Wild Ideas Worth Living: Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Listen Here 

  • Check out these notes with Rhonda on The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Rhonda has done extensive research on aging, cancer, and nutrition
  • She has her PhD in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • She is the host of the Find My Fitness Podcast and can be found at FoundMyFitness.com
What are the best health hacks for overall training and performance?
  • Using the sauna 
    • Rhonda started using the sauna in grad school
    • She noticed a decrease in her anxiety as well as an uplift in mood
    • There’s studies that show endurance athletes who use the sauna 2-3 times per week have performance enhancements (runners, cyclers)
      • Using the sauna results in increased blood flow to the heart (this allows the heart to do less work per beat – you’re pumping out blood easier and allowing fatty acids and glucose to travel more freely to muscles
      • It also acclimates you to sweat at a lower body temperature, allowing you to cool yourself easier – this is very helpful for endurance athletes
    • Its been shown that people who use the sauna 3-4 times a week have between a 24-50% lower cardiovascular disease risk depending on frequency of use
      • Also a 60% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Rhonda advises using the sauna 3 times a week, for 20-30 minutes, at a temperature of 175-190 F
      • If you were to use an infarred sauna (which don’t get as hot as a typical dry sauna) you’d have to stay in longer
    • On cold showering after the sauna
      • There’s not a lot of literature on hot/cold contrast therapy, but Rhonda notices she really feels great after doing it
    • Using the sauna mimics moderate aerobic exercise in a way
      • Many of the benefits of aerobic exercise are a result of an elevated core body temperature
    • Endocrine changes
      • Sauna use results in a robust increase of growth hormone, which helps prevent your muscles from atrophying
      • There’s also an increase in heat shock proteins (HSPs)
  • Hacking the Circadian Rhythm
    • We are most insulin sensitive in the morning, so it makes sense to consume most of your calories then, rather than late at night
    • Peak performance is on a circadian rhythm
      • Earlry Risers (7-8am)
        • Studies show their peak performance occurs between 5-6 hours after their waking time (this is only an increase in performance of 1-2%, but if you’re an Olympic athlete, this might make all the difference)
      • Later Risers: 10am onward
        • Their peak performance has been shown to occur 11 hours after waking (also an increase in performance of 1-2%)
  • Exercise – Aerobic Training vs. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    • Rhonda tries to get all forms of exercise, strength training included
    • Aerobic – running, cycling
      • Increases neurotrophic factors in the brain (30 minutes increases this 2-3 fold)
        • These cause your brain to make new neurons in areas involved in learning/memory
        • They also repair damaged neurons
    • HIIT
      • Rhonda wakes up around 5am and takes a HIIT cycling class at 9am
      • Increases the production of several neurotransmitters involved in learning/memory – so it helps short/long term recall
      • Causes our bodies to make new, and replace damaged mitochondria
  • Time Restricted Eating aka Intermittent Fasting
    • This involves eating all your meals within an 8-12 hour window
    • In animal models, this has been shown to result in increased endurance levels, perhaps due to the production of ketone bodies
      • For more on ketosis and ketones, check out these podcast notes with ketogenic diet expert, Dr. Dom D’Agostino
      • Even exogenus ketones can boost endurance
      • HIIT performance may be inhibited in a state of ketosis
        • This exercise occurs mainly in the anaerobic state, rather than the aerobic state
        • In the aerobic state, your mitochondria are using oxygen + glucose OR fatty acids to make energy
        • In the anaerobic state – you’re going beyond the capacity of your body to take the oxygen in, so you are only able to use glucose without the mitochondria – so ketone bodies wouldn’t help here 
    • Once you deplete your liver glycogen stores (this is basically just stored glucose) between 7-30 hours  (depending on activity level), fatty acids get released from adipose (fat) tissue, and travel to the liver to be converted to ketone bodies
    • Rhonda has noticed if she eats all her meals within a 9 hour window, she has increased endurance on long runs
    • HVMN – makes a ketone ester which puts you directly into a state of ketosis
      • This will be available in February
Fasting vs. Time Restricted Eating/Intermittent Fasting
  • Rhonda recommends measuring ketone levels with the Precision Xtra
  • Your metabolism is weakest at night (so this is really when you want to consume the least amount of calories)
  • While pregnant, Rhonda ate within a 12 hour window
  • Prolonged fasting has many additional benefits (including clearing out damaged cells)
    • “Time restricted eating is like vacuuming your carpet every day, prolonged fasting is like doing a deep carpet steam clean”
  • Studies have shown that compared to people who go for a run in the city, people who go for a run in nature have more of an improved mood and lessened anxiety
  • Check out the book – The Nature Fix
How did Rhonda come to being able to explain very complicated scientific information to the masses?
  • It started in graduate school when she found herself talking to people about their health and why they should eat a certain way, take enough Vitamin D, get enough fish oil, etc.
  • She wanted the people she cares about to be healthy, so she started a blog 
  • In Rhonda’s field, after obtaining a PhD, typically people do a postdoc where they teach and run a lab
    • She did this, and eventually was offered a tenured track faculty position, which wouldn’t have allowed her any time for her blog/podcast
    • She thought about accepting it, but realized that her reach was much wider with Found My Fitness, so she chose this path
  • Rhonda’s podcast – Found My Fitness
    • Check out these notes with psychedelic researcher Dr. Roland Griffiths
How do we decipher the huge amount of information on health and performance out there?
  • Find a reliable source, and look for scientific references 
  • It’s not always the case that a study funded by a certain industry (like the blueberry industry) is a bad study, but it happens, just be careful
    • If there’s consencous, there’s probably something there
Rapid Fire Questions
  • Favorite food to eat – broccoli sprouts or her micronutrient smoothie
  • Food to never eat – refined sugar (cake, cookies, etc.)
  • Typical morning routine – wake up, workout while her mother watches her baby son, then work on her blog/podcast
  • What podcasts does she listen to – Radiolab, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Books she gifts most often – The Good Gut, The Longevity Diet
  • Favorite piece of adventure gear she owns – her surfboard
  • Favorite kitchen tool – This Blendtech Blender for her micronutrient smoothies
  • Advice that she would give to her 15 year old self – “You’re capable of achieving whatever you want. Don’t let your insecurities hold you back.”
  • Advice on growing your following – Rhonda reached out to both Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan on Twitter to get their attention
    • “If you’re doing something of quality, and are passionate about it, and you put in the work, people will notice it”
  • Closing thoughts – “Put in the work, and things will start to work out” 
    • She’s been working on Found My Fitness for a decade now