Question as to what to do with my protocol

As people know I have my own protocol which has been set up to improve both transcription and translation. I have a small number of people who have been following this protocol and feeding back to me.

I have not as yet published the details of the protocol, but they will publish later this year as part of the patent process.

I am concerned that anyone who follows the protocol should be careful and not extend the dosage unless they are doing blood tests to check there are no negative effects. Only a handful of people have tried this at a higher level and we cannot be certain what the outcomes are.

Also as the protocol increases levels of cytosolic Acetyl-CoA it can strengthen cells innate ability to respond with ROS to challenges as well a generate cellular cholesterol. There are also questions as to how the kidneys handle the cations.

Hence I would not like anyone to try the protocol without taking care. However, I think I should explain more about the details. I would be happy to do this on However, the question is whether I should simply explain the details in public and ask people to make their own decisions at their own risk and make sure they do their own monitoring or alternatively ask @rapadmin if he might set up a restricted part of the forum that is not publicly searchable and limited to members who confirm that they are doing blood tests and monitoring their own biomarkers.

What would people suggest I do?


As far as I am concerned, the members of this forum are all self-experimenters.
Being old, I am certainly willing to take higher risk measures than I would suggest for younger members. After all, what do I really have to lose? My doctor is fond of telling me I am “playing with house money” at this stage of my life.

The interventions I am taking at this point, with the exceptions of CR and rapamycin, are just healthspan extenders.

I am looking forward to seeing your protocol.


Thank you for this. I will look at the balance of opinions probably on Friday. That is because I need to drive a long way tomorrow and won’t have as much time.

At the moment I think the view of people who wish to express a view is to simply post information about the protocol in this thread.


In communication between adults, both parties have a responsibility to be honest about what is being shared and to be doubtful about what is being received. I am constantly looking for people to listen to (but not fully believe), and culling the rest with as little investment as possible. This group is a target rich environment. Thanks, @RapAdmin !


IMHO I think that by being kind enough to make your protocol public on here (with all the associated cautions, etc) it would be immensely helpful not just to all the members of this community but also to you with all the high quality feedback and discussion it would undoubtedly generate.


Warning: There may be unidentified risks in trying parts of this protocol. Anyone who tries part of the protocol needs to monitor their biomarkers and if any harm is being caused stop using it. No medical advice is being given people need to do their own calculations and assessments and take medical advice from a healthcare professional where appropriate. People take their own decisions at their own risk.

  1. Get a baseline.

Before doing anything it really is worth having a baseline. This really has to include high sensitivity CRP. There are costs to testing and the costs of testing probably exceed the costs of the protocol. A baseline test before starting anything is really helpful.

  1. The principle

The principle behind this protocol is that if you improve how cells work then you improve how the body works. Cells function by generating energy and producing proteins. If a cell is unable to produce the full range of proteins then it will not function properly. The theory underpinning this protocol is that there are problems both in transcribing genes and creating mRNA, but also in taking mRNA and translating that into proteins.

Cells need to handle varying amounts of nutrients and energy supply. The main cellular currency of energy (ATP) is mainly generated by the mitochondria. However, as the mitochondria take glucose and push it through the Krebs/Citrate/TCA cycle (Citric and TriCarboxylic Acid are the same thing) they generate ATP. The mitochondria also export Citrate/Tricarboxylate through the Citrate Carrier protein (SLC25A1) into the cytosol. That is then used by the cytosol (and nucleus) for various purposes.

An interesting role of TCA in the cytosol is to indicate the energy status of the cell. TCA is converted by the ACLY enzyme into Acetyl-CoA.

The levels of Acetyl-CoA in the cytosol and nucleus control the process of transcription of genes. When genes are transcribed into mRNA an enzyme complex called RNA Polymerase II reads the gene and creates mRNA (using RNA as a substrate). One step of this is to open up the genes by acetylating the histone which is holding the genes. This is done by a HAT which needs Acetyl-CoA to do its job. One acetylation is needed for about every 142 base pairs.

Without the acetylation RNA Pol II cannot do its work. At a later point a Histone Deacetylase enzyme (HDAC) comes along and removes the acetyl group from the histone.

Hence the availability of acetyl-CoA controls the creation of mRNA. A lot of ATP is needed to translate mRNA into proteins so the acetyl-CoA has the effect of limiting the creation of mRNA when energy is scarce so you don’t end up with lots of mRNA hanging around waiting to go into protein creation. ATP is also needed for transcription, but it is the acetyl-CoA that is the main limiting factor.

As creatures develop a burden of senescent cells (and for other reasons) the expression of SLC25A1 (the Citrate carrier) is reduced and citrate is trapped in the mitochondria.

My protocol more widely looks also at translation, but for the purposes of this post I am only going to look at transcription.

  1. Improving transcription

The main problem is a shortage of acetyl-CoA. However, there is also an issue in the interplay between acetylation and deacetylation. What we don’t want is for the HDAC to deacetylate a histone with a stalled RNA Pol II stuck at it. I have not found anything in pubmed about this, but it is clear that when HDAC is inhibited (there are lots of different HDACs) gene transcription is improved.

Hence I think we can identify a number of routes towards improving transcription

a) More acetyl-CoA
b) More substrate availability
c) Slower deacetylation.

Additionally I think it is worth having Lithium at a roughly 50 micromolar serum concentration for its effects on the WNT pathway.

Dealing with these in reverse

  1. Slower deacetylation

There are a large number of Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors (HDACi s) around. I use them in quartets for no really good reason save that I wish to minimise the side effects from any one HDACi whilst maximising the HDACi effect. The ones I used tend to have IC50s in the 50 micromolar range (which is not that strong there are nanomolar ones).

In particular my primary quartet is Curcumin, Berberine, Pterostilbene and Quercetin. I have experimented with taking multiple doses in a day (whilst reviewing published research on the maximum sensible dose which has no known negative effects). What I think happens is that a mild HDACi effect can cause cells to function beyond what would normally happen in a younger person with the same genes. With me it caused additional facial hair to grow. However, I am not sure that too much of this is necessary.

  1. More substrate availablity

There is published research that shows a longevity benefit from eating RNA. Hence I do this. Vitamins B12 and B9 are also needed for transcription. I also take Vitamin B5, but that is really for the acetyl-CoA (because B5 is a coa precursor).

  1. More Acetyl CoA

There are in fact two enzymes that create Acetyl-CoA in the cytosol. ACLY does this from citrate/TCA and ACCS2 does it from acetate. ACCS2, however, is inhibited by acetylation levels. Hence if the Histone is reasonably acetylated the conversion of acetate to Acetyl-CoA will be limited. Therefore the best route is through additional citrate.

It is possible to increase SLC25A1 by using janus kinase inhibitors, but these have some nasty side effects although the drugs have been licenced for use.

However, what is really interesting is that you can increase cytosolic citrate levels from citrate in the blood.

  1. Citrate metabolism

The body has an interesting citrate metabolism where a serum level of citrate is maintained at something around the 100 micromolar level. If citrate goes up there is a gene which in Drosophila is called INDY (“I’m not dead yet”) expressed in liver cells that draws citrate out of blood and burns it up to carbonate. The same is the case in humans, but the gene is called mINDY.

However, if you digest citrate it will temporarily increase the serum citrate level and that will go into cells and increase cytosolic citrate giving a boost to nuclear acetyl-CoA levels. Citrate has a sort of half life around 30 mins so this effect does not last long, but it lasts long enough to effect gene expression. It is a bit of a one way valve so the boost to acetyl-CoA levels from a pulse of serum citrate lasts for a while. (until it has been used up)

  1. Acetyl-CoA - side effects

An increase to cytosolic Acetyl-CoA has side effects in making more acetyl-CoA available for both cellular cholesterol production and cystosolic ROS production.

I think it is worth on a preventative basis topping up melatonin levels though melatonin supplementation during the night. It is worth being aware that cellular cholesterol figures can be increased. That may not affect lipid transport, but it is an issue to keep an eye on.

The availablity of cytosolic ROS does mean that cells have a better tool to fight invaders and may fight viruses that had otherwise been ignored. That’s good for getting rid of warts, but it does mean increasing citrate levels should be done gradually.

  1. So this citrate thing then what can I do

Well, don’t eat a lot of lemons. Citric Acid does provide citrate, but it also provides protons (acid) and cells don’t like acid. In fact what cells do to move to an alkaline state is to deacetylate the histone (and we don’t want that).

There are quite a few citrate salts available, but I have been working with Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium.

I think caution is needed potentially with too much calcium, but supplementing with a mixture of Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium (and potentially calcium) is a good strategy. Sodium in isolation would be a mistake. It is important to maintain a ratio of around 3:1 in Sodium - Potassium and slightly less Magnesium.

  1. Lots of pills

Well actually what I am now doing is buying the salts as powder and mixing it together that is better than eating lots of pills (which I was doing previously) Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium Citrate are all quite soluble and you can just drink a mixture either in a cordial or simply diluted in water.

However, to start it may be worth taking the pills.

  1. How much

I think it is important to be careful starting out. The weight I refer to is the Citrate. The calculation of citrate levels from the cation elemental weight varies for each salt. If you buy the powder then sometimes it is hydrated. If you have the elemental mass you can estimate the mass of citrate by tripling it.

I would, however, start small for a week or two with perhaps 0.5 grams or 1 gram of citrate. This should really have no noticeable effect. However, no noticeable effect is a good thing. You can then increase to 2 grams of citrate (if you started with 0.5 grams move to 1 grams first). At this stage it is a question of making sure your systems can cope.

The next step is to move to 2 grams of citrate the first for breakfast and the second for lunch.

I have tried varying amounts of citrate including over 40 grams (divided into 5 g doses over 30 minute intervals). I get a bit of a buzz at that level. However, I strongly advise caution and care. I am currently running a maintenance level of 5g at breakfast and 5g for lunch. I have been supplementing with citrate for over a year and it took quite a time to increase levels to start because of the improved ability of cells to fight infection. If you rush it you may end with lots of spots.

With the cations you are dosing reasonably heavy amounts of the cations hence you need to check that your kidneys are handling this properly. What I have found it that the supplementation does push sodium, potassium and magesium levels up a bit (eg Na 139->142) , but they drop back really quickly and are always in the normal range. However, this may not be the case for everyone and you need to do blood tests to monitor for this.

  1. Side effects of Citrate

Citrate will cause your urine to become more alkaline. My urinary pH has gone up at times to 9.5. It is worth monitoring urinary pH.


Going down the rabbit hole of looking up citrate supplements, I came across something I had never heard of; Litholyte Coffee.
“10X THE CITRATE OF MOST BEVERAGES: More citrate means more kidney health. More citrate than lemonade, orange juice, lemon juice, or other drink mixes.”
It contains magnesium, calcium, and potassium citrate.
However, I am not really sure how to convert their 10mEq, to equivalent grams of citrate.
From the amount of citrate you are using, this seems like a trivial amount.


It does 10mEq is probably 3 milliMolar which would be a trival amount. To be fair to them any citrate is likely to be helpful although you need to be careful about acids.

The situation with acetate is quite interesting and I think acetate can be helpful, but it has this self-inhibiting thing which is a bit of a nuisance.

(mEq is an ionic thing that depends also on the charge of the ion)

Here is some experimentation with fruit flies and citrate

I think they got the mechanism wrong.

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I’m away from home at the moment, but I wonder if the LMNT powders have the sodium:potassium:magnesium ratio that you suggest. From memory I have a feeling they do.
Will check when back home - I often have one after a particularly sweaty workout to replace the lost electrolytes as they are supposedly in the correct ratio for us humans.

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The NaKMg ratio is about not doing harm

I think they are referring to the prevention of kidney stones one of the more commonly known benefits of citrate. With a molecular weight of 192 and a charge of -3 10mEq would be about 0.65 g of citrate in a litre. This would probably have effects beyond kidney stone prevention, but they would not be that obvious.

People take large doses of citrate when they have blood transfusions because citrate (sodium) is used to prevent coagulation. This probably benefits the recipient in lots of ways, but people would be unlikely to think that it is the citrate rather than the blood.

You can see from the fruit fly trial that a good solid dose is needed to have a good effect. That is not surprising given the mechanism.

I did speak to a nephrologist about alkaline urine but there are not known problems with this.


I have looked up LMNT powders. They have 1000 Na, 200 K 60 Mg. I would perhaps suggest 1000 Na, 333 K 150 Mg,

They also have a small amount of citric acid. I don’t have any doubt that shifting the metabolism so it is a little alkaline has merits. Cells run at a pH of 7.4 in the cytosol.

So the question is, what weight of Na/K/Mg equates to 1g of citrate? I assume something is lost in process so it isn’t as simple as 675mg/225mg/100mg=1g citrate, or is it that simple?

It is a little complicated, but you don’t have to be too precise. Hence if you have 1g of Sodium Citrate you can assume that is 0.3333 grams of Sodium and 0.6666 grams of citrate.

Similarly for the other cations. Citrate is quite big compared to the cations although there are 3 sodium ions for each citrate ion.

If you buy the powder it is further complicated by the fact that some citrate is anhydrous, some is di hydrate and some is tetrahydrate.

In the end, however, as the sensible way to proceed is by gradually increasing the dosing you can simply start with something small and build on it.

Sodium and Potassium have three Na (3 x 23=69) or K (3 x 39=117) with each Citrate (192)
However, if you get the powder it is likely to also have two water molecules for Sodium and One for Potassium.

So you get 192/261 = 73% citrate in Na Citrate, if you take Sodium and multiply by 192/69=2.78 (say 3)
192/309=62% citrate in potassium citrate and multiply by 192/117=1.6 to get citrate from potassium.

Magnesium and Calcium have three Mg (3 x 24=72) or Ca (3 x 40=120) but with two citrates (384).
Magnesium may be anhydrous and Calcium Tetrahydrate.

The same principles apply, but to be honest the main thing is to take some and see what effect it has. Hence you can spend a lot of time doing calculations (and I have done them with the more precise atomic weights), but you will still end up taking a lot more sodium than potassium and more potassium than Magnesium and maybe some calcium.

There is also an issue with capsules in that the capsules come in defined sizes so even if you do precise calculations you are limited by the size of the capsule. Also the content of the capsule is likely to vary from the specification as well.

Hence if you have a set of capsules you can link to I can give an idea as to what balance of cations to take.

I don’t think anyone sells Sodium Citrate in other than a powdered form. The others, however, are in both capsules and powder.

I assume you monitor your blood pressure daily, and all that extra sodium hasn’t influenced it?

I have monitored it daily for 7 years. It is not an issue.


John, I am really interested in your protocol and I wonder what you think is the primary cause of sarcopenia with age. So far I managed to hold it at bay, but I really want to prove that I can add muscle mass not just muscle strength at 82.


Sarcopenia is clearly linked to protein production. I think the protocol mitigates sarcopenia.


Thanks for sharing your protocol!

You could consider NAC as well, CoA biosynthesis from B5 requires a cysteine, which NAC provides along with an acetyl group.

Just a thought, could raising acetyl-CoA in this fashion lead to more fatty acid biosynthesis? If the cell suddenly detects higher levels of cytosolic acetyl-CoA, I would think this would increase fatty acid synthesis. If the goal is to raise acetyl-CoA levels to promote the rate of histone acetylation, I think promoting fatty acid catabolism may provide a better pathway, since it also inhibits fatty acid synthesis (to prevent a futile cycle), leaving more acetyl-CoA available to act on histones.

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