Talking exclusively with the UK’s leading biohacker about Longevity, biomarkers and techniques.
One of the keynote speakers at this week’s Biohacking Congress in London is Tim Gray, widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading biohackers due to his commitment to publicly documenting his journey over the past nine years.
Gray started his biohacking journey around nine years ago when, aged just 32, his health had deteriorated significantly through overwork, and he decided that his body needed a health ‘reboot’. Through regular tracking of biomarkers and trying out a wide range of therapies and lifestyle changes, he has transformed his life:
So what can delegates at the Biohacking Congress expect to hear from Gray later this week? We talked with Tim exclusively ahead of the show:
“Essentially, what I want to do is to get people to think about why they’re into biohacking, and where they should start,” he says. “I think that biohacking is very misunderstood, so I want to define what biohacking is and what it isn’t. It can be IVs or it can be meditation – and most people don’t necessarily understand what they should be doing, they’re just trying out all these cool shiny toys but not knowing how it all fits together.”
Gray believes that biohacking is a mindset as much as any specific action or discipline.
“Yoga can be biohacking, meditation can be biohacking, peptides can be biohacking, or even getting your shoes off and standing in the grass can be biohacking,” he explains. “They’re all the modalities and the various things that you can do, but the mindset of biohacking is the goal of optimising your health, performance or life using modalities that we have all available to us.”
Gray used to track more than 35 health biomarkers on a daily basis, but has recently stopped tracking such a broad range for health reasons.
“You can become too obsessive, which can then actually hurt your health,” he says. “So I track very little at the moment. I do periodic screening tests – various blood tests on a cellular level or hair and mineral analysis tests. On a daily basis, I’m tracking four or five different markers on my sleep, and a subjective energy score every day of my life.”
For his blood testing Gray typically does an intracellular metabolomics test, which checks several hundred data points.
“It looks at where you are on a cellular level to see what is in the cell that shouldn’t be or what isn’t in the cell that should be,” he says. “Have I got intracellular mercury or magnesium or any of the other heavy metals in the cell?”
When it comes to the recent rise in consumer genetic and epigenetic testing, Gray feels that these options are “fun” and can have a role to play, but only if people are doing all the right things first.
“… The whole point of doing a test is to help you fix something or improve Longevity. But if you’re not doing the things that give Longevity in the first place, there’s no point.”
“If you’re getting enough sunlight, if you’re grounding, if you’re hydrating properly, if you’re sleeping properly, if you’re eating for your body type and your bacteria type, and doing all of these things right but you still have issues – then those tests are amazing,” he explains. “If you’re not doing those things right, then you’re just looking for a shortcut or effects that might not even be there. The whole point of doing a test is to help you fix something or improve Longevity. But if you’re not doing the things that give Longevity in the first place, there’s no point.”
Gray goes on to share a couple of the biohacks that he is currently excited about.
“I like working on my methylation, using a B12 methylfolate and tremethylglycine protocol,” he says. “Working on methylation is a massive part of the whole set of processes for detoxification – breaking down chemicals and ejecting them. I’m also testing carnosine at the moment, to improve my heart rate variability which is a very interesting one. I guess you would classify it as an amino acid, but it’s looking really good for mitochondrial health and Longevity.”
So has all of this biohacking had an effect on Gray’s biological age? It clearly has, although he isn’t going as far as some others in terms of his anti-aging claims.
“… my biological age a year ago was 32 and I’m 41 in a few weeks’ time …”
“Ben Greenfield said in The Times the other week that his telomere age was apparently nine, which I find quite extreme,” he says. “But yeah, my biological age a year ago was 32 and I’m 41 in a few weeks’ time. I’m significantly better, more mindful, I’m happier and healthier, and able to go a lot faster without having issues. And I look considerably younger – 10 years younger than I was at 32. So yeah, it’s worked pretty well for me!”
Gray claims that all he has been doing is trying to optimise his own health and spread the word to other people.
“It’s been it’s been a fun journey, and I think it’s showed that the results from biohacking are so quantifiable and obvious so that’s why it’s becoming bigger and bigger,” he says. “And then that’s spreading out into functional medicine and the Longevity movement, but it came from biohacking.”
Beyond his personal biohacking experience, Gray is heading up the Health Optimisation Summit later this year, at which he expects “ the biggest line-up in this space ever.”
“I think that the whole health piece is merging together to become this mindset,” he says. “You can see the rising trends to see how biohacking is doing and how big it’s going to be.