Health

The Biggest Mistake Biohackers Like Bryan Johnson Make

Bulking up your longevity protocol too fast could impact your health.
By Rebekah Harding
March 1, 2024

Biohacking mogul and Project Blueprint founder Bryan Johnson is known for spending upwards of two million dollars a year on his longevity routine. His expensive protocol includes young blood infusions, 111 supplements (up from 27 a day), fancy health monitoring gear, and rigorous testing—all in an effort to reduce his biological age to 18. 

But some experts, including longevity clinic HUM2N founder and physician Mohammed Enayat, MBBCh, are publicly questioning how fast—and how much—Johnson is optimizing his routine. 

In an interview with Unilad, Enayat explained that he thinks Johnson’s protocol is mostly working for him, but worries that the team behind Project Blueprint is adding treatments and supplements too quickly instead of “triaging.”


About the Expert

Lena Bakovic, M.S., R.D.N., C.N.S.C., is a registered dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching. She specializes in chronic disease, weight management, gut health, oncology, and overall wellness.


What is Triaging?

Triaging is a process used by doctors to measure results from diet tweaks, new supplements, or medication modifications to make sure changes actually improve your health and don’t cause side effects. Treatments and supplements are added slowly with triaging so that they can see how each one impacts the body. 

Enayat believes that Johnson’s team routinely skips this step and instead simultaneously experiments with multiple supplements and treatments to reduce his biological age. That’s because, in some cases, trying to reverse your biological age comes with consequences. Johnson has previously admitted that he—and his team—frequently make mistakes when piling on new treatments, supplements, and interventions. (For example, his one meal a day experiment accidentally dropped his body fat to three percent—which is out of what he considers an optimal range.)

Johnson isn’t the only biohacker who has admitted that charging ahead has gotten them into trouble, especially when trying new supplements.

The r/Biohackers subreddit is full of posts detailing accidental supplement overdoses and contraindications (which can cause uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and headache). One poster worried they could have damaged their liver after simultaneously adding over 10 supplements to their routine to try to help with long COVID and endometriosis. 

Introducing supplements quickly without triaging (including frequent blood work and monitoring for side effects) or being under the care of a health professional is particularly risky, says dietician  Lena Bakovic, M.S., R.D.N. 

“Supplements are pretty loosely regulated. The FDA only monitors claims on supplements related to diseases and not the actual ingredients themselves,” Bakovic explains. “Many supplements also carry labels such as ‘all natural’ or ‘works better than medication.’ This does not always ensure the safety of the product.”

STACK SMARTER

How to Safely Build a Supplement Stack

Introducing supplements to your longevity stack with intention is important, especially if you’re tweaking your protocol without help from a medical team. 

The best way to create a supplement stack is to meet with a registered dietitian or a physician who can assess your blood work for any potential nutrition deficiencies and create a customized plan for your specific health needs. 

Any supplements you add should be coupled with a healthy diet with plenty of variety, Bakovic says. “And you should try to meet nutritional requirements via diet first.”

If you absolutely must try out that new, buzzy supplement from your favorite subreddit without a doctor, double-check the safe dosage for your age and weight and make sure it doesn’t interact with any medications you take, says Bakovic.