In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I’m talking with a godfather of fasting, Professor Valter Longo, Ph.D. He started researching fasting decades before anyone else started paying much attention to it. In 2018, TIME Magazine named Prof. Longo as one of the 50 most influential people in health care for his research on fasting-mimicking diets as a way to improve health and prevent disease.
He’s director of the Longevity Institute at University of Southern California-Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Los Angeles, and director of the Longevity and Cancer Program at the Italian Foundation of Cancer Research.
“Fasting really in my mind is probably the most powerful way to reset and help regenerate, but also help clear junk and damage that is accumulated,” Prof. Longo says.
Our conversation hits the high points of how and why to fast, and also goes into the research that got us to what we know today and looks at what’s next. We talk about everything from Prof. Longo's foundational research on yeast to the possibility of having future technology that tells us how to fast based on certain blood markers or gut bacteria.
He’s also focused his work on the nutrients present in the fats, proteins and carbs we choose to consume during our fasts.
“Without understanding how nutrients such as proteins and sugars affect cellular function, aging and aging damage, and regeneration, it's difficult to determine the type and quantity of nutrients for optimal longevity,” Prof. Longo says in his book, “The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight.”
Beyond fasting, Prof. Longo created five pillars of longevity related to nutrition and human biology: juventology (the study of youth), epidemiology, clinical studies, centenarian studies, and the study of complex systems.
We also discuss bigger philosophical questions and the ethics surrounding longevity. What would it mean to try and live forever? And what does longevity mean in the face of advancing technology that may boost our life span by 50 to 100 years?
“I think technology is going to take over in the next 50 years and I think bionics is going to take over in the next 50 years,” Prof. Longo says. “It’s going to be a very different world; it’s going to be a very different approach. And it’s going to be an approach that has to do much more with memory and memory transfer, and all kinds of crazy things.”
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