About this Episode
Valter Longo, PhD, one of the world’s preeminent fasting and longevity experts, says constantly taking fuel on board accelerates aging and growth of neoplasms (aka cancers).
He provides an even more compelling prospective: periodic starvation helps the body clean house (i.e., eat weak and aberrant cells) in the same way sleep helps clean the brain at night.
He also discusses how too much dietary protein—the macronutrient that purportedly prevents our muscles from shriveling up—can accelerate growth and aging.
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03:46 Growth hormone gene mutations impact longevity and protection from chronic disease. There is a high prevalence of a mutation in a growth hormone receptor in people in South America. These individuals were of short stature, but they had few age-related diseases. Mice with a similar mutation have record longevity and protection from cancer, diabetes and cognitive decline.
06:18 Ageing and age-related chronic diseases can be regulated through genetic intervention or with nutritional interventions. When there is plenty of food, the system does not regenerate. In the presence of the sugar, protein and certain amino acids, two sets of genes are turned on. When they are very active, the cell and the organism ages more quickly, develops more mutations, and becomes dysfunctional. Nutrients control the genes, which control the protection and the rejuvenation of the cell. When the genes are activated, the stem cells are kept on standby and regeneration is blocked.
08:40 Starvation has a much greater and faster impact than temporary caloric restriction. If you are starved, or on a starving mimicking diet, your system reads this as complete starvation. Your body starts breaking down fat and tissues. The inside of a cell begins to break down, autophagy. The most damaged cells are chosen first. Once eating has resumed, you are fueled and begin rebuilding.
10:44 Weaker cells are consumed during a fasting mimicry diet. Healthier cells remain. Cancer cells die and healthy cells are protected. Autoimmune cell dies and the immune cells eventually regenerate better than before. This has been shown in mice and is beginning to be shown in humans.
13:10 Most organisms starve most of the time. Ancient humans probably had frequent bouts of starvation. Starvation represented at time to repair and replace. By eating all the time in our obsessed way, we have eliminated this important tool.
15:46 Low protein helps people under the age of 65 and hurts people over the age of 65. Excess protein, as part of the North American diet, is damaging to those of us under the age of 65, increasing rates of cancer and overall mortality. After age 65, those of us who report a low protein have poor health. However, did the poor health lead to low protein intake? There is no significant segment of American society that eats a low protein diet to study. After a certain age, there is a reduction in IGF-1/insulin-like growth factor, which is increased by protein and is central in the ageing process.
19:29 Proteins control growth factor/growth hormone which controls IGF-1, which also controls mTOR. Carbohydrates control pKa. Together they accelerate ageing and inhibit regeneration.
20:51 Athletes need to have enough protein in the regeneration refeed. You need 30 grams of protein (35 if plant-based) and a certain amount of amino acids per workout. Otherwise, mTOR is not activated and your system does not build muscle mass. Having too much protein all the time impedes muscle formation and blocks stem cells. Pushing the same receptors constantly causes the system to stop and refuses as a means of protection.
24:59 Just adhering to the Fasting Mimicry Diet 5 days out of 30 is enough to have a significant drop in IGF-1, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and inflammation. Dr. Longo believes that the typical average needed will be 5 days every 3 to 4 months. You should only do the Fasting Mimicry Diet when you need to do it. Healthy athletes on healthy diets should only have to do it about twice a year.
28:06 If you fast over 12 hours every day, you have a two-fold increase in the risk of needing to have your gallbladder removed. Data indicates that skipping breakfast is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and increased overall mortality.
31:23 Fasting for 14 to 16 hours has benefits: increased ketone bodies, weight loss, and metabolic advantages.
32:08 Consuming ketone bodies and fatty acids on top of a normal diet is a mistake. It confuses your metabolism. Long term repercussions are unknown.
37:46 Fasting Mimicry Diet is the result of years of researching the connection of each component of food and the genes that regulate ageing and regeneration. Protein is low and chosen by the amino acid content. Carbohydrates are low and particularly low in sugar. Fats are high and particularly high in certain types of fats. This helps you to avoid malnourishment, hypotension and hypoglycemia. Satiety and taste are also factored.
40:45 Dr. Longo’s Morning Routine: He drinks a mix of black tea and green tea with a whole lemon and preserved fruit. He rides stationary bike and breaks his fast after exercise.
44:04 Dr. Longo’s Desert Island Nutrient: He would bring garbanzo beans for their nutrition and taste. For him, it is nearly a perfect food. Around the world, locations with record longevity have one commonality is the high consumption of beans. It is important not to demonize a food from the results of a few experiments or a few people with sensitivities.
47:52 Dr. Longo’s Elevator Pitch: Implement The Fasting Mimicry Diet through the population.