‘Biohacking for beginners’ is one of the top growing search terms out there, along with ‘biohacking for dummies’. People around the world are catching onto this new method of self-improvement.
Biohacking, in the context that most people use, typically involves lifestyle and dietary changes to improve the functioning of your body. This process is sped along by wearable technology and nutritional supplements.
In this Biohacking 101 article, we’ll give you the low-down on biohacking and how anybody can become a seasoned hacker. We’ll also explore the top three biohacks of 2017 and the best biohacking tools available today.
Biohacking 101 – What is Biohacking?
There is a lot of confusion about what the term biohacking actually means. According to the English dictionary definition: Biohacking (noun): “…the activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards, or for criminal purposes.”
According to Urban Dictionary, biohacking:
“refers to managing one's own biology using a combination of medical, nutritional and electronic techniques.”
A 2014 PBS News article featured biohacking and called it something along the lines of “citizen or do-it-your-self biology”.
According to the interesting article, entitled “What is biohacking and why should we care?”, normal people around the world are setting up laboratories and doing biological experiments.
The scope of these experiments ranges from figuring out how DNA works, to building home-made biotech products, to using electronic devices on human and animal subjects (like the newly-created cyborg remote-controlled insect). 
Basically, there are two types of biohacking:
- ‘Outside’ Biohacking: Using technology and home-made equipment to conduct experiments or create biotechnology products at home
- ‘Inside’ Biohacking: Using medicine, supplements, physical exercise, or other techniques to ‘hack’ your own body for optimum performance
‘Outside’ – DIYBio and Genetic Tinkering from the Comfort of Your Home
Accessing technology that was previously available only to highly qualified technicians and researchers is becoming a whole lot easier. You can now purchase the tools for biohacking on Amazon and other websites. Most chemicals required for biohacking experiments are available online too.
Some people have even taken up on the growing interest in biohacking for beginners to set up dedicated laboratories.
An example of a Biohacking lab is Berkely BioLabs, which was designed to help researchers and entrepreneurs develop concepts and ideas in a professional setting. An interesting website is called DIYBio, which helps would-be biohackers set up their own labs and conduct research from their home.
The basic idea of ‘outside’ biohacking is that it gives everybody the opportunity to perform genetic experiments or produce biotechnology products. Like the three BBC writers who performed DNA analyses in their office with equipment they purchased online and built themselves.
This obviously has the potential to create a whole range of problems for society. And the FBI is very aware of this.
In a BBC Future article, writers discovered how the FBI’s Biological Countermeasures Unit keeps track of biohacking within the USA. The main fear is the emergence of bioterrorism through DIY biohacking labs.
Technically, anyone with the know-how could challenge themselves to create a new virus or produce and extract different toxins.
However, according to the article, no biohacking labs have had to be shut down so-far. The majority of biohackers are normal people who are interested in learning more about biology -especially genetics and DNA – from the comfort of their home.
One important thing to remember is that many of the world’s most revered scientists, including Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, did much of their early research at home.
‘Inside’ – Biohacking Your Body for Improved Health:
‘Inside’ biohacking is different to tinkering with biology in a DIY lab. This kind of biohacking involves hacking your own body for optimum health and performance.
People have tried to gain increased health, athletic abilities, memory, and cognitive performance probably since the dawn of civilization.
Professional sportsmen and women are continually improving their body’s athletic abilities. Researchers and scientists have been pushing the boundaries of human intelligence for hundreds of years. Meditators have been exploring their own minds and bodies for thousands of years!
However, the term ‘biohacking’ – which describes many of the activities above – is a relatively new one.
How to Start Biohacking – Top 3 Biohacks of 2017:
In this intro to biohacking, we explore the top three ways that people are biohacking themselves for better health.
There are plenty of other biohacking techniques out there. Remember, biohacking is an open science. Anybody can contribute.
1. Biohacking with Nootropics for Memory and Cognition
Nootropics are compounds that are designed to help improve your brain’s function. They range from health supplements to ultra-modern research chemicals. A great introduction to the idea behind Nootropics is the film ‘Limitless’.
Biohacking with Nootropics is a new way to improve your memory and cognition. Nootropics like Piracetam, Noopept, Phenylpiracetam and 4-PMPD are some examples of research compounds that have been used to improve cognition.
We’ve all heard the saying that ‘your brain only functions at 10% capacity’. The objective of biohacking with Nootropics would then be to boost this percentage all the way to 100%.
The sentence above is a metaphor. Scientists now know that we actually use our brain’s full capacity every day. We actually use every part of our brain for all different things.
But we might not be using it properly. Some supplements and Nootropics have been found to improve cognition and memory.
The top three supplements for boosting your brain power include:
- Choline Bitartrate: This form of the essential nutrient Choline, has been found in a number of studies to help improve memory and cognitive performance. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Huperzine A 1%: People use Huperzine A as a powerful mental stimulant and memory enhancer. Studies have also indicated its potential to improve cognitive performance. This potent compound is extracted from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata.
- Hordenine: This compound, extracted from the Bitter Orange, is great for boosting your mental energy. It is an MAO-B substrate and helps increase levels of norepinephrine. Users often report feeling more energized and focused. Hordenine goes really well with Phenylethylamine (PEA).
There are other forms of biohacking for beginners to help improve memory and cognition. Although these biohacking tools have been known for thousands of years, many people are only starting to understand them now through the framework of biohacking.
2. Biohacking for Weight Loss
There are many biohacking tools for weight loss. Although these tools might not include any forms of biotechnology or electronic equipment, they are still very powerful ways to ‘hack’ your body for weight loss and a better physique.
Biohacking for weight loss includes the following techniques:
- Get more sleep: Skipping sleep primes your brain to make bad decisions. It influences hunger hormones in your brain, making you more likely to snack through the day and skip exercise.
- Chill out! Scientists have known for a long time that stress influences weight gain. Stress releases cortisol which increases your appetite and is linked to a higher BMI. It may seem counter-intuitive, but two of the best biohacks for weight loss are sleep and relaxation.
Keep it natural. Endocrine disruptors are linked to weight-gain. Avoiding endocrine disruptors like foods and household products with pesticides, fire retardants, Phthalates, BPA, Perchlorate, and mercury helps prevent weight gain.
- Eat Right: There are too many diets for weight loss out there so we’re not going to try to tell you what to eat. We’ll just mention that staying away from processed foods, red meat, trans-fats, and sugar won’t be a bad idea. You should also make sure you’re getting enough micronutrients. For more on this, watch the film ‘Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead’.
- Exercise: Well, it goes without saying. You’re not going to biohack for weight loss without doing some exercise. According to the latest science, the best type of exercise is for weight loss is regular, medium-difficulty exercise.
People also use certain supplements to biohack their bodies for weight loss. Again, we recommend using naturally-derived supplements over chemicals and stimulants.
3. Biohacking for Optimal Health and Longevity
As we speak, biohacking is taking a turn into the world of sci-fi. People often ask about how to biohack your brain or how to biohack your body. The methods we outlined above are relatively simple and don’t require much except for some time, effort and willpower. Basically, it’s biohacking for beginners.
However, some people are pushing biohacking to the next level. The following level 2.0 biohackers are going to extremes to see how they can launch the human body to new levels.
Many people involved in this kind of biohacking are proponents of transhumanism – the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current capacity, often involving the use of technology.
The most talked about biohackers include Dave Asprey and Tim Ferriss – author of The 4 Hour Work Week. Dave has spent over $300’000 in the past 15 years, hacking his own biology for weight loss and optimum health. Tim wrote a follow-up book entitled The 4 Hour Body, in which he documents his biohacking exploits.
Other biohackers who are pushing the limits include:
- Gabriel Licinia, who claims to be able to see objects 50 meters away in the dark after hacking his eyes with a substance called Chlorin e6.
- Larry Smarr, author of The Quantified Self and a renowned physicist and former NASA advisor who is charting the most minute details of his body’s functions to learn more about how the body works.
- Ryan Bethencourt, CEO of Berkely Labs and venture partner at Indie.Bio. His work Is focused on biotech startups and neuroscience biohacks.
- Liz Parrish, who underwent experimental gene therapy in an attempt to reverse the aging process. The CEO of BioViva used herself as a test subject for gene therapy to try to prevent telomerase shortening and enhance muscle mass.
Tools for Biohacking:
Are you a biohacker? If you own a fitness-device, you’re already hacking! In fact, many people might not even know that they are practicing biohacking for beginners.
Forbes magazine has predicted that the fitness-technology industry could explode to a net market wealth of over $34 billion by 2020. This is by far the biggest market of tools for biohacking.
In his article Quantifying Your Body, Larry Smarr described the best tools for biohacking in four different groups: 
- Wearable technology like FitBit and the Apple Watch helps you track what you eat, how you sleep, and how you exercise – an easy tool for beginners.
- More advanced tools include Chron-O-Meter and Self – apps and websites with very detailed information about foods and nutrition.
- Again, wearable technology like the Apple Watch Series 2 and FitBit are great ways for hack your exercise routine. These technologies provide an interesting intro to biohacking.
- EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) is another new technology using biohacking for weight loss. The workout technology sends small electrical signals to your muscles, triggering them to move spontaneously. It allows your muscles to work harder than they normally would – hacking your body’s athletic capacities!
- Energizing supplements like Hordenine, Caffeine, and Phenylethylamine, are great biohacking tools for boosting your physical energy.
- Sleep trackers like are rapidly growing in popularity. Tracking your sleep allows you to figure out how well you slept each night. Tracking other aspects of your day-to-day life, helps you to understand how what to do in the day affects your sleep at night.
- S+ by ResMed is the latest gadget available and one of the best biohacking tools for beginners. The unique thing about the S+ is that it does not require physical contact to track your sleep. Using “patended non-contact radio frequency technology”, this tool is able to monitor your breathing and calculate your sleep patterns.
- Calming health supplements like Oleamide and L-Theanine are great ways to hack your sleep and promote a relaxed state of mind.
If you’re new to biohacking and want to learn more about this interesting new subject, there are a number of biohacking books available today. They range in scope and subject.
The top three biohacking books we’d recommend are:
- The Biohacker’s Handbook – by Teemu Arina, Olli Sovijärvi, and Jaakko Halmetoja. This interesting and accessible book explores how to hack your sleep, nutrition, work, exercise, and mind. The authors are technology and nutrition experts, and Olli Sovijärvi is a medical doctor.
- The Art of Less Doing: One Entrepreneur’s Formula for a Beautiful Life – by Ari Meisel. In this astonishing book, author and entrepreneur Ari Meisel describes how he found a way to reduce his workload by 80% while increasing his success!
- Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science – by Alessandro Delfanti. This biohacking book offers a more in-depth look into the emergence of ‘open science’ and DIYbio. It is a very interesting look into the ethics behind the new transformation of science towards open sharing.
Conclusion – Biohacking for beginners
In summary, biohacking for beginners can involve one of two things: hacking ‘outside’ yourself (DIYbio), or hacking ‘inside’ yourself (to optimize health and vitality). The term biohacking is still broad and loosely defined.
The best types of ‘inside’ biohacking involve a combination of nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes, and technology. Biohacking for health is probably the most important reason to start learning about this new topic.
People around the world are using Nootropics and supplements to hack their cognitive performance and memory. Furthermore, an increasing number of people are using biohacking tools, technology, and supplements to help with weight loss and vitality.
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