Friday, May 12, 2017

Data Driven Decisions

Introducing OURA

In my previous post on Tracking Yourself, I discussed my experiences with devices to track everything from your weight to your activity to your sleep. My latest fitness tracker is the OURA Ring. The OURA Ring is made from a scratch resistant Zircona outer ring with a hypoallergenic resin securing the electronics and sensors from the inside. Because of this rigid form factor, you must choose a size of ring (6 to 13). Even if you know your ring size, I highly recommend ordering the FREE Sizing Kit comprised of seven plastic rings that you can use to judge the fit as you wear it through out the day.

Why Another Fitness Tracker?

I decided to buy the OURA Ring because because it seemed less obtrusive than my Fitbit Charge 2 HR, which would cut off circulation to my arm at work and when I slept, and get caught on long sleeved shirts and other articles of clothing. Also, my Beddit 2 stopped working when the latest version of the app was not compatible with Android 5.0 so I was really not monitoring my sleep at all.


OURA also offers two new features: temperature and actionable feedback. Temperature was an interesting feature to add because it affects how you sleep and helps differentiate heavy respiration due to exercise (movement) or just heat (typically sedentary). 

Actionable feedback may seem like a minor feature, but they are a  HUGE step forward. While Fitbit does a great job tracking your movements, and Beddit does a great job tracking your sleep, OURA will keep track of your activity and sleep and make recommendations regarding your activity and recovery needs, whether you should exercise or not, allowing you to reserve your decision making power for the bog of daily decisions and taking the guesswork out of the work-rest spectrum.

Precise Data vs. Accurate Data

The point of the Quantified Self movement is not just to provide data, but actionable data. As with all data, data that is collected automatically is more consistent, and prone to fewer errors. Some will question the accuracy of wearable electronic health monitors, but I feel they miss the point. Most people do not calibrate their bathroom scales with a certified weight when they buy it. Instead, they accept that any change, gain or loss, is the same regardless of the starting weight. In the same way, if whether my device reports my resting heart rate is 75 bpm or 85 bpm, an increase of 100 bpm during exercise is a increase of 100 bpm, and a good measure of my activity level that day.

Stay well engineered,

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements or products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Case for Collagen

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the protein that makes up our hair, skin, bones, teeth, blood vessels, digestive tract, muscles, joints and connective tissue. Despite being one of the more widely used protein in our bodies, it is perhaps the least found in the Standard American Diet because we almost exclusively eat the meat, and throw away the hair, skin, bones, teeth, blood vessels, digestive tracts, joints and connective tissues of animals as these take longer to prepare into a bioavailable form such as a powder, gelatin, or broth.

What Kinds of Collagen are There?

According to Dr. Axe, there are at least 16 different types of collagen found in the body, but the majority is comprised of types 1, 2 and 3. If you are interested in the various types and where they go I highly recommend you read his post. If you take nothing else away from Dr. Axe site, you should note that (A) there are different kinds of collagen and (B) your body knows where to put them.

Are Collagen Supplements Effective?

A middle-aged Greek body builder once told me about the benefits of consuming unflavored gelatin that he would obtain from the butcher. Given his size and relative health, it clearly does a body good. You may have even noticed collagen advertised in topical beauty products. However, I can think of no better application for "you are what you eat" than with collagen. In this PubMed article, mice were fed a hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin) protein that was tagged with Carbon-14 radio isotopes. These mice were found to have twice as much radioactivity (twice as much collagen) in their joints than the control mice. Further proof that your body knows where to put the collagen.

What are Good Sources of Collagen?

Unless you have the time to properly process the carcasses of healthy animals, I strongly suggest supplementation. I am a huge fan of the Bulletproof Collagen Protein. I put two tablespoons in a double cup of coffee each morning. I have shared this tip with several of my coworkers and friends and they all have reported reduced pain and increased motion in joints such as elbows, knees and hips. Another great product is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Stick Packs. The 16oz bag of Bulletproof Collagen is great for the home or office, but the Vital Protein Stick Packs are perfect for travelling.

Stay well engineered,

If you found this information helpful, I would appreciate it if you clicked my Referral Link and checkout all the great Bulletproof products for yourself.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements or products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.