How can I increase my lifespan? This might not be a question that we often ask ourselves as we live longer today than we did 100 years ago. But you might be intrigued to know that this current generation of kids is the first generation of kids in history projected to live shorter lives than the previous generation. Why? Because of factors in the modern world that are causing rates for dozens of chronic diseases to skyrocket. So even though we do live longer, than people did a few generations ago, this situation is now changing rapidly. Moreover, we must distinguish between length of life and quality of life. Diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and Hashimoto’s, not to mention fatigue (all related to lifestyle), are affecting millions around the world and many people end up having to live on numerous different medications just to function. Is that really how we want to spend the last days of our lives — with brains and bodies that barely function, and having to be on a dozen different drugs to manage all our symptoms?
So, what is the solution? How can we change our lives so we can increase our lifespan? And can we live not only live longer lives, but more importantly, do it while being healthy and energetic until we die?
This week, I am talking with longevity science expert Jason Prall, who has made it a life’s mission to learn about and understand what the secrets of longevity, the hidden keys behind the amazing health and longevity of the world’s healthiest people. He has spent the past 18 months traveling the world to interview not only the centenarians living in the ”Blue Zones”, but also many of the world’s top experts on health, energy and aging science. In this interview, he shares the keys he’s learned along this journey about how to live a long healthy vibrant life.
- How To Get Early Access to the Film … for FREE.
- Download or listen on iTunes
- Listen outside of iTunes
- Is it possible to increase my lifespan?” Researcher reveals the secrets to human longevity – Transcript
- The problem with most health docu-series
- The most important age to ensure strong health and long life
- How traumas affect your lifespan
- Why you should be wary of a person who claims to understand everything related to health
- How centenarians view life
- Why reductionistic paradigms is a bad way of viewing health
- The big keys to longevity
- The importance of the connection between microbiota, mitochondria, and DNA
- The powers of helping others
- How your gut affect your health and longevity
- What ROS are
- The importance of the mitochondrial function
- The biggest factors that increase the risk of early death
- The relationship between sleep and mitochondria
- How mitochondria, microbiome, and DNA are related to aging
- How to review health studies
- The Human Longevity Project
- Is it possible to increase my lifespan?” Researcher reveals the secrets to human longevity – Show Notes
In this podcast, you’ll learn
- The new paradigm of health where your health and longevity are determined primarily by your microbiome, your mitochondria, and your genes (and the interaction between them)
- Why gut bacteria (microbiome) is a critical factor to slowing aging
- Why strong social relationships and helping others are crucial to living purposefully
- Why your genes are a part of who you are and should not be regarded as something negative that needs fixing
- The best approach to understanding health studies
- Why approaching your health from a reductionistic perspective is counterproductive to long health
- Why the Human Longevity Project is unique and differs from other health docu-series
- Why mitochondrial health is the crux of healthy aging
- The hidden keys to longevity that everyone is missing
How To Get Early Access to the Film … for FREE.
The Human Longevity Project film premiers in about 5 weeks, BUT my community (you all!) is getting a FREE early release in just a few days — long before the big release to the rest of the world. This is a must-watch documentary. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been for a health documentary. So if you haven’t already, make sure to sign up HERE.)
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Listen outside of iTunes
Is it possible to increase my lifespan?” Researcher reveals the secrets to human longevity – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone, this is Ari Whitten and welcome back to the Energy Blueprint podcast. I am here with a guest for the second time, Jason Prall, who is a health and longevity expert, and he’s become actually a personal friend of mine over the last six months because he is a science geek extraordinaire. I love that very much about him and we’ve had a lot of great conversations.
The first podcast we had, we did with him, what, three or four months ago, was a big hit. People were dying to have him on again, so I’m excited to introduce you all again to Jason Prall. Welcome, Jason.
Jason Prall: Hey, thanks for having. Always good to chat with you.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. You are doing the Human Longevity Project, which is I have to say probably the only, or one of very few docu-series, health docu-series that I am actually genuinely excited about.
Jason Prall: I appreciate it. I’m excited to finish it.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. There’s so many of them that have come out that as you know have a lot of nonsense, a lot of pseudo-sciences, have some big agenda that they’re really trying to push and are cherry-picking or distorting the literature. This one, I know you’re not going to do that and I know that you’re doing this one a really cool interesting topic that really we haven’t seen much good stuff on before, which is longevity.
The problem with most health docu-series
Jason Prall: Yeah. I appreciate it. I think it’s tough, right? Because the docu-series that I’ve seen, I think they all startup with a really good intention, which is to educate people on certain topics. I think they do a really good job of that and they’ve been very successful and very productive in that capacity.
But I think for some people, like let’s say for somebody like your or anybody that you know that’s relatively healthy and doesn’t really have an issue like cancer or autoimmune disease or anything like that, they don’t provide enough applicable information for us to really us in our life, and yet you and I, all we do is try to figure out where health come from and what to be doing to be more healthy and to keep our kids healthy and all these things.
I thought that was the gap that we wanted to fill, was for everybody, not just the sick. This applies to anybody that’s healthy, anybody that wants to raise a healthy human, anybody that is currently in a diseased or dysfunctional state. It can apply to them too. The other aspect is we wanted to make it empowering. I think that was some of the other components that aren’t always in some of the other documentaries.
Some documentaries have done a decent job of that, but we really wanted to drive that message home and say, “You have the power. Your body has the capability. You just have to take responsibility and maybe incorporate a little more understanding about some of the things you might be missing to really fully regain your health or continue to maintain your health as you go.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, beautiful said. This is a huge thing, longevity. The landscape of what longevity entail as far as all the different subjects that you can dig into. It’s just massive. It’s almost like, with a topic that broad, it’s like where do you even start? You guys have done this, this isn’t like you just put together a PowerPoint slide presentation and you’re doing a lecture on the science of longevity. You guys have been traveling the world, going to blue zones, interviewing centenarians, seeing what’s going on in these communities, doing really high production value filming, traveling.
And then apart from that, traveling around to talk to some of the world’s foremost experts in longevity and research scientists and other health experts. This is a huge undertaking that you guys took on here.
Jason Prall: It was, it is massive. We travel all the around the world. We went to Japan. We went to places that maybe people don’t really look to, another part of Costa Rica. We went to Guernsey to look at what they’re doing in Guernsey, which is a tiny island in the UK. We spoke with local US residents that are in their hundreds, or close to 100.
We really wanted to travel the world and talk to these people, get their perspective on things, and also understand the current environment that they live in. But I think more importantly to understand and discuss the environment that they grew up in, which is quite different. This speaks to what you were saying, which is that longevity incorporates so many things.
Longevity itself I think is fairly uninteresting, in terms of I don’t really think that we all get up every day thinking, “What can I do today to make it to 110?” We just, humans don’t, we’re not really wired that way.
We’re pretty short-term thinkers in a lot of ways. I think in a way that’s a good thing. If there’s anything I could say is that we should probably be operating more in the now than thinking about the future, but understanding the things that will lead to a healthy happy future I think is what will propel us to take better action today.
The most important age to ensure strong health and long life
I think one of the areas that I see that is being missed massively in the whole aspect of longevity from a research standpoint, from a discussion standpoint, is basically the ages between conception and 20 years old, or 25. That is really where the stage is set.
If we want to think about true health in the long term and the absence of disease, minimizing disease, it really begins in that period. So we have to be thinking, what are we doing or not doing in that portion of our life to facilitate longevity? This speaks to the parents, like yourself, right? It’s like all your understanding is now passed down to your child and that is powerful. So everything that you can conceive of and that you understand about health is going to benefit him or her as they get older. This is I think the important aspects of … I can’t go back and fix my childhood.
The Captain Crunch that I hate, the Pop-Tarts and the donuts and the crappy milk and all the things, we can’t fix that. But it’s also not to say that it’s not that we can’t health and we can’t improve and we can’t recover. The body has a tremendous capacity to do so.
How traumas affect your lifespan
That’s just one example of looking at the timeframe of our life that’s being missed, but then there are all these other components that mainstream science doesn’t really like to recognize in big meaningful ways. Like childhood trauma, like even traumas that are passed through the generations, which rat studies have shown that that actually exists. Traumatize a mouse or a rate, and then its offspring will exhibit that same trauma when stimulated in the same way.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. There’s been some interesting research on holocaust survivors as well.
Jason Prall: Exactly. Exactly. So the science is there, it’s just not being talked about, it’s not in the discussion because you can’t really develop a drug for that. You can’t really develop a supplement. You can’t really develop anything, so there’s no money to be in that line of research and so it’s just generally not going to be studied all that much.
There are so many things, but the reason that we need to look at all these things and present them, hopefully, is because if you’re trying to recover from disease, you’re trying to be healthy, we need to go through a checklist. Okay, I’m doing this. Okay, I’m doing that. I’m eliminating that. I’m doing this. And I’m still not better. Okay, well actually there’s two or three more things that are kind of big that maybe you need to focus on.
It’s not that those things didn’t work. They may have gotten you to a good point. Now, how many more things can you incorporate from a healthy perspective? How many things can you abstain from or remove from your lifestyle or environment or mental processes or emotional things, that will facilitate the repair and the regenerative capacity of your body?
It sounds really complex when we look at all these things. It’s like, “Oh my God, do I really have to do all these things?” It’s like, yeah, I mean kind of. That would generally be a good idea, but you’re probably already doing some of these and you’re probably neglecting some of these other things. So let’s take a look and see what we can do.
That’s the value I think of providing all this information and looking at all these seemingly disparate pieces of the puzzle, but turns out they’re all connected because as we say in science everything affects everything.
I know we’ve had this discussion before, looking at the biochemical pathways and you get into the science and you’re like … You can’t understand all this. You can only understand a subsection, perhaps.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and be skeptical, be wary of anyone who claims to understand how everything is…
Jason Prall: Absolutely, absolutely.
Ari Whitten: … interconnected on that biochemical level, because the textbooks don’t even agree with one another.
Jason Prall: 100%, right? We’re always revising our understanding. I think that’s the value of science. Science needs to come and get in there and get their hands dirty and figure out what the heck is going on in the body and what can we glean from that information?
But we have to be careful that we don’t apply some things that we don’t fully understand yet, and not only apply them but when we apply them how we apply them. So again, it gets overwhelming when you only look at the science from the research perspective, because we don’t know everything yet.
How centenarians view life
But what we do know, and I think what we can be confident in is in nature. What happens in nature? How can we understand and utilize that?
And then also from past generations, which is what we’ve lost in our culture is the generational wisdom, the generational understanding that we might have gained from our parents or grandparents, because we’ve lost some of that knowledge over the years, and this is why we went around the world to talk to these people, to get their perspective on things.
What you find out when you talk to them is it’s pretty profound. They understand. They weren’t thinking about longevity their entire life, they were just thinking about what they were doing in their environment to be healthy and happy. It wasn’t a purposeful thing to get to 105. It’s not what we shoot for.
So we have to look at all these things I think, with the understanding that that will empower us, not take our power away. Which I think is the real key underpinning of what we’re trying to present with the film.
Why reductionistic paradigms is a bad way of viewing health
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I want to go back to something you just said a second ago because I think it’s important to emphasize this. It’s a big frame shift for a lot of people. It has to do with a whole paradigm of health and a philosophy, a way of thinking about health. We have so much in the space now, especially online, of very reductionistic myopic paradigms of health that look at this individual biochemical pathway, or this individual genetic polymorphism, or this thing.
Just an example, I’ve taken my 23andMe gene data and plugged it into certain gene analyzers and had certain of these analyzers tell me, “You need to be on 17 different supplements to support your methylation pathways.” You and I both know that you can do all sorts of fancy tests within functional medicine for different hormone panels, saliva, urinary, blood panels, organic asset panels, on and on and on. There are all these tests that you can go and spend thousands of dollars on that seem very scientific and very cutting edge and very advanced.
But when you dig a little deeper, you find out that a lot of these things that are seemingly so scientific and so accurate, and seemingly so much more advanced than the paradigm that you’re presenting, like trust in nature, you find out that a lot of these tests are not actually even scientifically valid and are not repeatable, and give wildly different results from test to test, and are not consistent with one another.
You find all these problems with these tests that have the appearance to most people as being so advanced, that it actually makes you realize the thing that we actually trust the most and that is the most advanced, even though it seems the most primitive, is actually to trust in nature.
Jason Prall: Right. Let me just … I love analogies, so here’s one that would describe what you’re talking about. If I gave a five-year-old child a knife to play with and he cut himself, I don’t look at the cut and say, “There’s a problem with that finger. We need to find a supplement, an ointment or something, that can solve that problem.” The problem isn’t even with the knife, even though that’s what did the cutting.
The problem is thinking that the child can handle a knife without cutting himself. So this is where I think we need to frame these tests. I would 100% agree with you, that a lot of them don’t have great scientific validation in terms of really what’s going on.
Some of them are very useful but at the end of the day the data that comes back … Isn’t it interesting that the recommendation’s always supplements or foods? It’s never anything else.
Like supplements and food somehow magically correct all of these things. I think the role of the physician and the practitioner should be that of education. “Here’s all the things that we found that are imbalanced, that are off. Your body is making these adaptive changes to the function. Now I’ve got to teach you why this might be happening.” Which comes back to behavior, thoughts, emotions, environment and that kind of thing.
This is what physicians used to do to some degree. They used to come into your home, they used to pay a home visit, and they would look around. How are you living? What’s going on here to facilitate this dysfunction and this imbalance in the body? We’ve lost that sort of way of thinking. We have to come back to, what’s causing the imbalance in the body? What’s causing the shift?
It’s not a lack of this supplement or that supplement. But it’s also to say, supplements aren’t totally useless. It’s just that’s not where the real answer lies. They’re more like a crutch or a wheelchair. You break your leg, a crutch, and a cast and maybe a wheelchair is very useful. It will help you recover faster because it isolates the leg from being used.
But by no means do you want to be in a cast and a crutch for the rest of your life. That’s silly. Your leg would never heal, would never get strong again. We have to think about supplements and medications and these external forces the same way.
We need to use these tests if at all, to facilitate an understanding of what we’re doing wrong or what we’re doing that’s going to facilitate an imbalance. That’s really where I think we’re off in that whole paradigm, is, it’s to that point of not trusting nature, not trusting the body to do what it knows how to do. Instead, we have to force something into it or on it to make the changes that we need.
Of course, there’s such a limited understanding of really what we’re doing there. There’s timing of things, there’s dosage of things, there’s metabolism of different people. Everything is so different that there’s literally no way that you can make an articulate, intelligent recommendation for somebody.
You can just use this best guess rule or this experiential thing. Again, it’s not to say that they don’t have a place, the testing and the supplements and the diet changes and all these things, but I think you and I are in the same boat here, to suggest or say that we’re leaning on that too much, and it’s expensive.
Why not go and fix the things that we know are either damaging to our health in our way or another. Because again, everything affects everything, so if you’re now getting bad sleep, yeah your thyroid could be off, yeah your digestive capacity could be off, yeah your mental function could be off, yeah you’re reproductive cycle could be off, your skin issues might be heavy, and everything, right? And that’s just one factor.
If you’ve got emotional traumas that you haven’t been able to work through or identify, sure, that’s going to affect everything, because it’s going to get to the nervous system, it’s getting into the subconscious mind.
These are the things that we’re trying to bring forward with the film, is that there are reasons that we need to look at these things because they affect pathways, they affect the system in a profound, profound way. It’s not small. It is very, very big. So you have to at least think about this.
I guess the whole goal here is to raise awareness of the real factors that help us facilitate rebuilding and repair and health, and the factors that are contributing to our demise, our chronic disease, our dysfunctions, our imbalances that we’re seeing everywhere.
The big keys to longevity
Ari Whitten: Yeah, so let’s dig into that more. Within this broad landscape of longevity as a whole, it’s possible to do 20 hours of lecture on different types of cancers specifically, or 20 hours on diabetes and insulin resistance and obesity, or 20 hours on heart disease, or whatever. This is a huge landscape, so I’m curious where you went because obviously you have limited time, this is not a 100-hour movie. You’re limited to probably eight or 10 hours or something like that in this docu-series, so what factors did you guys choose to focus on as the big keys to longevity?
Jason Prall: Yeah, well let me say this, that I first had to ask myself, what is aging and where does it occur biologically? This a question that’s been asked for many, many years and nobody really has a great answer. I would not propose that I have a better answer, but from what the science suggests from the way I understand the body, to function at least if we think about mechanically, because there are others things.
There are energies, there are thoughts, there’s emotion, these are not mechanical things. They will influence the mechanics if you will, and I don’t like to say mechanics, but I think you get the point, the physical nature of the biochemistry and the biology that’s happening. What I determined was that there’s basically three main organs or organelles that really play a role.
One is the DNA, the human DNA in our nucleus. It seems to have unique properties to function. The other is the mitochondria because it itself has DNA and is communicating. The other organ or organelles that would be playing a role would be the microbiota. The microbiota primarily in our gut, but it’s in our brain, it’s in our blood, it’s in the vaginal canal, it’s in our eyes, it’s everywhere. It’s on our skin, it’s in our skin.
My hypothesis is that you have these three organisms if you will, chunks of DNA or RNA, genetic material that are all communicating. That’s where the magic is happening. It’s the expression of all these different genetic things happening in us.
Therefore, let’s focus on those things and the mechanics that happen in between and around as a result or just what happens. If we keep good genetic expression happening the microbiota, the mitochondria, and our human DNA, then that should logically result in healthy life.
That was kind of the premise of all this. So then we had to figure out, what factors into the expression of all these things? What factors into the expression of microbiota, our own DNA, and mitochondria? Of course, that’s massive, but I think we can hone in on a few big things. One, of course, is diet.
Diet is massive because it goes to speaking to the microbiota component in the gut. Which is huge, it’s most of where you microbiota is in the gut and it facilitates tons of function. But also that when it comes to plants, in particular, they have their own genetic information, this micro-RNA, that communicate as well.
So, if we think about the genetic material as language, as communicative capacity, then we can think about things a little bit differently.
That was a big one, the food diet component communicating to our microbiota. And then the other things, exercise, of course, this has a massive role in metabolism and the way everything functions. So we have to focus on diet and exercise, those are obvious. We have to focus on environmental health. Everything that we’re doing to our environment will always, in turn, impact us, from the air to the water to the soil. It always ends up affecting us.
So we can’t think about the external world and what’s happening either from us or even from nature. You know, when you have a volcano all kinds of different things happen. So the environment has to play a role, so we can focus on that.
We can focus on circadian rhythm. I think this is an important one because it’s literally the thing that sets the cycle of life on this planet. Which is to say that the sun’s rhythm, the light, and the dark cycle, is what everything operates on. So we have to at least address that, and I think it’s particularly important because our modern life has taken us out of our natural rhythms.
We have a whole episode on raising healthy children or children’s health. This incorporates a lot of things. Breastfeeding, pregnancies, vaccines, we have to discuss that. We don’t get dogmatic, or at least we try not to. We try to present information that is out there and let people determine what’s right for them.
But we have to talk about that because that’s not a natural thing, that’s something we’ve decided to do. This is relatively new in human history, so we have to at least think about it.
We talk about childhood traumas. This is critical. These traumas can be things that are even rarely intentional. You know, birth trauma, cord wrapped around your neck coming out, that’s a trauma for a child. You have to think about that.
That’s nobody’s, it’s just that’s the way we have to think about these things.
We get into things like community and purpose and love and creativity. These are more the higher level very difficult things to think about when it comes to human health, but they have a huge impact on our biology.
Those are some of the big ones I think that we focused on. The key is, is that we brought it all back down to microbiota, mitochondria, and DNA because that’s where the expression of life is really happening. That’s the thing to focus on.
The importance of the connection between microbiota, mitochondria, and DNA
So, how does purpose factor into those three things? How does community factor into all those things? How does environment? If we can think in those terms, understanding that’s it’s always going to come back to the three-way communication between microbiota, mitochondria, and DNA, then we can start to think about these things and understand why these factors are important.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So this probably a pretty foreign paradigm for most people. Most people are not used to thinking about health in terms of communication of different genomes, or even species that are outside, have a different genome than us.
Jason Prall: That’s what’s cool. It’s freaking cool. We literally have viruses talking to humans, bacteria talking to humans. This is a totally crazy way of thinking about it but it’s literally what we see. It’s just not in a communication style that we think of.
Ari Whitten: Right, and even the mitochondria have their own genome that is different from the genome that’s in the nucleus of our cells that most of us, that’s our 23andMe data. [crosstalk]
Jason Prall: Absolutely. So when you study 23andMe it’s like, “Okay, but what’s your mitochondrial DNA? And what’s your microbiota DNA?” You have more viral DNA than anything else when you think of microbiota. This is the whole splitting everything open. It’s like, who cares if we’re looking at snips? Who cares if we’re looking at our entire genome? How does that genome get expressed? If you go into a library, you have what? 10,000? Okay. Which one gets pulled off the shelf and read? That’s what’s going to determine your knowledge, not what’s on the shelves. It’s irrelevant to you, but what do you pull off the shelf and what do you read? That is what’s going to be in your head. That’s the way to think about the genome.
Ari Whitten: Right. I’ve heard, I’m sure you know the stat but it’s something like, we actually more genetic material in our bodies that is not ours that is from other organisms, than we have of our own genetic material. Meaning, microorganisms living on and in our gut.
Jason Prall: 100%. So it begs the question, are you even human? Or are you just this vessel, this meat-sack vessel with a consciousness that is used to transport viruses and bacteria on the planet for the greater good of life in general. You have to ask these big weird philosophical questions.
But what’s interesting about that too is, we talk about epigenetics, right? In other words, the things that make our genetics express one way or the other. We often think about those in terms of our genes, but mitochondria have genes and viruses and bacteria have genes.
So the decisions you’re making, how do their genomes get expressed? Obviously, we have no way of quantifying this in a real fashion. We can just understand that that happens. Again, it gets really complex if you try to dive into the science, but what’s interesting is that the inner-ecosystem is there, the outer-ecosystem is out there, and we’re kind of in the middle.
So if we want to think about longevity for us, for me individually, I need to be thinking about, how do I keep the outer-ecosystem healthy? And think about longevity of the outer-ecosystem, and how do I keep my inner-ecosystem healthy and facilitate longevity in my inner-ecosystem?
The powers of helping others
If I keep those guys happy, then they’re going to keep me happy. If I keep that guy happy out there, help earth, then I get to be happy. I think we have to really understand our position in this thing. It’s not about us. It’s not about Ari, it’s not about Jason, it’s not about any individual facilitating longevity.
It’s about everybody else, the other humans, the planet and the inner-ecosystem. If we keep everything happy and healthy then we get to be healthy and happy. We kind of have to remove ourselves and our ego and our individual organism out of our mindset, out of our equation here, if we focus on other things.
Interestingly enough, study after study after study shows that when you help something else, whether it be a person or an animal or whatever, you actually get the benefits, more so than that, than the person or the thing that you’re helping often.
Ari Whitten: Even with prayer there have been studies showing that the person that gets the most benefit is actually the prayer, rather than the prayer.
Jason Prall: Absolutely. We have this compassion and empathy and goodwill built within us, and it seems to reward us for that service, that mindset. I think if we just flip on its head a little bit and stop being so egocentric in this whole thing, we stand a better chance. If we think about the inner-ecosystem, we think about the outer-ecosystem, then everything works.
How your gut affect your health and longevity
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So let’s dig into this kind of non-egocentric paradigm of health. Let’s talk specifically about one of these, the three parts of the system that you just mentioned and our microbiome. What does it mean to say that our microbiome plays a role in our health, our longevity? What role is it playing? How is that actually affecting health and longevity?
Jason Prall: It would be a quicker answer if I talk about all the roles that it doesn’t play, honestly. I mean it controls metabolism. It controls hormones. It controls neurotransmitters. It controls immune function. It controls communication to the mitochondria. It literally talks to the mitochondria. It facilitates detoxification. I mean literally everything. It’s probably why it’s there, right in our little pie hole, the first thing that comes in contact with our outside world.
We communicate to our outside world through food, and so there has to be something in there that recognizes and understands the outside environment. That’s I think what the role these microbiota are playing. In other words, they’re sort of short-term sensors of our environment. Think about them that way, and in that regard now it will allow our human organism to adapt to the environment.
They’re really playing a little helping, a helping role in this whole thing. These microbiotas are … We don’t understand them yet. That’s the most important thing. There’s a lot of new tests out there for the microbiota and a lot of older test out there for the microbiota. It all has limited capacity to understand what’s going on.
Science has no clue about that network. If you think about the internet and how many nodes of connection are on the internet, it’s probably something similar to the microbiota. We have too many things happening, we don’t understand them. But really what’s happening when you think about food, those microbiotas metabolize food particles.
So, starches, sugars, the plant polyphenols, the colors, the plant phytochemicals, these hormetic stressors that come from plants. They metabolize those things and through that metabolism, they spit out a communication mechanism. Could be hydrogen sulfide. Could be short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. It could oxidative stress. Actually, these organisms in our gut produce oxidative stress and these signaling molecules of which we only understand a handful then talk to our mitochondria. Our mitochondria go, “Okay. That’s what’s happening there, then I’m going to do this. That’s what’s happening now, okay, I’m going to do this.”
That communication pathway between the microbiota and the mitochondria is absolutely critical because that sets the stage for the cells to function. And then the other aspects are when it’s metabolizing food it sends communication messages directly to the brain directly to different organs in the body. But I think that what’s been missing and we’re not just understanding in science is the two-way communication. Mitochondria in your lumen, in your digestive tract actually talk to the microbiota, so they send out signals, ROS and various signals to the microbiota.
What ROS are
Ari Whitten: ROS, for people not familiar with ROS, just explain that real quick.
Jason Prall: Yeah, Reactive Oxygen Species. This is sort of oxidative stress, the thing that in the past we thought was really bad and damaging, turns out that these oxidative stress signals are literally just that, their communication signals. So yes, if you have too much of them you can have excess information and damage and these type of things, but that’s, really the reason you would have too much is that the cell is trying to signal and trying to kill something, whether it be an infection, too many toxins. And then with Naviaux’s we now understand that that can sort of getting stuck on and we need to reset that, so there’s even more complexity in that.
But Reactive Oxygen Species can’t be thought of as bad anymore. We have to think about them as signaling molecules. They can be imbalanced, they can cause problems down the line, but there’s a reason that that happened. It’s not just accidental and it’s not … We can’t think about it that way.
Ari Whitten: That’s a pretty crazy paradigm shift from the popular understanding of things in the general public right now, that thinks of free radicals or Reactive Oxygen Species as these bad things we need to avoid, take antioxidants to kill off.
What you’re saying is actually there’s a whole body of research showing that these things are vital signaling molecules and actually play important positive roles and are involved in cellular defense and all kinds of things that are actually … they’re there for a reason and you don’t want to just get rid of them.
Jason Prall: Right. I love it because you talk about this a lot and help educate on this because it is somewhat new and it’s definitely not something the general public is understanding because they’re not getting it from their doctors.
But think about when you exercise, when you exercise Reactive Oxygen Species or oxidative stress goes through the roof, and it’s exactly what you want. And then if things are balanced, then it comes down. So you get this … I know you talk about hormetic stress a lot and this hormesis, that’s the purpose, is to react to the environment and then adapt to the environment as human organisms and the organisms that comprise us that’s really what we do we adapt.
If there’s anything we’re really good at it’s adaptation to our environment. The problem comes, is that if things are happening too much or too fast or too quickly, our body can’t adapt fast enough. That’s where we start to get out of balance and things break down.
But ultimately I guess the real huge takeaway here is your microbiota are communicating to your cells. They’re talking. They’re telling your body, your cellular engines, your mitochondria that then talk to the DNA. They’re telling it what’s happening in the body.
So when you drink red wine and eat blueberries, they have these, what we think of as antioxidants, and for now what we’ll say is they are antioxidants, even though they’re not. They don’t … but here’s the kicker, when we eat those things, they have these polyphenols and these phytochemicals that our microbiota digest. They produce signals to the mitochondria, and then the mitochondria then flip on the antioxidant defense system.
So they kind of switch over and do certain things [inaudible] proper balance. This is why we think of them as antioxidants.
These things never end up in your bloodstream. They don’t. When you eat a bunch of blueberries, you drink wine, you don’t find polyphenols going around in the bloodstream. This is not how it works. We now understand the mechanisms.
So if you think about something like turmeric or curcumin. This is the curcumin that comes from the turmeric root. There are lots of studies now showing how beneficial turmeric is for all kinds of immune-related things and various things in the body.
But if we think about what’s happening here between microbiota and mitochondria … I don’t know your heritage Ari but I’m pretty sure it’s not Indian or from that region, so the question is, would turmeric be as good for you without the long lineage of probably your ancestors eating turmeric, because it didn’t grow probably where your ancestors came from, or at least not in high quantities. It wasn’t in your cultural habits.
Would it be as good for you today as if it was for somebody eating that was somebody from India who has generation after generation after generation of eating turmeric?
My guess would be no. The science isn’t totally borne out yet. There’s some research that indicates that that’s correct, that it’s not the same. Why might that be so? Well, if we think about what’s happening, if for 1,000 years your ancestor, somebody that we know that’s Indian, their ancestors were eating turmeric, might the microbiota start to adapt to that environmental signal, and then start to be able to metabolize this thing, and then spit out whatever metabolized come from X bacteria metabolizing turmeric, start to talk to the mitochondria and the mitochondria over time, perhaps generations even, would say, “Okay. We now understand that.
Now we’re going to behave differently. Now we’re going to exhibit this signal. You see what I’m saying?
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
Jason Prall: So we can think about the microbiota as short-term sensors or adaptors, and the mitochondria as perhaps longer-term adapters or sensors. And then when the communication happens enough times, just like when you talk to a child, when you tell a child, “No. No.” Let’s go yes, let’s use that as another example. When you tell a child, “Yes, yes, yes,” eventually over time they’re going to understand what yes means, or truck, or ball. But at first, they have no clue.
So the mitochondria perhaps might be sort of like a child, you know, when you eat turmeric and you’re from Sweden, mitochondria will be like, “I don’t really understand this. I’ll do what I can with it. That signal doesn’t make any sense to me.” Perhaps over generations, the mitochondria go, “Oh yeah, okay. I know what that means now. Now we’re going to do this.”
This is sort of hypothesis-land but I think it’s a pretty good hypothesis because we know that the communication’s happening, we know that mitochondria adapt, we know about epigenetics, and we know micro-RNA come from that food directly, so that can also talk to our mitochondria directly, through the micro-RNA and microtubules and all kinds of things.
We have examples of this to some degree happening in the Japanese, who were eating a lot of sushi, a lot of seaweed. They eventually adapted or created, if you will, an enzyme to digest seaweed better, because there are beneficial things in it.
So we have to think about humans as being very adaptive in our genetic expression, in the microbiota within us and in our mitochondria that express genes as well. This would be a line of thinking that might argue for you and me to eat a more culturally adapted food diet. It might argue for you and me to be able to handle potatoes better than somebody of Central African descent. They may eat potatoes there, I don’t know, but wherever doesn’t eat potatoes.
You get my drift here, is that you can maybe think about this stuff a little differently. But it goes beyond food because we know that stress affects microbiota. We know that electromagnetic fields affect microbiota. We know that emotions affect microbiota. We know that there are so many things, exercise affects microbiota, fasting, all these things that affect microbiota, which will then always, in turn, affect the way the mitochondria function.
And all the things that I just mentioned also affect mitochondria directly, so if we understand what affects microbiota, what affects mitochondria, what affects DNA, human DNA, now we can understand what to do about these things. It turns out that all the things that you would suspect are good for your health are actually good for those three things.
The importance of the mitochondrial function
Ari Whitten: Let’s talk mitochondria for a minute here, because most people think of mitochondria as mindless cellular energy generators. Their job is just to essentially take in the food that you’re eating and spit out ATP, adenosine triphosphate, or cellular energy. That’s their function. They’re [crosstalk] just like batteries of the cell.
Jason Prall: They’re the powerhouse, right?
Ari Whitten: Right.
Jason Prall: We still refer to them that way.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and you and I in our college courses and graduate courses and whatever, all the health courses we took, that’s the education that you typically hear in classes and read in textbooks, is, that’s what’s mitochondria do. But in the last 10 years, as you and I both now, there’s really this whole new body of research showing that mitochondria are so much more than that.
Can you talk a bit about why you feel mitochondria are so central to longevity and why they’re not just mindless energy generators?
Jason Prall: Yeah. This is where you and I just geek out, right, off camera. First, I think that one of the important things to understand is that mitochondria come from your mother. This is Douglas Wallace who really brought this to light. The reason that’s important, because it highlights the importance of a good pregnancy, of all the things that might lead up to and during pregnancy.
It’s not to put the burden on mom here, because actually dad plays a role in this as well, especially for support. But it’s why we need to think about pregnancy and pre-pregnancy a little bit more because you’re getting your mitochondria for mom. That’s the first thing to understand.
Secondly, there are mitochondria everywhere in your body, except for basically your red blood cells. The mitochondria, they’re focused on regions that have the higher metabolic capacity, things like the heart, things like the brain, things like the liver. They require more energy and function, so they need more mitochondria. Mitochondria, there’s sometimes … I mean there’s a couple in each cell, up to thousands in each cell depending on which type of cell it is. The more, let’s say efficiency we can get out of these mitochondria, the better we’re going to be.
Now, somebody of let’s say African decent, really dark skinned, Douglas Wallace has shown that their mitochondria actually produced a really good efficiency of ATP for every sort of unit of energy coming into the mitochondria. So they actually produce a lot of energy and very little heat. We know that mitochondria produce energy, and in the form of ATP heat and light, and then it also produces reactive oxygen species which act as signaling molecules. This really interesting.
Now we have these little organelles that are producing light, not necessarily heat but actually another electromagnetic spectrum of light. That’s very interesting to think what that might mean. But the interesting thing about comparing Central African mitochondria to let’s say Swedish or Icelandic mitochondria, they actually have adapted to produce more heat.
Those mitochondria will have a little less efficient in terms of the ATP that they produce and instead produce more heat. So now, we know that mitochondria produce ATP, heat, and light, and it depends on your lineage as to what efficiencies that that’s going to happen.
There’s not necessarily a good or bad. This is an adaptive mechanism that humans have developed as they’ve moved about the planet, and that’s why I said they’re long-term sensors. They’re going to change over time because of the environment.
You have to think about them as doing more than just producing ATP, they’re producing heat, which does all kinds of things in terms of heat shock protein and uncoupling proteins. We can geek out into the details but heat plays a big role in cellular function with particularly the water that’s around these mitochondria and in these mitochondria and everything like that. But they are signaling to the DNA.
Mitochondria via these reactive oxygen species, these oxidative stress molecules, there’s different types of oxidative stress, there are different forms of reactivity of these oxygen molecules. But they are signaling to the DNA, to different parts of not even just the DNA, all parts, all organelles of the cell, both internals to the mitochondria and external to the mitochondria. So they are communicating between in the cell and outside to other cells as well. We can’t think about organs anymore.
I know we were organic centric and we’re still organ-centric, right? I’ve got a thyroid problem. I’ve got a liver problem. I’ve got a kidney problem. No, no, no. You’ve got cells that aren’t working as well as they could in that organ, manifesting as a general organ dysfunction or imbalance.
That’s what’s happening. If we get down at the cell level, then mitochondria become more important. We stay at the organ level, we don’t think about mitochondria, we don’t think about cells … It’s the liver is the problem, or the kidney is the problem, or the thyroid is the problem.
No, no, no. That’s going to fail us every time. We have to look at what’s happening at the cellular level. If we think about mitochondria as playing a critical role in cellular signaling, in epigenetic expression, which genes get turned off, which genes get turned on, the methylation, the de-acetylation, the adulation, all these things that are happening. This is where you can geek out for years on cellular function alone, but we have to think about mitochondria playing a critical role because as they start to get damaged, as they lose their capacity to work properly, then we start getting symptoms.
We might call it any number of sicknesses or illnesses. It might a skin rash or it might be psoriasis, whatever it might be. Generally, that’s happening because mitochondria aren’t functioning properly and talking to the nucleus in a way that’s balanced. In other words, something’s off. It’s imbalanced, and then as it progressed and mitochondria die or they don’t work as well, then you’re going to develop more serious issues. It might be dementia, might be Alzheimer’s, might be cardiac issues, whatever the case may be.
Then as the mitochondria continue to get damaged, now you end up with things like cancer and these more serious diseases that are metabolic dysfunction of the cell.
Douglas Wallace has really brought this to light in terms of these different levels of mitochondrial dysfunction. It generally has to do with the genes that the mitochondria are not expressing properly, ATP not being produced properly. Chronic fatigue, that’s your world and that’s just a failure of mitochondria to do their job in a large part.
That comes with a lot of things as you address in course, like all these things you have to address to get the mitochondria back to working properly. That is where mitochondria really come into play, is this lack of energy, this lack of function. It’s not your genes that are the problem. You’re in a library pulling off the wrong books off the shelf and reading the wrong books. You might even be partially reading the book. That’s a really good analogy because some of these genes and proteins don’t unfold properly in the cell. They don’t get read and expressed properly. So again, we have researchers all over the world trying to figure this stuff out.
It’s not easy. We were at the World Congress on Targeting Mitochondria in Berlin and you had pure researchers looking at pure research, trying to understand this stuff. No clinical relevance, trying to understand what the heck is going on.
So this is far from subtle and we don’t have an understanding of how the heck a cell even functions to the full extent, but we know that mitochondria are important. We know that mitochondria have their own DNA. We know what they communicate to our own DNA, and in that, I think a lot can be understood to suggest where to focus our attention. The cool thing is that mitochondria can regenerate. I think this is why we need to look at them and understand that we can do something about it.
We can regenerate mitochondria by doing things like fasting or intermittent fasting, like getting really good sleep.
There are so many ways that we can improve mitochondria function, and by doing that we improve the health of the cell, we improve the immune system, we improve the genetic expression in general of that cell, which then will resolve the dysfunctions and the imbalances that we have that might be expressed as hormonal imbalances, they might be expressed issues or digestive issues, or thyroid issues, or liver issues, or kidney issues. That’s all cells. If we fix the cell, the organ fixes itself. That’s just the way it is.
The biggest factors that increase the risk of early death
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So what are some of the biggest factors that actually affect our mitochondria in negative ways, that accelerate our demise and decrease longevity?
Jason Prall: Good question. I don’t know.
Ari Whitten: Okay, should we just wrap up the interview then?
Jason Prall: Let’s move on. No. It is a really good question because the short answer is, is that it’s really hard to say what is going to affect this person or that person, so therefore we have to look at everything. I think a really obvious one is chemicals.
We have so many chemicals in our environment and the metals, they will … your mitochondria have these little metal groups within them that are supposed to be there. You know, zinc and copper and these things, manganese plays an important role in cell health. All these little minerals that should be there in order for the mitochondria to work. If you’re not getting those minerals and-or you’re getting an elevation of arsenic and lead and mercury and even different sources of copper that aren’t the right kind of copper, the chemical properties are wrong, cadmium … I mean there are so many toxins.
Those will replace because they have a strong binding affinity. Which means that they will bind stronger than some of these other minerals that are supposed to be there. Sometimes they can essentially push out those things. So that’s a huge one, I think that chemicals and the toxins and the metals really, really play a critical role in mitochondria, so we have to reduce those.
I would say lack of doing the right things is probably the other big one. So, not moving enough, too much moving. We kind of overdo it here in the US. You and I, both pretty thick guys, we like to work out, we enjoy it, it’s part of the world, but I think we probably both went through a process of understanding what it means to be in balance when it comes to exercise.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and a few years of overdoing it.
Jason Prall: Of course.
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
Jason Prall: And that’s our culture, we overdoing the wrong things. But the other side is, of course, true, right? Not enough hormetic stress of exercise is really going to traumatize your mitochondria. In other words, they have no reason to work hard, you’re not pushing them. There’s no reason for them to work optimally.
The interesting thing about it is it doesn’t take much exercise to get them to do work optimally. Like walking, honestly, it’s boring. I mean I don’t really like to go walk for exercise, but walking is part of our daily routine. Don’t take the elevator, take the stairs. Just traveling around the world in a lot of airports, you wouldn’t believe how many people take the escalators and stand there.
Next time, look, and you might be one of those people, and this isn’t a judgment, but what I’m pointing out is an opportunity. When you have the opportunity to take the stairs, or even walk up an escalator, walk. You know those little people movers in airports, that they’re done on the flat ground and they’re intended to get you somewhere faster? People get on those and we stand. We stand.
Walking is so hard for us now that we have to stand? We’ve got our luggage on wheels. We’ve made our life so convenient and easy, we need to now voluntarily take the hard road sometimes, which is to actually say, “Let’s walk a little bit.” We have to go through that exercise.
I think sleep is critical. If you don’t sleep you don’t repair. This is where mitochondria can … You create all kinds of new mitochondria. You repair. You replace damaged mitochondria. You replace mitochondria that are not working very well. There are so many opportunities. I’m sure I’m leaving out five or six that you have in your head right now. Actually, I’m going to ask you, what am I leaving out? What’s in there that I’ve forgotten?
Ari Whitten: Well, you know there’s … I mean there’s so much we could talk about. I think we have 10 more minutes that we can use… But we could probably talk about this…
Jason Prall: But those are the big ones, right? That’s generally what you see probably too.
The relationship between sleep and mitochondria
Ari Whitten: Yeah, for sure. And just on the sleep and circadian rhythm relationship to mitochondria, there are lots of really interesting mechanisms there as well. Even just looking at melatonin for example.
Jason Prall: That’s huge. That’s a great example. That’s a perfect example.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I mean-
Jason Prall: [crosstalk] melatonin [crosstalk] work well.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, separate from the number of hours that you’re sleeping or even the quality of your sleep, how much melatonin your produce will also affect your mitochondrial functions because turns out melatonin’s actually getting into our mitochondria and acts as a stabilizer of mitochondrial membranes and protects them from damage. Now guess what happens if you live in a world that is perfectly designed to disrupt your circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin secretion every night through the artificial light?
Well, now you have too little melatonin every night, week after week, month after month, year after year, for decades. Now your mitochondria are constantly taking on more damage and becoming more fragile over years than they should have been because you should have been producing more melatonin every night. That’s just one little mechanism.
Jason Prall: Exactly. So if you think about that plus the medications that people are taking, plus the environmental toxins that we’re not aware of, plus a little bit of mental and emotional stress which is going to affect things, plus not getting the right foods, plus … I mean, plus, plus, plus, plus. [crosstalk]
Ari Whitten: Medications are a huge one.
Jason Prall: It’s a massive one, yeah. That’s probably the one I forgot that I should have hit.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, there’s that site. I think it’s mitoaction.org or something like that. It lists off all the different prescription drugs [crosstalk] that are known to be toxic to mitochondria and actually have science on them showing that these-
Jason Prall: I love it.
Ari Whitten: … damage mitochondria. It’s a shocking of prescription drugs. It’s like 70% of them.
Jason Prall: You wouldn’t have seen that 15 years ago. This is how far mitochondrial science has come and how important it is now becoming. I think that’s fantastic that that’s even an option, that you can go take a look at that stuff.
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
Jason Prall: One thing I will say is that again I spoke about the mitochondria coming from mom, if mom is unhealthy for whatever reasons, and this isn’t to blame. I mean we’re all unhealthy to some degree. I went through years of being unhealthy, so if I were to have a child at 25 or 30, it probably wouldn’t have been the greatest time for me to have a kid because I was not as healthy as I am today.
So, if mom is unhealthy and her mitochondria are damaged due to external forces or to choices or what-have-you, or maybe she got it from her mom, then the damage can accrue over generations. It’s sort of happens in a random way if you will, sort of a roll of a dice, but if mom doesn’t have great mitochondria then the baby doesn’t have as good of a chance to have great mitochondria from the start.
Again, this is why it’s so important that we have to make the changes now so that as … we can unwind this thing. It may not happen in one generation, but we can unwind the heck out of this thing if we start paying attention to the things that actually matter biologically speaking.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, 100%. I know we only have a few minutes left, but we’ve talked about the microbiome, we’ve talked about mitochondria. The last piece of this is how those two things connect with our genes in the nucleus of our cells. There’s a lot of communication that goes on there, and at all three of these levels.
Can you talk about how those three pieces now connect, and then how that translates into either accelerated aging or slowed aging?
Jason Prall: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people will focus on telomeres or telomerase as the end-caps of our DNA that when they get shorter that’s generally what we consider aging and then death happens. I think that’s a short-sighted view.
We’ve started to add our to viewpoints, and even the experts out there will say, “We’ve got telomerase,” which is an enzyme that will help stabilize or lengthen that little end cap telomere that holds the DNA together so that it doesn’t unwind or unravel like a shoelace if you don’t have a cap on. So yes, we’ve got telomerase, we’ve got telomeres, they play important roles.
We’ve got base pairs. We’ve got all kinds of things that can play a role in terms of DNA. When we have too much oxidative stress from mitochondria, that can damage DNA. We know that too much oxidative stress over too long will damage DNA.
If your telomerase enzyme is not working properly and some of the repair mechanisms aren’t happening, and then you start to have problems with DNA expression unfolding and transcribing genes and all kinds of different things.
So the DNA that we have is almost like the last part of the communication cycle. If you think about a production line in car manufacturing, it’s like the last part of the line.
So if something happens poorly in the front part of the line, it’s going to affect the back part. If something happens in the middle, that’s going to affect the back part. And then yes, of course, if something happens at the end then that will affect it too, but that’s why we want to go upstream with all this stuff. The DNA that we have is more like the last thing that gets expressed to some degree. It’s, of course, more complicated than that.
I’m painting a very reductionistic picture because it’s the only way we can talk about this stuff. But essentially the messages that we have, the messages that we have in the cell will always determine the expression of the DNA of our cells, of our human genome.
The human genome then talks back to our mitochondria. So it’s literally a two-way communication. That’s why we have to think about what’s happening at the genomic level to determine what’s happening at the mitochondria because if your genes aren’t expressing properly it can damage mitochondria.
Mitochondria can damage DNA. Microbiota can send the wrong signals to DNA. Microbiota … I wouldn’t say wrong, can send less advantageous signals to the DNA. So it’s quite complex, to say the least. But what I can be very, very sure of with the way genes get expressed, is that they will always respond to the environment that it’s given. This is the beauty of DNA.
When I say environment, I don’t just mean physical external or physical internal, I mean emotions, I mean mental, thoughts. We have science to show this. Bruce Liprons’s, almost his entire work is on this, looking at how emotions affect our cells and our DNA. So we now know that these things can express the way our genes … can change the way our genes are expressed. We need to stop looking at our genes and our telomeres as things we need to fix, as things we need to address.
You don’t need to lengthen your telomeres by some external source. You just need to do the right things that will allow the telomerase enzyme to function properly, the oxidative stress to be in balance. If you do those things then your genes, which are essentially perfectly designed for you, will express just the way that they can for you. I don’t see genes as being bad or good at all. They simply just are.
The reason that they are the way they are for you, is because of all the things that your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and your whole lineage did over thousands and thousands of years to get you where you are today. To argue with that is a little ridiculous. The only thing we can argue with is maybe some of the things we did aren’t going to be in our best interest today.
That’s what we always have to look at, is what we see today is a reflection of the past. So if we want a new future then we have to think about what we’re doing today. I think if we fix our environment, if we fix our thoughts and our emotions and we take responsibility for all the things that we can, then everything improves down the line.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and I love, you kind of brought it full circle here because we’re going back to what we talked about at the beginning, with this trust nature paradigm. It’s like you can dig into all the specific mechanisms of this gene or that gene, or the telomeres and the telomerase.
And the paradigm of conventional medicine is kind of like, “We go down to the smallest level where we can identify some mechanism, then we try to develop a drug that will interrupt this mechanism.” So in this for example, like, “Oh it’s telomerase. That’s what’s shortening our telomeres. The solution is, let’s develop a drug that inhibits telomerase, and that should extend longevity.”
Just to contrast that, that’s one paradigm that you could approach things from, this reductionistic very biochemical molecular focused paradigm. On the other hand, you’re saying, “No. We need to look big picture. We need to basically look at all of the lifestyle and environmental and nutritional factors that are creating the right environment for genes to function well. And then once we do that, we’ll trust that telomerase is working most optimally to allow for optimal health and longevity.”
Jason Prall: Absolutely. We have to think of ourselves as not only individuals from a genomic perspective, but you have a unique individual microbiota, right now. Tomorrow you’re going to have a different microbiota, in a couple hours you’re going to have a different microbiota profile. So your thumbprint is always changing from the microbiota’s perspective. It’s always unique to you.
And then you have your unique genes and you have your unique mitochondria. You have three genetic components that are totally unique, so how can we look at pure research to suggest what is good for you? This is why I love … I’m a part of your little Facebook group, The Energy Blueprint. I love that you do this. You actually present polarizing research. In other words, you provide two sides of the coin. Here’s the study that showed that a mostly plant-based diet and reducing protein is beneficial.
How to review health studies
Here’s another one that says higher protein is beneficial. What’s going on? We don’t know. Let’s take a look. Is this right? What can we extract? This is so … I think the reason it’s beneficial is because you can’t look at any study and say, “That’s good for me.” You have to look and say, “Okay. That has some merit, interesting. I wonder why. Would that apply to me?” And not only that, “Would that apply to me today?” Because it might change, right? Even Valter Longo who we interviewed as well for our film. He has this great … He’s looking at research that happens, up to 65 you have a certain diet, seems to be somewhat beneficial, and then generally speaking around 65-ish or after you might want to change that. It’s a perfect example of [inaudible] the lifecycle of the human is critical.
You’re not going to feed a baby steak. You’re not going to feed a baby sweet potatoes. I mean, like an infant, like a two-month-old, you’re not going to give him sweet potatoes. What do you give? Breast milk. Why? Because that’s what babies eat. You and I aren’t up all night drinking breast milk. Adult humans don’t drink breast milk. It’s not what we are designed to eat. This doesn’t fit our lifecycle. So we have to think about all these things. This is where I think it’s cool. If you understand the uniqueness and the complexity of things, then you can play around with what works for me. Does this fit with nature? Does this make sense? Let me try it, let me see how I feel, and let me go with that.
The Human Longevity Project
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. I have to say, I’m super excited about the film, the Human Longevity Project. Human Longevity Project, that’s coming out very soon. When is it coming out by the way?
Jason Prall: It will be coming out in May. May 7th I believe is the first date. It will be nine parts. We’ll release one episode of the day for 24 hours for free. You just have to go the website, throw in your email address to be able to get these, every episode for free for that first nine or 10 days that we’re going to show it. I’m very grateful for you to contribute to it. Your interview is spectacular. There’s only a handful of people that you can really get to talk about mitochondria. There’s a lot of scientists out there studying mitochondria, they don’t really speak on it very well and have a bigger perspective. So I’m super grateful to have you in there.
Ari Whitten: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Jason Prall: You really helped us out with the mitochondrial side of this, presenting that.
Ari Whitten: Thank you. I’m honored to be in it. I think it’s going to be an amazing film. I’ve seen little clips here and there, and I know what you’ve put into it and I’ve had lots of discussions with you about it. Really super excited for this, super excited for you guys to put this out there, and super excited for people to hear this message, which I think is such a revolutionary and important new paradigm in our understanding of optimal health and longevity. Where should people go to actually get this? What is your website? We’ll have a link on this page so people can get it there as well, which the show notes for this page will be at theenergyblueprint.com/longevity.
Jason Prall: Yeah, and actually I would say, go to the link that you provide. That’s probably the easiest way because I’m not sure, we may change the link depending on what’s easiest. So, the link below that’s probably the easiest way. You can get three free full-length interviews. We’re providing … We have like 90-something expert interviews in this thing.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Jason Prall: We have an option too, you can get the three full-length interviews for free when you click that link. We’ll be selling the other interviews as a big package for like next to nothing really. So if you’re a geek and you’d like to know a lot of the stuff people say that don’t make it in the film, that’s an option. I appreciate it. I’m excited too. I’m excited for it to come out. I’m really curious to see the response because it’s a different message. We’re not tapping into the fear side of thing too much. We want to provide an empowering message, hopefully, a film, something that’s entertaining as well, which is always a little tricky when you’re talking geeky science but we’re doing our best. I’m excited for people to check it out. I hope it helps.
Ari Whitten: One quick thing, this is free, right? You guys are going to give this as a free showing first?
Jason Prall: 100%, yeah. 100%.
Ari Whitten: Awesome.
Jason Prall: So, Monday we’ll have episode one. I think it’s Monday when we release. That will be episode one for free, and then Tuesday we’ll show episode for 24 hours for free. It’s all free. If you find the information valuable, you can purchase it on the backend. One thing I will say, that we are trying to use this for the greater good in every way. So we haven’t settled on a charitable organization yet, but we will be donating 10% of the proceeds to a charitable organization that supports children’s health. We want to support children in this film. The new statistics are showing that children are not going to outlive their parents in terms of their life expectancy, of the total number of years that they are alive. That’s not a good trend. This is the first time I think in recent history where we’ve seen a younger generation predicted not to live as long as their parents.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and you and I both know some pediatric physicians who are friends of ours and tell us about all the weird diseases-
Jason Prall: It’s not good.
Ari Whitten: … and sicknesses that they’re seeing pop up in kids that really there’s no diagnosis for. People have never even seen things before, they’re not in the textbooks.
Jason Prall: And all around the world you see that kids don’t even have an opportunity at life. They’re dying so young. They don’t have an opportunity. We’re honestly trying to provide as much support to a charitable organization that’s doing the right things. It doesn’t have bloated salaries. This can be hard to find but that is a huge purpose for us.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful.
Jason Prall: Not just for this film but ongoing that is going to be a big thing.
Ari Whitten: I love that.
Jason Prall: We’re trying to create a community out there that will provide support for people, particularly kids that need it. Just another thing that we’re trying to do to walk the walk in this regard and really promote longevity not only from an understanding but from any resources that we can to make the future just a little bit better of a place.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Jason. To everybody listening, make sure you guys go to theenergyblueprint.com/longevity. Opt-in to get the free docu-series. This is kind of a crazy thing. Jason and his team, they basically quit their day job essentially and have been traveling the world and filming for over a year now.
Jason Prall: Yeah, 18 months almost.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I mean really without much of an income, in order to make this film. And then on top of that, they’re actually going to give it away for free, initially. So make sure you guys take advantage of that. This is a pretty incredible thing. I firmly believe after seeing what you guys, after knowing what you guys put into this and having so many conversations with you, I think this is going to be the best thing that’s ever been done on the subject of longevity.
Jason Prall: It’s a huge compliment. You’ve looked at the lot things, so it puts a little pressure on me [crosstalk]
Ari Whitten: I’m sure you’ll live up to it.
Jason Prall: I really appreciate it. And just to say too, that the free portion, it’s only for a limited time. So keep that in mind, that it’s the first showing that we do will be free. We want to give everybody an opportunity to watch this thing. If you want to support us and support our cause for the children, you have an option to buy it for a really low price. It thinks we’re going to price it at under $100 for all nine episodes for you to own. That’s an option as well, but just know that that window is short. So sign up before that happens so that you can watch all of them for free. Because really do want this message out there to as many possible as we can get it to.
Ari Whitten: Awesome man. Well, thank you so much. Really a pleasure to have this conversation with you, as always.
Jason Prall: Always.
Ari Whitten: Super excited for this film. Thanks again for being on the show again.
Jason Prall: Thanks, Ari.
Is it possible to increase my lifespan?” Researcher reveals the secrets to human longevity – Show Notes
The problem with most health docu-series (1:36)
The most important age to ensure strong health and long life (5:16)
How traumas affect your lifespan (6:39)
Why you should be wary of a person who claims to understand everything related to health (8:35)
How centenarians view life (9:23)
Why reductionistic paradigms is a bad way of viewing health (10:18)
The big keys to longevity (16:39)
The importance of the connection between microbiota, mitochondria, and DNA (22:22)
The powers of helping others (25:33)
How your gut affect your health and longevity (27:00)
What ROS is (30:08)
The importance of the mitochondrial function (37:37)
The biggest factors that increase the risk of early death (45:37)
The relationship between sleep and mitochondria (49:19)
How mitochondria, microbiome, and DNA are related to aging (52:20)
How genes are expressed in the body (55:39)
How to review health studies (59:00)
The Human Longevity Project (1:00:41)
How To Get Early Access to the Film … for FREE.
The Human Longevity Project film premiers in about 5 weeks, BUT my community (you all!) is getting a FREE early release in just a few days — long before the big release to the rest of the world. This is a must-watch documentary. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been for a health documentary. So if you haven’t already, make sure to sign up HERE.)
To learn more about the Human Longevity Project follow this link