When it comes to living a long life, demographers, epidemiologists, gerontologists and other researchers on aging have long puzzled over the theoretical question of the maximum potential for human lifespan, along with the host of proposed practices we can implement that help us achieve that potential. There is, after all, in the past decade alone a veritable laundry list of tactics we can use to make ourselves more age resistant, from nutrients, vitamins and pills such as Vitamin D, aspirin, metformin, magnesium, pterostilbene, resveratrol, blueberry extract, nicotinamide riboside and Rhodiola to lifestyle practices such as shivering our asses off, self-imposed starvation, fecal transplants, strict veganism, injecting into ourselves growth hormone, testosterone, stem cells, exosomes, the blood of younger healthy humans and speaking of younger humans, simply “having more children”.
Fact is, compared to the Biblical Methuselah, who purportedly lived to the ripe old age of 969, we don’t seem to be moving the anti-aging dial much. In fact, researchers estimate that in the U.S. today, the average adult life expectancy is still only about 77 years and, disturbingly, now plummeting due to high rates of chronic diseases (many of which are preventable with simple lifestyle changes you’ll learn about in this podcast). Currently – despite the Chinese lore of the recently perished “256-year-old” Li Ching Yuen, the longest-lived modern person in the world on actual record is Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997 at the exact age of 122 years and 164 days.
Yet, when we observe nature, some amount of immortality, or at least a significant amount of enhanced life extension, appears to be achievable. Take the naked mole rate, for example. The naked mole rat’s cells themselves seem to make proteins – the molecular machines that make bodies work – more accurately than us humans, preventing it from developing age-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s. Unlike humans, the way these ugly little creatures handle glucose doesn’t seem to change with age either, reducing their susceptibility to diseases like diabetes.
The naked mole rat isn’t the only animal scientists are now probing to pick the lock of long life. With a rampant metabolism and a heart rate of 1,000 beats a minute, the common hummingbird should, on paper, be riddled with rogue free radicals (the oxygen-based chemicals that make mammals old by gradually destroying DNA, proteins and fat molecules), but the tiny birds seem relatively bulletproofed against heart disease. Then there are lobsters, which seem to have evolved a protein which repairs the telomere tips of their DNA, allowing for a decreased rate of telomere shortening that most animals are incapable of.
Finally, as if rats, hummingbirds and lobsters weren’t enough to make us longevity seeking humans a bit jealous, we mustn’t forget one animal on Earth that may hold the master key to immortality: the Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the “Immortal Jellyfish”. Most jellyfish, when they reach the end of life, die and melt into the sea, but not the Turritopsis dohrnii. Instead, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, where its body folds in on itself – assuming the jellyfish equivalent of the fetal position – and regenerates back into a baby jellyfish in a rare biological process called transdifferentiation, in which its old cells somehow transform into young cells.
So is there a human equivalent of the type of immortality “powers” these animals seem to have tapped into? Many in popular anti-aging and longevity circles have suggested that – in the next several decades – we could indeed unlock the secrets to living to approximately 120 to 140 years old, and many biohackers and anti-aging enthusiasts such as Peter Diamandis, Peter Thiel, Larry Page, Elon Musk and Tony Robbins and even lil ol’ me are striving to live greater than 160 years old.
The purpose of this podcast is not to delve into the relatively advanced longevity secrets of these fringe biohackers, but instead to reveal everything you need to know about why the world’s more traditionally living longevity all-stars not only live longer but also tend to live better. They have strong connections with their family and friends. They’re active. They wake up in the morning knowing that they have a purpose, and the world, in turn, reacts to them in a way that propels them along. An overwhelming majority of them still enjoy life. They share these common behavioral and lifestyle characteristics, such as family coherence, avoidance of smoking, plant-based diet, moderate and daily physical activity, social engagement, and situations where people of all ages are socially active and integrated into the community, despite all of them being from different areas of the world and of different races, nationalities and religions.
That’s not to say that biohacking for longevity and better living through science isn’t beneficial. After spending nearly two decades deeply immersed in the health, fitness, nutrition and longevity industry, I’ve come to a growing realization that an open embrace of both the modern science and the ancestral wisdom could indeed allow one to live a long and healthy lifespan that rivals and even exceeds that of our ancestors. Perhaps that’s why my children and I engage in wild plant foraging (a longevity tactic you’ll learn more about in this podcast), but do so using a plant identification smartphone app that allows us to identify everything from mushrooms to plants with incredible accuracy, allowing us to tap into a bit of better living through science to not get poisoned or make fatal mistakes our ancestors might have while foraging; why I own a quaint and simple, off-grid, barn-style home in the forest where we grow most of our own food, yet fill that barn with tens of thousands of dollars of modern anti-aging biohacking equipment; and why the last time I disappeared into a seven day high-country elk bowhunt in the mountains of Colorado, I had a neurofeedback brain training device neatly tucked away into my camouflage backpack.
But in this podcast, rather than learning about fancy devices you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on or fringe biohacks that will get you plenty of weird looks from your neighbors, you will discover exactly how to use proven ancestral tactics to live a happy, long and fulfilled life. So you can think of today's podcast as a cookbook for longevity that gives you all the low-hanging fruit and teaches you all the basics of living a long and happy life.
During this two-part episode, in part one, you'll discover…
-Why you should never smoke and quit immediately if you do…10:19
- When you stop smoking, your body responds immediately
- Noticeable improvements within 90 days
- Sexual performance
- After 1 year, like nothing ever happened
- Adrenal glands need to adapt to the lack of nicotine
- Use a good air filter
- Don't just stop; implement a strategy to aid your repair and recovery
- FUM essential oil vaping pen
-The benefits of wild plants…14:20
- Xeno-hormetic effect
- Not a fan of “plant paradox” diets
- Book: Eating On the Wild Side
- Higher vegetable, lower meat intake
-The dangers of processed and packaged foods…18:10
- First two ingredients often found in processed “health foods”
- Artificial sweetener
- Vegetable oil
- Difficult to eat processed/packaged foods when you're eating right
- Aim for 80% real food, 20% p/p foods
-Why legumes are your friends…22:37
- High in non-meat protein, amino acids, slow-burning carbs
- Eat other carbs (sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa etc.) alongside the legumes
- Article: Soaking, sprouting legumes
-Low-level physical activity…25:56
- Enjoyable exercise; rarely engage in high-intensity training
- Hack your environment
- Visiting the gym should be optional, unless you're training for an event, pro athlete, etc.
- Sitting for 8 straight hours negates any efficacy from a gym session
-Why you should prioritize social engagement…29:00
- Podcast: Growing Epidemic of Loneliness
-How drinking alcohol (in moderation) can be good for you…32:15
- Podcast: Todd White of Dry Farm Wines
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers
- Mediterranean diet
- Boosts benefits of low-level activity even more (these habits build off one another)
- I haven't been drunk in 6 years, but I have a drink every day (red wine, Moscow mule, “Ben and Jitters”)
-Calorie restriction and fasting…37:38
- Intermittent fasting (12-16 hours)
- Fasting mimicking diet (40% of normal calorie intake)
- My own practice:
- Intermittent fast
- 1-2x per month, 24 hour fast (dinner to dinner)
- 4x per year, fasting mimicking diet
- Podcast: The Complete Guide to Fasting w/ Jason Fung
-The importance of possessing a strong life purpose…42:08
- NIH funded study correlating purpose and longevity
- Be able to say your purpose in life in one succinct sentence
- Quick tips:
- What did you like to do when you were a kid?
- What puts you in the flow, or the zone?
- Podcast with Mastin Kipp
- Book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK
-Lower your stress levels…45:00
- Chronic stress at the root of inflammation, age-related diseases
- Don't avoid stress; learn to manage it
- Ruthlessly eliminate haste and hurry from your life
-Engage in a belief in a higher power…47:20
- Believe there's a story for your life, that you fit into a bigger picture
- Study: Church attendance, allostatic load and mortality in middle-aged adults
-Remain reproductively useful…50:17
- If you want to replenish the earth, nature will want to keep you around
- Article: Old, horny Italians
In part 2, recorded from Runga in the Dominican Republic, I respond to questions from the audience, including:
-What are the 2019 health trends…56:00
-What is your view about high animal protein and how IGF-1 impacts longevity…58:53
-What's the best way to handle crinkle/crunch when bending at the knees…1:01:50
-What are the top 3 bio hacks for human optimization…1:03:24
- All comes down to the mitochondria
-Does high-fat coffee break your fast…1:05:53
- Anything with calories breaks your fast
-Top 5 quick tips for raising kids…1:07:11
- Don't say “no” unless their life is in danger. Educate, let them learn to make decisions for themselves
- Adequate Vitamin D and K
- Genetically test your kids
- Teach how to deal with the cold
- Footwear (lots of bare feet)
-Top 3 tips for increasing longevity…1:12:52
-What are your thoughts on sunblock and sunglasses…1:14:50
-The thought of eating a diet only of foods in season and allowing a break from naturally occurring plant toxins for longevity…1:17:38
-What are your top 3 tests in correlating lab/company frequency to monitor your health…
-What type of diet would you recommend for a family of four with a budget of $100/week…1:23:18
- Calorie and nutrient dense foods
- Invest in half a cow, vertical gardening setup
-How do you find the right balance between the physical/tangible elements of what you teach and the spiritual/intangibles…1:25:44
–RUNGA – The most intensive, special personalized wellness and performance immersion on the planet
-Book: The Blue Zones Solutions by Dan Buettner
–Fum – essential oil vaping pen
-Book: The Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry
-Book: The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo
–Kion's Fasting Bundle. Contains 2 Bags Kion Coffee and 1 Bottle Kion Aminos Tablets. This is Kion’s Favorite Combo to Support Fasting!
–JOOVV Medical-Grade, Full-Body Light Therapy. “It's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed.” Use code “ben” at checkout and receive a nice bonus gift with your order.
–Organifi Gold combines turmeric with smooth coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger, lemon balm and two super mushrooms to create a warm relaxation beverage. Use discount code here at checkout and receive 20% off your entire purchase!