Next Stop: ImmortalityApril 1998
The esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association recently validated the effectiveness of herbal medicine, he says, and NIH has approved the effectiveness of acupuncture.
In May, he says, the National Institute on Aging is scheduled to complete eight years of study with the release of official biomarkers for human aging, indicators that measure the body's biological age against its chronological age.
"Those of us on the cutting edge of alternative medicine have first-hand knowledge that serious diseases-arteriosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, lupus, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis-all respond, in some cases dramatically, to the synergistic application of alternative or complementary therapies, everything from acupuncture to yoga," Gordon says.
This spring, Gordon's book, The Definitive Guide to Anti-Aging Medicine, will be published by Future Medicine-The Burton Goldberg Group.
As a man who believes he has beaten the odds by reaching the age of 63 feeling in peak physical condition, Gordon is a paragon of what can be accomplished by those who care for and nurture their bodies. He's eager to pass along the knowledge he has gained.
"I've known for 30 years now that I am going to live a lot longer than anybody dreamed," he says. "In 10 years, it will be a given that everyone will be entitled to life spans of a minimum of 120 years if they take care of their bodies."
Since the age of 12, Gordon knew he would follow in the footsteps of his father, a Wisconsin doctor of osteopathy who seemed to treat all the tough cases other doctors gave up on. At age 16, the younger Gordon entered the University of Chicago, and at 23 earned a medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathy.
But by the time he was 29, he was so disabled by angina that he could barely stand. He persisted, however, serving an internship at Massachusetts Osteopathic Hospital in Boston from 1958 to 1959, and entered his residency in radiology at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco in 1964.
Just as he was beginning to doubt the efficacy of radiology ("They wanted me to fry patients," he says), Gordon met John Miller, formerly a research scientist at Pfizer Inc. and editor of Chemistry Abstracts. He bluntly suggested to Gordon that doctors often harm patients, a notion Gordon had only recently begun to embrace.
"I was still dumb enough to think doctors knew what they were doing. I was one!" he says. "At the end of the year (of his residency), I realized how infantile and stupid that was."
Miller tested Gordon for trace minerals and found his levels dangerously low. Using chelated mineral supplements, he began to recover, though slowly. He is now free of angina and says, "I feel about the best I have in my life."
Good health does not come without vigilance, however. Gordon leads an active lifestyle that includes horseback riding, bike riding, water and snow skiing and exercising on a mini-trampoline. He takes 80 to 100 pills a day, including vitamins, minerals, salmon oil, garlic and hormones. Gordon continues to take both oral and intravenous EDTA for a chelation effect. And he shops for organic foods when possible, shunning junk food, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and enjoying a daily glass of medicinal red wine.
For almost 30 years, Gordon has been at the forefront of preventive and anti-aging medicine, taking care to preserve not only his own body but the bodies of others as well. Twenty-eight years ago, he founded the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), whose original mission was to prevent deaths from heart attack and stroke, and to demonstrate that EDTA chelation-the agent EDTA normally is used to bind with heavy metal ions to treat metal poisoning-could reverse arteriosclerosis without surgery.
Although the latter was never proven to the satisfaction of the medical establishment, thousands of doctors were trained in trace mineral nutrition, chelation and alternative medicine through the auspices of ACAM, he says. For many years, Gordon has been the doctor other doctors turn to with baffling cases. Gordon's approach is to attempt various forms of alternative medicine before recommending most prescription drug therapies or surgery. He embraces nearly any alternative treatment, believing that "many treatments have some validity for some people in some instances."
For the past seven years he has been employed by an Illinois company as a consultant to its staff and special associates, who rely on him to diagnose, advise and refer patients with extreme health needs to specialists around the world. The company also pays his way to any conference he chooses to attend to keep him versed in all medical advances.
For five years, his practice was based in Tempe, Ariz. Then he built the home and office complex in Payson and moved there in 1995. Currently, his practice is divided between his work in anti-aging medicine, and patients who can afford to consult him as their doctor of last resort. He would like to increase his involvement with patients seeking health and longevity.
"I find it very satisfying to optimize peoples' health, who feel their health is important enough that they come in before they're in trouble," he says.
He concedes this kind of preventive medicine is currently akin to cosmetic surgery-that is, an expensive luxury. But in return, he says, the well-off are providing the research that will one day trickle down to the rest of the population.
How expensive is immortality? A program consisting of Gordon's services to restore and maintain health and long life can cost as much as $10,000 a year. But his is an expensive lifestyle, both personally and professionally. He maintains a vigorous schedule of conferences and continuing education and employs researchers to keep abreast of developments in the anti-aging field. He also is in the process of establishing a center for anti-aging medicine in Arizona.
In the future, ICALM will serve as a refuge for physicians disenchanted with conventional medicine and barriers within the insurance industry.
"I see it as a place for doctors who are burned out on managed care, a place to turn to for alternative medicine," says Gordon of the new organization. "ICALM will help educate them and validate what's working and what's not working."
Of his experience, Gordon says, "I want to take this knowledge and make it available to the world. ICALM will be the means to disseminate the knowledge...I frankly have become a medical educator. I am trying to get information out so that people are fully informed. I'm for truth in medicine, and that's a very big word."
Dr. Garry Gordon is a true believer in the imminence of a dramatically extended life span, and founder of a scientific organization to help spur it on.
"I've known for 30 years now that I am going to live a lot longer than anybody dreamed. In 10 years, it will be a given that everyone will be entitled to life spans of a minimum of 120 years if they take care of their bodies." -Dr. Garry Gordon, ICALM president