December 14, 2019
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Heal Yourself from the Inside Out – Dr. William Li – #599

(dramatic music) – [Narrator] Bulletproof Radio:
A state of high performance. – [Dave] You’re listening
to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey. Today’s cool fact of the
day is that blood vessels built from your own cells
might some day help you, even if you’re doing something
unusual like dialysis. Right now they’re running clinical trials on bioengineered blood vessels they install in the arm
of dialysis patients that gets successfully integrated into their circulatory system. That’s kind of cool. You could get new blood vessels installed when you start getting too
old like how awesome is that? What they did is they
created a blood vessel by seeding a biodegradable polymer tube with vascular cells from dead people. In this case I’d want to
do it from my own cells, but, hey, that’s just me. And they put it inside a bioreactor tank that provides nutrients, and cells multiply, secrete proteins, and form an intercellular network. In eight weeks the polymer
scaffolds broke down, and what was left was donor cells. They grew the vessel of
only six millimeters across, put it in the patient, and the patient’s own
cells moved into the tube, and we’re off to the races. This has never been done before. Before they would do things like, oh, we’ll just pull this
blood vessel from your leg because you probably
don’t need it that much, and we’ll just put it in your heart because you need that more than your leg. It seems like kind of a nasty trade-off, but compared to dying it’s
a pretty good trade-off. So I love it when we’re
now looking at these incredible new abilities
to, at a very slow pace, turn on that Wolverine-style
kind of healing. So, eventually, you’ll just grow new
blood vessels like that, and you’ll be able to
have steel claws, too, one of these days, well, adamantine, but that’s just coming. In the meantime, bioreactors,
that’s all legit. This actually came out of North Carolina. It was published in “Science
Translational Medicine” in March of 2019. That kind of stuff just gets me all excited about the future. Stuff that just seemed
like science fiction a little while ago. Yeah, yeah, we just grew you a new vessel in case you needed it. Now, since I’m a master of foreshadowing, you know that I’m probably
gonna be talking about blood vessels with you today. And you might be saying to yourself, “Why do I care about blood vessels?” Well, it turns out that
one of the big four things that’s likely to kill
you is probably something having to do with your circulatory system, your cardiovascular system, and that’s why today’s
guest is Dr. William Li, who’s a really experienced
internal medicine physician, and a research scientist something called a vascular biologist, whose been working on
something called angiogenesis that would be growing your blood vessels, for more than 20 years. He’s been on “Dr. Oz.” He’s an author. And, again, is really looking at what you can do to take
control of that one aspect, that what’s going on with your blood? He wrote a new book that
we’re gonna talk about today called “Eat to Beat Disease: “The New Science of How
Your Body Can Heal Itself.” And he takes, like me, a
systems-based approach to health, and prevention, and
even reversing disease. Diseases like cardiovascular, things that aren’t
supposed to be reversible. So we’re gonna talk in practical terms about what you have to do in order to get your
defense systems in order, so you just don’t have to grow new blood vessels in a bioreactor, and stick them wherever your
current ones fell apart. Dr. Li, welcome to the show. – [William] Well, thanks,
Dave, it’s a pleasure to be on, and I really appreciate
your setup on bioreactors because the body is the
best bioreactor we have. – [Dave] It’s a great
way of looking at it, and it’s completely true. We’ll take anything that
we stick in our mouth that can be digested, and turn it into electrons
or building blocks, and poop or breathe the rest out. At least that’s my model
of it as pretty accurate? – [William] Pretty much,
you know, we are essentially our bodies are like a universe that’s a galaxy that’s in
formation all the time. Our trillions of cells are multiplying. They’re actually keeping
our organs in good shape. Most of us are fortunate to be healthy, and many of us are afraid to get sick, so the traditional ways
that doctors like me have been taught is to sort
of wait until you get sick, diagnose disease, and
then write prescriptions to chase down the disease
and see if you can cure it, but there’s really now a
new approach really because the science has advanced to
help us get an entirely new view of what health actually means. I think this is where this idea
of the body is a bioreactor comes back into play because our health is not
simply the absence of disease, like most people think. Our health is a result of
our hardwired defense systems that protect us through
bioreactor from the day we’re born until our very last
breath, and guess what? Food can actually activate
those health defenses. – [Dave] What are they defending us from? I mean, health defenses, is this aging? Is this toxins? What’s out there that’s so scary? – [William] Yeah, well, think about like the moment we’re born. It’s like being a windup doll. We are released into a world that is designed to harm the body. Even without pollution and
chemicals and secondhand smoke, and all that kind of stuff, you got ultraviolet radiation that’s beaming in from
the sun through the skies causing DNA damage in our skin. You’ve got radon coming up from beneath, so we’re really assaulted
from both atop and below. And then, now that we’re in society, we’re getting off gasses from furniture, and carpets and rugs. We’re out there sitting in
traffic with our windows down, and breathing in exhaust. No matter where we go, basically, life is pitted
against out health. So our bodies remarkably
have evolved a series of kind of self-defense mechanisms. Think about like akido or kung fu kind of like wired into our bodies that are set to really neutralize attacks, repair damage, and
really try to regenerate, and keep our health going at a high-level. That’s even without the
things that we do to ourselves not knowledgeably that actually
can take down our health. – [Dave] So pretty much
everything out there wants to kill you and eat you. If we’re not talking about entropy, just the tendency towards randomness, every life form on
earth, bacteria, fungus, higher life forms, plants, eventually, the things that make us up the carbon molecules and what-not they will get recycled and
eaten by something else. And it’s your ability to
resist that as long as you can that sort of determines
the quality of your life as well as the length of it if you want to be dark about it, right? – [William] Yeah, well, I
mean, that’s exactly the point is that the moment we are kind of delivered onto
this planet from our moms, our bodies are wound up like these toys, and, basically, they
function to allow us to live as long as we possibly can defending our healthy organs and tissues, and keeping us ideally
optimally functional. That’s why when you get
started, when we get started, we’re still developing, and we’re not quite optimized yet. So it’s kind of like a butterfly
coming out of a chrysalis. The wings are still wet. Need to dry up before we can
fully flush ourselves out. And that’s kind of like
adolescence, young adulthood. Then we wind up being these
beautiful pictures of health, most of us, some people do get sick, but then most of us get to
that middle age-ish point where the pluses and minuses of life start to take their toll on us, and our defenses start to get overwhelmed. So the question is what can
we do to better ourselves? The conventional thinking out
there is juicing, jogging, and yoga are probably
good for us and they are, but now we have really advanced knowledge. And, you know, I think is
something that your listeners will love to hear about
like what do we know from the frontiers of science that give us that
insight onto how our body actually heals itself, repairs
itself, keeps us going. – [Dave] I’m glad you didn’t
write yet another book about juicing, yoga, and jogging
because it feels like everyone’s been saying that for 30 years. It hasn’t really worked that well. – [William] Totally. – [Dave] If you look at death rates from cardiovascular
disease, or Alzheimer’s, or diabetes, or anything else. In fact, it seems like
sort of crappy advice because we aren’t all getting healthier. What’s missing? – [William] Well, I can
tell you that what’s missing is a more wholistic approach
that’s informed by science. I think that the confusing
thing about foods and health that have, I think, reigned
supreme over the last decade, maybe two decades, is that everybody is
thinking about the superfood, or the super diet that’s
gonna solve everything. And, you know, as a
systems biologist myself, and I know I’m talking to
somebody who thinks this way, we have to understand life’s not simple. It’s very complicated. Our body is not simple. It’s very complicated. One system works with the
other either to help us, or actually to take us down. The reality about health defenses is that this is an intertwined
system, biological systems. They’re hardwired inside us, and they help our
circulation, for example. That’s the angiogenesis system. They help us regenerate
from the inside out. That’s our stem cell system. Our microbiome happens
to be an entire ecosystem inside our body that
functions on our behalf until it’s disturbed or perturbed, and then that system which
is thrown out of whack needs to be put back into balance. And then our DNA is another system that needs to protect
itself against assault, or we wind up having mutations
and diseases like cancer. Then, finally, our immunity
which is another core, a pillar of our health defenses. You know, every grandmother has
said that your immune system keeps you from getting sick. We know it’s more powerful,
much more powerful than that that it is so hardwired to protect us it can even protect us against cancer. Even when we have cancer we need to keep that
immunity fully functional. There’s no superfoods, but really there’s kind of a super body, and hacking into the systems
that make that work well is what’s gonna give us the
clues on how we can use food in the proper way going into
the future to live longer. – [Dave] You know, I like
that perspective a lot. You say something, though, in
the first line of your book that caught my attention. It’s one of the reasons
I wanted to interview. You come from a place of learning, and you’ve really spent 20
years on this, and you say, “We are at a turning point in
the fight against disease.” Big words from a licensed
medical professional that’s spent 20 years on the problem. Why is this a turning point
versus last year or next year? Like what’s so special? What’s happening? – [William] You know,
it seems like every year somebody is talking
about a groundbreaking, game-changing breakthrough in medicine. You know the media does point out things that are really cool like
the artificial blood vessel that you described, and
there’s so many other things. I actually think that the turning
point that’s happening now is coming from a number
of different angles. First, I think that as
citizens of modern societies, we realize that we just can’t go along letting things happen to us. We need to actually use the
knowledge that’s available, and turn our lives into our own favor. So that’s kind of an empowerment
that we didn’t have before because the science now
tells us what we can do to stimulate the healthy
parts of our lives not just what we should stay away from. So if I told you basically stay
away from the electric fence your whole life will be
patterned on fear and distance. If I told you, look,
reach for this or that because it can activate
your health defenses it gives you something positive to do, and really the turning point
comes from the positivity that we’re able to lean into health in a way that we haven’t
been before based on the sophistication of science
that’s actually coming. By the way, from the
biopharmaceutical industry, biotech has delivered the billions of dollars have
been used, invested in biotech, has really given us the
knowledge that it takes to actually not use
drugs, ironically enough. – [Dave] So that the
metabolic understanding that came about from drug research will ultimately disrupt the
drug companies themselves. – [William] That’s completely correct. And the other thing that’s
happening now that’s tipping is the unsustainability
of what we’ve always done, which is we’re healthy, and we don’t need to worry
about it until we get sick, and then somebody is gonna be around to write a prescription,
or get you in the hospital, or do a fancy procedure, and throw a hugely expensive
intervention at you. And, yeah, listen, I’m
a doctor that’s had… I’ve been behind, and involved with the successful development
of 32 FDA-approved, game-changing medications for cancer, diabetes, complications,
and even vision loss. Things that we weren’t able to do before we can do with medicines. And I know how powerful these medicines can be to treat disease, even in some cases cure it, but, hey, it’s a lot more powerful if you could prevent the
disease in the first place. I think that’s where
the tipping point comes because when we think that
we can prevent the disease, or reverse the disease, we’re suddenly in a
completely different place that healthcare has been for 150 years. – [Dave] So the big
difference is that we have a sense of control that we
have now that we didn’t before. – [William] Informed control. – [Dave] It’s interesting because the definition of
biohacking is art and science are changing the environment
around you and inside of you so that you have full
control of your own biology, which includes health, but if your goal is I
just want to be healthy, I’m like, actually, I’d
like to be immortal. And healthy is pretty
good it’s table stakes, but I think maybe I could do better. So you can have control, and maybe you can get there, maybe not. You might die trying. It’s all good, but I do feel like that’s
liberated a lot of people. – [William] I totally agree. I think we’re at a point,
this tipping point allows us to up our own game, right? So all of us who actually
make an effort to be healthy what’s really cool is that now we actually can raise the
bar even for ourselves. Even for the motivated people the knowledge that allows us to say, “Hey, listen, I don’t have heart disease. “I’ve got good circulation.” Now we can say, “How do we
get better circulation?” or, “I’m growing my muscles. “I’m working out. “I’m in good shape. “I’m body sculpted.” The question is, okay, well, that’s fine. So now let’s supercharge what
we’re doing inside our bodies. Can we regenerate ourselves? Can we add stem cells not
by injecting ourselves, but by using our diet to control, to biohack into our bodies to get our stem cells to work even better? All these things are actually
starting to come to light, and to practical application. – [Dave] That makes me really excited. And one of the other things I don’t think I’ve ever
talked about on the show, but you said something earlier, you said, “What we’re doing now is not sustainable.” Two things come to mind. One is, well, it was
announced earlier today on the day we’re recording this episode that the U.S. has the lowest
birth rate in 32 years. And the birth rate in Japan
has been plummeting forever. In fact, in every developed
nation it’s coming down. I’ve been forecasting since
my first book on fertility that was published in 2011, we don’t have a global population problem. Don’t even worry about that. That’s a 50-year problem because infertility is
climbing at such big rates. Even if you want to have kids you can’t. So like we’ll solve that one biologically, but, aside from that, the sustainability of the current thing, okay, there’s no young people around to take care of you when you’re old. The amount of medical waste
coming out of hospitals because of sterility
requirements, oh, my God. You think you’re a good
person because you recycle? If you really want to reduce
your environmental impact, throw thrash everywhere
for your entire life, and then die in a car accident
instead of a hospital, and you’ll still have less
plastic burden on the planet. Do you agree with that statement? – [William] I totally agree, and the thing that is frightening is really how much medical waste it’s not just from the hospitals. It’s actually even from your
own medicine cabinet, right? Like people that toss out old pills, or other kind of discard biohazard waste that gets tossed around. Most of our water supply
is actually contaminated. So here’s another example
of how our environment actually is set up, and what we do in our
environment is set up to actually force us to work harder to keep our bodies’ health defenses up. You know, you talk about infertility. There’s birth control in drinking water just from the stuff that
leaches out of septic systems, and stuff like that. So we’ve got drugs everywhere. The antidepressant, there’s like Prozac in
drinking water as well. So it’s sort of like watch out people. The fancier we get, the
more at risk we get. And that’s why we really need to be able to raise our
own bar in some cases just to get to the baseline
of what we should be. – [Dave] It’s kind of funny. If I’m feeling sad, I just go to New York, and drink some tap water
and I feel much better. It’s probably the Prozac. I’m just kidding. – [William] Could be. – [Dave] Now in your book
“Eat To Beat Disease” you talk about 600 studies or so, and you came up with a framework that I think listeners would appreciate where you talk about five defense systems that correspond to the
sections in your book. Let’s just talk through those, so that when people are
done listening to this they feel like they got
a little mini education in how to eat and what
these defense systems are. Tell me about angiogenesis. – [William] Yeah, so five defense
systems really come out of this idea that when I
started to think about health instead of disease, and when I started to
think about prevention versus intervention started
to think about food. And when it comes to food and health here’s what’s really clear. It’s not just about the food. It’s about how our body handles, and responds to what we put inside it. So I started to really start
to delve into what it is that health is the result of. I identify in my book five
core health defense systems of which angiogenesis is one of them. And I know we’ll go through them, so I’ll start with angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is how the
body grows blood vessels. You talked about the bioreactor. I’ll tell you something even
more mind-blowing than that. As adults we have 60,000
miles’ worth of blood vessels packed inside our bodies that
twist and turn everywhere delivering oxygen and the
nutrients that we need to every single cell in
the body, 60,000 miles. That is so extensive that if you were to pull
out all these vessels, and line them up end to end, you would form a line that
would encircle the earth twice. This is one of our body’s
health defense systems in order to keep everything
fed and healthy, not overfed. We don’t want to actually
overfeed systems. That can actually provoke
diseases like cancer. If there’s too much
overage you can actually have bleeding and cause
problems like blindness. And if you have too few blood vessels you wind up having the opposite problem. You don’t have enough grass
sprouting on your lawn. You wind up having bare patches, and when that happens you’re
not feeding your heart, your brain, your nerves
for erectile function. You can wind up having all
kinds of problems like that. Angiogenesis defends us by
feeding all of our cells. Too much or too few
actually cause a problem, so we want to keep that… The body is hardwired to keep that circulation in perfect shape. – [Dave] So we have these tiny
little vessels in the body that are smaller in diameter than what a blood cell is supposed to be able to fit through, yet somehow they do it. How often does the lining
of those super tiny vessels versus big blood vessels or arteries, how often does that lining turn over? – [William] Yeah, so, you know, vascular cells line up the blood vessels. They’re kind of like the insulation, but on the inside of a blood vessel those cells are pretty quiescent, so they tend not to replicate
unless they’re damaged, or unless they need to grow. The slowest replicating
blood vessel in the body is actually in the retina, which is the blood vessels
feeding the back of the eye. And, in fact, they tend
to turn over just twice in your entire lifetime. The average lifetime, 80 years
old, they only divide twice, but other blood vessels
that need more turnover like the blood vessels
in your gut, for example, that’s continuously regenerated, renewed. Those can turn over every couple of days. So it depends on the
location and how active the system actually needs to be in terms of the turnover of cells. – [Dave] It’s an interesting perspective. So I’m still seeing the
world through young eyes, most likely, which encourages me. I feel good about that, but is there something we can do to change the rate of angiogenesis? I mean, don’t you want some more blood vessels to grow, not less? – [William] Yeah, no, so
that’s a great question. So here’s what it is with all
of our health defense systems. We want just the right amount. And we want just the right
amount at the right time, and the right location. So more is not always more, right? So this is sort of like a
typical attitude that sort of in a time of abundance we tend to think that more of something is gonna make us richer or
healthier, wiser, better, but in terms of blood vessels you want just the right amount. Too many blood vessels can’t fit physically in a certain space, so they kind of crowd, and
they wind up actually becoming, because they’re kind of fragile, they can bleed and have a problem. So a great example is
people who are in aging when they have too many blood vessels in the back of the eye in
an area called the macula, you get macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of
blindness over the age of 60. – [Dave] Just too many blood vessels. – [William] That’s too many blood vessels. When too many blood vessels
are packed into an area like underneath the carpet of the eye, the most sensitive part,
and they are really fragile, that extensive overage of
blood vessels tends to leak, and when they leak,
think about the plumbing leaking underneath a
carpet in your bathroom. You wind up soaking up that area, and you wind up destroying that carpet. That’s what causes blindness
mostly in elderly people. So we now know through
some big breakthroughs that have occurred out of
my field of angiogenesis that if you can start cutting off the proteins that are actually
fueling those blood vessels from growing underneath the eye, you can try to halt the process. And in some cases, about 30% of the cases, you can actually reverse
vision loss to some extent. So this is an example of good blood flow through most of our lives in an area of the eye that
doesn’t have a lot of turnover where when you have
too many blood vessels, actually, it causes a huge
problem that medicine, medical doctors are trying to revert, or reverse that disease
by stopping that overage, but if we started early… My father has age-related
macular degeneration, and he’s getting injections
to try to stop it, but, listen, I’m probably
destined to follow his fate if I don’t actually take
control of my own blood vessels to try to keep those
vessels in the right place, in the right number at the right time for as long as I possibly can, and diet is a great way to do it. – [Dave] My father also has AMD, and he… Granted, I’m a weird biohacker, and I’ve been talking
with him for a while. He’s been running a
small micro TENS current across his eyes around
the acupuncture points. – [William] Interesting. – [Dave] Actually reversed his disease. It got smaller, which is cool. He also eats a diet that probably mirrors a lot of the compounds that we’re gonna talk about in a bit here. It’s not just doing one thing, but I was blown away because
you read about stuff, with healthy skepticism, but he definitely saw
this, and his doctor, too, like, “Oh, it’s much better than it was. “What did you?” But it’s 10 minutes a day
with your eyes closed, so. – [William] That’s pretty
amazing, you know, I mean, I will say that using energy for healing has now kind of moved beyond the woo-woo that used to be there. You know, really serious
scientists, like I was at… I heard a TED Talk literally
about using infrared light to be able to image and then be converted to destroy brain tumors, for example. This is the kind of
stuff that is, you know, I would say it’s no
longer science fiction. It’s moving into the
realm of science fact. So what you just described
is super interesting. I’m actually gonna look into it myself. – [Dave] The interesting thing there is… I have this book it was like $800. It was from the highest
ranking executive, probably, the president of the Karolinska Institute, which is where my wife,
Dr. Lana, went to school. And in 1984 he published this book saying, “Everything that happens
in the body is electrical, “but I’m publishing this
on the day I’m retiring “because I know that you’ll
probably want to take my license “after I say this heretical stuff.” I couldn’t even understand half the book. I’m pretty good at reading
medical literature. I mean, he went really
deep on subcellular things. It was a compelling,
shockingly well-researched heavy-duty medical tome, with this entirely different
way of thinking about it. It wasn’t a chemical problem. It was always electrical. And that just opened my mind. Something interesting is going on there. We barely known anything about it, but when you’re talking about
it being a tipping point, I’m happy that you’re
open-minded about such things because it feels like
there are some things we can do even for blood
vessels with infrared light. Have you ever played with things like ultraviolet blood irradiation, or using lasers for
either not just ablation, but to cause healing
in veins and arteries? Is that real? – [William] It’s something
that I’m actually actively investigating now is
really the power of energy. So a project that is not
ready for primetime yet, but it’s something that’s
actively being explored is how do you use light, and then going to the other
side of the wavelength how do you use sound to actually influence cellular behavior? It’s real, I mean, it’s there. The real question is, how much more do we need to know about it to understand how to control it so that we can use sort of
the principles of biohacking in order to be able to get things moving in the direction that we want to? So, I think, you know, it’s
a very exciting future ahead, but it’s really all the
secrets are inside our body. And then we can figure out
what to use from the outside to actually kind of guide and
manipulate that inside stuff. – [Dave] Tell me about a
couple foods or supplements that are really good
for having not too much, and not too little angiogenesis, of stuff that people can
read about in your new book. – [William] Yeah, so a really
good anti-angiogenic food is really a beverage is green tea. Now everybody knows that
green tea is good for you. It’s an antioxidant, and it
does all kinds of other things, but the research I’ve
done has actually shown through the same type of laboratory assays used for drug development that you can actually stop blood vessels, the same type of blood vessels that would grow into a cancer. So you can right size the vascular system, the circulation by drinking green tea. The other thing that’s really
interesting about green tea, as you know that one of the
big problems is obesity, and a discovery that was
made about 20 years ago was that tumors are abnormal cells that grow to a large size, and fat, adipose tissue are normal cells that behave abnormally
and grow to a large size. And guess what? To sustain the growth
of both fat and tumors, which normally stay microscopic, you need new blood vessels to
bring oxygen and nutrients. So this whole idea of
anti-angiogenic therapy, which is delivering drugs to cut off the blood supply to tumors is now being explored for fat, and a super interesting area
is using anti-angiogenic foods, or foods that contain
anti-angiogenic activity like tea to actually treat both tumors, or to actually prevent tumors, but also to lower obesity. There’s some interesting
work done looking at truncal obesity which
is really the belly fat, and finding that green tea can
actually reduce that as well by starving those fat cells. – [Dave] I have a hard time
looking at angiogenesis, this ability to grow new blood vessels. If you have cardiovascular disease your body will grow new blood vessels around a blockage, right? Like it’s necessary. If you’re gonna put on muscles then you need to have some
blood supply to the muscles. – [William] Right. – [Dave] In order to
regenerate and to sort of grow, and contract and shrink
we definitely need this. I’ve always been a little
scared when someone says, “Oh, we’re gonna turn of angiogenesis “because it might cause cancer.” I’m like, well, what about
the rest of the cells that needed blood vessels, and repair that weren’t cancer cells are we going to starve them too? – [William] Yeah, so listen. You’re asking thee fundamental
question about angiogenesis that has dogged the field
from the very beginning. If you’re a cardiologist
looking at it you’re saying, “Hey, we want blood vessels to grow “into the starving heart. “Oh, but we don’t want cancer.” And if you’re an oncologist, or a tumor biologist you’re saying, “Hey, we want to get rid
of those bad blood vessels, “but, hey, how do we
actually not cause a problem “in the heart and provoke a heart attack?” Right? Well, it turns out that Mother Nature, or evolution as the case may be, was a lot smarter than we are. The trick to angiogenesis that really answers the
question you’ve asked is that our blood vessels
are continuously supported by this ecosystem of
angiogenesis stimulators to help grow blood vessels
where they’re needed, and inhibitors that naturally stop them from growing where they’re not needed. So whenever you need it in the heart, or, for example, a wound
if you cut yourself, or scrape yourself, or fall off your bike you’re gonna see after the scab forms if your scab ever came off early you’d see this bright
red, bubbling red stuff underneath the scab that’s an eagle’s eye view of
angiogenesis, but guess what? When your wound heals over… Those vessels, by the way, are bringing oxygen
nutrients to heal that wound. When your skin grows over that, the inhibitors of angiogenesis that are naturally in the skin take over, and they shut it right back
down to the normal levels. This is actually how you can actually cut off the
blood supply to a tumor, and prevent a cancer
adding more inhibitors, and overcoming the effect
of the local stimulators, but also for the heart how you can grow them when they’re needed, and when you have just the right amount the inhibitors take over, and just shut the whole
system back down to baseline. It’s a balance. – [Dave] All right, that’s cool. Now I’m gonna ask you a
really controversial question. You talked about the oncology view, which you’ve worked with. You talked about the cardiovascular view, and heart doctor versus cancer doctor. What about oral nicotine? That was one milligram of oral nicotine. It promotes angiogenesis in what seems to be a really
beneficial way at low doses, and prevents Alzheimer’s disease according to Dr. Nicotine
from Vanderbilt University whose been on the show, but, my God, you say
nicotine, people freak out. We’re talking about 5% of
what’s in a cigarette there, and that’s about all I’d recommend, recommend for myself anyway. Nicotine, oral, not smoking, good, bad? Everyone knows smoking
sucks for everything, but is there room for this
as a drug for angiogenesis, or anything else or not? – [William] So here’s the thing that we do know about nicotine, and, again, I look at the
clues within the body. It turns out that our blood vessel cells have the receptor for nicotine. They’ve got a nicotinic acid receptor. This has been both studied by
people who look at lung cancer who can tell you that
if you have high levels of inhaled nicotine and
there’s a tumor growing. So we’ve got cancers growing
in our body all the time. That is one of the triggers
that can actually help pull the trigger on blood vessels growing to feed a lung
cancer, that’s not good. On the other hand, a cardiologist– – [Dave] Nicotine, just to be really clear for everyone listening. If you have cancer
nicotine is the worst thing you could possibly do that I know of other than just jump off
a cliff or something. It’s really dangerous, right? – [William] Yeah, that’s
absolutely the case. Now I’ll tell you what’s
interesting is a cardiologist… There’s a cardiologist named
John Cooke at Stanford who… He was at Stanford when
he discovered this. He discovered the nicotinic acid receptor on blood vessels feeding the heart. So exactly to your point
there’s been a lot of research looking at how do we
actually kind of tickle that nicotinic acid receptor
for the cardiac blood vessels in order to be able to actually feed the healthy blood vessels, or prompt them to actually do things that that receptor would normally do? So it’s a very clever
way of thinking about how do we hack into this body system, and kind of tip off the vessels that are wanting to do good things to help support the healthy
functions that we want, and also to prevent that because that nicotinic acid
receptor is also a target to be able to antagonize things that blood vessels that
might feed a cancer as well. – [Dave] Well, that’s a
very nuanced view of it, and what I took away from that that I want everyone listening to hear. Don’t smoke, it’s nasty. And vaping is also inhaled nicotine, and they put the same
addictive stuff in that that isn’t nicotine that
they also put in cigarettes. It’s a bad habit to start. So I just want to be like super clear. If you’re young and you
think vaping’s cool, yeah, it’s better than smoking, but, seriously, it’s not good. That’s not to say there
isn’t a role for nicotine, but you’re probably using
too much if you use it. I don’t want to be on the
record as telling people to go out and start vaping
because that’s bad news. All right, so we talked a lot about this blood vessel maintenance thing, and green tea is a big
recommendation there. I use it in some of the
supplements I formulate, and I drink green tea. And when I’m making a health smoothie instead of my normal Bulletproof coffee I will sometimes take two
ounces of brewed black coffee, throw in a whole bunch of
horrible tasting herbs, and two big scoops of matcha
with the oil and everything I’ll blend it up, sort of
hold my nose and chug it, and then I’ll drink a cup
of Bulletproof afterwards to get that horrible
taste out of my mouth, and for pleasure, but
yeah, there’s green tea, absolutely, I love that recommendation. And you talk about the hundreds
of studies in the book. Next up, talk to me about
regeneration, stem cells. – [William] Yeah, so I’m sure
when you were growing up, just like me and our grade
school teachers told us that salamanders regenerate,
starfish regenerate, people don’t regenerate. Well, the science now tells
us that it’s not true. In fact, we’re continuously regenerating at a pretty slow rate in most cases, but in some cases like our gut, or even our hair, or our skin we’re regenerating at
a pretty furious pace, and some organs that we
didn’t think could regenerate actually do regenerate. We know the liver regenerates. You can cut off two-thirds of your liver, and then the rest of
it will grow right back as long as the rest of
your body is healthy. And even the lungs, by the way, if you lop off the top of your lung, the apical part of your lung, the cap of the lung at the very tip kind of like near where your collarbone is that part will also grow back. This is the cool thing
about science is that as we continue to kind
of forge our way forward we’re challenging some
of these old notions, for example, the body
doesn’t regenerate, it does. So where do stem cells live? Well, they live everywhere. – [Dave] In salamanders, oh, sorry. – [William] Well, you
know, even in salamanders. The stem cells live everywhere. – [Dave] Yeah. – [William] And they
come from the inside out in humans anyway, they love
to live in our bone marrow. So if you’ve ever seen a bone, kind of a cross-section or
a bone cut in half there’s– – [Dave] On Facebook, there’s actually a
picture of my bone marrow. I had it taken out for stem cells. – [William] No kidding,
all right, that’s cool. – [Dave] It’s cool, it
looks just like butter. – [William] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, so, you know, you’ve got the hard core
of the bone on the outside. Then you’ve got this like
open tube, like open cavity, on the inside that’s filled
with this buttery-like stuff. It’s a lot of cells, and most
of those cells are stem cells. Most of those stem cells, by the way, we were all originally made of stem cells when we were in the womb developing. We were all made of stem cells. It’s only later that
those stem cells wound up differentiating or maturing
into the different organs, a finger, a toe, a heart, a brain, a limb. So what’s interesting that
we now know is that our body retains the ability to keep
these stem cells around to regenerate when we
need to behind the scenes in ways that we didn’t even know, but you can actually prompt and
stimulate this regeneration. By the way, I’ve been one of
the people in the early days working on stem cell therapy. You take out cells from your bone marrow, or you can mobilize them
in your bloodstream. You remove them, you
kind of concentrate them, or help them grow by giving
them some natural fertilizer, usually proteins that
stimulate their robustness, and their numbers. They’re being used to inject
back into different tissues whether it’s a joint,
whether it’s a muscle. There are clinical trials
now that are quite amazing to deliver stem cells to the heart. I’ve also heard of a clinical trial giving stem cells to
young kids with autism, and the preliminary findings
is that you’re actually able to get these early undifferentiated cells, it could be anything, and they kind of reboot the
brain to reverse even autism. – [Dave] There’s so much legitimacy there. I’ve done several episodes on it, and I probably had the most
stem cells introduced in my body in a single instance of
anyone on the planet. I did a four-hour procedure
with three doctors where they took a whole
bunch of stem cells, half a liter of bone
marrow and fat-derived, and put them in every joint in my body, and did them with a… What do they call it? A cannula inside the spine
along the spinal sheath, and into the cerebrospinal fluid. I’ve had V-cells pulled out
of my blood and activated, which are pluripotent, and put back in. And I got to tell you there’s
some stuff that works there. Another family member
went in for just a fat… A very basic procedure intravenously, not planning to treat the
valve defect or damage that was gonna necessitate surgery. He was just doing it for wellness. And when he went in for
the scan before the surgery they said, “Your problem’s gone. “What happened?” And he said, “I think
it was the stem cells.” They said, “Nah, it
wasn’t the stem cells.” He said, “Okay, it was a miracle. “It was a unicorn that did it.” Well, watever it is, there
is something going on. I’m younger, I’m more resilient like on all sorts of different ways. I sleep like I would have when I was 20 if I knew how to sleep when I was 20. So I’m with you there, but most people, still it’s
a $5,000 and up procedure. What do people do in your book
with food, or with lifestyle to get more stem cells without having to do that
crazy stuff I just did? That was at the Docere
Medical Clinic in Park City where I did it, actually, some of that. The other stuff was at Bio Reset, but like where do I go on my plate to get even 5% of those benefits
for no additional money? – [William] Well, listen,
this is the remarkable thing. Until recently we were
always focused on stem cells that we would remove from
our body, inject back in. I’d love to hear more
about your experiences because it’s fascinating
that you did this, and it’s really amazing to think about what the positive effects might be in terms of rebooting your system, but I can tell you the other
thing that’s really amazing is that we’re using the same systems that stem cells therapy
developers have been using to test the process, the
proof of concept for years. And now we’re actually studying
the impact of food and diet. So, for example, they probably, Dave, measured your baseline
stem cells somewhere just to kind of get an idea
of how many were around. Then after they removed your stem cells, they were able to count them. And this is one way to monitor the number of stem cells
in your bloodstream. This is classic kind of
regenerative medicine therapy stuff that biotech companies are doing. What’s really amazing is
now dietary interventions are being explored to see
what actually happens, and the most surprising thing that I found was that foods can actually
do much of the same things as stem cells do. And a great example is chocolate, specifically, dark chocolate,
specifically, cacao. So the study was done at UCSF, a very credible medical center, looking at older men who
had cardiovascular disease. So these are people who we
know have kind of crappy, worn-out blood vessels. They have the problem and
they need to reverse it. They need to improve their blood flow, and there was an intervention study where they studied these men over 30 days. They drew their blood at the
very beginning on day zero, counted their stem cells just to figure out how
many were floating around. Usually men with cardiovascular disease have smaller numbers of stem cells. We know, in fact, that
the fewer that you have the more likely you’re
gonna wind up having a fatal cardiovascular event
a year later as you get older. Then they gave them an intervention. The intervention is hot cocoa,
in this case, hot chocolate made with really dark, high-flavonol
chocolate, 70% or more, and then they drank this just twice a day. So two eight ounce cups of
hot chocolate twice a day. – [Dave] Probably with sugar in it, too. – [William] Well. – [Dave] Which is not good for stem cells, but it’s okay it still worked, right? – [William] Yeah, in this
case I think the emphasis was on spiking the
high-flavonol chocolate. – [Dave] Yeah. – [William] And, hopefully,
you know, I mean, listen, I don’t know if you’ve ever had like really, really dark chocolate, but you can actually put other
things into the chocolate that’s not sugar to
actually make it palatable. – [Dave] We make… Bulletproof has a 78% dark,
single-estate, high-origin with a little bit of Brain Octane in it, as well as zero sugar. We use a proprietary xylitol process. It actually tastes like chocolate
people would want to eat. Most zero sugar chocolate is
kind of crystally and weird, but it’s powerful. Even M&M Mars makes a supplement, which is the flavanoids from cocoa, which has really good
clinical studies behind it. You have to take four fat pills a day, and I kind of like to eat my chocolate, but it seems like there’s
great evidence here. So you’re saying to improve
that stem cell function there you might want to look
at eating some chocolate. – [William] Right, dark
chocolate, specifically. And what they found with this research is it doubled the number of
stem cells in your circulation in a single individual. So, basically, over time,
wherever you started at day zero you had up to a doubling of
the number of stem cells. So then the question is
like who cares, right? The skeptic will say,
“Well, so, that’s fine. “You got more cells in your bloodstream.” Well, then they did this test, a classic medical test called
flow-mediated dilation. And I don’t know if you know about this, but, basically, it’s the
equivalent of putting a blood pressure cuff around
your arm, and pumping it up, so you’re cutting off… You’re squeezing the bloodflow down, and you want to see how
resilient your blood vessels are. That’s what stem cells do. They make your vessels more resilient. They make your body more resilient, and then they let go
the blood pressure cuff, and they just measure how
fast the blood jets back into the bottom, the lower
part of the rest of your arm. And people who ate these
high-flavonol chocolate who had a doubling of stem cells, also had a doubling of their
resiliency of blood flow in their arms as well with
this flow-mediated dilation. So that’s pretty much a proof of concept, and that’s quite remarkable
that the stem cells were the response to eating chocolate. – [Dave] Before we go into the next one of these five defenses from your book I want to ask about hypoxia. In the research for my anti-aging book that’s coming out here pretty soon it turns out the stem
cell niches in the body where they’re created the most
have very low oxygen levels compared to the rest of the body. And when we culture stem cells we do it under low oxygen environments because having the normal
amount of oxygen in the blood actually inhibits stem cell growth. Do you think there’s any validity to some of these breathing exercises that introduce brief hypoxia, or I have a piece of
gear from Upgrade Labs, it’s $100,000 plus thing that intermittently induces hypoxia by changing the air pressure. Like it essentially takes
you to the top of Everest, and back down on a 20-second basis, but they have studies that show, oh, stem cells increase as a result. Should we all be holding our
breath every now and then to increase our stem cells, or is the jury still out on that? – [William] Well, you know,
I think the jury may be out on the actual breath holding part, but I’ll tell you some
research that actually supports exactly what you’re saying. So if you are a deep sea diver, and you wind up actually
coming up too quickly to the surface you’ll get
decompression sickness, the bends. – [Dave] Right. – [William] They stick you into
a hyperbaric chamber, right? So it was developed by
the Navy in the old days to really try to reset and
change the levels of oxygen, and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. Long story short is that these hyperbaric
chambers can exist, and you can turn up or turn
down the level of oxygen. So people going into hyperbaric chambers like I read that Michael Jackson actually slept in a hyperbaric chamber. – [Dave] Oh, if we were broadcasting video do you see that back there? That’s my hyperbaric chamber,
I just turned my camera. – [William] Cool, that’s
amazing you have one. So let me tell you what the
research that’s been done. So, people who have terrible
wounds that are not healing, chronic wounds, I mean,
this could be from a burn. It could be from cardiovascular
disease, really ischemic, or it could be from diabetes. – [Dave] Just post surgery, right? – [William] Or post surgery
people have trouble healing for whatever reason. We can actually stick then
into a hyperbaric chamber. It’s called HBO therapy,
hyperbaric therapy. It used to be, we thought,
that what we’re doing by increasing the oxygen
level in the HBO chamber we’re just giving a lot of
oxygen back to you, right? And, yeah, your body is actually helpful. So you got to do repeat
dives, what they call, putting you in the chamber on high oxygen, and then people get better. Their wounds heal, they feel
better, et cetera, et cetera, but what the research is
now showing is something that’s totally counterintuitive. I know you’re gonna appreciate this. That the high levels of
oxygen are important, but, in fact, it’s the
period between dives that actually is a relative hypoxia. So you go into the chamber. The chamber makes your
body feel like it’s… It wants to crave that high
oxygen level, it loves it, okay? But then what happens is that when you come out of the chamber back to normal like sea level your body then suddenly
goes, oh, my God, I’m hypoxic compared to what I was
doing in the chamber. In that hypoxic state you’re turning on all kinds of signals. So then you get back in the
chamber it goes back up, resets your body, and you come back out. It actually gives you relative hypoxia. So what’s interesting is
that the time in the chamber is good for you for that period, but the time outside of that
chamber is also beneficial from a stem cell perspective. – [Dave] That is, it’s blowing my mind. Another piece of tech that
I use at labs and just here, it’s downstairs it’s called
intermittent hypoxic training. And you’re actually on
a bicycle breathing air that’s had the oxygen scrubbed out until you drop your blood
oxygen levels down to about 87, and then you breathe 100% pure oxygen. So you’re getting a wave of strong oxygen followed by hypoxia
followed by strong oxygen. It profoundly improves
mitochondrial function, but there’s something called
HIF, hypoxia-inducible factor that seems to be a magic thing in the body maybe as important as heat
shock protein from saunas. I think the science is
just coming out on that, but as someone who studies angiogenesis I imagine you’ve probably come
across this in your research. I mean, is there any kind of food for that other than chocolate? – [William] The research in angiogenesis has really given us some
amazing information about this hypoxia-inducible
factor alpha or HIF-1-alpha, and it’s really a powerful
signal for angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth because when your organs are starved, or need more oxygen HIF is like sent out like a distress call to
get something to happen to bring better flow so HIF
is released like a distress. It activates the blood vessel cells that are normally kind of quiet around it, and they kind of start to
wake up and jump into action. One of the things they say is that, hey, let’s start dividing, and let’s start dissolving holes in the blood vessel walls nearby, and let’s start sending out the troops, and they’ll start sprouting blood vessels towards the source of the HIF. So what’s really interesting is that HIF is not only an important way
to get blood vessels to grow towards the tissues that need them, we also know that HIF is also one of those tricky signals that cancer cells have figured out how to hijack. It’s like kind of getting a terrorist into an airplane cockpit, and they can take those same controls, and tumors can actually
also use HIF selfishly to grow blood vessels towards themselves. – [Dave] They create something
called pseudo hypoxia, which oftentimes creates
those muscle knots when you have that localized
inflammation, right? – [William] Exactly. – [Dave] But they’re using
that to tell the body, oh, if there’s no oxygen here I guess you should send
more blood vessels, and then they’re like,
ha ha, I got that blood. – [William] Exactly. – [Dave] Good way of looking at it? – [William] Yeah, absolutely. – [Dave] The non-medical
degree way of looking at HIF, in case any of you non-doctors listening. I’m sure there’s three of you. That will do it. All right, I’m fascinated
about all this stuff, and you’re encouraging me to, even though we don’t have studies yet, to hold my breath more often, but not to be in hypoxia all the time. Maybe tons of oxygen sometimes
and no oxygen other times. – [William] Well, I’ll tell you another good dimension of breath holding is that you’re actually inviting your lungs to absorb all the oxygen you possibly can, so you’re getting a more
efficient extraction. You’re really kind of figuring
out how to get all that. Basically, in your lungs your blood cells are loaded with oxygen, and ready to absorb carbon
dioxide as an exchange. Most people take shallow breaths you barely give a chance
to your blood cells to do that exchange, so your lung kind of is
always kind of half working. It’s kind of like a stretching exercise. Here when you hold your breath
you’re forcing your lung to like kind of do what it only can do, so if really keeps your
lungs in good shape. So that’s one way to actually keep your metabolic extraction of oxygen, and your metabolic absorption of carbon dioxide really optimized. That’s one good reason to
be doing what you’re doing. – [Dave] Okay, that’s getting
me to continue on my practice we’ll put it that way. All right, next up,
another thing in your book. You talk about the immune system, and something called innate immunity, and controlling inflammation. And long-term listeners
understand that inflammation is at the root of almost
everything bad that happens. Those four big things that will kill you we talked about earlier on
inflammation underlies them all. What is the role of innate
immunity in your book at controlling inflammation, and what do we eat or do so our innate immune systems work well? – [William] Right, so inflammation is in the public’s mind a bad thing, and, in fact, every chronic
disease that’s out there is associated with inflammation whether you’re talking about
obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, you name it you’ve got inflammation. So how do you think about
inflammation beyond a term? Think about it as healthy tissues and organs
that are in distress, and your body’s response
is to try to help, help clean it up and instead
the cells that come in, actually, set things on fire. One of the problems is that inflammation
is like your own body, your own immune system going in there, and pouring gasoline around the place, and like setting the whole house on fire. That’s really chronic inflammation, and it’s associated with
every chronic disease, but I do want to actually give you some counterintuitive way of
thinking about inflammation, which is why it occurs in the first place. Our body is kind of hardwired,
again, to protect itself. One of the things if you cut yourself, if you have an injury,
if you have a wound, one of the things that
the body is expecting is that you’re gonna get some debris, or bacteria contamination. So, you know, a slip on a
hill when you’re doing a hike, and you’re gonna scrape yourself, and maybe have a little bleeding, and some dirt gets on there, some bacteria are gonna get in there, so the body’s hardwired defense system, your innate immunity
sends out immune cells to really create a little
bit of inflammation to kill those bacteria, and then it’s supposed to go away. What happens in the disease state is that it doesn’t go away. It just keeps on getting
there and it doesn’t go away. That’s when they start… It’s kind of like a frat party where people get drunk, and start dousing the
whole place with gasoline, and setting things on fire. So let me tell you one of the things that actually is very important for downturning chronic inflammation, which you can see in autoimmune
diseases, for example. That’s a great example where you wind up having
super inflammation, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis. There’s a whole family of
these like really, really devastating diseases is you can turn down, or calm inflammation using
things like vitamin C. So foods that contain vitamin
C have been studied in Japan. In the Miyagi Prefecture they took a look at women who had lupus, and they wanted to figure out, like, okay, if the
woman actually are those who actually are having more lupus flares versus women that have less lupus they actually have a lupus center there where it’s kind of like a hive of women that are getting medical
care all with lupus, and they found the ones who actually had fewer flares of lupus, and less inflammation in
their bodies are the ones who ate foods containing
more and more vitamin C. So this is where it kind
of gets tricky, right? So you could take vitamin
C as a supplement, you get pure vitamin C. You can get vitamin C from
a lot of citrus fruits, but then you got to be careful
of the source of the citrus, and what part you’re eating, and however you’re getting
it into your system. Vitamin C is one of the really powerful antiinflammatory foods
that you can actually have. Another kind of approach
to lowering inflammation is really the judicious intake
of the Mediterranean diet so there’s food patterns
that are helpful as well, but in this case it’s not more is more. It’s really kind of just having
a generally healthier diet, and trying to stay away
from pro-inflammatory foods as being very important. – [Dave] So avoiding the
bad is more important than eating perfectly. – [William] Exactly, I
mean, I think, listen, when you’ve got a chronic
inflammatory condition the inflammation is really
kind of a side effect of the underlying problem itself, right? So what you want to do is
to really try to stay away from things that you
know will exacerbate it. – [Dave] If you had a
choice between eating a plateful of French fries
made in the worst quality oil that’s been used for a while in a fryer, instead of nice polyunsaturated omega-6s, or smoking one organic
cigarette which would you do? – [William] Wow, that’s like would you rather die in a volcano, or be eaten by sharks, right? You know, honestly, I would say, if you’re asking
me personally I would say because I know that I eat foods that boost my health defense systems, and I happen to actually have done a ton of work on tumor biology, I would be more fearful of
the cigarette, honestly, because I know that like
one puff of tobacco, one pack of cigarette smoke
can take like a decade for your lung to actually
regenerate itself enough to overcome the harm from that. And, you know, honestly,
everybody every now and then eats something crappy, and it doesn’t have to be
French fries fried in bad stuff. It could be a lot of different things of junk foods that are out there. So I would say, you know, here’s how I think about it, Dave. What am I more likely to recover from, and not succumb to, right? – [Dave] I thought you were worried about addiction there, okay. Yeah, in that case that makes sense. I’ve asked a few other experts
in functional nutrition, and more often than not
they’ll actually say, “This sounds ridiculous, “but the cigarette is
gonna create inflammation “for eight hours, “and that big plate of fried stuff “is a good 24 to 48
hours of inflammation.” But if you look at it from a lung biology versus overall systems
inflammation, I mean, either answer is true. They’re both pretty poor choices. – [William] Well, and not only that, but you can then after your plate of fries you can then embark on a course of, and if mostly what you’re eating are anti-inflammatory foods,
you’re kind of resetting, and trying to rebalance yourself, whereas, once you’ve actually
inhaled that cigarette, I mean, there’s really no going back until that lung lining is turned over. – [Dave] Yeah, you probably
inhale some glutathione, and whatever else, but, yeah,
they’re both pretty poor. And you might be able to
drink a few swigs of fish oil, and take some lipid
antioxidants and go for it, but the bottom line is if
you want to live a long time, and feel really good really
doing either one of those just once a week on your special day is probably not a good strategy. – [William] Well, you know,
you’re bringing up something really interesting which is, you know, you pitched this to me as
the volcano or the shark, but there’s a hell of a
lot of people out there that are actually eating fries, and smoking a cigarette every day. – [Dave] Well, it’s, basically, they’ve got one leg in the volcano, and the other leg in the shark water going look at me, look at me. – [William] Exactly, exactly,
that’s a great way to put it. – [Dave] In your book you teach people not to do that for sure, and this idea of innate
immunity is important. Is there anything you
recommend in your book around food besides
vitamin C and flavanoids that might be beneficial
for reducing plaques, or reducing that outcome
of innate immunity? – [William] So, you know, I’m
a systems biology thinker, and I work in this area
on the research level. So you talk about amyloid, which most people associate
with Alzheimer’s disease, right? – [Dave] Yeah. – [William] So in the Alzheimer’s
brain you wind up having these God awful plaques that
kind of gum up your brain, and people with Alzheimer’s
have a lot to it. And it’s very pro-inflammatory
as you point out. Well, in 2003 I published kind of a thought leading
article in “The Lancet” which is the famous
British medical journal pointing out that
angiogenesis and inflammation in linked to the amyloid plaque
in the Alzheimer’s brain. So here’s how inflammation
and angiogenesis, and this kind of gumming up
our system’s biology problems that actually work together. Now, you would say, well,
how does that make sense? Like in Alzheimer’s you
don’t have good circulation. You’ve got bad circulation. Well, right, it turns out that we know that the Alzheimer’s
brain tends to be hypoxic. We know that this inflammation
is drawn by this kind of by this pseudo injury in the brain. And we don’t know everything
about Alzheimer’s. This is what we do know. We know that hypoxia
will attract angiogenesis like it will grow blood vessels
to try to restore healing, but guess what? For reasons we don’t really understand, in the Alzheimer’s brain, those angiogenic blood vessels form, but they don’t actually
deliver oxygen or nutrients. In fact, what they do, unfortunately, is the endothelial cells
those vascular cells that are forming in the blood vessels in the Alzheimer’s brain they deliver the precursor
to the amyloid plaque. In fact, what I pointed out in my article is that if you go back to
the 1904 original article by Dr. Alois Alzheimer,
which is written in German, so you got to use Google
Translate to kind of get this. You’ll find out that the
man himself, Dr. Alzheimer, noticed that there was
abnormal angiogenesis, and inflammation next to
the plaques in the woman whose brain he first observed this in. – [Dave] Wow. – [William] Right, so
nothing good exists alone, and the same point
nothing bad exists alone. This is why systems biology
like you’re all over is really so important to think about. – [Dave] What a fantastic reference. I had no idea about that,
but it makes so much sense. So keeping the blood vessel lining, in the blood vessels themselves healthy is part of avoiding Alzheimer’s, and all the other plaques, too, but you talk about people
living a long time, which is awesome because my
next question for you is, okay, you know more than the
average person about death because, well, you’re a doctor, and you have a license to kill. And you’ve been studying this, I mean, at a level beyond most humans. How long are you gonna live? – [William] Well, this
is a great question. How long am I gonna live is
partly dependent on genetics. And I can tell you I’ll
give you some facts. My great-uncle lived to 104, independent, very healthy until the very end. – [Dave] Did he smoke? – [William] He did not smoke. He may have smoked, actually, when he was much, much, much younger, but he definitely didn’t
smoke later in his life. I know that for a fact. I’ll tell you what he did do every day. He lived outside of
Shanghai in a little village at the base of a mountain that grows tea. – [Dave] Oh, nice. – [William] And he hiked,
so his physical activity every day he’d get up
at four in the morning. He would hike up this little
stone path up to a tea garden, and he would sit there and
watch the sun rise drinking tea. He probably had, I don’t
know, 10 cups of tea a day, green tea, fresh organic. – [Dave] Oh, so circadian
biology plus green tea. That’s a powerful thing. – [William] You got it, and he eat a mostly plant-based diet. Ate a lot of good stuff from Asia. – [Dave] So 104 is your floor. Where are you gonna end up? – [William] Well, if we
can actually properly hack into our stem cells, our
circulation, our microbiome, and, by the way, I think
that one of the things that I worry the most about
I think in health in general is how we can right size our microbiome because that 39 trillion
bacteria that live inside us communicate to our immune system, which we know is critical
for inflammation. Tipped in the wrong way
our bacteria in our body, actually, will make us more
likely to be pro-inflammatory, and lower our immunity
against diseases like cancer. Then on the other hand, we barely know anything
about our microbiome. We know that there are just
about as many bugs in our body as our human cells maybe a few more, but there’s 20 times more
bacterial DNA that’s in there, and we don’t understand, you know, like think about how the environment, and toxins can influence
that, so I worry about that, because if we can really
hack into our microbiome, and we know foods, for
example, that are fermented like kimchi and sauerkraut
actually can be very helpful for introducing diversity. I think that’s one area that
for everybody, myself included, that we can work a little
harder on like the bar. We need to raise the
bar on our microbiome. Our knowledge is still fairly elementary compared to some other areas
that we’ve talked about today, but that’s something that
we should be doing more of like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, figuring out how to actually
leverage natural bacteria, prebiotic foods, fibers from plants. That’s probably something
that will help us live longer in ways that we have not yet predicted. – [Dave] All right, we’re
in super alignment there. I’m an advisor and investor
in a company called Viome that’s really helping to crack the code on the activity of what’s in the gut. I’ve managed to take my
gut species from 48 to 196 by changing some of the
things that I do in my diet. One of the new supplements or prebiotics that we’re coming out with at Bulletproof, I’ve been testing it for a while. It’s all right, I think we got there because I poop like a superhero. – [William] Well, you know,
I’ll tell you how powerful we know the microbiome can be. A couple years ago there
was a cancer conference that I helped to convene in Paris. It was called “Rethinking Cancer.” – [Dave] Oh, yeah. – [William] The premise was very simple. What happens if you
have a state-of-the-art cancer research conference, but you remove any
mention of chemotherapy, and surgery and radiation, but you still have the top people there what topics do you have on your agenda? Well, you have diet,
you’ve got microbiome, you got inflammation, you’ve got sleep. You’ve got all kinds
of the important things that people actually contend with that the medical community
generally ignores. One area that we did talk about
is sort of the intersection of how the immune system works because we know that immunotherapy can be a life-saving, game-changer in people who are given
new treatments for cancer that don’t kill cancer cells, but really rip off the camouflage that cancer cells use to
hide from your immune system because your immune system is always conducting surveillance, and they’re kind of like our strike force if there’s a cancer in there normally, but cancers do grow in people, so now immune therapy has helped the immune system to go after the cancers. However, some people don’t respond. In fact, really, most
people don’t respond. Only about 20% of the
people have a good response, a curative response to immune therapy. Maybe even less than 20%
and we don’t know why. Well, at this meeting there
was this embargoed presentation because it was about to be presented, and published in the “Journal of Science” which you cited earlier. And it turns out that they
looked at 200 patients with various cancers that were
treated with immune therapy, and they divided them into
the people who responded well to immune therapy meaning
their cancers got smaller, and some of them got cured versus people that
actually didn’t respond, meaning that the drug didn’t work. The cancer didn’t respond. The immune system was kind
of a dud in that case, and they didn’t do well,
and most of them died. So life, death, respond, non-responder we don’t know the difference. Well, they hacked into
the stool and found that one of the big differences, maybe one of the only differences was whether or not there was one bacteria that stood out as being
present in the responders, and absent in the non-responders. That’s like a profound
thing that one bacteria could actually be not a smoking gun, but in this case kind of like
a brilliant ray of light. You need this bacteria. It’s called akkermansia muciniphila. It’s a bacteria that was
only discovered in the 1990s so it’s not like the old
microbiologists going back into the 1900s didn’t know about this. This is called akkermansia,
it grows in the gut. It loves to live in the mucus lining that we naturally have in our gut. And, by the way, it is easily
killed by antibiotics, okay? Cancer patients are getting
antibiotics all the time. And you cannot eat a probiotic that will grow this
bacteria back right now. There’s no akkermansia probiotic. The only way you can
actually grow it back, and I write about this in my book is pomegranate juice has
been shown to grow it, help the gut grow it because it helps to
restore the mucus lining. Cranberries seem to do it as well. – [Dave] Is it the mannose? Is it the sugars in there
or is it the polyphenols? I mean, I use pomegranate polyphenols. – [William] Yeah, we think
it’s the polyphenols, actually. – [Dave] Yeah, they’re in
my Polyphenomenal formula because there’s all kinds of reasons to take pomegranate polyphenols, right? But the sugar in there is a bit… It’s just super sweet. – [William] Well, so
that’s what we need to know is figuring out what is the mechanism
within the pomegranate, for example, because we can
actually regrow that gut lining, and have that healthy
gut bacteria grow back. I mean, that could make the difference between life and death. So here’s another way
that this type of research that shows that the microbiome
activated by polyphenols could actually help to
activate the immune system in such a way that if you are
facing the precipice of death, and getting immunotherapy
it could make the difference between whether you make it or not. – [Dave] I love it, and
it’s really cutting edge that you mention that in your book. The only other guy whose on
top of that is Dr. Gundry also mentions the same species
as just being so important. It’s why polyphenols in
general are really important. They’re a big part of my
Headstrong recommendations even more so than Bulletproof diet. And we know now broad
spectrum is important. So getting lots of different ones, like you said green tea is
a great source, chocolate. Of course, you and I both know what my favorite one would
be which would be coffee, but there’s every vegetable,
every weird thing that grows that doesn’t make you have GI disturbances probably has polyphenols you want it. – [William] Right, well coffee- – [Dave] You did,
however, very successfully dodge giving me a number. So 104 was your floor, Dr. Li. – [William] Well, I would
say if 104 is my floor I would at this time
that we’re recording this I would give maybe 120, I would say. – [Dave] 120, all right. – [William] That would be my goal. – [Dave] You get some advantage over this was your grandfather? – [Dave] My great-uncle, yeah. – [Dave] Your great-uncle. So you’re gonna get
some advantage over him from all the science that you are doing, and all of your colleagues and all it’s gonna give you an advantage. – [William] You know, I certainly hope so. I think that I’m somebody
who navigates my life biohacking with the knowledge that I have. I mean, wherever I go,
when I shop in the market, when I prepare my food,
when I go out to eat, when I look at the
menu, I mean, literally, it’s kind of like what the
Terminator showed on the screen, you know, like this
kind of computer screen that goes up and lights up I literally use knowledge I have to try to make the most
intelligent choices. And, actually, those
choices change over time. I want to have diversity in my diet, but I want to make sure
I’m avoiding bad things, and eating more good things. And then I follow the science. I follow what’s coming out. I try to figure out what I can do. And, of course, it’s not just diet. You got to get enough sleep. You got to stay physically active, have good social networks. All those things are important. I think it will be really hard
to replicate the relative… The small village kind of
small town feel in rural China at the base of a tea
mountain, but, hey, you know, we all should be aspiring to that. And that’s really this empowerment. Using the knowledge to give us power to be able to help ourselves. – [Dave] Beautiful. Dr. William Li, thank
you for writing your book “Eat To Beat Disease.” It’s got new stuff in there that’s worth people’s time to read. Your website is DrWilliamLi. D-R-W-I-L-L-I-A-M-L-I.COM And I know you’re giving
away a bunch of stuff because you just wrote your book, so if people go to your website they’ll get all sorts of free downloads, and all the good stuff
that authors do these days. Unless you’re lazy like me in which case you probably just had a PDF, or something, but you did a great job on that. And thanks for sharing this knowledge, and just going out there as a researcher. I understand that anytime
you go out there and say, “Food makes a difference” you’re taking some
professional risks there, but the science is behind you, and I think you’re doing the
right thing so thank you. – [William] Thanks, Dave,
thanks for having me on. And it’s always a pleasure to speak to a fellow systems biology thinker. – [Dave] All right, have a beautiful day. – [William] You, too, bye bye now. – [Dave] Bye bye. If you liked today’s
show you know what to do. Head on over to your favorite bookseller, and pick up a copy of
“Eat To Beat Disease.” If that’s something that you’d like to do there is new learning for you in there. And if you like the book, and if you liked any of the
things like game-changers based on the show or
Headstrong or anything, and you haven’t had a chance to review it, if you go to the trouble of
buying a book and reading it, and you think it was a good book tell us authors just by
leaving a quick review. You’d be amazed what
a difference it makes. So take the extra 20 seconds
to express gratitude, and it is clinically shown
that expressing gratitude makes you live longer. So we’re offering you the
opportunity to be grateful for great books to help you live longer. How’s that for twisting things around? Have a beautiful day. (dramatic music)

Randall Smitham



  1. John Rimac Posted on June 12, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Sorry, but you know nothing about vaping, like most people. The little bit of science available actually wholeheartedly support vaping, especially as an alternative to smoking. There is no science to prove that vaping is unhealthy. You’re just parroting the prejudiced propaganda from main stream media. However, I wouldn’t recommend vaping to a non-smoker. We don’t know the long term ramifications of vaping. I used to be a 40 year pack a day smoker. Vaping saved my life and I feel 500% better.

  2. Anne Tessari Posted on June 12, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    fantastic Podcast. One of my favourites. thank you

  3. Brain Hacking Posted on June 13, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    This guy is a snake. Talking about universe lie, ball earth and propegating things that DESTROY the human body, what a joke. Don't delete this comment or you are an evil bastard.

  4. Dennis Fink Posted on June 29, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Just finished Dr. Li's book and loved it and highly recommend it! I was glad to hear verification that I should keep as much caffeine out of my diet as possible but lots of coffee, tea, nuts and seeds to keep my telomeres young!

  5. Karen H Posted on July 1, 2019 at 2:39 am

    DH is going thru PCa. Majority Gleason score 6 + small amount of GS 7 (3+4). Been through NIH trial. Started all GS6 last test shows some GS7. What I just learned from scientist Jane McLelland, that PCa cells like fat and amino acids (protein) so Keto diet is a no no, raises PSA dramatically. I learned about 6 years ago that plant based diet may be best diet for this particular cancer. She talks about in her book 'How to Starve Cancer' all the pathways that can be closed or open to help 'starve' the cancer. I just got her book, so have reading to do. After listening to your 9 yr old TED video, I'm just confused as to where to start. It has been suggested he have surgery to remove prostate. I want to at least try the diet and possible some off label drugs (like metformin and statin) and supplements and herbs/spices that Jane talks about in her book. Any suggestions? DH is 57 yo, known since age 51, doing active surveillance since. He has done a couple of 5 day water fasts that did help a face skin issue go away, but not sure if this is good as I also read studies that say 'autophagy' can be good, but also bad for PCa patients. So fasting helps body enact autophagy but also stem cells which is very good for us. Again confused what is best direction. Any suggestions to clinics/doctors that may help with your science?

  6. Nikita Onassis Posted on July 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Comment below: Perhaps vaping could be a delivery device to deliver other nutrients via water based particles into the system, would gluthathione or something else be a suitable way to vape in nutrients that can be delivered via a heated mechanism to release vapour ?

    On innate immunity, there are many "traditional" arts that promote it in some way not yet studied in western science because they do not have the definitions and framework from which to define / delimit / communicate the idea across. Dr Li is a useful hint or indicator, like Dan Inosanto who preached an idea or set of ideas to north america, to put it in a context that the audience can understand but is not necessarily point on but alludes to it.

  7. Erton Gashi Posted on July 17, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Green tea cause aritmya…

  8. Amun Ah-Moon Posted on July 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Amazing. Thanks a lot

  9. Dr. Shelley Shoemake Posted on July 28, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I'm listening to this with Erchonia low level light laser on my shoulder!! LOL

  10. Melanie Warren Posted on August 1, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Super great information

  11. Bpjames Posted on August 1, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Fun word of the day, Akkermansia Muciniphila (of course I had to look that Pomegranate for the win!

  12. Eon Flux Posted on August 4, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Almost finished with his book. I have multiple degrees in human biology, physiology, and radiation physics. The science behind his work checks out.

  13. Kelly Kirkpatrick Posted on August 11, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    I'm listening to this sippin on chicken soup no noodles having an egg some olives and a little bit of cheese oh walnuts and pecans this guy is on point I've got to get his book

  14. Kelly Kirkpatrick Posted on August 11, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I must stop smoking and I don't know how to do it there's got to be a way to make it easier to stop to help with the process an awful feeling of anxiety that overtakes the smoker without medication