Episode 11: Dr. Nicolas Perricone MD Podcast 3 of 3 - Promise and Prescription, Vitamins, Skin Care, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Neuropeptide and DMAE
Dr. Nicolas Perricone MD Podcast 3 of 3 – Promise and Prescription, Vitamins, Skin Care, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Neuropeptide and DMAE
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Teri Struck: I’m Teri Struck, host of Beauty Now. Today we are so lucky to have best-selling author Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Today he will explain step-by-step how we can age proof ourselves. On today's show we're going to cover cellular rejuvenation, skin care, sex, vitamins, weight management, and more.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: There is inflammation surrounding certain cancers. I saw inflammation in arteries. Where there is heart disease there is inflammation and in the pancreas if there is diabetes. Anti-inflammatories that were natural, like the antioxidants, like vitamin C, like Co Q10, sure enough the neuropeptides actually did increase sensitivity to those receptor sites. One of the effects - we talked about the pheromone products as possibly attracting other people. We talked about some of the herbals that can increase libido and our sexual performance. I think a lot of the fact is that is with a partner and it is more than an orgasm. It's really an important aspect of our lives.
Teri Struck: Hi I'm Teri Struck. Welcome back to Beauty Now. We are still talking to Dr. Nicolas Perricone. He has many books including ‘Seven Secrets to Beauty Health and Longevity’. Welcome back Dr. Perricone.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be back with you.
Teri Struck: Last we talked we are talking about smoking and you were giving us advice about how to quit.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, smoking is a very addictive process and we certainly want to quit. It is just so important. But I want to talk a little bit about the cosmetic aspects of smoking because I think that this is a great motivator to understand this.
As I said, with one puff of one cigarette we create a trillion free radicals in the body. Free radicals then trigger an inflammatory cascade. The inflammatory cascade breaks down all the organ systems. Let's talk about skin in general here. We take a puff of a cigarette we not only create all these free radicals and inflammation in the skin, which break down the collagen and elastin and cause wrinkling, but it also causes something called vasoconstriction of the microcirculation under the skin. So we are actually starving the skin cells of oxygen and nutrients.
When I was a resident in dermatology I had a great lecture done by the head of a department in the University of Virginia. He had this incredible slide photo that he showed us and I wish I could get a copy of it. It was so impressive. A set of identical twins - wait a minute - both aged 50 lived in the same area. They virtually had the same lifestyle except one was a smoker and one was not. The smoker looked 20 years older than her identical twin.
Teri Struck: I believe it. I have a friend who has a sister and her sister looks way older than her and her sister is three years younger.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So if you just think about what those effects are. We don't need to go into those.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and lung disease and all that and cancer. But just the way we appear - and it happens very, very, very rapidly. So we need to be careful about that aspect. I tell my patients take 500 mg or 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C every three to four hours and about 10 to 15 mg of B6 every three to four hours and it really does help the cravings. We use it in all different substance abuse programs. It works really well.
There are other vitamins too and you can actually get more information on that from the Internet on vitamins for substance abuse.
Teri Struck: And also I wanted to know about your topicals.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: OK, topicals are always find. As I said, is a dermatologist I am always interested in the skin. I was looking at skin even in my residency. I first formed the inflammation and aging disease theory back in medical school. I saw inflammation surrounding certain cancers. I saw inflammation in arteries. When there is heart disease there is inflammation and in the pancreas if there is diabetes. Inflammation is at the base of many of these diseases.
Interestingly enough when we were starting dermatology, we had to study all skin diseases. I was looking at it - the clinical look of a disease - but also under the microscope. It is interesting to note that when the skin was aging clinically, there was inflammation seen microscopically. I said, “Well, OK inflammation is really the bad guy here” and started looking at interventions like diet.
But then I was very interested, what would be the effects of taking anti-inflammatories were natural, like the antioxidants like vitamin C and like Co Q10 or DMAE or vitamin C ester or alpha lipoic acid, and put them directly on the skin. If they were powerful anti-inflammatories, would they have a therapeutic effect?
So with the thought of being prevention - really that was what I was looking at - interestingly enough when I took something like alpha lipoic acid, which is something I want to talk a little bit about as an anti-inflammatory, and put it in a skin cream that was rapidly absorbed, so it was in a special carrier system, I found that it not only rapidly reduced inflammation of the skin but it tended to repair some of the damage that was already present. So there was a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, regeneration of some of the collagen and elastin in the skin.
So what is it about topicals? Well, once again, topicals can actually load the skin with powerful anti-inflammatory activity at a much higher level than they can achieve by taking it just orally. So I do recommend taking alpha lipoic acid capsules. But I also recommend using alpha lipoic acid topically.
Teri Struck: And those are available on your website?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: They are.
Teri Struck: Good.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Alpha lipoic acid is interesting because it is a powerful antioxidant but it is a hundred times stronger than C and E combined. Alpha lipoic acid is found naturally in our cells in the little mitochondria - the energy producing portion of the cell. So when we supplement with alpha Lipoic acid, we can actually get it into the mitochondria and keep the mitochondria healthy. Remember without the mitochondria producing energy, the cells rapidly age.
Also, alpha lipoic acid is interesting because it is an antioxidant that is both fat and water-soluble. Vitamin C is water-soluble and vitamin E is fat-soluble but this is actually both. So they call it the universal antioxidant. And it is also called the metabolic antioxidant because it gets into the mitochondria and assists in the conversion of food to energy. So it can actually raise energy levels.
Now interestingly enough, alpha lipoic acid works with all of the other antioxidant systems in our skin. So when you increase levels of alpha lipoic acid in the skin, whether by taking orally or putting it on topically, it automatically protects the vitamin C, the E and the Coenzyme Q10 that is there as our natural protection. So you will find that you use up less of your natural defense mechanisms when you're taking alpha lipoic acid.
Now clinically, it was fun doing the studies using topical creams with alpha lipoic acid because you're exploring new territory. You know the material is perfectly safe. You do safety studies first but you know it is safe because you have it in your body already. You take a supplement but you look at safety first. Then you go on to look in the clinical effects. How does this change the way a patient looks? The fun part was when you apply the cream and you start looking at changes what you will see is that the pores immediately got tighter when using alpha lipoic acid.
One of the hugest problems I see in dermatology practice is a patient coming in with large pores. You get that ruddy appearance. Your makeup doesn't sit on correctly and all that. So alpha lipoic acid can do that.
It also increases radiance of the skin very rapidly giving you a healthier look because it regulates a system of enzymes that are in the skin and in the blood vessels that control circulation. And the really interesting part of the study was that people there were looking at the effects of anti-aging. So we did a before and an after study. This woman came in and said to me that she liked using the alpha lipoic acid. We talked about what the effects were, the irritation and all that business. I looked at the photos. She said that she had a scar on her eyelid, which had gone away after using the cream.
Now as a dermatologist, I know there is nothing that makes scars go away. So I took it with a grain of salt. I said, “OK, that's very nice.” Then a gentleman came in who said that he had been using it and that he had been in the study for about eight or nine weeks. He said that a scar had diminished on his forehead. Now in the first photo her eyelid was open so I couldn't see if the scar actually had diminished.
Teri Struck: Really?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: But in the one with the forehead I looked and compared the photo and sure enough it really looked as if the scar was diminishing. I thought, “Well, how can that possibly be?”
Teri Struck: That would be amazing.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: I understand it is an anti-inflammatory but why would that affect scar tissue, which seems to be fixed in all studies?
I went on to do a separate study with alpha lipoic acid for scars. We looked at acne scars and the scars that were actually the result of skin cancer operations. Over a period of 12 weeks I saw a rapid diminishment and sometimes as much as 80% improvement in scar tissue, whether it was an indented scar from acne or a bumpy scar from surgery. I started studying that and found that alpha lipoic acid actually affects an enzyme system in the skin that deals with collagen. So these enzyme systems that digest collagen are called collagenases. Interestingly enough, alpha lipoic acid activates the collagenase that goes after just collagen that is defective. So it can reduce a scar.
There is also pretty good evidence that wrinkles are nothing more than microscars that are all gathered up in the skin. So that's why we see an improvement of wrinkles with topical alpha lipoic acid.
Teri Struck: Now isn't there something - I'm sorry to interrupt you. Isn't there something that is one product that has all the stuff in it? Or do you put C on and then you put alpha lipoic on and can that all absorb or do you have to do it a different times during the day?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, good question. Actually the vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid are in separate products. But they are all mixed with DMAE, which is another powerful anti-inflammatory I'm going to talk about.
Teri Struck: OK.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So I usually recommend the vitamin C product in the evening and the alpha lipoic acid in the morning. Yes you can absorb both.
Teri Struck: Great.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Now DMAE is a really interesting thing once again. DMAE stands for a really long word called dimethyl amino ethanol. DMAE is actually, once again found in foods like fish. And DMAE was a therapy that was out as a prescription drug in the 50s. It was a prescription medicine for attention deficit disorder because it enhances cognitive function in many ways.
Now when I was in medical school I came across some interesting information. When we were looking at medicines that were used for purposes in the central nervous system, like the psychotropic medicines, I saw the skin improve. I came to the conclusion that there must be a connection. Now interestingly enough, when we studied embryology we learned that all organ systems in the body are derived from just three layers of tissue. Interestingly enough the same layer of tissue that comes from this embryologic level that makes skin makes the brain. So I call it the brain/beauty connection.
So I was interested in anything that had activity in brain. I was looking at DMAE for skin because I knew it was an anti-inflammatory and a membrane stabilizer and found that when it is put on the skin it does some amazing things. One of the things it does is increase tone immediately. So you actually get a lift to your face. When you take DMAE and you apply DMAE lotion to let’s say one side of your face, if you wait about 15 minutes, it will lift the face on one side so much that you will be asymmetric on one side.
Teri Struck: Why don't you have one for the body? Or do you?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: We actually do. It's called Body Toning Lotion.
Teri Struck: [laughs] Good, I'll get that right away.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So DMAE is incredible. It's been added to all the vitamin C esters and alpha lipoic acid. And that effect does work, and it lasts and it is cumulative. Studies we did in collaboration with a large company showed that over a year the effects are that you look tremendously younger. It almost reshapes your face. So DMAE is an amazingly powerful anti-inflammatory that increases toning and gives a lift to the face - I mean a rapid lift - and to the body as well.
Teri Struck: And you use all these products every single day yourself obviously?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Oh, it's so much fun.
Teri Struck: You’re lucky.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So we can see that, looking at the inflammation as the final common pathway for all the problems, when we look at skin and apply these anti-inflammatories directly to skin and really load the skin with high levels that you can only get by applying it topically, you can see some very dramatic effects in terms of rejuvenating the skin.
Teri Struck: Do you do this after the shower, after you wash your face, so that it is clean and absorbs really well?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, you want to make sure your face - you cleanse first and then you apply it. The Body Toning Lotion is amazing because it does tone. If you want your legs or arms or any part of your body to look just like porcelain, because it actually lifts and tones, it is an absolute must for any time you are exposing any part of your body - going to the beach or wearing any kind of dress that is low cut, you want to have Body Toning Lotion. The legs look incredible.
Teri Struck: Definitely.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: And it takes some of the dimpling out at the same time.
Teri Struck: I definitely want to get that. Now you talked about pheromones. I want to hear about that.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, pheromones are of huge interest to me. I don't know if you know in one of my books ‘The Perricone Promise’, I talk a lot about neuropeptides.
Teri Struck: Right. Yes.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Neuropeptides are like the fine-tuning of the neurotransmitters. I was always interested in pheromones because of the work that came out probably in the 80s looking at the pheromones that have an effect on insects. But the question was, “ Are there human pheromones and would the human pheromones have any effect?”
So actually there is an organ inside the nose called the VMO. Doctors felt it was probably left over and was vestigial and didn't do anything important. But the VMO is actually the part of the nose that is not for general smell but just picks up pheromones. So they started looking at the effects of pheromones and some really amazing things that I was really intrigued by. One of the things was that human pheromones could affect behavior and affect your ability to attract another person.
One of the studies was interesting. They were getting the pheromones from human skin cells. So they had these human skin cell scrapings in little test tubes in the lab. The discovery was when the little corks were kept out of the test tubes in the lab the lab workers became more congenial. And when the corks were put on they went back to their - you know lab people are not the most congenial people - I don't want to make any generalizations.
Teri Struck: [laughs] Now, now.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So anyway I found that hugely interesting. Then they did some other studies looking at the effects and sure enough the pheromones can make you more attractive, not just the opposite sex but to other people. People do want to spend more time talking with you if the pheromone’s active.
The problem was when they came out with products using pheromones that pheromones have to be able to get into the air. They have to get to your nose. So they had to be mixed with large amounts of alcohol because alcohol evaporates very quickly. But the problem with these pheromones is when you have a large amount of alcohol, the alcohol irritates the nerve endings in the nasal mucosa. So the nerve endings in your nose shut down the receptor sites.
Then, because I work with neuropeptides and a neuropeptide chemist all along, I was talking with a woman who was a brilliant scientist. She came across a neuropeptide that actually enhances the VMO, the little receptor sites in the nose for pheromones by a huge number, like 10 times more sensitive. I thought, “Wow, if that is the case, what if I mixed pheromones with this neuropeptide? And then only had a low alcohol level, say 4 or 5% alcohol.”
Teri Struck: Because neuropeptides do the same thing? Unfortunately we are going to have to take a break. I'm so interested in this and we are going to hear more when we come back from our break.
We are talking with Dr. Nicholas Perricone. I'll be right back.
Teri Struck: Hi, we are back with Dr. Nicholas Perricone. We were just talking about pheromones. So please continue and welcome back.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So these pheromones are these amazing things. The question was if we mixed pheromones with neuropeptides, could we come up with something that you could apply that wouldn't have huge amounts of alcohol that would not shut down the receptor sites? So we went ahead and did this and sure enough the neuropeptides actually did increase the sensitivity of those receptor sites. So we did not have to use large amounts of alcohol and we finally had a very effective product.
So we had more time to study this and looked at the effects. One of the effects - I think the reason you wear the pheromone products is possibly attracting other people.
Teri Struck: Right, but is this an oil?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: It has interesting effects on your own physiology.
Teri Struck: But is this an oil? Excuse me. Is this an oil?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, it's kind of an oil base.
Teri Struck: Right. OK.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So one of the things we noticed was that when people apply a pheromone with a neuropeptide - we had them apply it to their upper lip so it is right near the nose - they actually all reported an elevated mood that went on for several hours. And that's incredible because everybody wants to feel better.
So when we give instructions on how to use a neuropeptide, we put in the usual places - behind the ears, on the wrists so it can evaporate off and attract the other people - but it's effective to actually put it on the upper lip. So not only did elevate mood but it gave people a feeling of self-confidence and an effect of a calmness, almost like a natural tranquilizer from the pheromone.
Also in some other studies that were done, pheromones increased cerebral circulation in older people. So when they gave it to people in nursing homes there was less confusion because they were getting better circulation to the brains.
Teri Struck: That’s so interesting.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So pheromones are tremendously powerful because they affect our own physiology and at the same time affect the behavior of other people outside of us. So we went ahead and we put this together - the pheromone and the neuropeptide combination along with some other odors that tend to affect blood sugar and lower blood sugar and give us a sense of calmness and came up with a product we call Synergy.
Synergy has been a huge success. It's funny, I was talking to one of my managers and she was just reporting on different sales and things and she said, “I just want to tell you that I keep Synergy in my car”. She works in New York City. “So when I am stuck in a traffic jam I put some on my upper lip and I could care less.”
Teri Struck: [laughs] Well, that's good. I'm going to get some today then. I need that too. I'll put it on the list. Is this the essential oil that you were talking about that is more powerful than antibiotics?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Actually, that was oreganol. You know oregano the spice?
Teri Struck: Mmmhmm.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well oregano oil, a special form of oregano oil, which I think is called P73 - I'll have to look that up - which is actually available in health food stores or you can get it on the Internet, is a powerful natural antibiotic. You can take it orally. It has actually seemed to even work in some studies on methicillin-resistant staph, which is a huge problem right now. So I believe that some of these natural oils may be used soon in hospitals to prevent these kinds of infections and these antibiotic resistant bacteria that are out there. So oregano oil is an amazing subject in its own right.
Teri Struck: And you get that at a health food store and you can find it on your website, right?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: You sure can.
Teri Struck: That’s great.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: If I have a chance I'll talk a little bit about supplements in terms of rejuvenating the mitochondria.
Teri Struck: Definitely.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: I want to talk about just a couple. We started off with alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid is incredible because it gets into the mitochondria and turns off the free-radical production and actually helps increase energy production. But also, alpha lipoic acid works almost synergistically with Coenzyme Q10.
Now Co-Q10 is not a true vitamin. It is a nutritional supplement. You can get it in foods like salmon. We actually can produce some in our body. But Co-Q10 we really need more as we get older. Co-Q10 in larger amounts and higher levels, once you get good serum levels actually aids in rejuvenation of the mitochondria and gives us higher energy levels. Co-Q10 is essential to heart muscle.
I have a very forward thinking friend who is a cardiologist. His name is Dr. Stephen Sinatra, who looked at studies of people with congestive heart failure. These people, over a period of about 10 years with congestive heart failure, many times had medication stopped working and got hospitalized. Many times people do not come out of the hospital. It's a terminal event. Dr. Sinatra was taking Co-Q10 and giving these patients Co-Q10, on whom all medications had failed and they were probably in the hospital to die. They actually within a few weeks got up and walked out of the hospital. So it's incredibly powerful.
Teri Struck: This is a vitamin, right? A vitamin.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: A vitamin like substance – Coenzyme Q10. In some studies Co-Q10 looks like it reduces the risk of problems like some forms of breast cancer and Co-Q10 I think is also important if we are taking statins to lower cholesterol, because statins interfere with production of Co-Q10. So you want to add that to your regimen. But you want to talk to your physician first before doing that.
Teri Struck: Can you explain to our listeners how you take your vitamins, because that is so confusing for so many people.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, one of the things with vitamins, of course is just being able to tolerate them. I have so many patients that are concerned because they get a nauseated feeling from vitamins.
Teri Struck: I do too.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So I usually have patients take their vitamins with their food, breakfast and lunch. I have them break it up into twice a day so they are taking some with breakfast and some with lunch. And my patients were confused. They said, “Can’t you get it all in one pill because there are too many things to take? I don't want to have 20 bottles on my table.” So I did. I put together little packets of vitamins. There are two forms. I have one that I call ‘Total Skin and Body’, which is a general vitamin for overall health and beauty. There is another one called ‘Weight Management’ that has all those factors to help regulate blood sugar and insulin. And you just keep these packages with you and you take one packet at breakfast, one at lunch. Keep them in your pocket, your pocketbook or in the car or whatever. You'll have ready access to these and you take them with your food. So it's a great method of doing it. It keeps it very simple for you. You don't have to do the thinking.
Teri Struck: Any no-nos? Like juice or anything like that?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well, certainly if you are taking prescription medication you want to check with your physician because sometimes taking vitamins and minerals can actually interfere with the uptake of certain prescription medications.
Teri Struck: What about thyroid medication?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Thyroid - I know that you definitely want to take thyroid the same way every day. I think there are some concerns about taking things like acetyl-L-carnitine or carnitine. It tends to interfere with thyroid function if you want to take over a certain milligram. So check with your endocrinologist on that.
Teri Struck: OK. Last but not least we want to talk about sex. Do you have the ‘use it or lose it’ - or what's your position on that? No pun intended.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, I think that it's a very important subject for health and longevity. Sex is not just pleasurable. Sex can really make a difference in your overall health and well-being. There are a number of studies. I do want to get into all of the number of studies at this point but I can just say the following. People who have a really good sexual relationship with their partner tend to do better in every category in terms of longevity. They have decreased problems with mental illness, decreased heart disease, lower blood pressure, and a decrease in certain forms of cancer. It's just very therapeutic.
So it's important to try and maintain. And the best way to maintain a good sex life of course is to be healthy. So the anti-inflammatory diet is extremely important. We talked about some of the herbals that can increase libido and our sexual performance. Those can be added as well. Moderate exercise can help as well. And all of this is extremely important.
In fact in my public television special I talked about just some of the general benefits of sex, even in terms of the regulation of blood sugar. But there was one interesting thing and I told all the men in the audience that they really owe me for this one - but sex can actually reduce headaches.
Teri Struck: So that's funny actually because as the old saying with women. But I do have to ask for the people without partners, is it just the orgasm or is it with a partner?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: I think a lot of it is the fact that it is with a partner and that it is more than just an orgasm. It's really an important aspect of our lives. So therefore, like I said, it's not just a pleasurable adjunct. It is probably extremely important as all relationships are. But you know when we look at relationships, in general when people are in a good relationship also there are many other factors that are working.
Also I know we were just talking about relationships, but people who have a pet in the house, a dog or a cat, actually do better in terms of their health. We bring dogs and cats to nursing homes and have the patients pet them and play with them for a while. We can just test their blood pressure and shortly thereafter their blood pressure goes right down in their blood sugar is actually doing better.
So it's just a matter of kindness and love in your life whether it's a good relationship or you just have your dog or your cat around. It can make a huge difference in your health.
Teri Struck: So that's where you're talking about - just happiness and all that. It's not definitely just the orgasm.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: No, it's not.
Teri Struck: What if you have too many pets in your life? [Laughs]
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: [laughs]
Teri Struck: We have three dogs and two cats.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well, you know I always talk about moderation. I think you probably have to think about that area too. That could be a little bit of a cortisol raiser.
Teri Struck: Exactly. Thank you so much for talking with us today Dr. Perricone. We definitely want to have you back. This has been so interesting. And for all of our listeners that want to find Dr. Perricone, you can go to drnvperricone.com or www.personallifemedia.com and we are going to link up. If you have any questions for me, it's [email protected] Please send us questions and we will send them to Dr. Perricone.
Thank you so much for being with us today. I have learned so much. I'm going to go back and reread all my books. I keep them all. And I'm going to go and buy some of your products. Thank you.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: OK, great Teri.
Teri Struck: Thank you for being with us today.
Teri Struck: Thank you for listening today. This is Teri Struck, host of Beauty Now. Please visit our website at personallifemedia.com where you can get a transcript of the show and subscribe to get future episodes.
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