Local doctor wields new weapons in America’s war on heart disease

DeFelice believes ‘nutraceuticals’ could be key to victory

Reprinted from the Cranford Chronicle, Nov. 25, 1999

By Alec Moore

CRANFORD – According to Dr. Stephen DeFelice, America is losing the war against heart disease, which claims one American life every 33 seconds. So the doctor is taking the fight to the dreaded disease – and his weapons of choice could be considered controversial.

A Cranford doctor and Westfield resident, DeFelice-chairman and founder of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, located on North Avenue East – recently completed a new book, “The Carnitine Defense,” in which suggests a new approach to battling heart disease.

“I wrote this book because of the enormous medical promise of nutraceuticals for the heart and (to address) the current confusion regarding why and what to take (for such ailments),” the doctor said, adding his research into ‘ nutraceuticals produced evidence so compelling that “I decided somebody had to (write) this.”

It took the doctor one-and-a-half years to write the book,’ on which he colIaborated with wrote Helen Kohl. He said he dedicated himself to writing the book because he wanted to inform the public of the medical benefits of nutraceuticals, something relatively ignored by traditional medicine, which places much more emphasis on pharmaceuticals.

“The promise with cardiac or heart nutraceuticals is enormous,” DeFelice said. “But there’s a lot of confusion as to the correct amount of dosage. If you look at the data, you will see this stuff really works.”

Carnitine – a natural substance produced in the liver when two amino acids combine – is the cornerstone to these nutraceutical,’ cars, which DeFelice recommends for longevity and good health. The doctor said his findings are supported by extensive clinical research.

Nutraceuticals, which is a medical term of DeFelice’s conception, invention and research, are defined as a food or part of a food that has a medical or health benefit, including the prevention and treatment of diseases. DeFelice said he believes that nutraceuticals potentially hold the key to curing the common cold, bladder infections and osteoporosis, in addition to heart disease and other ailments.

Among the nutraceuticals that DeFelice extols the virtues of are apples, which he said lower cholesterol, and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, which he said prevent cancer by ridding the body of toxins.

In addition to those nutraceuticals, DeFelice also recommends green tea, licorice, yogurt, carrots, fish oils, chili peppers and chamomile – commonly found in herbal teas – as beneficial preventatives to such maladies as skin cancer (green tea), clearing nasal passages (chili peppers) and indigestion and headaches (chamomile).

Throughout his medical career, which began in 1961 after he graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, DeFelice has been somewhat ostracized by his medical community peers for his strong stance on natural remedies as opposed to medical remedies, and for reporting his findings through the popular press rather that in medical journals, a no-no in the medical community.

In his new book, DeFelice features a careful analysis of published clinical studies conducted by medical experts highlighting the benefits of nutraceuticals toward living a long and healthy life. The book also contains information on a natural cardiac elixir to help in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

DeFelice said the problem that nutraceuticals face is the Federal Food and Drug Administration has strongly opposed their use for medical purposes. DeFelice argues that since nutraceuticals are natural substances, which have a presumption of safety, the FDA should therefore have no opposition to their medical use.

In 1994, DeFelice successfully pushed Congress to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which explicitly allows makers of vitamins and herbal cures to make medical research based health claims.

DeFelice is the former chief of Clinical Pharmacology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and medical director at Pfizer, Inc. His 30-year study of carnitine sparked his interest and determination to encourage medical discovery, particularly on natural substances.