Biohacking for Beginners: 4 Powerful Ways To Boost Physical and Cognitive Performance
If you haven’t heard of biohacking, then you will soon. Biohacking is a broad term that can suggest anything from fasting and sleep tracking to injecting stem cells and DNA manipulation. The basic goal of most biohacking is to boost physical and cognitive performance using some methods that fall outside the realm of traditional medicine. In this sense, biohacking is more a mindset than any particular activity.
Biohackers want to engineer their bodies and brains using a systems-based approach, and they’re not interested in waiting for conventional science to do their research for them. [This article, “Biohacking for Beginners” was originally published in HealthXWire]
While it is now gathering steam as a health trend, biohacking has been popular among the elite of Silicon Valley for at least a decade. Long work hours and intense career demands have driven some entrepreneurs seek innovative ways to ‘hack’ their bodies and brains to optimize performance.
For example, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, starts each day with an ice bath and walks five miles to Twitter headquarters each morning. He also claims to eat only one meal per day on weekdays and to fast completely on weekends. Critics have called this “disordered eating,” saying that most people who try this diet might end up with brittle hair, dull skin, and loss of lean muscle. However, the proponents of OMAD (an abbreviation for One Meal A Day) claim benefits such as heightened focus, better sleep, and extra time that would normally be spent planning and eating meals.
Biohacking for Beginners: (A HealthXwire Report)
Biohacking for beginners: Extreme measures
Some more extreme biohackers find their philosophical roots in transhumanism, a movement focused on improving the human condition and surpassing human limitations through technologies that enhance cognition and longevity. For example, a tribe of biohackers called “grinders” are becoming cyborgs by embedding magnets or chips under their skin that may be used as remote wallets, keys, or data storage. These procedures, carried out by DIY surgeons, carry a substantial risk.
This may sound like fringe science fiction, but our future as potential cyborgs has the support of some prominent business leaders. Elon Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 to produce a working technology implanted beneath the skull to act as a computer-brain interface. Musk expects that this technology will be available to the public within about ten years; and may enable users to experience telepathy and an end to memory loss.
Perhaps the most controversial practice in extreme biohacking is do-it-yourself gene editing. In June 2019, California passed a law that would make selling CRISPR gene therapy kits illegal without a safety warning. This form of biohacking involves molecular genetics experiments performed by people who may have little or no scientific training. Some genetic biohackers have injected themselves with homemade genetic material intended to improve muscle growth or even treat diseases like HIV or herpes. Critics of genetic biohacking cite public health risks such as the unproven safety or efficacy of these treatments or the introduction of potentially dangerous treatments to the market.
One biohacking practice that is much more common in the general population is the consumption of nootropic supplements, and the nootropics market is growing rapidly. Valued at $1.96 billion in 2018, it is expected to reach $5.32 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate of 13.2%. Nootropics can be defined as any natural or synthetic substances that improve mental skills. You can protect your brain function by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, but there are some supplements that could give you an extra boost toward peak performance.
Romanian doctor Corneliu E. Giurgea coined the term ‘nootropics’ in 1972 and famously said, “Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain.” However, natural nootropics have been enhancing human cognition for millennia, and evidence for human use of nootropics dates back approximately 10,000 years. Ancient humans may have consumed ginkgo biloba and coca leaves for their brain-stimulating effects. The ancient Chinese documented the capacity of tea to boost cognition and reduce stress. Tea was then thought to produce both physical and metaphysical harmony. Biohackers of today are simply tapping into time-tested ancient wisdom when they consume certain natural nootropic supplements.
Biohacking For Beginners: An Original healthXwire Article
Some common natural nootropic supplements include:
Green tea and L-theanine
We know that green tea contains caffeine and antioxidants, but one of its lesser-known components is the brain-boosting amino acid, L-theanine. L-theanine has an anti-anxiety effect, reducing caffeine jitters while increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA in the brain. The result can be a feeling of relaxation combined with alertness. Animal studies have shown that this natural ingredient can have a protective effect on cognition and memory as well as an antidepressant effect. This is a great stepping stone for any biohacking for beginners.
Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce anxiety and mitigate the effects of stress on the body. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Meaning “smell of horse” in Sanskrit, ashwagandha is thought to bestow the vigor of a stallion to those who consume it. This herb also boosts memory and cognition, and has the capacity to regenerate brain nerve cells and reconstruct synapses. Ashwagandha may offer a promising alternative treatment for brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Ashwagandha biohacking for beginners is a great herb to start your journey to improved physical and cognitive enhancements.
Ginseng has been studied for its positive effects on cognition, memory, digestion, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, immunity, and even cancer. The Greek meaning of “Panax” is “cure-all.” As a nootropic, ginseng has an anti-stress effect, reducing adrenal fatigue and increasing GABA, a neurotransmitter known to improve mood and promote relaxation. As a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, and with its protective effect on the dopaminergic pathway, ginseng is thought to help with some symptoms of ADHD. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and energizer, increasing ATP production in cell mitochondria. Ginseng for biohacking for beginners is another well known great stepping stone down your path for unlocking the human potential.
Some nootropic products (Simple biohacking for beginners)
One nootropic supplement of note containing all of the above ingredients plus several others with known mood-enhancing, anti-inflammatory and energizing effects is QUANTUMIND, created by the United States company Evolvere. Founded in 2016 by former collegiate athlete and health coach, Neal Thakkar, Evolvere is on a mission to facilitate human transformation. With a projected 2022 revenue of approximately $4 million, Evolvere provides coaching services in addition to nootropic supplements.
Mind Lab Pro is another top nootropic supplement with ingredients that work synergistically to accelerate neurogeneration and boost energy levels. It contains L-theanine, B Vitamins, Lion’s Mane mushroom, and a number of other helpful ingredients. The makers of Mind Lab Pro claim that this supplement may increase alertness, sharpen focus, and improve recall, concentration, clarity, motivation, and mood.
NooCube produces a supplement called Brain Productivity with Alpha GPC, Cat’s Claw, L Theanine, L-Tyrosine, and other ingredients that work together to improve cognitive function. Positive reviews mention better focus, less brain fog, and better memory. This supplement does not contain caffeine.
Biohacking For Beginners: An Original HealthXwire Article
Biohacking for beginners: Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting may be the most popular biohacking technique, and it promises a wide range of benefits for both body and mind. The science behind it states that when the body lacks calories from food, it burns fat for energy. This process produces ketones, a performance boosting “superfuel” for the brain. Long-term benefits of intermittent fasting include weight loss, lowered insulin levels, protection against cancer, and enhanced tissue repair.
Intermittent fasters eat only between certain times, alternating these periods of eating with periods of fasting. For example, you might eat only between noon and 8:00 PM, then fast for the next 16 hours. The 5:2 method of intermittent fasting involves eating normally for five days and then fasting completely for two days. Your body is in a “fed state” for about three to five hours after eating. During this time, your insulin levels are high and your body’s resources are directed towards digestion. When your body enters a “fasted state,” it is able to rest, and you benefit from the release of growth hormones, such as HGH, in addition to heightened cognitive function and reduced inflammation.
Caffeine: you might be biohacking without realizing it
If you are a regular coffee or tea drinker, it might surprise you that you are already consuming a natural nootropic. When coffee was first introduced in Europe, it was dubbed “Satan’s drink” for its effects on mental states, and after a cup of coffee, you might notice improvements in alertness, attention, learning, reaction time, and mood.
Caffeine helps you stay alert by competing with adenosine for certain receptors in your brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that induces a feeling of drowsiness, so when its impact is reduced, you feel more alert. Caffeine also stimulates the central nervous system with the release of noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, which may be responsible for its effects on cognition and mood. If you are considering using caffeine to boost your brain, then you should know that caffeine powders or pills are not recommended as this stimulant can be toxic in high concentrations. Excess caffeine can cause a rapid heartbeat or even seizures and death.
Some biohackers like to add coconut oil, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, or grass-fed butter to coffee. The liver breaks these fats down to ketones, which provide a brain boost. In his bestselling book, The Bulletproof Diet, biohacker Dave Asprey recommends a combination of these ingredients as a power breakfast. Asprey has announced that he plans to live to 180, believing that technology and biohacking can promote longer lifespans. He has already spent over $1 million in the effort to reach this goal. His self-experimentation has involved taking up to 150 supplements per day and cryotherapy, exposing the body to extreme cold to boost metabolism and reduce inflammation.
Even if you don’t want to spend a fortune on these more advanced biohacking techniques, you can still experiment with coffee and ketones for an easy brain boost. This is what biohacking for beginners is all about. Steps to learning and achieving your personal health and wellness goals.
Biohacking for beginners: Sleep monitoring
Many biohackers are intent on quantifying their biology, tracking everything from sleep patterns to blood glucose. The idea is to gather as much data as possible about their bodies to understand how to optimize functioning. Optimal sleep is linked to higher performance, and biohackers use a variety of different methods to achieve a perfect night’s rest. Some techniques include: the use of a weighted blanket, wearing noise-blocking headphones during sleep, lowering the temperature in the bedroom, melatonin supplementation, and wearing blue-light blocking glasses at night.
Biohackers believe that analyzing sleep patterns can help them to improve their sleep. The Oura ring is a popular smart ring with sleep tracking capabilities and it may be a favorite biohacking for beginners tool. It tracks all four sleep stages: deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, and awake periods. The Oura ring then guides you to improve your sleep quality with suggested bedtimes. You can also record activities and emotions that may affect your sleep and later analyze the data to help make better decisions during the day.
Biohacking for beginners: Nootropic beverages
With the growing popularity of functional foods, the nootropics market includes some food and beverage products aimed at boosting brain power, focus, and energy. Evolvere plans to release Catalyst Coffee K-Cups in December 2022. Each serving contains L-Theanine and Noopept to increase brain function and calm the nervous system. In addition, this nootropic coffee product has extra ingredients to promote metabolic health, such as chromium, PQQ, and Goji berry.
Riot Energy’s 100% Plant Powered Energy Drinks are another functional beverage containing L theanine as a nootropic ingredient. It also has a healthy dose of caffeine to boost alertness, while L-theanine reduces the jitters. Each can promises zero added sugar.
TruBRAIN offers a cognitive enhancing drink containing Lion’s Mane, Rhodiola, Guayusa, and Rose Hip. Promising to sharpen focus, boost memory and improve attention, this functional drink is powered by superfood mushrooms. You can buy Mushroom Drinks in packs of eight.
These products take you from biohacking for beginners to more advanced formulations and blends, helping take the guess work out of your biohacking journey.
You too can be a biohacker
Biohacking in its most basic form is not just for Silicon Valley executives. There are affordable and safe options for the simplest techniques, such as nootropic supplementation, intermittent fasting, and sleep tracking. You can also experiment with your consumption of coffee as a reliable brain-boosting stimulant. If you decide to try biohacking for yourself, remember that the true mindset is about understanding your own physiology to tweak it for the best results. Data collection is key.
If you are fasting or drinking coffee, note how you feel at each step and adjust your consumption accordingly. The results may be surprising, and you may find yourself performing better than ever before.
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(Biohacking for beginners article originally published on Healthxwire)
Important Notice: The information provided in this article Biohacking for beginners is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease or condition, and examples contained herein are for the purposes of illustration only. This article is not intended as healthcare or medical advice. Before taking any nootropic supplement, and before commencing any regimen of nootropics, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if doing so would be advisable and safe given the condition of your health.