Dr. Mark Mattson on the Benefits of Stress, Metabolic Switching, Fasting, and Hormesis

Dr. Mark Mattson on the Benefits of Stress, Metabolic Switching, Fasting, and Hormesis

In this episode, Dr. Mark Mattson discusses how stressing the body through exercise, fasting, and plant phytochemicals have beneficial effects on the brain and overall health.

Dr. Mark Mattson is an adjunct professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the former chief of the Neuroscience Research Laboratory at the National Institute on Aging. He is one of the most cited neuroscientists in the world, with more than 180,000 citations of his work noted in the scientific literature.

Dr. Mattson’s rigorous work has advanced scientific understanding of brain aging and identified fundamental aspects of age-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. His most notable work has focused on how the brain responds to mild stressors, such as those associated with exercise and intermittent fasting.

You can access the show’s notes, timeline, and transcript here:

Listen to this interview as an Apple Podcast:

Dr. Mattson’s faculty bio page:

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:11:33 – Metabolic switch
00:16:14 – Different types of intermittent fasting
00:29:37 – Benefits from a ketogenic diet vs fasting
00:38:18 – Exercise and fasting
00:59:07 – Benefits of plant phytochemicals
01:25:18 – Safety considerations for fasting
01:34:43 – Fasting and women’s hormones
02:03:42 – Fasting mimetics
02:18:51 – Ketone esters

27 thoughts on “Dr. Mark Mattson on the Benefits of Stress, Metabolic Switching, Fasting, and Hormesis

  1. In this episode, we discuss…
    00:01:15 – How biological stressors drive adaptation and prevent physiological complacency.
    00:11:33 – How intermittent fasting confers many health benefits by physiologically stressing your metabolism and causing a switch from burning carbohydrates to fat.
    00:16:14 – Comparing the differences and similarities of daily time-restricted eating with 5:2 weekly intermittent fasting.
    00:23:25 – How after a couple of weeks of metabolic adaptations, intermittent fasting gets more manageable.
    00:29:37 – Comparing the different effects of a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting on the brain.
    00:38:18 – Whether or not there is an additive effect of exercising while intermittent fasting.
    00:52:08 – The importance of re-feeding after a fast.
    00:56:04 – The fasting duration and frequency necessary for sustained health benefits
    00:59:07 – How co-evolving with plants has led to the evolution of many metabolic pathways that respond to plant chemicals.
    01:07:33 – How green tomatoes contain a natural compound called tomatidine that deters insects but is good for human health.
    01:09:32 – Does diet matter if you are already doing intermittent fasting and exercising?
    01:14:14 – How much can a healthy person benefit from intermittent fasting.
    01:18:54 – Caloric restriction to an extreme can be bad and compromise muscle mass.
    01:22:21 – Mattson's personal anecdote of not building enough lower body strength.
    01:25:18 – Safety considerations of intermittent fasting in the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
    01:29:46 – Mattson speculates why autism has grown exponentially in our society.
    01:34:43 – How fasting affects women's hormones and menstrual cycle.
    01:52:04 – Uncoupling the benefits of caloric restriction and intermittent fasting
    01:57:57 – How Intermittent fasting has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
    02:03:42 – Mattson's opinions on fasting-mimetics like resveratrol and spermidine.
    02:09:30 – Dr. Mattson's perspectives on whether intermittent fasting can, in a practical sense, extend lifespan or healthspan in an already healthy person.
    02:14:31 – Mattson's upcoming book, "Sculptor and Destroyer: The story of glutamate. The brain's most important neurotransmitter."
    02:18:51 – How ketone supplementation may improve brain health.

  2. “The answer is, we don’t know.” was THE best take away for me. I have made it to 50 hours of fasting. Difficult to do with demands of family. Really want to, before 70 gets here. Clock is tickin. Thank you for humble, clear and positive giving of information.

  3. Rhonda can you (or someone) please let me know if there's a biological test than be done to determine the the nature of your FOXO3A makeup? You've mentioned some people have naturally more active FOXO3A genes than others which may foretell age potential – can I test if I am one of those people? Thanks

  4. Great interview! It did take me several hours to get through it because I kept pausing to read the citations you posted. Well worth the time though. Like a graduate level lecture in cell biology!

  5. Great discussion, I apologize in advance for my ignorance but are ketone esters different than the ketones in PrГјvit products. I am not speaking about exogenous ketones made by a myriad of companies but I remember that company saying that they have like 9 patents on their products and how they were able to make them palatable since they are not as you mentioned. I was wanting to offer prГјvit products to a family friend also recently diagnosed with Parkinsons. Wondering if anyone has looked at the companies scientific info to see if it is ketone esters as you were discussing. Thank you for any feedback on this and your interview was so informative and your editing providing the documentation is AMAZING! Thank you both for all of your hard work and generosity in sharing it with us! First time listener…subscribed!! ?

  6. Is plant toxin-driven hormesis necessary in the context of physical stress-driven hormesis? Yes, because it's Mcdonald's vs. Blue Zones. Smh. The blatant logical fallacies are truly cringe-worthy, and are obvious reasons why she hides from Saladino and Gundry. Sulfurafantastic.

  7. More proof for the benefits of Wim Hof's methods (I've seen great physiological benefits over the last year I've ben practicing them). Thank you for this, Dr. Patrick and Dr. Mattson ^^

  8. I can't remember when you started adding the research citations and other info during the video to add to the topic being discussed, but they are so helpful. Great Job!

  9. There is a mess in the head of this head. Can't put together a sentence without interjections. Perfect example of amazing scientists that unfortunately are incapable to communicate their science

  10. I wonder how many of these neurological diseases could be caused by toxicity either from heavy metals like mercury or other toxins including pesticides and prescription drugs? Sauna use has been shown to assist the body in eliminating these toxins over time with many sessions. Some have used a detox protocol including taking high dose niacin, cardio exercise followed by sauna to speed the detox effects. Since these toxins tend to be stored in fat cells, the niacin with exercise helps release these toxins as fat it burned which are then removed through perspiration in the sauna. Dr Rhonda, please do look into this detox benefit of sauna. Thank you.

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