Interview with Suzanne Somers: Living Proof that Anti-Aging Therapies Work

Just how old is Suzanne Somers anyway? That’s the question in everyone’s mind upon meeting this vibrant, youthful health advocate, who is the author of 25 books.

Suzanne Somers is living proof of her self-described “new way of aging.” Although she appears ageless, Suzanne proudly reveals she is an amazing 72-years-old as of this 2018 interview with Life Extension’s Michael A. Smith, MD. Listen to the interview by clicking here to download this Live Foreverish podcast episode for FREE on iTunes!

How does she do it?

Hormones are a Game Changer

“Hormones are the game changer,” Suzanne asserted. “The lack of understanding about hormone replacement in conventional medicine is just shocking to me.”

Dr. Mike agreed that hormone replacement is not faddish nor exotic, but a way of balancing our body’s own messengers that enable the brain and the rest of the body to communicate with one another. When asked how she responds to nonbelievers in hormone replacement therapy, Suzanne replied that she tries to set a good example.

“This is what 72 looks like now,” Suzanne stated. “And it’s because of hormones. If I hadn’t been taking hormones for the last 25 years, I wouldn’t look this way, I wouldn’t feel this way, I wouldn’t have the figure I have, I wouldn’t have the energy I have, I wouldn’t have the libido I have. As a result of hormones, I have all those things. I don’t mean it to sound like braggadocio, but I just want people to know the possibilities.”

Bloodwork, Not Guesswork

Signs and symptoms are often the language of the body when it asks for what it needs. “The Seven Dwarves of Menopause” so often referred to by Suzanne—itchy, bitchy, sleepy, sweaty, bloated, forgetful and all dried up—could be an expression of the body’s need for hormones. Replacement of these hormones should not guided by guesswork, but by the results of comprehensive bloodwork.

Quality of Life: Quality Over Quantity

“We have figured out how to extend life,” Suzanne noted. “We are going to live longer—much longer than our parents. But we’re not going to live healthier.”

“Certainly, allopathic medicine has its place,” she emphasized. “It’s a godsend. But I also think we’ve hit the wall with pharmaceuticals. Throwing pills at people is creating this thing I call the long, slow death. And it costs about a quarter of a million dollars.”

We’ve all known people who have experienced this prolonged decline. They may have had the best doctors but, as Suzanne remarked, none of them were talking to each other.

Menopause “The Change” is Life Changing

Concerning her present role as a health advocate, Suzanne explained that she didn’t choose it. “I loved being Chrissie Snow on Three’s Company,” she stated. “I loved doing sitcoms, I loved doing my nightclub act. I loved all that.”

But at age 50, Suzanne experienced a distressing menopause-associated decline in hormones along with a breast cancer diagnosis. This “big wake-up call” led to the question, “What have I done to play host to this disease?”

At that moment, Suzanne decided to change her life.

“I was going to change the way I ate, I was going to change the way I thought, I was going to change the way I sleep—I was going to value food and sleep in a way that I never had before.”

In addition to food and sleep, another factor that needs to be considered when trying to improve our health is our environment. While it appeared as less of an issue several decades ago, many believe we are currently under an environmental assault that may be the greatest in the history of humanity. However, we can create a healthy environment at home by the choices we make in regard to our diet, what we put on our skin, the air we breathe (which can be filtered with air purifiers), and the cleaning products we use, which should be nontoxic.

Suzanne Somers’ New Book

Suzanne offered her listeners a sneak preview of her upcoming book.

“I’m writing about ‘the new way to age,’” she announced. “The game-changer always is hormones.”

Her “new way to age” involves replacing hormones in the exact amounts that are missing, consumption of organic food, and understanding the toxic assault we all face. She recommends that couples adopt a clean lifestyle for at least three months before attempting to conceive and suggested the present increase in diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and other conditions might be due in part to the increased burden of toxins.1,2 Leaky gut syndrome could be another contributor, according to Dr. Mike .3

“If I had to say one thing, it’s about the food,” Suzanne concluded. “The food you feed your children, the food you feed yourself . . . processed food is not food.”

“I think I’m preaching to the choir, but there’s a new way to age and it can be without illness.”

About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike as he sits down with some of today’s leading medical, health, and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and helpful advice to help you live your life to the fullest. See the full list of Live Foreverish Podcast episodes, available on demand.

  1. Ficks CA et al. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Oct;11(5):387-92.
  2. Bilbo SD et al. Exp Neurol. 2018 Jan;299(Pt A):241-251.
  3. Fowlie G et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Aug 1;19(8).

Best Form of Folate to Take? Folic Acid Awareness Week

Holli Ryan RD, LD/N

The Benefits of Folate and the Best Form to Take

The best form of folate to take is the metabolically active form called L-methylfolate (also known as
5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF).

However, folic acid, the synthetic form of vitamin B9 (folate) is commonly found in fortified foods and (historically) in vitamin supplements.

Folate naturally occurs in foods like green leafy vegetables such as spinach but many processed foods, such as enriched grains and breakfast cereals, are fortified with folic acid.1

Folate has many benefits and is essential to many processes in the body including brain development and function, nucleic acid and amino acid metabolism, DNA synthesis and more.2 Its role in many methylation reactions also suggests folate is important for helping prevent certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.2

Is Taking Folic Acid Supplements Enough?

No, taking folic acid supplements and eating foods fortified with folic acid may not be enough to support optimal folate levels in populations with impaired folic acid metabolism.3 In the body, folic acidmust undergo several metabolic reactions in order to be converted to the active folate form. Although not currently a standard of care in mainstream medicine, the suggested alternative is to eat foods that naturally* contain folate and supplement with the metabolically active form of folate; L-methylfolate. L-methylfolate can increase plasma folate levels more effectively than folic acid, as it does not require any metabolic conversion or activation.4

*Not all foods with naturally occurring folate are 100% bioavailable.2

What is Impaired Folic Acid Metabolism?

People with MTHFR gene mutations (also known as SNP’s - single nucleotide polymorphisms) have often have impaired folic acid metabolism. Individuals with MTHFR genetic mutation(s) cannot efficiently convert folic acid to its active form (L-methylfolate) because of their reduced activity of the enzyme required to convert it.5 This enzyme is called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR for short.

It is estimated that between 5 -10 percent of the global population has a mutation (gene sequencing variant) that reduces MTHFR activity by 70 percent.6

How to Test for MTHFR Gene Mutations

To find out if you have an MTHFR gene mutation and impaired folic acid metabolism, you can take a simple blood or saliva (cheek swab) test.

Your genes (and gene mutations) are inherited from your parents. At conception, you receive one copy of the MTHFR gene from each parent for a total of two MTHFR genes. Mutations in either one or both can result in lowered enzyme activity. Non-mutated (normal) MTHFR genes are defined as C677C and A1298A. The lab test will tell you how many mutations, if any, you have. Depending on the mutation type(s), there are correlated varying degrees of enzyme activity ranging from 100% (complete activity) to less than 10 percent.7 In other words, those with a genetic mutation in MTHFR will have varying levels of difficulty creating the active form of folic acid, which is the important folate form the body needs to function properly.

Health Problems Associated with MTHFR Gene Mutations

Outcomes vary, depending on the person and their gene variant. Some conditions, signs, and symptoms associated with having an MTHFR gene mutation include:

  • Having high homocysteine levels (a risk factor for heart disease)
  • Abnormal vitamin B12 or B9 levels, 
  • Migraines, 
  • Nerve sensitivities, 
  • Mental health problems
  • Repeated miscarriages or pregnancies with neural tube defects and more.2,8 
Because folate is so essential during pregnancy, creating awareness for it is the primary objective of National Folic Acid Awareness Week. Due to the significant impact of MTHFR gene mutations on human health, including pregnancy, perhaps creating awareness for MTHFR should be part of this initiative.

About the author: Holli (Lapes) Ryan RD, LD/N is a Social Media Content Specialist at Life Extension®. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist residing in the South Florida area. Holli believes that quality dietary supplements are an essential tool that have a variety of applications from maintaining good health to managing chronic disease.


Whole-Person Cancer Care: Alternative Approaches to Treating Cancer

Are there alternative ways to treat cancer that can be added to standard regimens?

Is it within our power to prevent cancer and other serious illnesses? Should medicine focus on
treating the disease or treating the person? Are there alternative ways to treat cancer that can be added to standard regimens? Leigh Erin Connealy, MD—who is the founder and medical director of The Center for New Medicine and The Cancer Center for Healing, and a leader in the integrative/functional medicine field—believes in treating people rather than diseases, while determining the origin of illnesses.

Find out about Dr. Connealy’s perspective on cancer and more in her interview with Life Extension’s Michael A. Smith, MD, by clicking here to download this Live Foreverish podcast episode for FREE on iTunes!

War on Cancer

A failed war on cancer demands a different strategy

December 2018 marked the 47th year since the war on cancer was declared by President Richard M. Nixon by the signing into law of the National Cancer Act. “The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease,” President Nixon stated in his January 1971 State of the Union address. “Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal."

Undoubtedly, progress has been made in understanding cancer, and the odds of surviving many forms of the disease has improved. Yet humanity is a long way from achieving a goal declared long before the birth of many of today’s cancer patients.

Dr. Connealy observed that no form of the disease, as currently treated with chemotherapy and radiation, has a 100% survival rate, which makes the addition of alternative therapies for treating cancer a necessity. And while newer treatments are in the pipeline, patients whose disease is at an advanced stage may not have time to participate in a clinical trial.

Whole-Body Health

The Three “E”s of Healing

Eating, energy, and emotion are three important aspects of well-being that are addressed by Dr. Connealy. Understanding the science of food, the body’s energy, and how our emotions affect us is essential to healing.

“We all, as physicians, need to address the whole person,” Dr. Connealy told Dr. Smith. “And what is the whole person? That’s their mind, body, emotions, physical well-being—everything they do, how they live.”

Two Ways to Treat Cancer: Conventionally and Holistically

According to conventional medicine, there are 3 main ways to treat cancer. To briefly describe the three main conventional methods of treating cancer, traditional oncology treats cancer by removing it surgically, targeting the tumor with radiation, or suppressing cancer cell growth with chemotherapy. While these disease-focused therapies comprise one way to treat cancer, Dr. Connealy believes the best way to treat cancer is to add a second approach. New approaches to treating cancer focus on evaluating the whole person.

Patients should have complete bloodwork evaluations when initially seeking treatment. Many factors come into play in the development of a disease. For example, having a high hemoglobin A1c is indicative of chronic elevations in blood sugar, which could predispose an individual to cancer.1 Because cancer survives better in a high glucose environment, it is necessary to change the milieu in which cancer cells live by addressing underlying and often previously undetected conditions like diabetes. High C-reactive protein and low serum vitamin D levels are also associated with cancer risk and should be evaluated.2,3

“Obviously you can’t address whole-body health care in the first visit,” Dr. Connealy added. “It’s going to take several visits to peel the onion of each person.”

Speaking of onions, they are among the best foods to prevent and possibly even help treat cancer, according to Dr. Connealy. In addition to onions and other members of the Allium genus (which also includes garlic and leeks), she recommends green drinks and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, which also have chemopreventive properties.4-6

Dr. Smith added that prostate oncologist Stephen Strum, MD, had extended the survival of stage 4 terminal prostate cancer patients by doing nothing but changing their diets.

In her book, The Cancer Revolution, Dr. Connealy emphasizes the connection between toxins and cancer.7 “We are in a sea of toxins,” she remarked. “Food additives, gasoline, plastic, medications, the water, the air we breathe—we are inundated.”

She compared cancer to a world-wide plague caused, in part, by unavoidable toxin exposure.

“One of the single greatest things that anyone can do is to start cleaning up their bodies. You can do simple, little things, starting with your eating.”

The Future of Health Care

From health care to self-care

Health care—its skyrocketing cost and unequal accessibility—is one of the major concerns of our time, but is it being approached the right way? Will endless scrutiny of diseases under the microscope of science find the cure to cancer we are all eagerly awaiting? Or should research focus on the host?

Dr. Connealy believes that self-care is the future of health care. “We can’t afford health care today. We spend twice as much as any country in the world,” Dr. Connealy observed, referring to an approximation of the percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product spent on health care.8

Dr. Connealy observed that there’s not as much guesswork involved in medicine these days compared to the past. “There are roadmaps that you can develop based upon testing.”

For example, measurement of circulating tumor cells can provide an indication of the potential for metastasis.9

When asked by Dr. Smith what it is going to take to get more oncologists to incorporate some of these wholistic approaches into their practice, Dr. Connealy noted that it’s sometimes the patients who are the driving force in accomplishing these changes.

“It’s not that complicated . . . And—the most important thing—it does not harm the patient.”

About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike as he sits down with some of today’s leading medical, health, and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and helpful advice to help you live your life to the fullest. See the full list of Live Foreverish Podcast episodes, available on demand.


  1. Goto A et al. Int J Cancer. 2016 Apr 1;138(7):1741-53.
  2. Endo H et al. Circ J. 2018 Dec 12.
  3. McDonnell SL et al. PLoS One. 2016 Apr 6;11(4):e0152441.
  4. Soundararajan P et al. Molecules. 2018 Nov 15;23(11)
  5. Puccinelli MT et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jul 28;18(8).
  6. Nicastro HL et al. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar;8(3):181-9.
  7. Connealy LE. The Cancer Revolution. 2017 Lifelong Books
  8. Papanicolas I et al. JAMA. 2018 Mar 13;319(10):1024-1039.
  9. Hou J et al. Onco Targets Ther. 2018 Nov 12;11:8053-8061.

Personalized Medicine: Profiling Cancer Cells for Customized Care

Personalized Cancer Treatment

Dr. Robert Nagourney is founder and director of Nagourney Cancer Institute, a research and testing lab in Long Beach, California that personalizes treatments for cancer patients. Dr. Nagourney is author of the book Outliving Cancer, a TEDx speaker, and a clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Over the past 20+ years, Dr. Nagourney and his team have developed a laboratory technique known as functional profiling which aids in the determination of the best drugs for each patient. Hear Michael A. Smith, MD, interview Robert A. Nagourney, MD, by clicking here to download this Live Foreverish podcast episode for FREE on iTunes!

What is Functional Profiling?

Molecular Profiling for Cancer

“We use each patient’s cancer cells—removed directly from their bodies at the time of surgery—to craft a treatment that is unique to their individual cancer,” Dr. Nagourney explained.

“We believe that cancer is more complicated than its genes, and we have become interested in the prospect of studying cancer biology at the level of the cell,” he elaborated. “So, we perfected a technique to isolate cancer patients’ cells in aggregates that we call organoids. These can reproduce the conditions of a patient’s own tumor, but in a test tube environment. Using these organoids, or microaggregates, we expose the cells to drugs and combinations, targeted agents, immune therapies, metabolomic agents, and we follow the cells to see if we can cause something called programmed cell death, one form of which is apoptosis. When we can see that in the test tube, we have a very good chance of getting the patient better with that drug.”

Tumor Profiling for Targeted Therapy

Go from Generalized to Personalized Cancer Treatment

Rather than administering the standard treatment to all patients with a particular type of cancer, functional profiling embodies a move toward personalized therapy. A cubic centimeter of living cancer cells is all that’s needed. Cells are obtained by the collection of fluid or biopsied tissue and are exposed to various agents. If a significant amount of cell death is observed, it is an indication that the patient could benefit from the agent or combination being tested.1,2 A meta-analysis (which analyzes the results of more than one study) conducted by Dr. Nagourney and colleagues that included data from a total of 1,917 study participants found a two-fold higher response rate and 44% improvement in one-year survival among patients who received treatment guided by functional profiling results, in comparison with patients who received standard care.3

Why don’t we hear more about personalized therapy?

There are two reasons, according to Dr. Nagourney.

“We had two scientific errors. The first was that we thought of cancer as a disease of cell growth and that isn’t the case. It turns out that cancer really succeeds by survival. Cancer is a disease that survives longer—it doesn’t grow faster but survives longer than other cells—and that’s how it builds up into the tumors that we treat. And secondly, cancer isn’t a cell, but a system. There’s a kind of ecology of human cancer. You have to study the cells in aggregates, which is what I mentioned earlier. We studied the actual organ of the cancer, not a cell. So, if you measure cell death instead of growth, and you do it in a microenvironment like the tumor’s own native state, you get a much better answer, and that’s slowly percolating into the literature. There are many people around the country who are reawakening to this, and I think you’ll see a lot more about this in the future.”

“You can change the microenvironment and that changes how that tumor responds, grows or even dies,” Dr. Smith concurred.

What’s in the future for cancer treatment?

Dr. Nagourney reiterated that his group is interested in phenotype as opposed to genotype. Cellular phenotype is the behavior and biology of the cell rather than the structure of its genetic material. When attempting to determine what drives cells to stay alive and how they accomplish this, Dr. Nagourney and his colleagues concluded that the reason can be attributed to metabolism. They recently authored an article concerning the metabolic basis of breast cancer which described how many cancers arise as the result of bioenergetic changes and cellular metabolism.4

“I think that the future will be looking in different directions—looking at cancer cells as metabolic and bioenergetic cells that have to be changed, not at their DNA level, not at their growth rate, but at their metabolism and energy production,” Dr. Nagourney predicted. “If we can do that, we’ll come up with treatments that work better, with less toxicity.”

About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike as he sits down with some of today’s leading medical, health, and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and helpful advice to help you live your life to the fullest. See the full list of Live Foreverish Podcast episodes, available on demand.


1. Nagourney RA. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2006 Mar;7(2):103-10.
2. Nagourney RA et al. Anticancer Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):4453-60.
3. Apfel C et al. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31suppl;abstr e22188.
4. da Silva I et al. Oncotarget. 2018 Aug 3;9(60):31664-31681.

Discussion: Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity with Yale Professor Dr. Marie Robert, GI Specialist

Celiac Disease versus Gluten Sensitivity

Is it celiac disease. . . or something else?

That’s the question asked by Life Extension’s Michael A. Smith, MD, in his timely interview with Dr. Marie Robert, a nationally recognized gastrointestinal surgical pathologist and Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. Download this Live Foreverish podcast episode for FREE!

What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity?

Celiac Disease VS Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Everyone appears to be jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon these days. And while approximately 1% of the population has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents them from consuming gluten-containing food, others just feel better without gluten.1 The latter may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a medically-recognized phenomenon that occurs in an estimated 0.5 to 13% of the population.2

What is gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of two types of proteins in cereal grains that include wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is a Latin word meaning glue, which is an apt description for the elastic property gluten imparts to dough. Because wheat is the most commonly consumed grain in the US and many other parts of the world, gluten can be hard to avoid.

Related Article: Top 5 Questions About Gluten Answered

What are some of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease?

Possible adverse effects associated with celiac disease include bloating, gas or abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, general fatigue, itchy skin, tooth discoloration, joint pain, irritability, weight loss, delayed growth in children, fractures and thin bones, migraines, infertility, miscarriages, and an association with other autoimmune diseases. Many of these celiac disease symptoms are also associated with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Is there a test for celiac disease?

A simple and inexpensive blood test for anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody IgA can provide a celiac disease diagnosis in over 90% of those who have the disease. The test detects the presence of an antibody to an enzyme in the body known as tissue transglutaminase, which is attacked by the immune system in celiac disease. Since a minority of individuals can have false negative celiac disease test results, concomitant testing of other factors such as deamidated gliadin IgA and serum IgA is suggested.3,4

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is currently only diagnosed by gluten withdrawal and a double-blind placebo-controlled gluten challenge.5

Because celiac disease is associated with a number of adverse effects, some of which may not be reversible, Dr. Robert recommends diagnostic testing as soon as possible when the disease is suspected.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with celiac disease?

If I’m diagnosed with celiac disease, I just avoid gluten, right?

It’s easier said than done. There is presently no cure for celiac disease, only management with a celiac disease diet, which involves avoiding gluten-containing foods. While there are now many foods on the shelves of most supermarkets that are certified as “gluten-free,” eating out in restaurants, going away to college, attending parties, etc., can be challenging.

Related Article: How To Go Gluten Free in 5 Steps

“The burden of disease is very high on individuals and their families,” Dr. Robert observed. “But I’m happy to say there are 13 drugs in clinical trials now at various stages and some of them have shown great promise to allow for a better life for patients with celiac disease, even to the point of perhaps inducing a tolerance so that one doesn’t react anymore.”

However, approval of these drugs is still five years away, according to Dr. Robert’s estimation. She encourages those who are interested to visit to view a list of celiac disease trials that may be accepting new enrollees. It’s important for patients to volunteer for research that could significantly impact their lives and that of others with the disease by advancing the approval of new therapies. Some of these compounds could eventually allow those with celiac disease to resume a normal eating pattern.

Dr. Robert re-emphasized the importance of testing to rule out celiac disease if one is experiencing any of its symptoms. She urged against following a gluten-free diet as a result of self-diagnosis.

“That really muddies the waters and may not be necessary.”

Life Extension has additional information about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity for those who wish to learn more about either condition.

  1. Lebwohl B et al. BMJ. 2015 Oct 5;351:h4347.
  2. Molina-Infante J et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 May;41(9):807-20.
  3. Leffler DA et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Dec;105(12):2520-4.
  4. Volta U et al. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Feb;4(1):31-5.
  5. Barbaro MR et al. F1000Res. 2018 Oct 11;7.

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