DIY Biohacking for Beginners: Getting Started
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Biohacking refers to making lifestyle changes that impact your biological and physiological health.
Biohacks range in complexity from very simple and inexpensive to complex and innovative.
Taking fatty15 is one biohack that science supports will help reverse aging in your cells, which is a biohack that can lead to increased longevity.
Maybe you came across biohacking while scrolling your social media fee. Maybe you heard about it from a colleague over a Zoom call.
Regardless of how you were introduced, you probably want to understand what this weird, futuristic term means and how you can become a DIYbiohacker. First, it’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. Biohacking is nothing more than a series of lifestyle changes that people make as a form of self-improvement.
Together, we’ll explore what biohacking means, where it came from, and how it works. Then, we’ll give you tips to start biohacking your own human body so you can live longer and healthier.
Introducing Biohacking: A Different Way to Wellness
Biohacking is a method of changing your body’s chemistry and physiology through scientific knowledge and a little DIY experimentation. There’s an entire spectrum of biohacking products and techniques ranging from very inexpensive and low-tech (like walking) to highly technical and pricey (like inserting microchips under the skin).
Biohacking searches for ways to improve energy levels, elevate mental focus and clarity, continue learning and retaining information, and keep the body living healthfully and optimally for longer periods of time.
Biohacking isn’t exactly brand new, so let’s look at where it began and where it is headed.
Who Invented Biohacking?
Dave Asprey, the founder and creator of Bulletproof 360, Inc., is considered the father of biohacking. His development of “bulletproof coffee”(coffee with added fat that usually consists of a big dollop of grass-fed butter inside your cup) helped catapult him to the top of the burgeoning industry.
Asprey developed the fat-infused coffee to biohack his diet and curb his cravings for carb-laden breakfasts. It worked, and that simple biohack has spawned numerous other dietary and lifestyle hacks that you can use to completely revolutionize your health right at home.
Tampering with our own physiology and biology isn’t something new. The term was even in use in this article from 1988. Our fascination with self-experimentation has developed into an entire underground “field” of science that, as it turns out, has research to back it.
Who Can Use Biohacking Techniques?
The great thing about biohacking is that anyone can do it, and you don’t have to have a biology background to get started. Try new techniques and hacks one at a time to see which ones work best for you, your lifestyle, and your body.
Ready to get started? Here’s our easy guide to helping you understand your own biology better and hacking your system to improve energy levels, cognitive function, and overall health.
A Beginners Guide to Biohacking
If you’ve heard the phrase “chew the meat and spit out the bones,” you’ll have a good starting point for your biohacking journey. The process centers around experimenting with different biohacks to find out which ones work best for you.
Here are some easy ways to get started.
1. Make your wearable technology work for you.
You’ve probably got a smartphone; chances are you’ve got a Garmin, an Apple Watch, or a FitBit. Wearable technology is one of the easiest biohacks available. These smartwatches and gadgets can help track your workouts, measure your heart rate, and even keep track of your blood sugar levels and blood pressure with apps.
What you do with this data matters. Use it to help keep you consistent at the gym, zone into your target heart rate, and keep a log of your metabolic health.
2. Intermittent fasting.
Before we talk about intermittent fasting, we need to talk about eating healthfully. If your diet could use some maintenance, that’s the first place to start. If you aren’t getting enough key vitamins and nutrients, your body won’t thrive.
Once you’ve cleaned up your diet and begun eating more healthfully, you can use intermittent fasting as a way to level up your results. Intermittent fasting can help support weight loss goals, but it also has some interesting benefits tied to metabolic health.
It even increases the amount of growth hormones in your body during your fasted states. It may also be beneficial in helping raise good HDL cholesterol levels and supporting healthy ranges in LDL cholesterol.
The best part is you’re already doing it. The time between the last bite of food before bed and the first bite when you wake up is considered a fasted state. Extending that fast by one or two hours can help you get into serious intermittent fasting territory. Most beginners aim for a 12 to 16-hour fast overnight.
Cryotherapy is the use of cold temperatures to trigger vasoconstriction or the constriction of the blood vessels. While in cryotherapy treatment, your blood vessels constrict, so when you exit the treatment, a rush of nutrients enters your tissues. Cryotherapy takes just three minutes, which makes it doable on your lunch break.
If you don’t want to start out with cryotherapy, you can get similar results with cold water. Try taking a cold shower at the end of your warm shower or even an ice bath.
4. Light therapy
Biohackers love to use light therapy to help stimulate cells and even produce anti-aging effects in the skin. Red light therapy is often used in skincare practices and is even available with at-home devices.
Red light therapy can stimulate skin cells to produce more collagen, helping fine lines and wrinkles fade and helping keep your skin firm and plump.
Another type of light therapy, near-infrared light, can penetrate the skin to a depth of eight to 10 millimeters. This allows it to stimulate mitochondria to produce more cellular energy. Biohackers use light therapy to soothe discomfort and restore healthy function to tissues and cells.
For a cheap and easy hack, try exposing yourself to natural light in the morning. Daylight helps stimulate the release of cortisol and suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, so we can adjust our bodies to more effective sleep.
5. Try a nootropic.
Nootropics are a group of drugs or compounds useful in improving mental clarity and focus, helping you sustain energy, and improving your ability to learn. These compounds range from common-use products, like coffee, to herbs traditionally used to help reduce stress and improve focus, like ashwagandha and maca.
Finding the nootropics that work best for you may take some experimentation. For instance, many people made a switch from coffee to matcha.
Coffee brings focus and mental clarity but can come with jitters and an inevitable crash. Matcha contains two nootropic compounds: l-theanine and caffeine. L-theanine has a calming effect on the nervous system. When combined with caffeine, it is said to produce calm focus.
6. Biohack your workouts.
The best part about biohacking your workouts is that it usually equates to less time spent in the gym or on the treadmill. Biohackworkouts revolve around higher intensity over a shorter period of time. Think HIIT training or metabolic conditioning workouts that last under 12 minutes.
You can go high tech, with exercise machines created with AI that help custom-tailor a workout for you based on your own biology, or you can just take a walk.
Walking is one of the most beloved biohacks of the biohacking community. Walking exposes you to natural light, helps keep you moving, stimulates lymphatic drainage, and elevates mood. In fact, the health benefits of simply taking a 10-minute walk each day may even include increasing your longevity.
7. Biohacking your sleep.
If you struggle with getting enough sleep, falling asleep, or staying asleep, consider biohacking the sleep system. Taking melatonin is a good option, especially since natural melatonin levels decline with age. Melatonin also has neuroprotective properties that make it more than just a natural sleep aid.
Before bed, practice good sleep hygiene. Avoid blue light from devices, unplug, and go to bed at the same time every night. If you need help establishing a nighttime routine, consider beginnerbiohack tip #8.
8. Practice mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude
Improving your overall well-being includes caring for your mental health. Biohackers have discovered a cheat code to alleviate worry, manage stress, and improve their life quality. The secret? Mindfulness.
Part of mindfulness is being present where your feet are, not on your phone or distracted by your thoughts. If that’s hard for you, practicing meditation and breathwork can help.
As part of your meditative practice, consider starting a gratitude journal. There is quantifiable data that supports that optimism and gratitude have both psychological and physiological benefits.
8. Take a biohackingsupplement.
Biohackers love a good, multipurpose supplement. Some of the basics include vitamin D, protein powder, creatine, and caffeine.
Now, there’s a new supplement that Asprey, the creator of biohacking dubbed “the ultimate biohacking fat.” What supplement, you might ask?
Fatty15: The Ultimate BiohackingSupplement
Fatty15 is the first and only supplement to contain the pure, vegan-friendly, and bioavailable version of a little-known fatty acid called C15:0. This odd-chain, essential, saturated fatty acid was discovered by physicians and scientists that were focused on helping bottlenose dolphins live healthier for longer. The discovery and the benefits to dolphin and human health is the focus of this TED talk.
They found that one pod of dolphins had significantly fewer age-related illnesses. This pod had access to a diet that contained high levels of C15:0.
They researched further to see if this fatty acid could benefit humans in the same way it did the dolphins. They published their research, and the scientific community caught on, followed quickly by the biohackers.
How It Works
C15:0 helps reverse cellular aging by:
- Keeping cell membranes strong. Cell membranes weaken with age. C15:0 integrates itself into them to help them stay fortified and keep their shape. Studies have shown that C15:0 improves cellular strength by 80%.
- Clearing damaged cells. By activating AMPK, C15:0 helps promote cellular homeostasis and downstream C15:0 inhibits mTOR, which helps clear damaged ‘zombie’ cells.
- Regulating inflammatory response. C15:0 calms and lowers levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which are responsible for the aging process.
- Keeping your mitochondria functioning properly. C15:0 repairs mitochondrial function and improves it by 45%. It also helps increase cellular energy. In one peer-reviewed study, C15:0 increased ATP levels in the cells by 350%.
C15:0 also activates special receptors known as PPARɑ and PPARẟ. These receptors control metabolic, immune, heart, and liver function. By activating these receptors, C15:0 helps modulate and balance their function, which can also result in improved sleep, lowered anxiety and less snacking between meals.
Just one fatty15 per day is all it takes to biohack your cells, the very foundations of every process in your body. It’s one of the smartest biohack decisions you can make.
Biohacking isn’t sci-fi; it’s a way to improve your body and support your health so you can live a longer, healthier, and happier life. Getting started is easy; you’ll find a rhythm with certain hacks and learn whether or not they work for you.
Take your time, enjoy the journey, and let fatty15 help you take care of your cellular health.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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