There is someone alive today who will live to be 1,000 years old.The Independent
Biohackers sit on the front lines. We investigate, experiment, and integrate bleeding-edge technologies into proven ancestral practices. We maximize both our quality of life, and time alive (see my tips on boosting your healthspan).
We design rigorous, individual n=1 biohacking experiments to vet futuristic compounds, therapies, devices, and practices years or even decades ahead of everyone else.
You can be on the forefront too.
Let's investigate some of my favorite trends shaping the future of biohacking and health optimization.
Biohacking Trend #1: Peptides
Want to slow aging? Recover like wolverine? Build muscle like the hulk?
Your solution might lie within tiny chains of amino acids called peptides.
These little amino pack quite the punch. Researchers are busy investigating them for anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and muscle-building purposes.
You may have unknowingly used them.
Collagen supplements are the most widely used peptide.
Other peptides are taking the biohacking world by storm:
- Melanotan II to protect against UV skin damage.
- Thymosin Alpha 1 (TA1) for immune and intestinal healing.
- Semax as a cognitive enhancer.
- Dihexa to improve learning and memory.
- Thymosin β-4 (Tβ4 or TB-500) for repairing and regenerating injured tissues.
- BPC-157 to heal the gut.
Right now they're the wild west of performance enhancement. They're hardly regulated. Similar to other dietary supplements, quality matters. Manufacturers often cut corners. To make matters worse, many peptides only work via injection. It's one thing to swallow supplements contaminated with heavy metals and toxicants. Injecting them is a whole different league.
Biohacking Trend #2: Hacked Learning & Skill Development
Mastering a skill takes years. Malcolm Gladwell found that the world's foremost experts put in well above 10,000 hours of quality practice to get where they are.
What do you want to master?
Assuming you live to the ripe age of 100 and work the standard 2,000 yearly hours, truly mastering each skill costs five percent of your life.
Little kids pick up new skills in a fraction of the time. Not mastery, but they learn quick.
Select shortcuts can shave hundreds or even thousands of hours. Hours potentially spent elsewhere.
Meta-learning, or applying science to the learning process, promises greater memory, better knowledge integration, and faster expertise.
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (C.E.S) is a growing hack that induces peak performance gamma brain waves by sending a tiny electrical current across the brain.
Applied properly, minuscule electric current is safe and effective, with DARPA showing a 40 percent increase in learning speed.Neurostimulation devices can alter your brainwaves for quiet relaxation, intense focus, or to enter a deep flow state. Click To Tweet
C.E.S is one of many modalities seeking to improve the learning process by putting you into a brain state similar to a little kid (in terms of learning). Military, professional sports teams, musicians, researchers, biohackers, and other high-performers have taken a keen interest in this booming technology.
Biohacking Trend #3: Minimum Effective Exercise
Three-hour iron pumping sessions and jogging around the city are losing popularity.
You can stay healthy and transform your body with a tiny dose of exercise.
The industry is moving towards more frequent, short bursts of effort. Replicating what our ancestors most likely experienced. People are embracing the simplicity and effectiveness of small micro-movements throughout the day.
Biohacking Trend #4: Rapid Strength & Muscle Building
In a recent post, I outlined a hyperefficient and effective training technique called blood flow restriction (BFR). Modern hacks are making long workouts all but obsolete. Want to build muscle and strength in 12 minutes per week? It's possible.
Have some disposable income?
Biohacking Trend #5: Hacking High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT has sprouted up across the world.
Today you can find classes in every city. It's an excellent “anytime” workout. You can hit every muscle group in four minutes flat.
Some research shows HIIT to burn fat twice as effectively as low-intensity exercise.
This form of training gets results, safely. Remember, exercise is a stressor. More isn't always better. That's why trainers are seeing greater success with HIIT variations that emphasize rest (*gasp*) between sets. It's alluring:Add rest between sets to "Burn 40% More Fat Than HIIT in 60% Less Time" Click To Tweet
Biohacking Trend #6: Yoga & Alternative Movement in Most Fitness Programs
Science is catching up to what many have known for centuries.
Qigong, Tai Chi, and yoga all realign and benefit the body, mind, and spirit.
These forms of intentional movement put us into positions outside of our normal standing, sitting, walking, and laying down. They relieve the stress of modern life. All three distribute bodily pressure to areas that rarely receive it.
Each practice recognizes the importance of the breath. They also teach us to get comfortable with discomfort, something widely applicable to life.
Biohacking Trend #7: Precision & Individualized Nutrition
Out with restrictive cookie-cutter diet plans. In with hyper-customization.
No one diet works for everyone. We are moving towards personalization across the board. Diet, environment, light exposure, meal timing, circadian typing, and exercise will follow suit.
Your ideal lifestyle may look nothing like those around you.
Roger Williams wrote about this concept in his 1998 book Biochemical Individuality. Organ size, function, enzyme counts, blood composition, metabolism, hormones, and even reactions to compounds like alcohol, nicotine, and food preservatives differ from person to person.
We're talking HUGE differences. His experiments showed a 50 fold (that's 50 times) difference between individuals on the low and high end for a host of biomarkers. What does science do with these extreme outliers?
Averages them away. Data analytics sleight-of-hand hides the vast differences between humans.
Decades later, Roger's concept of personalization is catching on.
There are countless ways to personalize your approach to biohacking and optimal performance. Some of my favorites include:
- SelfDecode (see my review) to understand and tailor your lifestyle to your genetics
- NutriSense CGM (see my review) to identify “healthy” foods and habits sabotaging your progress.
- Self-quantification devices like Oura, Lumen, and Biostrap create beautiful insights into the inner workings of our body so that we can optimize our experience.
Soon every part of your existence will be tailored to your genes, epigenetics, preferences, habits, specialties, microbiome, microviome, and more.
Biohacking Trend #8: Microviome Awareness
No, that's not a typo.
An astounding number of bacteria live in your complex gut microbiome.
But it pales in comparison to the microviome.
What is the microviome?
The microviome is a large community of viruses, genetic material, and exosomes living inside the human body. Just like your microbiome contains both beneficial and dangerous bacteria, your microviome likely contains similar viruses important to good health. And the microbiome and microviome interact with each other. We know that the microviome is a treasure trove of complex information.
Dr Zach Bush and Dr David Wolfe claim that there are orders of magnitude more viruses in your microviome than microbiome.
Search the internet and you'll discover an appalling lack of information about the microviome. Far less on the mysterious interaction between the microbiome and microviome.
Some scientists believe that disturbing the microviome populations may explain how symptoms of disease mysteriously come and go. The microviome may hold the key to understanding how a virus can lay dormant for years and then suddenly become active.
Today we're focusing mainly on the microbiome, but the microviome is a new frontier.
Biohacking Trend #9: Food is More Than Calories
We give our soil no love.
Organic or conventional nutrition doesn't matter much if the soil is dead.
Humans actively till it and kill it, relying on chemical fertilizers to save the day.
It doesn't work that way, and with each harvest our food becomes less nutritious.
“Food is medicine”, but only if it contains the necessary alkaloids. Current industrial farming processes and food testing largely ignores the alkaloid content of foods.
No wonder sickness and disease have trended upward at alarming rates.
Declining soil quality (and lack of nutritious options) pushed me into testing out my green thumb. Or, for urbanites, freshly sprouted produce. Both more than compensates for lackluster supermarket options.
Biohacking Trend #10: Bioharmonization
Biosynergism and bioharmony are about realigning withe the roots of humanity. Embracing natural practices.
How boring and low-tech, I know.
No matter how hard humans try to fight our biological past, we thrive most in natural environments. As Scott Carney points out in The Wedge (see the biohacker's booklist for detail), over-reliance on chemicals, insulation, and indoor sedentary lifestyles eventually lead to degeneration.
Our bodies and minds recalibrate with light and exposure to nature. Each exposure to natural hormetic stressors like the hot temperatures of saunas, or freezing cold showers build our nervous systems to more easily handle future threats. Turning us into more capable and resilient humans.
We can fight our environment with comfortable modern technologies, but ultimately we become frail and susceptible to disease. Practices like morning light exposure, clean environments, drinking clean filtered water, eating clean food, Earthing, and spending time in nature forest bathing send precious information to our biology.
Biohacking Trend #11: Prioritizing Recovery
A decade ago, talks of recovery indicated a lack of training:
- Taking it easy
- Moving less
- Eating clean
Today, however, recovery has become an active endeavor. Quantified through technology such as the wildly popular (and pricey) Oura Ring. And now more budget devices like the Amazon Halo. Entire facilitates dedicated to the latest modalities and practices have cropped up around the world. With menus touting a dizzying number of services:
- Vibrating platforms
- Active tissue release
- Red light therapy (hint: Joovv isn't the best)
- Infrared therapy
- Compression therapy
- Hot/cold contrast therapy
- Electromagnetic stimulation therapy
And many more. World-class performers on the front lines have begun embracing the critical role in their daily performance. The best training program does no good without ample recovery.
Biohacking Trend #12: Embracing Ancestral Medicine
Humans have painstakingly discovered what works and what doesn't.
Through tens of thousands of years of trial-and-error.
Believe it or not, some modern science's latest discoveries were written about thousands of years ago by the world's ancient health systems.
India's oldest medical system called Ayurveda, for example, first documented the existence of the mind-body connection and the gut microbiome in scripts determined to be over 5,000 years old.
As more novel problems stump Western Medicine, savvy biohackers will explore other paradigms. Including time-tested medicine.
Biohacking Trend #13: Focusing on Peak Performance
As advancements in longevity and anti-aging medicine boost life expectancy, we're moving beyond disease mitigation.
Once we satisfy the basics of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, next we turn towards optimization and performance. Merely existing without disease isn't enough.
In biology, structure dictates function. Similarly, peak performance follows peak health. Living a powerful life requires energy. So the first step after preventing disease is to biohack and maximize your energy. High energy supports every facet of your life.
Vast amounts of money will flow to those that can elevate mind-body output of the world's top performers. From Fortune 100 CEOs, to Olympians, and even everyday employees looking for an edge.
Biohacking Trends of the Future: What's Next?
Humans may have mastered overcoming acute injury, but chronic disease continues to rise.
Solely avoiding disease and injury isn't enough though.
When you don't feel great, your existence becomes dreary. Bland days blend together. You miss opportunities left and right.
We're all seeking to improve the way we look, feel, and perform. With enough time, the scientific community will embrace countless “fringe” futuristic biohacking health trend that works. That's the way science works.
Remember, not all that long ago, you'd be ridiculed for suggesting that the world is round.
The future of biohacking holds great promise.
Stay on the forefront with cutting-edge and time-tested books on biohacking. Use this list to choose topics and trends to research. Test what you learn.
People are different.
Biohacking is about determining what works for you.
What biohacking developments are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments below.