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Longevity, Epigenetics, Microbiome Health & The Difference Between Eating for Long-Term Wellness Versus Performance

By January 17, 2016January 19th, 202411 Comments

“We’re actually on the verge of serious antibiotic resistance cropping up, and that is scary. It’s absolutely terrifying.”

Rhonda Patrick

This episode is a geeky deep dive into the hardcore science behind everything from telomeres and the mechanisms behind aging and longevity to the primacy of maintaining microbiome health; oxidative stress and the relationship between inflammation and chronic disease; epigenetics and genetic disposition versus expression; and of course nutrition – divining truth from myth, the impact of micronutrient inadequacies, focused supplementation and the difference between eating for optimal wellness versus performance.

Today’s guide through this byzantine labyrinth of crucial biological processes is my brilliant friend Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.

A Ph.D in biomedical sciences, Dr. Patrick is an expert in nutrition, metabolism and aging. She has done considerable research in all of these fields, including research on cancer and the effects of mineral and vitamin supplementation on metabolism, inflammation and aging. She did her graduate research at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where she focused on cancer, mitochondrial metabolism and apoptosis. In addition, she conducts clinical trials and has performed extensive aging research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Beyond the fact that Rhonda is whip smart (and totally amazing), through her Found My Fitness blog, podcast and YouTube channel, she expertly translates the complexities of clinical research and physiological processes in understandable terms, adeptly communicates their implications and provides actionable real life practices and applications aimed at maximizing overall health and longevity.

It’s time to put on the propellor hat and get out your pen and paper, because you’re going to want to take notes for this one.

We cover a ton of material in this conversation. Specific topics include:

  • identifying the biomarkers of aging
  • the biological impact of oxidative stressors
  • acute inflammation vs. chronic inflammation
  • why we should forget about protein and focus on fiber
  • the importance of cultivating a healthy microbiome
  • the leading causes of chronic inflammation
  • the benefits of exercise-induced inflammation
  • the benefits of curcumin
  • stress adaptation and immune system response
  • why Omega-3 is important & how to get it
  • circadian rhythm and bright light exposure
  • stress reduction techniques
  • the benefits of meditation
  • DNA damage and telomerase
  • the importance of Vitamin D
  • Rhonda’s recommended supplements
  • gene polymorphisms
  • nutrition/lifestyle & athletic performance vs. long-term wellness/longevity

Rhonda fascinates me and this conversation is an absolute mind-blower. I sincerely hope you enjoy our exchange.

Peace + Plants,


Listen & Subscribe on  iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher


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Background, Context & Reference:

Dr. Rhonda Patrick Publications:

Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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  • Morgan Montague says:

    Terrific discussion. I have been both a RRP and FMF fan separately for a while now. However, it is great to now have in this episode a fusion of the two. The Quantified Self should be the new paradigm for health. It should be the new yoga of self knowledge. Using the new technologies out there is a right and a privilege we all should be taking advantage of. I thank you Dr. Patrick for explaining to we lay people what these tools mean. Rich, I hope your listeners will follow the copious links you have generously provided. The journey your listeners will find from those links will be richly rewarded.

  • Patricia says:

    Fantastic!! [That is, everything but the animal research 🙁 ] I will definitely be listening to this again. As an aside, I love how Dr Greger’s “Daily Dozen” is spot on from a microbiome and epigenetics perspective as well.

  • Tommy F says:

    Dr. Rhonda is great. I really enjoyed her perspective. She did kinda lose me on the fish-oil recommendations. And I think the alley-way trash truck smashing around in the background was the divine speaking up against it 🙂

    Doctors are very smart people. But when the scientific data they interpret, comes from studies that were designed to yield a specific conclusion.. then within the limiting paradigm confines of “science”, the doctor is naturally restricted to draw only one conclusion. Actual Truth can tend to exist outside of that conclusion.

    Basically, what we’re learning from great plant-based vegan doctors like Dr’s Greger, T.Colin Campbell, Garth Davis and so many others.. is that the nutrition comes from the PLANTS.. and that first having sentient-beings eating those plants and humans subsequently stealing those bodily stored nutrients from that being, is completely unnecessary, horribly inefficient and inhumane. This includes fish and all aquatic life, even if they don’t SCREAM while being netted, hooked and sliced.


  • JasonRH says:

    Excellent episode, I think I need to increase my fiber intake and get some more sunlight. Rich, you linked to the VSL-3 capsules, but I think she was recommending the packets over the capsules if I remember correctly. Not a big deal, just thought I’d mention:

  • John C says:

    Interesting discussion. I gained some new bits of knowledge but I also thought the interview bordered on scientific reductionism. To zoom in down to the DNA level and discuss diet and rebuilding telomeres for an individual but not zoom out to a world view and see how our actions effect the health of the planet can be problematic. A whole systems health viewpoint may be required here. I’d rather let my DNA caps be a little more shredded in order to leave more fish in the ocean and cause less impact to the planet. And I don’t need DNA analysis to determine how to lower BP, cholesterol, etc Science and many of your other guests have already shown that a ‘plant based’ diet can do that. I understand that you’re walking a fine line as an interviewer but I would have been interested in a question as to why she isn’t purely plant based. No judgement, just a question and it might be helpful to people considering going plant based.

    Also, I’ve been meditating for a decade now and find a quiet room is fine. It’s about turning your attention inward and just observing one’s own thoughts. That can be done anywhere. So a beautiful landscape isn’t required.

    Thanks for all the great interviews! I recommend your podcasts to all my friends.

  • Danny Bussell says:

    Really good discussion was listening to this whilst out riding. Though was surprised on the comments Re fish oil and fish. From what I understand if your eating plenty of fruits and simple greens you are getting a good balance of fats that your body can convert to DHA and EPA. If you are concerned or unable to get quality fresh fruit and greens you can easily obtain an algae based DHA sup. Also re the keto diet comments. The people I’ve experienced doing keto are easily stressed, temperamental and have an overall decrease in cognitive function. The new trend for research on fibre and microbiology is such a good reason to eat more fruit and veg.

  • Michele DeVries says:

    What a fascinating conversation. Thank you for always expanding my mind with every episode you share.

  • Sharon Larsen says:

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more. I also think that keeping the oils free of oxidation and getting all of the contaminants out is nearly impossible. Plus there are studies that show no benefit from supplementation. I do find her approach a bit reductionist, but then again, that is what she does. Not that it isn’t important but we do need to also take a more holistic approach as well. otherwise I enjoyed the podcast.

  • Tatiana D says:

    I’d like to alert your listeners to the following: I thought Rhonda Patrick was informative making this podcast interesting. I had done my 23andme ancestral genetic search a couple of years back. Based on Dr. Rhonda’s enthusiasm for DNA analysis, I decided to request MY personal health report from 23andme since they already had my DNA. The report I got from 23andme was simple and innocuous (ex. I may be lactose intolerant, I have brown eyes, I don’t metabolize caffeine well, etc). Dr. Rhonda had said the the site would import the 23andme genetic profile and deliver a more substantial analysis. I was interested since I wanted to know, for dietary reasons, how I metabolize fat, etc.
    Boy was this report more substantial! I thought the analysis would be mainly focusing on the innocent reports that 23andme offered. Instead I received a huge list of chromosomal abnormalities that make me susceptible to major diseases. Scared the day lights out of me and I continue to be rattled! I truly wish I did not order the Promethease report, or knew how intensive it would be.
    BEWARE before you order these genetic reports if you are not ready for this detailed analysis of your genes and their disclosures.

  • Katrina says:

    Enjoyed it on one level but far too reductionist a perspective, and her comments on fish oil made me question what other huge gaps there are in her knowledge. It’s a pity so much money is funneled to researchers who spend their time looking at things in such a small way rather than wholistically. Love how, in his podcasts, Rich keeps people on track so gently.

  • Kathy McKinstry says:

    I was interested in the VSL#3 and took a look at the product on Amazon. Seeing as how $94.00 for 30 packets is rather expensive, I’m wondering if you would only have to take a packet once a month or after a round of antibiotics? It seems like you should only have to re-populate your gut flora on occasion?

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