Bio – biology. Hack – to manage in a more efficient way. Who is ready to take control of their biology and make it more efficient? Sounds exciting to me, let’s go!
Gone are the days of having to look things up in the encyclopedia and wait for days to get an answer from your doctor. We now live in an era of information and today, ignorance is a choice. Health Care as we know it is shifting away from old outdated paradigms into something new and progressive, something that we have much more control of. Biohacking is the next logical step for individuals who want to become empowered and have hand in their own health.
Biohacking is about changing the environment outside of you and inside of you so you have full control of your biology.
Step 1- Awareness. Become aware of what is going on inside and around your body.
Step 2- Control. Manipulate these environments by using information, science and technology.
Step 3- Biological Upgrade. Induce a biological upgrade thereby living your optimal life.
It is as easy as that. The term Hacking can be misleading and confusing. When you break it down it is simple and accessible and anyone can become a biohacker regardless of the age, background, or circumstances. So let’s get started.
10 Pillars of Biohacking
What we eat is the biggest and easiest lifestyle component to hack. Food is medicine. Humans were built to eat from the earth. Eating whole living foods and avoiding things like chemicals, preservatives, toxins, molds, and sugars are a benchmark of the biohacking sphere. Many of the most well know biohackers opt for a primal or ketogentic diet by which they restrict carbohydrates to run their body off keytones as an alternative source of fat burning fuel. I consider myself a biohacker and I eat carbs (that come from the earth) so keto is not a defining characteristic, more of a noticeable trend among serious hackers. Another piece of the diet puzzle is to know your sensitivities and eat accordingly. Chronically ingesting foods that cause an allergic reaction in your body will cause underlying chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a precursor for disease, and disease prevention is a main focus of the hacking world. This is why gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts should be ingested with caution since these are some of the most highly allergic foods. Not all foods are created equal. Some foods are classified as “Superfooods” and these are highly intriguing to a biohacker. Experimenting with different superfoods is a common trait that may biohackers share.
SUMMARY: Eat whole, organic foods. Replace processed food with superfood. Watch for food allergies.
Married to the pillar of food, but deserving of it’s own paragraph is the protocol of fasting. Fasting is the act or restricting your food intake deliberately to achieve a desired outcome. Biohackers are using fasting to achieve ketosis, optimize their gut health, and optimize cellular function. There is a common practice of intermittent fasting which is basically eating within a specific time period and fasting the rest of the day. Some fasts can be for a whole day or even a couple of days depending on what you are targeting.
SUMMARY: Sometimes you need to stop eating to increase your health.
UVA, UVB, red, far infrared, and the boogeyman blue. Biohackers are using light to optimize their health in several ways. One of the common protocols you will find in almost every hackers sacred morning ritual is taking in natural light. Letting the sun hit your skin for several minutes each morning boosts vitamin d and also helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Red light therapy is having a moment right now, check out an article I wrote on red light here. Far infrared saunas and mats work with the light you can’t see to catalyze healing. Blue light is what comes off our precious glowing screens and it is unnatural and destructive to our health which is why you see many a biohacker earring the blue light blocking glasses. Stepping up your light game will definitely help to optimize your health.
SUMMARY: Get out in the sun. Try red and infrared light therapy. Avoid the blue light of screens.
4. VITAMIN STACKS
A “stack’ is the name used for multiple supplements taken each day. Every biohacker has a personalized ever changing stack that they incorporate into their routine. A stack can be as simple as a multi vitamin and a vitamin d supplement. A stack can also become a complicated ritual to include elaborate superfood smoothies and a handful of pills. Adaptogens are a common stack hack. Adaptogens are a natural way health hackers stabilize different biological processes and promote homeostasis and balance in the body. Non-hackers have heard of echinacea, ginseng, and turmeric just to name a few mainstream ones, and these are all examples of adaptogens.
SUMMARY: Optimize your vitamin and mineral levels. Incorporate adaptogens and superfoods.
Taking control of your health is largely possible today because we no longer need a doctor to order or interpret blood lab work. Many companies online are providing a service by which you can simply click to purchase any lab work of your choosing. It is completely possible to test yourself once or twice a year and learn your benchmarks. When something gets out of optimal range you can change your lifestyle to bring back in. With enough research the average person can learn to read blood work results and if something questionable pops up, you can go see your doctor as an involved participant in your own health. Biohackers don’t stop at a complete blood count. It is possible to test organs, genetics, inflammation markers, microbiomes, telomeres, and much more. To mature as a biohacker one has to get comfortable with all these tests. This is how success is measured as you progress as a health hacker.
SUMMARY: Know your numbers. Test your blood on a regular basis.
6. ROOT CAUSE
When a non-hacking western medicine follower becomes chronically ill, they take man-made drugs to mask symptoms. A free thinking biohacker seeks out the root cause of illness and corrects it with natural remedies and lifestyle changes and forgoes the longer term side-effects of man-made pharmaceuticals. There is always a root cause to every illness. If we don’t correct the root cause we will be riddled with illness over and over again. This is why a successful biohacker is investigative when it comes to their own personal health. This practice is known as Functional Medicine. Genetic diseases are actually quite rare. Most disease in today’s society is brought about by unhealthy choices and lifestyle. A biohacker knows how much power they have in preventing chronic illness and they use it.
SUMMARY: Investigate and heal the root cause of disease.
The brain game. A point of focus among the biohacking community is optimizing cognitive function. We want to figure out how to read faster, be smarter, more creative, more focused, better memory, and more motivated. We want to grow old with a sharp mind and this takes effort. Meditation, neuro feedback, and even caffeine are considered brain hacks. A new word buzzing around the brain hacking space is nootropic. Nootropics are “smart drugs” used to enhance cognitive function. Unlike adaptogens which are a tried and true natural herbal medicine, nootropics are in their infancy and can be man-made. Personal opinion: I don’t mess with man-made drugs. I am an advocate for natural health hacking only. But, to each his own.
SUMMARY: Sharpen your mind.
Connecting with nature is a common thread among biohackers. There is power and healing in nature. Pay attention- all humans that are in extraordinary peak health have a very intimate understanding of nature. There is a mind body connection to health that nature brings together in perfect harmony. Many hackers are drawn not only to a primal diet but also a more primal lifestyle in general. You will find them on mountains, in trees, walking barefoot on the earth for grounding, or maybe even spear fishing in the ocean. Hackers understand that being as close to the earth as possible in all that we do is a necessary part of achieving optimal health.
SUMMARY: Our connection to nature is vital to our health.
Life is movement and movement is medicine. Peak physical performance is sought after by many a biohacker. Endurance, strength, mobility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. There are a million functional ways to optimize the above mentioned categories. The point of biohacking exercise is to get the maximum effects with the least amount of effort. Hackers are also training in a way that works with where their body is at on any particular day with heart rate variability monitoring. Your body is ever changing and needs something just a little bit different each day. Listening to your body and becoming more intuitive about your exercise is a great health hack. We want to age with the most functional physical body possible.
SUMMARY: Move your body.
10. PRACTICAL USE
Biohacking is all about using the latest technologies to upgrade individual biology. This can come in the form of a personal monitoring device, Joov light, infrared sauna, Somadome meditation pod, Biomat, blue light blocker, float tank, or a vibration platform just to name a few. Cold thermogenesis is another common hacker practice which includes cold showers and ice baths. Breathing, posture, beauty, and sleep can also be optimized with simple hacks.
SUMMARY: Every system in your body can be optimized. Technology is here to help.
The biohacking movement is on the rise. People are becoming empowered and taking control of their health. This movement is all about thinking differently, acting better, and becoming our best selves. Biohackers are not just techies in the Silicon Valley, they are men and women of all ages and backgrounds. They are everywhere. You will find them experimenting with food and fasting, vitamin and superfood stacks, using light therapy and cold thermogenesis. Biohackers will be investigating the root cause while regularly self-quantifying, working on their brain, getting out in to nature, and moving their bodies. The biohacking lifestyle meets people where they are at. If you are unhealthy and overweight, this can be the change to guide you back to your best life. If you are already fit and healthy, biohacking will take you to the next level. This lifestyle is for everyone.
This is really just the beginning. This is the generation that can end chronic illness.
Don’t know where to begin? Looking to be a part of the Biohacking community? Follow my blog.