Biohacking is used for a variety of purposes, including improving overall health and well-being, enhancing mental and physical performance, and experimenting with technology and biology. Some people use biohacking to monitor and track their health metrics, such as heart rate and sleep patterns, and make lifestyle changes based on this data. Others use biohacking to experiment with different substances and technologies, such as nootropics and brain-computer interfaces, in an effort to improve their mental and physical abilities. Biohacking can also be used for more extreme purposes, such as making physical modifications to the body, such as implanting technology under the skin. Ultimately, the use of biohacking varies widely and can be adapted to fit an individual's specific goals and needs.
Biohacking, also known as human augmentation or human improvement, is a self-made biology whose goal is to improve performance, health and well-being through strategic interventions. Some common biohacking techniques, such as meditation and intermittent fasting, have existed since ancient times. As biohacking begins to appear more frequently in the headlines and, recently, in a fascinating Netflix series called Unnatural Selection, it's worth clarifying some of the basics. These are all types of biohacking, a broad term to refer to a lifestyle that is becoming increasingly popular, and not just in Silicon Valley, where it really took off.
Rob Carlson, an expert in synthetic biology who has been advocating biohacking since the early 2000s, told me that, in his opinion, “all modern medicine is hacking, but people often call certain people “hackers” as a way of delegitimizing them. This biohacking technique is becoming more popular and accessible, doubling its growth in the United States for four consecutive years. Sinclair's findings have caused supplements such as NMN (an NAD+ enhancer), resveratrol and metformin to flood the space of biohacking. While this may open up a new field of possibilities, conducting experiments in the garage or in a community biohacking laboratory can be difficult to regulate, hence the security, ethical and legal concerns.
But later on, I'll also give an overview of other types of biohacking (including some that can result in quite incredible works of art). Cryotherapy or cold therapy is a biohacking method that exposes the entire body to very cold temperatures. You may know Dave Asprey, the self-proclaimed biohacker who popularized putting butter in coffee, or Wim Hof, The Iceman, who uses breathing to withstand the freezing temperatures of the Arctic. Find out how people are using InnerAge to biohack their health and improve their longevity here.
Biohackers congregate in dedicated online networks, in Slack and WhatsApp groups. WeFast, for example, is for those who fast intermittently. Ellen Jorgensen, co-founder of Genspace (a space for biohackers), says that those dedicated to home biology should follow safety guidelines. The biohackers I spoke to said that restrictive regulation would be a counterproductive response to biohacking because it would only make the practice go underground.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) biology, also known as synthetic or home biology, is a type of biohacking that focuses on experimentation and knowledge sharing. The creation of the application has allowed biohackers to closely monitor their progress as they embark on a series of interventions and self-experiments.
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