To keep the body in good health is a duty. — Buddha.
Biohacking in Action
Biohacking can increase lifespan, improve tolerance to various metabolic stresses in the body and contribute to a better life while you’re here on Earth.
- Eat nutritious foods and avoid foods that damage the body
- Give your body enough rest
- Get Moving
- Eat Less Often
- Keep your stress low
- Fast to help your body repair itself
- Nurture mindfulness and take it into action
Understanding the Bodies 5 Defence Systems
There are five crucial defence systems in the body. These are the key to protecting our health. Each of these five systems needs to work in balance within the body in order for us to feel our best and healthy. When these systems become out of balance, our health suffers.
Our body’s ability to maintain good circulation is called angiogenesis. To maintain good circulation we regularly exercise, eat a nutritional diet and maintain a healthy weight. And avoid smoking, stress and prolonged sitting or standing.
The human body can regenerate tissues and organs. We can support this by To help the body eating a balanced diet, moving regularly, getting enough sleep and keeping stress low. We can also avoid potentially excessive exposure to toxins and pollutants and smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
Our bacterial ‘selves’ are made of good microbes that keep us healthy
Maintaining a healthy immune system is critical for ensuring efficient protection against infection. It also helps the body’s ability to identify and eliminate pathogens and cancer cells. To keep the immune system effective, eat a variety of nutritional foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Also keep stress low and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Other things we can is maintain a healthy weight and take Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc supplements.
Our ability to repair our DNA helps slow damage from aging. We can help support our bodies ability to repair DNA by eating a varied diet rich in nutrients, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and keep our stress low. And we need to minimise exposure to toxins and pollutants and avoid harmful habits to protect the body from damage.
By consuming foods high in antioxidants and taking key supplements, have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider, minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants, and consider antioxidant supplements such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and lipoic acid.
What Weakens our Health Defences?
We can understand and avoid many factors that can weaken our health defences and make us sick.
- Not getting enough good sleep
- Eating unhealthy foods
- Eating too much salt
- Eating trans fats
- Cooking in certain ways
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Smoking and exposure to smoke
- Exposure to fumes and chemicals
- Exposure to toxins at work
- Sitting too much
- Being overweight
- Too much sun
Our Body’s Markers of Health
Our health is a measure of how well our bodies can protect themselves against imbalances, breakdowns and foreign invaders. And markers of health can be used to track and optimise the health of our system and our overall well-being.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Our body's weight and composition is a reasonably good marker for our health. A healthy BMI indicates a reduced risk of chronic disease.
We can calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters (kg/m²). A healthy BMI falls between 18.5 and 24.9.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of our arteries. Higher blood pressure (hypertension) has been proven to lead to heart disease. It’s recorded as two numbers, systolic pressure (the higher number) and diastolic pressure (the lower number).
High blood pressure (130 mmHg or higher) is known as hypertension. And low blood pressure (90 mmHg or lower) is known as hypotension.
A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mmHg.
Cholesterol levels refer to the amount of cholesterol found in a person's blood. High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol, a waxy substance found in your bloodstream, plays a vital role in your body's everyday functions. However, when levels become too high, it can become a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It's important to monitor your cholesterol levels regularly to ensure that they are within healthy ranges. There are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, as it can build up in your arteries and lead to blockages. In contrast, HDL is known as "good" cholesterol, as it helps to remove excess cholesterol from your bloodstream. Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. So take care of your cholesterol levels, and take care of your heart!
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood that helps your body do important things. But if you have too much of it, it can be bad for your heart and make it more likely for you to have a stroke. You should check your cholesterol levels often to make sure they are okay. There are two kinds of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is called "bad" cholesterol because it can build up in your blood vessels and cause blockages. HDL is called "good" cholesterol because it helps remove extra cholesterol from your blood. Changing what you eat and exercising can help you have better cholesterol levels and lower your chances of having heart disease or a stroke. So, take care of your cholesterol levels and your heart!
Microbiomes are a collection of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa). They live inside our bodies and help maintain our health, influencing our immune system, digestion and metabolism.
Gut microbiomes have been shown to affect brain function and behaviour. They regulate the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin which contribute to the regulation of mood and behaviour. When we get an imbalance in the gut microbiome, we get inflammation. And inflammation has been linked as a contributing factor to a variety of mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.
A recent study published in the journal Microbiome found that commonly taken drugs, such as ibuprofen can reduce gut bacteria similarly to antibiotics significantly impactting the gut's microbiome.
Healthy 105-year-olds have a microbiome identical to that of a healthy 30-year-old.
What to Consume
Consume in-season foods sourced locally where possible. And remember where your food comes from is just as important as how it’s consumed.
Focus on eating foods that have been shown to promote healthy blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis. Supporting Angiogenesis can help prevent chronic diseases and improve overall health.
Angiogenesis also plays a role in other diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, as well as wound healing, organ repair and tissue regeneration.
Consume a Wide Variety of Foods
Eat a variety of foods to support the body's natural health mechanisms. And to activate the bodies 5 health defences.
Opt for Organic Foods where Possible
Choose organic produce if you can afford it, as it’s grown without the pesticides and fertilisers that can have negative effects on your body. Organic food growing practices also promote biodiversity and better soil and certainly taste better.
Bitter greens contain chemical compounds known as glucosinolates. They are also good for you because they;re packed with vitamins and nutrients including calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C, fiber and antioxidants. They also contain protein.
Gouda, Muenste and Camembert are a great source of vitamin K2. They are good for our heart and anti-angiogenic to boot. This means these foods can helps slow the formation of the blood vessels that promote tumor growth.
Nutrient-packed leafy greens like arugula, spinach, radicchio, or mâche. They special compounds that are anti-angiogenic, protect DNA, and boost the immune system.
Brassica vegetables are the heavy lifters for nutrition. These veges protect against cancers and are outrageously good for health and energy.
- Broccoli rabe
Garlic contains potent bioactives, such as apigenin. These can positively influence our immune systems. Aged garlic can be taken as a dietary supplement as it retains its potent bioactives.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant chemical called lycopene which helps prevent blood vessel growth. And consuming tomatoes may lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. The skin contains a highest amount of lycopene so best eat tomatoes with it on.
Cooking tomatoes, such as sautéing them for 2 minutes, can increase the amount of lycopene absorbed by the body by 50%. Adding olive oil to the cooking process can double the absorption of lycopene.
Among tomatoes, the best sources for high lycopene levels are San Marzano tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red black-skin tomatoes, and Tangerine tomatoes.
Fresh Fish and Seafood
Fish and seafood are a great source of protein. Opt for fresh fish over farmed for optimal health benefits. Cook with the skin on whole as this retains its omega-3 content. Larger fish can have higher levels of contaminants and heavy metals so should be avoided. If concerned have your heavy metal levels checked by a blood test.
Tinned sardines, mackerel and anchovies contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. They are also lower on the food chain so have less mercury.
Soy is protective. And connected to longevity and better health. Soy consumption has been linked to longevity and improved health.
The sweet spot for soy is about 10 grams of soy protein a day.
Sourdough is made from a healthy gut bacteria called Lactobacillus reuteri. This helps activate our immune system and increase the speed we heal. It also stimulates our brain to release our feel-good hormone oxytocin.
Eggs are the richest source of choline. Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, although this is minimised when they are eaten alongside healthy whole foods.
Although some studies suggest eating eggs may increase the risk of lethal prostate cancer by up to 81%. So there is a link between choline intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer.
When eating eggs, consume them with plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables. For example, avocado, tomatoes, arugula and zucchini. By combining eggs with fruit and veg we can provide our body with more rounded nutrition.
Avoid frying your eggs instead poach them in water or scramble them with a dash of extra-virgin olive oil. Alternatively or boil them in their shells.
Eating organic eggs in moderation, or eggs obtained from local sources, will most likely will not increase in your risk of heart disease or cancer. Should we eat eggs? Instead focus on eating an overall healthy diet.
Tree Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds activate multiple defence systems in the body. Aim for 2 servings of nuts (10 – 15 nuts per serving) per day.
Walnuts are highly nutritious. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lignin, quercetin and ellagic acid. These are beneficial bioactive molecules and compounds. And support a healthy gut microbiome, and our brain health. They can also help prevent prostate cancer.
Black pepper can help optimise your body's defence system. It’s bioactive compound, piperine, helps improves the absorption of other beneficial compounds in food. Use whole peppercorns and grind them yourself. This provides a fresher taste and better absorption.
Foods to Avoid
Processed foods: Basically, processed foods are unequivocally bad for us. So avoid bacon, sausage, butter, cheese and refined carbohydrates.
Milk: Humans have no nutritional requirement for milk.
Sodas: Sodas containing loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners which damage your gut microbiome.
Processed meats: Avoid processed meats like salami, pepperoni, hotdogs as these foods are carcinogenic.
Lemons contain high levels of vitamin C, fiber and other beneficial plant compounds and provide various health benefits.
One lemon contains 51% of the recommended daily vitamin C. Vitamin C an antioxidant, protecting the cells against free radicals that might cause heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C also helps protect bones and teeth and promotes collagen production helping repair wounds and keeping the skin healthy.
Lemons have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as their fiber and hesperidin and diosmin compounds help lower total blood cholesterol levels.
There are multiple epidemiological studies supporting the health benefits of green tea. it can help with gut health and may well assist with many other disorders. Green tea contains a bioactive called EGCG that makes a natural antioxidant enzyme called GSTP1. And GSTP1 helps protect your DNA from harm caused by stress.
Studies have shown that those who drink green tea regularly have considerably lower blood glucose levels. And by analysing faecal samples green tea has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines and improve intestinal permeability. The absorption of substances through an inflamed and overly permeable gut wall is thought to underly obesity, insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disease.
Consuming 2-3 cups of coffee per day lowers the risk of heart disease. And the darker the roast the better as darker blends have lower chlorogenic acid which is beneficial component of coffee.
Avoid adding dairy to coffee as it binds to it and lowers its positive effects.
Red wine has been linked to cardiovascular benefits and cancer prevention. The benefits of red wine come from the bioactives not the alcohol itself. Note that excessive alcohol consumption, including red wine, can be harmful.
The main bioactive compound found in red wine is resveratrol, but it also contains other beneficial polyphenols such as catechins, gallic acid, rutin, quercetin and caffeic acid, all of which are known to have antiangiogenic properties.
Not all types of red wine are equal. The most potent antiangiogenic red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
A Summary of what to consume
- Fish: 2-3 times a week delivers healthy nutrients, omega-3s, protein and
- Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and arugula, which are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and bok choy are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
- Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, which are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals
- Tomatoes, which contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to promote healthy blood vessels
- Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and flaxseeds, which are high in healthy fats and antioxidants
- Whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, which are high in fiber and other nutrients
- Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients
- Tea, such as green tea and black tea, which are high in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds
- Soy: 10 grams of soy protein per day can reduce some health risks
- Tree nuts: two servings a week can reduce the risk of colorectal cancers.
- Spinach: One cup per day improves your circulation from its natural nitrates.
- Tomatoes: half cup of cooked/tomato sauce or marinara is a great dose
- Purple potatoes: these can help combat colon cancer stem cells
- Green tea: lowers your risk for developing cancers
- Stone fruit skins: health-promoting and anti-cancer. Eat dried apricots so you can easily consume more than one.
- Dark chocolate: a daily sqaure of 80%+ dark chocolate provides flavonols that stimulate the 5 health defenses and can promote your overall health.
- Beet juice: supports the dilation of blood vessels and may even reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s high in good kind of nitrates, which become nitric oxide when they are consumed.
- Foods that are rich in vitamin C lower inflammation.
- Olives / olive oil: contain hydroxytyrosol that boosts your immune system
- Oysters: a great source of protein and boost your immune system.
- Intermittent fasting: helps your body re-boot and repel disease.
- Eat organic when possible.
- Avoid overeating: eat and chew slowly (consciously) which also helps avoid overeating. Stop eating when at 80% full.
Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information. — David Sinclair
Supplement effectiveness can vary widely, with scientific support for some and others sorely lacking it.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)
NAD+ is a coenzyme central to metabolism. It plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and cellular repair, in aging.
NAD+ supplements have been shown to be beneficial in improving cellular function and extending healthy lifespan
NAD+ levels decrease with age, and has proposed that NAD+ supplements can help to improve cellular function and extend healthy lifespan.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a derivative of the amino acid cysteine and is used as a dietary supplement, a medication and a mucolytic agent. NAC has antioxidant properties and has been found to help the body produce more glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. NAC is used as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, including respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and cystic fibrosis, as well as mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and addiction. NAC has been found to have potential therapeutic benefits in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease, as well as cancer. Additionally, it has been found to be beneficial in treating liver related issues such as toxicity, fibrosis and infections. It is also used as an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory and an anti-apoptotic agent for protecting cells from damage. It is available over the counter in most countries and it is recommended to take it under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information. — David Sinclair
Increasing breathing volume and ease increases oxygen absorption into the blood cells. This in turn strengthens every healthy biochemical reaction in the human body. It’s also important to realise how we breathe during the day shapes the way you breathe while sleeping or resting.
Why practice better breathing?
- Breathing in a shallow way can result in a shortening of life span. Poor breathing can also contribute to a range of illnesses.
- Conscious breathing can relax any kind of intense emotion or physical sensation we might be having. Conscious breathing has been called spiritual breathing, intuitive breathing, conscious connected breathing and rebirthing breath work.
- To really feel alive and enjoy longevity we need to learn to breathe better now.
- Optimal breathing is about breathing easier and fuller. Breathing really well through the nose and into our bellies is the foundation of the optimum breath. The practice is to nurture breathing that is slow, relaxed and smooth.
- Optimum breathing saturates our bodies with oxygen. This keeps our nervous system in balance and provides it with what it needs to operate at its maximum potential.
- Optimal breathing is achieved by conscious slow and deep breathing. This breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response). Activating the parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite to the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system.
- Without practising breathing we will by age 70 lose over 70%
- Dr Arthur Guyton proved All chronic pain, suffering, and disease are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level.
Does better breathing increase longevity?
- Breathing has much more to do with life than taking in oxygen.
- Our nervous system responds to the way our breath is taken in. Not breathing easy overstimulates the organs and muscles.
- Much of longevity comes from a life of being in the flow.
- Unbalanced breathing can break down the body’s resistance to disease.
The slower the breath rate at rest the better
The slower the breath rate at rest the better. The more times per minute you breathe during rest, the higher the stress and oxygen cost of breathing. Higher breathing rates also affect the quality of our sleep. Higher breathing rates produce excessive stress responses.
If our breathing rate is too high we experience excessive stress responses. If our resting breathing rate is high we want to work on lowering it.
A breathing rate that’s too fast can lead to a range of conditions such as:
- nervousness anxiety and panic attacks
- heart conditions, high blood pressure, strokes
- attention problems
- chronic fatigue
- weight issues
- shortness of breath when speaking, singing
- sleeping issues
The takeaway is slower and deeper breathing volume is better.
Fasting is the single greatest natural healing therapy. It is nature’s ancient, universal ‘remedy’ for many problems. – Elson Haas, M.D.
Intermittent fasting is an approach to eating that alternates between periods of fasting and unrestricted eating. The primary aim of fasting is to measurably positively affect our markers of health.
Fasting has been used for centuries for health or spiritual benefits. And has been written about by the likes of Socrates and Plato.
Approaches to Fasting
There are several approaches to fasting:
- Alternate-day fasting—alternate between days of eating normal and days of eating less. For example, you might fast on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and eat normally on the other days.
- Whole-day fasting—eat normally for 5 days a week and then have only a small amount of food, like 400-500 calories, for the other 2 days.
- Time-restricted feeding—eat only during a specific time of the day, and fast during the rest of the day. For example, you might eat all your meals from 8am to 3pm, and then fast for the rest of the day.
Intermittent fasting benefits
Intermittent fasting benefits include weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, increased longevity, increased cellular repair and improved brain function.
Intermittent fasting triggers an immune response that repairs cells and produces positive metabolic changes such as a reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, fat mass and blood glucose.
Intermittent fasting also triggers a state of cellular stress in the body. This is a natural process called autophagy where cells break down and recycle old or damaged components.
Meditation has numerous benefits for our brain and health. And actually helps lengthen our telomeres which help slow the effect of aging in our brains.
Improve focus, concentration and attention
Practising any form of meditation and nurturing mindfulness will help improve focus, concentration and attention.
If all that wasn’t enough reasons, meditation has been shown to increase grey matter in our brains, lengthen telomeres, and activate the insula to enhance empathy and compassion.
Regular meditation practice
Regular meditation practice has been shown to increase the thickness of the hippocampus. the small region of the brain that plays important roles in learning and emotion regulation. Our hippocampus is also responsible for how we consolidation of information and our short-term to long-term memory.
Lower stress levels
Meditation has been shown to contribute to lower stress levels. It does this by decreasing brain cell volume in the amygdala which is the part of our brain responsible for stress, fear and anxiety.
Meditation can reduce stress by up to 39% in just 10 minutes.
Cold Water Exposure
Research indicates exposure to temperatures colder than your skin temperature activates the sympathetic nervous system. This leads to the development of brown fat, which babies use keep them warm, burn sugar and to generate heat and warm up the body.
Cold water exposure to improve your overall health
Cold water exposure is a proven method to improve your overall health. Although cold exposure may not be suitable for everyone, so consult with a doctor before starting cold water therapy if you’re unsure.
The benefits from cold water exposure
- increases dopamine and noradrenaline
- increases circulation
- strengthens the immune system
- builds mental fortitude
- helps to calm/balance the nervous systems
- increases energy
- reduces inflammation
- increases metabolism
Deliberate cold exposure: improve your bodies circulation and immune function
Deliberate cold exposure can be used to increase metabolism, hormone health, and neurotransmitter production. Exposure to the cold increases Brown fat thermogenesis which is a mode of increasing heat production and metabolism in the body.
Exposure to cold water for short periods of time helps improve your body's circulation and immune function. The cold also helps improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
When the body is exposed to cold water its blood vessels constrict and then widen again. This contributes to keeping heart and blood vessels healthy.
Cold water also boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infections.
The act of immersing your body in uncomfortably cold water can also increase your mental ability to handle difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Cold exposure vs cold immersion
Immersing yourself in cold water helps reset your nervous system. This positive stress is actually beneficial to our bodies. As you step into the cold, the rapid temperature change triggers a state of stress in your body which reboots your nervous system. All it takes is just 11 minutes of cold water exposure a week.
Short exposure to cold water stimulates your body, while cold immersion is a longer exposure to cold water and can be used to acclimate the body to the cold. This process is called Hormesis, and the intense cold shock builds up our stress resilience, making everyday challenges and anxiety less intense.
How to Use Cold Showers
In a nutshell, get your self uncomfortably cold when doing cold exposure. This increases your resilience by building up adaptation. You can train for cold exposure to become adapted so that the hyperventilating response subsides.
The idea is the cold should not be enjoyed, as this is not the goal of the exercise.
Focus on your breath, after 30 seconds or a minute your body releases allows greater depth in your ability to embrace discomfort. Now listen to your body and respect it when it tells your it’s time to get out
Alternating between hot and cold temperatures
While extreme temperature exposure is necessary to activate brown fat, it can be achieved by simply shocking the body, such as by taking a cool swim on warmer days. It is important to end the temperature exposure on a cold note for the body to naturally and gradually warm up, which can increase metabolism.
Salad bowl ice therapy
A simple and inexpensive way to do real ice therapy is fill up a salad bowl with cold water and freeze it overnight. The next day, take a deep breath and bend forward, and immerse your face in the cold water for 8-10 seconds before you start to get a cold headache. Repeat this several times and to acclimate to colder temperatures. Doing this every night can help improve your sleep, and your nervous system's strength.
Cold water is merciless, but righteous. Your brain has the power to modify your pain perception. I'm not afraid to die. But I'm afraid to not live. Wim Hof
Blue Blocking Amber Glasses for Sleep
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ChiliSleep Cube Sleep System
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To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha
References & Resources
Chris Sinclair work on increasing lifespan
Dr. William medical doctor and researcher . He has written extensively on angiogenesis, and the science of how our bodies can heal themselves.
How Meditation Lengthens Telomeres + Improves Overall Brain Power
The Scientific 7-Minute Workout
How 'Micro-Breaks' Can Help You Feel Better at Work
Researchers discover how to improve eyesight naturally
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
Dr. Susanna Søberg: How to Use Cold & Heat Exposure to Improve Your Health | Huberman Lab Podcast
Everyday drugs act in surprising ways on the microbiome
Freemind — The Great Art of Living
Freemind is a newsletter on living creatively, learning to trust our intuition and following our passions. It’s about taking action on the things that excite us and staying open to new experiences and possibilities. https://freemind.substack.com/
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