Everyone wants to live their best life. Some want to reach an optimum state of being so much that they’re hacking their own biology to get there.
Biohacking is literally hacking your own biology so that you perform better mentally, physically and/or emotionally. But it’s much deeper than that.
What exactly is biohacking and should you give it a try?
What is Biohacking?
Biohacking is the process of using technology, science and self-experimentation to change or control your own biology.
It’s more than just changing your diet or exercising more so that you’re overall healthier and live longer. It’s about digging deep into the minute details of what goes in, on and around your body that can impact your biological functions and thus, your quality of life.
Some biohacking is simple, and you might biohack every day (some, for example, believe that drinking coffee is biohacking, as it increases energy, productivity and clarity of mind). Other forms of biohacking are a bit out there and a little extreme, depending on who you ask.
Types of Biohacking
There are several different popular forms of biohacking.
Nutrigenomics is one of the most common forms of biohacking and one of the simplest and safest. It’s simply changing your nutrition and activity in order to get the results you want. For some, that result might be a thinner waistline. For others, the desired result could be more energy and less stress.
Nutrigenomics, though, is not just picking a diet and going with it.
It’s about focusing on how nutrients interact with your individual genes and discovering how nutrients might not only impact your body in terms of energy and weight, but also in terms of emotions and behavior.
Nootropics are related to nutrigenomics.
Nootropics are substances that biohackers can use to change your cognitive function, whether that’s increasing your attention span and productivity or altering your mood. As you might expect, nootropics are very popular with biohackers in the corporate world, who want to increase their productivity to the max.
Coffee is the most common nootropic, so you’re likely already using a nootropic and biohacking in that way, you just didn’t know it.
DIYBio is a bit more extreme but can be used somewhat as a blanket term to describe the most common forms of extreme biohacking. DIYBio is when people are basically conducting science experiments on themselves, to see how they can get better results.
Most DIYBio practitioners already have some sort of experience in a medical or scientific field, but not always.
Easy (and Safe) Biohacking
If you’d like to try biohacking for yourself, in an effort to live your best life, you can definitely start doing so today.
Nutritional changes can help immediately and start with changes as simple as removing sugar from your diet or drinking more water. If you want to get a little more scientific, you can conduct elimination diets to learn how certain foods affect you (the FODMAP diet, for example, is an elimination diet growing in popularity that helps those suffering from gastrointestinal issues to see what foods might affect them differently, from celery to apples to gluten).
Elimination diets generally remove a chosen food or food group from a diet for two or more weeks. Then, when you introduce that food back into your system, you make sure to note any adverse symptoms you might have that could then be traced back to that food.
Nutritional changes might also include intermittent fasting, which some biohackers say help you fight off diseases like cancer.
Making sleep changes is another safe and easy form of biohacking. Tweak your sleep rituals and conduct sleep experiments to find out what gives you the best sleep possible. These tweaks might include changing the temperature in your room, experimenting with different essential oils or switching up what you eat before bed. Then, after you sleep, you can conduct further experiments with your caffeine intake to see what results in a more refreshed, better you.
You can also start making behavioral changes to “hack” your life. One behavioral change popular with biohackers is “rewilding,” which basically means you’re living a more nature-attuned lifestyle — spending more time outside, eating raw foods, getting more Vitamin D.
There are, of course, some of those more extreme forms of biohacking that you might not want to try. In many instances, these extreme forms of biohacking aren’t about just living a better life; they’re about living for as long as humanly possible, cheating death.
Young blood transfusions are becoming more popular among the extreme biohacking crowd.
This is where an older individual will receive a transfusion of a younger person’s blood. Some believe this practice results in disease immunity, especially when it comes to diseases often associated with old age, such as Alzheimer’s.
Fecal transplants are another unsavory biohacking option.
This is where someone with gastrointestinal issues will transfer the stool of a healthy person into their own gastrointestinal tract, with the hopes that the microbes in the healthy individual’s stool will set up shop in their own gastrointestinal tract. This can, though, cause life-ending infections.
Life extension biohacking revolves around repairing cellular and molecular damage.
The hope by doing this is that people will eventually be able to live to 1,000 or longer. However, this type of biohacking isn’t really accessible yet and is still being explored — though the doctors working on the research say the first person capable of living to 1,000 could already be alive today.
Is Biohacking Right for Me?
Everyone could stand to make some lifestyle changes to better benefit their health.
However, how far you want to take those lifestyle changes depends on a few things, including your faith in science, your patience in experimenting on your own body to discover what works best for you and your desire to cheat the negative side effects of simply aging.
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