Molly Maloof, M.D. is on the cutting edge of personalized medicine, changing the way we look at everything from digital-health technologies to psychedelic medicine to develop a healthy lifestyle. She has used her expertise to provide health optimization to high-profile entrepreneurs, investors, and technology executives. Since 2012, Dr. Molly has consulted with over 50 companies throughout Silicon Valley and beyond to make developments in digital health, consumer health, and the biotechnology industry. After suffering from the side effects of stress and poor hormone regulation while in medical school, Dr. Molly has dedicated her career to researching new, innovative ways to help people live a healthier lifestyle and improve their Healthspan, as she called it in her revolutionary Stanford course. Through her book, “The Spark Factor,” she focuses her unique philosophy to help women biohack their biology to live in a happier, healthier, and more energized life.
You may have noticed that biohacking is going mainstream, as more people begin to embrace the idea that you can manipulate your own health and performance. Services once viewed as niche are now widely available and more affordable than ever. But while biohacking is sometimes rooted in the latest technology (continuous glucose monitoring, VO2 max tracking, heart rate variability monitoring, step tracking, blood oxygen measuring, etc), it can also be low-tech/tech-free and inexpensive/free (meditation, breathing practices, intermittent fasting and ketosis, cold exposure, and tracking the menstrual cycle, etc) depending on what you want to impact and how far you want to take it. In fact, as Dr. Molly writes, “women were the original biohackers. We had to be. Otherwise, our hormonal cycles, from puberty to menopause, would have interfered with our functioning and even our survival. Look back to what people have been doing for thousands of years before anybody ever thought to call it biohacking, and you will see that it has always been something humans, especially women have always done.” However, most of the popular literature about biohacking has been produced by men and most of the trendy high-tech tools and techniques for biohacking have been created by men, which means that to a large extent, they are engineered to work with men’s bodies, not women’s. For that matter, even traditional medical research is still primarily conducted with male test groups and the results of that research are not always applicable to women.
Dr. Maloof debuts with a spirited manual on how to feel more energized. To help readers reach their “physical, mental, and spiritual potential,” Maloof recommends picking up revitalizing habits and exercises informed by “biohacking,” or “intentionally manipulating your biology to optimize your health.” She breaks down how mitochondria in cells harvest energy from the food people eat and notes that regular exercise encourages mitochondria to produce more energy in anticipation of future workouts. Diets can help boost energy, but, Maloof relates, they affect people differently because of variability in genetics and microbiome composition, so she encourages readers to test for food sensitivities and fatty acid levels, then customize their diets accordingly. Reducing stress helps minimize unnecessary energy use, the author writes, and to that end she suggests readers relax by hitting the sauna, doing breathing exercises, or singing (which stimulates the vagus nerve, moderating one’s heart rate). Maloof is skilled at making the science accessible to lay readers, even if some of the suggestions will raise eyebrows (she defends fasting as “completely different from starvation in one crucial way: choice”). Still, the advice mostly delivers.
Dr. Molly’s perspectives on health are broad and deep. She has written a truly comprehensive book on health that covers the main drivers of disease. She also recommends how to take proactive steps towards avoiding sickness using unique approaches such as personal health technology and optimizing human connection. It’s an impressive feat and a must-read. —Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Clean, Clean Gut and Clean Eats
Globally, we are sick and losing our spark of aliveness. Enter The Spark Factor. At the intersection of metabolism, blood sugar stabilization, hormone balance, and biohacking, this smart book provides the answers you seek for radiant health.—Sara Gottfried, MDFour-time New York Times bestselling author, and Director of Precision Medicine at Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University
“The Spark Factor offers a cornucopia of biohacking options, from easy to complex and from no-tech to low-tech to high-tech. Molly makes biohacking approachable and fun. After all, what subject is more interesting than the inner workings of you?—Frank Lipman, MD