Tim Ferriss Tools of Titans – Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet
Tim Ferriss latest book Tools of Titans is the follow up to his runaway successes the Four Hour Work Week, Four Hour Body and the Four Hour Chef.
Tools of Titans book is split into 3 main parts
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
The ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones crops up in his conversations with Dr Dom D’Agostino, Dr Peter Attia, Charles Poliquin,Patrick Arnold, Paul Levesque (Triple H).
In each section Ferriss interviews Titans that have expertise in particular areas of life. The Titans are all leaders in their respective fields most of them have been guests on his podcast where they demonstrate and talk about the tools that they use to achieve success..
Interspersed amongst the 3 parts are non profile chapters where extended articles and resources from his blog are included like Dr Dom’s recipe for keto ice cream.
Ketosis, the Ketogenic Diet and Exogenous Ketones crop up in conversations with a number of the Titans. First up is..
Dr Dom D’Agostino
Dom D’Agostino is the 4th person profiled in the body section.
Dr Dom is an Associate Professor at South Florida University and is one of the foremost researchers in the world on the ketogenic diet and the therapeutic use of exogenous ketones. He’s relatively young to be a Professor and is about as far from the image of a grey haired, bespectacled scientist that you could imagine. Dr Dom has deadlifted 500 lbs for 10 reps after a 7 day fast and can hold his breath for 4 minutes.
Dr Dom’s work has involved the use of exogenous ketones for performance in helping prevent Navy Seal Divers from oxygen toxicity seizures. Navy seals on operation often have to use a device called a re-breather rather than a scuba which can be detected on account of the bubbles. A challenge with the rebreather is the seizures that is caused by oxygen toxicity. Research has shown that using exogenous ketones reduces the incidence of these seizures, it’s thought in a similar way that the ketogenic diet is used as a treatment for controlling epileptic seizures.
Dr Dom also has a very popular Ted Talk where he describes the process of working with the Navy Seals led to the discovery that a ketogenic diet can ‘starve cancer’
The chapter in Tools Of Titans with Dr Dom , serves as a mini primer on all things ketosis and helps bring the reader up to speed and focuses on why you might consider the ketogenic diet or exogenous ketones for body composition and fat loss and for its potent anti- cancer benefits.
Ferriss attributes his recovery from Lyme disease ( a disease spread by the bite of a tick) that manifests in flu like, inflammatory symptoms. Ferriss and Dr Dom talk about the proposed anti-inflammatory benefits of the ketogenic diet and the mechanism of how it may have helped cure not only Tim’s Lyme’s disease but that of many other people.
Dr Dom recommends a purge fast 1-3 times a year as a proposed mechanism for purging pre- cancerous cells that may be lurking within your body, no harm in giving it a go every 4 months.
Tim Ferriss states that he does a 3 day fast once per month and a 5-7 day fast once per quarter. He adds the proviso that on his longer fasts he supplemented with 1.5g BCAA”s on waking and 3g BCAA’s intra workout that caused no loss of lean muscle over a 10 day fast as opposed to 12lbs of muscle loss on a7 day fast with no BCAA’s.
In the book Ferriss details his process for his 3 day fast that includes the use of exogenous ketones and C8 MCT Oil. MCT or Medium chain triglycerides are found in high concentrations (62-65%) in coconut oil and are metabolised into ketones in the liver.
Tim goes on to discuss how you maintain the state of ketosis once you are in there and how excessive protein can kick you out of it, the secret is to increase your fat consumption and be careful of how much protein you consume as protein can be broken down and converted into glucose. There’s a link to Dr Doms recipe for keto ice cream that is made with Coconut Creme or sour cream in the appendices which as 80% of its calories from fat. Coconut Creme is the solid part of coconut milk that as it’s name suggests is cream like, not to be confused with coconut water.
Dr Dom also lists a number of his go to supplements, some of these are not readily available in the UK. I’ve added the UK based brands that I’ve used.
Dr Dom’s supplements of choice
MCT Oils that get converted into ketone bodies rapidly in the body
Bone Broth (i make my own but you can purchase it commercially now)
Magnesium Citrate to prevent cramps
Branch Chain Amino Acids (Sci-Vation Extend)
Pruvit Keto OS Exogenous Ketones (Pruvit uses the patent developed by Dom’s lab)
In the last section of the chapter in the book
Dr Dom and Ferriss discuss more on Fasting and Cancer Treatment
Dr Dom promotes fasting before receiving chemotherapy, the theory being that it slows down and sometimes stops rapidly dividing cancer cells making them more vulnerable to the effects of the cytotoxic chemo agents, he proposes that it also helps ‘normal’ cells resist the te toxicity. He adds the proviso that this is not applicable to cancer sufferers that have muscle wasting.
Hyperbaric oxygen (increasing oxygen supply) has also been seen to extend the survival rate of some cancers when combined with the ketogenic diet. Dr Dom mentions that even if a patient is on their ‘last legs’ exogenous ketones have been shown to have ‘a significant tumour suppressing effect even in the presence of dietary carbohydrates.’ Ferriss goes on to state that he finds this remarkable and that the ketogenic diet is not only for crazy bio-hackers.
Dr Dom lays out what his
Approach would be for a late stage cancer
Dr Dom agrees with Chemotherapy in some cases however some of his colleagues disagree with its administration, obviously there will always be a debate. Dom suggests 5 things to do, the sum of these is greater than the whole.
1 Ketogenic Diet
2 Intermittent fasting ( 1 meal per day in a 4 hour window)
3 Exogenous Ketones 2-4 times per day in the form of BHB (beta-hydroxy-butyrate supplement) or MCT Oils
4 Metformin – is usually given as a drug to diabetics
5 DCA (DiChloroacetic Acid) The mechanism by which DCA works is not fully understood yet but it has shown to kill cancer cells at levels that are non toxic to normal healthy cells. Dr Dom suggests starting at 10mg per kg of body weight.
Tim Ferriss covered a lot of ground on the basics of keto in the chapter with Dom D’Agostino
Patrick Arnold is featured in the chapter following Dr Dom, he is known as the father of pro-hormones and was the creator of the designer steroid THG that numerous athletes failed drugs test for including Marion Jones and Dwain Chambers.
Patrick is involved in the world of exogenous ketones and is the name behind the KetoCana brand and Keto Force which is a liquid BHB.
Tim Ferriss and Patrick discuss in more detail the mechanism of Metformin that was first mentioned as one of Dr Doms 5 late stage cancer techniques. ‘Metformin dampens the signaling pathways associated with cancer growth proliferation’ Rats with metastatic cancer have increased survival rates of 40 to 50%
Dr Peter Attia is an endurance athlete (swimming) and bio-hacker. He’s got a fascinating background that includes BSc in Mechanical Engineering before training as a MD and work at the National Cancer Research Institute.
Peter is a proponent of intermittent fasting and usually skips breakfast, he does not fully follow a strict keto diet but enters it at least one day a week. He likes fruit and veg too much to go strictly keto. There is a detailed description of Peter’s dalliance with an exogenous ketone ester. Ketone esters are not commercially available as yet mainly because they are expensive to manufacture and they taste like diesel. There’s a humorous description of Peter trying to swallow the ketone ester
Is a well known American strength coach. He has written numerous article over the years written 8 books. He is well known within the personal training industry for having invented the BioSignature process that postulates that certain areas of body fat deposition relate to hormonal and or nutritional deficiencies
Although the ketogenic diet is not specifically mentioned in the section in the book. Charles refers to it indirectly by stating that only very few of the athletes that he works with deserve carbohydrates, and the closest that some get to a carbohydrate is to lick the skin of a prune once every 6 months.
In the interview with Charles on Tim’s podcast the ketogenic diet is mentioned several times. Charles Poliquin is also an affiliate for the Keto OS Product from Pruvit.
Paul Levesque (Triple H) more popularly known as Triple H is a 4 time champion in the WWE. When he is preparing for WWE events he follows a ketogenic diet that is designed by his body building friend Dave ‘Jumbo’ Palumbo.
The rest of the chapter focuses more on mindset areas such as goal setting and improving your life.
It’s interesting that Tim Ferriss devotes a lot of the book discussing the virtues of the Ketogenic Diet and 4 prominent members in the health section are all proponents of the Ketogenic Diet and exogenous ketones.
Like most things that go against the perceived ‘conventional wisdom’, they are poo-poohed by people that have not tried it. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Biohackers like Tim Ferriss and the Titans that he mentions are helping to spread the word about the ketogenic diet.
I am looking forward to meeting and hearing both Tim Ferriss and Dr Dom D’Agostino talk at the Pruvit Epik Event in Dallas between Jan 27th and 29th 2017. If you would like a discounted ticket contact me.
I’ll be writing a review of the event if you can’t make it.