September 14, 2022

Dr. Mark Hyman on Hormones, Healthy Aging, and Nutrition Advice That Actually Works

photo of Jordan Shakeshaft

Written By

Jordan Shakeshaft

Head of Content, Lifeforce

photo of Kerri Masutto, MD

Medically Reviewed By

Kerri Masutto, MD

VP Clinical Operations

photo of Vinita Tandon, MD

Medically Reviewed By

Vinita Tandon, MD

Lifeforce Medical Director

In 1992 the USDA released the Food Guide Pyramid, recommending six to 11 servings of bread, rice, cereal, and pasta every day. Spoiler alert: That didn’t work for Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, and it certainly didn’t work for the 40% of Americans who suffer from obesity, many of whom were coming to Dr. Hyman in search of a personalized approach to bettering their health.

Fast-forward 30 years, and Dr. Hyman, Head of Strategy and Innovation for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, is in the best shape of his life, at age 62. And through his private practice, his 14 New York Times bestselling books, and his new role as Lifeforce’s Scientific and Clinical Advisor, Dr. Hyman is able to bring his science-backed nutrition advice and practical lifestyle guidance to millions of people around the globe. 

So what are Dr. Hyman’s secrets to a better, longer life? “The basic practices of taking care of yourself really don't have to cost that much,” Dr. Hyman tells Lifeforce in the exclusive interview above. “The barrier often is education. What to do, how to do it, when to do it.” Keep reading for a few of Dr. Hyman’s expert-backed tips, then check out the full conversation with Lifeforce Co-Founder Dugal Bain in the video above. 

Power Your Peak Life with Dr. Mark Hyman 

On Intermittent Fasting: “Everybody should basically be having a 12-hour fast from dinner to breakfast. So that means if you finish dinner at 8 at night, you shouldn't eat until 8 in the morning. But most people snack all the time, and they eat late, and they get up and eat early. That's not good. And you could stretch it out from 12 hours to 14 or 16 hours. And that does really have benefits in actually keeping mTOR quiet for a period of time, giving your body a sense of starvation, which activates the healing pathways.” (Read more about intermittent fasting here.) 

On Hormone Optimization:  “As we age, our hormones start to go wacky for a lot of reasons. Insulin is number one — that's driven by the sugar and starches in our diet. Two is cortisol, stress hormones, because we're often over-stressed and under-relaxed in this society. We don't take time to do the things that calm our nervous system…Also, thyroid testing is super important. One in five women and one in 10 men have low thyroid function, and half of them are not diagnosed, and probably another three-quarters are probably not treated properly or optimized. 

And then lastly, is sex hormones: male hormones, testosterone, and female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and some of the other hormone indicators, like DHEA. These are the things that we look at, and then we try to find out why there's a problem. Is it lifestyle? There are a lot of ways to optimize these different kinds of hormones. And we really use a very focused approach in functional medicine to personalize the approach.” 

Learn More: Lifeforce Hormone Optimization for Men 

On Lifestyle Changes: “Good food doesn't have to be expensive. You don't need a lot of equipment to exercise. I bought a few bands that didn't cost me much money, or you can use your own bodyweight. There are a lot of great workouts that use your own bodyweight. For sleep, all you need is a bed. For meditation, you just need the floor…Even the two most important nutrients, omega-3s and vitamin D, they're very cheap, and you can get for pennies a day the dose you need to actually keep your body healthy.” 

The Functional Medicine Revolution 

“I think the truth is that we've had a one-size-fits-all kind of healthcare, and that has to end,” says Dr. Hyman. “The science doesn’t support it. We're all genetically different, we're all unique, we all have different needs. And so from my perspective, as a functional medicine doctor, that's a big part of what functional medicine is. It's personalized medicine, and it does so through detailed history, through the right diagnostic tests, and through customizing an approach for each person.” 

Ready to pull up a seat and take notes? Hear more of Dr. Hyman’s expert takes on hormone optimization, healthy aging, and how to separate nutritional fact from fiction in the interview above. 

You can listen to Dr. Hyman’s podcast The Doctor’s Farmacy here, follow him on Instagram at @drmarkhyman, and pre-order his new book Young Forever here, available February 2023.  

This article was medically reviewed by:

  • Kerri Masutto, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner

  • Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism

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