Hi Gang, we’re kicking off the Fall podcast season with a deep dive discussion around longevity and anti-aging with Elysium Health’s Co-founder and CEO, Eric Marcotulli.
I first interviewed Eric at the Executive Council’s annual Health & Biotech Summit in 2017, which feels like forever ago, particularly given all of the buzz around anti-aging regimens and the popularization of the space from various industry leaders and mainstream press.
To start off, Eric and I discuss why it’s important to track aging. This might seem like a basic questions but the idea of “aging” isn’t so much about “old age” as it is about addressing health in a more holistic manner, as you’ll learn. Chronological age is only a number, in a sense, and what might matter most is cellular age. More on that in our discussion.
We also talk about quantifying and measuring products such as Elysium’s Basis, which is Eric’s core product. Elysium also has a product called Index which measures your biological age and also tracks your cumulative rate of aging which may be the most important metric of all. Absorption rate of products like Basis is also an important factor and we hit on that, as well.
On the personal front, we touch on Eric’s evolving daily regimen vis a vis supplements and routines (AM/PM, exercise, diet, etc.). It’s always fun to discuss this particular topic with guests because I personally get tips that I can use and of course you can hopefully gain some actionable tips, too.
Finally, we talk about what’s coming down the pipeline for Elysium and across the industry and what Eric is most excited about.
Eric Marcotulli, Elysium Health co-founder and chief executive officer, graduated from Harvard Business School and joined Sequoia Capital as its youngest partner to lead growth investing in mobile technologies. While in Silicon Valley, Marcotulli realized that despite the significant, positive impact of new technologies on our understanding of health and disease,
there remained a lack of innovation in the consumer-facing portion of the healthcare market beyond wearables and basic mobile apps.
With a keen interest in aging research and its potential to have a profound impact on the most important areas of health, he wanted to create a company focused on developing compelling compounds found in nature that support long-term health.
6:25 Why is it important to track aging/anti-aging?
We need to uncouple our understanding of even the word “aging”, the connotation of it. Aging isn’t about “old age”. Aging is a series of interconnected processes that begin to change in the mid-20s. It’s about reproductive maturity. It’s about addressing health in a more holistic sense. Aging has become no longer infomercials and face creams, and is now widely recognized as a scientific problem.
12:52 How does Elysium quantify progress for products like Basis?
Aging is not a disease. Information theory of aging - allows you to visualize what is going on over time. Tools and technologies are available now and in the future to map your specific genes and how aging is occurring.
20:58 What are they measuring? Index?
Patterns of methylation - part of the Epigenome. Similar to taking a core sample from a tree and seeing the rings. Telomeres have an effect on aging, but can promote too much growth, i.e. cancer cells. There’s only averaging going on with telomere data. Most of the Index data stays in line with
24:20 What is methylation?
Genetic mechanism involving the transfer of a methyl group. In itself, it is not a good or bad thing, but a fundamental process of aging. It’s more of the operating system not operating properly over time which causes methylation issues.
27:32 Tricks/Tactics to keep methylation in check?
Genes and proteins (longevity genes) known as sirtuans have been discovered. They serve a role as a guardian of the genome/epigenome.
30:14 What are the protocols you recommend when taking your products?
Be skeptical always! Look at the data. Basis has been proven to increase NAD production. As levels go up, aging slows. Sirtuans can be activated in synergy with the ingredients. Elysium has created products to halt the atrophy in learning and memory.
37:35 How do you track absorption rates?
In the Basis product, if someone takes 1 dose daily for 2 months - NAD production is increased by the same amount ~40%. If someone increases the dose, the first month has ~70% and then down ~50%. This shows that the body reaches some sort of homeostasis with the NAD production.
40:48 Do you track/measure absorption rates?
PK/PD levels are monitored. You’re looking at the data of NAD production, what the body flushes out, and traditional toxicology and safety measures. Not at the level yet to have data regarding time of day to take. It is understood that you take in the morning, and the normal circadian rhythm takes over. Some people have the same results taking at bed time and swear by it.
43:24 Those who take at night - is it easier or are they experiencing better results?
Most people are claiming an interconnection between energy levels and quality of sleep. People claim they have increased energy but not like an espresso, no longer need the afternoon nap.
47:00 When would you recommend I take this? Morning or night?
No interactions with medications, food. You can experiment and try at either morning or night. You might not get a different experience by taking a different time of day. Some team members will stop the protocol for a week or two at a time and cycle back into it.
48:25 Should it be cycled?
This is really invasive and a decision on a personal level. Retention is a key piece to the puzzle. Small but significant group who will cancel and come back in a 3 month period. They felt they had adjusted to the product, and felt sorry they stopped taking it.
51:20 What is your personal protocol?
Constant experimentation. I love what we do, because we’re always experimenting. In the morning, I take Basis and Magnesium. I take Matter at night. I also take another product daily that we are working on. On a monthly basis, I am taking a high dose of another product we are working on.
54:04 The pandemic forced him to reset.
Had him thinking about how to improve health, especially living in NYC. Translated to more physical activity. Some sort of physical routine ~5 days a week. Doesn’t do a lot of cardio.
56:17 You need to match your chronotype to your lifestyle
You’re going to have early risers and night owls. To the extent feasible, wake up without an alarm. Waking up naturally helped destress him. The difference when you’ve had a good night’s sleep is amazing.
60:11 The one thing that often gets left out - immersion in nature!
Even living in the urban jungle, going for a walk outside helps you feel great and passes time. Do what makes you happy at the end of the day. If it makes you happy, don’t feel bad about it.
1:04:07 Exercise and getting outside doesn’t have to be complicated.
Not just experimentation, but finding what you like. Yoga vs. Pilates, running vs.cycling, etc. Interesting how the pandemic has changed fitness and technology. People are more apt to do things in their homes.
1:09:37 What’s coming down the pipeline?
Elyseum has a product launch each quarter the next year. Q3 will have an immune (in regard to aging) product. This product will help maintain function. In Q4 there will be a metabolic aging product. Index is giving us the opportunity to open doors. Interested in human performance.
1:15:52 What’s on his browser?
Fan of newsletters daily. Life sciences/Biotech - Stat News and End Points. Business - Axios Pro Rata, Term Sheet. Reddit.
1:18:49 Book recommendations?
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis; Endure, Thinking Fast & Slow, and Noise by Daniel Kahneman