A futuristic shadow of a main in front of clouds. His silhouette is made up of microchips.

A Beginners Guide To The World Of Biohacking

Live your best life.

Reach your potential.

Be the best version of yourself.  

As cliché as these sayings are, they’re all things we strive for, right?

As humans, it’s in our nature to want to live a happy and healthy life – for as long as possible.

Maybe Susan from the office swears by having cold showers every morning.

Or your friend Joe natters on about the benefits of swigging apple cider vinegar each day.  

Or perhaps a more extreme case, maybe you heard a rumour about a distant colleague who had a chip implanted in their hand.

Though wildly different, these are all examples of biohacking. AKA Do-It-Yourself Biology.

 

Woah Hold Up, What Is Biohacking?

Even if you haven’t heard of biohacking, you’ve probably come across it (or maybe you’re already doing it). 

If we strip it down, biohacking is an umbrella term for “hacking” your “biology.” It’s gained momentum in Silicon Valley, the UK and beyond (particularly amongst wealthy tech males). It refers to anything that manipulates your brain and body to optimise your performance (that’s not traditional medicine).

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee and a leading voice for biohacking defines it as “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so that you have full control over your own biology.” 

Yep, it’s what led him to drink his coffee with butter, do extensive stem cell treatment and sit in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (to name a few).

Some biohackers even go further – injecting computer chips for added convenience when opening doors (because who has the time to look for keys?)

I know, for those of us who simply want to live a good life, this seems a little extreme.

But for others, it’s the measures they take to reach their peak. So who are we to judge?

 

So, Why Do People Biohack?

There are different reasons why people choose to biohack.

Some are only interested in dipping their toe in – such as taking natural supplements – to help them feel as healthy as possible.

For others, it’s more about exploring what’s unconventional. Breaking boundaries. Going where no human has gone. And of course, living as long as they possibly can.

 

A birds eye view of a green backdrop, featuring fruit, nuts, vegetables and other wholesome foods

Different Types of Biohacking

As you can see, biohacking comes in many forms. But there are three subcategories that experts use to break it down: nutrigenomics, DIY biology and grinder.

 

Nutrigenomics

This refers to the study of how food affects our gene expression. The underlying belief is that different nutrients affect the way we act, feel and think.

 

DIY biology

This type of biohacking is when educated (in some cases, uneducated) individuals choose to experiment with their bodies outside of a controlled experimental environment.

 

Grinder

This is the most extreme version of biohacking, a subculture that sees every part of the human body as “hack-able.” They’ll go to any length to optimise their bodies – from chemical injections, implants and chips. 

DIY biology and grinder forms of biohacking might give you the heebie-jeebies.

But remember, there are plenty of biohacking techniques that are perfectly orthodox (more on these in a minute).

 

Is Biohacking Bad For You? 

Depends on which way you look at it. 

Sometimes, biohacking gets bad press because the folk leading the movement are doing wildly unconventional things. Freaky, even.

But when it really comes down to it, biohacking is about reaching our full potential. Something we can all deeply resonate with.

You don’t have to insert chips, do plasma transfusions, take supplement cocktails every day or strive to be a superhuman. 

There are some natural, everyday ways you can begin to biohack.

 

Everyday Examples Of Biohacking

A lot of biohacking techniques aren’t new craze.

Sure, the folks doing grinder biohacking are venturing into unchartered waters. But many biohacking techniques have been around for thousands of years. So just as biohacking appears futuristic, it also looks to ancient wisdom.

 

A man meditating, he's sitting on a rock overlooking a mountain range

 

Here are a few of our favourite biohacking techniques…

  • Meditation
  • Sleep
  • Gratitude journals
  • Supplements
  • Cold water therapy
  • Watching the sunrise and sunset
  • Coffee each morning
  • Blue light glasses
  • Spending time in nature
  • Movement and exercise
  • Patting your dog

… the list goes on.

 

Is Biohacking Based On Research?

Loaded question.

Some people claim biohacking is just a marketing ploy or a shortcut to avoid hard work (you know, like good old-fashioned exercise and eating well).

But ultimately, the efficacy of biohacking depends on the technique you choose to do. Because just as biohacking techniques vary, so too does the level of research.

Mindfulness meditation, for example, dates back to as early as 5000 BC. Since this time, there’s a wide variety of mixed research, with many studies suggesting it helps with conditions like high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. (3)

Moreso, few people deny the benefit of sleep (well, we’d like to hear them try). Studies show it helps with immunity, mood, memory, heart health – the list goes on. And something as simple as getting enough Zzz’s is a form of biohacking.

But then there’s the flip side: biohacking that’s based on limited research. For example, intermittent fasting has some long-term health benefits in animal studies, but human studies are still limited. (4)

See where we’re going with this?

The level of research depends on the type of biohacking technique you choose to engage in.

We always recommend consulting a doctor, nutritionist or professional before engaging in biohacking that’s based on limited research.

 

So, What Makes You A Biohacker?

If you’re already engaging in activities like meditation, supplements or cold water therapy – you might be thinking, am I already a biohacker?

But in the words of Dave Asprey, “the main thing that separates a biohacker from the rest of the self-improvement world is a systems-thinking approach to our own biology.”

In other words, your mindset.

If you approach biohacking activities with a particular mindset – beyond self-improvement – then you may be a biohacker.

 

A woman in front of a purple background. The photo is in black and white, with coloured areas in her brain to emphasise brain activity and mindset

Are Medicinal Mushrooms Biohacking? 

Medicinal mushroom supplements are a gentle way to dip your toe into the world of biohacking.

Medicinal mushrooms like Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Turkey Tail have been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years. So, it’s an example of biohacking that turns to ancient wisdom. 

Medicinal mushrooms are a potential source of antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial and immunomodulatory agents. And when we consider that many pharmaceutical medications on the market have mushrooms as a key ingredient, we can begin to understand their potential benefit to our bodies.

Scientific research varies depending on the type of mushroom. But one things for sure, there’s growing interest in medicinal mushrooms from scientists, nutritionists and biohackers alike.

At Natura Mushrooms, we let science guide the mushroom products we bring to market and the methods we use to create them. We acknowledge research is still evolving, but the early signs are promising.

 

Turkey tail mushroom spurting out of a forest log

 

If you’re interested in biohacking with medicinal mushrooms, here are our favourite applications…

Lion’s Mane may boost cognition and mood

Reishi may relax the mind and energise the body

Turkey Tail may boost immunity and gut health

Cordyceps may enhance energy, stamina and recovery

Chaga may promote radiant, glowing skin

Maitake may boost immunity

 

Discover our mushroom extracts today.

Discover our mushroom powders today.

 

Written by Shane and Ash, the scientists and mushrooms farmers behind Natura Mushrooms.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167779918300787
  1. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/268111955.pdf
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn3916
  1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/102/2/464/4564588?login=true
  1. https://philpapers.org/rec/SIMCAB-2
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01639625.2021.1976606
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/biohacking
  1. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/6/25/18682583/biohacking-transhumanism-human-augmentation-genetic-engineering-crispr
  1. https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12657/33340/503694.pdf?sequence=1#page=163
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0040162520310325
  1. https://www.hackbiohacking.com/what-is-biohacking/