5 Questions for Alan Safdi MD, FACG

5 Questions for Alan Safdi MD, FACG

Medical Director, Telluride Longevity Institute

1. Tell us, in a nutshell, who you are and what you do.

I am so passionate about disease prevention that I stepped down as president of the Ohio GI and Liver Institute to start the Telluride Longevity Institute. We have focused so much in the U.S. on treatment of diseases that we have not given people the tools they need to prevent disease. Education is the key to success. This is not a quick-fix program—we strive, with a tremendous staff, to give people all the tools they need to succeed.

2. What was your driving force behind the creation of the Telluride Longevity Center?

After 40 years of being a doctor and traveling to numerous countries to observe their health care systems, I concluded that ours is unfortunately based on the treatment of illness rather than on disease prevention and quality of life. I have lectured on the topics of health, wellness, nutrition, and longevity to physician groups as well as the lay public. My background is in the treatment of diseases as chairman of the Section of Gastroenterology at Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati and president of the Ohio GI and Liver Institute. I have also been involved in over 800 clinical studies as president of the Consultants for Clinical Research. I became disenchanted with our failure to focus on prevention of dementia, cancer, heart disease, etc. We quickly prescribe medications but don’t put in the hours needed to delve into the patient’s diet, exercise patterns, and balance training, and also to take the time to educate on non-pharmacologic prevention.

3. What advice do you have for people who are really looking to jump-start or improve their physical health?

Learn to interpret the scientific literature that we are bombarded with daily. It is not just exercise that is key but healthy dietary patterns, stress, relaxation, balance programs, and education. Our programs will give people the tools necessary for success. We have discussions about the risks of many supplements and vitamins and also the evidence-based benefits to some of these agents.

4. What is your personal philosophy on aging well?

Aging well is work, including study, exercise, strong social circles, and a predominately but not solely plant-based diet.

5. How do people take home what you’ve taught them and continue on a healthier path?

We spend so much time with our small groups [the Institute sponsors intensive six-day Live Longer Retreats] that we become family. I continue to follow up with people by phone and email with a strong ongoing support program. I also write a wellness letter with cutting-edge research, and all attendees receive this regularly. I am always accessible.


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