Biohacking is making specific, deliberate changes to your mind and body with the goal of optimising your life. Your goal could be to look younger, live longer, or have a sexier body. The type of biohacking you select will depend on your targets. It could be as simple as meditating and taking supplements, or as complex as having microchips embedded under your skin.
These tweaks in your lifestyle and behaviour are often small and incremental, which is how you can maintain them in the long run. But some hacks are expensive and intense, like the kind undertaken by the Methuselah Foundation. Their stated goal is to ‘Make 90 the new 50 by 2030’.
Biohacking for dummies
The most basic form of biohacking is probably something you do every day: drinking coffee and energy drinks to stay awake during an all-nighter. It counts as a biohack, because it interrupts your body’s natural tendency to fall asleep. Vitamins and supplements fall under the same category because they increase the levels of beneficial nutrients and chemicals in your body.
These kinds of food supplements include Vitamin B Complex for general health or Omega 3s for memory and cognition. You might also take chia seeds, fibre pills, or psyllium husk for roughage. At the other end of the spectrum, you could biohack by eliminating items from your diet. The most commonly omitted food products include sugar, fats, and carbohydrates.
Supplements that improve the results of your exercise regime may not seem like a biological hack, because you wouldn’t get the same effects if you exercised without them. A creatine supplement, for instance, raises energy levels, which lets you work out longer and see results faster. And whey protein speeds up your process of building muscle and bulking up.
Supplements as biohacks
This counts as optimisation due to the dosage. Multiple litres of milk won’t give you the same amount of whey protein you’d get from a scoop of Muscle Pharm Combat 100% Whey. Also, some of the chemicals in supplements occur naturally in our bodies, but not in the amounts we prefer, and certainly not on-demand. You can’t order your body to release glycogen at will.
But you could lick a handful of glucose powder, or you could take a creatine shake to enhance your ATP in minutes. That’s what makes it a hack – the fact it can’t be done naturally. Biohacks are all about achieving amazing results in a fraction of the time, and with far less effort. Of course, some of the more extreme forms of biohacking should be avoided.
For example, some practitioners do things like faecal transplants, while others receive blood transfusions from younger donors. These practices aren’t government regulated and can be potentially fatal, so don’t try them without your doctor’s approval. And even for the more benign options like supplement shakes and concentrated nutrient tablets, talk to a medical expert.
Why? Some of these pills and potions have no proven effect beyond psychological satisfaction. And there are supplement brands that could actually be harming your health, so be sure to buy from trusted sources and well-established brands. Check the ingredients … and the sell-by date!