Greg Macpherson: Lifespan vs Healthspan

Dr. Ron Ehrlich explores the intricate aging process with Greg Macpherson, a Wellness Access Institute co-founder. They delve into the difference between lifespan and healthspan, highlighting the importance of maintaining good health as we age. Greg, a futurist, author, biotechnologist, and pharmacologist, discusses the nine hallmarks of aging, including mitochondrial health, DNA stability, and stem cell function. He also touches on the significance of diet, exercise, and the potential of supplements in promoting longevity. This insightful conversation sheds light on the latest research and practical tips for aging well. Join Dr. Ron Ehrlich and Greg Macpherson for a fascinating discussion on how to optimise health and well-being throughout life.

Show Notes


  • [00:01:20] – Guest Introduction

  • [00:02:26] – Healthspan vs. Lifespan

  • [00:03:30] – Nine Hallmarks of Ageing

  • [00:04:01] – Mitochondrial Health

  • [00:05:52] – Causes of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  • [00:07:10] – Chronic Diseases and Ageing

  • [00:08:08] – Intercellular Communication

  • [00:10:11] – DNA and Ageing

  • [00:12:38] – Epigenetics and Ageing

  • [00:14:35] – Stem Cells and Ageing

  • [00:17:07] – Autophagy and Apoptosis

  • [00:20:27] – Fasting and Cellular Health

  • [00:21:22] – Protein Intake and Ageing

  • [00:24:29] – Challenges of Plant-Based Diets

  • [00:26:52] – Additional Hallmarks of Ageing

  • [00:30:12] – Supplements and Ageing

  • [00:32:42] – Environmental Challenges

  • [00:34:43] – Amino Acids and Ageing

  • [00:38:00] – Future of Ageing Research

  • [00:39:33] – Company Focus

  • [00:42:14] – Conclusion

Greg Macpherson: Lifespan vs Healthspan

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Doctor Ron Erlich. Now, before I start, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land in which I am recording this podcast, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. We have so much to learn about connection and respect to both people and country from our First Nations people. Well, today we are going to be exploring the topic of ageing. And, that is one thing I know we all have in common is we listen to this. We are literally ageing as I speak, but how we age is the big question. My guest today is Greg Macpherson, a Greg is co-founder of the Wellness Access Institute. He’s a founder, futurist, author, bio technologist and pharmacologist. Greg co-founded the Wellness Access Institute about, two years ago. And he’s a serial entrepreneur. Greg is he’s also the founder of S R W Labs and Pharmacy Direct Limited. And, they are all working in this anti-aging area. I hope you enjoyed this conversation I had with Greg Macpherson. Welcome to the show, Greg.


Greg Macpherson [00:01:22] Ron. Great to be here. Thank you.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:24] Greg. Ageing. You know, it’s a big topic. I mean, without wishing to offend anyone. As far as I know, it’s still the best alternative. But, you know, you’ve introduced or you haven’t, but the term maybe has been introduced to the lexicon about, health span. How does life span and how does health span differ from lifespan?


Greg Macpherson [00:01:44] Yeah, definitely. Great question. I mean, the lifespan is a I guess an average, right? It’s an average of how long we all live on the planet. So average around the world is around 79, which is which is a great number because it’s, it’s just increasing all the time. But, health spans actually more important. That’s the amount of time we spend healthy on the planet. And that numbers a little bit louder. It’s around 63. So quite, quite a you know, not not a long time really if you think about and actually spending time on the planet is really.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:12] Wow. So so okay. Although we are average lifespan 79 it’s 16 years difference. You know people, who’s that? That is interesting. What does how do we define health span?


Greg Macpherson [00:02:27] Yeah. It’s just absence of disease really. It’s it’s feeling healthy and energetic, and it’s, it’s just one of these, unfortunate things. We’re actually doing incredibly well in terms of building a life span that we’re actually, spending less of that time in good health, if you will, so that the next frontier really is how do we get in health span and push that much further up the up the calendar.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:02:50] So that means globally people would enjoy good health up until on the average 63 years of age, that is that is quite sobering.


Greg Macpherson [00:03:01] It’s confronting. And I always compare it because like, you know, we’ve got three children and they you think that they’re going to leave home around 18. What do you hope they might, but actually they leave home around 13. They moved their rooms and kind of just come and visit you for tea time. Right. So it’s this this number of health span sneaks up on you way faster than you think. And you can do lots of things about it to, you know, improve your chances of being healthier for that longer. But on average, that that’s the number.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:03:30] Well, I know that you’ve identified nine hallmarks of ageing. And and I wanted to discuss some of those with you, and particularly how we might measure them. I mean, I’m guessing this this is a measure. This is how we came up with the number 63 years of age and how we assess progress. I mean, one of those is mitochondrial health and energy production, which is part of I mean, that is life there in a nutshell. How do we measure that?


Greg Macpherson [00:04:03] So the home access for audience, areas that drive cellular ageing. And they were recently nine but recently in creased up to 12. So these, constantly being developed and understood and essentially what they are, like a key drivers of ageing in our cells. And you measure them simply in a lab where you might accelerate mitochondrial dysfunction, for example. And that results in accelerated ageing. But if you do the opposite and you actually improve mitochondrial function, you slow the ageing process down. So, for mitochondria, it’s, it’s actually a measurement of the amount of energy it’s juicing, which is a cellular chemical called ATP. And but beyond the measurement, it’s actually how we feel like the, the level of energy that we’re experiencing in our country, a decline in function around 10% a decade from our 40s. So if you imagine us as a is a V8 engine, if you will, the time is 60 or 70, maybe 3 or 4. Those cylinders are working properly and not delivering energy to your cells. And that’s important because your cells have the main thing to do, which might be heart beating or brain thinking, well, what do you say? But our cells also need energy for repair and maintenance and taking the rubbish out and doing the housekeeping. And as that energy declines, those sorts of things get compromised and that actually starts to impact the health of our cells.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:05:31] I mean, I think people will be coming familiar with mitochondrial function and health, but what are some of the things that I mean, they’re probably all the things we’re told we shouldn’t be doing. But, and that’s why we’re doing what why? The problem is, I guess, what would remind us of what? What causes mitochondrial dysfunction.


Greg Macpherson [00:05:52] Yeah. So it’s actually a it’s just a general decline in our batteries, if you will. So, that’s that’s fundamentally what’s causing it. But if we don’t exercise, then our mitochondria until it’s tied up in knots of we eat too much sugar. They the same thing sorts of happens. Mitochondria take the air we breathe in the food we eat and burn it to create energy. And if we put too much sugar into them, it’s almost like. And like back in the old days with flooding engines, so to speak, in terms of just the fuel rich being the fuel mixture, being too rich. And it’s, in our case with mitochondria, with too much sugar into the system, it puts them under pressure. They start to produce too many free radicals. And those free radicals start to damage our cells. And, you know, you get by the occasional treat. But if it happens regularly and you have, you know, a poor diet on a continuous basis, then absolutely, what you’re doing is you’re damaging those mitochondria and ultimately you’re damaging your cells.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:06:51] I mean, given the, the epidemic of chronic preventable chronic degenerative diseases that we hear so much about and are constantly reminded of, I mean, this is, so fundamental to, to every, every disease we have. It’s not really it is.


Greg Macpherson [00:07:10] And, and I think these, these, these, diseases are actually the next frontier, if you will, of what we need to solve. And we it’s really we’re all ageing research is going is actually starting to understand how do we slow ageing at a cellular level so that we slow the onset of some of these, these diseases that we’re going to encounter as we get older? And that’s really is is the crux of why there’s so much effort going into these hallmarks of ageing to understand how we can slow it down. Because, you know, these diseases we know like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and kind of the disease and so on, that’s starting to believe they’re merely syndromes of cellular ageing. So, you know, if we can tap the brakes on that process and slow it down, then, you know, we we can actually potentially, you know, back to the health span start to actually really push that number forward and up.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:08:03] Another one, another hallmark is intercellular communication. Can you just talk to us a little bit about that?


Greg Macpherson [00:08:09] Yeah. We’ve got this intonation of our body, right. This, wonderful machine that just talks with itself, it senses itself. It’s understanding the environment, sending messages all around, all around the body, all the time. And so and, one of the most common, is intercellular communication messages is inflammation. And that’s actually setting it, you know, basically communicating what’s happening. And when you’ve got a, you know, when it’s just so or you’ve got inflammation in parts of your body, this is these are actually molecular messages and messengers that are being sent, sent around the body. There are other things as well. Just nerve transmissions through our brain to our body and our cells. It’s another way of looking at it. And intercellular communication becomes compromised as we get older. And so this starts to again compromise our cells, our organs, our health. And, you know, you can see with inflammation that it might start in one part of your body, and then it can actually move throughout your body to different areas and infect parts of your body that you weren’t expecting. And so these it’s just understanding that it gives you, I guess, a really good reason to start to look at how do we manage that intercellular communication. How do we label modulate that inflammation so that we can help heal you?


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:09:35] Hmhm. Another one is DNA. Because I know when we talk about cancer, the focus of, of research and treatment really has been to say it’s DNA. It’s a, you know, it’s a genetic problem. Unless, of course, you’re a smoker. If you’re a smoker, then it seems that it’s there’s an environmental issue. But when people get a diagnosis of cancer, most doctors will say to the mouse, it’s just bad luck and DNA. But but so? So what what what is this? That’s another hallmark of healthy DNA. How do we look at that? How do we assess that?


Greg Macpherson [00:10:11] Yeah. So your DNA is this incredible living sensing molecule, which is doing an incredible thing. It’s essentially reading the environment almost inside and outside of us and responding by, creating the pathways to mate various molecules in our bodies that we need. So, for example, if our blood pressure’s if a little high is going to be a mechanism in there which the DNA uses to actually, create molecules which help keep your, you know, pressure at the right temperature at the right level, and so on. So it’s really quite clear that the these three elements of DNA is associated with ageing, something called telomere shortening, which is that caps of your DNA, these caps shorten as we get older and see if our cells divide. And, you really want long telomeres because shorter telomeres their associated with, for our health outcomes. the next one is, is called just, DNA stability. And so it’s incredible when our DNA, breaks something like 100,000 times a day per cell in our body, which is nothing to worry about, because we’ve got incredible repair and maintenance systems that manage that and look after us. But eventually, if you scratch something enough or you break something enough, it doesn’t repair properly, and that’s when you’ve got a chance that your DNA is going to start to cause you an issue. And just like you talk about smoking, I mean, smoking essentially accelerates their process. And the more times you damage your DNA, then we’ll chat. You’ve got a something like cancer happening. And then the last thing is something really interesting called epigenetic variation. And it’s almost like you’ve got a base layer of information on your DNA, and then you’ve got the next layer above, and any layer above it is actually what turns on and off your genes. And it’s a really, really fascinating, really complex system that, really what it means is you can actually control what genes express. That means how your body egg and, turns out all these things you do that really could feel like going for a walk or run, eating. Well, these actually are really positive in terms of supporting that those positive genes and and keeping you healthy so that you can, focus on being healthy. You’re actually caring and nurturing for your DNA, caring and nurturing your DNA.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:12:38] No, no, I think the science of epigenetics is a really exciting one. Rather than being a victim to your genes, you actually have a control over how they express themselves. We did a wonderful episode with one of my all time heroes, Bruce Lipton, who who wrote to The Biology of Belief, and he talked a lot about our control over how genes express themselves.


Greg Macpherson [00:13:00] It’s absolutely incredible. I think even those that spoke that meditate, for example, actually have longer telomeres. So the mind over matter is absolutely a thing.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:13:12] And we can lengthen our telomeres.


Greg Macpherson [00:13:14] Yeah, absolutely. So in doing those healthy, things we talked about diet and exercise. Vitamin D is is really good meditation. So yeah there’s absolutely this is what’s so exciting I think about what we’re learning is that we’ve got the power to actually, really have a positive impact on how well we ate. And, and it comes down to diet and exercise. It’s how positive we age as a, as in a fit, slate. And then that wonderful thing of stress. And it’s not stress, it’s just how we manage the stress. That’s the key thing.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:13:51] Well I know that Bruce talked about thoughts being things which are neurotransmitters actually, which attach onto cell membranes and cause them to express. One way or another. And I, and I think controlling our thoughts is a powerful tool.


Greg Macpherson [00:14:07] You know, everything’s a great story of one of the monks associated with the Dalai Lama and, they, tested his blood levels of stem cells before and after meditation. And I believe after meditation, numbers were something like 40% higher. So this is a it’s a real neat benefits to some of the activities associated with, you know, proactively looking after your health.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:14:35] Stem cells is another one, isn’t it, that, a hallmark of ageing. What is that what I mean? You know, stem cells with this our whole life is that what’s the cycle of stem cells throughout life as we age?


Greg Macpherson [00:14:48] Yeah, they are with us throughout our life, but they do. You get the hallmark of support, stem cell fatigue. You get these cells they like. They’re like bank accounts. And we’re just taking a little bit of money out of those bank accounts all the time. As we, as we get older, stem cells are cells that can pretty much be any, any cell in our body, more or less. And as our cells wear out, our body tips into those banks and gets fresh new cells and, they, they eventually run out, and they become race and but, that’s ultimately what stem cells are doing for us. And, I’m excited for the future around stem cells because it’s looking like we can perhaps greatest stem cell bank outside of our body at some point. And it’ll mean that we can go back and, and perhaps, borrow a few from the external bank and top up what’s going on in our body. And that’s going to give us, I think, some significant opportunity to, potentially so that we’ve seen that health span again.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:15:52] Too much like yours, almost like a blood bank, a stem cell. Is that actually, that’s a very ethically controversial one, though, isn’t it? Or is it? I don’t, you know.


Greg Macpherson [00:16:05] Well, it’s I guess it’s just new. And there are, stem cell banks, that I’m aware of in America where you can, deposit stem cells and, the with the view that when you need them later in life that you can, you can use them.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:16:21] So it is just your own stem cells deposit in a bank for future not borrowing from someone else’s stem cells. I mean, that would be really weird, wouldn’t it?


Greg Macpherson [00:16:30] Yeah. Well, I think it’s it’s happening as well, but, yeah, that was me. I’d be banking my own branch.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:16:37] Okay. And as stem cells do, they harvest those from bone marrow. Is that. Well, where where do we get stem cells from anybody?


Greg Macpherson [00:16:45] They’re actually in different parts of our body. So your little satellite cells, which are muscle stem cells and, and they hang out and their muscles and and and you can have follicles up here. There’s certain stem cells as well. I, I’ve got a little list in the you but the is there stem cells in our, in our bone marrow and various other niches in the body as well?


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:07] He talking about cells and, there’s of course turnover of cells, which is really important. And there’s this sort of two processes that go on is, well, there’s probably a lot more. But but autophagy which and or apoptosis. Can you just share with us what the difference is between those two and what we mean by cell turnover.


Greg Macpherson [00:17:29] Yeah, absolutely. So however ptosis is is essentially cell suicide. And that happens when a cell, decides to, I guess, remove itself from our body for the greater good, if you will. So it could be simply because it’s finished its job. It could be that something’s gone wrong, like maybe a touch of cancer. And it’s decided that it’s better off to remove itself. And, and so it’s just essentially a process where the, the cell kind of puts his hand up and says, it’s time for me to move on and tracks the immune system to, remove it, if you will, and then you’ve got autophagy. And that’s, again, it’s called self eating. And that’s a wonderful process. It’s, it’s like, a cell that, is not perhaps running as well as it could. It could be that some of the components aren’t working as well as they could. And again, it’s it just puts its hand up and says, right, it’s time for me to be recycled and be refreshed and say, well, autophagy, is is something that happens regularly, but it’s a really important process because essentially it gives you, like a bit of a house clean and a lot of people will do it fast, like tell you perhaps not eat for a, a certain amount of time, whether it’s half a day or a day or even a few days, which helps trigger autophagy. Exercise does the same. And it’s it’s all part of it, from what I understand, part of a longevity pathway where the body, if it doesn’t access, nutrition or food, that’s, the body takes the, the slowest and the most compromised cells and uses that for nutrition first. And then when you reseed or you, you start to eat again in the body, recycles it into fresh new cells, and you get essentially a house clean. And that has huge benefits in terms of healthspan.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:19:29] So interesting, isn’t it, that, fasting has been around for thousands of years, either intentional or not. But intentional fasting has been around since, you know, for for literally thousands of years and such a, a part of so many different cultures that they probably never really understood the cellular nature of it. But there it is.


Greg Macpherson [00:19:51] Yeah. And it’s I think it’s a, you know, part of the challenge with the Western diet right now is that we actually never get the opportunity to be hungry. And so we don’t have the opportunity to a process, to trigger autophagy and have that housecleaning. So I think in the age of abundance, it’s actually not too harmful occasionally under doctor supervision, of course. And that to spend some time hungry because it does trigger a lot of, pathways which are shown to have significant benefit for our health.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:20:27] And I guess the key there is that it’s cells that are weak or defective, that are the ones that are first to go.


Greg Macpherson [00:20:35] Yes, it’s an incredible system. And who ever thought of that was pretty smart. But, it’s, you know, the fact that the body recognises the cells that are compromised and, takes them out to recycle and then get refreshed and to heat it fully functional cells is it’s, it’s it’s remarkable.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:20:56] Another one, another whole. Marks that you’ve mentioned in your list of nine. What you said now 12 is healthy proteome status or maintaining adequate protein, which I know is a big, big issue in our society at the best. You know, like for a whole range of reasons. What, what tell us about healthy, proteas slices or adequate. Yeah yeah yeah.


Greg Macpherson [00:21:22] Yeah. Various sizes is really just keeping your proteins the same as kind of roughly what that means. And our proteins, you know, a lot of people think about muscle when they think about protein, but it’s just about every every molecular machine inside your cell is a protein. And they, absolutely remarkable. Gadgets. Have you. Well, we talked about mitochondria earlier, and these, particular molecules we talked about are called ATP, which is the the energy chemical of our bodies. Well, is a protein which spins at night thousands of times and a minute to manufacture that. And it’s like a almost like a turbine that you might see in a, in a hydro station in terms of the water coming through and spinning it and creating energy, these, these little molecular machines break down and set schillings, chip off, and the body needs to identify those and then replace them. And so radius is essentially a network of processes which identify that. And the proteins that are breaking down and replacing them fresh and new. And as we age and like everything, unfortunately that process gets compromised. And when you have a protein that are then not working properly and it’s not removed or it’s being rebuilt, but not quite correctly, again, this is when we start to have issues with cellular health, which can manifest in disease and and other health issues.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:22:52] I know there’s also an issue about quantity of protein intake, because I know a year or two or 3 or 5 ago it was suggested that, the adequate protein intake was 0.8 of a gram per gram, or I always thought of it as 1g/kg because I did the maths a lot easier. And now it’s, you know, like, it could be 1.6 or 2g/kg of white. That’s really upping the need for protein as we get older, isn’t it?


Greg Macpherson [00:23:21] Yeah. It’s really hard work. You know, you’ve really got to look at it. The adequate protein in that for anybody over the age of 50 is super important because we we lose muscle mass. And every every decade it’s more. And the more muscle mass you have, the more protected you, for all sorts of things from just, even, falls, for example, because, you know, if you’ve got more muscle mass, you’re actually more stable. And but generally you just need that, that. Muscle mass to be metabolically active. To run to, to do functionally, I guess operate as best you can. So that’s a key element for anybody over the age of 50 that they need to focus on.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:24:07] Hmhm. And I mean, given the importance of adequate protein intake and given the emergence of plant based and I prefer to call ultra processed foods and vegan diet, this creates a real challenge, not just for health, but for ageing as well, doesn’t it?


Greg Macpherson [00:24:29] It does. It’s it’s a really significant risk factor for the older, the older adults and and so yes, anybody who is wanting to like a Speer successful idea really needs to be mindful of the level of protein that they intake. And, and, you know, sometimes that conflicts when we talk about fasting as well, like, you know, okay, how am I supposed to get the protein? And that’s I eat meat to fast and do a little bit of it to autophagy. But what’s really interesting is that, you might fast and you would stimulate your autophagy, but within days when you’re feed, that protein builds straight back up again. So, you know, you don’t need to worry about it. But and you can do both. They’re not mutually exclusive, but, you know, very much into your 50s and beyond as real focus on protein is, is, is going to serve you. Well.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:25:22] I know we did a program just a few weeks ago, months ago with, paediatrician from America, a doctor, Elisa Song, a brilliant paediatrician. And she made the point that the challenge was that if you are getting your protein safe from something like lentils, you would have to be eating, big serve of lentils at every meal, like a full bowl of lentils, at least at every meal, every meal, seven days a week. So that’s quite a challenge.


Greg Macpherson [00:25:51] It is. And, you know, we’ve just, and I, I like to go back to the fact that we’re ancient. Ancient, you know, modern humans with ancient biology and, you know, we’ve been, omnivores and we’ve eaten meat and we’ve done all these things for the longest time. And really, it’s only been the last 100 years that we’ve started to think outside the box lock box, as you will. And, really, I don’t think you should steer too far away from looking back to see what we used to do to take the guidance of what we should be doing right now. So certainly there may have been populations that lentils was the main thing, but for most of us, I don’t think so. And so yeah, a balanced diet is is the best diet.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:26:35] Yeah. No, no no music to my ears, Greg. And our regular listeners would be no would know. That’s certainly the case you mentioned. Well, here we are. Have just sort of gone through nine hallmarks. And yet you mentioned there was more. What are some of the other ones that I’ve missed out on?


Greg Macpherson [00:26:52] Certainly. So there’s something called dysbiosis. And this is relates to just tummies and the amount of the diff that diversity of bacteria and, and say, I got turns out that, we get less and less, diversity as we age. And it’s, gene compromise says there are certain bacteria that, manufacture, fatty acids that are really useful for, lowering inflammation and for brain health. So, you know, making sure that our microbiome is, is, is continues to be as diverse is really important as we age. Chronic inflammation is actually the other one, which is actually a split off from the intercellular communication now. But and we have more and more inflammation as we age. This relates a lot to these things called zombie cells, which are cells that start to build up in our body. And, again, exactly natural when we’re young. But as we get older, they, they build up and cause inflammation and problems. And then the last one is something called macro autophagy. So again we talked about autophagy. But macro is really just a much wider descriptor of the processes and associated with not just, autophagy in terms of components of our cells, the full cell hmhm.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:28:20] Because I know that, you know, we think of the living body systems and those are living body systems, things like immune, muscle, skeletal, reproductive, nervous, endocrine, etc., etc.. The you’ve added a 12th one, and I think the reason for that is pretty obvious, and I think a really good one. You’ve added the cellular system just to give us a little bit of, what the thinking there was. What prompted that addition seems pretty obvious really from this.


Greg Macpherson [00:28:47] Yeah. Well, it’s a great question because it’s it’s actually obvious but not obvious. But, you know, we we made. Of cells and they all are interconnected. And actually, if we look after ourselves. Fundamentally that is actually the the core to good health. So every all of our philosophy is. How do we help you have better cellular Hill. And the downstream benefits of that. Every single other system, if you will. So it’s almost like a, a single target. To focus on. And in, what, what we have is. Other products which support issues. When you have a weakness of whatever it might be, whether it’s a cardiovascular issue or a cat issue or a neurological issue. But ultimately, the score on the door is how well are your cells? And if you can answer and get a good score on that, then you’re you’re in good shape, right?


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:29:42] And using those 12 markers gives us an indication of how healthy cells are. I mean, this raises a really fundamental question about do you think supplements are an important part of of that journey? You know, you mentioned ancestral habits and and learning from that. And that’s a subject we’ve explored many times on this podcast. But the issue of supplements is an interesting one, isn’t how do we justify the use of supplements?


Greg Macpherson [00:30:12] It’s a it’s a really I love this question because I want to say that, you know, I think with your audience that you’ve, you’ve you will explored lifestyle and you explored diet and exercise. And these are fundamental areas that we need to take responsibility for so that we are healthy. And what we’re learning now is that there are certain enzymes and, compounds in our bodies that decline as we age, in which we we’re still working out why that is. But fundamentally, there are things like, touring, which is, the amino acid, it declines as we age, improves when you exercise, you can get it from diet that is correlated with healthspan decline. And, if you’ve got Listerine and you system, you’ve, you know, you can encounter frailty earlier, if you will. And the best example is the living lab that we all in, and, Japan has a diet which is something like nine times richer and touring than the Western diet. And these good people have less kind of the disease, less cancer. They, just appear to be healthier and live longer. In many of us, and that’s just one example. Another one is, a little molecule called in AG. It’s a molecule. It’s the most abundant molecule in our bodies after water. And it declines as we age. You know, from our 40s. It’s a step down in researchers have discovered this. They’ve played with it in terms of topping it up. And they find that it rejuvenate cells, tissues, organs and heal, a another molecule called AKG, which is a bit of a mouthful, but alpha key to glutamate. Again, these, these are the molecules that I’m going to say, not new to science, but we’re learning that they decline in levels as we age. And it appears when we top the map that they had health benefits. So maybe if you and I had this conversation ten years ago, I would have said, you know, foundational five of lifestyle, sleep, exercise, sleep, mindfulness and being social is all you need that we know more now. And the researchers who are really digging into this are starting to find that there are now it’s almost unequivocal that we top up these components, that we will get health benefits.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:32:42] I mean, one of the challenges is that we live in an environment that challenges us. I mean, we are soils that are depleted. We’ve got environmental toxins that deplete us. So it’s not really a level playing field anymore, isn’t when people say all you need is food and you know, you do need good food. That question.


Greg Macpherson [00:33:07] You definitely know that you’re absolutely right. This food is the organic food. And again, that was a learning for me. Again, it’s a beautiful thing about life is these things are just open up and you start to understand it that all these, you know, all these the, the immune system of all these plants is, is based on the stress and challenges. And when we give them nice pesticides and we make life very easy for them, they don’t need to make this nutrition. And we don’t make that nutrition ourselves because we don’t need to because it was in our diet. But now we were we were deficient in that and their diet is deficient in it. So yeah, we do again need to allow for that within the supplement regime that we’ve got. And, I, I strongly think and in the next 50 years, 100 years when, Harry and the people are come ahead of us or after us, if you will, we’ll look at us and just think, that we’re as crazy as the Victorians used to tip the front of the the windows onto the street in terms of what we’re doing to the planet and, the level of what we’re doing and all going, well, we’ll get a lot better at it and hopefully very soon.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:34:25] I’m intrigued by the selection of one amino acid. I mean there are 20 or 22, 20 or 22 I forget but to, to, to select that one was is really interesting taurine. You know I mean I’m know you made the point about Japanese diet but yeah.


Greg Macpherson [00:34:43] Yeah I think is there’s just so much more to learn. Is, amino acid called methyl iodine. And that, is something that also appears to potentially accelerate ageing. And, you know, have you ever methionine restricted diet, which is a, quite often it would be a meat restricted diet, which again, is counterintuitive to what we’re talking about. May have some positive impact, but there’s just so many areas that interplay here and and that we just having to access and pay, you know, one at a time. And, at the moment, the, the taurine really hit the news last year through the various studies across yeast and worm and mice models and even primate models showing that, topic was particularly good for us.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:35:31] And the glue derived, is that different from glutamine? Is that the same as that is different, compound because is that a precursor to a glue to iron? Yes. Whole story there.


Greg Macpherson [00:35:42] Yeah, actually, you’ve got a got me on that one. I haven’t spent much time looking at it, but that’s okay.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:35:48] That’s okay. I was not a problem. But I mean, I know we need a big one, particularly when we talk about mitochondrial function. That’s a that’s a big funk, part there.


Greg Macpherson [00:35:59] Yeah. You know, I think it’s been as involved in three, 400, 500 different enzymatic processes in our, our body. It’s, it’s a cofactor in mitochondrial energy production to a cofactor with these wonderful, proteins called sirtuins that, look after our DNA. And, and they’ve ever had a positive effect. And so, you know, these these proteins require you need to operate inside you. You do want plenty of energy in your system. And what I which is also very interesting within AD is that as we get older, there’s less of the stuff produced, but we also increase in level of an enzyme called cd38. And creates, consumes in AD, and you have more of it when you’re overweight. So, a strategy for people who are looking to boost in age in their 40s and 50s might be to take a precursor. But for someone in their 50s and 60s and 70s who perhaps have a little bit more body weight then a and an equally, clever strategy is actually to take a little molecule called a pigeon and which is something that comes from, it was it parsley and celery. And it’s a natural way to actually inhibit that enzyme. So not only are you supplementing by, putting a bit more in energy into your system with the precursors, you’re actually closing the back door. And I’m not chewing through as much by supplementing with the, with that particular, natural ingredient.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:37:34] I mean, I think what you just talking about gives us an insight into the complexity of the interactions that go on in every cell in our body, every second of our lives. It’s, I always think that if we had a choice of what we should go back and study biochemistry, and, physiology would be an absolute must and starting point and makes you realise why the prescription pad is so appealing to so many physicians.


Greg Macpherson [00:38:00] Yeah, yeah. And I, I’m incredibly excited about the future because of the, the work that’s been doing and the gains that are being made and the, the area that I see as being the most, having the most potential essentially is this, these biological ageing clocks. Right. We’ve got a particular clock on our DNA, which seems to just took away on all of us and then thought of us as a biological age. And I can be 55 and have a biological age of 65 or 45, depending on how well I’m at travelling through time. And it looks like we may be able to, reset that clock. And when we do that, it could be that we don’t have a, a biological age that is 45. And every ten years we might be able to go back and. Reset it a little bit. And when you reset it, your cells actually start acting younger and behaving younger. So that’s that to me once if, if that particular, area of research comes to fruition, it’s going to give us all an opportunity to get well beyond what we can do right now with just good lifestyle and supplements, but actually potentially get your finger on the dial and start to whine things back about and do that regularly. And, and, if and when. And I believe that’s a really high chance. That’s what we’re going to be able to do, that all of us are going to be able to deliver a lot healthier for a lot longer.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:39:33] Well, I know your company is is focussed on that. Tell us a little bit about that company, because I notice you have quite an advisory board there. And one of those members is Doctor Ross Walker, who is not only an old school friend of mine, not only my own cardiologist, but is also a regular, guest on my podcast every year to remind people about heart health and the latest in medicine. Tell us about the company and what prompted you.


Greg Macpherson [00:39:59] You know, Ross is one of the smartest people I know. He’s great, great guy. He’s. So we I started the company. I’ve been involved in biotech, for getting close to 15 years run. And, the first, part of that was all around, mitochondria, which is where we started the conversation and understanding the importance of these little molecular machines in terms of how our bodies operate. And, and around, oh, five years ago, I guess I looked up, I stopped looking just at mitochondria and thought, you know, wait a second. You know, we can take your car in for a service and just the motor get sorted. We’ve got a bit of a problem because the brakes might not work, because I wouldn’t never like this and, like, not got it. So I started taking a 360 degree approach as to how do we, create an environment within ourselves that, that leverages what we know around the pathways associated with ageing to tap the brakes and slow things down? So that’s been my focus. And we’ve done a really interesting job in terms of developing products that support healthy DNA, support mitochondrial energy and also support healthy cellular housekeeping, which are kind of the three top things that you need to consider for healthy ageing. And right now, what we are doing is working with one of the world’s leading AI drug discovery companies to point their algorithms. It’s, these pathways to see if there are other natural ingredients which actually can improve and optimise what we’ve developed. So we’ve got some next generation products coming at hopefully by the end of this year. We’re just going through testing at the moment. But the idea here is just to, really develop products that help people better. And, is a company with a mission. Our mission really is to challenge, encourage people to think about how they’re ageing and challenge them to do it better.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:41:59] Well, Greg, I think that’s a great note to finish on. And thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. We’ll have links, of course, to your site there. And, thank you for joining me.


Greg Macpherson [00:42:11] Not at all. Thank you very much, Ron. Appreciate the opportunity.


Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:42:14] Well, when you get down to the cellular level, as I said, it’s not hard to see why it’s so much easier, particularly if your appointment is just 10 or 15 minutes to reach for a prescription pad and for the patient and the doctor to feel they’re really doing something. But what goes wrong in the cell? And I think it’s interesting that the 12th system, you know, the 11 body systems are including nerves, muscles and circulation, digestive and all those other systems. But the cellular system kind of cuts across all of those, and it’s the cells that go wrong. And then the systems start to fail. But that’s, I think, entirely appropriate that the cellular system be that 12th system need which which Greg mentioned, just so that, you know, nicotinamide adenine, adenine dinucleotide is an essential pyridine nucleotide that serves as an essential cofactor and substrate for a number of critical cellular processes, including, oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production. That’s all about mitochondria DNA repair. And we talked about that epigenetic modulated gene expression and intercellular function and calcium in particular. So you need a connection with vitamin B3. Nicotinamide. There are two forms of vitamin B3 nicotinamide and niacin. And niacin is the one that gives you the red flush. These are all connected. And when you look at the processes in the cell, the electron transport chain, or Krebs cycle. You will note if you ever Google that and look at the pathways, you’ll notice a lot of supplements and minerals. A lot of vitamins and minerals are an integral part of maintaining that function. Now you will find also that chemicals and heavy metals interfere with those pathways. But you will also note that there is nowhere in that pathway that there is a need for statins or for anti-inflammatories, or for this or for that. So they try to block certain pathways and that’s how they work. So so you know, this idea of using supplements is an interesting one, a challenging one. And I often grapple with that myself and I. And I am reminded that in Australia at least, soils are deficient in we have ancient soils and they are deficient in magnesium, selenium and zinc. That’s just a given. But as Greg alluded to, if you use chemicals and fertilisers and you provide a plant with those which might just be 2 or 3, supplements or fertilising chemicals, then the plant will produce and look good and look good in the supermarket. But if we create healthy soils with a healthy microbiome in those soils, then the soils start to release all of those trace elements that are such an important part of our of us maintaining our health. So while plants may look good on fertilisers in healthy soils, we end up with plants that deliver us with 30, 40 or 50, but chemicals that are really essential to health. So there’s a challenge in the soils that we grow our food in. There’s a challenge in the fact that we have environmental toxins that require some support, but it is very nuanced, and I believe it’s always good to work with a functional medicine or natural pest, medical practitioner or natural pest to determine what supplements are appropriate to you. That’s really important. Anyway, I hope this spongy will. We’ll have links to Greg’s site on our show notes, as I mentioned. I would also encourage you to join our unstressed health community. Become a member. See curated best of podcasts, webinars, live Q&A eyes, and a whole range of other resources. Until next time. This is Doctor Ron Erlich. Be well. This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences and conclusions.