Life Extension Magazine April 2014
Restoring The Human Body With Dr. Sergey Dzugan
By Life Extension
Sergey A. Dzugan, MD, PhD, is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Dzugan Institute of Restorative Medicine. He is the author of 151 publications in medical journals, and these publications include surgical, oncological, academic, and anti-aging topics. He was the former President of Life Extension Scientific Information Inc., and his latest book, The Restoration of the Human Body [In 7 Parts], teaches people how to restore their bodies and optimize their health. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Dzugan talks about his new book.
LE: In your opinion, what is the main failure of conventional medicine?
Dr. Dzugan: The problem with the current conventional medical model is that it does not focus on the actual root cause of many diseases and health conditions, but instead goes after the symptoms.
LE: And this relates directly to the current climate where doctors immediately prescribe drugs for almost every preventable disease.
Dzugan: Yes, the problem with such drugs, be they prescription or over the counter, is that they are not treating the base cause of the problem.
LE: What base cause of age-related illness are you referring to?
Dzugan: What is evident at the end of the day is that there is a lot of interplay between the types of disease, and many issues can bounce off of each other to create an ultimately more serious condition. In the midst of all these environmental diseases is where the bulk of our focus comes in. What we want to look at and discuss is disease that is caused by acquired physiologic errors. Physiologic simply refers to a normally functioning and healthy body, with physiology itself being the science of this.
LE: Such as?
Dzugan: What are diseases caused by acquired physiologic errors? This is going to come out of left field and include a good bunch. Issues such as heart disease, depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, fatigue, atherosclerosis, and cancer can all fall under this category.
LE: How can restorative medicine, which is the focus of your book, prevent this from occurring?
Dzugan: An approach of restorative medicine focuses on addressing the breakdowns of optimal body function by optimizing the body’s hormones and nutrients to optimal levels. While the body at all times tries to keep in homeostasis (equilibrium), things are going to break and it will happen. When the balance and ratios of hormones within the body break down, along with a lack of minerals and vitamins, then things will go south real fast.
LE: When mentioning hormones, you refer to pregnenolone as the grandparent of the other steroid hormones. Where did you come up with that?
Dzugan: While pregnenolone is not well known, its functions and impact on other hormone levels cannot be underestimated. It is a precursor of many other hormones, fights the effects of fatigue and stress, relieves arthritis pain, improves heart health, boosts the immune system, protects against coronary artery disease, improves mood and memory, and is vital for full brain function and protection against degenerative brain diseases.
LE: And you talk about the importance of DHEA as well, which you say decreases by 95% in many people by age 75 from peak levels.
Dzugan: Right. Proper DHEA levels improve heart health, slow the onset or progression of diabetes, have beneficial impact on arthritis, and reverse declining cognitive function, while low levels are associated with increased risk of breast, ovarian, and other site cancers. Optimal levels are associated with maximum immunity and metabolic efficiency.
LE: How is DHEA linked to testosterone in terms of cardiac health?
Dzugan: Well, if we are looking at testosterone we should also take a look at DHEA as far as heart health goes. DHEA converts to testosterone in women, and provides a major source of estrogen post-menopause. This sort of action increases the appropriate protective levels in both genders.
LE: You mentioned ‘maximum immunity’ earlier and that is a theme that you bring up in your book several times, even in relation to someone’s chances of recovering from the Ebola virus. You also touch upon how cortisol levels have a larger effect on people being able to maintain proper immunity because they impact so many body functions. What are some of the dangers of either high cortisol or low cortisol levels?
Dzugan: Symptoms of high cortisol include anxiety, depression, imbalances of glucose, suppressed thyroid function, and impaired mental performance. Low cortisol levels are associated with insomnia via adrenaline overload, fatigue, irritability, migraine headaches, and fibromyalgia, among others.
LE: On that note, you discuss an interesting idea about fibromyalgia in your book. Can you share it with our readers, please?
Dzugan: A hypothesis is floating about that fibromyalgia may be due to an irregular disturbance of the neural, immune, and endocrine systems. The endocrine system is responsible for hormone production, the neural system is obviously in charge of the nerves (which hormones play a large role on), and the immune system can also be impacted in large part by the hormones. Finally, we can mention the straight up neurotransmitters in their apparent roles with fibromyalgia. The disease is associated with inadequate “deep sleep” and sleep that doesn’t do its proper job and leave one feeling refreshed.
LE: Once sleep is mentioned, is there any evidence that melatonin may be of some benefit to fibromyalgia sufferers?
Dzugan: Fibromyalgia sufferers have been observed to have low melatonin levels and, as you mentioned, supplementation of melatonin for individuals with fibromyalgia resulted in reduced pain, sleep issues, and depression.
LE: Like the above example, in many parts of your book, you offer simple solutions to problems mainstream medicine often uses dangerous drugs to fix. One such interesting solution involved magnesium, right?
Dzugan: According to the Agricultural Research Service, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 43% of the population in the United States receives adequate magnesium through diet, meaning of course that more than half don’t. Magnesium can have a calming effect on the nervous system and as such can be a great aid in helping with issues ranging from headaches and migraine to muscle spasms. And yes, constipation. Based on the symptoms and issues often presented in individuals who want to take the restorative medicine approach, magnesium is often a given recommendation.
LE: How does magnesium work its magic?
Dzugan: In order for mitochondria, the energy producing organelles within cells, to function and produce more ATP, they first need to be powered by ATP that is bound to magnesium. Knowing this vital function of magnesium leads to no surprise at the variability and potential severity of symptoms of magnesium deficiency—starting on the mild level with muscle cramps and fatigue, moving up to full on muscle spasms and nausea, all the way up to heart failure.
LE: These alternatives to side-effect laden drugs are excellent, but for many people who have been on antibiotics or drugs for a long time, stomach issues are a big problem, right?
Dzugan: One must always keep in mind that when bad bacteria set up shop in our body, we are often prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, while the bacteria in our intestines have friend or foe targeting, the antibiotic won’t hear any of that. When the antibiotic goes to work, it gets down to business and likes to annihilate everything in its path. While that tends to kill our foreign invaders, it also causes some serious Dresden bombing action on our civilian bacteria population. Hence, the reason that antibiotics have the common side effect of diarrhea is because your native population of the Home Team is suddenly at a disadvantage.
LE: And this is where probiotics come in to aid intestinal flora? Why are they so valuable?
The Restoration of the
Human Body [In 7 Parts]
Dzugan: Good digestion and absorption are not the only aspects that intestinal flora help us with. They are also responsible for boosting our overall immune system by helping prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria, the kind we certainly don’t want, in our digestive tract. This hefty “us or them” approach allows beneficial bacteria to flourish and bring in more of their type while trying to keep the bad ones out in the rain. Intestinal flora can also potentially help with allergy prevention and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s.
LE: From probiotics to melatonin, it appears that the physiologic approach can have a lot of practical uses for restoring human health.
Dzugan: There is a lot of information out there about the physiologic approach and its applications, and it’s only necessary to put the information together to make an informed decision and to utilize it. Remember, the information is out there for you to look through.
LE: Thanks, Dr. Dzugan.
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