I took antiaging supplements to be forever young, but biohacking made me sick

Health

July 14, 2023 | 4.25pm


Hoping to find the fountain of youth at the bottom of a plastic bottle, Grandma Theresa Skrobanek dived headfirst into a sea of ​​longevity supplements in late 2022.

The 57-year-old wanted to live longer for her family and avoid age-related illnesses that typically plague women over 50, such as breast cancer or heart disease.

But in April 2023, she found herself taking handfuls of small capsules, including metformin generally used to treat type 2 diabetes, a disease Skrobanek doesn’t have, the drug was instead prescribed by her doctor for its apparent benefits. anti age.

She also took over-the-counter substances like nicotinamide mononucleotide supplements, which are purported to boost energy and metabolism and reduce the signs of aging. (NMN supplements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)

I used to get headaches, Skrobanek, a lifestyle podcaster from San Antonio, Texas, told The Post. I felt super tired even though the pills were supposed to make me feel full of energy.

Skrobanek was following the forever live lead of high-profile personalities like tech billionaire Bryan Johnson, 45, who reportedly eats 100 supplements a day and spends $2 million annually on external experiments to restore his youth.

He and others have recently promoted the theory of extending one’s lifespan through biohacking.

Former biohacking enthusiast Theresa Skrobanek has suffered severe side effects after taking popular antiaging or longevity supplements: I was getting headaches, she told The Post. I felt super tired even though the pills were supposed to make me feel full of energy.
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Taking 50, 100, or even 150 supplements every day for longevity is ridiculous unless you’ve done your research and know what’s best for you. Length of health is far more important than length of life.

Joe Cohen, a 36-year-old biotech CEO from Brooklyn, told The Post

Within the fairly new fad, would-be forever-young are harnessing their genetic material through a variety of extreme measures like going off pills and adopting intense intermittent fasting programs in an effort to improve their bodies, minds and life expectancy.

It’s a do-it-yourself aging-reversal trend that’s been hailed by big names like NFL star Tom Brady, 45, actress Brooke Burke, 51, and Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos, 59, for its life-enhancing potential.

For his part, Skrobanek took at least 20 supplements every day, thinking the specialized elements put into each pill would really add years to his life.

This is what the sensational choral line of anti-aging influencers and leading scientists promised on TikTok and YouTube.

But instead of feeling younger thanks to her daily dose of the supposed miracle pills, Skrobanek simply felt sick.

Skrobanek started taking a lot of longevity pills suggested by social media personalities, as well as his personal doctor. We’re all trying to find that fountain of youth, but don’t rely on TikTok trends to be your doctor. Much of it is misinformation based on pseudoscience, Diana Rodriguez, a Manhattan-based dietitian, told The Post.
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I was constantly concerned about the potential side effects of each supplement, she continued, pointing to the swirl of contradicting studies and social media bulletins about the long- and short-term impact of the tabs.

Headaches, drowsiness and anxiety are all potential side effects of metformin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

And some longevity products on the market, such as dietary supplements containing nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3 that has been touted as having age-slowing properties, were linked to brain cancer in a January 2023 study by the US. ‘University of Missouri.

How do I know that taking these things won’t harm my kidneys or liver or cause cancer in 5-10 years? Who really knows? Skrobanek asked. Who do I believe?

Grandma Theresa Skrobanek, 57, started taking more than 20 longevity supplements a day, believing the pills promoted by social media influencers and celebrities would increase her lifespan.
Courtesy of Thresea Skrobanek
Johnson’s eccentric biohacking strategies, including ingesting 100 supplements on a daily basis and exchanging blood with his teenage son, have recently caused an online stir.
Bryan Johnson/Project

We’re all trying to find that fountain of youth, but don’t rely on TikTok trends to be your doctor. Much of it is disinformation based on pseudoscience.

Diana Rodriguez, a Manhattan-based dietician, told The Post.

The most zealous biohackers, such as Johnson and real estate mogul Ari Rastegar, 41, have pushed their anti-aging experimentation to the max, undergoing scientifically unproven procedures such as blood transfusions and stem cell infusions, respectively, in hopes of bringing back the hands of time.

And on TikTok, where the hashtag #BioHacking has garnered nearly 573 million views, supporters of the movement like Joe Cohen, 36, a biotech CEO and a Brooklyn native, boast of following life-extending strategies like gobbling from 70 to 150 supplements per day.

However, Cohen told The Post that he doesn’t recommend his hardcore regimen to his followers.

In fact, he says it’s dangerous for anyone to join a pill program for the mere say-so of a trendsetter.

Joe Cohen, who takes 150 supplements a day, encourages others not to take tons of longevity pills just because they’re trendy.
Joe Cohen

Instead, Cohen urges biohacking novices to first take a series of blood tests to determine their biological needs and deficiencies, research extensively for any supplements’ benefits and side effects, and take only what feels right.

Taking 50, 100, or even 150 longevity supplements every day is ridiculous unless you’ve done your research and know what’s best for you, said Cohen, who says he’s been studying biohacking for two decades.

To delay her own aging process, she takes rapamycin, an FDA-approved drug that a 2014 study found could support an increase in lifespan.

Bezos, who has invested millions in a biotech company with a reported mission to eliminate the consequences of aging from human experience, is suspected of transforming his physique through biohacking.
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Tom Brady is said to follow extreme diet and fitness plans to transform his body into a more youthful state.
Instagram/Tom Brady

But Cohen’s goal isn’t necessarily to live to be 150 just to live as healthy as possible.

By understanding your physiology you can do this [take certain supplements] which will improve your energy, your mood and your chances of avoiding the diseases that come with aging, she said. Health span is much more important than life span.

Manhattan dietician Diana Rodriguez agrees. However, she suggests that people work their way towards lasting health, rather than looking for it in a bunch of pills.

Use food as a first approach [towards evading life-threatening disease] it’s recommended, Rodriguez, of New York City Nutrition, told The Post. Eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes, fortified with tons of vitamins and minerals, can be very beneficial.

Nutrition experts say getting nutrients, vitamins and minerals from high-quality foods is a great way to improve your health during the aging process.
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Increasing her nutrient intake through organic whole foods is what Skrobanek started doing in June, when she ditched her supplement diet for good.

And she has never felt better.

If you live longer [by taking the supplements] meant I would have to live with those horrible side effects, Skrobanek said, I thought it would be better to live a shorter but quality life by eating well and working out.


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