BioHack: Tracking…

As mentioned in my previous post, having access to our biological data is one thing, understanding it and tracking it is another.

With the advent of wearables (Apple Watch), bio-lab start ups like Forth (no not those bio-labs!) and the continued National Health Service checks (free upon request), accurate data on how our body is performing is available and relatively inexpensive.

It must also be said that once we have baselined our biology, we should not of course concern ourselves to often once any plans to remediate ailments are initiated, unless of course we are elite athletes or personal trainers, as too much attention may lead to a little paranoia and anxiety, certainly possible in my case!

To that end, I spend some time reviewing my Apple Watch data yesterday and also the results that came in from my NHS MOT the week before last, and went a step further to do a full body scan of the things that pain this man of five decades.

By and large the Apple Watch data is very useful:

Given my state of advancement in years, I’m quite happy with the data.

Clearly only we (or medically trained professionals) can know what pains and grumbles are taking place within the body, and only some of the data from devices and tests can reveal those (physical maladies and manifestations based on cause and effect), so to get a true bio-hacking baseline, I took it upon myself (validated by the wife who is a holistic therapy professional) to engineer a full set of diagnostics and advisories (the car MOT analogy really fits well here), the output of which is below:

So once the results come back from Forth and the NHS scans, I should be able to baseline my biology and put in place (in true project management parlance) a “return to green” plan to fix all of the issues I have, and identify any risks that may occur so I can put in place mitigation plans to, as Wim Hof would say, live a happy, strong and health life.

BioHack …

We face many existential crises in our lifetime, the first as early as the day we appear from the womb, unless of course your father (or mother) allows his (or her) fetus to gestate in a box, in which case it’s a simple task of opening the lid. We face other risks as we proceed on with our life journey, from conflict situations to simply crossing the road, each a given set of variables and mortality probably factor, all of which are fed into the calculator of life and outcome decided.

Our cells replicate every seven years, during which process they carry with them any defects they pick up along the way, cycling and weakening. Imagine a scenario where you take a copy of a computer’s hard drive that already has bad data on it, and then take a copy of that, and a copy of that copy, and so on. Eventually some of the programs will stop working, eventually all of it will stop working. The hard drive is no more, it’s pushing up the daisies, it is an ex-computer.

And so it is with us, over time our bodies degenerate, our individual body parts start stopping and our overall system crashes as a result, resulting in the inevitable departure from our meat covered skeletons made of stardust and hair, to either oblivion or the never-after, depending on whether your glass is half-full or half-empty.

Whilst death is inevitable, the way in which we pass over may not have to be a painful one. Enter the concept of bio-hacking.

I had a health scare a couple of weeks back, the true results of which will only be known in the coming weeks, and it was during that process of discovering what was wrong with my system that I came across bio-hacking. In a nutshell, it sets in motion certain mechanics that allows practitioners to positively impact their own biology to provide (painless) longevity. Going a step further, they obtain real-time data on what biological processes are working well and what are not, and as a result they put practices and procedures in place to optimize the human experience, especially as the biological clock ticks on, and on, and on.

I live in the UK where one can request all personal medical data, all of which can be made available via a secure log in, and that information is now available to me. It revealed many things that I already knew and some I didn’t (or had simply forgotten), but for the first time I obtained some real insights and trends on my personal health and subsequent deterioration over the last three decades. Full blood counts and liver, kidney, heart, thyroid, cholesterol test results are there to see in full and glorious technicolor, big data.

Now in my fiftieth year on this little blue dot, my cholesterol is slightly higher than it should be and my kidneys are starting to function less well, but everything else (including vitamin and mineral levels) is doing remarkable well. Clearly the data doesn’t cover the metaphysical aspects of mental well-being (oh how I wish it would!), but it goes some way to validate that the diet and practices I have adopted over the last four decades have resulted in a decent set of results as I approach my twilight years. I now have a real plan to live life in complete symbiosis with the energetic carcass I haul around each day, and bio-hacking will help.

  • I was totally convinced that there was real science behind the Wim Hof Method (in term of cold therapy and breath work which lowered inflammation levels), this validates that
  • Intermittent fasting (especially during certain times of the day – using circadian cycles) initiates ketosis and is another method not uncommon to me either, an essential part of my periodic detoxification periods,
  • No one can ever underestimate the power of sleep for recharging the internal battery that charges us up for another day of activities
  • Blue light I was aware of, and whilst I won’t purchase the $100 glasses and sit in the living room watching TV looking like Bono’s Scouse doppelgänger, I have turned on the orange filters on my devices for any late night reading and viewing
  • And then, the three gratitudes…

There is so much chaos and disarray in the world just now and although it may appear that we are surrounded by darkness at all times, there are slithers of light that illuminate the good things that happen too. The process is very simple, document three (or more!) good things that happen during the day, even the seemingly insignificant ones, and reflect on those little moments at the end of the day, thankful that they took place (go a step further to use this time to kick start some pre-sleep meditation). It is incredible that such a simple and minute thing can yield such a significant impact on mental well-being and sleep.

So as my fiftieth birthday approaches, I go into it knowing that I have the mechanics in place to live out the second half of my life in a healthy and informed way. And if ancestral DNA challenges that status quo, then at least I will be able to tune in to the biological process quickly and put things right, whether that be via surgery or homeopathy (preferably the latter).

Eating and drinking the right things, exercising in the right way and surrounding ourselves with the right people is a real formula for success, and with that we can live to one hundred, just like the Okinawans, the Sardinians and the Adventists:

Of course I can’t plan for being hit by a car, but I’ll be sure to use the pelican, toucan and zebra crossings going forward 😊