Fireside Chat Video Series with Tim Ferriss: Episode 4

credit: Instagram @jennifersbliss

credit: Instagram @jennifersbliss

All good things must come to an end. Over the last few weeks we’ve shared video and summaries from the amazing Building the Perfect Human event WellnessFX held last month in San Francisco.

In classic fireside-style, our CEO Jim Kean, best-selling author Tim Ferriss, and Dr. Justin Mager have discussed how to slow aging as much as possible in the next 20 years by tracking your health, reducing injuries, eating holistically, and embracing your bacterial self. This last iteration continues with questions from the audience, with everything from The 4-Hour Musician to the problems with the current supplement market.

To see the fourth and final webisode and to get access to a summary of topics discussed, simply fill in your email below:

Tim begins this session with some blunt advice:

If you’re spending three to five hundred bucks a month on car insurance and other similar things, then you owe it to yourself to invest in more than one blood test a year. Get three to four. I don’t care if it’s from WellnessFX or wherever. Frequent testing makes everything more interesting and effective, both for longevity and performance.

Dr. Mager adds that, in his opinion, the American health care system is best for treating serious illnesses, and should be used as such. Patients are better off spending less money on catastrophic health coverage and using services like WellnessFX for prevention and long-term tracking.

Check out the full video below, along with an awesome Q&A session!

Question and Answer for Tim Ferriss

Q: I read in The 4-Hour Body that you used astaxanthin for tanning. Does it have any implications for longevity?

A: Tim didn’t use astaxanthin for any longevity purposes. He had heard anectodally that it can be taken to increase sun tolerance, so he tried it during a trip to Mexico to work on his tan. He can’t remember if it worked significantly or not. Tim still finds the substance fascinating, but is genetically susceptible to melanoma and is wary about tanning in general. You can learn more about astaxanthin here.

Q: How did you measure your glucose continuously in The 4-Hour Body?

A: Tim used Dexcom SEVEN to measure his interstitial glucose. With it he was able to log all of his food and beverage intake and became aware of patterns that should have been obvious, but weren’t. It opened up new opportunities for experimentation. He took vinegar or lemon juice before his meals and saw how they affected glucose levels. He started to look into how timing of nutrients affected other aspects of his diet. His post-workout shake, for example, wasn’t hitting peak levels in his blood stream until an hour after his workout. So he starting taking his post-workout shake before exercising to shift that optimal window to the best time. His gains increased by 10-20%.

Q: What are your opinions on the current supplement market?

A: It is largely a reactionary industry, which means it is not self-regulated from a pre-manufacturing standpoint. If major health problems or claims are reported, the FDA will intervene. Other than that, supplement companies can say whatever they want and sell it. Because of this, the industry has gained a lot of bad reputation. You might think the clinical trials that companies boast prove the validity of the product. Nope. You can’t necessarily trust those, either. Companies will run ten sponsored clinical trials, throw away the nine that showed nothing, and then publicize the one that has ‘significant results’ just by chance. So, how do you know which supplements do what they say? Besides testing for yourself and monitoring results, assays can at least give confidence that you’re getting the product you’re paying for. There’s also clinical literature and longitudinal data, like the people who self track resveratrol intake on the Immortality Institute forums, for example.

Q: Is this why you switched to whole foods?

A: In part. Mostly, though, Tim switched to whole foods because he believed that taking isolated supplements was just asking for unwanted side effects. The body is a sensitive and effective instrument due to its feedback mechanisms. When you give it too much of one thing, it compensates, and different processes can be thrown out of whack as a result. The problem is that since it’s so difficult to study whole foods (brocolli may be dramatically different in nutrient content from region to region, for example), science usually only tests isolated substances. Unless he has a really clear performance goal that he’s willing to ‘roll the dice’ on, Tim sticks to whole foods.

Q: What were the positive or negative take-aways from your stem cell experiences?

A: In The 4-Hour Body, Tim wrote about importing stem cell growth factor from Israel and injecting it into his back with the help of a doctor. From his experience, the following treatments give better results for injury recovery: Active Release Technique (ART), postural exerciserestorative yoga, and biopuncture. He still considers induced pluripotent stem cells very fascinating. You can turn cells straight from the body into anything you want without dealing with the moral issues of embryonic stem cell use. Also, a close look at platelet rich plasma (PRP) can be very beneficial depending on one’s goals.

Q: For people with injuries, where do you suggest starting in terms of treatment?

A: With something like regenerative medicine or injury reversal, Tim suggests going from least invasive to most invasive. Injections inherently carry more risk. For example, Tim had a simple injection in his elbow but the doctor mistakenly went a half-inch away from the proper site. The injection pushed bacteria into the joint itself and Tim developed a MRSA infection, which required surgery. Tim suggests seeking treatment in the following order:

  • Dietary Interventions: Tim has a number of friends who have been slated to go in for knee surgery but ultimately avoided it by taking high-dose MSM combined with high dose vitamin-C followed by protein loading. He recommends medical supervision for similar initiatives.
  • Manual Therapy: ART is really helpful. Do not assume that all problems that arise are localized to one location. Knee problems, for example, could be symptomatic of myofascial issues in the hip joint from constant sitting.
  • Biopuncture: Tim recommends caution when choosing a practitioner. Go with an expert. Even if you have to wait 5-6 months, it’s worth it.

Q: What are your thoughts on probiotics?

A: As mentioned in previous episodes from this talk, the body has more bacterial cells than it does human ones. Given this, Tim is all about molding the body’s bacterial culture into a helpful, rather than harmful, one. Both probiotics and prebiotics (precursors to bacteria) can be very beneficial in this regard. Fermented foods, for example, facilitate the growth of the body’s beneficial bacteria. However, when it comes to bacteria or fat (especially fat), Tim is willing to pay whatever’s necessary to secure a high quality, fresh supply. And you should, too. This is your body we’re talking about here!

Q: Have you ever thought about doing The 4-Hour Musician?

A: Tim admits he’d need to rely on a musician to be able to write such an entry. He’s very fond of five-piece drum sets and irish flutes, but is not confident enough in his musical ability to teach other people. He does mention, however, that learning to play music, acquiring a new language, and taking up computer programming are more similar than people think. Learning techniques can be transferred between the three. Tim recommends the following book, even for people who are not in to programming: The Passionate Programmer by Chad Fowler. He also recommends checking out the Axis of Awesome. You’ll quickly see why.

Thanks for tuning in! In case you missed them, here are the past episodes:

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.