At the age of 25, with lots of questions and very few satisfying answers, Joe Cohen decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation – something that has since become known as “bio-hacking”. Thousands of experiments later, he is now a thriving writer/author, entrepreneur, investor and founder of SelfHacked & SelfDecode. His published works include “SelfHacked Secrets” and “Biohacking Insomnia” where he shares some of the most powerful insights from his research.
In this episode we discuss:
- Joe’s journey from chronic health issues to self-empowerment
- Taking responsibility for your health through self-experimentation
- How to do your own scientific research
- How to fix fatigue after meals
- Understanding your genetics with SelfDecode
2:21 taking responsibility for your health
10:00 joe’s experimental approach to understanding his body & health
22:37 using neurofeedback to reduce stress
30:56 how to do your own scientific research
56:47 fatigue after meals
1:02:28 PEMF device for food sensitivities
1:06:33 transcranial laser for traumatic brain injury
1:12:38 understanding your genetics with SelfDecode
Mentioned in this Episode:
- Top 13 Scientific Reasons Why You Get Tired After Eating (and solutions to fix it)
- The Lectin Avoidance Cookbook
- Selfhacked Secrets Book
- Biohacking Insomnia Book
Full Show Transcript:
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Hey, welcome to the Collective Insights Podcast. Podcast of Neurohacker Collective. My name is Daniel Schmachtenberger, I’m part of the research and development team here, and we are delighted today to have Joe Cohen [00:00:30] with us. Joe is the founder and CEO of Selfhacked and SelfDecode, and the author of a couple books that have published through Selfhacked. One on bio-hacking and one on bio-hacking insomnia. Joe is really an example of one of our deepest values of the collective, which is empowered responsibility. He had health issues that were complex and unsolvable through the traditional methods, [00:01:00] and not solved by the doctors and therapists he went to see, so he just started a deep research project to figure it out himself, and years and many insights later actually did come to robust health in a way that medicine hadn’t presented to him, and in the process, had that become his offering to the world.
The reason for the name Selfhacked is his publishing website is offering key insights into supplements, vitamins, biomarkers, pathologies, [00:01:30] diets, all different things relevant to health and wellness, and is really becoming one of the premier information publishing websites for integrative medicine and bio-hacking, but really intended to help empower people to figure out their own health. SelfDecode is a newer offering that is a biometrics platform to give people insight into their own genetics and biomarkers. Joe has a good depth of research [00:02:00] doing these for the last few years, his own longer term journey personally, and then also having facilitated consulting with many people in their health journeys, and so lots of things we can talk about. Joe, delighted to have you here with us today.
Joe Cohen: It’s great to be here, Daniel. It’s a pleasure.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: One of our core themes, values at the collectives is this concept of empowered responsibility. That even when you’re [00:02:30] working with doctors, it’s your responsibility to find out what are the right doctors to get the second opinions to understand what they’re talking about, to implement the things that are appropriate. Since this seems so core to your work, would you just share a little bit about what your aim in empowering, educating people in relationship to their health is?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. I think we have an issue here where the medical system is … The way it’s established now is you go to a doctor for about five minutes and [00:03:00] I think there’s too much data from an individual. An individual will have too many symptoms and too much data points for the doctor to actually understand everything in five minutes, even if they knew everything. If they were a perfectly intelligent and perfectly knowledgeable person, it would still be a problem to get all the information in five minutes, or even in an hour.
For me, I would have never been able to go to enough doctors [00:03:30] to figure it out. You go to a different doctor, or if you go to the same doctor, in general, the doctor … It gets very expensive as well. I didn’t have money back then to spend tens of thousands of dollars just with doctors and doing unlimited tests and things like that. I went to a few. I wanted to see what was going on, and I just got the sense quickly that I wasn’t going to be helped by the conventional establishment, and [00:04:00] the alternative, I didn’t think I was going to be helped too much either. I just felt like the only way for me to get better was to understand the body from a very deep way, like the biochemistry of the body better than any of the doctors that I went to.
That didn’t seem to be very hard because a lot of the doctors actually didn’t know that much about the human body. They forgot everything once they finished medical school, and that was that. They know a lot about maybe certain medicines [00:04:30] and things like that, but I wasn’t into fixing my problem with drugs anyway. I didn’t think that was the optimal solution. The vast majority did drugs.
For me, I thought I needed to learn about the body in an in-depth way, and so I would just plow through scientific studies. Lots of abstracts. A lot of them full studies, but just plow through as much information as I can but then, I realized that I have all this information. I should [00:05:00] communicate this information to other people because I didn’t see other websites that were doing that. I saw people giving shallow information. There would be this concept in the alternative world, or paleo world, or whatever world, and then it would just get regurgitated. It would kind of go viral. Every couple years, it would be a different concept. Like leaky gut, okay. The whole, “Yeah. You just got leaky gut. You’ve got this, whatever.”
This is way too much Kool-Aid in the alternative world, [00:05:30] and I also saw everybody promoting their own diet like, “This is the diet for you, and this is the right diet. If you want to be healthy, this is what you got to do.” I realized early on that everybody’s different. Everyone’s physiology is different. All you need to do is look at people’s stories, and everyone gets healed in a different way. It’s like, “How did you get healed?” “Well, I got healed by doing this diet. I got healed by that diet. I got healed by doing X, Y, Z, this drug, this supplement, whatever it is.” I knew that [00:06:00] if I’m to predict what I’m going to do well with, I have to understand the body first. I have to understand how the body interacts with the environment, various aspects in the environment, and put the pieces of the puzzle together, and it’s also going to take a lot of time. I realized I had to just do it myself.
Once I figured it out for myself and I fixed my issues, that’s when I started full time, “Okay. What’s the information [00:06:30] that needs to get out to people? What are they looking for?” Just create really, really in-depth posts so that if someone’s looking for something, they don’t need to spend 100 hours doing research even if they were able to. They could just look at the post, see it, scan everything they need to know, and really understand the topic in like 20 minutes or less. That’s where Selfhacked was born.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I think I remember seeing your site when it first came out like four years ago.
Joe Cohen: [00:07:00] Wow. Okay.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: In solving health problems for myself with a similar kind of trajectory, I did spend those hundreds of hours on PubMed and various sources, and putting the pieces together. Some of the first articles you put out put together pieces that weren’t put together well, but that belonged together, and I was like. “Wow. I like this. This guy’s doing a great job with it.” It’s been awesome to see as you’ve been able to scale up your team, you’ve been able to maintain your quality [00:07:30] of research well as you’re getting more info out. I do think it serves a really novel place in the information ecology.
Joe Cohen: Yeah, I appreciate that. Thanks.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Just to piggyback on something you said about conventional medicine. I think all of our listeners here understand this, but it’s worth saying. Conventional medicine has done an amazing job at dealing with acute medical needs.
Joe Cohen: Definitely.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: If any of us are feeling chest pain, or get a gunshot wound, or any kind of trauma [00:08:00] injury, we’re definitely going to go there.
Joe Cohen: Or even something that could be surgically removed. My personal belief, there are some cancers that if you could just surgically remove it, it might be a better option than trying to eat a lot of kale or something.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah. Now, of course, if we surgically remove it and it’s contained within a capsule, and we’re able to remove it well, that might help prevent pathogenesis profoundly. It didn’t address why the cancer grew originally, and the chance [00:08:30] of recurrence, and so, we still would want to do that in conjunction with something that addresses the chronic pathogenicity underneath it. The functional medicine world, the naturopathic world is doing a better and better job of this, but it hasn’t had the same kind of research funding as say, pharma has, and so what the doctors largely get to study that has good science is what some biomedical, mostly pharma, gets to put a huge amount of money into research, which is never really going to be preventative or curative, it will mostly be [00:09:00] symptom management.
Joe Cohen: Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Most of the doctors even that are doing very earnest work are specialists. When we see chronic illness, it’s across many different systems. When I would do intake with people, I don’t know about you, to do a good job getting their whole medical history, getting all of the symptoms, doing the differential diagnosis, looking at all the labs and making sense of it, and making sure we didn’t miss much, it was hours in the initial eval. Yeah.
Joe Cohen: Tens of hours. Yeah. Yeah, I agree. It’s a tremendous [00:09:30] amount of time, and if your time is very valuable, then you’re going to have to charge for it too, right? I started feeling bad as I started charging more because it’s like, I have other things I need to do. That’s why I started to realize that I needed to start building systems that people can use that are cheap. That they can start figuring out the issues themselves instead of me spending 10 hours on each person and charging a lot [00:10:00] of money.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: If you don’t mind, just short version, walk us through your health journey here.
Joe Cohen: Okay. Definitely. I guess when I … I had just chronic issues growing up as an adolescent, and I didn’t realize it was a big problem. I never thought I had an issue, but I’d be tired or something like that. After a meal, I’d start getting tired. As I started getting older, the issues only got worse, not better. In the beginning, [00:10:30] you just don’t know what other people are experiencing. Then eventually, you’re just like, “Okay. Something’s …” I was kind of bio-hacking from a young age, but I guess I didn’t have enough knowledge, or just wasn’t mature enough to really do it in a way that was effective.
I had issues as an adolescent, probably from the age of like 13 already. As I got older, it got worse, but then I was doing different things to modulate it a bit. Then at a certain [00:11:00] point, I tried a really bad experiment, and I just knew it was at a certain point where I had a health meltdown. I knew that it wasn’t normal. This is completely out of the norm, and I’m also a very curious person, intensely curious, and I’d be the person to ask people. I must have asked like 500 people. I said, “Do you get tired after meals?” Because I wanted to know what other people are experiencing, and most people would say … Some people would say, “Yeah. Sometimes.” A lot of people would say, yeah, they had some issues, [00:11:30] which made me seem like I’m more normal, but I did get the idea that it was more outside the norm.
I was doing other experiments. I was looking at other blogs, and trying other things, and seeing what … I gave it a chance. Let me try out these things that other people are saying. Then at a certain point, I realized that the people I was reading the information from knew less [00:12:00] than me. I also realized that everyone’s different. I can’t listen to people, necessarily just as a kind of template. I realized that the way I had to get better was two things. Number one is understanding the body as much as possible. Number two is just experimenting with literally everything.
I had the assumption that if I experiment with 500 things, right? Just try everything. Whether I know it’s [00:12:30] going to work for me or don’t, or I think it’s a low probability. I just go through everything. Start with the higher probability stuff, but then just go through everything. If only 10 things work for me, then that will have a massive impact over many years. At a certain point, I decided to just systematically go through everything that I could get my hands on, or anything that I could … Any experiment that I could do, I did it. I can get pretty focused and intense. I’m [00:13:00] very goal-oriented. When I have a goal, I go for it. I shoot, and I go full hock. If I’m trying to diet, I’m going to do it fully.
I would experiment with every single food item, and what I would do is, I would try to take that food item in massive doses. A massive dose. If I was saying, “Okay. Let’s see if I react to bread.” I would eat nothing but a whole loaf of bread and see how I felt. Let’s see how I react to this. I would just [00:13:30] try it in a massive quantity. What I realized I needed to do was go through everything and do it in a high dosage, and one at a time, see how it worked. That was one realization I had. Another realization that I had was-
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Can I ask you something about that?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Sure.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Then we’ll come back to other realization. We obviously have a number of different chemicals that have U-shaped response [00:14:00] curves, where in a low dose, it does something that is actually pharmacologically different, not just a different amount than it does in a high dose. If we look at low dose Naltrexone compared to full dose Naltrexone, they’re totally different creatures. And, that could be the case with many things. Obviously, what you’re doing is very important there, the self-experimentation. You have to figure out what metrics am I tracking, and which things do I think should show up right away versus how long, and how do I control for other variables. N=1 is a tricky thing to [00:14:30] gain insight on, but how would you deal with things where there was a reason to think that different dose ranges would actually have different pharmacological properties?
Joe Cohen: I first started at the lower dose. Sometimes I would get impatient and just go to the higher dose, but just do … I think the higher dose is important for me. Now, this is not something I would necessarily recommend to everyone. I think now, my goal is to give people better information so that they don’t have [00:15:00] to go through what I did, but I guess when I was doing it, the information wasn’t there.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I did the same thing by the way, so I’m smiling while you’re talking.
Joe Cohen: What I did was I started at a lower dose. The problem when you do something at a lower dose is all this kind of background noise, right? You can take a supplement, and there’s just a lot of background noise. You don’t know how it’s affecting. You double the dose, see how it is. Okay, there’s still background … I think I’m feeling something, but I’m not sure. You double it again. Then, a lot of the [00:15:30] times, it would be like, “Holy shit. Okay. I know what’s going on here.” I understand what this is doing. If it was doing something that I thought was good, then I would take it at a lower dose. Sometimes it could be like, “Okay. This is good, but it’s a little too much for me.” At least I knew what to look out for when I took it.
Forskolin is a very powerful substance. If I was just taking [00:16:00] it on a low dosage, I wouldn’t notice the effect, right? When you take it at a high dosage, all of a sudden, you start noticing all these effects. Then at a lower dosage, then you could see, “Okay. I actually have a little bit of this effect, and it’s actually not bad at all.” I think it’s important to do the low dose and then do the high dose if it’s not going to be dangerous. I was a little too into risk. I was a little too risk-prone, [00:16:30] and I did some more dangerous experiments that I don’t recommend other people do, but essentially, I think you start at a low dose and slowly work up, I think that’s fine for most people.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: What about the topic of different pharmacology at thresholds? Just example, say we’d take Methylene blue at a very high dose will become antiparasitic, antimalarial. At a low dose, it’s not going to have that function at all. It’s actually going to be … The effects that someone might get are going to [00:17:00] be ATP optimization. It’s actually a different pharmacological curve at threshold. Hydroxychloroquine would be antimalarial at a certain dose. Below that, it will just be antiinflammatory. Should you study the pharmacodynamics enough to know where those thresholds are beforehand?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. I think Methylene blue is actually an exception to the rule. It’s a good example of the exception. I don’t think if you look at 500 substances, most of them are going to be Methylene blue, but that happens to be good example [00:17:30] of something at a high dose, which has antimicrobial effects and increase the serotonin. Low doses has a very different effect more on mitochondrial. That’s where the knowledge also comes in. If you’re just going in to everything blind and you’re just like, “All right. I’ll try this than the other,” then that could be a problem. You want to go into with some information, of course. Then with Methylene blue, we have a post on that. If you read, you’ll see in the low dose, it has this and in the high dose, it has that. Going into a little bit of information, I think is [00:18:00] important. I also want to discuss the other thing that I didn’t discuss, which is the other big realization that I had in doing self-experimentation.
If you’re stressed out, I don’t think you could figure anything out. On the one hand, you could either … The more stressed you are, the more prone you are to the placebo effect, number one because the placebo effect has a lot to do with the nervous system. If you’re just overly stressed, you’re like, “I could be reacting to everything.” A lot of these people who claim they’re reacting [00:18:30] to everything, I wonder sometimes if … Almost all the time, their nervous system is just at a whack. It’s completely elevated. It’s over board. The big critical moment for me was when I was about 20, I started getting into zen. For me, it was a lot of … I hear a lot of these zen ideas and it rubbed me in the wrong way in the beginning, [00:19:00] but I thought about them for a while.
If you hear like, “Oh, ambition stops driving or something like that,” and you’re a very ambitious person, it’s like, “Wait. What?” But I want to strive. It can really play mind games on you in some ways. The philosophy is very simple, but we don’t want to accept it, I think or we don’t fully accept it, so we might accept that part. Like for example, it would be like, “Don’t try to change anything,” and we’re always trying to change everything. [00:19:30] Right? For me, it was like a long … I was very introspective and just constantly trying to be more aware of what’s happening in my body or what’s happening in my brain. What am I thinking right now? What’s the best way to live?
I think for a while, I went into this self improvement space where actually when I was 23. Sorry, not 23. From 23 to [00:20:00] 25, I was very into zen. I’m still very into zen and interesting enough, the more I’ve been into it, the more my understanding gets more nuanced. Essentially, once I got into a fair amount and I worked on myself for a few years, I started to be able to turn my nervous system down. Even though I had health issues at that point still, I still was able to realize that, “Okay. Now, I might have like a physiological [00:20:30] anxiety, but I know it actually doesn’t matter. Right? It would just be like, “Okay. This really doesn’t matter in my life. It’s not going to change my level of happiness or anything, and I think really be stressed about it.” Then I’d have just a physiological anxiety and I knew that, “Okay. I’ve got to take care of the physiology.”
In some ways, I was very calm. Once I figured out how to not [00:21:00] be stressed about things, that’s when the big improvements came because then I was able to test out things and the placebo response went down a lot. Just in general when your nervous system is activated, it’s the same thing as if your body thinks you’re in a situation where … When you have your nervous system, if you’re running away from a line, you don’t notice if you got to cut, right? [00:21:30] After that, once you calm down, you chill out. You’re like, “Oh, wait a second. I’m bleeding.” Because we’ve evolved in a way that you don’t notice these kind of small changes in your physiology when something big and scary is happening right now, some life changing event. If you’re interpreting everything as a life changing event, “Oh, man. I did poorly on this test. My life is ruined.” Your body doesn’t think of it that differently as if you’re running away from the lines.
Doing [00:22:00] that, I think, is the first stage where anyone … If someone wants to experiment and know what they’re doing, that’s number one. Then, I went into the one by one upping the dose experiment stage.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: If someone decrease their psychological stress and that means their neurological stress, then they decrease the placebo effect, they increase their clarity of mind?
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: They decrease the cortisol and all of [00:22:30] the top down neurologic dynamics that are causing somewhere between 10 in a 100% of the health issues just by themselves?
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Then, it’s so easy when we have health issues, we don’t understand to get anxious about it, and then makes it more straight into that feedback effect. One of the things that I felt was really neat. We have Dr. Andrew Hill from Peak Brain Institute on the show recently. When he’s doing neurofeedback, he does a QEEG first and then does customized neurofeedback [00:23:00] based on what’s going on. Maybe it’s alpha/theta and maybe SMR, maybe [inaudible 00:23:03] training. Huge studies on the effect on PTSD on sleep, on eating disorders. He said they did a study with long-term AIDS patient try to extremely suppress T-cells, they did a series of neurofeedback. No other physiological [inaudible 00:23:25] at all and the T-cells were statistically significant. That’s a huge deal [00:23:30] because obviously we’re not giving them antivirals, right?
We’re not addressing the HIV that’s underneath it, but just addressing the top down regulation what the nervous system is regulating and removing the stress from the system and increasing [inaudible 00:23:44] is huge. Neurofeedback is just giving us some more quantified way to [inaudible 00:23:48].
Joe Cohen: Yeah, definitely. I actually came to this realization relatively recent. I guess I was somewhat skeptical of neurofeedback for a long time. [00:24:00] You just think about it, it seems like a weird thing like you’re just listening to beeps. It was always like, “Oh, you got to go to this practitioner. It’s like $5,000.” I’m just like, “I don’t know about this.” I was pretty skeptical of neurofeedback until I saw someone that they’re actually working for me, but they said like the only thing they did was neurofeedback. I was like, “This is very interesting.” They didn’t do anything [00:24:30] else, just neurofeedback. They said they had crippling levels of anxiety, couldn’t do anything. One thing they did was neurofeedback and I was like, “Okay. I’m a bit less skeptical now.”
I decided to try it. Again, it seemed like what? It’s just beeping sounds. How is this going to cause a permanent effect in your brain and stuff? I tried it and it had a powerful impact. Not the one I wanted necessarily. I didn’t know what I wanted exactly because I didn’t have any issue that I was [00:25:00] trying to fix, but that allowed me to see … What it did when I was doing it, it made me super relaxed. I was like, “Okay. This is too much.” We were just testing out different things, but what I did see is that it’s very powerful. The other thing that I know is that you can’t tell people to relax because that makes them more anxious. I actually think … Giving people a ton of supplements, if they’re just in this hyper stressed out state, [00:25:30] they could think they’re reacting to a lot of them. I don’t think that’s necessarily the best approach.
You could try it and sometimes it works, but I think most people are not super introspective. They’re not going to start adapting a whole zen lifestyle. They’ve got a big family. They’ve got kids. They can’t just go into the woods for a year or something. I think neurofeedback is a critical element for the initial stages if someone’s [00:26:00] chronically has an overactive nervous system, and that could be from PTSD. They could be depressed. I think it will have a powerful impact in a lot of these conditions and it makes sense that even with the HIV, if you have high cortisol, it’s going to suppress the immune system even more. A lot of these stressed hormones are going to suppress the immune system. If you’re just chilled out, your T-cells should go up. [00:26:30] That makes sense to me.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Whenever we see a placebo effect and we see someone actually get better, it’s like, “Why do they get better thinking that they were getting better?” Often times it’s because seeing they were going to get better, the worry stopped. The anxiety stopped and so, it wasn’t the belief as much as it was the way the belief triggered the emotional change and the hormones and peptides that were mediating the emotion, most negative emotions are mediated by biochemical markers that are pathophysiologic.
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Whether you get better emotionally [00:27:00] because you believe you’re going to get better or because you’re doing zen training or neurofeedback or like Norman Cousins, he watch lots of comedy. Then, that changes actually the emotional chemistry.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Definitely. The issue with neurofeedback, of course, is it’s just very expensive to go to 20 session by a physician, so naturally, my mind got thinking and I was like, “Why can’t you just rent out a device, make a course, and have people watch the course? Then, you could also have [00:27:30] a webinar where people do it together.” This way, you can scale it. It’s still in the idea state, but I think that if something is going to be more mainstream, it can’t be $5,000. I think Andrew Hill charges like 7,000 or something or more. I don’t know. I think in order for it to get mainstreamed, it’s got to be $1,500 most.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: We have a couple of friends that are working on actually high quality home devices because so far, [00:28:00] you’ve got things like the Muse, but they don’t even have leads in the right place. They have dry leads, not wet leads. They don’t have the right signal processing to do neurofeedback. If that’s something you’re thinking off of taking on little bit, which makes sense that you would, I’ll connect you to these people.
Joe Cohen: Definitely. Yeah. If there was a cheap home device, that will actually make a lot more simple.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: If there was a cheap home device and the right protocols because someone can use neurofeedback to train the wrong things and get worse, like same way they can damage themselves with exercise with bad body mechanics.
Joe Cohen: [00:28:30] Exactly. It’s true.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Okay. One of the other things is that when someone has an undiagnosed illness, which so many of the chronic inflammatory auto immune-ish illnesses alike, or even if it’s diagnosed, but it doesn’t have the traditional cure, there’s just so much stress thinking about life getting worse and not knowing what’s going on, and the anxiety makes it worse. One of the things that you had going on was enough empowerment to say, “I can figure out something that the doctors didn’t tell me and answer to.”
Joe Cohen: That was part [00:29:00] of it. I think that was a big part. Feeling self empowered. I also did a lot of acceptance work, and I would say like, “Okay. If I had these issues all my life, it’s not so bad. I’d still rather be alive than not alive.” It’s not the end of the world. Just accepting your place wherever you are at that point and saying like, “Okay. It’s not so bad. I could still enjoy life. Maybe I’m not [00:29:30] going to do anything great in my life or start a business or do something great professionally, but I think I can be happy off $1,000 a month.” I think I’ll just chill out, whatever. I won’t get anything done, and I’ll be tired. It’s not the end of the world. [inaudible 00:29:52]. I don’t have a motivation, but that’s also not the end of the world. I just came to an acceptance where it’s not the [00:30:00] end of the world.
Obviously, everyone wants to get better. No matter how much I would tell myself, “It’s fine. Just accept the situation you’re in,” you’re still going to try to get better. That’s what I do. I was like, “Accept where I am now, but I understand that my body is always going to motivate me to learn more and to figure this out until I’m completely better.” That’s what happens.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I think as most wise people do, you work [00:30:30] both sides of the serenity prayer. Right?
Joe Cohen: Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Accepting that in the moment, you couldn’t change it. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to. The anxiety dropped, which actually empowered you to change it.
Joe Cohen: Exactly. Exactly. Well, it allowed me to be in a place where I wasn’t like in a fight-or-flight all the time. Like, “Oh, I got to change this now or tomorrow. I got a test in two weeks, or I got to be fixed before the test or something.” It’s like, “I’ll figure this out and whenever it happens.”
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Let’s talk about how you studied. I think this is an important [00:31:00] topic in people taking responsibility for their health. There are going to be a website, there are insights that you talked about that come from genomics and from epigenetics, from cell biology, from bromatology, from parasitology, from toxicology, from eco biology. There’s a lot of domain disciplines to understand how the human organism works. Did you have a formal university training in some of the sciences? How did you go about studying the other ones? [00:31:30] Talk about that a little bit.
Joe Cohen: I guess what I did was … First, I was thinking about going through graduate school, so I did take the pre-medical courses. Those were helpful. They gave you a background. I didn’t actually go to any of my classes though, and I didn’t study as much as I should because I was just focused on reading as much research as I can. I guess what I did was simply just like restudy. [00:32:00] There’d be a term, probably in the beginning is like, “I don’t know what half of this … I don’t know what every other word here means.” I would just look up every single word and in some ways, I would just start memorizing things. I’d watch some videos. If there was a topic … I found actually pictures to be very useful. From a picture, you could figure out quite a lot especially when it came to biochemistry, so there would be like some biochemistry like this pathway [00:32:30] goes to this pathway and that pathway. It’s like, “Wait a second. You just need a picture of it.”
You can just type in, let’s say, mTOR, find the picture. Then, all of a sudden, you’re going to find pictures of everything related to mTOR. You’ll see all the diseases it’s associated with, all the different pathways that lead to mTOR, even a lot of supplements that activator or inhibit it. I think pictures were useful. I think videos were useful as well.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Now, for people who haven’t already study, when you say pictures, [00:33:00] you mostly mean infographics, right? These are the biochemical charts that shows-
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Scientific infographics mainly, and I would just look at them a lot and that would really give me a bigger picture.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Super useful.
Joe Cohen: Videos, I would just listen to videos and double speed because sometimes videos could be slow. That can give you an idea about … If you’re studying the mitochondria, you could read a Wikipedia post about it, but if you watch [00:33:30] one 10-minute video like a solid video, you can understand the mitochondria very well. I think visually, I think that’s important. I just think like hitting it from both ways. The first year, just trying to read the studies and then, you’re obviously not understanding everything. Then, you go to, “Okay.” You go to a picture, you go to a video. Again, the goal of Selfhacked to make all of that way, way simpler so that … Because even Wikipedia is extremely [00:34:00] tough to understand if you’re not familiar with the domain. I actually think now if I was doing it, I would first read … I’m not trying to just plug my own site here.
I would actually first read Selfhacked because if you read all the post in Selfhacked, you’re actually going to get a broad understanding of [inaudible 00:34:21] at this stage. If I was starting out, like if I want to understand the body, I would start out doing that. Then later, [00:34:30] you can start looking … We have images there as well. Later, while you’re reading it, if you don’t understand something, you can watch a video, look in an imagine. Once you finished that, I think at that stage, you should have a decent idea like it will give you the background and then you could start reading studies. Then if you don’t know something, you can look it up. That’s what I would do at this stage.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah. For the audience, I’d like everybody to just take note of something here. There are many areas related to [00:35:00] health, wellness, pathology, nutrition, personalized medicine related to people’s genetic predispositions and biochemistry that Joe does have insight that specialist in the areas don’t have, and this is how it’s stringed. It’s actually realizable for everyone. There’s a psychologic predisposition that says, “I’m actually going to test all these 500 things on myself and even if only 10 work, notice that means I’m willing to accept a lot of failure and [00:35:30] a lot of energy for the upsides.” There’s more upside waiting than downside that’s part of the psychological disposition. Then, there’s willingness to actually apply a lot, pay a lot of attention and study a lot, but what does study a lot means? Right?
Some people don’t think themselves intelligent enough, but to just get a sense. You’re reading something, you don’t know what the word means, look it up, go back to that sentence. Try and find a video on it, see if it makes sense and it’s amazing how if one actually [00:36:00] does take the time to study whether they’re just trying … Most people have enough trauma from school around the topic of study that they associate it with doing things that they don’t actually want to do, and a lack of freedom, but if you realized, “Hey, I actually want to do this to increase my power and the capacity in life.” Whatever the topic is, but even in an area that says, “Tricky as medicine,” you can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge really quickly.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. I’ll give you an example of while [00:36:30] you’re reading stuff, reading through the post or whatever, let’s take an example with Dopamine. We have about four or five post in Dopamine, and Dopamine is really important for physiology and when you read those posts in an hour, you couldn’t really understand Dopamine more than most biologists will just by … They haven’t study Dopamine in a really long time. We actually give a technical test to our writers, and a lot of PhDs don’t even know what the [00:37:00] neuro transit … They’ll get wrong. They don’t know glutamate is a neurotransmitter, or the GABA or Dopamine or Acetylcholine. They’ll get that question wrong. These are researchers. Doctors are not the same.
If you’re going to a doctor or you think, “Oh, someone with the PhD, they must know everything about science,” is actually a misleading thing. You will know more about Dopamine in one hour than anyone than any doctor or PhD that you spoke [00:37:30] with, unless they’re a researcher in Dopamine. Why is that important? Now, you know about Dopamine. Why is that important? Because there’s a lot of supplements that increase Dopamine and you want to know. If you are low on Dopamine, then you want to take things that are higher in Dopamine. Now, the Qualia, which the Neurohacker … Everyone listened to this podcast, I’m assuming they know that, that’s what you guys sell.
Qualia is a supplement [00:38:00] that is going to increase Dopamine. It’s generally, as I understand, it’s more of a Dopaminergic supplement. Most of the people are going to do better on higher Dopamine, on increasing Dopamine, but if you just read about Dopamine, you will clearly see if you think you should improve it or not. Now, we have something in SelfDecode. I took it down in a short term because it’s not fully flushed out, but it’s something that you put in your symptoms and will tell you if you’re high or low [00:38:30] Dopamine. People complained about the feature because it wasn’t fully flushed out, so that’s why we took it down. Essentially, at this stage, you could read through the post. If you have your genetics sequence, we also have a lot of genes related to Dopamine that we categorize, so we have gene packs. You can look at all the genes related to Dopamine and see, “Okay. Is there any problems with these genes?”
You can read through them as well. That’s more of a personalized take in terms of what’s your [00:39:00] underlying genetics. Now, if you don’t have any genes that are going to cause low Dopamine, you might just be living a very unhealthy lifestyle and still have low Dopamine, or it doesn’t show up with those genes, but there’s quite a few genes in Dopamine. Yeah. That well, I didn’t know which supplement you will do well with.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Again, for those listening, if you do your research and you find a really good functional medicine doctor or integrated doctor [00:39:30] and particularly one who does a lot of ongoing training and maybe even has a facility or research happens with their facility, they will be a universe different than most any doctor that you have worked with and you will spend a lot of money going there. If you can afford that, then you have a need to … Very useful. Even there, keeping up with the research everywhere, this is actually one of the areas where the singularity has already hit. [00:40:00] Meaning, there is more information across the field of medicine than anyone can keep up with. Being able to have places like Selfhacked and certain domains, Neurohackers working through this.
We have fields of researchers across disciplines working to synthesize it and say, “Nobody can read all the research, but here’s the actual meaningful new insights that are advancing.” Very useful, but this was a core thing that my dad always emphasize when I was a kid [00:40:30] which was, “You don’t understand auto mechanics, or you don’t understand medicine and you go to an expert and he’d tell you what you need done, and they have financial incentive in a particular way. Then, you just have no power in the scenario.” We’re not speaking about malintention, we’re speaking a system that only gives doctors five minutes with people and doesn’t give them time to do ongoing research and derive some of the hyper specialization when there are cross domain issues. This is just systemic, right? Every kid who wanted to be a doctor wanted to be a good doctor, [00:41:00] but this is the more you … Ultimately whether the therapy works or not, it’s your life, not the doctor’s life. Your health’s [inaudible 00:41:06]. The more you know about it, the more you can even ask intelligent questions, monitor it, ask about alternatives.
One thing I’ll say for sure about the sign of a good doctor is a good doctor wants you to be well educated. They like your questions and they’re happy to say, “I don’t know,” if they don’t know something and be engaged in the researcher view. If you have a doctor who says, “I’m the doctor, you’re the patient. Shut up and do what I say,” then [00:41:30] simply fire them.
Joe Cohen: Right. Exactly. You guys are going to get more into content now? Is that something you’re going to focus more now?
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Well, within specific areas like when it comes to neuro tech, we’re starting to work on curating neuro techs, if we look at transcranial magnetic stim or transcranial direct stim or low-level laser therapy, or whatever, anything that will actually meaningfully [00:42:00] enhance some aspect of psycho neuro capability and health, wellness and performance at large, we want to create products where there is a need to because we don’t see anything on the market that does what we want, but we also want to curate products and services that we think are best in class and meaningful, but as you know, it’s actually not trivial to know what something does because you can see a clinical trial that shows that some markers affected beyond the placebo, [00:42:30] but you don’t know what other markers were negatively affected that weren’t include din the study. You don’t know if it works your pathways or when you stop using the thing, you’ve created dependence.
Actually making sense of the topic takes some deep work, and so what we’re specifically looking at is being able to do that deep interdisciplinary sense making of all the science and research and human experience in the quantified self field to be able to curate the products [00:43:00] and services that will actually be meaningful for people.
Joe Cohen: I agree. That’s why to create this post, to create like really interdisciplinary post that are very thorough and concise and everything, it actually takes a lot of work.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: It does.
Joe Cohen: The interesting … We didn’t speak about this before actually, but you were telling me that you had two people in Portugal, and you have some researchers in your content. You had two scientists in Portugal. The funniest thing is that I interviewed [00:43:30] a guy yesterday and he was from Portugal. He passed through all of our cognitive test, the technical test and I see he worked for a Neurohacker. When he sent me his resume, I’m like, “What?”
Daniel Schmachtenberger: [inaudible 00:43:46]?
Joe Cohen: Jose. Yeah. He was a neuro scientist, and he did well in the cognitive test. He did well in the technical test. It happens to be funny because we got him through like a random [00:44:00] way. He came to us and you were telling me that you had this scientist that were doing content. It was just hilarious that I was like, “Oh, wow. This is really interesting.”
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I’m happy to hear that. The project he was doing, he did a brilliant job. Then, we just completed that project. We didn’t have an ongoing engagement for him, but if I did, I would have engaged him further because he did wonderful work. Congratulations on finding him.
Joe Cohen: Well, wait. He still has to complete a post, but essentially, it was just funny that … [00:44:30] To find these people who can do interdisciplinary work, it’s not an easy job.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: We didn’t have them writing, it’s just research because as we make the product, we actually do … We have a number of more products that are almost ready to release, but as we’re doing products, we do a literature review of all of the research on each ingredient. Qualia has 42 ingredients, but that was 42 [00:45:00] from an initial database of 500 that we started with that work on mechanisms related to things we wanted. To do a full literature review on all of those is a lot of work. That’s what gives us the basis to create safety data sheet and to look at the synergy between the mechanisms and ensure for positive and not negative synergies and absorption pathways and all of that.
Joe Cohen: I think that’s very important. I don’t think any other supplement companies are really taking the time to really do all the research and make [00:45:30] sure … I’m trying to look at things at many angles as possible. They’re just creating something and hoping it sells.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: It’s the same as content, right? If I was creating products that way, we’d have like 100 already. It takes a long time to do a good job with all the research and then, the split testing internally.
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: There’s always about 100 iterations. Then, moving into the trials.
Joe Cohen: Exactly. If I want to just create like flop article of 500 words, I can have 10,000 post [00:46:00] doc right now, but I built this whole testing system in part to be able to filter out people who have the cognitive abilities. Then, technical test. Then, all of these infrastructure to be able to create the content. Then even then, it’s like it’s hard to be profitable when you’re putting so much time with the content.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: This is why we’re talking is because putting a lot of time into actually doing a good job and having integrity in the work [00:46:30] is what I respect, and I think you all path to profitability is will definitely happen.
Joe Cohen: Well, if it doesn’t, at the end of the day, at least … Overall, we are profitable but if it’s not like super profitable or anything like that, as long as it’s breaking, even I think having the information out there is important, having a good resource out there is just an important thing by itself.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I do recommend to our listeners that if there are topics that you’re [00:47:00] researching, it’s definitely valuable to learn how to read medical research, to go to PubMed, be able to read that. It’s definitely worth looking up all the words and terms, and the videos are super useful. When you can go watch a video that explains a biochemical pathway, for so many people, it’s clear coming into those senses, but to put the pieces together, if there’s … In our internal team, when we’re actually training people [00:47:30] how to do research, one thing that they all learn is check out the Selfhacked’s post on the topic.
Joe Cohen: Interesting.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Then, go to the original literature and research, but have them all do that because they really do a great job. We recommend to everybody that it is a really great starting place. Then, you’ll have a sense of individual topics you want to go further. Now that said, it does go deep enough that you will have to look up a lot of words if you don’t have a bio background and it’s a good education.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. We try to reduce that as much as possible, but at a certain [00:48:00] point, it’s like you have to get the science over, “These are terms that people are going to have to learn.”
Daniel Schmachtenberger: To leave people with some information here, when you were testing on yourself and you said 500 or whatever supplements, and it wasn’t just supplements, right? You’re testing [crosstalk 00:48:20] all these things.
Joe Cohen: No. Everything. Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: You mentioned dosage, but when you’re looking at physical biomarkers, looking at cognitive performance and some objective [00:48:30] kinds of online quantified mind things where you’re just looking at subjective state, what was your quantified self process?
Joe Cohen: I think everyone needs to have their own process. I think some people … I meet a lot of people who just don’t know what something is doing for them. They’re not very self aware with their body, and that’s a common theme by a lot of people. Then, you have other people that are a little … They have like false positives. [00:49:00] They might be more susceptible to the placebo effect and so, I think doing some cognitive test, I think is a good thing or doing blood test. For me, blood test are very expensive. Maybe now I can afford them, but there’s no way I was going to be able to afford them when I was sick. That wasn’t the path for me. Getting my gene sequence was cheap, so that was something that I did relatively early on, but other things like if you’re just going to keep measuring blood markers, [00:49:30] that could get very expensive and that wasn’t a path for me.
However, I guess I did feel like I got a sense of … That I was able to figure out what things were doing to me, especially at higher doses. For me, it was just … When I would experiment with something, I wouldn’t do it when I was like completely preoccupied of something else. Normally, the average person is going to be like, “Okay. They’re drinking their three or four, five cups of coffee a day.” Then, [00:50:00] they have a supplement. You’re not really going to understand what’s going on if you drink five cups of coffee.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: One of the other topics you’re bringing up is you would do some variable isolation?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Variable isolation.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Take the noise down as much as possible?
Joe Cohen: Exactly. Variable isolation is critical, making sure I was in a calm, not busy state and so, I would just be like doing nothing and take it and maybe doing some light reading. Then, paying attention to what happened. Do I feel any different or whatever? We can take a supplement [00:50:30] and then, go exercise. Right? Then, you’re not testing the supplement. You’re not going to figure out what the supplement is doing if you just exercise or you were really focused at work or you drink a lot of coffee, or took a stimulant or something like that. Variable isolation especially with the stimulants, I think is very important. Then, not doing anything that could … Certain variables are way worse if you’re trying to figure out what’s going on like exercise or something like [00:51:00] meditation is probably the best thing. You just take something and that’s when you meditate an hour later and you could see what’s going on.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: You’re increasing your internal sensing?
Joe Cohen: Exactly. Exactly. If you have too much environmental stimuli, too much external stimuli like loud music or too many things going on in the outside, then you’re just not going to be less likely to figure it out. You still could figure it out possibly, but much less likely. I would just isolate my environment, [00:51:30] be more in a quiet environment, more in the meditative state, calm, relaxed and then I would see what’s happening.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I’d like to ask you some further questions about this because you’ve done this a lot more than I did. I figured out how to do lots of continuous blood tests, and it was of course, stupid expensive and that like [inaudible 00:51:48]. Figuring out how to study science and medicine and figuring out how to pay for it went together.
Joe Cohen: Right.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: There are many things, there are many pathologists [00:52:00] that developed asymptomatically, right? Someone can finally have a symptom, go check it out and see if there’s a tumor that is actually been developing for a long time, which means it is asymptomatic for a long time. Let’s take a tumor as an example. Let’s say we have tumor and it shows up on a prostate scan, because PSA went up or whatever, but it’s totally asymptomatic. Now, whether it’s shrinking or not based on something I’m doing might be pretty hard to subjectively tell.
Joe Cohen: [00:52:30] Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Obviously, I can monitor PSA levels and PAP and pre-PSA.
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I can rerun the Doppler ultrasound, the MP-MRI, the whatever, but that would be something that’s pretty hard to subjectively notice unless someone has super power, proprioceptive skills, internal skills.
Joe Cohen: One million percent. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I think of a lot of things like say, we’re doing the [inaudible 00:52:59] with people [00:53:00] and they have high copper, low zinc and we’re changing it, it has to change very slowly, or you actually can induce psychotic breaks in people. If we’re giving people zinc and they are getting better definitely over a three to six to nine months period, it’s not actually obvious in a week or two weeks at what’s happening. If you go high dose, it’s not necessarily beneficial. How do you handle things where either it might be asymptomatic or where it’s going to take a while?
Joe Cohen: [00:53:30] Okay. If it’s something that’s going to take a while or it’s asymptomatic, I’m 100% onboard. There’s no way you’re just going to meditate and figure it out. You have to get a blood marker. It happened to be that my issues … I’m talking from personal experience. My issues were more crippling my day to day function. If I was able to function better, I knew that I was going in the right direction but if you have a tumor and it’s hard to see if your tumor got reduced or something. Let’s say [00:54:00] your PSA levels are high, you have to do the biomarker up. There’s no other option.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: We’re dealing with inflammation, so that was pain, fatigue, brain fog and so you really could see relatively quick shifts in some of the inflammatory markers as they expressed in your symptomology?
Joe Cohen: Exactly. Exactly. I guess I had a unique issue, somewhat unique. I feel like a fair amount of people have something similar, but where if I got inflammation, I would get tired. [00:54:30] For me, my hypothalamus would get hit hard whenever my inflammation went up and again, it could be something auto immune related, nobody really knows. They can’t really test hypothalamic antibodies. Maybe if I did a spinal tap or something, but I’m not doing that. It’s something that it’s just a little bit of guess work, but definitely when my inflammation went up, my hypothalamus got hit. Then, all of the functions of the hypothalamus [00:55:00] would go array. It would go wrong. Things would start breaking … Like the hypothalamus controls wakefulness. All of a sudden, I get fatigued. It controls motivation. All of a sudden, I become unmotivated.
It controls fluid balance. All of a sudden, I feel like I need to pee all the time. There was definitely … This is through just understanding the physiology. I was like, “Wait a second. The hypothalamus actually correlates with all my symptoms.” It was just piecing those puzzles together, but if someone has [00:55:30] something like, let’s say Hashimoto’s even, right? You have antibodies in your thyroid. Your antibodies could be high and your thyroid hormones won’t change that much. Something like that. It is easy to figure out just by testing. When I was consulting with people, there were cases, quite a few of them, where somebody’s inflammatory markers went down, but they didn’t actually get better. They didn’t notice the difference.
However, [00:56:00] there was probably other things going on. It’s still better that their inflammatory markers went down, and so obviously they’re doing something right like I could think of one example was just like, “Yeah. The CRP was really high.” They start taking some supplements, doing some things. CRP went down to normal, but the person still had an autoimmune type issue, which is just the inflammation went down dramatically. I think measuring those things and when you can’t tell and [00:56:30] say, “Okay. You do have to do a different experimental style. You have to do one thing. You have to do more research. Make sure you have a very good guess and then, try it out for six weeks or whatever it is.”
Daniel Schmachtenberger: You mentioned that one of the first things you noticed was getting tired after you would eat. This is actually really important symptom. Share with people what you learned that could mean?
Joe Cohen: [00:57:00] I had all these symptoms of what people called adrenal fatigue, anxiety, whatever, fatigue. I guess lack of motivation, somewhat worst mood. I guess naturally … It’s interesting, because I’ve always been somewhat of a mentally stable guy, but when the issues went down, actually it was extremely mentally stable whereas before, I was like, [00:57:30] average or something or above average, but it was making me less mentally stable and motivation issues, anxiety, things like that. Processing speed was terrible. I would learn some information and it would just wouldn’t process. When hypothalamus does that, it integrates a lot of processing in the brain.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Again, I just want to make a note here for the listeners. Joe learned all the things that he learned while his brain was [00:58:00] misfunctioning, his processing speed was down and his memory was down. Then, he was learning how to increase that.
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: In terms of, “I don’t have the capacity to do that,” it really is a bullshit story.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. No. I know I didn’t have any what sites to get information back then. I was just like … My brain. I was tired. My brain wasn’t working, and I was just plowed through. Just trying to learn as much as possible. The hypothalamus controls, [inaudible 00:58:27] controls sleep wake cycles, so I had sleeping issues. [00:58:30] I knew that there was an issue with the hypothalamus. The question is what is that that was causing the issue, right? I figure out that inflammation has an effect on the hypothalamus. Now, I couldn’t be sure if it was an antibody problem or if it was just a direct effect, and I still don’t know 100%, but I started doing research early on, on Orexin. Orexin is this wakefulness neurotransmitter. As I connected the dots, you see Orexin [00:59:00] gets shut down when there’s inflammation.
You get tired. Then, you also see that … I noticed when I ate carbs, Orexin gets shut down even more. You get even more tired. Then, I started doing research in general, and I realized that a lot of carbs have … Or high in what’s called lectins. Lectins can cause an inflammatory response. It could be lectins, it could be any other of the numerous immune stimulants in plants. [00:59:30] Plants have quite a lot of immune stimulants. That’s when I figured out, “Okay. The hypothalamus inflammation is causing these issues. I got to figure out how to bring down this inflammation,” and the diet was a very big factor for me. Other things as well, but the diet was [crosstalk 00:59:50].
Daniel Schmachtenberger: In general, if someone is getting tired after meals, what do you suggest they explore?
Joe Cohen: People [01:00:00] get lost a bit. If you just Google “fatigue after meals,” our post is going to come up near the top. Just give you that background there, but if someone’s getting tired after meals, you want to explore are they eating too many carbs? Some people will just eat too many carbs, but even then if you’re eating carbs, it shouldn’t be an issue. It also depends on when you’re getting tired. If you get tired an hour after a meal, then that’s probably inflammation. If you [01:00:30] eat like a high sugar drink or if you consume a high sugar drink and then you get tired or like a high … If you eat just a ton of bread and then you get tired like white bread, and then you get tired two hours later, it could be like reactive type of glycemia or something. In general, if you’re getting tired after meals, it means your body is probably having some kind of inflammatory response and that’s affecting your hypothalamus. When you have inflammation, your mitochondria [01:01:00] are not working as well and Orexin goes in, which is that wakefulness neurotransmitter in the brain.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Some people who get tired after anything they eat, then we’re looking at some kind of chronic GI issues.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Generally, I did have a lot of GI issues, but when I stopped eating, essentially most plants, like grains, beans, nuts and seeds, [01:01:30] the GI issues went away. Actually, the GI issues went away before the fatigue went away. Meaning if I stopped eating gluten and dairy and maybe some other high [inaudible 01:01:47] grains or something like that, my GI issues will probably go away as long as I don’t eat too much, but I’ll still get tired. I’ll still have other effects. Even [01:02:00] if you don’t notice any GI issues, it could still be a problem. People speak about leaky gut and stuff, the question is what’s causing that leaky gut and if you’re constantly eating a food that is giving you an inflammatory response, that is going to cause leaky gut and all these other issues and that’s going to cause inflammation as well.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: There is more information on that on your site?
Joe Cohen: Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Fatigue over meals. Just a couple of-
Joe Cohen: Or tired after meals or whatever. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Just a couple of fun topics [01:02:30] that you addressed on your site that were not biochemical, they are biophysical and that they address neurology specifically. You address low-level laser therapy transcranially, and PEMF transcranially. There’s a cool little PEMF device that you have on your site. Would you tell us about those two things?
Joe Cohen: I think they are good for different things. When [01:03:00] I was reacting a lot to food, the PEMF device did help me. It’s called ICES. Now, the thing is that when it comes to PEMF, I was more enthusiastic about it in the beginning because it helped me, but then I got reports in and the answer is that people’s problems are complex. They buy device and they think it’s going to cure them. I want to be clear that for me, it helped food sensitivities, [01:03:30] but in the end, it was better for me not to eat the foods in general even though I could reduce the inflammatory response.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Were you using the PEMF over the GI region?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. I was using the PEMF over the GI region and it helped at least 50% [crosstalk 01:03:45].
Daniel Schmachtenberger: For those who aren’t familiar with PEMF, it’s pulsed electromagnetic fields. You’re getting this pulse of basically a magnetic field. If it’s strong enough, you can feel it. If it’s not strong enough, you don’t feel it but it still has number of physiologic effects.
Joe Cohen: [01:04:00] Yeah. The PEMF was somewhat useful at certain stage for me and [crosstalk 01:04:07].
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Have you ever used the large like … I have the PEMF 100.
Joe Cohen: No.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Large therapeutic devices?
Joe Cohen: No.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: It’s such a different creature at that range?
Joe Cohen: Oh, you know what? I have used a much more powerful device. Not the one you’re talking about, but I have used like more powerful devices.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah. Profound for joint and [01:04:30] physiology recovery, but also the effect on zeta potential, it’s super interesting.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. I think the-
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I haven’t studied the ICES one yet. I’m curious to, because it’s tiny.
Joe Cohen: It’s small. You could carry it around. That’s what I liked about it, and you could just leave it on your stomach the whole day if need be. The thing is, is that what I found is that it has very good response rates for people who have some kind of bone injury. If people have a joint injury, [01:05:00] the infrared is much, much more useful if it can go through. The problem with infrared is often, you will need a powerful device to be able to … For it to go through more of a superficial layers of your … [inaudible 01:05:16]. Something that does get through.It all depends on what issues you have. The infrared device has its own issues. ICES is good because it can penetrate deeply into your physiology. [01:05:30] The infrared doesn’t penetrate as deep. It’s more superficial, but the one that we have on the site and we have a few of them that you can purchase, but the one that we have … The link to it actually is more powerful and it goes deeper in the brain, but even so-
Daniel Schmachtenberger: You have Vi-Lite on there?
Joe Cohen: The Vi-Lite’s on there. Then, there’s a cheaper one which if you don’t have a money for the Vi-Lite, you can just get a CCTV [01:06:00] infrared camera. It does the job. The issue with the infrared also is if you have a lot of hair, it’s going to block out the infrared, right? It’s a little tricky. For me, I used to shave my head and I just put it on and then, it was more … It penetrated pretty deeply. If you have a white hair, it’s going to be more tricky. People are asking, “What device should I get?” It all depends on what the issue is, or if you have [01:06:30] very thick hair and a lot of it, it’s probably not going to penetrate that well.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Have you seen the transcranial laser for TBI systems?
Joe Cohen: Is that what the company’s called? TBI systems?
Daniel Schmachtenberger: No, no, no. For traumatic brain injury, there’s a few groups that have helmets that have a few hundred very potent LEDs. Then, also go up the nostrils, sometimes in the mouth and the ears and over the eyes. It’s all directional saturation [01:07:00] of an infrared.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. The Vi-Lite does have through the nose, but I haven’t seen the ones that go through the ears, and I don’t know if you want it necessarily going through the eyes. You want to-
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Through closed eyelids.
Joe Cohen: Oh, okay. I see. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: The results for TBI had been amazing.
Joe Cohen: Interesting.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Because when you’re dealing with TBI, obviously there’s a lot of different dynamics that are involved and you might be needing super antioxidants or neurogenics [01:07:30] or neurotology, but increased ATP is going to be useful no matter what it is.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. It makes sense. If you have like a ton of lasers and they’re shiny or LEDs and they’re shining with a powerful strength, then a fair amount will probably get in. In a way, if you did have a TBI, I would shave your head and do it that way.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: You do have a couple of systems on your site that are good?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Like [01:08:00] I said, the Vi-Lite was pretty good. Again, it goes through the nose and it goes through the head. I think the issue is still though if you had a lot of hair, it’s not like a massive … It doesn’t have tons of LEDs. It just got …
Daniel Schmachtenberger: [inaudible 01:08:20].
Joe Cohen: I’m not sure. I think it’s got like 10 or something.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I do use the intranasal one nightly.
Joe Cohen: Oh, you do?
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah.
Joe Cohen: That does have a lot of research, a fair amount of research, [01:08:30] but I don’t notice anything acutely.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah.
Joe Cohen: It’s just like long term, I guess.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: That’s why I was asking that question is because the research is good. The mechanisms makes lot of sense, but I don’t think it’s going to be profoundly subjective right away.
Joe Cohen: Yeah, definitely. When I used to shave my head, the one for the brain, it had a different effect than the CCTV. I didn’t notice it was more … It had a different effect. It felt like it should penetrate more deeply [01:09:00] whereas the CCTV ones were good for more superficial. Now, I can’t tell what people are going to feel like if they have a full head of hair that’s thick. I don’t know, but the research is there that it does have a beneficial effect.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: This has been fun. I appreciate what you’ve shared about your journey specifically in terms of the empowerment to figure things out on your own even in the presence of brain fog and [01:09:30] fatigue and being broke. Most people when they’re sick, those are reasons that they can’t get better and it’s awesome to know that one can get better in that place and that you’re able to not only get better, but now you’ve got one of the top publishing sites that are helping tens or hundreds of thousands of people. You have a couple of books. Would you just give a quick load on it if people want to check them out?
Joe Cohen: Yeah. [01:10:00] We have three books right now, and one is just like … It’s got recipes. We call it “The Lectin Avoidance Cookbook.” Because Lectins is a component of plants that stimulates a lot of people’s immune system, but there’s other components that we try to select out for. We got that cookbook, if someone wants to be able to cook and have some recipes. Sorry. We also have “The Selfhacked Secrets,” which [01:10:30] is essentially like an overview of the big ideas that I think you need to be starting with in order to get better. Yeah. I was starting from a place where I didn’t even know what to start with, so I was just doing things randomly. The Selfhacked Secrets, I think is a good overview on just the general things that someone needs to be starting with. Like what’s the big reasons why people are unhealthy?
Then, we have “Biohacking Insomnia,” which [01:11:00] talks a lot about how to get good night sleep and what it was to physiology who have insomnia and things like that. We also released a course that we call it “The Selfhacked Protocol.” Basically a lot of people had some issues with diet. I think diet is an important factor. There’s other factors as well as … A lot of important factors, but diet is something [01:11:30] that people do need to get right and everybody’s got a different diet. We don’t have like a specific thing that someone needs to do. We just have a framework with going through it step by step, how people need to implement a diet in order to figure out which diet works for them so that they can figure out that part, which is a basic and fundamental part. We released that recently.
We actually closed it out. What we wanted to do was we wanted to first have like a core group of 250 people [01:12:00] and then work on the course as much as … Get feedback, and try to make a course as good as possible, see what people are having issues with and then, keep on releasing videos. We’re going to relaunch in January, and include everything else that people want to know. We’re also going to include things that are general, like stuff about information, stuff in general that people need to get better. Then, what else? Those [01:12:30] are the main products we offer. We also have a VIP section. I do webinars. People can ask questions and then we record it, and the video’s saved.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: And SelfDecode.
Joe Cohen: Then, the SelfDecode is good if you’ve got your genetic sequence by company 23andMe or Ancestry, and I think it’s a good thing. It’s the most comprehensive program on genetics and that allows you to go through a lot of information and [01:13:00] figure out things that are important for you. For me, I can give you an example. One thing that I figured out for my genetics. I figured out a couple of things, but one thing was that I had a cannabinoid receptor that wasn’t working properly, and the cannabinoid receptor actually has a lot of impacts on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the richest source of cannabinoid one receptors, and it actually influences wakefulness and inflammation and food sensitivities [01:13:30] and things like that. When I figured that out, it made me … I start doing experiments with low doses of THC and that actually had an important impact. If I wanted to reduce the food sensitivities, I just take THC and CBD and that has a very powerful impact on reducing the food sensitivities.
That’s an example where I figured out something for my genes instead of doing just general research, I wish I was never going to figure to or just the experiments because [01:14:00] you don’t know exactly which experiment you ever need to do. How do I know that I should take THC right before meal? I think there’s a place for information. There’s a place for doing in depth research on your genetics. Yeah. We’re constantly trying to improve the genetics. We’re trying to … It’s a bit of an issue with the genetics because it is extremely complex, and if we over simplify it, we feel like we’re underselling … We’re misleading [01:14:30] people, but we are trying to have … We do have a simple area where you can understand. We’re trying to improve that so people just have like a lot of simple things they can read and then, they could dive very deep into the program, which is again, the most comprehensive out there.
Most other programs are looking at 50 snips. We look at 15,000 snips and then, we have a substance database showing you how [01:15:00] the substances interact with the snips or genes that are potentially problematic. Then, you can click on the genes and snips and things like that. Those are the products we offer.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Cool.
Joe Cohen: Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Genetics is a … Anyone old enough to remember when the human genome project started, and then when it ended the hope and the excitement of a full personalized medicine where we’d be able to solve everything at the level of the core code in generative function, and [01:15:30] we have had almost none of that actually come to bury it because we came to realize that there’s huge redundancies in the genome, there’s combinatorics between the individual genes, very little is one individual snip. Then, none of that is even factoring whether the gene’s expressing or not and then, its expression changes based on blood chemistry from what we’re exposed to. It’s complex, but we’re advancing and we’re advancing at the intersection of multiple omics, genomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics [01:16:00] come in together, and one of the ways is platforms like 23andMe where we can get more sequencing and Joe’s platform where people can learn about it and data analysis can start to happen across large databases.
We look at new biome and biome. This kind of citizen science is actually needed here to advance these fields, and even if you don’t know exactly what to do with your health just from the genes, knowing the predispositions [01:16:30] is valuable. Knowing if you had [inaudible 01:16:33] makes a big difference to what you should be doing in your life.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. There’s definitely a lot of single genes, which still have an impact. Then, you can just look at things that don’t have that big of an impact, but you might put the picture together, but there’s obviously way more to it and unfortunately, you’re not going to just figure out everything that’s going on from your genes.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: It is so inexpensive and there are such valuable insights that can [crosstalk 01:16:59]. It’s kind of [01:17:00] a foundation of what some people should do.
Joe Cohen: Exactly.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: I would say go check out Selfhacked, look at the various things, see what’s relevant and specifically if you were not sleeping well yet, dive into the insomnia book because nutrition matters and exercise matters, but none of it matters that much if you aren’t sleeping well, so it is a foundational thing to dial in.
Joe Cohen: Yeah. Okay. Great.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Joe, this is fun. Thank you for being on and I [01:17:30] look forward to watching Selfhacked and SelfDecode continue to evolve and seeing how we can continue to talk together and collaborate to serve people.
Joe Cohen: Definitely. I appreciate everything you’re doing. I appreciate the amount of work you’re putting into figuring out the optimal combination of supplements that would help people, and I think … I do notice that you guys are more sincere and focused on [01:18:00] the product and essentially all the other supplement companies, so I think that’s a good thing. I think we’re both trying to push the envelope forward and trying to create things that help people.
Daniel Schmachtenberger: Happy to be on the journey with you, my friend.
Joe Cohen: All right. Take care.