What Is Biohacking?
When you hear the term “hacking,” what comes to mind? Maybe you think of a friend’s email that was recently hacked, an engineer uncovering faster software code, or the ability to use credit cards to earn free travel miles. In many ways, hacking is synonymous with “beating the system,” and it has more of a positive connotation than negative. Interestingly, the concept of hacking can also be applied to your body. Yes, your body. Enter: biohacking.
In essence, biohacking is figuring out what makes you tick—what makes you feel and perform your best, particularly under ideal circumstances. It is the process by which humans use diet, supplements and lifestyle choices to function more optimally. In other words, hacking your own biology gives you access to your body’s embedded systems—systems that would otherwise go unaltered. Think of biohacking like giving yourself the gift of daily, optimal wellness. And while it may sound far-fetched, you’re likely already biohacking your everyday life.
The History of Biohacking
The history of biohacking, also known as “DIY biology,” has relatively new roots. Circa 1988, the concept of do-it-your-self biology began making waves. Through simple demonstrations and basic experiments, Bay Area-based scientists, doctors and small communities started revolutionizing the concept of hacking human biology. Fast-forward to the current day, and groups of biohackers are experimenting in labs. With scientific learning as the goal, they’re gathering to explore biology, tinkering with variables to bring about changes in DNA.
Hacking one’s biology has become a popular, wellness-inspired hobby, thanks to health-focused entrepreneurs like Dave Asprey. Asprey, who considers himself a “professional biohacker,” says he has used a combination of biohacking, technical measurement tools and his low-toxic coffee (Bulletproof) to alter his brain function, weight and overall health. He’s known to take supplements as well as apply electricity to his brain and muscles to improve his mental and physical wellbeing. And while that may sound high-tech, Asprey is not alone. There are plenty of other pioneers in the biohacking space, helping pave the way.
What Are the Benefits of Biohacking?
If you think of your body as a complex machine, it has both inputs (i.e., food, exercise, meditation, reading, etc.) as well as outputs (i.e., energy, mood, stress, etc.). Biohackers believe that continual, significant tweaks can lead to immediate, measurable changes in your life. In other words, changing your inputs changes your outputs. That said, do-it-your-self biology requires patience, experimentation and determination. Trial and error will lead to results, helping you learn more about your body along the way.
While the research is still up for debate, there are many practices in the biohacking world that people swear by. Some of these include an anti-inflammatory diet, taking certain supplements and adaptogens, EMS training, cryotherapy and investing in an air purifier. That said, biohacking is as basic as tuning into your body and understanding your triggers. These triggers can cause insomnia, poor digestion, low energy and more. Done with precision and acute awareness, biohacking can lead to improved cognitive function, stress reduction, weight loss and improved productivity. If you’re interested in hacking your own biology, start simply. You may notice that you feel better by changing up your exercise routine, eliminating foods that cause digestive upset, establishing a relaxed nighttime routine, and incorporating medical marijuana.
Though a more intense form of biohacking exists, simple tweaks to your daily life can result in monumental changes. Biohacking is understanding how to better adapt your lifestyle to fit the way your body functions. Plus, there are plenty of natural ways to improve how you’re feeling, without the need for fancy gadgets. You have the power to make the most of your biology—an empowering, life-altering ability. For that matter, feeling your best could be one hack away.