The Debate is on .... "maybe"


Great to hear! Perhaps get feedback from all the people here about the best “pro” arguments for biohacking… (and best counter arguments to things we think he will argue).


If anyone has any thoughts I will read them.

I wonder what tool you used to extract the twitter post the way you did. Obviously it can be got as an image and then the image posted as a file, but there may be an easier way.

I just did a quick screen capture (Shift Command 4 on the Apple Macintosh)… I need to upgrade the software here to make it so the tweet links automatically embed like they used to… but there are many software contingencies that also need to be updated to do this… and I’m short on time right now. So - it will be a few months until that works.

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My notes:

Cold therapy: no cardiovascular benefits can be proven, and cold therapy close to weight training blunts muscle hypertrophy. Do it only if you like it. My addition: a great way to improve cold tolerance.

Metformin for non diabetics: no proven longevity benefits, and shown to reduce benefits of exercise by 50% and lower testosterone. My addition: the impact on exercise benefits was seen in tests using high dose metformin.

Anti-oxidant supplements (high dose): no benefits and possible harms and reduction in benefits of exercise from high dose C, E. My addition: help the body make its own antioxidant glutathione (glycine, NAC) that tends to decrease with age.

Intermittent fasting to activate autophagy: IM is good for weight loss but not a good way to trigger autophagy (mouse studies translated to humans would mean no food for 4-5 days). Further, skipping breakfast (a common way to implement IM) has proven to harm blood sugar regulation. My addition: multiple benefits to eating a robust, high protein breakfast. Eat your last meal well before bed. Don’t disrupt your circadian rhythm.

CGM for non-diabetics: people with normal blood sugar management can be fooled by “experts” into harmful changes to diet and socializing behaviors. Sugar spike arm waving is a problem. Pulsatile insulin is good for insulin sensitivity. My addition: people who have blood sugar problems (pre-diabetic or family history) could benefit from more granularity in blood sugar tracking vs an HbA1c 1X per year. And morning finger prick glucose measurements are confounded by non food issues (cortisol).

Distraction: too much focus on biohacks takes time away from adopting a healthy lifestyle. My addition: test, test, test. Focus on low hanging fruit and big levers (hallmarks of aging) that are weak in your test results. Keep testing.

Hope that helps.


I think Brad Stanfield is taking a very strong position on Biohacking when he is actually criticising certain things that some people do whether advised by medics or scientists or not.

Personally I am not a fan of Metformin for non-diabetics or too much Vitamin C or indeed A and E supplementation.

I don’t really have a view about the Wim Hof protocol.

Personally I think eating a bigger breakfast is a good idea rather than skipping breakfast.

I do think using a CGM is a good idea.

In essence providing people with more information about how their bodies work is a good idea. It is then really a question of making sure they have access to the right information so they know that glucose should go up to around 8 millimolar after a meal.

In the broader sense there is a role for self-experimentation. A number of Nobel Prizes have been won via self-experimentation.


Regarding Wim Hof, I think he claims other benefits which have a bit more scientific evidence behind them

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I haven’t looked at Wim Hof.

In essence my argument with Brad Stanfield is that people can learn from biohacking and it is a useful activity which should not be dismissed the way he does.


I think Brad us trying to become a new Attia selling supplements and consultations


Do it daily for inflammation reduction with my weekly cryotherapy. Both have research showing reduction in markers of inflammation e.g. C-reactive protein.
There are good YouTube videos. Essentially it is a series of hyperventilations followed by breath holding.

Andrew Steele has agreed to chair the debate.


What exactly are you two disagreeing on? Under that definition of biohacking, Brad Stanfield would be biohacking by taking rosuvastatin, finasteride, etc.


In terms of his 5 points I disagree with the idea that non-diabetics should not use CGMs. I have used a CGM myself and have an HbA1c under 5 (lowest was in fact 4.18%).

I am neither here nor there on Wim Hof.

I think he is essentially right on the anti-oxidants.

Autophagy is a key priority. I prefer his eating strategy of a large breakfast. I think the evidence points to better glucose handling.

However, intermittent fasting with a large breakfast might be useful.

I think the Metformin research had a selection bias.


I think we/you want to and it is crucial to have the debate at the level of his headline statement more than about those 5 points and have him agree or not to key biohacking principles

Ie we can’t let him get away with the “…I am against biohacking” part just because he throws up some specific strawman like antioxidants XYZ

Key principles that are I think are key for good “biohacking”

  • while clinical trials are valuable, they are not perfect - (i) they are generally only done to detect averages, (ii) they slow and can often lag wealth of scientific and medical, understanding and (iii) many clinical trials that should happen don’t because of eg what is not/no longer patented, want is not optimal for the biopharma industry, etc

  • each person is individual and is often far from identical to the average information from clinical trials (that exist) and may often need intervention that there has - nor may never be - a clinical trial for

  • a doctor has in general very limited amount of time to think about each individual patient and to process massive amounts that a biohacker might be obtaining - while a smart, educated, and especially if dedicated biohacker can spend days and weeks on each and any decision they are considering

  • the amount of data that a health conscious biohacker can obtain through time across blood work, functional tests, wearables, imaging, etc, etc, has sky rocketed and in many cases goes way beyond what a clinical trial can afford to look at

  • while careless, uninformed use of a medication, supplement or sleep, exercises and diet practices, is not a good form of biohacking, each of the three last points above provide a context where biohacking has a good potential to improve a persons health state

  • such good biohacking needs to be data based (both scientific and medical literature) and collecting large amounts of the key relevant N=1 bloodwork), need to carefully consider risks/reward, needs to react to the N=1 data in a objective way

  • such “biohacking” is not really more than applying the scientific method to the individual - and when the individual is not someone like Bryan Johnson or Peter Attia’s patients who cannot afford 100s of thousands for an MD to guide them, the person themself takes on the responsibility to learn, digest and evaluate large amounts of info, gather key data and make decisions

—— above can be built out more, but think you get the direction

Perhaps people can add to it and help you prepare.


I think the above is the most important to get rights - if you have these frameworks and principles down right you will repent “good forms of biohacking” in an excellent way and it will be tough for Brad to disagree with a lot of the core premises


Other things that might help also

  • does he agree that off-label use of medicine can be done by a well educated and informed MD. How come - that is not based on a clinical trial right? Are the reasons for that not similar to the reasons why good biohacking can be risks/reward positive?

  • does he agree that the vast amounts of medical science go far beyond anything that a MDs education comes close to covering and that a dedicated person can in many ways - though not in all ways - rival the understanding that any doctor they can access would be able to apply if that doctor only can spend a limited amount of time with the patient

  • what are a humans rights to decide what to do with their time, resources and body?
    Should we be allowed to go ski off pist, parachute, drive a motor cycle? Should we be allowed to eat crappy food, not exercise, should we be allowed to fast? If so, should we not be allowed to lower our cholesterol more than current guidelines say if we feel the medical rationale is a positive risk/reward? Should we not be allowed to take acarbose before a meal? Who should have the right to say that a well informed individual cannot decide him or herself to take rapamycin?

  • how the knowledge for good biohacking can increase the world’s understanding and feedback into main stream medicine, eg Matt K’ paper on the survey of rapa users, or how Nobel prize winning medicinal advances where initiated that way as you mentioned above


This is such a particularly good post that it needs more than just “like” as an option. I am in the process of agreeing with Andrew Steele a form of agenda, but I need to make sure that I include a lot of this where possible.

To be honest:
a) I think Brad Stanfield’s statement “I am against biohacking” is really clickbait rather than a well thought out position.
b) The debate will continue in any event.

However, it is very clear that self-experimentation has a long track record of being good science and has the ability to be sensitive to the individual test subject that a clinical trial is not.


Here’s a paper posted here by @RapAdmin last year that might be helpful to this discussion.

My reaction to Stanfield is [yawn]. He isn’t really speaking about people like us who are carefully self-experimenting and testing biomarkers over time to assess benefit, forever tweaking and improving toward the “optimal” program for our personal genome / epigenome / life history / personal preferences.

He is talking about the Silver Bullet seekers who won’t improve their lifestyle and instead are being lead around by Influencers in pursuit of the “one true, hidden secret” to health. These people are not biohackers, they are ignorant people who haven’t yet caught onto how to really self improve. We can help them 1 by 1.


I think Stanfield is addressing the crowd that could endanger themselves through reckless or ignorant behaviour.


Aren’t we all biohacking every time we take a supplement, prescription drug, undergo a procedure, or get an injection? The difference between mainstream drugs/procedures and biohacking is a matter of degree, not kind: the degree of proof, reliability, and safety.


Debate serves no purpose except Stanfield’s. You just bit the bait.

Sorry. Wrong button. That was in reply to the John Hemming.


It was my idea. I think it is worthwhile promoting the idea that people have agency and are capable of making their own decisions about health

Furthermore I also wish to promote the XPrize team because I will be looking for people aged 65-80 to participate in this particular approach.