Age Backwards by Hacking Your Telomeres with Stress – Dr. Elissa Epel – #436

Why you should listen –

Ever wonder what the real impact of chronic stress is on our bodies and our longevity – on the cellular level? Dr. Elissa Epel, a professor at UCSF, studies how stress can impact our biological aging via the telomere/telomerase system, and how meditation modalities may buffer stress effects and boost physical and spiritual well-being. Also the co-author of New York Times best-seller, “The Telomere Effect,” Dr. Elissa joins Dave to discuss what developing healthy lifestyle habits and stress resistance does for your mitochondria, as well as the length of your telomeres. In this fascinating conversation, Dr. Elissa explains what telomeres are, how their length can be an indicator of health and aging issues, and reveals the lifestyle practices that can help strengthen them. You’ll learn about some incredible new research on gratitude (how a positive attitude can impact your mitochondria and your telomeres), the role of epigenetics in this equation, and whether all of Dave’s biohacking is actually helping or hurting his longevity. Don’t miss this super-interesting episode about hacking our telomeres to live longer!

Enjoy the show!

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Show Notes

Resources/Links for Dr. Elissa Epel


  • Tickets for the 5th Annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference are now on sale! Not only will you hear from the world’s leading experts, there will also be tons of gadgets to play with in our tech hall, a total biohacking wonderland. Join us October 13th – 15th in Pasadena, CA. Go to for tickets and info
  • Why you want to listen to today’s entire episode until the end…what you’ll learn + get a transcript!
  • Cool Fact of the Day: Telomeres…how our understanding of these tiny things inside cells can have a profound effect – and why length matters!
  • MUSE: Special offer for Bulletproof Radio listeners! $50 off by using the code bulletproof17 when you order at
  • Check out Bulletproof FATwater, which contains micro droplets of Brain Octane Oil that creates ketones, so you get fast energy from that instead of sugar. In a variety of flavors and sampler cases!
  • If you want to watch video of this episode, go to
  • Dave introduces Elissa Epel, PhD, professor at UCSF and co-author of “The Telomere Effect”
  • Dave discusses his background with biohacking, his view on aging, and why it’s so important to love your life
  • Elissa defines telomeres, explains why length matters, and how stress impacts them
  • How the slow-aging process and shortening of telomeres builds up over time, and why that matters for both young and old people
  • Dave and Dr. Elissa discuss the importance of resilience when it comes to stress, and how that affects telomeres
  • Is there enough science right now to make a causal connection between telomere length and overall health? What is the “right length?”
  • Why you don’t want genetically long telomeres; and how a variety of lifestyle factors weight into telomere length
  • Is Dave’s biohacking behavior going to help in the end – or hurt?
  • Elissa explains why eating your veggies and other healthy foods is so important to longevity
  • Where does endurance exercise fit into this equation? How much exercise is ideal for our telomeres?
  • Why pushing too hard with extreme exercise could do your health more harm than good
  • Dave explains what he will do with all his extra years of life…why it’s all about disruption
  • Elissa talks about her life span; why she wants to live as long as she’s healthy
  • The speed of disruption with regard to technology, innovation and biohacking
  • Why preventing biological aging is not an easy solution, but good food helps!
  • Chronic stress and epigenetics – how what’s in the environment around you and facing adversity changes your gene expression
  • Acknowledging life trauma, and how it impacts us biologically and psychologically
  • Elissa discusses some somatic therapies that could have a positive impact on your telomeres
  • Why prenatal care and being kind to pregnant women is so important
  • Dave and Dr. Elissa share some anecdotes about rat studies and food labels
  • Dave mentions Viome
  • Elissa discusses some recent research on Dave’s favorite topic – mitochondria!
  • How your mood in the evening may indicate the strength of your mitochondria
  • Why gratitude is so powerful, and how it impacts our mitochondria and quality of life
  • How long it takes for gratitude or meditation practices to affect your molecular dynamics – Dr. Elissa shares some new findings!
  • Elissa’s three most important pieces of advice for performing better and being your best self in all aspects of life
  • Elissa mentions all her various websites and place you can find her…see Resources/Links for Dr. Elissa Epel above for all the info
  • Go check out “Headstrong” on Amazon and leave a review!
  • If you like today’s episode, check us out on iTunes at and leave us a 5-star, positive review

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