Michelle Silbernagel

Hi! I’m Michelle.

My main task at Smart Drugs Smarts is to provide content, for both your eyes and ears.  Jesse, of course, is the primary source of knowledge, as your interview host extraordinaire, writer of epic articles, and the intellect behind Brain Breakfast, our weekly newsletter.  But, I get to dabble in the written word occasionally, write episode posts, and make connections with interesting guests for the show.

How did I get this awesome job?  It’s been, as they say, a journey.

I’ve been a proponent of living a healthy life for as long a I can remember.  As a teenager and young adult I devoured all sources of diet and exercise “science.”

Curly quotes added because it seems so much of what we were told back then about health and nutrition is now considered inaccurate.

The Misguided Health Phase

Suffice to say I spent one long, misguided decade as the poster child for the low-fat, high carb, extreme-cardio, artificially sweetened lifestyle.  At the time, I thought I was being supremely healthy.  After all, these practices were backed by all the latest research, or at least by the diet books, magazine articles and expert guests on Oprah.

Superficially, I was was the fittest I’d ever been.  Superficial being the key word, because I was actually exhausted: physically spent, chronically sleep deprived, and blindly feeling my way through a thick of brain fog.

That same decade — not all on the same day, or even the same year, mind you — I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune thyroid condition), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.). (No wonder I was tired!).

It was the latter diagnosis that led me to question my previous health beliefs, because I was sure enduring a lot of unhealthy outcomes for someone living such a “healthy” life.

Out of the Fog and into…Smart

It’s taken years, a lot of reading (thank you Gary Taubes), and considerable self-guided research, but I’ve given up the low-fat poster child status.  I have managed my M.S. for over 15 years, with no outward discernible effects.

I have a background in research, sociological to be specific, and the qualities typical of the research-minded have driven and served me well.

M.S. is a mysterious disease — autoimmune in nature with neurological expression. There’s no official cause (though lots of speculation) and no known cure (though lots of treatment advice).  Oh, and there’s a genetic component.

Energy (or lack of) is my biggest challenge and researching how to optimize it introduced me to the world of neurons, mitochondria, ATP, and ultimately Smart Drug Smarts… specifically Jesse, Mitogen, and Nexus, in that order.  While, given my health history, I’m not pharmaceutically adverse, I tend to lean toward natural compounds with the least side-effects.

Embracing whole foods & moderate exercise with some strategic supplementation, I am currently thriving and loving being part of the Smart Drug Smarts team.

I also have a great “home” team, the motivating force behind my quest for optimal health: an extremely patient husband who merely cocks a Spock-esque eyebrow when I jump down a research-related rabbit hole and two amazing daughters whose bright and beautiful brains amaze me every day.

Feel free to pass along your article ideas, interview guest suggestions or just generally share your own thoughts about health and staying smart.  I would love to hear from you!