What Is Biohacking: the Main Ways to Hack Your Biological Age

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Many college students and professionals from all walks of life take advantage of biohacking techniques to reverse aging, improve cognitive function, and ultimately increase productivity. If you are curious to know how people optimize their physical and mental health and reverse the effects of aging and how you can take advantage of it to enhance yours, this article is for you. It sheds light on everything you need to know: from what Biohacking is to its safety and possible side effects. We also discuss some of the latest tech and techniques that are used to achieve it all.

What Is Biohacking?

Biohacking is a blanket term used to describe the practice of using technology, nutrition, biology, or certain medications to improve or augment the mind and/or body. People who engage in it generally view the body as a computer system where illness is a virus or bug that can be eliminated and where parts are upgradable to achieve improved function and efficiency [1].

Although the concept generally considers improving the whole body, one aspect of it has gained particular attention over the years — age and cognitive function. Because our bodies and minds naturally suffer a decline as we age, many people are particularly interested in discovering ways to slow or reverse the process.

Over the years, people have tried to achieve that using various techniques, ranging from brain stimulation procedures such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to brain-training apps or software and taking nootropics (medications and dietary supplements believed to boost cognitive function).

Although there is some evidence to suggest that some of the techniques (for example, the use of nootropics) have some benefits, it is worth noting that much of the research on biohacking for age-related cognitive decline is still in its early stages. Consequently, more research is needed to determine their short- and long-term effectiveness and safety.

It is worth noting that some biohacking techniques may carry negative after-effects or risks, so it is important to carefully consider them before these before trying them out.

How Different Is Biohacking from Traditional Medicine?

Many people liken biohacking to traditional medicine, but they are two different fields. Biohacking is a new and still rapidly evolving field that utilized various techs and techniques to enhance physical and mental attributes. On the other hand, traditional medicine is a more established field that lays focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases using proven tools and evidence-based practices. Unlike biohacking, traditional medicine is often practiced by healthcare professionals such as doctors, pharmacists, and nurses.

One key difference between traditional medicine and biohacking is that while the former is primarily focused on the treatment of diseases, the latter is focused on enhancing health and overall well-being [2][3]. Another major difference is that traditional medicine is based on rigorous scientific research that is often regulated by government agencies and health bodies. Biohacking, on the other hand, typically involves a wider range of tech and practices that are loosely regulated.

In a nutshell, biohacking and traditional medicine differ in their regulatory framework, focus, and practices. Both fields are useful in promoting health and well-being, but it is important to consider their potential risks and benefits before exposing yourself to them. Do well to consult a doctor or healthcare professional before attempting to treat yourself or optimize your body.

A Diet Inspired by Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is a field of study that examines the relationship between human genetics or genome, nutrition, and overall health. It involves the use of highly specialized genetic testing techniques to understand how the inherited genes of different individuals respond to various foods and nutrients. In most cases, the aim is to design a diet tailored to meet the specific genetic needs of an individual [4].

Diets inspired by nutrigenomics are often referred to as “personalized” or “precision” diets. Such diets are typically carefully, methodically, and painstakingly designed to optimize an individual’s health and well-being by providing the right balance of nutrients and minimizing the intake of potentially harmful substances. For example, such a diet might include foods and fruits that are known to have a positive impact on specific genetic variants. It may also be used to identify and exclude foods that are known to have a negative impact on gene variants to help an individual achieve the desired effect.

For example, “genetic nutritionists” recommend taking more vegetables, more greens, and fewer sweets & engaging in cyclic fasting so the body releases ketones – an alternative energy source that aids in weight loss [1]. Another example is the link established between cancer and resveratrol — a compound in red wine. Since the compound is known to stimulate a gene that protects tissues from free radical damage associated with cancerous cell replication, genetic nutritionists and advocates suggest that consuming red wine could protect against cancer [5].

If you are interested in getting started with nutrigenomic diets, there are a few different ways you can go about it. One option is to undergo genetic testing through a commercial laboratory or healthcare provider. This very valuable information about your genetic makeup is known to enable accurate determination of different foods that would have a positive effect on you. Alternatively, you can work with a nutritionist or other healthcare professional to design a personalized diet based on your overall health and wellness goals.

Generally, nutrigenomic diets can be an effective way to optimize your health and well-being, but it is worth noting that genetics is not the only factor that can influence your response to food. Age, sex, and lifestyle are some other factors that equally play a role in your nutritional needs. Although biohacking through the use of a nutrigenomic diet may be possible, it’s important to be mindful of your overall health and to seek the advice of a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.

Brain Boosting Nutraceuticals & Nootropics

Brain boosting or cognitive function, as it is commonly called, is one of the key areas of biohacking. Many people from all walks of life try to enhance their cognitive function in other to get a competitive edge. In doing that, they typically resort to nutraceuticals and nootropics.

Nutraceuticals are food or food extracts that provide medical benefits and prove to be effective in the prevention and treatment of diseases as well as in improving mental health. Some neutraceuticals and nutraceutical products include [6]:

  • fortified dietary products;
  • citrus fruits;
  • green tea supplements;
  • vitamin D3;
  • raspberry ketones;
  • liquid prenatal vitamins.

They are believed to work by providing replacements for nutrients, vitamins, or other biomolecules that the body lacks from a cellular to a systemic level. People consider using them a safer and generally better approach to preserving health because they pose minimal risk of side effects [7][8].

On the other hand, nootropics are dietary supplements, herbs, medications, or other substances that can enhance cognitive function and ultimately increase productivity. Most nootropics are believed to increase alertness, enhance memory, boost energy, and increase motivation if taken in appropriate amounts.

There are several nootropics available as dietary supplements and drugs. Nootropic drugs are generally more popular because of how effective they have proven to be over time. One of the most popular and commonly used ones is Provigil — a modafinil-based drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Although the drug was specifically developed and approved to treat sleep disorders, it has powerful cognitive-enhancing benefits, and millions of healthy individuals across the world use it for that.

Provigil is a brand-name drug, and like all others like it, it is expensive. Luckily, it is available in generic versions that are available at a much more affordable price. One of the most unique, safe, and effective ones is Modalit — a wakefulness-promoting medication that contains 100% modafinil as its active ingredient. The product is common among entrepreneurs, CEOs, students, and countless other professionals who take it because of its effectiveness and low potential for side effects.

Sport Activities

One of the several ways to hack biological age and enhance cognitive function by extension is through sports activities. Engaging in physical activities can help slow aging by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory molecules, which are considered to be a key player in youth preservation.

Studies suggest that aerobic exercises decelerate the loss of brain volume, which is typical with aging. By so doing, it preserves the areas of the brain responsible for memory, critical thinking, and other cognitive function; prevent age-related memory loss, and ultimately lower the risk for dementia [9][10].

In addition, sports activities and exercise improve blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. When blood flows better to the brain, it carries more oxygen which, in turn, improves its function and protects against age-related cognitive decline. This is not to mention the fact that increased blood flow to the body can improve cardiovascular and muscle strength and reduce the risk of developing certain chronic diseases. 

Gadgets and Neurostimulators

People looking to hack biological age and improve cognitive function often use neurostimulators and some special gadgets to monitor their health and make informed decisions about their lifestyle. They use gadgets such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and sleep monitors and track vitals such as heart rate, sleep patterns, as well as physical activity. 

Neurostimulators are devices that stimulate specific areas of the brain using electric or magnetic fields. They are generally used in a research setting to treat and relieve symptoms of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease, among others. Some biohackers use them for personal cognitive enhancement. However, the practice is highly inadvisable as there is limited study on the long-term safety and effectiveness of the devices for that purpose, and more studies need to be carried out [11][12].

Neurostimulators may have the potential to offer a range of benefits, but it’s a great idea to consult with a doctor or healthcare professional before using them, as they may have detrimental effects.

Is Biohacking Safe?

Biohacking is a relatively new and rapidly evolving field; consequently, the safety of some of it is an ongoing concern. While some practices, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, are generally considered safe, some others may carry more risk.

One common concern in consideration is the potential for long-term effects. Because several of the practices are yet to be thoroughly researched, their long-term consequences remain unclear. For example, biohacking practices involving neurostimulators may have unintended consequences that are not yet fully understood.

Another concern with biohacking is the potential for harm to the individual. Practices such as extreme diets or the use of certain supplements may not be suitable for everyone and can have negative after-effects on health. 

Overall, it’s important to be cautious when considering biohacking practices and to be aware of the potential risks. While some biohacking practices have the potential to offer a range of benefits, it is important to use them responsibly and be aware of the potential risks.

In Closing

Biohacking has the potential to offer new ways to improve or enhance various aspects of our biology, including age-related cognitive decline. However, it is important to approach this area with caution and to carefully consider the risks and benefits of any interventions before trying them.

Engaging in Sports activities and the use of nootropics such as Modalit is the most researched, most used, and safest way of enhancing cognition function, especially when compared to other methods. However, it remains advisable to seek advice from a doctor before going ahead with them or trying any new biohacking practices, as they may not be ideal for everyone.

References

  1. Biohacking: a fashion fad or a way to beat aging. By Val Snow. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Healthy-foods-near-me.com.
  2. How biohackers are trying to upgrade their brains, their bodies — and human nature. By Lily. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Deepstash.com.
  3. Biohacking: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Integrativenutrition.com.
  4. Nutritional Genomics. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Wikipedia.org.
  5. Nutritional Genomics: What are Nutrigenomics & Nutrigenetics? Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Study.com.
  6. Top 10 Nutraceutical Products. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Biothrivesciences.com.
  7. Nano-delivery Systems for Nutraceutical Application. By K.A. Ishak, N. Ahmad, et al. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Sciencedirect.com.
  8. What are nutraceuticals and how do they work? By Denette Wilford. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Globalnews.ca.
  9. The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. By Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, and Charles Hillman. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  10. How Exercise Enhances Aging Brains. By Gretchen Reynolds. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Nytimes.com.
  11. Wireless closed-loop stimulation systems for symptom management. By J.-C. Chiao. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Sciencedirect.com.
  12. Effect of neurostimulation on cognition and mood in refractory epilepsy. By Alvin Y. Chan, John D. Rolston, et al. Retrieved: December 17, 2022. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

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