034: Biohacking — Bulletproof Style
Could you live to be 120 — or even 180 — by “hacking” your biology?
And what do the highest-performing, longest-living people on the planet do to stay happy and healthy well into their 90s and beyond?
On this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, I explore these questions with world-famous “biohacker” Dave Asprey. Dave’s the founder of Bulletproof Coffee and most recently the author of Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life.
Dave interviewed over 500 experts (including me!) while researching Game Changers — and on today’s show, he’ll share some of the most important tips and secrets that you can use in your own life.
We’ll also dive deep into the science of longevity and reveal some of our most effective “hacks” for slashing brain fog, reducing stress, and boosting your performance (no matter what you do).
You’ll also hear why Dave thinks he’ll live to be 180 and why that may not be as crazy as it sounds.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Dave transformed from a 300-pound college student into the world’s most famous “biohacker” (2:25)
- The one “cognitive enhancer” that may be sitting in your kitchen cabinet (and why you should have more of it) (7:15)
- How something you’ve been told is TERRIBLE for you may actually benefit you — without the negative side-effects (8:30)
- How you can control your stress levels by trying this one simple exercise (12:55)
- The easy technique I’ve always used to lower my stress levels (14:45)
- Dave’s biggest secret for a longer life (and believe me, it’s not what you think it is) (15:55)
- How you can live to 120 and maybe even 180! (25:30)
- Who you should be spending more time with to transform the way you think about the world (27:45)
- The one shocking food you should NEVER eat raw (30:45)
- A simple trick for turning your morning cup of tea or coffee into a brain-boosting superdrink (34:45)
Mentioned in this episode:
Dr. Gundry: 00:00 Hey there. Welcome to another exciting episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where I give you the tools you need to support your gut, boost your health, and live your youngest, healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry: 00:14 Before we get into this week’s episode, let’s take a look at our review of the week. Joan in Oregon writes, “For two years I’ve subscribed to Dr. Gundry’s products and principles, and credit this with turning off my autoimmune disease, of low blood platelet counts. In one year on the plant paradox program, I went from 33 to 355 in my platelet count, fabulous. I had hoped you would start a podcast and now you have. Thank you, Dr. Gundry and your caring staff.” Well, thank you, Joan. This is actually why I do this.
Dr. Gundry: 00:52 So, if you want me to read your review, make sure to rate and review the Dr. Gundry podcast on iTunes.
Dr. Gundry: 01:00 Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Have you ever wondered if you’d like to live to be 100 years old? Well, I talk about it in my new book The Longevity Paradox. But our guest today is going to ask you what it would be like to be 150 or 180. Well, my guest Dave Asprey thinks he will be 180. He’s, of course, the brains behind Bulletproof Coffee, and he’s probably one of the original biohackers. In fact, he might have coined that word.
Dr. Gundry: 01:37 In December, he released his latest new book called Game Changers, What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do To Win At Life. Dave, it was great to be on your podcast, on Bulletproof Radio last year, and I’m delighted to have you, Dave Asprey, on my podcast today. So, welcome to the show.
Dave Asprey: 01:57 Dr. Gundry, I’m happy to be here.
Dr. Gundry: 01:59 Great to have you. Before we get going, what the heck is a biohacker?
Dave Asprey: 02:05 For the first time in human history, you can look it up in Merriam Webster’s because it was added as a new word to the English language at the end of 2018, just a couple months ago. Believe it or not, I’m in the definition. The definition, when I started using it to build the community of biohackers we have today, it’s the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside of you, so that you have full control of your biology. It’s the environment inside of you, the microbiome, the toxic environment, the metabolic environment, the stuff that you and I have both written about and have a lot of common views on. That’s a big part of what you do.
Dave Asprey: 02:41 But control might mean I want to get swole, I want to be a muscle man, or I want to live to 180 or I want to be smarter, I want to have more energy for my kids, my job, my career, whatever. Like, it’s your body, different goals, same mechanisms of control.
Dr. Gundry: 02:55 Okay. Most people have heard of Bulletproof Coffee, I hope and you hope, but I don’t think a lot of people, certainly my listeners, may not know your backstory, how did all this come about. How did you go from a 300 pound college student to the world’s most famous biohacker?
Dave Asprey: 03:21 Well, I spent $1 million in 20 years hacking my biology. When I started out, not just 300 pounds, I was diagnosed from blood tests as being at high risk for a stroke and heart attack before I was 30, I had arthritis in my knees since I was 14, I’d been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, toxic mold exposure, Lyme disease, and pretty much you name it, it seemed like it was all going wrong. But the thing that scared me and really motivated me was two things. One, after my second knee surgery before I was 23, I said never again, I’m going to lose this weight even if it kills me. I worked out an hour and a half a day, six days a week, went on a low-fat, low-calorie diet. At the end of that time, I could max out all the machines in the gym, and I still weighed 300 pounds.
Dave Asprey: 04:10 I thought, “Oh, it’s because I’m eating too much lettuce. It must be that.” I realized since then that 90% of how you look is what you put in your mouth and what you put in the world around you, exercise is the other 10%.
Dr. Gundry: 04:25 I think that’s a really good point. You and I obviously agree on a lot of things, and that’s certainly one of them, that exercise absolutely has a place, but I think we put far too much emphasis on that part and not enough emphasis on what goes in our mouth, what goes on us, and what goes in the mouths of things we might be eating.
Dave Asprey: 04:50 I think you and I actually share an usual distinction in that we might be at the very edge of people saying, “Actually, it’s what you don’t put in your mouth that matters more than what you do put in your mouth,” although, they’re both important. That’s certainly in the whole Bulletproof lifestyle, from the very first day. It’s like could you stop doing the stuff that makes you weak? Because it’s easier to do that than it is to do more lifting heavy things or whatever the heck. So, kudos to you for helping that message get out there because eating bad stuff is worse than not eating good stuff.
Dr. Gundry: 05:24 Yeah, you’ve got to know who your friends are that goes through your mouth.
Dave Asprey: 05:29 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 05:29 I think you’re right, rule number one of the plant paradox, it’s not what I tell you to eat that’s important, it’s what I tell you not to eat that’s going to make the big difference.
Dr. Gundry: 05:40 Okay, your new book Game Changers is really fascinating. There’s a lot of fascinating things in here. Tell me about smart drugs, what the heck are smart drugs?
Dave Asprey: 05:56 Sure. In Game Changers, I interviewed almost 500 people who have done big things, including you, things that are world changing, leading in their categories, and said what are the commonalities, what did people agree on. The three big buckets were people who do big things generally do things to become smarter, to become faster, and to become happier, like they do big things because they’re happier, they’re not happy because they did big things.
Dave Asprey: 06:22 It turns out that one of the ways that people do perform better is using either pharmaceuticals or plant-based compounds to improve their cognitive function. We’ve known about some of these for 50 plus years, they are well-studied. Some of them have famous movies like Limitless roughly based on them, and I’ve been using them for 20 years. The idea that they can’t work, therefore they don’t is well entrenched in Western medicine, but when you look at the studies, particularly around modafinil, one of the smart drugs that I write about in Game Changers, the studies are pretty convincing that it actually does increase cognitive performance in some domains.
Dave Asprey: 07:02 In my case, I had this brain fog that was really a problem, and it’s gone now. When I eat the right stuff, I perform at a very high level, even for what I would have done when I was in my twenties, and I’m in my forties. But for eight years, I took modafinil. It improved my meditation practice quantitatively with EEG, improved my relationships, I got my MBA at Wharton while working full-time at a startup, and it basically made me better at almost everything I did. I don’t actually benefit much from taking it now, I feel a tiny bump, but it’s barely noticeable compared to before. It was like someone turned the lights on.
Dave Asprey: 07:36 All of us can benefit, and some of these compounds actually reduce aging of the brain and of other tissues in the body. They improve performance of mitochondria, the power plants in the cells, that your viewers are no doubt familiar with. Why aren’t we all using these is my big question.
Dr. Gundry: 07:55 Give me another example that any of us could use every day?
Dave Asprey: 08:01 Well, there are two of Mother Nature’s cognitive enhancers that I would argue the vast majority of great works of literature and songwriting have been written on. The number one is coffee. This is a well-studied smart drug. It’s a plant compound, maybe it’s not a drug, it’s a nootropic, a cognitive enhancer because coffee’s not technically a drug because you don’t have to get a prescription for it-
Dr. Gundry: 08:24 Right.
Dave Asprey: 08:24 From your doctor, you know what I’m talking about. But the other one is nicotine, which is actually more studied than caffeine as a cognitive enhancer. It’ll improve your typing speed by 15%, and according to a professor from Vanderbilt University I interviewed on show, since 1988, low doses of oral nicotine, not smoking, which is just bad for you, will make you old and make you die from various causes, but nicotine itself seems to reverse Alzheimer’s disease in studies going back 30 years. So, interesting. Those two smart drugs are part of daily life for more people on the plant than not, and they work.
Dave Asprey: 09:00 Yet, somehow, new compounds we’ve discovered or other plant compounds like a seaweed extract called apigenin or rosemary extract, and some of these I actually have put into a cognitive enhancement formulas that I take. There’s studies, they show that they work. But most of us just don’t think it’s possible, so we just kind of happily go out without the same IQ we could have.
Dr. Gundry: 09:24 Yeah, I think nicotine is fascinating. I’ve always actually taught my patients that nicotine is probably one of the best drugs ever designed for cognition and enhancement, but it’s in the wrong delivery device. There are actually very interesting studies of smokers that they actually have a very low incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Dave Asprey: 09:46 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 09:47 One of my favorite groups to study is the Kitavins or [Kitovins 00:09:51] in New Guinea-
Dave Asprey: 09:52 Yes.
Dr. Gundry: 09:53 And they smoke like fiends.
Dave Asprey: 09:55 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 09:55 They all smoke. They don’t [crosstalk 00:09:57]-
Dave Asprey: 09:57 They eat a ton of fat.
Dr. Gundry: 09:58 Yeah, they eat a ton of fat.
Dave Asprey: 10:00 They eat a ton of starch and a ton of fat, they’re great.
Dr. Gundry: 10:00 A ton of carbs and a ton of fat. They have no heart disease, there’s been a stroke, they live into their mid-nineties with no medical care. You’re right, I think nicotine is underappreciated.
Dr. Gundry: 10:14 Now, that does not mean that … I think that means that you’re not telling everybody to go out and put a nicotine patch on tomorrow.
Dave Asprey: 10:22 Even vaping is a bad idea.
Dr. Gundry: 10:25 Right.
Dave Asprey: 10:27 What I would say is the data says that either oral nicotine, as in a gum or a spray, or a patch could be beneficial at very low doses. My favorite way is [inaudible 00:10:39] called Lucy Gum because most nicotine gum has really bad sweeteners that destroy your gut bacteria as you well understand. Like I don’t put that stuff in my mouth. Lucy made a clean nicotine gum that doesn’t have anything bad in it. So, you can chew a piece of that, and then you get a low dose of nicotine, you do that maybe once a day.
Dave Asprey: 10:57 For some people, you’ll do any amount of nicotine, you’ll want to throw up, your brain doesn’t need that. If you do 10 of those a day, it’s probably not a great idea. But if you’re talking a couple milligrams of nicotine on a daily basis before maybe, for me, before I sat down to write Game Changers I would use a low gram nicotine, before this show, I used a milligram of nicotine. When I want to really have my brain working even better, that little extra edge, I, yeah, I do that. I cup of Bulletproof Coffee too. It’s okay, this is what most good performers do before they go onstage, they have the stuff that makes them like bring it all the way. Nicotine deserves a place. Just don’t smoke, don’t vape. Neither one of those is good for you.
Dave Asprey: 11:41 All right, as an example, this is what a spray of nicotine looks like. I put about one milligram of nicotine under my tongue right now, which is going to soak in through my mucus membranes, and my brain’s going to work better. Nicotine also raises a compound in the body called PGC-1 alpha, which is the same compound that is raised by exercise. This is one of the reasons that people who smoke weigh less. People who use oral nicotine probably weigh a little bit less too, although the evidence is less clear on that front.
Dr. Gundry: 12:15 Another powerful drug that you talk about, the world’s most powerful drug, and that is breathing, breath. Can you give us why that’s maybe the most powerful drug there is?
Dave Asprey: 12:32 Well, your body’s primary job is to combine food and air in order to make energy. That energy is literally the form of electrons. Those electrons power your will, they power your thinking, they power your breathing, they power the moving, they power your desire for anything and everything you do. If your body sucks at making electrons out of air and food, which it does if you’re over 40 just by definition, and it does 48% of the time if you’re under age 40 based on studies from my last book before Game Changers called Headstrong-
Dr. Gundry: 13:09 Yeah.
Dave Asprey: 13:10 It means we have a problem here. Breathing is one of the ways you can become better at oxygen utilization. But even more importantly, breathing impacts your heart rate, it impacts your brain waves. For a lot of us, we’re in fight or flight all the time, which affects your metabolism negatively. Just a few simple breaths or a breathing meditation can shift you from reactive mode into rest and reset and planning mode. Learning the skills of breathing like that can improve your sleep, it can improve your relationships, and it can lower your risk of almost every disease of again.
Dr. Gundry: 13:46 Is there a particular way of breathing that you like? I know you talk about it.
Dave Asprey: 13:51 In Game Changers, I outline a couple, but one of the simplest and easiest is one that’s used by special forces operators and SWAT teams before they go in on a mission or when they need to calm down during one. It’s called a box breath, you breathe in for about four or five seconds and then hold your breath for four or five seconds, and then breathe out slowly for four or five seconds. If you’re advanced, you can hold your breath empty for that same amount of time. You sort of breathe in a box like that, just four or five of those breaths at a stoplight or in a meeting that’s really boring, you feel the difference in what your body does. It creates a shift. The shift can be better measured by something called heart rate variability.
Dave Asprey: 14:33 It’s about a $100 sensor you clip on your ear. I’m an advisor to the company that invented that technology for meditation, and I have been since 2008, I’ve been using this kind of technology for more than 10 years. It really helped me go from when I was heavier, certainly my nervous system was overactive on this fight or flight stuff, not because I had any conscious reason for it to be, it just was. I learned to teach myself to get out of that state. What I learned is when you do those breathing exercises right, you feel something change in your chest.
Dave Asprey: 15:05 When I interviewed these 500 top performers on Bulletproof Radio that became the dataset for Game Changers, a surprising number of them talked about having, not just a mediation practice, but a breathing practice along with their meditation because it amplifies the effects of meditation. I mean, you can lose weight from breathing properly.
Dr. Gundry: 15:24 Well, and if you’re breathing properly, maybe you’re not putting food in your mouth, so that’s an effective-
Dave Asprey: 15:30 Well, you’re suppressing your cortisol.
Dr. Gundry: 15:32 Right.
Dave Asprey: 15:32 So, if you have extra cortisol, you’ll have extra inflammation, which will put on weight. If you’re already low on cortisol, you probably won’t lose weight from breathing.
Dr. Gundry: 15:39 Yeah. It’s interesting, as a heart surgeon, obviously, nothing ever went wrong during any of my 10,000 heart surgeries-
Dave Asprey: 15:47 No, of course.
Dr. Gundry: 15:48 Ever. But when everything hits the fan, one of my mentors long ago at the University of Michigan said, “If you don’t keep your cool, then everybody in the OR is on panic mode, their adrenalin is sky high, and you’ve got to be the guy who’s sitting there, whistling and saying, ‘Isn’t it a lovely day?'” One of the things I learned very early on that helped me is I just slowed my breathing. The worse things got, the slower I breathed, exactly what you’re describing. That just brings stress levels down. It’s an amazing technique.
Dave Asprey: 16:30 Yeah. No one wants a heart surgeon with shaky hands.
Dr. Gundry: 16:33 No, it’s a really bad idea, really bad idea.
Dr. Gundry: 16:38 500 people, lots of incredible stories in here, and I really like the breathing one, was there one event, one person who really changed the way you look at the world or …
Dave Asprey: 16:51 One of them was Eric Kandel who won the Nobel Prize for discovering neuroplasticity. What inspired me about interviewing Eric on Bulletproof Radio was that he’s 94 years old, and I’m interviewing him at his lab that looks out over Central Park in New York, and he’s still actively doing research. This is what aging is supposed to look like. When I asked him the question that became the backbone for Game Changers, I wanted to see what everyone agreed on when they answered this question, so I always asked it the same way.
Dave Asprey: 17:24 The question is, what are the three pieces of advice you’d have based on your whole life experience for someone who wants to perform better at everything they do as a human being? So, this includes what you do in the bedroom, what you do in the boardroom, and what you do on the athletic field, doesn’t matter. It’s your goals, but I want to better at what I do because it feels good to be good at what we do.
Dave Asprey: 17:43 Eric scratched his head a little bit, and he said, “You know, my first piece of advice, have a good wife.” He talked about the value of relationships. When you get to the section of Game Changers that’s about happiness, and the people who kick ass in their domains, the people who have done big things, they have strong, intact, consciously created communities, and they have strong relationship at home, and either by luck or by design, they have communities that support their relationship at home because it turns out your relationship at home will actually last longer and function better if it’s surrounded by people who just want you to win on that. A lot of times we don’t have that in our lives.
Dave Asprey: 18:25 So, whether it was luck and whether that was luck that powered these people to become great at what they were doing, or whether they somehow figured out that’s what they needed and then did it, we don’t know, but we know it’s a common pattern.
Dave Asprey: 18:39 My big thought here, Dr. Gundry, is that I only have so much energy and time to go out and do stuff, and I like doing stuff. So, instead of following one guru, which I’ve certainly done at times in my life, [inaudible 00:18:54] Tibet, learned meditation in Tibet with the masters and stuff like that, but what if you just asked hundreds of them what they do, and then you used a statistician to say, “All right, give me the code here.” That was my intent in writing Game Changers was to say if I have five minutes, what should I do with it to be a better human.
Dr. Gundry: 19:11 Great. One of the things that I mention in The Longevity Paradox is don’t retire.
Dave Asprey: 19:18 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 19:22 I have seen so many bad things happen, particularly to men who retire-
Dave Asprey: 19:27 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 19:28 Because, and it’s happening more now in women, but as they’ve become a major part of the workforce, is that we are social creatures and we have to be, you’re right, surrounded by our social organization. One of the characteristics of super old people is this incredible social organization, including their spouse that is a huge piece of the puzzle. It’s a great observation.
Dave Asprey: 19:59 One of the things that struck me, when I was a young man, I had most of the diseases of aging or similar things to the diseases of aging. The cognitive dysfunction, the problems with my cardiovascular system, the arthritis, just all that stuff, so I started attending an anti-aging, nonprofit research and education group in my mid-twenties, and I’m learning from people who are in their eighties, one of our board members was dating someone in her forties very happily, not because he was a dirty old man but because he was available and he just had that much energy. It was just a normal, healthy situation. But I just realized, this is what old age can look like. I use the techniques of anti-aging to first fix what was wrong and then realized I can go way beyond because the ROI on taking these aging things and doing that for ourselves when we’re in our twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, it’s a lot higher return. Reversing age in an 80 year old is possible but difficult and expensive. Slowing it down by 20 years in a 50 year old is pretty doable. That’s really become my focus.
Dave Asprey: 21:07 For 20 years, I’ve run an anti-again group, and that’s really powered a lot of what went into the world of biohacking.
Dr. Gundry: 21:14 It’s interesting, I got to know in his later years Christiaan Barnard who did the first human heart transplant from South Africa. Christiaan was quite the ladies’ man. When I got to know him, he was on his seventh wife and he was in his late eighties, and they had a two year old child. Again, this guy was vital into his mid-nineties and had sired a child in his late eighties. So, I don’t recommend it folks who are viewing, but-
Dave Asprey: 21:50 Yeah. My first book was on fertility, it was on reversing my wife’s infertility. I went into a lot of research, five years of research to write the Better Baby Book. It turns out, the man’s age, as it progresses, it does increase the risk of birth defects as well as the women’s age. So, yeah, I definitely don’t recommend that, but it is possible.
Dr. Gundry: 22:11 It is possible. Speaking of recommending things, you write about that you get regular stem cell injections. What prompted that and what are the results?
Dave Asprey: 22:23 Part of the joy of being a professional biohacker means that I get to meet the people doing the cutting edge stuff, some of which won’t be commonly available for 10, maybe even 20 years, depending on regulations. I’ve been looking at stem cells for 20 years. 10 years ago I said, I’d really like to get some stem cells because I have a history of chemically induced toxic brain damage, according to Dr. Daniel Amen, who I think is a friend of yours as well.
Dr. Gundry: 22:53 Yeah, yeah.
Dave Asprey: 22:54 He’s a dear friend of mine. You could see holes in my brain from living in a place with toxic mold. I have a history of autoimmunity, and I hit my head a couple times. It seems like stem cells could be really good for that. I also had these surgeries in my knees, like used to have pain throughout my body. Getting every site of injury injected with stem cells seemed like almost an impossible dream. This is more expensive than a Tesla 10 years ago, and you have to fly to Germany or somewhere.
Dave Asprey: 23:21 It’s become way more affordable, the potencies have gone way up, and we understand so much more about stem cells now that you can get stem cells taken out of your own body and put back in. Since I’m going to live until at least 180, I think that preventative maintenance now, attacking inflammation, which is what happens with stem cells. They find the inflammation, they stick to it, and they cause it to go away, seemed like a really good idea.
Dave Asprey: 23:46 I just recently did at Docere Clinics in Park City the most extensive stem cell procedure that’s been done at a person all at one time where I had three doctors, I was out for four hours, they put stem cells in my brain, spinal cord, every joint in the body, the cosmetic stuff, even the reproductive organs. I’m feeling a difference. My sleep quality is through the roof, I’m getting two hours of REM sleep and two hours of deep sleep on a lot of nights, which is … that’s in six hours of total sleep, not in eight hours. That’s better than the average 20, 25 year old is doing, and I’m 46. So, something shifted.
Dr. Gundry: 24:28 Interesting. Now, I will not argue with you, but why not, those stem cells are coming out of you, and so, we know they are already in there, why not do things, biohack, to activate them to go to where they aught to go?
Dave Asprey: 24:52 I absolutely do things to activate my stem cells. Some of the gear we have at Upgrade Labs, it’s a company that I started, we spun it out from Bulletproof, and it’s got the kind of equipment that professional athletes, Navy Seals, and astronauts use to recover because the real problem isn’t exercise more, the problem is recovering from all the stress, which means infections, toxins, emotional stress, dietary stress, and exercise stress, and travel stress, and jet lag stress, and your [inaudible 00:25:20], and all that kind of stuff, so we’ve got to recover from that before we go lift heavy or do whatever we’re going to do to put exercise stress into the body.
Dave Asprey: 25:28 One of those pieces of technology, we call it, let’s see, atmospheric cell training. What it does is it removes atmospheric pressure, so you’re basically at the top of Mount Everest. Then it quickly and rapidly cycles the atmospheric pressure on your body, which is shown in studies to increase the number of stem cells produced. There’s a variety of supplements that do that. I do all of those things.
Dave Asprey: 25:51 When they pulled my bone marrow out, they’re like, “Wow, you’ve got an enormously large cap of stem cells in here compared to what we see.” I said, “Great, now put them somewhere they wouldn’t go naturally because I want them right there.”
Dr. Gundry: 26:03 All right, so, as you know, my new book’s The Longevity Paradox, so I always like to ask, you’re going to live to be 180-
Dave Asprey: 26:14 At least. I don’t want to put a cap on it.
Dr. Gundry: 26:15 Okay, let’s not put a cap on it. So, give our listeners and viewers one thing that they can do today to go on that journey towards longevity.
Dave Asprey: 26:29 All right, I have one thing that is going to save you about a half a cent a day, so it’s not going to cost you anything, you don’t have to pick up Bulletproof coffee or any of that kind of stuff, but first, can I tell you why 180’s the number?
Dr. Gundry: 26:42 Sure.
Dave Asprey: 26:43 All right. I know we can do 120 because you and I have seen it in a few cases.
Dr. Gundry: 26:48 Yeah.
Dave Asprey: 26:48 So, it is not impossible, it is a proven thing. Those people didn’t know when they were born, I think we had the wheel back then and maybe fire, we certainly didn’t have antibiotics, we didn’t have public sanitation, we didn’t understand mitochondria, we hadn’t done the human genome project, you couldn’t get a lot of the foods you can get now, supplements weren’t available, and all of the medical procedures that are available now, including heart surgery, were totally not available back then.
Dave Asprey: 27:14 So, if they can do it under those conditions, I’m pretty sure with conscious choice and intention and just making better decisions, not even perfect ones, 120 is imminently achievable of what we have today.
Dr. Gundry: 27:26 Right.
Dave Asprey: 27:27 Assuming a truck doesn’t hit me. So then, I also am friends with the people who are leading the anti-aging research groups. I’ve been involved in that for 20 years, I know what’s happening, I know what’s coming. I have compounds that are under NDA that are not for human consumption that increase lifespan in rats by 95%. Am I taking those? Yeah. Might they do something that we don’t know about? Yeah. If I can double my lifespan, is it a good risk? I think so.
Dave Asprey: 28:01 Those are the types of things that are coming, and you look at all of the machine learning, all the artificial intelligence, the fact your human genome is now free if you’re willing to share your data with drug companies or a few hundred dollars if not, you know what? I’m pretty sure we’re going to get 50% over the next 100 years. In fact, I think it’s a very conservative number. The first person to live 1,000 years is probably walking the Earth today.
Dr. Gundry: 28:27 Now, the naysayers would say why would anybody want to do that?
Dave Asprey: 28:34 This is a big part of the work I’m working on for my next book. It’s something that is really personal to me. I mentioned my friend Mike [Korack 00:28:47] as the guy who is 88 at the anti-aging group. Having spent so much time with vibrant, passionate, older people, my picture of aging is different than what most people watching us today are thinking about. When someone says old, you immediately imagine the stooped shoulders, the walker, tubes, monitors, wheelchairs, diapers, not remembering your own name, like it is a dark place, right, being alone in an aging home. That’s actually not what happened throughout all of history except for about the last 50 years.
Dave Asprey: 29:22 What aging looks like is being functional, productive, having family around you, and being in a position to give back. The village elder is what’s missing. The reason we do so many stupid things today is we aren’t benefiting from the wisdom of our elders. There’s a couple things going on there. One is, your odds of dying from Alzheimer’s disease are pretty darn good, and if you’re not dead from it, you spend 20 years not remembering the wisdom that you could have shared. Another one is, people just don’t have enough energy to want to give back, “I’m too tired, my body hurts all the time. I’m cranky,” what’s that movie? Grumpy Old Men? [crosstalk 00:29:57]
Dr. Gundry: 29:56 Grumpy Old Men, yeah.
Dave Asprey: 29:57 It’s testosterone deficiency, we can fix that, right? You keep going into these things and you realize, wait a minute, do I get enormous benefit? I have at least 10 friends over 70, and you know what? They have steered me around so many problems that I would hit in my forties that I don’t know about them because I haven’t done them yet. Well, the world needs a lot more of that if we’re going to survive as a world.
Dr. Gundry: 30:24 All right, no, you’re right. The village elder has basically disappeared-
Dave Asprey: 30:29 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 30:29 And there’s a lot of books I’ve read on philosophy of aging that the purpose of having a good old age is to actually give back your wisdom to those coming up behind. I couldn’t agree more that we’ve lost that. Like I write in Longevity Paradox, it’s no good getting old if you can’t remember it.
Dave Asprey: 30:56 There you go. I’m very excited about your book because there’s a lot we can do to get younger now and to stay younger if we’re already young. It’s so much easier today than it was 20 years ago. It’s only going to get easier, so thanks for just tackling that because until very recently, if you said you were into anti-aging or longevity, people said simply, “That can’t happen, therefore it’s a scam.” Actually, it’s happening all around us. Do you see that 90 year old over there? How did they do it? I want that.
Dave Asprey: 31:30 When the naysayers come out, it means that you’re doing the good work because clearly their status quo sucks.
Dr. Gundry: 31:39 It does. Speaking of status quo sucking, you think kale is unhealthy for us to eat?
Dave Asprey: 31:48 It might be a bit of an overstatement but I’m, like you, I really care about the microbiome, and I spent 15 years of my life on antibiotics for chronic sinus infections. I had a truly wrecked gut that is now recovered. Along the way, I got to be friends, and now I’m an investor and advisor, in a company called Viome that quantifies gut bacteria at a very detailed level. Their dataset from tens of thousands of people shows that roughly a third of people don’t have bacteria that can break down oxalic acid or oxalates.
Dave Asprey: 32:22 What happens is, this compound that’s very high in kale, it goes into the blood, it meets free calcium there, and extra calcium, as you know, ages you pretty quickly, you should not have extra calcium floating around in your blood, but you probably do. When it hits the calcium, it forms microcrystals, that then stick in your joints and cause pain. It’s associated with brain inflammation, potentially with autism, and the worst condition of all that it’s associated with is called vulvodynia, which is extremely painful vulva in women to the point they can’t even wear underwear, like really bad pain. It’s caused by these microcrystals.
Dave Asprey: 32:59 If you’re sitting there eating one of these raw kale salads once or twice a day, it’s also associated with kidney stones that come from, not uric acid, but oxalic acid. The producer on the movie that I filmed about toxic mold called Moldy Movie, by the way, it’s free, moldymovie.com. This is kind of my giving back because mold jacked up my health so much, like here’s what it’s doing. The producer was eating two kale salads a day. She gets kidney stones in the middle of the movie. I’m like, well, that’s what happens.
Dave Asprey: 33:28 I actually recommend on the Bulletproof blog, if you’re going to eat kale, for God’s sake, cook it. It’s okay to cook it. Dump the water where most of the oxalic acid is, maybe add some baking soda or some calcium to precipitate the crystals out, but raw kale, my sheep, I have a small farm, my sheep will spit out raw kale. It’s really not good food.
Dr. Gundry: 33:47 Well, I’ve actually seen a couple of women who have come to me for hypothyroidism, and they basically were having a kale smoothie in the morning and a kale salad for lunch and a kale salad for dinner. It was actually suppressing their thyroid function. They didn’t have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, they thought they had. But we took their … we didn’t take it away from, but we dramatically limited their kale, and it solved the problem.
Dave Asprey: 34:19 Yeah, if you have some kale once a week and you don’t wake up with joint pain, great. Enjoy it. I would say eat the dino kale, the stuff that isn’t all lacy. The lacy kale is particularly high in these compounds. There’s something else really scary about kale. There’s a toxic metal called thallium, it’s called the poisoner’s poison, it disrupts potassium in our cells. Kale, even organic kale, bioaccumulates that stuff like nothing else. When we took lead out of our gasoline, we put thallium in the gasoline instead, which is 1,000 times more toxic than lead, which itself, any amount of lead in your body increases your risk of cardiovascular disease dramatically.
Dave Asprey: 35:00 Now we’re eating a food that has oxalic acid and high thallium levels, which disrupt cellular metabolism, and we’re thinking we’re making ourselves healthy. So, look, if you love kale, eat some kale, but you can also eat some French fries, they’re probably equivalent.
Dr. Gundry: 35:13 All right, as I mentioned to you before we started, we always have an audience question. This one’s right up your alley. We didn’t do this on purpose, we should have actually. The question today is, a follower from Instagram asked, “I want to throw butter in my coffee, but how important is the type of butter?”
Dr. Gundry: 35:37 Boy, we just put that out over the plate, Dave, take it away.
Dave Asprey: 35:42 All right. It matters greatly. The idea for Bulletproof Coffee came from yak butter tea in Tibet. I was feeling really bad at 18,000 feet elevation, and a little Tibetan lady gave me a bowl of yak butter tea. I drank it, and my brain turned back on. It was amazing. I said, this is totally unlikely, unexpected. Came back to Silicone Valley, started mixing butter and tea. It tasted bad, it didn’t work. So, I said, “Oh, it’s the tea.”
Dave Asprey: 36:09 I go to the Chinese tea store, and $500 worth of tea later, I find out, it still tastes bad and it doesn’t work. Then, I said, “Maybe it’s the butter.” I bought 25 different kinds of gourmet butter, and two of the kinds of butter made me feel good. They were both grass-fed. The butter used in Tibet is from yaks that eat, there was no grass there, they eat lichen, but close enough, right? It’s from animals that ate their natural food.
Dave Asprey: 36:33 Then, coffee worked, but you’d crash sometimes. I ended up developing the mold-free coffee beans that are part of Bulletproof Coffee, and that, blended with butter and brain octane oils, the whole dialed in thing.
Dave Asprey: 36:43 But the butter itself, if you eat industrial butter, here’s what you’re getting, I’m talking about feedlot butter, which is what most is out there. You’re getting the wrong fats because it’s well established that the type of fat you feed in the animals or you feed the person affects the type of fat that comes out in the milk. If you want corn oil and soybean oil, great, feed those to the cow and now you’ve got soybean butter. It’s kind of like soy margarine, but it was made by a cow. It’s still better than soy margarine, but it’s not the same as the conjugated [inaudible 00:37:14] oleic acid, which is the antiinflammatory fat that’s made by grass-fed cows.
Dave Asprey: 37:17 But even more importantly, they feed those cows hormones and antibiotics, which get expressed into the butter as well. You don’t want antibiotics or any other fat soluble toxin in the fat that you’re going to be eating. You get the wrong fats and you get a higher toxin load. That combination of things really changes the product. This butter is simply not the same as this other butter. They’re both labeled butter, but one of them is, at best, neutral and probably inflammatory, and the other one may even be antiinflammatory and has beneficial fat soluble nutrients in it. They’re not the same thing, and you feel different when you eat different ones.
Dr. Gundry: 38:02 Yeah, and I go even one farther, as you know, and I do believe it is the breed of cow or animal-
Dave Asprey: 38:09 Yes.
Dr. Gundry: 38:09 With casing A1 versus casing A2, and incidentally-
Dave Asprey: 38:13 Full agreement.
Dr. Gundry: 38:14 Interestingly enough, yaks make casing A2, not casing A1. Now-
Dave Asprey: 38:21 Although, with butter, the interesting thing is, most of the casing is gone.
Dr. Gundry: 38:26 You’re right.
Dave Asprey: 38:27 With ghee, which is the cleanest source-
Dr. Gundry: 38:30 [inaudible 00:38:30]-
Dave Asprey: 38:30 It’s gone entirely. So, even if you’re eating from an A1 cow that ate grass, it’s okay if you’re not highly sensitive to use butter, and if you are highly sensitive, you could use ghee. But, just to make the world a better place, let’s just only have A2, why do we have all these A1s? It’s not a good idea.
Dr. Gundry: 38:46 No, you’re absolutely right. That was an economic decision, actually, originally. I’ve interviewed a lot of A2 farmers, particularly from Minnesota who were actually driven by A1 producers whole steam business because they don’t produce as much milk and they’re not as hearty. You probably know the story of the original A2 milk company in the Midwest. They were actually driven out of business by the American Diary Association.
Dave Asprey: 39:15 It’s amazing when running a small organic farm has taught me so much. We had two pigs last year. These pigs were probably maybe two-thirds the weight of all the other pigs that are out there. When we bought them into the butcher, the butcher said, “What is going on with these pigs? They have the highest yield of any pig that I’ve had this year. They have more meat and more of the parts that you keep. I got more boxes of high quality pork out of this, and these are 250 pound pigs, than I did from 800 pound pigs from your neighbors because they’re all just fat.”
Dave Asprey: 39:55 What I was doing, I was … well, we practice intermittent fasting, we fed them only organic, raw food, and we put brain octane and charcoal in their food. So, it completely changes it. But yeah, if you’re looking on a per pound basis, we’re stupid. If you’re looking on a what do I want to put on my plate basis, we’re doing really well. We eat a small amount of it, not a huge giant pork chops, but man, that pork belly, it’ll change your life, I tell you. It’s all about what the animal ate.
Dr. Gundry: 40:25 Can I achieve the same thing by putting MCT oil on my pork chop?
Dave Asprey: 40:31 You can get a little bit of that. But what we were doing, we were trying … because pigs and humans have such similar metabolisms-
Dr. Gundry: 40:37 Oh, absolutely.
Dave Asprey: 40:38 We’re some of the few animals that use our kidneys to remove toxins, much more so than rats. They all use their livers, which are good. Kidneys are not very good filters for toxins. So, pigs are very susceptible to mold toxins, to heavy metals, to [inaudible 00:40:52] disruption things, so because they’re so similar to us, we fed them the same kind of diet that I would eat. Man, it made a difference. But whether there was actually MCT in their fat, I don’t know. But we do pour some on top just in case.
Dr. Gundry: 41:07 Well, we need to have a complete analysis for the next podcast.
Dave Asprey: 41:11 All right.
Dr. Gundry: 41:12 All right, so where do they find you? Where do they find Game Changers and all your other great books?
Dave Asprey: 41:20 All right, well, all the Dave Asprey book collection is on Amazon or wherever books are sold. Game Changers is in stores today. It is the highest reviewed book of any of the books I’ve written, almost all five star reviews because of the format and the style, and the interviews that it’s based on are on Bulletproof Radio, 100 million downloads, Webby Award-winning podcast, where you want to hear just one specific thing. I’d also direct your listeners to my book Headstrong, which was on the New York Times science bestseller list with The Secret Life of Trees and [inaudible 00:41:51] and Sapiens and other books like that because following your work, they’re already familiar with how important cognitive function is, how important cellular function is. The things you do to make your head work better, make your brain work better, make your brain last longer are so in alignment with the things that you’ll do in The Longevity Paradox, where like, look, how do we make sure we’ll have a memory when we’re 100? That stuff matters, and for me, because I lot that in my twenties and I regained it, it’s very precious.
Dave Asprey: 42:21 So, that’s Headstrong and Game Changers.
Dr. Gundry: 42:24 All right. Thanks for being on the show. This is my first time with you on my show, which is great. I hope I can come back on Bulletproof Radio sometime, maybe talk about-
Dave Asprey: 42:36 Absolutely.
Dr. Gundry: 42:37 All right.
Dave Asprey: 42:37 We’ll schedule it for you. I’m a big fan of your work, and I appreciate that you’ve stepped out of just doing cardiac surgery and heart surgery to say hey, it’s what you put in your might prevent the surgery in the first place, that’s a big move for a surgeon. Thanks for having the courage to do it.
Dr. Gundry: 42:53 Well, thanks.
Dr. Gundry: 42:55 That’s it for today. Always good to see you. Thanks for coming on. This is Dr. Gundry because I’m always looking out for you. See you next week.
Dr. Gundry: 43:05 Exciting news, my friends, my new book, The Longevity Paradox, is out now. Like the plant paradox, this will be a game-changer in helping you live a long, vital life. Pick up your copy now at your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or my audio book, which I actually recorded this time. Make sure you tell your friends and family about it.
Dr. Gundry: 43:30 For more information about this week’s episode, please take a look at my show notes below and on drgundry.com. In the show notes, you’ll also find a survey, and I’d love to find out more about you. Please take a few minutes to fill it out, so I can do my best to provide information you’re looking for.
Dr. Gundry: 43:48 Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Check back next week for another exciting episode. Make sure to subscribe, rate, and review to stay up to date with the latest episodes. Head to drgundry.com for show notes and more information. Until next time, I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.