When Courtney Reum wakes up in his Los Angeles home, it’s time to freeze, shake and dangle upside down. The co-founder of venture firm M13 takes a dip in his cold plunge—shocking his system awake—before stepping onto his Bulletproof vibration plate, which shakes him, getting his blood flowing. His morning routine crescendos into a batlike state as he hangs upside down for 2 minutes on his inversion table.
Reum also has a less arduous morning task—taking his supplements. The investor, who played soccer through college, still treats his body as an elite athlete might, spending anywhere from $300 to $800 a month on supplements of all types. It’s a small price to pay for health, he says, pointing out that LeBron James reportedly spends over a million dollars a year taking care of his body. “I’m obviously not LeBron James but I value peak performance,” he said. (He’s also no stranger to celebrity: His sister-in-law is Paris Hilton and his girlfriend is model Marcela Braga.)
Reum isn’t alone in his commitment to his supplement stack. Anywhere you find entrepreneurs, investors and others of the techie persuasion, you’ll find medicine cabinets filled with collagen pills, creatine powders and fish oils. The tech world has always been obsessed with experimental health treatments: Steve Jobs famously was a fruitarian. Ray Kurzweil, promoter of the singularity, supposedly takes 250 supplements a day. And more recently, biohacking poster child Bryan Johnson proclaimed to Bloomberg that he spends $2 million a year to reverse aging in his body. (Johnson walks us through his supplement regimen below.)
But with venture capitalists pouring over $430 million into supplement startups last year—more than four times what they invested in the space in 2016, according to PitchBook—we’ve entered a new era of self-experimentation. Anecdotally, it’s hard to find an investor or founder who hasn’t at least dabbled in vitamin IVs or isn’t taking a handful of nutritional pills each morning.
To get a deeper sense of all the self-medicating going on, we asked 11 tech leaders to walk us through the multitude of vitamins and supplements they’re using to tweak their bodies from the inside out. In true Silicon Valley fashion, the choices often veer toward the extreme and experimental: Several people take diabetes pills co-opted for weight loss; others experiment with spermidine—a compound originally found in semen—to slow aging; and nootropics, which adherents boldly claim improve cognitive function, are now as commonplace as Advil. Some of the most popular pills and powders are backed by peer-reviewed science—others, not so much.