Biohacking: What Is It And Will It Improve Your Health?
Biohacking is the art of combining nature, technology, science, and experimentation to take control of biology and ultimately improve health.
You’ve heard of hacking phones, computers, and accounts, right? Well, biohacking is a similar concept.
In a nutshell, biohackers believe we can use data and scientific concepts to improve our health and wellbeing by viewing the body as a system that can be tweaked to run like a well-oiled machine.
Maybe you’ve got some free exercise guides and supplements and you’re ready to improve your health, but incorporating biohacking techniques can take your body to another level.
What Is Biohacking?
At the less extreme end of the spectrum, biohacking ranges from making simple, low-tech lifestyle improvements like tracking your sleep and taking supplements (or nootropics) to where companies process a saliva sample, evaluate it for genetic markers, and send back a personalized diet plan.
Biohacking is all about moving away from arbitrary measurements of health – like having “visible abs” – and focusing on how well the body functions instead. That’s why biohacking is taking the health and fitness sphere by storm.
Biohacking In Nutrition
Biohackers are aware that the food we eat can impact our bodies on every level. In nutrition, biohacking describes the dissemination of applied physiology, lifestyle changes, exercise, and nutrition to improve quality of life and overall wellness.
In short, biohackers reject the traditional approach of only using diet and exercise to lead a healthier life and have adopted a systems-thinking approach to their own biology instead.
Elimination diets, intermittent fasting, and using supplements and nootropics are the most common techniques used by biohackers to optimize their nutrition, thereby enhancing their bodies’ performance and function.
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, is one of the world’s most famous and influential biohackers, and he advocates intermittent fasting (he reportedly only eats one meal a day).
Nootropics are relatively new in the world of supplements, but they provide specific ingredients that are thought to enhance cognition, facilitate optimal learning, and improve memory, focus, and mood. Nootropics include Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Theanine, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D.
While typical gyms are equipped with weights, treadmills, and maybe a few classes, biohacking gyms use the latest technology to “hack” the mind and body into shape.
Upgrade Labs in Beverly Hills, owned by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof coffee fame, has various stations that feature pieces of equipment like “warm-up” machines – which combine a vibration plate and light therapy. The machine’s purpose? To help ease inflammation and pain before your workout.
There is even an “IV Lounge”, where you can relax in a comfy recliner and receive a cocktail of nutrients intravenously.
If that sounds scary, there’s a cryotherapy facility – where you spend three minutes in a minus 250-degree nitrogen-cooled chamber to shock your body into extreme vasoconstriction.
When the treatment is over, the tissues in the body come back up to a normal temperature with a rush of blood, which brings nutrients, minerals, and a gigantic endorphin rush with it. This improves focus and performance when you hit the gym machines again.
Can Biohacking Improve Your Health?
Biohacking is being touted as the latest health revolution, and the new tech-entrepreneurs of Silicone Valley are pushing it into the mainstream.
A recent study by the Mckinsey Global Institute projects that biohacking could very well become a trillion-dollar industry within the next decade. But can it really improve your health?
While the jury is still out for some of the more out-there or extreme forms of biohacking (like human augmentation), focusing on getting enough sleep, exercising daily, eating the right foods, and taking supplements to fill any nutritional gaps can only improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Limiting the blue light you receive from gadgets is also a biohacking technique with some merit. Studies have shown that exposure to blue light from your computer, TV, and mobile devices lowers melatonin levels, which results in poor sleep.
Tracking your sleep is the cornerstone of any biohacking regime – and it makes sense if you think about it. When you are asleep, your brain performs important housekeeping functions, such as removing metabolic waste products via the glymphatic system and repairing oxidative damage from stress.
Nutrigenomics is also an easy, low-tech biohacking technique. Getting your blood tested to see if you’re deficient in various nutrients can help you build a supplement plan that works for you.
Biohacking is a relatively new way to improve wellness, and it does so holistically by looking at the body as a system that requires maintenance to perform optimally at a cognitive and physiological level.
In essence, biohacking is the art of using science, nature, technology, and self-experimentation to take control of your own biology.