In the summer of 1974 at MIT while taking Bernard Feld's Quantum Physics Course, I participated as a human guinea pig in a Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science study on the effects of low-leucine diets as model for kwashiorkor. (Refresher: the 9 essential amino acids are: MILKFHWTV = methionine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.) This required a semisynthetic diet based on corn starch (in the form of cookie-like and jello-like "foods") and a powder of amino acids. After the 45 day study was over (only 3 of the needed 20 subjects made it to the end), I decided to continue on leucine-normal version of the diet informally for a few more years, switching to a commercial source (Lewis Labs) for the main nutrients (plus starch, safflower oil, oats, and NaCl). My current diet is more diverse, but still low-carb-vegan (i.e. no milk, cheese, eggs, fish, annelids, etc.) mainly for cardiovascular reasons (see below).
Since about 1999 my medical records go online as they become available to make the point that, for many people, this does not entail much risk (less risk than being an astronaut or army reservist) and has huge potential benefits for society and the individual. For example, on May 24, 2004, while an audience was settling in just before my lecture at UW-Seattle Medical School, someone in the middle of the second row got my attention and said "You really should get your cholesterol checked". I asked him to elaborate, trying not to appear surprised. It turns out that he is a hematologist (Tony Blau), who was prompted by my upcoming visit to look at my web page, and had noticed that I had a cholesterol of 288 mg/dL (normal is below 200). That measurement was over a year old and I was long overdue for a check to see if the initial lovastatin dose chosen back then was adequate, or if tissue enzymes indicated any damage. On returning to Boston, I immediately had my blood drawn, and discovered that, indeed, the lovastatin was not being effective. So my physician doubled the dose (to 40 mg/day) and I went back to a strict vegan diet. Next checkup in six weeks (I had learned not to wait a year) showed cholesterol dramatically lowered (to 156). So this "open-access" experiment may have already added a QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year) or two. Note: I have used Algal Omega3, B12, D3, and CoQ10 supplements (first 3 for the vegan and last one for the statins). In 2008, I dropped statins and regular supplements and have a cholesterol level of 205.
See also: Life Extension Foundation , DHMO, Bios-3, -3M, ISS.