‘Aging Is a Disease’: Inside the Drive to Postpone Death Indefinitely
Karen Heller - The Washington Post
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November 7, 2023

(Illustration by María Alconada Brooks/The Washington Post)

It’s 11 a.m., which means tech tycoon Bryan Johnson has already consumed his three daily meals, including dinner, and will fast until 6 a.m. tomorrow. By day’s end, he will have ingested more than 100 pills, mostly supplements. He will stop drinking water to ensure a solid night of slumber, which averages 8 hours 39 minutes. How does he know this? Johnson tracks everything.

Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, is the founder of Blueprint, an “experiment to explore the future of being human.” He is also its principal product, spending $2 million annually to slow the process of aging in his body, continually monitoring a “few hundred” biomarkers and, for his vegan diet, eating 70 pounds of vegetables every month. Johnson maintains an exacting daily “anti-aging” exercise regimen while investigating more ways to improve his body. “I’ve been doing a lot of male reproductive organ rejuvenation,” he shared. “I’m getting my penis injected so that they can measure arterial flow.”

His dizzying daily protocol shames boot camp. With 8 percent body fat, Johnson has a chronological age of 46. His biological age, an entirely different matter in today’s quest for longevity, contains multitudes: “My left ear is 64, my heart is 37, my diaphragm is 18, and my cardiovascular capacity is in the top 1.5 percent of 18-year-olds.” Johnson’s axiom: “Don’t die. This is the first time in the history of the human race where we can say with a straight face, ‘Don’t die.’” Unlike many other longevity enthusiasts, Johnson does not promote supplements or a paid subscription program, though he markets his own olive oil (two 25-ounce bottles for $60), which constitutes 15 percent of his daily caloric intake.

The United States is having a senior moment. We’re flush with older adults. More than 10,000 people turn 65 every day.

“Aging is a disease, one that is treatable,” said nutritionist and longevity wellness authority Serena Poon, 47, on the phone from the United Arab Emirates. Poon and business partner David Sinclair, a Harvard geneticist and co-author of the best-selling “Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To,” were on a global tour, enlightening audiences and potential investors, spreading the word of a longer, healthier life.

Last year, Poon and Sinclair signed with entertainment goliath WME. They’ve launched a wellness company and a skin-care line ($75 eye cream, $125 for “age-defying” serum), and they co-host longevity programming on YouTube and Instagram while exploring multiple media opportunities. On her website, Poon promotes supplements ($32.95 to $91.95) and ritual cleansing aids, including the two-ounce, $58 Aura Cleansing Mist with Bulgarian Rose Water, endorsed by actress Kerry Washington.

As recently as last year, Poon wished to live to 120, said to be the length of Moses’s life. Now, she’s reluctant to name a number but is ebullient about the future of our later years. In his book, Sinclair, 54, writes that “aging is going to be remarkably easy to tackle. Easier than cancer.” Also, that “we can treat it in our lifetimes.”

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