3 Ways Anti-Aging Scientists Are Increasing Lifespan

Dr. Bill Andrews wants to run a 7 minute mile at the age of 130.

The man known as one of “The Immortalists”, Dr. Andrews is named on more than 50 US patents for cancer medicines and telomerase discoveries, and has been called “The Man Who Would Stop Time” by Popular Science Magazine.

If anyone can help us cure aging, Dr. Andrews is on the short list of candidates.

At 64, he’s predicting that he’s around to run that 7-mile minute at age 130. And he’s working to make sure you can live that long too.

Sit back and enjoy this one, Optimal Performance Podcast #41 is all about protecting telomeres, slowing the aging process and living longer.

A quick overview of telomeres (in case you’re not familiar with them)

Telomeres are those tiny little caps you see at the ends of our chromosomes in the pictures above. Each time our cells replicate, these telomeres shorten. When they’ve shortened to nothing, cell division stops and we die of “natural causes”.

This is and extremely simple summary of the aging process at the cellular level, but It’s critical for us all to understand the important role that telomere length plays in aging, disease states, gene expression, and optimal health and performance.

Now, let’s hear Dr. Bill Andrews’s plan to help us protect – even lengthen – our telomeres so that we can all live linger, healthier lives.

What you’ll learn about aging, telomeres, and cancer from Dr. Bill Andrews:

  • “I love living and can’t imagine wanting it to stop” – how Dr. Andrews became obsessed with finding a cure for aging
  • We don’t age because of our environment – the real truth about aging
  • Discovering telomerase in 3 months and 17 days – revolutionizing aging and cancer treatments forever
  • The $2 million dollar anti-aging injection is here today ($700,000 just to make the treatment) & Bill is hoping this generates the revenue needed to fund a small molecule to induce telomerase and lengthen telomeres is 1 year away and available to the public
  • What YOU need to be doing to protect your telomere length and slow the aging process
  • Endurance exercise – and the longer you’ve been doing it – is the #1 way to decrease the rate at which telomeres shorten
  • Oxidative stress and inflammation are the top 2 causes of accelerated shortening of the telomeres
  • The longer you run (ultra-marathon runners vs 5K runners) the more benefit you see – but only if you do it with a frequency that doesn’t induce soreness/increase inflammation
  • Anti-aging supplements: antioxidants, omega-3’s, glycine, and curcumin…the longer you take them the more time they prevent telomere shortening (if you’re not already taking them, start now!)
  • Depression, smoking, obesity, pessimism and their link to accelerated telomere shortening
  • At 64, Dr. Bill Andrews aims for 10 miles a day and 1 ultra-marathon per month! Get a glimpse into his daily routine to attain and sustain peak performance at any age (avoid bread, keep sugar as low as possible, minimize gluten, avoid processed and low quality foods,
  • Why Dr. Bill Andrews doesn’t believe in caloric restriction and why growth hormone and Microderm abrasion accelerate aging – BUT, you should do them anyway!
  • Why Dr. Bill Andrews takes 1 gram of the diabetic medication MetFormin every single day even though he’s not a diabetic – upcoming study on metformin’s ability to extend the lifespan of humans
  • Dr. Andrew’s thoughts on curcumin for longevity and it’s impact on telomere length (HINT: He takes curcumin every day.)
  • Dr. Andrews’s hypothesis for using telomerase inhibitors to fight and kill cancer and poison “telomerase positive cells”
  • Why the FDA said they will “never allow clinical studies for anti-aging”
  • Where can you find more of Dr. Bill Andrews & his work
  • Dr. Bill Andrew’s Top 3 Tips to #LiveOptimal

“The best way to prevent and fight cancer is to prevent aging – specifically the weakened immune systems and increased mutation rates that come from aging.We can’t stop time, but we can protect our cellular machinery.”
– Dr. Bill Andrews

Links & Resources

Dr. Andrews’s Website: SierraSci.com

Dr. Andrews’s Book: Telomere Basics: Curing Aging

Documentary The Immortalists

Natural Stacks Anti-Aging Lineup…

MagTech increases synapse density and reduces brain age by 9 years.

Curcumin has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, increase BDNF production, and protect telomere length.

Drop your questions or comments below.

3 Ways Anti Aging Scientists Are Increasing Lifespan with Dr. Bill Andrews

Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance into your life, check out naturalstacks.com. Pay attention there, we just switched from optimalperformance.com to everything being hosted at Natural Stacks. So if you guys are looking for the video version of this, make sure you head to naturalstacks.com

Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Munsey and today we are honored to welcome in Dr. Bill Andrews as our esteemed guest. Bill, thanks for hanging out with us.

Bill: Thank you!

Ryan: So, for our audience, if they’re not aware of who you are, it was actually really cool to try to figure out how I wanted to introduce you. In 2011, Popular Science called you the man who had stopped time. Your goal, admittedly, is cure aging and to personally run a 7-minute mile at the age of 130. Your resume is amazing; it speaks for itself.

Bill: The patents now exceed 50. I’ve been working on trying to cure aging for over 20 years now. Um, I’ve been in biotech for over 30 years. My background mostly was at first cancer, heart disease and inflammation research but that’s because I didn’t like any of the theories that existed at the time on aging until I stumbled upon telomeres.

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: And that changed everything.

Ryan: If you guys listening haven’t been able to figure it out already, we’re gonna be – we’re gonna have some fun today. We’re gonna talk about telomeres, anti-aging and attempting to live forever with Dr. Andrews. Before we dive in, couple of housekeeping notes for everybody listening. As you head in the intro, make sure you go to naturalstacks.com to see the video version of this. I’m sure that Dr. Andrews is gonna give us a lot of resources that we will link to so that you can visit them and further your knowledge outside of what we discussed today. And make sure you share the Optimal Performance Podcast with people that you know who can benefit from this. If you have somebody in your life that is interested in anti-aging or just simply trying to live more optimally and would enjoy and benefit from the things that we talk about on the show, make sure you introduce them to the podcast and help us reach as many people as we can. So, Dr. Andrews, let’s do this.

Bill: Okay.

Ryan: You have, just, this incredible passion and fascination with curing aging. Where does that come from? What drives you to be described as somebody who wants to cure aging or die trying?

Bill: Well actually, it’s actually been discussed a lot because there’s a pretty solid reason why I got into this. But – well, part of it – I just wanna say this – the reason I want to cure aging is ’cause I love living, you know. And I just can’t imagine ever wanting it to stop. But, as a kid – this is a true story, it’s been documented in lots of places. When I was a kid, like 10 years old, I was very interested in science and medicine. And my father, who was just shocked at all this because nobody else in my family had ever had such interest, he came up to me and just said: ‘Well, Bill, since you’re so interested in this stuff, when you grow up why don’t you become a doctor and find a cure for aging?’ He used those exact words. And he also said: ‘I don’t know why nobody’s done this yet.’ And he thought that was really frustrating that, you know, why is – why is nobody working on stuff like this? Well it turned out there are lots of people working on it, it’s just a lot harder than he thought it would be. But I – I’d latched on to that instantly. I thought wow, that’s a great idea. You know, it’s – and I’ve been obsessed with it all through school. I used to – in high school I used to let people know boy, the thing I wanna do is cure aging. But when I’d get together with my roommates, ’cause I was in a private boarding school at the time and – or talk to friends and theorize about what causes aging and stuff like that, it’s just – it was clear to me that nothing made any sense. And so, you know, all through high school, college, graduate school, just nothing made sense to me. I mean, it’s like, we don’t age because of the environment is the way I look at it. The foods we eat or the exposure to the sun or things like that. It’s – because why is it that people that live on the North and South poles age at the same rate that people live on the equator if environment played such a major role? And why is it that dogs and cats will age at different rates than humans when they’re in the same environment? And so, all the theories, I kept thinking, they don’t make sense. All the 2’s and 2’s have to add up. And they just didn’t. And so I just was convinced there had to be some kind of clock that’s ticking inside of all humans and in cats and dogs that clock is just set differently. But what was that clock? And so I, for many years I – even though I always told everybody I wanted to work on a cure for aging and even – when I got my PhD I had applied to every post doc lab in the country that I could find that was working on trying to cure aging. And I got offers at every one of them and when I went to interview with them I just decided boy, they’re on the wrong target, they’re on the wrong track. What they’re doing doesn’t make any sense. And so I chose to go into biotech instead when I got my PhD with the idea that someday I’ll figure out something to latch onto that makes a lot of sense. So, I went to work in biotech, started off at a company called [unclear 00:06:18] corporation in 1981, which was very associated with Genentech, which was – had just only started a few years before then. So, it was the very beginning days of biotech. And then I went to Codon Corporation and et cetera. There was a few more, I won’t go into that detail. But it was really frustrating. All I – I just worked on cancer research, heart disease research, inflammation research and a few other things. I did really well! I actually, you know, made a lot of major discoveries for a lot of the big fields that existed back then. I don’t know many people that can say that I’m part inventor of most of the original biotech products that exist. But I, you know, my passion was still aging. And I used to make it clear to the company that I was working for that I want to find some project to work on that has something to do with some kind of clock that controls the aging process. Then one day, I went to a conference in Lake Tahoe at a place called the Granlibakken in South Lake Ta- in actually, North – Tahoe City, I think it is. And I heard a guy named Calvin Harley, Dr. Calvin Harley talk about the fact that our telomeres shorten as we get older. And he said, you know: ‘I can take blood from anybody in the room, I can measure the length of your telomeres and I can tell you how old you are. And more importantly, I can tell you how long it’ll be before you die of old age, all from the length of your telomeres.’ And I thought: wow, okay. Here it is! Here’s a clock! And before he could even get off stage I was at the bottom of the podium. Okay, has anybody figured out how to stop that clock or control the clock? And he just told me that, well they’ve been working on it for years, they have collaborators all over the place working on it and nobody has been able to figure it out. And I just said: ‘Okay, I’m really passionate about this. Let me come and work with you and I’ll have it figured out in 3 months.’ That’s what I told him. And, you know, he knew about my background so it was the shortest job interview ever. He offered me the job right then. And 3 months and 17 days later I discovered – or my team, let’s say, I led the team that discovered human telomerase. And telomerase had already been discovered in tetrahymena by the Nobel Prize winners Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak. But they hadn’t connected the dots to show that this was possibly playing a role in aging and cancer until much later. And – but they were unable to discover the human telomerase version of that enzyme they discovered. And so, I ended up discovering that and then it’s been just uphill ever since. We very quickly showed that we could completely stop the aging process in human cells in a Petri dish by every method of measurement you can imagine. And, at least for cells in a Petri dish. And we exceeded the Hayflick limit, we obliterated it. It just was nonexistent when we put the enzyme telomerase into cells and stopped the telomeres from shortening. And, you know, at the same time, I was almost gonna say unfortunately but fortunately we also discovered that inhibiting telomerase would kill almost every cancer cell by essentially accelerating it to die of old age. And so, we had – what – cure for cancer and the cure for aging in our hands all at the same time. And Geron Investors decided there was quicker return on investment if they went after the cancer. So with Geron’s blessing I left and started Sierra Sciences to focus on the idea of inducing telomerase to fight aging. And I’m a named inventor on a lot of the cancer patents and several things that are in clinical studies right now. But, again, my passion is aging and if there weren’t so many millions of people already working on cancer, my passion would be cancer, too. But there’s just not enough people working on aging and more people working on cancer. And – and I now believe that everything we’re doing and the best way to prevent cancer and even to fight cancer is to prevent aging. I think aging is the – our weakened immune system, our increased rate of mutation rates that come from advanced age are the major causes of cancer. And also, aging can help our bodies – our cancers survive anything we hit ’em with! So, I think keeping us young increases cancer therapies to work and it decreases our chances of getting cancer. And just our – and increases our body’s ability to fight cancer. So, I think everything we’re doing now is both cancer and aging.

Ryan: So, the billion-dollar question and the, you know, the price of admission here is how do we – what are the actionable items? What are the things that we need to implement into our life to try to make that happen?

Bill: Well, nothing really exists yet to stop telomeres from shortening or to lengthen them. But I should ca- I should say – qualify that and say there are gene therapy protocols that exist right now that can do that. And that’s what Liz Parrish and I are working on. And we hope to have something coming soon that – that people can actually start signing up to get treated. But it’s gonna be enormously expensive.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: We’re talking, like, 2 million dollars an injection. And the reason for that cost isn’t because we’re trying to make a bunch of money, which is not my passion at all. It’s because just preparing enough of the gene therapy is – to prepare it costs so much that it’s, like, in our hands it would cost us – we estimate 700,000 dollars just to make enough for one treatment. And then there’s still all the doctor costs and the clinic costs and things like that that rack it up. It’s probably gonna cost 2 million dollars a treatment. But I look at this as just a way for us to get some more revenue from royalties, let’s say, to fund the real research that we’re doing is to discover a very affordable, small molecule that will induce the expression of telomerase in all the cells of our body and lengthen our telomeres. And I think once we have the funding, we’re actually a year away from having something like that for testing in humans.

Ryan: Wow, that’s phenomenal! I’ve paid my 2 million dollars; I’m getting this gene therapy injection. What’s my experience?

Bill: You know, we are – we are reaching into the unknown here. I would never, ever make predictions. But I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if you got younger and healthier. Now you look pretty young to me already so you might not be a good candidate. Just like I thought Liz Parrish wasn’t a good candidate when she treated herself. But if – if we take this and treat, like, an 80-year-old person – and I’d love to do somebody like Betty White, for instance.

Ryan: That’d be awesome!

Bill: Yeah, she’s just incredible. And she, you know, she’s in her 90’s. And – and my mother turns 90 tomorrow and I’d love to treat her, too. But I would – I would expect to see – I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw actual physical appearances getting younger and health getting better. And that’s the goal. And I wanna say that I’ve never, ever been in this field saying that I absolutely know that’s gonna happen.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: Because as a scientist I would never say anything like that about anything. But the big question is – we can’t’ answer the question until we actually have something that lengthens telomeres and see what happens. And so, this gene therapy would be our first opportunity to do that.

Ryan: So, if we saw those results, it would come from lengthening the telomeres?

Bill: Yes. Oh yeah, that’s the one thing that we’re doing is we’re lengthening telomeres. I mean, there have been publications, especially, like, Dr. Ron Depinho who’s the head of M.D. Anderson now. He’s published papers saying that he thought that telomeres might be the kingpin of all the other things that control aging. At least mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. But I believe that lengthening telomeres could – let’s say I wouldn’t be surprised if we found that even things like advanced glycation end products and – let’s say, they disappeared from maybe cell division causing them to be diluted out. Or maybe some other mechanisms like the receptor for advanced glycation end products might operate to start degrading, getting rid of the products themselves. We might see crt-1 go back to its higher levels. We might see human growth hormone go to higher levels. We might see all the changes that occur as you get older reverse. But we don’t know. We won’t know until we try. But I think the – it’s got a better theoretical background than anything else I’ve ever heard of because it’s – there’s great models to explain how it affects gene expression, how telomere lengths affect gene expression. There’s great models that show how short telomeres actually cause increased mutation rates. And so, I think lengthening telomeres has a promise of doing a lot of things but we won’t know until we try. I’m looking forward to the first really good study. I’ll say there’s been some attempts right now but I gotta say they’re – they – we don’t have enough data from the things to be able to say if they worked or not.

Ryan: Okay, okay. So then, if that has all been talking about increasing the length of the telomeres, are there things that we can do or should be trying to do to prevent the shortening of them?

Bill: Well, yeah. Decreasing the rate of shortening is – a lot of things that have been published. Now -and I’m a big believer in every single one of them, I practice all of them. But I would say the number 1 best stuff that I’ve seen is just endurance exercise. Bicycling, swimming, walking, running. You know, most of the studies were done with runners. But they’ve all shown that the more endurance exercise you do and the longer you’ve been doing it, the longer your telomeres. And it’s not because exercise is lengthening your telomeres, it’s because it’s decreasing the accelerated rate of shortening. And the things that cause – let me just say – the things that cause the accelerated rate of shortening are things like oxidative stress and inflammation. Those things will accelerate the rate that your telomeres shorten. So, exercise, if you do it all the time – I think there’s, you know, the data doesn’t have – the publications don’t have the whole story. But I’m beginning to see a model emerge where it suggests that if you exercise all the time you’ll be okay. But if you are an occasional exerciser, let’s say you run every month, one day a month and then enter a marathon you’ll probably do really well. But the next day you’ll be so inflamed. Inflammation will be all over you, you’ll be stiff as a board. And that’s gonna cause accelerated telomere shortening. But if you run every day and then run a marathon, you’re not gonna have that inflammation. You’ll probably, next day, be out running again. And so, it depends on the lifestyle. I also believe that if you’re the type of runner that feels like you’ve gotta go as fast as you can every time you go running and you’re one of those marathon runners that crossed the finished line on your hands and knees throwing up, yeah I think you’re gonna accelerate your telomere shortening there, too.  I think – I think the exercise has to be kept fun. You know, you’ve gotta enjoy yourself, having a great time. If it becomes a real struggle, that’s a sign to quit, you know? And come back another day. or maybe the next day. You know, it’s – but there’s lots of data saying that there’s a very good correlation between, like, the sedentary people versus the 10-k runners versus the marathon runners versus the ultra-marathon runners. The ultra-marathon runners have longer telomeres than the marathon runners. The marathon runners have longer telomeres than the 10-k runners. And the 10-k runners have longer telomeres than the sedentary people. So, that’s one. That’s – you asked me for a list. That’s just endurance exercise. But there’s also supplements. Antioxidants, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids. They’ve been published in scientifically peer-reviewed journal articles showing that the more you take and the longer you’ve been taking them – well let’s say not necessarily the more you take, but of course there’s an optimal dose. But the longer you’ve been taking ’em, the longer your telomeres. And again, not because they lengthen your telomeres, they just decrease the rate of accelerated telomere shortening. Then there’s the psychological stress that kinda, your boss gives you. That’s also been shown. And also, you know, there’s the other kinds of stresses not from your boss but, for instance, it’s been published that adults that have been abused as children have shorter telomeres than their friends their same age that weren’t abused as children, all because of the stress. Depression has also been connected to the length of your telomeres. Depression causes accelerated telomere shortening. Smoking and obesity are very strongly correlated with telomere length. The more you smoke and the more obese you are, the shorter your telomeres. And these are things you all want to – everybody wants to reverse. And then, the last one I wanna mention is just pessimism. There’s been 2 studies showing that pessimistic people have shorter telomeres than optimistic people. And I don’t know cause and effect. I think they’re kinda funny that they’ve been published. But correlations do exist. I think if you don’t believe you’re gonna be 100 you’re probably right because your telomeres are gonna be shorter. But, you know, people can do a lot of these – a lot of things. You know, meditation will help with the stress. Taking those supplements I mentioned will help. Exercise – keep it fun. You know, walking is better than nothing, you know.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: [coughs] Excuse me.

Ryan: And you mentioned endurance exercise. I’m starting to see a lot more research about it and how it impacts brain health as well. We shared a study that was published last week that said the longer you go in that exercise session, so I guess specifically in this study they used mice and they went – they ran to exhaustion. In the study, they had the mice on the treadmill and when they could no longer get back on the treadmill they said: ‘Okay, you’re done.’ But the longer they went, the more neurogenesis they saw.

Bill: Yeah, I read that study. Very exciting!

Ryan: Yeah.

Bill: It’s – but, you know, it still seems to contradict a lot of previous studies.

Ryan: Does it?

Bill: And with mice – mice aren’t like humans. Like, humans, when we are put – if we are put on a treadmill or something like that all the time, we will generate free radicals just like the mice do. But we’ll also boost our antioxidants. And to such a point that our oxidative stress would be less. Whereas mice don’t have that ability. And so, that’s why, you know, if you have a pet mouse I wouldn’t recommend putting it on a treadmill on the time but that doesn’t mean that you should treat yourself the same way. I get out there and exercise ’cause I believe it – there’s been studies, again in scientifically peer-reviewed journal articles, showing that if you do a lot of exercise, your oxidative stress is actually lower because your elevated antioxidants.

Ryan: My question is what is that – what’s the cause of that? Is it just because we get circulation, endorphins? Is it all of it? Or is just simply that antioxidants are increased?

Bill: I don’t know. I would affect – just guess it’s something to do with our whole epigenetic gene expression system.

Ryan: Okay. It’s – it’s a very complicated process and it has to do with the fact that we are designed to move so the more of that we do the better –

Bill: Yes.

Ryan: – we express health.

Bill: Move is the best word. This is something – everybody wants to move. Keep moving.

Ryan: Yeah. Okay. So, one of the things that I find fascinating about your life or your sport is, you know, at the time when ‘The Immortalist’ came out, that was something that you and Aubrey de Gray were featured in that documentary. You know, the guys at singularity actually reported that at the time you were 61, you were averaging 10 miles a day and at least one 100-mile marathon every month. Are you still maintaining numbers like that?

Bill: I’m trying to. I mean, my travelling has gotten so extensive that it’s hard to go anywhere. I was just – I just returned from Bogotá, Colombia. And, you know, I like to run every day and my host there – I was at a medical clinic there – they were really terrified about the idea that I was thinking of going outside and run because, you know, I could be kidnapped or something like that.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: And so I – they drove me to Central Park in Bogotá, Colombia and there was, like, every 100 yards a military personnel with a machine gun. And thousands of runners because all these – nobody would run anywhere else but they’d all go here because of the protection from the military they have. And so – so I don’t get, when I’m traveling, don’t get as much chance to run as I normally would. Plus, sometimes when I go to China the smog’s too bad to go outside. But yeah. My running – I try to – I do try to sign up for at least a 50- or 100-mile race once a month.

Ryan: Wow.

Bill: Otherwise I feel like I’m going through withdrawals. And, you know, I don’t consider these things torture or anything like that. I consider them fun and adventures. And I always – my slogan is: ‘To start is to win,’ you know. It’s being there. Sometimes I have so much fun out there I don’t ever want it to stop. It’s not a race for me, it’s just adventure, exploring, going places where nobody else can because of the fact that you won’t find water and food if you went on that adventure by yourself, you know. A lot of times the only way I get water and food out of there is ’cause the race director will drop it from helicopters on mountain tops and I just get to find the food and eat it and move on.

Ryan: That sounds like a great team-building activity. I think the Natural Stacks team is gonna do that.

Bill: It’s so addicting, I just, I – that’s why I can’t go a month without doing one.

Ryan: That is cool. So, tell us how old are you now and what’s your daily routine like? I mean, how can we be in our 60’s and be, you know, you don’t look that old.

Bill: Yeah, well I’m 64 now. Next year I’m supposed to retire because I’m incapable of doing anything anymore. But that’s the old ways. I, you know, I – I do exer- I – running is the main thing I do. But I try to lead a really healthy diet. I, you know, I try to stay away from the inflammatories. You know, I stay away from sugar. I like to keep my sugar as low as possible. I try not to eat bread and things like that. I’m – I’m guilty of breaking those rules a lot though, but I – at least the effort there makes me netter than those people that don’t make the effort.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: So let’s say, I minimize sugar a lot. Sugar is one of the top ones. I minimize gluten a lot. I stay away from trans-fats and saturated fats. When I see – when I’m buying something, like a candy bar at the store or something like that I will, you know, I don’t mean candy bar but like a health bar but I call them candy bars – I will instantly go to the fats and the sugar and find out what’s going on. But the total amount of fat doesn’t usually bother me. Total amount of carbs usually doesn’t bother me. I’d like to get lots of protein. Those are just ways of life I have. I do that on a regular basis. But, you know, I – I try to, like, eat really well. I, you know, I try to keep – I don’t believe in caloric restriction. I believe that works great on mice, roundworms, fruit flies and yeast but it’s just not a good thing for humans. I – okay, I do have another saying and that’s: ‘What’s the point of living a long time if you’re not living?’ And I think a person on caloric restriction is not really living. And so, I would say don’t do that. And, while we’re on the subject, I also say human growth hormone, microdermabrasion, things like that, those might actually accelerate aging but do ’em anyway. You know, because of the fact, you know, those things are – they really do make people feel younger and look younger. So, but it’s actually just a temporary thing I’m afraid. But – but, okay so, getting back on what else I do. I don’t take human growth hormone but maybe someday I will start doing it. They’re – it’s just, like, thousands of dollars a month to take it and that’s why I don’t take it.

Ryan: Well you mentioned that it could accelerate aging. Why is that?

Bill: Well, because it induces bone cell and muscle cell proliferation, that’s how it works. And by definition anything – every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. So, it’s human growth hormone and microdermabrasion are gonna cause accelerated telomere shortening. And, you know, you’ll feel younger and look younger because of the increased number of cells. But the cells are physically older. The individual cells are physically older. The clump of them looks young. Cells are individually older and – and you’ll experience a big cliff later on where all of the sudden you – the telomeres get so short you start showing all kinds of signs of advanced aging. But again, I do it – I would say to do it anyway. I don’t do it but I would encourage people to continue doing it. And I would have a fix for you – for them, you know, before their telomeres get too short.

Ryan: Before they hit the cliff!

Bill: Yes.

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: But we – were we done with all the things I do? I’m trying to think. I mean, I take tremendous numbers of supplements. I go to – okay, so I read the literature all the time. I go to medical conferences all the time. I speak to people – every time somebody’s telling me something that can make me healthier, make me younger, all this kind of stuff, I look into it. You know, I’m gonna say 90% of the time it’s quackery and charlatans and stuff like that. But after you do this for a while – and especially in my case ’cause I do this all the time – I can weed these out. And so, if I find something that sounds like it might be good but I can’t find any reason not to do it, like no negatives, I’ll add it to my regimen of supplements to take and stuff like that. It’s – like the most recent thing I’ve added is glycine. I now take 2 grams of glycine in the morning and 2 grams of glycine at night and that was because some study out of Japan came out, published in a scientifically peer-reviewed journal, saying that it extended life span and actually increased the metabolic rate – no – yeah, the metabolic rate in humans. All the reason to take it. So, I added that to my regimen. But I’ve got a whole bunch of things that I do.

Ryan: What else do you do like that? We’re curious to hear some of your – if you have any special tonics or supplement regimens.

Bill: Well, I believe in keeping your blood vessels flexible, okay. So, I do nitric oxide things. Like I take a product called Neo40, N-E-O 40. I also take L-Arginine which induces nitric oxide production, especially when you get older. Um, and what else? So, I, you know, I take, as I said before, my omega-3 fatty acids. And omega-3 fatty acids – I take about 2.5 grams a day, okay. I can’t remember the exact breakdown of the EPA and the DHA but I do take about 2.5 grams a day. I take – oh, let’s see, what else? Quickly in my head go through my medicine ca- oh, you know, so I – there’s a new product out, nicotinamide riboside that’s Leonard Guarente is the inventor of. It’s a – helps with your NAD pathways and stuff like that. And the data looks pretty good there for at least mice and stuff like that. But I don’t see any harm in trying it. And I’m taking it. I’ve been – I’ve – I’m now on autoship, you know. Because I believe it can only be a benefit to us. And Leonard Guarente, he’s a scientist whose very passionate about curing aging, too. And so, if he believes it, I believe it.

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: The – what else? Mentioned omega-3’s. Oh, metformin. Metformin’s a big one. I’ve been taking metformin now for 8 years.

Ryan: Really?

Bill: Yes, because – and I take a gram a day.

Ryan: Really?

Bill: Yeah. And it’s because all the studies were showing that these diabetics that were taking it were having lower incidences of cancer. And lower than diabetics that weren’t taking it and even lower than non-diabetics that weren’t taking it and so –

Ryan: That’s fascinating.

Bill: Yeah.

Ryan: So, for people that don’t know, metformin is diabetes medication to help with blood sugar.

Bill: Yes, it regulates your blood sugar. I’m not a diabetic but I’ve been taking it for 8 years just because of the cancer and s- and now it’s even suggested that it might be an analogue of rapamycin. And rapamycin has been shown to enhance life span in mice and roundworms and those other animals. Um, not in humans yet. But, you know, and rapamycin itself actually has toxic side effects and so I wouldn’t take it. But metformin if it’s an analogue, hermetic of rapamycin would offer, too. There is also a, like, a very first anti-aging clinical study ever has been approved and it’s looking at metformin to see if it extends the life span of humans. And I – I’ve heard there’s also another clinical study where they’re using a combination of rapamycin and metformin.

Ryan: Wow. That’ll be fascinating to see when those are published.

Bill: Yeah. No, it’ll be a while but it doesn’t mean people can’t start taking it now.

Ryan: Right, right. So, we’ve talked about a few things that are all benefits of curcumin, so I’m really curios to hear your thoughts. We just released our curcumin product. So, I’m not putting you on the spot with our product, by any means but – but I know from our release and doing all the research for it that curcumin has been shown to decrease the rate of telomere shortening. It is a huge anti-inflammatory. Always has been. It’s been used in ayurvedic medicine for years for that and for pain relief. And it actually was shown in a study at Auburn University to be 400 times more effective than metformin at – was it AMPK stimulation?

Bill: No, I –

Ryan: I don’t have that in front of me, so – but I know the number was 400 times more effective than metformin by name, in the study.

Bill: I take curcumin every day, okay.

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: And I’m a big believer in that it’s a healthy thing to do. The – I gotta confess, we have tested it here and have found that it has no abilities to stimulate telomerase –

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: To lengthen telomeres. Since it is a strong anti-inflammatory, I believe that that’s its main function is by decreasing inflammation you’re actually decreasing the rate of telomere shortening.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: But for that matter, any anti-oxidant or any anti-inflammatory by that definition is going to actually help keep your telomeres long.

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: But curcumin has a host of a lot of other benefits. I mean, I – it’s – if I spent – gave you a list of all the things I take which a curcumin is on this would take an hour to get through.

Ryan: Well, since you do take it and you take it every day, we’ll send you a bottle of ours. You may be interested in making the switch. We’ve got a liquid micelle version that is significantly more bio-available than anything else that’s on the market.

Bill: Okay. You know, it just, for some reason I forget the connection between curcumin and turmeric. Turmeric.

Ryan: Curcumin is the bio-active compound in the spice turmeric.

Bill: Okay.

Ryan: And turmeric is 3% by weight curcumin.

Bill: Okay. All I know is there was a study that came out that turmeric actually inhibited telomerase to –

Ryan: Okay.

Bill: And the people that had published it were actually people that were trying to promote it as an anti-cancer therapy. Because it, you know, maybe a few people still believe but it’s actually more the belief right now – some people used to believe that telomerase causes cancer. Now I think the data has clearly shown us the exact opposite, it decreases the rate of cancer. But the turmeric came out a few years ago saying that it inhibited telomerase, take this if you have cancer. And we tested that here and we could not get any reproduction of that at all. And the reason why I wanted to make certain we could show that it didn’t work is because I want people to take turmeric.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: Okay. But I want them also to be taking – inducing their telomerase with some of the telomerase products out there and so –

Ryan: We certainly wouldn’t want to take something that decreases –

Bill: Inhibits.

Ryan: Right. So, to be clear, it does not.

Bill: Turmeric does not inhibit telomerase. We can’t detect any inhibition whatsoever.

Ryan: Okay. That’s great news.

Bill: Yeah.

Ryan: So, you just brought up cancer again. Is there anything exciting on the horizon in terms of telomerase and cancer research?

Bill: Well, the telomerase inhibitors that are in clinical studies are showing problems of having the cancers come back, okay. And this is because their meta-function is to inhibit telomerase, causing the telomeres to get shorter in the cancer cells. And when the telomeres get really critically short, it increases the mutation rate a lot and as a result, a mutation occurs in one of the cancer cells that allows it to survive and grow back. So, this is – this is a problem. So – so, it’s better than not doing it but it still – it’s still got some problems. Keeping telomeres long is the best way to fight cancer and to prevent cancer. But if you have cancer and you can kill – if you can target cancer cells by – by killing any cell that produces telomerase, that would be a great way to fight cancer. But you wouldn’t wanna be taking a telomerase inducer at the time ’cause then you’d kill all your cells. But in the absence of a telomerase inducer, if you were to provide yourself with a drug that would kill telomerase positive cells without causing telomere shortening, that might be a great way – in fact, I even recommend that if there was such a drug – and there isn’t yet – if there was such a drug, you first wanna lengthen the telomeres, take a telomerase inducer to lengthen all the telomeres in your cancer cells then quit taking the telomerase inducer to turn telomerase off in all your non-cancer cells. Then taking the drug that poisons, let’s say, telomerase positive cancer cells and kill all the cancers. Then afterwards go back on the inducer to keep your immune system telomeres long and stuff like that. I think that’s gonna be the best way for us to fight cancer in the future if the immunological methods that are being tested right now don’t cure it all beforehand. ‘Cause I’m real excited about what’s going on there. I think that’s – I think we got some great cures for cancer coming there. But in the meantime, I think that present telomerase inducers – or inhibitors are not gonna be as great as we hoped they would be. Even though I’m a named inventor on several of them. We have to find ways to pois- and we’re actually – even though my company is focused on that, we have stumbled upon a few ways to actually poison telomerase positive cells. And we’re actually looking for, right now, marketing partners or people to go through ’cause we wanna – we wanna keep our attention on the aging but we don’t wanna stand in the way of a cancer therapy.

Ryan: Right, right. So, you mentioned earlier the financial aspect of, you know, a lack of funding is a major obstacle in the quest for anti-aging. Why do you think that is?

Bill: Well, it wasn’t before, okay. Um, back in 1999, when I first decided to start Sierra Sciences, I found investors almost immediately. And, you know, we operated for years. Every time we’d go out to get more funding it was never a problem. I never had problems raising funding. Between 1999 and 2008, I raised 33 million dollars from angel investors. But in the global financial crisis of 2008 destroyed their ability to invest any further. And ever since then it’s been really, really difficult to find investors.

Ryan: So, is there an element of, like, fighting against the medical industry or big pharma, you know, to where people – in certain interests may not want to see aging cured?

Bill: I haven’t seen it. I mean, the only experience that I have had is maybe 10 years ago when I was speaking at a conference. Somebody from the FDA was in the audience and took me aside afterwards and said: ‘You know, we’ll never allow you to do clinical studies to cure aging ’cause aging isn’t a disease.’ And that kinda floored me. I was a little shocked by that. But, you know, things have changed. Loot at – they’ve just approved a clinical study for metformin when the goal is to see how it affects aging. So, I think things have changed, people have come around. But I have never encountered any problems with large pharma being upset. We’ve had large pharma visit here. We’ve had some – I don’t wanna mention companies – but some of the bigger ones come here and meet with us pretty regularly. And they say that, you know, like when we have a drug that we can drop into a Petri dish and turn old human cells into young human cells again, then they’re interested in talking to us. But in the meantime, they don’t wanna get involved in research anymore.

Ryan: Right.

Bill: So the research is still – and the big problem is that the world doesn’t realize that that’s happening. They think that the large pharma is doing research and they’re not. The small companies are doing research and they can’t’ get the funding. And so, people, you know, you’re always hearing about some big news story about somebody does some research that is – puts us closer to the cure for Alzheimer’s or cancer or aging or something like that. And then 5 years later people say well, that must have been some kind of joke ’cause we’ve never heard anything from them since. Well what they don’t realize is the reason they didn’t hear anything from them is because even with all the publicity they still didn’t get any funding. And – and they didn’t get any funding because everybody believes that they got all the funding in the world. We’re now this close to generating all the funding we need, which we estimate to be about a million dollars a month.

Ryan: Wow!

Bill: That’s to get our research really going. And that’s – we’re this close to doing that right now. And when we are at that point I will say that we’ll be 1 year away from having something to test in humans that’ll be an affordable, small drug.

Ryan: I can’t wait for that. I’ll be one of the first in line. I would be a first adapter for that.

Bill: Yeah, but you don’t look like you need it.

Ryan: I – but that’s the point, I don’t wanna ever have to need it!

Bill: Yeah, I agree. If you want – I think people should be doing every – whatever they can to keep their telomeres long from the day they’re born.

Ryan: Exactly! Exactly!

Bill: Maybe the day they’re conceived!

Ryan: Yeah! Well –

Bill: So then, mothers should be doing something, yeah.

Ryan: Alright. So, Dr. Andrews, if we haven’t given you the chance yet, what’s the one thing that you would want to impart to our listeners to protect themselves or, you know, slow the aging process?

Bill: Just, like, do whatever you can to keep your telomeres long. And, turns out all the other theories on aging – they all also – doing those things, too, will actually help keep your telomeres long, too. Just, you know, I would say that the best thing anybody can do is spread the word. Let – somehow, yeah, I always say if you’re sitting on an airplane next to a billionaire and that billionaire is saying boy, I wish somebody would cure my aging, tell him there are people out there. There’s us, there’s Aubrey de Gray, there’s Liz Parrish, there’s – there’s Genescient, there’s so many companies out there right now that are passionate about trying to find a cure for aging. They’re not all doing the same thing. I’m very glad they’re not because, you know, we won’t know what actually really cures aging until we do it. Plus, I believe that there isn’t only one cure of aging. I think we’ve got – I think of each theory on why we age is a stick of dynamite that’s burning inside of us. And it’s all dependent on the length of the fuses. So, which fuse has got the shortest – which stick of dynamite has the shortest fuse? And I think – I think it’s telomeres. Well, when we put that out, doesn’t mean the other sticks of dynamite are gonna quit burning. So, I’m glad other people are doing the other things. And it gives me – if I can put that one fuse out that prevents our telomeres from shortening it gives me possibly 40 years more research time to figure out how to put out the other ones.

Ryan: Yeah, I like –

Bill: But yeah, spread the word. We need funding, all of us do! People – just steer people in the right direction because they all believe that we don’t need funding when we do. It’s not gonna – aging is not gonna cure itself.

Ryan: I like it. So, tell our listeners where they can find more of you or get more of your research if they’re interested.

Bill: Well, I do have a book. It’s available on amazon.com. It’s pretty much designed to answer all the questions that people always ask me when I speak on stage. I get kinda embarrassed sometimes when I speak on stage and then I get done, I walk out to the hallway and everybody follows me and the next speaker has nobody left in the room. So, I wrote the book so that they’ll all stay in the room and they can just read the book later. The – there’s ‘The Immortalist’, the movie ‘The Immortalist’. That is a lot about who me and Aubrey are. But we – both of us get an opportunity to talk about our science so they can understand what we’re doing and what it’s all about. Our website is www.sierrasci.com, so it’s S-I-E-R-R-A-S-C-I – that’s short for Sierra Sciences -.com.

Ryan: You guys listening don’t have to try to remember that, we’ll have the link to it on the Natural Stacks blog version of this. So, you can just click straight through to that.

Bill: Alright. And, well I think I ran the gamut there. I can’t think of anything else to say.

Ryan: Okay. Alright, so before we let you go, the question that we ask all of our guests. We wanna know your top 3 tips to live optimal. We’ve – I know we’ve probably hit on some of them already. But you’re top 3 tips to help our listeners live optimal.

Bill: Enjoy life. Um, exercise. Um, and get check-ups all the time, you know. It’s – it’s better to know than not to know. Because even if there’s nothing you can do about it, you could get out there and you could start finding out what you can do about it. Maybe help – join some cancer campaign or something like that, anti-cancer campaign. You know, there’s always something you can do about it, it’s always better to know. But okay, so enjoy life, exercise, and get yourself checked up as often as you can on everything.

Ryan: Alright, there you have it. So, Dr. Andrews, thank you so much for hanging out with us. This has been great. For everybody listening, thank you guys for tuning in. And we will talk to you guys next Thursday!

Bill: Alright, thank you! Enjoyed it.


OPP 028: World Series of Poker Champion Martin Jacobson

2014 World Series of Poker Champion Martin Jacobson is on Episode 28 of the Optimal Performance Podcast to discuss what it takes to become a champion, perseverance, staying hungry, and how to become the best version of yourself.

2014 World Series of Poker Champion Martin Jacobson is quiet, humble, and unassuming. Don’t let that fool you as you listen to this podcast – he embodies all that we come to expect from our Champions!

Martin battled, hustled, and sacrificed for 7 years before bursting into stardom with his $10 Million victory on ESPN last November. In this conversation, we explore something Martin admits to not having discussed before – the behind-the-scenes road to becoming a World Champion and how he’s focused to STAY on top.

Here’s what stands out to me: pay attention to how a Champion overcomes obstacles, trusts his abilities, and moves forward – even if the path doesn’t seem obvious.

Martin’s answers and path highlight what happens when we don’t quit, trust ourselves, study our craft, strategize, remain positive, continue to learn and seek ways to be more and simply be better.

These are the traits of a Champion.

Listen closely to Martin and see if you can pick up on these traits in action…


What you’ll hear from Martin Jacobson in this episode:

  • The journey to the top of the Poker world
  • Turning passion into profession and how the movie Rounders…
  • Take the cash payout or invest in your dream
  • Taking honest assessments of your strengths & weaknesses and how to learn something about yourself and your mission from every experience
  • Staying on top – keeping the hunger after achieving your life’s goal
  • What it’s like to compete against the people you grew up admiring
  • Why $10,000,000 doesn’t change your life!
  • Staying focused, strong and positive during the inevitable down times
  • Martin’s Top 3 Tips to #liveoptimal
  • Where to find more of Martin Jacobson


Success does not happen overnight. You’ve got to be committed to your pursuit and you’ve got to be willing to invest your time – lot’s of it. Martin’s 7 year odyssey to winning the WSOP is a great reminder that those who appear to hit “instant success” have been grinding outside of the spotlight for years. Are you investing that same sweat equity in YOUR DREAMS?

Links & Resources

Martin’s WEBSITE



REG (Raising for Effective Giving)

Natural Stacks Products to Optimize Your Performance

Grass Fed Whey Protein + Collagen & Colostrum – for repair, recovery, growth, and more

CILTEP – for unbeatable focus and concentration

BCAAs – for recovery and reduced muscular fatigue

Dopamine Brain Food – for motivation and mental alertness

Krill Oil – for less joint pain, reduced inflammation, and optimal brain function

Have a question for Martin? A comment? Drop yours below in the comments.

How to win a Poker World Championship with Martin Jacobson

Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance podcast sponsored by natural stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance check out optimalperformance.com.

Happy Thursday all you optimal performers! I’m your host Ryan Munsey and today’s guest is reigning World Series of Poker champion Martin Jacobson. Martin, hello and thanks for hanging out with us!

Martin: Hello, how’s it going?

Ryan: We’re doing great, we’re really looking forward to this. So, for our guests, I mean that’s all the intro that we need; you’re the reigning world series of poker champion. We’re gonna talk about performance and staying focused, and the kind of the mentality and the mindset of becoming the champion, and what happens when you climb that mountain. So, before we dig in, couple of housekeeping notes: as always, go to optimalperformance.com to see the video version and be able to grab any show notes, links and resources to all the cool stuff that Martin and I discuss on this episode. And also, make sure you head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know that you enjoyed the show and we will read them on the air – just like this one from TF and A: ‘fantastic podcast and really enjoying it’. Alright, so, will all of that said, let’s get back to Martin. Martin, like we said in the intro, you’re the reigning World Series of Poker champion. We want to know all about this journey to the top. Was there a day, you know, five ten fifteen years ago, that you said: ‘hey, I want to be the world series of poker champion’, or was poker just something you enjoyed and it kind of evolved?

Martin: Yeah, definitely, definitely the second part. I never – I never actually made the decision like even to, to play professionally, it just kinda happened. I was – I was working as a chef in Stockholm and I had quite high ambitions in the chef world that I wanted to work myself up to the top. And so, I get an offer to move to Barcelona and start working at a 3-star Michelin restaurant down there. I’d only been to Barcelona once but it’s one of my favourite cities, still to this day, so I snapped that opportunity and was determined to go there and yeah, work. And, for some reason my, my contact person there that was gonna hook me up with this job stopped answering my calls. So in the meantime, I was playing poker on the side like I had been doing for a couple years just as a hobby and, sort of like extra sort of income. And so in the meantime, I had quit my job in Stockholm, so I was, naturally I kept playing poker more and more, and while I was waiting for, for this call I was – I was having some, some major success in poker. And yeah, before I knew it I was – I guess I became a pro [laughs] during that time.

Ryan: So what does that look like, you know, when you say playing on the side, I mean I’m envisioning the movie ‘Rounders’ – I’m sure that it was more of the online variety. But, how did you realize, hey, I’m actually pretty good at this and what is that transition like to say I want to become a professional? How does one declare professionalism in, you know, something like poker, and what does that journey look like?

Martin: It’s funny you imagine ‘Rounders’ because that film is actually a big reason to why so many professionals or poker players turned professionals at the time I did. We’re all kind of in the same age group actually, we’re all between 25 and 30 I guess. Once ‘Rounders’ came out we were all, we were all just, became of age to legally play. But yeah anyway, so no, it wasn’t like ‘Rounders’ really, I played some, at some clubs like local poker clubs and whatnot, but most of it was definitely online. Poker was really, really blowing up at that point, it was everywhere, it was on TV and magazines and, yeah. You name it, like it was all over. So it was hard not to get involved if you had a little bit of interest, and I definitely did.

Ryan: Okay. So, again, like how did you – at what point did you realize, hey, I’m pretty good at this. And you know, did you just say I’m gonna enter the World Series of Poker? Did you qualify? Take us through that journey to becoming number one.

Martin: [Laughs] Well, I think that, in my mind I thought I was really good at it, but I think I was good compared to the competition back then [laughs] ’cause since then like the, the competition today is so different from what it was back in the day. And when I say back in the day I mean, yeah, 7, 8, 10 years ago, when everyone was playing. But yeah, my biggest dream was definitely to play the World Series one day, just to play it, like, I had no real [laughs] – obviously I would love to win it, but, that wasn’t like a reality for me really. I just wanted to, I just wanted to take part. So, that was like, at least the first step on my goal list, to play in the World Series one day. So in 2008, I had been playing for, playing professionally for a couple months, and – oh no, sorry – this was actually before I became a pro, so I was still working as a chef in Stockholm. And I actually managed to qualify for – for the World Series main event, and the online satellite, which is like a qualification tournament online.

Ryan: Okay.

Martin: And this was in, this was in – I won it quite late, I won it in May – and the tournament was in early July, and I was gonna turn 21 the 30th of June, just a few days before. And yeah, you needed to be 21 in order to play [laughs] so it kinda felt like it was meant to be. But I actually had the option to either take the cash or go and play, and the total package was valued at, I think it was around $12,000, which was, yeah, a huge amount of money back then for me. So I wasn’t really sure what to do, so actually I call up my Mom for advice, and [laughs] – and I was pretty sure she was gonna say: ‘well obviously you’re gonna take the cash’. But knowing that she knew how much I loved the game her – her mentality I guess like kinda underestimated, so she actually advised me to go – to go play. So I went to Vegas by myself [laughs]

Ryan: At 21 years old [laughs].

Martin: At 20, at 20 years old – I went a few days before my birthday [laughs]. And yeah, turned 21 in Vegas, and played the main event, and it didn’t really go as planned. I actually got eliminated on the third hand!

Ryan: Oh no! [laughs]

Martin: Which is, yeah, quite embarrassing in an 8-day tournament.

Ryan: So, how do you, how do you recover from that, or what’s your mindset after that in coming back? Did that, did that kind of steel your resolve to get back and prove, that you could hang with those guys? Or was it just, hey, I had a blast, and now let’s just go keep playing for fun?

Martin: I was, I was quite devastated for a while, I sacrificed a lot to be there, and I’d been working really hard to, to get there. But at the end of the day, okay so my main goal was just to take part, really. Like, even if sure, I had made – made it further in the tournament, like, I still, I –  looking back I wasn’t really ready for something like this. Like my skill level wasn’t – wasn’t prepared for such a big tournament, I think.

Ryan: So, over the next six years then, from 2008 until you won it in 2014, what did you do to bring your skill level up? what was that – like, take us through that Rocky training montage.

Martin: Well I, like I mentioned before it’s been a steady journey, you know, all the way to the top over these seven years. So, it hasn’t really been like an overnight – an overnight switch. It’s been like a – for every tournament I play, I learn something new, about myself, about the game, about my opponents. So it’s really – it’s really I think comes down to experience, just gotta put in the hours and play, and yeah, also work, work in the games from the table. The best way I think to improve is to set up friends that are at a similar level as you, and just pick their brain and go through hands together and try to find – come up with new strategies that might work and just improve that way.

Ryan: Now, what I want to know now is, on the other side of winning the championship, has your mindset changed at all? Do your strategies change? Does that training change? Do you lose that edge?

Martin: No, I lost it I think for a little bit, but that was just a short period of time, because right after I won it was, I was quite overwhelmed by – by all of the attention and the – just the feeling, like it felt so surreal to have won, to have achieved something like that, like it’s still – I still can’t believe it even to this day. It’s such a large [laughs] – and so, yeah – it took me a while to come back to reality, sort of – but now, now in total it’s been a year. And, it really, like overall I wouldn’t say that that it – my mindset – have changed at all, really. Like I’m still the same person, I still have the same, the same passion for the game, and my motivation is the same.

Ryan: So, let’s talk about the World Series this year. How motivated were you to repeat, and talk us through what happened this year.

Martin: I was extremely motivated to repeat [laughs] but yeah, the reality is that it’s, it’s a real long shot. It’s – it’s hard to compare to any other game or sport because there are so few that, that have that many entrants – almost 7,000 players each year in the main event. So to, to go back to back is like, the odds of that happening is like 4,000,000 to 1 I think.

Ryan: So, having tried to accomplish that, how much more impressed are you by the few men who’ve been able to, to accomplish either getting to the final table or even winning back-to-back?

Martin: Yeah, it’s very impressive [laughs].

Ryan: You mention being able to pick people’s brains. Have you like gotten to, like – Johnny Chan is one that comes to mind – I mean, have you been able to talk to some guys like that over the, the course of this year as you try to repeat, you know, what tactics did they use to try to get back?

Martin: Johnny Chan is what I would consider an old-school player now I think [laughs]. But yeah, I’ve played with him a few times and it’s, it’s pretty cool you know, thinking back to that ‘Rounders’ scene [laughs].

Ryan: What’s it like to sit down at the table with somebody who, I guess, more or less, was an influence in you, you know, choosing that route for your life?

Martin: Oh it’s, yeah it’s cool. You, I wouldn’t say get, I wouldn’t say you get star struck really, but – especially not these days – but I remember like back in the day, you know, when you had a big name pro like that at your table, like it was a big deal, and it was, it was a lot of fun and exciting.

Ryan: Okay, very cool. Talk to us a little bit about this year’s table, and what happened, I mean obviously you didn’t make it as far as you would have liked.

Martin: No, this year, yeah wasn’t, wasn’t as successful as last year’s, for sure [laughs]. I didn’t make it past day one, which is a bummer. But yeah, sometimes like I felt like I tried my best and, so, that’s all you can do.

Ryan: You think that’s just, just one of those things, it’s just part of poker? I mean, sometimes, you get the cards, sometimes you don’t? Or –

Martin: Yeah, for sure, yeah – there’s a lot of variance in this game.

Ryan: Yeah.

Martin: So as a poker player, that’s when you realize, like it’s one of the, the lifetime skills that I would say I’ve learned through poker, is that there is a lot of variance in everything we do, and, I feel like it’s something that a lot of people don’t take into consideration.

Ryan: I think it reminds me a lot of, of a sport like surfing, where not only are you competing against other competitors, but, the variables – there are variables outside of your control. In poker, you control cards, in surfing, you know, you’ve gotta hope for good swell, and, you know, did you get the right wave. And, you know, sometimes they give it a set that, you know, in 20 minutes there’s no waves, and –

Martin: For sure, yeah.

Ryan: How has that helped you in life outside of the poker table?

Martin: That’s a good question. I can’t really come up with something specific right now, but I know like on multiple occasions I – I’ve, especially like having conversations with other poker players, like my friends, we’ve established that, well, this person – if we’re talking with someone who doesn’t play poker for a living – that person might ignore the, the variance aspect of whatever we’re discussing.

Ryan: Okay [laughs].

Martin: Yeah [laughs].

Ryan: So, maybe it, it kind of helps you have perspective on certain things and, you know, you’re a little bit more patient and understanding of, you know, people don’t always control everything about every situation?

Martin: Yeah, exactly, and also sample size is something we, we talk a lot about. Like, anyone can win a tournament once, but it doesn’t really mean anything unless you’ve played – you’ve gotta play like a certain amount of tournaments to establish yourself.

Ryan: So –

Martin: As far as your skill goes.

Ryan: Yeah, so instead of being like a one hit wonder, you know, somebody who can, can compile an entire catalogue of success over their career.

Martin: Exactly, like someone who’s made a lot of final tables is, is more impressive to me than someone who just won one tournament and never done anything again.

Ryan: So, consistency and, and being close to, not necessarily the very top, but somebody who can maintain top five or top ten for 20 years, is obviously –

Martin: Yeah.

Ryan: – will go down as a better poker player than someone who won one tournament and was never heard from again.

Martin: Exactly, yeah.

Ryan: So I think that’s, I mean that’s something that can be said for a lot of aspects of life.

Martin: Yeah, exactly. That’s what I think too.

Ryan: That’s a great definition of success. If you think about the most successful people in any sport, you know, whether it’s Michael Jordan or Peyton Manning or – the one thing that they all have in common is that they were at the highest level for a long period of time. Nobody in that pantheon of greats was only playing for one year, or three years, or five years. So, that’s a good point.

Martin: Yeah, and they can all have bad games, you know. It happens.

Ryan: It does.

Martin: That’s why you can’t put too much emphasis on one tournament [laughs].

Ryan: Look at Martin – bringing some stuff to the Optimal Performance podcast [laughs]! So, so talk a little bit about that then, like what’s your mindset this year after, not a failure, but a bad game, or not doing as well as you would have liked in 2015? How do you – what’s your mindset coming out of this year going forward?

Martin: You know, it’s fine. I realize like, once you have the type of experience that I have, I’ve been playing professionally for so many years now, you kinda learn, you develop a way to cope with the, with the downswings and not being successful [unclear 00:19:16] and just gotta accept that for what it is, and keep working hard and keep striving to play your best. And eventually that’s all gonna go away and you can find yourself back at the top.

Ryan: I talked on a previous podcast with Eddie Williams, who’s an ex-NFL athlete, and one of the things that we talked about was not defining yourself by what you do. You know, who you are is not what you do.

Martin: Right.

Ryan: So, for someone like you, or an NFL player, or whatever, how important is it that you have something besides poker, so that when you do go through those downswings, you’re not falling into that trap of saying, you know: ‘well, poker’s not going right now so you know, I’m a failure.’ I’m not, you know, however you wanna say that. Where else do you go to find that balance, or to help get through those lows?

Martin: Yeah, I 100% agree with that statement. It’s extremely important to have other things in your life than – than just put all the eggs in one basket and, and go with it, like. I heard other arguments to that, that like if you wanna become the best at something you gotta – you gotta like invest all your time and effort into that and just like cut out everything else in your life. And that might be true to some people, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the healthiest way of doing things because what, whatever you do, whatever you achieve, that is not you. That’s great and all and if that brings happiness to your life that’s good, but don’t get too, don’t get too invested in –  in what you do. Like, there are so many other aspects of life.

Ryan: What are some of those for you? Some of those other aspects that kinda help keep you grounded, or from getting too swept up in the highs or the lows?

Martin: Well, I like, just other interests like cooking, and other sports – I really enjoy mixed martial arts. I follow that sport pretty hard. And – and yeah just the obvious, you know – family, friends, having good friends especially. Something that’s helpful I think is to have friends that are going through the same kinda phases as you are, so when I go through a downswing, I have other friends to talk to. And they can sort of help me realize that it is just a downswing, and we talk about it and it feels better, like it’s, it’s very important mentally to not be alone in those moments to – to have someone to talk to.

Ryan: Alright, that’s good stuff. Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room, I mean you won $10,000,000. How did your life change after that? You know, when we talk about repeating, and you wanted to repeat, was it financially driven, or was it just for the sake of competition?

Martin: No, it’s, it’s never been about the money for me, that’s not where, that’s not where my motivation lies, it’s, I think it I like the competitive part of poker. Like I wanna – I wanna win more than, like – to put it like in perspective like if second prize pays a lot more than first prize, I still want first prize I wanna win, like that’s what’s important to me. The money’s just a bonus because it gives you a lot of freedom. Freedom to travel and pursue your dreams and mostly play in more tournaments ’cause I’ve always financed my – my poker myself, like I’ve never had – never had someone who’s supported me financially. So I, it’s hard sometimes, you know you go on downswings and you gotta cope with losing a lot of money. It’s not.

Ryan: Right –

Martin: It’s not always happy days.

Ryan: A lot of these tournaments have, you know, $10,000 buy-ins or even more, right?

Martin: Yeah, like I’ve played a tournament this summer that had a $100,000 buy-in.

Ryan: Phew…

Martin: [laughs] So yeah, it’s getting a bit crazy these days, the – the – the buy-in just keeps going up and up and, I guess it’s inevitable ’cause of the, how the game is evolving and – but yeah, we’ll see.

Ryan: Well, I had a feeling that you may have answered the way you did about the money, because I know that you are a competitive guy, I know you like to be physically active and train. We’ll talk a little bit about that in a minute – but I also know that you are part of a charitable organization, Raising for Effective Giving. Talk a little bit about that, you know – when did you become involved in that, what’s the goal there?

Martin: I became part with the REG. REG stands for Raising for Effective Giving, and it’s uh – a couple of friends of mine that partner up with some businessmen in Switzerland and together their, they’ve taken like a poker/business approach to charity, which I think is something that hasn’t really been done before – not as – as I’m aware at least. So what they do is they try to find the most effective charities where you can say, like, not only by effectiveness I’m not only talking about where the most of the money goes to the actual cause, like that’s, that’s obvious. But also like what – where does the money go the furthest? Like, what type of charity can save most lives? Can we save more lives in this country by doing this? By preventing – by preventing the cause – like they’re looking for symptoms and trying to prevent – trying to prevent them before they’re happening rather than dealing with the aftermath of a big problem.

Ryan: Right. What’s your involvement there, and, you know, what part of that brings you the most joy?

Martin: Well, my involvement is that I’m an ambassador and a member. So what you do is you, you sign up on their website and you pledge to give a percentage of your winnings. So, me being a poker player, my winnings are – are not fixed. Like I don’t know how much money I’m gonna make next month or the following months. Like I might have a losing month. So it definitely adds as an extra motivation for me to be able to – to be able to do good, too, to make money and support the charity.

Ryan: Yeah! So you’re playing for somebody else?

Martin: Partly, yeah [laughs].

Ryan: Okay, cool. So, you mentioned being very competitive. I think I can see some, some boxing equipment up there on the shelf next to you.

Martin: Oh yeah [laughs].

Ryan: And I’ve recently taken up boxing so – how, what other ways do you blow off steam and kind of fill that competitive spirit that you have?

Martin: Well, I try to balance it by doing some yoga every now and then, too.

Ryan: Yeah.

Martin: Yeah for me it’s all about balance, I like finding like extreme sports, but I also like appreciate the – the mindfulness – like how to, how to balance that and also come down from all the stress that poker brings into my life.

Ryan: Well and that balance is probably something that’s useful at the table for you as well, right? I mean you have to know, you know, when to be aggressive, and when to be a little bit calmer, right?

Martin: For sure, yeah. Being mindful of the table is – is huge, for sure.

Ryan: Okay. So, I guess – tell us a little bit about the life of a poker player that, you know, that we may not have heard before, or that we don’t know.

Martin: Um, so for me, I play about, I would say about half, 50% online and 50% live, so when I’m at home I mostly play online at my computer. And there are – I only play tournaments, but some players play cash games where you can, you can choose how long you wanna sit and play for, you can leave whenever you want. But when you play tournaments, you sign up to play them, and you never know how long they’re gonna go for, really. So, if you go all the way in a big field, you might be stuck at a computer for the next fourteen hours. [laughs] And, and I’m not only playing one table, ’cause that would be too slow and boring for me, so I usually play around twelve tables at the time – at the same time.

Ryan: Wow.

Martin: So I have a window when I register for tournaments, and – the first one might start at 6 p.m. ’cause they’re all kinda scheduled to favour the American time zone or –  or I guess both, in a way, it’s just like – it’s evenings and nights for us here in Europe – and in Canada and I guess Central and South America these days, ’cause online poker is illegal in the U.S. – at least not right now. But it’s still – so yeah, the first tournament over here might start at 6 p.m., and the last one I will register might start at midnight. So I have like a six-hour window of just registering tournaments. So yeah, over time like you get eliminated from a few, you build some stacks in some, and just like keep on playing, and then by 3 a.m. you might have a few tables left, and then by 6 a.m. it might be all over or you might be at least one final table.

Ryan: Yeah, okay. So, how did you – obviously on day one, you probably didn’t start with twelve tables running at once. How do you train your brain to stay focused for that long of a time on that many things?

Martin: Yeah, I definitely didn’t start out playing twelve tables! At one point in my career, I think I used to play like up to 25 tables at once. But now I’ve toned it down a bit and tried to – tried to focus on quality over quantity, ’cause, like I said it’s not easy money anymore. You gotta be competitive and you can’t just auto-pilot like we call it – like you can’t just make the same decisions every time, like you gotta mix it up a little bit and really observe the situation.

Ryan: So, do you feel like when you play online now after having won, that you have a target on your back, that you know, now you’ve become the Johnny Chan that the guys are wanting to sit down with and beat?

Martin: Yeah, a little bit. It’s different though, like some people try to stay away from me, they give me too much respect I’ve noticed. They will like – they don’t wanna mess with my big blind and like when I raise them they, they’ll give it up and say: ‘respect the champion’ [laughs]. While others like are trying extra hard, you know, they wanna bluff the world champion, or they wanna beat me. So it’s just – it’s all about – it’s all about figuring out who’s, who’s part of which side and who doesn’t really care.

Ryan: Yeah. So, now we’re talking about sitting at these, sitting at the computer or if it’s in person at a table, for 12, 14, 16 hours on these tournaments. When you won the world series of poker you wore a shirt that said ‘Powered by CILTEP’. Talk a little bit about how CILTEP has helped you with, you know, staying focused.

Martin: Yeah I actually started using CILTEP at the beginning of the world series. So before I made the final table. And I felt like it helped me – it definitely helped me stay focused for – for longer, especially after a few hours. I could notice the difference in my – my ability to, to focus and concentrate.

Ryan: Do you notice a difference on the computer or in person? Do you have a preference for which way you play?

Martin: No, there is pros and cons for both. And that’s – that’s why I like the mix, because after a while you start to appreciate playing online after you’ve been playing live poker for a while. Like you don’t actually have to sit at a table. Like – I hate, personally – I hate sitting down. I have a standing desk and I just really prefer standing up. So my back kills me after a while, like, sitting in the chair for 12 hours for many days in a row. So that’s one part I really like about online poker, that I can play in my own home or whenever, wherever I am, really. Even when I’m travelling I can play on my laptop, outside or wherever. But live poker is also like where it’s at – you get to stare another person in the eye and like, it’s that ‘Rounders’ moment you get to relive in a way. So it’s hard – I would have a hard time to choose one.

Ryan: Okay, okay. So, tell us more about the, the day-to-day. If you’re not playing poker, do you play tournaments every day? Couple of times a week? What’s the life look like, that behind-the-scenes?

Martin: It depends. When I’m travelling, the tournaments get a little – it’s usually pretty demanding, so – when I’m travelling I play basically almost every day. But when I’m at home, I try to – I try to recover from the live tournaments and take a few more days off. So right now I play about 2, 3 days a week, and then the rest of the week I’m just recovering in one way or another, either by working out like boxing, or like trying new skills – cooking, yeah – spending time with – with family, friends.

Ryan: Now, with your background in training to be a chef, how much of that do you incorporate into the way you cook now?

Martin: Not too much – I’m definitely a bit rusty as far as chef goes. You gotta keep it up! But I’ll always have that passion for food, it’s so – I find my happiness level when I do cook myself, like or for other people especially, my happiness level definitely increases and I feel more satisfied myself. And I truly enjoy cooking and it will always be a passion of mine.

Ryan: Alright. Now, I’ve heard from a mutual friend of ours that you are a big believer in the benefits of mushrooms for recovery and immunity. Talk to us a little bit about –

Martin: Maybe you should mention the type of mushrooms [laughs].

Ryan: [laughs] Not hallucinogenic. We’re talking about the health benefits.

Martin: Cordyceps.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. So tell us – tell us which ones you use and how, and what some of those benefits are.

Martin: Yeah, so I started using cordyceps during this year’s World Series actually, and just like CILTEP I found that it really helped my endurance, like I was not just mentally but especially physically like I felt a lot sharper and I had a lot more energy. So I use them mostly for training purposes, ’cause from what I understand it increases your blood flow and your ability to transport –

Ryan: Yes –

Martin: Oxygens to your muscles.

Ryan: And cordyceps specifically helps target ATP production, and that what helps us feel –

Martin: Right.

Ryan: More energy and have better endurance. So, this is a little bit of a preview of what’s coming from Natural Stacks – there may or not be some mushroom-based products in the works. Cordyceps, chaga, reishi… How about some of the others? Are you using any of those?

Martin: No, right now I use a mix of three – it’s cordyceps, reishi and I can’t remember the other one.

Ryan: Okay.

Martin: But yeah, it’s a mix of three.

Ryan: Yeah, now are you saying like improving endurance at the poker table? Like, you can sit there longer? Or do you mean in like physical training you can go harder, longer?

Martin: I would say both, yeah. Yeah, in general. That doesn’t really matter what I do, like I feel, like whatever it is, like I can do for longer.

Ryan: Okay, very cool. Very cool. Martin, if our listeners wanted to get more of you, where should they go, or where can they find you?

Martin: Well, they can go to my, to my website. Which I’m actually updating right now, which should, the new version should be out on Wednesday.

Ryan: Okay!

Martin: And it’s martinjacobson.pro and other than that they can find me on Instagram, martin.jacobson or twitter, martin_jacobson

Ryan: Martin, time for your top three tips for our listeners to live optimal. What do you got?

Martin: Top three? Well, rather than – rather than like giving out optimal health advice, like what supplements to use to work out and what not, like, you already have some other brilliant guests that are sort of like experts in those areas, I guess I’ll share like a more holistic approach to it. And that would be just to strive for like optimal happiness and do what you love, find your passion and try to make a profession out of it. That’s, that’s sort of how I started. I didn’t really enjoy school, so I got into cooking and realized that I was really surprisingly passionate about cooking. And then once another opportunity came by, I discovered poker and managed to make a career out of it, and I love it. It’s my job but it’s – I don’t – I treat it as a job, but at the same time it’s much different from a job for me. It’s like something I enjoy to do, so.

Ryan: Right.

Martin: I don’t know if that’s three, but [laughs] –

Ryan: [laughs] So let’s see, if we were gonna make that three, it would be:

Martin: Find your passion first.

Ryan: Find your passion, okay.

Martin: Try and make a career out of it.

Ryan: Okay.

Martin: And –

Ryan: Optimal happiness?

Martin: Yeah, strive for optimal happiness – like do more of what you like. Do more of what you like.

Ryan: Okay.

Martin: What makes you happy.

Ryan: Alright, that sounds good. Martin, thank you so much for hanging out with us today.

Martin: Thank you.

Ryan: Best of luck to you in Berlin! For our listeners, make sure you guys head over to optimalperformance.com, you can see the video version and we’ll have all the links and resources that we talked about today with Martin. Make sure you guys head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show, and that’s it for this week! We’ll talk to you guys next Thursday!

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