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The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD, and Dr. Valter Longo


There is clear scientific evidence that supports the idea that lifestyle interventions like caloric restriction, fasting, and a ketogenic support the health of positive gene pathways, enhance the production of endogenous stem cells, power up the brain, increase the production of antioxidants, and even reduce inflammation.

But there is no doubt that implementing these ideas, in terms of creating a workable diet, may well prove challenging.

Our guest today on The Empowering Neurologist is Valter Longo, PhD. Dr. Longo has created a new dietary approach that in many ways mimics the effectiveness of the more difficult approaches described above, but at the same time is much easier to implement. He calls this diet the Fasting-Mimicking Diet, or FMD, and it is described in great detail in his new, best-selling book, The Longevity Diet.

Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Longo. He is the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences, and Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California – Davis School of Gerontology, Los Angeles. He is also a Senior Group Leader at the IFOM, the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation and holds four professorships across top EU academic centers.

Dr. Longo’s studies focus on the fundamental mechanisms of aging in simple organisms, mice and humans. The Longo laboratory has identified several genetic pathways that regulate aging in simple organisms and reduce the incidence of multiple diseases in mice and humans. His laboratory also described both dietary and genetic interventions that could reverse the course of Diabetes and Alzheimer’s and protect cells and improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases in mammals. Dr. Longo’s most recent studies are on dietary interventions that can affect stem cell-based regeneration to promote longevity in mice and humans. The Longevity Institute in Los Angeles, directed by Dr. Longo, includes over 40 faculty members focused on topics ranging from regeneration to dietary interventions aimed at improving health and lifespan in the near future. Among the accolades received by Dr. Longo are the 2010 Nathan Shock Lecture Award from the National Institute on Aging (NIA/NIH) and the 2013 Vincent Cristofalo “Rising Star” Award in Aging Research from the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR).

Dr. Longo is recognized as a global leader in aging and nutrition. With more than 106 peer reviewed publications in journals like Science, Nature, Cell, JAMA, Circulation, Cancer Cell, Journal of Translational Medicine, etc. He is recognized by Time Magazine, with three features in less than two years, as Longevity Guru. He is one of the most recently featured scientists by global media and news feeds.

Dr. Longo was born and raised in Genoa, Italy and received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas, where he majored in biochemistry with a minor in jazz performance. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1997 and his postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology of Aging and Alzheimer’s Diseases at USC. He started his independent career in 2000 at the University of Southern California, School of Gerontology, one of the first and leading programs for aging research and education.

Today we will explore Dr. Longo’s research that went in to his creation of the fasting mimicking diet. I think you will find this to be a fascinating interview. I would also mention that all of the proceeds from his book, The Longevity Diet, are donated to charities as well as his ongoing research. You can find Dr. Longo, and follow his research, on Facebook.

Listen to our interview here:

  • Elizabeth Lavet

    Thank you for bringing this information forward. Excellent job interviewing.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for watching Elizabeth.

      • Marie

        Dr. Perlmutter, what about the conflicting recommendations with your protocol?

  • Odette Gabriela Moraru

    I am a huge fan! Thank you so much for bringing us this cutting edge information! I am following all your interviews, read your books. Great interview!

    • David Perlmutter

      Great to have you in this community Odette.

  • Chris

    Not sure what to do with the conflicting recommendations of Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Longo. Meat/No meat. Grains/No grains. Gluten/No gluten. I suppose a middle ground would be mainly pescatarian with scant amounts of grass-fed beef (if ANY red meat.) Complex carbs from vegetables. And still avoid grains? The ancestor thing is hard too: I’m pretty sure mine ate a lot of fried chicken and mashed potatoes (along with mostly whole foods, of course, as there were no processed choices). I’ve just started the book, maybe it will help to clear up some of my confusion. Maybe I make it more difficult than it has to be. Thank you for introducing this important work.

    • Amy

      Agreed, Chris re the meat/no meat thing. But remember, today’s beef cattle are stuffed in feed lots and fed corn – not it’s natural food stuff! We know for a fact that the fat in grass fed beef is different than those fed grain. My personal belief is that all the anti red meat data is more about what the cows were fed and less about the consumption of red meat itself. Just my personal opinion.

  • Karen

    I’m curious, is this a book that you would recommend for someone with severe osteoporosis?

  • Hawks2gofar

    Thank you Dr Perlmutter! I have enjoyed many podcasts and interviews with Dr Longo (Mercola, Dr Rhonda Patrick, Mike Mutzel and others) but yours was by far the most insightful. Your knowledge and interview style provide the perfect platform for Dr Longo to convey his very important research based message.

  • Marley

    A fascinating discussion. The research is very interesting and seems to be culminating to some basic precepts in nutrition and health to such an extent that considerations of nutrition must be front and center in the treatment of disease (or disease prevention), i.e., part of the ‘standard of care’. I am definitely picking up this book.

    As regards the BRCA 1/2 gene that was mentioned in the discussion, I see that a new article in Lancet has come out that finds “no significant difference in overall survival or distant disease-free survival between patients carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and patients without these mutations after a diagnosis of breast cancer.”

    Furthermore, “The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, found 12% of 2,733 women aged 18 to 40 treated for breast cancer at 127 hospitals across the UK between 2000 and 2008 had a BRCA mutation.

    The women’s medical records were tracked for up to 10 years.

    During this time, 651 of the women died from breast cancer, and those with the BRCA mutation were equally likely to have survived at the two-, five- and 10-year mark as those without the genetic mutation.

    This was not affected by the women’s body mass index or ethnicity.

    About a third of those with the BRCA mutation had a double mastectomy to remove both breasts after being diagnosed with cancer. This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark.”

  • Cindy Lehman

    I was a little disappointed in Dr. Longo’s breakfast that consisted of wheat toast and sweetened blueberries in another interview I watched. I go mostly against the grain, but I do eat some rice. I bought and read all of Dr. Perlmutter’s Grain Brain books. I believe sugar and grain is bad for the body and mind, confirmed by the way I feel now compared to the way I felt before when eating sugar and most grains. I will, however, buy Dr. Long’s book as there was some excellent information brought forth in this interview, thanks to Dr. Perlmutter’s brilliant interview questions.
    As usual, Dr. Perlmutter, you are one of the best!

    • David Perlmutter

      Important to expose ourselves to all kinds of scientific information and reach conclusions. I applaud you for your willingness to read his book Cindy!

  • Gela K

    Your intro to Dr. Longo has got to be the longest on record 🙂 . A very accomplished fellow. A lot of time, money and effort to get us out of the mess us humans have put ourselves into. Also, it does make me wonder about the standard practice of feeding our ICU patients tube feeds 24 hours a day. Not to mention the content of said tube feeds are not the greatest. Thanks for another great interview.

    • David Perlmutter

      Yes, he has an incredible set of credentials!

  • Lynn Dell

    I believe I first saw Dr. Longo I a documentary on fasting where he demonstrated how chemotherapy was less toxic after a period of water fasting. I completed a somewhat lengthy water fast last week and it lowered my blood pressure a big way. Thanks for your interview; I’m just starting to listen to it!

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