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YouTuber Andrew Boyd tried a billionaire biohacker’s program to look younger

Most people wouldn’t mind looking younger, but what if you could literally turn back the clock on your body at a cellular level? YouTuber Andrew Boyd tried exactly that for 75 days.

You might have heard about Bryan Johnson, the 46-year-old Silicon Valley biohacker who is spending $3 million a year trying to reverse the ageing process. You’ve possibly seen pictures of the milky-skinned multimillionaire strapped to various machines like a shaved guinea pig in his quest to be 18 again. 

You may have read about the team of 30 medics he employs to monitor the biological age of his brain, heart, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, rectum and genitals, and you’ve probably decided that, on balance, Johnson’s regime – which includes waking at 4.30am, eating all his meals before 11am, taking 111 pills a day and bathing in LED light – might not be one for you. 

Andrew Boyd, a 23-year-old YouTuber from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has put a budget version of Johnson’s reverse-ageing program to the test, following his diet and exercise plan for an impressive 75 days – and he was shocked by the results. 

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One of the most eyebrow-raising elements of Johnson’s regime? The transfusion of blood plasma he received from his 17-year-old son. Boyd didn’t go to that extreme. “I didn’t swap blood with anybody,” he says with a laugh. “Some of the things that Johnson does are a little bit fringe – on the border of what is known to be scientifically sound.” Indeed, Johnson has said that he won’t be swapping any more blood because there were “no benefits detected”.

Instead, for approximately two and a half months, Boyd homed in on Johnson’s highly regimented diet, exercise and sleep plan, which is called Blueprint. This restricted him to consuming 2250 calories per day in a five- or six-hour window, exercising for at least an hour every day and getting roughly nine hours of high-quality shut-eye every night.

“I lost so much weight, so fast,” says Boyd, who documented everything for his YouTube channel, Project Andrew, on which he puts different health regimes to the test. He had been making corporate films for wineries before jumping into Project Andrew full-time, and weighed about 86 kilograms when he started. Over the 75 days, he shed almost 13kg. “At one point, my face had changed so much that the facial recognition on my phone wouldn’t work.” 

Boyd insists he “felt great” on Johnson’s diet of veggie meals, ‘Green Giant’ algae shakes (the chief ingredients are water, chlorella powder and collagen peptides), vitamin pills and supplements. “You have a lot of energy. My emotions didn’t seem to fluctuate as much throughout the day and I felt like I had clearer thought processes. There was never any time when I felt tired or full because of food.” His blood glucose levels, which he measured with a monitor on his arm, “were incredibly stable”. 

He did his weekly grocery shop at Aldi and ordered everything else in bulk online, spending about $170 a week on food and supplements. Johnson’s three meals a day included the ‘Super Veggie’, a cauliflower, broccoli, mushroom, ginger and black lentil dish, the ‘Nutty Pudding’, a berry and nut blend, and then one other veggie meal. Boyd took only a fraction of the 111 supplements on Johnson’s daily menu. 

And being half Johnson’s (chronological) age, he decided not to take testosterone, which Johnson himself supplements via patches. “I was worried that it would lower my natural levels. I think if I was above 40 years old, I probably would’ve considered taking it.”

Still, he lost weight so quickly that his testosterone nosedived – taking his libido with it. While obesity and excess belly fat are known for decreasing male testosterone levels, rapid weight loss can do the same. “My sex drive decreased – a lot,” he says. And his relationship suffered in more ways than one. “It was pretty difficult for my girlfriend. If we were going to a restaurant, I’d just hang out and sip water. The protocol sort of isolates you from people. Then my sleep schedule was really strict and regimented. And so we ended up spending less and less time together throughout the 75 days,” adds Boyd.

Improved sleep was what he thinks he benefited from most. “I’d try to get into bed around 8.30pm and spend nine hours in there, usually getting about eight and a half hours of sleep a night. It was the best sleep I’ve had in my life,” he says. “Before, I’d probably get about seven hours a night. Now, I feel better in the gym, I feel better when I’m running and I feel better when I’m working or writing.”

Boyd woke up at 5.30 or 6am. “You want to get exposure to a bright light, ideally sunlight, as soon as you can. Then, from about 7pm, I was limiting exposure to screens and blue light – I used those blue-light-blocking glasses,” he says. He measured his sleep patterns using a wrist device, specifically a Whoop 4.0 tracker. For a short time he took melatonin, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and helps control how and when we sleep. It’s sometimes prescribed to people suffering insomnia, but only for short-term use.

“But before you blindly hop into taking something like this, you should definitely talk to your doctor,” warns Boyd, who stopped taking melatonin because it was causing him to have “crazy dreams”. Instead, he switched to a trio of sleep supplements – magnesium threonate, L-theanine and apigenin – which resulted in “significant improvements in my deep sleep, slow-wave sleep and REM”.

Not so challenging for Boyd, who was an avid soccer player when he was younger, were Johnson’s workouts. “He does some intense work on the cardio side, but he’s not lifting very heavy weights. Most of the exercises are fairly light and the idea is to flex and stretch every muscle in your body.” Boyd also did ‘Zone 2’ training – which involves not letting your heart rate go above a certain number of beats per minute – and his resting heart rate dropped from the low 60s to the low 50s.

After 75 days, says Boyd, his biological age was 19.2 – according to a blood biomarker analyser called InsideTracker – while his chronological age was 23.7. “It’s interesting,” he says, “but I don’t put a lot of weight behind this, because this biological snapshot is based on a really narrow window of time.” Meanwhile, Johnson, who has many more tools and lab tests at his disposal, has said his own heart’s biological age is 37, while he has the lung capacity of an 18-year-old.

So what did Boyd learn? “Bryan’s regime works really well for him. But if you don’t share the exact same goals – say, you want to run a marathon or lift more weight – then his diet isn’t for you. For me, doing it as an experiment was great. But it’s not how I’d like to live the rest of my life.” He values travel, eating out, his girlfriend and his mojo too much.

Boyd’s supplement menu

Ashwaganda: Also known as ‘winter cherry’, may ease stress

Vitamin B12: For the nervous system

Vitamin C: Helps protect and maintain cells

Vitamin D3: Balances hormones

Calcium and Vitamin K2: Good for your bones and heart; aids blood clotting

Ginger root: May assist digestion

Cocoa flavanols: For improved cardiovascular health

Lysine: To help prevent fatigue

Boyd’s daily anti-ageing routine

6.30AM: get up, light exposure, skincare routine

6.40AM: Drink a ‘Green Giant’: 570ml water, 2 tbsp chlorella powder, 2.5g creatine, 20g collagen peptides, 500mg cocoa flavanols, 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon. Also, take supplement

7AM: Gym workout

7.45AM: Start heating the ‘Super Veggie’: 300g black lentils, 250g broccoli, 150g cauliflower, 50g shiitake mushrooms, 1 clove garlic, 2g ginger root, 1 lime, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

8AM: Zone 2 training

8.45AM: Eat the ‘Super Veggie’

9.45AM: Eat a ‘Nutty Pudding’: 50-100ml almond milk, 2 tbsp ground macadamia nuts, 2 tsp ground walnuts, 1 tsp ground flaxseed, 1⁄3 brazil nut, 1 tbsp natural cocoa, 1 tsp sunflower lecithin, 1⁄2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon, 1 cup berries, 2 cherries, 60ml freshly squeezed pomegranate juice 

12PM: Eat final meal, such as sweet potato stuffed with chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado,

radishes, coriander, jalapeño, lime, lemon and chilli powder

7PM: Wear blue-light glasses. Take sleep supplements

9PM: Go to bed

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