Why I Started Selfhacked

I started selfhacked.com because I realized that the more I read from the health blogosphere the sicker I got and the more I read directly from the scientific sources the healthier I got.

At a certain point, after trying everything out under the sun, I realized it wasn’t beneficial to read health blogs because of the mostly terrible advice that’s given.

Most of the material published by these blogs is filled with marketing and hype – and the currency is false hope.  Critical thinking is woefully missing.

What irked me the most was when people were convinced that what worked for them must work for everyone else.  I think everyone is different and it’s important to isolate those differences and understand why  people react differently.

You may also notice that within the blogosphere there are a few originators  and thought leaders and a multitude of copycats, who are just marketing and repackaging the same ideas, but essentially have no  real, novel insights.

Going against the herd

Another issue that I’d faced in the health blogosphere  was herd mentality.  I found bloggers who identified in a certain way (either paleo, vegan or any other group) were closed minded to ideas outside of their ideology.

I try to be extremely open-minded and willing to try anything, but I’m also highly skeptical and take a critical look upon everything.

My brain is programmed to figure out practical solutions, instead of trying to fit in and curry favor with some group or another.

Accordingly, I don’t fit into any category: I’m not “paleo”, low carb, low fat or anything else for that matter.  I do what works and what’s most supported, without labels or trying to fit into any group.

I’m well aware that this will cost me in readership because few people want to reference a guy that is willing to disagree or criticize everyone and anyone.

The benefit to my approach is that I’m free to have any opinions that I want, without fear of backlash from the group.  People interview and reference others who accord with their own ideas.  I believe no one and independently try to come to my own conclusions.

Goal of Selfhacked

It’s my goal here at Selfhacked to introduce cutting edge and novel insights and not just recycle the same old garbage.   I offer unique, creative and effective solutions, instead of using marketing, hype and selling false hope like almost everyone else.

In forming ideas, I look to traditional and cultural knowledge, mechanistic studies, animal studies, human studies, expert opinions, anecdotes and my own experimental results.

About me


My name is Joe and I’m a self-learner, human guinea pig, biohacker and extreme novelty seeker, who is willing to go to any length to  feel and think better.  

I spend the vast majority of my time reading medical journals, performing experiments on myself and thinking up creative solutions to solving various diseases and improving performance (all types of performance, but especially cognitive performance).  

I’m not committed to using only “natural” solutions, but for various reasons, the vast majority of people do best with these solutions.

 My life can be categorized as one big experiment and I’ve experimented heavily with supplements, diets, lifestyle factors, devices and philosophies.    

I have two degrees in finance and psychology as well as pre-medical coursework, in addition to lots of independent study in the biological sciences-particularly pathology (the study of disease).   

To some extent, I have an “advantage” in figuring different causes and solutions to health issues because I’ve had to deal with so many of my own.  

I’ve had health issues since a young kid and had to figure out the solutions myself, since no one could help.

In addition, when it comes to cognitive enhancement, I am uniquely positioned because I grew up in unusual circumstances and lacked even a rudimentary education, in addition to to having all sorts of physiological cognitive problems like brain fog, neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction.  

With regard to my state of education, at the age of 19 I had a third grade ability to read and write and the focusing capacity of a 6 year old, whereas now I either score perfectly or in the 99th percentile in writing and verbal on a variety of standardized tests and score highly in math and various other intelligence tests.  

Figuring out how to overcome these barriers presented huge challenges and required creative solutions.  

It’s my hope to keep gaining knowledge and utilizing ever advancing technology to become ever more healthy and vital.

Individual Approach is Key

The posts on this blog are generalizations and geared for helping the majority of people.

It’s my sincere belief, however, that no one size fits all.  Everyone has a different set of issues that needs to be dealt with in different ways.

For this reason, if I talk positively or negatively about something it doesn’t mean it’s categorically good or bad.  One man’s poison is another’s cure.

I think this is why people are so confused when it comes to health information.  Health writers talk about what worked for them for a specific set of health issues and all of a sudden what worked for them is a panacea for all.

The Problem with Doctors

I must say it’s unfortunate that today’s medical doctors don’t begin to understand the full range of options because it simply wasn’t taught to them and they usually aren’t enterprising enough to read the literature directly.

The few doctors who do read the literature directly are stifled by an ultra-conservative philosophy that if something isn’t studied and replicated by massive double blind, placebo controlled trials (which only the drug companies can afford) and published in prestigious journals then it has absolutely no value.

Instead of looking at problems with a risk/benefit analyses they are stifled by their parochial view. On the other hand,  there’s way too much dogma and quackery in the alternative health sphere.

In contrast, I take an open-minded, yet highly skeptical approach and try to figure out what has the highest probability of working.

The multi-factorial nature of disease

I think the nature of disease is woefully misunderstood.

The usage of drugs by conventional medicine indicates an approach to disease that is highly targeted.

For some diseases that happen because of a very specific cause, this is a good approach, but  for chronic disease, it’s usually not optimal or effective.

This is simply because chronic disease – whether it be depression, anxiety, cancer, obesity, schizophrenia or heart disease- has multiple causes that contribute to the disease.

Multiple things need to go wrong in the body by the time we realize something is seriously wrong.  The body is good at adapting when one or two things go awry.

These multifactorial diseases can’t successfully be treated with a drug that only addresses one of the issues.

In practice, this is what’s called treatment resistance – a continuation of disease despite one or more treatments.

You see, when one factor in the body goes awry, the body adjusts through homeostasis and tries to work around the imbalance to function normally.

When multiple things go bad, a new homeostasis is created and at that stage even if someone tries to fix one of the underlying issues, the body will get back to its new diseased homeostatic state.

We see this with every chronic disease.  This is why it’s so hard to treat any chronic disease and find that all of our attempts are almost futile.

We can give drugs for depression but it barely makes a dent.  There might be a small decrease in depression for a few weeks, but after a few months depression takes hold again.

Cancer drugs are mostly useless and clinically insignificant for most cancers because of their selectivity.  When it comes to chronic diseases there is no silver bullet.

If one is in a diseased state, they must attack it from multiple angles that address all of the underlying causes of the disease.  Some of these causes we aren’t aware of yet, but our knowledge is progressing at such a clip that we keep finding more causes every few years.

Finesse and balance are required for attacking the disease in multiple ways.   If one treatment is targeted too much, as is the case by drugs, an imbalance will occur and the person may have side effects that are worse than the disease itself.  So the treatment must target every cause significantly but not so much that it causes tremendous harm to the body.

One must always remember , though, that any treatment – diet, exercise, supplements or anything else – always comes with a trade-off.

The older someone is the less wiggle-room they have and their condition becomes significantly  harder to treat.  I view disease as just a manifestation of aging, where we eventually succumb to one diseased state or another if we live to be old enough.

In this paradigm, there is no “cure” for a disease, only a slowing of its progression.  So if you see me use the word “cure”, realize that what I really am saying is a a temporary reversal  which can last a long time if the person is young enough or a halting/slowing of its progression if a person is very old.


My overarching philosophy is to simplify and achieve more with less.

Below is a partial list of things I have tried:


Vegan, Raw Vegan, Whole food diet, Whole food plant based diet, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Gluten free, Grain free, Low carb, Paleo/Primal, Low fat, High Saturated fat, Mediterranean diet, High protein, Low glycemic index diet, Bulletproof diet, Atkins diet, Harvard school of public health recommendations, Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction.

Lifestyle Experiments:

Calorie Restriction
 Alternate day fasting
 Time restricted eating
  Meal regularity
 Skipping various meals
 Circadian rhythm
 Different types of Meditation
 different forms of Yoga
 Cold (showers, baths, etc..)
 Heat (saunas)
 Interval training
 Endurance Sports
 Breathing exercises and many others


 Neurosky neurofeedback
 Blue/green blocking glasses
 Bright light therapy
 Dawn Stimulation
 Whole Body Vibration
 Foot massagers
 Foot stimulation mats
 Various vibrational devices
  Breathing device/inhaler
 Grounding pad
 Oxygen tank


I’ve experimented with implementing different philosophies as well to “achieve” happiness.

These experiments included the recommendations of self-help books, most of which was counter-productive.

Much of my current philosophy on how to live a happy life comes from Zen Bhuddism, without any of the religious aspects of it.

Substances That I’ve Tried

I experiment with substances different than most people do.  I first take the suggested dose.

If I don’t feel anything or I’m not sure, I double the dosage.  I keep doing this until I notice effect to the point that it’s uncomfortable and too strong.

Like this I am relatively certain if/how things are working in my body.

Needless to say, many experiments haven’t gone well and damage has occurred, but I think there’s been long term dividends with this approach.

Most of these have been experimented with multiple forms, brands, and methods of preparation.

Also, this is only a partial list and doesn’t include other substances as part of formulas.  I’ve experimented with these individually and in high dosages.

Deer Antler Velvet
 Tea (white peony silver needle Jasmine Napalese black Houjicha
 EGCG extract
 Yerba Mate
 Olive leaf extract
 Gotu Kola
 Lion’s mane
 Milk thistle
 Apple cider vinegar
 Curcumin – Bio-curcumin
 Longvida Meriva
 Panax/red Ginseng (multiple kinds)
 7-Keto DHEA
 Sea minerals
 Calcium Magnesium Citramate
 Whey Concentrate and isolate – Goat and Cows
 Hemp Protein
 Rice protein and Bran
 Pea protein
 Chlorella –Pyrendosa and yaema
 Raspberry Ketones
 Sharp Phosphatidylserine
 Citicoline (CDP-choline)
 Choline Bitartrate
  Alpha GPC
 Uridine – TAU
 Green Coffee Extract
 Vitamin D3
 Noni Juice
 Barley Grasses
 Wheat Grass
 Betaine HCL
 Fulvic+Humic Acid
 Schisandrol A
 Saw Palmetto
 Stinging Nettle
 Bitter melon
 St John’s Wort
 Dandelion Root
 Dandelion Leaf
 Kola Nut
 Stone Breaker
 American Ginseng
 Lemon Balm
 Activated Charcoal
 Bentonite Clay
 Blue-green algae
 Psyllium Husk
 Cod Liver Oil
 Purified Fish Oil
 Krill Oil
 Long Jack – LJ100
 Nutritional Yeast
 Cinnamon – Cassia
 Blueberry extract
 Pomegranate Extract
 R- Lipoic Acid
 Muira Puama
 Cat’s Claw
 Soy and Sunflower Lecithin
 Royal Jelly
 Various raw honeys
 Malic Acid
 Aloe Vera juice
 Aloe Vera gel
 Aloe Ferox
 Huperzine- A
 Angelica Root Extract
 Camu Camu
 Mangosteen Juice
 Yacon powder
 Manuka Honey
 N-Acetyl L-tyrosine
 Mucuna Pruriens
 Magnesium (Threonate
 Sea buckthorn
 Suntheanine L theanine
 Peppermint tea and oil
 Lithium Orotate
 Goji Berries
 Probiotics – many different strains
 Oregano oil
 Grapeseed Extract
 Grapefruitseed extract
 Pau Darco
 Chayawanprash -5 brands
 B complex
 Soy Isoflavones
 Glutathione reduced
 Desalted sea minerals
 Modified Citrus Pectin
 Arrowroot starch
 Potato starch
 Gymnema Sylvestre
 Celastrus Paniculatus
  Suma root
 Plant sterols
 Collagen type 1,2,3
  Beta- alanine
 Plant sterols
 Apple Polyphenols
 Tart cherry extract
 Kudzu root
 Waxy maize
 Salicin(white willow bark ext)
  Aquamin sea minerals
 aged garlic ext
 Ox bile
 Proteases and a bunch of mixed enzymes
 White Kidney Bean ext
 Citrus bioflavanoids
 Humic acid
 Potassium.  Strontium
 Pantothenic acid
 B complexes
 Vit D
 Vit K1
 Vit K2-MK4
 Vit C
 Vit E
 Nicotinamide Riboside
 Hi-maize RS
 Glandulars: Brain

Notable Blends

 Adapt 232
 Arctic Root
 Khan Jang plus
 Mindpower Rx
 Alpha brain


Methylene blue

Essential Oils

 Ylang Ylang
 Clary Sage
 Tea tree
 Roman Chamomile
 Clove oil

These are previous health problems that I have had at some time in the past 

Keep in mind that these are downstream events caused by more fundamental issues.

For example, all of the issues below stems from a disregulated hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid and adrenal axis.

Specifically, I have an autoimmune disease that targets my hypothalamus and maybe thyroid and disregulates my neuroendocrine system every time I get inflammation.


Some of these are closely related.  For example, generalized anxiety will be correlated with test anxiety, performance anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, nail biting, insomnia, etc…

I don’t have these issues anymore to any degree (as long as I keep to a strict diet)..

Brain fog
 Brain fatigue
 Adrenal issues
 BBB permeability
 Brain insulin resistance
 OCD- Cognitve…Nail biting, Lip biting
 GAD- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
 Social Anxiety
 Test Anxiety
 Performance Anxiety
 Panic Attacks
 Chronic Stress – even if I wasn’t busy
 Memory problems
 Cognitive dysfunction
 Nervous tension and energy
 Postprandial fatigue/reactive hypoglycemia/Neuroglycopenia
 Chronic fatigue – physical and mental
 Bouts of Low motivation

GI related

 Intestinal permeability
 Gut dysbiosis
 Gastric Ulcers/ Gastritis


Insulin resistance/metabolic issues
 High liver enzymes
 High cholesterol
 Higher end of blood sugar range
 Tinea versicolor
 Eye problems – dry eyes
 Continual loss of vision even after 21
 Bad circulation in hands
feet and in general (cold extremities)
 Phlegm and Mucous
Getting exhausted and nauseous quickly from exercising
 Migraines – exercise induced
 Knee Pain
 Arthritis, inflammation
 Back pain
 Slowed wound healing
 Lowered immunity – got sick after lifting weights and frequent sickness – colds,  flu, strep, bells palsy.
 Needing more than 8 hrs of sleep
 Nose bleeds
 Weak gums
 Cavities/Teeth problems
 Needing to drink a lot – like a gallon a day
 Dry lips, hands

Again, all of the issues listed have been fixed.  I don’t doubt that issues will surface or resurface and tweaking will need to be done here and there, but I have built many firewalls for this purpose.

If one firewall fails, I have the necessary back-up systems to stem the bleeding.

Foods Caused My Inflammation

In my case, these issues come from inflammation induced by food.  It took me up until the age of 26 (I’m 27) to figure out all of the foods that were causing me inflammation.

It turns out that I’m sensitive to almost everything that people eat. This includes:

  • Gluten,
  • Casein (dairy),
  • Yeast (in all breads)
  • Phytic acid (in all whole grains and plant based foods),
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potatoes (not purple ones)
  • White potatoes
  • Squash
  • Carrots
  • All legumes (except black bean dip, tempeh)
  • Some fruits
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Various food additives

When my health problems were at their peak, I lived on gluten, dairy, yeast, whole grains/plant based foods, eggs, fish, in addition to alcohol, caffeine and food additives.   It’s no wonder why I had all of those problems.

The level of inflammation I get from each of these is on very different levels.  For example, I get 10X more inflammation from dairy than squash, but I still feel a bit tired from squash unless I take supplements to combat inflammation.

Some of these foods I recommend in my diet because I feel they are less inflammatory than other foods, even though I myself don’t eat them or do but in limited quantities.

A decade of chronic inflammation by all kinds of foods messed up my hypothalamus and led me to react negatively to high glycemic index foods, even if I wasn’t sensitive to it.

On the other hand, I didn’t react well to high fat diets or products like coconut oil, leaving me with few options.

From this inflammatory  issue, all the of events below occured.  That’s really all it was.

What Don’t I React to?

Even some of these I react to a bit, but it’s insignificant enough that it doesn’t bother me.  When I stick to these foods, I don’t need to use any  supplements to combat inflammation.

Why Didn’t I Go to Doctors?

I did.  They were useless.

So what is life like now?

I forgot what it feels like to be anxious, for one. I’m never stressed (even under pressure or deadlines) and I don’t ever get in bad/dreary moods.

My OCD has vanished.  Brain fog and fatigue are a thing of the past.  I function fine on 5 hours these days, though I get more sleep for health reasons.

I’m also pretty focused all day and my brain is working twice as good as ever.  I’m barely ever thirsty, my circulation is great and I don’t have any aches or pains.

I have lots of endurance and I feel great after intense bouts of exercise instead of feeling nauseous.  I don’t get sick and I have no phlegm or mucous.  All of my GI problems are gone.  My vision has also improved.

All of my blood results are pretty good in terms of anti-aging and peak health.  For example my fasting blood sugar is 80 without supplements or exercise (I experimented without taking supplements for a few weeks), whereas it used to be 94, and that was with lots of supplements and exercise to bring it down.

Cognitive Improvement

Though not a health issue, over the past 11 years I have gained around 40 IQ points.

At 15, I took a PSAT and scored an equivalent of a 400 on the verbal (less than the 50th percentile for my age group).

At 23, I took the SAT twice and both times scored a perfect 800 on the verbal.  Both scores weren’t a result of practice effects, since I didn’t study for it at 15 or 23.

At 27, my reading ability is significantly better now than it ever was. On an SAT verbal score it would probably translate to greater than 1000, if such a score were possible.

Although it’s a fair point that verbal ability isn’t completely indicative of IQ, I subjectively feel as though my general cognition improved in lockstep with my verbal abilities.

So while I can’t know exactly how many IQ points I have gained, 40 points seems to be a reasonable and even conservative guess.

Physical Improvement

I never was fat, but I have gotten more fit by following my diet, with very little exercise

I exercise for about 2 hours a month, excluding walking. No sit-ups.

Side effects from combatting insulin resistance

24 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hey joe, love your blog. You should upgrade your site – make it look better. Not that looks really matter, but i think it’s a great idea!

  2. How long do you think until you have a book out? What kind of stuff are you going to put into it, Are there going to be any intelligence increasing technique added like how to stream stuff like that.

  3. Hi Self-hacked,

    I suffer from chronic brain fog and have had this nagging sensation for the past 11 years. I’ve had every physical test taken imaginable and my diet is extremely clean (although I probably consume more fermented dairy and saturated fat from coconut than you’d like). Now I’m working with one of the best depersonalization specialists to try a variety of pharma options. She suggested the Fisher Wallace Stimulator. What are your thoughts on this or other CES devices?

    1. Through EXTENSIVE self-experimentation. I’m also sensitive to all dairy, yeast, eggs, caffeine, theobromine, alcohol and other foods/substances.

          1. What about the Alcat test. I just got my blood work done for one. Should get the results in 2 weeks for 200 foods. I hope it’s accurate…

          2. Wiki:

            The test is not supported by research and is not considered to be a reliable medical diagnostic tool; since it has not been appropriately validated it is not a suitable guide for therapeutic decisions.[1][2][3][4][5][6] In a position statement, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy classified the ALCAT with other forms of cytotoxic tests as inappropriate tests, saying of them
            “These results have been shown to not be reproducible, give different results when duplicate samples are analysed blindly, don’t correlate with those from conventional testing, and ‘diagnose’ food hypersensitivity in subjects with conditions where food allergy is not considered to play a pathogenic role.”[7]

  4. I totally relate to your disillusionment with doctors. I found I couldn’t lose 20kg of post-baby weight even though I was working out a the gym six days a week and I went on Light n Easy on the 1000 calories option (the recommended daily intake for women is 2000 calories). Months went by on this rigid routine and still no weight loss, not even a kilo. I went to the doctor who said to me “if you are working out and eating right then you should be losing weight” like she thought I must have been eating chocolate bars on the sly or something. I told her that I was doing everything I could but something was wrong with my body, so reluctantly she ordered a round of blood tests. This turned up a diagnosis of insulin resistance which surprised the doctor and explained why I wasn’t losing weight despite the exercise and low calorie intake. I was then referred to an endocrinologist from the DIabetes Institute who told me that eating 1000 calories a day was too much. I asked what the recommended intake for a women should be and he said he didn’t know. I couldn’t believe it. Giving diet advice without knowing RDIs!!!! He could’ve given me an eating disorder telling me I was overeating when I was already eating far below the RDI in an attempt to lose the excess weight. Doctors have six years of medical study, plus extra years for specialty medicine, but they can give wrong advice and turn up less solutions than a ten minute search on the internet!!!

    1. Cindy,
      Thank you for your anecdotal experience. Have you checked the health of your thyroid? It would explain weight issues and the insulin resistance.


  5. Interesting … but I just can’t quite believe you built your 6-pack with almost no exercise (assuming you didn’t goto gym before either). How does the muscle ever come??

      1. Thank you Daniel for your succinct response. I’d like to also add that genetics play a role, but are only part of the picture.

  6. Hi, I have a question. Where do you get all the money for study on colelge and experimenting with this tons of stuff ? You have a good job or are u from a rich family ?
    Thnak you !

  7. Hey, nice blog. Found you from longecity. I have a couple things to say. First of all, I would be very interested in more information as to how you treated your social anxiety, generalized, ocd, and panic attacks as this is a problem many people face and is one not easily dealt with.

    Also, after scoring a perfect 800 on the verbal section of the sat, do you have (new) plans for college?

    1. Thank you.

      These kinds of issues have different causes. I do believe, however, that all cases can be dealt with if people implement certain protocols. People don’t realize how much can be done for these and other health-related issues. With that said, there’s also lots of stuff that don’t work and people can waste years trying them out. I’ve dealt with someone who had OCD and depression for 20 years and only got over it recently after consultations with me. This person is extremely bright(800 verbal SAT) and had been devoting most of his life to treating these issues, without success.

      I have a college degree already (2 degrees, actually). I took the SAT again as a benchmark of reading ability and overall cognition. It’s a convenient test since people generally don’t improve on it as they get older and it’s highly correlated with IQ. Also, since I didn’t study for it there were no practice effects. I’ve scored in the 99th percentile on an officially proctored GRE verbal without practicing as well. I recently took a practice LSAT and scored in a similar range. I don’t mention these results because I am proud of them, but rather to support my contention of a large IQ increase.

      Refer to the contact section if you’d like a consultation on the best approaches suited for your unique issues.

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