#1701 – Dr. Rhonda Patrick | Joe Rogan Experience

Key Takeaways

  • Most people on ketogenic diet are probably not actually achieving ketosis
  • Ketogenic diet isn’t just about extreme low carb – you have to be intentional about consuming very high fat
  • There are differences between fasting state and ketosis but you will make beta hydroxybutyrate and produce a lot of gabba in both cases which can improve cognitive function
  • Omega-3s are critical in diet: people with low omega-3 index have higher all cause mortality and lower lifespan
  • The quality of food makes a huge difference in micronutrient profile (and taste)
  • Exercise can be tricky when trying to achieve ketosis: aerobic exercise can stimulate it, strength training can kick you out
  • Sauna use could offer a great way for the body to mimic exercise in people who are disabled, depressed, or otherwise not willing to exercise
  • COVID vaccine misinformation has been rampant – you will eventually be exposed to virus at some point, so the decision/risk to consider is: do you want to be vaccinated or unvaccinated at the time of exposure?


Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness) has a Ph.D. in biomedical science and is an expert on nutritional health. She has dedicated her research career to finding proactive and preventive solutions to aging and longevity. Check out her podcast,  Found My Fitness and visit her website for tons of research articles and interviews.

Joe Rogan and Rhonda Patrick cover a wide range of topics from pros and cons of ketosis, sauna use, the value of omega-3s, COVID, and much more.

Host: Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Impact Of Keto Diet On Cognition

  • People experience sharp mental acuity while fasting or in ketosis
  • Adaptively makes sense that cognition could improve during fasted states because body is in survival mode
  • In ketosis the body switches from burning glucose for energy to mobilizing fatty acids and generating ketones (such as beta hydroxybutyrate) for energy
  • Beta hydroxybutyrate is a signaling molecule which activates brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF)
  • There are differences between fasting state and ketosis but you will make beta hydroxybutyrate and produce a lot of gabba in both cases
  • Gabba has calming effect and quiets neurons excited through glutamate

Achieving Ketosis And Using Exogenous Ketones

  • To be in mild ketosis you want to be around 0.9-1.2 millimolar which can take several days to achieve and body to adapt
  • You can’t only eat meat on keto diet because body will trigger gluconeogenesis and kick you out of ketosis
  • Most people who think they’re in ketosis are probably not – it’s not just being extremely low carb but also following diet high in fat
  • Measuring blood is most accurate assessment of whether you’re in ketosis: precision xtra ketone strips
  • Liquid exogenous ketones have bigger impact than powders but can be tough on GI
  • Exogenous ketones also lowers blood glucose drastically but for short period of time (max 1 hr)
  • Benefit of experimenting with ketone ester: you can try it out and experience the benefits which will hopefully motivate lifestyle change
  • Keto food tips: bacon, avocado with oil, sardines in olive oil (but they can contain heavy metals so monitor arsenic), wild Alaskan salmon
  • You may need to supplement with magnesium and omega-3 while on ketogenic diet depending on food intake, especially at the beginning

Pros And Cons Of Ketosis For Exercise

  • Initially it can be difficult to work out hard or with high intensity on ketosis while body is adapting
  • Exercise can stimulate ketosis because you deplete glycogen stores
  • Aerobic exercises best triggers ketosis
  • Strength training can cause you to take amino acids into muscle and kick you out of ketosis

Vitamin And Mineral Profile Of Foods

  • Wild game has higher concentration of micronutrients (e.g., zinc) and omega-3 versus conventional
  • Raw fish is higher in mercury than cooked fish
  • Grass fed, grass finished meat is usually darker, stronger tasting, less fatty than conventional
  • Before 2017 factory farmers were feeding antibiotics to cows because it made them bigger and was actually inducing antibiotic resistance via water supply
  • In 2017 FDA shut down use of antibiotics unless medically prescribed to curb rise in antibiotic resistance
  • Anecdotally, garlic oil capsules may have use in healing abscess when applied topically
  • People with low omega-3 index have been shown to have earlier all-cause mortality  
  • Omega-3s have been shown to decrease stroke incidence
  • Plant-based version of omega-3 that’s reasonable (but not as good): ALA and micro-algae
  • Therapeutic effects of EPA for cardiovascular disease are only in high doses – can get purified EPA Vascepa prescription if triglyceride levels qualify intervention
  • “Clinical trials in nutrition need to be designed better…you need to quantify nutrients from the beginning.” – Dr. Rhonda Patrick
  • We don’t really know the optimal level of micronutrients because of the poor design of studies in the field and the varying innate levels

Sauna Use

  • Joe Rogan sauna regimen: daily, 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees
  • Rhonda Patrick sauna regimen: daily, 15-20 minutes at 185 degrees
  • When your body gets a fever it’s trying to kill virus – there’s exploration of potential benefit in inducing that through sauna
  • Sauna increases blood pressure in the moment but lowers blood pressure immediately after
  • There is evidence that regular sauna use (3-4 times/week) reduces incidence of pneumonia
  • Sauna use should be as valuable in longevity as exercise, nutrition, etc.
  • Sauna mimics cardiovascular exercise so could be good onramp for people who will not otherwise exercise, sedentary, or disabled
  • Sauna contraindication: heart disease, arrhythmia
  • Brain & mental health benefits of sauna: antidepressant effect as early as first session
  • Getting depressed people to exercise is challenging – sauna could be a good way to get benefits of exercise without actually exercising
  • Learn more about sauna: Comprehensive sauna data & information by Rhonda Patrick

Ice Bath & Cold Plunge

  • There is not a lot of evidence on switching off between sauna and ice/cold plunge
  • Ice bath immediately after strength training blunts hypertrophy effects possibly by blunting inflammatory effect of IgF1 that’s helpful in muscle growth
  • It’s possible cold plunge several hours after strength training is ok but not enough exercise to make conclusion

COVID Vaccine Misinformation

  • Misinformation 1: vaccines don’t prevent transmission
  • Misinformation 2: vaccines will cause antibody dependent enhancement
  • Antibody dependent enhancement: makes viruses come into cells better or causes immune system to become more active after exposure to virus 
  • Misinformation 3: vaccines will cause infertility
  • Misinformation 4: vaccines will cause more virulent strain
  • Misinformation 5: alternatives exist that are just as good
  • Nothing is zero risk but the reality is 169 million people have been vaccinated and few have faced adverse events from the vaccine
  • Someone dies from cardiovascular event every 30 seconds in the U.S.; every 40 seconds someone faces a stroke
  • The lipid nanoparticle has a half life of a few hours, just long enough to deliver mRNA to tissue and does not spread
  • The myocarditis link from mRNA vaccines is real but rare – but it’s also happening in young people with COVID-19 so difficult to say which would be worse for the person who experiences vaccine side effects
  • The mRNA vaccines elicit a strong immune response
  • You’re either going to COVID-19 while vaccinated or not – but you will be exposed at some point
  • Should you get vaccinated if you’re young and healthy? Things to consider:
    • There are young people with mild symptoms (asymptomatic or non-hospital) with COVID that face “long haul COVID”
    • Both mild and severe COVID cases have atrophy in grey matter of the brain
    • For most people, the vaccine is safe – if turns out it’s not safe for you, getting COVID would probably be worse
    • The spike protein in virus is different than spike protein in vaccine – the spike protein in cells peaks after 24 hrs and goes away after 48 hrs
  • There is a waning period in vaccines – that’s why we see high rates of hospitalization among vaccinated people in Israel, where almost the whole population is vaccinated
  • The vaccine is not preventing transmission but does reduce transmission
  • Vaccinated people have less viral load and clear virus quicker based on studies completed and ongoing
  • There could be an argument to make for younger, healthy people to skip the booster
  • There’s also an argument to be made for people to skip vaccination if they previously had COVID
  • Data suggests the vaccines are safe for pregnant women, particularly when compared to pregnant women getting COVID

Prophylactic Use Of COVID Medication

  • Ivermectin has been promoted as prophylactic medication
  • Hesitations: sample sizes have been small, data has been aggregated in dramatic ways, ivermectin is usually taken for 1-2 days not weeks as people take now
  • There’s no evidence that ivermectin is useful as prevention
  • Ivermectin does seem to help clear virus quicker but only when given early after infection, not prevention
  • Do not take animal grade ivermectin!
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