If you are not aware of the term bio-hacking, you may think it has something to do with cyber espionage or biological warfare. Luckily, the term sounds more menacing than it is. In the simplest terms, bio-hacking is a processing system based approach to figuring out your body’s biochemistry. It is based on the idea that everything we do, think and put into our body affects the body in a very specific way. That effect can be positive or negative. Therefore, if you can figure out how to enhance the good things and limit the bad, you can create a personalized system that can lead to a more productive and healthier life.

Hacking your biochemistry can be as simple as taking a few do-it-yourself to laboratory testing, or more complex. It has risen in popularity over the years, and its benefits are touted by health professionals, celebrities, and lifestyle gurus. As with any health decision, it is important to weigh your options before deciding to commit.

These are some of the benefits associated with bio-hacking

Bio-hacking acknowledges that there is no “one size fits all” path to well being. This acknowledges that each person has a unique biological makeup and body chemistry, and being healthy is more than just counting calories and doing cardio.

It allows individuals to explore various options - such as intermittent fasting, elimination diets and – all with the purpose of evaluating your body’s response to that food. This approach can be especially worthwhile in persons with suspected allergies or food sensitivities. For others, it may not involve food but rather incorporating health techniques such as red light therapy or yoga therapy. The good thing is you get to decide what feels best and yields the greatest result.

Bio-hacking allows individual to get more in tune with their body. In order for bio-hacking to work, you must learn to “listen” to your body. You will inevitably learn more about the foods you eat and its effect on your metabolism. The simple act of wearing a fit bit can make you more aware of your heart rate at different times of the day and alert you to how a stressful situation can affect your heart, breathing and stress levels in the body.

Or tracking your sleep cycle can boost mental alertness and your mood. Being in tune with your body can help you identify when things do not feel right and can alert you when a change is needed.

Bio-hacking takes into consideration the mind-body connection. Bio-hacking examines not only the physical contributors to Good Health, but it also encourages you to become aware of the mind-body connection and its effect on your health. It is a holistic look at your life by acknowledging that it is not just what we do, but what we think that affects our physical and mental health and well-being.

Now let us examine some of the drawbacks associated with bio-hacking

Bio-hacking could be expensive as it may involve a lot of trial and error, which may be very expensive. For those who opt for laboratory testing, this can be a costly venture depending on the number and kind of tests done. Even wearable tech gadgets are an investment.

There is Room for Error if not executed properly. For those who opt for the Do-It-Yourself route, always bear the risk of exacerbating unknown preexisting medical or mental health conditions. Those trying elimination diets should be careful that they do not eliminate an essential nutrient for too long and must listen to their body and not attempt to push through if there is any feeling of distress.

With any program, it is always advised to either do preliminary testing for a variety of conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. It can be wise to consider doing it in conjunction with a physician, nutritionist or other certified wellness professional. Bio-hacking involves collecting data about yourself and how your body behaves. There may be a subset of people who may become obsessed with collecting data, and it can lead to unhealthy dietary behavior.

There are no long-term studies on the effects of bio-hacking. To date, there are no long-term studies on the effects of bio-hacking on a person’s long-term health.

What may prove to be of benefit may have a harmful effect in the long term. One reason may be that bio-hacking is an immensely personal exercise. However, the merits of conducting several case studies to ascertain the long-term benefits or ramifications of the practice would be helpful.

In the case for and against bio-hacking, there is no clear winner. The aim is to give you the power to create the best version of yourself.

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