Biohacking: putting you in control of your own wellbeing
Whether you’ve encountered the term ‘biohacking’ before, you’ve almost certainly come across a version of it. In fact, you may already be biohacking without realising it. Have you worked out the best time to drink coffee to help you feel alert, while not messing with your sleep, or consciously brought your bedtime forward because you know that makes you feel more awake in the morning? If so, you can count yourself as a biohacker.
Often nicknamed ‘DIY biology’, biohacking is about making small changes to optimise longevity, performance and wellness in all parts of life. Biohackers believe that optimal wellness is possible for everyone, not just elite athletes or tech billionaires, and it comes from you taking control of small changes in your life. One of biohacking’s leading authors, Dave Asprey, defines it as: “changing the environment around you and inside you so you have more control over your own biology.” So, deciding to drink coffee because it supports your mental performance, and working out the optimum time to drink it, for you personally.
What marks biohacking from other wellness approaches is a particular focus on tracking and monitoring data from the body, and using that data to tweak interventions (e.g. coffee drinking) for maximum positive impact on the individual. Remember those science experiments you did at school with a hypothesis, control and data collection points? With biohacking, you - or your sleep, for example - is the experiment.
Some of what is talked about as biohacking is pretty extreme: from injecting a young person’s blood to fight aging, to developing brain implants to meld AI and human intelligence, or seeking digital immortality (known as mind uploading). These experiments at the very edges of technology and morality are the far reaches of biohacking, called ‘transhumanism’, which seeks to accelerate the evolution of intelligent life beyond its current human form.
While these experiments may yet enter the mainstream in some far distant future, most forms of biohacking are accessible, simple and safe. Far from taking us into the realms of science fiction, they often use modern technology to bring us closer to ancient, more natural forms of living. A biohack approach to sleep is a great example: it uses sleep tracking technology (e.g. a fitbit or oura ring) to monitor the impact that small changes - such as our bedtime and wake time - have on our sleep quality. In this case, what the biohack is likely to tell us is that sleeping and waking closer to the day’s circadian rhythms makes us feel better. And with biohacking, we have empirical data to track that ‘better’.
If you are curious about biohacking and want to experiment safely with optimising your health and wellness, there are lots of ways to do so. It doesn’t even require health tracking technology: you can biohack without it. You will just need to maintain a close awareness of what your body is telling you over time. And time is essential: biohacking isn’t designed as an overnight fix. Incremental and consistent change will give you the biggest impact.
Optimise your sleep
Biohacking often starts with sleep: the body’s own repair shop. Track your sleep and investigate the impact of these sleep biohacks:
- Sleep and wake at the same time everyday, and expose yourself to natural light early in your day
- Turn off screens 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to restrict the blue light that disturbs melatonin production, our sleep hormone
- Exercise in the morning or afternoon, not evening
- Avoid sleeping pills, but supplement with sleep supporting products or foods: melatonin, bananas, almonds or restorative ashwagandha, which can be found in our Inspired Collagyn for Brain
Optimise your immune system
Prioritising your sleep is a sure fire way to support your immune system, but there are a number of other biohacks to support the body’s natural resilience to disease:
- Regular meditation practice to reduce the production of stress hormones which disrupt the immune system
- Practice grounding, the simple act of walking barefoot on the ground, reconnecting you directly to earth and the natural energy stored within
- Swim or shower in cold water to stimulate the body’s natural antioxidants
- Supplement with immune boosting ingredients: collagen provides hungry immune cells with the glutamine they need to function at their best, and vitamins C and D3 support optimal cellular functioning and have anti viral properties. Try our Vegan Collaygn Collection which contains all three biohacking products.
Optimise your digestive function
Recent science is demonstrating how important good digestive function is to overall wellness and longevity. The bacteria that live in our colon help to regulate essential functions in our body including our hunger hormones, our immune system and even our neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for our mood. Digestive health is not simply about what you eat, as a number of popular biohacks demonstrate:
- Practice intermittent fasting - eating within a restricted time window can support the health of your gut microbiome and promote gut healing. Coffee with our MCT Oil can keep energy high when you practice intermittent fasting
- Eat a plant based diet, and add in fermented foods such as kefir, miso, kombucha and kimchi to maintain high levels of probiotics, the healthy bacteria in the gut
- While fermented foods offer the probiotics, take prebiotic supplementation or eat prebiotic foods - such as onions, oats, jerusalem artichokes or savoy cabbage - to feed your prebiotics. Our Vegan Collagyn collection contains inulin which is one of the most well researched prebiotic fibres and is shown to support a healthy and balanced digestive system. Our Cacao + Collagen and Coffee + Collagen blends also contain plant compounds which feed our good bacteria.
Optimise your skin
Biohacking skin is less about the use of ointments and creams, and more about managing the stress and ageing that impact the natural collagen which gives our skin elasticity and glow:
- Prioritise sleep to give the body’s natural restoration processes time to do their work
- Practice breath work to encourage deep breathing and reduce stress, which supports the body to repair, heal and can stimulate collagen production
- Get adequate sunlight, especially in winter, but always ensure you use high factor sun protection
- Infrared saunas may help lower stress hormones and increase circulation for anti inflammatory benefits
- Supplement with collagen and vitamin D to support the skin and tissue health. Try our Radiant Collagyn to deeply nourish your skin from within.