#1670 – David Sinclair | Joe Rogan Experience

Key Takeaways

  • Your body can do more than what your mind is willing to let it do
  • You can move the needle in your health at any age, but try to start early with the basics: exercise, manage stress, work on nutrition, and skip meals
  • “Your genes only control 20% of ultimate health and old age; 80% if in your hands.” – David Sinclair
  • Unless you measure something, you don’t know whether it’s working
  • There is a biological variability in our diet – we have to measure and personalize our approach to health and nutrition
  • Living longer would allow people to have kids later, change careers later, live a longer and improved time with the learnings of youth
  • Skip meals or eat one meal per day to turn on hormesis and trigger the body to fight disease and aging
  • Exercise is one of the best ways to help with depression, anxiety, and stress


Dr. David Sinclair (@davidsinclair) is a biologist, professor of genetics at Harvard, author, and expert on aging and longevity. His research and biotech companies focus on understanding why we age and how to slow its effects.

In this episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan and guest David Sinclair take a deep dive into aging and discuss the science, potential treatments, and future of aging as a treatable disease.

Host: Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Book: Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair

InsideTracker: David Sinclair co-founded a company that can tell you biological age and creates personalized and actionable plans to help people optimize their bodies through nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle

Evolution & Modern Stressors

  • What makes humans different than animals: tool making, exploration, storytelling, and thinking about the future
  • We’ve become a weak species: feet have evolved for shoes, hands are smaller and not as strong, physically weaker and smaller
  • We’ve removed a lot of our stressors for survival but have created problems with our new technology
  • Stressors new to our generation: social media, blue light
  • Mental health disorder will be the health issue of the 21st century
  • Virtual and tech-based psychology companies are booming
  • Being focused and having a high focus on a challenge to the body and mind is beneficial – but we want to control “bad stress” and cortisol levels

Importance Of Movement And Activity

  • Get out of the chair – run for even 10 minutes a few times per week
  • People who regularly ride bikes have a reduced risk of heart attack
  • We want to know our biological age, not the number of years we’ve been alive
  • We should measure biological age every few months
  • Hyperbaric chambers: changes in oxygen emulate the effects of getting exercise without having to exercise and likely work by activating sirtuins and improving telomere length (controversial metric)
    • Telomere length is an indicator but not the only metric of aging; the Horvath clock is more accurate
  • “Your genes only control 20% of ultimate health and old age; 80% if in your hands.” – David Sinclair
  • If you do even these five most basic things, you will extend your life: (1) exercise; (2) sleep; (3) don’t smoke; (4) eat less; (5) manage stress
  • Lift weights! Strength & resistance training helps with sleep, nutrition, bone density, testosterone levels, balance, etc.

Metformin For Longevity

  • Metformin is a prescription drug indicated for diabetes but was found to promote longevity in people with type 2 diabetes
  • Metformin works by inhibiting mitochondria which forces the body to respond by making more mitochondria for use when the drug is not around
  • Someone who is overweight and has type 2 diabetes has been shown to live longer than someone who doesn’t have type 2 diabetes
  • Controversy: metformin use appeared to diminish muscle in study participants – but the study reported a difference in the size of muscle, not performance; and there was no difference in the number of reps between the metformin group and control group
  • David Sinclair takes metformin for longevity but mitigates by taking it after exercise

Meals, Snacks, And Managing Nutrition

  • Skip meals and try not to snack – eating one meal a day can extend your life
  • Overconsumption can make your body complacent and slow; the longevity genes that give the body resilience and measure the biological clock (changes to DNA in real-time)
  • Eating one meal a day turns on hormesis genes which make the body fight disease and aging
  • Fun fact: eating cooled or reheated potatoes reduces glycemic index by 30-40%
  • People develop habits where they feel like they want to eat or snack
  • Tip: remove snacks and junk food from your house as forcing function
  • Tip: try to drink water, hot water, or tea when you feel like having a snack

Reversing Aging & The Future Of Longevity Research

  • Reversing aging will happen
  • David Sinclair has successfully reversed vision loss in rats and hoping to move to humans within the next few years
  • The aging process is analogous to scratches on a CD: we skip songs when we get older
  • Treatment is like polishing a CD so you can read all the songs properly
  • Bacteria in tissue could be creating inflammation and related to diseases of aging we see later in life – cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc
  • Prediction 1: future supplement will mimic the effects of fasting, partly by increasing NAD
  • Prediction 2: human beings will have control over the process of aging and bring the body back to its peak form
  • Prediction 3: we could possibly engineer our genes so future generations will be resistant to viruses
  • Prediction 4: there will be an app on your phone which gives you a health dashboard and guide your eating

Modern Medicine

  • We see physicians once per year at most and our doctor often knows very little or nothing about us
  • The problem with medicine now is you have to be sick or have a family history before you’re treated
  • It’s hard to stay motivated and on track when you don’t know if what you are doing is working – we need to measure progress more frequently than once a year at a doctor’s visit
  • We have dashboards in our cars to tell us everything – we need the same for our healthcare
  • We spend a ton of our GDP on medicine and reactionary medicine when we could spend less, be more preventive, and have better health outcomes – saving more money for use on things to save the planet

NAD & Supplements For Longevity

  • NAD is what mitochondria use to make energy but decreases as we age
  • NAD levels cycle through the day
  • Exercise can increase NAD levels


  • Everyone’s body is different but most people need 7-8 hours
  • You will accelerate the aging clock without enough sleep
  • Bedtime tips: no blue light, tea
  • Concentrate on breathing to calm the mind and not spiral into all the mental games that happen when we’re trying to sleep

Lessons From COVID

  • We care for our old people
  • Health is of paramount importance – obesity and vitamin D were the highest predictors and both are in our control
  • People were pushed to the brink for a long time
  • We value community and a sense of togetherness
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Notes By Maryann

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