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Solving the healthcare crisis with biohacking

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on Feb 19, 2024

One of the causes of the healthcare crisis, the increased demand for limited healthcare resources, is the increase in life expectancy. With people living longer, the risk of various illnesses and diseases increases, putting more pressure on limited healthcare resources.

We sat down with Eduard de Wilde, leading biohacking expert and CEO and Founder of NoordCode (high-quality food and supplements) and LiveHelfi (biohacking webshop) to talk about how the art of biohacking can help people improve their lifestyle and overall health, a win-win for both insurers and customers.

First of all, Eduard what is biohacking and why should we all be doing it?

“Biohacking is not about implants and chips that you put in your body, but rather focusing on lifestyle improvements. Biohacking is the art of changing the environment inside and outside of your body, to optimize the state of your body, your health. Various new technologies and gadgets are used to help reach this goal.

According to a study by prof. Andrea Maier, a person’s health span is determined by 5% luck, 20% genetics and 75% lifestyle choices. It’s like DNA with genotype and phenotype: genotype is a person’s unique sequence of DNA, while phenotype is the observable expression of the genotype. In other words, people have the power to determine their own health. Biohacking aims to unlock your hidden potential and to help you live a healthier lifestyle.’’

So how does biohacking work? Can anyone just start biohacking?

“Biohacking follows three core principles:
1. It is science based
2. Self-experimentation to find out if something works for you
3. Measuring is key

The first one is that the tools and techniques biohackers use need to be based on science. Biohackers look at experiments in studies and think of ways they can apply it to themselves, which leads us to self-experimentation. How can you know if something works for your body or not? Well, simply by self-experimenting. If it works, then great, you add it to your lifestyle; if it doesn’t work then you leave it. This means biohackers need to do a lot of measuring, to understand if something actually works or not.

To start biohacking, you could for example start with tools that record your sleep, recovery and activity. You can test your blood values to track how your body is reacting to the biohacking. Another simple one is to track your macros to improve your diet. A personal story from me is that I realised my body metabolises coffee slowly. So, as a result, I cut out coffee after 10 AM and my sleep improved.’’

What is next for biohacking?

“The number of biohackers is growing very fast. Biohacking is maybe a not very well known niche, but it’s actually quite a big movement globally. For example, there are tons of people that track their fitness, but don’t consider themselves a biohacker. Blood testing is also rising in popularity, as well as genetic testing. And as technology continues to develop, our biohacking toolkit will have more and more options for various measurements. Ultimately, this will allow us to improve and upgrade our body even more, thus preventing diseases and staying healthy well into the future.‘’

What will biohacking mean for the future of the insurance industry?

“In the near future, I believe biohacking will change into a concept like “health optimisation”. Health optimisation will help prevent a lot of diseases and chronic conditions: the ultimate solution to solving the healthcare crisis. Simply, because 75% of the health issues people face, can be prevented by changing their lifestyle. Biohacking will help people to stay healthy for as long as possible.

However, what I also see is that the whole system is not ready for biohacking: medical doctors don’t have the time, nor are they rewarded for talking about prevention. Insurance doesn’t reimburse the cost of biohacking techniques either, such as blood testing. I do believe that biohacking is here to stay and will only grow in popularity. Take for example McKinsey’s article “Escaping the Health Care Matrix’’: it is all about biohacking, even though they don’t mention the word biohacking. The message of the article is that people need to be considered as more than patients and that they deserve to be empowered with greater health literacy.

There is a very interesting opportunity for insurers to empower these consumers. Insurance companies should increase their efforts and make it a strategic priority to enable the system, to benefit from the cost savings that prevention will bring us. This means that insurers can also take the lead in investing in research, which will help to convince the system that it is all science backed, and not just a marketing gimmick.

When I look at the different insurance companies and their efforts to help people to live better, then most of the times, it’s part of the marketing department. I actually think it should be part of the business strategy: that’s the only way to create real impact and benefits. And as with any business strategy, it’s a long term commitment and investment, that’s why it needs to be at the top level of the organization. Funds will have to be allocated, and all the different parties (Politics, health care, scientists) in the system will have to be involved, to create a shared understanding of the immense opportunity and a joint approach. I believe that insurance companies are well positioned to take the lead in this process, transforming the way we approach health and help resolve the health care crisis by embracing biohacking.’’

Eduard de Wilde, leading biohacking expert
Amsterdam 12-13 June

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