International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicinewww.IntJHumNutrFunctMed.Org
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
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?
Introduction to his thought was done by Dr Erich Gnaiger
of University of Innsbruck, with his book,
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
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.
: We have placed a copy of this book along with
several related articles and presentations in the ICHNFM