Dr. Michael A. Smith of Life Extension: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing
Listen to music every day. It truly does calm the “savage beast” in all of us, resulting in rest, peace, and better sleep. Interestingly, any genre works. If you like it, listen to it. You could even sing along and maybe even dance. Music synchronizes and harmonizes brain chemistry. As an example, when Alzheimer’s patients play their favorite music from the past, they “wake up” and often sing along.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Michael A. Smith.
Dr. Michael A. Smith received his medical doctorate from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Smith practiced Internal Medicine and Radiology in Dallas, Texas in the early 2000s and then transitioned to the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries as an educator and consultant. Dr. Smith currently is the Director of Education and Spokesperson for Life Extension® and is the author of The Supplement Pyramid: How to Build your Personalized Nutritional Regimen. Dr. Smith is also the host of Live FOREVERish, a podcast and Facebook live show for Life Extension®.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
As a practicing doctor in Dallas, patients kept asking me about nutrition and supplements. But my limited knowledge of such things was embarrassing and lead me to search out organizations where I could learn more about natural medicine.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
After learning about a heart disease test rarely ordered by cardiologists (PLAC test offered by Life Extension), I committed myself to educating the public about the test through my podcast, videos, and webinars. A few months later, a Life Extension customer reached out to tell us that after testing for this marker of disease, he likely avoided an acute heart attack given his high risk.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
When I was first entering the world of publicity and promoting my book The Supplement Pyramid: How to Build your Personalized Nutritional Regimen at Expo West, I learned an important lesson about what to eat and drink before a live on-camera interview. I had just completed three hours of satellite media tour interviews and was thirsty and starving, so during a quick break I ran to grab some food and downed an entire Dike Coke. I ran back to complete my next on-camera interview and the first thing that came out of my mouth when I went to answer the first question was a burp. I was shocked and could hear my publicist laughing in the background. I learned an important lesson that day that no matter how hungry or thirsty you are if you are completing on-camera interviews just drink water and splurge on a big meal afterwards!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
As a medical doctor and the Education Director at Life Extension, I bring a more holistic approach to health and wellness. My experience has provided me with extensive knowledge of the wellness industry and specifically the role vitamins and supplements play in people’s health and wellness journey. I’m fortunate to be able to share what consumers should look for when trying to decide if they should add supplementation to make up for vitamin deficiencies. I also recognize the importance of science and research and that anyone looking to add a supplement should consult with their doctor or Registered Dietitian, complete blood-panel testing and research to ensure the company they purchase vitamins and supplements from is backed by science.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Many people have helped me along the way, and I am thankful for all them. There’s Gail Harries, an RN and mental health expert, who helped get my foot in the door at Life Extension. There’s Bob Thompson, the director of Life Extension’s retail store, who supported my vision for live lectures series conducted throughout S. Florida, and then there’s Sheldon Baker, Life Extension’s former director of public relations, who introduced me to many influential people in the industry and was instrumental in getting my book published.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
First, I think with busy lives and schedules many of us make time for others, but don’t make time for ourselves. It is important that self-care be a part of everyone’s daily routine and to create a habit of getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Second, we believe we have to be perfect. If you make a decision to eat a salad, go on a long walk or add more water to your diet, each of those choices are important and should be celebrated. You do not have to be perfect all the time in order to live a healthier life.
Lastly, we want instant gratification. If we start to eat healthier and exercise, we expect to see results quickly. When that does not happen, we often get discouraged and go back to our old habits. It is important to stay the course and continue living a healthy lifestyle even if you can’t see the immediate results.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Learn a new language. It’s a powerful, preventative strategy against cognitive decline.
- Listen to music every day. It truly does calm the “savage beast” in all of us, resulting in rest, peace, and better sleep. Interestingly, any genre works. If you like it, listen to it. You could even sing along and maybe even dance. Music synchronizes and harmonizes brain chemistry. As an example, when Alzheimer’s patients play their favorite music from the past, they “wake up” and often sing along.
- Sleep in a cold room, but with warm feet. Colder room temperatures with socks on your feet helps with restorative sleep cycles.
- If you are trying to lose weight and need to reduce snacking urges, brush your teeth. Not sure why this works, but it may stimulate saliva and appetite control hormones.
- Prune, give, grow. Prune out things in your life you don’t need or use. Give it to someone in need. Practice lavish generosity. Keep a selfless perspective.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Daily exercise helps to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Boosts energy levels to help you stay energized throughout the day and sleep better at night. In addition, 30 minutes of exercise daily can improve your overall heart health.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
I would recommend adding a daily walk to your routine, yoga and cycling.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. It opened my mind to food sensitivities and how they can cause what I call mystery symptoms. These are vague symptoms without an obvious direct cause.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Intrinsic or endogenous therapeutics. I would love to drive a movement amongst researchers, government institutions, and clinicians to research and practice a form of therapy that optimizes our intrinsic defense mechanisms. We are starting to see this in cancer with immune focused treatments — but a real movement that spans the entire medical field is needed. There is great opportunity to find better treatments and even cures by studying endogenous antioxidant systems, pain regulatory systems, and even aging pathways and systems.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. This is from the bible, James 1:19. I also like what CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I am a huge fan of the show Good Eats. I appreciate the way the host Alton Brown takes the time to explain each topic and educate the viewer about different topics. I love the way the show brings food science alive. I would love to be able to educate and reach people in a similar way.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
You can follow @lifeextension to see additional information and watch Facebook Lives with yours truly! I also host the very popular podcast Live FOREVERISH and can be seen on TV shows such as Know the Cause.