If you’re useless when it comes to technology, good news: Biohacking has nothing to do with your computer. Biohacking might sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel. Yet, it's a term that's been rapidly gaining traction not just in the realms of Silicon Valley but also in the daily lives of health-conscious individuals the world over. With roots dating back to the pioneers of personal computing, biohacking is any activity or lifestyle choice that aims to alter your body's biology to improve health, optimise performance, or even extend lifespan.
Biohacking is no longer the sole domain of a tech-savvy elite. Everyone from corporate executives looking to boost cognitive function to fitness enthusiasts trying to transform their performance is jumping on the biohacking train. From wearables that track your performance to specialised nutrition to fuel your body, biohacking encompasses intermittent fasting, nootropics supplements, and nutrigenomics to take you from 80% to 100%.
As 2024 unfolds, we're seeing burgeoning interest in biohacking from various sectors, including professional sports, where athletes are tapping into biohacking to gain that competitive edge within the bounds of ethics. But, it’s not just for elite athletes or sports players. It’s going mainstream.
What Is Biohacking?
Tune in, future biohackers. Biohacking has surged to the forefront of wellness narratives. Spearheaded by innovators like Dave Asprey, often touted as the father of biohacking, it is a practice that integrates nutrition, technology, and lifestyle for peak performance. Biohackers experiment with everything from intermittent fasting to customising their diet and environment for health and productivity. Asprey, one of the original biohackers, four-time New York Times bestselling author and founder of Bulletproof Coffee, introduced biohacking to the mainstream with his Bulletproof coffee and a comprehensive biohacker plan, transcending traditional health paradigms. His biohacker approach encourages individuals to become the architects of their biology, utilising biohacking supplements and establishing biohacking diets to unlock human potential (Asprey, D. 2024) .
Notably, neuroscientist and podcaster Andrew Huberman has delved deep into biohacking through his renowned podcast, The Huberman Lab. Ironically, based on the topic of today's blog, Huberman actually despises the word ‘biohacking’, as he believes that it implies people taking shortcuts when harnessing science to improve their health (Ducharme, J. 2023) .
Does Biohacking Work?
Does biohacking work? Well, for biohackers everywhere, it certainly appears to. It's been embraced by renowned voices like Dr. Mark Hyman, who champions its abilities to optimise health and well-being. If you’re a victim of clickbait, you’ve probably stumbled across Dr. Hyman’s article on the ‘ 7 Steps To Biohack Your Health To Live Longer ’. The biohackers field is still budding, but the general consensus is that if you maintain an ideal weight, exercise, eat cleanly, and don’t smoke or drink excessively, then you should live a long and healthy life. Biohacking doesn’t necessarily require uprooting your entire lifestyle but is achieved through focusing on healthy habits that create the most reward each day (Hyman, M. 2021).
Is Biohacking Safe?
Understandably, something with the word ‘hacking’ probably doesn’t sound particularly safe, just like hacking into your best friend's phone or your teacher's computer isn’t safe. But if you ignore the bad reputation of the word, biohacking should present no issues, unless done in an unsafe manner or to extremes. A word of caution, though; if a strange scientist asks you to implant something into your brain or to perform some ‘secret’ surgery on you, we recommend running for your life. If Sci-Fi films are to be believed, this kind of experimentation doesn’t end well. Our recommendation? Start with a FitBit.
When approached safely and with preparation, biohacking should be safe for most people. If your biohacker plan involves making drastic dietary changes or starting new supplementation routines to build your biohacking diet, we recommend consulting a healthcare professional to ensure you are making the right decisions.
Types of Biohacking
We’ve talked a lot about the general gist of biohacking, so it’s only fair that we share the most popular types of biohacking to help you new biohackers formulate your biohacking plan.
DIY biohacking is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It involves industry experts like Dave Asprey, Andrew Huberman, and Mark Hyman sharing biohacking techniques and tips that everyday citizens can learn and harness to improve their health. DIY biology allows more freedom in how you approach your health and wellness goals, providing more ideas, spontaneity, and flexibility through avenues like microbiology, nutrition, and biomedicine (Geng, C. 2022) .
Nutrigenomics, which is a difficult word to digest, is a type of biohacking that focuses on the genetic impact of food. It explores how your genes affect your body’s response to food and can be used to learn more about your diet and genes. You can send your DNA samples to a specialised laboratory, where your genetic makeup is analysed and used to create an optimised nutrition plan to support your health goals (Geng, C. 2022).
Grinder biohacking begins to descend into the realms of futuristic Sci-Fi cinema. Think Elon Musk and all of his chatter about ‘human implants’. Grinder Biohacking involves the braver health enthusiasts hacking their own bodies with cybernetic devices or biochemicals to enhance or change the function of their bodies. This movement is strongly associated with body modification and involves implanting cybernetic devices like magnetic implants into your body. This trend should be practised with caution and research, given that the DIY approach to body modification can prove dangerous (Scholarly Community Encyclopedia. 2022).
6 Ways to Biohack
So, you’re ready to start biohacking? Don’t go too overboard. Let's take a look at some of the best ways to start biohacking without the self-experimentation that grinder biohacking involves.
Intermittent Fasting/Time-Restricted Eating
This might just sound like you’re jumping on a diet, but biohacking is all about the simple improvements. Intermittent fasting comes in all shapes and sizes, with the most common and user-friendly option being the 16/8 method. Part of biohacking your body to improve your health requires testing what works best for you. Just because the influencer on Instagram practices the 16/8 method doesn’t mean you must. You can also try the 5:2 diet, which means eating normally for five days and fasting for two. Even starting with a 10/14 fast can be a helpful start to building discipline and structuring your eating window. You can tweak and change what works best for you (Tony Robbins Team. 2023) .
To learn more about time-restricted eating, check out our blog: Intermittent Fasting: Does It Really Work?
We wouldn’t be a supplement retailer if we didn’t share our collection of Nootropic Supplements to support biohacking. Do you know what counts as a nootropic? Caffeine. So, if you’re at the mercy of your morning cappuccino, you’re actually biohacking your cognitive function. Nootropics include caffeine, creatine, various herbal supplements and even some pharmaceutical medicines. These nootropics can support brain performance and cognitive function, helping you biohack your way through a dull day in the office (Geng, C. 2022).
Cold Water Therapy
You’ve heard it before. Ice baths, cold showers, and cold therapy are the real trend right now. Ending 2023 and entering 2024, the only thing gaining more traction than ice baths is running clubs.
Dutch athlete Wim Hof, also known as The Ice Man, bears a lot of responsibility for the growing popularity of cold therapy. Hof believes that cold exposure creates resilience and helps by getting your lymphatic system moving and your circulation racing. Wim Hof practices what he preaches by submerging himself in frosty, frozen lakes. We recommend you start smaller. Think cold creeks in the winter, the beach early in the morning, or a bathtub filled with ice from the local servo. Experiment with what works best for you, and if you need inspiration, type ‘wim hof’ into Google and comfort yourself, knowing that you aren’t submerged in an icy lake (Badminton, N). Of course though, this is one to exercise with caution, especially if you have any pre-existing heart conditions or difficulties breathing.
Have you heard of the WHOOP Band? According to mine, I’m at 27% Recovery and 48% Sleep. Wearable technology such as smartwatches, head-mounted displays, fitness tracking bands, and more are popular pieces of wearable technology that can help you track your fitness statistics. Among the best options include the FitBit, Apple Watch, WHOOP Band, heart rate monitors, and Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices. Keep an eye on your sleep; that’s the most important one, and for good reason. These trackers can help you assess the areas in your life where you are underperforming and make the necessary changes to reach your fitness and health goals.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is becoming increasingly popular. As we can summarise from the sunlight, light is an important aspect of our health. By spending so much time indoors (and in front of screens), we expose ourselves to blue light and do not have enough of the opposite. Biohacking tools like red light therapy have emerged as a popular solution, with clinical studies suggesting that red light therapy can offer a number of benefits, primarily around mitochondrial health. Redlight therapy supports wound healing, inflammation, neurological illnesses, and penetrating deep muscle tissues (Schoutsen, D. 2022).
Zone 2 Training
If you’re looking at taking up running, now is the time. Training in Zone 2 can help you biohack your health and improve endurance. Zone 2 is the second lowest aerobic zone on the scale (1-5) and includes any activity that pushes you to about 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This includes steady walking, cycling, power walking, running, or rowing. Training in zone 2 can improve your aerobic capacity (or VO2 max), which plays a role in how efficiently your body can consume oxygen and turn it into energy (Dupee, A. 2023).
If you spend a lot of time in the gym, the good news is you’re biohacking your health. Weight lifting and strength training may actually improve your longevity, with research suggesting that weight lifting alone was linked to a 9% to 22% lower risk of dying. Research showed that the greatest longevity gains were among people who combined both strength training and aerobic exercise (Corliss, J. 2023).
The Bottom Line
The important thing to remember is that biohacking doesn’t have to be complicated. There are simple biohacking diets and biohacker plans that you can follow to start taking advantage of the benefits of biohacking. It can be as simple as starting to track your sleep or going to the sauna once a week. You don’t need to uproot your life to practice biohacking. Just find what works and go from there.
If you’re looking for more information on biohacking and how to start building your biohacker plan, or you want help finding the best biohacking supplements, we’ve got you covered. Simply head in-store or reach out online, and our knowledgeable team can help you find the best biohacking supplements.
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Ducharme, J. 2023, ‘How Podcaster Andrew Huberman Got America to Care About Science’, Time Magazine, accessed February 2024, https://time.com/6290594/andrew-hubman-lab-podcast-interview/
Hyman, M. 2021, ‘7 Steps To Biohack Your Health To Live Longer’, Dr. Hyman, accessed February 2024, https://drhyman.com/blog/2021/10/08/podcast-ep429/
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Dupee, A. 2023, ‘What Are Examples of Biohacking?’ Inside Tracker, accessed February 2024, https://blog.insidetracker.com/examples-of-biohacking
Corliss, J. 2023, ‘Adding weight lifting to workouts may boost longevity’, Harvard Health Publishing, accessed February 2024, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/adding-weight-lifting-to-workouts-may-boost-longevity#:~:text=After%20a%20median%20follow%2Dup,by%2024%25%20to%2034%25 .