What is biohacking? Millions of people all around the world are starting to adopt and use the term ‘biohacking’, but what does it mean?
In this article we will explore:
- What biohacking is
- Why people WANT to biohack themselves
- The types of biohacking
- Where it all started
- Are there any dangers of biohacking?
- How you can get started optimising yourself
So make sure to read the whole article if you want to learn about this incredible new trend.
What does biohacking mean?
Well, the term can mean several things actually, but the term biohacking means to optimise or improve yourself and the habits you have. It can also be referred to as ‘taking full control of your biology’.
The trend started when people realised they could improve or optimise the way they live.
Just like as humanity evolved, we’ve learned better ways of doing things, healthier ways of eating and building, and more advanced medicine. In the same respect, we’ve also learned a LOT about how the human body works, and the best way to treat it.
It might not seem that way though.
When you look at the widespread disease and health problems around the world, but there’s a reason for that. Not EVERYONE CARES. And that is part of what makes biohacking so exciting.
For the people that do care, it’s like you’re a superhuman.
It’s like you’re part of a secret ‘club’ that understands how to HACK and tweak the human body to get the best results. Results like:
- Feeling better
- Growing stronger
- Sleeping better
- Boosting your immune system
- Feeling HAPPIER
- Thinking more clearly
- Reversing ageing
- And much more
It’s a secret sort of tribe at the moment, containing millions of members.
But as we’ll explain shortly, biohacking doesn’t have to be this strange, elusive thing that you don’t understand. ANYONE can learn how to biohack themselves, and that’s a large part of what this site is all about.
What counts as a biohack?
A biohack can be anything that you DO to make your body or mind work or perform BETTER.
It’s actually quite hard to explain exactly what counts as a biohack, because there are various different TYPES of biohacking. We’ll get onto what the types are soon, but here’s an example of a biohack that anyone can try.
Biohacking example: Every night when the sun goes down, our bodies start to produce melatonin which helps us fall asleep. The PROBLEM is most people turn on bright lights and TV screens and watch them right up until bedtime, STOPPING your body producing melatonin.
This makes sleeping ‘not as good as it could be’.
A biohack would be to wear some blue light BLOCKING glasses like these, so that your body can still produce melatonin when the sun goes down, meaning you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. A very simple, cheap and awesome biohack that anyone can do, to make falling asleep easier.
Types of biohacking
There are various types of biohacking that you could try, but there are really just two MAIN types that you’ll need to be aware of.
- Traditional biohacking
Grinding is a type of biohacking in which people PHYSICALLY change parts of their actually body. This includes:
- Embedding bio magnets in their fingertips
- Changing their genes through gene splicing (not legal in most places)
- Embedding LED lights in their palm
- Adding RFID chips in their hand
- And various other small biohacking changes like that
That grinding biohacking is not the type I focus on here on Transcend Your Limits, although I do write about it from time to time. I like to think of that as the hardcore, optimistic group of biohackers who are obsessed with physical changes.
I MUCH prefer traditional biohacking which looks at things like diet, habits, and nootropics to boost brainpower and performance. I think that’s a lot safer, in the long run. The reason I prefer that side of things is because it’s got a lot more research and experience behind it.
Things like embedding a magnet in your finger has a much LOWER number of people that have tried it, and therefore we just don’t know enough about it to make it a safe thing to suggest you try.
What’s the point of biohacking
One of the biggest reasons people want to learn biohacking is that it can IMPROVE your body and life. By making fairly small changes to your body and your inputs, you can get small to large improvements in your OUTPUTS, or your results.
The example would be the blue light blocking glasses, which takes a few seconds to order online and start using, but gives you INSTANT benefits, the same night. By sleeping better, you’re automatically going to perform better during the day.
And there are LOTS of little hacks and tweaks like that, which will make your life a lot easier.
What is a good biohacking diet?
In terms of diet, I don’t like to mention diet suggestions to most people. That’s because it’s still not clear what the BEST diet for biohacking is. But there’s another reason:
Diet has a very polarising effect on people.
There are many types of diet you could try and they’ll all give you slightly different results. What I like to do is to look at the bigger picture. I like to look at LARGE statistic studies on people taking a certain thing or eating a certain diet.
And what have I found?
A plant based or vegan oriented diet is the best for longevity, and feeling good.
That’s across the board, but it might not be the best diet for say, bodybuilders. It’s still unclear, but there ARE ways of getting enough calories as a vegan, before you ask that!
Some interesting articles to read about biohacking and diet are:
- Why you should go vegan (Some genuine science based reasons, nothing about saving the animals)
- Intermittent fasting for beginners (A complete guide to eating and WHEN you should eat to feel the best)
Some biohacking examples
Because biohacking can cover so many different things, it’s hard to know what examples to give. I’l focus not on grinding but on other types of biohacking that you can try.
Here are some examples of biohacks that you can try. I’ll also link at the bottom of this post to a post I wrote about biohacking and how to get started.
1: Sleep tracking
Sleep is IMPORTANT.
This is the reason so many CEOs or massive company owners protect their sleep like it’s a vault full of gold bars.
They’ll prioritise sleeping early, and getting high quality sleep every night. Because they know that if you sleep right, you’ll perform right the next day.
The first step to take here is to actually TRACK your sleep, so you can see how long you’re really sleeping for, and how high QUALITY that sleep is. Here’s the most effective ways of tracking your sleep:
- Oura ring: A small ring that tracks your sleep more accurately than most other smart devices
- Fitbit: A very well known brand that can track your sleep effectively and show you when your deep sleep happened and what disturbances you had during the night
- The fitness tracker I use: A much cheaper option than the other two, and it still shows you how long you slept for, how much DEEP sleep you had, and gives you reminders with a vibration during the day to move when it detects you’re not moving! It also counts your steps and a bunch of other stuff too
2: Taking nootropics
A nootropic is a supplement that can boost or improve the way your brain works.
There are many types of nootropic out there, but the best ones are the ones without caffeine. The ones with natural ingredients that ACTUALLY improve your brain and the way it works.
Because there are a lot of nootropics out there that just make you FEEL like you’re thinking faster, when really you’re just THINKING you’re thinking faster. Sounds confusing I know, but it’s like this:
If you drink 5 cups of coffee, you’ll feel like you’re on to of the world, but your actual OUTPUT wont be great.
Your thoughts will be scattered, hands shaky, and your creativity stifled.
A real nootropic though, something like Mind Lab Pro will ACTUALLY improve your performance.
And you won’t need to rely on caffeine or sugar to do it. You’ll just perform better. And that can be measured. One of the things I really like about that nootropic actually is the research that’s gone into the ingredients.
You can clearly see the effect and research that’s gone into each ingredient and why it was chosen.
3: Implanting a magnet
As I said, this is part of ‘grinding’ which is a more hardcore type of biohacking, but this is a good example.
Many people have already done this small procedure, where you essentially slice a tiny hole in your fingertip, and slide a tiny magnet inside. The skin heals over, and you now have an additional sense.
You can feel a gently tugging on your fingertip when you’re near either something metal or something that generates an electromagnetic field. People have been reporting sensing when they’re near power plants or power cables, and all sorts of other crazy things.
Hopefully you can see from these biohacking examples how easy it is to get started with biohacking yourself and upgrading your life. Now let’s look at how it all started.
Where did biohacking start?
Well, since there are so many definitions of biohacking now, no one really knows.
It’s not like someone suddenly stood up and said ‘this is what biohacking is’.
Instead, it’s become a term that has gained popularity thanks to people like David Asprey and Tony Robbins. They’re famous for going public with their biohacking habits and talking about how it works to the media.
But the actual techniques and habits have been around for a very long time. So no one really knows how old biohacking is. Ironically some biohacks like the blue light blocking glasses are really only a CURE for what we’ve become.
In the wild, we used to avoid blue light at night naturally, because we couldn’t produce any. And it’s the same with many other biohacks as well, like drinking filtered water. Our water supply has been infected with heavy metals and pollutants over the years, so now ‘biohacking’ is needed just to drink clean water.
It’s also worth noting that biohacking is constantly evolving and improving.
Even now, there are people trying to hack their own genes and DNA by gene splicing and injecting themselves with custom DNA. I believe that’s actually illegal in many places at the time of writing this but it’s an ongoing exploration.
Are there any dangers to biohacking?
As with anything, there are dangers, and biohacking probably more so because you’re directly changing what you’re putting into your body. If you don’t do your research or know what you’re doing, you could harm yourself.
I would probably say the biggest dangers are linked with the grinding aspect of biohacking, because it’s so new and unregulated. But there are of course dangers with taking nootropics as well, just like any supplement.
Because the field is so new, it’s not very regulated.
Nootropics are a good example, which is why it’s so important to really research the ingredients you’re putting into your body and what they’re doing. You can do this fairly easily online though, which makes it very tempting to start biohacking.
How you can start biohacking
There are a few ways you can start biohacking, and they don’t have to take much time or money.
Firstly, make sure to journal everything.
Every change or habit you alter, write it down in a journal. This lets you look back and see what changes did what. It’s also useful if you notice any negative effects from something. Cold showers are a common biohack to have more energy and boost your immune system, and it’s interesting to write down when you started taking them.
Secondly, read our beginners guide to biohacking and start testing a few of them. You’ll probably not want to try ALL of them but there are a few that you’ll be able to try.