Can Biohacking Override Even Your Genetic Risks?

1 Apr 2023

Science and research based biohacking is the best way to optimize your health today. Powerful biohacks like personalized lifestyle modifications can improve the health of your whole body and mind, at various levels, like at the metabolic level, at the various physiological systems level, and the systemic level. But biohacking’s ultimate power lies in rewriting your body code or DNA that carry your genes, which govern your wellness and your destiny, as it is your genes that carry your hardcoded disease risks. Here is how this is possible via personalized biohacking.

Our Always Renewing Body

Many of you might have heard that human bodies replace all our cells every 7 years, or that you are a new you, every 7 years! While not perfectly true, there is much truth in the concept behind this popular statement. Our bodies are indeed replacing billions of cells each and every day of our existence.

Around 330 billion cells of our body are being replaced everyday, and with around 37 trillion cells in total, this daily replacement is around 1% of our cells. And that makes for an interesting calculation, that forget 7 years, just within 100 days, our bodies have replaced as many number of cells as we have. But you know there is a catch in this.

Well, the catch is simple. Different kinds of our cells are getting replaced at quite different speeds. There are ultra fast replacements happening in the eye’s cornea, blood and gut, with corneal cells getting replaced within a day, some blood cells getting replaced every 3 days (others may take up to 120 days) and our gut lining’s cells being replaced every 5 days. Then comes skin cells that are replaced within weeks or months.

Organ cells are much slower, with one of the fastest being liver cells that are replaced totally within 3 years, then comes skeletal cells that are replaced fully within 10 years, and fat and muscle cells that are replaced by taking up to 12 to 50 years. Then there are organs that are never fully replaced with new cells, with only 40% of heart’s core pumping cells getting replaced in a lifetime, with even a lesser percentage of brain cells getting replaced ever. Certain other cells like that of our eye lens don’t get replaced at all, from birth to death.

Why Do We Age Despite This Renewal?

Hence, the popular idea of a new you within 7 years is at best an average of these figures or an approximation. But the bigger question is, even if most of our cells are getting regenerated every 7 years, why do we age at all? And why do our body quirks remain? There are two answers for this riddle, and both are connected with our body code or DNA.

The first part of the answer is that our DNA is not really changing. When our cells divide to form new cells, our DNA carrying chromosomes also divide, which gives new DNA and gene segments for the new cells, but that is all; the actual code that governs our body’s peculiarities doesn’t change.

The second part of the answer is that amidst all these furious and never ending cell divisions and chromosome replications, over a lifetime, our DNA gradually develops some imperfections, mutations and damages that result in the ageing process of the cells, the organs, and the body systems.

If our DNAs that carry our genes are largely stubborn to any external and corrective changes, even while being susceptible to the seemingly inevitable mutations over the years, how can biohacking achieve the rewriting of our body codes at all?

Enter Epigenetic Biohacking

The answer to this challenge lies in epigenetics, the phenomenon by which our behaviours or lifestyle modifications as well as our environment can cause changes that affect the way our genes work. Mind you, this difference is subtle and easy to miss.

In epigenetics, there is no actual genetic change, or in other words the DNA sequence doesn’t change, but epigenetic changes change how your body reads the DNA sequence and acts! Hence, epigenetic changes are called phenotype changes, which means changes in observable or seen traits, as against genotype changes that are actually there in the genes.

But the wonder of wonders is that classic epigenetic changes are also heritable, that is, you can inherit it just like your genes from your parents’ epigenetic changes, and you can also bequeath your epigenetic changes to your kids. A classic example would be that one may be born with poor cardiovascular strength due to genetic reasons, but he or she can build up strong epigenetic cardiovascular strength by following proper diet and exercises, and then these positive changes will be transmitted to their future kids!

Having said that, it should be mentioned that nowadays even non-heritable phenotype changes are grouped under the broad term of epigenetic changes. And also, the fact that unlike permanently coded genetic traits in the DNA, epigenetic changes are reversible over time if you stop following the lifestyle modifications or adopt a diametrically opposite set of lifestyle modifications.

How Epigenetic Biohacks Keep

Lifestyle Diseases at Bay

Even with such limitations, the potential of the human body for effecting dramatic epigenetic changes remains the finest way in which our body code or DNA can be ‘rewritten’ in the most practical way. This is because epigenetic changes are capable of overriding even the genetic disease risks hardcoded in our genes.

Such genetically hard coded diseases include most of the non communicable diseases (NCDs) which are often called lifestyle diseases, due to their observed positive and negative correlations with healthy and unhealthy lifestyles respectively. They include the notorious killer diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, dementia, depression and several others.

The genetic codes for these diseases are like loaded guns, and while unhealthy lifestyles act as triggers for these genetic risks, healthy lifestyles guard against these risky genes getting expressed or fired. If a person’s unique metabolic traits too are taken into this equation, this geno-metabolic model of risk mitigation remains the best in preventive healthcare that is available today that ensures not just longevity or lifespan but healthspan or a healthy long life of productivity.

Today, for those interested in ethical and safe biohacking, a geno-metabolic test and assessment like EPLIMO can reveal chances for developing any among hundreds of such killer diseases, so that personalized lifestyle modifications spanning diet, exercise, yoga, sleep, de-stressing, meditation etc can be undertaken so that these susceptible diseases can be kept at bay. It would be the most effective and safest biohacking system to rewrite your body code.

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