There are dozens of frothy, ostensibly health enhancing, life affirming books on the market that promise, at least hint at, being able to make you slim, healthy and maybe even happy.
While this is a health book it is not frothy; not really even easy reading. It is the account of the real-world, science-based methodology that made hundreds of people measurably healthier.
The advice and directions outlined here are not guesses, theories, or committee-driven, best-guess lists of things to do to become healthy.
Losing weight is not always good. The pound lost, was it muscle, bone or mesenteric fat? The weight gained, was it muscle, increased bone density or was it subcutaneous fat?
The loosing or gaining of weight is not a useful metric of the success of a diet, exercise program or relaxation technique. I will introduce you to valuable measures of health that do matter.
While exercise is essential to a healthy body, mind and soul, it must be of the right type, amount and intensity. I will show you how to know what type to undertake and why other types can do as much harm as good.
First let me introduce you to my laboratory; the laboratory that yielded so much precise data about what works to increase bone mineral density, to raise testosterone, to increase VO2 max; on and on and on. Many of you will have worked in labs of various kinds; electronic, biomedical, chemical and the like. My laboratory was a place in Los Gatos, California called the Tempus Clinic.
Tempus, from the Latin word for time.
We had Stress Echo machines, VO2 measuring devices, rowing ergometers, trainers, physicians, variable altitude training devices, blood draw stations and lab equipment; again, on and on and on.
To understand the work of Tempus Clinic, heck to properly use any scientific work you have to have an understanding of scientific methodology. Already you see how this health book is not your standard frothy book of health advice; I’m going to have you do some serious thinking. If you do not know a great deal about such methodology you will be prey to every silly health scam, scare and multilevel marketing ploy that is out there. After all they all sound plausible. I once started a collection of various, somewhat to abuse the term, theories about why we, as a population are not healthy and what we need to do, based on said theory, to get healthy. I bet you’ve heard or believed, may still believe, many of these theories. They sound great: the soils are so depleted that our food does not contain the nutrients we need, the foods we eat have been cooked to the point of robbing them of their nutrient value, we are, a vexed term, designed in such a way that our digestive enzymes are in disarray due to eating cooked foods when we are intended to live on raw ones. Well that is one line of thought. Another is the ‘magic bullet’ version: consume high doses of vitamin C, D, E, the B vitamins, the carotinoids, certain minerals, foods from sea plants, etc and be healthy. Now the amazing thing to me is that the people who advocate variations of these approaches are the same people who advocate avoiding standard Western Medicine medications. They fail to notice that their skepticism about medications should be equally applied to ‘supplements,’ after all they too change the way the body works and with unknowable consequences whatever the known ones may be. Well, at least their skepticism about medications is well placed: common blood pressure medicines contribute to diabetes, I said contribute as in cause, others are now found to be a likely cause of some cancers, until recently the second most commonly prescribed oral medication for diabetes has been found to cause heart attacks and to contribute to the incidence of some forms of cancer. Warfarin, often a very necessary medication, accelerates atherosclerosis; even though the consequences of this problem are what usually led to the need of it in the first place.
The list of serious diseases caused by medicine is very long and deserves its own book and detailed recounting. I introduce you to the subject to set the stage for how to evaluate any prescription be it for supplements or drugs. For now let me take a look at the sorry history of the bad effects of supplements; for decades advocates of supplements have claimed all studies that have shown no benefit have been poorly done, presumably the real data suborned by drug company money, or not done according to the protocols of those who advocate the supplements. There is little evidence to support this but more importantly is while benefits might have been missed the harm has not and has been well documented. Studies looking at the ‘miracle’ supplement of lycopene, advocated as the cure and prevention of prostate cancer, has been shown to increase not only the incidence but the severity of prostate cancer. Niacin, B-3, which lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and raises HDL, the good kind, has now been
shown to increase the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. Several vitamin B studies, known to lower the heart disease risk factor homocysteine, have been shown to cause harm to the kidneys and increase the risk of heart disease. Here again the harm of supplements deserves its own book and a careful recounting.
No, the answer to a long healthy life is not finding the missing magic bullet of the right supplement or newest dietary trick nor to rely on medication to inoculate you against the risks of lifestyle diseases like adult onset diabetes, high blood pressure and premature hardening of the arteries.
As my good friend, a former bodybuilding Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. Universe says “the secret is there is no secret.” What he might mean by this and why I bring it up will soon be clear.
I write not as a nihilist intending only to destroy your belief in supplements, the Paleo diet, or your comfort in taking medications. My goal is to show you a common sense and precise way to get beyond such things. To get to the point of vibrant health; at least within the potential you now have. I will lead you to see that your potential is much greater than you now believe and that real health is an obtainable goal for all but those who are currently fatally ill. This will require hard work; it is not easy nor is it free. What I can promise is if you use the methodology I will outline, if you will follow the techniques I will explain, you can find your own very precise, very personal biological path to wellness. You will no longer be looking for the magic bullet of the
next miracle supplement, nor the newest drug to prevent Alzheimer’s because you will already be achieving what each of those can only claim to be doing.
Chapter One: Tempus Clinic and The Scientific Method