Dr. Paul Nemiroff is a board certified head and neck surgeon who received his MD from UCLA Medical Center. He completed his surgical residencies at UCLA/Cedars Sinai and University of Florida, and holds a PhD from Purdue University in Behavior Sciences/Psychology and has practiced as a psychologist. He has published and presented hundreds of articles, research papers and book chapters on surgical techniques, the psychology of decision making and alternative and complementary medical therapies. He has performed more than 10,000 surgeries. He scored the highest in the country on his head and neck surgery exams—99th percentile. Dr. Nemiroff was invited to the White House where he was considered for Surgeon General of The United States. He's an award-winning television medical journalist and was former chief medical correspondent for CBS-TV in Los Angeles. In addition to an Associated Press award, he is the recipient of the prestigious Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Media Award for his outstanding work on heart disease.
Health E-Insights: What’s your role with National Enzyme Company?
Dr. Nemiroff: My work with National Enzyme Company (NEC) is that of a medical consultant on several levels, including new research on enzymes both at the basic science level and in clinical studies at universities, enzyme formulations, some product development and as a spokesperson on occasion, but not for their products, rather on supplements and enzymes in general.
Health E-Insights: Is enzyme supplementation one of the keys to good health?
Dr. Nemiroff: I believe it can make a huge difference in our health. The mechanisms of actions and details are beyond what space permits. The bottom line is that many of our foods are enzyme deficient. Cooking, canning, processing and even steaming food kills the active enzymes at about 118 degrees. While some vitamins and minerals can withstand heat, enzymes do not. So much of the food we eat is in fact enzyme deficient. This can put added stress on many of the organs in our body, which secrete enzymes—such as the pancreas. When an organ is called on to work harder than normal it can hypertrophy, which means it enlarges and that is typically not a good thing. When eating enzyme poor or deficient food, the pancreas is called on to worker harder by secreting more enzymes and this can lead to several digestive and other problems over time. Much of the research on enzyme supplementation has been done in other countries, including Germany and Australia. As a result, many physicians in this country are leery of that evidence because the research wasn't done in this country. Or they may feel because FDA has not sanctioned it, and although there are a number of FDA approved uses for enzymes, they don't want to be viewed as unscientific or they have fears of litigation. But just think of all those clot busters out there that are enzymes that help heart attack and stroke victims. Yet again, enzymes are one of several keys in my opinion to good health along with the obvious other factors of proper exercise, appropriate supplements and not smoking.
Health E-Insights: You were being considered for U.S. Surgeon General. How did that feel?
Dr. Nemiroff: It was a tremendous honor and privilege to even be considered as a candidate for Surgeon General of the U.S. It felt surreal going to the White House. My hope in part, was to focus the position as a bully pulpit for educating Americans about health prevention vs. the standard medical model that most physicians are taught, (i.e., treatment of a disease). The entire model in medical school is one of treating diseases vs. prevention. I was disappointed not getting the gig, but believe I can serve in other ways, and that is to get the word out on the benefits of certain supplements and enzymes to improve the general health of Americans.
Health E-Insights: You’re often seen on the QVC channel. Tell us about that experience.
Dr. Nemiroff: QVC is the largest electronic retailer in the country, with purchases made by some 90 million homes in the U.S. I've been involved with QVC for nearly eight years, and it has been an amazing experience and opportunity. Having the chance to help so many people has simply been wonderful. Joint Formula 88 a topical pain relief cream that is available at www.jointformula88.com. I developed it in 1988 for my surgical patients who incidentally had arthritis and arthritis-like symptoms, such as muscle aches, strains and sprains. It has reached so many more people than I would have been able to reach without the support of QVC. It’s very rewarding to know that hundreds of thousands of people have had their pain reduced or relieved at least temporarily.
Health E-Insights: Do you see technology changing the supplement industry?
Dr. Nemiroff: Technology is changing everything. It often impacts society in ways we cannot imagine. A simple example is the automobile that increased mobility and ultimately changed where people lived. Cities or communities that were once isolated, were now exposed to other cultures, races and belief systems. So anything is possible. Since more has been published reportedly in the last 10 years than all of humanity, the information overload is mind-boggling. Getting the attention of the consumer on which product is best and why is going to be more challenging. I'm not really versed in the technology of the supplement industry but can put my imagination to work as a physician-scientist and speculate that we someday may have smart bomb supplements that are processed in manner way beyond timed release that target a specific organ or cell that may be deficient in an enzyme or substance. This could be accomplished with incipient natural ingredients that changes the pH of the product and allow it to penetrate various cellular barriers, possibly even penetrating the blood brain barrier to improve our cognition, memory and more. Every conceivable delivery system will be used, from the obvious current oral and chewable supplements, to drinks, sublingual drops and possibly subcutaneous insertable delivery systems of supplements that respond or detect decreased levels of vitamins and enzymes in our body. The delivery system will release an appropriate dosage and only need to be replaced via a simple outpatient procedure every five years.
Health E-Insights: Imagine I've just hired you. What's the most important thing on your to-do list the first day on the job?
Dr. Nemiroff: Depends on the job of course. The first thing I would do, having been a former PhD organizational psychologist, prior to becoming a surgeon, is to learn the culture of the organization. Understand how and by whom decisions are made. Learn about the players of the organization and try to understand their personal goals and dreams. That often gives one insight into how the company really operates and what makes the various organization structures tick. Of course, you have to have a mission or vision of where you want to go and hopefully that is in sync with your own personal values and belief systems. I would also find out where the restrooms are.
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An Interview with Dr. Paul Nemiroff
Dr. Paul Nemiroff is a board certified head and neck surgeon who received his MD from UCLA Medical Center. He completed his surgical residencies at UCLA/Cedars Sinai and University of Florida, and holds a PhD from Purdue University in Behavior Sciences/Psychology and has practiced as a psychologist. He has published and presented hundreds of articles, research papers and book chapters on surgical techniques, the psychology of decision making and alternative and complementary medical therapies.
By Sheldon Baker
Published September 9, 2011