I mentioned in my last post of 2016 that I was going to be experimenting with some biohacks during 2017 to improve my quality of life. It has been an interesting first quarter, and I have a few things to share with you based on what I have experienced. Check out my Instagram page for some of the products I have been trying out!
Nootropics – the first area I have been experimenting with is nootropics. Noo-what you say? If you aren’t up to speed on these, see “The Beginners Guide to Nootropics” for a great little guide. Since I am dealing with a sluggish thyroid, I tend to be challenged with low-energy and some memory issues on occasion, which are commonly associated with hypothyroidism. To improve my situation, I have been ‘stacking‘ nootropics and other performance enhancers in order to better handle my daily tasks at work, and in life. For example, I started taking Piracetam, and then added in L-Tyrosine (an amino acid). Nootropics are somewhat controversial, so do your research before you decide to dive in, as they may not be right for you.
Adaptogens – most people who are hypothyroid have sluggish adrenals as well. Some of my IT clients (my alter-ego) are very demanding and this can be quite stressful. So can just everyday life! To deal with this stress and show my adrenals some TLC, I use an adaptogenic blend daily to keep my cortisol and energy levels balanced. If you are looking for a blend, try to get a reputable brand containing at least Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, as those two seem to be highly beneficial for most people.1
Medicinal Mushrooms – I am a huge fan of medicinal mushrooms, some of which have nootropic and adaptogenic effects themselves2,3. Along with improving cognitive function (as Lion’s Mane does), medicinal mushrooms can help with energy (Cordyceps), immune boosting (Chaga & Turkey Tail/Coriolus), liver function (Reishi & Lion’s Mane) to name a few benefits. For a great overview on the types of medicinal mushrooms and their many uses, check out this page.
My favourite mushroom (although I adore them all) is Lion’s Mane, as it gives me the ability to focus on complex tasks for greater periods of time, problem solve more effectively, and learn and retain new information better – all of which can be challenging with thyroid issues as well. I do really enjoy cordyceps too though, because they give me an energy boost (without the caffeine, which is a not ideal with adrenal issues) when I feel that afternoon slump coming on.
It is important to mention, that a lot of medicinal mushrooms are grown hydroponically in labs these days, as natural cultivation is impractical due to the labour involved. The reason this is important, is that many medicinal mushrooms are grown on barley or grain substrates4, so if you are allergic or intolerant to gluten, then steer clear of these brands!
Essential Oils – I fell in love with EO’s almost 20 years ago now, but then life got in the way and I sort of forgot about them. My passion for these natural gems has been renewed, and I am more into them than ever! I even cook with them now, and my class on this subject was a huge success. People are really looking for safer, natural and non-synthetic products to replace their current toxic stash of cleaning and personal care products, and EO’s fit the bill here for sure. They are very concentrated too, so will save you money in the long run. If you’re not sure where to start with EO’s, there are plenty of free sources of credible information online where you can get started.
I recently had surgery, and used a few specific oils to help manage the pain, as well as with tissue healing and scar reduction. I used peppermint, wintergreen and lavender oils, when needed at different times for these purposes. The lavender also helped me sleep when I was feeling anxious due to the pain from the surgery. I like to have energizing oils at work to give me a perk when I feel my energy waning, and peppermint and rosemary are great for that. If I am feeling stressed, I’ll use lavender or frankincense to calm my nerves. For those with hypothyroid issues, check out myrrh as a topical option5, in conjunction with your thyroid medication.
Whatever brand(s) you end up using, ensure that they are food-grade (if ingesting and/or cooking with them), and/or therapeutic-grade for topical use. Naturally, if you can afford organic options, that is always recommended. If you are looking for a great carrier oil for those EO’s, fractionated coconut oil (think liquid MCT oil) is light and non-greasy with no fragrance. A little goes a long way, and it absorbs quickly without leaving any messy residue. Since the skin is the largest organ and it directly absorbs whatever is on it (therefore bypassing the liver, which means no toxins are filtered out6), I try to ensure that what I put on my skin is food-grade whenever possible. I always have food-grade MCT oil on hand anyways, which I’ll talk about in my next quarterly update!
Overall, I have found these additions to my routine to be well worth it! I usually stack products from each of the above areas together daily, and have found that I have more energy and focus, and seem to be able to manage my stress better too. Who wouldn’t want that my friends? Until next time, be the best you can be by fuelling your body’s temple with all the upgrades you can afford.