What Is Biohacking?

While the term “biohacking” has gained momentum in recent years, its meaning can differ depending on the context in which it is used. Generally speaking, biohacking refers to “hacking” your body to optimize its performance in a variety of ways, whether that be how you sleep, perform under pressure, or endure long, complex mental tasks. (( In this article, we will be specifically referring to biohacking as the use of naturally and synthetically derived supplements, namely nootropics, to change “your chemistry and your physiology through science and self-experimentation to increase energy and vitality.” (( If you have already done a bit of research on biohacking, you may have come across other terms such as “stacking,” “cycling,” or “racetams” and be wondering how all of these fit together. We will cover all of those terms here. We’ll also go into further detail about what exactly biohacking is and how it can be used safely and effectively. Additionally, we will introduce some common nootropics and demonstrate their roles in biohacking. By the end of this article, you should be able to delve into the world of biohacking with confidence, knowledge, and ease.

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    How Is Biohacking Used?

    To reiterate, biohacking refers to optimizing your healthy body’s ability to function. The key words here are healthy and optimize. The goal of biohacking is not to fix current health problems; the goal is to support your mental and physical self, making you the best you can be through the use of supplementation. ((

    For this, many biohackers use nootropics.

    Nootropics are naturally and synthetically derived supplements used to enhance an individual’s physical and mental health, and they have a wide range of benefits. Common benefits sought by nootropic users include: ((

    • Alleviating stress and anxiety
    • Increasing focus and endurance during intense mental tasks
    • Protecting and preserving cognitive health
    • Promoting healthy and effective sleep cycles
    • Supporting confidence and mood in social situations

    Again, the idea behind supplementing with nootropics is to use them to support an already healthy lifestyle that includes enough sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet.

    Research is being done to see how nootropics can be used as medical treatments. However, when it comes to biohacking, the goal is to use nootropics to supplement an already healthy individual with an already healthy lifestyle.((

    Remember, we want to optimize our bodies so that they function at the best capacity possible.

    So, how can we use nootropics to supplement and hack our bodies and minds?

    How Are Supplements Used in Biohacking?

    Many of us already take supplements daily. We take vitamins D and C to support a healthy immune system and combat oxidative stress, omega-3 fatty acids to protect our brains and hearts, and magnesium to encourage healthy bones and neurons. ((

    Where Do Nootropics Fit in?

    Nootropics, like vitamins and minerals, come in many forms (both natural and synthetic) each touting their own positive effects on the body and mind. Some common nootropics include:((

    • Noopept
    • L-Theanine
    • Choline CDP
    • Aniracetam
    • Sabroxy
    • Bacopa Monnieri
    • Oxiracetam
    • L-Tryptophan

    Also like vitamins and minerals, nootropics can work effectively on their own, but some work best when combined with one or more other nootropics.

    This brings us to stacking.


    Stacking is using two or more nootropics together to optimize their effects. Much like vitamins and minerals are combined (plant-derived iron is best absorbed when taken with vitamin C, for example) there are many nootropics that are stacked to enhance their benefits. ((

    In the bullet list above, you may have noticed a couple of nootropics ending in “racetam.” Racetams (Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and more) are structured similarly but function differently. Because of this, racetams are often stacked in order to increase their efficacy. ((

    Another common nootropic stack is caffeine and L-Theanine. The anxiolytic properties of L-Theanine reduce the jitters caused by caffeine intake without interfering with caffeine’s ability to promote alertness. Because of this, biohackers often stack these two popular nootropics. ((

    When stacking, and when supplementing with nootropics in general, it is important to discover and use the dosage that works best for you.


    Nootropic supplements come with recommended dosages. Some sources include a general dosage recommendation, while others go into further detail regarding what dose to take in order to see and support specific benefits.

    Regardless, it is always recommended to start with a small dose and observe how your body responds. If necessary, increase the dose until you experience the optimal effects of the nootropic.

    However, never exceed the recommended daily doses.

    While nootropics are praised for having minimal to no side effects, (this will always depend on the individual and any medications they may be taking, however, so do your research) exceeding the recommended doses can cause unpleasant side effects such as stomach upset, headaches, and tolerance.

    Tolerance simply means that over time and use, your body adjusts to the properties of the nootropic. Tolerance to a nootropic will limit its ability to support your physical and mental wellbeing in its optimal way. ((

    While some people may think that increasing the dosage will help combat tolerance, this is not the best approach. Fortunately, there is a better way—cycling.


    Cycling is a method used by biohackers to avoid building up a tolerance to or a dependency on any single nootropic. (( This is done by cycling, or alternating, between supplements.(( An example of cycling may look like taking A for one month, then B for two weeks, then switching back to A. ((

    Like finding the correct dose, experiment with cycling to find which nootropics and time periods work best to keep you from becoming too used to or dependent on one supplement.

    Finding your correct doses and cycles is essential to ensuring that biohacking will support your cognitive health in the most optimal way.

    To take a closer look at this, let’s examine some of those common nootropics and how they can help you optimize.

    Biohacking and Cognitive Performance

    By taking nootropics, biohackers seek to optimize their bodies’ cognitive performance. Cognitive performance is a general term for any mental abilities that involve learning, thinking, reasoning, memory and recall, decision making, attention, and focus. ((, such as nootropics, have the potential to increase cognitive performance in a variety of ways. Let’s examine some of the popular nootropics previously mentioned and why biohackers turn to them to promote increased cognitive performance.


    Noopept is a synthetic nootropic that is popularly used by biohackers as a pre-workout booster for its believed ability to increase resilience and willpower. (( Also, noopept may support memory formation and recall.

    This nootropic may support cognition and memory formation by promoting the increase of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) proteins, both of which are involved in the development and maintenance of nerve and brain cells. ((


    L-Theanine is an amino acid known for its ability to reduce anxiety. It promotes increased levels of brain-calming chemicals and may alleviate symptoms of a “cluttered mind,” improving concentration and focus. ((

    It lowers heart rate and blood pressure, supports concentration and attention span, and calms the mind without making the user sleepy. ((

    CDP Choline

    CDP Choline, also called citicoline, is a naturally occurring nootropic found in humans that plays a role in cell membrane integrity. ((

    It supports neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. CDP Choline works well in stacks with other nootropics, especially racetams, as it is believed to reduce the occurrence of headaches from nootropic use. ((

    CDP Choline helps maintain memory and brain function, neurological functionality, and cognition.


    Aniracetam, part of the racetam family of nootropics, boosts blood flow and activity in the part of the brain associated with holistic and collective thinking.

    Biohackers use aniracetam to improve verbal fluidity and make it easier to communicate precisely and effectively in person and on paper. ((

    This nootropic may also relieve the pressure of high cognitive load from situations like writing exams or public speaking and minimizes the effects of mental distractions. ((


    Sabroxy is a naturally derived herbal nootropic from the Indian trumpet tree. It contains 10% Oroxylin A, a compound that functions to protect the nerves from chemical damage and improve the levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). ((

    In this way, Sabroxy may support memory, neuronal functions, and cognition. ((

    Additionally, Sabroxy exhibits antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.((

    Bacopa Monnieri

    Bacopa Monnieri is another naturally derived nootropic and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. It is a powerful antioxidant and as such may help protect the brain from oxidative damage and free radicals that can cause cellular damage. ((

    Bacopa Monnieri improves the growth of nerve dendrites and makes basic changes to neurons that result in improved memory, learning, and recall. ((


    L-Tryptophan is an amino acid and the primary precursor to serotonin. Because of this, biohackers take L-Tryptophan to promote mood regulation and increase cognitive abilities. ((

    This nootropic functions by boosting serotonin levels, and as such, may support memory. L-Tryptophan is also able to reduce anxiety and promote mental relaxation without causing drowsiness. ((

    In addition to supporting cognitive abilities, L-Tryptophan is also used to supplement seasonal affective disorder treatments and to increase physical performance and endurance during workouts. ((

    Ready to Biohack?

    The above nootropics are commonly used in biohacking, the practice of taking supplements to enhance and optimize an already healthy lifestyle to improve cognition and other bodily functions.

    Biohackers use a variety of these nootropics, some naturally derived and some synthetic, to relieve anxiety, motivate and increase willpower, and improve memory formation, recall, and mental focus.

    Many of these nootropics are stacked, or combined and taken together, to enhance their effects and optimize the way they function in the body.

    When taking any nootropic, it is crucial to take the correct dosage to reduce the chances of experiencing undesired side effects or developing a tolerance to the supplement.

    In addition to dosing correctly, biohackers often cycle, or rotate, between supplements where one is taken for a set period of time and then swapped for another to avoid building up a tolerance.

    Just like with other supplements, it is important to conduct your own research and to explore the world of nootropics by comparing a variety of sources. As always, consulting your doctor before starting any supplement regimen is highly encouraged.

    We hope you are ready to dive into the world of biohacking, and we encourage you to explore more information on the nootropics available to help you hack your mental and cognitive abilities and live a more optimized life.

    You’ll find more detailed information by clicking on specific nootropics and supplements here at Biohacking Core.


    Happy Hacking!


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