Dr. Rhonda Patrick talks to Dr. Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. Dr. Longo has made great contributions to the field of aging, including the role of fasting and diet in longevity and health in humans, as well as fasting metabolic therapies for the treatment of human diseases.
In this conversation, Rhonda and Valter discuss …
• The effects of prolonged fasting, which refers to fasting intervals of 2-3 days in mice and 4-5 days in humans.
• Dr. Longo's work on the imitation fasting diet, which is a 5-day restricted diet that pretends to simulate some of the biological effects of prolonged fasting and at the same time allow some foods.
• How clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of this diet for type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer patients.
• Fasting as an inducer of differential stress resistance, where it can simultaneously make cancer cells more sensitive to death and at the same time make healthy cells more resistant to these same death stimuli (such as chemotherapy) that could induce cell death between healthy cells as collateral damage.
• Fasting as a biological state that humans experienced historically with extreme regularity and that, ultimately, we may need to mitigate several disease states.
• The effects of prolonged fasting on the immune system, namely how it removes damaged white blood cells through autophagy and how this causes hematopoietic stem cells to self-renew and make more stem cells and also produce new blood cells to replenish completely white blood cell population
• How prolonged fasting causes a change in the population of immune cells to one that is more representative of youth by normalizing the proportion of myeloid cells to lymphoid cells.
• The positive effects of prolonged fasting and the imitation fasting diet on markers of systemic inflammation, blood glucose levels and other aging biomarkers.
• Research findings from Dr. Longo and Dr. Marcus Bock compared a week of imitative fasting diet followed by 6 months of Mediterranean diet to six months of ketogenic diet in people with multiple sclerosis.
• The strange and somewhat paradoxical role of autophagy genes in cancer progression and some of the open questions about the exact role these genes are playing.
• Dr. Longo's high-level thoughts on metformin as an anti-aging drug.
• How the growth hormone / IGF-1 axis is one of the most important genetic pathways in aging, from yeast to worms, to mice, to humans.
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