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Last Updated: 12.06.23

Dr. Peter Attia: Improve Vitality, Emotional & Physical Health & Lifespan

In this episode, Huberman welcomes Dr. Peter Attia, a renowned medical expert. They explore disease prevention, aging, and emotional well-​​being. Dr. Attia delves into mortality causes, risks, and interventions. He highlights emotional health’s influence on physical well-​​being, offering advice on screening, biomarkers, nutrition, exercise, and behavior. Gain insights on vitality, health, and lifespan enhancement.

Key Takeaways

High level takeaways from the episode.

Diseases of atherosclerosis (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases) are the leading cause of death: 18–19 million people die from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease worldwide.

Managing blood pressure within the 120/​​80 range is crucial for reducing heart attacks and strokes. More aggressive management of blood pressure is better. Maintaining healthy blood pressure is important to prevent stroke, bleeding in the brain, and clotting.

Blood pressure is often underdiagnosed and not measured correctly. Manual blood pressure measurement is more accurate than automated cuffs. Blood pressure should be measured after sitting still for five minutes.

Continuous blood pressure monitoring devices are being developed and tested — wrist devices that check blood pressure every 15 minutes throughout the day. Continuous monitoring could be more important than continuous glucose monitoring for overall health.

No clear evidence that smoking cannabis is better than smoking cigarettes. Long-​​term consequences of vaping and smoking are still being studied. Vaping is not as bad as smoking but still not good for health.

Air pollution from particulate matter (PM 2.5) can cause health issues. Particles less than 2.5 microns can enter the body and cause damage.

More people die from air pollution than from CO2 emissions.

Low-​​fat and low-​​cholesterol diets during early development can impair brain development. Cholesterol is a critical component of synaptogenesis (formation of connections between neurons) in the developing brain. Cholesterol is crucial for CNS development in infants and children.

ApoB is a better predictor of risk than LDLC. ApoB is causally related to atherosclerosis. ApoB levels of 30–40 mg/​​dL (first percentile) may be targeted for high-​​risk individuals. ApoB levels in the low 130s raise a huge red flag.

High ApoB levels do not cause immediate symptoms, but increase the risk of heart attacks. Importance of monitoring ApoB levels, especially with a family history of heart disease. Treating high ApoB levels can prevent heart attacks, but may not cause immediate improvements in how a person feels.

High blood pressure can negatively impact kidney function. Compromised kidney function has a higher hazard ratio of all-​​cause mortality than heart disease. Creatinine is commonly used to measure kidney function, but cystatin C is a more accurate biomarker. Tolerating low kidney function for a person’s age can lead to future health issues, such as needing dialysis.

End-​​stage renal disease has a higher risk of death than high blood pressure, smoking, or cancer.

Ethanol/​​alcohol can impact sleep and neurodegenerative diseases, especially dementia.

1 in 6 chance of dying from cancer. Prostate and colon cancer are easily screened for and treated in their infancy

Breast, pancreatic, and glialbustomy multiforme cancers are more complicated.

Obesity is the second most prevalent environmental driver of cancer — often a proxy for insulin resistance and inflammation. Insulin resistance: present in 2/​​3 to 3/​​4 of obese individuals. Waist-​​to-​​height ratio is a better measurement for obesity than BMI (waist circumference should be less than 50% of height).

Radiation exposure — airport body scanners and dental X‑rays: low risk. CT scans and PET scans: significant radiation exposure. Living at high altitudes: increased background radiation exposure.

Patients should ask about radiation exposure (in milliseverts) before undergoing CT scans or imaging studies. Aim to minimize exposure to 50 milliseverts per year. MRI scanners preferred over CT scans due to lack of radiation exposure.

Ubiquity of carcinogens from solvents, pesticides, and other household items may contribute to baseline prevalence of cancer. Difficult to calculate average risk.

Colon cancer screening should begin no later than age 40

Colonoscopies can prevent colon cancer by detecting and removing polyps. Risks of colonoscopies are low but not zero (e.g., electrolyte abnormalities, hypertension, bleeding, perforation).

Histopathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s: plaques and tangles. This understanding is now being questioned. Current state of the field is uncertain due to lack of efficacy in anti-​​amyloid therapies and biomarkers.

Fentanyl is being found in counterfeit drugs, including opioids, sedatives, and even stimulants like Adderall. Deaths from fentanyl poisoning are primarily due to respiratory inhibition. Fentanyl-​​related deaths have increased by almost 20% per year since 2019.

To age well, it’s essential to engage in training that strengthens and minimizes the atrophy of type 2 (fast-​​twitch) fibers. Ability to jump and land is correlated with a lower risk of falls or less severe injuries from falls.

Emotional health is an important aspect of longevity and quality of life, and should be addressed alongside physical and cognitive health. A study by Dan Gilbert’s Lab found that the degree of presence in an activity was a stronger predictor of happiness than the activity itself.


Science-​​based tools and supplements that push the needle.

Recommendation for Blood Pressure Measurement


Three Major Ways of Preventing Arterial Sclerosis



We recommend using this distillation as a supplemental resource to the source material.

  • Dr. Peter Attia: Improve Vitality, Emotional & Physical Health & Lifespan

    Huberman Lab #122

    A guest episode with Dr. Peter Attia, an expert in disease prevention, healthy aging, and emotional well-​​being. They discuss actionable strategies for improving vitality, health, and lifespan, covering biomarkers, nutrition, exercise, and emotional health.

Full Notes

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