What is Biohacking? Do I even biohack bro?
I’ve been loosely referring to myself as a ‘biohacker’ for a little over a year now. It’s a term that I’d adapted from my own interest into human longevity, and what I believe is an upcoming step-change in how long human beings will be able to lead healthy lives.
But it wasn’t until I came across this YouTube video that featured a discussion between the two authors of The Biohacker’s Handbook (read more), Dr. Olli Sovijärvi and Teemu Arina, where at ~28:45 into the interview video, they discussed the definition of ‘biohacking’
Biohacking as Synonymous with Preventative Health
“I would use biohacking almost as a synonym for preventative healthcare” says Dr. Sovijärvi “At some point, ‘biohacking’ as a term might not be as relevant… the preventative healthcare system is just rising”
This really got me much more interested in the concept of being a biohacker and really broadened the definition of this term into an area that I really cared about. My initial impressions of the term ‘biohacking’ used to draw out cognitive constructs of… let’s call them the more ‘creative’ types of humans who implant electronics or RFID chips beneath their skin or modify their genome by injecting themselves with CRISPR. I’m not passing any judgment on those folks whatsoever - but I’m interested in a wider appeal with my sphere of influence. Something that my father or neighbour or peer can find interesting and accessible.
This conversation between two of the earlier members of the biohacking movement (who are now in their 5th year of organising the Biohacker Summit) and authors on one of the most popular books on the topic, offers us that broader, more widely relevant definition.
Perhaps we can even look to their book’s website, where ‘biohacking’ is even further defined in their landing page text:
Biohacker’s Handbook weaves together novel perspectives on technology, nature and self-development.
A biohacker sees his or her body as a complex system that can be probed, analyzed, understood, and put under the test.
Such controlled experimentation (i.e. biohacking) can be used to pursue self-development and deeper self-understanding
Now we’ve expanded the territory even further. A biohacker respects the complexity of biology, particularly that manifested in the human being, where our metaphysical elements of the mind & self-awareness are arguably as equally powerful as the physical systems that drive the body. And respects that given this complexity, that experimentation, including the collection of data, outcomes, forming of hypotheses, is fundamental to the processes of biohacking.
And let’s not skip over the last part - that all of these actions are in pursuit of deeper self-understanding and self-development. I like to think of this process within myself as a continual optimisation of my overall ‘well-being’ (more on that in the future).
So, am I a biohacker?
I routinely collect biometric data (blood glucose, blood pressure, blood ketones, heart-rate), I run experiments upon myself in the pursuit of deeper self-understanding (eating a ketogenic diet for a year in 2018, fasting for 3-5x days per month in 2019) and I engage with technologies that are best classified as ‘preventative healthcare’ - look no further than my visit to the Health Nucleus in May 2018. Each day, I take approximately 30 supplements, collect increasing amounts of biometric data, and routinely partake in high-intensity interval and strength exercise to stimulate my mitochondria and up-regulate my glucose metabolism…. and that’s jus the start!
So, would I call myself a biohacker?
Hell yes I would. And I do. Welcome to my biohacking journey!