As CEO of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Sam Altman is a big fan of automation.
The 37-year-old spends the majority of his time at OpenAI pumping out programs and chatbots convulsing the tech sphere with human-like capabilities.
The one thing he can’t automate: a solution for aging. And your boy is in hot pursuit.
Á la Bryan Johnson, Altman’s willing to spare no expense in the name of longevity. In 2021, he dropped a crisp $180 million into Retro Biosciences, a startup whose mission is to “add 10 years to healthy human lifespan” through autophagy and cellular reprogramming-inspired therapeutics. First on Retro Biosciences’ list is an anti-aging medication that research out of Harvard Medical Lab found may reverse aging in mice (1). Experts believe the medication may hit the market for humans as soon as 2028.
Add Altman to the growing list of wealthy billionaires—like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg—investing in anti-aging.
Altman isn’t just sitting around waiting for new life-extending therapeutics. When he’s not prepping for a doomsday virus by hoarding weapons and antibiotics, he’s also doing what he can now to extend his life (well, apart from that time he gave himself scurvy).
From taking Metformin to getting blood tested, here’s everything he’s doing to optimize his healthspan and lifespan.
He Takes Metformin for Anti-Aging
Taking metformin is an important part of Altman’s anti-aging regime, according to MIT Technology Review. Good choice. Metformin is an effective, safe, and proven drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. However, thanks to emerging research— including one study which found people with diabetes taking Metformin live longer than people without diabetes—scientists have reason to believe it has even more benefits (2).
Metformin lowers glucose levels, enhances insulin sensitivity, and reduces hallmarks of aging (3). Preliminary studies suggest Metformin may slow aging and increase life expectancy (4). Which is why it’s the subject of ongoing clinical trials on anti-aging (5, 6), and top of mind for cancer researchers (7).
Metformin may help you lose weight and ward off age-related illnesses.
He Fasts for 15 Hours a Day
“I rarely eat breakfast, so I get about 15 hours of fasting most days (except an espresso when I wake up),” Altman shared on his blog. With benefits like fat loss (8), less inflammation (9), and protection against age-related disease (10), it’s no wonder Altman and other celebrities embrace intermittent fasting.
That espresso might help Altman stave off morning hunger since caffeine might help to suppress appetite (11). When ingested half an hour to four hours before a meal, caffeine might help you eat less, per a review published in International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (12).
He Guzzles Coffee
The coffee doesn’t stop after espresso shot number one. He likes to drink one big espresso shot when he wakes up, and another after lunch. “I assume this is about 200mg of caffeine per day,” he wrote on his blog. “I will have more coffee if I’m super tired and really need to get something done.” Ah, there is a human in there.
Altman’s caffeine habit is likely doing him good. Coffee, which is packed with polyphenols, can help lower inflammation. Regular coffee consumption is linked to lower inflammatory markers found in the blood (13) and lower risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, gout, heart disease, and some cancers—all manifestations of chronic inflammation—per a review published in British Medical Journal (14).
He Hasn’t Had a Burger In Years
At least not a beef one. “I’m vegetarian and have been since I was a kid,” Altman shared on his blog.
Eating a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce saturated fats and boost fiber (15). Skimping on meat can leave you short of protein, iron, and mood-boosting vitamin B12, but Altman’s got that covered. He supplements with methyl B12, omega-3, iron, vitamin D3, and lots of protein shakes. “I also go out of my way to drink a lot of protein shakes, which I hate and wouldn’t do if I weren’t vegetarian,” he wrote.
He Steers Clear of Sweets
“Eating lots of sugar is the thing that makes me feel the worst,” Altman wrote on his blog. “I don’t have much willpower when it comes to sweet things, so I mostly just try to keep junk food out of the house,” he added.
“I also try to avoid foods that aggravate my digestion or spike up inflammation,” he says. For him, that includes really spicy foods. He’s right about the GI woes but he might want a fact-checker for that query. According to Cleveland Clinic, capsaicin—an active component in chili peppers—can help combat low-grade inflammation in the gut and treat pain ranging from arthritis to fibromyalgia.
He Has a Respectable Fitness Routine
Altman makes a list of goals each year including an array of work targets and a taxing physical objective (i.e. a one hundred-mile bike ride each week, fifty consecutive pull-ups), per a 2016 profile on him in per The New Yorker.
With the recent launch of ChatGPT, we can assume the man’s still after some impressive professional pursuits. However, his fitness routine is a bit more attainable these days. Where many other tech CEOs let their fitness fall to the wayside (ahem, Elon Musk), Altman lifts heavy weights three times a week. He also partakes in an occasional session of high-intensity interval training—which he claims makes him “feel the best overall”, according to his blog.
He Prioritizes Sleep
“Sleep seems to be the most important physical factor in productivity for me,” he shared on his blog. “Some sort of sleep tracker to figure out how to sleep best is helpful, I really like the Emfit QS+Active.”
He also likes a cold, dark, quiet room and a high-quality mattress. “I resisted spending a bunch of money on a great mattress for years, which was stupid—it makes a huge difference to my sleep quality.” His choice: the Tempur Contour Elite.
When his room isn’t the right temperature, he reaches for his ChiliSleep, a system designed to cool your body no matter the temperature of your room. However, it’s not always easy to fall asleep. Whenever insomnia hits a “low dose of sleeping pills” or “a very low dose of cannabis” do the trick.
He Exposes Himself to Light First Thing in the Morning
Like Andrew Huberman, Altman is a believer in getting light in his eyes early in the day. “I use a full spectrum LED light most mornings for about 10 to 15 minutes which I catch up on email. It’s a ridiculous gain for me,” he wrote on his blog.
“The single best thing you can do for your sleep, your energy, your mood, your wakefulness, your metabolism is to get natural light in your eyes early in the day,” Huberman told the Modern Wisdom Podcast.
SLEEP (AND WAKE UP) BETTER
He Tests His Blood Regularly
A year of quarterly blood tests helped Altman discover he was low in methyl B12, omega-3, iron, and vitamin D3. Which helped him supplement and correct course. “I now retest every year and a half or so,” he says.
Blood testing helps Altman take a more personalized approach to health, which becomes more important with age. In addition to changes in vitamins and mineral levels, men typically experience a drop in 1 percent of testosterone per year after age 30 (16). Maintaining optimal T levels can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve heart health (17). Plus, getting tested is so easy, it’s a no-brainer.
1. Macip, C. et al (2023). Gene Therapy Mediated Partial Programming Extends Lifespan and Reverses Age-Related Changes in Aged Mice.
2. Bannister, C. et al (2014). Can people with type 2 diabetes live longer than those without? A comparison of mortality in people initiated with metformin or sulphonylurea monotherapy and matched, non-diabetic controls.
3. Kulkarni, A. et al (2020). Benefits of Metformin in Attenuating the Hallmarks of Aging.
4. Mohammed, I. et al (2021). A Critical Review of the Evidence That Metformin Is a Putative Anti-Aging Drug That Enhances Healthspan and Extends Lifespan.
5. American Federation for Aging Research (2023). Targeting the Biology of Aging Ushering a New Era of Interventions.
6. Barzilai, N. et al (2016). Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging.
7. National Cancer Institute (2023). Clinical Trials Using Metformin Hydrochloride.
8. Stote, K. et al (2009). A Controlled Trial of Reduced Meal Frequency Without Caloric Restriction in Healthy, Normal-Weight, Middle-Aged Adults.
9. Paoli, A. et al (2019). The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on health in Humans: The Role of Fasting.
10. Mattson, M. et al (2017). Impact of Intermittent Fasting on Health and Disease Processes.
11. Correa, M.e t al (2018). Caffeine Modulates Food Intake Depending on the Context That Gives Access to Food: Comparison With Dopamine Depletion.
12. Schubert, M.e t al (2017). Caffeine, Coffee, and Appetite Control: A Review.
13. Paiva, C. et al (2019). Consumption of Coffee or Caffeine and Serum Concentration of Inflammatory Markers: A Systematic Review.
14. Poole, R. et al (2017). Coffee Consuumpton and Health: Umbrella of Meta-Analyses of Multiple Health Outcomes.
15. Crimarco, A. et al (2020). A Randomized Crossover Trial on the Effect of Plant-Based Compared with Animal-Based Meat on Trimethylamine-N-oxide and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Generally Healthy Adults: Study wit Appetizing Plantfood—Meat Eating Alternative Trial (SWAP-MEAT).
16. Travision, T. et al (2007). A Poopulation-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men.
17. Sharma, R. et al (2015). Normalization of Testosterone Levels Associated with Reduced Incidence of Myocardial Infarction and Mortality in Men.
Metformin may help you lose weight and ward off age-related illnesses.