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Optimizing diet and healthspan
Erin Sharoni: Co-founder, JUVICELL
BY PETER BOWES | LOS ANGELES | FEBRUARY 23, 2021 | 1555 PT
Nutritional supplementation is one of the most frequently raised topics in relation to longevity and healthy living. But do we really need additional components in our diet, such as pterostilbene , sulforaphane and resveratrol? Scientifically validated studies suggest some dietary supplements are beneficial to our health, but how do we decide which ones to take? There are myriad considerations. To explore the subject, the LLAMA podcast is teaming up with JUVICELL, a nutraceutical product developed by US and German scientists. In this conversation with Peter Bowes, co-founder, Erin Sharoni, discusses the scientific, ethical and societal issues involved in developing a product that aims to extend healthspan.
Recorded: February 15, 2021 | Read a transcript
- The study of epigenetics and what it means. Our internal and external environments and how they interact.
- Erin’s “obsession” with the human body and how it changes over time.
- Does living like an elite athlete help us live longer?
- The basic protocols for good health, like sleep, diet and hydration that impact longevity
- The most basic lifestyle traits that help us thrive.
- Why there is no magic bullet to optimum health.
- The insurance policy approach to dietary supplementation.
- The power of fasting and the work of Dr. Valter Longo at the university of Southern California (USC).
- The idea and mission behind JUVICELL
- Why the mission is to help people optimize healthspan rather than lifespan.
- Explaining the ingredients that go together to form an all-in-one dietary supplement.
- Safety, supplementation and ethical responsibility to follow the science.
- Lessons from the Covid pandemic and the big changes needed at a societal level to enable healthier populations.
- Sleep, whole foods, meditation and other lifestyle components to promote every day health and longevity.
“It’s not just about the individual, it’s about taking care of each other and taking care of our planet. Who wants to live longer if you live sicker?”Erin Sharoni
This episode is brought to you in association with JUVICELL, the all-in-one longevity supplement that contains 10 key ingredients shown to have a positive impact on healthspan, as validated by scientific studies. To find out more, visit juvicell.com
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.
Erin Sharoni : [00:00:00] People are beginning to realize, well, maybe I might have to die eventually and I do have to age on the way there, but maybe that aging and experience doesn’t have to be so awful or maybe I can slow it down a bit. And that’s the exciting science that’s happening right now.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:22] Hello again, and welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity. Well, today we’re going to talk about supplements, one of the most frequently raised topics in relation to longevity and healthy lifestyles. Do we need nutritional supplements? And if we believe that they can have a positive impact on our health, how do we decide which ones to take and where do we draw the line in terms of how many? It can be very confusing. We’re going to discuss that today and also meet our new sponsor and very pleased to say that over the next few months, the podcast will be brought to you in association with Jill Cell, which is a novel all in one longevity supplement to longevity. Nutraceutical will explain more in detail later in the podcast, I’m joined by Duval’s co-founder, Aaron Sharoni. Aaron’s academic background is in biology and genetics at Stanford and Harvard University. She is also an entrepreneur with experience in digital health and biotechnology. And welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Erin Sharoni : [00:01:33] Thanks for having me. I’m very excited to be here. I could also listen to you speak for hours on end. You have a great, great narrative voice.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:41] Well, bless you. Well, let’s just end it there, then, shall we?
Erin Sharoni : [00:01:44] There you go.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:44] Thank you,very much indeed I enjoyed that. No, it’s really good to talk to you. That was a very brief summary of your career. And I know you’ve spent the last few months working on your thesis at Harvard on aging and epigenetics.
Erin Sharoni : [00:01:56] Yep,
Peter Bowes: [00:01:56] What is epigenetics?
Erin Sharoni : [00:01:58] Epigenetics is a very exciting field, so for folks who are not so familiar with it, you’re everyone’s heard of their DNA, of course. And I think a lot of people have this perception which is generally correct, that your DNA, the hard coded DNA, really doesn’t change over time. Right. You inherit bits of this DNA code from your parents and you develop in the womb and you come out as a person and you have all of those inherited pieces and they generally stay the same. But people also might have heard that your genes are not your destiny. And so over the last 15 to 20 years, really, actually, I would say the last 15 years, I would say this field of epigenetics – and the word epi the prefix epi meaning above genetics or above the genome has emerged as a very exciting, promising field. And essentially what it means is the regulation of your genes. So at a very sort of high level, how is the environment affecting your genome? So this idea that your genes are not your destiny is true in most cases because your genes express themselves and we won’t delve into the science of DNA transcription and translation. I’m sure many people have taken biology classes and might prefer to forget them.
Peter Bowes: [00:03:17] Sure.
Erin Sharoni : [00:03:17] But but essentially, in order for proteins in the body to be made, you have to express or transcribe and translate that DNA. And so this idea that there’s an epigenone that’s interacting with the environment and by the environment, I mean both the external environment and the internal environment. So examples of that might be, you know, what foods are you consuming? Another example of your external environment is your relationships and example, the internal environment might be your microbiome or even how stress is affecting your hormones, for instance. Right. And so all of these things act upon the epigenome, so to speak, again. And making a very crude sort of analogy here, and that is how the genes can be can be sometimes differentially expressed. And that’s why it’s also involved with aging. So as we age, there are changes to that epigenome over time, and that’s something we can get into later in the podcast, if you want or not. But this this idea called the Information Theory of Aging, which was set forth by David Sinclair, who’s a renowned longevity geneticist at Harvard, and he put that idea in his book Lifespan that came on in 2019. I was very intrigued by it. And it is one theory, but I think it’s a great theory and it focuses on this idea of a loss of information in your epigenome over time as you age. And so that in effect is a result of and also drives…
Peter Bowes: [00:04:51] Yeah.
Erin Sharoni : [00:04:51] …aging. And so that is in part what my thesis is centered on.
Peter Bowes: [00:04:55] I think it’s very interesting, I think it’s also interesting from the perspective of people will often say that they’ve perhaps achieved a great age or they are a certain way as they get older because of their genes, which is, as we’re increasingly understanding, is not always the case that we’re living long because of our genes. Maybe this might be certain aspects of our genome that helps us thrive for longer. But so many other environmental factors come into play don’t they.
Erin Sharoni : [00:05:25] Exactly, so your genes can predispose you to certain conditions. Sure, some folks might be more likely to, you know, end up with frailty and elder and, you know, older years, or they might be more likely to become type two diabetics, for instance. But again, the keyword is predisposition and likelihood, not a definite outcome. There are some highly penetrant genetic traits that, of course, you know, if you’re born with a specific mutation or you know, yes, you will have that disease. And that is how that goes.That. But again, that’s that’s rare. And that isn’t generally what we’re talking about when we’re talking about, you know, how do humans age and acquire disease, which is why so much of this can be mediated with simple interventions and by how you live your life.
Peter Bowes: [00:06:14] An, just to jump away from the science briefly, you’ve had quite a varied career to date, haven’t you,
Erin Sharoni : [00:06:19] Yeah.
Peter Bowes: [00:06:19] From, what is it, Wall Street to television sport, as well as science and biology? What got you interested in aging?
Erin Sharoni : [00:06:27] My obsession with the human body goes back to childhood, and I always joke that, you know, I don’t know, maybe perhaps to my parents dismay or maybe not, I chose not to become a doctor. But that’s always kind of what I thought that I would do actually, when I was a kid, wanted to be an obstetrician because I thought, well, what greater joy in this world than delivering babies. Surely everyone must always be happy, though, is my naive thought as a kid. And so that was you know, that was always kind of what I wanted to do. And I was just generally fascinated with the body and with growth and how the body changes over time. From the time that I’m the elder sister, my mom became pregnant with my younger sister when I was about four, which is an interesting time for your child because you’re really curious and you know, you’re learning a lot. And they enrolled me in these big sister classes in the hospital where you put on scrubs and they teach you, you know, how to take care of the baby and they teach you about fetal development. And I mean, it just completely it was like this incredible world. And I was like, wow, what is this as a small, small child? And then I was an artist pretty much, I guess my whole life, which is what my undergraduate degree is. And so my art always focused on anatomy and the human body and studying how those things worked. So I say all that to say that, like despite my career path, there was always this underlying passion for growth and development and healing and understanding, you know, how does the body work and how does it break and and how are things born and how do things die? Right. These were all of the central questions that I was always very curious about as a child. And so I think my pursuits later in life, one after the other, sort of led me to this point. Even working in sports television, I had hosted a podcast on CBS Sports called Live Like an Athlete. And it was because I thought that most people would be much more interested in hearing how does a guy like LeBron James become LeBron James? Right. How does he execute on the court? Not, you know, how did he score five points the other day or, you know, what’s his beef with the teammate or, you know, stuff the other shows might have been talking about? It was less for me about the game and more about the individual athlete and understanding the tools and technologies and medicine and, you know, all the therapies that went in to making these elite athletes even more elite and sustaining their play. And so through that, I ended up connecting with some people who I then worked with for the ensuing six years in a digital health personalized nutrition company, you know, who are working in part to optimize athletes bodies, but also to optimize everyone’s bodies. And so that got me going down this path, and that’s where I am today.
Peter Bowes: [00:09:09] Yeah, not to digress too much, but in relation to athletes, I think it’s interesting that oftentimes athletes will live and have a diet and have an exercise regime that is focused on being the athlete that they are, whatever their sport, whether it’s running baseball, boxing, football, that it’s very narrow in some respects, that it’s focused on optimum performance for what they do. And it isn’t necessarily a lifestyle that’s focused on their own personal longevity. And indeed, some athletes can have health problems later in life because of the sport that they pursued.
Erin Sharoni : [00:09:44] Yeah, that is true, although I would say that I think if you look at the athletes at the very top of their game and the top of their field. Right. And the top of their sport. So if you look at Messi and you look at LeBron and you look at, you know, Serena Williams, really, I’m just picking them off the top of my head
Peter Bowes: [00:10:02] They’re good examples
Erin Sharoni : [00:10:02] Right. When you think of their sports, you think of those people. Right? And I would say, or Tom Brady, for instance, I would say that while they may be optimized for their sport in some some ways. Right. Like if you’re an endurance athlete, you’re going to be conditioned. For instance, if you’re a sprinter, you know, an athlete that does a lot of interval work, then that’s what you’re going to condition for. But generally, they’re all following, at least to my understanding, at the high level, similar protocols in terms of basic things, sleep, diet, hydration. Right. And all of these things impact your longevity, which is why I was so excited about this field when I first started looking into it, because, like, hold on, you don’t need anything special. I mean, yes, there is privilege involved. Absolutely. Notwithstanding being a very famous, wealthy professional athlete. But not everyone in the world has the luxury of making some of these choices. I understand that some people have to do shift work. Some people live, you know, in third world countries where you’re lucky if you have clean water. That’s a separate issue and it’s an important one. But if we’re talking about people that generally have access to, you know, good food, clean water, they have the ability to rest. You know, again, it is a small slice of the global population, but it’s probably the slice that’s listening to your podcast. Then the thing that excited me was that, you know, we don’t have to participate in the sick care model of health care. Right. We don’t have to wait for the body to break down. And we certainly don’t have to look at it in a reductionist view of its component parts, which can be helpful when you’re thinking about surgery or specific treatments. But if we really want to be healthy and we want to thrive, it’s always the most basic things that we’ve heard about for years and years and years. And now we just have
Peter Bowes: [00:11:45] Yeah.
Erin Sharoni : [00:11:45] Scientific tools to prove that that stuff works. And that’s what’s exciting.
Peter Bowes: [00:11:49] It’s fascinating you should say that, because really just you’ve just predicted my next question, which was going to be all about the different pillars that go into living a long, healthy life. And you’ve mentioned some of them, the obvious ones, diet and exercise, mental health. I always include in that social connections Mindfulness I think, in terms of how we rest and restore ourselves without any sort of physical exertion. But I think the overriding thought is that there’s no one magic bullet, is there? It’s a combination of all of these things.
Erin Sharoni : [00:12:18] Exactly, there’s no one magic bullet. I’m so glad that you said that because people, you know, need a psychologist on the show o talk about why people pursue magic bullets. You know, they want they want, you know, instant results and the easiest path of least resistance. Right. But that’s sort of what we’re conditioned to pursue. But, yeah, it’s it’s a combination of factors. That’s the truth. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect in every aspect. No one is not even a guy like Tom Brady, who’s 43 and at the top of his game. Even he is not perfect. Right. So it’s the degree to which I think we can maintain those small but important lifestyle and dietary changes. And, you know, we’ll talk about the supplement Juvicell a later. But something like that to me is an insurance policy that’s an adjuvant therapy to say, hey, you’re already doing good work. And I see almost all supplements like that. Some are, you know, like vitamin C, you know, vitamin D, you might need to take regularly. And that’s something else. But but, you know, again, this idea that it is supporting work that you’re already doing and it will not replace that work. And likewise, you can’t you know, if you listen to a sleep scientist, Matthew Walker talks about this, you can’t make up for the lost sleep, just like, you know, you can’t expect to binge eat junk food for five days a week and then starve yourself for two days a week and have anything good happen to your body. Right. There’s no cheating the system, but this idea that there is a system to cheat, I think is the fallacy here. That’s the myth, because actually it’s not that hard. Once you start to make better choices and you feel better and you look better and everything improves around you, why wouldn’t you continue to make those choices? So, yeah, you touched on some of them. But, you know, in terms of mediating longevity, I think really the most important one, at least scientifically, this is what we’re talking about. Evidence backed scientific studies have shown that fasting is probably one of the most important, if not the most important. Again, that’s just where that science currently is. Things can always change. So I put that caveat out there, because in three months, someone might say, oh, that’s not true. Actually, a new article just came out that says something else. But today that is true
Peter Bowes: [00:14:33] Yeah,
Erin Sharoni : [00:14:33] And.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:34] And of course, that science doesn’t it, that
Erin Sharoni : [00:14:35] Exactly.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:35] Things will always progress and in terms of the momentum behind a certain intervention, whether it’s fasting or something else, that they’re going to be lows and highs in terms of the science as to how positive these interventions can be. But I think on you mentioned fasting. I think there is long term evidence now that fasting regimes and there are several and fasting is an umbrella
Erin Sharoni : [00:14:58] Exactly.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:59] Term for something that can be intermittent fasting. It can be
Erin Sharoni : [00:15:02] Exactly.
Peter Bowes: [00:15:02] Periodic fasting, it could be fasting, mimicking fasting, mimicking diet that I’ve talked a lot about on this podcast. But I think there’s certainly a lot of strong evidence that that elements of fasting can be can be very good for us in the medium and long term.
Erin Sharoni : [00:15:15] Yeah, I’ve had great success, actually, with the fasting mimicking diet, Valter Longo’s work, I think it’s phenomenal. I’m not here to plug him. I don’t know him, but but I have read all of his research and I applied it to my own life to solve some issues I was facing. And, you know, anecdotally anyway, and I did test my biomarkers afterwards. It worked. So, you know, and the evidence suggests a very clearly that that it works. And so I’m always very clear also when I when I state, you know, that fasting is a means to optimize longevity, that just like you said, fasting means many different things. And what it does not mean and I want to be so clear about this, because it is a problem, it does not mean disordered eating. So I don’t want anyone listening to this to think, you know, oh, I’ll just starve myself. That is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about either periodic fasting under medical supervision. Right. Which is maybe a couple of days at a time. And you would not do this. Well, your doctor saying it’s OK. And and, you know, something like intermittent fasting, which also I would suggest you need physicians clearance for because, you know, some folks on medications and then there’s a fasting mimicking diet, like you said. But again, you still need to discuss with your doctor. But none of these methods of fasting should ever be abused, just like you can abuse anything else. So I, I always try and make that clear because I don’t want anyone to think. Well, the science says reducing caloric intake is correlated with better health and longevity outcomes. That is true. But that’s done in a very controlled clinical setting. Right. So, yeah, I just wanted to say that.
Peter Bowes: [00:16:47] Yeah, and I totally agree with everything you’ve just said, and especially that idea that you really ought to talk to your doctor before implementing any of these
Erin Sharoni : [00:16:55] Exactly.
Peter Bowes: [00:16:55] Interventions,
Erin Sharoni : [00:16:56] Mm hmm.
Peter Bowes: [00:16:56] Whether it’s fasting, whether it’s something else, because we are all different and we all respond in different ways and we all have other issues that could be conflicts in terms of medication or all sorts of issues that people need to consider. So I stress and time and time again say that, you know, if you’re thinking about doing this, talk to your doctor first. You mentioned the fasting mimicking diet. Dr Valter Longo, who’s been on this podcast a number of times, and we could probably talk for the next hour about what it’s like to do that five day
Erin Sharoni : [00:17:24] Yeah.
Peter Bowes: [00:17:24] Intervention, which I’ve done many, many times. I was part of the first clinical triat, involving humans
Erin Sharoni : [00:17:30] Really?
Peter Bowes: [00:17:30] at USC. For that, I was part of the first nineteen people to to use that diet
Erin Sharoni : [00:17:35] Wow.
Peter Bowes: [00:17:35] When it was at an experimental stage. Looking at the the safety aspects and this is back in 2013, I believe it was, and have continue to use the diet over a number of years. And it’s evolving and the science clearly is evolving as well. But if anyone listening wants to dig a little deeper, just look into the index for this podcast. Search for Valter Longo’s name, and he goes into all of these issues in considerable detail. Erin let’s talk about Juvicell. How did it start? What was your initial idea? Just tell me about everything that went into forming this company.
Erin Sharoni : [00:18:09] Sure, so the idea for troops was actually first conceived back in 2019 by my business partners in Germany, and they cooperated with a group of scientists and a like minded investor who’s very interested and educated in the space and wanted to support that idea and then approached me in early 2020. So I actually have to credit them with coming up with the idea. I came aboard, as, you know, someone who is obviously interested in the space and passionate about it and wanted to help them, you know, build it and grow it and improve it and build a scientific advisory board and all that good stuff. Make sure that it, you know, gets into the hands of the public and talked to people like yourself about it. So so that’s that’s my role in the company. And yeah, it’s been great so far. And we launched in December in the U.S. and really looking forward to, you know, to growing it and becoming the destination longevity product, I think supplement anyway.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:11] And what is the goal, what is the mission?
Erin Sharoni : [00:19:14] Well, the mission really is to help everybody access the ability to improve or optimize their healthspan and lifespan. And I say I always make that distinction between healthspan and lifespan because I don’t know anyone that wants to live longer if they’re sick. Right. And people are living longer. They have been living longer. If you look at the data over time, but they have been living sicker. Right. So you have less functional years and that that is not good for a number of reasons. It’s not good for the planet. It’s it’s not good for for, you know, the human experience. It’s not good for the health care system. So I think that’s really important is that, you know, we are able to reach and educate people. So part of at least my goal is speaking with people like yourself and getting the word out there. You know, we have a lot of information on the website about each of the the ingredients in the product. And as we grow, you know, we’re building it will build out a blog and hopefully post lots of interviews like this one where we’re talking in real language to real people about what they can do to support their longevity. I think that that one of the first things and this is what you’re doing is to make people aware that this is even an option. Right. Because so many people just you’re born with the knowledge that you that you age and you die. Right. And that it’s inevitable life. And what is it in life? Death and taxes are inevitable. So people really do abide by that. And I think now people are beginning to realize, well, maybe I might have to die eventually and I do have to age on the way there. But maybe that aging and experience doesn’t have to be so awful. Or maybe I can slow it down a bit. And that’s the exciting science that’s happening right now in laboratories at various universities. That’s that’s the really thrilling stuff. And so, yeah, to answer your question, I guess I was a bit circuitous. I’m sorry, but my goal in working with JUVICELL is really to get people excited about the subject of longevity and to make them feel enabled that there is something they can do about it, which, by the way, that goes for whether they use JUVICELL or not, I hope that they use the product to help support their already good choices. But if they don’t want to use it for whatever reason, that’s OK, too. I just want to get the message out that there is an option and there is another way. And you don’t have to age in this morose, miserable decline. You know, that’s just not something that has to happen.
Peter Bowes: [00:21:43] Yeah, I was talking about longevity as a guest on another podcast hosted by Anthony Scaramucci, who is probably better known in the world of politics. And he posed the question to me. He said, are you a supplement guy? Which I think is one of those wide open questions. In other words, saying, do you believe in supplements?
Erin Sharoni : [00:21:59] Right.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:00] And and if you do, why do you take them? And my answer and you’ve actually used this phrase that essentially this is something that you use just in case it’s a backup, it’s a fallback if you’re not getting all of the vitamins and minerals, perhaps, that you would get from a diet. And let’s face it, we don’t all have a perfect diet. So you can’t supplement for everything that, this is just my view, you can’t supplement for everything that you need because we do get a lot of it through our diets. But I think we need a backup plan as well. And that’s where supplements come in. Do you agree?
Erin Sharoni : [00:22:35] You are on the same page, Peter, about a lot, it sounds, but about that as well. Yes, I believe that as well. You know, you can’t ideally you could get everything from your diet, and that would that would really be a whole food plant based diet. And that’s another conversation. But that that is what the science shows. However, that really means you’ve got to be eating very varied diet. You have to make sure that you have access to high quality fruits and vegetables and grains. Right. And our food supply is another episode of our food supply is compromised. So even if you had the best intentions and you’re eating as well as you can, I would still say that, you know, a tomato today or collard greens today or whatever are probably not necessarily as nutritious as as what my parents ate, you know, 50 years ago. That’s not to say it’s always the case. There’s plenty of local farmers markets. And, you know, I’m not trying to make any broad any specific statements here. But broadly speaking, most individuals, even if they’re they have the best intentions in mind, aren’t going to get all of the things that they need just from the food they put in their mouth. And this has been proven right in many, many, many epidemiological nutrition studies, even here in the first world where you technically have access to everything that you could need, depending on, you know, the income group that you’re in. So, again, that’s another tangent.
Peter Bowes: [00:24:01] So let’s talk about the different elements that go into Duracell, because this is more than just warn you might have in your kitchen cabinets a whole range of different supplements that have a very focused and very individual. But here you’re combining them together.
Erin Sharoni : [00:24:17] Yeah, exactly, so the idea behind that was that, you know, I’m assuming this may be true for the people listening to this podcast since they’re clued in and care about their health that, you know, we all by various supplements. And so I had at any one time, well, you can see it now, but kitchen cabinet here stocked full of all these individual ingredients. And when it comes to the antiaging ingredients or the, you know, the ingredients that we have included in JUVICELL, some of which are going to be very familiar to people, things like green tea extract and sulforaphane tumeric. Right. There are some that are more familiar to people than others. People tend to buy these separately. And so we thought, well, there’s been a lot of research into the appropriate dosing, safety and efficacy of these individual compounds. Why don’t we combine them so that you have a longevity product? And we’re actually we actually have preclinical study underway to evaluate the safety and efficacy and looking at various physiological markers of aging to say, hey, how is this working? Is it working? Right. I think that that’s really important and it’s something that a lot of supplement companies do not do because they’re not required to. So as you know, that, you know, means the industry does get a bad rap and some of that bad rap is warranted. Right. Because there is a lot of shadiness. But that’s not the road that we are going down. We’re saying, you know, we want to ensure that the scientific findings that have been disclosed about each of these individual individual ingredients in the past can be replicated in a new study really important. And that all of these ingredients combine together in these specific dosages, you know, also will replicate those beneficial results. And that, again, I can’t stress how important that that is. And so we can get into some of the individual ingredients, if you would like.
Peter Bowes: [00:26:04] Yeah, let’s do that, and the one that leaps out to me perhaps is the most well, one of the most familiar is resveratrol, which I think a lot of people will immediately associate with red wine.
Erin Sharoni : [00:26:15] Yeah, exactly, it’s a great excuse to say that you need to drink red wine region, right?
Peter Bowes: [00:26:21] Yeah,
Erin Sharoni : [00:26:22] Listen, I have no problem with red wine
Peter Bowes: [00:26:23] But then we dig a little deeper and realize how many glasses of wine you need to drink, and this is an age old argument. Now, of course, about in terms of the benefits of red wine and resveratrol, that it’s not quite that straightforward.
Erin Sharoni : [00:26:35] Exactly, so so resveratrol. Yeah, I’m sure, as you said, most people are familiar with. I’m going to try and back up here and deconstruct the science so that I don’t confuse anybody. Resveratrol, like most of the ingredients in jostles a polyphenol. That means it’s a chemical compound that comes from a plant. Right. So here it’s grapes, which is why you made the red wine reference. You would indeed need to eat a whole lot of that in order to get enough resveratrol. And even then, it wouldn’t be the appropriate form. And so that’s a whole other conversation. But one of the things that resveratrol does, in particular in combination with another ingredient that’s very similar, a similar compound called pterostilbene, which is less popular in the general public in combination, is that they alter the epigenetic expression of some DNA damage response genes. So let me unpack that really quickly. We talked about what epigenetics is at the very top of the show, right? So hopefully people listened and they understand what that is, this idea of expressing the gene. And as you age, one of the things that happens is that you accrue DNA damage. Right. So your DNA over time, people might have heard of telomeres, those end caps that protect your DNA. You accrue things like double stranded breaks in your DNA. And this can be in response to just the general process of aging. But it can also be in response to something like, for instance, radiation. Radiation exposure is a great way to induce double stranded breaks. And yes, that includes x rays. That’s why, you know, you have to wear a vest and you don’t want to be exposed to all too many of them. You know, there’s other there’s other ways to induce damage to the DNA as well, including, you know, what you eat. For instance, if you’re eating a very, very high fat, high animal protein diet, for instance, and you’re clogging up your arteries and you’re inducing lots of inflammation, well, guess what? That’s not going to be great for preserving the integrity of your of your DNA, among other things. So, again, I’m trying to keep a super high level. So what’s something like resveratrol has been shown to do and in one case is specifically to affect the sirtuin 1 gene? You can talk about what sirtuins are. I think that’s very interesting. But something like resveratrol is acting to alter the genetic expression of genes that are involved in aspects associated with longevity, such as the regulation of cellular health or maintaining cellular homeostasis, even things like inflammation, balance and cell growth, your circadian rhythms, energy metabolism, stress resistance, neuron neuronal function. So that’s why that’s so very important. And it’s not just resveratrol that does that. There are other polyphenols that can activate these sirtuins, but that that is, I hope, at a high enough level what what that is doing from mechanistic perspective, did I go too far?
Peter Bowes: [00:29:41] No, that was great. That was good. It’s I mean, I think it’s important that we understand the science that goes into this. And I think one question that people might be wondering is, when you have these different elements, is there potential conflict between what they are ultimately individually achieving? But when they’re grouped together and taken together, is there a potential for conflict? I guess that’s one of the things that your trials and research is looking into?
Erin Sharoni : [00:30:05] Yep. There’s I mean, as with anything, there’s infinite potential and possibilities, right, for for anything to occur. So, yeah, that’s why that’s exactly why we’re testing at some of these compounds, as I mentioned, have been used in combination previously, for instance, like resveratrol and pterostilbene, there have been some studies I know of at least two, suggesting that combining both of them actually elicits a beneficial effect. But to your point, yes, no one has taken all 10 ingredients and use them all at once. The expectation or the hypothesis is, is that, you know, they would not elicit negative effects in combination. Might one cancel out some of the positive effect of another one? Potentially, you know, but but that’s what we are we’re looking to see. And so, yeah, I’m really glad you asked that, because it’s very important.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:58] And you mentioned pterostilbene, I think, perhaps most recognizable with its association with Blueberry’s in terms of being an antioxidant.
Erin Sharoni : [00:31:06] Yeah, exactly, and so it’s it has been shown in some studies at least to have similar effects in vivo as resveratrol. I should note that in the scientific literature anyway, it’s a bit unclear whether it’s the substances themselves or their metabolites that elicit the effect. And you know that that is important to some degree. But that hasn’t necessarily been elucidated yet. And there’s some controversy about it. But the end result is ultimately the same. And pterostilbene also importantly, has been found to induce autophagy and apoptosis. So that’s important when you talk about your think about cellular damage, for instance. So autophagy is sort of like the cellular housekeeper of the body if people aren’t familiar with that term.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:57] We’ve talked a lot about autophagy,
Erin Sharoni : [00:31:58] Ok, great.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:59] I usually liken it to essentially cells eating themselves and renewing and throwing out the old ones, throwing out the damaged ones. And it’s a kind of way that the body renews itself and moves forward.
Erin Sharoni : [00:32:09] Exactly, and apoptosis, obviously is as you know, cell death and so not wanting certain cells to hang around, which would bring us to my favorite topic of senescence.
Peter Bowes: [00:32:19] Just delving into one of the other components, I think you mentioned turmeric, which, of course, people will know from from cooking as as a spice. And this is also one of the components of JUVICELL.
Erin Sharoni : [00:32:30] Yes, specifically curcumin, which is found in tumeric. So, again, I think most folks are probably pretty familiar with that because now you can go to a local coffee shop in order turmeric latte, you know, stain your fingers yellow or orange, if you happen to get any of it on you or your clothes
Peter Bowes: [00:32:48] Right.
Erin Sharoni : [00:32:49] Is a very potent dye as well. But, yeah, again, really, really strong antiinflammatory effects. And I’m sure that most of your listeners are familiar with the effects of inflammation on the body and of course, the effect, the role of inflammation in aging. In fact, there’s a term called inflamm-aging. Right, because it is so important. So that’s really the key role of the inclusion of curcumin in the product. And there’s been many, many, many studies on that. And it’s been around, obviously, for a very, very long time in human civilization being used in various ways.
Peter Bowes: [00:33:23] And just rounding out our discussion from a few minutes ago on safety, clearly you are marketing, this product is on sale now. So you have got to the point where you believe and there is evidence that obviously what you are selling to the public now, the combination of these different elements is safe.
Erin Sharoni : [00:33:41] That is our expectation as it is, I believe, with most supplement companies, or at least the ones that are ethical and believe in what they’re doing and the reason that, you know, that we feel that we can say that to some degree, again, with the caveat that we are running a preclinical study and that that is really important is because the formulation is based on including ingredients that have a plethora of research behind them already. We can’t say, as I don’t think anyone can say, unless they’ve done clinical trials. Something is, is 100 percent a certain way. But our expectation is that we’ve included these ingredients at the dosages used in these studies, proven to be safe and efficacious. And we have specifically not included ingredients that don’t have that backing. And so we can we continue to look rather rigorously at the science, you know, because as we said earlier, that landscape is always changing. Right. We find out new things all the time. And so we believe it’s really important to be flexible and say, OK, if there’s a red flag somewhere, we need to go investigate it, even if that means that we have to change the formula. That’s really important. So I hope that answers your question.
Peter Bowes: [00:34:56] Yeah, definitely does. Let’s just change tack again, I’ve talked with a lot of guests about this, what we’ve all been through in the last 12 months or so, the covid-19 pandemic, which isn’t over. We’re getting there. I think there is light at the end of the tunnel now, but it’s made us all focus on our lifestyles and our everyday health and our health tomorrow, next month, next year, and perhaps in several decades time, and seeing a positive coming out of the awful times that so many people have suffered. I think that is one of them, that we are at least more focused on what we can do every day to promote our health and perhaps promote our immunity as well should another inevitably another virus come along. And this really falls into everything that you’ve been talking about and looking ahead to our healthspan and how we can achieve a great healthspan.
Erin Sharoni : [00:35:47] Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up, because it really is important and back to the point about, you know, taking a holistic view of longevity, that means integrating all aspects of environmental health, internal, external relationships. There are relationships between organs and systems in your body. There’s communication between cells, and there’s also communication relationships between the individual humans and countries. And, you know, you can you can take it. It’s a fractal from the microcosm zoom it all the way out to the macrocosm. And I think, you know, not to be too esoteric, but what the pandemic has, as has shown us, is that we’re very broken relationship with the environment and with each other and with our food system. And, you know, I know I said this earlier, but we live at least in the U.S., in a sick care health care system. And that has not proven to be helpful in the context of this pandemic. And of course, it wasn’t it wasn’t a great thing before, but I think we’ve really seen some of the consequences playing out in real time now. But kind of I think this is a good way to circle back to what we said at the very beginning of the podcast in terms of, you know, what are these very basic interventions that mediate longevity, that that are accessible and free to most people. And those very basic things are the same things that we’re going to need to pay attention to if we want to avoid another catastrophic outcome like this one. I could spend, you know, an entire additional episode talking to you about my feelings on animal agriculture and, you know, diet and that aspect of the food system. If that does not change, this pandemic will have been a dress rehearsal. That is absolutely true. That’s another conversation. But people need to start making better choices when it comes to not just food, but how we treat the environment, how we treat each other. What do our relationships look like? What is your relationship to yourself look like? Are you taking care of yourself? You know, are you are you distressing or do you have purpose in your life? Are you sleeping well? And I know all of these things sound like luxuries and to some degree they are. But I do also think that a lot of these things are accessible. Look, meditation is free. You know, anyone can can can meditate. There are apps that are free. Now, I always tell people that’s like you have no excuse. Yes, some people are working three jobs and there have shift work and they don’t have time. I understand that. But most of the time, you can make five, ten minutes because rather than scrolling through your phone or sitting in front of the TV, there’s other things you can do to be, you know, taking better care of yourself. But again, I think it’s not just about the individual, it’s about taking care of each other and taking care of our planet, because who wants to live longer if you live sicker, but also who wants to live longer if you don’t have a home to live on that’s functional, where everybody is living peacefully and equitably. So to me, this idea of life span and healthspan is integrative. It is not it does not stop with the individual. But I don’t want to be on a planet or live in the society for a very long time. More people are suffering. And, you know, we’re watching the demise of an ecosystem and it’s preventable. And those same interventions that are going to help the planet and animals and, you know, the soil thrive are the same interventions that are going to help humans thrive. We are all connected. Everything’s connected. So that is my big soapbox spiel. And I hope that I hope that it resonates with at least some people, because if we don’t take the right steps, we’re going to be in the same situation.
Peter Bowes: [00:39:23] It certainly does resonate, and I think one of the goals has to be and you mentioned those people who are perhaps working three jobs or struggling with dealing with children and home schooling. At the moment, all those distractions in life that make it difficult sometimes to focus on your own personal daily health and even think about your longevity. But I think the goal has to be to embrace everyone and even those who believe that it’s not for them because they don’t have time for it now. Well, there is a way of actually making this this goal, these aspirations, these lifestyle modifications possible for absolutely everyone to have.
Erin Sharoni : [00:40:03] Absolutely.
Peter Bowes: [00:40:03] Populations that think about good health and longevity.
Erin Sharoni : [00:40:07] Absolutely, I agree. But it starts with systemic changes, right? There are big changes that are beyond what you or I can hope to accomplish. And I think in some sense, it’s unfair to place that onus only on the individual because it’s really at a policy level. But people can ask for it. And so that that’s where our role comes in. Right. But, you know, to your point, if someone’s working three jobs and they’re below, you know, still below the poverty line, which happens in the United States, they don’t have support for their child because there’s not good child care and they don’t have universal health care and there’s no basic income. And. Right. I mean, these are all things that that worsen longevity outcomes unacceptably for for certain people. And we all have to work to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to as much degree as we can because we will all benefit. Even if you want to look at it selfishly, nothing is separate. So I think that’s that’s a lesson of 2020 for me anyway.
Peter Bowes: [00:41:05] Yeah, it’s a great lesson and just going back to the point you just made, the levels of poverty and deprivation because of this virus right now
Erin Sharoni : [00:41:13] Yeah,
Peter Bowes: [00:41:13] Are absolutely shocking
Erin Sharoni : [00:41:14] Yeah.
Peter Bowes: [00:41:15] Across America to see people in a queue in a in a line in downtown Los Angeles waiting to be given paper bags with food in which we’re seeing on at a mass level at the moment is really quite shocking. So there’s a tremendous amount of work to do. Just in closing, considering all the knowledge that you have about this and about diet and exercise, meditation, sleep. Clearly, you are incredibly well versed in all of this. I’m curious, as you live your life and as you may be aspire yourself to have a great healthspan, what are the components that you’ve learned about that you apply to yourself on a on a daily basis? And clearly, from what you’ve said so far, there are a lot I know you have been eating a plant based diet for a long time. You put sleep high on that pyramid of things that we need to think about. But are there some things that come to mind that perhaps you’ve realized and acknowledged that might help with your own personal healthspan?
Erin Sharoni : [00:42:09] Sure, well, I would say, again, we’re not perfect and we all try and also the old adage of like the shoemaker’s children have no shoes or something, you know, it’s like I can I can tell you all about the science, but sometimes I’m so busy that I don’t have time to apply it to my own life. But no, I do. We talked about fasting, mimicking diet, a bit. Valter Longo’s one of my heroes. If you ever have him back, tell him how much I love him because I think his work is incredible. So the idea that I do that. I do intermittent fasting. For me, the biggest thing is, again, the intermittent fasting and or fasting mimicking diet and having adopted a whole foods plant based diet. For me, those are the two biggest, most impactful things. Sleep. I wish I slept more and slept better, but I do not. I will tell everyone why it’s important. I have him practicing and I also I also meditate. So many years ago I was fortunate enough to be trained in transcendental meditation. When I was working for Ray Dalio at Bridgewater, he very kindly paid for any employee who was interested in it, which was a really lovely gesture and also a prudent one as a leader, because it’s been proven that people who meditate are more productive and happier. And so, yeah, I’ve used that for for many, many years. I don’t do it every single day. I wish I did, but I do it as frequently as I can. And it’s a tool that I always default to. And of course, I take JUVICELL.
Peter Bowes: [00:43:35] There you go. We’ve come full circle. Erin we could continue this for a long time, but we, I think, should draw this to a close. Now, it’s been fascinating to talk to you.
Erin Sharoni : [00:43:42] Likewise,
Peter Bowes: [00:43:42] Thank you very much indeed.
Erin Sharoni : [00:43:43] Thank you.
Peter Bowes: [00:43:45] And if you’d like to read more about Erin’s work and JUVICELL, the website is JUVICELL.com. That’s JUVICELL.com I’ll put the details and a transcript of this interview into the show notes for this episode of the podcast. You’ll find them at the Live Long and Master aging website. That’s LLAMApodcast.com LLAMApodcast.com. The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media Production. If you enjoy what we do, you can rate and review is at Apple Podcasts, you can follow us in social media @LLAMApodcast and direct message me @PeterBowes. Please take care. Continue to wear a mask, social distance, get the vaccine when you can. And many thanks for listening.