Life Extension Magazine®

Couple running on recommendation of Dr. Scott Hoffer

Dr. Scott Hoffer

Dr. Scott Hoffer has spent much of his life running marathons in an attempt to “outrun” his genetic predisposition to disease. Two key events transformed his life: his studies in the mind/body connection and his discovery of Life Extension®.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Jon Vanzile.

Dr. Scott Hoffer
Dr. Scott Hoffer

For many years, Dr. Scott Hoffer thought he could literally outrun disease and sickness.

At age 23, while still a student in medical school, he was “overweight, out of shape, and frightened.” Hoping to improve his health, he bought his first pair of Puma running shoes—this was in the 1970s, during the height of the jogging craze—and hit the pavement in a serious way.

Over the next few years, as he graduated medical school, enlisted in the U.S. Army and was shipped overseas to serve in Germany, Hoffer ran almost compulsively. At one point in the military, he and two other soldiers competed in 22 marathons in a 19-month stretch, including a punishing ultra-marathon of 100 km that he ran in 14 hours and 22 minutes.

Why all the running? The answer is simple: he was scared.

The same year he bought that first pair of Pumas, both of his parents died within six months of chronic diseases. His father succumbed to heart disease and his mother to breast cancer.

“My parents died of cancer and atherosclerotic disease,” he said. “I was thinking I’ve got those genetics.”

But even in those years of intense running, Hoffer was already beginning to have doubts about the way medicine intersected with health and longevity, and medical school wasn’t helping much.

“During medical school, I began to see the limits of allopathic medicine,” he remembered. “My entire second year focused on the ‘pathophysiology of disease’ while my mind was focused on ‘staying well.’ I didn’t want to learn about the disease process. I wanted to learn about staying well, but that was absent in medical school.”

What you need to know

Dr. Scott Hoffer is a medical doctor and ultra-marathon runner who was ostracized by the medical community due to his vehement beliefs in alternative medicine. He is currently a dedicated member of Life Extension who credits much of his good health to exercise, diet and supplements.

Dr. Hoffer’s Sentinel Moment

Hoffer returned to the United States in 1982. He came back with severe tendonitis in his Achilles tendon caused by excessive running, and hungry to discover a new way to approach longevity and disease prevention. Then two important things happened that would change his life. First, he began a one-year program in psychosomatic medicine and really begin to dive into the mind/body connection as it related to health, which led him to work with anti-obesity programs in the army.

Second, he discovered Life Extension®.

“Discovering Life Extension was and has been a sentinel moment in my life,” he said. “I devoured every bit of information I could and realized that evidence-based, nutritional supplementation was a major void in my anti-aging and wellness pursuits. This kind of information really wasn’t out there back then.”

In 1985, with his thinking already shifting away from a purely allopathic, disease-focused approach to wellness, Hoffer decided to leave the military and transition to civilian medical practice. Long accustomed to the camaraderie and support of the army, this was a difficult transition—and it didn’t help that he ran into early and loud opposition to the way he wanted to practice medicine.

“Health, fitness, anti-aging medicine, and longevity had become a passion for me,” he said. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and share with my medical colleagues and patients. My patients were somewhat wary, but most of my medical colleagues were repulsed. Some were hostile and quite challenging. Historically in medicine, those that think outside of the box are ridiculed and ostracized.”

Nevertheless, Hoffer persisted. He opened a psychiatric practice and began to put many of his ideas into practice. He bought a partnership in a gym where he lived. He started prescribing supplements like L-theanine, 5-htp, DHEA, vitamin D, melatonin, SAM-e, and CoQ10. And he incorporated exercise, meditation, and relaxation training into his practice.

“I had one foot in allopathic medicine and one foot in alternative medicine,” he said.

He also began testing patients’ hormone levels. He was shocked to find that many middle-aged men who showed up complaining of depression were actually suffering from low testosterone and hypo-gonadism.

Dr. Hoffer’s Personal Supplement List
Dr. Hoffer’s Personal Supplement List

Discovering Life Extension decades ago was a key moment in Dr. Scott Hoffer’s life and career. Today, as a healthy 67-year-old, Hoffer continues to take Life Extension supplements to help protect against the diseases of aging and boost low levels of vital nutrients. Here is his list of supplements and Life Extension products:

  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid
  • Policosanol
  • Niacin
  • Hepatopro
  • DHEA
  • Immune Senescence
  • Enhanced Berry Complete
  • Olive Leaf
  • Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer
  • Mega Green Tea Extract
  • Liquid Melatonin
  • Ultra Prostate Formula
  • Florassist® Heart Health
  • Optimized Resveratrol
  • Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA
  • ArthroMax® Advanced with UC-II®
  • Triple Action Cruciferous
  • Super Ubiquinol CoQ10
  • Life Extension Two-Per-Day
  • Super Bio-Curcumin®

The Village Doctor

Throughout his long evolution, Hoffer continued to live a healthy lifestyle, practicing what he preached. In 2008, he relocated to The Villages in central Florida and set up a new practice. The Villages is an over-55 community with more than 50,000 residents. Set among beautiful rolling hills dotted with golf courses, The Villages prides itself on offering a huge array of activities to its residents, who are often seen zipping around their communities on golf carts. Naturally, these activities include lots of ways to exercise—something that Dr. Hoffer realized was novel for many of his new patients.

“A lot of people who move here are shell-shocked by access to the gyms and fitness centers,” he said. “They’ve never used gyms before, and the gyms here have no personal trainers.”

Once again looking to help, Hoffer became a certified personal trainer with a specialization in older adults. He began offering personal training free of charge for residents.

“I’ve never put my shingle out to make money training people or made a nickel from it,” he said. “But I go to the gym every day and help people learn how to work out.”

As he’s transitioned into caring for an older population, the 67-year-old Hoffer has continued to improve his focus on what works and what doesn’t work for older people. One of his main messages for older people is that cross-training, which includes resistance training, is essential to fight age-related muscle loss. Called sarcopenia, age-related muscle loss is a serious condition that opens the door to a frightening array of health problems. As older people lose muscle, they become less stable and more prone to falls, which are a major source of broken hips and other debilitating injuries. Also, the loss of muscle mass has profound metabolic implications. As Hoffer points out, muscle is among the most metabolically active parts of the body.

“Ninety percent of people all make the same mistake,” he said. “They have a health and fitness plan with 30 minutes of walking four days a week. They’re healthier doing that than doing nothing, but it’s not enough. Cross-training is important. People should try weight training, yoga, mindfulness, tai chi, bike riding. You might not be able to do everything, but you can do a lot.”

Dr. Hoffer also counsels his patients to pay better attention to their nutrition and diet. In addition to the usual recommendation of cutting down sugar, Hoffer says he’s obsessed with fiber. “I think people need at least 40 grams of fiber a day,” he notes.

“The biggest nutritional problems I see are portion size and refined sugar,” he says. “Any juice or soda is just packed with refined carbohydrates. I’ve been treating sugar like it’s a toxin for the last 10 years, because sugar is poison.”

While he doesn’t advocate any particular diet, he says his own eating habits are closer to the Mediterranean diet, with a heavy focus on omega-3 fatty acids, fresh vegetables, and fiber. Three days a week, he’s entirely vegetarian.

Supplements are also a crucial part of his healthy lifestyle. He started with vitamin C and vitamin E decades ago, but says he got limited results because he wasn’t taking the right form. When he started reading Life Extension Magazine®, however, he learned more about supplementation and changed his approach.

One of the first things he did was to add resveratrol, a polyphenol with longevity properties.

Noting that up to 70% of his patients are vitamin D deficient, he also takes vitamin D, and he recommends CoQ10 for anyone currently on statin medications, which are known to deplete it.

Even with decades of practice behind him, Hoffer says he’s not done learning yet.

“I continue to devote as much time as I can to learning everything I can about health, exercise and anti-aging medicine,” he said. “A lot has changed over the years and will continue to change. But when I have a patient come back and say thanks a lot, this is the best I’ve felt or slept in 20 years, it’s very satisfying.”

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.