You have been in the health industry for many years and have seen a lot of changes. What have been the drivers of positive change? “There are four. First the massive growth of the certified organic foods industry, from a negligible level in the 1980s to cited at over $20 billion in North America in 2013. “Second, the growth of widespread understanding that the gluten in wheat, rye and barley is a slow poison to people of European descent, and the massive growth of the gluten-free foods industry. It is wonderful to see the steady decline in the wheat and other processed grains industry over the last two decades. “Third, the growing recognition that processed sugar added to foods, especially high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is a stimulus for ADHD and other autism spectrum disorders, and the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease in later life. Public recognition of these adverse effects on health is reflected in the 12% decline in the soda industry in the last decade, and the reduction in sugar in the top brands of soft drinks. “Fourth, the incredible growth in the gym industry since 2000, especially in resistance exercise, which reflects a large increase in public understanding that maintenance of muscle mass as you age is essential to maintenance of cardiovascular and brain health because the muscular system provides about 50% of the pumping power to maintain oxygen flow to upper parts of the body.”
Are there any common problems with the developments that don’t have lasting positive effects? “The most common problem is that there are billions of dollars invested in obsolete systems of nutrition and exercise, such as casein based protein drinks, and fixed arc, seated, exercise machines. These systems and the profits they bring will not go away. The investors are now in a fight to the death to maintain their incomes, and have invented many bogus stories, employed tame, paid, scientists, paid athletes, even scholarships and research grants, and every other means possible to continue to fool the public.”
length, the control of the gene mTOR, the basic driver of protein deposition and differentiation, and the recognition that circadian rhythms control almost every physiological process in the human body, involving 20% of our total genome every 24 hours.”
Are these good trends? “Advances in science are neither good nor bad. It is the human use of these advances that determines whether or not they are beneficial. We have to remember that all advances in humanity, all our arts and sciences, all our technology, all our laws, all our trains, planes, and automobiles, everything, down to the lenses in our eyes that improve vision and the fillings in our teeth, arose purely from thoughts in the human brain. We created it all from a planet that was just sticks and rocks. Very few people would want a return to the world of even a century or so ago, a world without electricity, without antibiotics, without much provision for the old or the sick. Used properly, all advances in science also advance the character that makes us human – our humanity towards others.”
You have not lent your direct support to many companies or products. What do you look for to determine when your endorsement is appropriate? “I have three main criteria: the people, the products, and the science. To briefly explain: My PEOPLE criterion is best summarized as, I will work only with people that I would also want to spend leisure time with when not working. Life is too short to spend any of it working with unpleasant people, or with those whom you cannot see becoming your friends. I will also work only with people who walk their talk. If those who control a company are not walking advertisements for what they purport to know, they are not capable of advising others. “My PRODUCTS criterion is that they have to be original, designed by an in-house science team. Many companies today produce only “me too” products, which they copy from the real companies, along with copying all the real companies’ marketing materials and strategies. They are easy for an experienced scientist to spot, but generally fool the average consumer. “My SCIENCE criterion is that the company must have an inhouse science team headed by scientists you can look up in the US National Library of Medicine to confirm that they have peer-reviewed papers to their credit in the nutrition field in recognised scientific journals. Without that expertise, the products are generally worthless, based purely on hearsay and the profit motive.”
What trends do you see for the next 5 to 10 years?
What tools can the average person use to “sort the wheat from the chaff” in the health marketplace?
“With the advent of molecular genomics and the characterization of the human genome, the Microproteome Project and the Microbiome Project after the turn of this century, our understanding of human aging and its inhibition took a giant leap forward. There are now a number of integrated research projects involving hundreds of universities worldwide that have uncovered basic cellular processes that control aging. Three prominent factors are the prevention of loss of telomere
“The internet in general is a poor source and the TV and social media totally useless. As linguist Mark Pagel says, “The internet is the perfect tool for teaching humanity infinite stupidity”. “My best tool is PUBMED which, put into your browser, will enter you into the US National Library of Medicine where you can get the real science on any medical, nutrition, exercise, or aging subject – FREE.”
VISTA MAGAZINE ISSUE 97
t the age of 75, Dr Michael Colgan appears to be doing everything in his power to defy time. Over 50 years of research into the process of aging and the prevention and delay of its unwelcome effects have made him a recognized leader in the field, recognized also for putting what he has learned to practical use in his own life. Dr colgan shares with Vista, form research and a lifetime of experience, some of his insights on aging, health, and living well.