Start Biohacking Yourself To Better Health
Have you heard this term floating around lately? Biohacking
What is Biohacking?
The word “biohacking” is a combination of “biology” and “hacking. It is a positive term that is used to refer to a trick or shortcut related to a biological system. Biohacking is an approach that uses electronic, medical, physical or nutritional ways to improve a person’s biological systems and overall health. This particular term is used to indicate that it is an intervention—hacking—to use external tools to enhance our biological systems.
Biohacking involves a variety of practices, habits, and tools. Here are some of the most common.
Nootropics, also called “smart drugs”, are a group of medical drugs or supplements that are used to enhance cognitive abilities like attention, concentration, wakefulness, and sleep cycle. They are designed to improve performance in personal, social, physical, and professional spheres.
In general, a substance can be called a nootropic if it allows more control over a persons brain chemistry and the resulting behavioral outcomes. BY this definition, Melatonin qualifies as a nootropic, given its ability to intelligently regulate sleep cycles.
Another example is L-Theanine a natural amino-acid responsible for that feeling of calm you get from green tea. It works really well when combined with coffee. Due to its anxiolytic and stress-reducing properties it takes away some of the jitteriness caused by caffeine, and provides you with a clean, lucid energy boost. It has even been shown to amplify caffeine’s cognitive effects. In different doses it can also be used to aid sleep.
2. Cybernetic Devices
The field of cybernetics emerged in the early 1960s to describe the possible merging of inanimate materials with living organisms. Cybernetic devices are used to record body measurements & calculations’ data that can help a person improve their health. They include healthcare monitors & implants like ketomonitors, heart rate monitors, blood sugar monitors & insulin pumps, just to name some of the most recognizable.
Cybernetic devices gather then convey data back to a central location or database like your exercise data being gathered and stored with your Garmin or FitBit, for example.
What cybernetic devices do you use in your life?
How to Biohack
You can find a plethora of biohacking guides online, some are super simple. Start googling & exploring. Here are a few easy ways you can start biohacking today.
1. Improve your posture
The ways you sit, talk, stand, and walk are important factors that reflect your personality and affect your overall health. Millions of us are walking around or sitting around with terrible posture, but we do nothing about it. Bad posture can have a dramatic impact on bone structure and health and muscle tone. As you go about your daily routine, start to pay attention to your posture and make a conscious effort to roll your shoulders back, sit up straight and avoid hunching or slouching. This is call building awareness. Awareness is the 1st step to changing any pattern, habit or behavior.
Next, add some movement into your life to support your new found awareness. It could be some simple yoga poses like Tadasana (mountain pose), cat/cow, & Virasana (hero pose).
I also recommend at evaluating how you spend much of your day. Are you sitting at a desk or in the car for extended periods of time? Are you looking at your phone for hours upon hours? All of these effect your posture. Maybe look into implementing a kneeling chair, balance ball chair, or standing desk. Also, neck stretches are most surely a great addition to your simple yoga practices discussed above.
2. Improve your nutrition
Nutrition, like posture, is another essential, yet easy thing to fix. Start small, making little changes to your nutrition each day. Swap a soda for a glass of water. Have a salad at lunch instead of a hamburger. Use a tortilla instead of bread. Again, make a conscious effort to make healthier choices a little at a time. Focus on adding in healthy things to crowd out the not so healthy. Add a handful of baby spinach or greens to each meal, whether it’s in eggs or a smoothie, or a salad or steamed. With frequent and consistent repetition your old habits will turn into healthy new habits.
3. Turn up the music
If you feel your focus and concentration drifting, turn up the music. Look online for suggestions of types of music that can help your focus in different situations. Check out Spotify for free playlists or to make your own. It’s my go-to for great music finds and compilations.
Music has also been proven to not only improve focus, but also motivation. It can be great to get you through that workout or even just lift your mood.
Pros and Cons of Biohacking
As with everything new in the world of health and wellness, you should give biohacking due diligence and make sure it is a good fit for you. Consult a physician or other medical professional about any specific practice, supplement, or exercise you are unsure of. Here is a brief rundown of the pros and cons of biohacking:
· May help in mental health treatments (PRO, but could interfere with medications. consult your pharmacist or doctor)
· May increase dopamine, your “feel good” chemical (PRO)
· May increase productivity (PRO)
· May help increase long-term memory (PRO)
· May promote a better understanding of the human body without the use traditional medicine and treatments (PRO)
· It is not part of mainstream healthcare, some aspects are not regulated by bodies like the FDA etc. (could be both PRO & CON)
· It is new and experimental and has not passed extensive standards or claims (could be both PRO & CON)
My intention with this post is to get you thinking & asking questions. So please feel free to leave questions & comments below. As a Functional Medicine Specialist & Clinical Pharmacist I am uniquely qualified to be a guide and a resource for diet, lifestyle & supplement optimization, helping you delve into your own biological data & DNA, and assessing how you can tweek your own biology.
Join me on my Facebook page,facebook.com/drlaramay, as well as Instagram & Twitter @drlaramay. Also, be sure to tune into my podcast on your favorite platform, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean or Anchor.Fm @Light Body Radio to get all the juicy info coming your way in a easily digestible format. I look forward to hearing your feedback, comments and suggestions.
- Dr. Lara
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