Bryan Johnson, a 45-year-old biotech chief executive, has spent millions in his quest to reverse aging.
He claims that his biological age has been reduced by 5 years with a strict regimen controlled by doctors.
Here’s a look at his daily routine and what the experts think about it.
Bryan Johnson’s daily grind is not for the faint-hearted.
From waking up at 5 a.m. to eating exactly 1,977 calories a day to taking more than 100 supplements, Johnson, 45, is on a mission to reverse aging.
Working with a team of 30 doctors, led by his physician Oliver Zolman, the billionaire biotech CEO examines every organ in his body with regular blood tests, MRIs and colonoscopies.
He took 33,537 images of his intestines, used electromagnetic pulses to improve his pelvic floor, and endured dozens of invasive medical procedures, according to Bloomberg.
His quest to reverse aging has already cost him several million dollars, according to the report. “It’s an exercise in imagining the future of being human,” he told Insider Johnson, who claims he has reduced his biological age by at least 5 years.
But scientists aren’t convinced that such a draconian regimen will help reverse aging. This is what the experts think:
A start at 5 am and more than 100 pills
Johnson’s day starts at 5 am As soon as he wakes up, he drinks a smoothie called ‘Green Giant’. This includes compounds with complicated names like spermidine, creatine, collagen peptides, and cocoa flavanols.
He also takes more than 100 pills throughout the day. These include natural compounds like garlic and ginger root, but also off-label drugs like metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes. Johnson also says that he takes lithium, a drug used to treat mental health problems.
When it comes to aging, the idea is that supplements can replace molecules our bodies can no longer produce, said Jed Lye, an aging and longevity researcher and board member of the British Society for Aging Research.
It’s a daily commitment, and any positive effects from these supplements may be reversible, he said.
There is “clear evidence” that metformin increases the length of healthy aging, added Jan Vijg, a professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As for lithium, Lye said there is only a small amount of evidence to support its use at this time.
Johnson himself said that his cocktail of supplements adapts to his body. “The optimal protocol for you may differ,” he reads on his website.
A routine of 25 exercises and exactly 1,977 calories a day
After his first shake, Johnson begins his one-hour workout. It is composed of 25 daily exercises. He also does 10 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) three times a week.
Additionally, Johnson follows a strictly vegan diet, which provides him with exactly 1,977 calories a day. Overall, he eats more than 70 pounds of vegetables each month, he told Insider.
“No processed foods. That’s the main thing,” Zolman, who leads Johnson’s medical team, told Insider.
The first meal is always the same, he calls it “super vegetarian”. It is made from black lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, hemp seeds, garlic, ginger, lime, cumin, oil, and vinegar. The vegetables are boiled or steamed and served whole or mixed into a kind of vegetable hummus that is served with chocolate.
“Then I’ll prepare for the day,” Johnson said.
An hour or two later, Johnson has his second meal, “pecan pudding.” It’s made from ground almond milk, ground walnuts, flaxseed, cocoa, a supplement called lecithin, cinnamon, berries, cherries, pomegranate juice, and “if you want to go crazy,” a little sweetener and manuka honey, according to Blueprint. a website where Johnson keeps track of his health regimen.
A few hours later, Johnson will eat his third meal. This can vary, but it’s usually made up of vegetables, berries, seeds, “so he’s vegan,” he told Insider.
By that time, it’s around 11 a.m. and noon, and Johnson won’t eat again until the next day.
“Who can argue against a healthy diet and regular exercise?” Vijg said.
A vegan diet could help clear clogged arteries, Lye said. However, the evidence for this is still inconclusive, according to the British Heart Foundation.
There is promising early evidence linking caloric restriction and fasting with longer life expectancy, but these studies are still weak, according to a 2021 comprehensive review of anti-aging diets.
Anti-aging diets can also be extreme and can have detrimental health effects if not done correctly, the review authors wrote, according to WebMD.
Even Johnson has found that to be true. At one point, his body fat had dropped below 3%, which could have threatened his heart health, according to Bloomberg.
Five to six therapies each day, ranging from fat injections to laser treatments.
Johnson will receive five to six “therapies” a day, he says.
This can range from skin care to lung rejuvenation, laser skin treatments, and ear treatments to improve your hearing.
According to Bloomberg, Johnson also recently had fat injected into his face, which he said was to build a “fat scaffold” to build young people’s fat cells into his face.
Zolman acknowledged that many of the therapies are experimental — the Tier 3 intervention, as he called it — so they are constantly being tested.
The therapies are what Zolman and his team believe can reduce one or more specific “biomarkers of aging” associated with each organ, such as heart function or hair.
People should consult a doctor before attempting any medical procedure, Lye said.
“Some of what they described raised an eyebrow, for sure, I’m not sure how helpful it really is in terms of systems health, injecting fat into the face. I think there’s an aesthetic element to that,” he said.
Intrusive measurements, including periodic colonoscopies.
To track his progress, Johnson takes measurements of every organ in his body, which means regular blood tests, MRIs, and colonoscopies.
Lye said Johnson and Zolman’s follow-up was “pioneering in its complexity and breadth”.
But does that mean they’ve cracked the code on how to accurately measure a person’s “biological age”? Not exactly, she says.
“The aging clocks that they have looked at specifically, which measure the epigenome, are a start,” he said.
Zolman himself says that biological age, measured with markers found in DNA called epigenetics, should be taken with a grain of salt.
“Epigenetic age is like an experimental measure, it’s an easy way to do all direct measurements in all organs,” he said.
“It’s not enough evidence to say that we reduce the age in all organs by five years,” he said.
Zolman says that epigenetic clocks, which, roughly speaking, look at the damage to cells’ DNA that appears as we age, is only the silver standard.
“They’re not the gold standard, which is looking at the inside of the body with images, using medical devices, measuring actual function and imaging the organs to see what they look like. That’s the gold standard,” he said.
But Lye disagreed: he thought they could go even further. By looking at protein, metabolic markers and other genetic markers, they could get a more accurate picture of whether they’re seeing real effects on Johnson’s organ age, she said.
Two hours of wearing blue-blocking glasses before bed
Johnson ends her day wearing blue-light blocking glasses for two hours, according to Bloomberg.
There has been a lot of hype around the use of blue filter glasses to reduce damage caused by light from screens or reduce eyestrain. But according to the American Association of Ophthalmologists (AAO), there is no evidence to support this.
“Blue light is not a cause of eyestrain,” Esen Akpek, an ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said in a blog post. “The natural lens and cornea of the eye can block excess blue light.”
There has never been a study to support that light from computers harms our eyes, according to the AAO.
However, there is some evidence that blue light can disrupt our circadian rhythms, which is our body’s natural inclination to want to wake up and go to sleep at certain times.
But in that case, it’s best to avoid screens altogether before bed, according to the AAO.
Don’t Try This At Home, Experts Say
Let’s be clear: this is a very intense protocol. This level of medical intervention should only be attempted under strict medical supervision, Lye said.
Zolman “goes for a shot at the moon here,” Lye said.
“The collaboration with Bryan has provided an opportunity to answer the fundamental question that lies secretly in the back of many senior researchers’ minds, which is: well, it’s all very interesting, but what if we tried everything at once? time?”. he said.
These interventions have been tested individually, but not together, so they could have conflicting negative effects on aging or be potentially dangerous when mixed together, Lye said.
“I’m not sure if everyone should go out and start taking 107 different supplements,” Lye said.
There is no evidence to say that we can reverse the clock, but perhaps we could slow it down.
At this time there is no science to support the idea that we can increase the maximum lifespan of humans.
“If you expect to live significantly longer than, say, 115, which is more or less the maximum lifespan for our species, then there is currently no evidence that this can be achieved,” Vijg said.
What the research on aging suggests is that we could increase a person’s healthy lifespan, which means they could live until they die in much better health.
But Vijg isn’t so sure there’s still much room for improvement.
“But I’m afraid there are diminishing returns and we may well have already seen all the improvements that can be made. The rest may be marginal,” he said.
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