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The Adversity Advantage with Doug Bopst

Dec 30, 2020

For this last week of 2020, each day we will re-release one of the most popular episodes of the past year. We will resume our regular schedule with a new episode on 1/4/2021. Have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!


Best of 2020 #2: David Sinclair - Modifying Our Lifestyle to Reverse Aging (Originally released 6/9/2020)


Dr. David Sinclair: Modifying Our Lifestyle to Reverse Aging 


Today I’m incredibly honored to host Dr. David Sinclair. 

David is a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He’s the author of New York’s Times best-seller Lifespan, a book with insights on why we age, and how we can slow and even reverse aging. A top innovator, David was in 2014, named on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and listed as Time's Top 50 in healthcare in 2018.

David’s inspiration growing up

David grew up with his grandmother, who was a constant believer in his abilities and always motivated him to set and shoot for his life-goals and he will always achieve them. 

In an unfair world filled with cruel and mischievous people, David’s grandmother always reminded him to be grateful and generous where he could. To always do whatever he can to make the world a better place than it is.

David owes a lot of current success and grit to this background and claims that every no one needs a positive environment of someone who believes in them, and they too can set to achieve greatness.

Hormesis: Using exercise and healthy eating to fight aging.

Being a trained geneticist, you’d think that David would vouch for DNA as the major contributing factor for your health and wellness destiny. But oh no, the key to this, David says is the epigenome 

The epigenome is the real powerhouse and determinant of our lifestyle i.e how much we sleep, mental stress, physical fitness etc. 

A study on identical twins held in Denmark supports this claim, with the findings suggesting that we only inherit from our parents 20% in terms of the predictability of our long-term health.


The key to better physical and mental health and ultimately slow aging, David states, is through exercise and healthy eating. 

  1. As for exercise - do anything that gets your breathing level up for at least 15 minutes

Exercising triggers the longevity genes which regulate the epigenome - which is in control of how we age.

  1. Healthy eating also triggers the epigenome, resulting in similar effects. 


Healthy eating and numerous benefits of fasting. 

It’s no surprise that what we eat is a big contributor of how our health turns out to be. However, what always seems to be left out, is how to eat.


Having 3 meals a day and zero exercise has a reverse effect on your mind.
Your brain loves being relaxed - just sitting down and having snacks is all you need - 

By giving in to this kind of lifestyle, you’re sacrificing your body’s ability to fight diseases and aging. Because your body gets the message from the brain that it’s very safe and there’s plenty of security and food to eat. So you relax, and the defense modes switch off. It’s for this reason that obese people who don’t exercise, not only look older, but are actually older. 


Fasting triggers the longevity genes as well. Through fasting, the body is tricked into thinking there isn’t enough resources to live on. Amino acids are also restricted and the epigenome is activated too.


Types of foods David suggests you should take when fasting.

  • You don’t want foods with a lot of sugar - as they make you get hungry faster
  • Don’t be too rough on yourself - one milkshake isn’t bad (as long as you’re consistent)
  • Best meal for him is a salad with a bit of olive oil on it or vinegar
  • Protein is good in small amounts. 
  • Green leafy vegetables and practice Hormesis i.e If your plants are stressed before you eat them you get the benefit. So you don’t have to do it yourself. You can eat plants;
  1. That have grown without much rain or water in the environment.
  2. With bugs on them


Dr. David Sinclair’s Adversity - Growing from the failures and setbacks he’s been through


There’s no way to be successful without massive amounts of adversity, criticisms, failures and mistakes, claims David. We don’t have all the answers, and aren’t perfect either.


Failure is part of the journey. And as David shares his lowest point in life, he certainly owes a lot of his current progress and success as a result of embracing and his setbacks and learning from them.

David saw his mom die in front of him, which was of course, a big blow to him, both emotionally and psychologically. But it’s the career setback he really digs into and narrates on the show.

Close to the tip of being sacked and losing his reputation (which for scientists is everything) A 41 year old David was completely battered, beaten and destroyed.


When he was 34 years old, David and his team had just uncovered a huge biological milestone through a breakthrough which seemed too easy and good to be true. And so they patented it.

7 years down the line. David would face so much criticism from journalists and scientists, all of whom claimed that everything he had published on his breakthrough was false. And so the company that he had invested so much in, and received millions of dollars in donations for clinical trials was a hoodwink and based on lies.


About half of David’s lab staff abandoned him, deeming his career over.

All David could wonder was how it could all go soo wrong. How could it be that the very world he was trying to save, is now punching him in the face?

There was nothing more to do. So he went to bed every night sad and depressed. 

As time went by though, David decided not to quit. He decided he would put on a fight and prove all his doubters and critics wrong with proof and data.

3 years later, and with the help of the loyal staff that remained, David solved the problem that had resulted in so many individuals misunderstanding and attacking his professional achievements. 

Having published his findings in 2013, this put Dr. David and his team back on track into achieving the great  things they had set out to when they started.


Don’t quit mentality

Now 50, David knows that it never gets easier and the setbacks never stop. But for him, winners are the ones who decide to get back up as fast as possible and handle all the blocks and obstacles that are a normal part of life.

Even till date, David still faces criticisms and hindrances from his colleagues, donors, newspaper and, and university. But now older, that he was, he’s wise enough to know that the challenges never get easier or end, you only get better and tougher.


David’s thinking pattern is that humanity is in all these together. We’re all trying to work out and solve life’s big problems and challenges. And, so we must work together. This line of thought 

has landed him into bad relationships with many scientists who try to remain as secretive as possible in matters regarding their research and findings. 


In conclusion, David advises us to always have goals in our lives. When you’re low and in depression, and still lacking in goals, dreams and aspirations to look forward to. Then life hits you even harder. So set a goal, go for it, and don’t stop or give up on it until you get there!


Connect with Dr. David Sinclair 

Website -

Twitter -

LinkedIn -

Instagram -

Lifespan on Amazon -

Connect with Doug

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