What the Godfather of IF Eats – Mark Mattson, Ph.D. – #634

Photo of Mark Mattson
Mark Mattson, Ph.D., explains how intermittent fasting improves cognitive function and metabolic health.

In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, my guest is one of the world’s top experts on the health benefits of intermittent fasting on the brain and body.

Decades before intermittent fasting diets became popular, Mark began studying mouse models to understand how the brain adapts to challenges like fasting and exercise. He and his research teams have shown that fasting can improve cognitive function and metabolic health. Early studies in humans now are underway.

“Intermittent fasting and exercise can reverse diabetes, and obesity in humans if a person can switch their eating pattern, and get on an exercise program,” Mark says.

His work on intermittent fasting has been featured on national media and he has given a TED Talk, “Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power”. Our conversation in this episode covers a lot of ground, such as:

  • What happens during a fasted ketogenic state;
  • How to choose an intermittent fasting time period;
  • What and when Mark eats to obtain maximum intermittent fasting brain and body benefits;
  • How the mTor pathway is inhibited;
  • How autophagy acts as both a garbage disposal and a recycling bin;
  • How the Nrf2-ARE antioxidant defense pathway is activated; and
  • How important nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are to brain health.

Mark currently is a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. He’s one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Previously, he was chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institutes of Health since 2000.

Enjoy the show!

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Follow Along with the Transcript

What the Godfather of IF Eats – Mark Mattson, Ph.D. – #634


Biography: Wikipedia
Professional Profile: neuroscience.jhu.edu/research/faculty/57
TED Talk: TEDx Johns Hopkins University “Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power

Key Notes

  • A typical day for Dr. Mattson 00:13:35
  • The NRF2ARE pathway 00:22:00
  • BDNF and Exercise as anti-depressants 00:39:00
  • What Mark does for his BDNF 00:40:40
  • Why Mark eats whole grains 00:42:40
  • Does Mark take any supplements? 00:58:00
  • People in the blue zones aren’t popping supplements 01:02:50
  • There’s a role for carbs 01:09:05
  • What is the best protein? 01:10:05
  • “You don’t get any sugar unless you eat your meal” 01:10:45
  • Bigger Ideas:
  • How Mark can listen to something and do something else simultaneously 00:06:30
  • The difference between restricting calories and fasting 00:12:10
  • mTOR and Autophagy 00:15:00
  • Coffee and autophagy 00:19:10
  • Caffeine is a pesticide 00:20:20
  • Antioxidants and fasting 00:24:05
  • Water-only fasting 00:26:40
  • Benefits of BDNF and NGF 00:31:10
  • Electrical stimulation for weight loss and BDNF 00:36:20
  • The problem with Ketone measurements 00:45:40
  • Are ketone levels important? 00:49:00
  • The effects of ketone esters and MCT on Alzheimers 00:50:35
  • Fasting on heart rate, HRV and blood pressure 00:55:30
  • Is Rapamycin beneficial? 00:59:45
  • The ways to raise ketones 01:03:50
  • When should kids start fasting? 01:11:40

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