Peter Attia: A Pioneering Force in Medicine and Life Extension
Dr Peter Attia is one of the most respected professionals in the fields of medicine, health, and longevity today. The Canadian American physician is best known for his significant expertise in health and life extension research, as well as his specialisation in surgical oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, ML.
Attia has a range of research breakthroughs to his name, many of which were made during his time at the NIH in Bethesda, ML. It was then that he conducted research on melanoma treatments which use the patient’s own immune systems to improve health and life span outcomes. In 2014, Peter Attia established a private clinic with the goals of extending life span and improving patients’ overall physical health.
Peter Attia’s clinical work and contributions have had notable impacts on the health and longevity industries. The physician has worked alongside McKinsey and Company to drive advancements in the medical industry and shares expert advice on nutrition, metabolic health, and life extension in his blog, ‘The Eating Academy,’ and on his podcast, The Peter Attia Drive.
Moreover, he is known for co-founding NuSI, the Nutrition Science Initiative, which focused on promoting research in nutrition and addressing the burgeoning health challenges of metabolic disorders, obesity, and type II diabetes. Attia has appeared as a guest on popular podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience and has published books on the science and practice of longevity which are positively influencing awareness around physical and overall health.
Background and Education
Dr Peter Attia was born and raised in the Canadian city of Toronto. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston in 1996, he went on to complete a master’s and doctorate from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2001.
Thereafter, Dr Peter Attia completed five years’ worth of training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, specialising in general surgery. During his training, he won several notable awards, including ‘Resident of the Year.’ Upon completing his surgical training, the physician also spent two years working for the National Institutes of Health as a surgical oncology fellow for the National Cancer Institute. In this role, he focused his research on immune-based melanoma therapies and treatments. His private practice health and longevity clinic was founded in 2014.
Overall, Dr Peter Attia’s education is an impressive testament to his passion for healthcare. He is a licensed medical doctor in the US states of California (A96452), New York (281406-1), and Texas (S8803).
Peter Attia’s Personal Life
Peter Attia was born on March 19, 1973. This makes him 50 years of age in 2023. His star sign is Pisces. Attia is currently married and has three children. He resides in Austin, Texas, with his children and his wife.
Professional Experience and Affiliations
Dr Attia is particularly well known for his work with the renowned consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, in which he used his expert knowledge to contribute towards advancements in medicine and longevity technology.
Dr Attia was the president and co-founder of NuSI, the Nutrition Science Initiative, which was based in San Diego, California. He founded the initiative alongside Gary Taubes, a notable journalist, in 2012. Dr Attia and Taubes worked together to promote better quality research in human nutrition and the links between nutrition and disease risk. NuSI also shared accurate information in a bid to mitigate the growing public health issues of obesity, diabetes, and so-called Syndrome X or metabolic disorder, all of which are associated with increased mortality risk and lower life spans.
Attia’s inspiration for founding NuSI stemmed from his own ‘nutritional transformation’, along with his discovery of several of Taubes’ science-related books. Dr Attia became concerned about the potential of widespread misinformation in the greater nutrition industry and contacted Taubes for his perspective. Both professionals agreed that millions of people could be experiencing premature or unnecessary disease and death due to this information and collaborated to establish an organisation intended to provide accurate, science-backed nutrition advice.
Dr Peter Attia’s NuSI involvement not only included him playing a key role in developing the research program, but he also played a part in seeking funding for the non-profit organisation’s new research projects. Unfortunately, the initiative failed to make the impact it intended, and due to a lack of support and funding, it was shut down.
In addition to Dr Peter Attia’s NuSI involvement, he’s also been in demand as a speaker and thought leader in the industry. In 2013, Attia appeared as a speaker at TEDMED, using his time on stage to share his insights on modern longevity science with his audience. He participated in a three hour interview with talk show host Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and recently published his first book – ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’ in 2023, which has become a notable best seller.
Peter Attia’s rehab insights have also gained him airplay more recently, and in an episode of his podcast with Sam Harris, PhD, he shared that he experienced a profound change in his mindfulness practice when at Bridge to Recovery, a trauma recovery and rehabilitation centre. He experienced his first moment of feeling present in the moment, with no worries about the past or future, and contacted Dr Harris to access the beta version of his mindfulness meditation app to add his own insights and expertise.
Dr Peter Attia has also collaborated with numerous other brands to promote a healthier, longer life for all.
In August of 2023, the Athletic Greens Peter Attia affiliation was announced when he signed on as the nutritional firm’s scientific advisor. Dr Attia is a proponent of the AG1 program, noting that it makes it easier to get all of the essential nutrients we need for optimal health. He also uses AG1 on a daily basis. He is assisting Athletic Greens with the development of foundational nutrition solutions, as well as research on longevity, diet, health, neurobiology, and consumer behaviour to support the development of future product ranges.
Peter Attia’s Zero collaboration has also made headlines. Zero is a fasting app that shares fasting advice, science, and protocols, and Attia offers his input in the form of Q&A articles. In these articles he shares expertise on the best times to exercise during fasting, the most effective ways to encourage autophagy, and how the app was developed using the latest in nutrition science.
Dr Attia also lends his name to various products, including Oura, a brand that provides wearable health technologies. Peter Attia’s Oura collaboration not only sees him act as an advisor but as an investor in its devices too. These devices include the Oura ring, a continuous glucose monitor that the physician recommends for tracking accurate data on sleep quality and glucose metabolism over time.
Additionally, he is affiliated with Magic Spoon, which offers health-promoting cereals high in protein and exceptionally low in carbohydrates (only 3g per serving). Dr Peter Attia is a Magic Spoon investor and advocates for the brand’s products.
Last but not least is Peter Attia’s LMNT membership. He is a community member at LMNT, a brand offering zero sugar hydration solutions that optimise hydration levels in the human body for improved health, longevity and performance. The doctor is a notable proponent of adequate hydration, stating that the use of electrolytes in drinking water is the key to boosting fluid absorption and retention in the intestinal tract.
His many professional connections and affiliations have helped him to amass significant wealth. Dr Attia’s net worth is estimated to be around US$5 million in 2023, and in 2021, his personal wealth was estimated to stand at $3 million.
Research Focus and Breakthroughs
Peter Attia is a medical doctor whose primary research interests include human health and nutrition, longevity science, and general surgery. His work as a physician at Early Medical revolves around the applied sciences of longevity and focuses heavily on nutritional therapies, exercise and sleep physiology, mental and emotional health, and pharmacology as means of increasing life span and improving health span simultaneously.
Dr Attia has authored and co-authored a range of scientific papers on the subjects of human health and longevity, focusing largely on the potential of immune-based therapies to treat certain types of cancer. Some of his most notable research papers include a 2008 study on the ability of CD25+CD4+ T regulatory (Treg) cells to inhibit the anti-tumour efficacy of adoptive immunotherapy, a 2006 study on the use of CTLA-4 antibodies to prompt regressions in metastatic melanoma tumours, and a 2003 paper on the link between hypercalcemia and malignancy via osteolytic processes.
His research on the treatment of metastatic melanoma has provided valuable insights into the key mechanisms behind tumour formation and advancement and how administering certain immunotherapies, including antibodies like anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4, can stimulate the selective elimination of cancer cells via autoimmunity.
Dr Attia also shares his professional expertise as a medical doctor through blogs, podcasts, and forums. He is known for his unique supplement protocol, his sleep and physical activity regimes, and his so-called Pillars of Longevity, which we will detail below.
Dr Peter Attia’s longevity research has culminated in his first published book, ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’. In this work, he outlines and explains his recommended approach for extending life span and health span using a range of principles to protect one’s health against what he terms the “four horsemen” of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and type II diabetes.
His recommendations include the use of five approaches called the Peter Attia Pillars of Longevity:
- Emotional health
- Nutritional biochemistry
- Exogenous molecules – otherwise known as pharmaceuticals and supplements
Attia is also a proponent of what he calls Medicine 3.0, a new age of life extension therapies that focus primarily on prevention rather than treatment alone.
Additionally, Attia is a proponent of the drug metformin, which he discusses extensively in podcast episodes like #204 – Centenarians, metformin, and longevity with Nir Barzilai, M.D. Dr Barzilai has co-authored clinical research on the use of metformin as an agent to target ageing, and plays an active role in the TAME (Targeting Ageing with Metformin) trial with the goal of obtaining data that can be used to develop increasingly effective anti-ageing drugs and interventions.
Attia’s research includes exploration into the role of mitochondria in the metabolism of cancer cells and the potential for this metabolism to be exploited to patients’ benefit. He asserts that cancer cells use glucose almost exclusively to produce ATP without using their own mitochondria and says that this ‘metabolic quirk’ allows cancer to sustain itself without oxygen or mitochondria. In Peter Attia’s mitochondria research, he notes that this feature could be exploited to treat cancer and perhaps even prevent it, citing a study of diabetic patients taking metformin who also appeared to suffer from less cancer and survive longer should they develop cancer.
Attia theorises that metformin’s activation of the AMP kinase enzyme suppresses glucose production in the liver, reducing blood glucose levels and insulin dosages. Insulin and IGF-1 appear to play roles in cancer proliferation, and by reducing insulin levels through the use of agents like metformin to exploit cancer cells’ metabolic abnormalities, cancer outcomes could be improved.
Other aspects of aging that he’s looked into involve understanding the mechanisms behind ageing and disease development. Peter Attia’s resveratrol research saw him work alongside David Sinclair, PhD of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics. Together, their research has played a pivotal role in understanding how sirtuins affect ageing and disease, as well as exploring energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, memory, learning, cancer, neurodegeneration, and how sirtuins are modulated by certain endogenous substances like resveratrol.
Dr Peter Attia’s Protocol
Up until 2009, Dr Attia followed the high carbohydrate, high protein diet that was favoured by many professional athletes at the time. However, he found himself experiencing metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and weight gain, despite being highly active.
To correct his underlying metabolic resistance Attia followed a ketogenic diet for several years. A ketogenic diet is one low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and containing only moderate amounts of protein. Dr Attia then switched to an intermittent fasting schedule where he would eat ad libitum however he would do so within a very compressed feeding window and often only eat once a day. During this season of his life, Attia would also practice quarterly prolonged water-only fasts where he would completely restrict calories for a period of up to 7 days. In recent years Dr Attia has returned to what many would call a more normal way of eating, he eats 2 to 3 times daily and heavily prioritises protein intake in all his meals. This was a decision he came to after noticing that his extended forays into fasting had come at the expense of a lot of this lean muscle mass.
Peter Attia’s supplements reflect his research on optimising health and life span. His daily supplement regimen includes:
- 2g per day of Omega-3 fish oil
- Vitamin D3, with a target of reaching a 40-16ng/ml blood level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D
- A daily dose of Theracurmin curcumin extract
- Up to 1g of magnesium (in multiple forms) per day; 1 protein shake per day
- 1 scoop of AG1 green powder per day
He also uses a range of sleep supplements, including:
- Magnesium (he alternates between magnesium sulfate and magnesium oxide)
- Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy
Dr Attia uses blue light blocking glasses in the evening before bed, an Alaska Bear Eye Mark at night, and an Sleep.Me Cooling Sleep System to adjust his mattress temperature for quality sleep.
He also advocates for eliminating alcohol consumption to enhance the depth and duration of REM sleep cycles. Attia takes prescription rapamycin to maximise his longevity and Statin and PCSK9 inhibitors to limit his risk of cardiovascular disease.
When it comes to working out, Dr Attia’s regime meets all four of his pillars of fitness; strength, stability, aerobic efficiency, and anaerobic performance. He suggests the following training sessions to optimise health and longevity:
- Strength training: three full body workouts of 45-60 minutes each. The workouts must target all of your major muscle groups.
- Stability training: one hour of training divided into 5-10 minute sessions. These should take place before other workouts, including strength training.
- Aerobic efficiency training: four zone 2 cardio sessions spanning 45-60 minutes each.
- Anaerobic performance optimisation: one VO2 max workout of 30 minutes.
Dr Attia has also shared some personal insights into how he meets all four pillars throughout his weekly schedule. On an episode of The Drive, he notes that he starts each week with 10 minutes of stability and 60 minutes of lower body strength training on Mondays, and activities like 10 minutes of stability followed by 60 minutes of Peter Attia zone 2 cardio on Tuesdays.
He performs 10 minutes of stability each day for the remainder of the week and alternates between upper body strength training, lower body strength training, and zone 5 workouts of one hour each.
Peter Attia’s strength training routine is intensive, and he recommends both deadlifts and squats as part of an effective strength training regime. He notes that these exercises are essential for people of all ages, including seniors, and can be adjusted according to an individual’s level of strength and fitness. For instance, someone who cannot lift heavy weights may be able to achieve similar gains in strength by performing slow lifts instead.
Awards, Honors, and Recognition
Attia earned his medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed five years’ worth of surgery training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, receiving a number of sought-after awards, including Resident of the Year.
Along with his significant contributions to the medical field, Dr Attia is also a celebrated swimmer. He has completed the notoriously challenging swim route between Los Angeles and Santa Catalina Island, becoming known as the 120th swimmer to secure this achievement.
Publications and Media Appearances
Peter Attia’s book has become a New York Times #1 Bestseller since its publication. Attia is the author of ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’.
Peter Attia’s podcast is also notable, and he has a large listener base. The physician hosts The Drive, which tackles the topics of health, longevity, and medicine and shares the latest scientific insights with his audience.
There have been plenty of Joe Rogan/Peter Attia collaborations too. Dr Attia has appeared on a number of episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. He was on episode #1961 to share his insights into perfectionism and episode #1735 to offer more science-backed information on longevity and lifespan.
The doctor also has roots in Hollywood as he is actor Chris Hemsworth’s physician. Peter Attia and Chris Hemsworth recently conducted a range of tests and detected that Hemsworth has two copies of the APOE4 gene and a subsequent predisposition toward Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor has emphasised the use of preventative care measures, including intermittent fasting and exercise, to reduce Chris Hemsworth’s risk of neurodegeneration and optimise his metabolic health.
Dr Attia has also appeared alongside Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky in the Disney+ documentary series Limitless, which shares ways in which people can live better while improving their strength and resilience, enhancing memory, regenerating physical damage, and strategically ‘shocking’ their bodies.
- “Unfortunately, in today’s unhealthy society, ‘normal’ or ‘average’ is not the same as ‘optimal’.” – ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’
- “One macro-nutrient, in particular, demands more of our attention than most people realise: not carbs, not fat, but protein becomes critically important as we age.”– ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’
- “The typical cholesterol panel that you receive and discuss at your annual physical, along with many of the underlying assumptions behind it (e.g., “good” and “bad” cholesterol), is misleading and oversimplified to the point of uselessness.” – ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’
- “The single most powerful item in our preventive tool kit is exercise, which has a two-pronged impact on Alzheimer’s disease risk: it helps maintain glucose homeostasis, and it improves the health of our vasculature.” – ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’
- “How much protein do we actually need? It varies from person to person. In my patients I typically set 1.6 g/kg/day as the minimum, which is twice the RDA.” – ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’
Dr Peter Attia has made significant contributions to the world of medicine and longevity science. His achievements include the establishment of NuSI to promote optimal nutrition science, appearances on respected podcasts, including his own podcast, The Drive; and the publishing of his own bestselling book, ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’.
If you would like to stay informed about the latest developments in nutrition, health and life extension, be sure to follow Dr Peter Attia’s work.