What is biohacking?
Essentially, biohacking is enhancing human biology through the use of scientific technology, medicine, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. Biohackers look for ways to improve human performance so that our cognition is better, we gets less sick, age better, and our bodies function more efficiently. With technological advancements and scientific discoveries we are finding ways to become super humans and achieve states of being that were previously undiscovered or only imagined. If you are familiar with Bulletproof Coffee® also known as butter coffee, mammoth coffee, and various other names then you are already introduced to a small aspect of the idea of biohacking.
The Techy & Science part of Biohacking
This is the part I admit to knowing the least about but is by far the coolest part to most people. This is the part that reminds us of many sci-fi movies we have seen in which humans in the future operate very similarly to robots. This field incorporates cybernetics and is composed of engineers, programmers and technological enthusiasts that sometimes refer to themselves as “grinders”. There are also those who refer to themselves as “”wetware hackers” who mostly manipulate hardware of software and apply it to biological life forms. Did you know that in the near future we may no longer need keys, keycards or pin numbers to open our doors, drive our cars or access our files or safe keepings? See this cool Ted Talk to hear how this man no longer needs a key for anything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DxVWhFLI6E Other types of scientists that refer to themselves as “biohackers” or “biopunks” can manipulate DNA to advance the human genome, or make new discovers about existing plants, animals and other organism. No need to fear this latest movement in science and technology, this is not bioterrorism but instead is a DIY movement aimed to empower everyone, scientist or not, to explore science, share knowledge, perspective and insight on ways to advance the human experience.
The Nutritional Biohack
This is the part of biohacking that gets me acting like a geek. Many people who consider themselves Paleo are familiar with Dave Asprey. He is the CEO of Bulletproof known for Bulletproof Coffee® and the New York Times Best Seller The Bulletproof Diet. He is an investor and technology entrepreneur who has spent decades and thousands of dollars hacking his own biology to increase his IQ, improve his sleep, lower his biological age and improve his overall physical fitness. Dave just recently opened the first Bulletproof Coffee®Cafe in Santa Monica, California this year. If you have been hearing from health experts lately that grassfed butter like Kerrygold is good for you, you have Dave to thank since he is one of the forefront people promoting the use of real butter to improve your health. His Bulletproof Diet® includes a roadmap that helps breakdown the essential information and serving size for which foods to eat. Nutritional biohackers also promote the use of coconut oil or MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil. MCT oil added into coffee, smoothies or foods is believed to stave off hunger for hours while improving energy and focus. It is believed that the MCT oil is broken down into ketones which is good fuel for the brain. Personally, as a gluten free vegan I do not practice the paleo diet nor do I practice the Bulletproof Diet®. Many nutritional biohackers and paleo people disagree with aspects of the vegan diet because it omits foods that are nutritionally beneficial and medicinal such as grassfed butter, bone broth, and gelatin. That being said whether you are vegan, paleo or neither you can still incorporate biohacking techniques and foods. I do support intermittent fasting and supplementation when indicated and done properly. If you are looking to incorporate biohacking into your health regime seek help from a functional nutritionist or naturopathic doctor. I believe nutritional biohacking is not a fad that we will see fade quickly but instead it is a movement that will grow stronger as athletes and non-athletes alike see huge benefits in their cognition, agility, speed, energy, healing, recovery and overall performance.
The At Home Gadgets
If all of this is sounding cool but you are not a scientist who can construct a new gadget to help you become a superhuman, have no fear you can buy these fun gadgets! There are hundreds of fun tools and gadgets you can own that can help you sleep better, run faster, think faster, look younger, and feel invincible. Here is a cool pinterest board someone put together of unique gadgets that you can look into and see if it could improve an aspect of your life. https://www.pinterest.com/barryblaha/biohacking-toolbox/
I personally use HeartMath’s EmWave Pro in my office with clients. It is a biofeedback tool that in real time shows you your heart rate in relation to your breath. This tool helps you create coherence between the two rates so that you can learn to reduce your stress, blood pressure, anxiety and tap into a more tranquil and focused you. HeartMath offers similar at home products that are affordable and the whole family can use them to train themselves to adapt to stress in a healthier way.
How do I get started?
I recommend you watch the videos and read the articles linked below. This will give you even more info on biohacking. If you are in the Austin, Texas area do a quick internet search to see which biohacking Meetups exist and when and where they meet. This past year SXSW had some biohacking panels and interactive events so stay tuned to that and check out the SXSW site to see what they have to offer next. My recommendation with any lifestyle or dietary change is to do your research and start off slow. Incorporate one change at a time so that your body has the ability to recalibrate. Need more help? Contact me and I would be glad to help you hack your biology.
Dr. Lauren Sanchez, ND