. And here are the ones that I see have the most impact?
Ben Angel: Yeah, it’s kind of because we divvied it up into four of the different identity types defend the Guardian, synergist, and catalyst. With the defender, for example, we know based on a survey and 75,000 people that they’ve had suicidal thoughts in the past month. But we also know that their nutrition is incredibly poor. So immediately, we recommend, please go to a doctor, ideally, a functional Doctor Who will look at the body holistically and consider every single thing.
And the other reason I recommend functional medicine is because you will typically spend up to an hour with your doctor versus the medical system where you might get 1015 minutes if you’re lucky. It’s I still can’t believe that doctors can make a diagnosis in that. And that’s not a criticism of the doctors themselves. It’s a criticism of how the healthcare system has been set up effectively.
So if they’re a defendant then it would be functional medicine doctor get all your blood panels done I would also recommend getting a health test. Also speaking with a doctor about any medications that I’ve been on for the past couple of years. I at the time was also I’ve been asked manic. I was a kid I used to get rushed to the hospital because we didn’t have the Ventolin inhalers that we do now. But I found personally that the Ventolin inhaler was one of the causes of my depression anxiety.
Now, thankfully, even though the doctor said I’d never get off, I’ve been off of it for I think three and a half years. Because I, because I looked at every other component around it and it was kind of a happy accident. I never got to decide to buy a hack to get off of the medication. But it was then becoming more conscious than when I had to take increase my dose because of hay fever season. Like why is my depression anxiety peaking during hay fever season? Okay, well, that coincides with an increase in medication I’m taking the time to. So that’s kind of for defenders. Guardians are very much similar.
And, you know, I think one of the most important things people can do is, first of all, look at the diet and identify any dietary triggers. For me, caffeine is a massive trigger. And you know, as you’ve read in the book when I came back from my three-month trip around the US, I had the worst jetlag like you’re flying from the US back to Australia, which is at a completely different timezone. So I started drinking coffee to kind of get functioning without realizing that I’m highly sensitive to caffeine. And we know that caffeine increases lactate in the brain, which is implicated in panic attacks.
And I came across an incredible story, Ruth Wallen, who is extremely allergic to caffeine, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital with bipolar disorder, split personality, anxiety, and depression. And thankfully, a doctor came along and realized it was caffeine. That was her trigger. It wasn’t just her mindset, her mindset was a symptom of a psychoactive drug that she was consuming daily. So for defenders and guardians who are especially depleted, I always suggest, you know, take yourself off of caffeine for the next 30 days, gradually switch it up for green tea that contains theanine or black tea that contains their name, because your dose in half and see how you feel within that 30 days.
And you can certainly speak to adrenal fatigue and the effects of caffeine in that particular area. So for me, it starts with the basics. And then when you move into kind of synergistic catalysts, that’s where you’re going to start looking at more. Okay, are there wearable devices that can help with my stress and anxiety? And I know you asked me the question about the risks, devices that I mentioned in the book, which vibrate on each of your wrists, and they kind of sit in short circuits, the primal brain. And one of my favorite stories in the book is from my great friend Trish, who has had the less phobia, which is fear of deepwater in the ocean, where she had to give up a job because it was right near where the ships came in at the port here in Tampa. And she wanted to try the wearable devices, they’re called touchpoints, we put them on her, she started looking at visual imagery of the deepwater ocean, the jaws movie poster, which you can never look at, like her fear was bad. And we did that. And then eventually, she wanted to go to the pirate ship and touch the ship. And then several months later, she was swimming, which she hadn’t swam for over 20 years. And her husband said to her Trish, do you realize that the water is actually out to your neck.
And she just stopped and almost broke down in tears because the fear had just disappeared without having to deal directly with the childhood trauma that had caused it. So there are different ways to get the same result without having to dig out past experiences. And I think with biohacking, you do need to trust your intuition because it’s one part science one part intuition. For those that are listening, you live in your body 24/7.
Do you know what’s going on? It’s up to you to effectively communicate that with the right person, potentially multiple different people in the medical field.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, that was a well-thought answer because I agree with you can’t think of bio hacks to replace the foundational fundamental things and I think that’s the way you answer that, especially when you progress it through the defender and The Guardian that these are the things that you can expect the other things to work unless you have this and you’ll find that once you move into the synergist and catalysts that the wearables or the other quote-unquote, biohacking do Tools will be that much more effective.
Once I mean, synergistic once you are using that, right, Matt reminds me that I put a note down here. When I read the book, I said, I have to do a genome interpretation for Ben, because I know he’s got a massive histamine issue, whether he realizes it or not. The way I look at it just as an aside, when I suffered from an adrenal fatigue problem, it was frustrating for me to figure out why have I never heard of this when I have the background and education that I do, and how many other people must have this that don’t know about this?
On top of it, doctors don’t accept that as a legitimate diagnosis, you know, in the same experience you had in terms of there’s nothing wrong, you may just have to accept it, or it’s you, Joel, you’re depressed or anxious, you need to do this. And then so I went down that rabbit hole. And what I realized is not just stress that impacts the HPA axis, it’s oxidative stress, meaning you’re creating free radicals in your body because your cells aren’t breathing effectively.
And one of the main things that happen is you stimulate something called mast cells, which is an immune response. And then the mast cells when they d granulate. They produce histamine. So I bet when I review, Ben’s report, he’s gonna have major when I call on roads are on-ramps to his mast cell highway, and then he’s got some closed down off-ramps to his histamine highway. So he’s got all this traffic. And so I’m excited to do that. But it’s looking at HPA Axis adrenal health.
Ben Angel: So, I don’t doubt that for a second, because I know for me, it wasn’t just caffeine or the Ventolin medication that I know I have certain dietary triggers, that certainly affect me, even though that you know, they could be healthy for some person just like peanut is healthy for some people, but of someone else, it’s a life-threatening event. So I think it’s, you know, when it comes down to bio-individuality and biohacking our way to health, I think a food journal is always always a great step two, look at and look at, okay, what is my mood, like, after I eat food? I know, I can’t eat chocolate. For whatever reason, it triggers me, that triggers that exact response that you just explained. And I know if I have too much of that I will be moody, I will be angry out of the blue. It is bizarre, but at least I know, it’s one of my triggers that hey, I can have a tiny little bit, but I’ll have it on the weekend. instead.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Right? Yeah, I and food are a major challenge for histamine production. But stress just in itself when thinking about if someone cuts you off on the highway, or you almost collide with someone that will create a release of histamine, D granulating. Your mast cells are just from stress alone or being angered or irritated. So that’s where psychology comes into play too.
And you might be thinking, I don’t get it. I’ve removed all the foods that I found I react to but yet I’m still having these challenges. Well, it goes to show you that there’s this whole reactivity to stress. So I guess maybe a little more sophisticated, is one of the things you mentioned is the importance of heart rate variability. And how important heart rate variability is to understand how things are implemented or impacted, once you do that. So why don’t you tell us about your experience with heart rate variability and then maybe if you want to we could talk about one of the companies we mentioned earlier that you’re a bit upset with because.
Ben Angel: I mean, I think our heart rate variability is a good metric for people to work off of. Originally when I was looking at it, I was using the aura ring. So I’m happy to dive straight into that. Because we have so many wearable devices that are coming out into the marketplace. And for those that don’t know aura ring is a wearable ring, you pop on your finger. The claims are tracked heart rate, your abilities, sleep stages, and ultimately produce a readiness score as to how ready you are to show activity for the day or whether you need to take a step back and rest and recover. What I found with following that company for the last five years, is that unfortunately there was a major gap in study research specifically with sleep, not necessarily heart rate variability, but there have one of the sleep studies have done well was in 2017.
And then I think there was about a three or four-year gap before the next sleep study was done. And both of those sleep studies have conflicts of interest with either boards or advisors from the oral health part of the study or the study has been funded by the company itself. And I started speaking out against this about a year ago, and people kind of pushed back on me. But now people are starting to wake up a little bit, which is nice. But I think when we’re looking at any of these devices, whether it’s to track HRV or sleep, we just need to take a look, take a step back and understand these devices, there are so many different things we need to be aware of specifically with the studies, a lot of the studies are out of date because they’re done on the previous device, not the current device itself, which pays poses a major issue, especially if certain sensors have been updated on the device.
And the study has been updated following that particular sensor. So when people are looking at these devices to track whatever we just need to understand, Okay, it’s good if you use it as a snapshot of health and go, Okay, this is just a general guide. But the dark side of sleep trackers is that we also have the no SIBO effect, which is the dark side of the placebo effect. And I was reading a study only the other week around when people with Gene research, when they get some of their panels done, sometimes their physiology changes by the results of the test that’s been conducted.
And obviously, you can speak to that specifically. But we need to be careful of how much information we’re taking on from these devices, especially trackers that may not be accurate, depending on which device you’re using. So when it comes to any of that kind of information, it’s up to whoever’s providing that data does someone say, Hey, this is a general guide. There’s either limited research or this is the research, or here’s what we need to do next. And I think people need to be wary of that company such as ring health, which had a $110 million investment, I believe, was only just a year ago, their customer service has slipped, they’re not keeping up with the complaints, and people are having a lot of issues. If I was to recommend any health, wearable, I would suggest Fitbit, because they have a massive library of studies up on their website, it’s a separate dedicated website just to their studies.
But I warn people, you will go down a rabbit hole and want to pull your hair out trying to keep up with this research. Because it’s impossible, anyone who claims that they have the most accurate sleep or wearable tracker, just I call BS immediately, because you’re gonna have to look at hundreds or 1000s of different studies that have been conducted right now. And that’s probably to get that off my chest. When it comes to HRV. Do you just want to be wary of where you’re getting that data from who is measuring that? What is the intention of the company behind it? Who is supporting those studies? And just not take it as gospel? But just as a general guide? Otherwise, it can negatively affect you psychologically?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Oh, for sure. Yeah. And you know, it wouldn’t. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how almost all studies are whether it’s in the holistic world or it’s in the pharmaceutical world. And I think that’s something that is a real tragic tragedy because it’s motivated by thought big dollars, and it’s biased, and it’s skewed. And there’s no accountability, and that’s a whole other rabbit hole. But I’ve always been about transparency, Ben in terms of the pot, the public wants to see your flaws. They embrace that.
And if you can say, hey, look, we’re doing the best we can. And this is something that we’ve funded because no one else is going to publicly do this. And we’ve done whatever, whatever instead of hiding behind it, and then after having to say oh, yeah, well, we funded it like just be transparent and let people know what’s going on.
Ben Angel: Yeah, I think my biggest concern right now is biohacking in the past couple of years has almost become the new breed of snake oil salesmen. So we justice, a lot of others promoting different supplements and you do a little bit of research and you find out okay, they’re a shareholder in the supplement. And suddenly they’re promoting that everyone has this brand new problem that we’ve never really heard about before and you need this. Yes. Finding.
And that’s why I think it’s critical that someone speaks with someone such as yourself or a functional doctor, and sit down. Okay, is it an issue or not? Or is it just the next trend in this wave of media cycle that’s coming from the health industry itself? Not pharmaceutical, we have a mix of both. So I think we just need to be more conscious, in general, to come back to basics.
What’s working for me? What’s not working for me? What do I need to be aware of? What are the intentions of some of these people are so in supplements and anything else behind it? And whenever I review, a supplement, or a wearable device, I always, always interview the people behind it. To find out the backstory, I look over their research or what research is available, and I test it for myself, and it may work for me, but it may not work for someone else.
And like you said earlier, if they don’t have the foundation, right, then a lot of this stuff just isn’t gonna work for you. Because a lot of this other stuff is about optimization. It’s not about addressing the core issues that are sitting below the water level of what’s going on.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, again, really great insight, I think that the real Biohack, which you alluded to is is fundamentally getting yourself healthy, and checking your gut function 70 to 80% of our immune systems, they’re eating healthy foods, and not expecting there to be Jack in the beanstalk approach of there’s this golden beanstalk with a pot of gold at the end, you can’t be lazy, my wife taught my kids, the lazy man works twice as hard, right?
And you have to, you have to take accountability, it’s a paradigm shift. It’s and that you allude to in the book, it’s really bridging the gap to where you are to where you want to get to, and then being able, to bridge that gap by doing fundamental things and taking accountability and changing your life and making small habits. And as you start to get some momentum, then you’ll realize you’re human.
And when you fall off the wagon sort of speak and you pay the price of feeling crappy, then you realize, okay, I’m not going to do that, again, I’m going to give myself grace, and I’m going to continue where I was doing. And that’s sort of the definition of hormesis is, is that you want to stimulate change, your body’s great at getting adjusted to what you’re doing that if you do it too long, it’s gonna get complacent, and you’re up.
So sometimes cheating isn’t a bad thing, you’re teaching your body to be able to tolerate that. So it’s sort of coming to an end here, as far as you know, with people that are struggling. Someone that is having a really tough time mentally. What would you recommend for them, then? Because I know that’s a touchy issue or a very personal issue that you’ve experienced yourself? And I’m sure it’s part of your mission to help other bands that haven’t had that aha as yet. So what would you tell them given everything we’ve talked about today?
Ben Angel: Yeah, first of all, take the pressure off of yourself, because you can only push through with willpower for so long. We know brain chemicals get depleted through that chronic stress process, and it triggers inflammation. So the first thing would be to stop blaming yourself and assuming that it’s simply a weak mental attitude. Because that is the most simplistic and dangerous response that unfortunately comes out of the self-help field even though it’s not said outright, that is the unintended meaning behind a lot of stuff that’s going on with the hustle of today’s culture.
So I would say to them, please get yourself to a functional doctor, to get all of your blood panels done as and speak to someone like yourself, of course, and just try and tease apart some of what’s going on with you. Looking at your diet and doing some simple things daily, incremental improvements build up over time, whether it could be okay, I need to adjust what I’m eating, I need to start introducing some healthier foods. What can I introduce this week? That’s better for me, what can I introduce next week and do it in incremental processes.
But I think one of the biggest things that anyone could ever do is keep a food journal or a daily journal. Just to track Okay, yesterday, I had three cups of coffee today. I feel healthy, too. I wonder if there’s a connection there. Maybe I burnt myself out I overstimulated myself like Chris Loctite. I caused myself to get anxious and panicked. And you know, ask yourself Are you panicking about the task? Or the project or the event that’s actually in front of you? Or is it simply a result of having too much caffeine, which we know so many people do? Come back to the basics and stop beating yourself up daily? Because it’s beating yourself up isn’t gonna get you any better any faster?
Dr. Joel Rosen: No, it’s those are great, great words of wisdom. So as far as the name of our podcast is the truth about your health, and I think there are not a lot of truths about health that are being propagated by public health agencies, pharmaceutical industries, medical schools, even the Food and Farm Bill, in terms of what they’re promoting. And it’s a shame. So as far as what would be the major truth about health, that you realize now that maybe you didn’t realize back then when you were going through the journey?
Ben Angel: I think for me, is learning to listen to my own body and churning out what others trying to tell me. That’s the next major issue. I think that has been the biggest thing of all, it kind of took off. That relief from the pressure I’ve initially felt in the initial stages of researching the book of, we’ve got to try every single different thing known to man, but at the end of the day, just cause more stress, which made the situation worse. So doesn’t matter what the pharmaceutical industry is telling me. It doesn’t matter what the health industry is telling me right now. It’s like, is this working for me?
Or is this not working for me? And after the over the last couple of years? I know what my triggers are. I know that if I’m flat or exhausted, I can think back to the last 24 hours 72 hours ago. All right. I hit something that I shouldn’t have thought was great at the time, but I’m paying a price for it. Don’t beat me up for thinking that I’m just weak right now. I just consume something and I’m reacting. Don’t overthink. So. And that’s probably the biggest thing to stop overthinking everything is very easy to do.
Dr. Joel Rosen: It is then also to know thyself, right? And yeah, we always call it listening to your little angel where you knew like you should have done something, but you didn’t listen to it. And then only to happen. Something happens where you should have I was thinking that but I didn’t do it. Just listen to it. And I think the great thing about as you start to get into the foundational fundamental things, that becomes clearer and more distinctive.
And I guess the last thing in terms of tying it all together is the mission. How important was that and becoming unstoppable and understanding what you’re doing what’s the role of the purpose and the mission in biohacking and becoming unstoppable?
Ben Angel: Yeah, for me, it was because I’ve always written books since my late 20s. I wanted to go through this process, not just for myself to get myself back on track. But I wanted to share the dark side of the story through experiencing all of these challenges that whatever challenges people are going through right now, it’s normal and that every single person goes through it. I mean, I almost got banned from the US trying to research this book, we went to extraordinary lengths.
And I think the thing that came out of this whole experience for me was, that life isn’t an experiment. You cannot control every single thing because the second you try and control it, things just fall off the rails and we’ve seen them in the past couple of years. It doesn’t matter what you try and do if things are gonna go in a certain direction, it will just fall that way. Sometimes we just have to accept it. So when I think about life not being an experiment, I think okay, just trust myself, trust the process.
Just listen to my body, listen to my intuition and go from there. But the ultimate mission is to help as many people with depression, anxiety, and fatigue as possible and help them to realize they’re not mentally weak. There’s a combination, there’s multifaceted. And once you start to taste the pieces together, we can start to help as many people as possible.
Dr. Joel Rosen: That’s awesome. And it’s very empowering to know what it is and what you can be doing about it. And the body is incredibly forgiving. I always say that if you smoked for 50 years and you had these charred lungs, you stopped smoking, your body will produce a whole new set of issues and you’ll have a whole new set of lungs. So the book called The unstoppable 90-day plan to Biohack your mind and body for success. It’s the second edition. And, and that’s by Ben Angel, you can go to the website to be able to take the quiz and again, the name of the website.
Ben Angel: Ben, are you unstoppable.com?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Or you’re unstoppable.com Awesome. Well, listen, I want to thank you for sharing your time, your wisdom, and your mission to help other people. I think that’s what attracted me to learning about you and, and researching because we’re similar in wanting to help people get the truth and live the life that they’ve been meant to live. And I like the concept of democratization of health where we empower you to be able to take accountability and get your health back. So I appreciate all you do. Ben, I want to thank you so much for joining us today.
Ben Angel: It’s been my absolute pleasure. Thank you. Thank you
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