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The Insider’s Guide to Bryan Johnson’s Supplement Stack

Bryan Johnson is a controversial American entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “most measured man in history.” By this, he refers to the extensive testing he receives on a regular basis to measure many biological parameters of health and performance. Currently, at age 46, Johnson claims that he is in the top 1% of all people when it comes to speed of aging; for every 365 days, he says, he ages 277 days.

Johnson attributes much of his good health to the benefits of supplements. Calling himself a “modern-day explorer searching for the fountain of youth,” Johnson takes over 100 pills per day in his perpetual quest for longevity.

Can Johnson’s supplements really reverse aging? Should we be taking dozens of pills for optimal health? Here, we explore the evidence behind some of Johnson’s popular recommended supplements.

Blueprint by Bryan Johnson

Johnson’s supplement line Blueprint offers consumers access to many of the supplements that he takes on a regular basis. Instead of purchasing individual components, Blueprint provides the convenience of taking multiple supplements in the same pill or powder. As of May 2024, Blueprint has three supplement stacks for purchase through Johnson’s website:

  • Starter Stack (18 supplements): $125 per 30-day supply
  • Supplement Stack (51 supplements): $195 per 30-day supply
  • Blueprint Stack (74 supplements): $361 per 30-day supply

Consumers can purchase some of these supplements individually.

Review of Bryan Johnson’s top supplements

Supplement/DrugDosagePrescription
Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA)50 mg per dayNo
Rapamycin13 mg per week, alternating with 6 mg per weekYes
Taurine2 g in the morning, 1 g in the evening (3 g total per day)No
Nicotinamide riboside (NR)375 mg per dayNo
Acarbose200 mg twice per day (400 mg total per day)Yes
Ashwagandha600 mg per dayNo
Aspirin81 mg three times per weekNo
Calcium alpha ketoglutarate (Ca-AKG)4 g per dayNo
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)100 mg per dayNo
Cocoa flavanols500 mg twice per day (1,000 mg total per day)No
Genistein125 mg per dayNo
Glucosamine sulphate 2KCL1,500 mg twice per day (3,000 mg total per day)No
Hyaluronic acid300 mg per dayNo
L-tyrosine500 mg per dayNo
Melatonin300 mcg per day before bedNo
N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)1,800 mg twice per day (3,600 mg total per day)No
Sulforaphane17.5 mg twice per day (35 mg total per day)No
Turmeric1 g twice per day (2 g total per day)No

*Data obtained from protocol.bryanjohnson.com

Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA)

Dosage: 50 mg per day

NDGA is a compound derived from the leaves of the Larrea tridentata plant. NDGA has demonstrated anti-oxidant properties, protecting cells from oxidative damage generated by free radicals.

Animal studies on the benefits of NDGA have been mixed. In studies involving flies and mice, NDGA has been shown to extend lifespan and to possess anti-cancer properties, even though liver, lung, and thymus tumors have developed in animals fed NDGA.

While NDGA has been shown to protect against kidney and liver damage in animal studies, prolonged consumption has the opposite effect and can harm the kidneys and liver. Safety parameters for NDGA are not well-established in humans.

Rapamycin

Dosage: 13 mg per week, alternating with 6 mg per week

Rapamycin, also known as sirolimus, is an inhibitor of a cell signaling molecule called mTOR, which is involved in many biological processes, including regulating metabolism. Available only by prescription, rapamycin is a medication used to treat cancer, prevent rejection after organ transplants, and reduce the risk of coronary stent complications.

Animal studies have shown that rapamycin can extend the lifespan of mice, yeast, worms, and flies. A 2009 study published in Nature found that rapamycin increased the lifespan of older mice by 9–14%. Younger mice fed rapamycin also survived longer. Although clinical trials are underway, there is currently insufficient evidence that rapamycin can prolong life in humans. Therefore, people taking rapamycin for longevity purposes usually have to purchase the drug off-label.

Rapamycin can lead to complications affecting blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system, and others.

Taurine

Dosage: 2 g in the morning, 1 g in the evening (3 g total per day)

Taurine is an amino acid found in animal-based foods and commonly in workout supplements and energy drinks. Taurine may help boost physical performance, such as by increasing energy levels and improving recovery times after exercise. Human studies have also shown that taurine may reduce cholesterol levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

A recent study found that taurine supplementation extended the lifespan of mice by approximately 10–12% — rough equivalent to 7–8 years in humans. While no human studies exist to corroborate the anti-aging properties of taurine, some evidence shows that it may reduce mitochondrial dysfunction and protect cells from DNA damage, potentially allowing cells to live longer.

Nicotinamide riboside (NR)

Dosage: 375 mg per day

NR is a form of vitamin B3 that is converted by the body into NAD+, a coenzyme involved in mitochondrial metabolism, cell cycle control, and DNA repair, among other functions. Decreased NAD+ levels may be associated with age-related diseases.

In animal studies, NR shows benefits in improving insulin sensitivity and liver, cardiovascular, endocrine, and brain health. NR is well-tolerated and elevates blood NAD+ levels in healthy middle-aged and older adults, with the potential to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events by reducing blood pressure and aortic stiffness. NR may also improve exercise performance in older adults. However, large-scale human studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Acarbose

Dosage: 200 mg twice per day (400 mg total per day)

Acarbose is an FDA-approved medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. It inhibits the action of a pancreatic enzyme called amylase, which normally helps in carbohydrate digestion. Therefore, acarbose is thought to slow down the absorption of glucose from carbohydrates. Acarbose is sometimes used off-label to aid in weight loss.

Mouse studies have shown that acarbose supplementation can increase the maximum lifespan of both young and middle-aged mice. These results seem to be more pronounced when acarbose is given to mice in combination with rapamycin, leading to a 28–34% increase in their median lifespan.

In humans, the most common side effects of acarbose are gastrointestinal symptoms. When used in combination with other diabetes medications, extremely low blood sugar can occur.

Ashwagandha

Dosage: 600 mg per day

Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. A recent review summarized the evidence for ashwagandha, showing that it may have a number of positive health impacts. The most consistent benefits of ashwagandha include reducing stress and anxiety, potentially through lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Some evidence also suggests that the herb may help improve sleep, boost muscle strength and performance, and assist in weight loss, among other benefits.

Clinical trials have noted minimal side effects associated with ashwagandha, suggesting that is generally safe to take. Certain populations, including pregnant or breastfeeding persons, as well as people with thyroid, prostate, or autoimmune diseases, should avoid ashwagandha or consult with a healthcare provider before trying the supplement.

Aspirin

Dosage: 81 mg three times per week

Aspirin is a blood-thinning medication primarily used to prevent blood clots. It is less commonly used today to reduce fever and pain since more effective medications are available.

Daily low-dose aspirin therapy (75 to 100 mg) may be considered in some people to prevent heart attack or stroke. According to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), adults ages 40 to 59 years may consider taking low-dose aspirin if they have a 10% or greater 10-year cardiovascular disease risk.

The USPSTF does not recommend aspirin for people who do not have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Additionally, those with an increased risk of bleeding should not follow this protocol.

Healthy older adults should also refrain from taking aspirin daily, as research shows that it increases the risk of brain bleeds without significantly reducing the risk of stroke in this population.

Calcium alpha-ketoglutarate (CaAKG)

Dosage: 4 g per day

CaAKG is the supplemental form of AKG, a naturally occurring molecule essential for cellular metabolism. It is required for the tricarboxylic acid cycle, which stores energy in the form of a molecule called NADH.

Animal models suggest that CaAKG might increase lifespan, reduce inflammation, and protect the gut. A 6-month animal study, for instance, showed that female mice (but not male mice) fed CaAKG had an increased lifespan and overall survival.

In humans, CaAKG has been used as a supplement to improve body composition in athletes, shorten recovery from surgery, and accelerate wound healing. Evidence that CaAKG can improve lifespan in humans is in its early stages. One study suggested that CaAKG can reduce epigenetic age (a marker of biological age, assessed using DNA methylation patterns) in people concurrently taking vitamin A or vitamin D for 4–10 months.

Cocoa flavanols

Dosage: 500 mg twice per day (1,000 mg total per day)

Pure cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavanols, which have been shown in animal studies to preserve cognitive function with age, potentially by improving blood flow to the brain and preventing neuronal cell death. In humans, consumption of cocoa has also been shown to improve cerebral blood flow, and in young adults, limited evidence suggests that intake of cocoa flavanols may improve cognitive performance.

Cocoa flavanols may also improve flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) — the widening of an artery to allow more blood flow — during acute mental stress. Since decreased FMD has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, flavanols may be beneficial for heart and blood vessel health.

However, a randomized clinical trial of 21,442 U.S. adults with no history of cardiovascular disease showed mixed evidence. In this study, compared to individuals who received a placebo, those who took a cocoa flavanol supplement regularly over a median duration of 3.7 years did not have a reduced risk of cardiovascular events (e.g., heart attack or stroke), although they experienced a 27% reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular events.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Dosage: 100 mg per day

CoQ10 is a natural compound essential for energy production within mitochondria. It also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. CoQ10 levels decline with age, and lack of CoQ10 has been linked to an increased risk of many health conditions, including heart failure, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease.

The most popular use of CoQ10 is for cardiovascular health. CoQ10 supplementation may reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, improve blood pressure control, and lower cholesterol levels. However, most research on CoQ10 has been conducted in people with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, and it is unclear how beneficial CoQ10 is for healthy individuals.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

Dosage: 25 mg per day

DHEA is a steroid hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. DHEA levels peak in young adulthood and slowly decrease in time; therefore, DHEA supplementation may be more suitable for older adults with lower sex hormone levels.

In postmenopausal women, DHEA may increase estrogen levels and improve postmenopausal symptoms. DHEA may also improve bone mineral density, reducing the risk of fractures.

In older men, DHEA supplementation may reduce fat mass slightly by increasing testosterone levels. Results are mixed regarding whether supplementation can improve other measures of health, such as sexual function and blood sugar control in this population.

There is no consistent evidence that DHEA supplementation promotes fat loss or muscle gain in younger adults.

Genistein

Dosage: 125 mg per day

Genistein belongs to a class of naturally occurring compounds called isoflavones present in some vegetables, including soy beans and fava beans. Genistein possesses estrogen-like activity.

In a study of rats, genistein improved bone health better than typical medications used to treat osteoporosis in humans. Genistein has been shown to improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteopenia.

Additionally, genistein may have anticancer properties, but further evidence in humans is needed.

Glucosamine sulphate 2KCL

Dosage: 1,500 mg twice per day (3,000 mg total per day)

Glucosamine, sold in some supplement forms as glucosamine sulphate 2KCL, is a natural compound found in cartilage, and supplementation is most commonly used for joint health. However, the evidence for this indication is mixed.

One review showed that glucosamine supplementation can improve function and reduce pain in people with knee osteoarthritis. By contrast, a randomized controlled trial contradicted these results in people with knee osteoarthritis, showing no benefits on function or pain in patients receiving both glucosamine and another component of cartilage called chondroitin.

A large U.K. study showed that those who took glucosamine supplements were less likely to die from cancer and cardiovascular, respiratory, or digestive diseases. However, since this was not a randomized control trial, these results only suggest an association and cannot prove a causal relationship between glucosamine supplementation and mortality.

Hyaluronic acid

Dosage: 300 mg per day

Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar molecule found throughout the body, including in the skin, eye, and joint fluid.

Hyaluronic acid is often used to treat wrinkles and dry skin and can be taken in multiple forms: orally, topically, or via injection. Research also supports the use of hyaluronic acid eye drops, often found in artificial tears, to treat dry eye. Limited evidence suggests that hyaluronic acid can alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms in some people, but larger trials are needed.

L-tyrosine

Dosage: 500 mg per day

L-tyrosine is an amino acid precursor of neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. Therefore, L-tyrosine supplementation is primarily used for its cognitive benefits. It is sometimes found in workout supplements and energy drinks.

Research suggests that L-tyrosine may help preserve cognitive function and improve memory under stressful, cognitively demanding situations. A small study suggests that L-tyrosine supplementation in healthy adults may help with cognitive flexibility — the ability to switch quickly between different tasks.

Melatonin

Dosage: 300 mcg per day before bed

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone widely used as a supplement to help improve sleep. Studies suggest that melatonin may decrease the amount of time needed to fall asleep, increase total sleep time, and improve overall sleep quality in people who have insomnia.

People who have circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders may also benefit from melatonin supplementation. Though generally safe to take and commonly used by adults, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of melatonin in populations without sleep disorders.

N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)

Dosage: 1,800 mg twice per day (3,600 mg total per day)

NAC, the precursor for the amino acid L-cysteine, possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and mucous-thinning properties. In medical settings, NAC is used to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

NAC is the precursor to one of the body’s most powerful and abundant antioxidants — glutathione. Though further research is needed, early evidence suggests that NAC may be useful as an adjunct to medical treatment in a variety of health conditions, including lung, liver, cardiovascular, psychiatric, neurologic, kidney, and infectious diseases.

Sulforaphane

Dosage: 17.5 mg twice per day (35 mg total per day)

Sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, has been shown in animal studies to fight cancer, aid in weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels, improve lipid levels, and promote heart health. Human studies for these indications, however, are lacking.

Turmeric

Dosage: 1 g twice per day (2 g total per day)

Turmeric is a spice popularly used in Asian cuisine. It contains an active compound called curcumin, which has a wide range of health-related benefits. A review of the literature suggested that turmeric may help improve arthritis pain and reduce the risk or progression of neurological, cardiovascular, endocrine, and metabolic disorders. A potent anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

Should you use all these supplements?

Scientific basis exists for all of the supplements recommended by Bryan Johnson, but this does not necessarily mean that you should use them all. Much of the existing evidence on the health benefits of Johnson’s suggested supplements is preliminary or studied mostly in animal models. The supplements that have been extensively studied in humans tend to focus on populations with specific diseases, not healthy subjects.

Individuals should keep in mind that the consumption of supplements in such a huge variety on a daily basis is not recommended by any official health organizations around the world. People should also be cautious about taking medications on an off-label basis, which may lead to unforeseen and even dangerous adverse effects.

Taking many supplements at once may also make it unclear which ones work and which ones don’t. Similarly, if you experience any adverse effects, it will be difficult to know which supplements are to blame.

Finally, while it is certainly possible that you can experience health benefits from taking these supplements, this can come at a great financial cost. Since everyone's body is different, you could end up spending money on supplements that don't work for you (even if they might work for someone else).

Final thoughts

Bryan Johnson, tech-mogul turned biohacking and longevity devotee, takes over 100 pills a day in an effort to discover the fountain of youth. While some of his suggested supplements do appear to enhance longevity in animal studies, clinical evidence is still insufficient to conclude that they can slow aging in humans. Most of Johnson’s supplements may provide health benefits for people dealing with specific ailments, but the weight of evidence varies by supplement and depends on the particular indication for which it is used.

If you are interested in trying a new supplement, always consult with your physician before starting. Working with a qualified medical professional is important to ensure that your supplement usage is safe and not contraindicated with any medical conditions or medications you may have.


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