13 health experts who can help us live better and become more creative

John Steen
May 28, 2018 · 6 min read

If we’ve determined that we want to use our creativity and ingenuity to create work that has an impact, we need to start with our health.

Looking at many of the artists and entrepreneurs we love, it would seem as though health and success were mutually exclusive.

Elon is surely sleep deprived, along with half the touring artists we listen to. Especially in entertainment, booze and exhaustion are commonplace.

Not only that, but startup founders often convince themselves that health can wait until their business takes off.

The thing is, sleep, exercise, stress management and nutrition are crucial for our minds to make creative connections, to remember what we learned and to have enough stamina to drive through a prolonged pursuit of our dreams.

It’s necessary for success and performance at the highest level.

If we want to live longer and better, and perform at our creative peak, the need for an improved signal to noise ratio is dire.

Here are some of the people paving the way for us to understand evidence-based ways in which we can think about our health and thus thrive creatively, emotionally and physically.

Dr. Peter Attia

His credentials are too long to list, but suffice it to say, this Stanford MD, Johns Hopkins-trained ex-NIH cancer surgeon is leading the charge on longevity. Him and his team of researchers are using the most rigorous approach possible, poring over thousands of research papers and counting, in order to help us live longer and better based on actual evidence. If you could pick one person on this list to follow, it’s Peter. I’d start with his blog and go from there.

Mark Sisson

Formerly an elite endurance athlete, Mark has made his life’s work teaching us how to be healthier through his blog Mark’s Daily Apple. He talks about nutrition, exercise, stress and probably most obscure health topics you can think of that you care about. If I am curious about a given topic, I often just search Mark’s site because he is so attuned to the latest research and highly connected to many of the experts on this list. His ability to translate complex studies and expertise into understandable, practical advice for us laymen is extremely valuable and refreshing.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Rhonda Patrick has a PhD in biomedical science and has extensively researched aging, cancer and nutrition. She teaches us about the importance of micronutrients’ role in disease and aging, genetics, hormetic stressors and several other topics. She is also a freaking encyclopedia of scientific knowledge and makes me feel dumb and smart at the same time. She interviews several influential researchers and health experts through her platform Found My Fitness, where you can also learn more about your 23andme report through her genetics tool.

Dr. Matt Walker

Matthew Walker is the Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at University of California Berkeley. He is an expert on how sleep affects our minds, health and disease risk. His podcast with Joe Rogan is a great place to start — it really shocked me how severely sleep or lack thereof can affect almost every aspect of our health. If you want to sleep better, listen to what Matthew has to say.

Dr. Thomas Dayspring

Dr. Dayspring is one of the world’s leading experts on lipidology and how we develop heart disease. Considered a mentor to physicians like Peter Attia, Dr. Dayspring practiced medicine for 37 years and now serves as Chief Academic Officer at True Health Diagnostics, an innovative company aiming to provide early disease detection and management. Dr. Dayspring’s teaching on atherosclerosis, lipoproteins and the mechanics of heart disease is invaluable in helping us understand what we can do to prevent the #1 killer in the US. He reveals just how much we know about heart disease is wrong, and why we need an advanced understanding of the disease to prevent and manage it. He is active on Twitter and has a few interviews available online that are a great start.

Mark Rippetoe

Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is the first place I’d go if I was looking for the most in-depth, safe and trusted way to get stronger. Mark is a character and dead right about strength training form and methodology. In my first year of his program I went from a 135 lb. deadlift to 365 lbs (and going up), and worked up to a 320 lb. squat. And my results are fairly conservative for a healthy young guy. But some of the people in my Starting Strength gym that get the most out of it are 55+ years old. Strength training has consistently been associated with lowering mortality and improving quality of life as we age, along with insulin sensitivity and joint health. Plus it’s just really fun.

Dr. Dominic D’Agostino

Dom D’Agostino (in addition to being so freakishly strong that he deadlifted 500 lbs after a 7-day fast) is a researcher at the University of South Florida, and focuses on the association of the ketogenic diet and cancer, metabolism, and exercise performance, as well as the use of exogenous ketones. He’s done a ton of podcasts regarding the ketogenic diet that are useful and practical for those wanting to improve their health (start here).

Dr. Satchin Panda

Dr. Satchin Panda is a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, and is a leading researcher on fasting, autophagy, time-restricted feeding and circadian rhythms. His interview on Foundmyfitness is a great place to start learning about how time-restricted feeding can affect our health.

Dr. Valter Longo

Valter Longo is a longevity researcher from Italy who is the Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California. He focuses on aging, fasting, fasting-mimicking diets, other dietary intervention strategies and longevity. His research at USC was the first to establish the possibility of a 3-day fast regenerating a substantial part of your immune system, which is especially relevant for cancer prevention. Once again, Rhonda Patrick comes through with a great interview with Dr. Longo as a starting point to get familiar with his work.

Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek

If you’re interested in reversing (or preventing) Type II Diabetes, or how to perform highly on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, Drs. Phinney and Volek, co-founders of Virta Health, are working hard to educate the public on how to properly formulate a ketogenic diet and how to reverse Type II diabetes (they have already been successful on that front). Their book The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performanceis a great start for someone looking to learn about exercise and a low-carb diet, and the Virta Health site linked above is a great resource to learn more about how to stay healthy with carb restriction.

Dr. Kirk Parsley

Dr. Parsley is a baller about sleep. He’s an ex-Navy SEAL who went on to become an influential physician in the sleep space. I take his Sleep Remedy supplement every night and it’s helped me vastly decrease the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep, and I believe it’s also enhanced my sleep quality.

Luis Villaseñor

Luis Villaseñor has been using the ketogenic diet since 2001 to build muscle, strength train and improve health. He’s living proof of how one can improve strength and performance on minimal carbs. His site ketogains.com is a great resource for those looking to lose weight, build muscle and learn how to formulate a ketogenic diet that’s best for strength performance.

Chris Kresser

Chris Kresser takes an extremely thorough and evidence-based approach to health and nutrition through the lens of our ancestry and current research. His site is very informative and he has some great interviews with leading experts on a variety of topics.


Originally published at John’s blog.

John Steen

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I talk about life, the future of work, health, creativity and making a difference.