You are listening to the Darren Wilson Show, I'm Darren, I spent the last 20 years devoted to improving health, protecting the environment and finding ways to live a more sustainable life. In this podcast, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. I hope that through their knowledge and unique perspectives, they'll inspire you, too. We talk about all kinds of topics from amping up your diets to improving your well-being to the mind blowing stories behind the human experience and the people that are striving to save us and our incredible planet.
We've investigated some of life's fatal conveniences. You know, those things that we are told might be good for us, but totally aren't. So here's to making better choices and the small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you and the people around you and the planet. Let's do this. This is my show, The Darren Olean Show.
Everybody, welcome to the show. Thanks for tuning in, stoked you're here. We get to share some time and some space together, and I get to introduce you to another amazing, unbelievable guest, Dr. David Sinclair. If any of you know him than you know his brilliance in Antiaging, if you don't know him, you're going to be blown away. He's an extraordinary gentleman. By the way, this episode is sponsored by Caldera Lab.. I finally found an incredible skin care product botanically based that I'm going to tell you about a little later in the show.
But I'm stoked because I love botanicals and I love what this product does for me. I've been using it for a while and this is the kind of thing I get excited about when people do the right thing and formulate the right way for things that go on your body, have to be safe, effective and just kick ass.
And I'm going to tell you about that a little bit. So that's sponsored by Caldera. Today, we're grateful for them for the work that they're doing. But Dr. David Sinclair, holy cow for the work that he's been doing and dedicated to. He is literally a world leader in anti aging research. And he's the author of The New York Times best selling book. I love this book. I gobbled it up right away called Life Span Why We Age and Why We Don't Have To.
That's right. He's attacking anti aging. He's a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, the co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology and Aging Research at Harvard Medical School. He is best known for his work on genes and small molecules that delay aging. You heard that right, delaying aging, slowing the biological clock, including sirtuin genes, resveratrol and Addy's precursors. All of this stuff when we'll get into in the episode. He's an author and published over one hundred and seventy scientific papers, co inventor of over 50 patents and co-founder 14 biotech companies.
Yeah, this guy is kick ass. He has received numerous honors, including being named Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world and the top 50 people in health care in twenty eighteen. Come on. So let's give it up for this guy. I just have to say that this is an exciting topic because this is everything that we thought we knew about genetics, epidemiology, about just our genes. And this is just what I have and this is just what I'm dealt with.
And we have so much more control of how the environment influences us, what we do with our nutrition, what we do with our sleep, what we do with our exercise, what we do with supplements, all of this stuff we're going to get into. I got to meet Dr. David Sinclair a few times, and he is just a delight, the human that is doing great work and a dedicated and just a bright spirit. So I'm so stoked to have him on the podcast and for you to receive knowledge so that you can, what, kick ass and live the life that you're truly here to live without the limitations of age, without the limitations of aches and pains, without the limitations of your own consciousness, to expand our education, to expand our knowledge, to expand what it is that we think we know, only to challenge that to be open to what we can receive that might possibly blow all of us away in terms of what is actually possible.
And so open your minds, open your hearts, take a deep breath, be in gratitude and welcome my next great guest, Dr. David. Well, welcome. Last time I saw you is a different world. A lot of things changed. A lot of things are changing. One thing that isn't changing is we're aging, or at least we're we're we're moving in that direction.
And I mean, without getting into the opening up that Pandora's box necessarily, because I don't necessarily want to do that, persay. But I mean, let's let's just jump into the sirtuin conversation. Right. And so this big discovery you had with with this, you know, the cellular environment, realizing this this this protein essentially. Right. The sirtuin longevity marker. So why don't you and then I want to ask about what you're currently doing today to move continue to move the needle.
Good. Yeah. Yeah. So the sirtuins, we have seven of these genes in our body. I first worked on them in little yeast cells back in the 1990s. And so turns out most life forms on the planet have these genes, whether they're plants, bacteria or even cells, of course. And we've been along with probably one hundred other labs trying to figure out what these genes have been. What are they doing in the body and in your cells, what they do is they they promote longevity.
They keep the little yeast they use for baking and brewing. They keep them healthier for longer. And it turns out we've as a group of scientists have figured out that they do the same thing in our bodies. So you can think of the genes as making little proteins that are little workers that that tell the body how to be healthy. They're quite bossy. They tell other proteins what to do. They don't do the work themselves, but that they they act like the Army Corps of Engineers or or traffic cop, think of it that way, that without them, the body doesn't really know how to take care of itself.
And that includes things like digest food well and process it, give the body energy, heal itself. Even memory is controlled by these sirtuins. And as we get older, we have less and less of activity of these cartoons. And this is one of the reasons we believe we become much more susceptible to diseases that we call this this process aging. But it's really just over time losing the ability to defend off not just internal problems, but as we see now, external infections.
And it may be partly the reason why the older, older population is much more susceptible to covid is that these inbuilt defenses are just not there anymore or much, much weaker.
Right. And that's really where you make that argument of, listen, this is this is a breakdown of mechanisms. This is kind of a disease pathway. This this whole aging thing. Right. That's that's kind of your you're seeing these mechanisms and these start to go down and many other markers. Right. So that's your argument. So what was the light bulb moment when you saw these sirtuins and then you realized that it's expressing in the moment like what what was that moment like?
And then when did you start to understand that it's affected and this Plíhal morphic kind of way, how we can stimulate more of them? Yeah, we just thought that they were passive genes that were helping what connected it to me. About four years later, I moved from MIT to Harvard and started my own lab, and that's a scary thing because if you're at Harvard, if you don't make a big discovery or change the world, you don't get to keep your job, you're out of there.
So that was stressful. And so what we decided to do is to try and understand how does the body or these cells, either one, how do they or do they turn on these genes? And if they do, what's causing them to turn on? And we first turn to you because you could do an experiment in a week rather than a century. It's a little bit cheaper as well. So what we found with these cells was that there were a number of ways to turn on the sirtuins and they all related to mild stress.
So if we heat it up the cells to our body temperature, normally they're like 30 degrees Celsius. That is, they turned on the sirtuins. They didn't like too much salt. They didn't like a lack of amino acids, and they certainly didn't like a lack of sugar or what we call yeast calorie restriction or fasting. And but the thing that gave us the most excitement at the time, we're talking two thousand three, a nature paper that we published was that there was a single gene that was controlling all the sirtuins.
And it has a name is called P and C one. It's not that the name is not exciting, but the fact that there was this control gene that was sensing the environment temperature, what a date that was turning on these defenses and that fit with the idea that was emerging in the field of health and longevity, which is cornices. A little bit of what doesn't kill you will make your body stronger and live longer and and epigenetics do right.
So is that a continued idea that people, you know, the DNA is not just the stagnant kind of instruction manual that that there's a listening aspect to this thing? There's an adaptive genetic side of this environment. There's stimulus. And it makes sense that we have an adaptive cellular mechanisms infinitely within the body listening to the stressors. And so where in life, because this is such a complicated thing for the mainstream people and because we hear stress and we just immediately go to, yeah, I'm stressed out, I don't have a job and I don't have money, why am I not living longer?
So. So let's break down that level of stress, because I think especially now more than ever, what can we do to mitigate? Because I can only imagine that chronic modern day stressors over a period of time in that sympathetic response all the time is definitely not going to help the situation. Right. And and at the other side of it, this understanding of our friend as stress not being too complacent in our modern day conveniences, we need to actually start getting back to that response of stressing in a good way.
So just break that open a little bit so people are really clear between I'm running ragged over here and I'm also not getting out in my natural sense of stress and understanding it.
Well, unfortunately, stress has two different meanings for the same word. We are definitely I'm definitely not talking about the chronic stress that almost everybody on the planet right now is feeling that will not make you live longer. It will add you that kind of stress leads to molecules like cortisol moving through your body, which are, over the long run, very detrimental. So you want to reduce mental psychological stress. But there's this other type of stress, which is a biological stress, very different.
What that really means is you you want your body to think that conditions are becoming adverse, such as not getting enough food for a little time or the temperature is not optimal, or you're not getting enough amino acids, for example, that will put your body in a state of alertness and perceived adversity. Right. We know, fortunately, that at least most of us, if we skip a meal or two or even three, we're not going to run out of food.
But our bodies don't know that they've evolved to panic when we're not getting enough food and they turn on these defenses as a result. And that's why we think that fasting over a short period is not not for a really long time. We're not talking about nutrition here, but short periods of fasting do a world of good for for health.
Yeah. So we can break that down a little bit. But I kind of snickered to myself when we're talking about these biological stressors. As you and I met Laird Gav's house when you were in the middle of stressing out whether you're going to get enough oxygen or not. Right. And and and and also since then, have you seen I mean, so we're going to unpack the fasting and intermittent fasting and how to kind of regulate that. Have you you found that that being oxygen hungry or breathing, starving is also beneficial from the sirtuins aspect?
That's unclear. We haven't made a direct link, although I'm seeing results from other labs that show that short bursts of hypoxia will we will actually know this is a fact which will stimulate blood vessel growth. And as you get older, as long as it's done, absent any any tumor in your body, having more blood flow is always a good thing. And the connection that I have to to that and the sirtuins is we we showed a few years ago that by turning on one of the sirtuin genes, No.
One out of seven, we could mimic low oxygen. And the mice that we were treating had much better blood flow and that capillaries in their muscle were much greater, more numerous. And then these mice that were elderly now could run like they were young again. And I just haven't proven that if if you experience hypoxia, the way I was suffering a jump from the bottom of the pool that day, that it's very similar thing is happening. Right?
Well, I just talked to Patrick McEwen, who wrote the book The Oxygen Advantage, and talking about Noah's breathing and how some very simple, deep breathing exercises of slowing down, actually, you know, exhaling breath holds and then just kind of slowly creating a little bit of a starving sensation obviously increases your CO2 retention, but also potentially mitochondrial production and capillary response. So there's there's definitely this synergy there potentially. So let's look at because intermittent fasting now has been talked about so many different ways.
And now the from your perspective, obviously, you can get into extreme fasting and stuff, but that's not really what you're talking about. Certainly from like Valter Longo and his work as fasting mimicking. So it doesn't have to be. So when people think of fasting, there is definitely an emotional response of people who've never done it, because that's, you know, there is an emotional side and the social side of eating. So from your perspective, No.
One, what does the research say? And then potentially what is your best kind of recommendation for someone who may not even have done this or can do this and that can start tomorrow to help support them living healthier and longer?
Oh, well, it's pretty simple, actually. And if I can do it, probably most people can do it because I'm not as disciplined as you are. There are a few varieties and that the truth is we don't know which ones best. And it probably depends on the person and even your circadian rhythm and whether you feel hungry in the morning or or not. So here's what I do. I have a very small breakfast. I have a spoon or two full of yogurt.
It helps me dissolve the resveratrol, which is one of the supplements I've been taking for 13 years. This is the molecule from red wine that we found activated the sirtuin enzyme. So I don't eat much until late lunch. Sometimes I go all the way through to dinner and I have drinks in between. And I find it that that actually really helps me focus. I feel good that way and I like to eat a decent dinner. And so I do that every day.
If I have a lunch, it's usually a very small sandwich or salad, nothing that would fill me up. And I find that works. So that's called the sixteen eight, sixteen hours of fasting. I hate that there are others where people skip food all weekend or two days a week and I've never been good at that. But it's done. And then there's the more extreme, said Dr. Peter Attia, who many listeners will know. He goes for a week.
Sometimes I think four times a year he'll do a week of fasting, which is an extraordinarily deep cleanse. And I don't just mean in the gut. There's actually processes like this one called autophagy or autophagy, where the cells, when they're hungry enough, they actually switch into the state where they start chewing up all proteins. And if you do that for short periods, it seems to be very healthy for animals and ourselves. There's this idea, too, that if you're doing types of fasting over a period of time or intermittent consistently, that do you think that autophagy is starting to happen over a consistent period of time and that your body's getting used to and getting ready for and getting more efficient at fasting if you're not doing it for these long periods of time?
I think if you can do these long periods, it's actually a good thing. But things happen at three days of not eating that don't happen after one day. For instance, there's a type of autophagy called chaperone mediated autophagy or C.M.A. And a good friend of mine down in New York, Annamaria Acquaro, discovered this. But you do need really to be quite hungry for that to work. But what she's found and she recently reported this, a conference I was at just last week, that she can extend the life span of a mouse.
It looked like it was about 30 percent at least, which is a dramatic extension just by turning on this C.M.A process. Wow.
How so? What was the protocol of that? How how often does that mice. She did it genetically so that that's not something we can easily do to ourselves. But the principle is the same. There's a gene called LMI and it's a lamp lamp and it actually switches off in the animals as they get older. And she just genetically modified the mice to make sure that didn't happen. Wow.
So does she have protocols yet to be able to turn that on naturally through or is she just starting to see that that could potentially happen through long, long term path? Well, I don't think she's explored diet as much in the mice, but herself, she never seems to eat much. She's always drink drinking diet sodas. And that's what she does not help, not healthy. But yet her body doesn't get a lot of calories, as far as I can tell.
And maybe that if she she outlives all of us, we'll know something to it.
Yeah, well, there's a restrictive eating seems to show up almost everywhere you look right with. Even when I was I was actually in Sardinia with Dr. Long ago. And you talk to these centenarians and they're definitely you know, I eat a little bit and very little at night and I kind of go through these these phases where they just don't they don't really eat these huge meals that we've kind of bought into in this western western world. So there's definitely something to that.
So resveratrol. So this this is kind of the the almost the gasoline or the the the fuel source for the search warrants. Right. So how does that mechanism work and what's the easiest way to do that? Is it a supplement? Is it is it food? I kind of always steer towards, well, what's the greatest food source I can I can get to and use, or is it almost impossible to get the dosage that we would need to be to make this significant enough to turn on the situations?
Well, we could we can activate it a few ways. We've discovered there is the resveratrol molecule, which we've worked on for over a decade. It's hard to get a lot of research into the body. It's very insoluble. So that's why I take it with yogurt that may help it to be absorbed. We've we've done some studies in humans and others have to, and it's very important to make sure it's absorbed. Otherwise, these trials can tend to fail.
But it does seem to be antiinflammatory in people as well as in mice. And especially if you're, um, having a high fat diet. Let's say you're a fat mouse. Resveratrol extends the lifespan of those mice very effectively for some reason. We also found it extended the life of mice. If they were skipping meals every day, every other day, we don't yet understand that. But anyway, to jump to the chase, I take a gram of resveratrol with my morning yogurt every day.
And I'm I'm still doing OK physically. So that's a long time to experiment with what we call an end of. Yeah, but it's it's hard it's hard to do it through research. All this there's another discovery that's interesting that came out of another lab, the MARTINEC lab, and they discovered just what was the end of last year, that olive oil component, one particular olive oil component called like acid, which is a mono unsaturated fatty acid, activates just the same way that resveratrol does when.
Touches and interacts with this one enzyme in the cell, and there's a protein that grabs the Alake acid and concentrates it by pushing it into one. So this may be one of the reasons, I think and so to others, that when you eat a lot of olive oil, it has some benefits. Who knew that it was turning on the body's defenses against adversity? And then there's a third way. Just briefly, which is that the sirtuins need fuel.
They don't just work without it. And if you don't have this fuel, they're dead. And it's called Nadie. Now, an is a ubiquitous molecule. It's in every form of life, in every cell. And we need it for many chemical reactions. But what was discovered by my colleagues is Lenny Guarantee at MIT deserves a lot of credit for discovering and am I a good friend of mine that WashU that NATO is the fuel for sirtuins. Now?
Our bodies have a certain amount of energy. We need it to survive. And without any doubt we did in about 30 seconds. We need this stuff and our bodies are always making more. But as we get older, it looks like we make less and less. But you can supplement with precursors to Nadie. We've done a lot of work as a shift in my on supplementing mice old mice with an ad. And that was one of the ways we made those mice run further was to give them some in a booster.
One of the boosters that we've used a lot is called in and it's short for nicotinamide mono nucleotide. Just be careful not to mix that with mix it up with Eminem because Eminem is probably not going to make you live longer. I can't prove it, but that's my suspicion. But yeah. So those are the three main ways that we know to activate sirtuins. There are a whole bunch of other polyphenols that are in plants that can activate sirtuins. And we've known this for a decade now.
There's a new one that's on the thing called physician. There's another one called quercetin. I think people pronounce them differently sometimes, but these are increasingly of interest to people, in part because of our work, but also because other labs have found that they have health properties, one of which is that they kill off or help kill off senescent cells and senescent cells is a whole different story. Senescent cells are old cells that that just accumulate in our body.
Think of them as zombie cells. They sit there and wreak havoc and make our cells dysfunctional. They cause inflammation. They can even cause cancer. So we don't like senescent cells. We're trying to find ways to kill them off in the body. And these molecules seem to have some of those effects.
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If there was like 12 of you and we had unlimited funding, could you imagine the kind of work that could be done on just spending enough time on one plant and extracting all of the different aspects that it has? I mean, because it's like we talk about one molecule doing all of these things. Well, sometimes sometimes there's, you know, moringa. Alafair, for example, has got thirty six anti antioxidants very powerfully in it. And so I'm like, man, like we don't have enough.
We need to stay longer, we need to live longer just so that we can actually study this natural part of our world so we can discover, I think, more of what is out there. So. From from your perspective right now, No one, what are you excited about, like you put out this book named Resveratrol Eat less good amount of biological stress, I would add, and have people lift heavy lift, try to lift heavy every day, just increase that growth.
Natural growth hormone and several other things. Obviously sleep and hydration and sensible eating and all of that stuff. What are you now focused on and most excited about in your research and maybe whatever you can share, but please share with them because I'm kind of cheating here a little bit. I want to know what you're doing because I also have my hand and a bunch of other stuff. And obviously in the plant world and potentially one day we could bump up against each other on some stuff.
Sounds good. What are you excited about?
Well, we're always interested in new molecules that we coined the term Zino or meetings. It's a telling word, Conrad. How? It's a colleague of mine and I coined it so zino. For me, this is the term that means if you eat plants that are under adversity, you will sense that and get the benefits. You're exactly right. For example, is the the ultimate example of that. And also, you're right, I try to eat foods that have not been grown under perfect conditions.
Usually they have a lot more color. They might have a few holes in them from insects, but that's fine. That means that they're the plants are defending themselves with these molecules. And we, I think, reap the benefits that the big one that's coming down the line in the aging field is what's called epigenetic reprogramming. And you mentioned earlier parranda, epigenome, epigenome. It's really important to know all about that. The genome is the DNA, the epigenome, other structures in the cell that controls which genes in the DNA get turned on and off.
And when you're young, it's a perfect symphony of which genes get played in every cell, essentially different than every other. But as we get older cells, it becomes a cacophony and that the music isn't played well. The genes get switched on and off in the wrong way. And I believe that's a major part of why we age and we can actually measure that quite accurately and predict how long someone will age. And we're not all the same age.
Of course, even if we're all biologically I'm fifty one or fifty one year olds are not the same biological age by any means. Some people are still in their late thirties and some people are in their 60s and that very actually accurately predict what diseases you'll get or how soon you'll become morbid and sick and eventually die, which is an interesting but scary thought that there is a clock in our bodies that's run by the epigenome. But what's really interesting is that we've just discovered that you can reset, reset the genome and get those genes to to be turned on and off.
And the sirtuins, at least three of them numbers, one, six and seven are intimately involved in controlling that process. So that might be one of the reasons why sirtuins is so good for us is that they slow down the aging of that clock.
You know, a few years ago, I forget how many were they just now thinking of the clock. Right. And in our clock and our biological clock. And in terms of the there's a couple of things I want to kind of open up here, and that is stem cells and also the telomeres and the telomerase. Right. So there was that evidence that came out and I don't know, I kind of want to pick your brain on the accuracy of measuring the telomerase and measuring the rate at which we're losing the ends of our chromosomes as an accurate way of measuring our biological age.
So I want to get your thoughts on that. Is that is that coming to be more and more accurate or is there is there other ways that our number one more accurate or is it needing to be a little bit expanded than just looking at telomerase? Yeah, so telomeres definitely shorten as we get older. You can measure that. And people have had this as a clock up until about five years ago. But the new epigenetic clock is fast taking over from that because it's found to be more stable and more accurate that although he's biased, Steve Horvath, another good friend of mine now at UCLA, he was looking at the telomerase or telomere length clock.
This is his what we now call the epigenetic horvath's clock, and he he said the telomeres are so variable that they don't serve as a good mark, as good a marker as his clock. And if you're wondering if you're listening and you want to get into the detail, Steve Horvath's clock is based on little chemicals called metals that will be added in subtracting physically to our DNA molecules. And he can read that. We can read that in my lab and we can do that pretty easily for a few hundred bucks.
And there are even companies now that are offering services to have these measures is that they're specifically methylation the methylation process?
Yes, it is. And but what we're finding is with the epigenetic reset and we we we focused on resetting the old eye of the eye of a mouse that's old or damaged. We could reset that. The epigenetic clock, the metal clock, the clock is it's also but we also think that we're reactivating telomerase. We have some evidence that the cells are are not as old in that regard as well. So that's what's exciting about the epigenetic angle, is that it might be able to reverse many of the different causes of aging that we scientists have been arguing for 20 years, which is the most important, fortunately, about I think it was close to 10 years ago.
We at least agreed that there are there is more than one cause of aging. We have nine of them. Epigenetics is one km. Telomeres is the other. There's autophagy and pretty estate. Let's go together. There's nutrient sensing stem cells. You mentioned mitochondrial function or energy production in the body. So the list, the list is a little bit longer, but you get the idea. But what I'm excited about is that reversing the epigenetic changes seems to reset many of those.
And we're just taking them off the list, including, we think, resetting telomerase. Yeah, it's very it's very interesting. It's just really cool. The fact that you're at this point where you're understanding the different systems and the I remember when the research came out about the telomeres and the and it just blew my mind. But now you're like, well, that's one piece of this bigger kind of system. And to describe this new way of of seeing a clock biologically and then and then starting to peek into it in terms of its susceptibility.
And it's also reset reset ability, that's super exciting. And it must must wake you up in the in the day. In the morning. It sure does. Yeah. It's one of the most exciting things I've seen. And I was very fortunate that a gene in my lab made this discovery. What I should mention is that it doesn't just reset the clock and the nerve cells in the back of the eye, those eyes in the mouse, the mouse was blind.
And then three weeks later, they can see again, which to me just is an incredible finding. And the thing that also surprising is there are proteins in the cell that that get rid of these these methyl chemicals on your DNA, similar to what a dentist will scrape. A dental technician will scrape your teeth and get the plaque off. That's what these proteins do. And when when we remove those proteins from the eye, we have technology in gene therapy to get rid of those.
Now, the clock didn't go back and the eye sight didn't recover. So what does that say? It says that the clock or at least these metals are part of potentially part of the aging process and the reset switch.
Wow, that's incredible. So so then it leads me to my next question then. So what I'm hearing is that potentially it's it's turning this on and cleaning things up in a certain sense so that the eyesight can come back. But where is there the repairing side of it? Because I just want to set a stage a little bit. So I've worked with Dr. Henry Young, who discovered the Toti potent stem cell and then pluripotent, then all of this stuff.
And he was at Mercer University and discovered that in the city, working with salamanders and all of this stuff. And in the late 70s and then in the 80s, the Mercer University said basically, you're crazy. You can keep that. So they they gave him the IP. And so he stuck it in a NGO essentially, and continued to do the work. And what he found was obviously totipotent is kind of like that, has no blueprint, but can turn itself into any tissue or any organ, even the zygote, even at the basic basis of all levels.
And that. By there's ways to endogenously induce a high amount of activated totipotent stem cells and for everyone, Tonker, just keep it really simple. There's a lot of stem cells and stem cells. Once they've been given instruction, they can't go the opposite. They can't go back. Right. So if you have a bunch of totipotent stem cells, meaning they have the ability to repair the body in levels that kind of can blow your mind. And and having worked with Dr Young for a while, it's kind of astonishing if you flood the body full of someones.
So he did a couple of things and I won't make this too long. He did a couple of things he was able to take circulating totipotent stem cells. That was patent number one, take it out of your body and blood. He was then able to find that totipotent and no one else could even understand what that was or looked like. He could then pleura for eight billions of them. So they were your own and he made more of them and injected them back in your body just via the blood.
And then the body turned into a healing incubator. So. And then as he saw that there was a huge amount of telomerase in telomeres, that that was a kind of an off gassing of the process of this healing. And he he regenerated knees and joints and everything within weeks within one injection of the stuff. So and then there's also things I realized through compounds and certain lifestyle, things that you could tweak and you could turn on your endogenous totipotent stem cells.
So blueberries, a cup of blueberries and and. Low to no caffeine and alcohol and and then blue green algae, it turned on your totipotent stem cells by over 10 times. So this is all in research. He's written two hundred different papers on all of this stuff. So my question then, there has to be this intersection between what you're talking about potentially and and the availability or the access of stem cells as as a way of repairing and being available, because it's kind of the same.
I would love to see the bell curve of this because it's kind of the same thing as you cruise in your life and you don't take care of yourself. Your your stem cell activity goes down and your ability to repair it goes down. So what are your thoughts on sorry for the long haul, but I just wanted you to have a little bit of understanding of of where I'm coming from. I just want to understand that intersection, because there has to be a strong correlation between what you're talking about in these subsystems.
There is actually very well predicted. The the technology that we use to reverse aging and reprogram cells is related to the technology that people use to turn adult cells back into stem cells to try and use those cells, pluripotent stem cells to make organs and skin, this kind of thing. But you don't want to use something that's so strong that you're going to turn the eyeball or any part of your body into new stem cells because it could easily lead to cancer.
In fact, it's known if you try that you will get a mouse that has cancer. You can even kill it within two days if you do it too hard. So we have to figure out a way to do it safely, to take the cells back in age so that they're they're not stem cells, but they've got the health and vitality of stem cells, which we know lost a lot longer than a lot of other cells in the body. And so what we took was a subset of what are called Yamanaka genes, or Yamanaka factors.
The three of them once called for Sock's to last ones, Keila, for these are factors that, like the sirtuins, direct other genes how to behave. And so they, we found, set off this cascade of a program that involves probably hundreds of other genes that learn to go to work and reset the cell. But we are very fortunate that we didn't cause any cancer. We've tested this for over a year. It's very at least in animals, very safe.
We'll see in people hopefully in the next couple of years. But we were excited because the the genes that we left out, we've now shown with the toxic ones, you don't don't need those. And I think that what we're doing is tapping into what salamanders naturally do. Those animals that can rebuild things like a lizard's tail, they can do that. We mammals, primates have lost that ability. And I think finally we're going to we're going to have the ability to do that again for statehood.
And that's that's incredible. But when you start breaking down the mechanisms and then you start understanding this stuff, it's almost just what you said. It's kind of like, I love that you just said that because it's almost the dormant ability that we have in us that potentially it's available. We just haven't evolved or maybe we evolved or whatever that that part is. And I love your sense of the stuff because I'm sure you've been looked at sideways more than you've been looked at straight on and believe by your colleagues.
Right. So you I can only imagine is this you know, your demeanor is so calm and and peaceful, but at the same time, you're kind of an ass kicker. You're pushing envelopes. Right. So and now I think you're probably correct me if I'm wrong, but there's more and more research and there's more you're probably surrounded yourself with a lot of great other colleagues that are now getting the attention, like just a snippet. What was it like for you pushing into these areas when maybe at Harvard and all of these places people kind of thought you were a little nuts?
Well, it hasn't been an easy career, I'll put it that way. A lot of work that we've put out over the years starts out with some healthy skepticism. But it's OK. I tell people in my lab that if it's not a surprising discovery, then it's not worth working on. And so what we try to do is to do things that are unexpected. That's really what science is the best science is about. If you can predict what.
Going to happen then, that's not so exciting. You want to push the boundaries and actually at Harvard, we are encouraged to do that kind of research. It's just that the field of aging has had a bad rap for many years. It's changing now. But when I first started, it wasn't considered, you know, a real form of biology. It's certainly changed since I started. But I also I speak out, I say things that doctors or doctors don't believe, which is that aging should be considered a medical condition, that we should try to treat aging, not just individual diseases.
I mean, fortunately, the things are changing. And the book that I wrote has helped sway a lot of people that it's just a no brainer once you lay out the facts. But it has been tough and has also been I've come up against pharmaceutical companies who've said that our work was wrong and I'm still standing, but I haven't had anything yet. But that blew up. But it's a scary thing having someone published that it's wrong and then you then typically have to spend three to five years working on it to see if they're right or you're right.
And actually, the best attitude that I could have and teach my students is the answer. Doesn't matter whether honestly, whether we're right or wrong, of course, it's better if we're right. But what's more important is we figure out what's true and then move on. And as long as you've got that attitude, it's not that stressful. Just tell me the truth and you go and do it. Yeah, exactly.
And that's why I applaud you for doing that. And we, unfortunately have conflicts of interest in so many different ways and pharmaceutical's of that, that this this type of model and this type of understanding of health is best not to come out because it doesn't keep their model of of sick people activated. But I love the fact and I think that this should be I think aging should be packaged differently, too, because if we actually if we actually understand that the research is supported in your daily habits and that daily habits is contributing you to the seat that you'll be sitting in in the future, but it's actually going to give you gifts now.
And that's where, you know. You know, you don't think of that because if you're 50 or 60 or 70, you're like now I'm thinking about anti aging, but we really should think about is kicking ass every day of your life. It just so happens that if you line up some of these principles, all of these principles that you're talking about is going to give you benefits now and it's going to lay the foundation for you to live a long, healthy life.
And that's the change of our culture, right, jumping out of this quick fix idea. But it's actually quick because we know making one shift, sleeping well one night or not sleeping well one night is going to mess anyone up. So these things are actually fast, but we need to kind of package this whole thing differently. You don't say you're totally right that you cannot just decide at 60. I'm going to live a long time. It'll help if you turn your life around.
But the biggest bang for the buck is if you live your whole life like that and the clock ticks slowly every day until we figure out how to reverse aging an entire body. And that's definitely a decade away. We have to do these things every day so that that clock ticks slowly. Yeah. So let's let's slow it down. So that David can get to that point where he's figured it out to literally turn back the clock and lots and lots, and then we can put a lot of tension on the good that we that we need to put in the world and help some of these crazy things that are going on.
But, hey, I want to thank you for your time. I know you got a board meeting, so I'll let you get your head around that. David, I just appreciate you. I appreciate the work you're doing. I appreciate the spirit at which you're doing it. And we just need more health, more positivity, more more people looking at life from a way that is I mean, there's so many other questions that I want to ask you, too, in terms of attitude.
But let's let's save that one, because I think that's a secret as well. So let's save that and we'll dig into that maybe in person when we're able to move around a little better. But appreciate you, man. Totally stoked. Thanks. It's good to see you again. And I'm a big admirer of your work, too. It's it's really been amazing to see that your voice is out there now, too. Thanks for having me on.
I appreciate it.
What a fantastic episode. So tell me, what is one thing you got out of today's conversation? If this episode struck a chord with you and you want to dive a little deeper into my other conversations with incredible guests, you can head over to my website, Derrinallum Dotcom, for more episodes and in-depth articles. Keep diving, my friends. Keep diving. This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it.
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