If you’ve ever explored biohacking, you probably found that it has a broad range of definitions, making you question what exactly it is. The Oxford English Dictionary even defines it as “the activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards, or for criminal purposes.”
For our benefit, we’re turning to the more modern, health-oriented, and morally unproblematic version of this term: straightforward scientifically-backed processes that help upgrade human biology.
What Is Biohacking?
So, what is biohacking when it comes to your body? At its core, it’s about building habits to increase the body’s efficiency and achieve optimal results for your target goal. This involves a laundry list of lifestyle adjustments, such as dietary restrictions and changes.
Biohackers assume a data-backed approach to their work. Often, they support their methods with a fair amount of legitimate research combined with personal anecdotes.
Here we examine some simple, scientifically proven biohacking techniques that are catching fire in popular culture.
Biohacking Your Morning Beverage
For the past 15 years or so, many holistic programs and self-help gurus have been touting the benefits of adjusting your morning beverage to suit your metabolic goals. One of the simplest ways to begin leaning into the biohacking world is to drink warm lemon water in the mornings.
Lemon promotes hydration, freshens the breath, and, due to its citrus heritage, boosts the immune system. Warm or hot water, on the other hand, is proven to aid digestion, improve blood circulation, and ease congestion, among many other health benefits.
Another well-known hack to a popular morning beverage is adding butter to your coffee. Dave Asprey, CEO of Bulletproof Coffee and self-proclaimed “Father of Biohacking,” claims to have been changed by a buttered coffee he had on a hike in Tibet.
Since that fateful trip in 2004, he has been tinkering with coffee and supplemental recipes to help people maximize their weight loss potential and brain function.
For your own at-home version, make sure to pick up some organic, grass-fed butter next time you visit the store. Pro tip: for maximum enjoyment, be open to all of the flavor combinations the Internet can provide.
Biohacking Through Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is said to provide the right types of energy during the day, aid in weight loss and muscle toning, and lower cholesterol levels. Many people have found success with IF for their weight loss and productivity goals.
IF can feel so complex and daunting to a beginner because there are a number of ways to go about it. Some people eat just one meal a day (OMAD) while others only eat between specific daylight hour windows (16/8, for example). Some will completely fast for days at a time. With intermittent fasting, it’s also absolutely fine to start with short durations of fasting, like three days at a time.
The important part is that you do what feels good and works best with your body. Evaluate and keep a record of the way these new habits make you feel, and adjust as necessary. Not everything is a “one size fits all” scenario, and this is an ongoing experiment with your unique body.
Biohacking With Blue Light
Biohacking with blue light simply means injecting your life with (literal) sunshine.
See, the two major sources of blue light we encounter each day are 1) the sun, and 2) the light-emitting diode (LED) screens on our devices. The former is a healthy, natural source of quality blue light and vitamin D. The latter, however, is artificial and can disrupt your sleep when you’re exposed to it close to your bedtime.
Before heading out to catch the sun’s quality blue light, though, make sure to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, and get three to six hours of sunlight when you can.
If your location has longer stretches of daylight during certain portions of the year, make sure not to get sunshine too close to your bedtime. This is why practically everyone advises against spending a lot of screen time right before bed.
Sometimes, you’ll find it difficult to get your recommended daily allowance of sunshine, especially during winter or darker months. For times like these, it might be worth using UV lights! Countless biohackers swear by these to help combat seasonal depression and increase energy levels.
Humanity has just barely scratched the surface of the fascinating world of biohacking. And depending on our body chemistry and responsiveness to these tweaks, we can reap positive, negative, or negligible reactions from our experiments. For now, you can try these simple, science-backed things and observe how your body changes in this ever-evolving laboratory of life.