The Tim Ferriss Show Ep 661: Dr. Peter Attia — The Science and Art of Longevity, Optimizing Protein, Alcohol Rules
Peter Attia, MD (@PeterAttiaMD), is the founder of Early Medical, a medical practice that applies the principles of Medicine 3.0 to patients with the goal of lengthening their lifespan and simultaneously improving their healthspan.
He is the host of The Drive, one of the most popular podcasts covering the topics of health and medicine.
Dr. Attia received his medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine and trained for five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in general surgery, where he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including Resident of the Year
Key points from Dr. Peter Attia
- Tim Ferriss and Dr. Peter Attia discuss the importance of having an objective, strategy, and tactics when it comes to achieving a goal.
- Medicine 3.0 focuses on early intervention and medical literacy, and encourages patients to take a more active role in their own health.
- Dr. Attia recommends limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week.
- Tim and Dr. Attia focus on the importance of VO2 max and muscular strength, which have a greater impact on lifespan than any other factor.
- Exercise is the most important modifiable behavior to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and Lewy body dementia.
Gaining lean muscle mass
Dr. Attia recently gained 13–14 pounds of lean muscle mass in 12 months by making changes to his nutrition and exercise, increasing his protein intake to one gram per pound of body weight, and focusing on consuming the right amount of leucine, lysine, and methionine.
Dr. Attia and Tim discuss the importance of medical literacy and how to become conversationally fluent in the language of medicine. They suggest reading the Wikipedia entry on the scientific method as well as books such as Bad Science by Ben Goldacre and Outlive.
They also suggest looking up Sir Francis Bacon and Austin Bradford Hill, who developed the Bradford Hill criteria for scrutinizing observational data. Lastly, they suggest reading How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff. They then discuss sleep and how tracking can be counterproductive, and suggest focusing on the fundamentals of sleep hygiene.
Two drinks per day
Dr. Attia recommends limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week. He also emphasizes the importance of not drinking close to bedtime.
They also discuss the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and the Hawthorne effect, which is the idea that people tend to change their behavior when they know they are being monitored.
Dr. Attia and Tim focus on the importance of VO2 max and muscular strength, which have a greater impact on lifespan than any other factor. They explain the difference between type one and type two muscle fibers and how type two fibers are more important to maintain as we age.
Dr. Attia emphasizes the importance of eccentric and concentric strength and suggests exercises such as step-ups and Nordic rollouts to improve strength. He also suggests carrying half of one’s body weight in each hand for a minute as a target for his patients.
They also discuss the benefits of rucking and VO2 max training and suggest that 80% of aerobic training should be in zone two and that the remaining 20% should be in zone five.
The importance of exercise
Exercise is the most important modifiable behavior to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy body dementia.
Dr. Attia discussed the differences between treating patients with early-stage colon and breast cancer versus those with metastatic disease. He noted that the fewer tumor cells present, the more likely a patient is to survive treatment.
He then discussed GRAIL, a company that uses cell-free DNA to detect cancer, and the importance of understanding the sensitivity and specificity of a diagnostic test.