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Setting the bar high to stop aging
Sandra Kaufmann: Pediatric anesthesiologist
BY PETER BOWES | LOS ANGELES | MAY 12, 2021 | 0700 PT
The science of aging is so infinitely fascinating that Dr. Sandra Kaufmann decided to immerse herself in the field, as a hobby. A pediatric anesthesiologist from Florida, Dr. Kaufmann, is also an athlete who manages to fit swimming, running and rock climbing around her busy hospital schedule. Determined to enjoy physical activity for as long as possible, she decided to carry out an extensive review of the scientific literature, to better understand our bodies as we grow old. She focussed on the mechanisms of aging at a cellular level and set out to sort fact from fiction when it comes to the substances or interventions that might help us age more slowly. The result is, The Kaufmann Protocol: Why We Age and How to Stop It, a book in which she sets out seven key tenets to maintaining optimum health. In this LLAMA podcast conversation, with Peter Bowes, Dr Kaufmann explains everything from the importance of mitochondrial health and the maintenance of metabolic pathways, to her live and let live attitude towards eating a donut a day.
Recorded: April 13, 2021 | Read a transcript
In this interview we cover:
- Setting the bar high to “overcome all aging”
- The most ornate out-of-control hobby anybody can have
- A light-bulb moment having off a cliff.
- Is it selfish to focus on the science of ‘stopping’ aging?
- Becoming a human guinea pig to try to figure out why cells age.
Dr. Kaufmann’s seven tenets of aging (source kaufmannprotocol.com)
- Information Systems (DNA)
- Cellular Energy
- Cellular Pathways
- Quality Control
- Immune System
- Individual Cells
- Waste Management
- Nurturing the seven protocols
- Debunking myths – or ideas behind grandma’s remedies – about interventions to slow down the aging process
- Junk food, including a donut a day. Really?
- Being an exercise junkie
- Biohacking: striving to improve what we are, but is the term realistic?
- Feeling like a teenager at 52
“In the longevity world there are a lot of us who just want to live longer and better without actually believing that we’re going to live forever.”Sandra Kaufmann
- “This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa-clinic – and pioneering health and wellness destination – nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.”
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, 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.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:00:02] In the longevity world there are a lot of us who just want to live longer and better without actually believing that we’re going to live forever. And one of my goals is to impress upon people that they can make their lives better. And it’s not that hard.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:21] Hello again, and welcome to LLAMA, the live Long and Master Aging podcast. My name is Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity.
SPONSOR MESSAGE: [00:00:31] This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie. The award winning Spa Clinic and pioneering health and wellness destination nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.”
Peter Bowes: [00:00:55] Now, the science of aging increasingly points to the importance of the health of our cells, the basic building blocks of the human body, trillions of them specialized to carry out different functions and constantly, we hope, renewing themselves as we grow older, navigating our lives. One of the problems, of course, is that our cells don’t always replicate exactly the DNA inside, sometimes resulting in disease. And that’s why aging per se is a key risk factor for some of the major diseases of old age. My guest today is Dr. Sandra Kaufmann, who is a cell biologist and for the last five years has been the chief of pediatric anesthesia at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. She is also the founder of the Kaufmann Antiaging Institute and the author of The Kaufmann Protocol: Why We Age and How to Stop It. Dr. Kaufmann, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:01:54] Thank you. It is an absolute pleasure to be here with you today.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:57] Yeah. Lovely to talk to you. Why we age and how to stop it. Can we stop it? Can we stop aging?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:02:03] I think we can significantly decelerate the process. I think ultimately we will be able to stop it. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s a it’s a lofty goal. But I think the idea is to propose that we can and then do our best to get there.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:16] Yeah, I think it’s always good to set the bar high, isn’t it?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:02:18] Yeah, it is a little high, granted, but I think that we can make it easily to 120, 125 at the rate we’re going now and ultimately we may be able to overcome all aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:29] Well, in your book, you write about the seven tenets of aging and I’d like to delve into that. But first, let’s just talk a little bit about you and your career to date as a doctor, I gather that your interest in aging, it actually started as something of a hobby.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:02:44] Oh, it’s still a hobby. It is absolutely the most ornate, out of control hobby any person could probably have. You are correct in your introduction. I was a cell biologist once upon a time. Ironically, I was a plant physiologist, but pretty darn close to human cells, sort of. But as my father pointed out, once upon a time, cells don’t pay bills because they don’t have insurance plans or plants don’t have insurance plans my mistake. And as a consequence, I ended up going to med school cruise through a variety of options and ended up in the field of anesthesia. The cool thing about anesthesia is we spend a lot of time with different diseases, pharmacokinetics, pharmaco biology, genetics, basically anything that can go wrong we know about and then basically how to treat it. And this sort of triggered the idea that, wow, maybe we can stop aging as well, because I think it’s just an extension of diseases.
Peter Bowes: [00:03:39] So was there something in your personal life? Was there something that you can recall that just kind of triggered that interest and that yearning for more information about aging?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:03:49] Oh, 100 percent. So my hobby. I’m a rock climber. I love rock climbing. I’m also a mountain climber, but I’m not quite as good at that. I’m a 5.11 climber, and I was hanging off a cliff in my mid forties and I thought, I have got to stop this aging decline business because I can’t I won’t have to do this for that much longer. And as a consequence, I decided hanging off of that cliff when my partner was going up above me, that of all the gifts that I have, I certainly have a brain and I have the ability to read a very complex research articles and figure this stuff out. So I’d like to tell people up front, I am not a bench researcher. I am someone that can read a variety of things, figure out what the gist is, organize it, and then create a comprehensive understanding for regular non-scientific people and then create plans for people that help the ordinary Joe stop aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:04:44] And some people often describe an intense interest in the aging process and perhaps maybe not to stop aging, but to radically slow down the process as something of a selfish interest and that perhaps people in the scientific profession, medical profession, could have a broader approach and perhaps think more about now than the future. But I think we’ve all probably got to acknowledge there’s a bit of selfish in all of us, isn’t there?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:05:11] Well, I think we all do need to be selfish, but I think it helps everyone ultimately, for example, as you age, if you don’t do anything about it, you will have diseases of aging, you will become frail, you will have cardiovascular disease. You will have, you know, neurological decline. So selfishly, if I take care of myself and try to defeat it, I’m actually saving many things. I’m saving the economy. I’m saving my loved ones from having to take care of me. I’m saving the increasing medical bills that sort of pile up as you get older. So, yes, it’s selfish, but it’s also good for everyone.
Peter Bowes: [00:05:45] Yeah. And I think you just hit on one of the points that whenever that issue is put to me about being selfish, the goal population wide. Is to make people healthier and to live longer without medical interventions, and you can only imagine the the financial impact that that could have globally if people were just generally to improve their lives and their health today. But how it could improve in terms of the economy of health, people in the last decade or two of life, how it could reduce the costs?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:06:15] Oh, without a doubt, because most Medicare is or medical expenses are accumulated when people are very old because people don’t want to let people die. And I understand that, granted. But the idea here is to increase our healthspan and not necessarily our lifespan, but the healthspan. So if you can be as healthy as you can possibly be as long as possible, not only are you being productive for society, you’re costing society less and everyone wins. Selfish sort of in the long and the short term. But I think overall it’s really not.
Peter Bowes: [00:06:46] So once this had piqued your interest, you essentially became a human guinea pig, didn’t you? What did you do first?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:06:54] So I took advantage of the fact that I work in a extremely large medical health care system and I plunged into the research aspect of all of this. And my office honestly looked like a Post-it factory had exploded. I read every article. I came up with a zillion different reasons why cells age some broad based ideas of extremely detailed ideas. And I sort of moving these piles around until I ended up with seven piles. And then once I had the seven piles, I started looking at the different molecular agents or people would call them supplements. But I hate that word. But these molecular agents that could positively change all of these reasons that you age. And then one by one, I started taking them, because if you look at the best risk benefit ratios, it was clear that the benefits far outnumber the risk. And the answer then would be, well, why not? So the more I read, the more I took, the more complex this whole system became. And you’re right, myself and all of the people around me became huge guinea pigs in this giant experiment that has since exploded. But people are thrilled with it.
Peter Bowes: [00:08:01] And in a quantitative sense, how were you able to improve your health in the short term?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:08:08] Well, it started out with laboratory studies. I happened to be due for basic lab work and that became incredibly improved over a very short period of time. My vision got better. My skin quality got better, my athleticism got better, my repair capacity improved. It was just truly remarkable. And I cannot tell you how many people stopped by my anaesthesia office wanting longevity advice.
Peter Bowes: [00:08:32] And can you pinpoint the main reasons for those improvements?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:08:36] I think it’s cumulative. And I think that you have to understand that you age in seven categories. And if you don’t sort of address each of the seven categories, you can make small steps into not aging, but you need to really address all of them to make huge strides. And I did this over and over and over again. So I repeatedly about different things. And I cycle some I take some that I think are absolutely pertinent every day. But I believe that they all work synergistically to improve longevity.
Peter Bowes: [00:09:06] So let’s delve into the seven. We probably don’t have time to go into detail of the seven, but just give me an overview of what you’re talking about.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:09:14] Ok, so what I decided to do and my conversation is going to go back and forth between scientific terms and more factory terms, because I wanted people that were less sciencey to sort of understand what I was talking about.
Peter Bowes: [00:09:25] Yeah, I’m glad you say that, because I often say this is a podcast for a lay audience. Health is important to everyone. And I always strive to try to explain things in lay terms as far as possible. But some technical terms occasionally creep in, and that’s fine.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:09:41] Great. So so tenet one I call it’s really DNA alterations. I like to think of it as the informational system, if this was a factory model and in essence in terms of DNA alterations, we look at epigenetic modification, telomere length and then a few other odds and ends that sort of negatively affect your DNA. And the good news is we have things that can reverse both of those issues with DNA. So tenet two is basically is your mitochondria and your mitochondria is your power source of your cells or of the factory. And they fail for two basic reasons. Reason one is damage from free radicals. And you because you use oxygen in your electron transport chain, one to 10 percent of oxygen molecules become radicalized. And this causes damage to your DNA, to your proteins, to your lipids, all sorts of issues. We have endogenous free radicals, scavengers, but they fail over time and we need to fix them. The second main problem in your mitochondria is a nicotinamide deficiency. We need nicotinamide in the electron transport chain as well as three other places in your cells. So it’s extremely important that we have enough. And of course, over the age of 40, we tend not to have enough negative divide. So that’s tenet number two,
Peter Bowes: [00:10:55] And this is why, just to say we’ve talked a lot about mitochondria in recent weeks and months, and this is why the process of mitophagy is so important. It’s essentially renewal of the mitochondria.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:11:07] Oh, without a doubt. And I actually put that under the general term of quality control and cellular recycling. So it’s absolutely important. I’ve just sort of put it in a different category.
Peter Bowes: [00:11:19] Got it.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:11:19] Without a doubt. Tenet three I call Pathways. We have pathway’s in factories, we have supply chains. We have all sorts of different pathways. In our bodies we have the AMP Kinase pathway. We have seven mammalian Sirtuin pathways that help control aging. And we also have something called the mTOR pathway. These most of them get turned off over time and we need to keep them on and the mTOR pathway sort of the other way around. It stays on. And in fact, we need to turn it off. But the good news is we have things that can sort of affect these mechanisms. Four is quality control that I briefly alluded to. In any factor, you have to check the widgets and have to fix the ones that aren’t working quite so well. So this is DNA repair mechanisms. This is protein repair mechanisms. And again, autophagy, which is recycling of all of your little cellular organisms. And of course, mitophagy is falls into that category Category five I call the security system. So this is your immune system, which then sort of becomes your inflamer cell over the course of time, of course, your immune system fails, which is why older people are not going to be as good at getting the vaccine, is not going to be as efficacious for them. We are unable to combat the diseases in terms of bacterial viral infections over the course of time. And these cells that are supposed to help us actually become cancerous in terms of leukemias and lymphomas and that sort of thing. So over the course of time, we just become extremely inflamed with inflammatory cytokinins and that sort of thing. So that’s five. Six is what I call individual cell requirements. A red cell is different than a liver cell, which is different than a brain cell. And I have senescent cells in this category as well as stem cells. Right. We want to make our stem cells better. We want to get rid of our senescent cells, and then we have to cater to the needs of fast growing versus slow turnover type cells. So that that’s Category six. Seven, I call waste management because in any factory we have to take out the trash. This is mostly glycation issues, right? We get accumulation of something called AGEs or Advanced Glycation End products. We need to get rid of those if we can, or at least prevent their formation. In addition, autophagy leads to the formation of something called like a lipofusion, which accumulates in long-lived cells, and then just basically serves as a blocking agent for long acting cells to sort of work. In a ridiculously big nutshell, those are the seven reasons that you age.
Peter Bowes: [00:13:42] So those are the just broadly speaking, the systems, the mechanisms that you’re talking about. You have what you call the Kaufman protocol. Is that protocol, how we as individuals can essentially nurture those mechanisms and systems?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:13:59] Yes. So what I have done is I got really tired of people saying that they took agent X because their grandmother told them to. This is my favorite thing, right? Oh, I am on blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, because my aunt, grandmothers, uncles, nephews said it was good for me. Well, as a scientist, that just doesn’t have a whole lot of credibility. So what I did is I took every agent that anyone ever said that they were on and I looked it up extensively. You know, what did it do in each of the seven categories of aging? Did it work on a philosophical level? Did it work in a test tube? Does it work in a culture? Does it work in a mammal? Does it work in a human based on the degree of evidence? I gave it here with a zero if it did nothing, or three if it was absolutely amazing and we had a lot of human evidence for it. So in each of the seven categories each agent was rated so that each agent has a seven digit number attached to it, which I don’t ever expect anyone to memorize these numbers because I certainly don’t know them either. I can tell you they may change over time because I can’t rate something that no one has looked at. Right. So if I searched and searched for agent X to see if it helps your DNA and I found nothing, I got a zero. Does it mean it doesn’t do anything? It just means that no one has ventured into that yet. So the numbers can only get better over time. But the good news about the numbering system is then you can take a variety of agents and line them up, add up the numbers in the columns and come up with a plan whereby every tenet of aging is adequately covered. Because all the other things that drove me nuts is that people would take 17 free radical scavengers and ignore their AGEs or ignore their DNA repair systems. So the idea is a comprehensive plan to cover aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:15:45] And you covered a lot of ground there. I’m just curious, first of all, of those things that your grandma suggested that you should do or take for the benefit of your health. Is there anything that comes to mind that was the most prominent but the most ridiculous in your view,
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:15:59] People love like vitamin E, which I thought was it’s sort of OK, it’s not fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised with C. I kind of blew that one off. But it is absolutely amazing. Aloe Vera falls into the unbelievable category. Turns out Alexander the Great actually conquered an entire island to get all of their aloe plants before he marched off to war. It was that important? And it turns out stimulates fibroblasts and increases collagen, hyaluronic acid, stimulates unbelievable wound healing and does a variety of other things. So I was actually pleasantly surprised by a lot of them. And the ones that I wasn’t all that impressed with kind of went by the wayside and I now forgot about them.
Peter Bowes: [00:16:41] Right. So therein lies the problem, I think, for a lot of people. And that is who to believe, what to believe, where to get the information and ultimately what to do, because the choices are many and they’re all out there. And we’ve been bombarded with information that ordinary people don’t have the means or the education to investigate to the depths that you have. So what can you say? What can you do to help people make that decision?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:17:10] So it’s two things. Number one, I don’t want anyone to take my word for it. I really doubt I am one person. I don’t have a whole, you know, flock of folks looking all the stuff up for me. So I do the best I possibly can and I want people to believe me. So in the book, the first half of it is the seven reasons that we age, sort of in ornate detail. Some of it’s a little bit too detailed and there are a lot of really bad jokes in there to keep people interested. And there’s 15 agents in there. And I go out of my way to explain why they’re rated the way they’re rated. I want people to understand that and people are going to understand it to different degrees just based on their backgrounds. I’m working on a book right now. It has an additional thirty two agents in it and it’s going to be the same thing. I want people to know exactly what I know. How potent is it in each of the arenas to sort of create a program? I leave it to most people to try to make up their own program, but I’ve sort of helped a little bit. On my website I have three sort of standard programs that fit most people and then I have suggestions such as, if you are prediabetic or have issues with glucose, you want things with extra points in the waste management category. If you have inflammatory issues, you want more in the security system category. So it’s basically pretty easy to figure out. And if people really get stuck, I have an app, it’s not the best app because again, it was just me trying to help people. But if you go in, you put in your medical concerns. It spits out, based on an algorithm that I created, what you should be taking.
Peter Bowes: [00:18:39] And maybe I should say at this point, and I’m sure you would agree with this, because as you have said, you are one person. Anyone concerned about the health should consult their own doctor first before making any any changes, whether it’s diet or whether it’s supplementation or whether it’s exercise that you need to speak to your own health provider first.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:18:59] I think that’s sort of true. I think that most physicians, at least in the United States, are trained in Western medicine. And depending on how open minded they are, they may or may not be thrilled with all of this. I have invited many people to take a book to their physicians to explain that I am not crazy. It’s not psycho, it’s actually real. It is medicine, and it is biochemically all accurate. On the other hand, some physicians have some issues with all this because they just don’t understand it. They weren’t trained in it. So even if your physician says, you know, maybe it’s not such a great idea, it may not be a bad idea. Maybe you just need a new physician.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:34] You mentioned autophagy and we’ve talked about autophagy in relation to fasting a number of times. Are you a fan of fasting or at least dietary interventions similar to fasting?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:19:46] I think that fasting is fabulous for people that can do it. I get extraordinarily grumpy, so I personally am not a faster I’m kind of a junk food junkie and people that know me know this about me, which is moderately embarrassing. That being said, intermittent fasting is extremely good for you because it activates your AMP kinase pathways, sort of affects your sirtuin pathways, et cetera, et cetera. Put your body into a state of hibernation and it tells your cells that you are calorically challenged, which means that rather than spending more calories on building a piece of organelle from scratch, it’s going to recycle what it already has, which is why it increases autophagy. I think it is fabulous. I probably am doing things really pretty much the hard way. I increase my own autophagy was spermaadine and I mimic caloric restriction with other agents that sort of tell my body I’m starving. What I’m really not.
Peter Bowes: [00:20:36] I can’t really let you say that you’re a junk food junkie without delving into that a little bit. You mean you eat a lot of junk food?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:20:43] Oh yes I eat donus every day.
Peter Bowes: [00:20:44] Is that good for you?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:20:45] Oh, it’s horrible for you, but…
Peter Bowes: [00:20:47] It’s horrible for you?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:20:48] Well, I can rationalize this to myself, but perhaps it’s not a great thing for your listeners. But if you block glucose and you block carbohydrates and you tell your body that you’re starving anyway. The question is, it’s risk benefit ratio, right, if I enjoy it and it makes me happy to eat a donut every day. Am I really going to die early? And the answer is I don’t think so, because I’ve offset all the badness one way or another. I’m also an exercise junkie so I’m not really worried about calories.
Peter Bowes: [00:21:16] Right. But it’s maybe not a good message, though.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:21:19] It’s probably a really terrible message. On the other hand, I think that a lot of biomarkers preach this impossible life of good living. They starve themselves. They live on mountains, they chant, they do all these fantastic things. And it leads like the the normal person to think, oh, my God, I could possibly never live up to that expectation. So I like to tell people I’m not perfect. A donut a day, it’s not the greatest idea. But other people are going to do things as well. If they want to eat a little Snickers bar every once in a while, you’re not going to die. You just have to be smart about it, make reasonable choices and just do the best that you possibly can.
Peter Bowes: [00:21:56] So you’re a moderation in everything kind of person.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:22:00] Oh, yes and no. I am absolutely an exercise junkie. That’s not to moderate and I take an excessive number of molecular agents a day, so that’s probably not moderate.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:11] Ok, you’re not, you’re not moderate no. So in terms of your your exercise, then tell me what your regime is.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:22:17] I swim a mile every other day. I run, I rock climb twice a week and on vacations I tend to go to very high altitude mountains.
Peter Bowes: [00:22:26] Well, maybe that’s extreme. I was going to say I do a very similar swimming regime to you and a lot of hiking and walking. What is it, would you say necessary for the average person to do in terms of exercise without going to the extremes?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:22:40] In terms of exercise, they say the thirty minutes a day is appropriate. I will openly admit that I’m not an exercise physiologist. I will tell you that exercise activates your sirtuins. It keeps your mitochondria healthy, reduces calories, keeps your muscles busy and all of that sort of thing. In no way can I tell people how much they’re supposed to exercise, because that is clearly not my forte. But I will tell you that movement is better than not movement.
Peter Bowes: [00:23:02] But again, it’s I mean, I see it as an equation. It’s not just one thing that is going to help us live long and healthy.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:23:09] No, that’s absolutely true. It’s a composite. And I think that people are going to do things that are easier than other things. For example, if you would take a standard couch potato and tell them to go run a marathon, they’re not going to do it. That’s a start, but if you take a couch potato and say, you know what, take these five agents a day and you are less likely to get diabetes, heart disease and stroke, then they’re probably going to do that, right?
Peter Bowes: [00:23:33] Yeah
[00:23:34] Well, it’s just taking things and making them possible and in reach of normal people. I mean, the biohackers are going to go nuts and they’re going to do everything that they’re going to do. But the idea is to reach common people and have them improve their lives.
Peter Bowes: [00:23:47] Do you think biohacking is a fad that will, has come and will go one day?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:23:53] I think that people will always be seeking out ways to make their life better. I think the phrase biohacking is not going to be very long lived. But the idea that making your life better, of course, will always be there. True biokackers will say that wearing glasses is biohacking or wearing a hearing aid is biohacking. I think it’s moderately ridiculous. I think the idea is that we’re all striving to improve what we.
Peter Bowes: [00:24:16] Right. And the whole sort of sphere of longevity. There’s often this confusion, again, from people who are not as invested as perhaps you are or I am, that longevity, longevity science is about eternal life. It’s about living forever. It’s the extremes. It’s the the unachievable as opposed to and you used the word healthspan. I talk about healthspan all the time, which I, I prefer. But the two get kind of melded together sometimes, don’t they, wrongly?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:24:43] I think they do. And I think it’s it falls into the same category of religion. Right. They’re moderates and of those crazy people at the ends of the spectrum screaming and sort of drowning out the voices of the moderates. Right. So in the longevity world, there are a lot of us who just want to live longer and better without actually believing that we’re going to live forever. You know, and the forever voices, they did, they make a difference, they’re heard. People think they’re crazy, but it does, in fact, bring attention to the fact that longevity is possible, because right now we’re fighting the uphill battle. A lot of people just think all of this is garbage and that they’re just going to live their life because they’re who they are. They’re genetically coded to do whatever. And one of my goals is to impress upon people that they can make their lives better. And it’s not that hard. Right.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:31] Let me ask you about your philosophy, and you’ve kind of just touched on it in terms of your own longevity, your own future, the decades ahead as you see it now, compared with when longevity and the aging process first piqued your interest and you became a human guinea pig, you’ve learned a tremendous amount since those early days. As you look ahead to the future with your own life in mind and the knowledge that you have. How do you view the future? What kind of future for you is it going to be, do you think?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:26:02] I hope my future is exactly the way I am right now. Before I got into longevity, you could feel age creeping up. I could feel my vision being not so great. I could feel my muscles being sore where they hadn’t been before. I felt more exhausted at work. I thought that, you know, I was going to retire 60, 65, and I’m not sure what I was going to do after that. I’m now sitting at 52. I feel like a teenager. I feel like I have this career. I’m the chief of anesthesia. I’m going to have a career longevity. I’m going to have a career after that. I just don’t feel like I have any more limits set on what I can do and what I can do it.
Peter Bowes: [00:26:40] And the advances, I think it’s fair to say, in the last ten years or so, the last decade or so, especially in terms of when I come back to how I started this, talking about cell biology and the understanding of cells and cell damage, those important systems and functions that that you talked about, the advancement in knowledge over the last few years has been quite tremendous, hasn’t it?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:27:02] Oh, it’s unbelievable. It is really, truly unbelievable. Ten years ago, I would have to say that we really didn’t know a whole lot of anything. There were a few crazy scientists out there making some propositions, but in general we had no specifics. We just had a lot of hopeful ideas with some, you know, some good ideas, but but nothing solid to stand on. And since then, we’ve just gotten more and more and more detailed information, which is fabulous. And we’re going to keep getting it. We’re going to learn about more pathways and more systems and as well more ways to fix them. I’m convinced we’re going to have 17 ways to block AGE. we need to bring back. There was something that used to strip AGEs off of tissue, but they discovered that it wasn’t so great for you.
Peter Bowes: [00:27:46] And just remind us, AGEs?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:27:48] AGEs – the advanced glycation end products, right? Glucose bonds, non enzymatically via eight steps to lipids, proteins, DNA, causes inflammation, causes collagen collapse, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I think there’s going to be an answer to that right now. You have to sort of chip away at it separately, right? You lower your glucose with Berberine or Metformin, you block the individual steps and with any luck, we can strip off the AGEs from our collagen. But, you know, at some point all of that is going to be in one neat little package will pop a pill and our glucose issues are gone. We’re not there yet, but I think we will be. And it’s going to be the same in every category. So far Spermadine is the most effective thing for autophagy, that didn’t exist a few years ago. You know, resveratrol, pterostilbene are the most potent is sirtuin activators we have at the moment. But they’re not fantastic. I’m sure we’re going to find things that are more efficacious and it’s going to happen in every category. We’re going to find things that help our telomerase. For example, we’re going to figure out exactly what combination of factors maximizes our epigenetics. So in every category, we’re going to find some fantastic agent and it’s going to solve most of our problems.
Peter Bowes: [00:28:59] And so this is what gets you out of bed in the morning. This is what still enthuses you to do a lot of this work aside from your main job.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:29:06] Oh, yeah. This is like the best hobby in the world, because when I find something, it helps me and it helps the rest of the world. And it’s just so exciting.
Peter Bowes: [00:29:12] I imagine your main job, which is in anaesthesia, I’ve, like many, many people, had surgeries over the years. And I’m always I leave the hospital thinking about the person who is in charge of the the anesthetic and being eternally grateful for that person doing a good job. What drives you yourself to do that kind of work?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:29:32] That’s a really good question. I was going to be a surgeon and I decided that that was I wasn’t cut out for me, but I liked the OR experience and the field of anaesthesia. It’s really interesting. It’s a little of everything. It’s knowing medicine and pathology. It’s knowing how drugs affect the body. It’s knowing how the body affects drugs. Pediatrics is especially exciting because the kids are adorable and you really want to help them. And you’ve got a whole mishmash of kid personalities and adult personalities. So that brings in some family medicine and psychological issues. So it’s really just a combination of so many things put together that it just keeps you on your toes and is really interesting. And of course, just like in longevity medicine and anesthesia medicine, it’s evolving with time. So drugs that we didn’t have a few years ago we have now and we’re learning how to use them in different ways. And the whole idea is to make everyones sort of anaesthesia experience as good as possible.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:26] And do you think you will eventually transition into focusing exclusively on your longevity work?
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:30:31] I have absolutely no idea. It would certainly be kind of more fun. I don’t know. We’ll see. I think I actually have more credibility not doing that because as a hobby, I don’t have a horse in the race. I don’t make any money doing this. I simply like the idea of discovery and education.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:49] Well, your book is certainly a fascinating read. You dive deep. And I think that’s important for many of the reasons that you’ve explained, really enjoyed this conversation. Dr. Sandra Kaufman, thank you very much indeed.
Sandra Kaufmann: [00:31:00] Oh, my absolute pleasure. Thank you.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:02] And I will put a link to the book, and to your website and to the show notes for this episode of the Live Long and Master Aging podcast, our website, LLAMApodcast.com, LLAMApodcast.com in social media you’ll find us @LLAMApodcast, you can contact me @peterbowes The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media production. We’re available at all of the major podcasting platforms, also at audible.com. You might listen to books there, you can download the podcast free of charge. Wherever you find us, take care. And thanks so much for listening.