An Interview with Raymond Francis: Health Concerns

Sep 17, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Dr. Francis, a great many physicians tell me that the vast majority of their patients complain of lack of energy. Is this due to lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor diet, or all of the above?

I am not surprised by what the physicians tell you. Fatigue is the number one complaint made to doctors; it’s been that way for decades. The body is a complex system, so lack of energy can result from numerous factors including the lack of sleep and exercise that you mentioned. However, the major problem is our poor diets and excessive exposure to toxins. The body produces a high energy compound we chemists call ATP. ATP is like Mother Nature’s gasoline. It’s what keeps YOU running. The amount of energy you have is dependent on your ability to make and then to utilize adequate amounts of ATP.

Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet does not supply all of the nutrients that are required to make the ATP we need to feel energetic. In addition, most of us are in toxic overload, and toxins interfere with ATP production and utilization.

Chronic nutritional deficiencies are rampant. For example, most Americans are deficient in B vitamins, which play a critical role in the body’s energy production. Most Americans are also deficient in magnesium, which is required to make ATP, and these deficiencies are the tip of the iceberg. Others critical deficiencies include potassium, zinc and CoQ10. Supplementation with these nutrients is especially useful to improve energy production.

In addition to chronic nutritional deficiencies, toxins play a major role in the fatigue we are experiencing. Toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic will shut down energy production, and virtually all of us have unhealthy amounts of these metals stored in our bodies. In fact, we are exposed to the highest levels of these metals in recorded history. Unfortunately, the average doctor is almost clueless regarding the effect these metals are having on our health, and they rarely measure for them.

Pesticides are another problem. Every year millions of tons of pesticides are introduced into the environment. These toxic chemicals interfere with ATP production and utilization.

Fatigue is a huge problem, but the solution is clear. Eat a good diet, take high-quality supplements and avoid toxins. This is a good argument for eating fresh organic foods whenever possible.

2) Let’s take lack of energy first—what are some foods that would provide energy, and what should be AVOIDED ?

You need to eat foods that supply nutrients that are essential for energy production such as magnesium, zinc and potassium. These and other essential nutrients are obtained in carrots, beets, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard and kale. Bananas are rich in potassium. Nuts are rich in magnesium. Coconut oil supplies fats that are quickly converted into energy. Water is also important. Keeping well hydrated boosts your energy, and essential fatty acids are required to make healthy cell membranes that are necessary for proper cell function.

Regarding what should be avoided, in all of my books, I recommend staying away from the Big Four. These are “foods” that are guaranteed to make you sick, age you and cause fatigue. They are: sugar, wheat, processed oils and dairy. Granted, these foods make up most of the average person’s diet. However, that’s why most of us are sick.

3) Now, lack of sleep—how many hours does the average person need, and is there anything to help sleep- say, chicken soup or bananas or warm milk?

No one really knows how much sleep a particular individual needs, and it will vary from person to person and vary with age. That being said, studies show that most of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep for good health. A 2004 study by Harvard Medical School found that getting less than six hours of sleep increases the risk of premature death and numerous health problems. Yet only 40 percent of us report getting a good night’s sleep every night or almost every night. The idea that we can just “get by” without getting adequate regular sleep is a dangerous concept. The body is not designed to do it.

To promote good sleep, it is best to sleep in a totally dark room—no laptop lights or any other light source. Try going to bed before 10 o’clock, and meditate to reduce stress levels because stress can keep you awake. Taking supplemental magnesium before bedtime can be helpful. Do not use cell phones or wireless phones in the evening before going to bed. These devices have been demonstrated to interfere with going into the deeper stages of sleep that are critical to the body’s ability to do its daily repairs.

4) Let’s be blunt- the average American probably eats a lot of fast food garbage. What are some beginning steps toward eating properly and getting some energy back?

We know that the essential nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables contain critical components for the production and utilization of high energy compounds. Sadly, you are right about the garbage. Twenty percent of the U.S. population does not eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. More than 70 percent of us eat less than five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, even though experts say we need at least ten servings. We need to transition to a better diet with more fresh, plant-based foods.

5) Often, way too many people are under way too much stress- are there specific foods they could eat? Or maybe wine with dinner would help?

To me, the best way to address stress is with exercise and meditation. This is not to say that adequate magnesium and other nutrients are not important and helpful, but exercise and meditation are free, easily available to all and provide many other benefits beyond stress relief. If you have never meditated, learn how. It’s almost a panacea because it provides opportunity for the body to do many necessary and healthful functions. For those who don’t like to exercise, rebounding is a perfect solution.

6) Now- aspartame—that stuff in those pink and yellow and blue packets in most restaurants- Why should people avoid those like the plague?

Aspartame is toxic and destructive of human health. It should have never been allowed on the market. But then there is always the difference between what should be and the reality of campaign contributions and politics. Nonetheless, it is on the market, and you need to avoid it. Artificial sweeteners are making a lot of people very sick, but our physicians are again clueless and don’t trace the patient’s problems to the sweeteners.


The existing scientific data indicates that aspartame is what we call an excitotoxin; it is neurotoxic. It alters brain function, causes damage to the entire nervous system, and creates systemic organ malfunction. It is known to cause grand mal seizures. In pregnancy, aspartame can pass directly to the fetus where it can cause birth defects. Aspartame adds to one’s existing toxic load, thereby helping to exacerbate existing illness or precipitate disease from an otherwise borderline condition. Excitotoxins play a critical role in neurological disorders like migraines, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease.

7) Diet Drinks—helpful for diets—or helping people into an early grave?

Diet drinks contain toxic sweeteners like aspartame, which damage your health and brain, and they also make you fat. Aspartate, a component of aspartame, has the ability to destroy brain cells. It damages the part of the brain that is responsible for appetite suppression and fat-burning control. Aspartame also stimulates insulin production, thus inhibiting fat burning and causing sugar cravings. Diet drinks will make you sick and fat.

8) Do you have any books that you might recommend for people in their 30’s 40;s , 50’s and 60’s respectively?

Without getting into a long reading list, my newest book Never Feel Old Again is probably the best single thing anyone can read. Even teenagers need to read this book! The present generation is the first in over 200 years who will not live longer than their parents. Today we are measuring 30-year-olds with the biological markers of 80-year-olds, and 10-year-olds have been measured with the markers of 45-year-olds. Our young people are old! Virtually anyone can profit from reading Never Feel Old Again because it teaches you how to get and stay biologically young, and how to stay free of disease.

9) Is there any ONE supplement or multiple vitamin that ALL people should have across ALL ages?

The reality is this: Supplementation is now a necessity. If you are not supplementing, you are making a mistake. In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report saying that even if you eat a good diet, it is no longer possible to get all the nutrition you need for good health. Here’s the problem. While the human genome has survived unchanged since prehistoric times, the prehistoric diet has not. There is almost no place on the planet today where you can get the Paleolithic diet.

Our soils are depleted of nutrients. The original varieties of many fruits and vegetables have become extinct. Our farmed animals are just as sick and nutrient deficient as the rest of the food chain. Right now, we simply cannot get all the nutrition we need from food alone, even if we eat a good diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We don’t have a choice, we must supplement. People often ask what supplement they should take to have more energy or slow down aging, but there is no one answer to this question. Vitamins and minerals work together as a team. There is no one miracle nutrient. We need every essential nutrient.

Knowing that you need to supplement, the challenge becomes finding good supplements. There are vast differences in the quality and effectiveness of vitamin products, and the vast majority are not worth what you pay for them. Because of this, I set out years ago to make my own vitamins, where I could be assured of the quality and effectiveness; I am now one of the country’s experts in this kind of chemistry. For the general public, I would recommend a minimum of a daily multivitamin. For those who want more, a basic kit of a multi, vitamin C and essential fatty acids would be even better. All of my high-quality products are available at: Feel free to call and ask questions.


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