We are all a work in progress. Part of being human is enjoying the constant quest for self-improvement. Modern biohackers take this to the next level with a budding science built around drastically improving health and functionality. One example of this is from supplementing with nootropics. Biohacking is all about being the best version of ourselves through a deeper understanding of our biology.
While many of the more unorthodox experiments on this exciting frontier of human health are not exactly supervised by the scientific community, there is no denying the established science upon which many biohacking techniques are founded. If you have been curious about improving your life by adjusting the way you treat your body then this article is for you.
A Brief Overview of Biohacking
Perhaps the first image that comes to mind when imagining a biohacker is a mad scientist transforming an aspect of himself with the help of a special tincture. Believe it or not, this is the basic idea behind biohacking, except it is not instantaneous. Biohacking is a long-term process of improvement through well-planned adjustments.
It is an established fact that things like diet and environmental factors greatly affect biology. Therefore, there must be ways to begin improving one’s self by adjusting these factors that play such a great role in who we are and how we operate.
This begins with making improvements in the foods we eat, the habits we keep, and even the thoughts we think. Biohacking can be in the form of taking supplements, applying an electrical current, or even getting biodevice implants.
Some of the more widespread methods of biohacking include:
- Nootropic supplementation and smart drugs
- Recording and analyzing biometrics recorded on an electronic device
- Genetic sequencing
- Magnetic implants
- Lifestyle changes
- Adopting a healthier diet
As you can imagine, there are many schools of thought when it comes to the most effective forms of biohacking. Many of the practices used will have very different effects depending on the individual. Therefore, a slow and intuitive process is sure to be more successful.
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With this in mind, keeping a personal biohacking record is a great way to hone in on the most effective methods for your personal needs. In the following section, we will look at some scientifically proven methods of improving the body’s biology. Any of the following suggestions would make a great launching pad from which to begin your adventures in biohacking.
Adopt a Natural Lifestyle
We tend to forget that despite humanity’s great propensity for science and technology, we are still very much natural living things. We are the products of millions of years of living in and around nature.
It was our link with nature that provided all of our needs and built the strong bodies and minds capable of existing on this wonderful planet. Considering this important link, it is easy to see how many modern lifestyles deprive humans of the essentials that support a healthy mind and body.
Getting enough sunlight was not even a question a few hundred years ago, but today a good percentage of the population may go an extended period of time without it. Then we wonder why we suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D and disrupted sleep cycles.1 Does this sound like a healthy solution for you? I think not.
Fresh, clean air is another biohacking blast from the past. Studies show that breathing in the organic compounds found in forest air greatly boosts the immune system. There is a reason to believe these natural elements form part of our biological defenses and primordial health plan.2
Finding more ways to get out in nature and benefit from biohacking should be the first step on the journey.
Improve Sleep Habits
There are three essential pillars upon which all human health and advanced functions rest. These are rest habits, exercise habits, and diet. Each activity supports the others and addressing all three is important to healthy living.
Sleeping is the primary action in the rest department. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can result in reduced physical and mental performance. Additionally, the development of a whole slew of debilitating conditions from obesity to dementia may also result from a lack of sleep.3
Improving sleep habits is not about sleeping in on the weekends to make up for late nights burning the midnight oil. Actually, irregular sleep-wake cycles can be just as damaging. Proper sleep begins with a consistent schedule and by following the body’s biological clock. This is when the sun goes down in the late afternoon and the body begins to prepare for a restful sleep cycle.
Things like artificial lighting, stimulants, spicy foods, late meals as well as anxieties prevent the body from properly entering the sleep cycle and attaining quality rest. Biohacking in this sense will mean changing your schedules and habits to improve the quality of sleep, not just the amount of time.
Meditation and mindfulness are often associated with spiritual pursuits and esoteric agendas but are actually simple functions of the mind that everyone practices in some form or other. However, deliberate practice is the most effective. Through cultivated mindfulness, meditation is an ongoing practice of increasing awareness of the self and surroundings on a more intimate level.
Many people practice meditation to counteract the mentally aggravating conditions of stress, anger, anxieties, and fears. Meditation introduces a whole new way of interfacing with these feelings and emotions that takes the desperation out of the situation.
This alone is an incredible biohacking implement that can free up time, improve efficiency on many levels, and even alter one’s perception of their reality. Meditation goes on to provide a wealth of other benefits including improved sleep, cognitive enhancements, and protection from age-related cognitive decline.4
Practice Breathing Exercises
Everyone will agree that breathing is important, but how many are actually improving their life through practice that improves the quality of each breath.
In the ancient practice of Pranayama, breath is the all-important interface through which the conscious mind can align with the physical body. This results in being submerged in a high-quality universe energy called “prana.” This is known in Chinese as Qi energy, or “energy flow.”
As a method of biohacking, cultivating the breath allows greater amounts of oxygen to reach the brain protecting it from ischemic damage and oxidative stress. Breathing exercises are also good for stabilizing emotions, rising above anxieties, and lowering blood pressure.5
Improve the Diet
We are all plenty aware that the kind of foods we eat will play a huge role in how we feel and function. By taking the time to carefully plan and organize a diet based on the nutrition, energy, and enjoyment you need and not much else, health can be improved.
A good diet is much easier to plan than implement, but even then it is not that difficult. While there may be some truth in diet plans popularized online, the best plans must be decided on your own. You know what you need better than anyone else and have all the equipment to gauge results and begin eliminating the dietary elements that are holding you back.
A good first step on this road would be an Elimination Diet that helps identify problematic foods. For the first couple weeks of the diet, you will eliminate foods you think your body cannot tolerate well. Take note if you experience any symptoms in this phase.
After the first phase, slowly reintroduce the eliminated foods into your diet. Again, take note of how your body reacts to the new foods and look for symptoms. Identify which foods cause discomfort and eliminate them from your diet for good.6
Take Nootropic Supplements
The best thing about nootropics is that they can be used to target specific aspects of brain health, function, and protection. There are nootropics that support the creation of brain chemicals that enhance mental stamina and endurance. Others work to protect the neurons of the brain from damage and age-related conditions. The majority of nootropics work to enhance the process of acquiring and accessing information.
This is another biohacking technique that is highly subjective. A slow intuitive process will bring the best results. Every human is unique and the effects can vary. While nootropics do not produce side effects by definition, improper use can be harmful.
Biohacking is a common tool used by many to promote a healthier and more efficient life. Try using the methods described above to hack your body’s biology to promote positive lifestyle changes.
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