‘I come from a tradition where hacking is a positive term, and it means learning about stuff by building, and trying to make things and seeing what happens’- Drew Endy (a biohacker)
What is Biohacking?
Biohacking is fairly a new term which is intriguing due to its name. We all know computer hacking and mobile hacking but is there something called a bio-hacking? Seems interesting! From ancient times, humans are trying to experiment on themselves by changing their eating habits or lifestyle and seeing what happens to their overall health.
Today, this experimentation has got a name- biohacking. It is actually do-it-yourself biology. This means that you try to improve your physical and mental health by changing and controlling your external environment.
It’s just as you enter a Disneyland of adults! Figuring out how you can ‘control’ your inner environment by changing your external environment (input). Whatever you give to your body, it pays back to you in the form of your health. If you have been experiencing bad health for months or years, check what you are giving to your body?
Biohackers figure out that what will be the effect of changing your diet or lifestyle on your health. If you want better health, you should provide your body with the things which alter your health in positive ways.
Types of biohacking:
Biohacking has many forms and each form has a different and unique effect on the body. Here are three types of biohacking:
Biohackers experiment and see how the food we eat interact with our genes. It is a diet-disease interaction. In nutrigenomics, biohackers figure out what type of food is good for our genes and how we can minimize the effect of genes which cause illnesses.
The biohackers who practice nutrigenomics believe that we can actually ‘map’ our genetic expression and can see which nutrient effects which type of genes and in what way. Nutrigenomics show how food affects a person’s mental health, physical health, mood, and performance.
Does it work?
The food we eat can ‘hack’ our biology in some ways. So, yes nutrigenomics work in certain areas of our bodies.
Nutrigenomics can reduce the risk of development of genetic diseases. It also helps to lose weight, gain mental and physical stability and helps stabilize the mood. Although controversial, nutrigenomics plays an important role to control various illnesses.
Do it yourself biology is practiced by individuals and groups of people who are keen to experiment the biological ideas on their own i.e. beyond the laboratory. They conclude the results and see how different changes in food and lifestyle affect our physical and mental health.
The biohackers who practice DIY biology train the non-experts to conduct different trials on their body or other living things (plants) outside the biological labs and specific conditions.
Does it work?
There are many examples to prove that DIY biology actually works! In 2015, a person inserted chlorine e6 in his eyes for night vision- and it worked. This is attributed to the property of chlorine e6 to alter the molecules in the eyes called as photosensitizers.
Biohackers are trying to converge the biohacking with biotechnology to bring fruitful outcome by providing ways to control genetic diseases and disorders.
A biohacking subculture that believes that everybody part is hackable is termed as grinders. Grinders tend to optimize their bodies with different kinds of gadgets, chemical injections, and whatever they can do to get the desired results.
Does it work?
The grinder ethic is considered very dangerous and risky. It sometimes works and sometimes does not. But in any case, it is too risky to insert foreign objects into the body without prior research and study.
Some cool biohacking hacks:
The techniques or hacks which I am going to discuss shortly can be tried by anybody and are not considered as hazardous. But it is advisable to first consult your doctor and then incorporate any lifestyle change.
Biohacking with Nootropics:
Nootropics are the substances which are used to increase cognitive abilities. These can be in natural substances, supplements or any kind of food and beverages. They increase a person’s productivity, enhance mood and attention span.
Nootropics are considered safe if they are present in natural substances or food and beverages. One common nootropic which we all are familiar to is caffeine. Normal caffeine intake is generally considered safe. It keeps you alert and increases your cognitive abilities.
Nootropics which are in the form of supplements are considered as unsafe by FDA. For example, piracetam is a medicine used to increase cognitive abilities. But it should not be used without a doctor’s consent.
- Nootropics can be taken to enhance cognitive abilities, mood, and performance.
- It is advisable to only take nootropics in natural form i.e. in foods and beverages.
Eat wild and raw food:
Another great hack is to eat a lot of raw and natural food. Eat lots of veggies, healthy fats, and high-quality proteins that exist in natural form. Go outside and eat that mushroom which is otherwise stir-fried and mixed with various other ingredients.
We need to go out and forage as it will enhance our immunity and digestive system. Again, we have to beware of different food allergies and should take things slow in order to rule out allergens.
Get some natural air:
Another bio-hack is to go out and breathe fresh air. It has a lot to do without our bodies. Aerobic exercises should be practiced on a daily basis. Meditation, exercise, and other different activities outside your home will allow you to cater to unusual circumstances. Furthermore, getting some fresh greatly enhances our mental and physical health.
- Go out and breathe fresh air.
- Exercise daily.
In a nutshell, biohacking is emerging and a lot of work is underway. But, biohacking also has its risks as it is practiced outside the ideal conditions and the experiments are done on humans. So, biohacking implants regarded as risky. Besides, various biohacking techniques are safe and can be practiced for the betterment of our mental and physical health.