Interview with Gary Stern


Orlin: 

Perfect. So Gary really glad to have you here. I will just tell you a couple of things about me and the project I’m running. So first of all, all started at one conference in Eastern Europe where I talk about how biohacking is developing and mostly about neurogenesis and about the BDNF protein. I found out there’s a lot of people interest in this topic. The thing is, like, I gather all these people in a group, you know, like, Slack, I don’t know if you use it for all online communities. And I saw that there’s a lot of interest and I am trying to find other people that have interest in bio hacking and so they can share their story. And I’m really glad that when I contacted you, you were kept it or to talk about biohacking, so thank you. 

Gary: 

My pleasure. Yeah, it’s an exciting topic, for sure. 

Orlin: 

Yeah. So could you tell me more about you and your background? Who you are and what’s your interest in biohacking. 

Gary: 

Yeah, absolutely, so, my name is Gary Stern. I’m 46 years old this year, be 46 in just a couple months. I live here in the United States. I live on the East Coast in the South down in Florida near Cape Canaveral in Cocoa Beach where they shoot the rockets off from, so a very tech-oriented town that I live in. Married for almost 18 years, I have a 13-year-old son. So really a family guy excited about that. My background: I was I’m an avid bicycle racer. That’s how this whole biohacking came into my life was through physical activity more than anything. My professional background, however, is I was six years as a physio, physical therapist, and then thirteen years in the pharmaceutical industry working for an English company called GlaxoSmithKline. So almost twenty years total in the medical profession before biohacking really came into my life and I started learning more about it and getting really, really fired up about it again. That was mostly through the cycling community was where I initially learned about it. 

Orlin: 

Yeah well, awesome. How was your experience and the GlaxoSmithKline because I know they are a pharmaceutical company, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world? So how this affects you, I mean do you have knowledge of chemistry in pharmacy? 

Gary: 

I do. My background was physiotherapy, physical therapy. But I did go through extensive training when I switched careers from physical therapy into pharmaceutical sales. So a very extensive knowledge of reading clinical studies. Honestly, Orlin, that’s what made it easier I feel like for me to get a good grasp on what biohacking truly is. I mean, because at its core it’s very simple, it’s kind of taking over, not taking over, taking control of your own biology in order to get the desired outcome, right. There’s a lot of different things out there that you can do to biohack your body. I mean simply changing the time that you go to sleep and the time that you wake up. That’s one of the easiest fastest most common bio hacks available. Caffeine in coffee, and so, you know, knowing how the bodywork, I think it gave me a little bit of a leg up as far as specifically chemistry itself. I’ve read a lot of clinical studies a lot of them along the way to get to the point that I was at in pharmaceuticals, yes. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, so you say caffeine, do you drink coffee? 

Gary: 

I do. I enjoy coffee. I’ve actually, I personally used… I call it brain food the rest of the world calls that energy drinks, but I don’t want it to be confused with some of the other very chemically-laden and sugar-laden products that are out there, but I used a product from the company that I’m partnered with that contains caffeine in it. So I drink that in the morning, I have a coffee maybe once a week just because I enjoy it, I drink the other because it keeps me focused on clarity and concentration. It activates my body to really be able to have more mental stamina when it’s all said and done. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, I recently quit the coffee so I could try to lower my ph level. 

Gary: 

How does that work out? 

Orlin: 

Yeah, I’m not sure because I did a couple of more changes together with quitting coffee, like I stopped eating sugar, I changed my diet. So right now I’m testing the plant-based diet with a little bit of maybe yogurt so I can drew them to help heal my gut. But yeah I can’t say first which thing helps me for which because I’m tasting it all together at once/ so I’m not really sure. So it’s not so much scientifically, more like a home experiment. But yeah. So right now I’m like, my fifth month in this diet. I noticed a lot of changes in my body, so my stamina has increased. I’m working out and I’m seeing how my body recovers more quickly after a workout, and the mental boost, because I am working as a programmer and a project manager, and it’s really hard for me to have a coding session for more than six hours straight. And changing my diet, changing the way even I sleep, maybe I boosted to reach a couple more hours a day. So do you take any supplements in your day-to-day? 

Gary: 

I do. I’ve actually it’s something a clarification I’d like to make on that. That’s what I was introduced to you about seven years ago was a company that was at the forefront of biohacking. Through what’s called nutrigenomics. So what you were just talking about right nutrition, using the proper nutrition but you can actually have an effect on gene expression in your body. All the way down at the genetic level. So where most people, many people do what’s called supplementing. They’re trying to add what’s missing to the body. This company has a fundamentally different approach which is to activate the body to produce more of its own enzymes through genetic expression. I hope that makes sense. But it’s fascinating, so yes I do I use about four or five different products from the company itself. One is the brain food like I was telling you about, the energy drink itself. I’m a huge proponent of what they call their vitality stack. It’s made up of four components: one is a probiotic, the probiotic helps get your gut in check, I heard you say you’re using yogurt, it’s so crucial because that’s where your immune system is housed as well. So I don’t get sick anymore, right. You don’t get the common cold or the viruses and all the problems that are going around, the flu, that was going around really bad over here at least this year. That doesn’t affect me any longer. So that’s one component, the probiotic. Omega-3, that’s more, mega plus, that’s more of an omega-3 fatty acid like it comes from your fish. That’s not necessarily as much of a nutrigenomic as it is just a straight supplement itself. Right, it’s not really activating the body but the last two are really the exciting ones and that’s Protandim NRF 1 & 2. And these are very specific products to this company. Both plant-based. One the NRF-1 Protandim NRF 1. NRF stands for Nuclear respiratory factor. So, what does that do, I mean it’s literally a messenger it’s a receptor in the body so when activated by an NRF-1 activator that receptor goes into the nucleus of the cell and tells it to start doing something. In this case with NRF 1 that pathway controls mitochondria. And if you remember from biology mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells. That’s where our cells get their energy from. So that’s a fantastic product, especially as we get older our mitochondria tend to decrease the number of them and the production of them. That’s why you hear of mitochondrial defects or mitochondrial dysfunction. It’s getting a lot more play as people are realizing that’s what causes a lot of this lack of energy that people see. So, if you can activate the body to produce more of its own and each one is larger each individual mitochondria is larger, you have more cellular energy, and then the last component, the NRF-2, is nuclear respiratory factor 2. That was actually what this company first discovered using five plant ingredients you can activate the body to produce more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory enzymes. So, the example I give is this, Orlin, the rest of the world many, many people are using antioxidants. I used too. I used them a lot especially in bicycle racing to try to recover after very hard efforts or after training harder going to the gym. But what I learned was this: an antioxidant pairs with one free radical and both are eliminated from the body so it’s a one-and-done reaction it doesn’t matter if it’s from juice or from berries or… the source of the antioxidant externally doesn’t matter. Instead by activating your body to produce more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes, your body’s own enzymes hang around for seven to ten days and can get rid of up to a million free radicals every second, every moment that you’re awake, every moment that you’re alive. And so that’s what, it sounded super far-fetched but I dug into the research and started to, like I said that’s what got me so interested, like, if this is true. Why are we using cups of water to put out the fire when we can activate the sprinkler system in the building and turn out the fire instantly, right. That’s the example I give all the time and so that’s what’s fascinated me, there are a few other things, but those are the key ones and yeah, I’ve been using that last one I’ve been using for seven years, seven years now. It’s no race against twenty-year-olds, I’m still competitive against twenty-year-olds. So, it’s kind of exciting to be in my 40s and feeling like I’m in my twenties. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, absolutely I find a lot of similarities like the first time I tried Cat’s claw, do you know it? The supplement, Cat’s claw, okay so yeah sorry. So, I found it has great antiviral properties so it’s acting exactly as antiviral medication, not, like, let’s say, to try to ease your pain or something. It’s more like direct anti-inflammatory properties and the other thing is like, it’s bind to the receptor of the virus and it’s stopping it spread in your body. 

Gary: 

Right, naturally, too. 

Orlin: 

Yeah. A little bit like this medication what’s it called, I think that the trademark name is Tamiflu. Yeah, so I was really hard on searching like natural supplements that is doing, that have antiviral properties and it was really hard for me to find ones and so Cat’s claw is one of them. But yeah, I think that the thing you said is really important that we must try to make the body act upon something not giving just antioxidants because antioxidants that don’t have a direct impact on this in the short term. Maybe in the long term it may heal your body and start the healing process but something directly to impact is within us. 

Gary: 

You know, I usually simplify it this way and I say instead of taking, with the “T”, taking, why don’t help your body make more of what it was supposed to do naturally. Don’t take it make it. And so yes, you’re taking something but you’re taking it with one purpose, to help your body make more of what it was supposed to do anyway. 

Orlin: 

Yeah so mentioned omega-3 fatty acids, so do you have a fish oil or some other source of omega-3? 

Gary: 

It’s actually fish oil sourced from the northern waters of the Arctic sea. It is certified which I didn’t know there was a process like that. I’ve searched, I used to work for a pharmaceutical company like I said so I was able to get a prescription product that was essentially highly refined fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids. When I left that pharmaceutical company to pursue this venture full-time, obviously I lost that benefit and I’ve had a tough time sourcing where I know where the fish are caught, like, not just where but what boat they’re caught on. It’s so critical because if you use just farm-raised fish or fish from any waters, they can be highly contaminated. You know mercury’s just the start, that’s just one component there are many other components and not only that, the purity or the freshness of the oil is very important. Because if the oil sits and it’s not properly processed,  don’t use it because it’s not processed, it’s not properly stored along the way. It can actually go rancid as crazy as that sound. So it’s very important but I know there are other products out there that use a krill oil, there’s plant-based omega-3 like chia seeds and what’s the other, I’m blanking on the other, I can picture it right now they grind it into almost like a five.. 

Orlin: 

Flax seeds. 

Gary: 

Flax seed. Thank you very much. You know flax and chia are plant-based, you have krill, which is a different type of oil, more of a shellfish kind of oil. And then you have fish oil, all of those are incredible forms of omega-3 fatty acids. Which as humans we’re very replete in our diet, our diet doesn’t get enough of the Omega-3s, because so much of it has gone to this processed diet of, you know lots of carbohydrates and lots of preservatives and processed foods and that takes out a lot any and all of the Omega-3s that were even present in it increases our levels of the omega-6s, which are not good for us. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, absolutely. Recently I started taking a lot of fish oil and I found that a couple of brands that I was using they had let’s say a bad reputation. Exactly the thing they were going about the fish. So, from where it comes from how it’s stored, is it actually a fish oil. So yeah, it’s really important to check. 

Gary: 

One of the main reasons that I partnered with the company that I did is that, you know again my background with almost 20 years, 19 years in medicine in some way, shape or form, I got really accustomed to reading clinical data, research. So, a lot of what I do is based on research. It is clinical experience, like you said you’re doing more of an experience-based experiment right now, which is fantastic. I encourage people to see, well, what’s gonna do for you. But I look at the data because I want to know not only what is it going to do for me but if I’m gonna go out and recommend it to others what’s it going to do to larger populations of people. Like, can those results be replicated and is it safe across larger groups of people, right. I want to make sure that that, so that’s one of the main reasons why I partnered with this company is they’re very scientifically-based. Maybe I’m a nerd, science nerd but I love it you know it’s fun. 

Orlin: 

Absolutely, yeah. So, a lot of my experiments are based again on medical papers. I love to visit let’s say a website like ResearchGate and find medical papers on, let’s say, fish oil and how it affects BDNF. Because most of my experiments are narrow, cognitive related. So, I find a way how to model, let’s say to stimulate neurogenesis, neuroplasticity in your brain, and I found out that changing your diet is really effective on this subject. And because you’re doing a lot of sports, like, you’re cycling, do you take magnesium? 

Gary: 

I do. I take magnesium, that’s one of the few supplements, you know, that again is, it does have an activation effect on the body so yes I do. I take that in the evenings, I’ve found that taking it before I go to bed is the best way for me to take it personally. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, in what form you take it like a liquid or like a pill.  

Gary: 

No, in a tablet form. 

Orlin: 

In a tablet form, yeah, yeah awesome, awesome, yeah. So right now could you tell me again what stuck you’re using day to day? You can freely share your company’s trademarks anyway.  

Gary: 

Okay, it’s from a company called LifeVantage. I have it on my shirt, I don’t know if it’s forward or backward in the photo. LifeVantage, publicly traded company here in the United States. We’re traded on NASDAQ alongside Google and Apple, all the biggest companies in the world. The stack in particular is called the vitality stack, easiest place to go and get more information – you can go straight through my website, you can go through Space Coast wellness. spacecoastwellness.com. And that’ll take you straight to my LifeVantage website. You can look at… the clinical information is there, which again if you like, the studies are there. The products themselves are there, you can order the products directly from that website to know that you’re getting them from the company itself. That’s the only method that we have to distribute the products, we don’t sell them in retail. We want folks to be educated so that they understand that this is different. Again, it’s not a traditional supplement but more of an activator. There’s also links there to some of the clinical research papers, other areas of the world call those white papers. I know you mentioned a website that I’m not as familiar with, I’m very familiar with Medline. Where a lot of the research is house also here in the US we have a website called pubmed.gov. It’s for the public to be able to access but it’s the equivalent of where doctors and nurses go for research.  

Orlin: 

Yeah. I’m using pubmed, it’s amazing. 

Gary: 

Pubmed is, its pubmed is my number one go-to and when I learned that the company you know again that LifeVantage had clinical research on pubmed.gov. I was kind of blown away. You don’t find a lot of research, on like you said brand name or trademarked products. You just don’t see that very often. So, the fact that we had that kind of clinical data. That made a huge impact on my mind that if I was gonna go out and recommend it not only could people order it through our website but they could go and they could do their research on a third party website outside of LifeVantage’s location to see what all the governmental agencies, the big research institutions, what do they have to say about it.  

Orlin: 

Yeah, sorry to interrupt you. One of the problems I see is that really few supplements companies fund researches, most of the researches are funded by pharmaceutical companies. 

Gary: 

Yes. 

Orlin: 

Yeah, I’d love to see a lot more studies on supplements. So, what are the effect of the supplements is like with medical data and with 24:16 research, with proper medical research, you know. 

Gary: 

Well, when we’re concluding the interview I’ll make sure I get you a couple of those websites, Orlin so you have them, so if people ask you can share them with folks. 

Orlin: 

Yeah definitely.  

Gary: 

That way it’s a direct link also to the clinical research. There’s that that last product I was talking about the NRF-2 activator there’s 23 peer-reviewed studies. So, I know you understand what peer-review is but maybe everybody watching this may not understand. Peer review is simple. It’s a clinical study is done by an institution and then passed over to all kinds of other institutions in that same area of expertise. They go through it with a fine-toothed comb to make sure the data is the way it’s supposed to be and is, for a lack of a better terminology, it’s legit, right, it’s, the research was done properly, they crunched the numbers right, and when it’s all said and done, the result that were expected were the ones that were proven in the study. It’s only then that it’s allowed to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. If all of them don’t sign off on it and some of the institutions think there is a problem with the research, it will not get peer-reviewed. It’s a very stringent way of making sure that the data that’s out there is valid and proper data. 

Orlin: 

So, is this a USA-based company? 

Gary: 

We are based out the United States, we’ve started our global expansion especially over the last couple of years, so we’re based out of the US, we’ve expanded into Canada, into Mexico, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, just opened New Zealand, opening Europe very quickly right now, we’ve gone into the UK, into Italy, into France, into Belgium. (cut) Where were you, again, Orlin? 

Orlin: 

Sorry currently something just happened with a camera, ah, okay just fine, yeah, perfect.  

Gary: 

Where were you Orlin?  

Orlin: 

So yeah, yeah, right now I’m in Bulgaria Eastern Europe.  

Gary: 

Eastern Europe. So we’re working our way we’re working our way that direction. For now, though, it is limited to the countries that I just mentioned, I might have left one or two off because I was rattling them off but all of that information… when you go onto the website it’s really neat. It’ll ask you in the upper left, it will ask you to choose a country up front. Not only will you be able to order the products that are specific to your country but oftentimes it’ll also translate it into the language that you prefer. So you know if you’re in France but you speak fluent English it’ll just come up in English but if you want it to come up in French, it’ll come up in French for you as well.  

Orlin: 

Yeah, wow, perfect. So now do you find a change in the general public on how they look on their health? Are people more interested in taking supplements, thinking about their diet, changing their diet, changing the way they think about health. Do you have something like that on your view, on the general public?  

Gary: 

Yes, and I would say it’s become much more prevalent in the last three years or so, two to three years. It started 10 to 15 years ago, there was a big movement towards people not wanting to go to the physician as much, not necessarily trusting medicine and I don’t mean that to say that it doesn’t have its place – it does – but what I’m saying that you ask are people taking more control, right, because again remember the definition of biohacking is taking control over your body in order to achieve the desired outcome, so how can you do that? Through your diet, through exercise, through sleep, through supplementation. I have some of those glasses you know the yellow glasses that I wear in the evening so that I’m not bombarded by blue light. I’m able to get to sleep a whole lot easier and get a more restful night’s sleep. All of those things there’s been an increase especially here. I would say at least a 25 to 50% increase over the last three years alone. It’s massive. People aren’t tolerating, it was where organic foods in our grocery stores, in our supermarkets, were unusual and they were put in their own aisle and they had like one little space in the aisle. Now they’re almost becoming the norm in the produce section and it’s the non-organic that is getting a smaller and smaller area as the organic takes over a much larger portion of it, but that’s just one component, right. So yes, people are definitely are definitely taking more control because they’re tired of feeling tired, being sick, not having the energy, and let’s face it. Yes, people are living longer but the diseases of aging were on the increase up until just these last few years. I’m talking cancer and diabetes and cardiovascular disease and mental disorders, like, you were talking about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and for those who are watching neurogenesis is simple, it’s growing additional, you know, making those neural connections in your brain. People don’t understand that you can control those things like you said by what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, how you sleep, what you add into your body, all of that plays a huge role and people are definitely starting to recognize that. I see it doubling or tripling – the biohacking world I see it doubling or tripling in the next five to ten years.  

Orlin: 

Wow, yeah, I really hope so yeah. And the other thing I noticed is, like, even in the media it’s more and more recognized that changing the way you live, changing the way you eat, it gets more cover on these topics and I’m really like cheerful for that.  

Gary: 

Me too, me too. You know we have been a lot of news programs here in the United States and a lot of it is doom and gloom, right. It’s a lot of the negative press but on one of the morning television shows last year right near the end of the year I was like November-December timeframe. They did a whole piece on nutrigenomics. They put the word up there in huge letters on the screen but the little definition of you know what nutrigenomics is, and they said that it would go from a roughly a two hundred million dollar industry to an almost billion dollar industry over the next three to five years.  

Orlin: 

Wow hmm.  

Gary: 

And it’s because people are learning that there are ways, there are things you can do to take control of your own health, your own biology so that you can get outcomes that you’re looking to get. It’s exciting, great times to be involved and in to learn.  

Orlin: 

Yeah well I would really like to thank you about this interview. From what’s coming from my points it’s like I’ll try to gather everyone that’s excited about this topic, like, create a community where we could share knowledge or we could share our experience. I’m trying to post all my personal data with are all my, how is it, like from the blood samples…  

Gary: 

The lab work, labs.  

Orlin: 

Yeah, from the lab works, I’ll post my results and I’ll share with as much people as I can my experience so with the good and the bad. Like in the first month of my diet I really had a bad time because I quit like meat, sugar, bread, just cold-turkey, just.  

Gary: 

Pretty much everything probably that you ate almost.  

Orlin: 

Yeah, for the first month was so really hard but after that the result came and I was like “wow” a huge change in just a month. So yeah would you like to add something to this video?  

Gary: 

No, I would just I’d like to thank you, Orlin, I mean it’s great that we were able to meet literally just through the word biohacking, like, we both shared a similar interest. I love what you’re working on here I think this is phenomenal and I think we need to get the word out. We need to get a good, what’s the word I’m looking for, mastermind together of folks that are passionate about this to get the word out because it is going to be something you’re going to hear more and more of. It’s not a fad, right, there’s a lot of passing and fads that come along the way this is a trend and it’s a favorable trend for the world and it’s interesting that we’re able to work across, you know, country lines or from continent to continent to get the word out about something that we’re passionate about and bring it all together in a digestible way. So yeah if people have questions, obviously reach out to you, reach out to me. I can get my contact information if we want to share that. Again, it’s spacecoastwellness.com is my website. I also have a personal website garystern2.com. You can reach me through email there, you can contact me, there’s a form you can fill out if you have questions. Either way, I’m an open book. I love sharing this information, again thank you for having me on today I appreciate it. All right take care, bye for now Orlin. 

 

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