How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age: The Longevity Paradox & The 7 Deadly Myths Of Aging

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My guest on today's podcast and former guest on my show “The Truth About Lectins And The Plant Paradox“, Dr. Steven Gundry proposes in his new book “The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age“, that the “diseases of aging” we most fear are not simply a function of age; but rather, they are a byproduct of the way we have lived over the decades.

In “The Longevity Paradox,” he maps out a new approach to aging well—one that is based on supporting the health of the “oldest” parts of us: the microorganisms that live within our bodies.

He believes that – from diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s to common ailments like arthritis to our weight and the appearance of our skin, these bugs are in the driver’s seat, controlling our quality of life as we age.

Dr. Gundry is a cum laude graduate of Yale University with special honors in Human Biological and Social Evolution. After graduating Alpha Omega Alpha from the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, Dr. Gundry completed residencies in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Michigan and served as a Clinical Associate at the National Institutes of Health. There, he invented devices that reverse the cell death seen in acute heart attacks; variations of these devices subsequently became the Gundry™ Retrograde Cardioplegia Cannula. It has become the world’s most widely used device of its kind to protect the heart from damage during open-heart surgery. After completing a fellowship in congenital heart surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, in London, Dr. Gundry was recruited as Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center. There, he and his partner, Leonard Bailey, pioneered infant and pediatric heart transplantation. Together, they have performed more such transplants than any other surgeons in the world.

During his tenure at Loma Linda, Dr. Gundry pioneered the field of xenotransplantation, the study of how the genes of one species react to the transplanted heart of a foreign species. He was one of the original twenty investigators of the first FDA-approved implantable left ventricular assist device (a kind of artificial heart). Dr. Gundry is also the inventor of the Gundry Ministernomy, the widely used minimally invasive approach to aortic- or mitral valve repair, the Gundry Lateral Tunnel, a “living” tissue that can rebuild parts of the heart in children with severe congenital heart malformations; and the Skoosh™ venous cannula, the most widely used cannula in minimally invasive heart operations.

One of the fathers of robotic surgery, as a consultant to Computer Motion (now Intuitive Surgical), Dr. Gundry received early FDA approval to use robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery for coronary artery-bypass and mitral-valve operations. He holds patents on devices for connecting blood vessels and coronary artery bypasses without sutures, as well as for repairing the mitral valve without the need for sutures or a heart-lung machine. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASIAO) and was a founding board member and treasurer of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery (ISMICS). He recently completed two successive elected terms as President of the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Desert Division.

Dr. Gundry has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, the American Surgical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the College of Chest Physicians. He is a member of numerous other surgical and medical societies. He is also the author of more than three hundred articles, chapters, and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals on surgical, immunology, genetics, nutrition, and lipid investigations. He has operated in more than thirty countries, including charitable missions to China, India, and Zimbabwe.

Inspired by the stunning reversal of coronary artery disease in an “inoperable” patient, using a combination of dietary changes and nutriceutical supplements, in 2001, Dr. Gundry changed the path of his career. An obese, chronic “diet” failure himself, he adapted his undergraduate Yale University thesis to design a diet based on evolutionary genetic coding, which enabled him to reverse his own medical problems. In the process, he effortlessly lost 70 pounds. The equally astonishing results from following what he came to call Diet Evolution in several of his staff led Dr. Gundry to accept a position in Palm Springs where he could devote his efforts to disease reversal.

No longer satisfied with repairing the damage of chronic diseases, since 2002, Dr. Gundry founded and has served as Medical Director of The International Heart and Lung Institute in Palm Springs, California, which serves patients referred from across the nation. He is also Founder and Director of The Center for Restorative Medicine, part of the Institute. Its mission is to prevent and reverse the chronic diseases of “aging” with diet and nutriceutical interventions, using surgical intervention for heart and vascular disease as a last resort.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-The myth of the Mediterranean diet promoting longevity…11:20

  • Blue Zones” is a term coined by a journalist named Dan Bruckner
  • Dr. Gundry has spent most of his life living in a Blue Zone (Loma Linda, CA)
  • Doesn't disagree with the premise you should follow the Mediterranean diet, but there's more to it…
  • “The only purpose of food is to get olive oil in your mouth”
  • The key to the Mediterranean diet is not whole grains and beans
  • Book: Food & Western Disease by Staffan Lindeberg
  • Residents of Acciaroli, Italy do not eat pasta or bread but love lentil beans
  • Millet, sorghum, teft do not have a hull (where most of the defense mechanisms of the plant are located)
  • Unprocessed barley: People live a long time in spite of it, not because of it
  • Influence of the Greek Orthodox church on the Mediterranean diet
    • Fasting and abstaining from animal products are observed during Lent

-The missing link in the Mediterranean diet regarding longevity…20:45

  • TMAO, a compound that is deleterious to the surface of blood vessels
    • Cleveland Clinic invented a test to detect TMAO
  • Recognized low incidence of coronary artery disease in spite of animal product consumption
  • 3,3-Dimethyl-1-butanol
    • Present in most olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and red wines
    • A structural analog of choline
  • Not all TMAO is created equal
  • The ideal Mediterranean Diet (Hint: Olive Garden got it wrong)
    • Rich in polyphenols, olive oil and red wine
    • More fish and eggs than meat
    • Some type of fasting component
  • You can mitigate a bad diet with a fast or fasting mimicking diet for 5 consecutive days
    • Done on a quarterly basis
  • The Carnivore Diet is a fad, fancy name for the Atkins Diet

-The carbohydrate Okinawans consume that staves off inflammation and high blood sugar…27:40

  • ~85% of the traditional Okinawan diet is a blue or purple sweet potato
  • 5-6% of the diet white rice (no brown rice)
  • Remaining soy-based products and pig fat
  • Taro and sweet potatoes are resistance starches
  • “The more we eat for our gut microbiome, the more our gut microbiome will take care of us.”
  • Nigerians carry the highest percentage of APO E-4 gene of any people on earth
    • Their starch is melon
    • Very low rate of Alzheimer's

-Dr. Gundry's thoughts on roughage and fiber intake…35:14

  • Dr. Denis Burkitt went on a mission to Africa to operate on colon cancer
    • Realized no one had colon cancer
    • Studied their stools
    • Eating huge amounts of tubers (yams) and millet
    • Didn't realize there was a difference between soluble and insoluble fiber
    • Advocated for eating whole grains
    • Ended up dying of colon cancer
  • Naked Mole Rat
    • Lives in tunnels in sub-Saharan Africa
    • Lives 30x longer than other rats
    • Gut microbiome is identical to healthy 105-year-old humans
    • Eats tubers, roots, and fungi
  • Organic pumpkin puree from Amazon

-The myth of the efficacy of animal protein for longevity…42:45

  • US Dept of Agriculture sells agricultural products (owns the food pyramid)
  • Dr. Gary Fraser's study on animal protein
    • Vegans live the longest
    • The more animal protein consumed, the less the longevity
  • You can mitigate meat intake with a vegan fast or fasting mimicking diet for 5 days consecutively
  • Methionine/glycine ratio
  • People who are primarily carnivorous do not historically have the highest longevity

-The myth of growth hormones…49:20

-The myth of iron intake for longevity…55:05

  • Iron is one of the deadliest substances
  • Iron is dangerous for mitochondrial function
  • Regular blood donors have longer life spans than non-donors
  • Endurance training helps reduce iron levels
  • Ferritin and GGT are musts for a blood test to track “internal rust”
    • Ferritin is a great marker for inflammation
    • Elevated level indicates potential auto-immune disease

-The myth of metabolic rate…59:50

  • Age is akin to the rate of energy consumption
  • Carnivores run higher temperatures than herbivores; breakdown of protein generates a lot of heat
  • Sweet spot between fitness and low metabolism:
    • Hibernating animals can live 2-3x longer than non-hibernating animals due to reduced metabolic rate
    • There are periods we should have less energy expenditure than others
    • We live in constant summer, regardless of where we live in the world

-The myth of saturated fat…1:05:15

  • Dr. Ancel Keys published the 7 Countries Study
    • Said saturated fat was related to coronary heart disease
    • He did not say plant fats were bad for you (although it was implied)
    • Retired near Acciorili and ate large amounts of olive oil
    • Did not make the connection between animal fat and animal protein
  • The olive oil club Ben is a member of
  • 30% of people carry APO E 4 gene
    • Saturated fats in coconut oil, cheese increase LDLs in these people
  • Organic fermented pu-erh tea
    • Mucus absorbs lectins; is essential for gut health in older age

-Why milk does not, in fact, do the body good…1:14:45

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

-Book: The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age

-Book: The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain

-Book: The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

-Book: Food & Western Disease by Staffan Lindeberg

Fresh taro root from Amazon

Organic pumpkin puree from Amazon

My podcast episode on the growing epidemic of loneliness and relationships/longevity.

Thorne Quercetin phytosome

Should You Get Growth Hormone Injections (And Will GH or IGF-1 Increase Your Cancer Risk)?

Why I Eat Tapeworms & Whipworms Every Two Weeks: The Fascinating World Of Helminthic Therapy.

The olive oil club Ben is a member of

Organic fermented pu-erh tea

Episode Sponsors: Kion, Organifi Gold,

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dr. Gundry or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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18 thoughts on “How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age: The Longevity Paradox & The 7 Deadly Myths Of Aging

  1. Vilde says:

    Hey! I keep hearing Dr. Gundry saying that Denis Parsons Burkitt died of colon cancer. But everywhere I search it says he died of a stroke? What is the source Gundry is referring to?

  2. Monica says:

    Dr. Gundry briefly stated that he takes a glycine supplement. What dose does he recommend and why is he using it? I tested for high levels of glyphosate and read that the body will use glyphosate during protein synthesis if you are deficient in glycine. I purchased some glycine powder and am doing 1 teaspoonful twice daily on an empty stomach.

  3. justin says:

    Ben, I don’t understand what you guys were saying about fiber. I eat a big salad roughly 5 days a week for my lunch. Usually kale and spinach with other raw veggies in it. Should I not be doing that??

  4. Daniel says:

    Ben, you mentioned during the podcast that eating for longevity should not be confused with eating for performance / muscle building (something to that effect) … Given you have recently given up your mid-day salads and seem to have altered the way you eat as well — could you point me in the right direction of a recent podcast you’ve done that potentially covers what a cross would look like between eating properly for longevity and one that helps you build muscle etc ? Thanks for all the content

  5. Judy says:

    Hey Ben!

    Curious what your thoughts are on Gundry’s opinions on a lower metabolic rate/body temperature in relation to longevity. He didn’t mention optimal thyroid levels in the book, but as someone who just started on Armor, it definitely sparked my interest.

    1. Research does suggest this, but I'm a believer in finding the balance of optimizing longevity and enjoying an adventurous and fulfilling life… I don't want to live 150 years cold and libidoless.

  6. Bill Montgomery says:


    About your comments regarding Vitamin E at beginning of this podcast. Is D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate a good one or a bad one?


    1. To my understanding D-alpha does not have the same negative effects

  7. Niklas says:

    What benefits of raw milk vs pasteurized milk? is raw cow milk just as bad regarding IGF1 as regular cow milk? Should I rather choose pasteurized goat milk (unfortunately don’t have access to raw goat milk) over the raw cow milk?

    1. Here's a good resource to check out:

  8. Rone says:

    Thanks for the great discussion. I do find the use of Blue Zones somewhat misleading. For example I lived in the Nicoya region for a time period, a blue zone, and they eat a lot of animal products. They eat cheese, milk, yogurt, pigs, chickens, and lots of beef (there are many cattle ranches in the area). As seen in this detailed study : — the Health media paints these populations as near non-meat eaters while with my own eyes I saw that’s certainly not the case, at least in Costa Rica (and the study backs up my observation)

    Above 65 Nicoyans live longer than many of the other blue zones (the Sardinians for example). I’m not saying eating loads of animals is good for you or bad, but it’s clear there are societies that do so and do live at ‘blue zone’ levels. Furthermore, as seen in the linked study above, Japanese men above 65 live longer than Sardinians men. And normal Swedish men above 65 live as long as a typical Sardinian.

    1. Steve V says:

      Good question. Another thought, beyond diet (which is always the big focus, but could actually be a lesser effect) is the location one lives on Earth in regards to magnetism and sun. The Yucatan area, I’ve studied, seems to be very life enhancing and this is due to magnetism effect. Also Okinawa is also in a different magnetism area. Doris Loh on facebook as well as Dr Jack Kruse speak about this. Others specify how environment is more important than diet for life enjoyment and longevity. However, regarding dietary approaches, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Dr Michael Colgan wrote some EXCELLENT books on sports nutrition and lifestyle, still relevant to this day. His Hormone book is/was eye opening(from 1998 I think). But he and others I read in the bodybuilding world, spoke about health benefits of olive oil as the author here did also. Ever since 1994, I have been drinking olive oil near daily. Oftentimes up to a 1/4 cup. I do supplement with alot of other nutrients, but this habit has been going for 25yrs. Ill be 50 in 4 months, look like im in my 30’s, 5-8/193 lbs same body weight for 20 yrs-has literally changed 1-4 pounds in either direction, thats it (prior I was heavier due to bodybuilding principles). Move daily to include (animal crawls, sprints and carry heavy weights generally). Done my fair share of spartans and always in top 17% of all age groups w/o training for them, just life training. My two cents.

  9. Mark says:

    Hi Ben I’m a bit confused now about the use of colostrum and the IGF factors related to it especially bovine colostrum as promoted by the renegade pharmacist would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks

    1. Use it for sure, but just cycle it. I only use for certain muscle building or anabolic 4-8 week stints during the year.

      1. Jose says:

        Hi Mr. Greenfield,

        Would taking the recommended dose of colostrum three times a week, every week, be another safe alternative way of taking it? Also, any news on your goat colostrum capsules?

        Thank you.

  10. Trent says:

    The part about fiber intake has me confused…should kale smoothies be avoided altogether, or is there a better way to prepare them that would make it easier on the digestive system while still getting all the nutrients kale provides? Same thing with the salad full of raw vegetables – should all the veggies just be cooked first?

    1. Danny says:

      Good questions Trent. I’m wondering the same thing!

    2. Fred Lewin says:

      Kale is very high oxalates. Using them to make a smoothie is not a good idea with certain heath conditions. One of which can be joint pain.

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