Skip to main content

Biohackers: Bryan Johnson, Michael Lustgarten, and myself

Biohacking has come more into the public domain with the publicity around Bryan Johnson's blueprint. Bryan Johnson is someone who is a tech entrepreneur who sold one of his businesses a few years ago and has since being trying to improve his health. This has been described in the media as him spending about USD 2 million a year with try to get his body to be the equivalent of an 18 year olds. However, it is probably best to read his website (that I have linked to) to see what he describes this as.

There are quite a lot of people who are doing similar things, but not necessarily spending as much or promoting what they are doing to the same extent. His website provides quite a bit of information, but sadly at the moment it is not as useful as it could be as he does not always link to the relevant research papers or specify the units of the measurements he quotes. Hopefully that will be fixed over time.

Dr Michael Lustgarten is similar to Bryan Johnson in that he publicises the details of his measurements. However, he does it properly by giving the units of measurements and providing links to the research papers that he quotes from. Mike provides a number of youtube videos which are quite informative.

Somewhat surprisingly I find myself doing quite a similar thing. There are, however, quite a few differences between the way I am doing things and Bryan or Mike. As with Mike I aim to link to the research papers I am relying on and also to provide units and otherwise sufficient information for readers/viewers to check the claims being made. Hopefully Bryan will do the same.

I have for some time been working on improving my own health by improving the health of my cells. This has involved some original research some of which is published mainly on the blog or on youtube. At the age of 62 I am 17 years older than Bryan who is 45 and 13 years older than Mike who is 49. As far as I am concerned my objective is to improve my healthspan. That means aiming to prevent or even reverse that age related deterioration that happens with the passing of time. It may not result in me living any longer than I would without doing this, but with a bit of luck I will be less frail and continue to be able to do things like lifting up the PA speakers for the gigs that I do when setting up the PA (they are quite heavy).

There is clearly a major health issue with the population of many countries being older than historically the case, but suffering from a number of age related diseases. My view is that if it is possible to make changes which reduce the harm from diseases such as sarcopenia, diabetes and osteoporosis, then that would be a sensible thing to do.

Bryan Johnson: exercise, diet, calorie restriction, supplements and tech.
Looking at Bryan's website he seems to be going for quite a wide range of interventions and is now looking at some more experimental approaches.

Michael Lustgarten: exercise, diet and a very small amount of supplements.
Mike has recorded all the details of what he eats for a long period of time and aims to maintain his health through exercise and diet and he takes really very few supplements.

John Hemming: lots of supplements, a bit of tech, and a bit of exercise
My approach involves quite a different approach. I do some exercise, but not as much as the others. I am not a gym bunny. I also use brisk walking as part of my daily routine (when walking alone). I have reduced my food intake and have lost weight, but I would not say I am using calorie restriction. On the other hand I take a lot of supplements. Here are some that I take:

There are also not that many biohackers who eat a breakfast in Wetherspoons.

For the moment I am not publishing my protocol. That is because there are side effects when a more intense version is used. Hence I want to monitor what people are doing in order to minimise harm. It will automatically publish in November this year and if anyone wants to participate they can. Details of how to participate can be found via my blog page about long genes
What about outcomes? C Reactive Protein This is a protein which goes up when people get infected and it goes up when there are a lot of senescent cells. A lower figure is better. If you take a number of measurements then the lower one will give a guide to the level of senescent cells in the body. Bryan Johnson publishes a figure of 0.46 mg/l. Mike Lustgarten reports a figure of under 0.3mg/L and my figure is under 0.16mg/L. Mike and myself are reporting the lower bounds of the lab test that is being used. Hence his could be lower than mine.

HbA1C This gives an indication of glucose processing. A lower percentage is better. Sadly different labs test this in different ways (including or excluding the labile part) which makes comparison hard. Bryan Johnson publishes a figure of 4.5. He does not say whether this includes the labile element. I had a figure excluding the labile part of 4.18%. My current lab, however, includes the labile element and I get 4.8%

There are quite a few other biomarkers and I intend to update this post with more comparisons later. However, what I would conclude from this is that there are a number of ways in which cellular health can be improved. My approach is similar in some aspects (eg I also use blue light blocking shades from time to time), but quite different in other ways. Over time from all these n>=1 experiments it should be possible where people are sufficiently fastidious about measuring to work out optimal parts of each person's protocol for other people to follow. I am not arguing, for example, that Wetherspoons breakfasts are particularly healthy. It is that I like to eat that breakfast. There are questions asked as to whether Calorie Restriction is necessary or is it simply that fasting from time to time is a good idea (going beyond the overnight fast). There questions as to whether Calorie Restriction without fasting is potentially harmful.

Link to report on research paper (sadly the paper itself is behind a paywall)
Fasting, Not Simply Calorie Reduction, Stimulates Age-Defying Metabolic Benefits in Mice


Popular posts from this blog

Its the long genes that stop working

People who read my blog will be aware that I have for some time argued that most (if not all) diseases of aging are caused by cells not being able to produce enough of the right proteins. What happens is that certain genes stop functioning because of a metabolic imbalance. I was, however, mystified as to why it was always particular genes that stopped working. Recently, however, there have been three papers produced: Aging is associated with a systemic length-associated transcriptome imbalance Age- or lifestyle-induced accumulation of genotoxicity is associated with a generalized shutdown of long gene transcription and Gene Size Matters: An Analysis of Gene Length in the Human Genome From these it is obvious to see that the genes that stop working are the longer ones. To me it is therefore obvious that if there is a shortage of nuclear Acetyl-CoA then it would mean that the probability of longer Genes being transcribed would be reduced to a greater extent than shorter ones.