Your cart is empty now.
Watch the episode here
We all aspire to live long healthy lives. However, aging rarely comes without age-related health complications that make the path toward this goal challenging. This episode’s guest unravels a discovery that can help support the anti-aging process. The Natural Pharmacist, Ross Pelton, Ph.D., joins Corinna Bellizzi to discuss the prescription drug called Rapamycin. With his book, Rapamycin, mTOR, Autophagy & Treating mTOR Syndrome, Dr. Pelton talks about how rapamycin works as a life extension drug. He leads us into the science behind it along with the key roles of mTOR and autophagy in healthy aging and healthy longevity. Plus, Dr. Pelton shares his insights on the role of food, diet, and exercise and how they go hand-in-hand when it comes to the aging process. Don’t miss out on this revolutionary research!
Key takeaways from this episode:
Guest Social Links:
Welcome to another interview episode of the show. I’m thrilled to welcome back an expert in anti-aging, colloquially known as the Natural Pharmacist, Dr. Ross Pelton. Ross is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and has a PhD in Psychology. In October 1999, he was named one of the top 50 influential pharmacists in America by American Druggist Magazine for his work in natural medicine specifically. He has written twelve books. His newest book is Rapamycin, mTOR, Autophagy, and Treating mTOR Syndrome. It’s available in its second edition. I have my copy now and this is what we’ll be digging into in this episode. Dr. Ross Pelton or Ross, what do you prefer to be called?
Ross is fine.
It is so nice to see you again.
It’s great to have the opportunity to be with you again. It’s lovely seeing you. We’ll have some fun together.
I love that, too. I have to say. This is the first time I had the physical book in hand. Last time, I had reviewed the PDF. It’s so different to be able to go piece by piece. You have some beautiful pictures even in color here to illustrate turmeric and its power and to look at different people and places that have affected the journey. It’s nice to see. I understand this has become a labor of love for you. Why don’t you first talk about the new research that stimulated the second edition?
I’m happy to. The research in rapamycin is exploding exponentially. One of the important new studies was done by Vera Gorbunova, a professor on the East Coast. She looked at the studies on long-lived mammals. This is work that had been done before. They’ve identified the genes that are associated with maximum lifespan. She did a study with mice. She divided mice into ten different groups and gave each of them a different type of recognized life-extension drug.
In addition to rapamycin, there was metformin, 17-beta-estradiol, and calorie restriction. It did a number of different life-extension therapies. It turned out rapamycin was the number one item or therapy for the activation of genes associated with maximum lifespan. On the other side of the equation, rapamycin had the least effect on activating genes associated with accelerated aging. This is not a human clinical trial, but it gives some credibility to how and why rapamycin works as a life-extension drug. It’s activating the genes associated with life extension and maximum lifespan.
When we look at longevity, the studies typically start with a fruit fly because they have such rapidly repeating life cycles that you’re able to demonstrate change rather quickly. Many people, the skeptics, might say, “It’s a mouse study.” Where does all science begin? We have to start somewhere. Guess what? Mammals respond similarly. We can look at the research on APOE4 versus other genome types as it relates to macular degeneration, mental health decline, and diseases of the brain as well. We make all sorts of leaps from that, so it would make sense that we start here.
In the last time I interviewed you, you talked about the origin story of rapamycin and how it came about on Easter Island and the soil is where it was defined and captured. It’s different than what you would typically see from something like an antibiotic that is marketed on the market. Can you talk about what makes it so unique?
First of all, I like to emphasize that this is a natural product that occurs in nature. It’s a product that’s made by a strain of soil bacteria. It’s not some exotic compound that the pharmaceutical companies have created that the human body has never seen before or hasn’t existed on planet Earth before. It’s a naturally produced substance. That’s where we begin.
Let me review also the fact that this is an FDA-approved drug. It was approved in September 1999 to treat patients with kidney transplants. When it’s taken daily, it suppresses the immune system. These patients who get organ transplants need to be on immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives. In the early 2000s, rapamycin was approved to treat several different types of solid tumor cancers. These FDA approvals have been a sticking point or a hindrance to it being accepted as a life extension drug. Doctors don’t usually write prescriptions for life extension enthusiasts for chemotherapy or drugs that suppress the immune system.
The breakthrough study was done by Dr. Joan Mannick who was working at one of the large pharmaceutical companies, Novartis. She had the enviable position of being able to research anything she was interested in. She decided to work on aging and look at rapamycin. She decided to take a group of elderly people aged 64 to 85 and divided them into 4 different groups. One is a placebo group and one is a group taking a rapalog drug that has exactly the same effects as rapamycin. One group got 0.5 milligrams daily for the duration of the study. Another group got 5 milligrams once a week. Another group got 20 milligrams once a week.
After twelve weeks, she subjected all of these individuals to the seasonal flu vaccine and did blood work to assess how their immune systems responded to this challenge of the flu vaccine. It turned out that 5 milligrams once a week was the sweet spot. These elderly people got a 20% boost in their immune system by taking their rapamycin-like drug once a week. That was the breakthrough that helped us understand that taking rapamycin episodically once a week rather than every single day provides tremendous health benefits because of its ability to partially inhibit mTOR and activate autophagy.
Could this also be related to our innate wisdom that even comes from some religions where we’re supposed to take a break from eating for one day out of the week or for periods of time? What are your thoughts along those lines?
I’m in total agreement with that. There are many different ways that people can change the timing of where they eat. In fact, when we talk about food and diet, there are three things to consider. One is the quantity of your proportions or how much you’re eating. The second is the quality of the foods you’re ingesting. The third thing that most people aren’t aware of, and that’s what’s so critical here with our topic about rapamycin, mTOR, and autophagy, is the timing of when you eat. You want to reduce the time that you’re taking calories so there is more time without calories because autophagy is activated when there are no nutrients available.
My explanation for this is for hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, people did not get up in the morning, go to the kitchen, open the refrigerator, and start to make breakfast. People didn’t eat three meals a day. People eat all the time compared to our ancestors. We have breakfast, lunch, dinner, in-between meals, snacks, desserts, and evening cocktails. We’re taking nutrients in all the time so mTOR is always getting activated. I call this mTOR Syndrome, the constant overactivation of mTOR.
Consequently, autophagy never gets activated or certainly doesn’t get nearly the amount of time that it needs. This is a fundamental problem that underlies the declining health of humanity. We are experiencing an epidemic of epidemics. We’ve got heart disease, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. All these things are off the charts, and many years ago, they never even existed in terms of epidemic proportions.
The mTOR autophagy ratio being severely out of balance is one of the key fundamental health problems that’s facing mankind. It’s actionable. There are things you can do about it. The natural way to do it is intermittent fasting or maybe taking a holiday one day a week when you don’t eat. Some people call it the 2-7 program or 2 days a week, you do 24-hour fasts. The 16-8 protocol is the most common where people, for example, stop eating at 8:00 at night and then don’t eat again until noon the next day. That is a 16-hour period of not eating. You’re condensing your nutrient intake between noon and 8:00 PM. Any of those different protocols will be beneficial, that will activate autophagy.
One of the things I like to emphasize is that autophagy doesn’t stop working because you age. In fact, you grow old because autophagy starts working. Preserving and activating autophagy is critical for healthy aging and healthy longevity. There’s a paper that was published on this. The author of this paper stated, “Dysregulation of autophagy is a cause and not a consequence of aging.” Healthy aging requires that we get more time in autophagy, and this is what rapamycin does for you. It goes into the cell and binds to mTOR and partially inhibits it so that autophagy can start to get activated.
I’m sure we know many of the same people in our beautiful industry here, but I’m thinking of some of Naomi Whittel’s work. She was, for a while, marketing a tea that would help to stimulate autophagy or put you in this fasting state. Are there other things that can help to stimulate this cycle that you are wherever that you like to point to?
Calorie restriction is one way to do it. Exercise is critical for activating autophagy. Getting proper sleep is another factor that’s important. There are a number of things that people can do in addition to intermittent fasting or calorie restriction. A couple of the most important things are regular exercise 4 to 5 days a week. I really emphasize the importance of strength training. That’s the most important type of exercise. It’s not that aerobic exercise isn’t important.
A group of scientists in Italy, a number of years ago, did a study with a group of people that were 94 to 105 years old. They wanted to evaluate what’s the most important thing for healthy aging. They looked at hundreds of different parameters. It turns out the number one thing for healthy aging is to maintain your muscle mass. In order to do that, you have to do some form of weight training or resistance training on a regular basis. Things like jogging, swimming, and cycling are great aerobic exercises, but those athletes are not building muscle mass. I would encourage everybody to get engaged in some form of weight training because that’s a critical factor for activating autophagy.
The thing we should all keep in mind is that it doesn’t necessarily have to look like going to the gym to lift heavy weights. You can do body opposition exercises. You can consider certain forms and yoga to be stimulating the same sorts of things. You can use bodyweight exercises to do this, like pushups, which is an incredible arm workout. All of us know that. Squats are incredible for the lower body.
I do it in a chair and sit against the wall for two minutes.
Especially as people age, we need to think clearly about what we’re going to put our body through and as far as demands are in our ‘80s and ‘90s. I would like to see more than 100. I tell my kids that my desired age is always 60 years in the future because I see myself as not even close to middle-aged yet. That’s how I would like to see my existence. My birthday is coming up so it’s going to go from 126 to 127. Do the math.
Back in the 1980s, there was a famous physician, Dr. James Fries, who published a study. He was severely ridiculed for this when it was initially published, but he proposed the rectangularization of the aging curve and the compression of morbidity. We start out here where everybody is healthy, and then at age 20 and 30, they start to get diseases and their health declines. When you get into anti-aging and life extension, you extend your healthy years for a much greater period of time. You compress morbidity into a very short period of time at the end of life. That’s what we’re doing here with all of our life extension and anti-aging therapies. Rapamycin is a game-changer. It is a revolution in life extension and anti-aging.
I hear from people often that they have a hard time conceiving of the idea of even not consuming breakfast or holding off on eating a meal until lunchtime. I want to share a couple of things that will help the audience, and then I’d love to ask your perspective as well. When it comes to doing something as simple as intermittent fasting, support this whole concept, and reserve your eating to eight hours a day, which everybody can do, barring those who might have some blood sugar issues that are in specific treatments. In that case, you’re working with your doctor and following their recommendations.
We are not here to give health advice. This is for entertainment and informational purposes only. I probably should have said that a little bit earlier, but I’m saying it now. As it stands, the types of food you’re eating affect your appetite. If you’re consuming Ho Hos, potato chips, Krispy Kremes, Ding-Dongs, and all this other junk that is not food-food, we call it junk food, but it’s fillers, sugars, adulterants, and things that are more like plastic than food all combined into one thing. You then put it into your body that you’re not fulfilling your nutrition needs.
Your body wakes up in this near-starvation mode of, “I need to eat something that’s food.” You think you’re hungry. You go to grab something. You’re going for these carbohydrate-laden breakfasts. Thank you, Kellogg, for making us all think that we need to eat breakfast as soon as we wake up within half an hour to stimulate our metabolism. These are all lies. We know that. If we change our patterns of eating and we’re consuming food that is true food and nutritious, and also do something like supplementing with a good quality Omega-3 like those produced by Örlö Nutrition, taking a multivitamin, and getting your core nutrition met, it’s not a big deal to wait until noon.
I had a piece of homemade banana bread. This isn’t typically what I would do for the first meal of the day, but I make a protein-fortified at-home banana bread that’s quite delicious. I use alternative flours and all this stuff. I had that before we started recording. I didn’t even notice. It’s my belief that I don’t notice these gaps because of the fact that every day, I’m focused on eating whole foods that nourish my body and then supplementing for the gaps that I see in my diet. What are your thoughts?
I’m in agreement with you and I’d like to expand on your thoughts. One thing I’d like to emphasize is that every time you eat, you’re hosting a very large party. You’re feeding 100 trillion guests. You’re feeding your gut microbiome and all your probiotic bacteria. If you don’t feed them well, they will not thrive and survive. They are critical regulators of your health.
I’m at the forefront of globally trying to re-educate people about how the gut microbiome and probiotic bacteria work. Let me take a couple of minutes to explain this to our audience. The job of your probiotic bacteria is to convert components in your food into secondary compounds that have a wide range of bioactive functions. It’s not so much the bacteria. It’s the compounds that bacteria create that have a wide range of biological activity. They influence not just the gut microbiome ecosystem but they regulate every single organ system in your body, especially your brain and your immune system.
How do we get probiotic bacteria able to produce these postbiotic metabolites? The two primary food groups for your probiotic bacteria are dietary fibers and compounds called polyphenols. There are over 8,000 polyphenols that have been structurally identified. They’re the compounds that primarily give color to fruits and vegetables. Here’s the problem. I’ve got multiple studies that document that 90% to 95% of American children and adults do not consume adequate amounts of dietary fiber and polyphenols. Almost nobody is feeding their gut microbiome the types of foods that they need in order for the probiotic bacteria in their colon to produce the postbiotic metabolites that are the key regulators of your health.
A key factor here is diversity. A healthy person has 800 to 1,000 different species of bacteria. They require different types of food. You have to eat a wide range of different types of dietary fibers and polyphenols. You get different types of compounds to different bacteria so they can produce the different types of postbiotic metabolites. If you do this, then the reason these postbiotic metabolites are important. Some of them have direct anti-inflammatory activity. Some of them kill pathogens. Many of them suppress the growth of pathogens. Many of them are cell-signaling compounds and immune system-regulating compounds.
There is a wide range of activity of these compounds. We’re starting to touch the surface of all of these compounds, like what they can do and which strains of bacteria are more effective at producing them. This is a new understanding of the gut microbiome. I wrote a paper that was published in a scientific journal titled Postbiotic Metabolites: The New Frontier in Microbiome Science. It’s a critical new understanding of how this whole system works. The second paper I wrote was published not long ago and it is titled The Microbiome Theory of Aging.
I’ll be an apt reader of both as well. I want to expand on this. Many people might think, “I eat a variety of foods,” but the statistics are astounding. Most people don’t consume more than twenty different foods in a given week. If you look at that, maybe you do a chicken salad every day for lunch. You go ahead and throw on some chicken breasts to get your protein. You’re getting a good 20 to 30 grams of protein so you’re supporting your body’s needs with that.
You have some arugula spinach on there, maybe some tomatoes, and then a dressing. The dressing might have seed oils or processed oils. You’re getting Omega-6s but you’re getting no Omega-3s with this whole meal so you’re missing a vital component. The vegetables may or may not be organic. They may or may not have the most nutrition. You think, “I’m doing good. I’m having this same lunch every day.” Breakfast is a combination of whatever coffee drink you have in hand, tea, or maybe some juice, and then dinner might look like one of the same five things. The meals don’t vary that much throughout the week.
One of the things I talk about is the regionality of food choices and also the idea that we should be consuming foods with more seasonality in mind and trying to expand on the foods that we’re eating. Even if we give them the same relative pattern on a given week, it shifts throughout the year. From month to month, you’re eating different foods. You’re not always eating the same thing. How else might you advise people to ensure that they’ve got more variability in their diet so they’re supporting their entire microbiome?
I’m glad you asked. I have an eight-minute YouTube video that people can access if they Google my name, Ross Pelton, and Salad Buzz. That’s Ross Pelton’s Salad Buzz. What I’m doing in this eight-minute YouTube video is teaching people how to make a microbiome-supporting salad. I’ve got sixteen different types of vegetables in my microbiome salad. I spend about twenty minutes processing all my vegetables about once a week.
The secret, as I explained in this video, is when I’m done, I squeeze a lemon onto what I call my salad buzz that I’ve prepared. The vitamin C in the lemon juice preserves your salad buzz in a Tupperware container in your refrigerator for up to a week. This is a tremendous time-saver. For 4 or 5 nights a week, the main meal for my wife and myself is our evening salad.
I go to the refrigerator and pull out the Tupperware with my salad buzz. That is a bag of lettuce from the co-op grocery. My health food grocery store has four different types of lettuce in there. It has a handful of lettuce or salad buzz and some wild-caught salmon or some garbanzo beans for protein sauce. It takes two minutes to make dinner. It’s a tremendous time-saving process. You’re feeding your microbiome. What I try to get people to understand is the importance of eating a little bit of as many different types of plant-based foods per day as you can. It is diversity.
Eat a little bit of as many different types of plant-based foods per day as you can. Diversity, diversity, diversity!
I have watched that video. I have to tell you I loved it. What I love about this salad buzz is that you have made a base that people can then vary, almost like if you were to look at, “I’m going to have a starch with my meal tonight.” They could have the salad buzz but add components to it to make it unique so you don’t get tired of the base either.
I love the colorfulness and that it was easier to consume if you wanted to use a spoon or a fork. I’ve also seen a trend of women choosing to make salads that they can eat with a spoon. They’re cutting them into smaller pieces because it’s easier to eat on the fly when you’re managing your kids, running around the house, and doing everything else, which I thought was innovative and a simple hack.
Here’s something else I’ll make available to your viewers. It’s a little booklet, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics & Postbiotic Metabolites. It explains this whole concept of postbiotic metabolites and how the probiotic bacteria will make these health-regulating compounds if you feed them well and eat the correct type of plant-based diverse diet. People can get a free copy of this by going to NaturalPharmacist.net/OhhiraBook.
You are also a collaborator with Dr. Ohhira on that side of the world. Thank you so much for that. As it stands, what other sorts of habits are you most in love with for supporting true anti-aging so that people can feel younger and more vivacious now than they did last year?
Another chapter that I wrote in the second edition of my book is directly related to the question you asked. It has to do with the age-related disease called sarcopenia. The term sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. As we age, everybody has an increasing rate of muscle loss and loss of strength. Dietary protein is critical to try to deal with this sarcopenia to reduce the onset of it. What we’ve discovered and what I’ve summarized for people in my book is that we normally have a balance between, on the one hand, muscle protein synthesis and on the other hand, muscle protein degradation.
As we age, there is a decline in muscle protein synthesis but the rate of muscle protein degradation stays the same. We end up with a negative balance because we have a decline in muscle protein synthesis. What we’ve learned is that if you supplement with protein or nutritional supplements, whey protein, for example, or amino acid supplements, or ingest more dietary protein, you can offset this decline in muscle protein synthesis. It’s critical, especially for the elderly because as elderly people age, they routinely eat less, but they should be eating more protein.
As elderly people age, they routinely eat less, but they should be eating more protein.
The other thing I’ve written about in this particular chapter of my book is that the recommended dietary allowance for protein in the United States is set way too low. It needs to be almost twice as high to reach where it should be for a normal level. What they call the recommended dietary allowance is the minimum daily allowance. Who wants minimal health? I want optimal health.
People should be ingesting more protein, and especially people as they age to offset the decline in muscle protein synthesis. That’s a critical factor. The other thing that will offset sarcopenia and the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength is weight training or strength training. The third factor is rapamycin. There are three ways you can influence this insidious age-related disease known as sarcopenia.
Let’s talk about protein needs for a minute. I have heard various experts say, “You can only absorb so much protein at once. You need to be able to get 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal.” This is one of the reasons that many fitness trainers that I know don’t advocate as often for 16-8 fasting for a lot of what I want to call patients, but they’re not. The people who are training are clients because they want them to get more protein into their diet. They might mostly be on a 16-8, but they’ll recommend they start their day with a protein shake to make sure that they get the requisite needs met. How much protein should people be getting? How much can they consume at once to ensure they get the benefit from that protein? At what age should you start to increase that need?
The USRDA for protein is 0.8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. People should try to get 50 to 70 grams of protein a day. I advocate dividing it up into two meals, around lunch and then again at dinner. I don’t want people to eat three times a day because it’s critical that people understand how important adequate activation of autophagy is.
A lot of people who are into strength training and people who are exercise physiologists and so forth are thinking that you shouldn’t go without protein, your breakfast meal, and so forth. When that happens when you’re eating breakfast, then you’re not getting adequate autophagy activation. One thing I like to emphasize for the bodybuilders and the weight trainers is that although mTOR stimulates muscle growth, you have to have periods of autophagy. Let me explain that. Proteins are huge, massive molecules. Some proteins have up to 30,000 amino acids in them. They have very unique structures where they’re bent, twisted, and folded.
The shape of a protein is related to its function. Over time, different types of stress will cause proteins to get damaged. They’ll be misfolded and lose some of their structure and integrity, but they stay in place. When they’re misfolded, they’re not functioning properly. I use the analogy of a flat tire. You can’t put a new tire on until you take the old tire off. It’s the same way with these damaged, misfolded proteins, enzymes, and cellular components in your body. You have to have autophagy to get the old damaged parts out so that mTOR can create new healthy proteins and enzymes. You’ve got to get this period of autophagy to have healthy longevity.
You have to have autophagy to get the old damaged parts out so that mTOR can create new healthy proteins and enzymes.
You said 50 to 75 grams a day, which, to me, even sounds a little low.
You can increase it. I didn’t do the math probably correctly. What’s your recommendation? How do you go on your recommendation?
I generally see most of the people talking about things like sarcopenia and whatnot are saying 80, 90, or even 100 grams a day of protein. If you can only absorb so much of that at once, I wonder how you can split that into two meals and if that’s effective or if you’re overdoing it at that point, and then some of that protein becomes sugars in your system.
I don’t think anybody has studied this too effectively yet. I don’t think anybody has looked at twice a day of eating and seen if people get adequate protein for their muscle protein synthesis. It’s a new area. Like all of this rapamycin research that we’re talking about, it is very new. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t know if 5 or 6 milligrams once a week is the best dose. Maybe it’s every 10 days or once every 2 weeks. Maybe instead of 5 or 6 milligrams, it should be 10 or 12 milligrams for some people. This is all very new.
What we do know and what a lot of the rapamycin researchers are telling us is when rapamycin is taken episodically rather than daily, it is probably safer and easily available over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen and Tylenol. It’s safe when it’s used effectively. The health benefits and longevity benefits are astounding because when you start taking rapamycin, every single cell in your body starts to work better.
I emphasize this is not a quick fix. If you’ve got bone-on-bone arthritis, rapamycin is not going to cure that. If you’ve got an artery with an embolism that’s about ready to pop and give you a brain aneurysm, rapamycin is not going to fix that. Metabolically, every single cell in your body will start to work better. You’re slowing down biological aging.
Would you say that this connects directly to soil-based organism research specifically?
Yes. They’ve discovered that during starvation diets, autophagy is massively activated. Everything has to be in balance. Too much autophagy is as bad as the overactivation of mTOR on a constant basis. Some scientists have said that rapamycin has been mischaracterized as an immunosuppressant. It’s really an immune system modulator. Again, everything has to be in balance. Since most people alive are out of balance in the mTOR autophagy ratio, most people need to stimulate their activation of autophagy. In the second edition of my book, I proposed the mTOR autophagy theory of aging to address how critically important this is.
Walk us through that.
I mentioned that most people, because they’re consuming nutrients all the time, are constantly activating mTOR. That’s what I call mTOR syndrome. When you constantly activate mTOR, an analogy could be driving your car with a pedal to the metal all the time. You can’t go that way all the time. If you think about athletes, like a sprinter, a sprinter can’t sprint all the time. They have to get to a point where they have to stop, rest, and regenerate. We always need these periods of rest.
I sometimes equate autophagy with sleep. We think about sleep as our rest mode. Yet, there’s an enormous amount of activity going on during sleep, especially what’s called the glymphatic system. That is similar to the lymphatic system, but the glymphatic system happens in the brain during sleep when brain cells shrink by 40% to 60%, and this is seen in animal models, which opens up the channels in the brain to detoxify. The brain is active and going all day. During sleep, the downtime, you detoxify your brain.
Sleep is the rest phase. Autophagy is the rest phase. You have to have both of these phases for good health and good detoxification. Autophagy is the detoxification of every cell in your body. It’s also the process of rebuilding and renewing your body. If you don’t get that process, you’re going to be using all of these damaged and misfolded proteins and cellular components that aren’t functioning at an optimal level. That is accelerating the aging process.
Whenever you talk about rapamycin and how it makes all cells in our body work better, I have a hard time not thinking of Omega-3s helping all cells in our body work better. I wonder if there is a direct correlation that has yet been found that ties rapamycin to the regulation of inflammation. The reason I bring that up is because we know that’s part of how Omega-3s work. They help to resolve inflammation so that your body can return to homeostasis, the balance that you were speaking of. They are helping to ensure that our systems can remain in balance and that our immune system isn’t overactive or underactive.
Perhaps if you take too much rapamycin, it’s too much stimulation. Therefore, your immune system goes into suppression mode. Similarly, when we don’t get the right balance of the fats that our bodies need to thrive, then we also are thrown out of whack. What is this connection? Is there one or am I dreaming it up?
No. There’s a connection. There are a couple of things to talk about here. First of all, inflammation is so strongly associated with aging. They’ve created a new term called inflammaging. We know that one of the benefits of rapamycin is that it suppresses inflammation. A major source of inflammation is in senescent cells. Old cells that are past their lifetime should get recycled and eliminated, but they haven’t so they stay in place and then start emitting inflammatory cytokines. This is another area where rapamycin can help. Rapamycin suppresses senescent cells.
I’ll take a little segue and jump back to the gut microbiome because this is so critical for the regulation of everything related to health. When you have a bacterial imbalance in your gut microbiome, too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria, that’s the major source of inflammation in the body. This is called dysbiosis. A healthy microbiome should be roughly about 85 %or 90% good bacteria and only 10% to 15% bad bacteria. We all have some bacteria in our systems that are potentially harmful.
When the good bacteria dramatically dominate, then the bad bacteria don’t cause problems. When you get out of balance, the reason the bad bacteria are bad is that they emit substances that are inflammatory. That’s gut inflammation. When you have gut inflammation, it causes a compound called zonulin to get expressed. Zonulin rips open the tight junctions and allows things to leak through into your systemic circulation.
That’s what they refer to as a leaky gut, right?
That’s it. You bet. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability. One of the worst things that happen when you have gut inflammation and you get a leaky gut is compounds called lipopolysaccharides or LPS leak from your gastrointestinal system into your systemic circulation. These compound lipopolysaccharides are part of the cell surface of many of the bacteria in your intestinal tract. We all have them, but they’re supposed to stay in your intestinal tract and get eliminated through bowel movements. When you have a leaky gut, these lipopolysaccharides leak into systemic circulation. They are highly inflammatory.
There’s a fabulous study that I’ve made slides out of and I talk about in my lectures and presentations where they took healthy young individuals or young adults and divided them into two groups. This is called a double-blind placebo crossover trial. In the first part of the study, there’s the placebo group and the lipopolysaccharide group.
In the group getting lipopolysaccharides, the injection was so low and there were no symptoms whatsoever. Halfway through the study, they reverse it. The people who got the placebo the first time get the injected lipopolysaccharide the second time and the lipopolysaccharide people get the placebo. At the end of the test, everybody either in the first phase or the second phase of the trial has got low dose lipopolysaccharide injection. The dose was so low that nobody had any symptoms whatsoever.
When they did the blood work, they found that during the lipopolysaccharide injection, there was a huge increase in inflammatory markers. It was a 25-fold increase in tumor necrosis alpha and a 100-fold increase in interleukin 6. These are highly inflammatory markers, which means you are getting tissue destruction, organ destruction, and accelerating biological aging even though you don’t have any symptoms.
This is why it’s so critical that people eat a plant-based diet with a diverse range of plant-based foods so they create a healthy microbiome. People have a tremendous misunderstanding of commercial probiotics. Americans think more is better. They are like, “Mine has got 50 billion. Mine has got a 100 billion. Mine has got 200 billion.”
It’s not even true. You test what’s on the shelf and we all know that that’s problematic. I would like to help people understand as simply as I can what a crossover study is. It helps to remove the placebo effect in a way because halfway through the trial, the person who was on the placebo gets the active, and the part where the people who started active get the placebo.
Since that crossover occurs, it controls for the placebo effect, which could be as much as 30%. There is this whole biology of belief that goes into the effect that medicine will have on us. Even by telling you,
“I’m giving you a medicine,” can make a difference. They are really interesting. The fact that you’re looking at blood markers that tell the story as well and are not relying on something like the survey of how people felt is critical.
I also want to point to something that we should all be thinking about here. One of the things that we’re doing at Örlö Nutrition is focusing on a person’s Omega-3 index. We’re helping them to define and determine what their Omega-3 index is before they begin supplementing and after four months of supplementing.
The reason this is so important is that you don’t necessarily know if you’re consuming too little Omega-3. You might not have a visible outward component, or you might not feel like you’re in a crummy spot. The reality is if you have latent low Omega-3 for a long time in your system, you’ll get through your 20s and 30s without that many symptoms probably. Once you hit your 40s and 50s, these things start to compound. Suddenly, it’s like, “I’ve got brain fog. I’m experiencing early-onset menopause. I am having challenges with my joints.” It’s on and on.
While this isn’t purely and only related to Omega-3s, we do know that when you get enough Omega-3s and you’re getting up to 8% to 12% index, which means you’ve got 8% to 12% Omega-3s, EPA and DHA, in your cells, that causes mortality drops. That’s significant. I suspect that what you’re talking about with mTOR is another indicator. It’s another piece that is missing in the puzzle when our microbiome is out of whack when we’re not eating enough fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics in our diet.
I say with our diets because you can’t necessarily always get this kind of activity from taking a pill. You go to that shelf and say, “I’m going to take 30 billion CFU of a particular lactobacillus strain or something.” It was not refrigerated. It was on the counter. Its potency declined sharply after it was encapsulated. In some of these cases, you need to be going to fermented foods and even consuming something like your salad on the daily. You’re giving your body the food that your probiotic strains consume and the prebiotics that they need to thrive.
I’ll step off that soapbox.
One of the things to tell people about taking commercial probiotics, most of them don’t survive transit through the harsh acid environment of the stomach. The acidity in the stomach is anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger acid than the acid-base level in the small intestines and the colon. The acidity in your stomach is one of the front lines of your immune system to kill everything that goes in your mouth. A lot of the commercial probiotics get killed before they ever get into the small intestine than the colon.
The acidity in your stomach is one of the front lines of your immune system to kill everything that goes in your mouth.
What do you think of spore-form probiotics? I’m sure that people who are often perusing the supplement isles have heard of the shelf-stable spore-form probiotics.
The problem with that is that when those bacteria do arrive in the colon, they have to find these fiber-rich foods and the polyphenols and start to create the postbiotic metabolites. That all takes time. Most people aren’t consuming nearly enough dietary fibers and polyphenols, so they’re not able to effectively produce the postbiotics metabolites. Most commercial probiotics are not nearly as effective as people think they are.
We get back to the same story. A pill isn’t going to solve it if you don’t have the food that your food needs eventually in your body. It’s so critical. I venture to guess that you would also advise people to, generally speaking, take their food supplements with their meals. Are there exceptions that you tend to recommend?
No. All the supplements are fine to take with meals. Some of them are very critically important to take with meals. For example, vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10 are fat-soluble nutrients. We don’t absorb fat-soluble nutrients very efficiently. It is important to take those types of nutritional supplements with a fat-containing meal.
While our Omega-3s are in the polar lipid form, are they absorbed fine day or night with or without food, generally speaking?
They’ll absorb fine anytime. I’m on the bandwagon with you. Omega-3s are critically important. They go into the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin pathway and help to suppress inflammation. There’s an Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio. Our dietary intake of these Omega-3s and Omega-6s should be anywhere from 1 to 1, 1 to 2, or maybe 1 to 4. In the standard American diet, it’s oftentimes 1 to 20 or 1 to 30.
It’s so awful.
It’s too much Omega-6 and not nearly enough Omega-3. The Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory and accelerate aging.
One of the things that we have is a common misconception, especially by those that are plant-based eating whole foods for the most part, they’ll think, “I’m getting enough Omega-3s because I’m eating walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds.” Our systems aren’t super great at converting that particular alpha-linoleic fatty acid that is alpha-linoleic acid that’s present in those terrestrial plant sources into EPA and DHA.
What we’ve found, and we’ve been running this Tested By You campaign, is that in the first tests, people are generally seeing 3.5% to 5% or 6% on the high side of their Omega-3 index. We want to see people coming in 8% plus to reach their full potential. I know that when I went fully plant-based and was taking a couple of soft gels a day, like a standard dose, I was testing at 6.5%. That’s pretty good for a vegetarian. I say pretty good for a vegetarian because vegetarians and vegans tend to test at 3.5% to 4%, which is among the worst. It is even worse than most Americans on a standard American diet. Sadly, that’s true. It’s hard to get enough of these particular fats without supplementation.
For those of you who are interested in learning about your Omega-3 index, I have to say we’re running this Tested By You program. Probably over the next six months, if you subscribe to the Tested By You program, you’ll get a two-month supply of Omega-3 with our beautiful glass bottle and an Omega-3 index test.
We cover the cost of this. This is $50 to buy directly from OmegaQuant, but we’re covering the cost for this. With your third shipment, which will include your 5th and 6th month, you receive a 2nd test. You can test before you begin consuming your Omega-3s and after four months of supplementation. It generally takes 3 to 4 months to see the Omega-3s make their way into your tissues so that you’ll see measurable results. From there, if you’re not quite at 8%, you can make further modifications to get there which could be increasing your dose slightly or changing your eating habits.
I personally don’t like consuming fish anymore even though I loved the flavor of it. I was an omnivore for a long time because I’m concerned with the health of our oceans and I don’t think our farming practices are good for ecosystems. I could have a deep discussion with anybody on that particular topic. I’m into reading this book called The New Fish, which is all about salmon farming. It was put out by Patagonia Press and written by Simen Saetre and Kjetil Ostli. They are Norwegians who are speaking out against fish, which is a very unpopular subject for Norwegians to be taking on, frankly, at any rate.
I want to go ahead and offer you the floor for a moment as we prepare to wrap to help people understand if they’re interested in getting the full benefit of rapamycin. How they would do that, how they would go about even talking to their doctor about this particular thing for its life extension capabilities, and what more you might have to share as resources.
Thanks for bringing it up because I’ve got a lot to say on this. First of all, most doctors are not familiar with rapamycin. Secondly, most of the doctors who are familiar with rapamycin only know about it as an immune-suppressing drug or as chemotherapy. It’s a process of needing to educate your doctor. That’s the purpose of my book. My book will accelerate the learning curve of anyone who reads it.
Many people will give their doctor my book, and I get many reports of this, or buy a copy for their doctor and get their doctor educated about it. That is because my book shows exactly all the research that supports the fact that intermittent dosing of rapamycin is very safe and effective. If you can get your doctor to write a prescription for it, then that will take care of it for you.
Many people can’t find a doctor who will write a prescription or their doctor refuses. There are a number of doctors who will do telemedicine visits and write a doctor’s prescription. They send the prescription to you and you take it to the drugstore and get it filled. The second option is doing telemedicine visits. The third option, which is quite new and very interesting, is there’s a company called International Antiaging Systems. They’ve been around since the 1990s. They specialize in making hard-to-obtain life-extension drugs available.
A couple of years ago, they started to get interested in rapamycin. They’ve contracted with an Indian pharmaceutical company to make a proprietary brand of rapamycin called RapaPro. This Indian manufacturing company utilizes a new nanotechnology so that the rapamycin particle size is very small so you get good absorption. I have personally been ordering this product and doing my own plasma blood level test to ensure that it’s well-absorbed. It is a superior product. The price is also reasonable for this product. For people who are taking 6 milligrams of rapamycin once a week, the cost is about $35 a month.
That was my next question.
Some doctors are really upset about this. They think it’s illegal for people to be buying a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. The International Antiaging Systems people have on their website that you should have a prescription from your doctor, but they don’t check that. You go on their website and order it.
Another thing that makes this legal is that back in the 1980s during the HIV crisis, the FDA made a policy decision change. They deemed that it was legal for people to import up to a three-month supply of their own personal medications. Another factor about this whole process of RapaPro being ordered from overseas is that the International Antiaging Systems does not sell to the general public. It’s a membership organization. How do you become a member? $0.01 of your initial order is your membership fee. It’s all legal. They’ve been doing this for years.
They say that maybe 1 out of 100 orders might get stopped by customs and immigration, and they will reimburse people for that. I’ve ordered it a number of times. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get sent to. This company was formed by a couple of Britts who live in Hong Kong. For some international banking reasons, their product gets shipped from Taiwan.
One other thing I’ll mention to people is if they want to order RapaPro, on the website, they explain they cannot accept payment in credit cards. There are two ways you can make a payment. One is with a bank wire transfer. The second is with an eCheck. When I checked into paying with a bank wire transfer, I found my bank wanted to charge me $45 for a wire transfer. I figured that was a rip-off, so I chose the eCheck payment option. It’s easy. You click on eCheck, put in your bank routing number and your account number, and it goes through seamlessly. That’s a way that people can get by without the extra charge of a wire transfer.
I know people are reticent to share that kind of information with sources they don’t trust, especially with identity theft, bank fraud, and all that jazz, too.
The other thing I’d like to emphasize is who can and who cannot take rapamycin. Since mTOR stimulates growth and utilizes the nutrients to build and grow, you would never inhibit mTOR in children or infants.
You’d never give it to a child or anybody who’s in a growth phase, right?
That’s right. Also, pregnant women should never take rapamycin because pregnancy is the most rapid time of growth and growing a fetus that we know of. People can start to consider taking rapamycin somewhere around age 40 or 50, but we don’t know what’s optimal. For somebody who is obese at age 30 and has metabolic syndrome, maybe they can start taking rapamycin earlier. We haven’t done the studies to determine this, but I think it is fine for people around 40 or 50 to start taking rapamycin to experience the lifelong reduction of the aging process. It’s not just life extension, but it’s increasing your health span as well as your lifespan.
I’m about to turn 47. By the time this airs, I will have, so I’d be a candidate for this. What changes would I expect in the first 30 days?
That’s a great question. Thank you. I am 80. I became an octogenarian. When I started taking rapamycin a few years ago, the only thing I noticed over the first six months was some loss of visceral abdominal fat and a little bit of weight loss. You don’t notice a lot. What I try to get people to understand is that this is a long-term commitment to slowing down your aging process.
What do you notice differently when you take a dose of vitamin D or vitamin C? You don’t feel dramatically different the next day. You take it because you know it’s important. That’s the same as rapamycin. It’s the long-term commitment to slowing down biological aging. It is rectangularizing the aging curve and compression of morbidity so you increase your healthy years. There’s not too much benefit to being elderly in a wheelchair on an oxygen mask. You want to have vibrant vitality in your aging process. That’s what rapamycin helps you do.
Are there any other contraindications that you think we should be aware of other than pregnancy and being a child?
The only thing I will admit is that this is such a new area of research. We haven’t done human clinical trials on people with a lot of different types of diseases. However, in animal models, every single age-related disease responds to rapamycin therapy. From the animal models, we get the suggestion or implication that this will be helpful in slowing down the aging process for all types of diseases in humans. There are no other contraindications. The only difference is improved health. You won’t have any problems associated with it unless you overdose. Balance is critical for everything.
Many people are suffering from metabolic disorders or thyroid conditions. None of that would be contraindicated here. Thank you so much for all of that. As a final reminder, this show is for informational purposes only. If you have a health condition, you should be seeking the help of your natural health professional, your doctor, or your medical professional and perhaps even getting them a copy of this book. It is so they can help guide you on your journey, especially if you’re interested in trying out rapamycin as you age, too.
I’ll mention to people that they can order my book from Life Extention by calling (866) 598-6747. If people order my book through Life Extension, they will get a free six-month subscription to the Life Extension Magazine.
That’s a good resource, too. You also have this book up on Amazon. I’m going to go ahead and put this book in my shop which also features Örlö products. That’s Amazon.com/Shop/CorinnaBellizzi. I want to make sure that people have no trouble finding the book, and many of us have become accustomed to using the Amazon machine. Thank you so much for joining me, Ross. I appreciate your time, your effort, your energy, and your enthusiasm for this particular thing.
I applaud you.
I’m considering trying the RapaPro myself.
You are a health warrior out there on the front lines. I really commend you for all the work that you’re doing.
Thank you so much, Ross.
Take care. Bye for now.
I’ll remind you, too, that the audience of this show qualifies for a bonus discount at checkout. All you have to do is use the coupon code NWC for Nutrition Without Compromise. If you’re interested in the Tested By You program, you’ll also receive a bonus discount on that. You have to understand that when you commit to that first 6 months of subscription, you’re getting 15% off every day and getting $100 worth of tests done by a third party, not us.
We get anonymized results, which means we get birth date, sex, and what your results were so we can see how you progressed over time as well but without specific data on you and your own person. It’s anonymized so that we can see the effect of our product over time. Thank you all for joining me on this journey. If you have questions about what we covered, please reach out via our social channels @OrloNutrition or send me an email directly from the Orlo Nutrition website. As we close this show, I hope that you’ll raise a cup of your favorite beverage with me as I say my closing words. Here’s to your health.
Ross Pelton is the Natural Pharmacist. His personal website, and blog are at: https://naturalpharmacist.net.
Ross is also a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) and has a Ph.D. in psychology. In October 1999, Ross was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Pharmacists in America by American Druggist magazine for his work in natural medicine.
In addition to being the Natural Pharmacist, Ross is also the Scientific Director for Essential Formulas, which is a company that specializes in the marketing of premium probiotic products.
Ross has written twelve books. His most recent book is Rapamycin, mTOR, Autophagy & Treating mTOR Syndrome, which can be ordered at: www.LifeExtension.com/rapa