Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Apr 1999

Dr. Emil Schandl

On the gift of life, the privilege of health.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

image Through everything Emil Schandl has endured-from losing friends to the Nazi death camps, to participating in the Hungarian uprising, to fleeing to America across the Austrian Alps-his upbringing has provided him with deep philosophical comfort, as well as a practical guide to life. One life-altering meeting occured with a priest when he was 13. The clergyman offered the teenager a little practical advice, "Do a few push-ups every day and you might feel better."

Schandl then did something rare for an adolescent. He followed the advice. Beginning with two or three push-ups he built up to 50 a day, and soon liked the way he was feeling and looking-strong! From there he branched into other kinds of exercise-swimming, wrestling, and gymnastics-excelling at each. He was soon being groomed to represent Hungary in the Olympics in wrestling, but along the way got caught up in the attempt to overthrow his country's Communist regime. As his friends, and fellow revolutionaries, were caught and killed, Schandl fled the country. But, while Communism may have derailed his Olympic career, it couldn't stifle his passion for exercise. He made it to the States and embarked on a long and ultimately distinguished academic career (M.S. Biochemistry/Enzymology, Ph.D. Molecular Genetics), while strengthening his exercise regimen.

Schandl remembers he first caused a sensation when he appeared in a bathing suit": When I showed up at the pool, all the kids gathered around me and called me Hercules," he says. "It was the muscles."

Until then, his idea of a good diet was having enough to eat-since Hungary at the time had to send most of its crops to the Soviet Union, Schandl spent much of his youth craving protein. It was different when he arrived in America and proper nutrition became an option. He began monitoring his daily protein intake and experimenting with vitamins for the first time.

"I didn't have much knowledge then," he says. "I was riding on the power of youth and my determination and desire to have a healthy, strong physique."

Schandl, with his early dedication to fitness and health, wasn't the only one ahead of his time, though. In 1963 his then mother-in-law opened the first health food store in La Jolla, California, asking Schandl to lend his physique to the shop's billboard as an example of the epitome of health. At first, Schandl found her claims that nutrition could cure anything to be a bit far-fetched, but at some level, her message was getting through.

"I used to think she was crazy, because what she was saying didn't make any biochemical sense," he says. "Later I found out that she was right all along." Indeed, as he studied further, he realized there was a scientific case to be made for vitamins. For example, he found that ascorbic acid is necessary to maintain a high level of energy, and he began taking massive quantities of Vitamin C, then B, and then supplements. "I had a mysterious good feeling about it," he says. "I always thought it would give me an extra edge."

With a master's degree soon in hand from California State University in San Diego, Schandl decided to accept a research position at Florida State University, and began working toward his Ph.D. under the world renowned geneticist, J. Herbert Taylor. After receiving his doctoral degree, a stint in nuclear medicine alerted him to the perils of developing cancer through radioactive substances, and started his career in the direction of fighting the disease. His mother's death from leukemia shortly afterward sealed his determination to dedicate his life to fighting cancer. Building on his research in nuclear medicine, he went on to spend several more years developing the CA or Cancer Profile, which can often detect the existence of cancer many years prior to the onset of physical symptoms. (See " One Scientist's Search for Ways to Predict, and Avoid, Cancer," LEM, October 1997.) In his day-to-day work, he consults with patients, creating individual nutritional programs that relate to fighting specific diseases. His CA Profile was a key component to his work, so when commercial labs couldn't perform it to his standards of accuracy, Schandl opened his own, American Metabolic Laboratories, in 1978 in Hollywood, Florida.

Ten years into his work at American Metabolic Labs, Schandl had an epiphany: "One day, I realized I wasn't doing all the things that I was recommending to other people-and yet everything I was recommending had a very sound reason behind it." From that day onward, he became his own model patient, following his advice to the letter. For starters, he doesn't smoke and avoids stress of any kind. Then there are the dietary guidelines, which Schandl describes as very simple, "maybe three written lines." No animal fats, fried foods, white flour, sugar, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, tap water, artificial sweeteners, coloring, flavoring or preservatives. Dairy intake and red meat should be kept to a minimum-but everything else is fine.

His personal supplement and vitamin regimen, however, is considerably more extensive-reaching 50 to 60 tablets a day for five days a week. (He takes the weekends off.) Schandl offers the following highlights: 25,000 IU Vitamin A for its anti-cancer, anti-viral, pro-vision, and pro-skin properties; B-150 Complex for many metabolic pathways; 9,000 mg of Vitamin C two times a day for its anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, pro-healing, and pro-longevity properties and it's powerful antioxidant nature; no less than 2,400 mg of essential fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil; at least 1,000 units of Vitamin D; no less than 1,500 mg of Calcium; 750 mg Magnesium; 50 mg Zinc; 200 mcg Chromium; 200 mcg Selenium to protect against free radical damage; 60 grams of protein powder; a couple of tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds; prostate formula; 250 mg Niacin; Ginkgo, from time to time, and about "forty other things."

And there's more: A key component to Schandl's health regime, and one that he recommends to all his patients, is a comprehensive detoxification program that spans the physical to the emotional. To cleanse through the kidneys, for example, he drinks two to three quarts of pure (non-tap) water or fruit juice each day. To encourage the excretion of toxins through the skin he suggests either working up a sweat, or taking a hot bath or a steam bath.

With his good fitness habits developed early in life, exercise continues to form an intrinsic part of Schandl's daily routine. His workouts begin early with either a three-mile run, a 12-mile bike ride at top speed, or lap swimming at Fort Lauderdale's mammoth pool in the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Several rounds of 25 chin-ups and 45 sit-ups follow this daily aerobic workout. Later in the day, he heads to a local gym for weight lifting. At present he's still a serious competitor: Last December he took two gold medals home from the Florida Senior Games-in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke-enough to earn him a spot in the upcoming Senior Olympic Games. He is also the South Florida senior state champion in karate, a sport in which he holds a 3rd degree black belt.

By most measures, Schandl leads an extraordinarily active and healthy life. Still, to be sure he's not "fooling himself," he conducts lab tests on himself every six months. These tests include a CA Profile, complete blood count, chemistry profile and PSA, as well as a variety of hormone measures. The results? "I'm doing very well, thank God," he says. "It takes a lot of effort and a lot of commitment, but I say life is a gift and health is a privilege, which means it's something we have to work for. And I'm working for it." Dr. Schandl is Scientific Director of Life Extension Foundation and the Clinical Laboratory Director for American Metabolic Laboratories in the specialties of clinical chemistry, hematology, immunohematology and serology in Hollywood, Florida.

-Twig Mowatt