This generation is experiencing exponential technological developments. Some of these rapid developments are occurring in genetics. It was once thought that ones genetic code was immutable, carved in stone so to speak. However there is strong evidence that gene expression can be effected by environmental factors. This has led to what is called epigenetics and epigenetics has led to biohacking.
Before I get into biohacking here is a video that gives a quick overview of epigenetics for those that haven't heard of it.
Since gene expression can be changed by environmental factors a natural question to ask is, can gene expression be hacked? And if it can be hacked, are there longevity genes that can be turned on? Can DNA damage that accumulates as we age be repaired? The answer to all of these questions is yes.
Calorie restriction without malnutrition has been shown to increase the lifespan in laboratory animals. In a paper published by the Annual Review of Nutrition, calorie restriction can cause a 30–40% increase in the average life span in both mice and rats respectively. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.nutr.25.050304.092526
Restricting calories causes the expression of longevity genes. In an article by Annie Wilson she writes that "there are about 200 genes that are directly associated with longevity. Twenty of them are very prominent. Out of these 20 longevity genes, IGF-1, FOXO3A, NF-kB, AMPK, CETP [and] SIRTUIN are most prominent". http://www.inner-light-in.com/2015/05/list-of-longevity-genes/
Since calorie restriction is difficult to do a natural question to ask is, are there supplements and or drugs that can turn on these genes? The answer is yes. Dr Sinclair has been a leader in this research for quite some time. In the video below he explains what he has found.
There are mechanisms that cells use to repair DNA. Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. "Their work details how cells repair damaged DNA and preserve genes". http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/07/446532519/dna-repair-research-nets-chemistry-nobel-for-3-scientists
"There are at least 169 enzymes that repair DNA or influence the DNA repair processes". http://sciencepark.mdanderson.org/labs/wood/dna_repair_genes.html
Enzymes are "Proteins that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction in a living organism. An enzyme acts as catalyst for specific chemical reactions, converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates) into specific products. Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist". http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3266
For an overview of DNA repair see the video below.
Since sunscreen is recommended in the video I have to recommend that anyone considering the use of sun screen to look at http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
So there are enzymes that repair DNA and genes hold the genetic code for these enzymes. Therefore a natural question to ask is, are there supplements and or drugs that can turn on these genes? The answer is yes.
Humans have longevity genes that can be turned on and DNA repair pathways that can be activated. So it seems reasonable to hack biology to get these benefits. In order to have everyone on the same page a definition of biohacking is needed. Ive created the following definition so that readers know what I mean when I use the term biohacking.
Definition Biohacking is deliberate exposure of an existing organism to an environmental stimuli with the intention of altering gene expression or a biochemical pathway.
Notice whats not in this definition. It doesn't include splicing the genes of a toad and a squirrel because the toad-squirrel doesn't exist. Once a toad-squirrel is created then it can be biohacked. The act of creating a toad-squirrel is not considered biohacking under the above definition.
Surgically inserting 32GB DDR4 2133MHz DRAM in into your brain and hard wiring it to your neurons would not be considered biohacking. Its not biohacking because its not being done to alter gene expression or a biochemical pathway.
Also In the above definition "environmental stimuli" means things like diet, exercise, dietary supplements, drugs, respiration contents, transdermal contents, stress, relaxation and the like.
Eating a diet of 100% ice cream and winding up with malnutrition is not biohacking unless you did it with the intention of causing malnutrition. Using recreational drugs would be considered biohacking because it is being done to alter a biochemical pathway.
Biohacking for an Increase in Lifespan
Calorie restriction is the best known biohack for increasing lifespan it can result in a 30-40% increase in life span. Is there something available over the counter that is equivalent? Surprisingly there is.
In an article in Life Extension Magazine by Walter Deriggio, he writes about the life extension properties of polyphenols. Walter Deriggio writes that "studies reveal that treating C. elegans worms with blueberry polyphenols increased the animals’ mean life span by 28%. In human terms, that’s the equivalent of adding more than 22 years to the life of a 79-year-old person (the mean life expectancy of a male child born today)". In this article he references a study where calorie restriction and polyphenols where combind. Walter Deriggio writes that "what was remarkable, however, was that the calorie-restricted group that also was fed the nutrient polyphenols significantly outlived those on calorie restriction alone." Having the calorie restricted group that also was fed polyphenols significantly outlive those on calorie restriction alone is significant. It could mean that polyphenols hack biology through a different pathway.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a form of vitamin B3 and is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NR is available as a dietary supplement and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/fdcc/?set=GRASNotices&id=635
NR is an important biohack because it stimulates the production of NAD+. Stephen Daniells writes in an article that "David Sinclair from Harvard University" "recently published data from a mouse study in Cell (2013, Vol. 155, pp. 1625-1638, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.037), which concluded that, “raising NAD+ levels in old mice restores mitochondrial function to that of a young mouse in a SIRT1-dependent manner” ". SIRT1 is one of top twenty longevity genes refrenced above. http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Mitochondria-aging-Remarkable-effects-for-nicotinamide-riboside-in-mice-says-new-study
There are are at least 169 enzymes that repair DNA or influence DNA repair. Also there are about 200 genes that are directly associated with longevity. It is likely that there is some overlap meaning that some of the 200 longevity genes may encode for some or all of the 169 DNA repair enzymes. Calorie restriction, polyphenols and nicotinamide riboside all have life extending properties. Calorie restriction combined with polyphenols can extend life greater than calorie restriction alone. Calorie restriction, polyphenols and nicotinamide riboside all biohack longevity genes to cause or increase their expression.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I have no financial interest in any pharmaceutical or supplement companies.
I am not employed by any pharmaceutical or supplement companies.
If the steemit community is interested in this topic I plan to do some updates to the article. The updates will cover any dietary supplements that can biohack the 169 enzymes that are responsible the repair of DNA and the 200 genes that are associated with longevity. It would be an enormous project and an expensive one. It would be expensive because a lot of the research papers are behind pay walls and it can cost $35 just to access one research paper.
Also English is not my strong point I am sure that there are many grammatical errors an would appreciate suggestions to correct them.