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How to Build Resilience Through Biohacking

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 How to Build Resilience Through Biohacking

It's not a secret that increasingly more individuals are looking into ways to improve their health and feel more energetic and focused throughout the day. The field of biohacking - while once considered a niche movement in the Silicon Valley tech industry - is now becoming more widespread worldwide as people look to optimize their health, well-being, and how they age. From intermittent fasting to supplement stacks and cold plunges to brain wave technology, there's a myriad of tools that both men and women can experiment with in their quest for optimal health.


What is Biohacking?

Biohacking, sometimes called "do-it-yourself Biology," refers to changing your body to improve your health, performance, cognitive function, and well-being. Dave Asprey, who is associated with coining the term "biohacking," defines it as using "science, biology, and self-experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, your mind, and your life."  

Biohacking can cover a variety of modalities, including fasting methods, hot/cold therapies, nutrigenomics, using wearable health technology to gather data on sleep and recovery, the use of supplements, and more.

Benefits to Biohacking The Body

The benefits of biohacking depend on the type of biohacking tool and the intention behind using different biohacking methods. For example, nutrigenomic testing can lead to more personalized nutrition choices, while experimenting with intermittent fasting methods can lead to better insulin sensitivity and weight loss for some individuals. Biohacking allows individuals to become more curious about their health and experiment with different tools to help them feel their best.

Ultimately, biohacking can support a lifestyle that aims to decrease chronic inflammation and risk of chronic disease, optimize digestion and gut health, improve cognitive function and mental acuity, and build resilience for a better response to stress over time.  

Building Resilience With Biohacking

One of the most significant benefits of biohacking is the ability to improve one's biological and psychological resilience. Resilience refers to how well someone can bounce back and recover from stress or damage. It also refers to how well one can mentally adapt to challenges and stressors in life.

Chronic stress and poor stress management have been linked to increased inflammation, digestive distress, anxiety, and other chronic health conditions. Many biohacking tools aim to reduce inflammatory stress (through nutrigenomics or other tools) and intentionally expose the body to short-term, controlled stressors (like an intense workout or intermittent fasting, for example) to help build resilience and improve one's stress response over time. In this way, biohacking can help to enhance resilience in the long run - much like consistently lifting weights helps build muscle and strength over time.

Chronic stress has also been linked with accelerated aging, and this connection can be modified by behavioral changes, such as those explored by biohacking. Ultimately, building resilience through biohacking may help regulate the aging process and improve one's cellular response to stress.

Who Could Benefit from Biohacking?

Both men and women hoping to optimize their health can benefit from biohacking. However, it's important to note that men and women may need to biohack a little differently to account for hormonal differences. For example, menstruating women may experience more negative side effects from intermittent fasting too frequently, as their hormone profiles and ability to ovulate are more sensitive to stress.

Entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners looking to improve their productivity and focus can also benefit from biohacks aimed to optimize cognitive function and energy levels. For example, supplementing with nootropics - supplements that aim to improve thinking, learning, and memory - may help improve focus and memory, especially when paired with optimal sleep and stress management.  

Ultimately, any individual curious about personalizing their approach to health can be a biohacker. It's important to understand your baseline health first and ask your practitioner to guide you toward different biohacking tools to benefit your unique goals and lifestyle.  

Functional Medicine Labs to Support Biohacking

Comprehensive Stool Test

A comprehensive stool test can help provide insight into your gut microbiome and can help guide dietary-based biohacking. A stool test can also help you understand if there is inflammation in your gut, which is a common source of physical stress in the body that can impact other hormonal pathways and your metabolism as a whole. To build resilience, it's important to understand where stress is coming from, whether external or inside the body.

Nutrigenomic Testing

Nutrigenomic testing shows how your genes interact with the food you eat and can help guide personalized dietary recommendations. For example, nutrigenomic testing may indicate that a person is (or is not) a candidate for a low-carb or low-fat diet. Or, testing may show an individual is at an increased risk for either high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and your practitioner can help guide your nutrition accordingly to reduce those risks.  

Comprehensive Hormone Testing

Testing hormone levels can be helpful to understand cortisol and one's stress response better and guide an individual towards biohacking tools to improve their resilience and keep their hormone levels healthy. For women interested in biohacking, a cycle mapping test can help to see the hormone fluctuations occurring over the entire menstrual cycle, making it clear when they may need to pay extra attention to optimizing their hormones.

DNA Resilience Testing

DNA testing that looks specifically at genes related to stress and resilience can help you better understand how your genetics impact your experience of stress, allowing you to be proactive in lifestyle and behavior changes to help build resilience over time. In this type of testing, genes related to your stress response, neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis are examined, with recommendations around nutrition and lifestyle made to help optimize how you respond to stress.  

Fasting Insulin and Glucose

In the quest to build resilience and decrease stress and inflammation in the body, a simple blood test like fasting insulin and glucose can help determine one's insulin sensitivity. Poor insulin sensitivity has been linked to a higher risk of inflammation and chronic disease, and there's a documented connection between stress and high blood glucose.

Continuous Glucose Monitor

Wearable health technology is a popular way that biohackers can evaluate the impact of their diet, sleep, and lifestyle on their health. A continuous glucose monitor (commonly called a CGM) is a wearable device that provides blood glucose levels in real-time, so users can see what foods, activities, or stressful events raise their blood sugar to unhealthy levels. The goal is to maintain a steady blood sugar response by choosing foods and lifestyle behaviors accordingly.  


Types of Biohacking Found in Functional Medicine

Some of the top biohacks to help improve resilience include cold plunges, infrared saunas, intermittent fasting methods, the use of wearable technology like an Oura ring, and mind-body techniques like meditation or biofeedback.

Cold Plunges

Cold plunges are a great biohacking tool to build resilience. By intentionally exposing the body to cold water repeatedly, your body adapts to react less to the shock (the stress) of cold water, which in turn helps with long-term adaptation to stress. Cold plunges can also help decrease inflammation levels while enhancing brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin to improve mood and mental acuity.  

Infrared Saunas

Repeated sauna use helps to optimize the stress response over time by acting as a hormetic stressor. Hormesis is a beneficial type of stress - it happens when an external stimulus (like prolonged heat exposure) benefits a person in the long run by impacting different metabolic processes and promoting stress adaptation. Sauna use is a biohacking tool linked to a longer health span due to its favorable effects on stress response, inflammation, and metabolism.  

Intermittent Fasting Methods

Intermittent fasting can act as another type of hormetic stressor to help adapt to stress better over time. Considering other factors like baseline health, life stress, and hormone status is essential when deciding if intermittent fasting is the right tool for a biohacker to use to improve resilience.  

Heart Rate Variability Tracking

A common biohacking tool for those looking to improve their stress response is to use a wearable piece of health tech, such as an Oura ring or a heart rate monitor, to evaluate heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is impacted by stress and can help provide insight into the relative balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. A low HRV can signal a need for more recovery and restorative time and can clue a person into different habits and routines that may prevent an optimal stress response.

Mind-Body Techniques

Mind-body techniques like neurofeedback and meditation are simple tools biohackers can use to improve resilience. The practice of meditation has been associated with reducing the physiological stress response. At the same time, neurofeedback can help "train" the brain to respond better to stress and control the body's reaction to stress over time.  

Nutrition Support for Those Who Want to Biohack

Personalizing diet and nutrition is one of the best places for biohackers to start when it comes to optimal health and resilience. A good starting point for many can be a Mediterranean-type diet (typical of the Blue Zones, longevity "hotspots" around the world), as this diet rich in antioxidants, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables can help minimize the risk of chronic disease and keep inflammation low in the body. Biohackers can then use tools like nutrigenomic testing to personalize their nutrition further based on their genetics and goals, experimenting with different macronutrient ratios and therapeutic foods to support their health.  

Supplements and Herbs That Can Be Helpful to Biohackers

There are many supplements that integrative practitioners may use to help those interested in biohacking support their goals. These supplements may enhance cognitive function, decrease the risk of all-cause mortality, or mimic the effects of calorie restriction to optimize health while slowing age-related declines at the cellular level.


Spermidine is a polyamine found in foods like green pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms. Polyamines like spermidine can bind to various tissues in the body, supporting cellular functions like cell growth, autophagy, and DNA stability. As we age, our natural spermidine levels decrease while our disease risk rises, making us more susceptible to inflammation and cell damage. By supporting pathways to lead to autophagy and cellular repair, the resilience of aging cells can improve so that they respond better to stress. Autophagy is a process that allows the body to break down and recycle old cell parts so that your cells operate more efficiently. It's a natural process occurring in the body when cells are stressed or lack the nutrients needed to function well, and it helps our metabolism function better. Supplementing with spermidine may help restore some of these processes that regulate cellular aging and has been associated with a lower mortality risk.


Nootropics comprise a category of supplements that can offset the mild cognitive impairment that accompanies stress in the moment while supporting brain health overall to help build stress resilience in the long run. Both acute and chronic stress can impact various brain regions, diminishing cognitive function and negatively impacting learning and memory. Nootropics such as rhodiola rosea, bacopa monniera, phosphatidylserine, and L-theanine are all nootropics that can help build resilience over time through mechanisms such as modulation of cortisol, stress adaptation, and improving cognitive function under stress.


Senolytics are a class of supplements aimed to target and decrease senescent cells in the body. They can include ingredients such as fisetin and quercetin, curcumin, milk thistle, panax ginseng, and others. Cellular senescence is a stress response that accompanies aging, in which damaged cells start to produce inflammation and accumulate in the tissues, leading to many chronic diseases we associate with aging.


Biohacking is a way of approaching personalized health that seeks to encourage individuals to self-experiment with various tools to improve stress adaptation and build resilience. By doing so, biohackers hope to improve both lifespan and health, meaning more high-quality, active lives. Biohacking is not a "one size fits all" solution, and those interested in biohacking should stay curious and self-aware while they learn what works for their unique goals and lifestyle.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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