DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , MAY 17 – 2018 :- Alex Azzi , organiser of Biohackers UAE meetup at the Dubai Future Accelerators at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Office in Dubai.  ( Pawan Singh / The National )  For News. Story by Ann Marie
Alex Azzi, organiser of Biohackers UAE meetup at the Dubai Future Accelerators at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Office in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Biohacking explained: meet the group who practise in the UAE



Beyond yoga classes and cold-pressed juice, fish-oil supplements and the Fitbit, a small but dedicated group of UAE residents is diving deep – very, very deep – into the latest ways to maximise their minds and bodies.

There are almost 200 members of Biohackers UAE, a Facebook-based group that has held half a dozen meetings in Dubai over the past year. Dr Yasmin Kottait, a paediatric dentist, postponed her first iftar of Ramadan to attend the most recent event at Dubai Future Accelerators. Kottait, who is from Egypt, had experienced her first successful day of Ramadan thanks to a "Bulletproof suhoor", in which she woke to consume some MCT oil (main ingredient: medium chain triglycerides, popularised by Dave Asprey's The Bulletproof Diet), almond milk and a tiny bit of coffee, before going back to sleep. "I wanted to hack my fasting," she says.

The events are organised by Alex Azzi, founder of the online supplement shop Biohack.ae. Azzi's model is to rely on those in the industry who are touting the hacks – individuals such as Bulletproof's Asprey and Tim Ferriss, the American author of the 4-Hour book series – to be obsessive and brand-protective enough to recommend and share only the most effective innovations and methods.

Azzi's got his eye on the latest version of the Oura, a smart ring sleep tracker and heart rate monitor in one, and he's already bought and regularly uses Muse, an EEG-based brainwave reader. "I credit it with helping me meditate more in the past six months than in the last 36 years of my life," says Azzi. "Meditation is commonly agreed to be one of the most important things you can do with your life."

Biohacking doesn’t come cheap: the Muse and Oura retail for more than Dh1,000 each. But it doesn’t cost anything to take a cold shower every day, another of Azzi’s passions. “That’s my favourite easy hack lately,” he says. “If you take the conscious decision of ‘I’m going to turn the knob until I’m uncomfortable and put myself through that kind of feeling’, and make that conscious choice, you exercise your willpower.” To follow? It could be ice baths, which Azzi deems “next level”.

"I completely agree," Kottait says. "There are some spa therapies where they encourage you to go into hot water, then the sauna, then cold, cold baths, freezing cold, immerse yourself, and stay, and then you feel the release and your cells are different."

It was a first meeting for Oguzhan Arslan, a Turkish filmmaker, who admitted a full schedule at work had temporarily put him off his biohacking game. “I have to be honest, in the past three months there hasn’t been much of a routine,” he told Azzi. “The Bulletproof coffee when I really need to grind.”

Roman Matiushchenko, from Ukraine, popped by to promote his company’s futuristic-­looking Bodyo Health Pod, a gadget that monitors blood pressure, blood sugar, height, weight, fat mass, muscle mass, bone density and hydration.

Jason Moore, meanwhile, the American president of Lanjaron Arabia, a natural mineral water brand from Spain, was invited to speak about the difference between his product and local bottled drinking water. “Water does a magical job of distributing minerals to your trillions of cells, to the right place at the right time,” he says. “Does highly processed water [provide the same] hydration? I have a lot of examples of where maybe it doesn’t,” says Moore.

The question struck a chord with Jarek Nesterowicz, a longevity coach who moved to Dubai from Poland. “The thing I noticed when I moved to Dubai was the water,” he says. “I felt terrible.” As his diet, lifestyle and sleep were optimal, Nesterowicz turned to the internet, where he started to suspect a lack of minerals could be causing his malaise – and contributing to the poor condition of the varicose veins in his legs, a telltale sign that his body’s functionality was suffering. It took a stretch of drinking three bottles of San Pellegrino per day, at great expense, to feel better. “I tried for a week to recover myself,” he explains.

The water portion of the discussion morphed into Azzi showing a short clip of Gerald H Pollack, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington and author of The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid and Vapour. Pollack's theories about a gel-like "exclusion zone" for water, one that is entirely different from the commonly accepted H2O, might seem a bit out there.

However, as Azzi reasons, when you spend your life studying something, you probably know what you are talking about. Also, unlike mainstream medicine, when it comes to biohacking, the placebo effect is a good thing. “Be as sceptical as you want,” Azzi says, with a smile, “but whatever you believe works, will definitely work.”

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Read more:

The best ways to maintain exercise routines during Ramadan

Staying healthy during Ramadan: what to eat and what to avoid

Fasting in Ramadan: 'Don't break your fast with salty processed food'

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Rafael Nadal's record at the MWTC

2009 Finalist

2010 Champion

Jan 2011 Champion

Dec 2011 Semi-finalist

Dec 2012 Did not play

Dec 2013 Semi-finalist

2015 Semi-finalist

Jan 2016 Champion

Dec 2016 Champion

2017 Did not play

 

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo

Power: 268hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 380Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel consumption: 9.5L/100km

On sale: now

Price: from Dh195,000

Cricket World Cup League 2 Fixtures

Saturday March 5, UAE v Oman, ICC Academy (all matches start at 9.30am)

Sunday March 6, Oman v Namibia, ICC Academy

Tuesday March 8, UAE v Namibia, ICC Academy

Wednesday March 9, UAE v Oman, ICC Academy

Friday March 11, Oman v Namibia, Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Saturday March 12, UAE v Namibia, Sharjah Cricket Stadium

UAE squad

Ahmed Raza (captain), Chirag Suri, Muhammad Waseem, CP Rizwan, Vriitya Aravind, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Rohan Mustafa, Kashif Daud, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Akif Raja, Rahul Bhatia

Pros and cons of BNPL

Pros

  • Easy to use and require less rigorous credit checks than traditional credit options
  • Offers the ability to spread the cost of purchases over time, often interest-free
  • Convenient and can be integrated directly into the checkout process, useful for online shopping
  • Helps facilitate cash flow planning when used wisely

Cons

  • The ease of making purchases can lead to overspending and accumulation of debt
  • Missing payments can result in hefty fees and, in some cases, high interest rates after an initial interest-free period
  • Failure to make payments can impact credit score negatively
  • Refunds can be complicated and delayed

Courtesy: Carol Glynn

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Shaffra
Started: 2023
Based: DIFC Innovation Hub
Sector: metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS)
Investment: currently closing $1.5 million seed round
Investment stage: pre-seed
Investors: Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi and different PCs and angel investors from Saudi Arabia
Number of staff: nine

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

The Specs

Engine: 3.6-litre twin turbocharged V6
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Power: 472hp
Torque: 603Nm
Price: from Dh290,000 ($78,9500)
On sale: now

SUZUME

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Stars: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Nissan Altima


Price, base / as tested: Dh78,000 / Dh97,650

Engine: 2.5-litre in-line four-cylinder

Power: 182hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 244Nm @ 4,000rpm

Transmission: Continuously variable tranmission

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.6L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

How I connect with my kids when working or travelling

Little notes: My girls often find a letter from me, with a joke, task or some instructions for the afternoon, and saying what I’m excited for when I get home.
Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
Highs and lows: Instead of a “how was your day?”, at dinner or at bathtime we share three highlights; one thing that didn’t go so well; and something we’re looking forward to.
I start, you next: In the morning, I often start a little Lego project or drawing, and ask them to work on it while I’m gone, then we’ll finish it together.
Bedtime connection: Wake up and sleep time are important moments. A snuggle, some proud words, listening, a story. I can’t be there every night, but I can start the day with them.
Undivided attention: Putting the phone away when I get home often means sitting in the car to send a last email, but leaving it out of sight between home time and bedtime means you can connect properly.
Demystify, don’t demonise your job: Help them understand what you do, where and why. Show them your workplace if you can, then it’s not so abstract when you’re away - they’ll picture you there. Invite them into your “other” world so they know more about the different roles you have.

2020 Oscars winners: in numbers
  • Parasite – 4
  • 1917– 3
  • Ford v Ferrari – 2
  • Joker – 2
  • Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood – 2
  • American Factory – 1
  • Bombshell – 1
  • Hair Love – 1
  • Jojo Rabbit – 1
  • Judy – 1
  • Little Women – 1
  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) – 1
  • Marriage Story – 1
  • Rocketman – 1
  • The Neighbors' Window – 1
  • Toy Story 4 – 1
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

New schools in Dubai
TOURNAMENT INFO

Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier

Jul 3- 14, in the Netherlands
The top two teams will qualify to play at the World T20 in the West Indies in November

UAE squad
Humaira Tasneem (captain), Chamani Seneviratne, Subha Srinivasan, Neha Sharma, Kavisha Kumari, Judit Cleetus, Chaya Mughal, Roopa Nagraj, Heena Hotchandani, Namita D’Souza, Ishani Senevirathne, Esha Oza, Nisha Ali, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi

Civil War

Director: Alex Garland 

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Nick Offerman

Rating: 4/5

 

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

If you go:
The flights: Etihad, Emirates, British Airways and Virgin all fly from the UAE to London from Dh2,700 return, including taxes
The tours: The Tour for Muggles usually runs several times a day, lasts about two-and-a-half hours and costs £14 (Dh67)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on now at the Palace Theatre. Tickets need booking significantly in advance
Entrance to the Harry Potter exhibition at the House of MinaLima is free
The hotel: The grand, 1909-built Strand Palace Hotel is in a handy location near the Theatre District and several of the key Harry Potter filming and inspiration sites. The family rooms are spacious, with sofa beds that can accommodate children, and wooden shutters that keep out the light at night. Rooms cost from £170 (Dh808).

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Adele: The Stories Behind The Songs
Caroline Sullivan
Carlton Books

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP 4

Display: Main – 6.7" FHD Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 1.9" Super Amoled, 512 x 260, 302ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS, portrait, super slo-mo, hyperlapse

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@30/60fps, HD@30fps; slo-mo@240/960fps; HDR10+

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.4)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, 'all-day' life

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Bora purple, graphite, pink gold, blue; Bespoke Edition in select countries

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh3,999 / Dh4,449

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