Friday, January 13, 2012

My Interview with Dave Asprey and Armi Legge on The Bulletproof Executive

by Chris Masterjohn

Dave Asprey and his trusty sidekick Armi Legge (a dynamic duo indeed!) recently interviewed me over at The Bulletproof Executive.  You can listen to the interview here:

Here's a table of contents to help you find what you're looking for:

0:00:50 -- Dave introduces me briefly
0:01:40 -- Stuff that Dave and Armi will discuss after the interview.
0:02:45 -- Dave and Armi talk about what they got for Christmas.
0:05:05 -- Dave introduces me in more detail.
0:06:50 -- Does saturated fat raise cholesterol levels?
0:12:10 -- Let's say it does, does that mean it causes heart disease?
0:15:10 -- Facing a multitude of confounders -- why clinical trials aren't the whole story.
0:20:50 -- Does saturated fat promote blood clotting?
0:24:44 -- Does saturated fat cause cancer?
0:26:38 -- Does animal fat protect against heart disease?
0:32:40 -- Is there an ideal mix of different types of fat?
0:35:15 -- Is it ok to cook olive oil?  Cooking with oils in general.
0:38:40 -- Is the cooking involved in making bone broth inflammatory?
0:42:50 -- Choline and brain power.
0:45:33 -- Is there a better way to eat liver than making a raw lamb liver smoothie?  Cuz this tastes funny.
0:47:00 -- Why pregnant women love it when men make them ice cream with lots of raw egg yolks, and Dave's recipe for a bulletproof date.
0:49:03 -- Are low-fat dairy products bad for you?
0:52:00 -- How essential are the essential fatty acids?
0:58:40 -- Krill oil.
1:00:10 -- Should we test plasma oxidized LDL?
1:05:30 -- If I could pick one lab test what would I pick?
1:07:30 -- Goodbye!


Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.


  1. Hey Chris, great interview.

    Regarding krill oil, in this rat study DHA had better brain incorporation when consumed as Salmon or Tuna oils (triglyceride) than Krill (phospholipid):

    Any thoughts? I am just a layman.

  2. I listened to that podcast when it first came out on the BulletProof site. I've been meaning to complain to them about the audio. Your voice was so soft I had trouble hearing it, and when I turned it up enough to hear you, when either Dave or Armi came on, it was painfully loud. So I listened to the whole thing while riding the volume knob.

  3. Hey Howard, sorry about the audio - we're working on it.

    Chris - thank you again for doing the interview!



  4. Nice interview. Will be interested in hearing more about your views of alternatives to statins for high risk individuals.

  5. Thaneverbefore, thank you for sending along that study. I was unaware of it, and will look into it.

    Howard, I'm sorry for the audio problems.

    Armi, you're welcome and thanks for having me on!

    Steve, thanks, I will keep that in mind for the future.


  6. Wow, so many great thought provoking points brought up!

    1) I read several health blogs, but this is the first time I can remember hearing about mycotoxins and how they can cause cancer. I use nutritional yeast as a source of b vitamins, so if mycotoxins are real and evil, why is does it seem most of the info comes only from one source - Dave Asprey?

    In the interview, it was mentioned several times of vegetable oils vs animals.. but isn't it more accurate to say polyunsaturated vs saturated oils? If only tiny amounts of polyunsaturated fats are needed for most people, can supplementing with Omega-3s contribute to inflammation?

    (btw, why is krill's omega-3 phospholipids more bioavailable than regular fish oil?)

    Whether through chicken/beef bone marrow broth, or knox gelatin type 2, it wasn't mentioned why gelatin is good for you. I know people eat it for joint health (glucasamine/chondroitin sulfate), but not in the context of fats/heart health. I love Slow crok-pot cooking chicken soup and never skim the fat off!

    4) I've taken very small amounts of choline, and noticed a distinct body odor (wakiga?) after taking it for a few days. Have you ever heard of choline or anything else causing such a symptom?

    Do you have the link for your egg-yolk, ice-cream for pregnant women? (The one Dave refers to as 'get some')?

  7. As usual, great interview Chris!

    Regarding EFAs and the minimal requirements - not sure if you've seen this

    Some quotes from Kurt Harris in the thread -

    "I for one think if unnatural amounts of n-6 are avoided and all your butter and meat and dairy is from ruminants, that you can have an evolutionarily concordant 6:3 ratio. Grass fed butter has a nearly 1:1 ratio, for instance. Hominins have not consistently enough occupied fish containing biomes for fish consumption to be necessary for development or health, IMO."

    On DHA being 30% of the brain - "...And the fact that this is true even for humans who have never eaten a single morsel of fresh fish during their whole ontogeny tells us quite a lot. Like John Hawks, I don't buy any of the variants of the aquatic ape or littoral hypothesis, including Cunnane's version..."

    Just curious what your take is on the "essentiality" of fish vis-a-vis EFAs above and beyond what you covered in the podcast. And when is the PUFA report part 2 gonna come out???

    Aravind (the young looking 42 year old)

  8. Hi Ben,

    1) This is not the first I've heard of mycotoxins, but I'm not sure I've heard anyone say they are "evil," so I'm not sure how to answer your question.

    2) In most of the studies, it was a vegetable fat substituted for an animal fat. And, in most of these cases, it was a primarily polyunsaturated fat substituted for a primarily saturated and monounsaturated animal fat. Supplementing with omeaga-3 could exacerbate inflammation in certain contexts because it could contribute to oxidative stress, but most people are probably deficient in DHA, so repleting it would protect against inflammation, and EPA has effects similar to NSAIDs, so it could suppress inflammation in a pharmacological sense. This is especially true if combined with aspirin. Krill oil is higher in phospholipids instead of triglycerides, which makes the fatty acids more available to the brain. However, thaneverbefore cited some contradictory evidence, which I haven't gotten a chance to look at yet.

    3) Gelatin has a different amino acid composition than other proteins and it constitutes about half the protein in an animal. Glycine is probably the most important amino acid in it, and it has anti-inflammatory effects, and is good for the gut. But one could speculate that it is better to get the amino acid composition of a whole animal rather than just skeletal muscle, in a broader sense.

    4) Sounds like you were making trimethylamine. What type were you using? It comes as phosphatidycholine in food, and this is less likely to generate trimethylamine than othe retypes.

    5) The article I was referring to of my own here: However, that's not the recipe Dave was talking about so I think you need to head on over to his site to ask him for that.

    Thanks for writing, and I'm glad you liked the interview!

  9. Hi Aravind,


    I agree with Dr. Harris on this point. Feeding an omega-6 oil like safflower is a much more effective way to deplete brain DHA in a rodent or a primate than to feed a diet low in omega-3, even if it is completely devoid of all omega-3. However, like I said, I think some people would do best to have additional omega-3, we just do not know how much.

    Regarding the aquatic ape stuff, I would just say this: every traditional society with access to seafood eats of it liberally. However, inland societies that do not eat seafood develop the same human brain as everyone else, so the idea that eating fish "allowed" the evolution of the human brain seems rather absurd to me, unless someone is going to posit some radically different mechanism for this other than natural selection. I agree with Dr. Harris that there are other much more limiting nutrients, especially iodine, but some others, that much more tightly explain why seafood would be uniquely beneficial.

    Regarding omega-3 and depression, I have in a folder what I believe is pretty much every trial on this subject, with copious notes taken and spreadsheet derived from this, which will ultimately form a few paragraphs of the PUFA Report part 2. As Dr. Deans notes, the literature is all over the place. I think the conclusions she summarized from the meta-analysis need to be recognized as wild speculation and extremely tentative in the absence of any trials directly addressing the questions being answered. I admit I haven't read that analysis, but I have read several, and all the trials that were published before last summer. But I will give my final analysis in PUFA report part 2, and that will be done when I graduate (soon I hope!). I can't handle working consistently on a project of that magnitude and writing a dissertation at the same time. But it's coming!


    1. Have you seen this recent one?

      Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of depression: systematic review and meta-analysis. [Mol Psychiatry. 2011]

      "no significant benefit of omega-3 FA treatment compared with placebo...Nearly all evidence of omega-3 benefit was removed after adjusting for publication bias...Nearly all of the treatment efficacy observed in the published literature may be attributable to publication bias"

    2. Hi thaneverbefore,

      No I have not read it yet, but i have read other recent meta-analyses and either all or almost all of the trials themselves, and my recollection is that the evidence for publication bias was pretty strong in the previous meta-analyses I had read. Thanks for passing it along.


    3. Thanks Chris. Good luck wrapping up the dissertation!

  10. Great interview, Chris – thank you!

    My understanding is the Lp-PLA2 is a marker for vascular inflammation.

    Despite your hesitation to endorse some of these newer tests, in your opinion, what might be the key triggers for a high Lp-PLA2 reading?
    Could it be driven by increased whole blood viscosity, OR is it only related to oxidized LDL?

    If you had a high Lp-PLA2 reading – what would be the first thing you’ll focus on?



  11. I sure would like to know more about mycotoxins, which are a recurring thing in Asprey's writings, but seeing the others stuff he's into (for example what he sells here:, and seeing the lack of other resources about mycotoxins, I think his opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Other people agree with me on this issue, see

    The first comment by aaronut is a very detailed analysis.

  12. Have you had a chance to review the Krill oil vs. Salmon/tuna oil study above.

    Very interested in your take on that also. The study seems to have very convincing contrary evidence...

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