For optimal health & delay aging
As we age the body’s cycling of cells starts to slow down meaning muscles start to naturally waste, bone density reduces, cognitive functionality slows, and those niggling injuries start to appear more often. After the age of 30 ageing starts to take control and rapidly increases and the years stack up, marking the shortening of your healthy lifespan.
Doesn’t sound like something to look forward to does it? However, this doesn’t mean we need to give in to our body’s degenerative process. With a combination of modern science and age-old practices such as meditation, you can short-circuit the process. Or as the modern anti-ager calls it – human optimisation, also referred to as biohacking, sees the body as a system and improves the whole system for optimal wellness. ”The main thing that separates a biohacker from the rest of the self-improvement world is a systems-thinking approach to our biology,” says Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey. Optimal performance can only be achieved if you learn to biohack your health.
The concept of optimal performance is not limited to the physical and is measured in more ways than how much you can bench press at the gym or how fast you can run five k’s. Optimal performance also includes boosting the brain’s performance by increasing your ability to think well, and process information, sustained focus, mental speed, and memory.
And that is not all, human optimisation also includes enhanced optimum health in areas such as cardiovascular function, wound healing acceleration, and hormone function. The ways you can do this are constantly growing in number and evolving rapidly, with the global Biohacking industry expected to grow to US$65.4 Billion by 2026. As a society, we are spending big to slow the hands of time.
Without breaking the bank, here is the ultimate guide to biohack your health and optimise your mental and physical health:
1. Intermittent Fasting
We can’t have a conversation about health and biohacking without talking about biohacking your diet. And I’m not just talking about eating a longevity diet that is high in plants, light on carbs , low in sugar, rich in superfoods and drizzled with good fats. Research has found that it’s not just what we eat, it’s when we eat that can make a huge difference. Many experts have turned to intermittent fasting to help you optimise your body’s nutrition intake. Intermittent fasting will not only help you lose fat but also gain muscle and energy.
If you just flinched at the idea of “fasting” let me reassure you. Prolonged fasting – not eating for 48 to 72 hours – isn’t practical for the average person. Yet intermittent fasting offers a happy in-between. It’s more of an eating pattern that you follow throughout the day, and will still allow you to reap the benefits of a true fast.
To understand why intermittent fasting works, you need to make the distinction between your body being in a “fed state” and a “fasted state.” When your body is in a fed state, you are digesting and absorbing food. Generally speaking, you are in a fed state for about three to five hours after eating. During this phase, your insulin levels are high and your body is focused on digestion.
When your body is allowed to rest – during the fasted state – you experience a number of benefits. When you fast, you increase your levels of growth hormones as much as five times their normal rate, which boosts your metabolic rate. Fasting can also reduce your insulin resistance, which lowers your blood sugar and makes stored body fat more accessible to burn. Some experts indicate that intermittent fasting may also reduce LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) which is a known risk factor when it comes to heart disease.
Fasting may also provide a number of other significant benefits including improved cognitive function, cancer prevention, increased cellular autophagy (cellular waste removal) and lower levels of inflammation.
While there are many versions of intermittent fasting, the most user-friendly is the “16/8” method (also known as the Leangains protocol). This method revolves around a straightforward structure in which you restrict your daily eating period to eight hours. For example, each day you eat from 1pm to 9pm, and fast for the other 16 hours.
Biohacking involves trying new techniques and finding out what works for you. Alternate day fasting has you fasting one day, then eating normally the next. You might restrict calories one day, then eat normally the next. The 5:2 method involves eating normally five days a week and completely fasting the other two days. You can also lengthen or shorten your eating window.
If that sounds intimidating or too hard start with a 14-hour fast for one week. With this fast, you can eat from 10am to 8pm, then fast the next 14 hours. When that becomes comfortable, cut back to an eating period of 11am to 8pm for a week and so on until you reach a fasting period of 16 hours.
2. Red Light Therapy
Have you ever spent a lot of time indoors and begun to feel… blah? Our bodies and brains need light to function at their best. Not only does the sun give us an important dose of vitamin D, but it helps us in a number of other physiological and emotional ways. Light has various wavelengths depending on its colour, brightness or intensity.
Studies have shown that your body responds particularly well to red and near-infrared wavelengths, which range from 600 to 900 nanometers (nm). This particular range of light waves are absorbed by the skin to a depth of about 8 to 10 millimeters, at which point your mitochondrial chromophores absorb the photons. This activates a number of nervous system and metabolic processes.
To put simply, red light therapy has become an increasingly popular form of biohacking used to treat a number of conditions. It has been proven to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and restore function. And because it is a non-invasive and non-chemical treatment, it’s not as intimidating as other forms of biohacking.
Where can I get this health enhancing light you ask? Good gym, Spas and wellness centres usually have an infrared sauna. And if you want to lash out, you can buy these saunas to have at home.
3. Do A DNA Test
Hands down the best thing I have done for my health is doing a DNA test. About 90% of all disease is lifestyle related. And guess what? You can manipulate some of your genes through your lifestyle to prevent illness. Sure, the genes that determine your hair, eye or skin colour can’t be changed, however just because you have a predisposition to carrying weight around the belly or high cholesterol, don’t think that’s the path you need to go down. If you know your genetic predisposition you can modify your lifestyle to bring out the best of what makes you you!
And what if you knew how your body responds to exercise and the best type for you? Or if you knew how your body responds to certain foods. Or how you cope with stress (worrier or warrior). Or your heart to coffee, and liver to toxins. OMG Wouldn’t that change the rules of the game? Not to mention, how you metabolise fat. And then biohacking that pathway.
Research shows 86% of people who do a DNA test achieve their health goals. How many diets have you started? How many gyms have you joined? And how many times have you eaten something and had a negative reaction? Knowing your genetic profile puts you in the driving seat. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or simply live healthier. And the best news? Research found that people following a genetically-matched wellness plan not only see faster results, but are able to sustain these results for a lifetime of change.
One size does not fit all, and to really enjoy success, I highly recommend you find out your DNA and have a program tailored for you. Once you know your genetic profile, you know it for life, it doesn’t change. The genes you have today are the ones you’ll have tomorrow. It’s about making the most of what you’ve got, taking steps to prevent any disease to which you’re predisposed, and devising a more specific fitness program to maximise your training. For a small investment, you can make a priceless change to your long-term health!
When it comes to biohacking to improve health span, peptides are playing an increasingly important role in this space. Peptides are small proteins made up of amino acid sequences. The proteins that we get from our diet are usually larger and made up of one or more polypeptide molecules. Many health and cosmetic products contain different peptides for many uses. Think Collagen put in skincare, powders, beauty drinks or shots.
Peptides are so important for our body that they are broken down by specific gastric enzymes into smaller peptides. The smaller peptides, with distinct amino acid sequences, have different functions in our body, from healing to hormonal regulation, sleep, energy, neurological function and longevity.
Most peptides have multiple benefits as they regulate the activity of particular molecules, therefore influencing certain functions. As we know, as we age, these functions slow down. Proper Peptide prescription can have a huge impact at a cellular level, from enhancing healing to improving sleep cycles.
While there is a lot of research on Peptides, and they are recognised as a powerful solution in the anti-ageing and performance enhancing industry, it is highly advisable to seek guidance from a nutritionist or health expert trained in Peptide supplementation before you start taking them.
The term nootropic is derived from the Greek nous (mind) and trepein (to bend), and refers to substances, natural or synthetic, capable of enhancing brain or mental function. Your morning cup of coffee could be considered a nootropic as it has the ability to improve focus and alertness.
Nootropics – sometimes called smart drugs – are compounds that enhance brain function, alertness, concentration, focus, memory and recall and sleep as well as reduce anxiety and depression. Some nootropics have been proven effective in assisting serious neurological disorders such as ADHD, ADD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
More and more research on nootropics and their benefits is being undertaken, and they have certainly come a long way in both reduction of potential harmful side effects and the specific nature of their task. The most popular nootropics contain modafinil, as it is not a stimulant, rather works on your dopamine receptors. Also, it is not addictive.
What are the benefits of Modafinal:
- Increases attention
- Increases alertness
- Reduces impulsivity
- Reduces fatigue
- Increases memory
- Reduces appetite
There’s a slight risk (about 5 in a million people) of having a life-threatening immune reaction to modafinil. It’s the same reaction that happens with ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you know you don’t react well to NSAIDs, talk to your doctor before taking modafinil.
And on the good advice of Dave Asprey – world leader in Biohacking, before you try nootropics start with the basics. Get rid of the things in your diet and life that reduce cognitive performance Then, go for the herbals and the natural nootropics. Oh, and try doing things that naturally boost dopamine such as listen to music and think about (write down even) the things you are grateful for at the start of each day.
Eastern cultures have been using hot cold and cold therapy for centuries. Even the Scandinavian countries have been doing ice plunges since the start of time. Why? Because it is so invigorating and believed to promote longevity.
Cryotherapy, which literally means “cold therapy,” is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes. It can be delivered to just one area, or you can opt for whole-body cryotherapy. The theory for whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is that by immersing the body in extremely cold air for several minutes, you receive a number of health benefits including pain relief, enhanced muscle recovery, reduced inflammation and boosting immune system.
However, due to the extreme cold temperatures, it is not suitable to all. Avoid WBC if you have heart issues, nerve damage, high blood pressure or respiratory problems.
7. Wearable Technology
We can’t talk about biohacking without talking wearables. Wearable Technology are smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body. Fitness enthusiasts all over the world are always looking for ways to increase their health and boost their performance. Wearable technology can be used to track progress. These devices can help you gain a better understanding of your daily activities. Wearables can help track a variety of things such as heart rate, activity level, measuring the number of steps covered, respiratory rate, muscle level, and fatigue. This data is then linked to another device that allows you to view the results.
This technology, love or loath, has put everyone in touch with their health. How much or little activity you do, how well you sleep, when you’re heart rate goes up or when you’ve been sitting too long. While there are psychological disadvantages – have we all become too anxious if we don’t get our steps up or the required flights of steps – the pros is it gives us a clearer picture of our physical health and make us more accountable.
Wearable technology is great for people who love data, but also works well for people who prefer to read the headlines. Data compiled from different types of technology can be used to paint a more detailed picture of your health. And you can use this intel to your advante ala biohack. Tech-gathered data can be used to help you anticipate a forthcoming issue or illness. I personally love my wearable and while it keeps me on track physically, it’s the other data that has really had an impact on my lifestyle, for example how soundly and for how long I sleep. Good sleep is invaluable!
8. Detox Your Body
The word detox has taken such a battering by the media over the past few years that there is more negative connotation and myth associated with it, than the wonderful vitality and rejuvenation it can bring to your health. A good detox program can literally be the start of a new lease on life and the essential first step down the path of long-term wellbeing.
Put simply, to detox means to give your blood a good clean (that grease and oil change), which
has a profound and positive effect on your liver, kidneys, and every other organ of your body. Our blood accumulates toxins (more than it can filter out) from both external and endogenous (internal) sources. External toxins come into your body through poor diet, drinking too much
alcohol, coffee and tea, stress, poor sleep, exposure to environmental toxins (pollution) and taking drugs… among other things. Endogenous sources are usually a result of hormonal or
chemical imbalances, and by-products of the bacteria in our digestive system. Often excess endogenous toxins are a result of exposure to too many external toxins.
When your blood contains too many toxins it compromises every cell in the body. This causes inflammation at a cellular level, and this is what causes ageing. The number one thing you can do, even before you implement any of the above is to start with a clean canvas ready for your master piece.
My Favourite Detox Program
There are so many ways you can biohack your health, this is just my top eight. And information aside, do be careful. Experimenting on yourself without taking all the proper precautions can lead to unexpected side effects. Talk to your health practitioner before making any significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. And make sure to do your own research before putting any foreign substance into your body.
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