Bryan Johnson, a 45-year-old biotech CEO, has spent millions in his quest to reverse aging.
He claims his biological age has been cut by 5 years with a strict regimen controlled by doctors.
Here is a glimpse into his daily routine, and what experts think of it.
Bryan Johnson's daily routine is not for the faint-hearted.
From waking up at 5am to eating exactly 1,977 calories a day and taking more than 100 supplements, 45-year-old Johnson is on a mission to reverse aging.
Working with a team of 30 doctors, led by his physician Oliver Zolman, the millionaire biotech CEO scrutinizes every organ in his body with regular blood tests, MRIs and colonoscopies.
He's taken 33,537 images of his bowels, used electromagnetic pulses to improve his pelvic floor and endured dozens of invasive medical procedures, according to Bloomberg.
His quest to reverse aging has cost him several million dollars already, the report said. "It's an exercise of imagining the future of being human," Johnson, who claims he has reduced his biological age by at least 5 years, told Insider.
But scientists aren't convinced that such a draconian regime will help reverse aging. Here's what the experts think:
Unclear: A 5.a.m start and more than 100 pills
Johnson's day starts at 5 a.m. As soon as he wakes, he drinks a smoothie named the '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 medication like metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes. Johnson also says he takes lithium, a drug used to treat mental health issues.
When it comes to aging, the idea is that supplements can replace molecules our body cannot make anymore, said Jed Lye, an aging and longevity researcher and board member of the British Society for Research on Aging.
It's a daily commitment, and any positive effect from these supplements can be reversible, he said.
There's "clear evidence" that metformin increases the span of healthy aging, added Jan Vijg, a genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As for lithium, Lye said there's only a small amount of evidence to support its use at this point.
Johnson himself said his supplement cocktail is tailored to his body. "Optimal protocol for you may differ," his website reads.
Good, in moderation: A 25-exercise routine and strict diet
After his first smoothie, Johnson begins his hour-long workout. This is made up of 25 daily exercises. He also does 10 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), three times a week.
Alongside this, Johnson eats a strictly vegan diet, which provides him with exactly 1,977 calories a day. Overall, he eats over 70 pounds of vegetables every 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 veggie." This is made of black lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, hemp seeds, garlic, ginger, lime, cumin, oil,and vinegar. The vegetables are boiled or steamed, and either served whole or blended into a sort of vegetable hummus served with chocolate.
"Then I'll get ready for the day," said Johnson.
An hour or two later, Johnson has his second meal, the "nutty pudding." This is made of ground almond milk, ground nuts, flaxseed, cocoa, a supplement called lecithin, cinnamon, berries, cherries, pomegranate juice, and "if you want to go wild," a little sweetener and manuka honey, according to Blueprint, a website where Johnson tracks 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 it's vegan," he told Insider.
By that time, it's about 11 a.m. to noon, and Johnson won't eat again until the next day.
"Who can argue against a healthy diet and regular exercise?" said Vijg.
A vegan diet might be able to help clear clogging in the arteries, said Lye. However, the evidence for this is not yet conclusive, according to the British Heart Foundation.
There is promising early evidence to link calorie restriction and fasting to extended lifespan, but these studies are still weak, according to a 2021 wide-ranging review of anti-aging diets.
Anti-aging diets can also be extreme and can have damaging effects on health if not done properly, the authors of the review wrote, per WebMD.
Even Johnson has found that to be true. At one point, his body fat had dropped under 3%, which could have threatened his heart health, per Bloomberg.
Unclear: 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 skincare, to lung rejuvenation, to laser treatments for his skin, and ear treatments to improve his hearing.
According to Bloomberg, Johnson also recently had fat injected in his face, which he said was to build a "fat scaffolding" to build young person fat cells in his face.
Zolman acknowledged that a lot of the therapies are experimental - the Level 3 stage intervention, as he called it - which is why he undergoes constant testing.
The therapies are what Zolman and his team think may reduce one or more specific "biological markers of aging" associated with each organ, such as cardiac function or hair.
People should consult a doctor before attempting any medical procedure, said Lye.
"Some of what they described did raise an eyebrow, for sure, I'm not sure how useful it really is in terms of systems health, to inject fat into your face. There's an aesthetic element to that I think," he said.
Unclear: Intrusive measurements, including regular colonoscopies
To track his progress, Johnson takes measurements of every organ in his body, which means regular blood tests, MRIs, and colonoscopies.
Lye said that Johnson and Zolman's tracking was "pioneering in its complexity and comprehensiveness,"
But does that mean they've cracked the code on how to measure the "biological age" of a person accurately? Not exactly, he says.
"The aging clocks that they've looked at specifically, which measure the epigenome is a start," he said.
Zolman himself says the biological age, measured with markers found on the DNA called epigenetics, should be taken with a grain of salt.
"Epigenetic age is like an experimental measure, it's kind of an easy way of doing all the direct measurements across all the organs," he said.
"It's not good enough evidence to say that we reduce age in every organ by five years," he said.
Zolman says epigenetic clocks - which, roughly, look at damage in cells' DNA which appears as we age - is only the silver standard.
"They're not the gold standard, which is looking inside the body with imaging, using medical devices, measuring the actual function of 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 proteins, metabolic markers, and other genetic markers, they could get a more accurate picture of whether they are seeing real effects on Johnson's organs' age, he said.
Unclear: Two hours of wearing goggles to block out blue light before bed
Johnson ends his day by wearing goggles that block out blue light for two hours, per Bloomberg.
There has been a lot of hype around using blue filtering glasses to reduce damage from the light of screens or reduce eye strain. But according to the American Association of Ophthalmologists (AAO), there's no evidence to support this.
"Blue light is not a cause of eyestrain," Esen Akpek, an ophthalmologist from the John Hopkins Medical school, said in a blog post. "The natural crystalline lens and the cornea of the eye are able to block excessive blue light."
There has never been a study to support light from computers damaging our eyes, per the AAO.
There is some evidence, however, 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 hours.
But in that case, it's best to avoid screens altogether before bed, per the AAO.
Don't try this at home, say experts
Let's be clear: It's a very intense protocol. This level of medical intervention should only be attempted under strict medical supervision, said Lye.
Zolman is "going for a moonshot here," Lye said.
"The collaboration with Bryan, has given the opportunity to answer the fundamental question that secretly sits at the back of many aging researchers' minds, which is: well, it's all very interesting, but what would happen if we try everything at once?" he said.
These interventions have been tested individually, but not together, so they could have counterintuitive negative effects on aging or be potentially dangerous when mixed, Lye said.
"I'm not sure if everyone should go out and start taking 107 different supplements," said Lye.
Unclear: Reversing our biological clocks
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 of our species - then there is currently zero evidence this can be accomplished," Vijg said.
What aging research does suggest is that we could increase the healthy lifespan of a person, meaning they could live up to their death in much better health.
But Vijg is not so sure there's still much of a margin for improvement.
"But I am afraid there are diminishing returns and it's well possible that we have already seen all the improvements that can be made. The rest may be marginal," he said.