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Episode 477
The Doctor's Farmacy

How To Do Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss & Better Health

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

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Fasting is a great way to optimize your health, and it’s more approachable than you might think. It is a free tool that activates all the systems in your body to protect you, heal you, and help you live longer. Fasting can help to reduce inflammation, brain fog, and insulin resistance. It can also increase energy and bone density and activate autophagy, which is the process of cleaning out damaged cells.

In this episode of my new Masterclass series, I am interviewed by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, about the many benefits of fasting. We also talk about the different types of fasting so you can determine if one is right for you.

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. You can check out a free live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

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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. Enhancing Your “Healthspan” to Live Well for 100+ Years with Dr. Peter Attia
  2. How to Use Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight, Live Longer, and Feel Better with Dr. Jason Fung
  3. Is Cancer Caused by Sugar? with Dr. Jason Fung

Transcript

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

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Your body has its own innate healing system, which is way, way more powerful than any drug ever invented and can reverse almost every disease if we know how to activate it. Hey everyone. It’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to a new series on The Doctor’s Farmacy called masterclass, where we dive deep into popular topics about health, including inflammation, autoimmune disease, aging, brain health sleep, and much, much more. And today I’m joined by my guest host and my good friend and business partner and host of the Dhru Purohit Podcast, Dhru Purohit. And we’re going to be talking about how to use when you eat and some other eating hacks to improve your metabolic function, brain health, reduce your risk of disease and even slow down and maybe even reverse aging. So let’s get going. Welcome, Dhru.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, honored to be here. Excited about this topic here. There’s so many questions that people have about intermittent fasting, fasting, time restricted eating, but let’s hit people with some immediate value and get them excited. What are three to five top benefits of this whole ecosystem of fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re going to get into all the nitty gritty of all the ways to access your body’s healing system through focusing on when you eat, calorie restriction, ketogenic diets, we’re going to go all into that. But at a high level, your body has its own innate healing system, which is way, way more powerful than any drug ever invented and can reverse almost every disease if we know how to activate it. And so all these approaches that are being heavily researched and are incredibly powerful do very similar things. And in a sense, it has to do with this basic framework. Our biology is adapted to scarcity, to starvation. When we were hunters and gatherers, we didn’t know if we were going to be able to kill a buffalo or find a root or a berry. So we had to be really good at managing lack of food. And when we do that, it activates all these conservation healing repair systems so the body can actually survive without food.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, the problem today is we are in a state of abundance and in America, we have 500 calories more a day than we did 40 years ago, and we’re eating them, which is why we’re so obese in America. So there’s no problem with scarcity, it’s abundance. And we don’t have the genes to regulate abundance. We have over 200 genes that regulate starvation and to help us adapt. So what happens when you activate this ancient healing system? Well, first you radically change your hormones, your cells and your genes. You change your gene expression and optimize expression that controls inflammation, that increases your antioxidant systems that gets rid of belly fat, that builds muscle, that increases your brain and focus and cognitive function, because when you’re starving, you got to go look for food, you want to be alert. It helps build your bone density. It increases your beneficial hormones. It helps growth hormone and it also helps repair your cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It also activates something really extraordinary, which is something called autophagy and mitophagy. What does that mean? It means your body has a system of cleaning up and recycling old parts. And when you don’t do that, you end up with a lot of old parts. And so the goal of autophagy is to literally break down all the components of your cells and then clean them up and then rebuild them into new parts, which is awesome. But if you don’t do that, and a lot of the ways we live today in the 21st century do not let us do that, we end up aging rapidly. So not only does it help you lose weight and build muscle, not only does it help balance your hormones, increase your antioxidant systems, increase your stem cell production, increase your brain chemistry focus, but it also can actually reverse aging. And there’s a lot of data on how it actually can help in literally reversing the aging process. It also is protective against cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It may be effective in cancer treatment. And we know that applying these strategies during cancer reduces the side effects, reduces the complications and increases efficacy and the benefits of traditional cancer chemotherapy. So we’re just scratching the surface and there’s so many powerful processes that are activated by these strategies, and we’re going to get into those. But that’s the high level. So if there’s one single thing you can do to activate almost every single healing system in your body, it’s change when you eat.

Dhru Purohit:
Now, you had to great newsletter recently and you were talking about this concept called zombie cells, which directly ties in to what you just gave in the overview about autophagy. I find it as a fascinating example. Can you just talk about what these zombie cells are and how they end up floating around our body?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s complicated, but zombie cells are what they sound like. They kind of don’t die and they’re kind of cells that increase senescence or aging that are part of our immune system. So the aging process is one of inflammation or inflammaging, we call it. And what happens is because of all life’s stresses and toxins and poor diet and all the things we’re exposed to, our bone marrow stem cells that make our white blood cells that are part of our immune system get damaged. And those stem cells then produce damaged progeny, right? Which are damaged cells. So we produce a million T-cells a minute in our bone marrow and they can get into our circulation. But if they’re funky, which there they’re called chip cells, then they create downstream effects of more inflammation, more heart disease, more auto-immunity and so forth. And so zombie cells are part of this whole cocktail of dysfunction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what’s exciting is by doing some of these practices and by including certain foods in your diet, for example, like Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat, which is an ancient plant, it’s not a grain actually, it’s a flower, can help to increase the killing of the zombie cells and improve this whole immuno senescence and create something instead called immuno rejuvenation.

Dhru Purohit:
And fastening is a part of that whole process as well too.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely.

Dhru Purohit:
Now let’s take a step back and talk about some of the recommendations. I remember reading articles in the early 2000s that it’s dangerous to fast and people shouldn’t fast. And there was all these concerns and people were being told instead to eat every couple hours. That was actually the best way to keep your metabolism high and burn more energy. Why did people think that back then? How is that wrong and what changed it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I think we had a view that in order to balance your blood sugar, you had to eat every three to four hours. And I often advise patients about that. And these were people who were overweight, who had swings. And we did advise people not to eat before bed, like three or four hours because it makes you gain weight, and I call it the sumo wrestler diet, which is how they gain weight. They eat and they go to sleep.

Dhru Purohit:
And they drink a bunch of alcohol too.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they drink alcohol and they have something called Chankonabe, which is this huge kind of Japanese stew soup which is yummy, but also it fills you right up and [inaudible 00:07:12]. But I think we kind of got in this idea that you have to eat all the time to keep your metabolism running and going and keep it burning, and it’s just turned out not to be true. In fact, it turned out the opposite is true. That if we learn how to eat and focus on what we eat, we don’t have to worry about gaining weight or overeating because it will balance our blood sugar and insulin levels and will keep our metabolism even. So if you eat the right foods, you don’t have to worry about eating that often because you won’t be hungry. You’ll eat and then you’ll be hungry hours and hours later. You don’t have to eat every three or four hours.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The second thing we figured out is that the body needs rest from food, which is why we have something called breakfast or breaking the fast. Except most people eat up until they go to bed. We have a snacking culture, and then they eat as soon as they wake up and they don’t get that rest period of at least 12 hours or 14 or 16 hours, which really ends up being extremely beneficial for helping to not only repair and clean up waste and do the repair process that happens at night, but to actually activate all the healing systems in your body we talked about to reverse diabetes, reverse heart disease, improve your cognitive function, maybe improving your risk of Alzheimer’s or reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s. It helps build muscle, it reduces belly fat, it reduces inflammation, it increases your antioxidant systems, it increases stem cell production. So this is what we now know about these things. And so we kind of got it wrong before.

Dhru Purohit:
So I think this is a perfect time to go through the spectrum of different things that fall under the umbrella of fasting. Can you walk us through a few, talk to us about what they are and how they’re done.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there are many roads to Rome. There are many ways to access these healing systems in your body and they’re each slightly different, but they all do very similar things. So we have what we call intermittent fasting. I think most people, when they say that, mean time restricted eating, meaning they eat within an eight or a 10 or a 12 hour window, meaning you don’t eat for 12, 14 or 16 hours a day. That’s what we call time restricted eating. And that’s been extensively studied and is great for weight loss, for improving metabolism, for helping with a whole host of chronic illnesses. The second is true intermittent fasting, which may be a 24 hour or a 36 hour fast once a week, or it could be a three day fast once a month. There’s a lot of ways to do it. Then there’s what we call fasting mimicking diets, which are calorie restricted. So you’d eat like say 800 calories a day for five days

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dr. Valter Longo who wrote the longevity diet, he’s been on the podcast, he’s done a lot of research on that and has millions of dollars in NIH funding to look at how it affects cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, and so many other things. And because your body thinks it’s starving, you’re not eating enough calories, but your body’s still getting some energy so you can function better, but it’s really a very powerful system. And then there’s the ketogenic diet, which sounds like you’re still eating, and you can do keto with time restricted eating or intermittent fasting too. But keto itself is what happens to the body when we stop eating. When you have no food, your body starts to burn, your body stores a fat. Now what’s fascinating is we have about 2,500 calories of carbohydrate stored in our tissues as glycogen in our muscle. So when you do the carb loading for a workout, that’s what they’re trying to do. Trying to fill up your glycogen stores.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The problem is if you’re doing a long marathon run… I mean, I went for a 50 mile bike ride and I saw my calorie burn and I was like 2,300 calories towards the end of it and I’d sort of run out of gas from my glycogen. But the body has about 30 to 40,000, maybe more depending on your weight, it can have a lot more calories of fat. So wouldn’t it be better if you could burn the fat? So your body is like a hybrid car, right? Electric and gas. The gas is carbohydrates and it burns dirty. The keto, which is fat burns clean. So your cells can burn fat or carbs. And when you burn fat, and again, it’s often that we had to do that because we were in a state of starvation, it activates all the same healing mechanisms. So ketogenic diets have been shown to reverse cancer, have been shown to be helpful in Alzheimer’s, reverse type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The work of Virta Health and our colleagues and friends there, Sarah Hallberg and Sammy, have shown that we can reverse type 2 diabetes even in advanced cases using a ketogenic diet because it activates all these healing repair mechanisms. There’s no drug on the planet that can reverse diabetes. We manage diabetes. We do chronic disease management by giving them drugs and insulin and we keep their blood sugar ideal and manage all their risk factors, which is nonsense because when you understand how the body works, you can work with it rather than against it and activate these healing systems. So ketogenic diets do the same thing. And then lastly, there’s true calorie restriction for long term diets. And this is the only thing in animal studies that has really shown to extend life by a third. So in the human terms, that means if you ate a third less calories, you live a third longer. Instead of living to 80, you’d live to 120.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now I know people who are on these calorie restriction for life. There’s a whole society and I met some of them. I’m like, so what do you eat? I’m like, well, I have five pounds of celery for breakfast and I have three pounds of tomatoes for lunch. And I’m like, that doesn’t sound of like fun. I’m going to skip that. And so what’s been happening is that scientists have been exploring how to activate the same mechanisms that control aging without having to starve yourself your whole life because that doesn’t seem like fun. So there’s little hacks and tricks that you can use like time restricted eating, intermittent fasting, fasting mimicking diets, ketogenic diets, all can be ways to access that same healing system in the body.

Dhru Purohit:
So the question that a lot of people have is how do they decide where to get started and when to explore these different options on the spectrum of fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It depends on you, okay? Everybody should do a 12 hour fast a day. There’s nobody who shouldn’t do that.

Dhru Purohit:
And walk us through that. Just make it super simple.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That means you eat dinner at 6:00, you can eat breakfast at 6:00. You eat dinner at 8:00, you can eat breakfast at 8:00, right? It’s pretty simple.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s simple, but actually a lot of people don’t do it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, they don’t do it. They lay and they snack at night and they have ice cream, whatever, snacks before they go to bed. Bad idea. Give yourself at least 12 hours and that’s good for everybody. When you start to move to 14, I mean, think about it. If you’re eating dinner at 6:00, you could eat breakfast at 8:00. That’s a 14 hour fast. Or if you want to do 16, you could eat dinner at 6:00 and have something at 10:00. So it’s doable for a lot of people, and I do it very often. You don’t have to do it every day. I do it many days a week. Some people who are overly thin, certain people with disorders like cancer, you have to be careful because there’s weight loss issues that can happen. It can be stressful for the body for some people. So it’s not for everybody. If you have adrenal issues, if you’re [inaudible 00:14:10] tall, thin women may not be effective for. It might cause symptoms. So everybody should do like a long 16 hour fast.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In terms of the true intermittent fasting, that can be a very therapeutic thing. So you can do a day, a two day, three day, five day, seven day, 10 day. Some people do a three week just water fast. That can be very therapeutic if you have some type of severe chronic illness and it can reset the system. Then there’s the ketogenic diets, which are really effective for certain conditions like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s. Those can be very effective. It’s a little harder to do. I don’t know if people should be on it all the time. So there’s a lot of nuances to prescribe it as a medical therapy, but it also can be very effective. So I would say for people to start, I would say start with the 12 hour fast. If you want to move to 14, 16 is not that hard for most people. So try it on and see how you feel, see what happens.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Often people have more energy, more focus, they lose weight, they increase body muscle, decrease belly fat and have lots more energy. So there’s no magic to it. It’s just looking at who you are, what your issues are, how do you match the right approach to you and then try them and see how you feel. Because for example, if you do a 16 hour fast and you feel like crap, maybe it’s not right for you.

Dhru Purohit:
But there could be some underlining reasons, which is why it’s important to get educated on it. Your blood sugar might be out of control and there’s a few of your friends and colleagues, Peter Attia has a free fasting app that’s out there. Dr. Jason Fung has one as well. They’ve both been on your podcast before. Jason Fung has been on my podcast before. We’ll link to those show notes that are out there. And this is the start of getting people excited about wanting to go down the path of education to learn what it is. Now, in your instance, you mentioned that with time restricted eating, you’ll often do that. You’ll often do that a few days a week. When it comes to these other fasts that are there on the spectrum, do you incorporate those in your own life?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried calorie restriction diets, I’ve tried 24, 36 hour fast. I once did a sort of four day juice fast, which is just green juices. I also have tried keto. If I do keto too much, I just drop too much weight. It’s a problem for me. I probably shouldn’t say that. I’ll get shot down, but I do need some carbohydrate. And it really depends on your metabolism. So I don’t have any diabetes. I’m very lean. I don’t have any insulin issues. And so for me, it may help me with certain other issues, but I often will really customize the way I prescribe diets based on what’s going on with that person. So if someone’s overweight, if they’re diabetic or on the spectrum of diabetes, I will recommend a ketogenic diet. If someone has Alzheimer’s or autism, I’d recommend it. But I don’t think it’s for everybody. During cancer therapy, which is amazing, it can be extremely effective in magnifying the benefits of traditional radiation and chemo and minimizing the side effects.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s a lot of therapeutic benefits around it in terms of cancer, in terms of Alzheimer’s, even in heart disease. What was interesting with the group that was run by Sarah Hallberg who’s part of Virta Health is they looked at not only the weight loss, it was a 60% reversal type 2 diabetes, a hundred percent of the patients got off the main medication for diabetes called oral hypoglycemics. 90 plus percent got off insulin or reduced their dose. Weight loss was 12%, which is staggering. Most weight loss studies, we get 5%, people are jumping up and down. They also looked at, I think, 20 or plus different biomarkers of cardiovascular disease and almost every single one was improved. So you think I’m eating like 70% fat, I’m eating saturated fat. How does that work, right? How does that work where all my heart disease risk factors get better, because it contradicts everything we knew about eating a high fat diet, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well it’s because if you have a certain metabolic type, namely if you’re diabetic or insulin resistant on that spectrum, that’s what will happen. But I have other patients, for example. I had one patient I put on a ketogenic diet of coconut butter and butter and basically veggies and a little protein, and she had been struggling with her weight, had been very inflamed, her cholesterol was over 300, her triglycerides were like three, 400, very low HDL, which was good cholesterol, and we just couldn’t budge her. And so I said, why don’t you try this? And she tried it and she immediately lost 20 pounds and her cholesterol dropped over a hundred points. Her triglycerides dropped like 200, 300 points. Her HDL went up and she did amazing. And then I had a patient who was a mid fifties guy who was an athlete, an aggressive bike rider, would go for 50, 100 mile bike rides. And he’s like, “I want to try it and see if it will help my performance.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he tried it and his cholesterol numbers just went off the chart, so we had to stop. So everybody’s different and there’s a lot of heterogeneity, but you have to experiment yourself. And what I say to people is the smartest doctor in the room is your own body.

Dhru Purohit:
You’ve also had an experience that your cholesterol went in the wrong direction on a super high fat diet. Just another reason-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
High saturated fat.

Dhru Purohit:
High saturated fat diet. Another reason that it’s important to remember that everybody operates a little bit differently. There are broad spectrum themes that are there. Do you want to talk about that a little bit because I think it’s useful for some people to know about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, we’re sort of veering off a little bit from the sort of fasting thing and talking more about eating a high saturated fat diet. Now, many, many studies have shown that saturated fat seems to contribute to heart disease. But when you look at the data carefully, it’s in the context of an American processed diet, in the context of a high carbohydrate starch sugar diet. When you eat saturated fats with starch and sugar, flour and sugar, it’s deadly. However, if you eliminate starch and sugar or [inaudible 00:20:04] reduce it, most people will tolerate saturated fats. However, there’s a small group that are called lean mass hyper responders, meaning they are guys like me who are athletic, who are muscular… I mean, I’m not like a bodybuilder muscular, but I’m mostly muscle and very little fat. They tend to have this phenomena where they have the opposite response in terms of their cholesterol than you’d expect.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So their LDL goes up, their particle number goes up, their size goes down. It’s kind of a wacky thing. So I think what we’re learning is that there’s a lot of genetic variability in the population and we have to actually match the diet to our genes and to our own personal biology. So I always say, don’t let your ideology trample over your biology. [inaudible 00:20:50] ketogenic diet sounds good. I’m going to do that. No, it may not be for you. It may not and that’s okay. And I think you have to really customize your diet to what works. And then I can eat olive oil, I can eat avocados, I can eat nuts and seeds. I can have a lot of fat in my diet. I just don’t have saturated fat.

Dhru Purohit:
Let’s talk about the impact on sleep. What do we know about sleep and fasting, specifically time restricted eating?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, it seems to be that time restricted eating helps to improve sleep quality in terms of the amount of sleep, the depth of sleep and all the sleep cycles. So it’s one of those sort of interesting findings that it actually helps, which is important because when you sleep and you sleep well, it’s when your body’s in the repair shop. It’s when growth hormone increases which repairs tissues, it’s when cortisol goes down, it’s when blood sugar goes down. It’s when all these systems kind of kick into gear that help the body reset and repair. So the better and the deeper your sleep, the more you’ll heal. And it seems to be part of this idea of this adaptation to scarcity is that when we’re in this fasted state, our bodies just repair better and heal better and sleep better because sleep is part of the healing process.

Dhru Purohit:
Can you talk about some of the protection against neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease when it comes to the spectrum of fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, it’s really interesting findings because we’re learning that one of the biggest drivers of Alzheimer’s is sugar. And in fact, scientists have called Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes. It’s diabetes of the brain. And there’s a subset, a big subset of people with Alzheimer’s because they’re not all the same. Some might be [inaudible 00:22:34] or mold or lime or whatever, but the large subset is insulin resistant and it’s insulin resistance in the brain. And that’s really driven off of carbohydrates. So when you have a high carbohydrate diet, starch and sugar, and even what you think of as good carbohydrates, grains and beans, it can increase insulin and it can actually damage your brain. So it’s really important to understand that if you have Alzheimer’s, this may be going on and there’s ways to test for it. And I’ve had many patients with insulin resistance diabetes and Alzheimer’s and this works amazing for them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And when you put them on a ketogenic diet, it really helps their brain function better. Why? Because when your body’s running on ketones, one, you reduce inflammation, which is the main cause of Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress, which is a big factor in Alzheimer’s. You increase mitochondrial function, which is your energy centers in the brain so your brain works better. And you obviously cut out the starch and sugar, which cuts out the insulin resistance in the brain and helps all these things work together. So what happens is when you put people on a high fat diet, and then by the way, the brain is made up mostly of fat. It’s 60% fat, mostly DHA which is for fish oil, and it’s got a lot of saturated fat in there and a lot of the things in the brain. So it’s not that fat is bad. You need fat for your brain. And when you get in a keto diet, when we were in this state before, it was a state designed to increase our brain function.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Why? Because if you’re starving and you can’t find anything to eat, you better be focused, alert, on top of it so you can hunt and gather and find something to eat, otherwise you die. So there’s a evolutionary reason for us to have better mental focus and concentration and memory and attention when we’re in a ketogenic state or in a fasted state. So I think that’s the mechanism of action of how it works.

Dhru Purohit:
Now, I want to talk about fasting for women and their unique biology. How is fasting and the spectrum of fasting different for women, especially women in their childbearing years?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, this is why, Dhru, I really emphasize the importance of personalization because this may be good for some people, it also may not be good for others. So if you’re a woman who’s in the childbearing years, if you’re a woman who’s breastfeeding, who’s pregnant, who’s very thin, who has adrenal issues, and a lot of people do from chronic stress in your lives, having long periods without eating is not usually good for you and you often feel badly and it doesn’t provide the benefits that you would normally think something like that would provide. That’s not to say that the 12 hour rule will go. That is something that everybody should do.

Dhru Purohit:
The 12 hour time restricted eating, that generally is regarded safe for most people.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Don’t eat after dinner and eat breakfast, okay? It’s not a big stress. But for a lot of women who are sort of thinking about getting pregnant or are breastfeeding or in this childbearing years, you have to be very cautious about what you’re doing to your body and whether you’re actually doing the right things you need to preserve fertility, because when you’re starving, which is kind of what you’re doing when you’re in these states, you’re starving, the body doesn’t want to have babies, right? It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to have a baby when there’s no food around. So the body naturally will shift the hormonal function to stop menstruation, to stop ovulation, to lower testosterone, to do all these things for both men and women, which is okay from an evolutionary point of view, but long term is probably not a good thing.

Dhru Purohit:
And sometimes women will even lose their periods if they are extreme fasting or on an extreme juice cleanse.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Now is the part of the masterclass where we go to our community questions from Instagram, the podcast, YouTube and email that we’ve selected here to go through. So here’s the first that we have from an individual asking, does fasting affect high blood pressure?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. When you do any of these strategies that we talked about, again, they all activate healing systems. So what causes high blood pressure? It’s actually an inflammatory disease. It’s as a disease of oxidative stress. It’s driven primarily by two main pathways. We call it essential hypertension, which means essentially we have no clue what causes it, but we actually do. And the two major drivers, and there’s others, right? Low magnesium, heavy metals and so forth, hormonal dysfunction, there are two major drivers. One is in some resistance or the spectrum of poor metabolic health from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, and that is extremely responsive to any of these strategies, and two, sleep apnea, which can drive all kinds of problems in the body, including insulin resistance and lead to high blood pressure. So you kind of got to look at those two things. And for intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, keto diets, fasting mimicking diets, they will all help blood pressure.

Dhru Purohit:
All right. Fantastic. Next question, how can you get enough calories if you lead an active lifestyle and still want to get the benefits of fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s a good point. I mean, I often will struggle because I will start to drop weight if I’m not careful. It’s great for the 88% of people in America who are metabolically unhealthy and who are overweight or skinny fat. So basically nine out of 10 people, awesome. For weirdos like me, it can be tricky. So you have to make sure in the time that you’re eating, in the eight or 10 or 12 hours that you’re eating, that you’re getting enough food and getting the right food. So you often have to amp up some of the food you’re eating and it’s okay do that.

Dhru Purohit:
As a follow up question to that, we have another individual asking, I fast all day easily, but once I have dinner, the craving to eat more is horrendous. Why is that and is there anything that I can do about that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. Yes. So here’s the problem. Sugar and starch will jack up your insulin. Insulin makes you hungry and crave more carbs and food. When you load all your calories into two narrow window, let’s say I just eat one meal a day and you have to get 2,000 or 2,500 calories in one meal, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best food on the planet, any large meal will trigger an insulin spike. I mean, unless it’s just pure fat, like unless you just drink olive oil, then it won’t do that. But I don’t think most people are doing that. So if you’re having protein, that gets turned into sugar, it spikes insulin. You basically will start to jack up insulin and that insulin is the hormone that makes you crave more food. It makes you hungry and want to eat more even if you just ate a huge meal. So you want to make sure you’re not packing all your calories in one meal. That’s the problem.

Dhru Purohit:
And it’s not just how much you eat, it’s also what you’re eating during that window that you are eating. Can you just make that distinction a little bit?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Okay. So here’s some interesting data. In time restricted eating, it works even if you don’t change your diet, like what you’re eating, right? If you’re eating crap and you do that, it helps fix your metabolism. But it works way better if you eat the pegan diet, meaning whole foods, plant rich, phytochemical rich, high fiber, high quality fat, good protein diet, which is what I recommend. So actually optimizing your diet will help optimize all of these technologies as you’re doing them.

Dhru Purohit:
Next question we have, should the fasting period get longer as you age over 50?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Should you fast longer when you age over 50?

Dhru Purohit:
Or should you fast at all after they age of 50?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, for sure you should and you can, and it’s helpful because what happens as we age is we need more cleanup, we need more repair. We build more waste. We have more old cells. We need autophagy, more mitophagy. We need to build more muscle. We need to lose more body fat. We need to reduce more inflammation because as we age, all these things start to go wrong that are really the result of not having the right strategy for optimizing our health. So the normal course of life in America is, the typical American diet is lack of exercise, chronic stress. And unmitigated or unaddressed, those things will all accelerate aging. So any of these strategies will help to reverse that and actually reverse your biological age.

Dhru Purohit:
So we talked about this before, big picture, but I think it’s worth hitting on again. So the question from the listener is, is it appropriate to continue intermittent fasting during pregnancy?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. No, it’s not. I mean, I would not recommend pregnant women do what you’re saying is intermittent fasting, which is go for 24 hours or 36 hours without eating. Anybody can go 12 hours and I think we should, and it’s probably good for the baby to do that. Longer periods, 14, 16, you have to see how you feel. But I think one of the challenges I see with pregnancy is that doctors give women a free license to eat whatever they want. Just make sure you gain weight, make sure your baby’s growing, eat ice cream and all this crap. Bad idea. You have to still regulate your diet even more when you’re pregnant because you’re feeding the baby all the basic ingredients to grow and develop. So if you’re not having a high quality to diet, your baby’s not being made of high quality ingredients, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you want to make sure that you optimize the quality of your diet while you’re pregnant and not just eat ice cream and crap, and that you actually are getting enough calories, which you need more calories, right? Because you’re feeding too, but it doesn’t mean you have to eat crap, and you can do a 12 hour overnight fast, which is fine. It’s called breakfast.

Dhru Purohit:
But in general, it’s really important to focus mostly on this, the quality component of it. And if you’re doing that and you have certain cravings or other things like that, as long as you’re eating mostly quality food, you really don’t have to worry about timing and fasting. There’s plenty of time to do that later on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, no, no, no.

Dhru Purohit:
Another question about women’s health. Is intermittent fasting good for balancing hormones?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s tricky because if you do too much fasting or too much starvation, you’re activating systems in your body that are designed to prevent fertility. So you can go overboard. But most infertility in women is caused by too much sugar and starch.

Dhru Purohit:
Insulin resistance.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Insulin resistance.

Dhru Purohit:
PCOS being one of the big culprits-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s not an ovarian problem, it’s a nutritional problem. And there’s a book actually by a bunch of Harvard scientists called The Fertility Diet, which is about using an approach that lowers blood sugar to actually help fertility. So if you are one of those women who’s in some resistant, who’s overweight, who’s got belly fat, somewhere on the spectrum of pre-diabetes, and by the way, 90% of people that are pre-diabetes have no clue. Like I said, almost nine out of 10 Americans have pre-diabetes. That’s crazy, right? We said it was one out of two had pre-diabetes or diabetes, but this new data from government surveys and lab testing has found that 88% of Americans have either high blood pressure, high blood sugar or abnormal cholesterol. All of those are symptoms of insulin resistance, right? That’s what’s causing that for the most part. So when you look at that, you go, well, if you’re in that state and your hormones are screwed up and women’s hormones do get screwed up, they get lack of ovulation often, they’ll get high levels of estrogen because all the fat tissue makes estrogen.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’ll get increases in testosterone because of some of the ways the shunting of estrogen goes to testosterone. There’s a whole chicken wire pathways that connects all the hormones of progesterone, estrogen. Very similar hormones, they’re just slightly tweaked. You’ll get more testosterone, which means you can get hair loss on your head, you can grow facial hair, you get acne, you get irregular period. So intermittent fasting, [inaudible 00:34:33], all these techniques all will help fix that because it fixes insulin resistance. For men, it’s interesting because men also have the same phenomena happen, but a little different thing happens. When they gain belly fat and they’re having too much starch and sugar, it increases insulin, which then increases fat cells, which then produce estrogen and lowers testosterone. So a lot of guys who have this will have low testosterone, low sex drive, low sex function. They’ll have high levels of estrogen. They’ll get loss of hair on their bodies. They’ll grow man boobs. They’ll kind of get smooth skin, so they look more like women.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’ve seen these guys who have the beer bellies, and this is because they’re eating so much starch and sugar. So it can screw up men’s hormones too. And all these techniques will also fix that.

Dhru Purohit:
Do you have any mindset tips to help you through the process of fasting, whether it’s time restricted eating or intermittent fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, you just kind of have to decide to do it. It’s not actually that hard. I think anybody can do 12 hours and then you can try… If I said, can you walk for one minute, unless you’re really old or decrepit or in a wheelchair, most people can walk for a minute, right? Then you walk for two minutes, then you walk for three minutes, and then you walk for four minutes, and then you walk for an hour, right? So it’s basically starting to actually push the limits of what your body is comfortable with and starting to notice the effects and the benefits and paying attention. Like I said, your body is the best doctor in the room. It will tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention.

Dhru Purohit:
Can you have coffee or tea when you’re doing time restricted eating or intermittent fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a great question. I have understood that the answer is yes if it’s got nothing in it. If there’s no milk or sugar or cream or anything else, that it won’t break ketosis or it won’t cause that. Other people have said it might, but I think my gut feeling is that it probably won’t have a huge impact because it’s not a lot of calories and essentially it’s just caffeine and water basically.

Dhru Purohit:
Are there any other nutrients that you might tell people to include, and the answer could be no, when they’re in their fasting window? Is there any other things that we’re looking for or is it more just letting the body do its thing?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I mean, I think most people, like I’ve always said, should be on a multivitamin fish oil and vitamin D. That usually covers most of the bases to keep all your metabolic pathways going because you are needing more nutrients as you’re fasting to actually clean up the waves, to regulate pathways and all the enzymes, all the functions in your body require nutrients. So I think it’s important that people be on something. With that said, I don’t think there’s a reason to stop. I don’t think there’s a reason to take extra stuff unless you have a specific goal. Like if you’re trying to fix your liver or if you’re trying to fix your kidneys or you’re working on something specific. But I think for most people it’s okay to just take a good multi fish oil vitamin D and not only is it okay, it’s probably important to do that while you’re doing some type of time restricted intermittent fasting.

Dhru Purohit:
What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to intermittent fasting?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The biggest one is one we just talked about. People will say, well, 12 hours is good. 14 hours is better. If 14 hours is good, 16 hours is better. If 16 hours is good, 20 hours is better. If that’s good, 22 hours is better, and it’s not. It’s not. If you’re doing time restricted eating on a daily basis, you want to spread your calories out over that window of eight hours because you don’t want to load up your system with too many calories in one meal. That is what will cause more problems. So I really don’t encourage that. With that said, people can do other forms of fasting like intermittent fasting, where they really are having a full fast for 24, 36 hours. That’s okay. But you don’t want to constantly load all of your calories into too short a window. That’s one of the biggest risks I see.

Dhru Purohit:
When it comes to intermittent fasting in the west, meaning North America, a lot of the UK and other places that follow very similar lifestyles, it’s often that people will skip breakfast as a way to get into their intermittent fasting. I saw an episode that you did with Valter Longo where he said in most of the world, when they practiced fasting, especially in the east, they actually do have breakfast and they’ll skip other meals in the day because breakfast helps power their brain and give them energy for the day. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on you. Sometimes people feel like I feel better if I just don’t eat in the morning and I have more clarity and focus, but it also depends on what you eat. When I have my power protein, adaptogenic, micro bio, mitochondrial immune boosting shake in the morning, I feel awesome, right? If I do it after my workout, but I usually give it at least 14 hours from dinner. So I’ll maybe do it at nine o’clock or something like that after a workout. Other people, if they have the wrong breakfast, it can really cause huge problems. If you’re eating starch and sugar for breakfast, basically dessert for breakfast, which is breakfast in America folks, right? Cereal, which is 75% sugar, and I like to say I’m a cereal killer. I don’t think we should be eating cereals. One of the biggest myths and propaganda stories of our time. I think we should not be eating the typical American breakfast, which is pancakes, French toast, muffins, bagels, latte, frappuccino, mocha, [inaudible 00:39:59], those probably have 600 calories of sugar in them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Those are not what we should be having for breakfast. We need fat and protein for breakfast. So if you start your day with fat and protein for breakfast and [inaudible 00:40:08] nutrients, you’re going to do way better and your brain will be fine. But it’s also okay if you want to skip dinner and have breakfast and eat lunch and not eat late in the day. That’s okay too. I think that’s a fine way to do this. There’s no trick. You can try both ways and see how you feel.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, what else do you want to talk about when it comes to fasting? There’s some interesting components that we didn’t get a chance to touch on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I’m going to get a little geeky here guys because this is the stuff that interests me and hopefully it’ll interest you, which is that there are master control switches for aging and health and they’re often genes that regulate our metabolism and our mitochondria. So when I say metabolism, what does that mean? It means how well does your body burn food? In other words, when you take oxygen and calories that you eat in food and you burn them, they burn in a little part of your cell called the mitochondria. And there’s tens of thousands of these in the cells you have. And this system has to work well in order for you to be healthy. Many of the things we do cause our mitochondria to take age fast and cause them to slow our metabolism down and to have poor function. And that leads to loss of energy, that leads to all the… I mean, everything we see is a mitochondrial disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Heart disease is a mitochondrial, diabetes is a mitochondrial, Alzheimer’s is mitochondrial, Parkinson’s is mitochondrial. I mean, all these things are mitochondrial. So what are the switches that we can play with, that we can use the science of when we eat and what we eat to actually activate these pathways that are embedded in us? Again, that are way, way smarter than any pharmaceutical company, than any human being. We’ve been designed to have these systems that literally will reverse aging. So as we begin to study these strategies, including calorie restricted eating, they do a number of things. There’s a number of genes in the mitochondria that regulate or insulin and blood sugar and metabolism; daf-2, FOXO, mTOR, and these are really important genes and sirtuins that regulate all these downstream effects. You want to change the expression of those genes so you can optimize the function of your mitochondria, which is the key to longevity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s the key to healthy life. It’s the key to having energy. So you don’t really have to know about all this science, the geeky stuff, but these particular pathways around sirtuins and FOXO and daf-2 and mTOR, they’re all regulated by our diet and by the quality of our diet and by the timing of eating and by all these techniques we just talked about. And I remember talking to one of the scientists, I was in a longevity conference. It was in Upstate New York. I was at Menla, which is Robert Thurman’s retreat center, that’s a Tibetan retreat center. And he had the [inaudible 00:43:05] there, all these Tibetan doctors and every Nobel Prize winner and aging and longevity and [inaudible 00:43:11]. It was quite a collection of people. And the talks were fascinating and this one guy from MIT, Leonard Guarente, is the scientist that uncovered this pathway around sirtuin. Now we’ve all heard, oh, red wine is good for you and [inaudible 00:43:25] and it can extend your life. Well, he’s the guy who kind of figured a lot of that out with Davidson Sinclair.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I said to him, “What’s the deal with these sirtuins? What is the thing that’s causing them to be dysfunctional, to cause a decrease in mortality and increase in disease, and how do we fix this?” And he looks at me and he goes, “Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s sugar that messes it all up.” So it’s literally sugar and starch that are causing all these genes to be dysregulated. So what’s the antidote to sugar and starch [inaudible 00:43:55] diet, it’s intermittent fasting, time restricted eating keto diet, fasting mimicking diet. All these strategies are designed to reverse the harm that sugar has done to ourselves. So you don’t actually have to understand all this kind of fancy terms, but you just need to know that your body has these master switches that regulate aging, longevity and health. And the key to living long and healthy is learning how to activate those switches. So that’s the beauty of all these techniques. You just do what they say and it’ll do it automatically.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s beautiful. And sugar can be so addictive and you’ve built an entire program around helping people. It’s called the 10 day-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Built my whole life around sugar.

Dhru Purohit:
You’ve built your whole life around sugar in a great documentary called Fed Up. But the 10-Day Detox Diet. There’s a book, it’s out there. People can get it and they can follow that plan.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. I mean, I think I wrote this book, it was probably 2014, so I wrote it in 2012. I always see things in my practice with patients and then I’m like, this is coming. Something about this is coming. And I can understand that with sugar, the science around addiction, not just, oh, I want it or I need it or I like, but actually biological addiction where you have clear pathways that are activated in the brain that are the same that are activated with heroin or cocaine, where there’s clear withdrawal symptoms from not eating it. It really meets the criteria of sugar addiction. I’m just going to tell you one quick story about it and why I wrote the book and how people can learn how to get unhooked, right? Because it’s really important. You’re listening to this, you go, oh my God, Dr. Hyman, you’re right, but I love sugar. I don’t know. I try to stop, I can’t. I just crave it. It’s overwhelming. I just don’t know what to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I got you. I got you. It’s not that hard. So what happens is when you are looking at the science about this, it’s fascinating. I mean, they’ve taken a mice for example, and this was kind of cruel and mean, but scientists do this. They literally would give them cocaine and they hook them up to an IV of cocaine. And if they hit this button, they would get as much cocaine as they wanted, or they could go eat some sugar. They would literally give up the cocaine and go get the sugar and they would work eight times harder to get the sugar than to get the cocaine. That’s frightening. Another study, they put them in this special cage with an electric floor and whenever they ate sugar, they would shock them. Now, most of the time when you shock an animal, it will avoid whatever the thing is that shocked them. These mice would keep eating the sugar, even while they’re getting shocked. Now that’s pretty cruel study, but it’s pretty impressive when you look at the results.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There was a human study where they didn’t put them in a cage, they didn’t shock them or anything like that, but they took overweight guys, and this was done by Harvard scientists, rigorous study published in major journal, like I think Journal of the American Medical Association. It’s not like kind of a third rate study. This is a powerfully well done and well designed study by David [inaudible 00:47:06]. And they took overweight guys and they gave them on different days different milkshakes. Now, the milkshakes were identical in calories, in protein, in fat, in carbohydrate and fiber. So macronutrients were identical. The only difference was one of the milkshakes had a slowly absorbed sugar to not spike your blood sugar and the other one had a rapidly absorbed starch or sugar, but they tasted the same. You couldn’t tell them apart. So they took these guys and one day, they gave the low starch one and then the high sugar one.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then they measured their blood, they put them in MRI scanners, they looked at functional MRIs of their brain. The group that had the low starch sugar were fine. They didn’t activate any pathways related to addiction, their blood sugar, and it said even their lipids were fine, their cortisol was fine. The group that had the high sugar one, actually not only did they activate adrenaline, which is a stress hormone, cortisol which is a stress hormone, insulin went up, blood sugar went up, blood pressure went up, cholesterol went up. But when they did the brain imaging, they found the area in the brain that’s responsible for addiction, biological addiction, like heroin and cocaine, that kind of stuff called the nucleus accumbens, it lit up like a Christmas tree. So you’re like, whoa, they don’t even know that they’re eating something different. It’s like, oh, I have so much pleasure. It feels so good. This milkshake tastes so good. This one taste terrible. They tasted the same.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it wasn’t even a felt emotional response. It was literally the biology of sugar, which is staggering. And there are many, many studies. So I wrote this book, the 10-Day Detox Diet, because so many people are addicted to carbohydrates and sugar. When I say sugar, I mean starch and sugar because white flour, which is the main starch in this country has got a higher glycemic index than table sugar. Meaning a sandwich will raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar, right? So that’s not good. And so we have to think about them the same, but that’s why I wrote the 10-Day Detox Diet, was to design a way of eating and a few simple lifestyle hacks that changes your hormones like that within a day or two. And I remember teaching a workshop [inaudible 00:49:20] once years ago and this woman came in and was to do the 10 day detox diet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And she was like, “Dr. Hyman, I really know I got to get off sugar, I just can’t. I’ve been eating it my whole life. I try, I try, it never works. I doubt this is going to work. I’ll try it. I’ll do it, but I don’t think you’re going to be able to help me.” And I’m like, “Okay, let’s see what happens.” So we had the whole program developed. We had [inaudible 00:49:41], we had shakes, we had all the food designed exactly. And it’s all designed in a scientific way to balance all your brain chemistry, to balance your hormones, to balance insulin, to fix everything. And after day two, she’s like, “I don’t know what happened, Dr. Hyman. My cravings are gone. I don’t really want it anymore. I’m done. I’m like, wow.” And so when you understand how hard is to quit, but how if you use science, not willpower, you can literally hack food and sugar addiction, and that’s really what the 10-Day Detox Diet is about.

Dhru Purohit:
Powerful testimony. And luckily, there’s a lot of new apps and tools and gadgets that are coming on the market. There’s one that you’re involved in, it’s called Levels. It’s a continuous glucose monitor. Just chat a little bit about that. It’s not for everybody, but it could work really great for a lot of folks.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Listen, everybody’s different. In terms of your response to foods, you can’t say you’re like your friend or your sibling or your parent. You don’t know, right? We just don’t know how our own biology responds. And I’ll just kind of start with a little kind anecdote about a research study that was done in Israel number of years ago. And in this study, they looked at how different people responded to the same foods. Think, okay, if I eat a slice of bread, it should raise my blood sugar the same as yours or as yours or as whoever is listening, but it doesn’t work like that. So what they found was, and this was a very kind of nuanced study, but what they did was they found that looking at the microbiome, which is the massive bacteria in your gut, they were able to predict different responses based on the microbiome. So not everybody’s blood sugar went up the same with the same food. It depended on what was going on in their gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s just sort of one example, right? So not everybody has the same response to any particular food, which is why it’s so important to know your body. And I’m so excited about these new technologies called continuous glucose monitors or CGMs. And this company, Levels, has really nailed it. And I’m an advisor and an investor, just to be transparent, but they really nailed it and they figured out how to… You have this little tiny device that goes on your skin, a little patch, and it measures your blood sugar all the time. I remember, Dhru, the first time I used it, I put it on, I was visiting a friend of mine in Martha’s Vineyard and there was this sort of regenerative organic farm and they cooked all these gourmet foods and they brought this feast of lamb and veggies and this and that. And it was all healthy. It was all really yummy food. And my friend who was actually also my age, but he’s super fit, he’s muscular, thin, healthy, like seriously healthy, and we both put it on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We both had this meal and then we were in bed at like 10 o’clock at night, checking our blood sugar and we’re texting each other, what’s going on our blood sugar’s like 160. How does this happen? Both of us freaking out. I’m like, I think it’s just because we ate too much food. So even if you just eat too much food, even as healthy, will do that. So you don’t really know. And I remember I was using it when I was in Hawaii and someone brought over this vegan macadamia nut ice cream, which was so freaking good. And I had a little too much and I was like, whoa, it just spiked my blood sugar, whereas maybe another food wouldn’t do that. So it’s really good to know what your body’s doing, which is why I recommend people, in order to understand what’s happening, to measure blood sugar. But I’ve talked to Casey who’s the founder of the company.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I said, “Look, blood sugar’s great, we need to know it, but more important is insulin.” Because a lot of people would have blood sugar very well controlled until the last minute because having high blood sugar is kind of dangerous. So the body has really good mechanisms for keeping it in control until it doesn’t, which is then called diabetes, right? So the mechanisms can go on for 20, 30 years where your blood sugar stays normal, but your blood insulin keeps going up and up and up and up. And the insulin itself will cause havoc even if you don’t have diabetes. It causes heart attack, strokes, cancer, it can cause belly fat gain, muscle loss, inflammation, on and on and on, fatty liver. So just because your blood sugar’s okay doesn’t mean you’re okay, but it’s a first step and I think we’re going to be measuring insulin soon when they figure out the technology around that. But I can’t wait for that to happen.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s all coming. It’s all coming in the future. And the mean time, there’s plenty that you can do even without gadgets and devices to head in the right direction. Mark, let’s do a little bit of a recap on this conversation on fasting and tell us, if people are just going to get started after listening to this conversation, what is literally step one, and take us through a little bit of a recap of some of the things that we covered.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, look, the easiest thing to do for everybody is just a 12 hour fast, which we talked about. If you want to extend it to 14, 16, play with that. That’s the easiest approach to activating these systems. Fasting for 24, 36 hours once a week, another option, a little more tricky. Harder to do. Not going to kill you, but we do it on [inaudible 00:54:42], people do it in Ramadan. It’s in cultures, but it’s a little harder. Keto is even harder, and calorie restriction, you can’t do that long. You can do it for five days, so people can do that. So there’s all these different choices people have. And even the five day fasting mimicking diet can be really effective. You can do it on your own, which is 800 calories a day, or you can use various products from Valter Longo. It all goes to his research, which is quite good called ProLon. That’s an option.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But for most people, just doing the 12 to 14, 16 hour fast is great. So why should you bother? Well, we all need to go to the repair shop, right? I mean, you don’t forget about your car and not take it into the shop for repairs, not take it in for an oil change, for a tuneup. We go in and have like a thousand point checkup. We reset everything and it runs beautifully. We can do that for our bodies and that’s what these techniques do. So just to recap, they activate every system in your body that’s designed to protect you, heal you and make you live longer. It reduces inflammation, which is the biggest cause of aging. It increases your antioxidant systems, which are important. It causes you to lose belly fat. It increases muscle, it increases bone density, it increases your brain function, it reduces insulin and blood sugar, cholesterol, helps with diabetes, can help prevent or even reverse cancer in some cases. So there’s so many benefits to it and it activates these mechanisms called these longevity mechanisms around sirtuins and daf-2 and FOXO and mTOR.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s a whole strategy around how to use these technologies to actually increase your wellbeing, to lose weight, to reverse chronic disease and to live longer.

Dhru Purohit:
I feel inspired to fast. I feel inspired to not eat anything.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:56:25].

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, thank you for this. I’m going to pass it back to you to conclude us out here for today’s masterclass.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, thanks, Dhru. I think I gave a good recap. If you love this masterclass, which I hope you did, because I had fun, and Dhru, I think you had fun, then I would encourage you to share it with your friends and family because people need to know this information. Subscribe where you get your podcasts. If you’ve tried any of those techniques, share your experience with us. We’d love to hear it in the comments about this and learn from you. And of course, we’re going to see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 1:
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed 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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