6 Times Biohacking Fitness Crosses the Line

Get plenty of examples of how and when biohacking can cross the line, and smarter, more natural, more ancestral alternatives to the current craze of cryotherapy, electrical muscle stimulation, digital meditation, nootropics, and strapping your own equivalent of a goat-limb prosthetic to your body.

Ben Greenfield
6-minute read
Episode #313

4.) Anti-Aging Injections

Here’s the science behind this one: if you listened to a recent podcast I recored on the anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer benefits of a compound called “Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide” (NAD), you may have heard that you can spend hundreds of dollars on NAD supplements or thousands of dollars on NAD injections.

But after a bit of research following that podcast, and a fascinating discussion with a man who I consider to be one of the brightest minds in medicine, Dr. Joseph Mercola, I discovered that a compound called “beta-lapachone” can massively increase levels of NAD, and that this pricey chemical can actually be quite inexpensively obtained via a pau d’ arco tree bark tea from the Peruvian jungles. Dr. Mercola is way ahead of his time in terms of his experiments with and knowledge on NAD. He’s working on a new book on mitochondria that will go into this and much more and he clued me into and gave me instructions on how to prepare an absorbable NAD precursor for pennies on the dollar.

How? Follow this recipe:

-Mix 1-2 teaspoons of pau d’ arco tree bark with 4-8 ounces of warm water and allow it to sit overnight for 10-12 hours.

-In a good blender for 2-3 minutes, blend the water and soaked bark with fats, which will form liposomes that can increase absorption of the beta-lapachone from the tea. For fats, you can use brain octane oil , coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil or full fat coconut milk – but Dr. Mercola advised me that the best solution, aside from a special krill oil formulation that is not yet available on the market, is simply a half teaspoon of organic, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, which contains good amounts of phosphatidylcholine, an excellent way to make phospholipids. 

-For even more absorption, add 1-2 teaspoons of organic turmeric powder to this mixture.

-Strain after blending.

You can then use the resulting foamy white bark “milk” as an ingredient in smoothies or shakes, or you can drink it straight. No needles or injection clinics required.

5.) Petri Dish Organs

Biohacking can also involve modifying cells on a genetic level, and what cells can be made to do is pretty amazing. For example, JuicyPrint is an up-and-coming project that hacks bacteria to respond to light. The bacteria then produce cellulose, and with some alterations to its genetic code, that cellulose production can then be tuned to respond to the presence or absence of light. JuicyPrint then uses the natural substance as the raw material in a 3D printer.

Those behind the project see it being used for everything from rebuilding organs to making new arteries and blood vessels, and because the new organs and implants would be based on a biological material instead of artificial material , it may be able to blend more seamlessly into a human body, with less risk of things like blood clots. The goal for the final project is to feed fruit juice to the printer to spit out whatever shapes are needed, including the potential for skin grafts and new organs.

But there are other natural compounds that one can ingest that allow for rapid healing and growth of the human body, without necessarily getting an organ transplant or skin surgery: elements chock full of stem cell stimulants and growth factors such as marine phytoplankton, aloe vera gel, colostrum, chlorella, whey protein, and even one of the most natural, least sexy, least biohack-ey nutrients of all: raw milk.

6.) Nootropics

Of course, biohacking doesn’t always have to mean getting out a scalpel and starting to cut into your body to implant a chip. The “nootropics” movement is one that’s growing quickly, and it’s based around the idea of taking brain-enhancing drugs to make one focus better, think faster, and work more efficiently. Caffeine and L-theanine are more “natural compounds” found in coffee and tea, but there are also some folks popping over 40 pills a day of other nootropics and smart drugs, including habitual users of potentially liver-damaging compounds such as Ritalin, Adderall, and modafinil.

I’m personally nervous about the long-term impact of taking such brain drugs and drug cocktails, especially if they’re not non-addictive and nontoxic. Currently, there’s no way of determining what the long-term impact of these brain-altering drugs will be, and if that makes you nervous, then you should know that there definitely natural solutions.

For example, for wakefulness and cognitive enhancement, you can try sniffing, wearing, or diffusing essential oils of peppermint, vanilla or pine. You can drink a cup of joe for the same adenosine blocking as a spendy, smart drug. You can eat foods like capers and bananas for a dopamine or tap into St. John’s Wort herb, fish, and eggs for brain-boosting choline. You get the idea. Before shoveling over sixty to a hundred bucks for a bottle of brain pills, you may simply want to visit a garden or find a fish


Don’t get me wrong. I’m a biohacker. In the past twenty four hours alone, I’ve performed tDCS, electroencepholography, intranasal light therapy, electrical muscle stimulation, peptide injections, electric compression boots, eight different nootropic pills and much more. But in the same twenty four hours, I’ve also done a fifteen minute sit spot in nature, a gratitude journal, a boatload of natural spring water, a forest walk, yoga, a glass of raw goat milk and deep breathing.

What about you? What will you choose? Perhaps instead of strapping the biohacking equivalent of a goat prosthetic to your body, you might first try buying a goat, milking a goat, walking a goat in the sunshine or finding some more natural, safe and healthy alternative to turning yourself into an artificial goat. Once you’ve mastered that, perhaps you can throw in a few biohacks, but only those you understand and that don’t pursue performance at all costs while flying in the face of health and longevity.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to get more done for your fitness in less time? Join the conversation at Facebook.com/getfitguy.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.