Dr. Nir Barzilai: Can This Drug Slow Aging? The Science Behind Metformin

Episode 852 1h 49m


We are on the leading edge of a revolution that will dramatically change the way we age. Most chronic diseases are united by one primary cause—the biology of aging itself. While there are genetic and environmental bases for many age-related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, etc.), aging increases our chances of contracting them more than any other factor alone—making aging the primary driver of the global epidemic of chronic disease.

On today’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to Dr. Nir Barzilai about the key factors that contribute to the aging process and the diseases of aging along with the specific genetic markers or pathways that influence lifespan.

The way we think about aging and disease is rapidly changing. Dr. Barzilai and I begin our conversation by exploring how aging and chronic disease are closely aligned and what is at the root of the accelerated aging we’re seeing in so many people today.

Dr. Barzilai is one of two people who have spent the most time studying centenarians–or people who reach 100 years of age. Many centenarians pass the hundred-year mark almost effortlessly; whereas most people are ill for an average of five to eight years prior to death, centenarians tend to maintain most of their abilities and are ill for only about five to eight months before their death. Dr. Barzilai shares what he discovered about how these SuperAgers live such long lives in remarkable health, and he breaks down what can and can’t be attributed to environmental and lifestyle factors.

We then dive into Dr. Barzilai’s research on the drug Metformin and how it is being used to target aging and prevent age-related disease. We discuss Metformin’s effects on the gut microbiome, muscle mass, and delayed aging, and I share my current thoughts on whether it’s something I would take.

Dr. Barzilai also shares his thoughts on whether the intake of phytochemicals and other natural compounds might provide similar benefits to Metformin. And we close our conversation with Dr. Barzilai’s personal longevity routine.

If you’re interested in living to 100 and beyond, like me, this is a conversation for you.


This episode is brought to you by Sunlighten, Cozy Earth, BiOptimizers, and Fatty 15. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • The hallmarks of aging


  • What causes the hallmarks of aging?


  • Dr. Barzilai’s research on centenarians


  • Why living to 100+ years is good for the economy


  • What enables someone to live to 100 years old?


  • Taking growth hormone and Metformin have different effects based on your age


  • The connection between HDL cholesterol and longevity


  • Dr. Barzilai’s research on Metformin


  • How Metformin works in the body and on muscle growth


  • Dr. Barzilai’s personal longevity


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Resources Mentioned

Host & Guests


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

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Coming up on this week's episode of the Doctor's Farmacy.

Dr. Nir Barzilai:
Remember Paul Simon had the 50 Ways to Live Your Lover. There are 50 ways to be centenarians. We're trying to discover all of them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman, and this is a place where conversations that matter and today we're going to learn about longevity science. It's one of my main passions and it's why I'm so excited to bring you today's conversation with one of the top leaders in the field, Dr. Nir Barzilai. He's the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for..

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Ep. 852 - Dr. Nir Barzilai: Can This Drug Slow Aging? The Science Behind Metformin