A Cup Of Questions with: Camillo Ricordi
Updated: Feb 18
By Misha & Lauren @ FTL MODA
Dr. Ricordi wants you to live longer
“When you spend one dollar toward good advertisement in nutrition and healthy lifespan, you have at least one thousand dollars spent in the opposite direction.”
1. Whether it's like famous musicians, models, or celebrities, drug addictions are a pretty large epidemic. In your medical opinion, how does drug use lead to health issues such as diabetes?
Dr. Ricordi: We were just discussing this in the recent board meeting about how it's not just an addiction to a specific substance like those people who have an addiction to food then can have an addiction to alcohol. When they stop with alcohol they can turn to an addiction to other things or sex addictions. They are all in the same frame of trends in behaviors that are addicting behaviors and it's a big concern. I don't think there is a specific link to type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune form of diabetes but there might be a link to the second, largest, most wide-spread: diabetes type 2 which is linked to eating and lifestyle behaviors. You know 50% of diabetes worldwide could be preventable if you eat properly and if you have a proper lifestyle, even moderate exercise. You don’t have to be in excess with exercise. While in type 1 diabetes there is this misconception because children become diabetic without immune form or when your immune system goes crazy and starts attacking the insulin producing cells that is not linked to addiction or any of this kind of behavior but instead if you start becoming overweight and poor lifestyle and big habits in eating junk food or high glycemic index food or increasing body weight then you have an increased trend, increased contact to diabetes 2 which is the nutritionally linked diabetes. That is 90% of the diabetes worldwide. That is like 430 million people worldwide, projected to reach 600 million people in the next 2 decades which is a clear epidemic and something where, with education and intervention with nutrition and lifestyle we could make a huge impact.
2. Also, a big problem is anorexia and bulimia and other eating disorders are really common in the fashion industry, have you had a patient who has had some kind of eating disorder and diabetes?
Dr. Ricordi: Yeah there are kinds of eating disorders, there is one that is specific for diabetic people that is when, especially girls or young people, they are not taking insulin to lose weight. So insulin is a hormone and it makes your body build up and so if you take too much insulin you gain weight. That’s why also people with type 2 diabetes tend to be hypoglycemic which means that they produce more insulin and they tend to gain more weight and so it is very important to have the appropriate dose of insulin, what you need to metabolize glucose and foods, but now if you stop taking insulin and you start decaying and get ketoacidosis you lose weight like its a way to— it's a very unhealthy way to lose weight. But unfortunately a lot of people tend to do that to lose weight. I mean not a lot but it is a concern when you have a girl that decides to skip her insulin dose because of a weight problem.
3. That’s interesting I’d never thought about that. So you kind of already touched on this but, what would you say is your best nutritional advice for models or just people in general?
Dr. Ricordi: Well for models, like umm well, for people in general and especially for models you have to look to what is your nutrition and how this can affect your healthy lifespan. Cause you can have nutrition habits that in the short term they make you lose weight if you need to fit that costume or that suit or that dress in the next week but there are lifestyle, nutritional habits that help you maintain a healthy lifespan. So like, if you think that you are born with a given mojo or telomere or call it what you want of ability to regenerate your tissue and live healthy. Say, this is 140 years of age the ideal world. Then depending on how you consume this potential, how fast you consume it, you can be 50, 60, 70 years or even more depending on how you optimize these nutrition intervention. So what has emerged that is in the last three decades there have been incredible bad trends occuring in nutrition, what we call the perfect nutritional storm.
4. And how do you think that the models who look very healthy but then advertise certain unhealthy food as we often see in like commercials for chain restaurants and things like that, how do you feel that that affects general culture around eating?
Dr. Ricordi: It’s unfortunate but it’s a reality like we say. When you spend one dollar toward good advertisement in nutrition and healthy lifespan its like you have one thousand at least dollars spent in the opposite direction. It’s an unfair battle because when you’re deal with collosal of the financial empires you can know if you’re a big food industry, advertising bad products you can get a top model very easily because to give a million or three million is nothing in your budget but for me that I have a few hundred thousand dollars to cure a disease, I cannot spend three million for a model to give a positive message. So, in our case and the reason why we find the cure alliance which is a non-profit organization to try to bring people ogether to work to cure diseases now affecting human kind. We are counting more time to get the message out and say, well I’m interested to do cancer research or diabetes research or healthy nutritionand help models coming to us saying: How can I help you help us? Living a better life and curing a disease. So we cannot afford the same sponsorship that the industry does but we can afford to give a positive message that may be rewarding especially if many models believe in karma. So do something good for a disease could bring you some benefit. Maybe you get the next big contract with the big modeling agency.
5. Okay, yeah. Alright so, since we’re talking about models and fashion, as you may or may not know, the fashion world is like a huge family community. So that sparks us to talk about your family and specifically can you tell us about your grandfather Leonard Bernstein?
Dr. Ricordi: Yeah my family. I had two godfathers. My principal one was Earl McGrath who was the president of the Rolling Stones for one decade and the other one was Leonard Bernstein who actually were not my real godfather was sick so could not come to for me so these two guys stepped in when I was born in New York in the ancient days of 1957, before your parents were born. But they were two fantastic individuals like Leonard Bernstein probably saved me from becoming a pianist because he came to see my first piano concert when I was 12 years old and told me that if I wanted to do something different with my life to feel free! Hahaha practically that I would not become an outstanding pianist. I could become a good pianist but I don’t see any
miracle just not worth the kind of suffering of going through 12-14 hours a day of training and that was a great relief because I didn’t like studying piano. Earl McGrath was like my second father and he technically sided more with the rock and roll side of the godfather-ship because I grew up in recording studio and he was a great person. He left the music industry and went into art and started doing art exhibits in LA and NY so I grew up super close to the music, movie and art sphere of interest. Leonard Bernstein was also responsible for my first wedding/marriage because when I was a postdoctoral fellow I was invited by Jean Stein to this big party at the Dakota building in NY for this book from Dennis Hopper that was called “Out of the 60s” the launch of his book. Dennis Hopper was this actor and a writer for lots of movies and when I arrived I said to my girlfriend of the time why don’t we go to this party in New York? It’s a little crazy thing but we can do a little jet set students and we go to New York and when the elevator opens in this penthouse in the Dakota Building where like 300 people, where the least important was Harrison Ford or Andy Warhol. There was the creme of the creme of the movie industry, music industry. Lenny Bernstein was the first one that saw me when the elevator door opened and he did this very theatrical scene. He dropped on his knees and the cross sign and said “Oh my God! The Ricordi is walking in!” And you can imagine, the whole party froze saying “who the hell is this little guy!” My girlfriend who I had just met practically a few ago in Saint Louis turned to be and said “who are you?!” Three months later we were married. Those are my godfathers.
Dr. Camillo Ricordi, former Valentino model and current top diabetes researcher in the world, was interviewed on January 30th and revealed some new information about what health can be. “In the ideal world, with the ideal ability to regenerate telomeres, humans could live up to 140 years.” Dr. Ricordi said.
Acknowledged by his peers as one of the world's leading scientists in diabetes cure-focused research and cell transplantation, Dr. Ricordi is well-known for inventing the machine that made it possible to isolate large numbers of islet cells (insulin-producing cells) from the human pancreas and for performing the first series of successful clinical islet transplants that reversed diabetes after implantation of donor purified islets into the liver of recipients with diabetes.
Dr. Ricordi has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2001 Nessim Habif World Prize in Surgery (University of Geneva) for developing a technology that significantly contributed to the advancement of a surgical field. He was awarded the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the American Diabetes Association (2002). He delivered the opening plenary (Galileo Lecture) at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Congress in Rome (2008). In 2009, Dr. Ricordi was Knighted by the President of the Republic of Italy in the highest Order of the Republic (the Order of Merit) with the Knighthood decoration of Cavaliere Ufficiale and in 2010 he was only surgeon and one of the few ever inducted into the Association of American Physicians (AAP). In 2011, Dr. Ricordi received the D-Life's Top Award for making the biggest difference in diabetes in 2010 (international web-based public vote competition). In 2018, Dr. Ricordi was inducted in the National Academy of Inventors contributing outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society. Dr. Ricordi was recently ranked (2018) as the top-ranked expert in islet transplantation in the world. In 2019, Dr. Ricordi was appointed by the Italian Minister of Health to the Supreme Council of Health.