Dr. Zoltan Rona
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona M.D., M.Sc practices Complementary and Integrative Medicine and is an expert in nutritional biochemistry and clinical nutrition. He specialize in preventive medicine and natural therapies which are complementary (not an alternative to) your family medical doctor.
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Masters Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1984). He is past president of The Canadian Holistic Medical Association (1987-88).
He is the author of 11 books on natural medicine three of which are Canadian bestsellers, The Joy of Health (1991), Return to the Joy of Health (1995) and Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection (1997). He is co-author with Jeanne Marie Martin of The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook (1996) and is the medical editor of the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1998).
He has had a private medical practice in Toronto for the past 32 years, has appeared on radio and TV as well as lectured extensively in Canada and the U.S. Latest Published Books (Healthy Living Guides Series, Alive Books, 2000): Natural Alternatives to Vaccination, Osteoarthritis Naturally, Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Boosting Male Libido Naturally, Body Building Supplements, Menopause Naturally. Dr. Rona recently published his new book, "Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin".
Dr. Rona's books are available for purchase from on this website, at your local health food store, major book stores or from Amazon.com.
To Contact Dr. Rona's Office: Call 905-764-8700 or Email: email@example.com
Interview with Dr. Zoltan Rona
At what point did you change your practice from conventional, traditional, allopathic medicine to a more integrative approach?
Actually part of it was patient demand. More and more patients would come in and tell me how they improved by taking certain supplements and/or changing their diet. I also got very tired of prescribing drugs for every little thing. I began to feel like a drug pusher. Then when I would suggest simple things like eliminating dairy products or adding certain supplements to their regime, both the patient as well as I could see huge changes in their health, their vitality.
But other doctors also hear stories from their patients about how diet changes and taking vitamins made them better but they choose to ignore this information. Why did you decide to pay attention?
Because when I was in medical school I was a tournament tennis player and was always looking for ways to improve my game. I wanted more stamina, endurance and speed and experimented with taking various supplements and felt definite improvement. I then learned that there was a huge body of literature using supplements to treat different conditions and I began to take courses even though at that time, the late 1970ʼs, formal education in natural medicine was uncommon. I had to seek out courses. The work of Dr. Jeffrey Bland, an American biochemist was of particular interest to me because his work was not based on anecdotal testimonials but actually based on a lot of science, published medical and biochemical literature - proven information.
Letʼs address for a moment the difference between traditional allopathic medicine and integrative medicine. . . .
The main difference is that the latter looks for the cause of disease while the former approach simply treats symptoms. For example, the traditional method of treating arthritis is with anti-inflammatory medications, all of which have huge side-effects. I like to look at the cause of the problem. Is the condition brought on by lack of certain nutrients? Do I need to look at food sensitivities? Do I need to investigate the possibility of heavy metal contamination or toxicity from various infectants? So medication to alleviate symptoms are okay in a pinch but looking for the underlying source is the key to integrative medicine. I look for resolution of a problem not just medicating symptoms.
How long have you been practicing integrative medicine?
I have been practicing general medicine for 33 years and integrative medicine for 30 of those years.
Many doctors say that taking nutritional supplements only create expensive urine. . .
When doctors say this it is clearly a put down of integrative medicine and the belief that we get enough vitamins and minerals from our food supply, organic included. The truth is that in over 3,000 nutritional evaluations I have yet to find anyone without vitamin or mineral deficiencies, even in those following excellent diets.
And not only are we lacking in nutrients but most of our food supply contains toxins and heavy metals - PCBs, mercury, arsenic, dioxins - you name it, it is in there, hidden. It is totally naive to think that we live in a pristine world breathing clean air and eating uncontaminated food. So quite the opposite is true - most people have impoverished urine! If these doctors who make these statements were to conduct biochemical testing they would find that nobody is adequately nourished in anything.
How do you view dietetics and dieticians who basically run the kitchens of hospitals, influence school cafeterias and work closely with family physicians?
Dietetics are behind at least 50 years - RDAʼs (recommended daily allowances) are meaningless numbers and one diet is not appropriate for everyone. They come out strongly against the use of supplements because they havenʼt a clue as to what is really going on - counting calories is just not where it is at in so many instances. To recommend a product like ensure which is loaded with sugar, dairy and salt is really out of the loop. Also many dieticians are closely tied in with processed food giants so they justify these foods as good nutrition. They are also clueless about food sensitivities and how they can create chronic symptoms.
If one was on a limited budget and could only afford a certain number of nutritional supplements, what would you suggest they start with?
Vitamin D would be my very first suggestion since this precious vitamin has more impact on every organ and tissue than any other. My book, Vitamin D The Sunshine Vitamin is full of information about this vital nutrient.
What would be your second recommendation?
My second recommendation would be vitamin C because I believe that the majority of the population suffers from low grade scurvy. This nutrient is involved in the health of teeth, gums, bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue and is very involved in the health of the immune system in general. But it is also important to know that no one single nutrient cures everything - and this is why biochemical testing through specific blood work is so important. Doctors who practice integrative medicine perform these tests and then prescribe nutritional supplements based on these results.
And a third recommendation?
If you donʼt eat a great diet, using a green food supplement - a replacement - would be my third recommendation. Most disease states are made worse in an acid medium - green foods help the body become more alkaline. Most of the quality green foods contain super foods such as spirulina, blue green algae, various seaweeds, chlorella and other whole foods that are a powerhouse of nutrition.
Over the past few years have you seen changes in the medical system regarding more emphasis on integrative medicine?
Most of the teachings in medical school are heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. However, over the past decade or so I have seen huge changes - more acceptance of this new way of thinking - of looking for causes rather than treating symptoms with medication. I get more referrals from doctors and I see medical school curriculums changing. For instance, McMaster University has elective courses which focus on natural medicine. I now actually get students wanting to follow me around to see what I do. The public is demanding more of this approach - they want preventive medicine.
Is the quality of a nutritional supplement very important? Or are they all the same? Also many folks go for the cheapest product on the market . . .
Oh no, they are not all the same - especially when it comes to binders and fillers. It is wise to use vitamins and minerals that are not from the pharmaceutical world - using more pure products sold in health food stores is a much more intelligent choice. There is a list in one of my articles - Best Nutritional Supplements - How to Avoid the Hype and Gain Real Benefits and in this article there is a list of reputable vitamin companies. Centrum for instance is one of the most toxic supplements on the market - yet one of the most popular used by an unsuspecting public. It contains dyes that are carcinogenic, BHT, BHA, nickel aluminum -
why take this product when there are so many others that do not contain harmful ingredients. And the better product is not necessarily the most expensive. I am now finding that liquid and softgel supplements have the best absorption, and have the quickest results. Patient compliance also seems to be better with liquids.
Dr. Ronaʼs books are available for purchase at www.highlevelwellness.ca . There is also a large selection of his natural health articles posted on this site.