Biohacking in Singapore (2020 updated guide)
WHAT IS BIOHACKING
Biohacking is a revolutionary way to use your own biology to your advantage.
It is based on some of our most foundational human processes and adaptations, combined with the most recent scientific developments. Applied biohacking gives an edge to your:
- cognitive capacity
- overall health
- and much more!
This updated Biohacking in Singapore (2020 guide) is a perfect starting point if you are based in Singapore and looking to biohack your life.
Biohacking can be entirely free and it can also be extremely expensive using the latest medical equipment. We expand on all things biohacking in Singapore and have a FREE e-Book for you to download within this article.
FREE AND READABILITY ACCESSIBLE BIOHACKING METHODS
HARNESS OXYGEN AND RESILIENCE - THE WIM HOF METHOD
The Hyperactiv Clinic based in Pemimpin Place is Singapore's first and only dedicated centre to the Wim Hof method.
This method has gained huge popularity in its use of breath-work, cold exposure and commitment to biohack your life!
If you have not heard of the amazing Wim Hof yet, his story is quite unbelievable. Wim Hof, known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete and biohacker. Famous for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, he has set Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice. He still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow, among a range of other incredible feats of strength, endurance and resilience, which he attributes to a method that he calls the Wim Hoff Method (WHM).
Essentially the WHM is a way to tap into the hidden power of oxygen. The most extraordinary aspect of the WHM is that it can be used by everyone. Simply by combining the 3 pillars of this unique process, it is claimed that humans can biohack our body for benefits such as:
- Improved immune system
- Increased energy
- Heightened focus & determination
- Reduced stress levels
- Dealing with fear and challenges
- Improved sport performances
- Better sleep
- Greater cold tolerance
AND improve the way the body deals with problems such as:
- Muscle soreness
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF HOW WHM WORKS
This biohacking method starts with your breath. Through a breathing pattern, Wim Hoff has designed a protocol that helps you absorb and utilise oxygen.
By adding additional stressors, such as cold or exercised induced exposure to the process (at advanced levels), our bodies are enabled to self-heal.
In fact, Wim has worked with many universities that have studied his 'unique' characteristics - not only did they find evidence that this process works, but he has also been able to replicate similar results with everyday people like you and me.
Overall, an exceptional biohacking protocol.
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INTERMITTENT FASTING AND FASTING
It is no surprise that most religions that we know of include a ritual of either intermittent or full fasting.
We know there is the science-backed proof behind this ancient wisdom, and intermittent and full fasting have quickly become some of the most popular tools in nutrition and fitness.
Imagine: if you could save money, eat less meat, decrease your overall carbon footprint on the world, while saving time, losing weight, and giving your body a load of measurable health benefits.
The process of intermittent fasting can be broken down into three categories:
- The Warrior Protocol 16:8
- One Meal A Day 20:4
Here are some of the benefits:
- Reduces inflammation and encourages a better inflammatory response
- Improves digestion
- Increases metabolism
- Helps clean 'dead cells' to stay younger, and SO MUCH MORE!
As you can see the potential of intermittent fasting is simply amazing!
Protocols will vary the effectiveness of the results and in some cases cause some side effects (that you may not like!)
There are simply so many amazing aspects of intermittent fasting, from autophagy to weight management, that we will have a comprehensive article exclusively on that coming out soon. Submit your name here to receive a first copy, as well as a Nuzest protocol that uses Clean Lean Protein and Good Green Vitality within a safe protocol for you to lose and manage weight, gain muscle and look amazing.
SAUNA AND HEAT SHOCK THERAPY
The Finnish people have for hundreds of years been using heat to biohack many beneficial physical outcomes.
Here in Singapore, there is a plethora of saunas and steam rooms - you can find at least a sauna or a steam room within most private condo as well as in many gyms around the island.
Sauna is so helpful, it has even featured on the Joe Rogan podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick
There are too many benefits to name. So we have listed the top 6 sauna-induced biohacking benefits below:
1. BOOSTS METABOLIC RATE
The high temperatures in the sauna allow your heart rate to increase by 30%. This, in turn, boosts your metabolic rate by up to 20%. Once your metabolism has kick-started or accelerated, you tend to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
Here is a calculation you can use to see how many calories you will burn in a sauna:
The number of calories burned in 30 min of sitting or resting * 1.5 (and 2) = calories burned in a sauna.
If the sauna session is carefully paired with intermittent fasting and specific types of exercising, you can make a remarkable transformation in a very short space of time. You literally become a fat-burning machine!
2. ACTS AS A DETOXIFIER
If you walk around a lot in Singapore, you're going to get sweaty. However, for most of us, the daily routine may mean we leave early (while it's still relatively cool), hop on air-conditioned trains (MRT), buses or cars, then walk through shopping malls to arrive at the office. This is fantastic, meaning we don't show up to work dripping wet, but not ideal when it comes to biohacking our health.
Sweat is made from the lymphatic fluid. Since the heat in the sauna will make you sweat more, your body can get rid of toxins easily. This is healthy, especially if you do not workout regularly (or at all), or often stay indoors in low-temperature air conditioning.
Sweating also helps flush out heavy metals like nickel, mercury, copper, and zinc that are absorbed via the foods you eat. Once your lymphatic system is clear, you will start losing weight by burning the fat effectively.
3. HELPS LOSE WATER WEIGHT
Water weight can contribute a number of kilos to your total weight. It can take about seven days to lose the water weight, with a restricted diet and a mixed workout routine. But we can biohack the solution much faster: 15-30 minutes in the sauna will help expel the excess water by inducing heavy sweating. If done in a 'semi fasted' state, this mild dehydration not only improves your overall metabolism as suggested, it also pushes your body to burn more fat as well as move into an autophagic state.
4. REDUCES STRESS
A sauna can be described as the most relaxing bath - it helps reduce stress and lowers cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released when you worry too much or are under mental or physical stress. This leads to an increase in the number of harmful free radicals and inflammation in the body.
Further, if you need to control your blood pressure, several studies have proven the strong benefits of saunas. Specifically, in a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, Dr. Zaccardi and colleagues linked regular sauna use with a reduced risk of cardiovascular death.
During follow-up, a total of 251 men developed high blood pressure. Compared with men who had just one sauna bathing session per week, men who had two to three sessions every week were found to have a 24% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Also, the hypertension risk was 46% lower for men who had four to seven sauna sessions weekly.
The team suggests a number of mechanisms behind their findings. They note that the increase in body temperature during sauna bathing can cause blood vessels to dilate, which can increase blood flow.
Additionally, they explain that regular sauna use can improve the function of the endothelium - the tissue that lines the inside of blood vessels - which can improve blood pressure. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319610.php
Used in conjunction with other biohacking tools, you can bring that blood pressure right down.
5. IMPROVES STAMINA
Ever felt out of breath too soon while working out or even climbing up the stairs? Well, the sauna can help tackle that problem. It improves your breathing capacity, increases respiratory function. It can assist in the production of the vasodilator nitric oxide and reduces respiratory problems. Additionally, through acclimatisation to the heat of the day, your body is able to produce more oxygen-rich red blood cells, which is a huge benefit to your cardiovascular system.
The effects have a secondary benefit. When your stamina for working out increases so that you're able to go on long walks, lift heavy objects or climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, you will start burning more fat, as an increase in oxygen will enable you to become more fuel-efficient. There are gadgets and services in Singapore that will measure this response.
6. AIDS MUSCLE RECOVERY
Many athletes rely on a sauna to help their muscles recover from a strenuous workout or exertion.
Since the muscles also play an important role in your metabolic rate, keeping them rejuvenated and strong will help you lose weight. Sauna helps to relax and remove all the soreness from your muscles.
GETTING A GOOD DOSE OF SUN
So many people in Singapore actively try to avoid the sun, as the radiation from the sun can lead to sunspots aka pigmentation. But, if you are here to bio-hack, then the sun needs to start becoming your friend.
The scientific literature of 'low in the sky' morning and evening sun is clear: your body needs sunlight in order to convert cholesterol in your body to Vitamin D.
Fun biohacking fact:
Cholesterol is an essential part of every cellular function in our bodies and up to 85% of Cholesterol is actually made within our bodies, the rest comes from food sources.
Sunlight will help you manage your cholesterol levels.
It is clinically proven that our bodies must have vitamin D to absorb calcium. So for children, females, and those who have family histories of fragile bone illnesses such as osteoporosis, it is encouraged that you get a quality amount of vitamin D.
But there is more. Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to several cancers including, breast, colon and prostate, as well as heart disease, depression and weight gain. These specific correlations and benefits are still being studied but the initial evidence is clear - vitamin D has a positive role in many of the above disorders.
Time in the sun most likely means spending time in Nature.
The ways natural environments hack our brains are still open questions in many aspects. But the notion is common sense. Time in nature has been found likely to decrease brooding, and increase healing after surgery, among other benefits. Still, year after year, the average amount of time people spend indoors increases in wealthy countries. If this is happening to you, you could try eco-therapy or potentially get a prescription for park time from your doctor.
Nature has also been shown to be the best place to achieve a 'Flow State' which we are going to talk a lot more about later in this blog.
A further benefit to being outdoors is that you hopefully can get a reprieve from the stresses of EMF or electromagnetic radiation. Most countries around the world have guidelines on 'tolerated levels' of EMF radiation. Wifi and the towers that produce its signals are the main causes of EMF. There are tons of gimmick products that make claims in this area, so it is a slippery slope. But using common sense, such as having downtime every day from EMF and ideally turning WiFi off in the evenings, are great first steps to decreasing your exposure and biohacking out of a compounding situation.
Under the sun is a great place to be moving your body and applying force.
There is loads of research around fitness and exercise on health, so it barely can be considered in this list of bio-hacks.
However, if you are pursuing a physical exercise program, consider these core pillars:
- Cardio work. Ideally less weight-bearing as we age.
- Resistance work. Using the natural force.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT). This method promotes heart rate variability as mentioned above, and has massive benefits. In Singapore, places like F45 and UFit have programs fully structured around this concept.
- Flexibility. Often overlooked but increasingly important as we age. Having a good range of motion is not only excellent for your health, but also for your joints as they need to be opened for optimal blood flow and maintained. Check out The Stretch Clinic or perhaps take up a Hot Yoga class to maximise your time and effects.
So what exercises should be done?
Simply the balance of what's right for you, what you enjoy, and what is sustainable and possible within your physical dominion and time schedule.
There are hacks to exercise and fitness. One that I personally love is to bundle time: walking is the ideal time to be watching your favourite show or listening to a podcast or music.
The biohacking trifecta = Downtime + Sun + Exercise
Further to all of the amazing benefits listed above, Vitamin D, recently in The Lancet publication, it was sated, there is emerging evidence that specifically links outcomes of COVID-19 and vitamin D status. Specifically, the SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, started its spread in the Northern hemisphere at the end of 2019 (winter), when levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are at their lowest. Further, countries in the northern hemisphere have suffered most of the burden of cases and mortality. In an analysis across Europe, COVID-19 mortality was significantly associated with vitamin D status in different groups of people. The low mortality rates in Nordic countries have bucked this trend perhaps due to the fact most are vitamin D sufficient due to the widespread fortification of foods. Italy and Spain are also exceptions, but it is key to note that vitamin D deficiency in these counties is surprisingly common.
- Vitamin D supports the body to make antimicrobial peptides in the respiratory system. Directly combating the virus and making the progression of COVID-19 symptoms less likely.
- Vitamin D may also help to reduce the inflammatory response to infection with SARS-CoV-2. It does this by interacting with proteins that otherwise would be used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In review, there seems to be low, to no downside risk of taking additional vitamin D, in order to increase your own bodies protection and ability to cope with the Covid-19 Virus.
BIOHACKING A FLOW STATE
In 1970, University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term 'flow state'. Csikszentmihalyi surveyed thousands of people about when they felt their best and performed their best. And the feedback was powerful!
When you're in the state of Flow, you:
- are completely focused on the task at hand;
- forget about yourself, about others, about the world around you;
- lose track of time;
- feel happy and in control; and
- become creative and productive.
Athletes experience this feeling in the heat of the game; they refer to that moment as being, in the zone. The Buddhists call it mindfulness.
Essentially, time literally seems to slow down, focus sharpens, and a myriad of hormonal activities take place.
Check out this clip of one of our favourite athletes, Alex Honnold who certainly is a master of flow state, who climbed Al-Capitan with no ropes!
Why is flow such as powerful biohacking tool in a modern society full of distractions?
The ability to single-task (as opposed to multi-task) in our modern lives is the most important facet of productivity. Never before in history have we had such powerful distractions, such as the addictive nature of social media, or constant reminders of messaging apps and push notifications. These have all been crafted to be attention-grabbing and addictive.
We're also not talking about the kind of productivity where you knock off 20 items from your to-do list (although that can be satisfying), where you're switching between tasks all day long, and keep busy all the time. True productivity is where you actually achieve your goals, and where you accomplish important and long-lasting things. It means getting key projects done rather than answering a bunch of emails, making a lot of phone calls, attending a bunch of meetings, and shuffling paperwork all day long. It means closing key deals. It is quality instead of quantity.
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE OF FLOW STATE?
From early research, scientists have made enormous progress on flow. Advancements in brain imaging technologies have allowed us to apply serious metrics to quantify historical subjective experience research. Plenty has been learned, including the fact that Csikszentmihalyi was spot-on in his word choice: flow is the exact right term for the experience.
The state manifests in a radical alteration in normal brain function. As attention heightens, the slower and energy-expensive extrinsic system (conscious processing) is replaced for a far faster and more efficient processing of the subconscious, intrinsic system. ‚ÄúIt's an efficiency exchange, says American University, Beirut neuroscientist Arne Dietrich, who helped discover this phenomenon. We're trading energy usually used for higher cognitive functions for heightened attention and awareness.
The technical term for this exchange is ‚ transient hypofrontality‚ with hypo (meaning slow) being the opposite of hyper (fast), and frontal referring to the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain that houses our higher cognitive functions. This is one of the main reasons flow feels like a 'slowing down' because any brain structure that would hamper rapid-fire decision-making is literally shut off.
In another example, in flow we shift down from the fast-moving beta wave of waking consciousness to the far slower borderline between alpha and theta. Alpha is a day-dreaming mode when we slip from idea to idea without much internal resistance. Theta only shows up during REM or just before we fall asleep. In that hypnagogic gap, ideas combine in truly radical ways.
Finally, there is the neurochemistry of flow. A team of neuroscientists at Bonn University in Germany discovered that endorphins are certainly part of flow's mix. As other researchers have determined, so are norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, and serotonin. All five are pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing neurochemicals, upping everything from muscle reaction times to attention, pattern recognition and lateral thinking. This is why flow feels so good!
What are the best ways to get into and remain in flow state?
Instead of focusing on mountain climbing, dancing or other types of intense activity, the focus is usually on simply sweeping, washing, walking and mopping, and/ or ideally being in nature.
Step 1. Before you begin the activity, pause, then take three deep slow conscious breaths. Let the mind be fully engaged in the breath for that time and nothing else.
Step 2. Focus all of your attention in the present moment. Pretend for the moment that past and future do not exist. Bring awareness to your sense perceptions. Be fully present in the now.
Step 3. Slowly, with deliberate movements, go about your activity.
Step 4. Remain alert and keep mindfully attentive to only what you are doing in that moment - do not allow it to slip off into the unconscious mind chatter. Be completely absorbed in the activity, as if you have just been born into this world. You will find that the activity 'comes alive' when you practice it with mindfulness. If your mind does slip off into 'autopilot', simply guide it back to being intensely engaged in what you are doing.
BIOHACK YOUR BRAIN
Getting into ketosis and fuelling your brain.
People think ketosis is all about weight loss and come 'crazy diet' where you eat lots of meat and fat. To some extent this is true, but it is really about taking carbohydrates out of your diet in order to force your body to use fat as the primary fuel source. The bi-product of using fat for fuel is the body's production of ketones.
Latest research with the US military is showing clear evidence that ketones are extremely beneficial for the brain. This is a complicated area, and more research is being done right now on how ketones are having massive positive effects on cognitive health! The Bulletproof method also outlines that toxins found in many crops including grains, vegetables, and even coffee, can release toxins into the brain. Toxins come from pesticides and herbicides used in the process of making vegetables or are released by mould growing on plants, which is a known problem in the agricultural industry. These toxins are what cause brain fog, and place a huge burden on the brain's ability to perform at the level you want it to.
You can get your FREE e-Book on the 6-week Biohacking course here. Click on the image.
GAMIFY YOUR LIFE!
Many studies have shown that seemingly small uses of our brain capacity to solve visual and word puzzles might improve cognition in younger and older adults. Things like crosswords and sudoku force us to continue creating, maintaining and reinforcing connections regardless of our age.
There are many such programs available for free as mobile apps, and all you need to do is turn this into a daily habit so as to improve your cognitive function and reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease.
INVERSION THERAPY (HANGING UPSIDE DOWN)
The concept of decompressing the back to find pain relief goes back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. He invented the Hippocratic Bench, the first version of the inversion table, around 400 BC. This concept wasn't resurrected until the 1960s, when holistic practitioners sought ways to deal with their patients' pain that didn't involve drugs or surgery. Dr Robert Martin, a California chiropractor, adapted Hippocrates' concept to create the modern-day inversion table. By 1980, inversion therapy had been adopted by alternative medicine professionals.
Inversion tables are one type of "inversion therapy," which involves adopting an upside-down posture to reverse the effects of gravity on the spine. The head is tilted downward on a table, to relieve pressure on the discs and nerve roots in the spine, and increase the space between vertebrae. Proponents claim that inversion table therapy not only relieves back pain but also improves posture, preserves height, increases flexibility, stimulates blood flow to the brain and scalp, corrects the position of abdominal organs, and relieves varicose veins. Furthermore, regular inverting trains the brain capillaries, making them stronger and more capable of bringing oxygen to the brain. It's pretty straightforward - more oxygen to your brain means better brain performance. As an added bonus, after repeated inverting, the way your body regulates blood pressure actually changes. The science of these assertions is still unclear, but let's dive in.
Experts regard inversion tables as a form of spinal traction. Instead of increasing disk space, traction is more likely to stretch the muscles and ligaments around the spine, and temporarily relieve muscle spasm. That may be why some people get short-term relief from back pain after lying on an inversion table. But spinal traction doesn't provide long-term relief.
However, Joe Rogan, the famous UFC commentator, podcast host, and comedian, speaks very highly of inversion therapy. On his podcast with Jesse Ventura, he said:
I've suffered from several back injuries over the years (bulging discs) from jiujitsu and working out. One of the things that has helped me a lot is using one of those Teeter Inversion Tables. I strap my ankles into this thing and I hang upside down - it's a great way to decompress your back and get rid of pain.
A 2006 Cochrane Review (a summary of evidence from randomised trials) concluded that there was no evidence to recommend traction for the treatment of low back pain.
Using an inversion table is not without risk: based on a study, the immediate effects of inversion increase both systolic and diastolic blood pressures significantly - Phys Ther. 1986 Sep;66(9):1361-4.
However, just like exercising, the immediate effects of working out would also suggest that all indicators are negative, raising heart rate, straining the cardio system. The question yet to be solved is: are there long term blood pressure-lowering benefits from frequent inversion therapy? Taking yoga as an example, head and handstands have been used for millennia in these practices for this and other purposes.
If you have not heard of stoic practices, these are simply a daily gratitude exercise that can be an unbelievable powerful biohack.
Here is a little snapshot of the benefits:
Let's do a quick-fire list as to how the practice of gratefulness and forgiveness can positively impact your life:
1. A five-minute daily gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10%. That's the same impact on happiness as doubling your income!
2. Gratitude generates social capital - in two studies with 243 total participants, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.
3. Gratitude helps our health.
4. Gratitude can boost your career! This happens by making you a more effective manager, helps you network, increases decision-making capabilities, increases productivity and helps you get mentors and proteges.
5. Gratitude gives control of emotions. It reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings and helps us bounce back from stress.
6. Gratitude is strongly correlated with optimism. Optimism, in turn, makes us happier, improves our health, and has been shown to increase lifespan by as much as a few years.
7. Materialism is strongly correlated with reduced well-being and increased rates of mental disorder.g1 There's nothing wrong with wanting more. The problem with materialism is that it makes people feel less competent, reduces feelings of relatedness and gratitude, reduces their ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life, generates negative emotions, and makes them more self-centred. The pursuit of wealth and power has been shown in dozens of studies to be a highly inefficient method of increasing well-being and happiness.
8. Spiritual transcendence is highly correlated with feelings of gratitude. That is, the more spiritual you are, the more likely you are to be grateful.
This is for two reasons:
- All major religions espouse gratitude as a virtue.
- Spirituality spontaneously gives rise to grateful behaviour.
9. Those who have more gratitude have a more proactive coping style, are more likely to have and seek out social support in times of need, are less likely to develop PTSD, and are more likely to grow in times of stress. In other words, they are more resilient.
10. Our memories are not set in stone. Rather, they are like words in a book, and to a large extent, the framing of the emotional connections and memories around them can change over time. Sometimes we remember things as being worse than they actually were, as being longer or shorter, people as being kinder or crueller, as being more or less interesting, and so on. Experiencing gratitude in the present makes us more likely to remember positive memories and actually transform some of our neutral or even negative memories into positive ones.
11. A small bit of jealousy or envy directed at the right target is motivating. Too much produces feelings of insecurity, materialism, inferiority, distrust, and unhappiness. Gratitude pulls us out of negative emotional states and pulls us toward the powerful zone.
SO HOW DO YOU PRACTISE GRATITUDE?
It's about creating space to be introspective - stopping everything or being conscious before you get started on the day. Simply consider what you are grateful for, or write your thoughts about gratitude and forgiveness down in a journal - there are some great Apps for this.
In summary, gratitude triggers positive feedback loops.
But don't expect changes to be drymatic or fast. Studies have shown that positive benefits generally occurred slowly. It took several months of continuous practice for the largest benefits to appear. This is for two reasons:
- Cultivating gratitude is a skill. After three months of practice, I now have the ability to self-generate slight feelings of gratitude and happiness on command. With more time and practice, I expect the intensity and duration of the generated feelings to increase.
- Gratitude is a personality trait. Some people have more grateful personalities than others. Daily gratitude practise can change our personality, but that takes a long time.
BIOHACKING YOUR SLEEP
Sleep is entirely overlooked and underrated as a top biohacking tool - well it should not really be a biohack, but it shows how far we have strayed from our innate wellbeing.
Getting the right amount of sleep has shown benefits from extending life, to the optimal functions of the body's processes to help in the prevention of many diseases. Yes, even the infectious ones, since sleep deprivation can leave the immune system in tatters. Sleep requires no effort and costs nothing, yet people tend to go out of their way not to do it enough.
Sleep should come naturally to us, but as we will demonstrate later in this blog, our lives are now getting in the way. Sleep is a deep meditative state where you explore your subconscious and the dense ball of neurons in our heads wash themselves, clearing out the metabolic by-products (toxins). If the pro-work, anti-sleep culture makes you feel lame and self-conscious about, say, leaving a party to go home and sleep, try saying, I'm going to go biohack my brain.
There are many keys to biohack quality sleep, but the first is to save the last hour of the day for non-work-related things that let your brain cool down. I call this the ‘Amazing Hour’. Other basic steps to mastering this biohack: no phones in bed, no caffeine or prescription amphetamines before bed, and no alcohol before bed because it messes with sleep cycles. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and keeping your bedroom dark/ wearing an eye mask can all help with falling quicker to sleep and the quality of sleep you experience.
It is important to remember, it is not simply about the number of hours you sleep, but also the quality of sleep you're getting. Waking feeling ‘groggy’ could be a signal that you are not entering the deep REM sleep zone.
The science looks like this. When you sleep, it gives your brain a chance to repair the neurons that you exhaust during the day while you’re active. It also gives your brain time to exercise the connections between your neurons. In fact, a recurrent lack of sleep may cause loss of brain cells.
Eight hours of quality sleep can increase your ability to tackle complex problems by 50%. So, continue reading this article for all of our sleep biohacks that are hidden gems within other biohacking tools we outline.
If you are looking to get a very re-energizing sleep during the day, try this powernap bio hack:
- Take your mid-day coffee and then go to bed immediately.
- By the time the coffee kicks in, you will have had a 30min power nap and you will wake up recharged and refreshed.
The half-life of coffee
Ok, so it’s totally possible that many of us are completely addicted to coffee. There is no major issue here, other than when it starts affecting your sleep. Coffee has a very long half-life and it compounds. Meaning to say, there is an accumulation in your body over time.
Here is a diagram of caffeine and clearance:
So the hack here is never to have a coffee in the evening. Make sure you have all of your brews before midday.
Sunlight in promoting a Healthy Circadian Rhythm - boosting positive sleep patterns
Did you know that people whose offices have windows get better sleep than those who work in windowless workspaces? That’s because getting enough sun exposure every day keeps your body’s clock, or circadian rhythm, on point. Sunlight tells your body to postpone making melatonin, a hormone that makes you tired and helps you sleep. So it is a great idea to get some sun in the morning if you can, but if you are rushing to get to work and don’t have time to take a leisurely walk, you can take vitamin D supplements in the morning instead. Since sunlight makes your body produce vitamin D, which puts off melatonin production, taking a morning dose of the vitamin may make your body feel like you’ve been outside. (For this reason, you want to avoid taking your vitamin D at night, which can interfere with sleep).
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GADGETS FOR BIOHACKING
BLUE LIGHT FILTERS AND GLASSES
Blue light is naturally produced by the sun but also by computer monitors, smartphone screens and most other digital devices. In addition to these, blue light is produced by LED and fluorescent lights, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Blue light is essential in maintaining the sleep and wake cycle, mood and keeping the memory sharp.
Exposure to blue light can cause trouble when going to sleep. A simple yet effective biohack is to turn off electronic devices 2-3 hours before going to sleep.
But you can go further.
Companies like Essilor sell specific blue light blocking glasses that will help you filter out this negative light at your convenience.
On the contrary, if you’re just waking up, blue light is a fantastic way to start your day and stimulate a healthier circadian phase. This type of light is naturally derived from the sun, and our bodies are made to regulate our circadian rhythm according to this stimulus. If you wake up and go out walking outside to receive a full share of sunlight, it is not only a good exercise to start your day but may also improve your biological clock.
Travel and biohack with blue light. Hate getting jet lag? Well, biohacking may be your answer! We have already established that blue light can affect your circadian cycle. So planning out the time difference in your trip, and manipulating your light exposure and sleep cycles 3-4 days before you fly can help you become immune to the crushing effects of jet lag.
HEART RATE VARIABILITY MONITORING
If you’re looking for biohacking tools that are both affordable and effective, heart rate variability is probably your missing piece. It will help you get in touch with your own body, and understand how stress and certain health problems affect your overall performance. Heart rate variability was formerly used by athletes to measure how their workout produced stress in the organism. It is still a useful parameter if you want to detect how your body is responding to a particular routine or a change in your workout protocol. However, its application is not only reserved for physical performance and sports.
Heart rate variability is a parameter that measures how constant your heart rate is. If you measure your heart rate in the next minute, and then once and over again for the next 5 minutes, you will probably get a different number each time.
If you’re connected to a heart rate monitor, you will also notice how the numbers go up and down. It is possible to measure this variability through an algorithm named RMSSD (Root Mean Square of Successive Differences).
Heart rate variability measures the level of stress in your nervous system. A higher reading is associated with a lower stress level, but there is no way to compare yourself with a standard. Thus, if you want to use this measurement appropriately, it is essential to know yourself and establish a baseline reading to compare with successive readings.
To establish your baseline heart rate variability, make sure you’re not under intense emotional or physical stress. You should be as healthy as possible, and not undergoing any type of changes in your physical activity or diet. Proceed to measure your heart rate variability the first thing in the morning when you’re not yet out of bed. Do so for 3-4 days and calculate the average reading.
After doing this, you will need to measure the same parameter every morning and compare the readings to your baseline. This will provide useful data as to how certain changes are affecting positively or negatively in your life. You will realize how much an emotional breakdown is taking a toll on your nervous system, when to take a day off your workout routine, and whether or not other biohacking tools are improving your physical performance and the levels of stress in your nervous system.
In some cases, and for different reasons, it will be necessary to take your baseline readings all over again. For example, you might begin to understand your organism a bit more and making changes to improve your levels of stress. Thus, if you realize there’s a recurrent change in your heart rate variability that is maintained for a very long time and when you’re not under a stressful situation, it is possible you’re taking a step forward and need to adjust your baseline to your current advances.
RECOVERY AND LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE WITH PNEUMATIC COMPRESSION TECHNOLOGY
Many of us have seen people wearing long compression socks while out running, or even while sitting on the plane in order to increase leg blood flow to avoid deep vein thrombosis. But, recovery socks provide in-adequate ‘squeeze’ in order to sufficiently make an impact on Recovery and Lymphatic drainage with Pneumatic Compression Technology
Many of us have seen people wearing long compression socks while out running, or even while sitting on the plane in order to increase leg blood flow to avoid deep vein thrombosis. But, recovery socks provide in-adequate ‘squeeze’ in order to sufficiently make an impact.
Step in pneumatic compression technology.
You may have seen your favourite sports star on TV sitting on the side of the field with some ‘boots’ on. This is a recovery boot, and Singapore based company Recovery Systems is Asia's leader in this biohacking technology. Recovery Systems uses active compression to speed up the body's natural recovery process by accelerating the elimination of waste, and the healing process for recovery and gains faster than any traditional mode of recovery, compression socks, massage or rest alone.
This is an ideal solution for a range of issues and conditions including:
- Recovering from a workout
- Post-surgery to stimulate blood flow
- Speed up water retention removal effects of travelling and avoid deep vein thrombosis
Founder Michael Lyons states,
“designed by athletes for athletes, Recovery Systems is in the business of speeding up athlete recovery, healing and gains.”
But as we can see above, it is so much more.
Products are moving fast too. Where it used to be a single unit that needed to be plugged into a wall, Recovery Systems is pushing ahead with the next evolution in technology. Now, you can get battery operated recovery boots that can be used on aeroplanes for long haul flights (ideal for pilots) and for those frequent travellers. Also, you can get multi-person adaptors and units, ideal for teams.
This technology is a biohack that feels great.
REALTIME LACTATE TESTING
BIOHACKING FOR SPORT
The Humon Hex is a tool that non-invasively measures the body’s endurance zones, lactate threshold and recovery, all in real-time. An intelligent combination of hardware, software and data, this “lab-grade” wearable generates easy to interpret statistics that can be viewed via the Humon app on a smartphone, smartwatch, and also online. With this real-time information, one can track and understand the condition of their muscles as they delve into interval training, allowing them to head towards recovery according to the needs of the body.
Before training, strap the device on the calf or thigh and set it to work. The performance data will ensure that each training is done in a proper manner, from indicating if the body is properly warmed up or cooled down, eliminating the likelihood of a strain or injury. In the same way, it allows athletes to do better, train harder and increase endurance.
SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS
Once again, moving to nutrition is a huge topic on its own. So we will only be able to highlight some of the key biohacking nutrients, supplements and categories that you may not have heard about. It's highly likely we will release a big book of supplementation sometime, so drop us your email address to get all of our articles sent first.
One of the easiest biohacking tools is right in front of us and has been for a very long time. Baking soda, which is basically sodium bicarbonate, can be found in almost every kitchen in the country, and it has been found to improve the exercise performance and inflammation profile in many people. It increases the absorption of nutrients, and if you have an inflammatory condition, it would modulate the inflammatory response to your favor and reduce those annoying symptoms.
The research around gut health is getting deeper and the evidence couldn't be stronger. Here are some key findings from the latest research that reinforce why we want to biohack our positive gut health:
- According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the gut bacterium A. muciniphila — the foremost bacteria in the gut's nutrient-dense mucus layer — may be the key to developing new treatments against obesity and related metabolic disorders. When researchers gave probiotics to at-risk mice, their levels of A. muciniphila increased, improving the functioning of the gut lining and resulting in a reversal of fat mass, inflammation, and insulin resistance
- A Japanese study, published in the February issue of Appetite, found that the up-and-down motion of certain exercises like jumping rope disrupted appetite-regulating hormones released by the gut. Exercise that involves vertical movement may curb hunger even more than other exercise, researchers said, since it causes greater gut disturbance, which may promote the appetite suppression that generally occurs with exercise.
- Researchers in Germany have found by introducing gut bacteria of the opposite sex in mice had some startling results. "Our findings suggest potential strategies for using normal gut bacteria to block progression of insulin-dependent diabetes in kids who have high genetic risk," Dr. Danska added. The findings also suggest that exposure to normal GI tract bacteria early in life may protect against other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus, and even allergies and asthma.
- Norwegian researchers have uncovered a link between infant growth rates and specific types of bacteria that populate their newly formed digestive tracts. Their study, published in PLoS Computational Biology, involved analysis of stool samples from more than 200 babies and identifying certain points in time at which specific gut bacteria are associated with growth.
- "After applying our new method, we found an indication that the composition of early life gut microbiota may be associated with how fast or slow babies grow in early life, although there is also the possibility that factors early in life affect both gut microbiota and how fast the baby grows," the study authors explained.
- Researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) took gut bacteria from mice that had gastric bypass surgery and implanted it into other obese mice. The result: accelerated weight loss in obese mice. The first important finding of the study, which was published in Science Translational Medicine, was that gastric bypass surgery altered the gut microbes of the first set of obese mice. The second was that the altered implanted microbes prompted rapid weight loss in the second group of obese mice.
- "Our study suggests that the specific effects of gastric bypass on the microbiota contribute to its ability to cause weight loss and that finding ways to manipulate microbial populations to mimic those effects could become a valuable new tool to address obesity," stated study coauthor Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at MGH and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Nuzest’s Good Green Vitality has prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes that all assist in developing optimal gut health and so much more!
Adaptogens: Natures super herbs and foods to regulate stress
Whether it’s work or family, or both, stress can bog you down. Too much stress can take a toll on your health – both mental and physical. If you’re searching for a solution that helps you get back on an even keel and take control of all aspects of your health, look no further than adaptogens.
Never heard of them? Adaptogens have been used for ages though, and with more research in recent years to back up claims from ancient times, they’re receiving newfound acclaim.
What Exactly Are Adaptogens?
Quite simply, adaptogens are herbal substances that improve your adrenal system. That’s the system in your body that manages your hormonal responses to stressors. You know, fight or flight.
When you add adaptogens into your daily intake, they help your body to better handle anxiety, easing you through so that your hormones don’t spike. In fact, that’s how the name came about - adaptogens help your body adapt to stress.
Adaptogens in History
Adaptogens have always been around, revered for centuries in both Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicines. It wasn’t until modern times when researchers in the Soviet Union, Korea, and China began setting out to put some scientific merit behind what they suspected to be true.
This concept was first born in 1947, and the studies in question took place prior to the 1980s. They were mostly dismissed due to methodological flaws. But newer research has brought to light the benefits of adaptogens for the central nervous system, restoring faith in these time-tested natural agents that balance the body safely and effectively.
How Adaptogens Can Help You
If you’re stressed and anxious all the time, it’s a hostile environment for your body. Provoking your stress hormones in a constant manner leads to chronic inflammation. In turn, that chronic inflammation manifests into chronic diseases. Using adaptogens can level you out and put your body into a state of homeostasis.
It might be helpful to think of them like an automatic thermostat. Adaptogens work to bring that balance to your body, calming you while boosting energy simultaneously by supporting your adrenal functions. Additionally, they push toxins from your metabolic processes out so you can draw in more energy and oxygen. In other words, you could benefit from these herbal pharmaceutical agents.
Where Can You Get Adaptogens?
You could run around to every health store in town trying to grab the top adaptogenic herbs like panax ginseng, holy basil, or ashwagandha, but a better solution is to go for our Good Green Vitality. It contains over 75 healthful ingredients that are more than just greens. In it, we have adaptogens, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all backed by science to support your best health yet.
When you’re studying or performing any type of mental effort, a good way to give yourself an edge in these activities is sipping rosemary water or using rosemary essential oil to infuse the room with a satisfying scent. According to studies, rosemary water may facilitate the extraction of oxygen to make it more available to our brain tissue in times of cognitive demand. That’s how it reduces fatigue levels and increases our alertness and learning potential.
Chemically named pyrroloquinoline quinone (PPQ), methoxatin is a relatively cheap supplement you can use as a neuroprotective tool. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and protects your liver and heart from oxidative damage as well. If you combine this with other antioxidant supplements such as Coenzyme Q10, it will be a powerful antioxidant stack to prevent neurodegeneration and accelerated aging.
If you have learning difficulties or just want to boost your learning capacities for a study session, a tasty solution would be adding cinnamon to your tea or snacks. It has been found to increase brain plasticity, which is the ability of the brain to create new connections. It reduces the rate of cognitive decay and may prevent Parkinson’s disease.
Another neuroprotective supplement to turn off aging genes and improve your cognitive function is called nicotinamide mononucleotide. It is a fitting candidate for patients with severe neurodegenerative diseases and brain injury, and it is a great ally to modulate the activity of enzymes inside and out of the mitochondria.
MORE Vitamins and Nutrients
You can always boost your mental performance with nutrients, such as magnesium, vitamin D, krill oil, turmeric, and vitamin B.
- Magnesium can actually reverse the effects of stress on your brain, and can increase your memory and cognitive function. Magnesium is also vital to ATP production, so low magnesium means low brain energy, which isn’t bulletproof!
- Vitamin D is also a great supplement for your brain. It helps protect you from free radical damage, which can decrease your cognitive performance.
- Krill oil, which is packed with DHA, EPA and Astaxanthin, keeps the neurons in your brain communicating freely. Better communication in your nervous system obviously means that you’re going to be smarter, faster, and sharper.
- Turmeric is a spice frequently used in Indian food. It contains curcumin, which is great for your brain. Curcumin is an antioxidant that travels easily from your blood to your brain, and like vitamin D, it helps protect your brain from free radical damage.
- B vitamins fight off the amino acid homocysteine, which increases brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer’s. In fact, it seems that vitamin B may be able to decrease brain shrinkage by up to 90%, and may make shrinkage seven times slower. And, we all know that size matters.
Other Natural Supplements
- CILTEP® – CILTEP®, short for “Chemically Induced Long-Term Potentiation,” is an all-natural supplement created by Abelard Lindsay that can improve mental performance. It helps you be more focused, motivated, and retentive. CILTEP® works by optimizing levels of intracellular second messengers, which carry signals between the brain cells.
- Choline – Choline is an essential micronutrient that helps your brain make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which fosters intelligence and memory. There are also some studies that suggest it may be protective against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. You can find choline in supplements like Choline Force.
- Upgraded™ Glutathione Force – Glutathione is the best antioxidant out there. The liver already makes its own supply, but with today’s constant environmental exposure to toxins, it’s good to help out your liver. Supplementing Glutathione through a liposomal form like Glutathione Force (other forms are destroyed by your gut before being absorbed) is a great idea because your brain makes more free radicals than any other organ in your body, and these free radicals accelerate cell death. Glutathione helps eliminate these free radicals and protects your brain from them, so it optimizes your brain function.
- Upgraded™ Aging Formula – The foundation of Upgraded Aging Formula is oxaloacetate or OAA. This supplement works to protect the neurons in your brain from toxins, and there is also evidence that it can improve your short-term memory and help you think more clearly and efficiently.
BIOHACKING AS A SERVICE IN SINGAPORE
Now we will plunge – yes quite literally – in some instances into machines that you probably wouldn’t have at home but are sold as biohacking services in Singapore.
Download our little book of discounts for exclusive offers by each of these Biohacking technology partners and service providers!
Know how much fat you burn via Metabolic Testing
This blog has talked a lot about biohacking aspects of your metabolism, but without a baseline test, you may not know if the actions you are taking are leading to an increase in fat utilisation and metabolic increases.
In Singapore, Coached Fitness offers a test to measure how much fat you are using in exercise. Called the Fuel Efficiency test, it uses a calculation of various gases in your breath. Essentially, as we exercise these gases change, and this is measured by a specific machine that will then provide a reading on your ‘fat utilization’ as specific training heart rate zones.
So, why is this important?
Let's split into two distinct markets.
- For those looking to manage and lose weight, if you are able to restrict carbs in the diet while simultaneously helping your body to use fat as a fuel source, essentially your daily life (and hopefully a small amount of exercise) will translate into fat-burning (instead of carb-burning).
- For athletes, fat is twice as efficient a fuel source as compared to carbs. So being able to use this source of fuel for a longer period in an endurance race, will help you with sustaining a faster pace for longer.
Staying in defined heart rate zones will help you be a fat-burning machine!
Using Light to Get a Mitochondrial Boost
Light is simply amazing and the NovoTHOR technology can help you can use light to affect your mitochondrial function.
Just hold a red LED light to the place where you want a boost – your stomach, a sore muscle, or up your nose if you want to bump up your brain — for a few minutes, and you will experience more mitochondrial activity, meaning more cellular energy and better cellular communicate
Cryotherapy – Biohacking health
It may look like something out of StarTek but there is a growing global movement for people using cryotherapy to biohack their health. In Singapore, Cryo-Fit offers a full-body cryotherapy chamber. Temperatures can fall as low as -150°C. The sub-zero temperatures trigger the body’s systemic response, clearing toxins from the blood and spreading nutrients, enzymes, and oxygenated blood throughout the body to help decrease inflammation, boost recovery, and ignite athletic performance.
As listed on their site, benefits of cryotherapy include:
- Decreases muscle recovery time
- Ignites athletic performance
- Reduces inflammation
- Pain management
- Boosts energy levels
- Promotes weight loss
- Boosts collagen production
Unfortunately, as with many biohacking treatments, the body of clinical evidence is often still incomplete. From our research, most of the studies seem to focus on healing from surgeries and injuries, however, this may not be the best use of cryotherapy.
As mentioned above, this biohacking service may be much more suitable to immediate outcomes such as feeling elevated, reducing pain and boosting the body's natural processes! The question simply comes down to if you FEEL the benefits. The personal assessment is ultimately the deciding factor, and there have been numerous anecdotal success stories using cryotherapy for many of the above outcomes.
Float tanks / sensory deprivation tanks
The history of Floatation-REST dates back to the 1950’s when doctors. Jay Shurley and John Lilly at the National Institute of Mental Health became interested in understanding how the human brain would respond to an environment devoid of external sensory input. It was discovered that rather than falling into a deep sleep or losing consciousness, participants maintained full awareness.
Jump forward to modern-day Singapore and there is a flotation clinic right here on this little red dot called Palm Ave Float Club .
The goal of float tanks is to speed up inner and physical healing as you float effortlessly on Epsom saltwater. Without light, sound, or gravity, your mind enters a deep meditative state, and your body reverses the harmful effects of stress. So let's dive literally into these list of benefits.
Reset your mind and body.
Float tanks provide sensory deprivation. What this means is, every day we are bombarded with images, sounds, smells and energy. Your brain is busy processing and reacting to all of these stimuli around you. Compounded in big cities, stress builds up, your blood pressure rises, and you feel overwhelmed. Over time, this manifests in poor decision making, physical illness, or injury.
Float tanks are enclosed. It is dark, silent and still. In the tank, everything melts away as you float effortlessly, free of gravity!
This set up helps you to reach a deep meditative state by allowing your body to naturally activate and deal with the harmful effects of stress.
Here are a list of benefits
For your mind:
- Rapid stress relief - 90% of illness is stress-related. High cortisol levels for prolonged periods can wreak havoc on your health. By reducing sensory input, floating lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure, sending you into deep relaxation.
- Boost problem-solving and creativity - Explore new ideas easily as you gain greater access to your right hemisphere. Floating fast tracks your brain into theta state. In this relaxed space, it’s easy to practise self “reprogramming”, learn faster, or visualise things.
- Gain mental clarity - Examine any situation uninterrupted as you free your mind from distraction. Every session trains you to get into a state of flow easily. Outside of the tank, it’s easier to focus and return to this state of mind.
- Advance personal growth - Find it hard to quit addictive behaviour like smoking? With reduced sensory input, your mind is more receptive to new ideas. Because the effects manifest within you, they are more effective at transforming how you feel, think, and live.
- Experience deep relaxation - Speed up healing, promote muscle repair, and lower your blood pressure. 90% of your brain’s powerful resources are now focused inwards. The reduced tension lasts for days, or even weeks.
- Optimise athletic performance - Spark rapid improvement and reach your peak, by practising visualisation in the tank. Train your central nervous system to produce the ‘perfect performance’, free of distraction.
- Recover faster - Speed up recovery in between workouts. The gravity-free environment reduces lactic acid and inflammation, compressing what normally takes a long period of time into hours.
- Improve your well-being - Sleep better, work happier, feel good from the inside out. Soaking in Epsom salts rapidly replenishes the body's magnesium and sulfate levels. This relaxes your muscles, relieves headaches, flushes toxins, and more.
Most of the science has been conducted in the 1980-90’s. However, we know that aside from managing stress levels, there are direct and immediate positive correlations of decreasing levels in blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma cortisol.
Recent clinical tests have shown positive benefits including a reduction in hypertension, chronic tension headaches, chronic muscle tension pain in the back and neck, and stress-related pain with ‘burnout depression’. Further, the long term benefits of float tanks have also been found. Research had shown that after only seven float sessions, patients with generalized anxiety reported improvement in symptoms when assessed an average of 7-months later. Another study, a pilot trial of 50 participants randomized to either a waitlist control group or 12 sessions of Floatation-REST, observed a significant reduction in symptoms of generalized anxiety in the float group that was maintained at 6-month follow-up.