If you've haven't been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably would heard the term "biohacking". So what does it actually mean?
The Merriam-Websters online dictionary defines the term as:
Biohacking: biological experimentation (as by gene editing or the use of drugs or implants) done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups working outside a traditional medical or scientific research environment
Biohacker: somebody who uses science and technology to make his or her body function better and more efficiently.
The first definition: "biohacking" tends to insinuate that it must involve drugs or implants.
Video: Interview With A Biohacking Pioneer - Dave Asprey
However if you take the time in your everyday life to prioritise your health, including diet and exercise, you could be classified as a "biohacker" as defined by the term above.
In fact, most experts break it down into 3 distinct types: nutrigenomics, DIY biology, and grinder (which can loosely be defined as implants).
Nutrigenomics is actually an area of study and branch of genetics that researches how food effects our genes, and in turn how genetic variations affect the way we react to nutrients in food. Essentially this boils down to the fact that because we all have variations in our DNA we have differences in our metabolic activity depending on our diets.
Understanding a little about nutrigenomics can help you understand much about your body. For example it can help you understand if your are gluten or lactose intolerant. If you are feeling heavy, slow or bloated, it may be due to something in the lunch you just consumed.
Conversely you may have a day of feeling overly energised and clarity. This could be due to either eating or not consuming a particular food in the recent past.
Nutrigenomics therefore is directly related to gut health, and becoming in tune with your bodies reaction to certain foods is a key to feeling healthy and engergised everyday.
Essentially this refers to a type of biohacking where experts in a certain field, will educate and help other interested people to learn how to experiment on themselves at home or during their day to day activities.
This type of biohacking refers to those that believe the entire human body can be hacked. A lot of Grinders will look at implants, chemicals, and other non human gadgets in an attempt to become semi cyborg.
A common mainstream medical procedure that could be considered Grinder is injecting stem cells in joints to improve mobility or reduce arthritis. Another might be amputees having chips implanted in their body that can unlock their home or car door.
For most of us, we're really only interested in nutrigenomics and DIY biology. By having the ability and know how to improve all the important functions of your body, whether it be by changing your environment, diet or daily habits, you can being to take control over your own biology, and as a consequence you can start to gain control of your health and well being.
Why People Decide To Become Biohackers
Here at Curavita, our team is into health and well being, so much of what our team does daily, is a form of biohacking. For example intermittent fasting, cold therapy, adjusting our diets, these are all forms of simple biohacking.
Many people are doing it without even thinking, just by being thougthful about leading a healthy life. They are actively taking part in their bodies health.
For others, it comes out of necessity. It could be something as simple as not feeling very well, or the fact that each winter that standard head cold you get is getting worse and worse each year. Just by choosing to change your diet, or try a new cold medicine, could be considered biohacking. It's not as underground as most people think.
The Most Outrageous Type Of Biohacking
The term outrageous is subjective, so what you think is outrageous may be different to what I think is outrageous, but some the techniques listed below certainly you wouldn't, or couldn't just decide to do from home.
In the last few years there have been reports coming out of Silicon Valley in the USA, where wealthy tech investors are able to pay to have blood transfusions and replace their blood supply with a younger persons blood.
There are some studies that this may help prevent diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons and heart disease, but are not conclusive.
Another that you may not want to try just yet is fecal transplants. This is where a donor supplies their stool, that is then transplanted into the biohackers intestinal tract.
The aim is to introduce healthy microbes and bacteria that may improve the gut health and intestinal system of the recipient. Research into these procedures and the outcomes are still new, and the risk of infection is real.
You can read about it in a Vox article here. Here is an exerpt from the article:
In 2016, sick of suffering from severe stomach pain, Zayner decided to give himself a fecal transplant in a hotel room. He had procured a friend’s poop and planned to inoculate himself using the microbes in it. Ever the public stuntman, he invited a journalist to document the procedure. Afterward, he claimed the experiment left him feeling better.
Biohacking You Can Safely Do Yourself
One of the most simple ways is to alter your diet.
Caffeine: It's well known that caffeine can boost productivity. You can measure your results by trying different strengths and different times of the day.
Tumeric Latte: You can go one step further and introduce tumeric latte into your diet. Measure the results as you would with coffee.
Hemp or Plant Based Protein: If you are regularly working out, try adjusting the amount and time of day you take your plant based protein shake. You could even experiment with animal protein and measure the difference.
Green Juice: Instead of having that coffee in the morning, switch to green juice, (either fresh or powdered is fine), and measure how you feel, your mental clarity and energy during the day. You might decide you have a much better day by doing this in the morning.
Have Cold Showers Instead Of Warm: So this does take commitment, and at first it's a tough thing to do, but cold therapy can have real long term health benefits. See the Wim Hof Method for more information.
Intermittent Fasting: While fasting it has been around for 1000s of years, (both voluntary and involuntary), it a very simple, easily activated process to improve your health and well being. Like cold therapy this also takes some commitment. Try the 5:2 diet to start. You don't have to completely stop eating, but you do reduce your calorie intake.
While you may not want to be a Grinder (most people don't), it relatively simple to experiment with your body in your daily life, and take little or no cost, and just a little thought.
It's helped me and my team life happier, healthier, more productive lives just by changing our lifestyles and implementing some simple techniques. For most people it will be the same, as long as you're committed to do it long enough to see the results.
What Twitter Says
Biohacking: Why I'll live to be 180 years old https://t.co/N5PqIj38zA— Lee J. Keller (@leejkeller) August 27, 2019