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Valter Longo on the Rich Roll Podcast: Live to 100

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Valter Longo's work has been discussed around here quite frequently as of late, particularly his work on the fasting mimicking diet. In typical Rich Roll fashion, he goes long form and tries to gain deep insight into Longo's understanding of nutrition, longevity, and health. Rich says that he considers it one of his most important conversations to date. 

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Thanks for sharing! :)

Going to listen to it tonight as I work :)

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Really excellent update on Longo's work.  Rich Roll also does a good job to clear up some crucial points, among which why a ketogenic diet is not advised even when the FMD itself causes ketosis.

 

I appreciate the fact that Longo insists upon the fact that a vegan diet must be carefully designed. Rich Roll has some initial issues with Longo's pescetarian suggestions, but then things are worked out.

 

A detail which Longo did not disclose previously: the presence of glycerol in the Prolon pack to avoid loss of lean mass.

 

So I'm wondering now how to get some dietary glycerol for next FMD and how much to ingest.

 

Intresting criticism of the 16 hours IF. He suggests 12 hours IF max.

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It was interesting what he said about the clinical trials using fasting now to help treat cancer.

I passed on information to someone my family knows because his colon cancer came back (stage 4). He was determined to beat it and asked for my advice and actually listened to me.

 

I advised him to do the fasting (2 days prior to chemo and 1 day after) as well as clean up his diet and cut out sugars and all the other sensible stuff. He gave the research papers to his oncologist and apparently without actually reading it, the doctor dismissed the work and said he'd lose too much weight and not to bother. Without even looking inside the paper at the huge reduction or elimination of symptoms associated with chemo.

I told him to check out Valter's work and to read and watch for himself. 
 

Valter not much of a fan of CR. That's kind of expected, but of course, I disagree when he says "it doesn't work". 

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Matt., I believe that the use of FMD during chemio is maybe the greatest breakthrough of Longo's studies and might potentially save thousands of lives. We'll see, some hospitals have adopted it, notwithstanding the skepticism of some environments.

 

Longo and CR: here he's maybe showing some personal bias or maybe he's being very cautious, after all the Okinawans are scientific evidence of the possible effects of CR on humans . I believe, as in the case of the vegan diet, that he fears that the general public is not able to avoid the pitfalls of CR. He should actually consider CRON rather than mere CR. After all, since he speaks of scientific evidence and mice, there are many more studies on mice and CR than on mice and FMD.

 

My bottom line: we might translate the reasoning Longo applies to veganism to CR. That is, it is necessary that these regimes be carefully and scientifically designed for each individual. Rich Roll did not further this aspect since he's more interested into veganism and CR is out of his radar.

Edited by mccoy

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By the way, I just reviewed Valter Longo's longevity diet, but it really looks a pretty moderate and restrictive diet, a form of caloric restriction itself. All the fish it proposes is 230 grams per week! So his affirmations should be all posed in the right context. I really cannot see much nutritional difference between a 100% balanced vegan diet and Longo's longevity diet with 230 gr of fish per week. The same vegan doctors Fuhrman and Mc Dougall allow a small amount of animal food in their regimes.

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Nice find Drewab.

 

I agree with your observation McCoy that this is not a lot of seafood, in my experience most people overestimate the amount of seafood recommended. His recommendation is consistent with the AHA recently updated statement suggesting one to two 3.5 ounce portions a week ( around what I consume in an overall close-to-vegan diet). http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/early/2018/05/16/CIR.0000000000000574.full.pdf?download=true. It may be the longer chain omega-3s but much controversy and limited data.... as you know some of the healthiest diets are vegan or near vegan.

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Good review, interestingly the AHA conclusions, with a 2018 date, are apparently almost identical to those written by Longo in his book, dated 2016. Yes, from the environmental POW, 8 ozs per week should not constitute a significant impact. 

 

In my case since I rule out fish, I'm trying to eat as many ALAs as possible, and now I'm trying vegan DHA capsules as well. 

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Do you agree with Longo's statement: "All of us went through a period of thinking about immortality... and then eventually you start realizing that's probably not why we're here and there's something fundamentally IMPOSSIBLE about it, its not consistent with life on Earth." ? 

 

I'd rather see more people who aren't afraid of looking crazy, people with bold/audacious goals.  Something is not fundamentally impossible just because we haven't figured it out yet.  You could easily waste more time reading about how to tweak your diet than you would actually gain from doing so.   

 

This group will love:

1:00:50: "Calorie restriction (what Walford was doing, eating 25-30% less all the time) DOESN'T WORK." [Even in mice, it only works for 1/3 of subtypes...It gives you as many problems as solutions]

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Gordo, Longo is skeptic about 

 

Do you agree with Longo's statement: "All of us went through a period of thinking about immortality... and then eventually you start realizing that's probably not why we're here and there's something fundamentally IMPOSSIBLE about it, its not consistent with life on Earth." ? 

 

Immortality is one thing, longevity is another, extreme longevity yet another. Presently, extreme longevity is probably anywhere above 105 years. Immortality is a concept which most probably will never apply to the material body. Kurzweil if I got it right proposes immortality by downloading consciousness/mental processes to a more durable substrate. And then proceed by successive downloads, when the substrate degrades. Immortality is a metaphysical concept which applies to the soul and to the absolute spirit, not to some material framework. Maybe Longo meant this when he said ' inconsistent with life on earth'. But an extension of the present concept of extreme longevity may well be consistent

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This group will love:

1:00:50: "Calorie restriction (what Walford was doing, eating 25-30% less all the time) DOESN'T WORK." [Even in mice, it only works for 1/3 of subtypes...It gives you as many problems as solutions]

 

As I wrote above, I reviewed Longo's longevity diet, but it seems a really frugal diet, pretty similar to a CR regimen (but without the necessary goal of a low BMI).

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Well, we have to think about immortality on practical vs philosophical grounds. Philosophically, indeed immortality may be impossible, because of the factor of chance accidents - the proverbial "hit by lightening/truck/meteor" etc., I recall someone once calculating that if your body was designed not to fail, just due to accidents such a lifespan would last on average some 600 years and you'd meet with an accident sooner or later. Now, in principle, it should be possible to design a body that can be immortal from a biological point of view, i.e. not age and continuously repair itself, although it too would be ultimately vulnerable to such things as novel pathogens, as it's probably impossible to avoid all infection. Still, designing a body to not age should be the goal, and I don't see what's impossible about it in principle - though true immortality may not occur in practice.

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It was Aubrey who talked about the average lifespan being around 500-1000 if aging were cured. But that assumes that you aren't that risk-averse and there are no improvements made in car safety or whatever.

 

I'm not sure if it was Kurzweil or Drexler where I first heard of the idea of artificial blood cells where they could provide a lot more oxygen to the cells (even allow you to hold your breath for hours) and white blood cells to repair and deal with infections more effectively. That seems like something that people would go for if possible in the future.

If we can augment and protect the human body, then who's to say how long a person could live. It might as well be forever unless you're caught up in something really bad. But as was already pointed, out, if you believe in the idea of gradual replacement of the brain with an artificial substrate, then you and your identity could more easily be transferred. This is the most highly speculative of them all I think... 

 

I've not seen the word immortality used that often anymore anyway, even by people in the LE community. And it doesn't matter that much... we just need to cure aging and figure out the rest as we go along. 

It's true that CR doesn't work in some mice, but from memory, quite a few of them according to MR was messed up in various ways. 

 

 

I'm not worried that CR won't work, I think it's going to work quite well for many of us... I am more worried that even with CR, it's not enough time. I figure that if I can make it to the 22nd century I have a good shot lol, but that is still a lot of being "old" and frail. I just hope that things start happening in the next 15 years. The tools are much better now than even just a few years ago, it's just applying them to the problem.

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It bugs me that Longo equates intermittent fasting with skipping breakfast and implicitly eating dinner.  He points out that eating food later in the day (dinner) disrupts sleep and increases risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and is a negative risk factor for mortality.  Therefore, intermittent fasting = eating dinner = increased risk factors for disease.

 

I recognize the human behavior that leads to this pattern (eat after work, late at night), but I don't understand how he makes that leap on the physiology that intermittent fasting must mean eating late at night and the associated risk factors therein.  If NAD+ follows a circadian pattern and peaks mid-day, why isn't he suggesting then that people who follow an intermittent fasting pattern skip breakfast, but eat mid-day?  A person would be done with digesting well before any sleep.

Edited by Cliff

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First - regarding 'immortality' in the context of life extension, it is always referring to "negligible senescence" not some greek mythology or Deadpool style immortality meaning "impossible to die by any means" haha.

 

Cliff - the tide may be turning a bit in favor of dinner actually.  I'm sure it varies from person to person, but researchers are finding sleep is optimal when initiated 3-5 hours after last eating, so for example if you finish eating for the day at 6PM and go to bed sometime between 9PM-11PM, that is pretty much ideal.  If you go to bed >6 hours after you last ate, sleep quality suffers.  Poor sleep = poor health, and is not conducive to longevity, you want extreme, deep, restorative sleep.  The idea of insulin sensitivity being optimal in the morning has also been overblown in my opinion.  I know for me personally I haven't noticed much difference in this regard after a whole lot of blood glucose testing.  This is something discussed in:

https://youtu.be/-R-eqJDQ2nU

I think the relevant bits are in part 2:

 

It bugs me that Longo equates intermittent fasting with skipping breakfast and implicitly eating dinner.  He points out that eating food later in the day (dinner) disrupts sleep and increases risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and is a negative risk factor for mortality.  Therefore, intermittent fasting = eating dinner = increased risk factors for disease.

 

I recognize the human behavior that leads to this pattern (eat after work, late at night), but I don't understand how he makes that leap on the physiology that intermittent fasting must mean eating late at night and the associated risk factors therein.  If NAD+ follows a circadian pattern and peaks mid-day, why isn't he suggesting then that people who follow an intermittent fasting pattern skip breakfast, but eat mid-day?  A person would be done with digesting well before any sleep.

Edited by Gordo

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I don't know if you guys noticed it, but at a certin point Longo says that valine, threonine and serine are the amonoacids reponsible for the anabolic action (growth), whereas according to the studies by Sabatini, mTOR, the metabolic masterswitch, is ruled by Leucine.

Any clue about that?

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I don't know if you guys noticed it, but at a certin point Longo says that valine, threonine and serine are the amonoacids reponsible for the anabolic action (growth), whereas according to the studies by Sabatini, mTOR, the metabolic masterswitch, is ruled by Leucine.

Any clue about that?

 

I went back and listened to that.  First, he's talking about mice, though one would think its conserved between humans and mice.  Second, I think he may be referring to their gluconeogenic behavior  Though again, I'm not entirely sure.

Edited by Cliff

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MMmmm..., I'll have to listen to that again as well. In some of his articles he throws in thryptophan as well as anabolic, then in his book he cites leucine and methionine. Probably every single one or set of cited AAs has an effect on a particular metabolic cascade or cycle, as you have pointed out.

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I listened to the podcast for the 2nd time, and missed tha AAs piece

 

Whereas I noticed the piece on FMD versus water only 5-days fast. This is an issue which has been disussed here. Valter Longo clarifies our doubts, in that he affirms that the Prolon FMD is better in a way, since includes compounds like glycerol and others which prevent some undesired consequences of total fast, such as loss of muscle mass. He cited 66 compounds, disclosing only glycerol. Other compounds are maybe vitamins and minerals and omega-3s. I wonder if there is a complete list of ingredients in the prolon pack label, if that's mandatory per US regulatory compliance

Edited by mccoy

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This site has pics of Prolon "Nutrition Facts" labels:
 

https://fastlifehacks.com/prolon-fast-mimicking-diet-box-contents-calories-macros/

 

Other sites provide unofficial descriptions, e.g.:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-exact-ingredients-of-L-Nutras-ProLon-diet

https://www.dietspotlight.com/prolon-review/

 

ProLon Ingredients

 

Since this is a proprietary diet, there’s not a complete list of ingredients. As we do understand this, it leaves a slightly bitter taste in our mouths. We like to know exactly what we’re getting. We did put in some work and came up with the most detailed ingredient list that we could.

 

They offer nut bars which list ingredients such as macadamia nut butter, pecan, almond meal, honey, coconut, flaxseed meal, coconut oil, vanilla extract, sea salt, citric acid, ascorbic acid, mixed tocopherol.

 

Their Kale crackers consist of Golden flax seeds, kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, hemp seeds, dill weed, pumpkin seeds, sea salt, black pepper, and onion powder.

 

Their drinks contain natural vegetable glycerin, purified water, potassium sorbate, and natural flavor.

 

They offer a bevy of soups, containing combinations of tomato concentrate, rice flour, potato starch, leek, quinoa, onion, olive oil, parsley, peas, yeast extract, savoy cabbage, carrot, zucchini, garlic, spinach powder, broccoli powder, sage, Champignon mushroom powder, celery, and turmeric.

 

Their dessert (Choco crisp bar) is made of brown rice, inulin, almonds, almond butter, cocoa powder, brown rice syrup, chocolate chips, rolled oats, rice dextrin, flaxseed oil, salt, and grape juice.

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Thanks Sibiriak, that's just the reference we needed!

 

So glycerol to avoid excessive muscle loss comes from vegetable glycerine, I'll have to consult my pharmacist friend about sources and dosages.

And we have the proprietary Prolon N-3 supplement formula (with among other things L-cystein, methionine and MSM) , vitamins and minerals from 50% to 120% the NRV (2 capsules per day)

plus a vegan DHA supplement.

 

Other ingredients do not stand out much, apparently.

 

One strange detail: turmeric and quinoa, which Longo excplicitly says are food not suited to westerners and may cause intolerances, are part of the soups.

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By the way, I just reviewed Valter Longo's longevity diet, but it really looks a pretty moderate and restrictive diet, a form of caloric restriction itself. All the fish it proposes is 230 grams per week! So his affirmations should be all posed in the right context. I really cannot see much nutritional difference between a 100% balanced vegan diet and Longo's longevity diet with 230 gr of fish per week. The same vegan doctors Fuhrman and Mc Dougall allow a small amount of animal food in their regimes.

 

Hi McCoy - I also have Valter Longo's book and am wondering how you obtained the "230 grams" of fish per week figure.  Can you please elaborate where you obtained this number - directly from the Italian version, or calculated from other figures? 

 

In my ( English version) book, he refers to "two or three portions a week" but does not identify portion size, which can make a big difference. 

 

In the U.S., "serving size" may be defined anywhere from 3-6 oz depending on the authority, or as low as about 2 ounces ( 1/4 cup) based on U.S. food labeling ( for details see https://www.livestrong.com/article/415471-the-serving-size-for-fish/),

 

Appendix B of his book lists seafood nutritional information according to a 75 gram serving size.  If this is what he means by "portion" than that would mean ( based on 2-3 portions a week) 150-225 grams. 

 

225g is very close to 230g, so perhaps this is where you got it, but I was curious if Valter Longo was more explicit in his recommendations elsewhere as it is not 100% clear by "portion" how large a serving size he means.

 

Noteworthy is that in his chapter on cancer, he has a reduced guidelines of 1-2 servings a week.  Not surprising given the IGF-1 cancer connection.

Edited by Mechanism

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Hi Mechanism, my wife was convinced to start the longevity diet, so I had to give it a close look. She liked that this is an healthy diet coming from one of the top researchers in the world.

 

At the end of the book there is a bi-weekly dietary schedule, written in collaboration with the nutritionists and dieticians Noemi Renzetti, Mahshid Shelehchi and Susan Kim. the schedule has been design in such a way to meet Longo's requirements for the longevity diet in an individual with the following characteristics (1750 kCal, 100% RDA):

  • sedentary woman
  • Age range 31-50
  • 1.63 m height, 59 kg weight, BMI 22.2

A normotype dude (1.74 m height, 74 kg weight, 24.4 BMI) shall increase all the quantities by about 20%

 

Also, calories should be increased by thsoe who tend to loose weight and vice versa.

 

Ratios are about 55-60% carbs, 30-35% fats, 10% protein (100% RDA).

 

One meal is bigger and contains 30 g protein to optimize muscle protein synthesis.

 

Animal proteins during first week:

 

  • 150 gr salmon
  • 80 gr octopus
  • 80 gr mussels net weight
  • 20 gr feta cheese
  • 10 gr parmesan cheese
  • 125 gr goat's cheese

So, seafood would be 310 gr (I missed the mussels at first) per week, but this would become 372 gr for an average dude (+20%).

Plus 40 gr cheese (48 for a guy) and 125 gr yogurt (150 gr for dudes).

 

I'll have to check the daily protein and AAs equivalent of such a regime. On the average, for a dude it's 372/7= 53 gr of seafood per day, about one 2 ozs serving per day.

Edited by mccoy

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Thanks McCoy, I see what you are doing; you have collated the sample diet from Appendix A in his book.  As you mention, he has collaborated with nutritionists to create the sample which they tried to design within the spirit of his recommendations.  They do note appear to have strictly adhered to his guidelines; for example his preference is to stay away from feta cheese / Parmesan cheese / goat's cheese before age 65 or 70 -- "Eat mostly vegan, plus a little fish, limiting meals with fish to a maximum of two or three per week [....] Over age 65, you should slightly increase protein intake but also increase consumption of fish, eggs, white meat, and products derived from goats and sheep to preserve muscle mass."  He did not strictly forbid cheese before age 65, but limiting as much as possible seems implied, and the sample diet had quite a bit ( by my standards) of cheese & yogurt.  Likewise Parmesan does not follow the goat/sheep origin suggested.

 

By the way, I think either you have a typo or else I read through Appendix A too quickly.  In my version octopus is 60 grams rather than 80 grams for the woman.  Also, clams/mussels is 60 grams rather than 80 grams.  Unless of course he mentions another 20 grams of these elsewhere I missed.  I assume you are quoting from the first week of his two-week plan.

 

I find that not uncommonly, the sample recipes in a nutrition book are more permissive than the main body of the text given the broad audience who may find strict adherence challenging.  Another example is in Daniel Buettner's books & website on the Blue Zones.

Edited by Mechanism

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