Biohacking is the art of upgrading people’s lives through science, technology, and nature, and making humans healthier, happier, and stronger, with longer lifespans.
Listen to this guy
Aged 14 and diagnosed with arthritis in his knees and dealing with metabolic issues, hitting 300 pounds in his early 20’s, Asprey hang out with an anti-ageing non-profit group and learned the tools of what became biohacking, dramatically changing his life.
“I’m about 10%, maybe 10.2% body fat right now. I don’t experience hunger on a regular basis. I love what I eat. I have more energy at 46 than I did at 26. I feel amazing. My brain works. I can remember all the things I want to remember. I don’t drop words. And it’s been absolutely liberating. It also cost a million dollars along the way. And that is completely unfair.”
“It is that deep knowledge of 20 years of working with the world’s best anti-ageing researchers and scientists, and reading the papers and doing the work, and trying it myself that lead me to say, with reasonable confidence, look, I’m going to make it to at least 180 if I want to. And that’s not the cap, that’s the floor.”
Not to be confused with body hacking usually linked to wearable technologies that monitor biological or health data, or augment reality, biohacking is about manipulating the biology of the brain or the body itself in order to optimize human performance.
Basic steps for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the biohacking world include improved diets that are usually plant-based, exercising regularly, and not smoking.
Let’s start with some simple Biohacking techniques
Cryotherapy is a cold therapy or ice treatment. By bringing the body temperature down at the tissue and cellular level biohackers claim it is possible to achieve therapeutic benefits. Cryotherapy can involve treatments with cold packs or ice packs, taking cold showers for days in a row, swimming in icy waters, to chambers where you are immersed in chilly conditions. There are also a few side effects.
Weight-bearing exercises can improve bone health stimulating bone-building and preventing or fighting bone loss. Biohackers claim they can strengthen bones in a matter of minutes by using high-tech machines called osteogenic machines.
Nootropics (smart drugs)
Nootropics are cognitive enhancers. They are natural or synthetic substances that may enhance mental skills.
Intermittent fasting is a trend started in Silicon Valley and rapidly expanded to the rest of the world. It can be used for losing weight or to boost brain power and clarity. In Biohacking, it implies improving focus and concentration.
Elon Musk’s new biohacking startup Neuralink wants to put implants in our brains “to secure humanity’s future as a civilization.”
British university professor Dr. Kevin Warwick (known as “Captain Cyborg”) has been implanting all kinds of electronics in his body since the 90s, while Spain’s Neil Harbisson, now living in New York, is the first person to have an antenna brain implant and to be recognised by the government as a ‘cyborg’
European startup founders are raising millions of dollar to hack the brain.
Read: Cloning pets and animals now common practice. Is cloning humans next?
Salvia Bioelectronics: Brain tech to stop migraine
Founded in 2017, the startup is developing neuro-stimulating devices which can be implanted under the skin to help those who suffer from chronic migraines. It has succeeded in raising €1.8m this year (bringing its total funding to €3.1m)
Bios: AI for biohacking the body and the brain
British startup Bios is also tapping into the neurostimulation market but is starting by hacking our body functions before it biohacks the brain. In the past year, Bios has raised $4.5m
Flow Neuroscience: Brain tech to treat depression. Raised $2.6m so far.
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When gene therapy costs millions, biohack it!
A group of independent biologists say they plan to copy a costly gene therapy.
The drug being copied is Glybera, a gene therapy that was the world’s most expensive drug when it came on the market in Europe in 2015 with a price tag of $1 million per treatment. Glybera was the first gene therapy ever approved to treat an inherited disease.
This year the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis introduced another gene therapy, Zolgesma, for spinal muscular atrophy, with a price of $2.1 million. Costly and not globally available.
Independent and amateur biologists say they have engineered a prototype of a simpler, low-cost version of Glybera, and they plan to call on university and corporate scientists to help them check, improve, and test it on animals.
In another recent example of copycat gene therapy, in 2018, a biohacker in Florida produced and ate an oral gene therapy for lactose intolerance using a 20-year-old scientific paper like a recipe.
Intellectual copyright infringement worries have been raised.