By Justin Lawler. Developer. Biohacker. Technology Enthusiast.
London – May 2016. Over 500 people gathered to drink ‘Bulletproof’ coffee and discuss how to ‘hack’ their bodies in order to boost their physical, mental & overall health at the European Biohackers Summit.
The growing Biohacking movement, popularized Dave Asprey & the Bulletproof brand, goes far beyond coffee however. People are using Biohacking techniques to improve all aspects of their lives – from health, to sleep quality and even to managing chronic diseases.
So what is Biohacking?
Biohacking it simply methods to improve health, performance & be the best we can possibly be using both ancient wisdom and modern day science & technology.
Modern day technology allows us to analyze ourselves in much more depth than ever before possible. DNA, blood, the human microbiome and fitness trackers for instance can all be used to get deep insights into our bodies. This knowledge can then lead into diet or lifestyle changes to achieve optimum health.
Ben Greenfield the keynote speaker, triathlon coach & uber-biohacker talked about how he coaches all his clients to monitor their own health as they train. For Ben, it makes no sense to be able to compete in a triathlon and then burn out. The additional data he gathers allows him to monitor athlete’s health in real time & make adjustments to their training plans & diet.
Food as Medicine
Getting back to our primal or ancestral routes is a cornerstone of the Biohacker movement. Think Paleo diet & lifestyle.
What came up during the summit was how far less diverse our food is now compared to even 20 years ago. This is impacting our health in many ways. In particular our gut & immunity health.
Authors of ‘The Biohackers Handbook’ explained how health, energy & mental focus can all be improved through our food and getting back to more primal diets. Primal diets have greater diversity of food, more nutrients & are far better for the human microbiome.
What Gets Measured Improves
Self-measurement and analysis is a second cornerstone to Biohacking. The summit had a range of speakers taking about how to test for deeper insights into our bodies:
- Andrew Steele from DNAFit – explained how we can design exercise & diet plans best suited to our DNA.
- Dr Tamsin Lewis from CuroSeven – talked about how to use advanced biomarker analysis to hack our health.
- Simon Wegerif from iThlete – talked about how tracking our heart, specifically its variability (HRV) we can track & improve our health.
Top Biohack Takeaways
The top Biohacking takeaways reiterated throughout the day were:
- Diet – healthy whole foods are the most important for health and energy. Whole food improves our energy levels, lowers inflammation and can be part of a cure for numerous chronic health issues.
- Sunlight – Vitamin D is just the most well known benefit. It also synchronizes our biorhythms helping us to wake up in the morning & get sleep better. It improves our energy levels. It has even been used to help with the treatment of MS.
- Cold Therapy – cold showers improve circulation, help with fat loss, improve energy levels and increases immunity. Cold therapy has been around for a very long time, practiced by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
- Exercise – the best exercise is the one you’re not currently doing. Variety of exercise improves both physical resilience and mental performance.
- Gratitude – keeping a gratitude practice or journal keeps us focused on the positive, reduces stress, keeps us motivated and can help with managing depression. It also keeps us more social, key for a healthy & happy life.
— Teemu Arina (@tar1na) July 3, 2016
Biohacking in Ireland
In Dublin, Bulletproof coffee is becoming more & more popular in health food shops & restaurants. Lovin Dublin have a list of where to get Bulletproof coffee in Dublin.
Biohacking is also discussed at the Dublin Quantified Self meetup, held every 4-6 weeks in the Science Gallery in Trinity.
— Justin Lawler (@justin_d_lawler) February 24, 2016