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Medical Advice From Our Top Doctors

Health tips from a few of the long-standing top docs in San Diego


(page 3 of 3)

Dr. Mike Roizen

Q&A: Dr. Mike Roizen

The co-founder of San Diego-based RealAge.com (Dr. Oz is the other founder) and chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic talks about practical ways to get healthy.

What is the biggest health issue for Americans in 2012?
Obesity is now overtaking tobacco as the highest health cost in our nation. So what do we really mean by healthy food choices? Are moderation and smaller portions the way to go? Food is not Let’s Make a Deal. A little sugar in high doses every once in a while corrupts your proteins for a long while. The protein that’s associated with diabetes is hemoglobin A1c. Once the sugar gets on that hemoglobin, it stays on for 180 days. That one ice cream cone corrupts your hemoglobin for 180 days. We have to educate people with this knowledge. Everyone knows cigarettes are bad. We have to educate about obesity.

What about probiotics? It seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
Probiotics are helpful. Whole grains and green vegetables are much greater magic bullets than probiotics. They are a good step. We have a good data on them for pregnant women and nursing women. If they take them, there are fewer health problems among them and their children. We think they have other strong benefits, too. But when you are under the age of 60, you destroy 95 to 98 percent of the live cultures in probiotics in your stomach acid. The kind you need are those in spore form. Red Mango yogurt is one of the only yogurts that has the bacteria in spore form. Culturelle is another way to get them, and it’s less than $10 per month.  

One of the main health concerns in San Diego is sun exposure. What about vitamin D levels?
As we get older, we start mal-absorbing vitamin D and our skin doesn’t make it as well. I’m strongly in favor of sunscreen because it keeps you looking young and prevents skin cancers. But that means you have to take vitamin D supplements. Get your levels measured to be sure you are taking the right amount. Take it with food.

We are also a plastic surgery hub. What’s your take on weight loss and cosmetic procedures?
If you feel you want to do it, there is no reason not to. If you can’t do it any other way, weight-loss surgery is a wonderful thing. It should be a last resort. It does change your physiology. Botox is less permanent. We are going to go into a new sphere of non-invasive plastic surgery in the next few years with ultrasounds. You’re going to see a revolution in that for things like wrinkles, and shaping weight loss like liposuction. We’re going see ultrasound used for that.

What’s your typical day like?
I’m a creature of habit. On Saturdays and Sundays I wake up, exercise, have some protein, do some medical reading, and maybe go to a baseball, football, or basketball game. During the time-outs I read medical articles. The rest of the week I get up at 5 a.m. and start work by 7 a.m. I do interviews and conference calls from my treadmill desk. I don’t go to bed without 10,000 steps per day. I generally work until about 10:30 p.m. with a break for dinner.  I almost invariably watch Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

What do you read for research and for fun?
I have a radio show and a book on radiomd.com, so I force myself on Wednesday and Thursday night to read 50 medical articles. I do read Time magazine. I read the paper version of the local newspaper every day in Cleveland. I tend to read the New York Times sports, business, and review sections on the weekends.

Ever been to San Diego?
I would come out to San Diego three to four times per year for Real Age board meetings until we sold it in 2007. I would give talks, too, at universities and pharmaceutical companies. I love San Diego. My wife and I have a second home just outside Palm Springs in La Quinta. We spend a week there three times per year.

For a list of all 2012 San Diego Top Doctors, click here.

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Photos by Paul Body

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