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Episode 458
The Doctor's Farmacy

How To Hack Your Age To Live Longer

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

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As the science of longevity has exploded in recent years, we have more access to innovative therapies, techniques, knowledge, and technology than ever before. Traditionally, we view aging as an inevitable consequence that happens to our bodies as we get older. We think that as we gain more years of life, it is a given that we begin to slow down, become less agile, lose our memories, and gain more chronic diseases. We define these things as “aging” when they’re actually signs of dis-ease that can be prevented and often even reversed.

In this episode of my new MasterClass series, I am interviewed by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, about creating vibrant, optimal health, to feel younger at any age. We discuss the latest science on whole-body health and longevity and share simple, accessible tips that you can use right now to start feeling younger at any age.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health and ButcherBox.

Rupa Health is a place for Functional Medicine practitioners to access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, Great Plains, and more. Check out a free live demo with a Q&A or create an account here.

This holiday, ButcherBox is proud to give new members 2 pounds of ground beef in your first box plus $10 off. To receive this offer, go to ButcherBox.com/farmacy.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dhru Purohit

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top 50 global health podcast with over 30+ million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

Show Notes

  1. Dr. Hyman at 40 yrs vs. 60 yrs
  2. EMF Bed Canopies
  3. Dr. Hyman+ (which includes access to the Longevity Roadmap docuseries)

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The body at any age has the capacity to reverse biological age, to get stronger, fitter, faster. Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to a new series on The Doctor’s Farmacy called MasterClass, where we dive into popular health topics including inflammation, autoimmune disease, brain health, aging, sleep, and so much more. Today I’m joined by my guest host, my good friend, my business partner, and host of the Dhru Purohit Podcast, Dhru Purohit. Today we’re going to be talking about my favorite topic, which is how very selfishly I can live to be 120, and what I’ve learned so that you also may be able to live to be 120, and how I hack my life and my brain and my body to age backwards. I’m super excited for this conversation. I’m so happy to have it with my good friend and partner, Dhru. Hi, Dhru.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, it’s great to be here. This is a topic that a lot of people are interested in. Some people are listening on audio, so if you are, check out the YouTube one because I’m going to ask Patrick, our video editor, put up a screenshot of Mark’s Instagram. This is a before and after photo. Mark, on the left hand side, that was you at 40. At 40, 20 years ago. A little bit more than 20 years ago. On the right hand side is you now. For those that are listening on audio, basically you have a six pack now, you look great. Mark, tell us what you did. In one photo, you’re younger biologically, but something happened and you got serious about wanting to tackle longevity and your health. What did you do? Top three things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. Well, here’s the thing. I really have been studying functional medicine and how the body works for decades. I keep learning more and more. We keep getting smarter. The science advances. So I keep incorporating new ideas and new strategies to help me actually reverse biological age. I can’t change my chronological age. You know, I’m going to be 62. I can’t change that, but I can change my biological age at any age and age backwards. And so the things that I used to do that I now have changed are one, I used to eat a lot more carbohydrates because-

Dhru Purohit:
Why is that? Talk about that just for a second. Tease that out a little bit more.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Because at the time, we were taught that the best diet is a high starch diet. The government told us to eat six to 11 servings of bread, rice, cereal, and pasta a day, and lots more grains, lots more beans, lots more starchy foods, some sugar. I really was not eating what I’m eating now, which is I’ve shifted my diet to be much more low starch and sugar, high, good quality protein, not super high protein, and a lot of good fat. So way more fat, far less starch and sugar, high quality protein to build muscle. That’s been the key and getting rid of all the processed foods and also doing time-restricted eating. Minimum 12, often 14, 16 hours, that really helps my metabolism. It helps me shed fat and build muscle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’ve done studies on animals, which is not the nicest way to study things where they’ve given the identical amount of calories, either high starch, low fat, or high fat, low sugar and starch, same calories. What they had to do to keep the weight the same was the group that was… Remember, this is the same calories. The group that was on the low starch, higher fat diet kept losing weight, so they had to increase the calories so it wouldn’t lose weight, just as part of the study. What they did at the end was they basically sacrificed the mice. They found that the mice eating the starch and sugar and the starchy diets and the low fat diets accumulated a lot of visceral fat, belly fat, which is a dangerous fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The ones eating the high fat, low starch diet actually built more muscle and lost fat eating exactly the same calories. So all calories are not the same. Each has a very different effect on our health. As we age, we need to be more careful about starch and sugar, and we need to eat more fat and we need to eat higher quality protein. Maybe when you’re younger, you can get away with eating protein that’s not as high quality like a lot of plant proteins. As you get older, the evidence is really clear that we don’t synthesize muscle without muscle. I mean, it’s very hard. You need to either take supplements that enhance the missing amino acids and plant proteins, the low amino acid like leucine, which is a rate-limiting step. I become very smart about that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The second thing I’ve done, which is something I’ve resisted my whole life because I was a runner, I played tennis, bike, do yoga. I’m like, I’m good. You know, I’m good. I always tell people to weight lift and I just hated it. I hate gyms. They’re smelly, stinky. I don’t like going in there. It takes too much time, painful. I just didn’t like it. Then I decided, okay, I turned 60. I better get on this. I started. I’ve learned to really love it. I’ve actually encountered a program which I love, which is TB12 sports, Tom Brady’s program using bands, loop bands, handle bands, body weight. I’m committed to it because one, it’s not only removed all my back pain, but it’s totally changed my body, made me feel younger, made me much more agile, have more balance, core strength. Not to brag but a little bragging, but I was just in an event and we were having workouts with this trainer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
At the end of the workout, it was probably about 30 people, mostly 30, 40 year olds and there was a plank competition. I didn’t know how to do. There’s a lot of young people, most of them were 20 years younger than I am. I basically lasted the longest in the plank competition. There was one woman, she was kind of cheating, but we won’t count her. She was like getting up and down. It was over almost five minutes. I think that’s really because the body at any age has the capacity to reverse biological age, to get stronger, fitter, faster. I’m just seeing that, I’m at 62 almost. I’m healthier, fitter, stronger than I’ve ever been because I’ve learned more how to hack the system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The third thing that I’ve really done is to understand the pieces around supplementation and mitochondrial health and aging that are key part of understanding the age-related process, which is the decline in energy in our cells, the decline of muscle. Preserving, keeping, building, optimizing muscle function is such a key part of aging. That’s been a big focus of mine is both through lifestyle and diet, through exercise and through the right supplements.

Dhru Purohit:
Now give us a big picture on this topic of hacking your age and help us understand a little bit of the difference between healthspan and lifespan, because you ask the average person walking down the street and you tell them, hey, do you want to live to 120? Like you opened up the podcast. They’ll say, absolutely not. Because all of their references for somebody who might be even in their late 80s or 90s is somebody that’s bedridden or wheelchair bound. Let’s talk a little bit about just aging as a whole. Set the stage for us.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s a concept that’s important called healthspan, which is different than lifespan. Healthspan is how many years you’re alive that you’re healthy. Lifespan is how many years you’re alive. If you spend the first 50 years healthy and then you start having heart attacks and diabetes and obesity and chronic disease, which by the way affects six out of 10 Americans, 88% are metabolically unhealthy. There’s not that many of us that are healthy in this country, you decline. What we’ve come to understand as aging is actually abnormal aging. What we see around us all the time as people get older is just a steady decline into decrepitude. That’s not inevitable. You know, that’s just not inevitable. Our bodies have the capacity at any age, whether you’re 90, whether you’re 60, 70, 80 to actually reverse the process.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They actually have done this. I remember reading one study where they started with 70 year olds, changed their diet, got them on a simple exercise program. They were able to reverse their biological age at 70 and reduce mortality in half simply by simple lifestyle changes. We’re not even talking about the full on full multifunctional medicine approach, which is really I think the key to healthy aging. You want your healthspan equal your lifespan. Essentially you want, we call rectangularize a survival curve. As opposed to having a long, slow, painful death, you want to go and be healthy and functional until you’re a hundred and then just go to sleep and say goodbye. Everybody have a nice dinner and go to sleep. That’s what would be great without all this chronic illness that we see. It’s not inevitable. Chronic disease is not inevitable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is what we think of as aging. It’s actually abnormal aging. It’s inflammation. It’s oxidative stress. It’s the microbiome problem. It’s loss of muscle. It’s all these phenomenon that start to happen if we don’t have the right inputs to the system. Just like we have cars on the road that are from 1930, if they’re well-maintained, we can be well-maintained but it takes a lot more effort. I’m not going to kid you and say what you could get away with at 20, you can get away with 60 or 70 or 80. You can’t. You have to have those inputs to maintain the system. But just like you can have a very old car that’s a hundred years old that keeps driving, you can have a body that’s a hundred years old and keeps going strong if you understand how to create health. Functional medicine is the science of creating health.

Dhru Purohit:
What do you believe are the biggest controlling factors when it comes to what we call this abnormal aging? For the person that’s listening here who’s thinking about this, whether they’re in their 20s and they’re interested in health, whether in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, at any age. Abnormal aging, what are the biggest controlling factors that play a result?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think it’s really clear that the most serious threat to longevity and aging is insulin resistance, which is this phenomena of the dysregulation of metabolism from eating too much starch and sugar. The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar, 130 pounds of flour. It’s about a pound of sugar and flour a day per American. It’s poison. It’s poisoning our fat cells. It’s poisoning our mitochondria. It’s poisoning our liver. It’s poisoning our brain. It’s leading to all the consequences and all the diseases that we think of as aging. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, the big ones. Those are all either caused by or highly influenced by this phenomena of insulin resistance. How big of a problem is this? Well, really clear from the data that one out of two Americans has diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is essentially a state of insulin resistance.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I think it’s more than that, because 75% of Americans are overweight and a lot of people who are not overweight are what we call skinny fat. They look thin but are actually fat on the inside, or TOFI, thin on the outside, fat on the inside as opposed to [tofu 00:11:02]. A study came out last year that just even shocked me, which was that 88% of Americans, almost nine out of 10 Americans are metabolically unhealthy. What is metabolically unhealthy mean? It means they have high blood sugar, high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol. All of those are caused by insulin resistance. Hacking insulin resistance and getting your blood sugar balanced and normal is so key. That’s why these new technologies of continuous glucose monitors are so helpful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They really should be looking at insulin though, because way before your sugar gets abnormal and you get a perfectly normal CGM monitoring, perfectly normal blood sugar, but your insulin could be going sky high and crashing and sky high, it just keeps your blood sugar even. If that insulin is going wacky like that and if it’s high, it’s driving all these diseases. I once heard a professor from Harvard who was a preventive cardiologist, Dr. Jorge Plutzky say in a lecture, if you could take a group of hundred year old people who were very healthy and had no cardiovascular disease, they have one thing in common. I’m like, what’s that? They would be insulin sensitive, meaning their bodies with very little insulin can keep their blood sugar normal as opposed to needing tons of insulin to keep your blood sugar normal.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’ve got a society where almost nine out of 10 Americans are on this accelerated path to aging and chronic illness. That would be number one. Number two would be to understand the role of sarcopenia, which is something probably people have never heard of. You’ve heard of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Sarco is muscle, penia means less than, so it means less muscle. Loss of muscle. It’s inevitable if you don’t do something to prevent that, namely exercise and diet, that you will lose muscle as you age. So even if you’re the same weight that you were at 25 at 65, you could be twice as fat and your muscle will look like a rib eye instead of filet mignon. You know, marble fat, you don’t want that. You want solid muscle. That muscle is where your metabolism is. That muscle is how you regulate blood sugar insulin.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That muscle is where your mitochondria are, which are the most important factors in terms of aging. Insulin resistance will cause mitochondrial problems and loss of muscle so you need to both improve the function and the number of your mitochondria by two strategies in terms of exercise. One is the increase in muscle mass through strength training. The other is increase in mitochondrial efficiency through kind of exercise we call HIIT training or high-intensity interval training. That actually causes stress to your mitochondria and makes them work more efficiently so you can actually burn more calories, you can be more efficient and create a healthier system. Getting your mitochondria straight is so key, so, so key. Getting your muscle straight is so key.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Getting your blood sugar and insulin straight is so key. Those are among the top things. There’s a lot more and we can go into those, but inflammation is another big factor that causes aging. We call it inflammaging. Because every process of aging that we see, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, depression, dementia, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, these are all inflammatory diseases. Even high blood pressure is an inflammatory disease. It goes down the rabbit hole of how do we live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. What are the things we can do in terms of diet, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, supplements, raise phytochemicals, and all these things that we can do to help reduce inflammation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think about mitochondria. I think about inflammation. I think about insulin resistance. I think about muscle. When you start with those big categories, there’s so much you can do. Then there’s, you know, multiple layers down of really finding out what are individual stresses. Maybe people have latent infections or they have toxins or their microbiome is a mess, or they have significant nutrient deficiencies. We go down those pathways too, but the big ones are the four I mentioned.

Dhru Purohit:
Now what’s interesting about those four items that you mentioned is that those things which seem very simple, when they get out of control, we have a whole list of different names to describe different diseases that are tied to every one of those. We have autoimmune diseases. We have neurodegenerative diseases. We have heart disease. We have cancer. We have almost all chronic diseases ultimately come back to those four in some context.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Essentially, there are a few final common path ways for disease. This is what functional medicine looks at is what are the root causes. Instead of looking at the downstream effects, which is heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, et cetera, what are the root causes of those problems? There’s this whole conversation in medicine about comorbidities, which drives me crazy because there is no such thing. That means essentially someone who’s got multiple disease. You got heart disease. You got high blood pressure. You got diabetes. You got reflux. You got this, you got that. We go, oh, these diseases are something you all have at one time, but they’re not related to each other. It’s all one problem. And so if you go to the root, you find tremendous leverage to change people’s biology for the better and reverse all these diseases by focusing on first principles.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You know what functional medicine essentially is, is a framework for understanding the natural laws of human biology. Just as we can build bridges and send rocket ships to space and build buildings and do enumerable things by understanding physics, the simple few laws of physics that can produce an extraordinary number of phenomena. The same is true in human biology. We in medicine have grouped and categorized and lumped people into 155,000 different diseases. That’s ridiculous. When you look at fundamental way the body works, the natural laws of biology, there are a few natural laws. There are a few basic systems in the body. They’re all a network. If you work on that network, if you work on that system and create health, all those diseases go away as a side effect. Aging, I think as we see it today, is just a different name for disease. There are people who can be old but not sick. Those are the people I’m really interested in. How do we get to that? How do we reverse the biological age?

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. As you mentioned earlier, we used to have people in our families and a lot of people can think back and maybe it was their great grandparent who died in their sleep. Now we’re lucky if people have anything remotely close to that when it’s their time for passing. My wife’s grandfather just passed away recently at the age of 96.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dhru Purohit:
Up until the last year was in mostly good health and then had a lot of muscle loss and fell as a lot of people end up doing. That left him bedridden, and then there a decline started to happen from there. But most people cannot remember the last time that they heard of somebody die from old age, which was just dying in their sleep, die from cancer, dementia, heart disease, and a whole list of other components.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
See, my dream, Dhru, is when I’m like maybe 120, I go up to a nice cabin on a lake with my partner. We have a beautiful meal, nice glass of wine, make love, take a swim in the pond and I go to sleep and don’t wake up. That’s how I want to go out.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, I wish for you that dream and I wish for everybody else listening too that dream as well. Now, going back to these root factors that are there, I want to make sure we understand the way that the world has changed that has led to these unique circumstances. On the topic of muscle loss, a lot of people look and say, well, we didn’t have gyms back in the day. What’s going on with our lifestyles today that we actually need to exercise where previously we didn’t really have gyms before?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, technology and cars. I mean, we’ve got all these time-saving devices and labor-saving devices and things that make us not move, right? Whether it’s our cars, whether it’s our laundry machines, whether it’s how we heat our homes instead of having to chop wood. When you look historically at how people lived, they were just very active as a normal part of their life. It wasn’t that they had to go to the gym, they just lived their life. You go to these cultures where you see very, very old people still out in the fields farming, digging, picking, squatting. I mean 99 year old people in a full squat having their meal, totally flexible. I think there’s no reason we can’t maintain that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think we’ve just lost our natural environment that we grew up in, which evolved in, which was a very active environment. We had to walk. We’d have to walk. I mean, think about it. If you lived in another town, how would you get there? Horse or you’d have to walk, right? Now we have all these technologies, even electric bikes they have now, which is kind of funny. We need less of that and more just natural movement as part of our life.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, speaking about these cultures, you this summer actually went to one of these cultures.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I did.

Dhru Purohit:
You took a trip to Italy. Tell us little about that and some of the families that you spent time with.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. I went to Sardinia, which is one of the blue zones, which is an area in the world that has long lived people. Sardinia has the longest lived males in the world, hundred year old plus. They have 20 times rate of centenarians than we do in the U.S. The question is why. When I went there, it was really immediately obvious because they were a landlocked people who lived up in deep mountainous regions that were inaccessible to conquerors and invaders. So they preserved their traditions for thousands of years and they still live in the same way. They still do the same way. First, they’re shepherds mostly. They’re goats and sheep primarily. They have their own garden. Everybody has their own garden. Everybody has their sheep and their goats. The shepherds have to walk five miles, 10 miles a day every day and move their sheep around, goat herders, similar things. And so they’re just naturally exercising.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I met Pietro who was 96 years old, super cool guy, straight as an arrow, super fit, mentally super sharp, booming voice, vital and full of energy. He literally had just kind of stopped the five mile hiking shepherding like a year ago. He really was working until he was 95. Now he’s still active and doing stuff, but just incredible. The food they ate was, we don’t call it that, right? It was all organic. It was all regenerative. It was all local. It was all seasonal. It was all the things we aspire to that they just naturally had.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s just the only way that they can exist and not a big box store down the street.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No. What was fascinating is they had these things that were so embedded in their culture that they didn’t even realize that they were doing. For example, they understand that in order for their cheese and their milk to taste good, they got to go get the goats to eat and browse on certain plants, certain wild plants. They have myrtle and all these wild plants. These animals are eating all these incredible diversity of wild plants that have phytochemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifying, anti-aging, mitochondrial boosting. You can get them when you eat that cheese and milk from those goats and sheep. If you go to a regular dairy and have the milk, it’s got none of that in it, because it depends on what the animal ate. One of those guys, Olinto said, “You know, we season our meat before we kill the animal. We flavor our meat before we kill the animal.” “What do you mean?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He says, “Well, we feed it acorns and herb and all these plants to make sure that it taste good.” And so what’s fascinating is that taste and flavor are connected to the phytochemical richness of the plant or the food. By the way, animal foods that eat these plants have these phytochemicals. Your goat milk eating these plants has, for example, has much catechins as green tea, which we know is really good for you. The taste and the flavor go with the phytochemical richness and the phytochemical richness is directly correlated to the medicine in the food.

Dhru Purohit:
Now what’s interesting is that they don’t know the science behind all this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, no. They just go, it tastes better.

Dhru Purohit:
They’re just following nature’s instinct, and one of nature’s ways of communicating with us is that food is information and that when it tastes better, it’s not only better for us, but it tastes good and it’s better for the animal too.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, exactly. You know, Dan Barber created a company because he’s a chef who’s created a company called Row 7 Seeds to rehybridize plants to increase the flavor. Now he’s a chef. He cares about flavor. Because he’s, you know, we have these butternut squashes that just taste like water. They’re designed to be big and starchy. Or tomatoes and various foods that are just built for shipping in a box across country and not smushing. They’re not bred for flavor, taste, or phytochemical richness. When he’s breeding plants to create new types of seeds for flavor, the side effect is that they are more phytochemically rich, and hence more medicinal.

Dhru Purohit:
Now the question becomes, how can we start living more like the Sardinians? How can we take after this gentleman? I forgot his name that you mentioned.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Pietro.

Dhru Purohit:
Pietro. How can we start doing that? Let’s go through a few different categories and we’ll talk about some of the things that we can do that are inspired by Pietro and other blue zones around the world. Then some of the other things that you’ve learned through your explorations in the world of functional medicine. Let’s start first about, we’ve talked a little bit about what they don’t eat, but let’s talk about that a little bit more in detail. I think one of the ways to do that is that what were some examples of foods that were making up, specifically the core of your diet in that before photo that we showed earlier.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
My diet?

Dhru Purohit:
Yes. That before photo that we showed earlier, what were you eating on a day-to-day basis? You’d wake up, give us an example of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which you genuinely thought at that time was very healthy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oatmeal for breakfast. Maybe some whole wheat bread and an egg. I might for lunch, you know…

Dhru Purohit:
Let’s pause there for a second. I’m going to cut you off a little bit because I really want to make sure we break this down. A lot of people just heard oatmeal. They heard whole wheat bread and they heard an egg.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
They’re thinking, wait, I thought we’re talking about the foods that led you being “skinny fat” or not aging in the best way. How are those things tied into the root factors that you talked about earlier?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, not the egg but the other stuff. Flour and starchy foods and grains, if you’re super metabolically healthy and fit and exercising a ton, you can tolerate more of them because you’ll burn them off. But for the average person, oatmeal for breakfast is a terrible idea. Cereal is even worse. I mean, cereal is 75% sugar. We think of oatmeal, it’s got fiber and it lowers cholesterol. There’s all these great things. It’s a big snow job. When you look at the data, this one profound study done by my friend, David Ludwig at Harvard, where he took a group of overweight young guys, kids, teenagers. He gave them three different breakfast, exactly the same calories. Oatmeal, steel-cut oats, omelet. Then he locked them in a room. They measured their blood every hour and they tracked everything. They said, when you guys are hungry, push this button, we’ll bring you more food. They could eat whatever they wanted.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The oatmeal group not only had higher levels of insulin cortisol adrenaline, which is the stress hormone. So eating oatmeal literally was like being chased by a tiger in your body. Your body didn’t know the difference. It actually made these kids hungrier. They ate 81% more food than the omelet group. Remember, they ate the same calories of omelet, oatmeal or steel-cut oats. The steel-cut oats was better but they still ate 50% more food than the omelet group. When you have starch or sugar in the morning, whether it’s a muffin, a bagel, oatmeal, French toast, pancakes, fruit smoothie, whatever people are eating, it’s the worst thing you could do. You want to start your day with protein and fat. I was starting my day with starch, which is the typical American breakfast.

Dhru Purohit:
Often people might have orange juice along with it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, orange juice.

Dhru Purohit:
So it’s fruit juice. And that on top of the oat-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then sugar in their coffee or whatever.

Dhru Purohit:
Sugar in the coffee. Basically they’re having, as you say, dessert for breakfast.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Pretty much.

Dhru Purohit:
The amount of sugar that they’re having for breakfast is-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dessert for breakfast, right.

Dhru Purohit:
It’ll throw you on a metabolic roller coaster for the rest of the day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay. So that was you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then I would eat a lot more grains, a lot more beans, a lot more what I thought were healthy breads.

Dhru Purohit:
So just pausing again right there. A lot of people who, especially if they’re familiar with the world of plant-based eating and maybe learning from some of the best practices from other cultures, they’d think that grains, beans, those things are the foundation and actually might be the key to even reversing climate change. Right? This is a lot of the topic that people hear. Help us break that down and talk a little bit about that because a lot of people do think that that’s the healthy way to go and it’s not that it can’t be healthy. Let’s talk about how it maybe wasn’t the healthiest the way you were doing it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I think there’s a couple of things to parse there. One is, if we’re eating ancient grains and ancient beans and we’re having that in the context of an overall low starch and sugar diet and we’re very active like we all historically were when we were eating those foods over the last 10,000 years, we’d probably do better. But the modernization of our industrial agricultural system has produced starchy, really starchy versions of these grains, particularly flour, whole wheat, right? Even whole wheat flour made from dwarf wheat is a sugar bomb. It raises your blood sugar more than table sugar. When you don’t understand that the food that we’re eating is a driver of this insulin problem we talked about with aging, we’re never going to get through this. I’m very careful, do I grain? Sure. Will I eat them every day as a staple? No.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Do I have quinoa? Will I have black rice sometimes? Will I have a little white rice sometimes? Sure. But it’s not something I eat on a regular basis. It’s not something that I think is dangerous if you’re metabolically healthy. But for people who are metabolically unhealthy, it’s bad. We’re talking about 88% of Americans. My blood sugar, my insulin is less than two, so I’m okay. I can tolerate a little bit, but I also workout a lot and I exercise and I burn it off. I do a lot of other things to optimize my health. In a perfect world, yes, you can tolerate more. But what I see often is very low levels of protein in vegans. I see this over and over. I wish it weren’t true, but I have to believe what I’m seeing, which is people have low energy, they lose muscle mass. They have poor cognitive function.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They get hormonal dysfunction, low sex drive, libido, infertility, nutritional deficiencies that are really widespread in the vegan community. Omega 3, vitamin D, iron, zinc and more are really common. We have to say, well, how do we create a diet that is inclusive of many different foods but focus on the quality? For example, if you make your pancakes with regular flour, bad news, right? If you make them with like in The Pegan Diet book, there’s a recipe for Chai pancakes which is delicious, but it’s using almond flour and buckwheat flour. Now you can use regular buckwheat flour or you can even upgrade that to Himalayan Tartary buckwheat, which is available through bigboldhealth.com. It’s an ancient grain, 3,500 years old, high in protein, low in starch and sugar, more magnesium, more zinc.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s really amazing is that since it was grown in such harsh conditions, very low water levels, high altitude, cold temperatures, coarse soils, it’s really robust. That robustness, that stress on that plant forced that plant to make its own defense system. That defense system is phytochemicals. The plant doesn’t make phytochemicals for us, it makes it for himself. And so those phytochemicals in the Himalayan buckwheat are more than almost any other plant on the planet. There’s 132 phytochemicals. Some of them are not available anywhere else. They have age-reversing properties. They have immune rejuvenating properties. And so having pancakes from that flour is okay. Will I do that from time to time? Sure. Do I do it everyday? No. But yeah, I’ll make Himalayan buckwheat pancakes for a Sunday brunch with berries.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Don’t pour too much maple syrup on it because that’ll screw it up, but you can actually include the right grains. What should we be eating? Ancient grains. One of the things that I’m just shocked out in Europe, particularly in Germany, they make these rye bread and these dense whole grain breads not made from flour but made from ancient grains, that if you stood on it, it wouldn’t dent the bread. The only way you can cut it is with an industrial meat slicer. Even a knife can’t cut through it. You need these like, they use from slicing ham in the deli, they use those to cut the bread. It’s just so rich and good for you. It’s not that I’m against grains, it’s just the grains that we eat in this culture are so highly processed, pulverized, high glycemic grains. Corn, wheat, those are the main ones. They’re deadly in the form that we’re eating them. I think that’s a huge factor for people to understand.

Dhru Purohit:
Let’s talk about sleep. How was that approached? When did you really start to get serious when it came to your sleep regimen, especially in the context of longevity? You were an ER doctor. We’ve talked about that previously on one of the master classes. Give us a little bit of history with that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I hope I haven’t messed myself up for life because I definitely have used up all my sleep credits through many sleepless nights delivering babies, working in the ER for many, many years. I saw my health really decline as I began to not sleep. Sleep is really critical. I try to get at least eight hours a night. I try to prioritize sleep. I make sure that I create an environment that’s healthy for me for sleeping, which is complete blackness. I use earplugs, eye shades if I travel to make sure to block all the noise. I try to turn off EMF and wifi in my room. I think I just was in the mountains and there was no wifi, no cell. I have never slept deeper. I think there’s a lot of things that are disrupting our sleep that we can use to modify our environment.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In New York, I had bought this thing that go over our bed, which basically blocks out all cell signals and EMFs. Because we bought basically a meter that measures the electromagnetic waves. In the apartment, it said danger, danger, danger. It was on the extreme like get out immediately. When you go to look at your wifi, there’s like 50 wifi networks on there.

Dhru Purohit:
Especially in an apartment complex.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In New York, and then plus the cell service. When you put this special fabric over your bed and a grounding sheet, you go in there with your cellphone or your computer and you can’t make a call. You can’t get on wifi. It blocks everything out.

Dhru Purohit:
Do you feel comfortable recommending the company?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I actually don’t remember.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay, we’ll see if we can dig it out and then include it in the show notes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
My wife got it all, but it was really amazing. It was like a party trick. You could go in there and everything was so neutralized. I think sleep is so important. I think there are many things that disrupts sleep. Our diet does, stress does, toxins did for me, microbiome changes do, nutritional deficiencies do like magnesium. There’s a lot of ways to understand how to hack your sleep that are really important. Getting your sleep straight is super important.

Dhru Purohit:
A couple more things on sleep. There’s a lot more innovative products and trackers and other things that are out there for sleep. I’m going to run through a couple and you tell me, do you use anything for sleep tracking? Whether that be some sort of heart rate monitor or anything like that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. There’s a lot of things out there available. There’s all kinds of devices that track sleep. There’s beds that track sleep. There’s the Oura ring I’ve used that track sleep. There’s the Apple Watch that can track your sleep. There’s apps that go along with it. There’s Sleep Cycle which just measures your breathing and ambient noise that detect sleep disruption. I think the technology for sleep tracking is getting better and better. There’s even home sleep apnea testing which people can use to see if they have sleep apnea which really affects your aging and increases insulin resistance, weight gain, and aging and stress response in the body. So it’s important to make sure you don’t have that. I think using all these tools, you can learn what works, what doesn’t work for you, what disrupt your sleep. I’m shocked. Like if I look at my ring in my morning, if I drink alcohol-

Dhru Purohit:
When you say ring, you’re talking about the Oura ring?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. When I look at my heart rate variability, when I look at my heart rate, when I look at my quality of sleep, my sleep score after I had a few glasses of wine. I mean, I’m not talking about getting drunk. I’m just talking about a little alcohol, it messes it all up. I’m like, oh. That’s an information for me that says, oh, maybe I shouldn’t be drinking or maybe I should only drink occasionally or maybe… And so I really don’t really drink much anymore. Occasionally I’ll have a tequila, but I really, I don’t because I am like, oh, this is bad.

Dhru Purohit:
Especially as you get older, alcohol continues to affect you more and more and it puts more pressure on the body so it’s really something that we should consider. So in addition to alcohol, is there anything else that you’ve seen personally for you that significantly impacts your sleep quality? I’ve heard you talk about often you’re in LA right now and will try to have an earlier dinner. Talk about that and how it impacts your cortisol.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, if you eat late, it definitely affects your sleep. I was in Europe for a couple of months and it was terrible because they don’t eat there until, the restaurants don’t even open until 8:30 at night. There are people eating at 10, 11, midnight, and then going to bed. It’s a bad idea because you need at least three hours before you go to bed for proper digestion. Otherwise, you tend to store it. You become more insulin resistant, higher cortisol levels. You might not sleep as well. Having an empty stomach when you go to bed is a good idea.

Dhru Purohit:
Now, in the beginning of the podcast, you talked about some of the advances that you’ve seen when it comes to supplementation. Now, as you’ve mentioned before, supplementation is supplemental. These are additional components that you add in on top of the base foundations of the right exercise, balanced blood sugar, sleep, and great quality exercise. Talk to us a little bit about supplementation in the context of this whole topic of hacking your age.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When I think about supplementation, I don’t think about it randomly. I think about how do we optimize the systems in the body that affect aging. How do we optimize our gut microbiome? How do we optimize our mitochondria? How do we optimize our immune system? How do we optimize our detox system? How do we optimize our structural system? How do we optimize our communication systems, which is hormones, neurotransmitters? I actually create a cocktail in the morning that includes a lot of things. I take a bunch of supplements. I can take you through it, but it’s sort of my latest shake after I work out. I basically designed a shake that’s anti-inflammatory, that’s muscle building, that’s gut rebuilding, that’s mitochondrial boosting, and that is hormone balancing. I do that all in a shake, believe it or not.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I put in not only high quality protein, so I use our Pegan diet protein powder, our Pegan protein powder which is essentially protein, fat and fiber, no starch. I use goat whey because whey protein from traditional dairy might be a problem for me. But if I use goat whey, it’s A2 casein. If there’s any casein in there, it’s better tolerated and it works well. Then I put in adaptogenic mushrooms, so lion’s mane, cordyceps, reishi, chaga and so forth. That help my adrenals, that help my stress hormones. I put in curcumin, which is basically anti-inflammatory, liquid curcumin for my immune system. I put in probiotics. I put in something called Mitopure, which is a product that is derived from pomegranate that increases mitophagy which helps you clean up your mitochondria and rebuild muscle and mitochondria.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I also put in a bunch of things that help my gut flora, polyphenols for my microbiome in addition to probiotics, so green tea, pomegranate, cranberry. I put this whole cocktail and a few other things into the smoothie with some berries and some macadamia milk. I literally have already come in revving up all the systems that kept me, helped me be healthy. Then I focus on, okay, well, what else do I need to take? And so for me, I know that I’ve had mitochondrial issues, that my muscle enzymes were really high because I had chronic fatigue and mercury poisoning. I have a muscle, a mitochondrial problem. I take a lot of mitochondrial supplements. CoQ10, lipoic acid, ribose, a little creatine sometimes, and carnitine, various compounds that, NAD that help my mitochondria.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s a lot of research where people are looking at one thing. We’re going to focus on NAD or NMN. This is the cure to aging. Nonsense. You have to look at everything. Once you cleaned up everything, then these things will help. But if you’re mercury poisoned or you’re severely insulin resistant or you’re not exercising and you take a little NAD, it ain’t going to do much, right. It ain’t going to do much. You have to make sure that you build a foundation and these things will help as value enhancers.

Dhru Purohit:
Not that they can’t help, but that’s got to be holistic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You know, for me, the key to understanding aging is to understand what causes aging and how do we optimize these fundamental systems in functional medicine, that’s really the key to healthy aging. Not just focusing on one thing, which a lot of people get, oh, I’m going to focus on inflammation or it’s the microbiome, or it’s the mitochondria or it’s insulin. Nonsense. It’s all of it. You have to find out for each person what’s the worst things that they had that we need to address. But in general, you have to look at keeping all these systems optimized. I’m not treating disease in myself. I’m looking, how do I leverage what I know about how the body works to optimize the function of all these key systems of my energy system, my detox system, my gut, my immune system, my structural system, what I’m made of, my hormones and my communication systems, my detox system. It’s really food. It’s exercise. It’s sleep. It’s stress reduction. It’s the right supplements. And then it’s making sure you get rid of, from your life, all the things that disrupt those systems.

Dhru Purohit:
Now you went to go visit one of these blue zones and you’re friends with the original author of The Blue Zones, Dan.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dan Buettner.

Dhru Purohit:
One of the things inside of the blue zones is also about finding our tribe.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dhru Purohit:
In addition to all the things that you mentioned, a big part of this is actually connecting with the right people to support us in our journey and to lift us up. Soul friendships. Talk a little bit about that and how that’s evolved in your life and how did you create the friend group that you have now?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We should take a step back a little bit. You know, I said, what are the ingredients for health? We think, oh, it’s food, it’s exercise, it’s sleep, it’s stress reduction, et cetera, the supplements. But what we find is that there are more intangible things that maybe as or more important, like meaning and purpose. A study came out in [Jama 00:42:17] last year that if you had higher meaning and purpose in your life, you live longer. Many, many studies have shown that if you actually have a strong community, that you live longer. If you’re part of a bowling group or a knitting group, even if you eat crappy, you live longer. One of the best studies was in Roseto, Pennsylvania, where a whole group of Italians came over from a small town in Italy. They basically relocated to Roseto, Pennsylvania. But they kind of adopted the American diet, but they didn’t get all the diseases that Americans get.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you looked at that community, there was this really thick fabric there. They all participated, wealthy, poor, all the whole across the spectrum were all friends. They gathered, they celebrated all holidays together, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries. It was a really profound community. In Sardinia, that’s what you see. Nobody’s alone. Everybody’s got community, family connected, celebrate together, laugh together, sit and chat together. There’s a deep sense of community and connection. We know from the science, it’s not just an abstract idea that the power of community, connection, meaning and purpose are important as ingredients for longevity and health as almost anything else. I think food and that is probably the two most important things and you just see how powerful it is.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For me, and I’ve been really blessed to have so many good friends in my life, so many different kinds of tribes, which are all intersecting. I feel so seen, loved, taken care of, and honored in my friend group that I just feel like it just, it gives me a sense of safety and possibility that if you’re alone and isolated, you can’t get. When you look at the risk for disease and you look for the risk for death, it’s not necessarily what you think. It’s not smoking. It’s not bad food, although they are big, even more important is loneliness and what we call agency. One of the most shocking studies I ever saw was looking at, we talk about the social determinants of health, which is the things that people are exposed to in their communities that make it difficult to be healthy, whether it’s poverty, or lack of access to healthy foods, or various kinds of stresses, or living in communities where there’s a lot of pollution, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Whether you’re living next to a factory farm in North Carolina. Whether you’re living in the Bronx and exposed to tremendous waste plants that are polluting your air and causing asthma in kids and so forth. What we found is that if your locus of control is gone, if you feel like you have no agency over your life, if you feel like you’re powerless in your life, which a lot of people in America, that that is a bigger risk of death than anything else. How do we build a society and a culture that’s less individualistic and more focused on community and love and connection? It’s one of the greatest things about America, but it’s also one of the worst things. The pursuit of individualism and individual happiness at the expense of the collective happiness, at the expense of community.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think that has really been the downfall of a lot of America in this sort of modern day where we’re really not focused on how we build a better community, how we build a better society, how we help each other, how we can support each other. We’ve lost that. We’ve lost tribe. I can just think of my own family. My daughter is in Utah, my son is in New York, my nieces in Texas, my nephews in California. I mean, it’s not easy. Even my friend group, I mean, a lot of my friends are all over the place and everybody’s kind of mobile and moving. I mean, in Sardinia, you know, Julia who was 103 months, she was made sure to tell me she was 103 months. She’s five and three quarters. That they lived there for their entire life. They know everybody. They see everybody. They have a sense of optimism and hope and connection and belonging. It’s so powerful and that’s what we’re missing.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s not that we want to return back to that lifestyle which has its own limitations. It’s just that we have to ask ourselves, how can we create a version of that and that connection and still have the advantages of being able to live where we want to live? It just means being intentional about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, exactly. You know, every week I gather all my deep, old men friends to gather. We gather in a men’s group online because of COVID. I was speaking to a guy last night, it’s making me really sad. I was at a weekend where we were with a group of people and reimagining the future. How do we reimagine society, the economy, spirituality? It was beautiful deep conversations. There was one gentleman there who said, “You know, this is so great. We’re having connection and conversations.” I was sharing how in my community we have intentional conversations around dinner. We create a container to have honest, deep conversations with each other so we get to know each other. We get to hear the truth. We get to tell our stories. We get to be seen. We get to hear others.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s like, “I mean, this is great here, but I don’t have this in my life. We have social events but they’re just very superficial.” I’m like, well, you can change that. You can be the activist in your little friend group to start to have these conversations, to create separate clubs or dinner parties where there’s a theme or an intention, where there’s intentional focused conversations and it’s nourishing. It allows you to actually feel more connected to the people in your life. It’s available to all of us. Maybe you don’t have it, you have to create it. When I go somewhere, I invite people over. I was in Hawaii last year. I didn’t know anybody. I started meeting people, inviting them for dinner. We started having deep conversations. You can build it wherever you are, but it takes an intentionality.

Dhru Purohit:
It just takes one person to raise their hand and say, hey, I need this in my life. Chances are that other people need this too. Let me get everybody together. Here in Los Angeles when I first moved here, I didn’t know anybody because I grew up on the East Coast. Almost six and a half years ago, I started a weekly men’s group. We call it man morning Thursday, because we go on a walk every Thursday morning. It was a bunch of other people, individuals, other friends that all moved to Los Angeles around the same time. We just go on a walk. We walk and talk about things that are in our life and things that are on our mind. Something so simple makes a profound difference in my life. Okay.

Dhru Purohit:
I want to shift from community, which is super important topic, community and relationships, I want to talk about innovative therapies. This is a whole area that maybe a little bit of a disclaimer should be put out, that this is emerging. It’s not always accessible to everybody, but it’s worth pursuing and talking about. You’ve been interested in a whole classification of innovative therapies as it relates to just overall performance in the body, but might also support the topic of aging. What are some of the things that you’ve been into that have supported you and might provide support for other people that are out there?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean there’s a whole field now emerging called regenerative medicine, which is how do we regenerate our biology, regenerate health. There’s a whole cocktail of things that you can do in the context of regenerative medicine, which I see as just another extension of functional medicine. Functional medicine ask the question, how do we create health? How do we optimize health? How do we work with the body rather than against it? And so what are the kind of therapies out there that are not treating a specific disease but that are enhancing function? How do we optimize the way the body works? How do we get the systems in the body to heal? How do we activate our own healing and repair systems? The biggest pharmacy in the world is the one between your ears, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We have the power to radically change our health through the power of our minds, through our lifestyle, through a lot of things that actually we have access to very easily that we can upgrade our biological software at any age. Whether it’s simple things like time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting or there’s more advanced therapies. I’m just going to talk about what are the, I think the low hanging fruit in terms of therapies that are out there that can be start to incorporate into medicine that will help to increase our health and increase longevity. First is not only what we eat and we covered that pretty well, but it’s when we eat. Taking time for your body to have rest from food even for 12 hours is so important for your body to repair, clean, and do all the work it needs to deal with the consequence of eating all the time. We used to call it breakfast.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You know, you eat dinner at six, you have breakfast at six or seven. That’s a 12 hour fast. But now, because of the snacking culture, because of food marketing, because of the ubiquitous nature of food, because of the fact that we’re all addicted to sugar and carbs and have cravings and can’t control how much we eat, we tend to eat late. We often will eat as soon as we wake up. And so we don’t give our bodies that natural rest. The strategies around activating all the healing systems in your body that help longevity are all doing the same thing. Whether it’s a time-restricted eating, eating within eight-hour window. Whether it’s intermittent fast, a 24 hour fast once a week or 36 hour fast. Whether it’s a fasting-mimicking diet which is a short time of five days of calorie restriction, for example, 800 calories a day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Whether it’s more prolonged fast, or whether it’s a ketogenic diet, they all do the same thing. They activate the body’s repair and healing systems. What do they do? They decrease inflammation. They increase your antioxidant systems. They boost your mitochondrial function, improve the efficiency and function of your mitochondria and upgrade your energy systems. They increase stem cell production. They build muscle. They build bone. They reduce stress hormones like cortisol. They increase growth factors, repair factors in your body and help healing. There’s a lot of different ways to get there, but these dietary strategies around when you eat are important as what you eat. The second is a number of therapies out there that are… On the supplements, we’re going to leave to one side, because a lot of people are working on interesting supplements to help around NMN, NAD, and so forth. But it’s certain therapies that help to activate the healing systems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What do I think are the most exciting ones? One of them is ozone. Ozone is also a therapy that activates the body’s healing response. And now you say, what is ozone? Sounds crazy. Isn’t it dangerous? You breathe it, you die. Yes. Go online and you go to the FDA website and you read up on ozone, it’s going to say it’s dangerous. Don’t do it. It’ll kill you. Why? Because if you breathe it, it will kill you. Right? If the ozone layers is destroyed and we’re all breathing ozone, it’s bad for our lungs. But guess what? Water will also kill you if you inhale it, it’s called drowning. It doesn’t mean water is not good for you. It just means you got to know where to put it. Same thing with ozone.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you mix it with your blood and you put it back in your body, one, it kills all these latent infections. It’s great for COVID, for tick infections, viral infections, all the stuff that we have. But also, it also is hormetic. Hormesis is the simple idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When you lift weights, you’re tearing your muscle fibers. Sounds bad, but actually it makes your muscle stronger, right? If you exercise and do high-intensity training, it’s a stress on your mitochondria, but it makes them come back stronger and smarter. Hormesis is basically when you stress your body with something, it rebounds and creates a healing response. Ozone does that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s an oxidative therapy that creates oxidation, which we think is bad. But what that does is it activates your body’s own antioxidant system. It shuts off inflammation. It turns on your anti-inflammatory system. It boosts your mitochondria. It increases stem cells. It increases your circulation and decreases blood clotting. It has all these incredibly beneficial effects that will help with aging and longevity. Also, there’s other therapies like hyperbaric oxygen, which increases blood flow and oxygenation of tissues, and is also an oxidative therapy. There’s exosomes which are stem cell-derived compounds that are essentially little tiny packets of the healing factors that are in stem cells that are extracted, grown in the lab.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Instead of having to suck your bone marrow out, instead of having to do a fat liposuction to spin your stem cells down and getting however, I’d be getting 62 year old stem cells. I want to get fresh young ones. You can’t really get stem cells from somebody else because your body will reject them. Exosomes are really powerful because they’re grown in a lab from placenta or other sources and they actually are extraordinarily healing and reparative. Then of course there’s other therapies besides ozone, exosomes, hyperbaric oxygen that they might be helpful that we’re just learning about. One of the things that I really am fascinated with is the use of things that enhanced neuroplasticity and neuroconnectivity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s a lot of research in the psychedelic space now looking at how, for example, microdose psilocybin, which is magic mushrooms, will actually reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease that helps repair the brain. And then it’s incredibly helpful for depression. A lot of things out there that may be coming down the pike that we’re learning about that can help to regenerate and repair and heal that are supporting the body to age well as opposed to simply just relying on the normal stuff we rely on.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. That’s a great breakdown. I think that you’re going to be writing a whole book on this one day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Soon. It’s due soon so stay tuned.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
March 2023.

Dhru Purohit:
Fantastic. Well, stay tuned on that because there’s a lot more to say on that subject. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll do plenty episodes in The Doctor’s Farmacy to keep people posted about what you come across. Let’s shift over to a few questions from the community that we got from Instagram and YouTube. Mark, we’re going to toss out about four or five questions here before we go into the conclusions on today’s episode. One of our community members ask the best things to do in your early 40s. Broad question, but it’s a good question.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, the truth is that aging starts very early. I just did a podcast with Dale Bredesen about Alzheimer’s and with Richard Isaacson. It’s coming out soon. Who’s the neurologist from Cornell that has studied extensively the effects of lifestyle and various personalized interventions on reversing Alzheimer’s and it’s shocking. But when you look at their studies and other studies, Alzheimer’s, you can detect on brain imaging 30 years before you ever forget your first symptom. The Bogalusa Heart Study was a study on children, children. Looking at their biomarkers around cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure could predict who is going to get heart disease when they are 40, 50 or 60. The truth is that aging can start in childhood. When you see, for example, children who are obese, which by the way is a lot of kids, okay?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like 40% of kids are overweight and a good percentage of them are obese. Their life expectancy is 13 years less than the average kid, right? When do you start? It’s never too soon. I think getting yourself on a program early in childhood is really important. But that said, I think the key strategies are as you’re getting older, you need to reduce starch and sugar, increase fat, and make sure you have high quality protein. Not a lot of protein because too much protein can affect this master control switch called mTOR, which means the mammalian target of rapamycin, which is a fancy kind of sentence. But essentially it’s about this regulatory pathway that affects your mitochondria. Too much protein is not good, but the right protein is really important and enough protein is important. In the studies on mTOR and aging, as you get older, we need more protein.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We need more protein for building muscle. Remember we talked about muscle synthesis, sarcopenia. It just makes sense when you think about it, how do you build muscle? You eat muscle, right? You need the building blocks of muscle to build more muscle. You don’t want to become a bean or a grain. They don’t have the quantity of the amino acids that are necessary for building muscle.

Dhru Purohit:
Or we don’t have the right digestive track and we’re not eating as many calories as a gorilla or a cow or a horse that’s eating literally all day long and has a completely different digestive system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a good point. People say, what about the ox or the gorilla? Well, yeah. Okay. Well, ruminants have four stomachs and the gorillas are strong for sure, but they have to eat enormous amounts of food. Now, if you’re looking at plant-based athletes, you would be shocked at the amount of protein powders they are pounding. In other words, they’re not getting it from eating grains and beans. They’re getting it from actually processed protein powders that actually are souped up in order to build muscle. So yes, you can do it. I met these guys and they’re like, they’re pumped. I’m like, “Well, how do you do that?” They’re like, “Oh, I have like 14 protein shakes a day.” It’s just not as easy. For example, there’s a protein powder that’s a plant-based protein powder that’s souped up. For example, they add all the branched-chain amino acids that are low in plant proteins in order to actually make it useful for building muscle. You can do it, but you’ve got to eat processed food to do it.

Dhru Purohit:
Right. Or in other instances, because I was vegan and vegetarian at one point in time-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So as I.

Dhru Purohit:
Again, we want people to eat any way they want to. You can be a healthy vegetarian, healthy vegan. You can be unhealthy meat eater, you know, everything. It’s all about really hitting the basics. But sometimes you’ll have people who already had built up a certain level of muscle and then switch, but their body has already built in that muscle memory and that core foundation in their youth so it’s a little bit disingenuous to say that it all came from plant protein. That being said, again, we want people to eat however they want to eat. We’re just talking about the basics that actually-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey listen, I’m just talking about the science. I just went through a review paper by all the top protein scientists in the world. It was a consensus paper reviewing all the literature. It was really clear that especially as we age, we need more high quality protein, and that the best proteins for building muscle or other muscle, essentially meat. Fish, little less good. And then of course, grains and beans are not as good. I think you can mix and match and you can enhance the value of the plant proteins by adding animal protein. For example, I have a mostly plant-based protein shake but I add a little goat whey to soup it up a little bit. Right. That’s what I’ll do to mitigate the problem of just plant proteins.

Dhru Purohit:
Another question from the community, how often should we exercise? How often does Dr. Hyman exercise?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I love moving. It makes me feel good. I get people don’t feel like that, but it’s really about slogging through the rough parts where you are so out of shape that it’s painful to get in shape. But once you’re in shape, for example, I couldn’t even do 10 pushups when I was 50. I couldn’t even do 10 pushups. I’d do 10 pushups and then my chest would hurt for a week. I’m like, this is crazy. I’m not doing this. But when you start to work on it and work through it, I don’t get sore anymore. I can exercise. I can ride my bike 50 miles. I can do 50, 60 push ups straight. I can do a plank for four or five minutes. I had to work up to it. But I find now that if I do basically two hours of strength training a week, which is 30 minutes four times a day, and cardio, I like to do tennis. I don’t really like to be in a gym. I hate machines, but if I have to, I’ll do it. I like to play tennis. I like to play basketball. I like to cross country ski, snowshoe, hike. I like to ride my bike.

Dhru Purohit:
You like to do other types of movement with people because that’s a big part of your joy in life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. If I had my perfect day, I would do half an hour of strength training, an hour of cardio, some type of fun, play tennis, probably an hour of yoga. That’s what I would do in my perfect life, but I don’t always get to do it. I have to compromise sometimes when I’m traveling. But typically I’ll do probably an hour of cardio four or five times a week and strength training four or five times a week for half an hour.

Dhru Purohit:
For the person that’s watching here, of course it’s specific to their maybe age, their goals, their other stuff. But is there a minimum viable dose when it comes to movement for folks?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, I think if you can do half an hour of high-intensity interval training three times a week minimum, which means like on a bike you can do a Peloton or on treadmill or sprinting. It’s basically going fast as you can for 45 seconds to 60 seconds, and then slow pace for three minutes to kind of cool off and do it again. 30 minutes of that, it’s basically sprints. And 30 minutes of strength training. It could be bands, it could be weights, it could be body weight. Whatever program you want to do. That’s a minimum, three times a week of strength, and three times a week of cardio. Obviously, you can do more. You should take a day of rest. I essentially like to do five or six days at least of cardio and at least four days a week of strength training. I like to throw yoga in there too and stretching.

Dhru Purohit:
For the person who’s like, wow, that sounds like a lot and I’m not doing anything right now. Can they get started? You often hear this with a long walk.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely, walk five minutes. Just walk five minutes. Then walk 10 minutes. Then walk 15 minutes. Then walk half an hour. Then walk faster. Then eventually you can build up. I often will not tell people to exercise at all until we get their body feeling better. Because sometimes people are just so sick and inflamed and overweight, it’s really hard. So I say, let’s get your biology tuned up. Then maybe in three, four weeks, you’ll start to feel like you can start to exercise. Exercise by the way, I always say this, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. Right? You drink one 20 ounce soda, you have to walk four miles. You eat one super size meal, you have to run a marathon. You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. However, exercise is critical to maintain your healthy metabolism and combined with the right diet can really enhance longevity.

Dhru Purohit:
Another question from the community, how can we defeat the daily stressors in life and step back into the mindset of youth? I’ll let you run with that. That’s a big question. Tackle in any way you want to.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, what is stress, right? What is stress? Stress is defined as a real or imagined threat to your body or your ego. It could be a tiger chasing you and want to eat you, or it could be that you think your spouse had an affair but they didn’t. Your body has the same biological response which is to increase adrenaline, increase cortisol, increase blood sugar, increase blood pressure, shrink your brain and cause all these horrible hazards effects when it’s chronic and unremitting. The biggest way to deal with stress is your mindset. It’s really important to look at life in a way that, you know, like super stupid but it’s like the Life of Brian. You know that Monty Python movie? He goes, look at the bright side of life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like, you know, being an optimist, having a positive mindset. Looking how to roll with the punches, not letting things bother you, learning how to regulate your stress response is so important. We always have tools that are available. The most powerful tool to regulate your stress response is your breath. And guess what? It’s always there and you always have access to it. All you have to do is take a deep breath and that starts to shift immediately, shift the stress response. Then there’s ways to sort of hack stress, which is making sure you’re not eating foods that create a stress response like starch and sugar. Make sure you’re exercising, because by the way, there’s a great book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky. Essentially the book is about why do we all get sick from stress?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, the zebras, they’re eating their grass in their herd and the lion comes and chase them all down. They run like crazy, totally stressed, freaking out. Then he kills a zebra. Then you sit there right by the other zebras eating the other zebra. And they all just go back to eating their grass and they’re relaxed because they know he got somebody. They don’t have any chronic level of stress. It’s an acute stress and it stops. We have chronic, unremitting stress. You have to learn, one, how to change your mindset. Two, how to learn techniques that help to discharge stress. Exercise is a huge one, running. I mean, right, we run from a tiger. You’re going to burn up those stress hormones. That’s why people feel calm and relaxed after exercise. Meditation, yoga, getting enough sleep, hot bath, ice and hot plunges. Steams, sauna, ice plunges, these all reset your nervous system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Breath work, massage. There’s a whole array of techniques that allow you to access the nervous system that causes stress and to calm down the sympathetic part of your nervous system, the stress response, and activate the relaxation response. I think about this every day. I make sure I meditate. I make sure I do stretching. I try to get massage when I can. I do hot and cold when I can. Exercise. I’m very focused on getting rid of it because it accumulates. We have to learn how to just discharge it. We can’t avoid stress, it’s there, but we can change our mindset and we can change the practices we do every day to regulate the stress response.

Dhru Purohit:
Last question from the community. Can we grow and create new mitochondria?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hell yes. Well, look at me. Look at that before and after picture. Muscle is mitochondria. Okay. If you can build new muscle by exercise, the right kinds of exercise and strength training and by the right amount of protein and by cutting out the things that cause your muscle to dissolve, essentially starch and sugar. Think about that. Alcohol. You literally can build new mitochondria and you can increase the efficiency and function in health of your mitochondria. One, you get more and smarter mitochondria, which is really the key to aging.

Dhru Purohit:
Beautiful. Mark, let’s zoom out and give us a little bit of a recap of what we talked about today. When it comes to the topic of healthy aging and this wish that you have that we all get a chance to live till our hundreds, but not just live longer but live healthier. The healthspan and the lifespan. Give us a little bit of a recap of some of the key things that we covered that people can walk away with.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m going to put aside a lot of the things that we do in functional medicine to really upgrade your health. How do we optimize your gut function? A lot of people have gut issues. How do we get rid of toxins from your body, heavy metals and other toxins that impair aging? How do we deal with the inflammatory triggers from mold or toxins or other things? There’s a lot of things that we need to do that are not part of what I’m going to say that are about unloading the body from the stresses that promote aging or inflammation. In terms of the basic foundational stuff, it’s pretty simple. One, eat a diet that’s low in starch and sugar, phytochemically rich, lots of colorful rainbow plant compounds, lots of good fats, high quality protein that has all the amino acid that you need in the right amounts and ratios to build muscle from high quality protein. Diet is key.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Second is when you eat. Time-restricted eating. Nobody should be eating within less than a 12 hour window. If you’re eating eight hours after you ate the last time, that’s bad. Make sure it’s at least 12 hours since your last meal when you go to sleep. It can be 14, 16, but that’s a minimum. Make sure you exercise. Find out what you love to do. I hate to be in a gym, but I love to exercise and move. Find things that are fun. Find things that are playful. Find out what works for you. It’s both building muscle. It’s increasing the efficiency and function of mitochondria through HIIT training. Also, agility and balance are key which has to do with stretching and things like yoga. Those are really key. Then learn how to do what we just talked about, which is actually discharge stress.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Learn that set of techniques that works for you on a daily basis to reduce the stress response so your body can function better. Of course, sleep. Eight hours of sleep at night. Those are the simplest things. In terms of the top supplements, I would say it’s the usual characters, right? It’s omega 3s, it’s vitamin D. I would add obviously a multivitamin and the B vitamins. I would add a cocktail of mitochondrial nutrients to that. I think a lot of the age related research is on how do we boost mitochondria. NAD is sort of the latest rage or NMN, which is a derivative of that. But there’s a whole cocktail of mitochondrial supports. CoQ10 and carnitine and lipoic acid and ribose and so forth. Bruce Ames who’s one of the most published scientists in the world, incredibly smart guy, talked about how we can get a metabolic tuneup at any age by having the right micronutrients to optimize our mitochondrial function. Make sure you get a mitochondrial tuneup.

Dhru Purohit:
Beautiful. Well, Mark, this masterclass on all things on how to hack your age and reduce inflammation has been super helpful. We covered a lot of stuff. I can tell that you’re really excited about this book because I saw you perk up about this topic as soon as we got a chance to go into it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Obviously, I’m self interested, right? When my brain was broken, I wrote the UltraMind Solution. Now that I’m looking toward the other side of 60, I’m like, okay, better double down on this.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, we get to get the benefit of all these explorations that you get a chance to do. That being said, I’m going to pass it over to you to conclude us out for today’s masterclass.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, thanks Dhru. I really love chatting with you. You have great questions and makes me think a lot, pushes me to crystallize what I know. I think people are struggling in this country with chronic disease, with rapid aging. I want people to know there’s hope, that we have the science and technology now to really stop and even reverse biological age. We’re going to learn more. We’re literally just at the beginning. I think this next 10, 20 years is going to be so exciting in terms of age reversal strategies that we’re going to be uncovering. So stay tuned. If you have found out ways to reverse your age, let us know. Share it with comment if you want to help people you love live longer, better and have their healthspan equal their lifespan, share this podcast with them wherever you can. Subscribe wherever you get podcast. We’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dhru Purohit:
I’ll add in one more thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dhru Purohit:
You have a longevity masterclass. You can sign up for it and anybody could watch it. You sign up for a free trial for Dr. Hyman Plus, and you can get access to this incredible docu series.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dhru Purohit:
That you, our other team member who’s also my sister, Kaya, was director of it. It’s called the Longevity Masterclass. It’s a fantastic-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Longevity roadmap, right?

Dhru Purohit:
Longevity roadmap masterclass. Yep. It’s a great breakdown of many of the things that we covered here and goes even a little bit deeper.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A little bit deeper. We only had a short time, but yeah, it was hours and hours and hours. That’s great. Then there’s more coming. There’s more coming. It’s a very exciting field.
Speaker 1:
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their find a practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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