Two Biohacks for Your Heart

10 May 2023

The new week has begun with a bang in medical research, with one new scientific paper by American Heart Association (AHA) and one new Finnish study, both of them shedding light on two powerful biohacks or lifestyle modifications for better cardiac health and longevity. A perfect beginning for the month of May that will witness the World Biohacking Summit (WBHS) at Dubai on 30th & 31st of this month.

The new scientific paper on cardiac health by AHA is a significant one as this is the first such statement by AHA on genetically inherited cardiac diseases. Titled as ‘Interpreting Incidentally Identified Variants in Genes Associated with Heritable Cardiovascular Disease’, this was published recently in the AHA journal ‘Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine’.

While long overdue, AHA’s first such detailed scientific position statement reflects the growing popularity of genetic testing among the health conscious, and the immense value of genetic testing as a most promising biohack against cardiac diseases. This is a better-late-than-never initiative as already there are 42 clinically treatable, secondary variant genes that increase the risk of sickness or death from sudden cardiac death, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.

An AHA scientific paper for clinicians has long ranging ramifications, not only in the US but across the world, as it often becomes the pioneering set of recommendations for doctors across the world to adopt when encountering a new kind of situation. In this case, this new situation is the increased incidental detection of genetic variants behind cardiovascular diseases.

AHA has described a twin dilemma that may be faced by the genetic testing teams detecting such risks in people. On one hand they need to tell the patients about the detected cardiac risks, but at the same time they need to make sure that such a detected gene variant is not a false positive. AHA advises taking the expert advice of geneticists and specialist doctors in this regard, and also suggests genetic counselling for the patients.

A second biohack that emerged this week for the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases and premature death is a high level of fitness. While this may sound as nothing new, this Finnish study looked into 29 years of health and fitness data of 2280 men with and without hypertension, which is a leading reason for death by cardiovascular diseases, and found some surprising results.

This study by researchers in the University of Eastern Finland and published recently in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, was the first such effort to analyse the interplay between hypertension, fitness and premature death due to cardiovascular diseases, after adjusting for almost all other confounding risk factors.

While the study predictably found that the best situation to be in was to live with no hypertension and a high level of fitness, and that the worst situation was to live with hypertension and a low level of fitness, there was also an unpredictable result. The study found that a high level of fitness could significantly reduce the risk of premature death in patients with hypertension, but that they still carried an elevated risk of 55% compared with those with normal blood pressure and a high level of fitness.

In other words, this study proved that a high level of fitness is a powerful biohack against cardiovascular diseases, especially in those with no hypertension, but that it is only partially effective in those with hypertension, which means that apart from exercising, other lifestyle modifications or biohacks like in diet, nutrition, meditation, de-stressing, breathwork, yoga etc may be necessary.

Fortunately, biohacking solutions like EPLIMO that deliver such comprehensive biohacks which are based on personal genetic data are now available across the globe. There are also biohacking ecosystems like Limoverse that incentivize taking up such lifestyle modifications by rewarding users with crypto tokens under Move2Earn programs that reward outdoor movements like walking, jogging or running, and Burn2Earn programs that reward calories burnt as measured by wearables like Apple Watch, Google Fitbit, Samsung Galaxy Watch etc.

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