Few people would call themselves ‘biohackers’ yet most of us are trying to improve ourselves and our lives in some way every day. If you wear a sleeping mask or drink coffee to get a boost, you are already on your way to being a biohacker.
The reason I’m saying all this is to get across just how friendly this conference was. Although many attendees whipped out their blue-light blocking glasses as soon as the sun went down, the whole event was a rather unpretentious gathering of people passionate about bettering themselves.
I had a blast and can’t wait to attend the next event. In the meantime, I’m sharing with you all of the fascinating insights I’ve heard:
- What Biohacker Summit Looked Like
- Top 3 Biohacks
- Ben Greenfield’s Daily Biohacks and Video Interview
- Supercharged Movie Premiere
- Focusing on Mitochondria with Jack Kruse
What the Biohacker Summit looked like
One of the most exciting things about this summit was that the fantastic choice of speakers and topics across biohacking, nutrition, biotech, wellness and being in the flow, was balanced out with a rich exhibition area where you could try out some of the cutting edge hacks and products. Luckily, hitting up the exhibition area didn’t mean you had to miss out on any of the talks – with names like Ben Greenfield, Jack Kruse, Ruben Salinas, Andrew Steele and more you wouldn’t have wanted to – because the organisers cleverly provided wireless headsets for all visitors.
There was also a bar making up fresh batches of bulletproof coffee with vit D to perk us up throughout the day. I had a few too many of those…
Good problems though? Yes! Because the coffee (by flowgrade) fuelled us up to score interviews with Ben Greenfield, who revealed his most important biohack of the moment, as well as with the summit curator Teemu Arina, whose daily rituals are interesting for anyone new to biohacking.
The Top 3 Biohacks
Looking back on the day, these were the BIG 3 – the three biohacks that almost everyone was talking about:
1. Cold Thermogenesis (CT)
Cold thermogenesis has recently seen immense hype among entrepreneurs. Everyone’s at least heard of, if they’re not already following, Wim Hof Iceman’s fire-burning method. Either way, they’ve bought into the benefits of consistent cold-to-hot, hot-to-cold water exposure and ice water submersion.
Indeed, there are countless benefits to having a cold shower daily:
- Stimulates building of the good fat (brown adipose tissue) that insulates your body thereby keeping you warm, and it instead stimulates the burning of the bad fat. That’s the kind which at best keeps you from achieving your beach body and at worst leads to disease in the long term.
- Improves hormone balance.
- Improves sexual performance and boosts fertility.
- Lowers blood glucose levels and improves fluid circulation.
- Improves adrenal function.
- Reduces inflammation and improves recovery.
- And lastly, it gets you out of your comfort zone.
I don’t practice CT every day; a plunge in icy water 2-3 a week seems to serve me just as well. After a bath like that, I feel less anxious and more mentally grounded. It also seems to boost my emotional intelligence and ‘being in the moment’.
Cold thermogenesis is actually the focus of the Biohacker Summit in Helsinki happening this November.
2. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
A few of the exhibition stands were to show off different ways of tracking heart rate variability.
One was a simple finger-tip tracker that attaches to a mobile device (ithlate). There was also a video game, which allows you to train your heart rate variability while playing a racing game (eeg.co.uk). With this one you could control visual feedback via both bio-sensory and tactile input. However, the speed trigger would only respond to your HRV, which you could control in real-time by breathing deep and becoming present.
If you’re wondering why heart rate variability matters, here are the quick points:
- Recording your HRV rate daily will give you insight into the state of your body that day. You’ll get a glimpse of your physiological stress levels, which makes HRV essential for high performers like stress-exposed entrepreneurs or business people, and athletes.
- If your HRV is high – it’s all good. High variability would mean that your parasympathetic nervous system is in charge, which means you are well rested.
- On the other hand, low HRV would mean sympathetic response, indicating one of the following problems: overtraining, severe inflammation and/or stress.
Knowing that you are off-beat (pun intended) can help you decide if you should take that rest day or just take things easier on any day. I say this as a high performer who never used to take rest days off my training, coaching or business hustle. I know how important it is to have a constraint to maintain good health. I now measure my HRV first thing in the morning and I use it to keep away from burnout–both physical and mental.
3. Blue Light Blocking and Exposure to Natural Sunlight
Before we dive into this biohack, here’s a great infographic from Tech Insider explaining how blue light harms your body and brain:
Ruben Salinas is a tech entrepreneur and the inventor of Quantlet–a biohacking device that simulates light and cold exposure on your wrist.
Ruben’s talk on light, water and magnetism was a pleasant surprise. Super practical and it included the last big biohack of the summit: blocking blue light which is emitted by every screen and which disrupts our internal body clock.
How can you block it? With orange shades. Hands down, these were the most popular ‘accessory’ at the conference, brandished by most people there once the sun started to set. Some even wore them all day!
Here’s the full protocol for using natural light to your advantage whilst preventing the negative effects of blue light:
- Get plenty of sunlight in the daytime, especially first thing when you wake up.
- Towards the end of the day, block artificial (blue light-rich) lighting by using blue light-blocking shades, an app like F.lux that can adjust colours on your screens, or simply don’t use tech with screens too late into the evening.
Ben Greenfield’s Daily Biohacks
- Jaw realignment. This was a demo and an instant fix to my almost always locked up and sore jaw muscles. If you want to instantly feel 1k times better – this is a thing to look into.
- Kundalini yoga:
- Intermittent fasting 365 days a year. Ben didn’t focus too much on the format of fasting; more important than the protocol is the process itself: just allowing the body to cleanse cells of waste for longevity purposes. As an added bonus it can help keep you slim as well. What worked best for me personally was doing the 16:8 protocol of intermittent fasting. This means 16 hours of fast starting a couple of hours before you go to bed, followed by an 8-hour window during which you can eat when hungry. In short, you stop eating after dinner and only resume eating around lunchtime the next day.
- Stabilising blood glucose with either apple cider vinegar (2tbs before each meal) or cinnamon (1tbs–however, note that this is a lot of cinnamon, i.e. fibre, so you’ll want to add some water…).
- We also caught up with Ben in person and asked him about athletic performance in ketosis, obstacle course racing, minimal travelling and his favourite biohack:
Premiere of the biohacker movie ‘Supercharged’
I absolutely loved this one! The movie follows a few biohackers who improved their lifestyle and everyday performance by implementing unconventional, yet easily available biohacks.
Experts in biohacking and wellness, interviewed in the movie, share groundbreaking research questioning many conventional principles our lifestyles are built on. For example, this includes the origin of energy in our bodies and what exactly stunts it. In summary, this movie contains:
- Clear, easy to grasp biohacks anyone with problems similar to the people in the movie could try out for themselves. These include: water quality and restructuring, restoring body’s ionic balance by grounding/earthing, blue light blocking to improve sleep and aid weight loss, cold thermogenesis and more…
- A healthy dose of dorky humour. It’s not just educational, but entertaining too.
- Amazing, well-cut cinematography.
Focussing on Mitochondria with Jack Kruse
“Everything I’ve learned in Medical school, I no longer believe” – Dr. jack Kruse
Jack Kruse has an immense drive and conviction about his message. The quote above is an example of that. His story of how he discovered the harmful effects of the environment on the mitochondria (nature’s powerhouse) was fascinating. I captured a small (but interesting) part of his talk here:
Overall, one thing is clear: thanks to the ever-advancing fields of biotechnology and self-quantification, truly anyone can be a ‘biohacker’. There’s no reason not to be one, if you’re a high achiever striving to upgrade your mind, body and experience of life. If you’re not convinced, it’s all the more reason to attend a mind-opening event like this. I’m honestly excited for the next Biohacker Summit this coming November in the cold and snowy Finland. The only question is…
Are you joining us?