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Tracking and Measuring Biomarkers to Maximize Longevity

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In this week’s Everything Epigenetics episode, I speak with Michael Lustgarten on tracking and measuring biomarkers to maximize longevity. His long-standing goal is to live longer than everyone that has ever lived. To do that, he plans on using the best available science to “biohack” his way to super-longevity. Contrary to the prevailing belief that aging is an inescapable and uncontrollable process, Michael is an advocate for longevity, and he’s eager to impart valuable tools and insights that could potentially extend our lifespan beyond 120 years.

During this episode, you’ll gain insight into various aspects, such as what inspired Michael to adopt a personalized health approach, his definition of optimal health, the vital role that data plays in improving your overall health, the specific blood panels Michael recommends, and the benefits of tracking diverse health data. Wealso discuss his epigenetic age results in depth, as he has measured this process around 10 times, and strategies for optimizing nutrition, exercise, sleep, and biological aging.

Michael Lustgarten is currently a scientist at the Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston, Massachusetts. His research currently focuses on the role of the gut microbiome and serum metabolome on muscle mass and function in older adults. In his large social media presence, Michael shares his experience with his rigorous n of 1 experiment over the last eight years and shows how anyone can conduct a similar trial by tracking food, exercise, sleep, and epigenetic age measure results and derive relationships between them, with a goal of extending our healthspan.

In this podcast you’ll learn about:

– Michael’s “biohacking” background and academic background (English degree and PhD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio)

– The story behind Conquer Aging or Die Trying
– The definition of aging
– Aging as a disease
– The importance of the microbiome
– How we can slow down the aging process

– The importance of tracking biomarkers
– What biomarkers Michael’s is tracking and WHY
– The effects of hormones on epigenetic aging
– The ser paradox (men age quicker than women)
– How to optimize your diet through self-tracking
– The difficulty and complications of measuring biomarkers
– Michael’s epigenetic aging results (Horvath clock, Hannum clock, DunedinPACE, and Telomere Length) 
– The effect of caloric restriction on the DunedinPACe
– How to optimize your fitness levels through self-tracking
– The effect of physical fitness on epigenetic clocks
– How to optimize your slepp through self-tracking

– What Michael is NOT tracking

– Michael’s most surprising find from tracking biomarkers over eight years

-The future of Michael’s career

Dr. Michael Lustgarten is Scientist II on the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia (NEPS) Team at the HNRCA. His research currently focuses on the role of the gut microbiome and serum metabolome on muscle mass and function in older adults. Dr. Lustgarten has been a guest lecturer at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy on topics such as the gut microbiome, serum metabolome, oxidative stress, exercise, and sarcopenia. He has contributed to 31 publications in leading peer-reviewed journals that have been cited more than 3,700 times, including 17 manuscripts as the first or last author.


Hannah Went (00:00.822)
Welcome to the Everything Epigenetics podcast. Michael, I’m excited for you to be here today. Thanks for joining. I know we were just chatting offline. I feel like you’re my closer friend or colleague or whatnot. I know we’ve been chatting back and forth. We get email probably for a couple of years now, which seems crazy to say, but this is the first time we’re actually talking, you know, I guess face to face camera to camera, so really excited just to learn more about you and really your biohacking over the years, how epigenetics has played a role in that. So.

michael lustgarten (00:05.878)
Hi Hannah.

Hannah Went (00:30.902)
Well, get right into it and we’d just love for you to introduce yourself to really me, my guests. I know you have your PhD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, so go ahead and take it away.

michael lustgarten (00:43.454)
Yeah. So, hey everyone. My name is Michael Lusgarden. In my day job, I’m a scientist at the Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. And then in my side job, or, you know, both of these roads are a passion, obviously, but in my side job, as Thomas Anderson, well, as Neo, well, I don’t know, that sounds weird, but my goal is to live longer than anyone that’s ever lived. So in my side job, I’ve been, quote, unquote, biohacking.

trying to optimize my blood biomarkers, blood pressure, oral microbiome, you name it for probably the last eight plus years. So yeah, so that’s, I guess, what we’re gonna dive deep into. More people care about that than my actual day job as a scientist, which is really interesting. So.

Hannah Went (01:26.336)

Hannah Went (01:31.006)
Well, I’m going to pick at that a little bit. I’m curious, when did you, I guess, start getting interested in more of like the biohacking space? You said it’s been around eight years, but it’s really hard to juggle two separate positions. I feel that way sometimes with everything epigenetics because, you know, I don’t really work on this in my nine to five, unless I’m actually physically recording and I’m doing editing and everything outside. So how did you start to balance that or realize that, Hey, I’m really passionate about this. This is something I want to spend more time on.

michael lustgarten (02:01.162)
Yeah, so this has been a journey. It’s been an evolution for a long time. It actually goes back way past eight years. So I started probably 2008, so 15 years, where once a year I had the idea, all right, every time I go to the doctor, I’m gonna record everything in a spreadsheet and I’m just gonna track it over time. And I didn’t understand that the reference range is probably not what’s optimal for health and longevity. It’s just a population-based average, you’re either too low or too high.

I didn’t get that. I was the, probably like most people, where it was, hey, I just got my blood test back and my data is right in the middle of the range, so I’m good. So back in 2008, I had that mentality. It was only testing once a year, but I thought it was better than nothing. So then sometimes, but then the story goes back even further than that because, so I have two university degrees. The first one was in English literature, and I wasn’t.

there are no scientists in my family, nobody college educated in my family, I wasn’t exposed to any doctors or scientists. So I really didn’t have that as a career goal as a kid. So after my first university degree in 94, it was like, what am I gonna do with my life? So I basically spent five years just roaming the United States without a clue, without a passion. And then I came across Dr. Roy Walford, famous calorie restriction.

scientists who wrote a book called Beyond the 120 Year Diet, which basically detailed calorie restriction and its impact on lifespan and animal models for like 50 years. So also in that book, he had biomarker data because people who were in the biosphere experiment where they were self-enclosed and they were growing their own food, trying to replicate what it would be like to live on Mars.

they were studying blood biomarkers over that two year period and improved the whole bunch of blood biomarkers. So that was in his book too. And I was like, wow, that’s really fascinating. Blood biomarkers and aging and living past 120, I’m in. So then I made this, because my first degree was in English Lit, I had to go back to school because I didn’t have many science courses. I had astronomy one and two and physics one and two, but I didn’t have biochem. So I had to go back to school for biochem.

Hannah Went (04:06.357)

michael lustgarten (04:22.775)
to pursue this as a career. So anyway, so I did that and then picked an aging, related lab for my graduate work. And then, yeah, so anyway, in 2008, that’s when the whole file hacking as a side project started with probably the goal of it maybe being a full-time thing. Seeing people like Seamlan do it and Brian Johnson doing it full-time. So there is, yeah.

Hannah Went (04:39.843)

Hannah Went (04:44.916)

Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. And we’ll talk about your platform, your YouTube channel, and how informative your videos are. But the way you present the information, now it makes sense that you have that English background because you do such a great job at explaining what I think can be very complicated mechanism of actions and the biochemical-based pathways. So I really like how you break it down. So I can see where that English degree comes from, but you have to be.

pretty brave to go back to school for biochemistry as well.

michael lustgarten (05:18.846)
Yeah, so a couple of things there. One is I have very strong idiot genetics. And what I mean by that is like in the class, when you don’t know something, you have a choice. If you stay quiet, then now you’re for sure on the idiot track. Whereas if you ask, now you’re evolving out of that. So I know what it feels like to feel like poorly educated. So…

Hannah Went (05:23.479)

Hannah Went (05:38.297)

michael lustgarten (05:44.662)
because it’s a big part of me, like it’s funny, because when I was younger, I used to just goof off a lot and people didn’t really see me academically. Like my friends at the time would like just see me goofing off and they would think, wow, you’re just an idiot. And I’d be like, you don’t get it. There’s a whole other side of me. So knowing that I know what it feels like to not understand something, I try to make it as easy to understand as possible, but I still get people saying like, this is too dense for me, you know, but.

Hannah Went (05:49.505)

Hannah Went (06:11.694)

michael lustgarten (06:13.334)
I’m trying to make it as easily distilled as possible. And then there was something else you said that I was gonna go on, but I forgot.

Hannah Went (06:17.559)
Exactly. Going back to school maybe.

michael lustgarten (06:22.182)
Yeah, so when I went back to school, like, when I went back for biochem, I wasn’t messing around. I didn’t go, I didn’t do anything aside from study, exercise, and that’s it. Because I knew that I was going to get some pushback, like, like kind of like you mentioned, like it’s, you know, why are you going back to school? How do we know you’re not going to flake out? So one of the faculty members who interviewed me basically brought that up and said, look, you’ve been out of school for five years. How do we know you’re not just going to flake and just

Hannah Went (06:32.09)
Got it.

Hannah Went (06:41.06)

michael lustgarten (06:51.55)
do something else. And I told them, I was like, look, I got almost straight A’s in biochem. When people were getting 55s in organic chem and that was a C based on the curve, I was getting, you know, 90s and then saying, how come I’m not getting an A? Why are you giving me an A minus when the class average is 55? So, but I basically said that, look, you don’t go back to school and get almost straight A’s in biochem.

Hannah Went (07:04.718)

Hannah Went (07:08.426)

michael lustgarten (07:17.642)
At that time I was all in, I was fully committed. So I saw basically where I am now, but like 20 years earlier, and I kind of mapped it out. How do I get to that road?

Hannah Went (07:29.102)
We have to be proud of that. Congratulations. I mean, looking back, you know, I know you’re a person who, hey, I still have a ways to go or whatnot, but even just kind of laying that out and talking about those accomplishments, that’s, that’s great. And, you know, we got kind of the story of how you went back to school and where your interest actually peaked in some of these, this biomarker based tracking, and you have that goal to live longer than everyone that’s ever lived. And now you have this organization conquer aging or die trying. So.

michael lustgarten (07:31.2)

Hannah Went (07:56.47)
When did Conquer, Aging or Die trying actually become a real organization?

michael lustgarten (08:02.75)
Yeah, I don’t know how real of an organization it is. It’s just the motto. It’s just the motto, my motto of the channel. And I mean every word of it, you know? So at some point, you know, the channel name was just my name. And then I was like, I need something catchy, you know? So, you know, because so many people online have these just, you know, so-and-so health maximalist or.

Hannah Went (08:06.11)

Hannah Went (08:11.843)

Hannah Went (08:22.295)

Hannah Went (08:29.313)

michael lustgarten (08:29.702)
know, so and so wants you to live and that’s their handle. So I was like, all right, let’s put it down, conquer aging or dot trying, you know, so.

Hannah Went (08:35.754)
Yeah, well, it’s super catchy. I really liked that as well. And of course, you know, with our rejuvenation Olympics, I think it’s like, it’s the same exact saying, but saying in different ways, the race you never want to win or whatnot. Right. But I think yours is a little bit, um, easier understood and upfront. So I really liked that.

michael lustgarten (08:52.263)
Yeah, but it could turn some people off because, you know, it’s hearing the or die trying, I think can trigger some people where they’re just like, I don’t want to, it’s just too crazy for me, but it is what it is, you know, so.

Hannah Went (08:54.81)

Hannah Went (09:04.054)
Yeah, you have to be all in, right? And I know your central premise as well is that, hey, if we have these well-established biomarkers, not only have them, but if we’re actually using them and we’re able to track them of different organ systems, systemic health, other, again, mechanism of actions going back into those biochemical pathways and using probably what you learned when you went back to school, can aging and disease risk be slowed? So that’s kind of the question that you’re answering. And just to ponder on that,

you know, what do you, how would you define aging yourself and maybe talk about if you would consider as a disease as well?

michael lustgarten (09:39.498)
Yeah, so it’s just a simple definition. It’s the progressive deterioration with organ and systemic function over time, right? So, and then in terms of it being a disease or not, so I actually wrote a paper a few years ago, you know, so somebody published a paper trying to classify aging as a disease. And then at that time, my academic work was leading me towards the gut microbiome and a potential influence on muscle, like gut muscle axis.

So I started doing a deep dive into the impact of just all of the microbiome, mouth, skin, gut, everywhere, and published a paper saying, hey, if aging is classified as a disease, don’t forget about the microbes. And that was before that the microbiome was even considered as one of the hallmarks of aging, which in the latest update it is. So is it a disease? I don’t know, this gets into semantics, and like when people debate,

debate that stuff online, I kind of run away from it because, you know, there are the types who want to just debate semantics all day. And then there are the types like me, who are just like, I want to get in and actually try to do something about it. So I think it is a disease, you know, we didn’t evolve it, you know, humans haven’t lived long enough to evolve the genetics to basically of more immortality, I guess that’s the easiest way to put it. And, but fortunately we’ve got the, you know, the

Hannah Went (10:48.111)

michael lustgarten (11:06.734)
the brain capacity to develop tools to overcome that, right? But it’s just a question of can you overcome the genetics of not having immortality coded in your genome? Can you use the human brain capacity to get around that within a 70 year time span to push human longevity forward, whereas the genetics won’t do it for who knows how long, right, so.

Hannah Went (11:12.323)

Hannah Went (11:32.17)
Yeah, yeah. Well, I agree with you for what it’s worth. Yes, not going to get caught up on the semantics and what it means if aging is defined as a disease for society or grants or whatnot. But I really do. I think everything else, these diseases we see type two diabetes, metabolic disease, even things like kidney, liver or different organ system diseases, even cancer. You know, if we attack aging head on first, it actually mitigates those diseases too. So hey, let’s take a step back.

figure out step one, which is aging, and then slow the progression of those diseases as well. So, yeah.

michael lustgarten (12:06.774)
Even if you’ve got the healthiest lifestyle, just like you said, aging is underlying all of these diseases. So maybe I’ll delay it for 50 years, right? I won’t get type two diabetes at some age. It’ll just be some later age. Like I’m sure you know, centenarians have delayed onset of diseases by like 20 or 30 years, right? So it’s coming for everyone, no matter what, right? So for sure, the foundation roots of aging.

to actually study and optimize, yeah, for sure. But there is another central premise of my channel, besides track and optimize, and it’s basically self-empowerment. We don’t have to wait for RCTs and other people. We don’t have to wait for animal studies that may or may not translate into human longevity. We can test ourselves, and often. I think most people take that for granted. So many people are taking supplements, and they never actually see, is this a net benefit, neutral or detrimental?

to my actual health. So that’s probably the third rung of the premise, essential premise, like track, test and track. Don’t take something based on hope. What is your own data, say, so.

Hannah Went (13:17.086)
Exactly. And I talk about that day in and day out. I feel like now there was a key word there that I really liked you said, which was you kind of corrected yourself. You said track your data, track your own data. Right. And I think that’s really important. And we’ll get into exactly what you’ve been doing, which is great and amazing proof of concept. But even with the epigenetic DNA methylation testing, a lot of people see, oh, well, there’s this clinical trial and there’s still very few clinical trials, as we know. Right. It’s very new technology.

michael lustgarten (13:28.663)

Hannah Went (13:47.05)
And they’ll go to something based on that clinical trial. And I’ll say, well, wait a second. Sure, you can use that as a guide, but we still don’t even know if that works for you. So every single clinical trial is still gonna be biased in the sense that they’re testing a very specific population and you have your own biological makeup. So I really do encourage people to track all sorts of biomarkers, epigenetics, not being the only part of the picture. Just gave that example because of course my platform and what we’re talking about today. So.

You know, what I want to know now, Michael, is what are you doing? Tell me, tell me what you’re tracking you. You know, I see age biomarkers, I see, um, all sorts of other biomarker testing, but tell me a little bit about what you’re doing.

michael lustgarten (14:25.61)
Yeah, so I started with the standard chem panel, the CBC. And so I started with that, which is a $35 test. And most people, it’s probably the most underrated thing that can be done to quote unquote optimize health because it includes not just glucose and lipids, you know, metabolic health. It’s got markers of kidney and liver function, immune cells, red blood cells. I mean, all things that change during aging. So I started with that. So I’ve got basically a.

quote unquote big picture panel of about 20 to 25 biomarkers that cover all of those organ systems. And then I added once Morgan Levine published her or Dr. Morgan Levine published her, I get so casual everybody to me is just the name without the, anyway, so without the authority part. So then when she published her phenowage, I added in high sensitivity C-reactive protein, but even that, I mean, they’re like, I’m sure you know there’s like immune age.

And it’s like a whole panel of immune biomarkers that aren’t commercially available though. I mean, I’d happily measure all that too. But so HSCRP and then, you know, it’s funny because like epigenetics is not my background. It’s not my forte. Like my forte was on, you know, all the basics of standard chem panel, CVC. And then Ryan was gracious enough to, Ryan Smith, for those who don’t know, was gracious enough to say, hey, if you want some epigenetic kits,

you know, I’ll send them to you, no problem. And I was like, okay, but I didn’t even think anything of it. And then they just sat in my apartment for a couple of months. And I was trying to, because you’ve got to know what you want to measure, you’ve got to understand. And epigenetics was so new that I really did. And then as I started doing deep dives, I was like, oh, I see, I get it. I get it now, right? So yeah, so then I added that in, and you guys do telomere testing too, so that’s a part of the approach.

So, but then I’ve expanded it even further to oral microbiome because I’ve had issues with oral health my whole life, probably most of it self-imposed because I wasn’t, I grew up on a junk food diet, I didn’t floss. So I’ve optimized that as much as I can now, but it’s a similar approach to what you see Brian doing, Brian Johnson, who’s popularized it, which is basically trying to optimize every organ system that exists. And, you know,

michael lustgarten (16:50.878)
And just going back to that central premise, if you know what it looks like in a youthful state, at least in terms of biomarkers, you could potentially slow it, delaying disease, maximizing longevity, and then hopefully living long enough to live forever, if that’s within the next 70 years or so.

Hannah Went (17:07.062)
Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, I’m, I don’t know if I would consider myself a quote unquote biohacker, whatever you’d like to call it. There’s a lot of different terms out there. And I know some people don’t like the word biohacker. Um, but obviously I care very much about my health. I’m, I’m tracking it. I’m using some of those actual biomarkers to get a baseline, do certain item one experimentation and then track afterwards as well to see if it’s hopefully a positive change, maybe a negative change. Um,

In terms of what I do, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this before, but I have a longevity healthcare provider. I get my labs done, all my hormones, everything done, probably includes that CBC panel that you mentioned. About every six months, I’ve been a little bit bad and I’ve waited too long this time, but I’m going in the next two weeks over to Quest, you know, fasted in the morning, get it over with. So I’m happy to track those even and get kind of my values and see, oh, am I deficient in magnesium during the intake of more vitamin D or maybe certain hormones as well.

I think people don’t realize how simple it can be to, like you mentioned, the $35, $50 range somewhere in there.

michael lustgarten (18:08.962)
For the basics, yeah. So I wish I had been as rigorous earlier. Like if I could go back and so instead of, you know, kind of blazing the trail and not knowing what I’m doing and only tracking once a year, I wish I was doing it, you know, seven times a year now, but in my 20s. And the reason I say that is like, when I see like, it’s funny, cause sometimes I’ll see someone in their 80s and I’ll be like, what did they look like when they were young? And you know, even like for someone who looks relatively young in their 50s,

Hannah Went (18:10.254)

michael lustgarten (18:37.27)
you can still see that there’s some, and even relatively fit people, whether it’s face structure or maybe it’s hormones. So, and even for myself, I mean, hair not, you know, withstanding, you know, granted, shave, not alopecia, but anyway, so what I’m trying to get at, I think hormones may be the, you know, androgens and estrogens respectively for men and women. I didn’t track that at all for a very long time, but I wonder if keeping them at optimal levels from youth to 50s and beyond.

like would retain some of that youthful look at advanced age. Because you could have, I think it’s relatively easy to have optimal markers of kidney and liver and immune cells, I think that’s relatively easy. But I don’t know that drives the quote unquote youthful look as much.

Hannah Went (19:13.635)

Hannah Went (19:23.842)
Yeah, that’s an interesting take and it’d be great to have that data. Of course, at True Diagnostic, we usually test people between their 40s and 60s just because that’s who our healthcare providers are seeing, right? And we always encourage people to do this testing in your 20s or 30s just to, again, get that data profile, that information about oneself set up. Now I will say the one recommendation we make to those healthcare providers and the one thing that’s been proven in an interventional trial is just hormone replacement therapy in…

women who have gone through menopause. But again, delaying the onset of menopause can have some really great aging effects as well. I will say that most of the patients that we treat are probably on some type of hormone replacement therapy and we have a very, very healthy population. So I do think there’s probably some correlation there. I don’t wanna say definitively because it’s very, very subjective is what I’m saying, but we can run a massive analysis and again, see which products are.

that are correlated with, of course, better aging.

michael lustgarten (20:23.222)
Or even like age at onset of menopause. Like I’m betting that the women who had the, you know, most delayed onset of menopause probably have like the youngest either Horvath or Dunedin Pace, you know, and then I wonder how that translates if they’re able to keep it up, you know, for longevity, right? So, yeah.

Hannah Went (20:34.755)

Hannah Went (20:41.91)
Yeah, yeah, definitively. And I think we’ll learn more about that as time goes on as well. It’s weird to me. I have had someone ask me this question. I’m curious to see what you think. So of course we know men age quicker than women, right? And they die younger compared to women because of that sex paradox. So this is kind of the topic we were talking about. Yet we know pregnancy really, really advances women’s age and we go through menopause, right? So.

Why do you think that men still age quicker and die younger when women are going through these really drastic hormonal based changes? And still live longer. Purely speculation that obviously, you know, wasn’t on our little agenda or talking points here, just kind of going with this conversation. You have any thoughts about that?

michael lustgarten (21:17.342)
and still live longer. Yeah.

michael lustgarten (21:24.131)

michael lustgarten (21:27.862)
I don’t. So what do you got?

Hannah Went (21:31.026)
Not much, just that, you know, there have been a couple papers by Jesse Pogiannick out of Harvard under Vadim Gladyshev’s lab who did look at different stressors and how biological age is affected and pregnancy is one of those stressors, but it can be corrected once the stressor is gone. It can be restored essentially the biological age past even baseline if they’re doing things that can better their health.

But yeah, I still don’t know. I think that still doesn’t account for like the physiological, I guess, part of pregnancy that we go through right in the healing of the body. So I don’t know. Just wondered if you had any other snippets.

michael lustgarten (22:13.314)
thinking about it some more, just to play devil’s advocate, maybe men are more likely to have a poor diet and smoke. I don’t know that this is the case, but then I’m thinking animal studies, even then do female mice live longer than male mice on a calorie strict diet or any intervention? Sometimes some interventions are sex specific, but I don’t know that female animal models would necessarily live longer. I guess it depends on the intervention, but it’s a tough human study to do.

Hannah Went (22:15.789)

Hannah Went (22:42.006)

michael lustgarten (22:43.166)
My first thought is women have evolved for longevity and the men are more disposable, I guess, right? So.

Hannah Went (22:50.89)
Yeah, no, I forgot. It was like a curve ball. And yeah, we really didn’t ask some colleagues and didn’t really get anywhere. Had a couple of thoughts like you and I are having right now. But if anyone listening wants to drop a comment or talk about this and maybe give us some reasons, that’d be great. Yeah.

michael lustgarten (23:07.906)
So to follow up, so I only mentioned the blood testing side of it, right? So the other side of that is I’m not just testing up to seven times a year. I’m tracking diet, fitness metrics, sleep. And then I’ve looked, so I basically have tracked, so that hardcore approach of tracking almost literally everything. The food goes back to 2015, so that’s eight years. The fitness metrics is about five years. And so…

for every blood test, I have an average dietary intake that corresponds to that blood test. So if you test on day one and you test on day 60 for the 59 day period in between, you have an average dietary intake and you can line that up with every blood test. So I’ve been doing that since 2015 and based on how, so after every test, I’ve been calculating correlations. And then, so most people have the idea like just in standard academic studies.

You have two groups and you give one group an intervention and the goal is to only change literally one thing or in an animal model, right? But that’s almost completely impossible in human studies. So, and even for someone like me who’s highly motivated, who tracks their diet, who weighs all my food, there’ll still be little things that’ll be off, whether it’s a vitamin or mineral, whatever it may be. But so what I’m trying to say is after each test, I recalculate the correlations and then I modify my diet to try to push.

the net effect of biomarkers in a given direction. So, you know, it’s easy to say, all right, I wanna optimize glucose and lipids and forget about completely everything else. For me, it’s when I’m optimizing glucose or lipids, it’s how does that look like? How does that intervention look like in the net effect of all of the other biomarkers? So if it makes glucose lower, but makes seven other biomarkers worse, that’s not gonna, that’s not, and that for just as an example, like total fat, you know.

Hannah Went (24:37.102)

michael lustgarten (25:03.042)
For me, for whatever reason, a very high fat diet, which is when I go above about 40%, more blood biomarkers start going in the wrong direction than right. So, using that approach, I’ve been able to find the fat amount, find the protein amount, find the vitamin and mineral amounts that are associated with the most youthful biomarker profile. And I hate to say it, but that’s kind of the reason why it’s only a matter of time before I’m at the top of that rejuvenation leaderboard.

Hannah Went (25:24.26)

michael lustgarten (25:30.89)
And everybody’s looking at me trying to, because it’s completely objective. It’s not like I take a hundred, I don’t take a hundred supplements nowhere close, not to put anybody on blast. We know who we’re talking about, but I’m a big fan of him. I’m not trying to put him on blast, but eventually everyone’s gotta come around to this approach and track literally everything and then look at, you know, how does this impact that within the full context? So.

Hannah Went (25:33.332)

Hannah Went (25:43.612)

Hannah Went (25:54.634)
Yeah, I mean, that’s phenomenal. I mean, we need a calculator from you, right? We need your kind of, your type of approach there.

michael lustgarten (26:01.518)
So the weakness though is just going back to that, one change at a time, one intervention at a time. So for a given panel of biomarkers, I may have 20 things in my diet that send the net effect positive and 20 things that send the net effect negative, right? So I’m not following one thing, I’m not following the top thing or the bottom thing. I’m trying to literally follow them all. So in other words,

if my correlative score for protein is negative five, I eat below my average intake, and that would be expected to have a better effect on biomarkers than if I went higher for protein. I have scores for every macro and micronutrient and even for individual foods, correlative scores with the blood biomarkers. So I try to follow literally them all. So for me, in working with clients, I see that as the best approach because,

Hannah Went (26:42.648)

michael lustgarten (27:00.762)
It isn’t one thing, you know, it’s just like genetics where it’s to say that one gene, even though sometimes one gene can affect, you know, a whole organism, but you know, when it comes to longevity, it’s probably going to be thousands of genes working together, if not more. So I kind of try to have the same approach. All right, I’m going to follow all of the positive correlations and follow all, you know, minimize the foods that are all of the negatives without knowing which one or which group is actually doing it. And I’m probably losing some information using that approach.

But if I was gonna take the truly academic approach of this one at a time thing, it would take me years just to figure out and who has that time, right? So, I mean, literally who has that time? Like you said, right? Yeah.

Hannah Went (27:38.966)
Yeah. You’re going to be dead. Die trying. Right. So, um, no, I still think that’s a wonderful approach. And again, there’s going to be some pros and cons with each approach. That one’s going to take a long time. Again, we don’t have the time. We have to do what we can with what we have right now. So that’s, that’s just amazing. I mean, it’s so hard to change one thing before and after, but I encourage people. I mean, I spend most of my time every single day Monday through Friday, even on the weekend, speaking with healthcare providers and saying, Hey, I know you have your EMR or your

certain tracking system, but really track everything. And it’s just so hard. I mean, they’re prescribing all sorts of different things at the same time, and I’m saying, wait a second, maybe you’re taking way too much. Maybe you’re not at some metabolic homeostatic level, and we’re not able to actually know what’s being affected. So slow down, maybe take some things away. I do have an app just called Way of Life, where I’m tracking like three little daily habits. And I think I…

meditate, you know, every day before I go to bed. I think I do these things and then I actually track it and I’m like, oh crap. Oh my gosh. I haven’t meditated in three weeks, right? Or whatnot. So when you actually see it too, that’s at least helped me. And it’s more about that, that habit building and that repeatability.

michael lustgarten (28:50.378)
Yeah, definitely, just along the lines of trying to get doctors to track or the medicines for their patients or whatever it may be in the context of a patient’s health record. So statins, as you know, for lowering total cholesterol, right? So I’ve worked with people who their cholesterol levels on statins will be very low, what you would expect. But then other things in the, like whether it’s kidney function markers or liver markers will be elevated.

So I’ve gone into the published literature to see, all right, can statins impact these things? Sure enough, there is evidence that statins can negatively affect the liver and negatively affect the kidney, even muscle to release creatinine into the blood to make it look like a kidney function problem when it could be muscle damage. So I wonder how much medicine is actually considering the full context rather than, all right, you’ve got high cholesterol, we’re gonna give you a statin, but we’re not gonna even measure or look at the other stuff. And if the other stuff is even,

Hannah Went (29:37.302)

michael lustgarten (29:49.098)
in the high end of the range, we don’t care because we wanna bring your cholesterol down, which is, I mean, it’s a terrible approach, right? So.

Hannah Went (29:53.91)
Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty insane. Just a side note on that real quick. I’m going to give a shout out to my grandfather actually. He was on a stat and then started to get some muscle atrophy and some issues and whatnot. So it was so funny to watch him because he does not have a science background, but to go down this path and he started Googling and he started saying, why is this happening to me? And it was

asking me all of these questions about his health. So I just thought that was super interesting. And funny that you bring that up anyways, there’s actually one epigenetic methylation marker where if you take a statin, it’s the ABCG1 gene, that gene is actually shut off and your type two diabetes risk skyrockets. So if that gene is shut off, you’re affecting your insulin sensitivity. And we see people who take statins have that increase in type two diabetes because that gene is shut off. So that’s.

where you get more into the crazy pharmacopoeia epigenetic world in space. That’ll be its own field and probably the next decade or so, but we’re starting to find more and more of those correlations and connections as we do deeper literature drives, just like you mentioned.

michael lustgarten (30:58.574)
then it becomes like a modulation of risk kind of thing, because if you actually have cardiovascular disease and atherosclerotic plaque, then it’s obviously the most imperative to reduce your lipid levels because that’s like gold standard. I mean, CBD, right? But then, if you don’t die from heart disease, but now you’re increasing, like you said, type two diabetes risk and whatever else may come with that, how does that, what’s that trade off, right? You don’t die from CBD, but now you end up with liver cancer, right? So…

Hannah Went (31:13.634)

Hannah Went (31:27.082)
Yeah, it’s hard. So, um, Michael, going back to what you’re doing a little bit, you know, I, I heard you say, uh, that you were like measuring your food and you’re doing all of these things. So with, I think too, we don’t have to get into the specifics of your biomarkers. If anyone wants to look into that, please, please watch his videos. They’re absolutely great. But, um, give me your secret sauce. Tell me what you’re doing from, you know, let’s get into diet, physical activity, sleep, body weight, and then.

michael lustgarten (31:28.234)

Hannah Went (31:54.974)
I would like to talk about those epigenetic methylation markers and just where you see your aging going and what actually triggers those too.

michael lustgarten (32:01.674)
Yeah. So in terms of diet, just to keep it easy breezy, the profile that makes my quote unquote biomarkers look the best for now, or that’s associated with the best profile is about, and this includes, so fiber is converted into short chain fatty acids. So fiber can be considered fat. You can add that to the fat category. So total fats about 40%, total carbs or net carbs about 40% and then proteins about 18%.

So, and again, I didn’t start, I haven’t settled on that just based on the epidemiological studies that’s following the correlations of biomarkers. So body weight, I’ve been trying to get as lean as possible for a very long time. I grew up looking at bodybuilding magazines and always trying to be lean and ripped, thinking how could you ever die if you’re highly lean and highly functional. So I’m slowly trying to get towards 6%. I’m probably at about 8% or 9% now.

which was higher in the past, so about 12%, and that may actually be what’s driving my Dunedin pace, because as you know, it’s the only epigenetic clock in that head-to-head matchup of five other epigenetic clocks that showed a epigenetic age reduction, right, for people on CR for two years. So my Dunedin pace has actually been coming down since I started, sequentially, almost every test. And the only thing that’s, I haven’t made major changes to my diet, but…

I’ve been purposely reducing my body weight and my body fat percentage over that time. So that may be the factor that’s driving it the most. And in support of that, you know, people like Seamland and Brian Johnson, who have relatively low scores, they’re also very lean compared to the average population. So I don’t know, that would be my hypothesis for that. I track fitness metrics, which help me titrate how much exercise, how often, even which days I should be training versus not.

Hannah Went (33:46.562)

Hannah Went (33:56.838)
I see the treadmill in the background too. So you have to be doing some cardio there.

michael lustgarten (33:59.216)

Well, for cardio, I haven’t done the treadmill so much these days. I do mostly low intensity cardio, but the core of my workouts is an 80 minute workout with compound movements, overhead press, pull ups, some dead lifts. If I have a herniated disc in my lower back from eagle lifting as a kid, which, so I have to be very careful there, but compound movements, calisthenics, some taekwondo related stuff, some mobility balance and flexibility. So the goal is to be

You know, so there’s also a gait that’s associated with age, right? If you look at someone’s gait and how they move, and even how they’re able to move, you can see that someone looks old just based on their movement pattern. So, yeah, my workout’s tailored so that I don’t, or I minimize that as much as possible. I don’t want to ever look at me and someone’s like, why you move like an old person, right? So, yeah, it’s like an 80-minute workout. But when I started tracking the fitness stuff,

heart rate variability, resting heart rate. I was chronically over-trained. I mean, I was doing workouts that were way too long. These cardiovascular fitness metrics look like someone who was sedentary, which was ridiculous. I was walking 15 to 20 miles a week, doing three-hour weightlifting workouts once or twice a week. I mean, I was highly trained. So the fitness metrics to me are essential for knowing when to train, how much to train, how often. But even that too was a big…

a bit of an ego hit because I mean, I’ve said it before, I like throwing heavy weights around like a gorilla for three hours. I love the challenge, but it’s just murder for me in terms of my recovery’s too slow, I feel terrible for a week. Yep, with whoop, I’ve been using whoop. But any wearable, I think most of them are pretty good where they give that basic information, heart rate variability, resting heart rate.

Hannah Went (35:45.306)
Are you tracking that with whoop or wearable or something like that? Okay, okay, gotcha.

Hannah Went (35:56.74)

michael lustgarten (35:57.398)
the average daily heart rate, which even knowing, it took me a while to figure that out too. So if it’s a workout day, my heart rate for that day would be relatively high. And it took me a while to figure out that I do best in terms of quote unquote recovery for the next workout, in terms of performance during that workout, if my heart rate the next couple of days is purposefully lower. Now, if I wasn’t tracking that, it’s very easy for me, or I don’t know from other people, but.

It’s very easy for me if my heart rate on that day is 58 beats per minute on a workout, it may be 60, 62, and then now I’m not recovering as fast because I’m still chronically stressing myself. So seeing the data has really helped me hone it in such that this morning’s data, it was 81, 41 for heart rate variability, resting heart rate. I mean, that’s like almost endurance athletes that are elite cyclists, it’s like 140. And I’m not nowhere near that, you know, so.

Hannah Went (36:51.915)

michael lustgarten (36:53.986)
that I can kind of, quote unquote, biohack my way towards that direction, I don’t know, for me impressive. But, and then.

Hannah Went (36:59.658)
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s great to hear. And again, people are just like, what do I do? What do I do? Someone show me the data. And first and foremost, you need to start tracking these things yourself. But I think we actually see that a lot in more of those Horvath related epigenetic age clocks, those first generation kind of chronological age ones. Again, getting closer to chronological age, but still trying to measure an epigenetic methylation process. And we see in people who are more of the elite athletes or Olympians,

that they actually have those faster, more intrinsic or Horvath related epigenetic ages. So I think that’s really interesting. I think, you know, Kristen McGreevey has an interesting algorithm called DNA methylation fit age. True Diagnostic is getting ready to release a version of that soon based on our omic age data set that we’ve done. And that’s going to give you your fitness, your biological age based on your fitness levels too. So I’d be curious to see how that tracks because we’re going to do.

VO2 max, FEV1, grip strength and gate speed as well.

michael lustgarten (37:58.742)
Wait, wait, so you were saying that people who are more active would have older Horvath ages, or I interpreted that wrong? Wow. Huh.

Hannah Went (38:05.526)
Yeah, yeah, usually we see that trend. Yeah, so people come back and it’s funny to speak with like these healthcare providers who, oh, hey, this person was an elite cyclist or just ran, just performing a triathlon or whatnot and trained this much. And why do they have these really bad intrinsic epigenetic ages? And well, we believe it’s due to some, or some obvious compounded oxidative stress that may lead to inflammation, that may lead to a…

cascading negative fall of events and in effect those epigenetic methylation patterns. So it’s just ever so slightly, we want to see more of a variety of movements, I like to call it rather than, you know, working exercise, so walk, lift weights, you know, good rule with them, lift weights at least a couple times a week, right? As we age, we lose that muscle mass. Do the yoga, do the taekwondo, different things like you were saying as well.

because again, your body’s not getting used to this one movement, you’re not putting as much stress on it. So what you’re saying, this is why I like speaking with you, what you’re saying from the biomarker perspective in all of these wearables is literally matching the data that I know from an epigenetic space. Ha ha ha.

michael lustgarten (39:12.77)
Nice. That elite athletes or the athletes would have older Horvath ages. I mean, it could be just over training. I mean, maybe it’s not the, yeah, yeah. But it’s just funny that, you know, all of my other, so my Horvath age right now is right at my chronological age. But if I wanted to spin that a different way, it’s been as high as like 56. So it’s like, technically I could say over the last three or four tests, I’ve reduced it from 56 to 50, but I don’t know that I would.

Hannah Went (39:21.811)
Oh, correct, yeah.

Hannah Went (39:30.873)
Is it?

Hannah Went (39:40.878)

michael lustgarten (39:41.856)
make that exaggerated claim.

Hannah Went (39:44.932)

No, absolutely. That’s great. So you went over diet, the physical activity. What about your sleep? You’re tracking that with Whoop as well?

michael lustgarten (39:55.53)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sleep, sleep is probably the hardest one to track, or not track, but to optimize. And, you know, so there are some bases, so I should preface by saying, my sleep has always been bad, going back to maybe teenage years, or sleep quality and duration not been great. Now, sleep hygiene is a real thing. Maybe I didn’t believe it at some point in the past, but I believe it now, and…

Hannah Went (40:01.791)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Hannah Went (40:16.954)

michael lustgarten (40:22.366)
I’ve been in that boat of go to sleep at the same time. I bought some stuff to black out most of my windows so that I don’t get residual light coming in because I’m right on the street in Boston. So like, even though my shade is pulled closed, if the wind blows the shade a little bit, I can get a ray of light. And I’ve been awakened by a ray of light hitting my eyes while I’m asleep, which is crazy. So I literally go to sleep at the same time every night. I black out the room as much as possible.

Hannah Went (40:44.014)

michael lustgarten (40:50.026)
sleep with earplugs because it’s busy, and it wakes me up in the middle of the night if I don’t. But, and then I also, my eating window is relatively short and it doesn’t necessarily impact my blood biomarkers, but stopping the eating window as early as possible, for me on a at-home workday, it’s around one o’clock, almost all of my calories. On a in-person workday, it’s…

a little bit later, maybe three o’clock. So my bedtime’s around nine. So I’ve got about a six hour window at least where there’s no food, very little water. So the majority of it is earlier in the day. And that helps because then I’m not waking up two, three, four times during the night, which that was in the past, you know, that’s how it was. There were even times when I’d eat one meal a day and fast all day, eat from six to nine. And I mean, I was every hour I’d wake up and then the next morning I feel awful because waking up every, you know, so often. But

Hannah Went (41:34.146)

Hannah Went (41:43.23)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

michael lustgarten (41:45.194)
Like I said, sleep for me is the hardest thing to optimize because even with all of those little tricks of the trade that have helped my sleep immeasurably, well, I shouldn’t say immeasurably, but so I had a sleep study done 10-ish, 12-something years ago where I went for the gold standard polysomnography where you actually sleep in a climate controlled room and they gear you up with electrodes. At that time, only 5% of my total sleep time was in deep sleep.

Hannah Went (41:56.074)

Hannah Went (42:05.764)

michael lustgarten (42:14.786)
Deep sleep declines during aging. So 5% is something you’d expect to see in like an 80 year old. So, and that was when I was in my early thirties. So now whoop has been compared against PSG and for deep sleep, it’s been found to be comparable. So I’m actually getting a lot more than 5%. I’m actually up to 20 to 25% deep sleep. So yeah, so it can be improved. Now, with that said, and I mentioned, it’s probably the hardest thing to optimize because

Hannah Went (42:20.587)
Oh wow.

Hannah Went (42:34.404)
Oh good.

michael lustgarten (42:43.266)
How can you stay asleep when you’re asleep? Falling asleep, I mean, it’s, you just gotta get into a little meditative zone for me. But like clockwork, I’m up three to five hours after I go to sleep. And then within the last two or three hours before waking up, it’s sometimes every hour last night. Maybe it was because I was like, all right, I gotta get to work at a certain time, so I gotta leave at a certain time to be back here. But I was up, it was like every 20 minutes from three to five, which…

Hannah Went (42:57.047)

Hannah Went (43:09.539)

Hannah Went (43:13.167)
Oh, you’re excited for this podcast. There you go.

michael lustgarten (43:13.234)
Every, for sure, for sure. But it’s just, but other nights it’s like that too, where it’s, you know, I’m up three or four times. Where I mean, I’m up and conscious, and I actually have to like tell myself, I have to calm myself down, and like literally have to meditate myself to sleep. Most nights I can do that, but every so often it doesn’t work. So, you know, then that gets into, you know, is it a melatonin issue? Is it, so.

Hannah Went (43:20.504)

Hannah Went (43:24.281)

michael lustgarten (43:38.31)
optimizing that, I’m still cooking up some biochemical pathways and see what I can do.

Hannah Went (43:43.866)
Nice. I’m excited to see what comes. I’m gonna send you someone I like for sleep too. I’ll give a shout out. Her name is Molly McLaughlin. I think she just got married. It’s Molly Eastman now. If you follow her and whatnot, her content is really, really good on Instagram and stuff too. Yeah.

michael lustgarten (43:56.558)
I think I’ve checked her out. I don’t know, I think that name sounds familiar.

Hannah Went (44:00.234)
Yeah, yeah, I’ll send it to you afterwards, but that’s interesting. I’m funny enough. Sleep is actually the easiest thing for me. Probably when I wear my whooped down, it’s like a hundred, a hundred, a hundred. And then I’ll look at the metrics too, to make sure I’m getting enough and REM deep sleep, et cetera. Um, I probably fall asleep too fast. Like I can fall asleep in the movie theaters type of thing if I’m tired enough. Um, so that’s something, you know, I probably need to work on, but if I could go to bed at, you know, 6 PM, I’d be in bed. So I usually.

Try at 8.39, wind down, put the phone away, no screens, stop eating hours ahead of time, all that good stuff. So I’m really excited to have heard about what you’re doing. Now, do you prioritize any one of those or any biomarker or would you just say sleep because that’s the hardest for you right now?

michael lustgarten (44:44.35)
So they’re all important. I don’t wanna put one above the other, but sleep is probably the most important of them all because if my sleep quality is bad and I’m up a few times, not only can that, so there are times when I’m so wide awake at two in the morning and I try to minimize these occurrences as much as possible, but I’m so wide awake and then I’m just laying there in bed for like an hour that I’ll eat my breakfast at 1 a.m. And then within like an hour, half an hour, boom, I’m asleep. So.

Hannah Went (44:47.415)

Hannah Went (45:09.37)

michael lustgarten (45:12.63)
It could be some aspect of CR that’s impairing my sleep quality at that point, but that kills my data, my heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and then knowing that I’m ready, I’ll have over-trained data because I ate so late or so early, I’m not training on that day. So if that was a scheduled workout day and I ruined it by my poor sleep quality, now I gotta push that another day. So sleep is essential. Even for me, even a 30 to 60 minute sleep debt,

Hannah Went (45:16.747)

michael lustgarten (45:41.95)
over a couple of days, it can start to affect my mental and physical performance. So yeah.

Hannah Went (45:46.026)
Oh, absolutely. I know when I wake up in the middle of the night, or this has happened more recently when I’m traveling because I’m not an anxious flyer. I’m fine when I’m in planes or cars or traveling, but just the fact that I’m like, oh, I set my alarm for 4 a.m. to head to the airport. I’m like, you know, up and I think anxious and just a little stressed out and I’ll wake up and check the clock and go back to bed. So it’s like, you kind of just start getting a little bit of that acute stress where

The wheels start turning and then you’re up and you know, you’re thinking about all sorts of things. So I can, I can definitely work on that. So, um, Michael, what aren’t you tracking? Is there anything you’re, you’re like, I just, I, why didn’t, I start tracking that earlier or are you not tracking one thing, um, that you can think of?

michael lustgarten (46:33.118)
Yeah, so it was hormones. I wish I went back and tracked hormone levels earlier, especially like DHEA sulfate, which declines during aging. And I have this in a video where my levels were youthful 15 years ago and I didn’t track it at all. I just forgot about it. It’s not on a standard chem panel. And then once I started tracking it last summer, now I have 20 plus tests now and all of them are pretty low. And granted it’s not reference range low, but it’s just low relative to my own and then relative to what youthful levels look like.

Hannah Went (46:37.024)
The whole thing.

Hannah Went (46:56.141)

Hannah Went (47:02.947)

michael lustgarten (47:03.266)
How do you, you know, it’s almost like if your organ function, you know, it’s like if you’re bleeding to death and you give someone a transfusion, a blood transfusion, it’s hemorrhagic shock, they can die anyway. You know, it’s just you hit this point of no return that you can give someone that’s hemorrhaging blood and they’re gonna bleed to death anyway because they’ve lost so much blood. So I hope that that’s not the case for my adrenal glands where, you know, they’ve aged or whatever it is.

Hannah Went (47:26.403)

michael lustgarten (47:32.69)
And it’s almost like no matter what I do, I can’t rejuvenate them back using, you know, my standard diet and exercise or whatever else. So in terms of what am I not doing, I mean, I can see a road for the gut microbiome. I’ve done it a few times. Not that it’s hard, I wouldn’t say that, but, you know.

Hannah Went (47:40.928)
Yeah, yeah.

Hannah Went (47:49.23)
It’s hard.


michael lustgarten (47:56.03)
you just, you need, it’s more than just who’s there, and then it’s more than just, you know, in terms of, so 16S is what, you would get the species that are there if you’re using, or whole genome sequencing, you would get the species. If you use something like Viome, you’re gonna get, what’s the active gene expression? So I would kinda need both, who’s there, and what’s the active gene expression? So now I’m getting too much into the weeds, you know, almost, because the reason I say that is,

Hannah Went (48:04.328)

Hannah Went (48:16.718)

Hannah Went (48:20.181)

michael lustgarten (48:22.198)
You know, you could have changes in the gut microbiome, but you’d expect to see something reflected physiologically, at least in the blood, right? So if I tweak various levels of certain species in the gut and don’t see any changes in my circulating biomarkers, whether it’s metabolome or proteins or cells, so I don’t wanna get too lost in the details of the microbiome there, but yeah. Whole body MRI, I mean, that’s something that…

Hannah Went (48:29.253)
Mm. Mm-hmm.

Hannah Went (48:40.538)

Hannah Went (48:45.466)
That makes sense. I mean, yeah, I would agree with that as well.

michael lustgarten (48:51.726)
you know, yeah.

Hannah Went (48:52.866)
I’m hearing more and more about that as well and some health optimization based groups I’m in and that the wait list is like months even. If it’s, I forget what the company is called, who does it? If it’s not just like at a healthcare provider or longevity, I can dig it up and send it to you later. But yeah, I think Michael, at least to me, I think everything you’re doing is purely evidence-based, right? Like you said, you’re looking at these biomarkers and I think that’s the take home here is, hey, even if we’re looking at

your biomarkers could mean something different to someone else. So I encourage everyone to follow along and really look at, um, Michael’s videos and check out his kind of profile and what he stands for. So, um, getting more toward the end here, but, uh, also want to know what your most surprising find was when tracking biomarkers, does anything stick out?

michael lustgarten (49:44.974)
So there’s an idea that some biomarkers are, they aren’t malleable. For example, lipoprotein A, which is thought to be, you know, you only have to test it once. That’s not my words. That’s like, you know, health professionals just measure it once or once a year or whatever it is because your levels are genetically determined and they won’t change. So I thought that for a long time. And you know, back in the 2008 days when I was testing once a year, I thought, oh, I’ll never reduce this, right?

And then I started to look at studies and tried various interventions, and sure enough, it was pretty resistant to change. I couldn’t change it. But then once I started calculating those correlations with my diet, I figured out, all right, this dietary composition cuts it in half. I could probably get it even lower, but it goes back to that, the bottom of the U shape, where if I do the things that bring it down to 75% reduction, other stuff goes in the wrong direction. So I have to be, you know,

comfortable with that 50% reduction from the peak while not messing up a whole bunch of other biomarkers. So I think all of the biomarkers are malleable and it’s just a matter of figuring out your own recipe to affect them. With that said, you know, once I get the Horvath data into the 40s, people are gonna be like, why you reduced it so much? It’s only a matter of time, but I’m hot on the trail of the, like I said, the DHEA story, because even though it’s been 20 plus tests, if

Hannah Went (50:56.779)

michael lustgarten (51:12.122)
or once I’m able to reverse that trend and get it going in the right direction, there are no RCTs on, you know, usually if someone’s got low DHEA sulfate, you’re just giving DHEA, you just take it as a supplement. That’s like the standard of care. But, you know, part of me is arrogant as arrogant AF. And I’m like, look, I’m gonna show you, right? Now, whether or not I can do it, whether or not I can do it, maybe it’d be 50 tests, I don’t know.

Hannah Went (51:24.611)

Hannah Went (51:34.479)

michael lustgarten (51:38.37)
But with enough data, I think I’m going to discover my own recipe without messing up anything else to figure out how to start pushing that back towards the right direction. I actually have another video coming pretty soon on potentially impacting DHE sulfate. So yeah.

Hannah Went (51:51.638)
Yeah, well, no, I’m excited. I’m very, very excited. So just the list of questions I want to ask keeps growing and growing. So I have one more as well. Do you, you mentioned at the really, you know, very beginning of this podcast, kind of how you spend your time and that you do this a little bit on the side. Do you ever see it becoming a full-time job? Is that something you’ve kind of started to look at all?

michael lustgarten (52:16.686)
So the answer is yes. I do work with clients on the side and it’s much free time I have outside of making videos and academic work. Yeah, it’s a scary thing because one of the last things that Seamland and I talked about was he’s completely doing it on his own. And my channel, I don’t think is big enough, at least from YouTube, the YouTube side, in terms of payment to sustain me on my own. And the client work does bring in a decent amount of revenue, but…

Hannah Went (52:18.49)

Hannah Went (52:43.232)

michael lustgarten (52:46.826)
you know, a consistent revenue where I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Not just, it’s just not yet, you know, but then, uh, that could change because, um, you know, I see, I see like Morgan, uh, Dr. Morgan Levine wrote a book and Addy has got a book and everybody’s got a book, you know, Fontana, Luigi Fontana. There’s at least a one book in this whole approach, you know, just, just documenting our progress, you know, even just on a, uh, blood biomarker, quote unquote Bible.

Hannah Went (53:10.688)
There is!

michael lustgarten (53:15.298)
for what’s optimal for health and longevity without my own individual data put in there is like a book, right? So, all right, then the question is, can book sales be enough to sustain me, right? Can I get a book deal and the advance will sustain me for a few months long enough to write the book? Is that, I don’t even know how that process works. I don’t even know that that’s possible. So it’s a little bit scary, you know.

Hannah Went (53:26.199)

Hannah Went (53:35.788)

It is. It’s all about just security and again, knowing kind of what’s going to be there, I think is the hard part. And it’s hard to create content sometimes, right? Like I’m sure, maybe you have a bigger passion for it than I do, but I’m with that English background of yours, too. Sometimes I do think it takes one of the best skills is taking something that’s a very, very complex subject and breaking it down for the lay person. And again, you do a really good job at that. So maybe it’s not

if it becomes a full-time job, but when, or if you really want that to happen.

michael lustgarten (54:11.634)
Yeah, no, I definitely do. I definitely do. And in terms of content, I see that all over YouTube too, where people are, you know, you can tell when someone’s dying for some content. I have no shortage of that. Like I have so many tabs that are open that like stuff that I’m gonna, you know, but I just don’t have the time. I have to, you know, it’s, you know, I have, it’s limited time, right? But then the other side of that is if I’m out of academia, some of those papers that I have access to,

Hannah Went (54:27.339)
Yeah, oh god.

Hannah Went (54:36.003)

michael lustgarten (54:40.738)
How am I gonna have access, you know? So there’s that side of it too. But, you know, I’m even thinking about it. So the Conker Aging or Diatron brand doesn’t just apply to health optimization. There are whole other sides, which maybe it gets into weird fringe, but I have visions of expanding beyond just the health stuff, which could help, because there’s a broader interest. You know, there’ll be people in the channel that are here for health, there are people here, that are here for other stuff. And I don’t know if I wanna say it yet.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll get judged, but I don’t care. It’s the other stuff I’m passionate about and really cool stuff.

Hannah Went (55:16.262)
Oh, yeah. Well, I think as people follow you along, I mean, you’ll see this with a lot of celebrities, famous actors, singers, whatnot. As people follow along, you’ll realize that it’s, yes, sure, maybe initially they got interested because of the subject, but they’re going to stay because they like you, right? And they want to know your opinion. So I think that’s huge. I mean, you can say it with Taylor Swift, for example, right? You have these Swifties, and they’re just like,

They probably don’t like all of her music, but they love her. And that’s why she’s like at $5 billion to the country with her tour and whatnot. So, um, you know, that’s kind of a wild example there, but yeah, I’m excited to follow along and see what you come up with because, you know, I’m, I’m here for, for you and what you’re doing, but obviously became interested because of the scientific perspective that you’re taking an approach.

michael lustgarten (56:05.29)
It kind of goes to the idea of diversification. Like imagine if True Diagnostic only focused on Horvath, Hannum, and Dunedin-Pace. Like you guys have, you know, like we’ve talked about, like you’ve told me, and I won’t say anything about what may be coming, but they haven’t released yet. But like you guys are on that cutting edge. And I know that that’s cutting edge because some of the same stuff we were talking about, I’m studying in my own stuff academically, right? So it’s just broadening the horizon. So now it attracts the wider, like if you only focused on epigenetics, there may be a very small window of people who are interested in it.

Hannah Went (56:11.064)
Oh yeah.

Hannah Went (56:17.793)

Hannah Went (56:27.169)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yep.

michael lustgarten (56:34.654)
in that, now you branch it out into these other metrics too, and now you’re engaging a wider audience. So it’s kind of like that too. Like, for example, I’ll give you an example. So, and there are gonna be people who are like, man, you’ve lost it. You know, you’re too old, you’re talking about crazy stuff. When I see houses, like, you know, I’m thinking about buying a house, Boston’s crazy expensive, it’s ridiculous. But anyway, you look at these houses and…

Hannah Went (56:34.923)

Hannah Went (56:43.005)

Hannah Went (56:53.45)
Now I want to hear it.

michael lustgarten (57:02.946)
they last maybe 100 years, like a really good well-constructed house, if you’re lucky, 100 years. Some of the houses that I’ve seen, they’re like sheds. You know, a hard wind comes and it looks like it’ll blow the house down, right? So, you know, if you go back far, and I can’t say when these things were constructed, but if you looked at like temples, and I’m not even talking about Egypt, but like in India and all these, you know, the kind of crazy stuff that Graham Hancock is on about, you know, these…

megalithic structures that are carved out of the rock, out of the mountain. This to me is a longevity mindset. Whoever did that stuff, whether it was people a thousand years ago or way older than that, that mindset was, we’re going to construct something that exists for a very long time. That’s the conquer aging or die trying mindset. So I have ideas to maybe start interviewing people who are looking into those kinds of things.

Hannah Went (57:39.895)

Hannah Went (57:50.808)


michael lustgarten (58:00.871)
I probably will sooner than later. Yeah. And that’s, yeah.

Hannah Went (58:01.274)
I like it. I’d be interested, I’m just saying. My opinion matters at all. But no, that’s great. So everyone who’s listening, check out Dr. Michael Lesgarten. He has his YouTube channel and a lot of other ways that you can connect it with him as well. All these social media platforms on ConquerAging or DieTrying. The one question I ask everyone at the end, Michael, is if you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?

michael lustgarten (58:07.053)

michael lustgarten (58:28.546)
Uh, so my favorite, I have two favorite animals, the monkey and elephant, well, three, octopus. But man, I don’t know if I could be an animal. I mean, how about, how about, so technically we’re all animals, right? I mean, all of us. It’s my definite-

Hannah Went (58:37.263)
Okay? Okay.

Hannah Went (58:45.788)
Yes, it should be if you could be another animal.

michael lustgarten (58:48.734)
So, I mean, it’s all perspective, right? So if you take, so you know, Michael Rose, you’ve got the fruit fly stock and you selectively allow the longer lived ones to breed with each other and the shorter lived ones breed with each other. And before you know it, 2000 generations later, you’ve got the long lived flies and the short lived flies, but they started from the same founder stock. So if I could be any animal, I’d be the, you know, 2000 generations from now version of whatever humanity is relative to this version of me now.

Hannah Went (59:04.769)
I’m sorry.

Hannah Went (59:16.214)
Wow, I love it. No one’s answered that. That’s a great way to put it and bring it back to your platform. No, that’s awesome. I love that answer. And then about you, where can people find you if you just wanna reiterate that again?

michael lustgarten (59:29.514)
Yeah, all over the interwebs, Conqueraging or Die Trying, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Patreon, LinkedIn, everywhere, I’m everywhere. I even respond, I’m responding to comments everywhere too, because unlike, I don’t wanna put other people on blast, but I’m a man of the people, I’m here to serve, I wanna, every video I make, I’m responding to comments, even Seamlands video that we did on his channel.

Hannah Went (59:36.206)

Hannah Went (59:39.798)
Yes. Everywhere. Awesome.

michael lustgarten (59:58.93)
I went to his channel and he didn’t respond to any of them yet. I was responding to people asking questions. So I’m everywhere. I’m easy to find.

Hannah Went (59:59.533)

Hannah Went (01:00:04.502)
Yeah, no, that’s great. And I feel like I get told this and I do this, but I respond to emails fairly quickly. I think you respond to emails very quickly as well. And I’m like, yes. I know you’re busy, but you really do prioritize the relationships and your interactions with people as well. So I definitely appreciate that.

michael lustgarten (01:00:25.89)
Just real quick, there are scientists who are terrible at emails, and I’m sure you know, I’ll never be like that. Even with papers, you get a paper and you have two weeks to review it. I try to review it as fast as possible because I don’t wanna be the person that keeps it holding it up for two weeks. So somebody’s gotta set the good example. So that’s, I mean, I say it humbly, I’m just trying to leave a good example. So.

Hannah Went (01:00:47.086)
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Michael. We’ve come to the end of this amazing podcast. Remember for those listening who want to connect, you can reach out, Google his name. And again, thank you for joining us here at everything epigenetics. Remember you have control over your epigenetics. So tune in next time to learn more. Thanks everyone.

michael lustgarten (01:01:02.729)

About this Guest Expert

Michael Lustgarten, PhD
Michael Lustgarten, PhD, is an expert in the impact of the gut microbiome and serum metabolome on muscle mass and function in older adults, and a prolific contributor to the fields of oxidative stress, exercise, and sarcopenia with numerous influential publications.

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