You: The Owner's Manual for Your Body

WebMD Live Events Transcript 1

How well do you know your own body? If you think you learned it all in high school health class, you may be in for a surprise. Michael Roizen, MD, co-author of "YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger," joined us on May 26, 2005 to help us find out how we can live stronger and longer.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Welcome to WebMD Live, Dr. Roizen. Thank you for joining us today.

Thank you, it's great to be here.

The title of your book is YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger. I've even been reading parts of it aloud to my family and we all love it. Tell us how you came up with the idea of writing a health book for the average person, making it a fun read and offering up scientific information at the same time.

Well, I've got to tell you that my co-author, Dr. Mehmet Oz, deserves credit for coming up with the structure, idea, and pushing the envelope in humor. He was talking with one of his patients about his TV show, "Second Opinion with Dr. Oz" on Discovery Health. That patient said, "You need to hook up with Dr. Roizen, because while you have the anatomy of aging, what people also want is the action steps that help them prevent that anatomy and Dr. Roizen is the best at that."

Dr. Oz called me and two years later, after 40 hours of work on both of our parts for at least 40 weeks, the book resulted. Dr. Oz kept pushing the envelope and pushing me to get uncomfortable from my humor standpoint, but in truth, every minute of working on the book with a couple moments of exception, was pure fun.

We tried to make understandable to people that their bodies are cool, that it is neat and fun to be healthy and that small changes make a big difference in how long and how well they age.

"Aspirin is great at decreasing inflammation in your skin."

My skin looks dull and I get dry patches. The older I get, the worse it is. I hate looking in the mirror! What do you suggest to make my skin look healthier and younger?

There are a few things that are key for the skin. They relate to why the skin gets or looks old.

  • One is the skin gets old because our arteries deteriorate to the skin, so the major thing you can do is keep your arteries young.
  • The second thing is that there is inflammation, whether from sun or cigarettes or other causes or even genetics in your skin, so it is to prevent inflammation.
  • The third thing to keep your skin young is to trick it and the stem cells that are at the base of the outer layer of the skin into thinking they need to work harder to produce new skin.

Working backwards from number three, the trick is glycolic alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This is in many skin preparations. It is the only active ingredient in most of them and it tricks the skin into thinking it needs to reproduce more and thereby makes it look younger.

The second, going backwards, is to decrease inflammation. There are two things to do that. One is to wear an SPF 45 routinely and secondly, take aspirin, 162 milligrams a day with a glass of warm water before and after. Aspirin is great at decreasing inflammation in your skin.

The third is to make your arteries younger. This involves decreasing the nicks in your arteries. There is a wonderful cartoon in the book showing the four steps in arterial aging and what you can do to prevent them. The first step is that there is a nick in the artery wall. The second step is that you plaster over that nick with LDL cholesterol. You smooth that excess plaster out with a spatula of HDL cholesterol. The third step is inflammation in the artery and the fourth step is a clot. The key is preventing the nicks. You do that by having a normal blood pressure and a few other things, but the most important is to do whatever is necessary to have a blood pressure of 115/75. Before I give the typist cramps, I will just say the keys to that are having foods rich in potassium and folate, like spinach and orange juice, foods rich in healthy fats, like walnuts, olive oil, fish oils and avocados, and getting 600 milligrams of calcium twice a day.

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