“Biohacking” – that’s a term that’s thrown around a lot these days.
If you’re like many people, it brings to mind images of science labs, cryotherapy, Dave Asprey, DNA, and superhuman mutants.
Some people spew vague health advice as “biohacks” (“eat your veggies” “get more sleep!”) – does that really count as a “biohack” ? While others – looking at you, David! – are making a lot of money off of certain tactics (like an extra special type coffee with butter in it?) that may not necessarily have much evidence to support them.
(I’m also confident that there are some people out there – solely trying to make money – selling “biohacks” in the form of pills, homeopathic medicine, or other voodoo magic tricks that literally do nothing.)
VOX defines biohacking as “an extremely broad and amorphous term that can cover a huge range of activities, from performing science experiments on yeast or other organisms to tracking your own sleep and diet to changing your own biology by pumping a younger person’s blood into your veins.”
With such a vague term, and money involved, there’s bound to be some controversy and polarized internet articles on the topic.
What really is it? What counts?
I humbly offer my perspective.
I think “Healthline” gets it reasonably close: “Biohacking can be described as citizen or do-it-yourself biology. For many “biohackers,” this consists of making small, incremental diet or lifestyle changes to make small improvements in your health and well-being.”
(Though I would hasten to add, the the “small” changes can lead to improvements that might not always be so “small.”)
A “hack” – as the term is used commonly, today, – is simply a way to do something more efficiently or more effectively.
And Biohacking, as I see it, refers to the process of improving physical health, aesthetics, or performance, particularly efficiently or effectively, through the use of self-experimentation.
It’s a broad definition.
To put it even more simply:
If you’re experimenting on yourself to try to improve, you’re biohacking.
That can be as simple as changing the tiniest variable. If you’re going to bed one hour earlier, and seeing what happens, you’re biohacking. If you’re adding in a vegetable smoothie every day, and seeing what happens, you’re biohacking.
(Of course, you have to actually track what the changes are, and maintain consistency in your experiment. A halfhearted, vague attempt to “eat more veggies” that you forget about in a few days doesn’t really count as an experiment.)
However, if you add the habit of ‘going outside for 5 minutes every morning for two weeks,’ and you actually track something – even your “tracking” is just a quick journal about your mood for that day – you’re biohacking.
The cool thing is, is once you start, things can get pretty exciting, pretty quick.
Once you start viewing your body as something that can be improved and optimized through your habits, and you start running little experiments, you start to realize how much power over yourself you actually have.
And sometimes, you discover ways to drop significant amounts of weight quickly, lower your cholesterol, or live longer, through very cool (and often unorthodox) methods.
(This tends to be where the traditional image of ‘biohacking’ comes in – with the “unorthodox” methods.)
So my suggestion to you is simple: try experimenting on yourself.
(No, no, I don’t mean just jumping right in and injecting crazy substances into your body. I mean changing ANY variable – no matter how small – in a way that you suspect might be good for you. And watching what happens, with an open mind.)
Because you know what? You may just surprise yourself and discover a highly efficient or effective way to improve your health, looks, or athletic performance.
And if you do, please share it with the world. So hats off to fellow biohackers who are genuinely trying to improve themselves through self-experimentation. And honestly, hats off to Dave Asprey and the like, who are seeking to become better, live longer, and be healthier, through some open-minded experiments and an optimistic attitude.
(And if some individuals are making money off of untested “biohacks” or spouting ideas that simply don’t work, we should be critical of the specific techniques in question – but not give up on Biohacking as a whole.)
Because you can improve yourself.
You can start now, today.
It helps to have a little optimism, and an open mind, and patience. But through a little self experimentation, you may just surprise yourself with the amount of power you have over your own body.
And ultimately, you may be able to upgrade your life, just by starting with some small self-experiments.