How To Come Out As a Biohacker To Your Doctor
By: Dave Asprey
October 20, 2014
One of the most common questions I get from executive coaching clients and people I meet on the street is “how do I tell my doctor that I want to get this special test?” or “how do I explain that I don’t want to fix something, I want to take ownership of my own biology?”
For weird subconscious reasons, some people actually feel embarrassed or even ashamed that they want these things. They feel weird or like they are not worthy of that kind of attention and care. And some doctors don’t help at all with the way they react to this most human of desires – to perform at your highest level.
A doctor years ago told me – with urgency – that Vitamin C would kill me. When he didn’t know who Linus Pauling was (the only *unshared* two-time Nobel Prize winner who pioneered vitamin C and took 90 grams a day), I fired him on the spot and spent years believing doctors didn’t respect my goals. In retrospect I should have found a doctor sooner who was willing to partner with me on my self-improvement goals.
Fortunately, the medical profession has become more accepting, and you can and should expect to be treated with respect when you ask your doctor for help, even when your doctor may only get 5 minutes per patient. It helps to make your request the right way.
Here are some talking points that are very effective at helping you get what you want: upgrading yourself with the support of your doctor.
Talking Points: How to Approach Your Doctor
Once you know a thing or two about biohacking and are ready to start improving your life, brain, body, and overall performance, you’ll want the help and buy-in of your primary care physician to support you along the way.
Above all, you sure don’t want to alienate the guy or gal that signs the permission slip for the blood tests and medicine you might want… (It’s so annoying to have to order from India if they say no!) The goal here is to avoid alienating your doc by putting down their venerable profession or trying to prove how much you already know by throwing data at them from “Dr. Google.”
Rather than saying “I’m a biohacker, so don’t mess with me” and coming at your doctor aggressively, your doctor will respect and listen to you if you ask informed questions and begin a conversation about preventative health.
Various combinations of these pointers have worked well for my clients over the years:
- “I want to be more than just healthy or good enough – I want to be more preventative in my approach to my own health, and I want your help.”
- “I’m going to start doing experiments to improve my health like quantifying my diet, exercise, lifestyle, and environmental changes to see how they make me feel. And I want your help using data to guide me. ”
- “I want to manage my health proactively and I’d like to work with you on that. I’m going to ask you for some help from time to time getting lab tests or bloodwork done and helping to understand the results.”
- “Occasionally I’ll be asking for feedback and testing from you, so we can see what’s working and what’s not working.”
Keep in mind that your doctor spent at least a decade training to know the baseline stuff that you probably will never know as a biohacker.
It’s OK To Fire Your Doctor and Find A New One – Really.
Not all doctors will be equally open to this hands-on, self-quantification approach that encapsulates the Bulletproof philosophy. If you have politely approached your doc and she hasn’t been receptive, it might be time to research and try out another doctor. Finding a doctor with a meaningful background in fields linked to biohacking, who is willing to work with you, can be the beginnings of a highly transformative relationship!
To get started, here’s a recently updated list of Bulletproof Doctors around the U.S., which gets updated when doctors make the request to be included. When researching on your own, your best bet is to search for an integrative or functional medicine specialist, or an anti-aging practitioner.
Here are some other online resources for finding primal/paleo doctors and information:
- The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (also known as A4M)
- The Institute for Functional Medicine
- The Paleo Physicians Network – wide selection of doctors founded by Dr. Cordain and Robb Wolf
- The Primal Docs database– network of over 800 physicians and practitioners
- PaleoNonPaleo’s List of Paleo Doctors
A Note On Insurance: It is extremely common for the best functional medicine doctors to NOT take traditional health insurance. If you are a doctor who values your own time, you don’t waste it on insurance companies. Rather, you maximize your time with patients. I’ve found this to be true in the U.S. most of the time, whereas in Canada, it totally varies depending on your doctor. Is your health worth it? Definitely.
More Options In “Alternative Medicine”
Other types of experts beyond the traditional M.D. can also assist you on your quest. Naturopaths, chiropractors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and functional medicine specialistscan all be extremely helpful and play a role in your progress. As you learn more and research specialists in your area, you will find that these forms of medicine are not as ‘alternative’ as they were once thought to be.
What else have you said to your doctor that has helped you collaborate to successfully meet your goals? What other modalities and types of healing practices have worked best for you? Please share it in the comments!
Edit: Pauling is the only two-time unshared Nobel winner. The original article did not specify it was unshared.