You have likely experienced some form of biohacking, although you might not have heard the term, much less know what it is. Perhaps you’ve seen social media influencers extolling the virtues of intermittent fasting, or heard of people injecting themselves with their own DNA using CRISPR genetic-editing technology. Then there are the Silicon Valley tech gurus who will tell you non-stop about “dopamine fasts.”
All of the above are biohacking techniques, a lifestyle trend that’s gaining popularity—and not only within Silicon Valley alone.
Known also as DIY bio, biohacking refers to a range of activities or systems designed to increase a person’s physical and mental productivity and vitality. The techniques range from experimenting on yeast to sleep tracking or meal planning, to more serious experiments, such as injecting yourself with another person’s serum in the hopes of hacking aging.
In the midst of the biohacking boom, those that are experimenting on their own bodies to reach higher cognitive and physical abilities are gaining the most notoriety. A branch of science called transhumanism holds that humans should use technology to enhance and evolve their own species.
Some biohackers are obsessed with reversing or halting the aging process. They experiment with various elements and variables, like diet, exercise, and skin routines, to reverse the effects of the aging process. There are, however, the traditional gerontology specialists who also apply their knowledge to improve the lives of their patients suffering from various age-related complications.
Usually, the nurses in the field are credentialed in the MSN-NP Adult-Gerontology program, which prepares them for service in old age homes or nursing homes. Although they don’t use biohacking techniques right off the
Furthermore, it’s important to understand some basics of biohacking, especially as biohacking appears more frequently in the news – and, lately, in the fascinating sci-fi series.
Biohacking: what is it?
Essentially, biohacking is citizen science or do-it-yourself biology. Many “biohackers” do this by making small, incremental dietary or lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.
Biohacking promises everything from quick weight loss to enhancements in brain function. But to get the best results through biohacking, it is better to be informed and make decisions based on sufficient information.
Read the following information to increase your understanding of biohacking.
What types of biohacking are there?
There are many forms of biohacking. DIY biology, nutrigenomics, and grinder are the most popular.
DIY biology (or DIY bio) is a form of biohacking pursued by people with scientific training and experience. By sharing tips and techniques, they help non-experts conduct structured experiments independently, outside the controlled environment of labs or medical offices.
Nutrigenomics studies the interactions between food and genes. In this popular yet controversial method of biohacking, you test how different nutrients affect your health over time in order to map out and optimize your body’s total genetic expression.
Biohacking subculture Grinder believes every part of human anatomy can be hacked. The general goal of grinders is to become “cyborgs” by modifying their bodies with a combination of gadgets, implants, chemical injections, and any other means to make their bodies become limitless.
Biohacking, how does it work? Are there any common examples?
Biohacking has different definitions depending on who you ask. As it encompasses a wide array of activities, we’ll mostly focus on biohacking which refers to body and brain manipulations outside the scope of mainstream medicine in order to improve performance.
Later on, we’ll also explore some other biohacking techniques (including those that can result in some pretty incredible art).
Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey tells us that biohacking is basically the science and art of altering your surrounding environment and your body in order to take charge of your own biological process.
He’s willing to experiment with himself: he gets his joints injected with stem cells, consumes several supplements every day, takes infrared baths, and more. It’s to fulfill his goal of living to be at least 180 years old.
Asprey uses the word “control” a lot, and biohackers often speak of refining and improving themselves.
What is the purpose of doing this? And why do people do it?
In its simplest form, biohacking is about wanting to feel healthier and wanting to see what our bodies are capable of. But this explanation can take many forms.
Some simply want to avoid getting sick. Some strive to gain as much intelligence or strength as they can. Those who are highly ambitious want to hack the aging process and live longer lives.
There is a tendency for these goals to escalate. The moment you find out (or think you’ve found out) that there are practical “hacks” that anyone can apply to be better versions of themselves, you begin wondering: Well, why not take a notch further?
Shouldn’t we strive for excellence? Can’t we live forever?
Initially, a simple desire for pain relief can turn into an obsession with self-improvement.
For Asprey, it was the same. His interest started when he got ill. Before he had turned 30, he was experiencing cognitive problems, weighed 300 pounds, and was at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
He explains that he decided to take responsibility for his health because he was tired of feeling the way he did for so long.
What makes biohacking different from conventional medicine?
Biohacking can transcend mainstream medicine, but it can also accompany and supplement it. Fasting and meditation are examples of biohacking techniques that are as old as human history. Spin classes and depression medication are other more modern examples.
Biohacking differs from other self-improvement activities owing to the unique mindset that one adopts. Using both high-tech as well as low-tech approaches, the biohacking approach suggests we needn’t accept our bodies’ shortcomings.
A non-placebo, randomized, double-blind trial isn’t necessarily the gold standard in traditional medicine. It’s time to change our way of life today.
When taken to its extremes, the ‘you-can-do-everything-you-set-your-mind-to approach can undermine scientific expertise and puts public safety at risk. Many of the biohackers don’t think they should be barred from scientific discovery because they don’t have traditional credentials, like a Ph.D.
The concept of biohacking is not without merit. There are some forms of it that can complement modern medicine, and if performed in a controlled manner can enhance health, mind, and general well-being. The key is to tread with caution and take self-experimentation techniques with a large grain of salt.