Biohacking: What is it? 

Last Saturday, I attended the second Virtual Biohacking Conference hosted by Dave Asprey. It was just as interesting and enriching as the first one, with renowned speakers talking about a variety of topics such as cellular regeneration, fasting, metabolism, sleep, longevity, resilience, brain cognition, nutrition, meditation, functional medicine, the science of energy, and stress control. As explained by Dave Asprey, biohacking is “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside of you so you have full control of your own biology.” Biohacking is about using the available science to make informed choices that will lead to a better you! What follows are 8 biohacks most “biohackers” implement progressively. These were mentioned at the conference in a talk by Nicole Petersen, RD.

Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be done by skipping meals, time-restricted eating, alternate-day fasts, or multi-day fasts. Fasting has been shown to help with weight loss, blood glucose control, and a cellular cleanup process called autophagy which may help promote longevity.

Sleep 

Consistent good-quality sleep is needed for your body to repair and your brain to clean itself of toxins. As mentioned in a previous post, to improve your chances of having a good night sleep, you may want to do the following: do not drink coffee after 2 p.m. (for most people), limit your exposure to blue and bright light at night (different software -like f.lux– and blue-blocking glasses are available), and sleep in a room that is fairly cold (around 60 to 67-68 degrees Fahrenheit) and pitch-dark. To get more tips on how to establish and maintain a normal circadian rhythm, check out this very informative Huberman Lab podcast

Cold

Regular exposure to cold may allow your body to burn more fat, help with recovery after exercise, and enhance your immune system and mood. So give it a try! It can be taking a cold shower (just a few seconds at first is fine), swimming in a cold body of water, or using a cryotherapy chamber. Exposure to cold can make you feel so energized and alert!

Light 

Adequate sunlight exposure helps with sleep, mood, and allows your body to synthesize vitamin D. Vitamin D3 helps with inflammation in the body, boosts proper immune cell function, and aids with optimal insulin production. Aside from the full spectrum of light you get from the sun, there is also red light therapy (at about 600 nm wavelength). The latter may help with mitochondrial function, increase circulation, and lessen inflammation. Light is a nutrient we definitely want to take advantage of (in a responsible way, of course).

Food  

The food you eat has a great biological impact on your body. Food provides nutrients and energy. It also encodes information (instructions telling your body what to do). The great news is that we have full control over what we eat (or do not eat) every day. See which foods are the most beneficial to you and eliminate the ones that make you weak.

Supplements  

You may choose to buy a few supplements too depending on your needs and goals. Make sure the supplements you select are from trusted sources and definitively consult your personal physician beforehand.

Movement

We are meant to be active, engaging in regular physical activity throughout the day, each day. This means any type of movement depending on your preferences and routine. The main idea is to “build your day around movement.” It can be a morning stroll, strength training, HIIT, shifting positions throughout the day (if at a desk at work, for instance), etc. Regular physical activity is shown to help with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers. It further helps with hypertension, keeping a healthy body weight, enhancing mental health, quality of life, and well-being.

Breath   

Learning how to breathe consciously will help you become more calm, present, and centered. You want to breathe in and out through the nose, doing belly/diaphragmatic breaths at a slow pace (6-12 breaths per minute) and in a rhythmic way. Beyond this basic breathing pattern, there are numerous breathing exercises you may want to experiment with to have a better handle on your autonomic nervous system. Deep breathing techniques can aid with lowering heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, enhancing mood, and lessening stress.

Now the choice is yours: which biohack will you implement first? 

And don’t forget meditation and gratitude!

Until next time!

Biohacking

Last Saturday, I attended the first-ever Virtual Biohacking Conference. This was a very enriching day filled with talks by numerous renowned speakers. As explained by Dave Asprey, “Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you, and inside of you, so you have full control of your own biology.” Biohacking goes hand in hand with human resilience. Anything you can do to help better (or maintain) your health and wellness can qualify as biohacking. It can be about focusing on improving your sleep, diet, exercise, and/or emotional balance. Tim Gray, one of the conference speakers, said that first, you need to ask yourself why you want to biohack, and then what you need to do, and finally, how.

What You Can Do

Biohacking doesn’t have to be expensive. In a blog post about Biohacking on a Budget: Affordable Upgrades You Can Do Right Now, Dave Asprey lists seven basic “hacks” for anyone to implement:

  • Change your bedtime routine. Here the main things are not to drink coffee after 2 p.m. (for most people), limit your exposure to blue and bright light at night (different software -like f.lux– and blue-blocking glasses are available), and sleep in a room that is fairly cold (around 60 to 67-68 degrees Fahrenheit) and pitch-dark. 
  • Take a cold shower. This gets your body to raise your metabolism in order to heat yourself back up. I like to do two minutes of cold water at the end of each shower and love how energized I feel after that.
  • Experiment with styles of intermittent fasting. There are different options when it comes to eating less often. I like to simply have a couple of cups of Bulletproof coffee (with ghee and MCT C8 oil) in the morning. Then a really light lunch and a regular meal for dinner. See what works best with your biology and your routine.
  • Pay attention to your gut. Your gut health is definitively linked to the types of food you eat, and even if it’s a bit gross, check your poop regularly to see how well your digestion is going. 
  • Move more, especially in the sun (light is a nutrient).

In Summary

Biohacking seems to me like a non-negotiable way of life if you want to keep your energy levels near-optimal as you get older. It’s a way of life to adopt if you want to keep on performing better, whatever your short-term and long-term goals may be. It’s about being more grounded, more in touch with nature and your biology. It’s about being happy to be alive and full of energy to do the things you want to do.

Until next time!

References

Amen, Daniel G. Feel Better Fast and Make It Last : Unlock Your Brain’s Healing Potential to Overcome Negativity, Anxiety, Anger, Stress, and Trauma. Carol Stream, Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2018, p. 217.

Asprey, Dave. “Biohacking on a Budget: Affordable Upgrades You Can Do Right Now.” Dave Asprey Blog, 27 Feb. 2019, blog.daveasprey.com/biohacking-budget/. Accessed 11 Oct. 2020.

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