LOS ANGELES - When you read the headline "45-year-old tech billionaire uses son as blood boy to achieve immortality-level health," you might feel disheartened on your own personal health journey altogether.
But tech entrepreneur Bryan Johnson wants the world to know that he’s just a regular guy hoping to achieve optimal wellness using a data-driven approach and wants you to hopefully do the same.
Within the first few minutes of an interview with FOX TV Stations, Johnson gave what most people would consider the typical response from a billionaire health nut.
It was something along the lines of entering the next phase of human evolution.
"My favorite way of thinking about this is, imagine that whoever exists in the 25th Century, they are reflecting on the early 21st Century, the time that you and I now live. And they are admiring what we figured out as a species that allowed intelligence to continue to flourish," Johnson explained.
"We figured out that building a society around ideal health and wellness was the prerequisite and the enabler for the human race to evolve into its next evolutionary stage," Johnson continued.
You might be thinking that Johnson, who refers to himself as a "professional rejuvenation athlete," is way out of touch with most people spending hours on YouTube looking for the perfect workout tutorial or doom-scrolling through TikTok to discover where in the U.S. they can actually purchase healthy non-processed food.
Indeed, one might ask: "This guy takes regular MRIs and uses blood from his own son to attain youth, how can I relate? I’m just aiming for that summer body."
As the interview with Johnson continued, it became more clear that beyond the fancy gadgets and infrastructure of a venture capitalist, CEO Johnson actually may want to simplify the concept of a healthy lifestyle with one simple tool: data.
What does health (or healthy?) actually look like?
Throughout the conversation with Johnson, there were the obvious questions and expectations. Does he fly in mountain spring water from a cave in Iceland? Does he eat beef from cows that get daily massages in rural Japan?
The secret was slightly underwhelming.
According to Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, he shops at his local grocery store just like anyone else.
He has actually posted a video showcasing his daily routine.
It has all boiled down to a simple philosophy of cutting out the bad and building a foundation. He explained that it didn’t require the resources of a billionaire to agree that potato chips or fast food isn’t good for you.
More importantly, Johnson relies heavily on data. He’s just a few steps away from being recognized as a cyborg in that he said he measured every organ in his body. He said his team then uses the data from measuring the efficacy of his organs to determine the best things for him to consume to attain what he called his biological age.
Johnson explained that everyone has their chronological age – which refers to the date they were born – but he’s more interested in his biological age, which refers to the age relevant to his actual organs and how they operate.
Obviously, a baby’s liver is extremely different from that of a 70-year-old’s liver and so Johnson is obsessed with tending to his organs like a garden so that they produce on the level of a spry 18-year-old.
On Johnson’s website, he touts that he has actually been able to slow his pace of aging by 24%.
Johnson doesn’t claim to be a guru or a self help coach either. He doesn’t want to sell a lifestyle, he simply wants to lobby for a data-driven approach to health over the all-too-common fads found within the world of dieting and exercise like the keto diet or the Atkins diet.
"We’re trying to bring in the next iteration of health and wellness that is based upon data and not human opinion," Johnson said.
So what’s with the "blood boy" stuff?
Johnson explained that he got into plasma transfer when his father began experiencing serious health issues including cognitive decline. Eventually, Johnson’s son got involved and the three have been participating in a multi-generational experiment to use blood to defy the deleterious effects of aging.
Therapeutic plasma exchange is more common and not as scary as you might think.
In a report from the National Library of Medicine published in 2017, researchers said there is strong evidence that it contributes to the improvement of neurological disorders.
In 2014, a study on mice was published in which older mice got stronger, exercised longer and performed better mentally after they were injected with blood from young mice. The study was published in the journals Nature Medicine and Science.
However, most doctors would agree not to try this at home; Johnson has an extensive medical team backing his efforts.
While the data on the benefits of blood transfusion has a long way to go, some scientists say more evidence is needed.
"People want to believe that young blood restores youth, even though we don’t have evidence that it works in humans and we don’t understand the mechanism of how mice look younger," Tony Wyss-Coray, a Stanford neuroscientist who worked on the 2014 mice study, told the BBC in 2017.
Health to live, not for show
Yes, Johnson wakes up at 5 a.m. and works out every day and receives regular MRI’s. The headlines make for good conversation starters, but Johnson said his lifestyle gives him a sense of freedom that he believes everyone wants to attain.
His journey started over 20 years ago and was meant to overcome a challenge that most everyone struggles with.
Johnson was running a company at the time, juggling parenthood and climbing the corporate ladder when thoughts of suicide plagued his life.
He decided to do something about it, which is when he created The Blueprint, his step-by-step guide to being "the next evolution of human."
The diet consists of nearly 2,000 vegan calories and over 100 supplements per day.
While the grocery list is fairly unattainable for the average American, Johnson said the best approach to a healthy lifestyle is building on good fundamentals, like better sleep and not eating junk food.
"The most powerful anti-aging therapy is not to do something new," he added. "It’s to stop the bad."