As this Google Trends chart suggests, biohacking is a new but growing trend that is set to radically change how we take care of our health and optimize our bodies. I personally like to think of it as Health & Fitness 2.0, but Like most new trends there’s no hard and fast definition of what it is. In loose terms, however, it broadly means using new technologies, new approaches and a ‘hacker ethic‘ to improve the biology of the body.
Biohackers like to tread where others haven’t and are constantly testing new technologies and scientific understandings to improve their physical and mental performance. All new trends start with the innovators and early adopters of course so below we’ve put together a list of 8 biohackers pushing the boundaries of health and body optimization.
1. Dave Asprey
Perhaps the most well-known biohacker, Asprey AKA The Bulletproof Exec says he has spent over $300,000 over the past 15 years hacking his own biology to lose 100 pounds, improve his IQ score and lower is biological age. Watching a recent Munchies interview with him at his home in Canada it’s easy to see how he’s spent such a large amount (cryogenic chambers don’t come cheap). Asprey has his own blog, podcast and sells a line of biohacking products and supplements from his online store. He is most famous for Bulletproof Coffee, his own brand of toxin-free coffee which, mixed with unsalted grassfed butter and MCT oil, he claims can boost your performance throughout the day.
2. Tim Ferriss
Prior to writing his 2007 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Work Week, Ferriss founded and subsequently sold an online nutritional supplements company. His interest in biohacking has long preceded his interest in lifestyle design and Ferriss’ follow-up book, The 4-Hour Body, covers his years of self-experimentation along with interviews of experts on how, in his words, to become superhuman. He regularly interviews world-class performers is hugely popular podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, to deconstruct their approaches to success. His blog frequently posts content on health, diet and mental performance.
3. Gabriel Licina
If you were to pool a group of people on super powers they’d most like to have, night vision would probably make the top ten. In March this year Gabriel Licinia, part of the Science for the Masses biohacking group, was bestowed with such power when he volunteered to have a substance that is found in some deep-sea called Chlorin e6 injected into his eyes. Chlorin e6 is frequently used in laser assisted cancer treatment and sometimes to treat night blindness in people with degenerative eye diseases. After receiving the treatment Licina could see objects 50 meters away in a dark field.
4. Larry Smarr
Renowned astrophysicist and leader in scientific computing, Larry Smarr, became a biohacker when looking at way to improve his own failing body. Like most beginners interested in improving their health, Smarr initially tracked data points of one variables such as his weight. Smarr was no average beginner however and soon began looking at his body’s data points of 100 (his blood biomarkers), 1,000,000 (his genome) and 1,000,000,000 (his microbiome). The Atlantic called Smarr the Measured Man and it’s easy to see why. Smarr’s analytical brain and experience with dealing with large data sets allowed him to discover the cause of inflammations in his body and subsequently diagnosing himself with Crohn’s disease before medical professionals could.
5. Ryan Bathencourt
Bethencourt is a scientist, entrepreneur, and biohacker best known for his work as program director and venture partner at Indie.Bio, a biology accelerator and early stage seed fund. Formerly head of life sciences at the XPRIZE foundation, a co-founder and CEO of Berkeley Biolabs, a biotech accelerator, and Halpin Neurosciences, an ALS therapeutics-focused biotech company. Needless to say Bathencourt is deeply entrenched in the biohacking space.
6. Kevin Warwick
Warwick is a British academic and engineer, and is renowned for his studies in robotics and connecting technology with the human body. Since the 1990s Warwick has embarked on numerous initiatives relating to biohacking but perhaps most famously was Project Cyborg which included an array of experiments where he implanted various chips and electrodes in his body that allowed him to receive new sensory experiences, connect his nervous system to the internet and to control robotic arms from afar.
7. Ben Greenfield
Perhaps one of the most mainstream biohackers in this list, Greenfield is first and foremost a fitness coach who uses biohacking methods to take his and his clients’ health to the next level. He uses biohacking methods from tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), laser therapy, electrostimulation, cold thermogenesis and more. Perhaps consider him as the Personal Trainer 2.0.
8. Liz Parrish
In October this year, Parrish controversially underwent gene therapy at an undisclosed lab in South America to reverse the aging process in her body. In this never-been-done-before procedure she received two forms of treatment, including muscle mass enhancement and therapy to increase the length of the telomeres, the DNA caps which protect the chromosome from deterioration and are associated with longer life span. For this, Parrish is deserved of the biohacking moniker.