Sunday, December 20, 2009


Nature’s design of the human body is no more evident than in the function of Vitamin D. Classically considered a vitamin, it also functions much like a hormone. While chemically similar to a hormone in structure, Vitamin D is not excreted from a gland into the blood. Instead, it is miraculously synthesized in the skin from exposure to the sun. What a beautifully designed system!

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Soram Khalsa on my Blog Talk radio show ( Dr. Khalsa is a wonderful, Integrative Physician who recently published a book on Vitamin D called “The Vitamin D Revolution.” His book offers an eloquent and concise overview of the many benefits of Vitamin D as essential to an optimal health program. I wanted to summarize some of the many health benefits of Vitamin D in this post.

Vitamin D serves a variety of functions in the body. A deficiency can be associated with numerous ailments. Though rarely encountered today, the best known is rickets, a metabolic bone disease. Less well-known problems caused by Vitamin D deficiency include increased risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, osteopenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, flu, and depression.

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in higher latitudes especially during winter when there is less sunlight. Curiously, these sun-deprived regions also have statistically higher rates of depression, alcoholism, and even diabetes. In addition, we now have also incurred a greater rate of vitamin D deficiency disorders because of our increasing concern about sun damage skin problems such as skin cancer and aging.

The intense concern that our skin needs protection from the perceived harmful rays of the sun is responsible for contributing to many degenerative health conditions. While this approach to “skin care” serves to diminish the risk of some dermatological problems, it can create a new host of other illnesses—all related to Vitamin D deficiency. Another problem results from our industrialized society that requires us to work more indoors. This leads to people getting less sun exposure even in the lower latitudes.

Vitamin D deficiency is so common that I routinely screen all of my patients for Vitamin D levels and rarely find anyone to be in the optimum range. Studies done on children in Finland, for instance, have found 400 times higher incidences of diabetes than children in Venezuela. In one study, when Finnish children were administered 2000 IU per day of Vitamin D3, they demonstrated an eighty-percent reduction in the onset of juvenile diabetes. When pregnant women have their vitamin D levels restored to optimal levels, the incidence of juvenile diabetes was reduced 50% in their offspring.

As discussed, Vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in winter months due to less sun exposure. This correlates exactly with the time that flu epidemics break out. Evidence supports the position that normalizing Vitamin D levels in winter will significantly reduce the incidence and number of flu cases. Vitamin D deficiency in winter is also correlated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression.

Adequate Vitamin D is essential for preventing osteoporosis and osteopenia, which are rampant today in Westernized cultures especially after menopause. Women can significantly reduce this problem and their risk of fractures by maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels along with calcium, magnesium, strontium, and Hormone Replacement therapy. Ideal levels are between 50-100 ng/ml. This level can be maintained by simply taking a supplement of Vitamin D3 of usually 2000-5000 IU/day. Alternatively, just twenty-to-thirty minutes per day of sun exposure 
(without sun block) can accomplish the same optimal levels. However, fair skinned persons may require less than dark pigmented people, and people living closer to the equator need less exposure as well.

Vitamin D toxicity is rare due to its wide therapeutic range. Optimal dosing and monitoring is necessary by a physician who understands the importance of this essential nutrient. Further details about the wonders of Vitamin D can be obtained by reading Dr. Khalsa’s informative book.

In summary, Vitamin D is an essential and inexpensive over-the-counter, simple nutrient for preventing many serious and common ailments. Similar benefits can be achieved by regular sun exposure of well-moisturized skin and not using sunscreen.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009


An article in the August 23, 2009 edition of the LA Times reports about the possibility of a “Sin Tax” on junk food. This would be similar to the one currently imposed on cigarettes. The purpose of such a tax would be to deter the purchase and consumption of junk foods and steer people towards eating healthier food.

The thinking behind such a tax is that by directing people to eat healthier food and avoid sweet, salty junk food, we can have an impact on reducing the incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity in this country. In principle, this is a great idea. However, statistics from places already imposing this kind of tax reveal another story.

In Maine, for example, a 5.5% snack tax actually coincided with a doubling of the obesity rate from 10% to 20%. In other countries, such a tax apparently drove consumers from sweet foods to high fat and salt-rich foods. The result of such a diet is well known to have an adverse impact on health by increasing the rate of high blood pressure and heart disease. I think it is essential to move people to eat healthier food in general. But, simple nutritional education or the imposition of new taxes by themselves, just don’t seem to do the trick.

I recently saw a brilliant film called Food Inc. This documentary looks at the US food industry. It not only shows in high relief how our food is processed, but also depicts the politics and financial realities that work behind the scenes of US food production. The picture is appalling.

First of all, it is incredible to see example-after-example presented of how unconscious we are of the foods we consume every day. In addition, it is startling to understand the scope and impact that the massive, food corporations have on manipulating our food, often operating with complete impunity and wielding enough power to make the government genuflect. One frightening projection sees that in the next ten years, one out of three young people in this country will have Type II Diabetes. This statistic is terrifying especially in light of the national debate about universal health care coverage. The prospect of millions more diabetics will see medical costs and insurance rates skyrocket in this country. And guess who is going to pay for it? Not the big food companies.

I think that if we are contemplating universal health care reform, we should also be seriously considering some kind of enforcement of healthy, dietary guidelines. If the government is going to foot the bill, then there should be some accountability from the food industry to help improve our diet. It is a basic fact that eating a healthier diet can dramatically reduce most of the illnesses we face today. If the food industry is allowed to be driven solely by profitability and to continue producing whatever sweet, fat, salty garbage they want to sell to the public, then they should be held responsible for the consequences. After all, there is a successful precedent with reform of the tobacco industry.

The government is not going to be able to afford to pay for health care with such a large percentage of the American population suffering from various preventable illnesses. The stated foundation of health insurance is that the premiums of healthy individuals help to defray the cost of treating the sick. This logic will not work when significant proportions of the population are ill and require health care. If we insist on eating unhealthy food and the food industry continues to produce it, then they should be held responsible for footing the bill for the resultant illnesses and disease. It is logical and more importantly, it is in the public interest to let them reap what they sow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I read an amazing article in the August 5, 2009 NY Times about Wyeth, the Pharma giant who makes Premarin and Prempro. If you don’t recognize these medicines by name, these are horse hormones that are given to women. They are the same ones that have been shown in the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative study to cause an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, these horse hormones are also giving ALL hormones a black eye.

In addition, Wyeth is the same pharmaceutical company that is lobbying heavily in Washington to shut down compounding pharmacies and to strictly regulate the production of compounded bioidentical hormones. The Times’ article goes on to report that Wyeth was discovered during the course of lawsuits to have hired ghostwriters to produce 26 so-called “scientific papers”. These were published in respectable medical journals under doctors’ names and all took the position of supporting the use of hormone replacement therapy in women. Written between 1998 and 2005, the articles emphasized the benefits and downgraded the risks of taking hormones. Coincidentally, sales of Wyeth products Premarin and Prempro rose to unbelievable heights of almost $2 billion in 2001.

Wyeth now faces approximately 8400 lawsuits from women claiming that their hormone drugs caused a variety of illnesses. Physicians rely heavily on drug companies for updated information on new treatments. It was reported in the LA Times that in 2005, 90% of all continuing medical education for physicians was paid for by drug companies. The article further reported that at least 75% of all Americans over the age of 65 take a prescription drug on a daily basis.

These statistics has to make you think about where your doctor is formulating his opinions and decision-making data. When doctors tell a patient about a drug or treatment plan, one has to ask—who is really doing the talking? Think about it. Do we ever question our doctors? Do we ever ask them where they got their information? Historically, doctors have been revered for their knowledge and objective judgment when it comes to decision-making regarding a patient’s welfare. I think it is time that we become more circumspect about doctors’ decision making process and how it impacts their patients. It’s a fact that many doctors today are in Big Pharma pockets. And these are very deep pockets.

If doctors are being controlled by Big Pharma both in the literature they read and the conferences they go to, who do you think is directing your medical care? It’s also important to recognize that Big Pharma has been at this game of influence for a long time. They are business people. They are not healers. They routinely calculate and build into their financial projections and bottom line how many deaths and lawsuits will be incurred by bringing new drugs to market. And if the drug looks profitable, they will release it, often knowing full well that people may die as a result. It is a calculated risk. The LA Times reported that most new prescription drugs are expected to show a profit within 90 days. This is unbelievable! How much marketing, lobbying, and “doctor education” must go into a developing the kind of product that can achieve this objective?

I believe that patients must take control of health care now and before it is too late. Doctors certainly don’t always have your best interest in mind. If they did they wouldn’t submit to influence of Big Pharma brainwashing. Doctors would do their own studying and research like they used to do. They would question Big Pharma more carefully instead of dispensing the “free samples” left in their office by that attractive, young Big Pharma rep.

I am sorry to say that medical ethics have fallen to new lows in this country and they continue to decline. Doctors have been pressured and even coerced into a position that is unheard of in the history of the healing profession. They are targeted from every angle. They are told what to prescribe and how much they can charge for their services. In many cases, they have lost control of their professional lives. It is sad. I recognize that I am also unfortunately a part of it, but will try to practice more consciously and with knowledge that the influence of Big Pharma is lurking out there.

Unfortunately, patients are victimized as well. And it starts when we are so young we don’t even realize it. In 2002, the head of the Drug Committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “We are entering what could be the Golden Age for kids and pharmaceuticals”. Can you imagine? Kids and pharmaceuticals? Are there no limits? Where is the outrage and media attention? With media companies and print publications desperate in today’s down turned economy for advertising revenue, Big Pharm is seen as a white knight coming to the rescue—so don’t look for any exposes about this nefarious campaign soon.

I leave you with one last thought. In Ancient Greece, the word “pharmakon” meant both “remedy” and “poison”. It’s in the hands of the provider that modern medical chemistry can represent the former. So, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about the safety and any medications that he prescribes—and be an informed consumer who reads the labels, contraindications, and does the research, especially on new products. And most of all, BE WELL!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The journal, Science, recently featured a fascinating study that has huge implications for anti-ageing and longevity medicine. The report said that rhesus monkeys who were fed a calorie-restricted diet for 20 years were two-thirds less likely to die of an age-related disease than counterparts fed on a standard diet. The risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or diabetes fell by more than two-thirds in the calorie-restricted group.

The 76 animal subjects ate 30% fewer calories. Researchers noted, “The rates of cardiovascular disease and pre-cancerous cell growth were twice as high in the control group compared with the calorie restricted group.” Furthermore, none of the calorie restricted (CR) animals became diabetic or even pre-diabetic. Brain scans were also significant and showed that the CR animals demonstrated less atrophy.

The researchers also remarked that the CR monkeys “appear to be biologically younger than the normally fed animals.’ This latest study adds to the pool of data that has been accumulating for decades supporting the low-calorie intake theory of nutrition. Going back to the 70’s, Professor Roy Walford, a researcher from UCLA, studied this theory. He was his own best subject as one of the original Biosphere scientists who lived for two years in the man-made, sealed ecological dome in the Arizona desert. Walford followed a significantly calorie-restricted diet for most of his adult life.

I remember meeting Dr. Walford in 1985 when I was working as a staff physician at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica. We were teaching the low fat diet at that time. His approach was even more intense. Walford not only limited the percentage of fat in the diet, but the total calorie intake as well. At Pritikin, the diet we taught reflected similar calorie ranges, and was quite successful in promoting weight loss, blood pressure reduction, and reducing the need for diabetic medications. The major criticism of the diet was that it was difficult to stay on for extended periods of time.

The diet program that I teach now is similar in principle to the CR diet and is called “The Paleo Diet”. I encourage people to follow a regime that is similar to what we understand was practiced in Paleolithic times. I believe this approach works best of all for avoiding age-related diseases because we were genetically designed in that bygone era, and our success as a species was dependent on the kind of food that was available at that time.

It is highly unlikely that people during the Paleolithic period ate more than 1200 to 1800 calories per day—which is the equivalent level of the CR diet. Typical Western diets are 3000 calories per day or even more. It seems logical that lowered caloric intake would dramatically reduce the risk of age-related diseases. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to just cut out all man-made, dense starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, and grains. The Paleo Diet ends up looking a lot like a CR diet as long as the target food groups are not over consumed.

A comparison of the incidence of obesity that exists today with what might have existed in Paleolithic times provides food for thought. It is safe to say that obesity simply did not exist in ancient times, and by contrast with today’s diets, is a very good indicator of how much we were originally designed to consume. Just imagine the difference between the volume of food available in today’s local supermarket as compared to what was on the Paleolithic menu. The greatest challenge for early humans had nothing to do with choice—it had everything to do with securing enough food for survival.

One of humanity’s greatest accomplishments has been the ability to produce large amounts of food to assure propagation of the species. But, this achievement has a downside and not only has been detrimental to our health and longevity, but to the environment and survival of other species. As we start out to correct our own eating problems, we must first discipline ourselves to avoid the modern tendency to overindulgence, overproduction, and overconsumption. Our well-being as an evolving species and the health of our increasingly fragile planet are both at stake.

(Thanks to Geico for the Cavemen Dining image)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


June 8th‘s cover story in Newsweek criticizes Oprah Winfrey for recommending alternative medical treatments. It goes still further lambasting Suzanne Somers and implying that she is a wacko. The article pokes fun at her and cynically describes her health routines as ridiculous.

I have a great deal of respect for Suzanne Somers and Oprah. Both are courageous pioneering type women who use their celebrity in positive ways to help others. If they didn’t disclose alternative styles of medical treatments and technology, who would? Newsweek?

Just opening the front cover of the June 8th issue quickly immediately provides a take on who runs THAT show. Four major advertisements by large pharmaceutical companies leap out at you in this issue alone. Not surprisingly, one of them happens to be Wyeth, the pharma-giant which has been spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to shut down “Mom and Pop” compounding pharmacies. “And why”? you might ask.

Could it have anything to do with the plummeting sales of their notorious products Premarin and Prempro, the drugs shown in the Women’s Health Initiative study to increase the incidence of stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer in users? In fact, this is the only hormone product that has been proven to cause these diseases, yet this is the same company working diligently to have Estriol, the only hormone shown to PROTECT women from breast cancer, removed from the market.

How confusing! Why would a drug company want to remove a drug from the market that helps women, while still promoting and marketing their own product which has been shown in scientific studies to be harmful? Now this would be a really good question to ask the editors of Newsweek magazine. A magazine that accepts large amounts of advertising dollars from Wyeth while publishing articles criticizing women who want to take bioidentical hormones is certainly suspect. Could there be a connection here?

I cancelled my subscription to Newsweek years ago for similar reasons. This is not a news magazine. While news items may infiltrate the periodical, it is a mainstream media platform for advertisers with deep war chests of dollars to express their opinions and influence public sentiment. There is virtually nothing in their cover story about Oprah that I agree with. There is not enough room here on my blog for me to fully express my opinions.

But, I will say this—there has never been any data to prove that bioidentical hormones are harmful, like Prempro, for example. Bioidentical hormones are not “synthesized” as the article contends. I would even question the use of expert references such as Dr. Nanette Santoro, who are cited to support the article. A reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Santoro specializes in helping women get pregnant. It would certainly be of interest to qualify how many women she sees in her practice specifically for menopause-related conditions. She is quoted as stating that menopause is a hormone deficiency disease is “discredited”. It might follow then, that she thinks menopause is an antidepressant, sleeping pill, and pain medication deficiency disease.

One major point that the writers, Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert, are insistent about is that hormones—especially as described by Suzanne Somers—are used to “restore youth”. This is absolutely not the intention of replacing missing hormones. It is actually to restore health.

It is well known that the incidence of major illnesses like heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and once again—did I say “Cancer”—all increase dramatically after menopause. Young women with super high hormone levels are virtually immune to these diseases. Just the incidence of heart disease rises so dramatically after menopause that the risk to women equals that of men.

My orientation to replacing postmenopausal hormones in women is not to keep them young, but to keep them healthy. Aging does not have to be synonymous with disease. We cannot stop the aging process, but we have more options to preventing disease than ever before. Despite the efforts of Big Pharma and their media mouthpieces like Newsweek magazine, the truth will be told by courageous, intelligent women like Suzanne Somers, Oprah Winfrey, and Robin McGraw. A pioneering, innovative spirit informs the bedrock on which this country is founded and is still alive today. Big advertisers and publishers may have the loudest voice that money can buy right now, but I am confident that the facts will continue to become public knowledge and the search for truth will win out. History shows that it always works out that way.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I had a great conversation last night with Jon Gabriel. He was my guest on my BlogTalkRadio show. Jon is the author of a new book called The Gabriel Method. It’s about a “non- diet”, diet program. Jon once weighed over 400 pounds. He is 6’2” and now weighs 185. Many people emailed me wanting to know how he lost over 200 lbs.—all without dieting. And Jon is more than willing to talk about it.

He’d been working on Wall Street in New York City and was under a tremendous amount of stress. He was supposed to travel on September 11 on Flight 93, which was the plane that crashed into the field in Pennsylvania. This near fatal experience had a profound effect on his life and he credits it with the epiphany he had about his weight.

Suddenly, Jon had the realization that he wasn’t a “fat person” and recognized that was a thin person in a fat body. When he realized this, he knew that he could lose weight without dieting because he had “reset” his belief systems. After his epiphany, everything became a lot easier for him. He knew exactly what was preventing him from losing weight and was totally clear on what he needed to do to get rid of the extra weight. The stronger his beliefs and understanding of his own, personal truth became, the faster the weight came off.

Anyone who struggles with weight loss experiences some form of resistance. The precise form it takes will vary from person to person. The ability to explore and understand one’s source of the resistance is the key to unlocking the door to weight loss. Jon’s book explores this concept in depth as well as its relationship to the power of the mind-body connection.

Maintaining high body fat is a primitive response to stress, which has been programmed in all of us since Paleolithic times, but we live in modern society. Everything we experience on a physical or emotional level will cause our “primitive” bodies to react exactly as they were programmed some 75,000 years ago. So, maintaining high body fat originally evolved as a means of protection against the cold or of some kind of bodily injury. But, this archaic message to our bodies motivates us to store extra calories. It makes perfect sense, therefore, that once the body has the protection signal removed, it will allow weight to be shed. The key here is to discover the “trigger” that informs the pituitary gland in our brain of impending danger.

If we can send the brain such a signal, then it follows that we can also send the brain a message that in order to survive, we need to be slim, fit, and agile. Obviously, this is a very different signal to the brain and one of the best ways to deliver it is by the type of exercise we do. If we are just walking for exercise at a leisurely pace, the body does not receive the reinforcement of a need to be slim and fit. One can be quite obese and be capable of walking.

However, if we do burst training where brief intense periods of high intensity exercise are performed repetitively, the body will get the message that slim and lithe suits us better for survival. This kind of exercise is what our primitive brains might perceive of as the same reflex we once occasionally used to out run a predator. Understanding how our primitive brains and genetic ancestry works is critical for weight loss and optimal health.

The hour interview with Jon flew by in what seemed like just a few minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him. He is a passionate and engaging man, who has gone far beneath the surface of weight loss resistance to find a truth that we can all share and put to great use!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am on a men’s team. We meet every Tuesday night to support each other facing life’s challenges. Whether it’s business, financial, family or relationship issues, we are there for each other like a band of brothers in a completely safe and trusting environment. It is amazing to me how many men on my team are having continuing problems relating to the women in their lives.

Additionally, it is amazing how many men have been divorced at least once. As a result, there is a wealth of experience in this area and a huge amount of collective wisdom. It makes me wonder why it is so difficult for men and women to get along in long term, committed relationships. There is no simple answer since there are many different dynamics at work here.

Most of the men in my circle have done The Men’s Weekend with Justin Sterling of the Sterling Institute. This is a powerful weekend workshop that transforms men into the man they want to become and who their woman would cheat on them to be with. Does this make sense?

I believe we need to work hard on our relationships. They do not happen by themselves. We live in an ever-evolving, complicated society where the original laws of attraction between the sexes are distorted by work, financial pressures, family challenges, and an ever changing dynamic of male and female roles in society. It is important for the sake of good relationships to get back to the roots of what brings male and female energy together to create a lasting bond. It simply takes hard work.

There are other good workshops out there, too, that can help. One my girlfriend recommends is called, “Understanding Women, Celebrating Men.” I am planning to do this workshop later this year and will report back to you. I would strongly urge all men to do the Sterling Men’s Weekend, to help get your mojo back, and become the man both you and your woman want you to be.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I speak to many women every day who have their hormones replaced by doctors in the most random ways. Most traditional doctors treat menopause and hormone replacement based only on symptoms, and with no consideration of what is happening in women’s bodies physiologically. I’ve seen some pretty frightening things in my time.

One of the worst is when a woman starts having menopausal symptoms and the doctor never checks her hormone levels. Women tell me quite often that they’ve reported having irregular periods to their gynecologists. This usually occurs with women who are close to 50-years-old. Gynecologists are supposed to be experts in women’s health and especially with issues like menopause. I have even seen a few women in this situation being put on birth control pills to regulate their periods.

The most common scenario for replacing women’s hormones is to put them on a static dose of hormones. The only time in a woman’s life that she would have hormones continuously would be during pregnancy. And this is when women gain a lot of weight, develop high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.

Many times, menopause symptoms are treated with anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills. All of these treatments could and should be eliminated. Simply restoring a hormone balance would resolve all the problems associated with menopause—and without the use of any toxic, prescription drugs. The only hormone replacement approach that makes sense to me is to administer hormones in a dosage as close as possible to the pattern existing in a patient before menopause. This pattern should be rhythmic and suited to the individual.

I also don’t believe that women with hysterectomies should be treated with a different hormone schedule. Many doctors feel that if a woman doesn’t have a uterus, then she doesn’t need progesterone. The question to ask then is: “What about the rest of her body?”

Progesterone doesn’t just go to the uterus. It travels throughout the body where it plays an important function in balancing women’s hormones. Ultimately, I believe that putting women’s hormones back as close to the way they were before menopause has the greatest benefit for maintaining health. It can also prevent disease as well as age-related declines in health. It is vital to support normal body function as long as possible for optimal healthy aging in both women and men. Have you had any experiences like the ones I’ve described in this post? I’d like to know.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Last week, I was in New York City attending a Stem Cell Summit. Also attending were over 50 Stem Cell Company CEO’s from all over the world as well as a number of venture capitalists, investors, researchers, and medical practitioners. The conference, itself, was a fascinating look into what is in store for us in the future from the world of Stem Cell Therapy. In my last post, I wrote about some of the potential for Stem Cells. What is on the horizon is truly mind-boggling.

In particular, there are major developments in the areas of Orthopedics such as regenerating joint cartilage, shortening recovery time for fractures by two-thirds, and options for herniated vertebral disc sufferers. There is a tremendous amount of work also being done for Diabetes, many forms of Cancer, congestive heart failure as well as for heart attack and stroke victims. I even heard from Veterinarians who are already using stem cells for racehorses and pets with great success.

The future potential for many more health benefits is vast. All of the CEO’s present admitted that we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what stem cells may be able to accomplish. One area I found particularly fascinating was in the regeneration of bone and cartilage in degenerated joints and fractures. Stem cells are already being used to avoid amputations in diabetics with severe peripheral vascular disease. The stem cell procedure actually helps them to grow new blood vessels, which supply blood to extremities threatened by lack of oxygen. All of the presentations focused on the thrilling work of finding cures for conditions that are currently incurable. Still, no one is even talking yet about my interest in the potential of stem cells with respect to prevention, anti-aging and life extension.

I have been working with a company called Neostem, which is a stem cell collection service. We collect stem cells from healthy, relatively young people, and then store them in a cryobank for future use. The beauty of this unique approach is that the stem cells are available on an as-needed basis. Stem cells are generally only given to the person who donated them. This is the other reason that our approach is so powerful. These stem cells are in better shape than the individual recipient because they were collected when the person was younger.

In other words, they are not used like blood donations. So, there is no risk of rejection, and since the individual will only receive his own cells, there is also no risk of transmissible disease. In a way, it is a form of “Bio-Insurance”. You can imagine that the process can provide a great sense of security when an individual knows that his stem cells are safely stored away in a cryobank if needed at some future date.

I should know. I have already put mine away and it makes me feel really good. What we are now discussing is the possibility of re-infusing them back into the donor every year or so, as a way to help maintain the equivalent, youthful age as when the cells were originally collected. I have also spoken to researchers about using them to treat women after menopause. In theory, we would inject them into the ovaries to “wake them up” as a way to start producing female hormones again. No one knows if this is possible. But, can you imagine what kind of breakthrough it represents if the procedure works?!

Monday, February 16, 2009


The future of Medicine is here now. Stem cell research and stem cell therapy is real. There are now over 2000 clinical trials in this country alone on stem cell therapy. There are even more around the world.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells in the body that have the ability to develop into any cell. They are called “multi-potential". Stem cells are derived from multiple sources including fat, peripheral blood, and bone marrow. The big distinction is between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Current research involves both.

There are moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells because they are often derived from aborted fetuses. These cells are more versatile as they can be used in any individual without issues about possible rejection. Concerns have also been raised that women will intentionally get pregnant to abort and sell their embryos for stem cell harvesting.

Adult stem cells are less versatile as they can only be used in the individual who donated them, and may not be as adaptable to generating new tissue as embryonic cells. There is ongoing research to develop other cell lines that approaches the frontier of cloning. Theoretically, if cells have the ability to become any cell in the body, then it is not too far fetched to create cells that can become “all” cells in the body and therefore, become an entirely new individual.

The February 9, 2009 cover story in TIME magazine reported on the FDA’s approval of stem cell therapy for the treatment of traumatic spinal cord injuries. This is an exciting breakthrough in an emerging, dynamic field of medicine that is going to create an entirely new realm of miraculous cures for previously considered untreatable conditions.

I am now at an exciting conference on Stem Cells in New York and look forward to telling you all about it in my next posting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I’ve read some pretty ridiculous health claims, but this one takes the cake. I saw an article recently in the US publication, The Week, about a study done in the UK that reported a link between increased frequency of sex and masturbation and their role in causing a higher risk of prostate cancer. Now, I’ve heard old wives tales about masturbation causing mental illness, blindness—and even warts on the hands—but never that masturbation causes prostate cancer. Even worse than that, the study claims that men in their 20’s and 30’s who masturbate—or God Forbid—have sex at least 4 or 5 times per week, must have higher hormone levels.

The study then jumps to the conclusion that these highly sexed men are more prone to get prostate cancer due to their unusually high hormone levels. I think this study is ludicrous. First of all, there is no evidence anywhere that men with high hormone levels are more sexual. Secondly, there is a mountain of evidence that men with LOW testosterone are at significantly increased risk of prostate disease and cancer. Testosterone has been shown unequivocally to be health promoting in men, and in particular, lowering the incidence of prostate cancer.

Furthermore, I have never found a correlation between testosterone levels and libido. Over the years, I’ve seen many men with high testosterone levels and low libidos—and vice versa. There are, in fact, a preponderant number of studies showing that the prostate is much healthier and has reduced risk of cancer with increased frequency of ejaculations. I don’t know who did this study, but they must have had a prudish approach to health. My advice is to have as much sex as you can and masturbate as much as you want. Your prostate, among others, will thank you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Sugar is a hidden toxin in foods and as a result, we eat way more sugar than nature ever intended for us. Sugar is actually “rated” in foods according to what is known as the Glycemic Index. In fact, all foods have been scored according to this Index. If you are interested in tracking a particular food, you can look it up on numerous web sites which feature the Glycemic Index.

Foods are ranked according to their sugar content by whether they are low, medium or high glycemic. High glycemic foods should definitely be avoided. As I mentioned in my last posting, humans evolved genetically during Paleolithic times. Foods were very low in sugars during that time. Farming, milling, and baking of wheat didn’t exist. We are, therefore, not genetically designed to eat wheat products.

In addition, they are the highest glycemic foods. The beauty of avoiding bread, cereal, grains, and rice is that—not only do we help ourselves by avoiding foods that are difficult for us to assimilate—but such a regimen also avoids a dense carbohydrate food group that contributes significantly to obesity and diabetes, two of the largest and fastest growing health problems in America.

The closer we can eat to a Paleolithic type diet, the healthier we will be. So, when you are making your food choices, just imagine if it existed in Paleolithic times. If not, best to skip it. We need to be conscious that our diets and environment have changed dramatically over the past several thousand years. The single most important thing we can do to avoid disease is to avoid sugar and high glycemic food.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I have been moving further away from traditional medicine and rarely take out my prescription pad anymore except to write a prescription for bioidentical hormones. The closer we can adapt our diets and lifestyles to how we lived when our genes were evolving, the healthier we will be. A lot of people still don’t recognize that we live in a toxic environment. We were not designed to process so many toxins. That is why a good detoxification program two or three times per year is essential for optimal health.

Sugar is the most toxic substance we can ingest. We are literally bombarded with sugar daily. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and inflammation is responsible for virtually all diseases. So, if you wanted to do one thing that is greater than anything else to enhance your health, Stop Eating Sugar!

The single most important factor relating to disease is nutrition and sugar is one of the most toxic food substances we can ingest. When our genes developed in Paleolithic times, concentrated sugar didn't exist. As we have evolved, our environment has changed radically, but our genes are still the same as they were 65,000 years ago. Today, even an apple is about ten times sweeter and bigger than in Paleolithic times. Sugar stimulates our pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin is actually very inflammatory. Inflammation is responsible for every disease from cancer and arthritis to high blood pressure and heart disease. Again, if you want to do one thing to improve your health—avoid sugar. It’s hard to avoid because it has become so pervasive in prepared foods and food products. Look out for sugar in a wide variety of forms such as bakery items, bread, ketchup, and salad dressing as well as in almost all bottled drinks except water. Try using sugar substitutes instead such as xylitol, stevia or agave nectar.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I never had an epiphany that I wanted to be a doctor. As long as I can remember, it has always been a noble profession to me. I had great reverence for our family physician as a kid growing up on the US East Coast. I still recall him even driving through heavy snowstorms to make house calls just to give us penicillin shots when we had strep throat. So, as I matured, it just seemed like the natural profession for me to aspire to. At this point, I’ve probably seen “one of everything” since I began practicing Medicine in 1974.

I started out in Internal Medicine, then spent 20 years as an Emergency Doc. I worked at Pritikin in Nutrition and Natural medicine, and have been a Director of weight loss programs and fitness programs, a professional sports team Doctor, served on many medical advisory boards and now am Medical Director of an Integrated Alternative Medical center. After all these years and different hats I’ve worn, one thing stands out as a core belief—the human body works best when treated naturally.

The Natural Medicine approach that I use encompasses many disciplines. Nutrition is at the foundation of Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine is the technology that seeks to understand the underlying cause of an illness rather than merely treating its superficial symptoms, regardless of how severe they may seem. Sometimes, a symptom may be as simple as a food allergy. At other times, it can be a hormone imbalance.

The advent of natural bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women has served a tremendous need in terms of slowing the ageing process. An entire discipline of medicine called Anti Ageing Medicine is now evolving. Combining this powerful tool with Natural Medicine, Functional Medicine, acupuncture, nutrients, herbs , diet and a sound fitness program, I believe can correct almost any imbalance in the body—unless there has already been too much damage sustained. After 35 years in medicine, I am convinced that the more natural the approach to the human body, the better the outcome. I look forward to using my blog as a forum to discuss my perspective on health and wellness, and want to thank everyone for reading and posting. Please email me at to let me know if you have any questions or ideas about issues that I should cover in the future. Welcome!