Episode 66 | Dr. Robert Goldman | 10 Years Younger…New Science on De-Aging

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As we age, things can take on a different look—have you noticed? I’m not just talking about wrinkles, hair color, and hormones but also energy levels, sleep patterns, joint issues, balance, vision, muscle or memory loss…things we traditionally associate with getting older. You are possibly dealing with one or more of these issues or have witnessed your parents, partner or close friends coping with some aspects of getting older. Part of the Art of Aging includes asking the question: are these issues inevitable as we age?

My guest today offers the viewpoint that medical issues associated with aging are not a given; they don’t need to be inevitable. Dr. Bob Goldman is a good friend whom I’ve admired from afar for decades; he’s a great spirit with a great heart. Bob is a leader and global force in health and sports medicine—specifically as they relate to aging–and truly a remarkable human being. In addition to extraordinary achievements in physical strength–earning him at least twenty world records–Dr. Bob began in the early 1990’s dedicating his medical efforts and research toward what is now commonly referred to as “anti-aging” medicine…the focus of our show today.

In today’s show, you’ll discover…

• Surprising ways to shift the aging curve

• Seriously smart strategies to de-age

• Techniques for maintaining peak physical and mental performance

• How to decrease the amount of hardcore pharmaceuticals one needs to be on, and how to replace them with more natural approach

• How to protect your body when our environment is toxic soup?

• Exactly how much Vitamin D, C, and Selenium to have each day?

• Tips to stop your cell phone from cooking your brain

• Discoveries that are changing the future of medicine and disease, and what you can do to maintain peak physical and mental performance

• How to decrease the amount of hardcore pharmaceuticals one needs to be on, and how to replace them with more natural mechanisms

• How to protect your body when our environment is toxic soup

• What’s the exact amount of vitamin D, C, and Selenium to have each day

• How to stop your cell phone from cooking your brain

• What lights are best to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

Connect With Dr. Robert Goldman

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Kathy Smith: Bob, welcome to the show.  

Bob Goldman:  Thank you so much, Kathy. It’s a pleasure. 

Kathy Smith: I remember going to Gold’s Gym. I remember in the 1970s as we started getting into the fitness movement. Put yourself back in the 1970s. What were you doing in the 1970s and early 1980s in your own personal life as far as fitness? 

Bob Goldman: I was doing world records. I didn’t retire until I was 28, so in the 1970s, kind of into the late 1970s or early 1980s, I was still competing even though I was in medical school in the latter 1970s. Training, and as you know because you look phenomenal always, it’s really consistency and being disciplined enough to stick with a program and to be careful and to catch yourself if you sort of fall off the wagon. You know very well what that means. People who are lifelong fitness people, it’s not like a fad diet or it’s not like something when you try this or that. There is the consistency and the discipline that really override, that allow you to stay at a good level, lifelong. 

Kathy Smith: I agree. And that discipline occurs when you’re at home, when you’re traveling, when you’re on vacation. It changes, it morphs. You adapt to your environment. And I think that’s what’s helped keep me consistent – that you’re not so locked into a routine that as soon as something changes in your world, you can’t try something different or do something different or pull back on the amount that you’re doing, but to stay consistent with it.  

What’s interesting to me is your work in anti-aging medicine took off formally in the 1990s when you created The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, which is also called the A4M. What I want to know is what drew you to this notion of studying and promoting anti-aging at a time when you were in your physical prime? You still are, but you were at such a peak in your own physical wellbeing. 

Bob Goldman: Well, physiologically you see this in others and people that came before us like Joe Weider, Ben Weider, Arnold, Rich Park, Jack LaLanne, and so on. And there’s an aging process that goes on. So you go, “Great. What can we do at all ages in order to maintain peak physical and mental performance?” 

So you start to look at other ways to approach the fitness game. When we’re young, we can get away with almost anything – eating bad, missing our workouts, and so on unless we’re going for a world record or whatever. But otherwise, we can get away with a lot of stuff. But when you get to be older, you can’t do that. So there was an interest in how do we maintain – not just to cheat – but how do we maintain peak performance lifelong? And that’s where the challenge comes in. But it was also an exciting time in medicine because we were starting to see some changes in the way people were approaching their diet and training. Today, of course, it’s dramatically different with all the high-level science that’s gone into it. 

Kathy Smith: You mentioned some of the legends in our business, and I would have the privilege of meeting and doing some work with Jack LaLanne and showing up at Jack’s house, and he would be in the swimming pool and he would be harnessed to the side of the pool and he would be doing his stationary laps. He would be in there for an hour and a half.  

We know that Jack passed away at the age of 95, but then Elaine LaLanne, his wife, who I so admire, shows up at the Idea Convention every year and at the age of 92 is doing pushups on stage, which is, again, such an inspiration to all of us.  

As you mentioned, we’re doing it, the fitness world, the people that started in the 1970s, and we were into all of the fitness and training. And then, the medicine came into it and started saying that medicine started focusing on more about finding health and rather than just finding disease. You have a lot to say about medicine and the approach to medicine these days. Can you maybe tell us a bit about your thoughts on where you see the future of medicine going as it relates to health and disease? 

Bob Goldman: There’s some pretty remarkable things going on. There are over 600 drugs now as they relate to age and related diseases in the pipeline. So there are things that are being worked on and are coming out that we thought inconceivable for another 20 or 30 years. So things are actually moving much more quickly than we thought they would.  

In addition, they’re the resistance to combatting diseases or the disease of aging as a disease versus just accepting growing old gracefully. There’s nothing graceful about being an invalid or arthritis or heart disease or not being able to ambulate properly. There’s nothing really graceful, so being athletes, we like to fight.  

In terms of your health, you need to fight for your health as well. So the technology between stem cells, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, a lot of the new pharmaceuticals, the hormone replacement now for men and women, there are so many different things that we can do to intercede and helping to usher in that whole field of anti-aging [inaudible 00:08:22] medicine has been very challenging at times, because the old world, old guard medicine didn’t want this because the big pharma guys– not that we’re against pharmaceuticals– but they make their money on disease and on chronic disease. So we have to be on three, four, six, eight medications simultaneously, which is a horrific way to live.  

The goals are to come up with ways and mechanisms whereby we can decrease the amount of hardcore pharmaceuticals one needs to be on and replace it with more natural means or more intelligent means. 

One of the complaints I used to get was, “Well, you can’t change someone’s age.” You’re right. Chronologically, whatever number they are, you can’t change that. But however, physiologically, can you de-age someone? Absolutely. We both know that. If you have a male that’s 50 pounds overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lethargic, sexual drive gone, etc., you change his diet, put him on a training program, put him on hormone replacement therapy, make all these modifications, vitamin supplementation, all of a sudden, he loses 30, 40, 50 pounds, blood pressure drops, cholesterol drops. The guy looks and feels like a different person. You have physiologically changed this person’s profile.  

So we can de-age somebody. We can change them. You know that as a world-known trainer and educator of fitness. And you’re a perfect example. Physiologically, you would probably test out in your 30s or something, which is a bit younger than you are. We know you’re only 19, but you still look like you’re 22. I saw you in person a few years ago, so I can testify to that. 

Kathy Smith: Thank you very much. I have to say that I just read this article last week about the new study that showed that they took a group of 30 people that started exercising in the 1970s, and they were in their mid-60s. And they compared muscle mass and they showed that the 65-year-olds were 30 years younger when they examined their muscles, that you could actually have the muscles of a 30-year-old when you’re 65.  

And the aerobic capacity, they said, “Yes. As you age, you will lose aerobic capacity, but it’s so much less when you are doing your cardio and you are exercising compared to the normal person.” So those are the things that are just fascinating to me. I’ve told this story before in podcasts, but when I started training and ran my first marathon in 1975 and started with the aerobic movement, back then these doctors were saying that exercise was not really good for you. And as a woman, it could lead to all these other things. So it’s interesting to see how those thoughts have changed.  

You went through a whole list of things that could take a whole podcast from stem cells to hormone replacement. But let’s get into a listener right now that they’re not going to go right now for any of those new techniques. But what would you suggest – three or four things they could start doing today – that would greatly impact or most impact the aging process?  

Bob Goldman: One of the real simple things is that we live in a really toxic environment now. The water’s polluted. You have contrails in the air. The air’s polluted with boron, aluminum, all these things. And you have the GMOs in the foods – the genetically modified foods are everywhere in California. Because of Fukushima, you have radiation coming over from Japan into the food sources of food and vegetables and so on. Then you’ve got the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and from your towers and so on. We’re living in a really toxic soup of environment. 

So what are the things you could simpler? You need to stay hydrated with lots of purified water. You need to bump up your vitamin nutrient supplementation to anti-aging levels – the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin C is 60 milligrams. That will only prevent you from getting scurvy. People need to take 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day. 

Vitamin D, which is a very strong immune stimulant – 5,000 IUs per day is recommended there. Selenium – 400 micrograms is what we’re recommending now for [inaudible 00:13:05] and anti-cancerous. So there are things you need to do to buttress this toxic environment we live in as well as the regular exercise and adjusting your diet and being careful. Because people are running around to the fast foods, and when you go to other countries– both of us travel around the world– in China now– people used to ride their bicycles everywhere and they had fresh fruits and vegetables and getting fresh produce every few days, and now they’re all driving around in cars, the air in Beijing is so bad, you can’t see more than six or seven blocks ahead of you.  

So now, with all the different fast food joints, they’re developing massive amounts of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and heart disease, obstructive lung disease like mad in Beijing, and it’s destroying the health of that country. So we have the same situation here in the states. 

I think that people being well-hydrated, taking nutritional supplements, being on a regular exercise program, keeping your cell phone away from your head. Do not go to sleep with a cell phone right next to your head. You’re cooking your brain while you’re sleeping. Talk on the speaker. Right now, I’m chatting with you. But the cell phone’s a good number of feet away from my face. It’s not pressed to my ear. Little, simple things like this, which are really kind of common sense can make a bit of a difference. 

Kathy Smith: What about the type of light sources you use? Is that something that you talk about at all? I seem to be affected by fluorescent lights and different types of lights. Is it anything that–? 

Bob Goldman: Yes. There is science behind that. Some things that resemble daylight. People get SAD – seasonal affective disorder. Fortunately for me, I have no seasonal affective disorder component at all. I could be in a cave a year straight. It would have no effect on me at all. I don’t need to even see sunlight, but I’m very much the exception. Most people, they get depressed or lethargic or just don’t feel right when they don’t see sunlight. 

The good kind of lights are those that mimic daylight that will make people feel like they’re outside. But also going outside is very important, especially people who live on the west coast like yourself. Being outside is a really helpful thing. It makes them feel better. Get them out to exercise and they feel better just being out in sunlight. Then again, you have to be careful of sunlight because connected to that is the sun, which can increase the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and so on.  

Kathy Smith: Give a day in the life of Dr. Bob. What is a typical day for you? I know you’re busy and you’re traveling and everything. But forgetting the business side, what are some of the must dos in your life to make you feel good every day? 

Bob Goldman: I like to train. Maybe not so much doing it for health; although, that is a component of it. It’s more of a de-stressor, it relaxes, and I like moving weights around. I like pumping weights and I’m starting to do more of that. I’m starting to lift a lot more and not doing as much aerobics but lifting at a rate that you actually get your aerobic capacity challenged as well. Because as we get older, our bone mass, muscle mass decreases. So the weight training will vasculize and will help to strengthen your bones and your muscles.  

I try to train almost every day even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. I could do a full lifting program in 20 minutes now. So when you understand your body and how to train it– I try to lift every day. My days are very busy, and because I fly so much and I travel so much, I try to stay in hotels that have a gym so I can get a workout in. It’s hard to watch diet when you’re in all these different countries, but I try to do that as best I can. Sometimes you fall off the wagon, but you can swing back into it. 

Mostly, at this stage in my career, I’m trying to do something that’s fun and that’s affecting people in a positive way. A lot of my life is around charitable work. 80% of my time is in giving back. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example, is a dear friend forever. Arnold is all about giving back. When you give, you get and you can find yourself by losing yourself in the service of others. So that’s also very fulfilling. 

So a lot of the activities are around whether it be phone calls, inspiring young kids, a little kind of side coaching and social media as you know, being an expert in that area, what a great way to reach out to a lot of people and to try to inspire them to do more and be more and to let them know that everyone fails. It’s just part of growing up and part of learning. So don’t get discouraged when you fail. Learn from it, and then get up and go again. It’s not how you get knocked down; it’s how you pick yourself up. 

A lot of my day is spent in trying to lead and inspire others. It’s not about money or making money. That’s long not been an issue for me. Now it’s about what mark I can leave, what legacy I can leave. That’s what gives me a lot of joy. 

Kathy Smith: That’s what I love about you. You have this big heart that’s constantly giving. And that message about not being afraid of failing is a big one. I know when I give keynotes around the country, everybody looks up, for instance, to me or other successful people, and they think it’s been this trajectory of everything going well. And you start talking about all the things that didn’t go well or you didn’t succeed at or the times that you were insecure or you fell flat on your face. You’re right. You dust yourself off, get back up, and try again. 

I think sports teaches that over and over again. Because sports is all about winning, losing. And when you lose, you learn just as much as when you win – sometimes more. I love that about you. Let’s switch over to the A4M World Conference that’s taking place in Vegas this next month and how you started that but how it’s exploded now with the number of participants. Did you ever envision when you first started A4M conference that it would be as big as it is now? 

Bob Goldman:It’s kind of interesting. I actually started this with my business associate, Dr. Ron Klatz. I come from more of a sports medicine background. He was more concerned about the aging process, because he doesn’t have the kind of genetics I do. But we started this organization with 12 docks and now it’s close to 20,000 members in 120 countries. At our first conference, we had 14 people and one tabletop.  

Now, this December, we’ll have thousands and thousands of health professionals and experts from around the world and over 500 booths. It’s a massive conference and the largest preventive medicine conference in the world, being December 13 through the 15 at Venetian in Vegas. What I like to see is new sciences coming out, but did I think it would ever be that big? I didn’t really think about it. I was just trying to educate people and see what happened. But a good friend of mine by the name of Ken Dychtwald, who you probably know started Age Wave and who, after the conference once on his own– we hadn’t met each other. Although, we knew of each other.  

He said, “You have no idea what you’re sitting on. This isn’t as big as it is or as you think it will be. It’s going to be 100 times bigger than you think it’s going to be.” And I really didn’t understand or appreciate the scope and scale of what he was talking about back then. Because when we started the whole academy and the field and coined the term anti-aging back in the 1990s, there were zero dollars and zero revenues, and the anti-aging field did not exist.  

Now, it’s like a $240 billion annual revenue from the whole field. And by the newest study that just came out, by 2021, it’s going to be $340 billion annually. So it’s really rapidly growing. Why? You’ve got 80 million plus baby boomers barreling down, who do not want to grow old like their parents did.  

So this is now, despite the abuse and the negativity we got around what we were trying to do, like it’s just grow old and grow old gracefully and there’s nothing you can do about it, to where now people are copying and saying exactly what we said 10 or 15 years ago after they were putting it all down. You know from the old days where people would say, “Don’t lift weights. You’re going to enlarge your heart. You’re going to get muscle bound. It’s bad for sports.” Every team in the world uses resistance training. We both had experienced that where people would be negative towards our resistance or weight training. It’s just like all the things that [inaudible 00:21:42] had to go through by saying, “If you exercise, decrease the cholesterol in your diet and take fiber, you’re going to increase your heart capacity,” and the American Medical Association and local communities put the guy in jail. 

What’s the policy of the American Heart Association? Exercise, increase fiber, decrease cholesterol, and it will help your heart health. You can always tell the pioneers by the arrow stuck in their back. That’s both of us here. 

Kathy Smith: Yeah. It’s interesting you mentioned Ken Dychtwald. I called Ken to be on the show after he won the XPRIZE for his work with Alzheimer’s. His team won it. And he said, “You should have Lisa Genova on the show, because she is the one that’s the superstar and the work being done in Alzheimer’s.” 

So Ken and I did a fundraiser together to raise money for Esalen. But to your point, it’s this idea of how we grow old, how we choose to go through this process. I think too many times people think that the anti-aging movement is about putting more creams on or getting more Botox or things that are just for the vanity side. There’s nothing wrong with vanity, but a lot of people miss the point that what we’re discussing is so internal. It’s what’s happening on the cellular, the microscopic. It’s happening inside your body. And it’s reflected by what’s going on, on the outside. 

But all those changes that we start to impact with the impact energy level – brain function, attitude, positivity. All these things is the bottom of the real anti-aging movement. I love the message that you’re giving out because that’s what you exude in everything you do.  

Bob Goldman: The world as we know it today, if you look at your cell phone, your cell phone’s a super computer. If somebody showed that to someone 10 or 20 years ago, they’d think they were crazy. You could send 1,000 pages of information holding your hand all around the world to millions of people with a push of a button. They’d think you were out of your mind. And so, technology is accelerating at a rate that was inconceivable, and the same will happen in medicine.  

We’re sort of on that technological edge now if we don’t kill ourselves or other crazy things that everyone is doing – blow ourselves up. But if we survive all the other crazy things, the age limit is limitless in terms of lifespans of 110, 120, 130, 150, 200 years. Who knows? We could be the last generation to die from what we could make and come up with the answers so we can kind of hang around. But then also by having so many people around, you have all kinds of socio-economic issues you’re going to run into. If you have people living to be retired for 50 or 80 years, how are you going to feed them and take care of the healthcare and so on?  

So there’s the exciting part of the aging riddle and then there’s also the very complicated challenging part. What do you do with all these old people who are still out there partying around and they’re not really increasing commerce? They’re just sort of consumers. So that’s another very challenging socio-economic component. But I’m really just focused on the science and trying to help others and trying to help people achieve their goals and their dreams. I can’t really change the other part. 

Kathy Smith: I think we can solve those problems once we get there. You’re doing the part to get us there and in solving those problems when we get there. I already know that for all of us that have hit a certain age, you start asking yourself the question, “What am I going to do with the next,”– it used to be the next 10 years of my life, the next 12. But to ask yourself the question, “What if I have another 50 years left on this planet? How do I want to use those years?” You’ve chosen this path of helping others.  

But I think where that next topic comes up of– you could start a whole new career. You could start a whole new business. I think that’s beyond how we feel, how much energy we have. How do we expand the way that we look at our lives so life isn’t over in the sense of we are going to retire at 65 and then play for the rest of our lives. 

That’s a very exciting part for me, and that’s the stage that I’m at of, “Hmmm. I wonder what these next decades are going to hold for me?” And Jack LaLanne being a role model for both of us at the age of 95.  

Jack said to me at one point, “My biggest money-making year,”– not that he was into money like that, but I thought it was funny– was like when he was 80.  

He had just come out with the Juice Man product. And it was a whole new stage of his career. I look forward to sharing more of those stages with you. I know you’re busy and have a lot going on. I really appreciate you taking time to jump on the show.  

One of my big take-aways from talking to you is that maintaining a positive attitude helps keep us young physiologically, no matter what our chronological age. So I thank you for that. 

Bob Goldman: Absolutely. You’re always a pleasure, Kathy. I look forward to seeing you in the near future. 

Kathy Smith: Okay. Same here. Thank you, Bob. 

Bob Goldman: Okay. Good day.