Michael Roizen, MD, on Staying Young

illustration by Mark Summers

Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-author of the newly released update of YOU: The Owner’s Manual, takes his own stay-healthy, live-longer advice and literally walks the walk. 

Health & Wellness You are the first chief wellness officer at any major academic health institution. What does that title mean?

Dr. Michael Roizen Most people do not think about seeing a physician until they are ill, but we want to place an emphasis on seeing a doctor to stay well.

H&W Do you drink wine for your health?

MR I am an amateur connoisseur. Any kind of alcohol decreases risk of vascular disease, but increases risk of immune disorders. Most men have an enzyme in their stomach lining that metabolizes alcohol before it gets to the bloodstream, so men can safely consume one to two drinks per night, but women should adhere to one-half to one drink per night.

H&W Were you health conscious as a child? Were your parents?

MR I don’t consider myself a health nut . . . oh, what the hell, I am a health nut. I did not start off this way, though. A patient instigated the change in 1986. He was a cigarette smoker and I could not convince him to quit. He challenged me to show him data proving that smoking made him at least 10 years older. I dug in to the data, and it transformed everything I did.

H&W You are pro-caffeine, correct?

MR For most people, the more caffeine consumed, the lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, nine types of cancer, and diabetes. I drink

six to eight cups of coffee per day.

H&W Is it true you use a treadmill desk?

MR I am walking on it as we speak. I use it between one and five hours per day. I do not go to bed without hitting 10,000 steps. During our talk, I have done about 2,000 steps so far.

H&W Do you juice?

MR With juicing there is too much sugar and not enough fiber. I do blending or mixing of whole fruits instead, using a Vitamix. You can put anything in there. I could put a tire in there and it would become a liquid preparation. You get the fiber and feel full longer this way, rather than throwing out the good stuff.

H&W Have you had your genome sequenced?

MR Yes. Our DNA controls 85 percent of our health: 20 percent is genes and the rest is switches that control those genes. Our lifestyle can change those switch positions. I do almost everything I know of to stay healthy except get enough sleep. My problem is I like Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report too much. ✦

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