I believe there’s at least an 80% chance that we’re going to be able to get a reboot to a much younger life. So we’re going to live longer, but it’s not going to be extending the end of life. It’s going to extend your twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. It’s going to extend your most productive areas.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Roizen, MD at the 2021 Global Wellness Summit in Boston, Massachusetts.

Michael F. Roizen, MD, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Williams College and Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine who is passionate about helping people choose to live younger and healthier.

Dr. Roizen still practices internal medicine, using the RealAge metric to motivate his patients. He routinely takes patients at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness who are in the midst of struggling with tobacco, heart, diabetic or arthritic problems and coaches them with simple (but persistent) lifestyle changes to be able to live, feel, look and be years younger. He really enjoys getting them to throw away their medications when they no longer need them, but teaches the role of food and other simple steps in reversing disease processes.

Thank you so much for doing this interview. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, I wanted to be a physician when I was nine years old. When I had strep throat or a strep infection of some kind and the physician came to my home and gave me a shot and in six hours I felt well. I said, isn’t it wonderful that people can be helped. So that’s how I started to be a physician.

The story of how I got into this field is interesting. A year after I completed a residency, and I did two residencies, one in Internal Medicine, one in Anesthesiology, because I wanted to run an ICU and I was getting that opportunity at UC San Francisco when they asked me to co-chair cardiovascular anesthesia. It wasn’t because of any special expertise I had at the time.

But when you’re at a fellowship, the surgeons were very difficult to work with. All they cared about was outcome. The state of California had gathered outcome data on complications of cardiovascular surgery for the prior 10 years. So we got a hold of that and the leading thing that determined the outcome was the patient’s age. It wasn’t their cardiac status. It wasn’t their brain status. It wasn’t their liver status or their kidney function. It was actually their age and so I said, how do I make patients 10 years or 20 years younger in the three weeks surrounding their surgery? Because it was a threefold change. So for every 10 years there was a threefold change in complications. So the 75 year old had nine times more complications than the 55 year old. So I said, if I can make people 20 years younger, we can radically change our outcomes. In learning how to do that, once you learn the science of how to do it, where there was data that you could do that with lifestyle changes, physical activity, food choices, stress management, tobacco cessation, blood pressure control, et cetera. Then the next thing was, how do you get patients motivated to do it? So in learning how to do that, we started to come up with a concept of “real age”. Meaning people understood that if they could get younger, they would do it and so that’s how I got into the field of learning about this.

What are your “3 things I wish someone told me when I first started my career” and why?

I got told a lot of things when I started my career. So I was lucky enough to have great mentors and I think the thing that I learned from them is what I would get told again and again is that you may be in medicine, but people are the business. The key is learning how to benefit from your mentors and getting good mentors.

Number two is having close friends.

A third thing is how important your choice of a spouse is. I got very lucky in getting a magnificent spouse and somehow she still tolerates me after 49 years.

I also wish I had been told how to motivate other people, because it is teams that get you success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Oh my wife. I mean, she is so wonderful and keeps me alive, balanced, and happy.

Do you have a favorite book or quote that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

There are a series of books that C.P. Snow wrote that I love. And as crazy as it may sound, they’re fiction, but they are wonderful. My favorite quote is “always do the right thing.” You know, in other words, when in doubt, do the right thing.

How has wellness played a big role in your life?

Wellness changed my life personally and professionally. When I learned the science behind what we now know — that we change our epigenetics by our behaviors and that changes whether our genes are on or not. Learning about wellness made me change my behaviors, my food choices, my physical activity, my stress management, et cetera and so it has been instrumental in everything personally and professionally I’ve ever done at least since then.

Can you share with our readers what innovations you are excited about in the health and wellness industries?

I believe there’s at least an 80% chance that we’re going to be able to get a reboot to a much younger life. So we’re going to live longer. But it’s not going to be extending the end of life. It’s going to extend your twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. It’s going to extend your most productive areas.

As you know, COVID-19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share some examples of how health and wellness companies will be adjusting?

It sped up science, regulatory approvals, virtual health, it sped up the push towards the recognition of inequity and the push towards equity. In broadband and in digital health and in behavioral health. It brought up issues that we hadn’t talked about before, such as vaccine equity.

In my work as a Board Certified Wellness Coach who caters to the cancer survivor community, I have found the theme of “second chances” to be a powerful motivator. What keeps your spirit still firing?

In addition to having a wonderful wife who keeps me motivated, it is actually seeing people change and get healthier in the cancer survival world. It is seeing people do things that will reduce their risk of recurrence substantially.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I think I’ve tried to motivate people through digital tools, et cetera, to help.

I’ve been lucky enough to develop digital health tools like Sharecare (RealAge) that help motivate people. I think it’s on 47 million phones in the U.S. and 25 million more worldwide. So that’s a tool that helps motivate people and, and helps guide them to choices, to plan, to get healthier. I’m working on another app now called The Great Age Reboot that will hopefully do the same in curating longevity products that help people live younger and longer.

How can our readers follow you online?

I’ve written 22 books of which four are number #1 New York Times, bestsellers. So they can get abstracts of any of those.

This was very meaningful Michael, thank you so much!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.