Biohacks: Do-It-Yourself Biology Tricks That Actually Work
What happens when you combine a do-it-yourself (DIY) culture with a societal shift toward personal health and wellness? Throw in readily available internet connections and you find yourself in the middle of the current obsession with biohacking.
What is Biohacking?
Simply put, biohacking is do-it-yourself biology. Someone practicing biohacking will change their lifestyle to manipulate their body's biology into a healthier state. Examples would include fasting routines, herbal supplement stacks, promoting deeper sleep by taking a cold shower before bed, or an extended sauna as a means of detoxifying the body.
Apparently, all it takes to get started in biohacking is an internet connection and at least a rudimentary knowledge of basic biology. Like most things in life, however, there's more to it than meets the eye at first glance.
The Different Types of Biohacking
Biohacking is touted as a way to accomplish anything from rapid weight loss to improved brain function. There are many different types of biohacking, each depending on what a person hopes to accomplish, how well-informed they are in the principles of human biology, and how well the do-it-yourself component works.
Though it encompasses many forms, there are three types of biohacking that are the most popular.
This type of biohack focuses on how the food you eat interacts with your body's genes. It is based on the premise that we can map out and optimize the expression of our body's genes by testing the impact of different nutrients on our health. Nutrigenomics is an emerging science that looks at how certain important nutrients affect how you think, feel, and behave.
This biohacking subculture considers every part of a person's body as hackable. "Grinders" as they call themselves, have the ultimate goal of transforming themselves into cyborgs. They believe they can accomplish this meshing of human biology and technology through a combination of gadgets, implants, chemical injections, and anything else they can incorporate into their bodies to prompt them to work as they want it to.
Also known as DIY bio, this is a type of biohacking that's promoted by people who are educated and experienced in scientific fields. DIY biology biohackers exchange information and share tips and techniques with non-experts to help them conduct structured experiments. This form of testing is done outside of labs, medical offices, or other controlled experimental environments.
Health and Fitness Biohacks Proven to Work
Biohacks come in all shapes, forms, sizes, and difficulty levels. The number of biohacks described and even recommended on the internet is staggering! This means you must do your homework before starting any biohack you find online. There are some that work quite well, and there are some that don't and could possibly be dangerous. If you're unsure, check with your personal healthcare provider.
So, what are some examples of biohacks that have proven to work? Here are a few of the best.
1. Learn Your Genetic Profile
The best way to do this is through direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, which will provide you with medical information and insight into non-medical traits. DTC test results are useful in making lifestyle choices and changes involved in biohacking.
2. Nootropic Supplements
Nootropics are substances used to enhance cognitive function, such as mood, attention span, and productivity. Nootropics can be used in natural form, as supplements, in food, and in beverages. Some of the top examples of nootropics include caffeine, ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng, and nicotine.
One of the most accessible biohacks and easiest to learn is meditation. It can be done anywhere, anytime as a tool to silence your mind and develop an inner stillness that will stay with you throughout the day. It is a terrific way to increase creativity, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase happiness.
4. Get Out into Nature
Spending time outdoors and living close to nature has wide-ranging health benefits. This great biohack is one of the easiest to adopt and offers some of the most significant benefits. You can increase the benefits of this biohack by combining it with outdoor exercise.
5. Increase Your Stress Resistance
Biohacking your nervous system lets you take control of your anxiety and stress and arms you with methods for harnessing negative energy for conversion to positive benefits. One way this can be done is through meditation, and practicing slow, controlled, and steady breathing enhances your ability to relax and ward off stress.
6. Eat Healthy Foods
What you consider "good" food is a matter of taste, culture, and your own metabolism. Nutritionally, humans can thrive on a wide variety of edible things, but most agree that those who include a lot of minimally processed, plant-based foods enjoy healthy longevity.
7. Connections to People and (Possibly) Pets
Humans are social animals with a natural desire to form relationships with others. Although it's difficult to do at times, relationships with other people and with pets are a deep biohack that supports our health and fortifies our survival.
8. Grab Some Blue Light Rays
A biohack to help boost your mood and enhance your cognitive performance is to grab some blue light from the sun. A few additional hours of sunlight each day, between 3 to 6 hours, should be enough to provide you with some changes. Remember that this is the same blue light that your computer screen and phones emit, so don't overdo it or you could throw your Circadian rhythm out of balance.
These are just a few samples of biohacks that have been tried and live up to their expectations. There is always the possibility that one or more may have a different impact on you personally. After all, we are individuals, and one size does not fit all.
Get Started By Biohacking Your Breakfast
Ready to try some biohacking of your own? After running your plan by your healthcare provider, an excellent place to start is breakfast. Check out Tiger Fitness for information on why a high-fat breakfast is a great biohack option. Get started on your own breakfast biohack.