The Quick Guide to Biohacking

biohacking

Are you interested in having more energy, improving productivity, and living longer? How about easier weight loss, enhanced cognition, and increased concentration?

If so, you may be interested in biohacking – the practice of using unique protocols to “hack” specific processes of the body to achieve all these goals and more.

Biohacking is more than just a practice. It’s a movement made up of scientists, tech experts, and people passionate about attaining better health. You’re about to learn the basics of what it is, how it originated, the different types, and how to get started. So let’s dive right in!

What is Biohacking?

Biohacking is a movement based on the idea that specific body processes can be “hacked” to improve performance. There are several types of biohacking, ranging from simple habit changes to modifications inspired by sci-fi fantasy. They include:

  • Nutrigenomics – How the food we eat affects our gene expression
  • DIY Biology – The use of scientific methods to research, implement and assess various health protocols
  • Grinder – Implementation of technological devices to augment physiological processes

As you can see, biohacking spans habits from eating healthier to inserting chips into our bodies. Biohacking, however, differs significantly from lifestyle modifications.

Let’s use the example of a competition weight lifter at the gym. That person (or their trainer) creates a very detailed program with specific amounts of weight, reps, and sets. Progress is tracked and exercises are switched around to build maximum strength. That’s a type of biohacking!

Contrast that specialized program to someone that just visits the gym to use the treadmill while watching TV. One is a dedicated, specific, and goal-oriented practice, while the other is less intensive. Both have benefits, but biohacking is very different in terms of intention and methodology.

biohacking types

Types of Biohacking

The intention behind biohacking, as mentioned earlier, is to augment the capabilities of the human body in a specific, measured and goal-oriented way.

There are three main types of biohacking. Each differs significantly in the types of practices, level of invasiveness and degree of effect. They include:

Grinder (Transhumanism)

On the extreme end of the biohacking movement are enthusiasts interested in transhumanism – a philosophical movement that advocates the enhancement of humans through technology. The ultimate goal of transhumanism is to evolve into a post-human being that leverages technology to live longer with super-powered strength and extensive cognitive abilities.

It may seem like sci-fi, but current technological advances are being made – and fast. One example is Neuralink Corporation – a neurotechnology company founded in part by Elon Musk that develops implantable brain-machine interfaces.

The goal of Neuralink – as stated on their website – is to help people with paralysis regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. They also state – in the same paragraph – that they aim to create devices that give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis and “follow their curiosity” on the web. In other words, some believe that they are trying to create implantable software that reads the human mind. And this may scare many people – especially those familiar with Star Trek and the horrors of The Borg.

DIY Biology

Like transhumanism, DIY biology uses technology, but in a way that is relatively less invasive and more oriented towards altering existing human biological processes.

The movement originated with individuals possessing high degrees of scientific education and experience that wanted to work outside the existing healthcare and scientific establishment. The reasons for that are highly subjective, however common ones include the slow degree of innovation, pharmaceutical company interests, and bureaucracy.

In other words, DIY biology is rooted in a democratic approach to using science-based methods and expertise to create protocols, implement them, and test them for effectiveness. Some examples include:

  • Gene therapies like CRISPR
  • Making lifestyle modifications and using wearable devices to track changes accurately
  • Using brain-targeted drugs like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms or Noopept

It should be noted that DIY biology has come under attack by government authorities such as those in California investigating DIYers for practicing without a license.  Laws have also been passed requiring some manufacturers to state that their kits are “not for self-administration.”

what is biohacking

Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is the study of how food interacts with genes, based on the idea that certain foods affect gene expression. It has been gaining popularity since the launch of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s and the subsequent mapping of human DNA sequencing.

Of all the types of biohacking, nutrigenomics is arguably the easiest to implement and observe. Here are three easy ways to try it out using easily available food and supplements:

1. Magnesium

To say that magnesium is important is a total understatement. It is critically involved in hundreds of body processes and is an essential factor in regulating your nervous system and genetic expression.

Magnesium comes in many forms, such as citrate, bisglycinate, malate, and magnesium threonate – a special type of magnesium that easily passes the brain-blood barrier for improved brain function.

2. Increased Protein

Protein, which comes from the Greek word “proto” (which means “first”), is a critical nutrient for muscle formation. This is the primary reason why athletes prioritize protein intake.

Of all protein sources, meat is arguably the best from both a subjective and scientific view. Other sources include powders and plant foods like nuts, beans and legumes.

3. Nootropic Supplements

Nootropics and smart drugs are synthetic, natural, or prescription substances that can improve brain function by boosting cognition and memory. These include:

Biohacking FAQ's

Biotechnology refers to the study of biological processes to progress technological advancement. Biohacking is the use of practices to enhance human processes through several methods that span nutrition to the use of implanted technology.

Not really. Biohacking involves practices to enhance human function, while self-experimentation is a general term describing the process of a person conducting experiments on themself.

Some popular biohacking supplements that enhance brain function include L-Theanine, Creatine, Bacopa Monnieri, Ginkgo Biloba, Noopept, Rhodiola Rosea, and Phenotropil (Phenylpiracetam).

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