How To Quantify Fatigue Like Never Before – #5

Rick Green and John Kalns

Rick Green and John Kalns have created the first test that objectively measures fatigue. Using an at-home test for salivary peptides, you can now gauge exactly how much stress your body is under. This test can be used by athletes, or businessmen and entrepreneurs who burn the candle at both ends. This is the first test which allows you to know when you’re really pushing your self too far.

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What We Cover

  1. Everything you need to know about fatigue biomarkers.
  2. How to quantify fatigue by measuring salivary peptides.
  3. Why the military needed an accurate measurement for fatigue (and how you can benefit).
  4. The future possibilities of being able to objectively measure fatigue.
  5. How you can have your fatigue levels measured through an at home test kit.
  6. Why salivary peptide testing is superior to other forms of fatigue measurement like heart rate and blood lactate.
  7. How to use fatigue biomarker testing to avoid overtraining and measure your progress in workouts.
  8. How anyone can use this test to see how much stress is in their life.
  9. A walk-through of the entire testing process.

Links From The Show

Hyperion Biotechnology


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Click here to download PDF of this transcript

Dave Asprey:  Today’s cool fact of the day is that the antibodies in your body that attack wheat gliadin, one of the proteins from wheat, also happen to attack your heart tissue. So much for when you see claims like heart-healthy whole grains, whether your an entrepreneur or whether you are a performance athlete, it doesn’t really matter, grains are not a part of being healthy cognitively, healthy from a cardiac perspective, or just healthy in general.

You are listening to Episode Five of Bulletproof Executive Radio. This is Dave from the Bulletproof Executive Blog talking about how you can upgrade your mind, your body, and your life to levels you never thought possible. Today, we have a great interview with Rick Green and John Kalns from Hyperion Biotechnology.  These guys have created a unique test that is the first of its kind to accurately measure fatigue. It actually measures salivary peptides to determine exactly how fatigued or tired you are, whether it is from some kind of athletic training or just from emotional or other forms of physical stress, which could even include job stress or relationship stress.  These are the kinds of stress that make you not bulletproof. This can even come from Venture Capital Fundraising stress.  It doesn’t matter where it’s from, but if you can measure your body to know what is going on, it’s really cool. This is a brand new test and we’re really excited to be able to share this new tool for self-quantification with you.


Now we’re going to move on to our exclusive interview with Rick Green and John Kalns from Hyperion Biotechnology.

Podcast Interview

Co-host: Hey folks!  It’s the co-host from the Bulletproof Executive and I’m here today with Rick Green and John Kalns, the inventors of the technology behind something called the Fatigue Biomarker Test, which we’re going to talk about today.  So guys, thank you so much for coming on the interview.

John Kalns:  Yeah, it is great to be here.

Co-host: Cool!  Before we get into this very deeply, what is the Fatigue Biomarker and how did you all discover this technology and get into it?

John Kalns:  Well, the story goes like this.  We had this idea that there was a real deficit in understanding how to make things better for soldiers that were being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan after the war on terror got started. What was ultimately happening was a lot of folks were having to pull pretty long duty cycles and not only that, they had to haul around huge amounts of weight. Like, one soldier, who is deployed now, had literally 120 pounds of gear that they are carrying including weapons and ammunition and water and a whole bunch of things going on. It’s very stressful.  They often are up for very long periods of time and the question came up: “How far can you push guys before they crack?” And you get into some real problem in terms of completing the operation.  The bottom line is you don’t want people to get hurt and killed if you can avoid it.  War is a messy business, no doubt about it.  So, the army came out with an idea.  They said, “Okay, are there ways that we can assess fatigue?” Because we know fatigue is a dangerous source of accidents and problems that we get into. Lots of things that happen are related to fatigue. So we need better ways of measuring fatigue so we can minimize it on the battlefield and basically use soldiers more effectively to accomplish the task that they have to do.  So, we looked at that as an opportunity.  We’re very interested in that idea.  We saw that it is something that really is unanswered in the private sector, too.  There is a big demand for ways of measuring fatigue in the private sector that you probably can think about.  So, we got a grant for $850,000 from the army to develop the Fatigue Biomarkers and long story short, we wanted to look at saliva because that is something that you can sample easily. You don’t have to prick someone in the arm and get a blood sample or do anything like that.  Capturing a urine sample is kind of nice sort of way to sort it, but it has some logistic problems, too.  Saliva seems like a really good way to go on this.

Second thing is we’re thinking that a lot of metabolic events are really probably what we’re going to be looking at and those metabolic events are often expressed as changes in removal of short little bits of enzymes that are related to metabolism.  And our idea was that these short little bits that are cut off of the big enzyme are going to wind up in the blood and ultimately in the saliva and if we can measure those things and measure metabolic events such as transition to burning lipids and the events that we will be able to detect with our marker technology.  So, we went into it with no assumptions about what we’re going to find.  We worked with the University of Montana on this. What we did is put people on treadmill, cycle ergometers for eight hours and we got saliva samples at various times. At the end of the eight hours, they were all very tired. And these are really healthy people. These are recreational cyclists, they are folks in very, very good shape; they’re very young, and they look a lot like the military population except they might actually be in better shape than a lot of the guys over there in Iraq.

Long story short, we compared the composition of saliva, we focused on the low molecular weight component, we focused mainly on peptides, and so we took a sample of saliva from one of these guys before they started their endurance exercise and at the end of the eight-hour period and compared the compositions using liquid chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and some bioinformatics tools that we invented here.  Finally, we identified a number of things that were sure enough related to physical performance capability. And a couple of those peptides, we actually had them simplified, we filed patent on them now, so it’s very hot stuff. And the bottom line is, when you’re fatigued, some of these peptides are reduced in their abundance by a thousand to ten thousand fold.  So, they’re high initially and they’re present in relatively large amounts in your saliva. As you get really, really fatigued, they virtually disappear.  And so, we have essentially a yes/no marker for fatigue.  And this is related specifically to physical fatigue and the ability to perform physical exercise.

We are very excited by this.  One application that we have used this is in training of special operation force and one of the issues in special operations is that guys get out of basic training, they’re in good shape, and they’re really, really motivated typically, but even despite all that, about 50% to 80% of the folks that go into special operations training never ever make it through. They fail in the first of what’s called the indoctrination session.  This is a fairly rigorous training cycle.  And one of the things we thought about was, if the guys are coming in fatigued, could we project who was going to fail and who was going to complete? Low and behold, our fatigue biomarkers did a very good job of predicting who’s going to fail or complete.  In terms of military operations, that is important because you can reduce the number of failures by judiciously selecting the right men to go into the Special Forces training cycle and to become Special Forces operators.  Another important thing to have in mind is that if you have fatigue detected with our markers, you can go to these guys and say, “Look, you’re fatigued, let’s find out why, and let’s make you less fatigued.”  And that’s the really exciting part where we can start applying different types of intervention, changes in training, changes in sleep, changes in diet, to essentially make a very fit person even better. And I guess that is kind of long-winded but short answer to what we think is a fascinating and ultimately a very beneficial technology.

Co-host: Yeah, that’s great.  That actually resounds pretty strongly with me right now.  My brother just got back from basic training and he was definitely pretty fatigued when he came home. So, yeah, that sounds great.  How long have people known about the relationship between salivary peptides and stress?  Is this something you all just discovered?

John Kalns:  Yeah, this is something that we discovered and I alluded to this idea that our original hypothesis was that we’re going to see some small fragments of enzymes that are related to energy utilization.  What we found though was something that was more exciting in a way and a little bit surprising. Mainly, the peptides that we found are fragments of a larger protein that is expressed only by the salivary gland and what we found out was that the abundance of these fractions is really controlled by the physical fatigue state and other types of state, which I cannot get into because of patent issues that are pending right now.  But, the salivary gland links up both to the dual endocrine system, immune system and the brain itself, so we know that those linkages exist and low and behold, as you get more fatigued, the behavior of the salivary gland as an exocrine functioning gland actually changes in a very profound and significant way that we can measure it by looking at the composition of saliva.

Co-host: So, could this test possibly predict mental fatigue and maybe immune system depression and those kinds of things as well?

John Kalns:  Well,I think you chap on a very hot area and I just have to say that I have to be very careful.  I really can’t comment on that, but I’ll just say this: we have a number of different research programs that are in the works right now.  We have a number of different collaborators in the the federal government and I think there is a real opportunity to understand the how the composition of saliva links to all types of different physical phenomenon. And I know I’m being cagey deliberately because I don’t want to have public disclosure of things that could jeopardize patentability of some of our technology coming online.

Co-host: Fair enough, sounds good. So, how do you go about measuring these peptides?  How is the test performed?  Does somebody spit in a little tube and mail it to you or how is it done?

John Kalns:  That’s exactly right.  What we will do is we will send you a 15 ml centrifuge tube, and 15 ml of saliva is about 2 tablespoons of saliva.  It will take you about three to five, maybe six minutes to accumulate that much.  You spit in the tube, seal it up, put it back in the mailer and send it to us.  One other thing that we know about our physical fatigue peptide is that they are relatively stable and so sending by regular US mail is just fine.  They come to us, we get the saliva, we do a bunch of proprietary processing to kind of clean up and refine it, get to the biomarker, and then we apply a technology that is called liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy and what that enables us to do is just separate all the different components of saliva after our preliminary test.  There is about five to ten thousand different chemical components there and so we separate them out using chromatography and then we use a very precise detector, which is a mass spectrometer and that tells us not only the abundance of the compounds of interest, but also their chemical identity.  This is really the cutting edge way that many analyses are measured in clinical laboratories and this is really state-of-the-art right here.  It’s not cheap, but it is the definitive way of doing this type of assessment.

Co-host: Do you see any opportunities in the future for doing a home testing kit, so you wouldn’t have to mail it in?

John Kalns:  Yeah.  One thing I was going to mention, co-host, is direct.  If you want, you can go to and order the test.  It’s $55 for a single test.

Co-host: Cool!

John Kalns:  And there are instructions for collection.

Co-host: So, in the future do you ever think, maybe there could be something almost like a pregnancy test, where you spit into a little a spot and it will tell you on a graded scale what your fatigue marker are?

John Kalns:  Absolutely.  One of the great things there is that we have worked with some company to actually define the components of the type of test and we have talked to a number of companies.  The trick here is, to make a pregnancy test what you need is a molecule, which will recognize and bind to your molecule of interest with very high affinity.  Specifically, for all of these, what are called, point-of-care tests like this, you raise up antibodies immune response, collecting antibodies on the detection platform. It does two things for you. One – it can shorten the times to get a test completed from literally days or week, which is what we’re looking at right now, to perhaps as short as an hour or even half-an-hour.  There is another technology that is coming online that can make this almost real-time, where you can get test results essentially in thirty minutes, maybe a few minutes even.  So, we’re going down that road and we hope to have something like that in maybe another year or two.

Co-host: Well, it sounds great.  Let’s say I took the test and my biomarkers were high, but my salivary peptides were low, how do you know whether I’m actually fatigued or not?  What kind of standard are you comparing it to for reference?

John Kalns:  Yeah, it’s a great question.  This is part of the very interesting philosophical issue that surrounds the whole idea of fatigue.  What is fatigue?  How do you define it?  I think there are a lot of questions about that.  What we’ve tied it to in terms of this are different types of outcomes. For example, when we did the cycle ergometer testing, we were looking at the ability of folks to maintain a standard mechanical output on the cycle ergometer.  Can they pedal at the same rate all the time?  That’s one way of assessing it.  If you become fatigued, you can’t maintain a steady rate of energy output like that.  As you well know, you get a little choppy and your performance becomes a little bit less consistent.  Another thing that we did was to ask about their, what is called, a POM score.  This is an assessment of how one perceives their exertional output and how difficult the task is.  There is really extensive literature on use of these types of measure.  It is essentially a visual analog that says on a scale of 1-20 – was this really hard, the hardest thing you ever did or maybe it is not such a hard thing at all? And so we were tracking using this measurement scale over time and linking that to the biomarker.  So, essentially as folks got more tired, there was a correlation between the fatigue that they express and the levels of the biomarkers.  Now, the question obviously becomes – why don’t you just ask people how fatigued they are, where you get into problems that their perception of fatigue is altogether something different than the actual fatigue status and the actual capability of the individual. And as you well know, there are a lot of factors that play into how one does in a race or in any kind of athletic competition and then there are a lot of factors that go into that and physical fatigue is only one of them.  We hope that this would be a positive feedback where folks would get this information back and say, “Well, look, I am not as fatigued as I thought I was,” or “I’m really fatigued according to the Biomarker test, but guess what – I am not doing as bad as I could be”.  There’s a lot of ways of seeing this, and ultimately what you use the information for is to make yourself a better more capable athlete and a better person ultimately and that is where we’re going.

Finally, the really complex outcome, which is success in the Special Forces guys, predicting who will succeed and who will fail.  And I’ll tell you Special Forces training is very complex, not just an athletic challenge.  There’re a lot of mental challenges there, too.  And in fact, the mental challenges are probably more significant.  So, when we found out our biomarkers can project success or failure, we’re very excited because this really validates the whole claim that we’re predicting something which is very useful in life in general, not just in terms of physical performance though of course the physical performance is really where this thing blinks. Again a complicated issue is fatigue. I think we don’t even have a good language of talking about it yet, but I think our technology will certainly enable that as we go forward.

Co-host: So, when you we’re testing the people who were going into Special Forces training, what kind of accuracy does this test have, what percentage of the Special Forces people who had high levels of fatigue ended up failing?

John Kalns:  Well, it’s a statistic distribution.  But I can tell you this – if your marker comes in suggesting fatigue, let’s say at a level of 0.1, which is very fatigued, your chances of failing are about 90%.  If you come in at a level of 1 or above, this suggests you are not very fatigued at all and your chances of succeeding are about 80-90%.  Now, folks that fall in the middle of that range, which is maybe about 30-50% of the folks there – their likelihood is a little bit mixed.  You can’t make such profound conclusions about it, though again there are trends there.  If you’re on the low end of the high part of the scale, you’re more likely fatigued than if you are in the lower end, but there are some absolute cutoffs here really that would be useful in determining definitively why you are really fatigued or “Hey, you’re doing pretty good and your body is good off and that is what you are ever going to be in terms of your physical capability.

Co-host: Yeah, it’s amazing.  What is the scale for how fatigued somebody is? You said 0.1 to 1? Have you ever had somebody who was more than 1 or so what is the scale graded on?

John Kalns:  Well, the way we look at the scale, this is the kind of feedback that we will get back for somebody who actually takes the test. If your level is above 1, you’re essentially in pretty good shape and you’re probably doing the right thing.  There is probably some room for improvement and this is something – we just honestly need more data.  I’m a scientist and I’m always a little cautious to make too many conclusions.  I think the higher you are – and we did measure some people as high as a 100… I’m not exactly sure what that means, but if you’re above 1, you’re in pretty good shape.  Now if you’re between the range of 1 and 0.1, you are somebody that could be improved.  You are showing evidence of fatigue and there are probable interventions or changes that you can do in your life that would probably improve your fatigue score and probably improve your physical capabilities.  Now if you’re below 0.1, that suggests that you’re really fatigued, that you have some real issue that needs to be addressed for you to come up anywhere near to where you should be, and that is the person who you want to reach out to and say, “Look, find out where your life is, find out what your training is about, find out about your personal life, think about it introspectively and we invite you to make some changes and measure the fatigue biomarker after you make those changes and see if it improves.”  That’s the great thing about this, and over time this allows people to get better and improve their own physical performance capabilities.  That was really exciting.

Co-host: Yeah, it is. There are a lot of other measures for fatigue I know – depressed heart rate is one measure, your general mood, your performance and workouts, your blood lactate, all sorts of other measurements – what makes this better or worse than those?  What kind of advantages does this Fatigue Biomarker test have over the standard measures of fatigue?

John Kalns:  Right, it’s a really good question.  I think what plagues a lot of things like lactate, cortisol, and some of the heart measures that have been around for a very long time, is that they are highly variable and they are dependent on a lot of different factors that come into play.  Ultimately, when we did some of our testing here, we did measure things like salivary cortisol, and we did measure lactate and when we stood them up against our marker, the thing that really comes out is that the variability for our marker is much, much smaller than it is for some of these other measurements and what that means is that we’re seeing things decline by a thousand to ten thousand fold.  When you see changes occurring in cortisol – you’re lucky if you’re seeing something that is maybe between two fold, three fold, four fold.  Lactate spike – again, you can see pretty significant increase in lactate, but the variability even within a single individual is so large and so, we see with our marker that is essentially an off-on switch and within a population of people, again we see very tighter distributions here, and that’s the main advantage.  The heart rate measures like what you can get out a Polar monitor or other type of things, yeah, they’re useful, but again they are susceptible to a lot of different input and the software, I would argue, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting out of it and there are also a lot of things that can affect heart rate variability or R-R interval measures.  Ironically, we are working __________ technology to use R-R interval measures with a chest strap and the results are interesting, but we don’t see a really great relationship there to physical performance, not as good as what we have with our marker.

Co-host: Yeah, I actually would have to completely agree. I’ve stopped using heart rate monitor a long time ago, just because there is no predictable data, you’re right.  So, are there any factors that could affect the test?  As you said, it is a salivary peptide test, so it seems like if you ate something before the test it might throw it of – is that true?

John Kalns:  That is a great point and in fact, when we did our initial exploration studies at the University of Montana, one of the things that the exercise physiologists that we were working with was interested about carbohydrate loading taking place four hours into this endurance test and exercise physiologists, as you know, are very interested in different ways of tweaking things to make people perform better.  What we found out was that intermediate meal of carbohydrate had no more effect than feeding of a placebo.  So, the answer is, we don’t think food has a great effect on this.  Carbohydrate loading doesn’t seem to have a big effect on this.  Hydration is one of the things that comes to mind.  When you’re dehydrated, especially after a long endurance event – our test actually measures two peptides and one of them is something that we use to normalize for the effect of dehydration.  So, actually we’re not measuring just dehydration when we measure the peptide, we are actually normalizing, particularly the dehydration event and so, our test is even more accurate than it otherwise would be.  So, I hope that kind of answers the question, but it is a complicated issue and when we really invite people explore, again not all the people are the same and some interventions will really be more effective than others.
Co-host: Yeah, that was perfect.  So, is this meant to provide an overview of stress in someone’s life accounting for numerous factors or is it more of something you might use after a workout and then send it in and see exactly how fatigued you really were during the workout?

John Kalns:  Well, this is a very interesting question.  When we discovered this thing, again we were looking for dramatic changes in composition that were associated with acute short-term endurance exercise.  That’s what we were looking for.  Now, whether that folks that were undergoing short-term bout of exercise acutely stressed with stressors in their life – Well, I don’t know, I think the answer is probably not to a great degree.  However, this is the really cool part, I think, when you look at the Special Forces guys that were coming in and we were measuring a single saliva sample at the outset of the training regime.  They go through a 12-week training regime – the Special Forces guys that we looked at.  A single saliva sample before they started training indicated whether or not they were going to fall out during that 12-week period.  Now that would suggest to me that we are looking at more simply the acute phase performance characteristic of an individual.  When we observe a low level of the marker, we’re looking at something, which tells greater about the totality of the individual’s performance capabilities, and I think that totality is influenced to a great extent by emotional stressors, psychological stressors, immunological stress, and the whole galaxy of different things that could predict whether or not someone is going to succeed during the Special Forces training.  So I think the answer is yes, but we need more data and I think that is the bottom line and we’re working on that right now.

Co-host:  Cool.  I’m curious, as people begin to take this test, are you like accumulating a large body of data that you can draw on to look at these kinds of things?

John Kalns:  Yeah, absolutely. That’s what makes this really cool, I think.  Over time, we hope to accumulate a lot of data on people, both from controlled studies and studies that are relatively uncontrolled.  I think we’re just potentially going through something, which is kind of viral where people are talking and discussing among themselves about what they did and how it affected their Biomarker level.  You can imagine that a lot of folks are going to start sharing information about supplements, and I think this really talks to the whole supplement industry because we both know that something winding up at a MuscleMag with some celebrity making an endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean that the supplement’s applications are safe, right?  This is the way that people are going to answer for themselves – does this supplement really help me objectively or not?  And placebo effect can be profound with regards to the supplement use and really for any kind of intervention, whether you’re going with a new trainer, new foot gear whatever it is, you tend to believe that that stuff will work – this is not meant to degrade that, but to enable you to really understand objectively whether the interventions that you are doing are really effective for you or not. The results might be surprising and we hope that the community shares through Hyperion this information and the users share it among themselves.  Once the discussion gets going, it’s going to revolutionize the supplement and really athletic pursuits overall.  I think it’s going to be absolutely revolutionary.
Co-host: This is great.  That is one of the things I’ve been working on for a while, as you often hear like one of the factors for selecting supplements should be whether you really feel a difference or not, but oftentimes, you’re not going to feel a difference.  They might be very subtle, but you still want to know it’s working and this seems like it would be a perfect way to actually make sure you’re getting what your money’s worth.  That sounds absolutely amazing.

John Kalns:  I think a really good and well-studied analog to this is the use of depression medication.  Why bring that up? Depression medications, when they do the big controlled studies by the pharmaceutical companies, about 40% of the people that are treated with the placebo show significant positive benefits from taking the placebo, and that’s a big, big deal.  In fact, the drugs often show just a minimal improvement over placebo.  There’s been a lot written about that lately and I think folks that use supplements ought to take that to heart.  If you have a positive outlook, that could make all the difference in the world, but still it may not really be having any demonstrable real effect on your body.

Co-host: Right.  So, I’d like to get a little more into the details.  Actually, one more thing before I get into the details of this. Let’s say there is somebody who is not an athlete, but they are just hard working like mom or something like that, like a soccer mom who’s working really hard trying to get her kids all over the place, could she use something like this to try and quantify the amount of stressors in her life?  So, basically any person could actually get an objective marker for their stress?

John Kalns:  Yeah.  I think that is the really exciting part that this marker really could be a great benefit and give people some pause and think about what they are doing in their lives.  There are so many people that are pushing themselves so hard and they have so many different things going on – they have got the kids, they have got the job, they have got things to pick out and do at home, they have got activities, they are spending two hours a day on the road – I mean, it is absolutely endless.  I think this kind of states that, “Hey, look, take a rest.  Think about what you‘re eating.  Here it is in black and white, here’s the result.  Are you on the right path?  Could your life be better?”  This is the enabling technology that we really need for this stuff.
Co-host: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. One other thing, my mom is a teacher, so she works a lot and it’s often hard for teachers and other people in any job to come in and really say, “We’re being overworked,” and the person hearing it would say, “What do you mean?” There is no objective measure for overworked and so, this might be useful for somebody who’s trying to explain to somebody else how far they’re really pushing themselves and they can show them with numbers: “I’m like this fatigued, I need to take a break.”  So, that might be useful for that.

John Kalns:  Well, there are a lot of professions where the stakes are really high and I think stakes are really high for teachers too.  I think you’re absolutely right.  When you are in a position where super fatigue is operating on you, I think the answer is no.  And so, there are a lot of applications out there and there is a lot of interest in the technology.

Co-host: Yeah, actually one of the things I was doing research on recently was sleep deprivation and its effects on interns.  They made something like 70% more drastic medical mistakes when they hadn’t had sleep for 18 hours or some period like that.  And this test seems like it would be a perfect marker to really show how much it was affecting people.

John Kalns:  Yeah, you bet, and that’s where you get so much excitement.  I went to the American Association of Clinical Chemistry meeting and actually, I had a lot of physicians come up to me and ask that question specifically about medical residents saying, “Hey, we really need to talk about this.”  I think that is the really big one.

Co-host: Cool. So, now I’d like to hear a little bit into the details of the test. So, when somebody orders the test, what happens? Can you take us through the process of what it’s like to get this test done on yourself?

John Kalns: Right. First comes the money – we have a credit card-enabled website. So, what you do is basically punch in your credit card information, secure website, and then what we will do is we will send you a sample collection kit, which is just brutally simple.  It will have some collection tubes in it with some very simple instructions.  Don’t brush your teeth, don’t drink a lot of water right before taking the test and then spit in the tube until you get the required amount, seal it up, and put it back in the mailer, and drop it in the mailbox.  It’s really that simple.  And then what we do is, again, we do some fancy chemical preparation of the saliva, we really clean it up and separate it and then we stick it in our LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy) machine and we get a readout.  Now, that readout will give you the concentration of your fatigue biomarkers and we will express that to let you know in terms of our population and knowledge, where you fall.  Again, 1 and above is good; 1 to 0.1 – well, you’ve got probably some of the issues that are addressable; or less than 0.1, which means that you’re really fatigued and you really have got to take care of what your life is all about.  And, then from there we have some suggestions.  We suggest on the website that you could actually run your own, what is the called, crossover study, where, for example, if you are doing a ten-mile run, you take a sample before the ten-mile run, after the ten-mile run, and then you do it, a few days later, but you’re doing some supplement that you are hopeful makes you better and less fatigued.  Well, you repeat, take the supplement, measure your biomarker before the run, and then after the run.  And what we will do is give you a detailed assessment of how your fatigue level was affected by the supplement, and again that’s where we see a lot of value.  I forgot what’s the cost of that one, Rick?  But, it is highly discounted absolutely.  For those four tests, I think it’s $110 or something like that.  So, if you order a little bit more, you get a lot more value back as well.
Co-host: So, how does somebody see their test results? Are they mailed to them in an email or Snail mail or is it on the website? How does that work?

John Kalns: Well, we would email it to somebody and again, it would be a nice PDF form.  I think it would be very descriptive to tell you about the technology, tell you about the interpretation of the results.  We have put a fairly succinct document and something that would not be overly technical, though again, we invite people that really think about what it is that they are doing.  We like that kind of technical discussion.  In fact, we would really like to talk to people about their ideas of what they would want to be measured and we’re willing to work with them to define a testing regime that really makes sense and answers the question that they want answered.  There is more than one way to skin the cat.  We’re really looking forward to working with people on this.

Co-host: So, how long does it take for the test to get completed once somebody sends in their saliva sample?

John Kalns:  Well, we can turn around the test in about a week; kind of depends on the workflow, maybe as little as just a few days, depending again.  This is a fancy test.  No two ways about it.  It’s expensive.  It’s time consuming.  But the results are really, really, we believe, revolutionizing.  So, we’re looking at about a week.

Co-host: So, if for whatever reason, there was a mistake on the test, would the person get a new one?

Rick Green:  Absolutely.  No questions asked.

Co-host: If somebody wanted to learn more about this technology, where can they go?

Rick Green:  Well, one good source is and also we have more information I need to check up on what the website is about.  But, once you order the test, we will give you some more information about the test.  There are some published studies out.  There is one article on military medicine that I can send to you and we will be happy to have that distributed, though we have to be mindful of publication rights and that kind of good stuff.  We have another couple of publications coming that are coming out in the peer reviewed Scientific Literature as well that talk about the utilization of the test and it is more common, it’s really a scientific thing that we’ve got here and it’s not all celebrity endorsements and that is what makes our product so different.

Co-host: Great. I’d love to get those studies and I’ll definitely publish those in the show notes too, so people can look at them and see for themselves and thank you so much for doing the interview.  That was great.  I hope to talk to you again soon and I hope your company does well because I certainly plan on trying it out.

Rick Green:  Good.

Co-host: Cool. See you man. Thanks.

Biohacker Report

Dave Asprey: Welcome to the Biohacker report. This is the part of the show where we bring you some of the latest research that caught our attention.  We’ve got three interesting studies here.  The first one is one from Science Daily that shows more evidence has come up that spicing up your broccoli boosts its cancer-fighting power.  Now, people might not understand this, but raw broccoli probably isn’t good for you because it inhibits your thyroid function, but cooked broccoli has some pretty important stuff in it.  What these guys found out is that if you add mustard or horse radish specifically in higher amounts to your broccoli, it activates the enzymes in it that really help it fight cancer.  So, if you’re really worried about cancer or you’re just deciding, “If I’m going to spend time eating this low-calorie vegetable”, at least I might as well roll it in butter and after it’s rolled in butter, maybe wrap it in bacon and then put on some mustard.  So, that way the mustard will help you absorb the nutrients from that otherwise kind of low-density food that you’d be eating called broccoli.

The second study that came up is a self-delusion study that says self-delusion is a winning survival strategy.  And this is actually a really, really funny study.  Scientists went through and they looked at how people behave in political situations, they used an evolutionary model, and they’ve found that if you have an, even mistaken, inflated belief that you can easily meet a challenge or win a conflict, it’s actually good for you and this overconfidence actually beats the accurate assessments in a wide variety of situations including sports, including business, including even war. What this means is that the young, brash entrepreneur who says “I can do it and I know I can do it and I know I’m going up against the big boys, but I’m going to kick their ass anyway,” he has actually got the right attitude.  And it’s very much a bulletproof attitude.  This is the sort of attitude that guys like Sergey and Larry from Google had. When Google was launched, there were already very large, billion-dollar search engines like Yahoo and __________ and other things like that and a lot of people said, “Oh god, do we need another one of these?”  And, look where they are today and this is that sort of mistakenly inflated belief.  No sane person would have launched a search engine when Google did it.  They did it because they were being unreasonable and they were deluding themselves that it was a good idea, and they were right. So, what this means for you from a health perspective and a personal performance perspective is that the first and important thing you need to be able to do, whether it’s sleep hacking or anything else, you need to believe that you can do it.  Even if you’re not positive, you can do it.  Even if you might be wrong, if you believe you can do it, you will move yourself in that direction and that’s the whole tenet of the bulletproof program. You don’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to always do it just right. You just need to make a decision and believe that if you make a decision that moves you in the right direction and you know the right direction, you can continuously improve over time. So, I like seeing this study that pointed that out.

The final one here about antibiotics shows that antibiotics may be permanently altering human guts. This came out of New York University’s Langone Medical Center and what they found was that taking antibiotics even just a few times permanently alters the healthy bacteria that live in your stomach and that they usually never ever recover.  Now, this is a problem.  In fact, the scientists who did the study were so concerned that they said only very young children who are at risk of death or maybe pregnant women who are at risk of losing their pregnancy should even take antibiotics.  So, the rest of us ought to just toss them out because it’s not worth it.  I spent almost 15 years taking antibiotics every month because I had chronic and persistent sinus infections or strep throat that would not go away.  They go away, they come back.  This was when I weighed 300 lbs.  I was pretty profoundly unhealthy to be perfectly honest despite my best efforts and I completely reversed that situation and those sorts of things really don’t happen to me anymore, especially sinus infections.  But, my gut bacteria has been something I’ve worked on for more than 10 years, including taking at least $40,000 worth of probiotics in order to understand how they work, what they do, etc, etc and I’m still really picky about that and I’ve fixed my gut to the point that I don’t have the problems that I used to have at all.  But one of the things I do is I take specific genetically identified strains of probiotics, not just sort of random, “Oh, it’s Acidophilus” There is a gazillion Acidophilus and some are much worse than others and some are actually toxic.  We have a form of probiotic actually on that I take today that includes lactobacillus nato.  These are the type of bacteria that make the clot-busting enzymes in natokinase.  So, by populating your stomach with those bacteria rather than whatever randomly go in there, you actually get some of the benefits of actually eating nato, but it just sort of auto happens inside your body.  It’s a neat hack.  I also cover antibiotics pretty extensively in the Better Baby Book, which should be coming out later this year or early next year from Wiley & Sons.

The winner of the Twitter contest from last week’s episode was @mirabaigalashan.  Mirabai wins $100 worth of free consulting from the co-host and me, sort of the executive coaching that we do.  Mirabai, we will be reaching out to you on Twitter to get in touch with you for that.  Meanwhile, you can find links to everything we talked about today in the show notes at  If you enjoyed this, there are several things you can do to help out.  One is, just leave us a positive ranking on iTunes.  That really, really helps other people find our content and makes us feel motivated to keep doing this.  If you want to learn more about biohacking, you can also follow us on Twitter and check out the blog at  If you appreciate the content or you got something good out of this, you could consider ordering something from  We stock some of the things we talk about.  Every single thing that is on that site is something that I use personally and most of the things on it are there because you really can’t get them somewhere else or because I think they are some of the top most important things that I found in my own health.  It’s not a large enterprise by a long shot.  It’s just there to support the blog.

Co-host, thanks a ton. I’ll see you next week.

Co-host: You, too. See you and have fun in Germany.

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