Dom D’Agostino on Disease Prevention, Cancer, and Living Longer


dominic d'agostino

“The pursuit of size and strength really contradicts what we want to go after for longevity.” – Dominic D’Agostino

Dr. Dominic “Dom” D’Agostino (@DominicDAgosti2) is one of my most popular guests, and I’m happy to have him rejoin the show for the third time. (You can listen to Dom’s first appearance here, and his second appearance here).

Dom is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and a senior research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) — which is mentioned in the current issue of Outside Magazine (on which there’s a clown who looks a lot like me).

Much of Dom’s work is related to metabolic therapies and nutritional strategies for peak performance and resilience in extreme environments. Dom’s research is supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Defense (DoD), and other private organizations and foundations.

In this episode, Dom focuses on disease prevention, cancer, and more mastery of the ketogenic diet. Please enjoy this tutorial and masterclass with Dominic D’Agostino.


Want to hear my first interview with Dom D’Agostino? — Listen to our in-depth conversation here. In this episode, we discuss fasting, heavy deadlifts, and the end of cancer (stream below or right-click here to download):

This podcast is brought to you by Vimeo Business. Vimeo Business has all of the prior benefits of Vimeo Pro, including VIP support. Whether you make videos for a living, run your own company, or simply want to amp up your video marketing, Vimeo Business is here to help. It has more than 280 million creators and viewers worldwide and makes it easier to share your videos with a global audience and connect with professional video makers to bring your stories to life.

Vimeo Business allows you to upload up to five terabytes and store your videos in one secure place, add up to 10 team members to your account for easy collaboration, and gather feedback with seamless review tools. You can even add clickable calls to action and capture email addresses directly in the player, which can help you generate leads and drive conversion for whatever you’re trying to optimize — such as a newsletter or a sales page.  Check out to save 10 percent on Vimeo Business.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you — for free — exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore:

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Dom D’Agostino: | Facebook | TwitterUniversity of South Florida

Show Notes

  • Does the ketogenic diet “beat” chemotherapy for cancer? [06:45]
  • Dom elaborates on the detoxifying effects of ketosis on precancerous cells in healthy individuals. [15:07]
  • How does one jump start a daily ketogenic cycle without supplements? [16:25]
  • How can lean muscle mass be maintained when fasting? [17:56]
  • What types of cancers are most affected by ketosis? [21:34]
  • What process is most effective for targeting cancer? [23:25]
  • The ketogenic diet as a do no harm therapy. [26:14]
  • Nutritional ketosis and hyperbaric oxygen therapy: how, why, and when? [27:51]
  • How long would an amateur endurance athlete need to be in ketosis to get the full benefit of being fat adapted for a marathon, and what supplement stack would Dom recommend? [33:47]
  • Should an APOE4 (Apolipoprotein E) carrier — someone at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease — be careful with a ketogenic diet? [36:35]
  • Are there any downsides to shifting out of ketosis for an occasional cheat meal? [41:06]
  • What does Dom have to say about the study that found ketogenic diets have no metabolic advantage? [46:19]
  • If your body doesn’t do well with dairy or nuts, what would be good fat source alternatives on a modified ketogenic diet? [48:58]
  • Dom talks about Metformin, methylene blue, and other non-food substances meant to increase longevity. [50:24]
  • Can the ketogenic diet be used while glycolytic training? [58:06]
  • What is it like for Dom to be an academic who makes serious weight training a big part of his life, and how do these two pursuits complement (or complicate) each other? [1:01:06]
  • Dom’s thoughts on John Kiefer’s carb backloading. [1:07:26]
  • Are ketone salt products on the market safe — specifically the DL beta-Hydroxybutyric salts? [1:12:27]

People Mentioned

Posted on: September 25, 2016.

The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

24 comments on “Dom D’Agostino on Disease Prevention, Cancer, and Living Longer

  1. Thank you Dominic for another fascinating episode!

    I think you might be the ideal man to answer this question for me. Dr. Nun Amen Ra claims to eat an average of 1250kcal per day in a single vegan meal, he fasts the remaining 23 hours per day. Do you think this is plausible?

    Whether he uses anabolic steroids with his deadlifting world records or not, does not concern me so much. Rather, could he eat so few calories per day is enough to maintain weight and muscle mass? Autophagy, increased GH production, ketosis/lipolysis should all play a role, however I am a BIT skeptical skill.


  2. Regarding BCAAs and how it affects to uptake of tryptophan (a precursor for serotonin production), should someone who suffers from major depression and is currently taking SSRI anti-depressants stay away from supplementing with BCAAs?


  3. Great having Dom on as always – very informative! Dom covered Kiefer’s Carb Backloading protocol, but didn’t get to the Carb Night (CN) protocol. Given that CN is essentially a type of cyclic ketogenic diet, I’d love to hear Dom’s thoughts on it. Kiefer is adamant that a weekly carb re-feed and the associated insulin response is critical so that Thyroid hormones don’t get down-regulated while on a long term ketogenic protocol.



    • I have Hashimoto’s and have been on keto for about 8 months and I have a feeling that it’s been adversely affecting my thyroid disorder. I’ve read that an insulin response is required for T4 to T3 conversion. I’m now considering integrating a carb re-feed every few days but still would like to keep staying on keto since I want to keep the benefits of that. Would also love to know Dom’s thoughts on this.


  4. Thanks for one more Don episode!!!

    What I’m still wishing is to see a list of blood exams to do prior and after ketosis transitioning and fasting (I’m initially going for a 4 day fast).

    I’m willing to donate $100 through PayPal to the best scientifically based answer.



  5. I listened to the first two podcasts and started connecting some dots. I started on the ketogenic diet 15 days ago. I feel like I’m fasting, but I am eating. My overall wellbeing has increased exponentially. I also love butter and heavy whipping cream in my coffee now. Thanks for the podcasts Tim and Dom.


  6. Altho Dom says that slow growing prostate cancer is not affected by a keto diet, there are aggressive prostate cancers. Are the aggressive forms of prostate cancer influenced by a keto diet?


  7. Hey Tim,
    Great show as always. So glad you could get Dr. Dom on the show again. I have a possible guest for you: Andrew Skurka. You will love this guy, he is does crazy extreme hiking, and we all know you love crazy and extreme. (Hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail all in one year!!) Totally up your alley!


  8. I would be interested if Dom has an opinion on IP-6 as a cancer preventative supplement and if he thinks it’s worth consideration as part of a treatment plan for cancer patients.


  9. Tim, Dom

    There’s this professor in Germany who’s been dedicating her life in order to fight cancer with the ketogenic diet. Her name is Prof. Dr. Ulrike Kämmerer. She’s fighting a difficult battle, and is kind of fighting against windmills, but she continues to fight. She’s also written a book (I believe it’s being translated into English), my own translation into English would be:”Cancer cells need sugar, patients need fat”. She works at the university hospital in Würzburg, Germany. It would mean the world to me (and surely to her as well as to many others in the German speaking countries) if you could somehow touch base with her, i.e. for an interview or a general exchange of thoughts or for collaboration etc. I am sure you can find her on the Web in case interested.

    Thank you


  10. Hi Tim.
    I have your book, The 4-Hour Body, and I am about to take on the diet routine… This looks like a diet I can relate to and carry out without major difficulties. But I have a couple of questions:

    1: Are other oils than olive oil acceptable? I use sesame oil on thinly sliced hipsi cabage.

    2: Is it acceptable to sprinkle salads with sesame and nigella seeds?


  11. These masterclasses are wonderful. I am continually impressed by your ability to balance enthusiasm and conviction with rigor and humility.

    I’ve heard you mention specifics of weight training here and there (Arnold’s book here, weighted stretching on IHMC, admiration for Layne Norton’s work, etc.). I’ve also heard you talk in a few places about how you would do things very differently if you were starting out knowing what you know now, but the details are mostly related to nutritional ketosis. I’m interested in your perspectives on the practice of and best resources for weight lifting, particularly for novice and intermediate trainees (i.e. folks who aren’t athletes).

    Of course specifics for training depend on a person’s goals (general health vs. powerlifting vs. bodybuilding, etc.), so you can feel free to speak to one of these general goals or maybe, to make it more specific, talk about what you would change in your own practices at, say, 20 or 25 years old if you could travel back in time.

    Thank you for your work. Inspiring stuff.


  12. I just found out that I have the GG genotype APOA2. This isnt mentioned in this podcast, only Apoe4. Is Keto ideal for me? I know this is merely one snp, and needs to be looked at beyond just this one. But in general, for people wanting to keto. APOA2?


  13. Tim – would adding a bit of fat consumption (say coconut oil in coffee) every morning on your monthly 3-day fast accomplish basically everything? To me it seems it would give a bit of energy to the brain in the morning yet starve cancerous/pre-cancerous cells of glycogen. Or is there more you are trying to accomplish during this monthly food abstinence?


  14. Thank you Dominic for another great episode. I was wondering if fasting or Ketosis has any benefit for for gynecomastia reversal, specifically reducing the gland size and not fat deposits in the the breast tissue. Are the effects of autophagy as induced by a fast effective to reduce this type of tissue?

    Thanks you,
    Vasily S


  15. Thanks to both of you for sharing all this info. I used 5-htp but had to stop because it causes cramps. I started waking up with severe leg cramp in the middle of the night, made a research and found out that it is the side-effect of 5-htp. Since I am still dealing with some nerve problem on my shoulder, cramps caused by a casual drug is the last thing I want. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind it so much if I wasn’t already having severe shoulder and neck pain.

    I want to try keto diet. The hardest part for me is to give up fruit. Once my shoulder is better I want to get on with it. I know I can do it if I put my mind to it, but I need to fix my other parts first. Because say I am in a restaurant and pain comes suddenly, I might eat the sweetest thing ever. It is like mental compensation. I don’t care about anything when the pain comes.

    A friend who studies medicine in Germany said “when I have kids they won’t even know the taste of sugar. It is the worst thing ever.” I think even if we can’t completely manage keto diet, consuming as little sweets as possible is still an improvement. I need to come back to this episode and listen to it properly when I’m ready to do it. Best x