How entrepreneurs can biohack their way to better results

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Nutrition, plans to live until at least 180 years. It isn’t a wayward claim – Asprey has been saying this for a long time and routinely asks his podcasts guests “how long do you plan to live?”

How does he plan to live that long? Is it possible to plan at all? It may be, through biohacking: the art and science of improving human performance. For decades now, biohackers around the world have been changing their environment from the inside-out to gain control over their bodies. In the world of biohacking, one size doesn’t fit all – hence the push to treat bodies as personal laboratories to find the exact “hacks” that help upgrade an individual’s performance.

Biohacking benefits for entrepreneurs

Biohacking pays

Why do I, a hotel tech and artificial intelligence entrepreneur, care about biohacking? More importantly, why should you? Let’s start with just three benefits.

Longevity

The obvious answer to why we should be according biohacking a great deal of seriousness is, of course, longevity. In the Blue Zones of the world, people live to 100 years of age and the longest recorded human lifespan is around 120. Assuming Asprey’s claim of living to 180 years is possible, we are talking about an extra 60-90 years of a healthy life! Think of all the good that can be done if the world’s wisest elders had decades more of energetic, mobile life to continue their contributions. What if Einstein was alive today at 140 years of age, furthering his research, instead of dying at 76?

Sounds unbelievable? It may not, once we dive into biohacking in greater detail.

Quality of life

If longevity doesn’t cut it, think instead of the quality of life. Improved cognitive performance, increased productivity, working on our body and mind before we get sick – are all real possibilities with biohacking. While doctors today are primarily focused on treating illnesses, with biohacking we are looking at individualized, self-directed, and preventive healthcare. This isn’t new – we have known about this for decades now through the science of epigenetics.

A WHO study that dates all the way back to the 1980s has shown that only about 10% of our health depends on genetics, while 70% depends on lifestyle choices. That means you can have control over this 70%. Essentially, biohacking is about acting before you experience problems, about tracking your health parameters, and giving your body what it needs to boost productivity.

Serge Faguet

Work smarter

This isn’t an efficiency vs productivity debate alone – though like I’ve said previously, biohacking can improve cognitive performance. Working smarter also involves reducing stress levels and hormones in our system, ensuring that we have more energy, better sleep, better focus & concentration in order to achieve improved performance at work and home.

Biohacking: I’m a believer

I can attest to the benefits that I have personally accrued over the decade that I have been involved in biohacking. Connect with me if you want to chat about these benefits directly.

Biohacking has its share of critics. Here is one self-professed “health nerd” terming it “bullshit” and “nothing new.” And another one talking about the hubris of biohacking. There are plenty of people criticizing Dave Asprey in particular, who is mentioned in the dictionary definition of biohacking. I am not diving into a full-fledged defense of biohacking here. But then, this isn’t a fad I am jumping on either.

The first biohacking workshop (this was on quantified self) that I attended was over a decade ago. And since then, I have attended several conferences including the recent Upgrade Labs’ annual biohacking conference in Beverly Hills. With each conference I attend, there is a new horizon, a new layer to uncover. This conference was no different – the cryotherapy chamber by CryoScience which had me at -157 °F for two minutes was one the most notable experiences.

Nootropics

Anyone familiar with biohacking will tell you that eating right and smart drug experimentation go hand in hand. For about a decade now, I have been experimenting with mild nootropics.

Nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals — most naturally-occurring, some man made — that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. Here is a beginner’s explanation of nootropics, and here is a more nerdy and rich source of first-hand experiences on nootropics. It is a deep rabbit hole for anyone willing to engage. There are people who attest to incredible benefits, yet others report no impact or typically mild negative effects. My personal favorites are L-Theanine, Curcumin (commonly found in turmeric), and Ashwagandha. All of these have been well-studied with almost no potential downside in reasonable doses, and very well-proven upsides.

Biohacking routines

If you’re curious and want to start on the journey, I’d recommend starting with these practices:

Cold Rinse

  • Time investment: 3 minutes a day
  • Time to feel positive effects: 30 days
  • Recommendation: Take a 2-3 minute cold rinse after your normal hot or cold shower. A cold rinse may sound terrible, but it’s super energizing once you’re over the initial few days of flailing and gasping. Start with a 10 second cold rinse and slowly build up to the maximum cold you can handle. Focus on breathing steadily right through.
  • Why this is important: This rinse helps kill off weak or dying cells in your body (Take a look at hormesis) and helps you gain control over your “fight or flight” response. Chronic stress is linked with overactivation of this fight or flight response, which may currently be over activated within you, causing all kinds of lifestyle issues.

Start A Gratitude Journal

  • Time investment: 5 minutes a day
  • Time to feel positive effects: 30 days
  • Recommendation: Write down three things that you’re grateful for first thing in the morning, and three more just before sleeping.
  • Why this is important: Negative talk in your head holding you back? Hack it with this practice. It doesn’t matter how unimportant or insignificant you think each gratitude item is – even clean water, fresh sheets, reliable electricity count. I know this sounds woo-woo (I thought the same), but the science is compelling. Our minds naturally pay more attention to negative information, which steals our limited attention away from positive information. This was really useful when we were hunting (and being hunted) in the jungle, but presents almost as a design flaw in modern humans.

Lift Heavy Occasionally, Recover Like A Beast

Sleep Right

  • Time investment: 7-8.5 hours a day (non negotiable)
  • Time to feel positive effects: 7 days
  • Recommendation: Spend at least 8 hours in bed every night and 9 hours on workout days.
  • Why is this important: You will likely sleep over 200,000 hours in your life. Have you received even 1 minute of formal instruction on how to succeed at this critical practice? Any sleep training that parents put us through doesn’t count in this instance; the goals they had in mind were different. Enter Why We Sleep, a brilliant book that fills the educational gap here. I think this should be required reading around age 12.

Supplement With Adaptogens

  • Time investment: 1 minute
  • Time to feel positive effects: 30 days
  • Recommendation: Incorporate adaptogenic herbs into your supplementation routine
  • Why are these important:  Do you know about the adaptogen class of herbs? These herbs help your body restabilize regardless of whether you are too high or too low on a specific health marker.

If your cortisol is high, adaptogens help lower it. If your cortisol is low, adaptogens help raise it. Adaptogens can also increase your resilience against aging, stress, and anxiety, and even physical injury. Some can even improve your mental performance. One study found that Rhodiola, one of the most Bulletproof adaptogens can help with problems like, “decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, hypertension, headaches, and fatigue… developing subsequent to intense… intellectual strain.”

Dave Asprey

They’re pure magic relative to most Western medicine, which can typically only help you either lower or raise a specific marker, often with the risk of toxicity and side effects, which do not seem to be associated with adaptogens at all. Other adaptogens worth considering include rhodiola rosea, ginseng (Asian, Siberian, American species), astragalus, licorice root, and schisandra.

Try Intermittent Fasting

In short: eat, sleep, think, and move right, and you’ll have a performance edge over a vast majority of people. Are you nailing the basics? Add a few other tricks to your bag if you’re aiming to perform among the best in your field.

4 thoughts on “How entrepreneurs can biohack their way to better results

  1. How does alcohol fit in to your routines? Do you have to be particularly strict with yourself or is the occasional variation from routines acceptable?

    1. Alcohol is less and less preferable based on the science, which may be why you asked. Why We Sleep’s recap on booze studies is particularly damning – days of impaired sleep following even small-ish amounts of alcohol consumption!

      For me, social context or just trying a brilliant new cocktail are occasionally more important than routine. Good to keep your body guessing, nimble, and adapted to conditions well outside your routine. I think it’s healthy to disrupt and reconsider your routine from time to time.

      What’s been your approach to alcohol?

  2. Well, while analsying longevity of folks in Blue Zones, their ‘a glass of wine a day’ habit, is regularly called out as a reason. Myth?

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