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International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine


2015 Final PDF

causes insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction.

This was in 2006.

Around this time Duk-Hee Lee at Kyungpook

National University started to publish evidence that

persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are strongly

associated with diabetes, obesity, and other chronic

disease parameters. Those studies prompted me to devise

assays to measure blood levels of POPs and toxic

chemicals. The assays must be easy and cheap. I also

realized that we had to address the all of the endocrine-

disrupting chemicals including POPs and their relation

with mitochondrial dysfunction.

What discoveries have you found that are of particular

interest to practicing physicians?

My long-time collaborator Youngmi Kim Pak PhD, a

Professor in the Department of Physiology at Kyung Hee

University, developed cell based aryl-hydrocarbon (AhR)

receptor activation assay which could measure serum

levels of POPs and some other AhR ligands. With blood

samples we showed that the levels of these chemicals is

closely associated with diabetes and also with other

parameters of metabolic syndrome. She also developed an

easy and cheap cell-based method, which could measure

serum mitochondrial inhibitor activity. These two

measures are closely correlated but not identical.

We also found these measures to be very strong

predictors of diabetes development and other medical

conditions, such as hypertension, nephropathy and

Alzheimer dementia. Based on this work, practitioners

now have a powerful screening test that can determine

how much EDCs or POPs are in the blood. I believe that

this approach is good for your patients. Now, with this test,

clinicians can verify whether or not a treatment is effective

in removing toxins from the patients. In other words: we

are entering the period of treating the


of diabetes,

hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.

Optional: You recently published a paper stating that

achievement of WHO goals for diabetes mellitus will

require pollution control. This is a very progressive

concept, so I'm wondering if you faced any political or

academic oppression after its publication?

None at all. Leaders of the field I met are well informed

of the current state. They feel pressure, yes, but they want

to have solid evidence to fight with other stakeholders,


Who are your favorite artists, social figures or

philosophers who have influenced your perspectives

and paths of thought?

I love the paintings of van Gogh and the works of various

classic musicians. There are too many great people to

name in medicine and science. However, Professor Erwin

Schrodinger and his book,

What is life?

stands out.

Introduction to his thought was done by Dr Erich Gnaiger

of University of Innsbruck, with his book,

What is

Controlling life? 50 years after Erwin Schrodinger’s

"What is Life?"

. Schrodinger’s ideas have become a

cornerstone of my thoughts in building the concept of

mitochondrial medicine based on bioenergetics and


What difficulties have you had to overcome in your

pursuit of education and scientific research?

Most of the knowledge I needed I had to get myself,

through books. It would have been nice to live in the age

of the internet and Amazon earlier.

I was not trained myself as an experimentalist,

thus I needed good collaborators, good students, and a

good biochemist. I found one in Youngmi, and I thank god

for her help.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs, such as pesticides and

other pollutants) cause mitochondrial dysfunction, and the

levels of these chemicals correlates with the clinical severity

of diabetes—the worse the diabetes, the greater the toxic

chemical load.

The clinical availability of tests that measure the toxic load

causing mitochondrial impairment allows doctors to directly

measure the effectiveness of 1) detoxification plans—

reduction in chemicals, and 2) their clinical mitochondrial

protocols—improved mitochondrial function.

Editor's note

: We have placed a copy of this book along with

several related articles and presentations in the ICHNFM