When selecting a supplement, price is not the sole determining factor
Exhibitor highlights from Health Optimisation Summit 2022
There is lot of overlap between longevity and biohacking – hacking your body to be healthier should, hopefully, also mean you live longer. Though that might not always be the case… “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long” – Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Bladerunner.
I had some very interesting conversations with a variety of exhibitors – including sellers of gadgets (wearables, air monitors), quantified-self apps, fitness equipment, drinks and supplements. There were a few generic supplement providers (those that supply everything under the sun) at the show, but I find it hard to assess the quality of their products (and production processes) to differentiate between them. However, there were also some supplement companies (Nuchido Time, SpermidineLife, Timeline Nutrition) offering very specific, cellular rejuvenation ingredients that I did speak to.
Great news! Some of the exhibitors them offered a discount for their products to Live Forever Club members – check out the updated list here: https://liveforever.club/page/members-discounts
Here’s what the exhibitor hall looked like – it was a stunning building.
Jump to an exhibitor:
- Altos – CO2 air monitor
- Ani Biome - fermented microdrinks
- Bioniq - personalised supplement stacks
- Circular Ring - fitness tracker
- Endorphin Dealer Institute - CBD non-alcoholic spirit
- Exhale Coffee - single farm organic
- GlycanAge - biological age test
- Holo - functional medicine-based digital tool
- Henshaw Hyperbaric Chambers
- Intelligent Appliances - Urban Cultivator
- Nuchido Time - NAD+ booster
- Omnos - intelligent health system
- SelfDecode - health recommendations using DNA and lab tests
- Sensate - vagus nerve stimulator
- Serena Organics - organic CBD products
- SpermidineLife - supplement promoting autophagy
- Timeline Nutrition - urolithin A supplement
- VAHA – fitness mirror
Alto sell an air quality monitor that measures CO2 in the air. They claim that the more CO2 is in the air, the less productive we are in our thinking process – based on research showing a brain performance decrease of 35% when exposed to 1000 parts per million CO2 concentration, which, although 2.5 times the outdoor level, can regularly be reached in an indoor environment. Apparently just by breathing we can change the CO2 levels in a room, particularly if it has poor ventilation – definitely leave your bedroom window open!
I ended up buying one as they were selling them at the show with a significant discount. I plan to blog about my experience with it shortly, so make sure to keep an eye out on social media on in the newsletter.
Ani Biome sell fermented microdrinks, using an online quiz to determine your personal subscription. However, I didn’t get to the bottom of whether the different drinks have different bacteria in them, or are really just different flavours. I picked up a couple of samples and both of their ingredients start with “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” which I assume is the core product.
I tried a small glass at the stand and was pleasantly surprised – it does have a bit of a strange tang, though I was half expecting it to taste like liquified sauerkraut so anything was going to be better than that! It comes in a novel “hold, fold, squeeze” sachet which is nice and easy to use, rather than having to mix or shake it up.
You don’t seem to be able to order the product without taking the online quiz, but the monthly subscription costs 54 Euros.
Fermented vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality, though there was no scientific evidence on their website to say whether in liquid form it had the same effect. One bonus of the Ani Biome approach is that they don’t contain salt, which many fermented vegetables are high in.
They are planning to introduce a microbiome genetic makeup test soon, which is something I’d like to try, to see how the fermented microdrinks are affecting gut health.
Many people fall for the “one supplement is good to everything and everyone” approach – which, biologically, is just never going to be the case. So I liked Bioniq’s approach of starting with a blood test to determine which supplements you need – and then providing them in an easy to take (capsules or sprinkle) form including a mix of up to 53 components.
They partner with MediChecks*so that, if you’ve already taken a full-panel blood test with them, you can use that as your source data, rather than paying again for a blood test.
I’m a bit behind on using activity trackers – I did try a band about 5 years ago, though that was mainly to remind me to move during the day, and for that it worked well as it highlighted just how many times I’m sat down for too long.
Personal health monitors have certainly come on since then too, with much more functionality, and now (as happens for all technology) in much smaller form. The ring tracker is dominated by Oura (a third of the welcome talk audience had one) but there is a new kid on the block with Circular Ring.
Their product is a similar price (£224) as the Oura ring, but Circular are claiming better performance in some areas. Their ring is being released with a working SpO2 monitor, which, although announced for the Oura Generation 3 hasn’t been enabled yet. Saying that, the Circular ring has only just started shipping after raising around £260K on Kickstarter. It also tracks heart rate variability (HRV) which seems to be the new buzzword for health tracking, so looking forward to seeing what it says about that for me.
I had a quick play with a ring. It felt comfortable and not bulky, which is something I’d worried about – if it’s going to track me 24/7 then I need to not even realise it is there. On that note, Circular claims four days use between 60 minute charges. It comes in different colours, or in fact shells, so you can have one ring, but change it’s colour for different events. I also loved the charger – really easy to use, probably magnetic, as it attached with no effort.
As my SpO2 often seem disappointingly low (dipping down to 95%) I decided to buy one, using the show discount, with an eta of July/August though that has already slipped to October, so will keep my fingers crossed. Likewise, Oura recently filed a patent dispute against Circular, which could potentially stop everything, but when I queried this with co-founder Laurent Bsalis he was confident that ordered rings will be shipped.
Circular ring app
Circular ring charger
Endorphin Dealer Institute (EDI)
Great name, and a great product, even if quite expensive. However, it’s not your standard non-alcoholic spirit - each 25 ml serving of Spirited Euphoria contains 12mg of CBD (that 336 mg in a 70 cl bottle). So, comparing it to Serena Organics’ tinctures (see below) which come in at £70 per gram, means £25 of the £40 is going towards the CBD.
For the ever-growing teetotal community (or just to reduce alcohol intake) this could be a great way to unwind and relax. And it’s not just the CBD, EDI contains a proprietary molecular blend of active functional ingredients and nootropics.
So, what does it taste like? After the show on Saturday, EDI provided free mocktails and it tasted great with apple juice, lime and soda – though of course that makes it hard to taste the product itself. To find out more (any excuse!) I went to the stand on the Sunday and tried some with tonic (so I could compare it to classic G&T) and there was still a pleasant, complex taste to it – so much so I double checked it wasn’t being served some fancy, flavoured tonic to improve the experience. Apparently, some people aren’t so keen on the hemp nature to the flavour, so you’ll just have to try it yourself! They’re selling it at a few different bars and restaurants across London and it’s also available directly on their website.
I'm pleased to say, EDI have kindly decided to offer club members 15% off their endorphin spirits using a club discount code.
One of the show’s sponsors, Exhale Coffee makes sure that the known benefits of coffee really do arrive in your cup. To do this, they use organic beans from a single farm in Mexico – that way they can test the product for contamination with mycotoxins, pesticides, toxins and heavy metals. And, as well as making sure there’s no bad stuff in it, their process retains the beneficial polyphenols – which they also test for at independent laboratories across Europe.
I did try some (and not just because it was free and no queue compared to the cafe!) but as my taste buds are pretty poor all I can say is that it tasted good, though not different to any other freshly brewed coffee I’ve tried. Though, of course, it’s not so much the taste they’re selling, but the health benefits that come with top quality coffee.
Having tried a GlycanAge biological test a couple of years ago (read more: GlycanAge Biological Age Test Review) it was nice to meet the team behind the test – including Nikolina Lauc (CEO) and Zorrie Dimitrova (Operations Manager) – and a really friendly group it was too.
Interestingly, it sounds like GlycanAge is looking at ways to give more detailed lifestyle suggestions based on your glycome. For example, people respond differently to various diets, and which is best for you may be revealed by your glycan profile.
Don’t forget – you can get 15% off GlycanAge tests using the club discount code.
Mainly available via health practitioners, Holo’s functional medicine-based digital tool is also available directly to patients.
You enter basically everything about yourself, including supplements, exercise and when you are eating. Then, it creates a personalised lifestyle treatment plan.
Henshaw Hyperbaric Chambers
Although these units are aimed at home-use, with prices starting at around £12,000 it seems likely most people would visit one of the clinics around the UK, or for medium term use Henshaw also offers a ‘Rent to Purchase’ option.
The increased pressure inside a soft chamber (up to 1.5 atmospheres) allows more oxygen dissolve in the blood. The extra oxygen has many potential benefits including energy (ATP) production, new blood vessel growth and stem cell production.
I had a good chat with Emma who was demonstrating IA’s Urban Cultivator - an automated indoor kitchen garden to grow your own fresh, organic microgreens and herbs all year-round.
Uses hydroponics to grow up to 36 varieties of microgreens (e.g. parsley, crispy lettuce, radish, crimson beat top, micro broccoli) which are packed up with nutritional value and taste amazing. Has been purchased by high-end Michelin star restaurants where flavour is important.
It comes with everything you need, including the trays, humidity domes, soil. You also get access to their private chef and a dietitian. Retail price = £4,950.
Just when you thought it was a duel to the death (life?) between NMN and NR – along comes Nuchido with another NAD+ booster, this time niacin - one of the raw materials that the body uses to make NAD+.
Although the main ingredient is niacin (nicotinamide) the capsules also include a botanical powder blend which includes parsley leaf, green tea extract and Sophora Japonica flowers. This blend was selected to activate the NAD+ salvage pathway enzyme NAMPT. It is also useful for companies to have a proprietary formulation that can then be patented and used in clinical trials.
In a very small study, Nuchido increased NAD+ levels increased by over 200% after 16 days of supplementation. A larger placebo controlled double-blinded cross over study is in progress, the results of which will be very interesting to see.
If you want to try it, Nuchido is offering Longevist members 15% off your first purchase of Nuchido TIME+ using a club discount code.
Omnos is an AI powered app that identifies how small adjustments to your lifestyle can affect your overall wellbeing. Its assessment is based on a self-assessment questionnaire as well as home tests (covering DNA, hormones, microbiome and environmental toxins).
This allows the system to make a better diagnosis of a patient’s symptoms which could be due to various health conditions.
Omnos has a team of scientists and practitioners looking at peer reviewed literature, and who also work with the data experts to ensure that the recommendations are accurate and applicable.
After hearing its founder, Joe Cohen, speak on one of the stages (https://liveforever.club/blog/speaker-highlights-from-health-optimisation-summit-2022#Joe-Cohen) where he emphasised that there's no “one size fits all” solution, I visited the stand to find out more.
SelfDecode generates personalised recommendations, based on your DNA and/or lab tests, to help you reduce risk levels. They can provide the tests or you can upload existing ones.
They have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that takes the roughly 700,000 genetic variants that 23andme (and others) measure directly, and then performs an imputation to extrapolate the rest of the genome (83 million) with 99.7% accuracy.
Individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) generally have tiny effects, but adding them all up can determine risks for an individual across a broad range of different health conditions. They currently look at around 150 different conditions including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, hormone issues, and mental health issues.
Your genes can't tell you that you are going to get a particular disease, but knowing that you have an elevated risk for a health condition means you can pay more attention to that part of your health.
They had a code on the stand which allows you to get a free report based on your 23andme data, and as I recently took a DNA test with them, I’ve uploaded the raw data to generate heart health, high blood sugar and anxiety reports which look really interesting. They include a summary of the condition, how my DNA affects my risk, and things I can do about it.
I’ll try and do a full review blog post later, but if it really gives well-researched, personal, health recommendations for $99-a-year subscription, that’s as cheap as I think this sort of service will ever get.
Very generously, they decided to offer club members a 30% off SelfDecode using the club discount code.
It was quite hectic trying to visit as many exhibitors as possible at the summit, so it was good to be able to combine trying out a product with some relaxation.
Sensate is a small vibrating device that rests on your sternum (either while lying down, or hanging on a lanyard while standing) and sends infrasonic waves through the chest to the vagus nerve.
It was certainly relaxing to close my eyes, wear some headphones playing forest sounds, and sensorily leave the busy surroundings. And there appears to be science behind vagus nerve health and reducing stress, though I couldn’t see any research on the company’s website showing a direct effect of the Sensate on health – but if it makes it easier than meditating (or improves your meditation session) then it could work for some people. Cost = £199.
Serena Organics (CBD)
So, I’ll confess. I keep seeing CBD adverts and just assumed it was all hype because it’s related to cannabis – legal marijuana, basically. But after an interesting discussion with Serena Organics’ co-founder Joe Alabi at their stand, I think I’ll be looking into it a bit more.
CBD is one of many components is found in the cannabis plant. It is legal in the UK, provided it has 0% THC. So, it's non psychoactive but has its own properties in terms of relaxation and anti-inflammatory response, due to it interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Apparently, it can help with sleep, anxiety, depression, brain fog and arthritis.
Serena Organics’ lead clinician, who works a lot with children with epilepsy, was the first doctor allowed to use cannabis in the UK.
Not only is their CBD 100% organic, they are also trying to take an ethical approach to business, including raising standards and increase transparency of CBD products.
Cost: 10 ml of 10% tincture is £70 – and taking a few drops a day it should last one to two months. On a purely CBD basis, that works out at £70 per gram.
Finally, the company wins my impromptu “website design of the show” award – it has class written all over it!
One of the new supplements that address one of the fundamental causes of ageing by improving autophagy – the process of breaking down and recycling dysfunctional components in cells.
The person on the stand explained that it is a fasting mimetic (i.e. it blocks the nutrition signalling pathway) which creates the impression in each and every cell that you are deprived of nutrition – which triggers the cells to increase their repair and protect mechanisms.
Spermidine is available in different foods although you can never be sure what the level really is. Hence, Longevity Labs testing each and every batch of their source ingredients – and they’ve seen big differences even between batches from the same supplier. To ensure quality they perform the extraction themselves, using a very specific method (following GMP) so as to not adversely impact the molecules (e.g. with wrong temperatures or solvents).
Longevity Labs’ scientific advisory board includes Prof. Dr. Frank Madeo, who is considered to be the discoverer of spermidine.
Timeline nutrition (Urolithin A)
Another new kid on the block in the supplement market is urolithin A – and Timeline Nutrition is selling a highly pure form of it called Mitopure. The “mito” in the name comes from its therapeutic target – mitochondria.
The company’s website claims 10 years of research and 4 clinical trials – so it’s definitely not just another random supplement. It is claimed to improve mitophagy (the breakdown of defective mitochondria) thereby allowing healthier mitochondria to generate more energy and muscle strength.
Urolithin A can be naturally produced by certain bacteria species in the microbiome, but only about 30-40% of people have this innate ability, though that does mean it’s generally recognised as safe (GRAS).
It is available in capsule form, powder and in a protein mix, and I picked up a free sample of the berry powder. For some reason I assumed it was going to be a white powder, so it was a bit of a surprise when I poured it on my yoghurt, and it was a mix of brown and red colour. Anyway, way it seemed tasteless (in a good way), or at least I couldn’t taste anything, and by the time I’d added my usual fruit and seeds there was no difference at all. Obviously, I’m not going to notice any difference after one dose, so maybe I’ll do a blog about it one day if I take it for a few weeks.
Given that YouTube thinks I’m interested in VAHA’s interactive fitness mirror (I’ve seen the advert almost as many times as Peloton’s!) I had to go and have a look at it. And it does look good – really stylish.
Underneath it’s basically a large touch screen with a mirrored finish so that you can see yourself working out while watching one of the wide range of training videos covering cardo, strength, yoga, etc. (including live & on-demand workouts) - though these require VAHA membership which is sold separately (£39/month). You can choose your level and how much time you have and then just select the class – the app design was really slick and intuitive to understand. It was also very quick to turn on and off which is important if you’re trying to squeeze in a mini-workout.
I can’t remember which class I chose, but the video instructor really did appear as if you were getting a 1-2-1 personal trainer session, helped by a dark background (so it blends into your room) and the instructor talking into the camera as if they are talking to you.
After chatting with Natalie at the stand, the company has agreed to give 30% off the VAHA fitness mirror using the club discount code – thanks!
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Speaker highlights from Health Optimisation Summit 2022
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