The Science of Longevity with Dr. Joon Yun

Oct 8, 2020 | Podcast

Listen to the full episode here:

Episode Guest

Dr. Joon Yun

Dr. Joon Yun is President and Managing Partner of Palo Alto Investors LP, a healthcare hedge fund founded in 1989. Board certified in radiology, Joon served on the clinical faculty at Stanford from 2000-2006. Joon has served on numerous boards, and he is currently a trustee of the Salk Institute. Joon is a member of the President’s Circle of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Joon has published dozens of patents and scientific articles. Joon and his wife Kimberly launched the $1 million Palo Alto Longevity Prize in 2013 to reverse the aging process and recently donated $2 million to launch the National Academy of Medicine Aging and Longevity Grand Challenge. Fun fact: Joon has been going to Burning Man consecutively for the past 18 years.

Website(s): :


In This Episode

00:03 – Dr. Joon: A quick biography
04:45 – The aging process
09:26 – The Fractal nature of biology and the plasticity of aging
11:10 – Homeostatic capacity defined
21:22 – Why we should (occasionally) eat junk food
22:19 – Regaining lost resilience
27:55 – The multidimensional nature of capacity building
34:10 – Psychological deconditioning
40:59 – Four-dimensional science and four-dimensional data
48:36 – Improve your health doing things you love
57:51 – How HRV is aiding studies of homeostatic capacity
1:01:12 – Conclusion

Episode Transcript

Jason Moore (00:00:03):
Welcome back to the elite HRV podcast. This is your host, Jason Moore. And this week I’m excited to welcome dr. Joon Yun to the show. And I’m doing a little extra intro here because Dr. Joon and I launched into some great discussion when I originally hit record. So a quick bio about Dr. Joon before we dive into the episode Dr. Joon’s work is actually work that we have referenced several times in the podcast and in many other materials throughout elite HRVs history, because he’s the president and managing partner of the Palo Alto investors LP, which is a healthcare hedge fund founded in the 1980s, 1989. But that, and his career trajectory then led him fast forward a couple of decades to launch the $1 million Palo Alto longevity prize in 2013, with his wife, Kimberly, which is a prize awarded to teams competing to reverse the aging process.
One of the primary criteria that they have for determining the success of that prize is which team can increase the Heart Rate Variability of the participants or, or of the test subjects rather the most. And so in summary we talk a lot in this episode about homeostatic capacity and increasing Heart Rate Variability and resilience an autonomic function and things like that. But I’m just really excited to talk to Dr. Joon today and share that with you because you can look up his bio that we’ve linked to for more information, but he really is well connected in the research and science arena, specifically around Heart Rate Variability and inflammation and autonomic nervous system health and related subjects. So really excited to dig in, just wanted to give a little quick background about Dr. Joon’s extensive experience. He is board certified in radiology and served on the clinical faculty at Stanford for six years. He served on numerous boards of other research institutions and companies. And as a trustee at the Salk Institute, again, kind of the list goes on about the extensive credentials of Dr. Joon. So hope you enjoy the show and let’s get into it.

Ad (00:02:31):
Welcome to the Elite HRV podcast where experts share their experience. You’ve seen Heart Rate Variability and other biomarkers to optimize health and human performance.

Jason Moore (00:02:54):
Welcome back to the Elite HRV podcast. This is your host, Jason Moore, and today I’m excited to welcome Dr. Joon young to the show Dr. Joon. Welcome!

Dr. Joon (00:03:04):
Jason. Thank you for having me.

Jason Moore (00:03:06):
Thank you so much for taking the time to join us. And I’m particularly excited about having you on the show because we at Elite HRV have referenced the Palo Alto prize and a lot of your other work in many webinars and discussions that we’ve had with our audience and then with each other internally as well. So I’m honored to have you here and excited to pick your brain on all things homeostatic capacity and longevity and resilience and HRV.

Dr. Joon (00:03:39):
Well, I’m honored to be on this show and I’m grateful to be made aware of your work and your audience and their interests.

Jason Moore (00:03:48):
Perfect. Thank you for that. And you know, one of the things that really stands out when you look at your work is a pretty clear focus on longevity and the concept of aging. And I think one thing that really interests me, it catches my eye rather than it is that you take a slightly different view of it than others that I’ve seen in the industry. And that kind of ends up being where we cross paths on this concept of homeostatic capacity. And I’ve even heard quotes from you that say things like maybe we should eat junk food once in a while. And I like to kind of just throw out those little teasers here at the beginning. Cause I think we’re going to get into a really interesting discussion about all of this and to start out though, what kind of drew your interest to the field of longevity and aging?

Dr. Joon (00:04:45):
Yeah. you know, as a practicing physician years back, I no longer practice now, but you know, it was really striking the amount of suffering created by the aging process, whatever that thing is. You know, the toll, the physical toll, the social toll, emotional toll, spiritual economic toll of aging is just tremendous. And you know, being in the frontline as you see it and you see it every day. And when you take a step back and think about the big picture you know, it is probably the most significant thing going on biologically that you know, we’re trying to address the healthcare system. And I think we’re doing a pretty good job from a managing diseases standpoint, but when it gets to the fundamental biology and the processes of aging it was clear that it was something that we need to learn a lot more about.

Dr. Joon (00:05:46):
And so you know, that’s what drew my medical interests in terms of, it goes a little further back in terms of just kind of personal intellectual in aging. It dates back to college. When I, you know, I used to go knock on doors of professors that I used to read about not only where I was, but even when I was traveling I was always curious what else they were thinking about that you know, they felt either because they were, it was, you know, they were conservative or, you know, was because science is competitive that they hadn’t shared yet. So even today in the internet age, I’m always curious what hasn’t been put down into the internet has been digitized. So I always enjoy just, you know, knocking on doors. It was like, I think about as a one-on-one podcast, we’d go in there and talk.

Dr. Joon (00:06:37):
And it was actually Yo Wilson, professor Yoel Wilson, and then it turned into a six month project. Or we started to think about the role of aging and evolution. Does selection play a role in your words of aging or not? And there was a, you know, there’s been a debate going on for a hundred years about this and the debate itself is very compelling. But you know, my personal take on it was, well, I don’t know if aging is adaptation or not. Teleology is hard to prove, so it was fun to debate, but I just took the position. What if actually aging is a phenomenon that is a trait that is being selected? Like what would the implications be? Because if you think about aging as an emergent uncontrollable process, you would think about ameliorating in one way.

Dr. Joon (00:07:36):
Whereas if you thought about it as a more core process, you might look for solutions in a completely different solution space. But you know, I had no further thoughts about it at the time until I started to see the work of Cynthia Kenyon, Lenny Garanti back in the nineties where they were starting to demonstrate the plasticity of aging in you know, in nature like that kind of repeat my interest showing that you can dramatically alter the span of life and the appearances of aging. Like it’s just, it triggers my interests. Like there’s something here. I don’t know what and even I started to knock on their doors. I visited Cynthia Kenyon in the nineties. And David Sinclair probably be right around 2000 plus or minus a couple of years. So I re-engage, and by that point, of course the science was moving along and by this point I’m a medical practice and I see it with my own eyes.

Dr. Joon (00:08:42):
And, you know, I’m kind of a lumper more than a divider when it comes to knowledge and information. Thinking about the fractal nature of biology and kind of the cellular automata, you know, rules can lead to what appear to be complex processes, just constantly thinking about what’s the first order phenomenon, what is underneath all this? What are the drivers? And that’s what finally led me to think about the social implications, economic implications and thinking about, you know, what can I contribute to the discussion? There’s no one way to think about this. There’s lots of great ideas out there. A lot of great theories, great research going on, but what can I contribute?

Jason Moore (00:09:26):
There’s so much in that short little blurb that you just shared with us to unpack that I’m even more excited now to dig into this conversation. The, you know, some things that you kind of mentioned almost off handedly, like the fractal nature of biology and the plasticity of aging, those are pretty profound term phrases, if anyone hasn’t heard them or thought about them before. And, and they’re peaking my thought process quite a bit. And one of the directions, I know that you went with this, which is why I kind of originally came across your work, was your interest in homeostatic capacity, inflammation and subjects like that. And before we hit record, you know, we were talking a little bit about before the show and you, you have this kind of notion of going beyond just health into super normal health. And this also relates to the, to your interest in work in longevity. So let’s start unpacking some of these subjects. What do you think is a good place to start? Is it with homeostatic capacity or kind of defining what super normal health is? Why should we care about it? What do you think?

Dr. Joon (00:10:48):
You know I haven’t done a lot of podcasts, so I will try to be more short winded, so you can direct me along the way. So why don’t we start with capacity?

Jason Moore (00:11:01):
Sure. No worries. And this is fine. It’s a, this is just a conversation that lots of people get to listen to.

Dr. Joon (00:11:10):
So homeostatic capacity first, let’s define it for your audience. The technical terms are things like autoregulatory capacity, resilience buffering. But the easier way to visualize this from an audience perspective is to think about it as a weeble wobble, you know, that toy, that egg-shaped toy self centers when you push it. And you know, it’s like an inverted pendulum. Nature’s greatest endowment is our capacity to get back to homeostasis when we’re pushed, when we’re stressed and it can be any sort of stress biotic infection you know, running any changing conditions. We’ve been granted this trait called capacity and is so robust when we’re young, that we don’t even realize we have homeostatic capacity, like nature’s gifts, many dips, right? We often don’t know what we have until we lose it.

Dr. Joon (00:12:16):
And it’s around 40 that we started losing it. I went through this transformation, route 40, where all the sudden I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do such as ride roller coasters without feeling like I’m going to get sick. You know, when you’re young, you know, when you undergo you know, the physiological upheaval of being on a roller coaster up and down sideways, you’re getting pulled all ways, all different ways and your blood pressure, your heart rate, all those things, self-regulate back to homeostasis. So you experienced it as quote I 40 you’re we blew up and doesn’t self centered and I experienced it as feeling ill. So what was happening was my autonomic physiology. It wasn’t self centering and my body wasn’t reporting it as an error. And so I stopped riding roller coasters at 14.

Dr. Joon (00:13:06):
In fact, by the time you’re 80, they actually advise you not to get on it because you might actually have, you know, suffer some sort of cardiac event. This singular experience of being a rollercoaster. I thought about it. You know, it’s actually, there are similar experiences, almost everywhere in life that happened at 40. All of a sudden when I go to the mountains, I feel Altitude sickness. My kids are sprinting. They’re like in there, there were little kids and other teenagers. They have no idea what I’m talking about. When I tell them that I don’t feel well. I feel sick. I feel short of breath. I feel dizzy. Same thing with diving. I used to dive and, you know, I can no longer tolerate the same depth. I can’t tolerate temperature change. You know, my kids are in t-shirts, you know what?

Dr. Joon (00:13:50):
It’s 50 degrees, I’m in two layers now. You know, when it’s a hundred, you know, they experienced this, how they’re sweating, but they don’t, they’re not uncomfortable, whereas I’m uncomfortable. You know, when I go to the East coast now you know, I’m in two layers and I remember growing up in the East coast, two layers and Thanksgiving. I remember being okay with a single layer. People say our blood thins. But I think what’s happening is we’re losing our dynamic range. We’re losing our homeostatic capacity. We’re losing our ability to tolerate variances and immuno and then go on and on like all of a sudden I go into a restaurant. My, you know, it’s too dark when I go outside. I need sunglasses. I don’t remember these things from when I was in my thirties. And there’s various theories on why you can’t see as well, nine about rods and cones, but, you know, it’s also been demonstrated that your people are accommodations your peoples under accommodate in the changing my conditions.

Dr. Joon (00:14:48):
So when you think about all these different things, is it possible that many different things are going wrong or is it actually some more core phenomenon or a lower order phenomenon that is manifesting differently in different bodies, different parts of the body. And then you start thinking about diseases of aging, such as hypertension and diabetes inflammation. You know, when we’re young, all these things go high and then go back to normal. Blood pressure goes high and to self regulate, stop the normal sugars go high, same with our inflammatory cascades, everything’s self normalizes. So what if these so-called diseases of aging or actually just lag errors where we’ve lost the capacity to get back to homeostasis and then kind of organizing all those thoughts, that lithium things that we experienced both subjectively and objectively into a more common concept called homeostatic capacity is the origination.

Jason Moore (00:15:47):
And then that’s there’s again, so much to unpack there because in a sense, you know, I’ve, I’ve used the term adaptation a lot, and we also talk about adaptation with regard to that as well. And, but I, you know, re-linking your kind of intro interest in, in longevity to this homeostatic capacity, you mentioned the fractal nature of biology and then kind of core simple core concepts potentially that have complex ripple effects. And then you now are kind of saying, well, is it possible that there’s maybe some core issue that’s happening, that’s just manifesting itself differently for different bodies. And in my conversations with folks in the functional medicine scene they have seen that on the front lines, just kind of anecdotally where, you know, maybe today, you know, a very common thing nowadays is to talk about something like gluten intolerance, right?

Jason Moore (00:16:57):
And you know, you find two different people who have gluten intolerance, or at least that’s what has been identified as their condition. And one person has IBS and the other person has arthritis. And they both of them experience alleviation of symptoms when they don’t eat gluten, for example. And the temptation is to just focus on those symptoms and ignore, you know, a potential root cause. And it’s debatable now that I’m kind of listening to you as well, that gluten is necessarily even the root cause. It could be that that is again, a leading or a trailing situation that has come from an even deeper root cause. Looking at homeostatic capacity disruption, is that a term that I just make that up homeostatic?

Dr. Joon (00:17:57):
That’s great. I like your thinking about gluten again, you know, all these things, I don’t know, I don’t know, but then I’ll kind of try to unpack it and think about it. I think it behooves us to always think about what’s the lower order phenomenon. What’s the first sort of phenomenon. And then what’s the second order phenomenon, what’s the third order phenomenon. And like, let’s say we treat the fifth order phenomenon, ameliorating the field order phenomenon, doesn’t solve the first order phenomenon. And it’s likely to create the six order phenomenon because the way systems work and you think from a systems level treating downstream affects only in these two new things. So let’s say, let me talk about gluten. If that is a, let’s say a knife or a phenomenon we’ll address that, but we’ll probably manifest a template for numbers such as you’re probably losing tolerance to gluten or certain types of foods, and you’re actually probably narrowing your buffering capacity to nutrition.

Dr. Joon (00:19:04):
So in other words, I like the framing of thinking about that. What’s more upstream and I know I don’t know what the first order thing is, but we’re trying to get as low as possible in terms of the order. So that you know, we get, you know, just approximate the thing that we used to have when we’re bored, which is just extreme resilience and kids are like so resilient, right? Like if you were to think about just the ICU setting, the pediatric versus adult ICU for an adult to end up in the ICU, the probability of not making it out alive is pretty high. Whereas if you’re a child and you make it in ICU, you’re most likely going to live. So that suggests how much innate resilience when we set a capacity. We have. So so I think it’s, you know, I always think about what’s the lower order and I don’t know what it is and we can even get, you know, just speculate on what are the things that lead to losses, homeostatic capacity you know, even then that’s not ultimately reaching the first order, but it will give us maybe some potential clues to how to make those things better.

Jason Moore (00:20:05):
And sometimes, you know, when you’re navigating this upstream downstream kind of conversation, there’s, I like to kind of think, you know, biology or chemistry or physics, you know, ultimately what we’re learning is that for practical purposes, you can go almost infinitely in either direction, upstream, downstream, or more simple or more complex. But from a practical standpoint, you know, what, what do we know today, or what do we maybe have a capacity to read? I kind of mentioned you have a quote: maybe should eat junk food once in a while. And you know, that’s a, that’s a, that’s an interesting quote because one hand it resonates a lot, I’m sure with people when they hear it. And on the other hand people who are kind of dealing with maybe inflammation or some sort of health condition or dissatisfaction with their body in some way, they might be like, well, wait a second. You know, I thought I was supposed to be more strict. And so what do you mean when you say maybe we should eat junk food once in a while?

Dr. Joon (00:21:22):
Yes. And the, you know, I happen to pick Doritos cause I just love the flavor. It’s like the most optimized junk food out there, but to only eat them once a month because if if what’s happening in a, again, I don’t know for sure is we’re losing resilience, we’re losing, you know, we’re becoming more brittle, we’re becoming more fragile instead of antifragile. I’m just pulling in all different wars from different vernacular areas for becoming more fragile and frail then is the idea to avoid or should we actually contestant cause the thing that, and this gets back to like one of the core philosophical arguments, the oral burrows, which is feed this naked zone tail, can we use exactly what we’re suffering from as the energy to get better? So if the loss of dynamic range and loss of homeostatic capacity is what’s happening, could we actually use the stressors to rebuild the buffers?

Dr. Joon (00:22:19):
So if we are losing our tolerance to certain types of foods, should we actually expose ourselves to that at small incremental doses to actually expand our dynamic range to actually Regaine the lost resilience? So, you know, it sounds a little bit crazy, right? I mean, could we actually raise our blood pressure as a way to lower it? Cause you know, the way we think about it today in 20th century medicine is what your blood pressure is high. We lower it, but that’s like topping up the weeble wobble. When you prop up the weeble wobble, it actually causes atrophy. You actually get weaker underneath it. So in the case of hypertension medicines, you know, when you lower the blood pressure within our entire pretensive, your baseline actually can rise. Your set point moves the wrong direction and you can end up with rebound hypertension.

Dr. Joon (00:23:06):
The more generalized term is that you’re actually getting addicted to the drug. So is it possible that the vast majority of our therapies today we’re solving the state problem? Not that dynamic problem, I’ll get back to that in a second, are actually making us feel better in the short run, but in the long run, it’s not getting us addicted to the system. So by the time you’re eight years old, you know, you might be on 20 meds max out and everything. And how do you distinguish the fact that maybe the native disease got worse versus the ongoing atrophy of your native capacity? Because continuing to prop up the system. So the solution might be completely paradoxical and opposite. What if we actually used youth stress? Distress is bad. So, you know, you don’t want to necessarily, if you have a sensitivity, certain something, let’s say you’ve lost your, your tolerance for altitude.

Dr. Joon (00:24:03):
Like, you know, you go to 8,000 feet now, you feel sick. The idea is in the helicopter to 8,000 feet, the idea is to acclimate the same way that you wouldn’t go to 20,000 feet. You wouldn’t head towards Kilimanjaro on a helicopter. You know, you’d spend a couple of weeks along the way to acclimate. So think about that same mountain climbing idea with everything. So the idea isn’t to go to a jump into a hot bath,cold bath, which would definitely exposure to a variance, but the optimum way isn’t to go to extremes is to build capacity on the way slowly use increments of use stress versus distress. This registry, body mounts, a catastrophic response, and it can be deadly like the classic picture out of Netter. The anatomy textbook, where somebody who’s a little bit older steps out from a warm 70 degrees restaurant stepped outside to a 20 degree weather and drops that have a heart attack.

Dr. Joon (00:24:59):
If you’ve lost homeostatic capacity, then that Delta between your capacity and distress experience can trigger a catastrophical response. I think that’s something to be avoided. So I’m, I’m very cautious of the idea of various training on this. It comes with the kind of a judicious approach of using youth stress, small amounts to build tolerance along the way. So same thing with what you’re seeing with food allergies now you know, they don’t jump right to the maximum dose. You actually build capacity along the way. Same with like weight training. When you’re working out, you don’t try to bench press 150. You go from, you know, 75, 80, 85. So I think that that’s self tuning to use the self regulation and the buffering capacity of the body more gradually I think can actually help restore some of our loss homeostatic capacity.

Jason Moore (00:25:57):
And if I may throw out another word there, the concept of hormesis which in, you know, it sounds very similar to homeostasis, but for those familiar or not familiar rather homeostasis and homeostatic capacity, referring more to the weeble wobble as your, I really liked that analogy by the way. Everyone can picture, if they’ve ever interacted with a weeble wobble, if you beat it up enough, it sort of becomes lopsided. And it just doesn’t quite get back to center the same way it used to

Jason Moore (00:26:36):
Picture, but homeostasis being kind of that concept of flexibility, restoring balance where hormesis being referring more to that concept of stressing a system with, with youth stress just enough to cause adaptation that’s positive. Right. And what I’ve found in my experiences that since we’re such adaptive creatures, is that we adapt. We’re always adapting. It’s kind of like that saying goes, the only constant is change. We’re always changing. We’re always evolving and adapting. And so you’re either adapting favorably or unfavorably. And that’s kind of based off of the combination of the intensity and volume of stress that you experience or apply to your body in any specific domain and across domains too. So your homeostatic capacity for altitude may be less. If you have depleted your system through poor nutritional choices, report, exercise choices, or things like that.

Dr. Joon (00:27:55):
Exactly. And it reveals the multidimensional nature of all discussions capacity building, which is kind of the simple way to think about it is the preparedness for things that you haven’t seen or possibly have seen. And, you know, so in other words, you can build resilience for a 24 hour buffer, but then may undermine you for a one week buffer. And so how you train, like the way I exercise I changed the time of day, the routine but the weight interval, I varied the variance. So think about the irregularly irregular as a way to build robustness, but no matter how you try it, there’s still an infinite number of dimensions you haven’t considered. So these things aren’t, there’s no such thing as a perfect solution because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter next. Maybe in the next 50 years, we’re on Mars and we haven’t built a buffer for that.

Dr. Joon (00:28:48):
So nature is very backward looking that way. We’re always driving, looking at the rear view mirror. And hopefully the road forward will look something like what we see in the rear view mirror, but it can deviate and we’ll have, we may find out that we train for all the wrong things and that’s totally normal. There’s no way to forecast the future. The w w what is happening for sure though, is that our dynamic range is narrowing in so many ways. So, so much of what we do use technology for is to offload the work of homeostatic capacity that would happen naturally. And we offload the workload onto external systems. So instead of allowing our body to tolerate the variance of temperature, even within a single day, like right now in Tahoe, the variances, 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day in nature, you wouldn’t have the sheltering that allow you to stay 70, to get all the time.

Dr. Joon (00:29:44):
You don’t have HVAC systems, you don’t have clothes. And so in the natural world, you would continually maintain thermal dynamic capacity, homeostatic capacity. When the model world, all the good things we did to eliminate it as a variable has actually deconditioned us and said, we’re getting more beautiful, not only because of aging, but also because of our lifestyle. So now, you know, 30 degrees to me, it just, it just feels like, you know, absolutely intolerable, but again, the solutions that are gonna get that back by slowly exposing ourselves. So that’s the kind of paradox within everything we’re discussing is that, you know, exactly what we think is the enemy can be our friend

Jason Moore (00:30:23):
And, you know, it’s interesting the conundrum we find ourselves in because in a way avoiding pain and avoiding discomfort would likely have been evolutionarily, had we been taught in a more physically dangerous and unknown environment in the wild, so to speak. And so we kind of have, and this is, again, me just kind of riffing, so to speak on my views and on information that I’ve gathered not pointing at any specific study or anything, but we then through technology and innovation figured out how to solve all of those problems, like temperature, discomfort, and food discomfort, and like visual stimulation or dopamine release things like that, that kind of our bodies are driving us to seek out, but our bodies weren’t designed to have all of those comforts and in unlimited quantities. And if I may just do one more kind of analogous story to what you’re describing is that if you suffer an acute injury, like for example, I broke my ankle in high school and had to have surgery.

Jason Moore (00:31:41):
And then I was put into a cast. And it was very sad because I liked playing soccer. But at no point in the recovery process, did anyone say, Oh, it hurts when you take this cast off, you should just leave the cast on for the rest of your life. Right. And nobody ever suggested that to me. And, and why, because it’s pretty common knowledge that if you leave a cast on it, atrophies the muscle, the muscles, the tissues, the bones, because you’re not using any of them, you’re not stressing them at all. And in some sense, we’ve put a cast around ourselves in the modern world from all of these things that cause discomfort. And, and the process for recovering from that surgery was to leave the cast on for a while, then take it off and just do basic small things. And then to cut the story a little shorter it slowly incrementally increases the stress that you put on that ankle until you’re eventually standing and eventually walking, you’re eventually running. And lo and behold when you’re young and your homeostatic capacity is high. And two months after breaking your ankle with a compound fracture, you’re playing soccer again.

Jason Moore (00:33:03):
And that’s one of those stories that kind of, I don’t know if I’ve actually shared too much detail on the podcast before, but the emergency services came and just the nature of the injury said I was about 90 seconds away from being a permanent amputee. And I can’t even imagine the ripple effect that would have had on my life. So that’s just a side note, but it’s the world we live in and I’m fortunate to be here standing today. But the but I think that, you know what you’re saying, or what I’m hearing from you is that, that same concept of you know, sometimes fixing something that’s broken but also looking at how we improve or prevent ourselves from degenerating can be similar across domains. And that perhaps there’s a kind of deeper core lesson there.

Dr. Joon (00:34:02):
I think that, go ahead. I’m sorry. I interrupted.

Jason Moore (00:34:06):
No, no, that was it. That was the, that was, that was the deeper lesson.

Dr. Joon (00:34:10):
Yeah. I think metaphorically, you can map that to multiple dimensions see the casting example. I’m glad that you were within the window where everything kind of gets back to a robust, terrifying story. So we, when we, when you think about even our muscular dynamic range, we have incredible flection and extension capacity. And as you pointed out, when you narrow the dynamic range, we’re putting a cast on the body, reallocates the energy and the resources elsewhere, because, you know, nature is constantly optimizing and it can misread those signals. We might think that the cast actually means something else that you actually lost function. Enough, think about the fact that you and I are probably currently sitting in an ergonomic and neutral position. So while we’re not in a cast, we’re casting ourselves in a role of somebody who is deconditioning.

Dr. Joon (00:35:04):
So now instead of letting our muscles experience their native was dynamic range of flexion and extension by trying to be more comfortable, we are narrowing our muscular range. And we know that just stretching has manifold benefits, functionally in, you know, some would argue even health wise. And people talk about yoga and diabetes. I don’t know how strong scientific evidence there is in the literature. But just getting back out there and re stretching you can, again, extrapolate to other domains. So like our eyes, instead of, you know, we have this dynamic capacity to see things that are 30 miles away and things that are six inches away, then instead of letting our focal length exercise itself to the dynamic range, we now stare at 18 inches all day long. So it’s like putting our focal capacity in a cast and we lose it.

Dr. Joon (00:36:01):
So you can take this in all dimensions. They realize we’re doing this to ourselves, even just a simple act of opening a door which you used to do it with a rowing motion through just your own power now are done by a little finger. So think about how much, you know, how many opportunities let our bodies do his thing we’re giving up because we’ve all floated that work, that responsibility on the external technologies. I wanna highlight something you said earlier to at Ed Calabrese’s work and or misses and the field of allostasis and Allostatic load. And I think those are both amazing concepts cause it shows multidimensionality. I mean, I think we’re, we’re, we’re speaking simply here in a way that is digestible, but there are nuances built in the biology that are absolutely incredible.

Dr. Joon (00:36:58):
And you know, Ed Calabrese wrote me an email in 2005 and it really turned me into thinking about the kind of the slope of responsiveness at different parts of the curve and the low end of stress high in distress. And the fact that not only the response is different, but they can even be diametrically opposite. So really understanding this in a multidimensional space and same with Allostatic response on static load these concepts because the, depending on the duration of distress you can get the depletion. So it’s not just the fact that we are enduring stress, but because of the shape of the stress curve, the area that occurred, there’s so many other things I think about where our responses in all these dimensions may not be what we think. And, and therefore you know, in a way we have to listen to our bodies in terms of how we design our restoration.

Dr. Joon (00:38:04):
We know that the only place we’ve ever seen it, the youth, and we’ve seen it, it’s actually in young people, you know, it’s not in some mountain and drinking some potion, you know, we’ve seen when we started capacity, you know, you see these 12 year olds, 14 year olds. So we know the fountain of youth is actually within the body. And so wouldn’t it be ironic if the recovery of homeostatic capacity is about the idea of recovery that we can use the recovery process to recover? The thing that we lost, that we didn’t even know we had and popping up to a higher level about this idea of dimensionality. I think when I think about how do we,why did we do 20 century medicine and bound the way we did? And I think it gets back to this core idea of four-dimensional biology as a fundamental system.

Dr. Joon (00:38:58):
We’re using the word dynamics in this conversation, a dynamic system. And when you take a form of dimensional system like us and measure it, three-dimensionally improve it dimensionally. That’s a model here. Like we cannot study four dimensional system street and mentioning just like you’re using calculus to you know, understand that the behavior of a curb, you know, it’s just challenging because you’re just getting point in time. Data would be what Hermann Minkowski did for Einstein in 1908: to really just re instantiate four-dimensional thinking into physics. I mean, it’d been going on since Newton but it helped the integration of physics into something that was more coherent. I think the opportunity exists in biology too. Homeostasis is a, you know, it’s off of hours principle. It really is a three-dimensional idea. And if you add the fourth dimension, if you just add one more dimension that we mentioned biology, I think it changes everything.

Dr. Joon (00:39:59):
Ironically, it’s not an incremental change. It’s actually a directional change. So if you think three-dimensionally you think point-in-time data, so you would measure a point in time biomarkers, like your annual checkup is things like heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol. These are all point in time data, and they report something. It’s a very indirect way to understand the state of the system. Imagine instead turning everything, every diagnostic test into a fundamental diagnostic test. So instead of measuring heart rate, blood pressure, glucose cholesterol, you measure HRV bearer, Sceptre function, glucose tolerance, lipid tolerance, right? Cause those things actually decline long before your point in time data start showing this function. In other words, your ability to recover your heart rate after exercise declines much sooner than you manifesting any cardiac rate of cardiac, same thing with your blood pressure on pneumonia, you actually report baroreceptor function much or dysfunction much earlier.

Dr. Joon (00:40:59):
So what if we take this three dimensional diagnostic system we have, and, you know, fortunately we have a few tests in the medical system today that report four dimensional data, but almost all the rest of us you’re in much more. So adding more biomarkers getting the 10,000 biomarkers will definitely learn something, but it’s a very indirect way to understand the nature of systems. So now I imagine everything becoming continuous data, continuous blood glucose monitoring continues HRV. These are the leading edge, but imagine everything being that way. So if we actually generate four dimensional science at four dimensional data, then it will probably not only give us a better understanding of how the systems function and then how they fail the function, but it would probably lead to complete different ways to help the body regain health. So rather than giving you a bandaid, you would not, you focus on improving your body four dimensionally and and then the health care becomes your own, you know, healthcare system was inside your body for 40 years, and then it leaves you at 40. And then we started whack a mole or dysfunctions, and then we die. I mean, that’s the short history of life. Imagine it’s that. And by the way, we’re doing a good job of it. Healthcare system is incredibly powerful and there’s so many great innovations, but it’s also costing us reach 1000 a year and everybody got so as good as the current system.

Dr. Joon (00:42:22):
So if you actually imagine taking all of those therapeutic ideas, but just then putting it back in the body, put homeostatic capacity back in the body. So you can actually ween off the healthcare system. Imagine taking healthcare costs up very low, and you’re still going to have orthopedics and obstetrics. And, you know, there are things that are still going to happen in Arizona. But you can still make it a lot smaller because this system now is resonant within you. Again, I think that’s kind of, that’s kind of the hope. And by the way, you know, once you start thinking four dimensionally, you realize you don’t just have to get back to baseline. You can get above baseline, you can get super normal States of health, just like athletes today can perform things that a normal person can’t. So now imagine having the hall of fame of all of your homeostatic capacity. So like your imagine, you know, celebrating like an Olympiad you know, this is this person’s thermal capacity. This is this person’s out to do capacity. And so now we’re not only talking about disease and health, but we’re talking about a vertical access to all of these things that don’t really exist today that we can measure and improve against. And who knows what’s going to happen to aging and longevity once you start having you know, people develop normal levels of capacity

Jason Moore (00:43:51):
And it’s I love the four dimensional way of framing that because it really kind of it adds clarity in, in a very succinct way to kind of the, the next leap, so to speak that we can make with biology and, and playing off of the concept, you know, that you said has carried over from physics and math more foundational sciences, so to speak as the, as you kind of layer up from simplicity and complexity there. And it’s, I actually I’m biased of course, but I would love to see a competitions for people were competing for homeostatic capacity as a, you know, in a sense if you relate it sort of to like the world
CrossFit games where people are competing in fitness, right. Basically who can be the fittest. But the people who go to a CrossFit gym most often, or most of them I think it’s safe to say most of them don’t expect to compete and win at the CrossFit games. But they kind of like to know that the similar routines and movements that they’re doing can lead to these really amazing feats of fitness. And in a sense, you know, what you’ve mentioned, kind of that there’s dimensionality to this conversation as well on from like a lifestyle perspective, we’ve got pillars that people would be very familiar with such as nutrition where you could kind of put some bounds around homeostatic capacity with regard to handling energy and nutrient absorption from things that we put inside our body. And then we’ve got exercise as a pretty big category and sleep is a pretty big category, Or just general kind of downtime could be lumped into that potentially. And we have the psychological and social realm where humans are also just interesting creatures in the sense that we can kind of convince ourselves that things are one way or another, and that can actually manifest itself physiologically into you know, expressing itself in the body. And are there any other realms, I, I kind of highlight those four because we’ve talked about them in various capacities on this podcast. Are there any other realms that you kind of look at when you think about these? I think about homeostatic capacity and, and different practical ways that we can view it.

Dr. Joon (00:46:49):
I love listening to you because you’re, you’re, you’re an ambassador of the very notion because of the way you both, the way you live your life and the way you extrapolate and the way you’re able to manifest in different dimensions. It’s just so natural. And I think that speaks to the power of the story that everybody can write their own story here. There’s no, there’s no cookbook this, but once you think about various training interval training for everything, irregularly, irregular, everything then people can take, you know, go on their own personal journey on this. So it could be like, you know, even something that’s traveled continually change your, you know, experience, reading different books, listen to different conversations, sit in a different seat. I drive home in a different way every day. You know, look at the world upside down you know, literally hang vertically, upside down, just change your position change your change, your diet, like you say you know, eat different things.

Dr. Joon (00:47:45):
You know, the, the one diet that has never, you know, I mean, people say eat a balanced diet, but now imagine just changing that continuously, even to think about fasting, it’s not interval fascinating per se, but it’s the fact that, you know, you, your body is like in a digested state and a nondigestible same thing with sleep as the fact that you’re awake and not awake. In other words, dynamic range is built in like same, same thing with sunlight, you know, in nature, you’re in sunlight during the day and you’re in darkness at night, and now we’ve narrowed that dynamic range to having, you know, sunglasses on, you know, having indoor jobs. And then, and now we turn on the light. So even our natural dynamic range exposure light is a deep offering. So the solution should get back out there, you know, just live, live more naturally in nature.

Dr. Joon (00:48:26):
You know, just feel the wind on your face. You know, we, we talk about other things that give you kind of acute pulses. They’ll have HRV variants. You know, we talk about sex. We talk about laughter, all the things we intuitively know to be true are our natural ways to expand it down and make mange. And the idea their secret sauce here of course, is that all of those things are fun things. None of these things are things that you wouldn’t love to do. Anyway. I mean, we’re talking about spending more time in the mountains, spending more time in the sun, laughing more, having more sex, eating different foods, traveling. I mean, this is like, even if this work helping your health we’d want to live this way anyway, but the fact that that might actually improve your health on top of it. I mean, it feels like it’s, it’s one of those, like, you know, just incredible win-wins

Jason Moore (00:49:17):
Now is this yeah, this may be going too far for this discussion too deep, so to speak, but, you know, in your experience how, how would you think about this situation where let’s say you make, you’ve made some poor financial choices, you’ve made some poor health choices, Accumulated a lot of inflammation and a lot of stress, right. And that sort of in a way create, or it triggers a response where you’re kind of treading water and you’re just trying to survive how this, I know this is, this is a very loaded question is going very deep, very fast. But in your opinion, if you’re, if you want to go this route how would somebody in that situation start to think about this concept? And I think I’ll also frame it with saying that most of the listeners of this podcast probably aren’t in that deep of a situation or they may not know it if they are. And, and sometimes we all are in that situation and maybe sometimes we don’t even know, but so it’s a, just kind of an interesting thing that I think many people in the world kind of get to that point where they’re, they feel like they’re treading water and how do they kind of think more about this process?

Dr. Joon (00:50:51):
I don’t know. And it’s it is not a loaded question. I think it’s a very important question cause everybody you know, when you think about your reserve capacity as a waterfall effect where you kind of get into different States within the, about the landscape of physiologic capacity so you know, what works for one person may be catastrophic for another. And we don’t know let’s say this slipped into the third layer of the waterfall in terms of the preserve your body has like layers and layers of responsiveness, like given your autonomic physiology, when you break it out you know, try something black, a level of identity and response to autonomic polyvagal theory. All these things suggest that our body has multiple States of kind of more local, local, local resilience. So depending on where you are, how you can use what you have left to recover to the next level I think is highly individually dependent.

Dr. Joon (00:51:50):
So I think it’s hard to make a blanket statement but just the fact that we’re alive at all. So just that we have more reserved than we think. So I think that’s encouraging unless you’re literally in the ICU and you’re on the brink. I think most people that are still able to walk around you know, by definition to have resilience so then using again, increments stress to kind of get back, I think everybody’s on their own path and I think it’s really listening to your body, but in some ways using common sense rather than following a script, I would be, that would be my cop out answer. Cause it’s really a complex question

Jason Moore (00:52:28):
And apologies for the interruption, but I appreciate that actually, you answering that with kind of a process that, that anyone can apply because that is the conundrum, right, is that we’re all individual, even though we share similar biology, we have differing physiological States, differing needs, different lives different priorities. And, and it’s, you know, as I was asking that question, it’s a deep question that, that, that’s kind of what I was trying to wrap my mind around was and you answered it eloquently about the individuality and in by coincidence, I actually had written down some rules rules that you had in a YouTube video that people can potentially reference, but be a camera, aim high, be a verb. And I just happened to read those bullet points that I had written down right after I asked the question to you. So, as you were saying, it, those are the words that were kind of echoing in my conscious and, and then relating it to your individual condition. You know, maybe we don’t have to dig into each of those rules today in this conversation, but specifically the last one, be a verb which is echoing some things that you said a few minutes ago, taking action, trying new things look for the thing that you might have a little bit of reserve in and try to make change in that area. Right.

Dr. Joon (00:54:09):
Yeah. Yeah. You know, as I’m listening to you, you know, a funny thought comes to mind. I mean, there is hegemony in linguistics. We are you know, we’re pressed by the words we choose to use and self oppression. It’s not, it’s not the system. And, you know, almost all from the fear near self tyranny. So you can think about nouns as state, three dimensional. You can think about verbs as four dimensional. And while there’s just one thing that the director, the, the actual effect goes opposite. So like, and I’ll just give you like one example, like, you know so you know, our kids have learned about the world and they’ve moved about the world through love of things like music and sports. And people say, well, that’s passion. Actually. I didn’t say passion. I said love or similar. So it made me think about the word passion versus love. Love is announced. I’m sorry. Passion is announced. Love can be announced to the love is generally a verb. Love is something you feel stolen. Others love as an action. Whereas passionate as something you have at the end of your days, are you the, some of what you have are the sum of what you did obviously still ladder, right? You don’t take anything you have with you. But you you’ve confirmed

Dr. Joon (00:55:22):
The system you’ve contributed to the world through your actions. So I can do that. Think about verbs as four-dimensional so an easy way for people to remember this relative to this conversation, it’s just gonna just go on and do, rather than cogitate, don’t overthink it, just get out there and do it. And by the way, if it’s hard to remember aim high via camera and via verb, the, the way that the still all three of those into again, a lower order word is just be a kid. When we’re a kid, we don’t aim high. We just mean, and at some point we started lowering your aims probably around puberty when we’re young, we’re not, we don’t have to be a camera where we’re just serious. We’re curious. We can learn a language, learn an instrument, learn how to skate. And after 13, you never really own it.

Dr. Joon (00:56:04):
Right? So cause our minds, which is from a camera to a projector projecting upon the world, we start acting like we know what I’ll think about a typical teen, you know, that I don’t want to hear it anymore. You’re right. I know. I know. But imagine restoring the camera function that we become listeners again, you’re very good at those becoming series again. And same thing with, you know, being a verb. I think just as we get older, we become more intellectual. We become more sedentary, not only in terms of our lifestyles, but it just, even the way we think and the way we move you know, all dimensions, like let’s just be a kid out there and do it again. Again, the kids don’t talk about being at, are they just, they just are right. That manifest that be. And I want to kind of use a moment to dovetail the conversation and do situations where kids are non resilient, where they have gaps in homeostatic capacity.

Dr. Joon (00:56:53):
And I want to quickly play, I sort of tuning into this cause we know kids also do suffer and they have chronic diseases. I detected through HRV that’s kids with food allergies that are prone to anaphylaxis asthma, or just allergic, allergic in general. When you look at the symptoms of their crisis, both chronic and acute Bronco, constriction, bradycardia, low blood pressure, swelling rhinorrhea, they’re all vaguely mediated. These, this is the parasympathetic features of imbalance. And I don’t know if the neighbor told us shoot too strong or I think my instinct tells me to such a sympathetic insufficiency that normally when you have this non homeostatic state of, unless you’re in Bronco construction during asthma, the normal, your sympathetic tone should kick in to restore you back to hope through admission homeostasis. And yet these kids don’t. So what does that say?

Dr. Joon (00:57:51):
And it’s so interesting that all of these diseases are treated with epinephrine analogs. They have, you know, fancy brand names, but ultimately it’s an external injection of sympathomimetic that you get you back. But then of course, that undermined you because you’ve never solved into white foam. So we back tested the HIV of kids that have, and you can do this with the device that you have that have a history of anaphylaxis asthma allergies and in our unpublished site. And we need a lot more data, but our data we’ve got the date and I’d love to get the community involved in this. They are manifesting autonomic dysfunction. And it’s hard to unpack whether it’s vague excess or sympathetic insufficiency, but I think we can just generally say there’s an autonomic dysfunction that they’re walking around with at baseline that are being triggered by certain events.

Dr. Joon (00:58:46):
The deeper question is why do they have that? Why did they have gaps in homeostatic capacity and their own animal function? All that stuff remains to be investigated. It could be because of chronic anesthetic load. Maybe there’s chronic stress out there. And I don’t know, it could be, it could be physical, it chemical, it could be behavioral. I mean, all those things can funnel down into a depletion of autonomic capacity, such that these external triggers can, can lead to systemic collapse. So that’s another emerging area that we can really help people and especially use the kind of platform that you have both through communication, but also data gathering HRV is a, it’s a, it’s a consumer level of technology, but can get massive amounts of data to look for some signal and all the noise that’s out there in science and biology as a way to make a contribution that can really be life saving and life giving to so many people.

Jason Moore (00:59:43):
And that’s some, that’s something that this is such an exciting time to be alive and general because we’re in a time where we know that the signal is there within the noise. And we just have to find it for a lot of these questions, you know, maybe not necessarily curing aging right within our grasp, but, but within our grasp to solve some of these problems and find the root causes of them, if we can find that signal in the noise. And, you know, the thing that fascinates me a lot about what you’re just describing too, is sort of the epigenetic and generational kind of compounding effects of all of our all of the environmental choices and lifestyle and behavior choices that we make. It’s just the personal area of interest, but Dr. Joon, I want to be respectful of your time, cause this is we’ve already come up on an hour here and we’ve learned so much from you already. Is there anything that you’d like to share with the listeners before we kind of part, and then I can already tell you that we’re probably going to try to twist your arm a little bit to have around two and dig into some deeper areas that we’ve already scratched the surface on.

Dr. Joon (01:01:12):
Well, I appreciate you having me today and I will make time to come back and maybe the way to plant the seed for the next conversation is to talk about what are the things that the innovators can do. And we talk a lot about what you know, the, the listeners and audience can do out of the community. But in leading science, and this is just wrapped a note and what you’re just talking about and the signal to noise. My scientific curiosity right now is on why we lose signal to response fidelity. So when you think about loss of homeostatic capacity, you can see it in cells, you go from hundred percent fidelity response to signal, whatever, know the signal can be a stressor to like 99, 98, 97. So there’s something happening at the soil level where the loss of fidelity is the reporter and then homeostatic capacity is the higher order effect. And then diseases are even the higher order effect. So you know, maybe that’ll be a question that we can explore next time. What is happening that is leading to this of responsiveness

Jason Moore (01:02:20):
Can we meet up tomorrow? Oh, goodness. Okay. Well that is a great kind of thing to take away for the audience here. And, you know, another thing that I kind of want to echo is just really appreciate your approach and looking at this as both a simple and complex problem, and the fact that it can be individual for everyone. So everyone listening to this almost I’m certain that everyone listening to this has something about themselves that they want to improve, and they can take this concept of a constant variation or consistent inconsistency or another, how many ways we can say that into their lives in different ways. So thank you very much for, for sharing all of that. And we will link to some of the people and papers and things that you’ve referenced in this, in our show notes.

Jason Moore (01:03:31):
And we will also link to your website. If, if that’s what you’d like, is there a place that people can look for more information from your work? I think that’s great. That’s a great story. What I’m going to do between now and the next time you, and are able to chat. I’m going to listen to your other episodes. I’m going to do my own various training to learn about the different ideas and different conversations you’re having. So I can be more robust next time. I’m here for you. Wow. I really appreciate that. And I monitored and we’ll wrap there and dr. Joon, I really appreciate you taking the time and I think everybody will really enjoy the conversation a lot. So thank you very much.

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