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Periodic fasting for long-term health

Valter Longo: Longevity scientist, creator of the Fasting Mimicking Diet

Valter Longo is Director of the University of Southern California (USC) Longevity Institute and a professor in biological science. Originally from Italy, he is a cell biologist who specializes in the mechanisms of aging in yeast, mice, and humans. His laboratory has identified genetic pathways that regulate aging in simple organisms and reduce the incidence of certain diseases in mice and humans. Valter has also developed a dietary regime – known as the fasting mimicking diet – that may reduce risk factors for aging in people.

Published on: 7 Mar 2017 @ 04:57 PT


NOTES


Connect with Professor Longo: Facebook | USC Longevity InstituteIFOM Institute

Related:

Episode 111 – Science, fasting and Covid-19 – a discussion with Dr. Valter Longo.

Episode 46 – Living to 110 on a plant-based diet: Valter Longo discusses his book, The Longevity Diet, and elaborates on how he believes the Fasting Mimicking Diet could help extend health span.

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.


TRANSCRIPT


Peter Bowes

Hello and welcome to the LLAMA podcast where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity. I’m Peter Bowes and LLAMA – Live Long and Master Aging really income encapsulates what we’re all about. The philosophy being that there is much we can do to optimize our natural health span as opposed to lifespan or the length of time when we enjoy the best of health. Today my guest is one of the world’s leading researchers in this area. I’m delighted to welcome Professor Valter Longo to the podcast I’ve come to meet Valter at the University of Southern California (USC) where he is the director of the longevity Institute at the school of gerontology Valter Longo is a cell biologist and specializes in studying the mechanisms that control aging. Valter thank you for joining us.

Valter Longo

Thank you for having me.

Peter Bowes

You are in fact my first guest on this podcast and I should say that we’ve known each other for a few years and in part this podcast is inspired by my tiny role in some of your work. I was one of the volunteers a few years back in a clinical trial that you carried out here at USC. It was looking at a diet that mimics fasting and we’ll talk about that and its relevance in a moment but first I’m curious to know if there’s something that happened in your life maybe your upbringing that sparked an interest in your mind and human longevity?

Valter Longo

I’m not sure. I think that I was 19 and I was a music student in Texas when I decided that I did not want to pursue music anymore or at least not music education. Aging seemed to me the natural thing to do. I was really impressed with the scientific challenge but also I realized I think early on how powerful it could be against so many of these diseases. Thinking about the fact that all the people that I knew they were sick in most cases were old or very old.

Peter Bowes

And what sort of upbringing to you have? Obviously you were born in Italy. What was your life like as a child?

Valter Longo

A s a child I was a musician primarily and I grew up in both sorthern Italy and southern Italy. In southern Italy, I think I was lucky in a nutritional sense because I was in two of the regions of Italy that had some of the healthiest food that is still around at least in Italy. And this is Calabria in the south and Liguria in the north, particularly region Genoa the hometown of Christopher Columbus. And in the south a place called Gioia Tauro where recently we found out there are many centenarians or at least there is a high prevalence of centenarians.

Peter Bowes

And were you conscious of longevity and the fact that some of the people around you were living, some might think exceptionally long and healthy lives and that was related to that lifestyle. Or was it just the way that you all lived in those communities?

Valter Longo

No I was the way we lived. And I think it was also some of these areas were fairly poor. I mean for different reason the south was always poor. It still is relatively poor and the north Genova is an area where it was often under attack by pirates and other cities like Pisa used to attack all the time. So Genoa was very used to be locked in and everybody had to survive potentially for months while Pisa, the fleet of Pisa was sitting out and waiting to attack, right, so things like minestrone were very common. I mean of course minestrone comes from all over the places. But one of the places where it developed independently is Liguria in Genoa just because again they will be sealed inside of the city and they just have to utilize all the ingredients that they have left over. And of course the ones that could last a very long time like dried beans for example or some of the grains that could be stored for long periods.

Peter Bowes

But at this stage your focus was on music. Is that what brought you to the United States?

Valter Longo

Yes. Yes. I came to the U.S. to be a rockstar. So it was the plan. And I actually kept playing until my last year in the Ph.D. program at UCLA where somebody told me you just had to pick one of the two things. and we were still touring. I actually had a band in Los Angeles and we were still touring all the way to the almost the end of my PhD studies. But I think you know as I finished the PhD I realized that to excel in either one or the other I had to focus and so I picked science.

Peter Bowes

What was the band called?

Valter Longo

The band was called the DLT. So this is a band that was for 92 and survived but five years we also had a what’s called a development contract with Interscope Records. You know we were doing pretty good.

Peter Bowes

So you were on the cusp of perhaps becoming a rock star.

Valter Longo

I have to say it was one of the few people in town that were trained by a top jazz program. I studied jazz in Texas in a very very good school. And so I had a little bit of an advantage in the sense I was a rock player with very much trained in jazz and other styles so I think you know it would have been interesting to see what will have happened but certainly was doing OK.

 

00:05:47

Peter Bowes

So you had to make that decision between science and music. It’s quite a leap isn’t it? From becoming the rock star that you might have been to cell biology?

 

00:05:58

Valter Longo

Yes and No. I think that really science is a perfect place for a musician right because it’s really a place that allows you to compose in the scientific domain, if you will. So you look for novel ways to think of subjects. And then you know in music you have to solve a composition problem – here you have to solve the scientific or medical problem. But I think creativity is a dissenter of both. The transition is quite smooth and you’d be surprised how many scientists are also musicians.

 

00:06:40

Peter Bowes

So how did you start? What was your first – I know you worked with Roy Walford who was one of the greats in the area of longevity. He was one of the pioneers in terms of the thinking that still prevails today about diet and calorie restriction. He was a mentor of yours wasn’t he?

 

00:06:58

Valter Longo

Yes. So Roy was my first mentor at UCLA and he was very much a pioneer in the aging and calorie restriction field and he was very creative person by the way. He was very involved in theater and had all kinds of other artistic activities that he was carrying on. But yeah he’s a medical doctor at UCLA and very very much interested in living as long as possible or making people live as long as possible. And when I first got to UCLA Roy was actually not there – he was in Biosphere 2 which was an area in Arizona where he and other 7 people decided to lock themself up in and they stay there for two years and that was the first at least known human calorie restriction study because the Roy was able to convince everybody that to avoid running out of food – this was a scheduled experiment. It happened that they were running out of food because the oxygen levels are decreased in Biosphere 2 and so Roy was the world expert on caloric and said you know why don’t we why don’t we just calorie restrict so that way we save food. And they all follow his idea. And so this was the first human study on calorie restriction which gave impressive results, impressive results.

 

Peter Bowes

What was impressive about it?

 

Valter Longo

If you look at the blood profile from these eight people for example, blood pressure, you see their blood pressure before they go in it’s about 110 – systolic. Two months after they’re in Biosphere 2 and they’re calorie restricted it goes down to 85. Their systolic blood pressure. So now they have blood pressure 85 over 55.

 

0:08:52

Peter Bowes

This is the number at the top when you get your regular blood pressure it’s the systolic and diastolic at the bottom.

 

00:08:58

Valter Longo

Exactly right. So their systolic was extremely high cholesterol dropped down to very low levels blood glucose dropped on to very low levels and so if a cardiologist saw that this group of people and the numbers and the biochemical profile they I think most cardiologists will say this person will never develop a cardiovascular disease. At the same time they were extremely thin and so probably this was also the first evidence. And I was there when they came out of Biosphere 2 in 1993 I think. And they look very thin. They were too thin. And so this is probably starting to show the side effects of calorie restriction. So it’s very good for all kinds of things – all major diseases but probably very bad for all the little things that can kill you in your life. And this – not surprisingly Roy died about 10 years later of a rare motor neuron disease. And a lot of people suspect that maybe these extreme consitions and restriction in Biosphere 2 could have contributed to this unusual disease.

 

Peter Bowes

And he continued after coming out of the Biosphere as he continued on calorie restriction lifestyle.

He firmly believed in it didn’t he.

 

00:10:21

Valter Longo

Yes he firmly believed. But it was no comparison to when he was in. So I always show the pictures of Roy Walford in Biosphere 2 while calorie restricted  with a BMI are probably 18 or so. And then I showed the pictures of Roy Walford a year later a year and a half later and he looks much healthier. So probably he was not severely restricted. It’s probably a very minor restriction but certainly was watching everything that was consuming. So I think that you had a very good and healthy diet but not necessarily a severely calorie restricted diet later.

 

Peter Bowes

And looking at the positive side of calorie restriction. Leaving aside some of the most serious health problems that he had. I interviewed him in 1999 at his home in Santa Monica and asked him about the fact that he was doing what a lot of people simply cannot conceive of doing, in terms of their lifestyles. And he said to me he said, “it’s a choice that you have to make. He said you’re healthier during all of that time you need less sleep you’re intellectually stimulated. You’re kind of wired. There’s an increased sense of well-being and vitality.” And then he finished by saying, “if you want to trade all of that to eat cake then I say go ahead and eat cake.” He was pragmatic about it wasn’t he.

 

Valter Longo

Yes he was pragmatic. I think the unfortunate part for Roy was that he didn’t have what happened next. Right. Which was the longevity revolution and he didn’t have all the data from and maybe 10 of us – and 10 groups around the United States and the genetics of aging and the mechanisms and so I think he did about all he could do to make a difference. But it was too early. And without the tools that we ended up having later, knowing our each nutrient regulates different genes. And how you can get the good without activating the bad. So without that I think it is impossible, an impossible task for him. This is why he’s a pioneer because, you know, he did it even in the dark, a little bit, if you will. without knowing why calorie restriction does what it does and what could be dangerous about it.

 

Peter Bowes

Well science evolves and of course you are part of that evolving science and the work that you’ve gone on to do here at the University of Southern California. So what was your next move after working with Roy Walford. How did your career develop?

 

Valter Longo

Well when I was with Roy we were doing a lot of comparison and this had been the field for probably hundreds of years. Right you compare somebody young with somebody old – you’re comparing young mice and old mice and it just didn’t go anywhere. I realized young people old people young mice old mice. So what? There is a lot of differences and you mark everything down and then you are as lost as you were before if not more. And so then I decided I can’t keep doing this. I got take a little bit of a gamble and then go back to simple organisms and that was my decision. So I said well I knew that in using baker’s yeast and bacteria we could get a lot better idea genetically about the mechanisms of aging and so I worked a little bit on bacteria but then I started working on this unicellular organism called yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and I came up with this new method to study aging called chronological lifespan. And so extremely simple organism. Then I came up with this new method that allowed me to measure its aging in a much easier way than what was available at the time. And that really opened up an incredible combination I think you know that very quickly allowed me to identify some of what are now recognized as some of the most important genes that promote aging.

 

00:14:25

Peter Bowes

And what you noticed, paraphrasing the results of several years of your work, was that different organisms that calorie restriction and fasting had similar consequences in terms of aging and adding to the lifespan of whether it’s yeast or a fly or a mouse that you saw similarities and therefore you put two and two together to say that this is a common pathway.

 

00:14:50

Valter Longo

Yes. So the initial finding was bacteria and yeast. Right so one is a prokaryote one is eukaryote -they’re very much distant from each other in a phylogenetic tree. So if they were starved they would both live longer and became resistant to stress. They became very protected. And so that was really to me was really key in start thinking about it. And this was started complete starvation. So you take yeast and take them out of all these nutrients and put them in water. And so they live longer and became very protected very counter-intuitive right. But I saw it when I was in the laboratory Steve Clark for a few months and I saw it  Clark’s lab and then I saw it again in the lab of John Valentine where my mentor my third mentor if you will at UCLA. And then I said well there is something to this fasting that is very very powerful and very ancient. And my guess is it’s going to be present and active or activatable in organisms. And that was of course a big gamble was the big gamble was the genes and the mechanisms are the same. A between a simple organism and humans. Everybody was laughing at this they thought it was a joke and then fasting another crazy idea could be applied from the simple organism all the way to humans. And that was even stranger to the point that the second one I had to put on hold for a decade because it was just too much you know so far I focused on the genetics and then eventually when we were ready I went back to the fasting which I already had published on in both yeast and bacteria. But I went back to the fasting too as a way to to affect the longevity.

 

00:16:44

Peter Bowes

It is for a lot of people it is a big leap to go from east to mice and then eventually to humans and we’ll talk about humans in detail in a second but first of all help us understand a little bit more in terms of fasting and mice – and I’ve seen your mice in this building. The larger the overweight mice and the tiny little mice that live significantly longer. So why do they have extended lives? What are you doing to them in terms of their food or dietary regimes or something else that allows them to live longer?

 

00:17:18

Valter Longo

Yes so there are several ways that you can make them live longer. There are genetic ways we basically alter their genes and particularly genes in this pathway called growth hormone IGF 1 pathway. So if you take away from the mice the receptor of growth hormone. Meaning that the growth hormone no longer is able to trigger these pro-growth signals.

Play from 00:17:50

 

Peter Bowes

And just just to explain this. Just a sec.  IGF 1 is Insulin-like growth factor 1. It’s something that’s produced in the liver and it’s it’s crucial for growth and especially for for younger animals and humans as children just to attain a normal height and the various functions involved in growth and cell duplication

 

00:18:10

Valter Longo

Correct. So the growth hormone activates this IGF1 Insulin-like growth factor 1 produced by the liver, as you just mentioned, which which then is central for the growth of an individual.

 

Peter Bowes

And we all have is it – it’s crucial to life?

 

Valter Longo

And we all have it. It’s not crucial to life – in the liver produced IGF 1 is not crucial. And in fact we know that the individuals both the mice and individuals that have extremely low levels of IGF1 circulating IGF1 which comes from the liver, they do fine – but the IGF is also made by all kinds of cells and so that is crucial. Right so if you don’t have any activity of IGF1 anywhere then you have a problem. But if mutations are applied to these organisms in these genes then these organisms live longer and this is true for our yeast which becomes dwarf when it does not have this signal it in its growth genes. It is true for a worm and it is true for a fly and it’s true for a mouse. And now we have been doing work on people that lack the growth hormone receptors so they have deficiency in these growth genes and they also may be a little bit longer lived. So they seem to be protected against age-related diseases. And so we suspect that the effect of these growth genes and aging is conserved. In fact from all the way from yeast to humans and of course the complexity is very different between these organisms.

 

But I think that in an era where everybody is trying to personalize everything in medicine and in science we moved exactly in the opposite direction and said what is common to not just people what is common  between a mouse and a person and even a single unicellular organism and a person so that doesn’t mean that personalization is not very important it just that that may be by looking so much and only a personalization we forgot the big picture which is some properties are the same for everybody. And so for example I always use the glucose example. So you get somebody glucose it would be very hard to find somebody who’s insulin levels do not increase in response to glucose. It doesn’t matter what genetic makeup you have and whether you’re Asian or Caucasian or or Hispanic you still have the same response.

 

Peter Bowes

Now you mentioned studies with people that have very low levels of IGF 1. That area of your research has been absolutely pivotal and crucial to your understanding of the role of IGF 1 and of fasting as well. Can you explain how that all came about how you found this community of people and what the significance is.

 

Valter Longo

Yes. We started with the identification of TOR and the role of the TOR gene which is a growth gene that acts downstream of growth hormone and IGF 1.

And so we knew that these dwarf yeast were super long lived and then people published that the Drosophila they were very small dwarf and they were lacking the activity of these growth genes particularly insulin and IGF 1 – they had record longevity and Barkey and and this was work by Linda Partridge Mark Taylor and then the Barkey and Kopchick labs had shown the mice that were lacking grow either growth hormone or growth of more receptor and therefore had very low levels of IGF 1. They had record longevity and then so early maybe around 2001 2002 we had all this information. I was just very surprised that nobody was looking at the people and was asking the question well if this is all true and it’s all conserved what about people that have the same problem which may in fact be a solution. And then I first had contacted Zvi Laron and I knew that he was following some of these subjects that had low very low levels of IGF 1 and

 

Peter Bowes

Zvi Laron is an Israeli scientist?

 

Valter Longo

is an Israeli scientist that was the first to describe Laron syndrome which is that the syndrome characterized by very low levels of IGF 1 and insulin

 

Peter Bowes

and people who exhibit this they are generally dwarf – they’re about three, three and a half feet tall?

 

00:22:59

Valter Longo

Yes. So the very small but they’re otherwise fairly normal. So they’re relatively proportional.

 

00:23:07

Peter Bowes

And the puzzle initially was why are they small and it wasn’t because they lacked growth hormone – they had growth hormone in abundance.

 

00:23:14

Valter Longo

Yes, this was the discovery of Zvi Laron who showed that they actually surprisingly had very high levels of growth hormone but very low levels of IGF 1. And so then from there someone and I’m not sure who it was, but someone together with Zvi Laron figured out that there was a problem in the receptor. So the key was there but the lock was damaged and therefore the key can open the door that generates IGF 1.

 

00:23:45

Peter Bowes

And just to explain that a little bit more essentially the key in the door. It’s the receptor it’s the growth hormone that initiates the opening of the lock which causes the IGF 1 to be produced by the liver

 

00:23:56

Valter Longo

Correct. So the key is growth hormone. The lock is growth hormone receptor which is closes the door of the liver which produces IGF 1. So if you don’t open the door at the idea of one doesn’t come up.

 

00:24:12

Peter Bowes

And so this is a process this is a function that’s happening in all of us all of the time. It’s a normal bodily function that people with Laron syndrome because they have the defective receptor cannot achieve.

 

00:24:24

Valter Longo

Exactly yes. They do not have the ability to make or they have a very very severely inhibited ability to make IGF 1 in the presence of growth hormone. So they have very high levels of growth hormone but make very low IGF 1. And the suspicion is based on a lot of data from all these different organisms is that the IGF and not just IGF1, insulin IGF 1 and also growth hormone receptor acting independently of insulin and IGF 1. So together all of these they promote growth and cellular division not just growth in the sense of size but also in the sense of taking a cell and pushing the south to divide to generate the another cell and so when you have low levels growth hormone then all these genes are lower and the system turns into what we call a maintenance mode, a mode in which it’s focusing much more on protection than on trying to grow and reproduce.

 

00:25:29

Peter Bowes

So a large community of people with Laron syndrome exists in Ecuador. There are other smaller communities scattered around Europe but the key population that you’ve managed to study is in Ecuador. How did that happen? How did that come about for you?

 

00:25:44

Valter Longo

That came about because of this article that I wrote for Science and then a colleague of mine from UCLA said after seeing that we were interested in the human equivalent. He said the biggest population, all in one place or in a relatively close place, of these Larons, of these growth hormone receptor deficient subjects is in Ecuador. And Jaime Guevara is the doctor of all of them pretty much and so as soon as I heard that I thought ‘this is this is good.’ And so immediately within months I invited Jaime Guevara to come up to Los Angeles to give a talk and tell us all about these patients.

 

Peter Bowes

And he’s based in Quito the capital of Ecuador

 

Valter Longo

He’s based in Quito. And so Jaime came up and then since then he’s been coming up to the U.S. or I’ve been going down or both. And already from the beginning it was obvious that the story looked very promising. We knew that several people that Zvi Laron was following made it to their 90s. And now Jaime was basically saying I don’t see cancer. I don’t remember seeing cancer in any of them. And also I don’t remember seeing diabetes in any in any of them. And of course we were very interested in diabetes and cancer because John Kopchick had shown and Andre Barkey has shown that the mice that had the same type of mutation were protected from cancer and diabetes. And we knew the yeast, dwarf yeast, was very much protected from DNA damage during aging. So the question then was, ‘are they protected’ and took us a while but eventually in 2011 we were able to publish a paper in Science Translational Medicine showing that in fact they were protected from cancer and diabetes and probably this protection was due to the regulation of some of the usual suspects. Some of the same genes that we had described in yeast and others had described for other organisms to be very important for aging. TOR, PKA, RAS etc/

 

00:28:08

Peter Bowes

So this is absolutely crucial for you. Here you have, at last, a human population exhibiting the same traits, the same longevity, without major disease as you had previously shown in the laboratory. So you’d managed to join the dots, in a sense?

 

00:28:27

Valter Longo

Yes and most people, if you think about it, most people who work on whatever gene whatever mechanism of interest never get that opportunity particularly because we didn’t have to do anything. I mean they were there we didn’t ask him to do anything different with just in having the advantage of knowing Jaime, we were able to go back and say well what happened for the last 30 years. Right. Did they develop any cancer in anybody have a developing cancer. And so it was really great. And we knew there was real data because Jaime was the doctor and Jaime is also a scientist saw most of the times. If you go to the field you never know what you’re going to get you get a lot of stories you don’t know if the birth certificate is correct. If somebody say they died of one disease maybe it’s not true maybe they died of something else. But having the doctor there and trusting the doctor this was a really remarkable opportunity.

 

Peter Bowes

and just to explain what this work involves that you’ve been doing with Jaime. I as there in Ecuador with you a year or so ago and you’re talking about a community that’s spread over quite a large area – this is Southern Ecuador remote mountainous communities – it can be a long long drive over a bumpy road just to meet one family and to gather the data and then to cross-reference that with local hospitals. This is a major study isn’t it as you say over a long period of time.

 

00:29:52

Valter Longo

Yes. This is why it took five years. And I think that you want to go slow and get the sense that everything you’re collecting is real. And it’s funny because one time I was there and people were telling me we’re going to Vilcabamba and everybody started laughing and I ask, ‘well why is everybody laughing about Vilcabamba? Vilcabamba was supposed to be this South American city that had all these centenarians and everybody’s laughing and they’re all like, ‘we all know that there are no centenarians – it’s just for the journalists.

 

Peter Bowes

It was a myth?

 

Valter Longo

And so everybody was making it up. They were making up the fact that they were much older than they were. And so that the journalist will go. And then finally

 

Peter Bowes

Fake news?

 

Valter Longo

Yes. Finally I sent journalists to the city hall and I said ‘go check it.’ And there was not a single, at least that’s what they told me, there was not a single person over the age of 100 in Vilcabamba. So yes I think it was very important to go visit all of them to ask three or four people. We know this person died. The records were available or as multiple people – what did he die of, what were the symptoms or can we see the medical papers etc. etc?  And and then it was also important to the blood we shipped it to Los Angeles and then we start doing tests on the blood. And so we already published two papers clearly showing that the second paper showing the diabetes and insulin sensitivity effect mean that even though they’re overweight or more overweight then their relatives and more obese than their relatives. And every endocrinologist in the world will say they’re of course at a higher risk or much higher risk for diabetes. They are very much protected from diabetes and that alone I think is an incredible discovery because it’s really a dogma. Obesity equals diabetes. Insulin resistance equals eventually diabetes and so not a single one of them as so far develop diabetes

 

Peter Bowes

And you still need to fully understand what’s happening there as to why they don’t seem to develop diabetes even though they’re overweight.  They carry a lot of fat but this isn’t fatty liver. This is subcutaneous fat it’s tummy fat. It’s belly fat.

Play from 00:32:08

 

Valter Longo

Right right. So we looked at fatty liver and they don’t they seem to have an advantage as far as fatty liver. But the reason we in we now published last year that they don’t develop diabetes is because their insulin sensitive. So their cells respond better to insulin. So bring glucose into the cells better and not worse as you would expect from somebody overweight or obese. And this is really very surprising to anybody that knows anything about this this field and then cancer is actually a different explanation for cancer I think is more of the fundamental effect on aging which is conserved from yeast all the way to mice. And so they’re just aging more slowly. The DNA gets damaged less and. And that was one of the things we confirmed with the cells and the other finding was their cells seemed to get damaged or their blood seems to be very protective against DNA damage. But then once the cell did become damage they were much more likely to be killed. Right. So really a very powerful duel effect preventing cancer. And not surprisingly only one person thus far has developed cancer. And also Zvi Laron in his surveys. I mean he did it from the distance with just sending surveys to people but still thus far, at least as far as we know, there has not been a single report of cancer in his about 250 subject population that he follows from from the distance

 

Peter Bowes

Yet people with Laron syndrome don’t live exceptionally long lives. You might think from what you’re saying, they don’t develop cancer they don’t develop diabetes that they would live significantly longer than the rest of us but they don’t really do they?

 

00:33:56

Valter Longo

Yes they don’t. But one I mean we don’t know the reason but you’ve been there and you know how they eat. They eat a lot and very poorly. And so when I first showed up I told Jaime, ‘Jaime we’re going to have a problem right because these guys eat like this. I mean how could they possibly it doesn’t matter what mutations they have.’ But — so there is a study by Andre Barkey that shows that if you take growth hormone deficient mice they live about 50 percent longer than normal and this is record longevity record, already record for a mammal longevity extension by a mutation. If you didn’t calorie restrict them so you put them on a very good diet. They live up to twice as long. Right. So that’s what makes us think these people in Ecuador probably have the potential. I mean we don’t know. Right. But certainly based on the mouse studies they probably have the potential to live a lot longer and they probably live a little bit longer but to live a lot longer they will have to become calorie restricted. And so it’s not only the normal weight but there are more overweight more overweight, more obese than everybody else. And we think that this probably is causing some countering effect that then bends their ability to to make it to a hundred and ten

 

Peter Bowes

And perhaps be given guidance in other aspects of their lives as well as a higher, I think, than normal level of depression. Suicides are relatively high on just everyday accidents and that kind of thing. I suppose the side effect of being short and not being seen in the roads I gather from Jaime that those are also factors that come into them not living exceptionally long.

 

00:35:39

Valter Longo

Yes psychological I don’t know. I would like to see Jame’s data on that. I mean I don’t think he’s ever produced data on that. But they seem to be quite happy actually. You met them.

 

Peter Bowes

That’s what I thought.

 

Valter Longo

So I didn’t see that. What I do know and I’ve seen that, is that they drink a lot, or some of them drink a lot. And in the conditions down there the safety is not the greatest. So there has been a number of accidents and possibly other problems related to alcohol drinking or or other bad behaviors. Smoking certainly they do smoke some of that smoke a lot

 

Peter Bowes

Yet they still don’t develop cancer.

 

Valter Longo

Yet they still don’t develop cancer not a single lung cancer case so far. So the remarkable remarkable thing if you think about the fact that a Laron mouse lives 50 percent longer and yet half of them will never develop any pathological lesion that you can observe. And this is only five to 10 percent in the control mice. Right. So the fact that we’re seeing the same thing in people is just extraordinary. I mean if you think about it I mean I’m extremely biased but I mean half of the budget of the NIH should go to this. What you say is now very convincing that you can intervene in one single shot. I mean it doesn’t have to be the growth hormone receptor. I’m just saying towards this idea that you can act on the aging process and that now doesn’t only reduce one problem and then create another. Like most drugs but it really goes after making the protecting the system all the way to that so so not only did they get much less diseases per time lived which is health span. They get much less diseases even though they live 50 percent longer. Right. If you could reach 10 percent 10 percent this in humans in the next 20 years it will already be as much of an achievement as the rest of the research is done. I mean this is how big of a deal is. And yet there is almost no funds available for this so it’s really surprising.

 

 

00:37:54

Peter Bowes

Well help me then complete the circle if you like in terms of joining the dots with what you are doing now here at USC and your work and your studies involving fasting and calorie restriction. How does your knowledge that you’ve gained over the years from mice to people with Laron syndrome in Ecuador and further afield. How does that relate to what you’re doing with fasting?

 

00:38:18

Valter Longo

Well first we start with dietary intervention. So for example you can restrict proteins and that will affect the level in signaling of these growth genes. Right. And then on the other side you can restrict sugar and that’ll affect the activity of some other pro… cell division genes and so fasting includes both. Right. So it combines the protein the restriction and the sugar restriction all at once. And that was the original idea. Right so you fast and this is why it’s working very well. But then we realized that there was more to it. Much more to it than this which was when you fast. The biggest advantage consequent to this effect in this program pathways is you shrink the organism. Why. Well because the organism has to save energy and so it has to start slowing down what it does but also start breaking down components. I always talk about. You know imagine a train that was made of wood in a burned wood in the locomotive is not going to make it to its next destination. So I started taking the machinist takes the chairs and burns it right and that’s what the body does. It just starts using its own component for fuel for combustion and so that turned out probably to be one of the most powerful parts of fasting and fasting mimicking diets that the system whether it’s the liver the muscle the blood system even parts of the nervous system. They are an immune system. They are killed. You kill a lot of cells many of which are bad cells, damaged cells, and then you stand by until food comes around again. So these cycles of starvation and refeeding are able to get rid of a lot of bad cells, turn on the productive systems, but then turn on also the regeneration system or turn on the stem cells and then rebuild whatever was broken down during the starvation.

 

Peter Bowes

So fasting, from a multitude of areas, fasting is good for you?

 

Valter Longo

I would say fasting is not good for you in this sense. Fasting is a little bit like chronic calorie restriction. Right. If you think about water only fasting it’s a little bit like a chronic calorie restriction. It’s good for you but it’s also bad for you. Right you’re going to get the good and you’re going to get the bad. And why? Well because it’s so extreme that the body — yes is going to get the break down. Yes it’s going to get a lot of these protective and regenerating effects. But then you really put the subjects in danger. For example, during fasting water only fasting if you get an infectious disease you might be in trouble. Right. You might be exposed to pneumonia meningitis. Right.

 

Peter Bowes

Because it knocks down your immune system?

 

Valter Longo

Right. Clearly knocks down your immune…no doubt because we just published that right within seven days, now your white blood cell number goes down over 20 percent in 72 percent of the subjects. And so so now we know for example from cancer from oncologists that if you have even a temporary immune suppression you can have a problem you can have an infection and die from it. And this is just one example. There’s probably much more that happens when you push a system to that extreme. And these will we be really working very hard on. That’s why we’ve come up with fasting mimicking diets. We wanted to get to all the good of fasting without the bad and the bad as also not just this exposure or sensitive infection is also an individual starts running and all of a sudden you have no sugar to burn. Right because your sugar level is so low so you now depend on the liver and gluconeogenesis to make this sugar. There is not enough. Right. So now if you don’t add a zero calorie diet most people will be endangered or certainly put in a condition which may put them in a dangerous situation. And so and this is where the fasting mimicking diet… And also the salts. Right. And all kinds of micronutrients. Let’s say that you were already deficient in B-12 deficient in zinc, deficient in whatever manner or vitamin. Now you go to zero. You go from deficiency to zero. And this could be the extra problem that you need to have a serious condition. Again maybe an infectious disease. And these where the mechanisms again come in. So if I understand it I can get the good without the bad. And that’s really what we’ve been focusing on that for the past 10 years or so – make this temporary so short and make it once every two three four months for five days and make it relatively mild so that the restriction is only a calorie restriction is not a water only fast but it’s a diet restriction. And then allow people to go back very quickly to their normal diet so that now the time that you’re exposed is minimal and the effects we’re now showing are very long long lasting.

 

Peter Bowes

00:43:20

 

Now this is the, you mentioned it several times, this is the fasting mimicking diet that I have done. I think it’s 13 times now and the first three times were you’re in your study that I mentioned at the beginning of this podcast it was once a month over a three month period. I was one I think of the first 19 of 100 people who went through this regime for the study and this was the first time that you’ve really tested it on human beings. And I understand what it is – it involves a number of plant based soups and tiny little energy bars and a few olives over a period of five days. Calorifically I’m probably taking in maybe eleven hundred calories on the first day and seven to eight hundred maybe on days two to five. That was the regime it all comes in little white boxes it looks very scientific it’s very easy to follow. You call it a fasting mimicking diet because it is mimicking the effects of fasting that you’ve just been describing without being a complete water fast – in other words you can, you do have meals albeit small meals to look forward to during this period of time.

 

00:44:24

Valter Longo

Yes. So it mimics fasting going after the fundamentals right the sugar and the proteins, as I mentioned earlier, so it lacks sugars and it lacks proteins. I mean not completely. We have enough so that again we minimize the danger of it. And this was really key also because I wanted to make sure our plan was to try to get it into the doctor’s office  – allow doctors all over the world to say I like to have an option to the drugs or maybe I like to have a complimentary intervention to the drugs you know. For example in the case of cancer. So I think we’ve achieved that and we publish on the first 20 subjects which included you and the results were remarkable. And the first people was mouse and the group of you, and the 20 people, and now the rest of the group, you know, 100 subjects. So this was a randomized a hundred subject study. And I have to say that their results are not disappointing.

 

00:45:24

Peter Bowes

So when you say they were remarkable, what was so remarkable about them?

 

00:45:30

Valter Longo

What was remarkable about it was the long lasting nature of the intervention and the width of the intervention meaning it affected IGF 1 not just during but also after people returned to the normal diet and affected inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein, one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease – it affected fasting glucose levels. The intervention lasted five days. And then of course we measured the risk factors before people subjects started. And then after one week of them returning to their normal diet and so yes. So then we saw many of these affects of course. The other one really important is the weight loss, the abdominal fat weight loss ,without loss of muscle mass. And this is extremely difficult to achieve. Right. And it makes sense because this are not really a long term diet which usually these diets cause loss of water loss of fat but also loss of muscle. It’s a temporary intervention that activates the burning of the abdominal and the visceral fat. And then in the refeeding period rebuilds the muscle cells were destroyed during that process. Right so the whole body is affected temporarily but then you rebuild the muscle but not the fat. Of course you don’t want to reveal fat. It make no sense. So this is why we think it’s so powerful. And I think soon enough we’re going to go to the FDA probably proposing the use of this for diabetes prevention and metabolic syndrome and this will be one of the first interventions products let’s say for diabetes prevention but also the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and most likely cancer.

 

00:47:22

Peter Bowes

And you call it a periodic fast which is a term that I think a lot of people are not familiar with. It’s a periodic intervention because you do need to continue to do it whether it’s every few weeks or few months because for all those levels that we’ve just been talking about will come down. They will eventually go up again once you start feeding on a normal, in quotes, normal regular sort of diet you will go back to the original status quo from where you came from. So you do need that intervention at periodic times.

 

00:47:54

Valter Longo

Right. So periodic and to some people these periods could be six months. And so if you have an ideal diet and ideal weight then probably a couple of times a year is all you need. You need to do it for.

 

Peter Bowes

Just to bring yourself back into check?

 

Valter Longo

Just to get rid of damaged cells, just to decrease that abdominal fat which most people accumulate even though they may be in somewhat ideal diet and many of the things that we don’t know of that are resulting in the results that we see, you know, we go from a cognitive improvement to major decreases in inflammation. In mice we see a 50 percent decreasing in tumor generation during the life and on and on so many different effects.

 

00:48:44

Peter Bowes

And is this something you recommend for people who are otherwise healthy normal human beings. It’s a diet that’s prescription only at the moment you get it through your doctor. And presumably those people who are using it are at risk and in some sense, maybe they’re overweight or obese or on the edge of getting diabetes. Or is it something that – like for example me I’ve actually continued it with your guidance and talking to dieticians as well, even though I’m otherwise healthy, is it necessary for someone like me to have that kind of periodic intervention?

 

00:49:18

Valter Longo

It’s not necessary – it is beneficial for everybody at least to up to age 60 65, 70 or so. And now we’re trying to figure out whether there is a version for people that are above 70. There may be more suitable.  As  for everyone. Rarely you find an individual that will not have one of these risk factors or markers that are either out of the range or not the ideal range or close to being out of the ideal range. So I think it’s something that everybody should consider evolving a little bit and we are saying if you’re healthy then a registered dietitian is probably – and you know your house and you have some exams to show that you’re healthy – then you’re registered dietitian is all that that you need. If you’re not healthy then the doctor needs to approve and supervise because now it’s a decision on should it be taken – particularly dangerous is the use of drugs. Once you start introducing drug one or two or more drugs now the combination, let’s say insulin together with a faster diet, or metformin

 

Peter Bowes

So if you’re on a diabetes treatment?

 

Valter Longo

If you’re on a diabetes treatment, if you’re on hypertension drugs. And in most cases I will warn the doctor, ‘think very carefully before you combine this fasting making diet with any drug.’ If the doctor makes the determination that the drug can be suspended for a short period that is usually much much safer.

 

 

00:50:57

Peter Bowes

And you think this is, you believe this is better than a straightforward water fast for an equivalent period of time, even though the net results might be similar. But there are dangers, you say, for people in the general population to attempt a straightforward water fast. For, some people do it for three days, for five days.

 

00:51:18

Valter Longo

Yes absolutely. So the first of all water only fasting is extremely difficult to do. One is the calorie station but also the social aspect. Right. i notice with me but of course I talk to thousands of people and most people just have to have something to eat on a regular basis. And then of course the safety concerns. When you have no food at all. And also you have no fats at all. And so we think that this may be one of the reasons why long fast for example are… water only fasting is associated with gallstones. Right. So now the system very frequently does not have any any fats that need to be broken down and this could be contributing to some of these diseases. Of course, also going down to water only diet is going to affect the sugar levels and maybe go to very low levels it may affect blood pressure level again it reaches very low levels. So you really have very little control of where somebody is going to go. With the water-only fasting provided that they can finish it. And so this is why a few years ago we started saying this is probably not a good idea unless you’re in a clinic. If you go and check to a clinic that specializes like the Buchinger-Wilhelmi in Germany then I think it’s fine. They have close to water-only fasting and in those settings I think it’s fine. They have a very good safety record.

 

00:52:52

Peter Bowes

So you’re an enthusiastic proponent of periodic fasting a fast that doesn’t involve a total fast. It involves a prescribed diet over a period of five days. How does that differ from the diet that a lot of people have tried over the last few years and it’s very – especially in the UK -intermittent fasting – the five to diet – that has become so well known. It’s clearly a different regime. But are they similar in the net results

 

Valter Longo

I mean nobody knows. We have not compared them. They’re very very different. Right. So one is something that you have to do every third day basically for months and months and it has the 5:2 diet has days where you have very low calorie intake maybe five 600 calories. So they’re very very different regimens.

 

00:53:44

Peter Bowes

A lot of people swear by it. They say the 5:02 has been the best thing that – they I think especially from a weight loss perspective. They say they’ve seen better results on diet than anything else they’ve tried.

 

00:53:55

Valter Longo

Yeah absolutely. I mean I’m not saying it’s a good diet. I think that in our case, weight loss is not really what we’re trying to achieve. I think we’re trying to achieve in the weight loss domain we’re trying to achieve abdominal fat loss without muscle loss. You know so just in that particular domain and then we try to achieve much more in the regeneration that of course, for example, you will have very limited regeneration, if any, because you never go through the destruction process and there is nothing to rebuild if you don’t destroy first.  You know that part, you know the clearance of auto immune cells, the clearance of bad muscle cells, the clearance are pre-carcinogenic cells or cancer cells. All of that will require a much longer period. So I mean you know there is theoretically a lot of reasons why the faster the longer faster making diet is going to be beneficial for all kinds of conditions that you might not see, sensitive to the 5:2.  But you know the 5:2 certainly is working for certain things. The question the advantage I think compared to the fact you’re making diet is you may not need a doctor or maybe you need a doctor who just maybe mentioned to your doctor and it’s not really that that demanding. But there are several issues. One of them is of course you need every third day. You need to do something so all along most of the times when you have to do something all the time people drop out because it’s just too invasive. And then eventually you’re just not going to want to do it. And also one concern which hopefully people are working to fight to address is the sleep and eating patterns. Right. And so I mean the body likes to eat at the same time sleep at the same time. So, for example, you don’t want to say well I stayed up on Friday night and Saturday night didn’t sleep at all. But that’s OK because I got sleep 10 hours the rest of the week right. We know that an eating pattern and a sleeping pattern. A lot of similarities. And so the question is while all of a sudden you know maybe not even on the same days, you now moving – eating at certain times, eating certain amount to completely change it. So what happens in the long run to your sleep pattern? What happens in the long run to your metabolism? I mean so these are some of the things that they need to be addressed in a very critical way. And of course you know we’re doing the same for the Fasting Mimicking Diet – we’re asking questions you know is there any side effects? You know are there things that we should think about? Snd that are going to come up you know. I mean our goal is not to have an agenda and something that it’s good for the next couple of years but it’s to say you know 20 years down the road – did we get it right. You know do we help a lot of people live longer healthier lives or are we going to get into the Walford situation where you know you’re never going to develop cardiovascular disease or diabetes or cancer. But then you get a rare motor neuron wrong disease. Right. It’s it’s a very tricky minefield. And I think whether it’s the 5:2 or our diet that we really need to think on the other side – well what could go wrong with this? And and so that’s very important.

 

00:57:07

PeterBowes

And that’s the minefield to do with any kind of longevity science that the very nature of of longevity it’s something over a period of a very long time. And studying that with a group of people is extremely difficult.

 

00:57:21

Valter Longo

Yes but this is why you want to have like we have multiple studies in mice and you know mechanistic studies and so and genetic studies. And so when you put it all together then you get a much more solid safety record. And also I go to the Buchinger-Wilhelmi clinic and ask them for the data. Can you show me your safety data? The True North clinic. So I always had the major effort in trying to see if there is something wrong with it. Let’s find out. You know and for example one of the reasons we don’t recommend this to be done by the 70 year olds and older is when you old very old mice on it they don’t do very well anymore especially the first four days. And we have to shorten diet to three days from four days which is always an old mice struggle because old mice like old people lose a lot of fat. Right. So now what is a problem for younger mice and people. It takes on a potentially protective role in older mice in older people some fat seems to be actually good. Right so these are some of the tricks. It’s very scary to try you know whether it’s drugs or other intervention to treat healthy people without thinking like that like this. And I think there’s a lot of people that are not yet thinking this way and thinking what could go wrong with this and not what is already going right.

 

00:58:41

Peter Bowes

Just for full disclosure we’ve talked about the fasting mimicking diets of the food that people use on this diet is produced by a company that you yourself founded.  As a scientist how does not work in terms of profits from the company and detaching yourself from that side of the business?

 

00:58:59

Valter Longo

Yes. So I don’t take any consulting from the company. I don’t take any salary from the company and all my shares will be donated or are already assigned and will be donated to a nonprofit foundation so I can not profit. And also the royalties within the universities will be donated to research. So yeah it was a very hard choice that I had to make. But I you know I don’t mind it and I think it was the right thing to do I mean of course there’s ways to do it without it. I mean I didn’t have to do it. I could have. There are conflict of interest strategies that are used by universities to make sure that I don’t have the power to alter the data or all that but but I just felt that this was a much better way to go forward and really eliminate the interest that I have and just to keep the interest to try to make this effective you know.

 

00:59:53

Peter Bowes

And in terms of your own personal interest and I’m talking about your own personal longevity What is your attitude for yourself in terms of growing old you have your own dietary regime and I think you’re approaching a quite a significant birthday fairly soon?

 

Play from 01:00:08

Valter Longo

Yeah, yeah. I’m going to be 50 pretty soon. Well I just wrote a book in Italian and now it’s it’s going to come out hopefully in the U.K. and the U.S. soon enough. It’s called the Longevity diet. And so I have a vegan pescatarian diet and this really comes from you know what do the Okinawans eat with. What about Costa Rica, the Southern Italians the Loma Linda people here, where all the successful people do. And that’s certainly one of the pillars that I’ve used in my decision. And then in the book I talk about epidemiological studies I talk about clinical studies I talk about basic science focus on longevity. So all those are really key strategy to make sure it is not about what I think but it’s about what the data shows. And of course I have to put it together as an expert. But I think that you know in my book is I have hundreds of citations. And so I wanted to make sure even though it’s a book for everybody for the lay audience I wanted to make sure that the doctors read it and the doctors or whatever is a professional can go and pick the paper and read the paper and then decide.  Was I right, was wrong. And I have to say that had an extraordinary response from doctors in Italy many many many doctors and now clinics that are starting to implement it. So I think that it looks very promising. The same is happening here in the United States there’s over 600 doctors now that are recommending ProLon which is the fasting mimicking diet. So I think it’s we’re now seeing this as a reality and hopefully it is a reality that can move to the mainstream by not just treating diseases or preventing disease and by treating aging place or going after the aging process to have all these effects.

 

01:01:57

Peter Bowes

Couple of things you mentioned there – the pescatarian diet. Vegan essentially, you have a little bit of fish maybe a couple of times a week as part of your diet.

 

 

01:02:05

Valter Longo

Yes. Fish a couple times a week. I keep the protein intake to about 0.7 or so grams per kilogram or 0.35 grams per pound. And then it’s a mostly legumes and veg and vegetables relatively low fruit a lot of nuts walnuts

 

Peter Bowes

Which answers that question that all vegetarians or vegans get is what do you get your protein from?

 

Valter Longo

The proteins are from the legumes mostly and so garbanzo beans and beans and peas and fish of course and then high nourishment is a big important part because many many people they go from let’s say meat based diet to a vegan diet particularly they become malnourished and now you can become deficient in vitamin B 12, deficient in calcium deficient in vitamin D, etc. etc. So it’s really important to also really focus on getting everything that you need. And this is why it’s good to talk to a nutritionist first and not so much to get a recommendation on nutrition because a nutritionists do these days still recommend having six or seven meals a day. And there’s really some really bad recommendations which are clearly outdated and they shouldn’t not no longer be be part of our I mean they really accompany this obesity epidemic in the United States. I eat five times a day a match very well the United States becoming 70 percent overweight and obese. And also in the book I talk about diversity feeding what Satchidananda Panda has been working on in San Diego. But I keep it to 12 hours a day for many different reasons. Safety included. I don’t think it’s probably such a good idea unless you have a real weight problem like you’re morbidly obese to go past 12 hours. So 8 a.m. 8.P.M. is a good. Or to say 9:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m. is a good range of food intake.

 

01:04:09

Peter Bowes

a lot of people do 16:8 so they will fast sexually for 16 hours of the evening meal and then not be taken to late morning. Pushing it a bit too far.

 

01:04:19

Valter Longo

Yeah I think so. I think so for two reasons. One again you have to look at social aspects and what people can do and enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it we already know it’s going to be a failure. Right. If you if you keep saying I can’t stand this because I can never had dinner with my friends and you have eight hours a day you’re going to have a problem right. Either you skip breakfast are you going to skip dinners. And then if you if you skip one one day and one the other then you go back to the problem that I was telling you earlier. Now your body doesn’t like it now because he’s confused all the time. Right. But so that’s a problem. And the other problem is potential side effects and we know there are data publications showing that gallstones for people that have fasting periods regular fasting years or longer than 12 hours. There is an increase in the information on these gallstones in the gallbladder and this is that you know  – they have to take it out – it’s not a very good to take a relatively young person and have to take parts of their body out because they used some of these extreme strategies that they lead to these problems. So these are – we need to study more. You know this is not a final decision about you know for these reasons and the fact that there are better ways to do it which is you know arrested two 12 hours and then for example I talk about skipping one of the central meals a day lunch for example right. Or you can skip dinner but have a snack for dinner. Right so you keep the 12 hours but you have a light meal for dinner. This is very typical in Loma Linda for example where they might have – and other longevity regions they might have a light meal about 11 12 hours a day and they have like a light meal as their last meal.

 

01:06:03

Peter Bowes

Loma Linda being a town just on the outside of Los Angeles about 100 kilometers outside of L.A. It’s a mostly Seventh Day Adventist Community so this is the faith element to the lifestyle of the people there. But it’s not entirely vegetarian can some people eat meat but very few people it’s very difficult to buy to find a supermarket in love well into that they will sell meat. So it’s a largely vegetarian community it’s a very active community not necessarily going to the gym all the time. People are just daily active a lot of gardening, household tasks that kind of thing. This is significant because this is the longest lived community in the United States and maybe an extra eight to 10 years. So clearly they’re doing something very important.

 

01:06:48

Valter Longo

Yes there is no doubt that they’re doing something they’re vegetarian. usually they’re not vegan and they have a pretty open food intake policy I mean they don’t really watch everything that they do but they’re vegetarian. It’s already a big big difference compared to the rest of the United States and probably the fact that they’re proud to be physically active. I am proud to be eating well and proud to be a very good social system where they help each other. So all those things are probably contributing but I think that still that the dietary component the data indicates is much more powerful than the other components. But that doesn’t mean that the others are not also important.

 

01:07:37

Peter Bowes

I spent some time there, some time ago and made a BBC documentary. It is a fascinating community you know I’ll be revisiting hopefully soon for some interviews that we’ll hear on this podcast.   I want to finally ask you Valter – you mentioned you’re approaching your 50th birthday. Psychologically how do you approach aging yourself what is the great motivation in you when you get out of bed in the morning to do the kind of work that you do?  But as it applies to your own life and your own vision of what it’s like to get old?

 

01:08:09

Valter Longo

Well I don’t have children yet. And I like to have children. So that’s my major motivation. And now I really have to worry because even if I hurry up I started doing the calculations right then when there if I can have my goal of three or four of them then I’m going to have a problem. Right so I need to be a healthy 90 year old

 

Peter Bowes

To look after the children?

 

Yeah exactly so. So that’s my motivation I think. But you know I also independently of the children and I think that to get to 100 healthy I follow as you know Salvatore Caruso who’s got two a hundred and ten in Italy and I still have this video where I play and he sings and he still remembers the songs very well. A hundred and seventy years old. And  Salvatore was really very enthusiastic love to be interviewed and loved to go for the record. And I think that’s great.

 

Peter Bowes

He was very self-motivating?

 

Valter Longo

Yes yes he was. And of course he also was following all my recommendations. And because you wanted to make sure for example in this case was I eat more right then and need more variety and some tricks that to him are very different from those for everybody else. And then Emma Morano who now is the oldest. And I was just there in Lago Maggiore in Italy for her 117 birthday and Emma is now the oldest person who ever ever lived in Italy and very soon she’s going to be the third oldest person in recorded in the history of the planet. Unbelievable right. Only after Madame Calment of France we got to122. And I think American or Japanese woman. Emma is in very good shape, she still remembers everything. She’s still very jealous of her pictures.

 

Peter Bowes

Is this the lady that likes three eggs today?

Valter Longo

It is the lady likes you. And of course all you journalists love to talk about these three eggs a day. But nobody has talked about the fact that every almost every single one of her brothers and sisters and mother and father made it to over the age of 90 which means that almost for sure they have a genetic component like the Larons that is so protective. It doesn’t really matter what they eat they’re going to make it to very old ages right. So and we know that we know that you could get there by watching everything and be very careful. And ninety nine point nine percent of the people will not have the benefits of the genetics of that kind of genetic superpower. So protective that everybody makes it to age 90. But yes some people are very lucky. And and if you’re very lucky then you can do whatever you want and you still get the advantage.

 

Peter Bowes

Valter it’s been absolutely fascinating – Happy Birthday when it comes Good to see you. Thank you very much.

 

Valter Longo

OK. good to see you.

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