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What is biohacking?
“The definition of biohacking is trying different methods – from nutritional supplements to intermittent fasting to meditation – with the goal of reducing inflammation, strengthening the immune system and living your best, healthiest life. We are all genetically predisposed to certain weaknesses, and biohacking is taking the machine you were born with and ensuring it runs at its optimum level. Biohacking will help you live your best, most active life, even upwards of 70 and 80, and it’s never too late to start.” – Isabel Greiner, founder of Intuisse
Can you tell us more about the benefits?
“The number one benefit of biohacking later in life is disease prevention. It’s never too late to invest in your health and it will pay off later. But there are many long and short-term benefits of biohacking, such as better energy levels throughout the day, more restorative sleep, increased physical performance and healthier body composition, sharper mental focus, stable blood sugar, improved digestion, better mood and glowing skin. If you have a chronic health condition, biohacking can also help you manage this.” – Sophie Chabloz, co-founder and CPO of Avea Life
“Biohacking will allow you to get the most out of your body, whatever stage you’re at in life. Hacking your biology is simpler than you think, with the main benefits seen in your energy levels, and mental and physical wellbeing.” – Sophie Shotter, aesthetic doctor
Where to start?
“Start with small steps and habits that are easy to implement without too much investment, both in time and financially. If that goes well and you feel the benefits, scale up and try something else. Intermittent fasting is probably the easiest habit to introduce – try fasting for 16 hours overnight and eating within an eight-hour window during the day. This can help to reduce visceral fat levels, blood pressure and resting heart rate. Prioritising your sleep is the second. Your cells only regenerate properly when you’re asleep, yet it’s something that is so important not just to how we feel but how healthy we are and our longevity. Also consider using a wearable tracker, like the Apple Watch or Oura ring, for valuable insights, and consider getting your biological age tested with a company like GlycanAge, which will reveal how you’re ageing on a metabolic level. So often we think we’re ageing well on the outside but ignore what’s going on inside.” – Sophie
Is it safe?
“Most biohacking practices, such as practising good sleep hygiene, optimising exercise habits and managing stress, are generally considered safe and are supported by scientific research. However, some more experimental or extreme biohacking practices, such as using untested supplements or undergoing unregulated procedures, may carry greater risks and should be approached with caution. It’s important to note that not all biohacking interventions are suitable for everyone, and what works for one person may not work for another.” – Sophie
“Consider consulting with a functional medicine doctor if you want to get down to business with a mapped-out plan. They’ll carry out blood and stool tests to determine the right supplement, nutritional and exercise plan to improve your energy, mood sleep, inflammation levels and detect any autoimmune issues.” – Isabel
Any advice for those sceptical about getting started?
“Like everything in life, you have to be ready and open to it. Biohacking is a mentality, and it requires trial and error, as well as breaking old and often comfortable habits. Keep an open mind and keep listening to your body. Something may come along where you say, ‘Hey, I’d really like to try that.’ Get into the habit of listening to your body, seeing how you feel and make changes that feel healthy – it’s that simple.” – Isabel
Here, three women in wellness share their experience of biohacking later in life…
Co-founder of Oxford Longevity Project, 58
I feel better at 58 than I did at 39. I started biohacking in 2004 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I was given injectable immune suppressants for the arthritis but was told there was no cure for the lupus. I felt there had to be something I could do. After extensive research, I went on a zone anti-inflammatory diet, removing dairy, gluten and lectins like tomatoes that cause flare-ups. I also looked at ways to retrain my immune system and haven’t looked back. I’ve been in remission for 19 years.
I’ve upgraded my morning coffee. I start the day with a daily brew of raw cacao, which is packed with magnesium, iron and copper; powdered coconut creamer with MCTs, a form of fat that’s great for brain health and muscle building; fo-ti, a Chinese herb renowned for its ability to support healthy ageing (and keep grey hair at bay); and grass-fed collagen to support healthy joints. Breakfast is porridge made with steel cut oats, which create less of a glucose spike than quick-cook oats, and frozen berries, as well as wheatgrass and Haskapa berry powder, which have four times the antioxidants of blueberries.
Blood flow restriction bands help keep muscles strong. Kaatsu bands are like blood pressure cuffs – they trick the brain into releasing certain hormones that build muscle and stem cells. This is my hack to maintain muscle as I approach 60 without having to be a slave to the gym. You only need to wear them for six minutes a day. They’re even used by Olympic athletes in the US.
I use a standing desk with a balance board. This gives me easy mobility while writing emails and, with the wobble board, a chance to work my core while reading journal articles.
The body has an innate wisdom of how to heal if we keep it in balance. If we stress it – with work, bad relationships, nutrient-poor food, toxins like pollution, mould, alcohol and tobacco and a lack of movement – we take it out of balance and that’s when disease has an opportunity to take hold. You have nothing to lose in trying to make small positive changes to your health – they stack up over time to create a winning formula.
PT & founder of the Eastwood Movement Method, 56
Biohacking comes naturally to me. As a trainer and health and fitness enthusiast, wanting to understand how to optimise my wellbeing comes naturally. One of the simplest ways I biohack is to delay my first meal of the day. I feel better later in the day for doing this – my digestion is better and my energy increases as a result. Supplements also keep me on track. I take Lumity and a probiotic for support. Even though I eat well, it’s not always possible to absorb all your nutrients if you’re putting your body under high physical and mental stress daily. I’d also extend my biohacking to HRT – as it’s interfering with your hormonal system, therefore stalling the body from ageing in certain ways, even if it’s in a body-identical format.
Using a Whoop band has been priceless. As I entered the menopause, I noticed my body needed more support and the Whoop provides useful feedback. It tells me how hard I’m pushing my body and shares information on sleep patterns – I can then use this information to adjust the energy or strain I put myself under the following day. As a trainer, I love HIIT as a form of biohacking – it creates good stress (i.e., short term stress) in the body and allows it to repair and recovery to a fitter, stronger state.
I recently did a DNA test to help optimise my diet. The results showed my body doesn’t tolerate high-sugar carbs well – which is interesting, because even before I did the test, I already knew this was the case. My father also has type-2 diabetes, so this is something I need to be aware of.
Skin expert aka The Alternative Facialist, 53
I turned to biohacking as an alternative to HRT. When I was going through the perimenopause, I put on weight, felt sluggish and low. I wanted to rejuvenate myself from the inside out and optimise my brain function to both balance hormones and boost my energy levels, as well as improve my skin health. I haven’t looked back. I now have more energy and sleep better, and I am less stressed and feel happier.
Supplements give my body a helping hand. I take NAD to boost brain function and Spermidine Life to support heart health. I also add Celtic sea salt to each glass of water I drink to increase my mineral intake.
Small tweaks can make a big difference. Before optimising my health, I hadn’t realised quite how stressed I was. I do daily breathwork to lower stress levels and am far more conscious of how frequently I’m using my phone and get natural sunlight in the morning. Leaving my phone in another room and using an alarm clock has helped with the quality of my sleep, too, and daily movement like walking and yoga has been game changing. The most common misconception is that biohacking will cost a lot, but the truth is most of it is free.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.