Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw are a couple of researchers who decided to hustle a buck or two. They do a good job of getting people enthusiastic about science. They also tend to release studies with very simplified conclusions and don't tell you how tentative some of the conclusions are, that they're not proven methods or that the conclusions are limited in some way. You really gotta take what they say with a grain of salt and they'll be the first ones to advise that caution.
They also tend to carry the flag of Iconoclasty against the Mainstream Medical and Research establishment. In this sense they are very much like Greg Ellis, though they tend to simply bury you under studies and sources. Question us? Here ya, go, do the research yourself. Greg either calls you a stupid layman or says, "Buy my book, it's in there".
In the last ten years, while their nutritional line of supplements and special foods were being sold via mail order they've been battling the FDA. It's their favorite legalistic hobby. Given how Nanny State the FDA has become it's not a battle I watch with disinterest.
They like to dress up in wild looking Sci-Fi duds, show off their bodies and talk about their sex lives. They've gone way out in the idea of better sex through supplementation. Everything in life would be better through the use of applied chemistry...
Their favorite theory of aging is based upon the "Free Radical" theory of aging. Their cure for aging is to supplement the bejabbers out of themselves. They claim to consume something like twenty grams of vitamin C, a good portion of a gram each day of the B vitamin group and who knows what else every day. They're into Growth Hormone Releasers, smart drugs and other fun stuff. "Anti-Oxidant" is a key watchword for them.
There are many other theories of aging, including that your immune system breaks down, that the sugars in your blood will bind to your DNA, that your DNA gets damaged and starts making bad copies or even that you have a "death clock" which will kill your ass in due time. Most researchers today think that it's a combination of some, or all or even more or others.
Some researchers include some or all of these together and others who offer their own popular cures for aging will also include a multipronged attack on aging. Most researchers admit that gobbling vitamins will not help retard aging to any great extent. Even in lab animals, supplementation will help animals as a group reach their maximum age but the group's maximum age itself will not increase between the controls and the test subjects. Barring the use of therapies such as caloric restriction or selective breeding a species dies pretty much on schedule, some only earlier than others.
Roy Walford, author of the "120 Year Diet" book offers unhappy comments on Pearson and Shaw which can be found in most of his books. Other more mainstream researchers find the two amusing and fun, which in those circles is not exactly a token of respect.
I do know that Sandy has already beaten back one bout of cancer. Her story is told in their book "Life Extension: a Scientific Approach". She used immunotherapy, including getting vaccinated for everything under the sun and then got irradiated. Apparently it worked. One wonders how well she's gonna do if she keeps messing with her body chemistry by taking massive doses of this and that...? Durk has had some odd endocrine problems, something about his prolactin levels. He also had stress related problems in school. Didn't we all?
They aren't exactly perfectly healthy and they admit that their dosing with growth hormone releasers will one day require them to have their noses and ears bobbed. I think flooding their systems with IGF and growth hormones atop being fully fed is begging lightning to strike but that's my opinion. I sincerely do wish them well but some of what they do is frightening.
Their growth hormone releaser ideas are pretty mainstream in the BB ranks. They were one of the earlier pioneers in the use of Ornithine and Arginine to cause growth hormone release. They were also considerate enough to warn everyone the growth hormone causes glucose intolerance. Very considerate of them considering that many old folk deal with a heavy duty form of glucose intolerance known as "diabetes" and that high blood sugar levels of glucose are though to be associated with accelerated aging.
Pearson and Shaw also have been pioneers in the use of "Smart Drugs" such as Hydergine and Vasopressin, both of which are used to treat disease but are also thought to improve mental ability. Their use of vitamin C had the support of people like Linus Pauling. Pauling also thought that "orthomolecular therapy", heavy doses of among other things B vitamins, had uses in preventing or curing schizophrenia and heart disease.
Given the multifactorial causes of such illnesses Pauling and Durk and Sandy might have had a point but the mainsream medical community is gonna be able to shoot big gaping holes in their ideas because such diseases have many known and unknown causes. Since the mainstream has most of the money and "legitimacy" we cannot know for sure who is right. I am inclined to doubt Pearson and Shaw since they hold fast to one theory. I am inclined to doubt the mainstream since the Medical establishment is so damned conservative AND if too many people lived long lives Social Security would collapse. Too many vested interests out there in the way of the truth.
In the midst of such doubt Pearson and Shaw can keep selling books, supplements and doing presentations. The Medical Community can call them "quacks" and "snake oil salesmen" and continue to trudge along with feet of clay. A competitive and living medical industry, which isn't possible as long as the FDA and the Trial Attorneys dictate what is and isn't safe, is being held back in the United States.
Pearson and Shaw can offer you some useful ideas for supplementation, but on the whole, they are a couple of fun kids who like to raise hell. In their own way they also raise unpleasant questions about the religious and dogmatic nature of mainstream medicine. That they exist at all as serious authors and leaders of the supplementation movement shows that medicine and science have in many ways grown tired, rigid and dogmatic. In this sense they are an indictment against the AMA and the whole medical industry. We can't even be certain how much of their regimen is non-sense since the mainstream is so dogmatic, fixated and quick to take the safe and easy route.
In my own opinion the best anti-aging regieme is mild caloric restriction and a careful choice of foods and lifestyle. Very mild supplementation and a good exercize program. Learn to deal with stress and learn to cope and adapt. Maintain positive and meaningful long term goals and maintain good relationships. Have and maintain a steady sex life. Make money. Make good friends and keep them. Rotate your tires, pay the minimal legal taxes, avoid legal trouble but have friends in case you do because sooner or later some moron is gonna cross your path, and always remember; the Universe doesn't give a rat's ass whether your live or die. Meaning is strictly an internal thing.
I know this has been a long one but I hope I've been sufficiently clear.
Thanks for your description & your prespective. Much of what you said is how I recall their beliefs. Do you believe that they still currently follow their programs as described in their previous books? I often wonder why they've not published a current book & why their weight loss book has been unavailable within a short time after its publication
I always got a kick out of the photo in their book of Durk, in his underwear, doing a side pose, with the caption "Durk's well-muscled body."
He looked sickly and anemic.
As an aside. I recently purchased the "Ultimate Diet Secrets". Excellent book. I've incorporated it into my lifestyle, and have had pretty decent results. I've dropped about 10 pounds, and don't feel fatigued after a meal. I still get to eat popcorn, which makes my movie-going experience more enjoyable. Next season, I'm planning on working with some of our athletes at school.
I firmly left the Pearson/Shaw camp after trying it for ten years. My doctor thought I'd jumped a tooth on my mental timing chain when he heard about their potions and ideas. He was right it turned out.
What little I've read about those two is that they've been in the trenches against the FDA. I briefly went over this list of suits, some of which were filed by Pearson and Shaw. See them here. They've been trying to force the FDA to acknowledge their validity. I'm behind them but more because the FDA might get the hint and back off then because I agree with their methods.
Do Durk and Sandy still follow their programs? I don't know. I've noted visible signs of aging in Durk since he started on his program. More hair loss. A few wrinkles for Sandy. Ironically, Roy Walford claims that most wrinkling is caused by sun exposure more than actual aging mechanisms. Walford claims, "Check out the buttocks of an elderly person. Rarely will you see signs of wrinkling". What will tell the tale is how long they live and what finally kills them.
I haven't done much more than consult one of their newer books on rare occaisions in a bookstore. I've misplaced my copy of "Life Extention: A Scientific Approach" and don't miss it. All I ever saw in their new books is the usual; take a pill, drink a potion and it'll all be okay. Yeah, sure, right.
They appear on one sight that market "ketogenic" breads and pizzas. ketogenic pizza?. There's something kind of odd about the whole idea of a ketogenic pizza, like kissing your sister or something.
Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw are alive and, I assume, doing well. Your Dr. Roy Walford, the 'expert' life-extensionist, died at age 79 of Lou Gegrig's Disease. People that are really dedicated health enthusiasts do not come down with chronic fatal disease. Too bad he didn't have a more comprehensive background in advanced, diligently researched and evidence-based nutritional science. Too bad he was too bull-headed to think his overly simplistic approach of caloric restriction was the be all and end all to what there is to know.