Episode 17: Darshan Shah MD, Plastic Surgeon and Entrepreneur

Owaves Team Body Clock Podcast

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Dr. Darshan Shah is a health and wellness specialist, well known Board Certified surgeon, published author, tech entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Beautologie and Next|Health. As an expert on all body systems, he has performed over 10,000 surgical procedures, including trauma surgery, general surgery and plastic/reconstructive procedures.

As a health and wellness specialist, he has advised thousands of patients on how to optimize their well-being and extend their lifespan, culminating in the creation of Next|Health, the “Apple Store” of Health and Wellness offering healthspan and lifespan extending technology and treatments in a beautiful, welcoming environment. He also features regularly giving talks at Exponential Medicine at Singularity University with a focus on longevity and technology.

Transcript

Haroon Kazem: Hey guys thanks for joining us on another episode of the body clock podcast by Owaves. If you haven’t already please remember to download the free Owaves app on the Apple App Store. It’s the number one wellness app on the App Store. It’s fun. It’s easy to use and it will allow you to effectively plan your day. It works great as a visual planner. And please remember to tell your friends and family. Also if you’re enjoying the show please do us a huge huge favor and leave us a five star rating on your podcast app as always. Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy the show.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Hi guys. So welcome to another episode of The Body Clock Podcast by Owaves. Today we have an incredible guest, Doctor Darshan Shah. Did I pronounce that right.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Darshan Shah. Darshan Shah.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Darshan Shah who’s a surgeon. He trained in general surgery and graduates at the age of 21, which I find quite outstanding. And then he also trained in plastic surgery and after that has gone into his health optimization functional medicine and longevity field. So he’s the CEO of Next Health which is based in L.A. and also the CEO of Beautologie as well. And he’s an expert in kind of the science of longevity. He speaks regularly at Exponential Medicine and he’s affiliated in Singularity University as well as being a technology entrepreneur. Nice to have you on the podcast.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Well this podcast is going to be a very whistle stop tour because you have so much to discuss. I mean I was looking at your presentation topics and I mean you covered brain sleep nutrition exercise healthy habits. So I want to be touching on each of those but to start off with, could you tell me about your journey into kind of wellness?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes absolutely. You know I think that’s an important component of it because you know I started off my journey as a doctor basically when I was like you said at a very young age in what I quickly realized was medicine through all my different careers in medicine emergency room surgery I worked for the Navy for eight years seeing their soldiers and I basically realized that everything about health care is totally disease focused not just all the technology and all the money that we spend just the attitudes of everyone involved in the health care field. So for example you know you go see a doctor and he has 15 minutes to make a diagnosis and that diagnosis is made and then you’re given a pill immediately basically you know you’re given a drug for a disease diagnosis. But if you don’t have a disease or you don’t have a problem there’s virtually no effort put into keeping you healthy very little. And there’s also very little effort put into making sure that you have some sort of health optimization plan.

And what happens is as you and I both know all diseases really start 30 years before you start seeing kind of the physical symptomatology and the physical manifestations of those disease. So I really thought to myself health care is so backwards. Not only is it totally disease focused but the doctors are rewarded for diagnosing disease but there’s no reward for maintaining health. And I just really wanted to change the entire model and I changed my thinking because you know I myself being human being a physician I was becoming unhealthy. I was becoming pre diabetic. I was hypertensive 30 pounds overweight. And even for my own for my own body for my own self I quickly educated myself on the topic of health optimization and disease prevention and I landed in functional medicine which is a new branch of medicine a relatively new branch of medicine really focused on the origins of disease and the origins of symptoms rather than making a diagnosis and then giving you a cure with with a pill or a surgery and functional medicine really spoke to me I I went to many functional medicine conferences really educated myself.

And it really is the way physicians should be thinking in the 21st century. And then I saw another opportunity being an internal entrepreneur as well. I also saw an opportunity of making a business out of this basically. Not only was there a thought process problem I thought it was also a branding problem. Medicine in the United States especially no one wants to go to a doctor they know you’re going to be spending two hours in a waiting room for a 10 minute visit that’s going to be very unsatisfying. And basically you have no control over your own health care if your doctor decides you need to have a blood test then he’ll do it.

If he decide you don’t he’ll tell you not to do it. And I wanted to change kind of the branding problem medicine had. So excuse me Next Health came about and what we did was we made it very accessible for people to come in in a fun cool environment to really participate in their own health care and their own health optimization where they can get the blood test they want. They can use different technologies previously only reserved for very sick people actually optimize their own health. And people love it here and it’s been it’s been quite a hit and we’ve been very proud to keep adding more education and more functional medicine and more technology to Next Health as we keep moving the business forward.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah as you mentioned so you’ve looked at the start of the continuum where people are forming their health rather than as you say later on when you’re in an ill state and then you’re trying to resurrect that and you you have been dubbed the apple for health. That’s what I’ve read. So you’re using kind of the latest technologies and kind of empowering people to think of health as being healthy rather than being ill. So you’re changing that mindset and I guess doctors have that mindset of patients are only ill they can’t be well.

You can’t make people better which is the wrong way to think. Because if you look at elite athletes if you look at top executives a lot of their demands they’ve been improving their health or a form of bio hacking for a few decades. But the normal person thinks this is how we are and we’re just gonna get worse from here. There’s no hey let’s hold onto our health how it is right or improve it. So that’s what I found very enlightening about what you’re doing and the whole kind of use kind of design thinking to create this amazing kind of clinical looks awesome.

I must say I really like the Instagram post as well and for young people especially somewhere they want to go and be like OK we can go improve our health rather than doctor’s office where it’s a bit grim and you may not necessarily want to be visiting unless you’re in very ill health right. You’ve turned that upside down. But being surgeons you’re a very accomplished surgeon in the UK at least this lifestyle medicine functional medicine is growing. But from I’d say especially surgeons they don’t they see as medicine because a surgical approach to things is normally there’s a problem and you kind of extract that problem right..

Dr. Darshan Shah: Not quite.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s amazing that you can think it both ways that you’re you’ve got your surgical hats on but then you’re looking long term like a public health specialist you think.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes it’s been very helpful for me you know because I’ve been on both sides of it. Now I’ve seen kind of the end result of years and years of damaging your body and basically outsourcing your health to you know the gym and your doctor basically is what people really do. And you can see that that that model does not work. Thirty years later you know I’m removing cancers and I’m really removing gall bladders doing gastric bypass surgery for people to lose 50 hundred pounds because they’ve just not been eating right or managing their sugar correctly. And then lots of cosmetic surgery for people trying to turn back the clock on the outside but not focusing on the inside.

I actually wrote a book called Making the Cut. It’s on Amazon as one of the top rated books on plastic surgery and what it’s about it’s about the 10 reasons you should think about not doing plastic surgery. So my colleagues may not be happy about that that I wrote this book. But its true you know fresh cosmetic surgery you seek out cosmetic surgery when you want this change on the outside of virtually very little effort has been put towards making a change on the inside. And that always has to come first and foremost because at the end of the day if you’re not taking care of your health and your mitochondria in your cells in your brain and your your heart you’re not taking care of those things. It doesn’t matter how much cosmetic surgery you do you’re still going to die at a young age and you’re still going to reduce your health span as well.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s almost like getting a car and giving it a paint job without fixing the internal mechanics. Right?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Exactly. Great analogy.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Thank you. But that’s what’s so refreshing because you’ve I guess you’ve collected you’ve seen so many patients operated on so many people. You’ve got all these data points and experience from these clients and you know that actually if I can catch this early or help people optimize their health then they don’t have to go such downstream and get so ill. So that will that’s what I think also makes you such a big player in the space because people can see OK this guy can do both.

He has he’s treating patients with end stage cancer and if he’s saying let’s optimize people’s health earlier that’s credibility because sometimes in this space a lot of doctors can be seen from traditional doctors as OK people are trying to make money by health optimization doesn’t work but the evidence out there does show it does. And people like you who are proponents in both sides of the coin are a great voice for it happening. And I guess that’s our next health came about. And it’s been two years since since it started. Is that correct?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yeah yeah. We started our first location two years ago and we’re expanding to about three to four locations this year in Los Angeles. And we’re hoping to expand outside of Los Angeles as well the year after.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So what would be your moonshot?

Dr. Darshan Shah: You know my moonshot would be to create a total mindset shift in how people think about health and wellness and basically to put places that really operate on the notion that disease is where all the profitability is out of business. So for example we have this giant pharmaceutical industry that is gouging people on drug prices. It costs nothing to make these drugs and they’re charging thousands of dollars for one dose. Putting type those have people out of business because really you know if you look at your health 30 years before and you start educating yourself you start focusing on topics like inflammation gut health reducing your your hemoglobin A 1 C which is a marker of how you metabolize sugar you will prevent diabetes heart disease brain disease dementia etc. And now all of a sudden all these giant industry that has been built around treating disease should go away.

And we know this. I mean if you look at all the research you look at everything around it just look at the CDC top 10 causes of death. Everything basically is preventable. Except for car accidents which hopefully will be preventable once we have autonomous driving vehicles. So the other nine causes are all medical and they’re all related to constantly pounding your body with toxins and food 30 years before you get the disease. And then if you if you educate yourself on health optimization and maintaining good health and you know what you’re biomarkers are when you’re young in your 20s and you make that one of the markers you fought one of the things you follow about your life like your checkbook balance you will prevent spending a lot of money towards the end of your life on things such as insulin on a heart attack treatment or on you know a care facility for when you get dementia. All that goes away.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s about the long term thinking rather than the short term thinking what we as humans we’re normally used to. Behavioral economics shows that people don’t think that rationally. So I mean its kind of helping people to think OK down the line we’re saving this might spend on our health now. It’s an investment, it will grow and our health.

Dr. Darshan Shah: That’s like when you save for retirement. It’s the same thing. You save a few dollars away now that’s going to grow to a massive benefit 30 40 years down the line. It’s the same thing with your health. You spend a little bit of money now educate yourself a little bit and it will lead to massive returns when you’re 80 90 years old and you’re still walking around thinking interacting with your family having you know having a great life versus being in a nursing home.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah. That’s great. So how do you live a healthy life?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Ok. That’s a that’s a really good question. So one of the models that I put forth in Next Health is we have what we call the wellness wheel and there’s 12 aspects of health that we discuss in the wellness wheel. And I find that you can really divide health optimization or maintaining good health into into 12 aspects. And if you it sounds like a lot initially but some of it’s really really common sense. So the first three things we talk about always are diet sleep and movement and exercise those are definitely your top three. If you do a little bit every day to optimize and maintain those top three categories the dividends are gigantic. So what I do is let me talk a little bit about diet.

I know that from my past biomarkers that I have a problem controlling my sugar so my hemoglobin A1C seems a little bit high. And if I continue down the path of eating a lot of carbohydrates eating a lot of sugar I would eventually become a diabetic. So what do I do? I really cut back on carbohydrates really make sure I limit my sugar intake to less than a few grams a day. And then track my hemoglobin A1C on a quarterly basis so I know which direction I’m going in. If I’m going in the wrong direction I go into a Keto diet for a few weeks and I make sure that I stay in Keto long enough to get my hemoglobin A1C back in control and get my weight to where I like it. And that’s a very specific personalized diet for me.

That’s not going to work for everybody. I what I tell people is I implore you to see someone who knows what they’re doing to create a specific diet for you because you might not need to be on a Keto diet you may not meet them you know carbohydrate management to the degree that someone like myself does. But maybe what you need to do has been an elimination diet eliminating foods that cause inflammation in your body. Maybe some of those foods are some vegetables so or maybe you need to have a diet that is higher in protein because you have a problem retaining protein. There’s a lot of different diets out there right now that are all every single diet out there is a one size fits all diet right. So you know you have like the weight watchers diet which they say works for everybody. Well there’s no diet that works for everybody. And we do have the technology and we do have the science that will customize a diet for you. So that’s one thing. The second thing I do as far as diet is concerned also as a big believer in intermittent fasting and time restricted eating. I’m a huge believer in circadian rhythms which I know you’d like to talk a lot about and following those rhythms in your in your diet pattern. Because as we know you know sleep is not the only thing that follows a rhythm your your your hormone levels your your dietary intake all of that light exposure all of that contributes to your circadian rhythm. So if you if you base your diet around a circadian rhythm type of philosophy you’re going to you’re going to do a lot better your body will love you for it. Secondly sleep. I think sleep is something that people just do not have enough of a focus on. You know we always try to sleep as little as possible so we can enjoy the day as much as possible. What that does is take years and years off your life on the back end. So I have a sleep monitor and every day I’m trying to optimize my sleep score and the sleep monitor I use is one that is a little pad underneath your mattress. I find those work the best. And so I use a sleep monitor and I really try to optimize my sleep environment and my sleep routine to get seven to eight great hours of sleep and make great hours I mean enough of a percentage of my sleep is spent in deep sleep. And thirdly with exercise and movement I’m a huge believer that you need to do exercise and movement every single day. It cannot be you know every other day or three times a week that you go to the gym. And it needs to be worked into your daily routine, its needs to be worked into your daily life. So you know I go back to just the step counter getting ten thousand steps in a day going to the gym on a daily basis and not over exercising. I only spend 30 to 45 minutes in the gym every single day. But just enough to where you get your heart rate up and getting getting the benefits of exercise which we know do all the research being done in high intensity intermittent training you really only need 30-45 minutes a day. And a lot of people tend to over exercise which is great for certain parts of your life when you’re being an athlete but that over exercise also like maybe running five miles everyday at the gym once you get in your 30s and 40s you’ve got to be causing more damage than good. So you want to make sure you’re really focusing in on what stage of life you’re in the right amount of exercise with that stage of life.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think you’ve laid out some great principles there. So consistent with those kind of frameworks you’ve got but you’ve also kind of touched upon the nuances of kind of precision medicine with the nutrition. So I’m guessing at Next Health genomics is available.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Exactly.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Consumer genomics. And then with sleep tracking you use some devices so obviously you mentioned blood results previously. So you believe in kind of tracking biomarkers as well as using kind of devices. I mean I’ve started using the Oura Ring to get some feedback but that helps you motivates you to do you know A. be consistent and B. work out where you’re going wrong. So that a three. So you’ve got 12. Is it 12 spokes to this wheel.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes telescope’s right.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK.

Dr. Darshan Shah: And you want me to go over some more.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah of course.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Ok well the next three things that we talk about is gastrointestinal or gut health and cardiac health and hormone health. These three things that really come a little bit later in life or if you’re having some symptomatology. Most people start thinking about these topics when they’re in their 40s. Unfortunately you know our genetics are have a built in kind of off switch when you turn 30 to your mid 30s. And what happens is just evolution is kind of done with us back in the caveman days and it is an evolution just tried to you know start is dying off at 30 or 40 back in the cave man days. And your hormone levels start decreasing, your ability to digest foods properly and appropriately begin decreasing and also your cardiac function starts to suffer. And this is where you really want to start honing in maybe in your late 30s or 40s. But it doesn’t hurt to do it in your 20s as well on your gut health your cardiac health and your hormonal health. On the cardiac health front we recommend a full diagnostics at the age of 40 where you’re doing a cardiac stress test a cardiac echo gram and evaluating an ultrasound of all your blood vessels. If you do this when you’re in your 40s and you do this on a yearly or every other year basis you’re going to diagnose a life threatening disaster before it becomes a problem and you can also turn the clock backwards. This involves things such as cholesterol and plaque formation your arteries and diagnosing that when you have the tiniest little plaque versus a large plaque that causes an occlusion either to your brain or to your heart. So seeing a specialist we have an entire program set out with a cardiac specialist we can get this done. As far as hormone health goes we do a full hormone panel. What you’ll find is men and women starting at the age of 35 start reducing their testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of the key hormones for maintaining longevity and maintaining health. And if a person is symptomatic we will talk to them about replacement or some natural ways to increase testosterone levels. And thirdly for your gut health we do measure what’s called the microbiome test. We also measure a serum zonulin level which tells us the amount of leaking out that you have and also food sensitivities and all of these are to diagnose any sort of problem with your gastrointestinal barrier. Your G.I. system is basically a barrier to the outside world like your skin is preventing all sorts of toxin poisons from entering into your bloodstream and causing inflammation. And if that gut system which starts to age out at the age of 35 40 is compromised you’re going to have a ton of inflammation in your body and we know inflammation is the root cause of all diseases brain disease heart disease. Everything. It is all interrelated. So you really want to make sure your gut is strong and the way to do that is you allow your gut to heal by cutting out foods that you’re sensitive to and you feed your microbiome and let your microbiome grow to be a healthy healthy bacterial layer of protection of good bacteria good guys protecting your gut cells from toxins in the outside environment.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So that gut seems very central to your health. But inflammation low is a key factor. Does inflammation buildup over the years or is it certain times and information is high and low? Does it wax and wane? Is it associated with stress?

Dr. Darshan Shah: The answer to your question is yes to all of it. So you know what happens is at certain times during the year you have more inflammation usually using the winter months when you’re being more sedentary. Stress definitely causes more inflammation. Pretty much anything is bad for you is going to cause inflammation. So too much alcohol smoking and getting rid of your gut microbiome by taking antibiotics. All of these things are bad for inflammation. Now it’s very important for people to understand the science of inflammation so we’re not talking like flippantly about it. Inflammation is actually a natural body process that is good for you. If you have an infection in your bloodstream or you have a wound you need inflammation to heal the wound and to get rid of bacteria in your bloodstream and inside your body. What happens that’s bad with inflammation is when you have this chronic wound or some sort of chronic insult to your body and inflammation is going on all the time. It’s when inflammation is constant and consistent is that it starts damaging the normal cells of your of your brain your heart got everything basically.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK. And I’m guessing disrupting your circadian rhythm probably increases inflammation as well because.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Absolutely, it does.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: The more research in circadian rhythms is showing us how the misalignment things like jet lag and staying up late that’s also associated with inflammation so that links in quite well. So we’ve done the six. We’ve done six. Does that leave six?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK. The next three.

Dr. Darshan Shah: So the next thing we talk about is toxins. We talk about stress and we also talk about toxins we talk about stress and we all talk about cancer prevention. So let’s talk about toxins. Toxins is another huge cause of inflammatory milieu in your bloodstream and your body. As you know we’re exposed to so many toxins in our environment that this is a constant onslaught and our bodies, thank God, are built in with a really good detoxifying system within our liver and kidneys or skin everywhere. But the more overwhelming the toxic burden the more tired that detoxification system becomes. And as you age it becomes harder and harder for your detoxification system to really just keep up. So what your job is is to maintain the most detoxed environment that you possibly can. And how do you do that? We focus on the air you breathe the water you’re drinking and the food that you’re eating that’s 90 percent of the toxins that come into your body. And again it all ties into each other and that’s what we call the wellness wheel because you know it’s kind of like a wheel they all they all kind of relate to each other. But dietarily you want to eat organic food. That that you know is from a good source free from pesticides and those types of things. Something we always recommend you know shopping locally and looking for organic food if you’re eating meat then grass fed beef that’s organic and pasture raised chicken etc. All of that stuff is extremely important because the more the more you read about toxins in your diet you’re going to you’re going to learn so much. It’s almost scary what this giant food system has done to our food and basically drink a lot of food and poison devout devoid of any sort of nutrients in our food as well. And there’s a great book that everyone should read by Dr. Mark Hyman called Food What the Heck Should I Eat? is one of my favorite books and you’ll learn a lot about this. And also if you go to the Environmental Working Group’s website they have a list of the Dirty Dozen the 12 top foods that are most laden with pesticides and and toxins. So those are some great resources for you. And your air I also have a air quality monitor in my house and office and air purifiers and I’ve researched and looked into being the best air purifiers. I think that’s very important. And then your water. I have a reverse osmosis system in my house that filters all the water. You’ll be surprised how many toxins are in your water as well. So those those are some of the things that we talk about with detoxification as far as cancer prevention. We like to use genetic testing and we do some genetic tests to see what you’re at risk for. But really a lot of cancer protection is also reducing inflammation as well. And the less inflammation you have the more you’ll be protected from cancer on a lifelong basis. If you are genetically susceptible to cancer then you do want to do the appropriate diagnostic tests at an early age and a frequent age to diagnose him as early as possible. And there’s tons of blood tests and radiological tests out there for early cancer detection. We actually have a package where we do a full body MRI screen on people once a year. I’ve done it once myself to diagnose any cancers at a young early stage. So that’s also very important.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So you’re gathering all this data and this makes me think of the recent poll review that’s just come out where he shows that kind of neural network where a data system collects your microbiome data your genomics your nutrition exercise sleep you know and all this data processes it. Its all so interlinked and comes out with outputs. So it seems that you’re already on that track. But with A.I. do you think it will accelerate this these connections?

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I do. I do think that you know A.I. is really good at making connections and figuring out when you do start thinking about something sooner rather than later. What I what I what I’m careful about and why I talk to my clients about is look we have all this talk about all this data and A.I.. A.I is great when you have a million people worth of data and Yyu have tons of different data points you’re trying to make associations and having the computer figure out what’s associated with what. Maybe we will figure out that you know if you eat too much candy when you’re a kid that can lead to some sort of cancer in the future of a specific kind. You know but right now I’m not thinking to yourself that you know there’s gonna be some big data system coming in the works that A.I. is going to somehow magically solve all these problems. What it really takes is for every single person out there to take control of their own biology to understand what are some of the top 10 biomarkers that they should be following that they should be focused on for their own health and then following those themselves and educating themselves. Sometimes it sounds like it’s daunting and it’s a huge topic but in reality it’s not that bad. And when I sit down with people over a few coaching sessions they find that usually after a few hours of listening to me and then also doing some of their own research reading a few books they feel extremely well educated to take their health into their own into their own hands of making sure that they’re maintaining their own health. Until that point comes when we have this A.I. in your phone thats just doing everything for you.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah exactly. So at Owaves we’re trying to use coaching a coaching platform for students to kind of help them form healthy habits at an earlier stage. And I know you do a talk presentation on healthy habits. Could you tell us about some of those underpinning healthy habits of how you can maintain a healthy life?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes. Yeah that’s great. So first of all the keyword is habits and that to me the definition of a habit is something that you can easily do every single day without even thinking about it. And when I when I talk a lot about habits I talk to people about how they can form healthy habits and what’s kind of the best strategies to do it. So you know I’m an early riser. I use my mornings as my healthy habit time. So my first hour of every morning is spent on myself maintaining brain health health in general and body brain and body health. And I talked to people when they’re trying to form healthy habits start small. You know if you’re not exercising at all to start with one push up a day or start with one sit up a day you’ll find your body wants to do a little bit more than that and you’ll automatically start getting into the habit of working out daily. Then you want to do what’s called habits stacking. Now that you’re doing 10 pushups a day you stack on top of that two minutes of meditation 10 pushups two minutes of meditation. Once you start stacking habits on top of each other you’re going to have all of a sudden a healthy routine and that’s what you kind of want to. And yourself that is forming a healthy routine something you do every day maybe an hour maybe do two hours long that you do on a consistent everyday basis. So I can tell you kind of what I do.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yep sure that would be great.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yeah yeah yeah. So first thing I do when I wake up in the morning I immediately drink a cup of coffee with some MCT oil in it. I need that right. Yeah. I then measure a few biomarkers on myself. I check my blood sugar. I check my blood pressure and I weigh myself on a daily basis. Then after that I generally hit the gym I’ll go from 30 to 45 minutes like I was saying I do a high intensity intermittent training workout and running on the treadmill. After that I’ll come home oh sorry on the way home I’ll stop somewhere and meditate for 15 minutes. I have a nice little spot that’s on my way home. It’s private and it’s inspirational so I stop there and then I get home and then I’ll open a book and I’ll read for about half an hour to forty five minutes until my kids wake up and that gives me some mental stimulation allows me to get my brain moving as well. Then usually you know I skip breakfast most times because I like to do some time restricted eating. I like to consolidate my eating into eight hours a day. If I if I don’t skip breakfast I’ll usually skip dinner and that’s kind of how I start my day every day.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Great so you have a kind of a morning routine seems to set you on track for the rest of the day.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Right.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s what Owaves and circadian biology we’re trying to establish that kind of link. You start your day right and it should set the rest of your week as well. And I can see with the time restrictive feeding you’re probably well aware of such and Panda and Deepak Chopra and their work as well as because in Owaves, we’re closely kind of Royan has been following their work and we’re kind of basing some of the principles on their work. So that sounds like you seem to form a good routine and on top of that then you can augment your health with a lot of the services available at Next Health. So some of the exciting things what I’ve heard about things like which are kind of emerging is red-light therapy infrared saunas cryotherapy IV’s. Could you tell me a bit about everything you have to offer at Next Health in terms of

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes absolutely so. So we call that our longevity circuit. Basically we have four pieces of technology that you come in and you can experience over the course of an hour and a half, two hours. And some people come in once a week and just do the entire longevity circuit. We have some people do smaller versions of it on a more frequent basis than that. We start off with the infrared bed. And so what this does is it has near infrared lights that you kind of lay on. It looks like a tanning bed. But it’s not bad light it’s a good light. And it stimulates your mitochondria and releases nitric oxide from your blood vessels and what that does is it provides increased perfusion to your organs increase perfusion to your skin and also the detoxifying effect and mitochondria need all the help they can get and so stimulating your mitochondria is also beneficial. Then after that they go into the heat sauna and there’s tons of research on that and the benefits of heat sauna. And after the sauna we’ll do a cryotherapy session for three minutes two and a half to three minutes. What that does is the combination of heat and cryo. There’s some research out there showing that it has an even more incredible benefit. And so you know people been doing this for for probably close to a century now where they go into a sauna and then jump into an ice bath. We’ve just kind of taken a much more modern comfortable approach to it by applying the latest health technology. And so we have to have a cryotherapy chamber which provides the cold the negative hundred forty five degrees cold but in a dry environment versus you know jumping into a freezing cold bath and you only have to do for three minutes versus 20 or 30 minutes and.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Same cycle.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Right. Exactly. It’s about efficiency nowadays. Right. And so yeah same with the heat sauna and we have kind of just clamshell heats sauna that you go into and you program in the exact amount of time and it’s more effective because the heat is directly up against your temperature receptors. So that’s kind of that’s our longevity circuit and in our next location also adding a hyperbaric oxygen chamber which will might increase oxygen to your blood cells to all your cells as well.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So I’m guessing that would reduce free radical damage as well.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Exactly. OK.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Sounds exciting see you’ve got the whole kind of infrared sauna cryotherapy hyperbaric oxygen and a lot of your clients. Are they taking IV’s as well?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes. Yep. So we do have an entire I.V. lounge and so at the I.V. lounge we all offer all sorts of I.V. nutrient cocktails. We have and we also have IV’s with additional dreams focus for brain health for detoxification those kind of things. Some of the advanced I.V.s we do are N.A.D. which is nicotinamide adenide dinucleotide if you know a little bit about this substance it’s a precursor and attenuate or mitochondrial activity. Have you ever had N.A.D. before?

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: No I’ve not personally taken it yet.

Dr. Darshan Shah: You have to come down next out and try it.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Of course will do.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yes it’s pretty interesting of a treatment some people kind of get sick when they when they do it they kind of get this nauseated feeling it’s just temporary and as normal as means up there. You know that it could indicate that you have a deficiency of N.A.D. and your body is really sucking it up. But some people don’t do it they have like myself have a totally comfortable experience with it. But what you notice afterwards anecdotally is you just have just a lot more focus. You feel you feel a lot more energetic in the end your your workouts and better and your your you feel like your brain is functioning at a much higher level. And the effect is long lasting and cumulative is what we’re finding. And so so we like that we’re also doing stem cells now as well.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: PRP?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yeah we’re doing PRP and umbilical cord cells as well.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Well that’s quite a cutting edge. So I’m getting the PRP is full kind of hair and skin rejuvenation as joint problems.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yep yep Exactly. We use PRP for all sorts of aesthetic treatments and we use it in combination was called micro needling so we make all these tiny little micro modeling chat channels in your skin of your of your face and your neck with this special device that has a 50 little needles on it and pokes little holes in the skin and then we put the PRP which is full of growth factors is directly inside the skin and it’s like we’re all the celebrity is in Hollywood or doing and so everyone here in Los Angeles is doing it and it really does work. No I really like the effect.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So you’re making people feel like a rock star and look like a rock star as well. So with these rejuvenation in a setting at the moment. So you have transplantation as well?

Dr. Darshan Shah: We do. Yeah we do have transplantation as well.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s a lot about kind of optimizing people’s health but prevention as well. So before we kind of you’re losing all your hair using PRP you know collagen and as well.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yeah you know what it is is when you when you feel great and you feel healthy and you look in the mirror and you see like someone older than who you recognize or who you feel like looking back at you it is sometimes a little bit disconcerting and so so you know kind of the aesthetic treatments that we offer we definitely offer them and turn back the clock a little better stop the clock. We’re not doing these crazy treatments sometimes you see on Instagram that some of these models are or you know Hollywood celebrities are doing well they just way way too much we’re just there to freeze the clock and both aesthetically and biologically.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Great. And you do telomere testing don’t you. Tell me about that. 

Dr. Darshan Shah: That’s my favorite test. Yeah. Telomere tests are my favorite test.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I want mine done.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Good. I look at you and your test is kind of like a scorecard of everything that you’re doing that year. How is it all adding up. And so I have my telomere test measured at least every year and sometimes even more often than not. And I’m proud to say my my cellular age and the telomeres is around 20 years old right now. So that’s great. Wow. That’s good. Yeah. Yeah. And you know it’s been getting better and better. And it’s incredible to see like our members go from a to underscore in the red zone right into the Green Zone after a few months of doing some of this stuff is pretty is pretty incredible. But for those of you don’t know what telomeres are those are the end caps of your DNA. What happens after every cell division that end cap reduces its size and the number of base pairs that make up the end cap and what happens over time is as that gets totally reduced it unravels your DNA and that cell basically becomes senescent or dies. And if you can prevent that process from happening your cells will last longer and will be healthier. And now we have a test. Elizabeth Blackburn discovered the role of telomeres and telomerase and what a Nobel Prize for doing. Now we each have a test that we can offer to you to measure you’re telomere life which is incredible.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So that seems quite motivating actually because if you’re seeing reducing your kind of genetic age or your you know cellular age you want to keep doing more and more activities and engaging in more things to make yourself younger.

Dr. Darshan Shah: So it’s nice to have like kind of a scorecard or biomarker because like you don’t like how much weight can you go to the gym. You know it’s a lot more weight you’re getting better. You don’t know that biologically like what are your cells doing.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Exactly. So you’re quantifying things as well as well as doing these and treatment. Which which brings me on to how often are most people doing kind of cry or when infrared saunas or what do you recommend.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Oh yeah we ever know we ever members coming in weekly to do that. I think you know the problem I have. I have friends I put this stuff in their house and they do it every single day. I mean if you can afford enough plastic but you know they’re really mean doing it on a daily basis this is a good idea. Some of these things like some are not real but some things you want to kind of limit how much you know you’re not going to do hyperbaric oxygen every single day. That’s a little bit too much. You know I think this whole concept of doing things daily weekly monthly yearly totally falls into your circadian rhythm concept and such and pundit talks about rhythms. When you try to do things that are opposed to those rhythms then your body doesn’t take well to it but if you kind of make a rhythm out of it, you will. I’ll make all my clients a travel like you know generation high just CERP which is a marker of inflammation. The first question I ask is you travel a lot and you know that actually a cause of more inflammation in your body. If you can stick the rhythms as much as possible you’re going to you’re going to definitely see benefit stacking up on top of each other.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah we’re always trying to help people optimize their travel and kind of help them when to get light exposure, sleep, eat to kind of help adjust to the you know time zone they travel too. So hopefully that can that can help people. And so you’ve touched upon coaching the theme the basic fundamentals of lifestyle medicine and functional medicine and then building on that with kind of all these latest technology and treatments or do you see the future as any new technology that you that you’re going to be trialling or what are you doing with Singularity University in terms of longevity. What’s your vision and what are you thinking what’s going to be coming in in the next two or three years.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Right. So what we’re seeing now is kind of like this exponential increase in knowledge and science where every year we’re making discoveries they previously should take 10 years, 20 years, 30 years to make. So, what I what I see happening is some of these technologies like CRISPR technology and DNA editing senescent cell clearance, peptide treatments all of these things are gonna start really hitting the market and what’s going to happen is you’re going to see all these different technologies converge into some monumental scientific breakthroughs just like the breakthrough the Internet. You’re going to see a health revolution happening where there’s going to be a complete paradigm shift in health. And so what I tell all my clients is you want to be around for that moment. You want to be around for the moment when there’s a paradigm shift and all of a sudden you know it’s like the Internet everything has changed and the way you’re gonna be around for that moment is to maintain and optimize your health right now. So then when that moment comes, it might be in 30 years might be 50, might be 20. You don’t know. You’re there and you’re healthy enough to enjoy it and you could be adding years and years and years onto your life but you want those to be healthy years so sometimes reversing the damage of all the bad things you’ve done to your body is harder to do. It’s kind of freezing the time on it. You want to. You want to get there when you can freeze time in a relatively healthy body.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So would you recommend people to start anti aging or prevention quite early on. Because a lot of people think OK we hit 30 let’s start using these moisturizers and you know hitting the gym would you say that’s a bit late?

Dr. Darshan Shah: I would say 30s is definitely the time you ones start hitting. I was really educating yourself. You’re not going to need to do a lot of it in your 30s but every year after that you will need to do more and more and more. We even have a lot of our clients believe about it in their 20s. I mean they just love this stuff and they’re using their advantage to outperform all their other colleagues.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Isn’t it the 1 percent marginal gains make a massive difference. Top performers and as we’ve got a bit of a student audience as well. Looking universities. So brain hacking. What are your top tips for kind of optimizing your brain health. All kind of focus memory attention. What would you say.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Yeah. Yeah. They’re not going to like my answer. I’m not gonna give them a magic bullet so I tell them is number one first and foremost. Get enough sleep optimizes sleep environment optimize your sleep schedule. Don’t try to like you know part of your self all night for four days in a row and then think you’re going to take some sort of neutral pick and optimize your brain. It’s just not going to happen. And so I would start with sleep as number one. Number two is distressing. I think you know the value of distressing is not mentioned enough and by that I mean stress is not good for you. Stress is good for your mitochondria as stress is good for your for your body. In doses. Which means not continual stress. So if you’re in university and you have exams coming up as soon as exams are over take a break. Go on a weekend vacation you want to break up your stress on a daily basis and also a weekly basis and on a yearly basis your national vacations are meant for. So don’t skip your vacations. That’s what know going out and with your friends. Just for a walk or something. That’s what that’s meant for when you’re feeling the stress buildup. Break it up with something and then you’ll be much more productive after that little break in the stress. After that you know once you got your sleep down and good diet you’re not drinking too much and you’ve broken up your stress then you could talk about potentially looking into things such as the different nootropics that are out there to give yourself a little bit of an edge. But you know doing all that stuff and you have to that’s only going to add one or two percent on top of one hundred percent you get yourself to 100 percent first and then you work on adding on top of that.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think that’s brilliant advice and consistent with what we’re seeing at Owaves. It  has been brilliant having you on and we’ve tested a range of topics. I mean I could deep dive into every subset of what you were discussing and you have so much information to offer. It’s just impossible to do that within such a timeframe because you specialize in your kind of research every single subject so well. So it’s almost like I’m missing out you know the fear of the fomo because I’m missing because of knowledge I know you have. But because of time limits we wanted to kind of overview everything and how can the listeners follow you. What’s your website? 

Dr. Darshan Shah: So don’t worry you won’t miss out because I also have a podcast launching pretty soon in the next few weeks. You can deep dive into all of these topics with a lot of guests and I also have some episodes of just myself kind of picking everyone through the science more specifically so that podcast is going to be launched the next few weeks and it’s going to be. My Instagram handles healthhackermd. My Instagram handle. I’ll be announcing it on that one. We’re still working on a name so I’ll let you know the name of the podcast is going create it. We’re also going to be by the end of the year publishing a book on health optimization. So look for that as well. And then if you have any questions for me feel free to DM on Instagram. I tend to get back to people within a week or so sometimes even quicker and more than happy to help your audience and help you out there optimize your health.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah brilliant. I mean I was especially interested in your kind of affiliation with Singularity University as well so all your work here Peter Diamandis and quite a few exciting projects?

Dr. Darshan Shah: Oh yeah. I mean not only do I work as worked with Singularity University to go there and talk about the future of health optimization and the future of longevity but I also work with Peter on a couple of other projects. Peter as you probably know is a founder of XPrize Innovation and Board of XPrize as well. So that’s what we’re talking about. How can we make a big change in humanity utilizing the prize model. And then the last thing the other thing that we’re working on too is Human Longevity Institute which is a business that he has at San Diego combining full body MRI testing for full genome sequencing full biomarker testing and putting all that information into a A.I. system to give you proactive health recommendations and preventative measures. And so those are some of the projects we have going together.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That sounds very transformative and it seems San Diego is where prevention and health optimization is kind of taking place because Owaves exactly based out of San Diego. So L.A., San Diego seems like States is ahead of the UK at the moment. So I’ll be watching that space and I look forward to coming to L.A. sometime and trying some of these technologies you have to offer.

Dr. Darshan Shah: I must give you the grand tour when you when you come.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Great can’t wait. Brilliant having you on. I know you have so many things going on so I do want to keep you any longer. I think this has an incredible episode and I think the listeners can just love so much and even by following you and following your podcast we’ll be publishing your O so people can kind of use you as a template of inspiration or someone who kind of combines all sides of the model of kind of being healthy really well. So that’s been great. So so thanks for being on our podcast and we’ll let you know when it’s out. Thanks.

Dr. Darshan Shah: Fantastic thank you.

Haroon Kazem: Thanks for listening to another episode of the body clock podcast by Owaves. If you enjoyed the show please leave us a five star rating on your podcast app. Please also remember to download the free Owaves app on the Apple App Store. Please tell your friends and your family. It’s a great tool to help you optimize your life into effectively playing your day. Thanks as always for listening and I hope you join us again next time.