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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Blyth

Hack your Health

What does it mean to Bio-Hack your Health?

The term "biohacking" is used to describe the concept of using "do-it-yourself biology." People take medical knowledge and insight into their own hands to start gradually changing their diet and way of life in order to improve their physical and mental performance.

5 Popular Ways to Hack your Health

· Sulforaphane

· Sauna

· Cold Therapy

· Intermittent Fasting

· Ketogenic Diet

1. Sulforaphane and Oxidative Stress via the NRF2 Pathway

The food with the highest concentration of sulforaphane is 4 day-old broccoli sprouts. It contains two substances, glucoraphanin, which is located in vacuoles within the cytoplasm of plant cells, and the myrosinase enzyme, which is walled off from the glucoraphanin vacuoles. The two chemicals come into contact when the plant cell is broken by chewing and eating. This results in a chemical reaction within the body where the myrosinase changes the glucoraphanin into an isothiocyanate, Sulforaphane. When the Sulforaphane enters the body it triggers the Nrf2 pathway.

Every cell in your body contains a powerful protein called Nrf2. It’s normally dormant, but when your body experiences stress or inflammation, the Nrf2 awakens and begins to operate. The master switch that regulates the synthesis of antioxidants is a structure known as the antioxidant response element (ARE). When ARE activates, your cells begin secreting antioxidants and detoxifying substances like glutathione, which reduces inflammation and shields you from stress and injury. Sulforaphane is a potent activator, unlocking the Nrf2 protein to turn on your antioxidant production. This pathway affects your whole body, which explains why sulforaphane has so many benefits for you.

  • Energy. Sulforaphane/Nrf2 activation helps your mitochondria make more ATP (the energy that fuels your whole body). Your mitochondria can handle stress better, too, which means more energy and faster recovery for you.

  • Detox. Sulforaphane makes your cells create detoxification enzymes that clear carcinogens and other toxins.

  • Kills cancer cells. Sulforaphane destroys cancer cells while simultaneously strengthening healthy mitochondria. Numerous cancer cell types experience cell arrest and apoptosis when exposed to sulforaphane. It prevents benign tumours from developing into cancerous malignancies. Sulforaphane is beneficial for colorectal and prostate cancers (through HDAC inhibition) (increasing TGF-B receptors and inducing apoptosis).

You don’t need supplements to gain the powerhouse benefits of Sulforaphane. You can grow them in your own kitchen, without any soil.

Buy Broccoli Seeds Sprouting Kits here.

2. Sauna and Heat Shock Proteins

Placing yourself in temperatures beyond what is normally comfortable initiates a biological process called “hormesis.” The body responds to just the right amounts of stressors by activating a “defence system.” Similar to a fire drill, hormesis offers opportunities for our body's stress reaction, or defence system, to exercise. Our bodies' cells must continually deal with damage, and the "molecular chaperones" of the defence and repair mechanisms are members of the heat-shock protein family.

When cells are briefly exposed to temperatures over their typical temperature apprx 40-43 degrees, our bodies produce particular proteins called Heat Shock Protein. They are effective in defending cells and fostering stability under heat stress. Heat Shock Proteins are produced as a result of hyperthermia, which is an increase in core body temperature. The similar reaction takes place when you are ill and feverish. These proteins make it harder for viruses to spread throughout the body and multiply. By raising the body's core temperature, one can help the body flush out toxins and destroy germs in the same way that disease causes a fever to burn away the pathogens that are causing the illness.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses in this video, how conditioning the body to heat stress through sauna use, called “hyperthermic conditioning” causes adaptations that increase athletic endurance (by increasing plasma volume and blood flow to heart and muscles) and muscle mass (by boosting levels of heat shock proteins and growth hormone).

3. Cold Water Therapy

Cold water therapy is another great biohacking technique that can reduce inflammation and improve your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems. Also known as cold hydrotherapy, cold water therapy is the practice of immersing oneself in very cold or icy water. It works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain. Coldwater therapy is commonly used by athletes to recover after competitions and tough workouts.

Adding cold therapy to your daily routine could be as easy as taking a cold bath or 60-second cold shower.

4. Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is when you prolong eating, by say a 16/8 fasting window, where one fasts for 16 hours (including overnight) and eats in an eight-hour window. This is the most common way to activate autophagy. Autophagy is the process that removes and recycles unwanted or damaged molecules from your cells.

Most human diseases are caused by inflammation in the body but we can reduce this naturally in the body. When we fast there is a reduction in monocytes - cells in the blood that cause inflammation. There seems to be an excess of these in our bodies today from overeating. When we stop our calorie intake, the body doesn’t need to use energy to break down food. Up to 50% of our energy is required to digest food. In a fast, this energy is freed up from the digestive process and can now be used to break down damaged cells, burn fat and regenerate new cells. The body knows best where healing is needed most.

Head over to our blog post, Fasting for Survival, which has more details on intermittent fasting, how to do it and achieve all the benefits.

5. Burn Fat with the Ketogenic Diet

A Ketogenic Diet is eliminating carbohydrate intake and focusing on protein, healthy fats and vegetables. Normally, your brain is powered by glucose, but depriving the body of carbohydrate macronutrients removes this primary source of energy. In the absence of glucose, the body turns to ketones, which are organic compounds generated by the liver from fat storages in the body. You basically switch from burning sugar as fuel to burning fat as fuel. The cognitive perks of this are that the brain benefits from reduced oxidative stress, inflammation and overall mental exhaustion.

There is a huge library out there on the benefits of a Ketogenic diet, including thousands of recipes to help get started. Combined with intermittent fasting, you will find fast results.


Buy our premium sprouting kits and start biohacking your health with Sulforaphane.

Read our blog post here on our Top 3 Sprouting tips to get the most out of your Broccoli Seeds.

References and Further Reads

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