Beyond the Biological Clock: New Frontiers in Female Longevity with Dr. Jennifer Garrison

Welcome back to Gateway Sessions, the podcast that dives deep into the realms of health, wellness, psychedelics and longevity. I’m your host, Ariane Sommer, and today we are journeying into the microscopic landscape of our biology, specifically zeroing in on the secrets of female reproductive aging. This episode is not just for women, but for anyone interested in the complex dance between aging and vitality, and how the body’s smallest components can have grand ramifications on our overall well-being.

My guest is an illustrious figure in the field of aging research, Dr. Jennifer Garrison. She’s an Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the world’s first institution dedicated solely to unlocking the mysteries of aging. Her groundbreaking work also extends to her roles as Assistant Professor in Residence in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF, and Assistant Adjunct Professor at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC.

In her laboratory—aptly named the Garrison Lab—Jennifer and her team explore cutting-edge topics like Neuropeptide Signaling, the role of Neuropeptides in Aging, and particularly for today’s conversation, the Role of the Brain in Ovarian Aging. Their work brings a whole new dimension to how we perceive and understand menopause, essentially shifting the paradigm and pointing to the brain as the epicenter of this life-altering transition.

Now, why should you care? Because this research could redefine the way we look at aging, not just for women, but for everyone. From the rapid aging of ovaries to the global effects that menopause has on bone health, cognitive functions, and even cardiovascular well-being; Jennifer’s work has profound implications.

So if you’ve ever wondered why reproductive longevity is crucial, what menopause may signal about your overall lifespan, or how future research might completely eliminate the need for things like IVF and egg freezing, then buckle up. We’ll also delve into the controversial topic of hormone replacement therapy, discuss the potential risks and benefits of having or not having children, and envision a future where anti-fibrotic drugs and high-quality oocytes could redefine what aging means for women.

Get ready to have your mind expanded and your perceptions about aging and vitality redefined. This is a conversation that pushes the boundaries of what we know, and ventures into what could be possible.

In this episode with Dr. Jennifer, you’ll discover:

-Jennifer’s journey into medicine was inspired by a desire to find a cure for AIDS…04:15

-Why reproductive longevity is essential to understanding a woman’s overall health and vitality…06:05

-Why do ovaries age faster than other parts of the female body?…09:05

-Andropause, and how it affects both women and men…12:45

-We can predict a woman’s lifespan based on when they enter menopause…15:40

-Is it possible to assess our menopausal cycle?…23:05

-Vast disparity in resources invested in women’s vs. men’s health…27:30

-Women need to be better informed on hormone replacement therapy(HRT)…30:25

-What’s on the horizon for HRT?…36:00

-Anti-fibrotic drugs and means of extending the quality and lifespan of a woman’s eggs…40:15

-Steps women can take to improve longevity for their reproductive system and beyond…45:30

-How bearing children affects a woman’s reproductive health, for better or for worse…47:15

-How Jennifer maximizes her own health and vitality…49:20

-And much more…

Resources mentioned:

Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

Buck Institute

Garrison Lab

Guest’s social handles: