Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hormone Replacement Therapy with Dr. John Crisler

By Tom Furman

I enjoyed attending a workshop with Dr. John Crisler at the Life Extension Foundation Conference on Anti-Aging, "Yes We Can ...Think Outside The Box" on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. It was held at Nova University in Davie, Florida, less than a parking lot away from the Miami Dolphins training camp.

Dr. Crisler is famous for his Hormone Replacement Therapy protocol, but calls himself, "a country doctor". He basically believes in common sense. Part of that common sense is the understanding of what is "optimal" and what is normal. He specializes in men's anti-aging medicine. He views loss of hormone with aging as a manageable condition that not only improves the quality of life, but prevents disease and lengthens life.

Here are some of the diseases associated with less than optimal hormone levels.
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Syndrome X
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Dementia (including Alzheimer's)
  • Erectile Dysfunction
Dr. Crisler strongly disagrees with the use of Anabolic Steroids in Sports. People in general, associate HRT with steroid use. Even some physicians do. Nothing could be further from the truth. HRT is simply restoring hormones to optimal levels, while Anabolic Steroid use in athletics may be using doses at an incredibly high level. Using blood thinners in the proper amounts is life-saving for some individuals. Using 15 times the dose of blood thinner will kill the same patient.

The speech and presentation were top-notch, informative and funny. The first segment, on Testosterone, is available HERE, in Powerpoint format. I highly recommend you download it.

The second segment of Dr. Crisler's presentation was "The Un-GHRT". It revealed his beliefs on Growth Hormone replacement. He believes it is more important to restore rather than replace. With that philosophy he uses GHRP, or Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide along with supportive measures. Primarily GHRP-6. The basis of his treatment with both GH and Testosterone is very specific blood testing. Nothing is guesswork as this area of medicine has been the Doc's specialty for over nine years. His UnGHRT lecture is also in Powerpoint format and very detailed. You can download it HERE.

Dr. Crisler has been very charitable with his time and knowledge. As anyone inside the fitness business can tell you, he's been the "go to" source for solid information about hormone replacement therapy on fitness and strength forums for years. His own website has a forum for questions on a variety of subject. He's a great source of referrals for HRT physicians as well. His website is .

I highly recommend checking out Dr. Crisler, then talking to your physician if the signs of low testosterone creep up on you. What are those signs? Here's the Doctor's own list. Good Luck.
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Fat gain
  • Poor recovery
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Decreased memory
  • Lack of libido
  • Erectile Dysfunction

How To Eat Right

(Our Monday night dinner: Chicken Stir Fry and veggies in toasted sesame oil).

by Tom Furman

Humans are designed to eat enough food to grow to maturity, reproduce, and die. The human body is flexible enough to deal with poor nutrition, adequate nutrition and excess nutrition. This is not to say there is not a balanced state of optimum nutrition. Unfortunately modern man is but a shadow of his efficient hunter/gatherer ancestors. Plentiful hunting grounds and lush vegetation have been replaced by spacious supermarkets and jumbo sized food courts. No longer do muscular legs hunt prey and gather fruits and nuts, but withered limbs use escalators to deliver the overfed masses to restaurants which will feed you 10,000 calories for ten bucks.

The deep fried carbohydrates being sold hardly qualify as food, but rather a cleverly designed caloric delivery system. They leave you satiated, undernourished, and overfed. The bottom line is, if you are overfat (pinch an inch), you are eating for a specific feeling that the food chemistry gives you. You are not eating for nutrition, you are not eating because the food tastes good, you are eating food for something OTHER than survival, nourishment, pleasure, or socialization. If you have clinical or morbid obesity, you are structuring your life specifically to have food present and available wherever you are. Your life is geared around food.

Calories count, period. There is no magic. Eat less calories and you will lose weight. There are more efficient macronutrient breakdowns to prevent muscle and bone loss, but no REAL magic. If calories are reduced, nutrients must be dense to provide for adequate nutrition. This requires VERY specific food choices. A benefit of reduced calories is its anti aging effect. All mammals, under low calorie conditions resist and reverse aging mechanisms.

Very important is the awareness that pastry, bread, bagels, potatoes, rice, juice, cereal, and pasta are simple starches and will rapidly feed the fat stores in your body. These foods should be replaced with low sugar fruits, greens, and vegetables from a variety of colors. Even with this beneficial trade, IT IS THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF CARBOHYDRATES IN THE DAY that counts. It goes back to the idea of the TOTAL AMOUNT OF CALORIES. There is no free lunch.

Carbohydrates vary in density and quality. You should totally ignore, and I repeat, totally ignore the labels on food that show "23 grams of carbohydrate, and only 8 grams of sugar". This is fantasy. In the case of juice, bread, breakfast cereal, and "energy bars" this is VERY misleading. The carbohydrates in those products RAPIDLY turn to sugar in the body. In fact many popular foods such as potatoes, pizza, and bagels are served in portions that exceed anything that would resemble a normal, human, carbohydrate intake.

Proteins must come from lean sources. There are healthier sources of fat than the fat that surrounds incorrect protein choices. Therefore the leanest protein choices combined with healthy, 'smart', fats from separate sources are your best bet. Lean sources from animals would be seafood, particularly coldwater fish like cod and salmon. Appropriate poultry sources would be turkey breast and chicken breast. The other parts of these birds are close to lower grade beef in terms of saturated fat and cholesterol. Some beef can be found that is less than 5% fat. This would be perfectly suitable as high grade protein source. Eggwhites, devoid of the fat-laden yolk is also a good source. Many scientists debate on the effect of the egg yolk's on blood cholesterol. This argument may go on for years, but other components of the yolk, namely arachadonic acid, and saturated fat have bad effects on blood chemistry and health. Other sources such as wild game are excellent and closely represent what our hunter/gatherer ancestors ate. These would include, ostrich, buffalo, elk, and venison. By all means, try to find sources of these alternative proteins. Lastly, dairy products like low fat milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt provide top grade protein and an excellent form of calcium.

Fat is nothing to be feared, it must be understood. There is fat to avoid, like trans and rancid fat. Then there is fat to be embraced such as monounsaturated sources and fish fat. Fat is a dense source of calories, so a little bit goes a long way. Many low fat food sources can be enhanced in nutrative value and satiation by adding the correct fats. Simply adding fish to the diet, or fish oil, has a tremendous effect the betterment of ones health. The inclusion of olive oil, macadamia nuts, almonds, and avocados provide flavor, nutrients, and a healthy dose of friendly fats. Never eating anything fried is another simple tool that points your metabolic compass in the right direction. Burning fats or exposing them to excessive air or heat is to be avoided entirely. A simple list of good fats vs bad fats, and some simple storage and preparation guidelines are all that is needed to integrate fats into a proper fat loss and fitness program. One quick postscript on fat,..under no circumstances are potato chips, french fries, or bacon good. They represent the rotton end of the bad fat spectrum. I have never seen a potato chip walk the earth. Once again this goes double for frying,...DON'T. You are using an effective delivery mechanism to induce rancid, overheated fat to your body and the body of your loved ones.

You must have short term goals, and a long term outlook. You must have a plan to reformat your lifestyle and get lean. The idea that diets do not work is an interesting one however. Any diet, by any design,has to work. It is based on a reduction of calories. Physics work, try dropping a pen and see if it hits the ground. Most frequently, it will. That means the laws of physics are intact. You can safely assume that increase activity and decreasing intake will result in a reduction of stored energy (BODYFAT).

That leaves the ball in your court. Since this energy formula works for everyone, only you can be responsible for your degree of obesity. In life, most often, the individual determines what goes in his mouth and how active his/her day is. NO ONE else determines this. The exceptions of course are things like concentration camps with inadequate calories and forced labor. Magically, everyone is devoid of fat, muscle, and health, through inhumane treatment. The example is relevant however. There is not ONE obese person in the crowd that is resistant to the energy in versus energy out formula. The opposite case of losing control over choice is the child whose diet is governed by misguided or uninformed adults. Then the natural energy demands of growth, childhood activity, and high metabolic rate, are outgunned by a diet of densely caloric foods that are rich in bad fats, loaded with simple carbs, and highly accessable by clever marketing. The average adult, therefore, is totally responsible for their bodyfat levels.

The word RESPONSIBLE sounds heavy, but is wonderful news. If you created it, you can change it. You have ABSOLUTE control over your bodyfat levels. Many people live in a world of avoiding responsibility, and living with a highly developed excuse-making mechanism. They are not responsible for ANYTHING in their lives. They always lay the blame for poor decision making elsewhere. They blame bodyfat on addictions, stress, hormones, genetics, horoscopes, relationships, and nationality, yet fail to realize that the one common denominator mathematically involved in all of these excuses is THEM. For them, they are not fat because of choices they made. Diets do not work for them. It's as if some scary little gnomes from the movie "Phantasm" come in their bedroom at night and stuff cream pies in their mouth while they are asleep. They wake up magically more obese than they were the night before! Remember this, if you have control, you have the ability to change anything, if you don't have control, someone else does. Let's hope that someone else is adequately schooled in diet and exercise to force you into a good program.

In a discussion of fat loss it is important to mention genetics. If you want a lean, fit, body, with little effort, choose your parents correctly. Make sure they are tall, lean, and have well defined muscles. Also make sure those parents enjoy physical activity and learning. The truth is you are stuck with the cards nature dealt you. Even if you have hormonal problems, injuries, and obesity on both sides of the family tree, your body is subject to the energy formula. The manner in which you get fat, in fact, is determined by genetics. Your genes control the amount of muscle mass, bone length, neurological efficiency, and hormonal make up. This means that only you can determine where you want to take the vehicle that you call your body. We all know someone who eats everything and is naturally thin and fit. They may say that they were athletic when they were young, or worked on a farm or other labor intensive job in their youth. This they claim, may be why they have been fairly strong and slender all of their lives. They of course may also believe in Bigfoot and Crop Circles. The reason they have a superior genetic make up is their gene pool. Dribbling a basketball will not make you 7 feet tall, your parents determined that. A 22 inch waist on a woman is determined by heredity and not training. In fact, a small waist is less stable and probably under-muscled. 300 pounders and 7 footers die sooner than folks of average height. Enter the realm of reality and live in the now. How you looked in high school, during football, in your twenties, at your wedding, before your first child, yadda-yadda,...WHO CARES? You cannot change the past, and it is gone anyway. You have definite control over the NOW. You have the power to make decisions, you can understand the grade school math, you can decipher the middle school physics, and you can reproduce the high school physical education exercise program and be successful.

The pathway to fat loss begins with accountability. Be responsible, look in the mirror and point the finger at the only person in control. Do not blame your parents, your youth, your genetics, your spouse, your friends, the food industry, fast food restaurants, addictions, allergies, depression, hormones, doctors, or the media. Take control and wield the power of change. Don't be the person stuffing food down their pie-hole whining about everything, but doing nothing. In fact take a photo or video of your self and use it as a reference as you are successful in your fat reduction program. Also forget the nonsense that the camera adds ten pounds. That would mean that many people have six cameras pointed at them at once. Use simple measurement tools like a bathroom scale and a tape measure for the waist. Do not get hung up on the numbers, just realize there will be a non linear reduction over a period of time. The closer you are to VERY lean, the harder it is to get leaner. This is why the exercise is SO important. It gives shape to the body that was covered previously with pounds and pounds of fat.

The last component, is the need for coaching. No one is born with all the specialized knowledge in the world. You may need a guide or coach to inform, motivate, and entertain you on your journey. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Find someone who can give you clear guidelines, sensible rules, and appropriate distinctions. If anything they say sounds like it is something for nothing, away. Dietary voodoo promises magic but delivers only smoke and mirrors. Remember though, mystery holds more attention than logic. The elaborate spin attached to special diets may only be masking the authors denial of reality. Physics work, voodoo dieticians and trainers don't. The simple energy formula with a basic understanding of food groups and the application of physical activity will work magic in the right hands. There is NO need for dis-illusion, illusions, or new age flamboyance. Keep it real, keep it focused, and keep making small decisions that will forever change your bodyfat levels and fitness profile.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Supplements That May Aid in Weight Loss

by Robin White

I took notes here on a lecture by Dr. Stacey Nottingham at "Yes We Can...Think Outside the Box" Conference on Science-Based Medicine at Nova Southeastern University on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

"The Science of Weight Loss"

Just a note: This is a subject that is so controversial, but it is such a popular subject these days, I decided to cover it in the blog. I do want to also note, that the idea of taking a pill in the place of exercise and proper eating is abhorrent to me, I also recognize that some people need some extra help to jump start and so this article may be of some help. Additionally, these supplements are by no means the only ones that can be used. I encourage you to write to us with your own experiences and thoughts.

Her lecture divides into 3 parts: 1) The body's ability to burn fat, 2) About Your Brain & 3) It's About Balancing Your Hormones

Your body is an energy machine. every activity requires energy.

The Hidden C's: Carbohydrates (converts to sugar in the blood)

Insulin Resistance. (She was asked so much about this topic, she felt it necessary to explain in detail)

When the body has an overload of insulin pumped into the bloodstream, after a long time of insulin "reacting" and trying to get sugar out of the bloodstream and into the muscles/ liver or fat, it becomes "tired" or "saturated" with the message and begins ignoring the call for insulin. It is at the this point that the body has become "insulin resistant". This is the beginning of type 2 Diabetes.

Dr. Nottingham noted that she had battled years of being overweight and has found supplements that helped with her own weight loss.

She explained her theory on what to use and why to use them.

1) Green Tea. Green tea's main advantage for weight loss is that it pulls sugar out of the blood, combating insulin resistance.

2) Vanadyl Sulfate. She uses this for what she calls "stubborn sugar". She describes stubborn sugar as those people with a glucose level of over 100. It is composed of vanadium and mimics the effects of insulin and also helps with insulin resistance. Diabetics can use this with their regular medications. Suggested dosage is 7.5mg 2x per day.

3) Fiber. Pectin, Guar, Psyllium. Metamucil is NOT considered fiber in Stacey's book. This kind of fiber is like a paste. You eat it maybe 30 minutes before a meal. It makes you feel full. It is important to use very little at first, because it can cause a lot of gas. Start with 1 gram and go up as needed.

4) Magnesium. If you take 160-325mg before bedtime, it helps keep you regular and increases GABA in the brain, so it is very relaxing.

5) Carb Blockers. Amylase Enzyme or White Kidney Bean capsules (445mg 2 x day with meals) There is a brand called "Cheaters" which she named.

6) Fucoxanthin with Pomegranate Seed Oil. It is made from Brown seaweed, it activates mitochondrian uncoupling protein in fat tissue (Take 1-2 caps with every meal) Prevents regular fat cells from becoming "mature" (big) fat cells.

7) 7 KETO DHEA. This drives liver cells to burn fatty acids for energy. (100mg in the AM, and 100mg at lunch)



Unknown to many thin people, a great many overweight people do not feel full when they eat. Hence they do not have any signal by the brain to tell them when to stop. Leptin is the hormone responsible for this, produced from the fat cells. It tells us when we are full. Overweight people were found to have very high levels of Leptin, which seems like an oxymoron.

Their cells are leptin resistant. (Similar to insulin resistance, in that the sensitivity to the hormone is lost.) So the leptin they have actually has no effect on the brain anymore.

She combats this in two ways:

1) Irvingia Gabonesis. Combats Leptin resistance. Increases Leptin sensitivity by inhibiting glycerol-3 phosphates dehydrogenase (takes up to 8 weeks) Not an appetite suppressant. (Two 150mg caps per day)

2) Fish Oil. Helps out the "feel full" mechanism.
Note: Fish oil is so good for you in so many ways, Reverse Magazine believes you should definitely be taking it. This is just one more reason to try it.


Three reasons: Emotional, Biological and Physiological

Stop Carbohydrate Cravings by increasing Serotonin in the Brain.

2) L-Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain (500 to 3,000mg before sleep)


For those under the age of 40, unless you have severe symptoms, hormone balancing is not usually an issue. If you are over 40, then it is possible that you may have hormone imbalances, which can cause you to gain undue or sudden weight in the stomach area.s

Balance out Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. Correct estrogen dominance by having a hormone panel and getting on bio-identical hormones if necessary. Compounded directly to your body's needs. You will need a physician who is versed in bio-identicals to do a hormone panel, prescribe the right dosage based on that panel, and then monitor you periodically, every 6 months to a year, after you are balanced. The blood or saliva panel and diagnostic is probably around $300. The cost is very low for the actual compound, only about $40 per month.

1) The Stress Hormone - Cortisol. When we are stressed, the hypothalmus via the pituitary directs the adrenal glands to secrete Cortisol and Adrenaline.

During Stress: The Fight or Flight mechanism is activated.

A) When stress occurs, fat is broken down via the adrenaline rush, but then it dissipates.

B) Cortisol stays high, because it is needed to refuel the body after your stressful fight with the saber-toothed tiger or angry boss. Cortisol acts as a storage messenger to store the fuel.

Today, we have constant stress and no physical activity to get rid of that extra fuel.

Result: We get overweight more easily.

Cortisol stays high. It also messes with Leptin. It takes a small fat cell and makes it into a big fat cell.

Cortisol should be higher in the morning, but because of our longer hours, more stress, we end up flipping that curve, being sleepy in the morning, and often wide awake at night.

Most who would classify themselves as "night time eaters" would find their cortisol levels are probably higher at night.



a) L-Theanine - relaxes (100-400mg day)
b) Lemon Balm - reduces anxiety (600mg day)
c) Meditation

Decrease Cortisol (take in afternoon)
a) Vitamin C 3000mg day
b) Phosphatidylserine (300mg) Blunts release of cortisol
c) Omega 3 Fatty acid (Fish oil)

Dr. Stacey Nottingham is a local physician, and that can be found at:

To wrap things up again, the content of this material is controversial. My take on it is as follows. If you have very stubborn fat, which does not respond to a clean, limited portion diet, devoid of starchy carbs and sugar AND moderate daily exercise, then you may want to experiment with one or some of these supplements and treatments. I would start with one at a time and see how they work for you. I would not advocate spending lots of money. You could be spending a lot and get little to no results. Some people may do well, and others may not respond at all. This is really how it goes, so careful and sensible experimenting is the way to go.

Let us know your know your thoughts.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Obesity in the Workplace

By Tom Furman and Robin White

Interview by Reverse Magazine with Dr. Steven Joyal, author of "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Diabetes" Dr. Joyal is also the Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Medical Development for Life Extension Foundation, based in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Reverse Magazine caught up with Dr. Joyal at the "Yes We Can...Think Outside the Box" Conference on Science-Based Medicine at Nova Southeastern University on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

Reverse: Dr. Joyal, In light of the huge increase in obesity in the US, we would like to talk to you specifically about obesity as a problem in the United States workforce and how you believe it directly affects productivity in the workplace?

SJ: "The condition of obesity has such a profound impact on health and is associated with such a wide variety of diseases such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension, metabolic disorder, diabetes, sleep apnea, colon cancer, prostate cancer, asthma and so many other risks that can be incurred by obesity. This loss of health and disease can be directly attributable to loss of productivity in the workplace."

Reverse: Everyone may have a different idea of what obesity is, so for the record, we would like to get your definition of obesity.

SJ: "My definition would be a BMI over 30." (BMI is Body Mass Index, wikipedia describes this calculation as weight in lbs. x 703, divided by your height squared.) Another ‘real world’ way to understand obesity is about 30 lbs. or more over ideal body weight assuming a person is about 5’4” tall.”

Reverse: Well, ideal weight might also be a little subjective, for instance we remember those Health charts that insurance companies used to send out about ideal body weight and thought they were a little bit heavier than ideal.

SJ: "That's interesting, because according to most of those charts, I am considered obese at 195 lbs." (Dr. Joyal does not look obese, he is about 6'1'' and quite trim) "Those charts do not take into consideration waist size. For instance, a man with a 40 inch waist at 195 lbs. would be considered obese, but if he is 195 lbs. with a waist of 32 inches, then not at all. So, body composition must also be considered."

"So, to further elaborate on this, what we also use to characterize metabolic disease risk in the context of determining obesity, is if a man has a waist size over 40 inches and a woman has a waist size of over 35 inches, we consider them to be at significant risk of disease."

Reverse: Ok, so then that brings us back to the workplace. We feel that one of the big obstacles is the workplace itself. We are wondering what your ideas would be on how to get companies to give incentives to workers to stay healthier, because after all, it would improve their bottom line.

SJ: "An on-site gym is one of the best ways to encourage workers to get healthier. There is so much data that shows the enormous benefits that moderate exercise for an average of 30 minutes per day can effect on body composition, lipids, glucose levels and a host of other health indicators. The quality of the workers lives, how happy they are directly affects their productivity. A happy worker is a productive worker."

"Another idea if an employer cannot put in a gym, is to offer incentives of wellness credits toward a gym membership"

"Flexibility in the workplace is another idea. Allowing workers the freedom to work from home also helps employers to retain highly skilled and productive workers."

Reverse: It would be cool for employers to give memberships to Life Extension.

SJ: "Yes, employers could offer an automatic membership to Life Extension Foundation where they could take advantage of all the latest scientific information we publish in our monthly publication, as well as discounted supplements."

Reverse: One last question. How do you see the new proposed Obama Healthcare plan as affecting obesity in the workplace? Do you think it will help, hinder or have no effect at all?

SJ: "I think that there is a growing awareness in the highest levels of government that our modern system of healthcare s based on a "disease model". It is good at treating acute illness, and not very good at the prevention of it."

"I think they realize that it is easier and less costly in the long run to prevent disease. We are in a unique advantage right now that baby boomers are starting to reach retirement age and they do not seem likely to settle for the same quality of life as their parents did. They want a greater quality of life. So, that huge population may well have a greater influence on the medical community to be more responsive to the prevention of disease."

Reverse: Thank you Dr. Joyal, we appreciate your time in answering our questions.

Life Extension Foundation can be found on the web at: