The Beginner’s Guide To Biohacking
The Beginner’s Guide To Biohacking

The Beginner’s Guide To Biohacking

If stories about tech millionaire Bryan Johnson’s Blueprint diet (featuring 111 daily supplements and an 18-hour fasting window every day) have left you reeling, you might not think biohacking is for you. But actually, its basic principles are accessible and attainable. With the help of some experts, here’s everything you should know…
By Georgia Day

What does biohacking mean?

“Biohacking refers to the experimental activities or actions to optimise your body’s functionality, outside of a traditional research environment,” says Dr Harpal Bains, longevity doctor and medical director at The Harpal Clinic. “The idea is to enhance the body efficiently with specific target objectives – in other words, any practises, therapies or activities that help you understand your body from the inside out so that you’re best equipped to take a personalised approach to health optimisation.”

Is biohacking for everyone?

“Depending on your goals, you can biohack the body in various ways,” explains Harpal. While some require the use of expensive equipment like wearable tech to measure things like heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep, other examples of biohacking are simple and straightforward – like short fasting periods, cold shower therapy and breathwork.

Some of the more outlandish examples you might have read are also inaccessible to most people. “Some aspects of biohacking such as gene editing or advanced medical interventions are not readily available or feasible for everyone due to factors like cost, expertise, and ethical considerations,” says Dr Maroof Harghandiwal, GP and healthy ageing and hormone specialist at ZEN Healthcare

What are the wellbeing benefits of biohacking?

“Looking to optimise your body is a great way to educate yourself on how the body works, what your personal ‘normal’ looks like, and to gain some level of control over your body,” says Harpal. It’s this notion of a more customised approach to your health that’s at the centre of biohacking. Once you begin to know what your body needs and what works for you, you can start to filter the same ideas out to other areas of your health and wellbeing.

“When you listen to your own body, and look within to find out what’s going on, you can feel empowered to do what is right for you,” agrees Fouzhan Shadidi, biohacking health coach at OptimallyMe. “You can make health decisions with confidence. In a world that’s saturated with conflicting health advice, you can achieve your health goals in a sustainable manner that works for you, and bypass potential challenges that could be a barrier to your success.”

What does the future of biohacking hold?

“The future of biohacking holds promise for advancements in personalised medicine, wearable technology and genetic engineering,” says Maroof. “We may see more widespread adoption of wearable devices that monitor and optimise various aspects of health in real time, and an increased understanding of the human microbiome for personalised nutrition and health interventions.”

If that sounds complex and a little daunting, it needn’t. Bear in mind that if you follow any kind of wellness routine, you’re probably familiar with the notion of biohacking already. “If you have a wearable device that you love to dig into the data on, or have done any type testing that’s allowed you to learn about what’s going on inside your body, you’ve been biohacking without knowing it” says Fouzhan.

4 Easy Ways to Start Biohacking Today…


Pick Up A Pair Of Glasses


Not just any pair though, specifically blue-light glasses that can reduce your exposure to HEV (high-energy visible) blue light that’s emitted by screens and devices. “Considering how much time many of us spend in front of a screen (laptops and phones), investing in a good pair of blue light-blocking glasses can be a great initial biohacking step for beginners,” says Harpal. Because blue light can inhibit melatonin production – the hormone we need for sleep – reducing it, especially right before bed, can also help improve sleep, which is often considered one of the top free biohacking recommendations to focus on, according to Harpal. “Obtaining good sleep architecture is vital for our health and wellbeing, with quality sleep often facilitating other biohacks to work more effectively.” Specscart has a good range to browse.


Explore Nutrigenomics

Tech and testing are at the heart of basic biohacking. Many of the tests that biohackers advocate are based on the fundamental elements of life like sleep and diet. “Biohackers love science and data-driven health solutions,” says Fouzhan. “Their goal is usually to optimise their health through tracking and understanding the variations in their health biomarkers. A nutrigenomics DNA test will provide insights into your unique nutritional needs and find out what nutrients your body needs more of or less of.”

Although a nutrigenomics test will offer much more detail and data, simply adjusting your diet with a more goal-oriented focus is a good place to start if you often feel sluggish or lacking in energy. “Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats,” says Maroof. “Experiment with intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating to optimise digestion and metabolism.”


Get To Know Nootropics

Nootropics are often referred to as smart drugs and are classified as natural or synthetic substances that can be taken to safely improve metal performance and ability. “Enhanced cognitive function through biohacking practices, such as nootropic supplements, may improve focus, memory and mental clarity,” says Maroof.

Although it sounds like a buzzword, many nootropics have their roots in ancient remedies and have been part of alternative therapies for centuries. Rhodiola rosea and panax ginseng are two such substances that you can find in your local health food store, and that are purported to have positive effects on memory, mental processing and a reduction in mental fatigue. Another nootropic famed for its impact on increasing alertness and boosting brain function is probably one you take without even realising it.

Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world and a powerful nootropic. Not only effective at helping us to feel more alert in the morning, it also has neuroprotective roles which means it protects brain tissues and vessels against free radical damage. In one long-term study, coffee drinkers reported less cognitive decline than those who didn’t. If you favour tea over coffee, there’s further good news: L-theanine, another nootropic and an amino acid found in tea, is thought to promote feelings of happiness by boosting serotonin levels.


Finally, Breathe

Most of us don’t realise how powerful breathing can be as a tool for better health. During times of stress the breath can be a potent way to induce calm and dampen the body’s stress response before it overwhelms us. Instead of allowing our breath to naturally quicken and become shallower as stress increases and panic rises, practise controlling your breath, making each one deeper and slower so you take in more oxygen.

“Incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga into your daily routine can improve mental clarity, mood and overall well-being,” says Maroof. For a good baseline exercise, inhale for four seconds and exhale for six seconds. Repeat as many times as you like and practise once in the morning and once in the evening until it becomes second nature.

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.

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