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Episode 567
The Doctor's Farmacy

The Benefits Of Hot And Cold Therapy & Other Longevity Hacks

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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I’m willing to bet all of us would feel a whole lot better about aging if it didn’t actually mean feeling old. Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to; aging can mean another year of joy, adventure, and spending time with people we love—all while feeling great.

Today, as part of my Masterclass series, I am joined by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, to answer a question submitted by my community through the video app HiHo about the benefits of hot and cold therapy. We also discuss why adequate protein is vital as we age and how to turn on longevity switches in our bodies to live a longer, healthier life. Find a link below to follow me on HiHo and we may select your question for a future episode!

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, Levels, and HigherDOSE.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

By leveraging biosensors like continuous glucose monitors (CGM), Levels provides real-time feedback on how diet and lifestyle choices impact your metabolic health. Learn more about Levels by going to levels.link/HYMAN.

Right now, you can get your own Infrared Sauna Blanket or Infrared PEMF Mat at HigherDOSE.com. Use code FARMACY15 at check out to save 15% off OR just go to higherdose.com/hyman to get your 15% off today.

Follow me on HiHo here!

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, The 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.

Transcript

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

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There is basically these longevity switches in the body. And if we learn how to activate them in the right way or turn them off in the right way, we can really extend life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, everybody, this is Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to a new series on The Doctor’s Pharmacy called Masterclass, where we dive deep into popular health topics, including inflammation, autoimmune diseases, brain health, sleep, and lots more. And today my friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, and I are doing something super fun.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re going to be answering community questions that you guys have submitted through a new video app called HiHo. You can follow me on HiHo and submit your questions there, and you might see them on this podcast.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Great to be here. We got a bunch of great questions. The first one is from Mia on the HiHo app, and she has a question that’s right in alignment with everything you’ve been researching these days. And that’s the topic of longevity, senescence, and specifically hot and cold therapy. Let’s key up this video from Mia.
Mia:
Hi, Mark. I’m just wondering if the best way to do cryo and heat therapy is to do cold first, then sauna, or vice versa? Thanks in advance. Bye.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Listen, Dhru, I am so excited about this question because I literally just handed in my book, Young Forever, about longevity, and I went deep into the science of hormesis, which is this idea that little stress that we give to our bodies creates a response that makes us healthier and stronger. And cold and hot are too hormetic therapies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Too much cold, you get hypothermia and die. Too much heat, you get a heatstroke and die. So it’s that Goldilocks version of what do you want? And the question was essentially: Should you do cold first or heat first? And I don’t really think we have a science to really answer that question. But, for me personally, I don’t want to get in the cold first. I get in the hot first and then go on the cold. And then you can go back and forth and back and forth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what’s really amazing about these therapies is that they’re accessible to most people. If you have a bathtub, which most people do, you can do these therapies. If you have a shower, you can do these therapies. So the best way to do it is if you can get access to a sauna or a steam. And I personally had a steam installed in my shower. You can get sauna blankets now. They’re not that expensive.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you get yourself really hot, you can do a hot bath, if you have a bathtub. So any kind of heat therapy will raise your body temperature. And what that does is two major things. One is it elevates something called heat shock proteins. And what are heat shock proteins? These are the compounds that your body makes when you’re overheated. And it’s something that your body makes, for example, when you have a fever, when you’re trying to fight infection.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So two things happen. One is you increase the activity of your innate immune system. This is the ancient immune system that you have that’s not antibody related, like COVID antibodies and all that. You get a vaccine, and it’s very specific response to a specific infection, but an innate immune system is just a generalized response that fights infection and activates your immune system. So it’s really important.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Second is it actually creates these heat shock proteins, which help to repair and fix damage proteins. So, just to give you a little background, Dhru and everybody, your proteins have to be not just strings of amino acids, but they’re three-dimensional structures that have to look a certain way in a certain shape to bind like a lock and a key into a receptor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, as we go through life and get various insults and stresses and poor diet and toxins and so forth, those proteins get funky and damaged. Well, these heat shock proteins help to refold the proteins into their original form and allows them to bind better to receptors, or it helps to clean up and repair the whole system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you get two things. One, you get the activation of your immune system in a good way. And, two, you deal with one of the key hallmarks of aging, which is protein damage. And protein damage is … When your proteins get damaged, they don’t work very well, and most of our biology is run by proteins. And this is mind blowing, but maybe people know this, or maybe they don’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But what is your DNA? Your DNA basically is code that tells your body how to string together different amino acids to make proteins. And the proteins are the messengers and information molecules, the immune molecules, neurotransmitters. These are all the important compounds that regulate almost everything in your body. Peptides are all little proteins.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So that’s what they do. And your proteins have to be a certain shape and a certain sequence of amino acids, and they get damaged as we age. So, as a longevity strategy, heating up your body is super awesome. That’s why the Finnish live longer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they did an amazing study in Finland where, it was kind of funny, they basically tried to see how saunas were affecting your health and longevity. And the control group was people who only had a sauna once a week because pretty much they do it all the time there. And if you did it up to four or five, six times a week, you had a dramatic extension in your life. That was compared to the control, which was just once a week. So, who knows, if you don’t do any, you might even be better than that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So getting heat is really important. And I find it really important, whether it’s a hot bath, whether it’s a sauna or a steam. And I got lucky yesterday. I went to a friend who built a Russian banya, and we went really hot in there. It gets really hot. And it just heats up, and it just helped my body feel all kinds of amazing things.

Dhru Purohit:
When you say really hot, Mark, what was the temperature inside of there because you like …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It think like 180. I think it was really hot. I guess the Russians like …

Dhru Purohit:
Because a lot … If you look at a lot of these Finnish studies, and you look at the temperature that they’re hitting, they’re hitting 180. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like 175, yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
175, 180.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And then they go in the cold, and they jump. They have the cold plunge, so then the cold plunge does something quite different. Cold plunge does two major things. One, it activates your brown fat. This is your mitochondrial superpower where, basically, between your shoulder blades in your back, there’s a special kind of fat called brown fat. And it’s metabolically active fat. And you activate this brown fat, and it increases your metabolism.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s really interesting because I can’t do it, but like guys like Wim Hof and other people learn how to activate the brown fat to heat up their bodies in the face of extreme cold temperatures. And this was originally a Tibetan practice, where they would take these Tibetan monks, and they had a practice called drying of the sheets and this practice called Tummo.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They literally wrapped these young monks, after they learned this practice, in sheets dipped in ice water. They’d wrap them in the sheets, in the middle of the Himalayas in the winter time, and they had to dry the sheets. And, when they could finally dry the sheets, they would send them up basically in their underwear, up into the snow, overnight. And basically they didn’t die because they learned how to activate this brown fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So cold therapy really helps activate this brown fat to speed up your metabolism. The other thing it does is really amazing. I hate to say it, but it’s like cocaine for me. It activates dopamine, which is what cocaine does. And it creates a sustained release of dopamine, which is what we’re all trying to get more of for pleasure, focus, attention, feeling good, alert, and just able to really do stuff. And it’s really quite amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so it’s taking a snort of cocaine when you go in an ice bath. And you come out, and you’re like, “Whoa, I feel alert. I feel focused. I feel energetic. I can do anything.” So I love going back and forth and I would go hot and cold, hot and cold. And, to me, when I had chronic fatigue syndrome, it was the only thing that really helped me have moments of actually feeling okay, was through this hot and cold therapy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I’m addicted to it. I do it wherever I go in the world, I try to find it. I was in Turkey recently. I went to one of the hammams. I always am trying to figure out … I did the polar plunge in Antarctica. We even had a sauna on the boat, and the polar plunge. So it’s amazing. And the cold plunges are quite awesome. I was just in Idaho, and I went in this really, really hot hot spring and then jumped in the icy river.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so, the more you can do that, and you can’t … Not everybody can do the things I do, but if you can do it even in your cold shower in the morning, like one to two minutes in a cold shower, fill up a hot bath with hot water, as hot as you can stand it. Go back and forth, hot and cold. I go up in my steam, and I fill my bath with really cold water, and I just go back and forth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I have a friend who’s got a … He bought, at the hardware store, a trough they use for feeding cows and horses water. And he basically gets an ice maker, and he gets all his ice in there, and then pours in water. And you go with ice cubes all around you. So there’s lots of creative ways to do it that don’t cost a lot of money.

Dhru Purohit:
Awesome, I love it. So a bunch of clarifying questions, Mark, before we go to the next question.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
So. First thing, I think you’re on record saying it’s like cocaine, but obviously everybody knows that we’re not.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, no, no. I don’t snort cocaine. I’m not a fan of cocaine. I’m just saying we’re all trying to activate dopamine. Right? We’re all … Think about the things that activate dopamine: heroin, cocaine, smoking, caffeine. All the things we use to prop us up, but this is a natural way that you can enhance dopamine. And what’s amazing about it is that it has a sustained effect.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not just one shot, and you get a snort, and then you crash. It’s like it really helps to sustain the dopamine and the noradrenaline and norepinephrine in a way that actually helps you stay focused and alert. So, no, I’m not saying that you should go out and snort cocaine. And, by the way, the other thing that activates it … And I got to do this the other night.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It was super fun. Didn’t tell you about this, Dhru, yet, but I’m an older dude, and I grew up in the era of the Grateful Dead. And I got to go to one of the Dead & Company shows recently in Boulder. And a friend of mine is the manager, and he gave us these free tickets. And I had another friend with me. And basically you go out, and you give tickets to people who are trying to get in who don’t have tickets.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Because a lot of people go to these Dead shows, and they’re desperate to get in, but they don’t have money, or they couldn’t get a ticket. And there’s a song called Waiting for a Miracle, and everybody has these signs: I’m waiting for a miracle. And so you go out, and you give these tickets to people, and it’s like a miracle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I might post one of the pictures for this, the amount of joy and the amount of pleasure you get from actually giving and altruism because we’re all wired to help each other. We’re all wired as social creatures because think about a human being out in the forest by themselves. They’re kind of screwed, right? We are tribal people. We have to help each other. We have to work together.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so we’re hardwired for altruism, and altruism also activates dopamine in the brain. So there’s lots of ways to activate it, but I like giving things away and cold therapy.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, and the best part about that compared to drugs that are out there … And, by the way, it’s really interesting. I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal stories of people using, in conjunction with maybe AA or treatment centers that they’re going to, how a lot of these processes actually help them get over their addictions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
Again, I’m sure some people are out there studying it, like they’re studying it with psilocybin and smoking cessation. We had Dr. Roland Griffiths on the podcast before, but it’ll be exciting to see people starting to use hot therapy, cold therapy to actually treat addiction. So a couple other [inaudible 00:10:49].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wait, wait, wait, wait. I have one more thing. One more thing.

Dhru Purohit:
Yes, please, please.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The one thing I forgot to say, which is something I’ve written about for the last 30 years, that activates dopamine is sugar. So I don’t know why I forgot, but, when you go for that cookie or that pint of ice cream or whatever it is, that is activating the same receptors that we’re talking about, through the dopamine receptors in the brain in the nucleus accumbens. And so that’s why people literally get addicted to sugar, but I’m more addicted to cold therapy and giving and service. And that’s how I get high, basically.

Dhru Purohit:
So you mentioned a few things that I think are worth breaking down. So we talked about the Finnish studies and the high temperatures that are there: 170, 175, 180, potentially.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
And generally the time length inside of those … And, again, if somebody’s new to hot therapy, obviously, first of all, saunas can be … It’s expensive to have a sauna in your house, but you can find saunas at local gyms and other places. And you can borrow a friend’s and use them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
YMCA, right.

Dhru Purohit:
But a lot of people ask, and there’s some great companies that are out there that we’ve known throughout the years, but they ask: What about infrared sauna? It can’t get that hot. Are there still the benefits that are there, even if the body of literature may not support the heat that they’re getting to? So thoughts on that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I think there is literature on infrared saunas too, and it penetrates a little deeper. You can sustain it longer, and it doesn’t get … The temperature doesn’t get hot, but it does heat you up quite a bit. So I think either work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And there are a number of things I didn’t actually mention about heat, which is that it also increases the health of your cardiovascular system. It helps with weight loss. It increases the release of toxins from your skin through your sweat. It increases heart rate variability, which is one of the best metrics of your autonomic nervous system, your health of your stress response.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So a lot of us are over-stressed, and we have really poor heart rate variability. I wear an Oura Ring, and I can track my heart rate variability. And I can see what makes it good or bad, and it’s amazing to see how correlated was your stress response. And the higher your heart rate variability, the more complex your heart rhythm is, the healthier you are. So people, for example, who have heart failure go into these saunas, and they actually improve their heart failure just by increasing the health of their autonomic nervous system. So it’s really quite powerful.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay, great. That’s a good option because, for a lot of people, like you mentioned earlier, sauna blankets, and there’s a bunch of great brands that are out there, those can be an entry way that’s a little bit more affordable. But, like you said, you could even do a bath. So, if somebody was going to do a bath, and they were going to hop in, how long are we talking about staying in? Just a general rule of thumb if people are going to use their bath and a warm bath, how long are we talking about staying in there?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I read about this for years. One of my favorite things to do is I do an Epsom salt bath with lavender drops. Lavender the lowers cortisol. That’s why they put it in baby bath. Johnson & Johnson actually has done the research on this, and it lowers the stress response. And Epsom salt has magnesium, which relaxes your muscles and nervous system and helps you sleep. And the sulfur in Epsom salts, magnesium sulfate, helps you detoxify. So it’s really great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I heat the water up as hot as I can stand it. So everybody’s got a different tolerance for heat, but it’s where you have to get in, you have to get in slowly because it’s kind of too hot, and you can barely stand it. That’s good. And you might be able to stay five minutes, may able to stay 15 minutes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you stay until you get really hot, and then you can go right into bed, and, as your body cools down, you’ll fall right asleep. So it’s a great tool for sleep. It’s a great tool for muscle relaxation. It’s a great tool for detoxification. It’s a great tool for doing things like heat shock proteins, and it’s quite amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It just reminded me of this data that I saw on this anecdotal stuff that I heard case reports of autism. So autism is a disease of the brain that actually is about inflammation, and a lot of the inflammation causes a lot of malfunction in the brain through these deformed proteins and other things in the immune system. And it’s been observed that when kids who have autism have high fevers, that they wake up from autism. And then, when the fever goes back, they go back to being autistic. So it’s really fascinating to see how heat plays a role in so many of the functions of our body. We’re just really beginning to understand this.

Dhru Purohit:
So, Mark, one more follow-up question. Right now, you’re recording the podcast out of San Francisco. It’s great that we have modern technology that allows us to record anywhere, so this is awesome. So, for instance, because you travel a lot, what are one of the ways, for example, now, how you’re looking to incorporate hot and cold therapy in? Because it’s become part of your routine. So, on a practical level, is it that you just have a lot of friends that are so into this too that you stay at their house, and you just get to borrow their sauna? Any tips for people when they’re on traveling?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, listen, if you’re booking a hotel room, try to get one with a bathtub. And most hotel rooms hopefully will have a shower. So you got a hot tub, and you got a cold shower. It’s pretty easy. Or you can fill the bathtub with cold water, or you can get ice cubes from the shower. So there’s a lot of ways to do it. I really make a point of seeking this out, and I really have learned how to hack my travel life so that I can stay healthy. And then I can stay rested, and I can keep rejuvenating myself.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, yeah, I have friends who have this, and I’m lucky because I’ll tell my friends that they bought it, and then they’ll get it. And then that’s fun, but it doesn’t have to be super fancy. You can just have a shower and a bathtub. And that really is an easy way to do it for most people.

Dhru Purohit:
And a couple more clarifying questions. So how does this fit in your day with your normal routine, and also when it comes to exercising and your movement that you have in your life? Is this something that you typically like to do before that or after that? So when does hot and cold therapy come in, and how does that play a role in timeline, again, with exercise?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So let’s say I’m in my routine at home, and I’ve written about this in my new book Young Forever. What’s Dr. Hyman’s daily longevity routine? I just saw a guy who kind of was a fan. He had seen me in person. We were actually in the sauna together in the Russian banya yesterday. And he’s like, “Man, you look better than you did five years ago,” [inaudible 00:16:55] this person. “You look better than you did 10 years ago.” I’m like, “Yeah, because I’m figuring all this stuff out.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so I actually have a routine in the morning where I’ll wake up and meditate 20 minutes and then usually work out. And I travel with these bands. And I had back surgery a couple years ago, and I learned really how to rehabilitate through Tom Brady’s training program. I don’t get any money for it. I’m not associated with it anyway. But it’s the TB12 sports program. And I use these, basically, bands, and I bring them with me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I travel everywhere, and all I need is the bands on the floor, basically, and sometimes something to hook it onto, like a doorknob in a hotel room or a post somewhere, to do some of the exercises. And so I do a workout for 30 minutes, and that’s a standard thing I can do anywhere I am. And then, if I’m home, I like to do steam. I have a steam shower, so I put the steam on while I’m working out. I’ll go in to steam, super hot, like 10 minutes. And then I’ll fill up a bath just with ice-cold water, and I go back and forth maybe a couple of times.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then afterwards I have a protein shake, and I’ll usually use my [inaudible 00:17:59] shake protein powder. I think we’re discontinuing that. And I’ll use goat whey. And the reason I use goat whey is because goats are … One of their regenerative, the whey that … The ones that I find are regeneratively raised.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, two, they have … Because all the whey has some casein, and it can be inflammatory. I use goat whey because it has A2 casein. And then I add the whey, and then I put all my other goodies in it, which I talk about in the book, my longevity package of stuff. And that’s my routine, and then I just feel amazing for the day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I don’t have any problems with energy, and I really can focus. And it’s just a great way to start the day, and I can probably get all that done in about an hour. Or the meditation adds probably 20 minutes, so maybe hour, an hour and a half, but it’s really an amazing way to start the day. And then I get to do what I do.

Dhru Purohit:
And I’m sure you have a truncated version that you do on days where you don’t have that full hour because there’s probably people that are listening today that are like: Whoa, an hour; I’m lucky if I get 20 minutes that’s there. Of course, a big part of your message is always that you feel so good, so it’s not a chore for you to do this.

Dhru Purohit:
You actually are looking forward to doing it, but give us the truncated version. When you have 20 minutes, and there’s a super busy day, and you’re in launch mode or whatever, or you got to catch four or five flights, what is your absolute one or two things that is crucial for you in the day?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I think, even if I can just get 20 minutes of my workout in, not a full half hour, or I do two sets instead of three sets, like I did today, because I had a lot going on. So I did two sets, and then I’m ready for my podcast. And sometimes I have time for hot and cold.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now I don’t, and I just don’t do it on those days. So I always make sure that I take quality time, and the meditation thing is super portable. So I do a kind of meditation that’s like a version of a vedic mantra meditation, so you don’t need to be in a quiet room. And I can do it on an airplane. I can do it in the back of an Uber. I can do it anywhere.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I can just go in, and I just … The world disappears, and I just disappear anywhere I go, but it’s like taking a three-hour nap. So, for me, these are productivity tools. If I work out, and if I do this meditation, I have so much more focus and more energy that, whatever I’m doing, I do way better and more focused. And, instead of taking me twice as long, it takes me half as long, and I do a better job. So in some ways it seems like it’s taking time, but actually it’s saving time in the end.

Dhru Purohit:
So, Mark, before we get back to these video questions, I actually have a question for you that maybe I’m not super clear on, even though we’re business partners and close friends. So working out now is such a core part of your life, and I know you like the word movement. Right? That’s a big part of your approach. It’s a movement mindset.

Dhru Purohit:
What happened a few years ago that shifted for you where it was a nice thing. You were active. You’d play tennis every so often. You might do some hiking to it switched. And it was like: Whoa, this is foundational to my life. And it’s like: I’m not going to sacrifice it in my day. What was that switch that took place?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, listen, I’ve always exercised. [inaudible 00:21:01] a runner. I did yoga. I was a yoga teacher. I bike. I played tennis, so I always stayed very active. But, in my mind, I had this rationale that, if I do yoga, and I ride my bike, or I play tennis, I’m good. And I always told people they should lift weights, but I just hated the gym. It’s smelly. It’s stinky. I didn’t like it. And I don’t … It hurt when I did weights. I couldn’t do 10 pushups when I was 50 years old. I was like: This hurts every time. I don’t like it. It’s the truth.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, what kind of pain? Just curious: What kind of pain were you having?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[inaudible 00:21:36] push ups and your chest hurts for days. I could do 10 pushups.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
My chest, I had all this muscle pain. I’m lifting weights. I would try, and I’d be sore for days. I’m like: This is stupid; I’m not doing this. So even though I know in my head … it was like I knew I should do it. And then I turned 60, and I’m like: All right, all right. I’m like: I got to get smart here because I tell everybody to do it. And I can’t be a hypocrite, and I have to do it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I started to. I joined the gym. And I got a trainer, and I started doing a little bit. But then I had a back problem again. After 20, 30 years, I had another back thing. And I had surgery in 2020, and then I couldn’t move. I couldn’t walk. I was in pain all the time. It was pretty miserable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I’m like: Look, this is bad. And I had a limp; I had a limp for 20 years, and my body was all out of kilter. And so it was just getting worse and worse. I’m like: How can I live to be 120 if I can’t walk? So I basically had the surgery, took my time to heal from the surgery. And then I went to the Tom Brady training program, and it was such a revelation for me because I was able to start really slow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The bands, they don’t injure your joints. You can do them anywhere. It’s not like I have to take an hour or drive to the gym, get going. It’s like a whole … Takes hours of my day. I just don’t have that kind of time. So literally I got back from what I was doing today. I had some food ordered, jumped on and was down here in where I’m staying. I just put my underwear on. I didn’t even have workout shorts, and I didn’t use shoes or anything. I just grabbed my bands, and I did a quick workout.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But it really became foundational when I realized that, if I wanted to stay strong and out of pain, I had to do this. So I really doubled down on it, and I will do it minimum three times a week, sometimes four or five. So I really am committed to it, and I think it would be everywhere. And, in fact, I forgot it at a friend’s house the other day because I was traveling. And we were all working out, and I was leading a work out of five people. And we had it in this one spot, and I left, and I forgot it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I was in a panic, and I call all my friends, like: “Hey, you got to FedEx it to me right away. I need it tomorrow morning. So I got it, and I have it here, and I did my workout. So it really becomes routine, and you can take it anywhere. You can do it almost anywhere. And I’ll even show you. I got the bands right here. So if you want me to go show you, it’s pretty easy.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, no, you got me hooked on it. And now I do a training session with their virtual coaches at least two to three times a week. And it’s been a fantastic thing. Again, we have no affiliation with them. They have a free app that’s there so that people can do those workouts. You can go on YouTube, type in TB12, and there’s a bunch of them that are there.

Dhru Purohit:
So one clarifying question on that. You mentioned that you used to do 10 pushups before, and your chest would hurt. Do you think the [inaudible 00:24:18].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I can do 70 now with no … Right in a row.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s great. That’s a lot.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I can do three sets of 25 with the bands around my back, so it’s unbelievable. I’m way stronger now at 62 than I was at 40 or 50.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, well, we’re going to fact check you. Maybe on one of our next podcasts, we are going to do pushups together.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. Okay. All right, all right, all right.

Dhru Purohit:
But so the question I had was …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, seriously, Dhru, I’m not bragging, Dhru. But I work out with my friends. I worked out with a 30-year-old and then the 40-year-old, and the guy who was 50, and none of them could do what I did. And I was using the heavier bands, and they were all like, “[inaudible 00:24:52].” I was like: Come on, guys.

Dhru Purohit:
No, that’s great, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Once you’ve got up to it, it really works.

Dhru Purohit:
I’ve seen you over the years. We’ve worked out a few times together too. It’s very inspiring. So the question that I had was this: Is it that you’ve just been doing a different training routine, or also has how you’ve changed your diet … Specifically, I have a question about prioritizing protein. Has that also helped you in your ability to build up more strength during your workouts? So that’s the question that I had for you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, so, again, this is a really controversial topic, which is protein. Where do you get your protein? How much protein? When do you get your protein? It’s complicated, and those movies, like Game Changers, will come out, which make people think that, oh, you can be vegan and just be this huge, strong bodybuilder and just eat vegetables. And I think there’s a subtext to that. These guys are pound …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I’ve talked to them. They’re pounding highly processed vegan protein powders, or they’re eating jacked-up protein powders that are supplemented with amino acids. And you can’t overcome biology. The science is so clear. So there was a group of scientists that got together that are protein experts, and they wrote a review paper of all the literature. It’s called PROT-AGE, P-R-O-T-A-G-E, study.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they basically came up with the conclusion that, particularly as we age, we need more high-quality protein, and we need it regularly throughout the day. And we need it to contain certain amino acids in the right amounts. So one of the problems with plant proteins is that it’s very low in a key amino acid called leucine and other branch chain amino acids.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Leucine is a rate-limiting amino acid when it comes to making more muscle. In other words, it’s like, if you have a factory, and you have an assembly line. And you’re missing this one key step, like if you’re making a car, but you don’t have tires. You just can’t make the car. And leucine is like that. If you don’t have leucine, you can’t kick in the biochemical machinery to synthesize new muscle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So either you have to massive amounts of plant protein, for example, you have to eat three cups of rice to equal four ounces of chicken. Now, who’s going to eat three cups of rice? It’s a lot of rice. Or you have a bunch of … I don’t know. Two or three cups of beans, and then you get 1,000 or 1,300 calories as opposed to 200 calories. Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to eat eat greens and beans.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m just saying it’s very tough to get what you need. And if you look at what happens to a lot of vegans, as they get older, they get skinny. And they have low muscle mass, and their hormones change. And they get more insulin resistant. And there are ways around it, so if you’re vegan, and you’re committed to being vegan, I’m not against it, but you have to be smart.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For example, you have to use extra branch chain amino acid supplements, or you can take, for example, additional amino acids through something that I use in my practice that’s been studied a lot in research in Europe. That’s called amino acid complex, which is a combination of amino acids that’s designed to increase muscle synthesis and combat what we call sarcopenia, which means low muscle mass.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, for me … And what also said was: You need to eat the right amount of protein within an hour of working out in order to actually activate the muscle synthesis. And you need to eat it with the right amino acids, and you need about 20, depending on your size and build. So, obviously, if you’re like Shaquille O’Neal and seven feet tall, you might need a lot more.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, if you’re five foot zero and a 100 pounds, you might need less, but it’s about 25 grams to 30 grams of protein, which is usually about the size of your palm. So the best way to think about it for the average person is the size of your palm of protein. And I say this, but, when I say protein, I mean: If you want to build muscle, you have to eat muscle, basically.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you can cheat by either combining an animal protein, less animal protein, with plant protein, or by eating jacked-up plant proteins where you add in these amino acids. So there’s a lot of ways around it, but you can’t argue with biology and with science.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s just so clear, and if you don’t believe me, and if you’re think I’m making this all up, just go ahead and look up that PROT-AGE study. I’ve written a lot about it in my new book, Young Forever, which is coming out February 23. And I’ve used it on myself, and I’m like: holy cow. I look at pictures of myself when I was 40, and I’m like: I was biking 30 miles, and I was doing yoga. And I was doing all this stuff, and my body just looks like then I was 60, and now I’m 25.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I don’t know what’s going on, but it worked. I’m telling you it works, and, when I use it with my patients, it really works. And that’s really the science that I’ve adapted to myself. And it’s really changed my biology and my cognitive function, my energy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I really, really lowered more dramatically, even, the starch and sugar because I look like … When I started doing nutrition back in the ’90s and being a doctor in functional medicine, that was the era where still we were telling you do a lot of carbohydrates and even healthy carbohydrates, like grains and beans, but for some people, it’s tough.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, if you are one of the people who are metabolically unhealthy, which is almost nine out of 10 Americans, then you’re not going to tolerate the amount of starch and sugar that you could, for example, if you were more lean and fit and robust. So I can get away with eating stuff sometimes that, for example, my diabetic patients can’t because they’re not metabolically flexible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I trained myself to become more metabolically flexible, and so I can actually have more metabolic degrees of freedom, we call it. And I’m not saying you should always eat junk, but I’m just saying I can get away with having a dessert once in a while or having some coconut ice cream or something and not worry about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I think, for the most part, it’s really about lowering dramatically the starch and sugar, increasing the fat, and actually keeping not excess of protein but keeping the right amount of protein. And the other thing, Dhru, is a lot of people go: Oh, the government says we should have about 0.8 grams per kilo of protein. That’s a gram. A kilo is about 2.2 pounds. Now that’s the minimum amount to prevent protein deficiency disease; it’s not the optimal amount for health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like when you say: How much vitamin C is the minimum recommended amount? It’s like 60 milligrams. Or how much is the vitamin D amount that’s recommended to prevent deficiency? It’s like 30 units, which prevents rickets. Well, okay, you’re not going to get rickets, but what’s the optimal amount of vitamin D you need to operate all your biological systems well?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, it might be 2,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 or 10,000. So I think this is where we get all confused in nutrition because the government recommendations are designed around deficiency diseases, not for optimal health.

Dhru Purohit:
So one last follow-up on that question, and thank you for that breakdown on the protein. I think some people who are paying attention to the space of longevity, which a lot of different people are talking about [inaudible 00:31:56].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, God, okay.

Dhru Purohit:
There is the question of: Okay, well, we know we need enough protein to avoid sarcopenia. And then some people are saying, whether it’s IGF1 or other stuff, that excess protein could hinder longevity. And then you have people like Peter Atilla, who has that philosophy that you do, which is that, if we look at a lot of these large observational studies that are being used to say that excess protein can harm our longevity, they’re looking at people who are not really consuming a lot of vegetables in their diet. And, on top of that, they have high …

Dhru Purohit:
They have poor metabolic health as well, too, so is it the metabolic health, or is it the high protein? So would love to get your take on the situation, since we’re all [inaudible 00:32:39].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s super complicated, right, because a lot of people who look at the data on protein and aging go: Wow, protein activates something called mTOR. And I don’t know if you want to get into that now, Dhru, but I literally … I’m so deep in it because I just finished my book. So I’ll explain what the science is about. So this is basically these longevity switches in the body, and they’re really powerful. And, if we learn how to activate them in the right way or turn them off in the right way, the ones that need to be turned off, we can really extend life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, for example, calorie restriction is one of the few things that’s been shown to dramatically extend life. If you cut your calories by a third, you extend your life by a third. And that, for a human, means living to 120. Now, personally, I don’t want to do that because I like to eat. And it’s not fun, and you’re going to be grumpy and hungry. And you’re going to have other downside effects from it. I met this guy who was part of the Calorie Restriction Society. He was like … I said, “What do you have for breakfast?” “I have five pounds of celery,” and I’m like: Okay, no thanks.

Dhru Purohit:
Right, and if he’s also eating five pounds of celery, is he more likely to fall and have a hip fracture and end up dying at the age of 80 because he doesn’t have muscle mass?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[inaudible 00:33:54]. Yeah, exactly, exactly, exactly. So the main thing that people are talking about protein is this thing called mTOR. Now that’s one of the longevity switches, but there’s four of them. Two of them are detecting excess and are turned on by an abundance or excess of compounds, like amino acids and carbohydrates.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So that’s the mTOR pathway, and that’s the insulin pathway. Now, we need both of them, right? It’s like you need mTOR to be turned on because otherwise you can’t build muscle and synthesize protein. Right? But if it’s turned on all the time, and it’s, by the way, turned on by not just protein but also by sugar. Okay? Then you’re just going to create … It’s like a tumor that grows out of hand. You don’t get this chance to repair the body.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So think about your kitchen. If you just threw dishes in the sink, and you never cleaned up. And you kept putting garbage in the garbage can, and you just never clean up, well, then your kitchen’s going to be a mess. And you’re not going to be able do anything. And that’s basically what the body is. You need time to both cook dinner and then clean up. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so that’s what the body does. And mTOR, when it’s turned on, actually synthesizes protein, which is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing, like muscle. But, if it’s turned on all the time, you can’t activate this really essential process that we now know is so critical to longevity that we activate during starvation or calorie restriction, which is something called autophagy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which essentially means self cannibalism. Auto means self and -phagy means to eat, like macrophages are in a white blood cell that eats bad things. And so you want to eat yourself up, essentially. It’s recycling. So you need both the construction crew, and you need the recycling crew. And it’s got to be in the right balance. So, yes, we need to shut off mTOR or silence mTOR or lower mTOR but not all the time.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so that’s why we talk about having a 12- to 14- to 16-hour window between dinner and breakfast. That’s really important, at least. And you can decide when you want to do that, but you got to be sure you don’t eat three hours before bed, whatever you do. It’s not going to work if, say, you start eating at six o’clock at night and then eat till midnight and go to bed at midnight. That’s a bad idea.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you want to make sure you give yourself three hours before bed, but, if you give yourself these periods of temporary starvation, right, like a 12-hour fast, 14, 16, it really activates this self-cleaning process. It’s like a self-cleaning oven. Right? And our bodies can do that. And you can also do it by doing a deeper clean, like a 24- or 36-hour fast once a week or a three- to seven-day fast once a quarter.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s a lot of ways to do it. Or the fasting-mimicking diet, which is Valter Longo’s work, which does the same thing. It’s a 800-calorie diet for five days, and you can do that once a month or once a quarter. So there’s a lot of ways to hack the system. Ketogenic diets do the same thing, but the idea is you want to give your body a period of rest.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the people who say, “Well, don’t need protein. It’s going to activate mTOR. And mTOR activated is going to kill you and make you live shorter,” it just doesn’t take into account the whole picture. And so you have to look at all the data. Even the main study that people quote about this shows that, if you’re younger, and you eat protein, it may not be good, but a lot of protein. But, if you’re older, if you don’t, it’s really bad.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So even the people who are saying that we should be restricting protein, as you get older, there really is no debate that we need protein. In fact, as you get older, you need way more protein. Why? Because there’s something called anabolic resistance. Anabolic resistance means anabolic hormones and what steroids people take to build up the body builders. Anabolic means to build up. Right? There’s an [inaudible 00:37:46]. It’s like yin and yang. It’s like the sun and the moon. It’s like day and night.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s this balance in the universe. And we have the anabolic, which is built up, and we have a catabolic, which just to break down and clean up. So if you’re always in anabolic state, that’s bad, but anabolic resistance happens as you get older, where your body … It’s harder to make protein muscle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you actually have to eat more protein as you get older, and that doesn’t mean you have to be eating 24-ounce rib eye steaks every day. It just means you need to actually understand what your body’s doing and measure it and see. And pay attention to what happens to your body. Are you gaining muscle? Are you losing muscle? And you can tell that as you’re looking in the mirror, or you can do these body composition tests and look at your muscle mass and your body fat mass and so forth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the science is so interesting about, but it’s like everything in universe; there’s a balance. And so it’s not like we always want to shut off mTOR. And there may be hacks, like I talked about in my book, this thing called rapamycin, which is essentially a compound that’s really cool, Dhru. They found on Rapa Nui, which is Easter Island, where they had the statues that they don’t know how they got there. And it’s like maybe it’s aliens. Who the hell knows?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But basically they found this compound on the back of one of the statues that they started studying and they thought, oh, maybe it’s an antifungal. They called rapamycin like Aithromycin, but then it didn’t really work that well. Then they found it helps to modulate immune function, so it’s used in transplant medicine, but they also found it actually silences mTOR.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In fact, mTOR means the mammalian target of rapamycin. So actually they named this particular pathway after rapamycin. And when you take rapamycin, it silences mTOR. So now there’s a lot of people who are in the longevity space taking it. I don’t recommend it yet. They’re actually studying, for example, rapalogs, which are things that mimic rapamycin without some of the side effects because it can have side effects.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I think we need to be smart about this, but the whole longevity research is fascinating. So they’re … Think of it as starvation in a pill, where you mimic starvation without actually starving. I kind of like that.

Dhru Purohit:
I think one central point that you made that’s really important for anybody who’s following along with the subject is that even something like exercise, that increases mTOR, but just acutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dhru Purohit:
And nobody says that exercise is bad. So to, all of a sudden, say that eating a higher protein diet to make sure that you don’t have muscle mass loss, especially as you age, but even when you’re younger … And you mentioned vegans. I used to be a vegan back in the day. I’m not a vegan now, but even still people who are not vegan and eat all sorts of different food, they can also be under-eating on protein because they have a lot of refined carbohydrates and other things instead in their diet.

Dhru Purohit:
And they’re just not tactical about making sure that they get enough protein and, of course, the importance of strength training. So it’s all a lot of layers to it, but it feels like, through discussion and more people talking about it, we can all get a chance to benefit from the industry and experts understanding how to better convey the messaging inside of the right context for the public to follow

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, maybe we can have a debate with Peter Tia and David Sinclair and Chris [inaudible 00:41:04] and Valter Longo. And we can have a conversation about this, but I think it would be so fascinating.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of really great people, and there are, just to …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, by the way, they’re all my friends, and I respect them all. And I’ve learned a lot from all of them. It’s just everybody’s got a little … It’s like the blind men and the elephant looking at a different piece of it.

Dhru Purohit:
Totally, totally. And we should never assume that we’re not … Not me. I’m just an interviewer. You’re the actual expert here.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m one of the blind men too. I’m one of the blind men too.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, we should never estimate that … We should never underestimate our ability to be also with that camp as well. But just to … For anybody who is vegan, just a little shout out that I want to make a mention of. There are people inside of the vegan community that are talking about the importance of making sure that vegans, especially, get protein and have high-quality protein recipes.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, I come from the Hindu background, and that’s the vedic tradition, the Hindu tradition. A lot of those people, the Jain tradition, they spiritually believe that we shouldn’t be eating animals. And, obviously, that’s a traditional [inaudible 00:42:02].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But they eat a lot of dairy too. Right? They eat a lot of dairy.

Dhru Purohit:
And they eat a lot of dairy and that sort of thing. So they don’t believe in eating animal meat, but there’s still an importance in prioritizing protein. So one gentleman, Simon Hill, he’s a nutritionist, and I believe he has a PhD in nutrition. He is a vegan, plant based, who talks a lot about high-protein recipes. And I’m sure there’s many things that he disagrees with you on or me on, but he is telling people to prioritize protein.

Dhru Purohit:
So there is even a divide in the camp. It’s not like, all of a sudden, all vegans think that: Don’t eat protein. There are people that are looking at the literature and saying, “No, actually, we have to prioritize protein, especially as we age.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, by the way, I do have a lot of patients that are vegetarian or vegan or Buddhist. I don’t think you have to eat meat to be healthy. But I do say, “Look, here’s how you adjust your amino acids through supplements or through various protein powders to compensate,” and it makes a huge difference.

Dhru Purohit:
It does. It does. So, since we’re on this train, Mark, and we’ve only taken one question here, but I feel like we’re on a roll, so let’s keep on going here. Right? I’m going to just take you on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dhru Purohit:
I know. When we have to record these podcasts together, people are like: What are you going to talk about? I’m like: Look, anytime I can get Mark talking about his favorite subjects, these things will fly by, and it’ll be a lot easier to record. And this is actually what most people are interested in right now.

Dhru Purohit:
So last week, on the topic of things that people take for longevity, last week, Metformin was in the news for a few different reasons. Can you talk a little bit about that? And, again, whether or not this changes your perspective when we’re talking about potentially prescription drugs that people are leaning on in the biohacking space to maybe help with longevity or maybe not help with longevity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, fair enough. So, listen, I’m not against medication, just out of the gate, not at all. I think they’re compounds. Right? These are compounds we use. And I joke; I say I’m a medicine man. I’ll use whatever works, whether it’s an herb or there’s medication. It’s just how it’s used, when it’s used, why it’s used. Is it the right medicine for the right problem, the right dose at the right time?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so it’s really important to understand the mechanisms, how they work, what the risks are, what the side effects are. And I think with Metformin we’re going to learn a lot more. There’s a large trial going on called the TAME trial, which is Targeting Aging with Metformin. And it’s a very big, government-funded, rigorous trial where we’re going to get better answers.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
My view on Metformin is I would say I’m on the fence. Just to be honest, I’m on the fence. I was a hard no, and now I’m on the fence. And I really looked deeply into the literature as I was researching my book. I’m like: Okay, put all my biases aside, all my judgments aside against it. The thing that concerns me is that there’s so …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And when I was researching my book and just being a doctor, doing this for decades, there are so many ways to do the same thing that Metformin does without some of the risks or the problems. And the things that actually are not medications may work better, like rapamycin, for example, it’s tough. It’s tough to replicate that through lifestyle. Right? Yes, you can eat 30% less food, but you’re going to be hungry and cranky and miserable and feel it a lot longer, even though you live longer. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay, but, with Metformin, there was a large trial a number of years ago called the Diabetes Prevention Trial, the DPT. And this is a very well-respected trial. It’s been replicated on those following data. And this trial basically looked at prediabetics, about 10,000 people, and then gave them lifestyle changes, and I’ll explain that in a minute, Metformin, or nothing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the lifestyle changes far outperform Metformin, far outperform Metformin. So I think the Metformin reduced the progression to diabetes by 31%. The lifestyle reduced the progression to diabetes by 58%. Now, I actually had a woman who worked with me on one of my books as a helping edit it, and she was in the Diabetes Prevention Trial. I said, “Tell me, exactly what did you do?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She said, “Well, we had a low-fat diet. We had group support. We had supervised exercise, and we had to account for everything we did.” So I’m like: Oh, okay, so, yes, you ate a healthier diet. It was not processed junk food, but it was a low-fat diet. So it was a higher carbohydrate diet. Two, you had group support. Three, you had accountability. And, four, you had supervised exercise.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, that collection, we all know that all those things can make a difference. Getting off junk food helps, but it turns out that high-carbohydrate diets are not the best diets for diabetics. In fact, they’re the worst diets for diabetics. And David [inaudible 00:46:42]’s work has really demonstrated this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The work of Sarah Hallberg, a friend of mine who recently died of breast cancer, God bless her, she has done tremendous research using some of the Verta health data on ketogenic diets and diabetics fully reversing type-two diabetes. Not managing diabetes but fully reversing it in 60% of patients. And so we know that, even in the Diabetes Prevention Trial, the diet was far from optimized.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And even that was far better than Metformin, almost twice as good as Metformin, in preventing diabetes. So then I say to myself, “Well, if that’s true, why lean on the drug when we know we can activate the same longevity pathways as Metformin?” Now, what Metformin does is it works on … Remember I mentioned these longevity switches. So two of them are detecting excess insulin. It detects excess glucose and sugars and carbohydrates, mTOR, excess protein, and also sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then there’s sirtuins. And so the AMPK, and I’ll explain it a minute because it’s a little complicated. This is the hardest part of the book, and my editor is giving me a hard time because it’s like it’s really important science, but it’s geeky. And I try to simplify it, but basically the way I describe it’s there’s four longevity switches, the mTOR and the insulin ones, which respond to excess of calories and carbohydrates, sugars, proteins.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then there’s the ones that detect scarcity. They’re the sirtuins and the one called AMPK. AMPK stands for AMP: adenosine monophosphate kinase. Now, that sounds like a big mumbo jumbo full of words, but essentially your body makes energy called ATP. It’s what happens when you eat and you breathe, you make the gasoline that runs everything in your body, through the mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cells. And, instead of gasoline, your body produces ATP.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, when it’s used up, you’re giving two phosphorus molecules away as part of the way you release energy. The phosphorus is like the sparklers on July 4th. That’s like that bright energy. You’re basically using that to run and power your body. So when you use up two of the phosphorus molecules, it goes from ATP, which is triphosphate to monophosphate. That’s AMP. And so basically the body says: Oh. Shoot, there’s not enough energy around. I better do something.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so then it activates all these amazing compensation processes, these adaptations to starvation, which is a good thing. And that actually turns off inflammation. It gets your mitochondria making new mitochondria. It activates sirtuins to activate DNA repair. It shuts up mTOR to increase autophagy. And so there’s all this cool stuff that happens that basically makes you younger and heals your body.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s all these innate healing mechanisms we have. And it’s so cool because all these innate healing mechanisms allow us to repair, heal, and live longer and not die if we don’t have enough food. Okay? So Metformin is an AMPK activator, and that’s good. And that’s how it lowers blood sugar, makes you more insulin sensitive. It’s a diabetes drug. And it seems to be that people who take these drugs seem to live longer or have less death.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s interesting, so I think there’s a promise to it, but there’s some downsides to it. It can cause GI distress. It can maybe affect the mitochondria in a bad way. So I’m on the fence. And I personally want to be healthy and vibrant and live to be 120 or 180, but I’m not taking that drug yet. And I know a lot of people are in this space, like David Sinclair and others, and I respect what they’re doing. And they’re amazing scientists. I just know the power of lifestyle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I know the power of lifestyle to activate these pathways. And what’s even more interesting, and it’s whole nother podcast we can get into some time, is the plant compounds that we have co-evolved with also regulate these pathways. So there are all these cool things that we can eat or herbs we can use. And, Dhru, I just got back from Ikaria, which is one of the blue zones.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And Dan Butner hooked me up with somebody there. And he’s the guy who wrote the Blue Zones book, a really amazing friend and great, great guy who’s really discovered a lot of the longevity secrets of these blue zones, where people who to be very old. They, for example, eat all these wild foods, like wild greens. And every day they drank this special tea that’s made from wild herbs, and there’s wild herbs everywhere. One of them is wild sage. And I actually …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
One morning, I went to go milk goats with this goat guy, this goat shepherd, and he was like: Come on and sit down. So he showed me how to make the goat cheese, and we made the goat cheese. It was fun. And then, after, he was like: Let’s have some tea and talk. And, of course, he’s a Greek. I didn’t speak Greek, but they had a translator there. And we had this amazing wild sage tea.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I’m like: Wow, this is really amazing. So I looked up what it was, and I looked up the scientific name. And then I studied what was in it, and it’s full of all these things called [inaudible 00:51:47], which is these powerful compounds in green tea, but there was no caffeine. And these are among, again, these green tea extracts, these compounds, also in wild sage, activate a lot of these longevity switches.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s all these planned compounds we can use that are part of food and other things that I think are way better than taking Metformin. So that’s my opinion now. It might change when the TAME trial comes out, if the benefits are so great. So I’m not against it. I’m just waiting.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, and I think that … I didn’t dig into the science of what came up last week, but I think it was in the news specifically for potentially interfering with muscle growth inside of the body. Do you know if that was [inaudible 00:52:26]?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, so mitochondria, that’s the thing. So that’s the thing. It’s got a dark side; all drugs have a dark side. Right? So, for example, rapamycin turns off mTOR but also may cause all kinds of other problems, like immune suppression and other things you don’t want. So it’s like you got to be careful with these compounds, and you got to know how to use them. And, personally, I like the idea of using these phytochemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And there’s this concept called phytohormesis, which people are talking about, which is like the hot and cold we talked about earlier in the podcast. These plants are like toxins. They’re the plant’s defense mechanisms, but a little dose of them also activates our biology to repair and heal. It’s mind blowing, and I don’t want to get too woo-woo about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But, actually, when you understand how does these molecules know to bind to these receptors in our body? It’s just mind blowing. So I think we co-evolved with these plants, and our bodies are lazy. And we don’t make vitamin C because we can get it from food. Well, we don’t make a lot of these compounds because we can get it from these plants that we co-evolved with.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so I think this whole science of food as medicine is just beginning, and what’s really exciting is the Rockefeller Foundation is spending $200 million partnering with other groups to create the periodic table of phytochemicals. There’s 25,000. There’s probably a lot more that we haven’t even discovered. It’s just a treasure trope of medicines that are out there that we now can use as part of our diet or as teas or as herbs and spices or as supplements to actually help us live a long time and be healthy.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, that’s great, Mark. I think that’s a lot of fantastic information for today’s episode. We only took one question, but that question got us rolling on a topic that you’re just super passionate about, which is longevity. So thank you for the breakdown, and I’m going to pass it over to you to go ahead and conclude us out for today’s episode.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Dhru, I feel bad because I literally could talk forever, and I don’t want to lose people. And I hope you guys actually understood half of what I said. And if you don’t, I promise it’s all going to be in my new book. So you should definitely wait. It’s coming out February 2023, and I’m not trying to sell new books, but I just really want to get this information out there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I really want people to understand how to activate their body’s own innate healing mechanisms. And that’s really all we have time for in today’s masterclass. So if you really liked it, I want you to submit your questions for next time on HiHo. And maybe I’ll answer them in the next up upcoming masterclass. And, if you enjoy this podcast, please share with your friends and family. I bet they’ll get a lot out of it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Leave a comment. Have you used hot and cold therapy? How have you experimented with some of these things? And what has it done for you? So I’d love to hear from you, and we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Pharmacy.

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.

Speaker 1:
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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