Dr. Rhonda Patrick's 80/20 Lifestyle Changes
Dr. Patrick has extensive research experience in the fields of aging, cancer, and nutrition. She's well known for her thoughts on sauna use, vitamin D, and micronutrient deficiencies. Her website Found My Fitness shares insights on health research via discussions of research papers and videos.
Dr. Patrick is incredibly knowledgeable, and it's awesome that she takes time to appear on podcasts and make videos on interesting topics. Unfortunately for those of us with less of a health background, she can be hard to follow, with deep discussions on metabolic pathways and obscure compounds. Fortunately for us, she does often give practical advice based on her research.
During a recent podcast she answered the following question:
What twenty percent of lifestyle inputs lead to eighty percent of positive effects? (Jump to 1:57:16)
Her answer comprised of 4 straightforward changes. I'd say adherence to even 1 or 2 of these would yield great improvements to your biochemistry.
Here's Dr. Rhonda Patrick's 80/20 on health:
Cut out refined sugar
- 1 can of soda per day is associated with a 45% increased risk of diabetes.
- 1 can / day ==> shorter telomeres associated with 4.6 years of accelerated aging.
- 3 weeks of 20oz sugar drink daily increased inflamation markers 60-100%
Sugar's reward pattern is similar to cocaine, morphine, and tobacco. We build tolerance, and need more to be satisfied.
Cut it out.
Restrict eating to a 9-12 hour window
Time-Restricted Eating (a.k.a. Intermittent Fasting) increases autophagy during the fast and helps entrain a consistent circadian rhythm. These both are associated with improved health markers and longevity.
- Mice on terrible diet but restricted to a 12 hour feeding window were 28% leaner, had no fatty liver, better glucose, better cholesterol, and were more active than control mice (calories also matched). The study even included 'weekends' where feeding was not restricted.
- Women who previously had breast cancer were put on an 11 hour eating window and saw a 36% reduction in cancer reccurence compared to the control group.
At my leanest I was using an 8 hour fasting window late in the day. Note that Dr. Patrick recommends moving the eating window earlier in the day, unless you're a night shift worker. Check out this video with Dr. Satchin Panda and Dr. Patrick for more info.
Eat your veggies
Your mom was right, eat your veggies. People on western diets are frequently short of vital micronutrients such as magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and folate. Micronutrients like these are required for both short-term survival (ATP generation), and long-term health (damaged DNA repair). If you are defecient, your body will prioritize short-term survival and neglect-long term health, negatively impacting longevity.
- Aim to triple amount of vegetables you are eating
- An easy way to do this is a micronutrient smoothie: Smoothie Recipe (PDF), Youtube Smoothie Recipe
- Don't use juicers, they take out the fiber
A consistent texture improves palatiablilty and makes consuming more veggies easier. You get a smooth texture with stronger blenders.
Dr. Patrick and my roommate use a Blendtec blender. There are cheaper options with strong motors such as the Oster VERSA, which has good reviews but I've never used. Of course a cheaper blender can do the job, but might burn out with daily use.
Take your vitamin D
As people stay inside more and move to different latitudes, more and more of us are defecient in vitamin D (70% of Americans!). Vitamin D helps regulate ~5% of the human genome. Deficiencies are associated with higher infection risks, lower exercise performance, and reduced brain health. Twin studies have shown vitamin D deficiency is associated with 5 years of accelerated aging.
- Get blood levels measured before and after supplementation
- Aim for 40-60ng/mL (lowest all cause mortality, longest telomeres)
- Rule of thumb: 1000iu daily raises by blood levels by 5ng/mL
Dr. Patrick takes 4000/day from a dedicated vitamin D-3 Supplement and a Multivitamin:
- Cardio, at least 30min a few times a week.
- Get bright blue light during day as early as possible, avoid in evenings.
- Cut out refined sugar
- Restrict eating to a 9-12 hour window
- Eat your veggies
- Take your vitamin D
Are you doing all 4 of these? If not, what's holding you back? If yes, what else do you do to take care of your health? Let me know.
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