Michael Mooney's Story (Updated February, 2011)
Because his early childhood was plagued with numerous personal health problems Michael Mooney began looking into natural health care and "health foods" and orthomolecular nutrition at the age of 14, in 1967.
His health improved rapidly and Michael's growing passion for nutrition attracted the attention of his biochemist father. Under his father's mentorship Michael began to investigate progressive nutrition and nutritional therapies, and in 1977 they co-founded SuperNutrition Life Extension Research, to research nutrition and dietary supplements, lifestyle, and exercise as tools to improve health, intelligence and extend human healthspan and perhaps, lifespan.
Because of his upbringing in a family of activists, although he is HIV-negative, Michael responded to the AIDS crisis when it first appeared in the early 1980's by helping HIV-positive friends research information about alternative medicine and nutrition for long-term survival. Michael lost his best friend to AIDS-related wasting disease early in the AIDS crisis (he died in a hospital at 80 pounds), and this has been a prime motivation for Michael's HIV/AIDS work.
In the 1980's Michael also provided nutritional consultation, lectured and worked in the field helping bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts improve their performance and stay healthy. During this time Michael wrote a column for Hardgainer, a consummate natural bodybuilding magazine. What he learned working in the fitness community set the stage for his research related to the medical use of anabolic hormones, nutrition and exercise as wellness tools for building health for people with HIV/AIDS.
In 1993, in an effort to help the HIV public gain more understanding of alternative HIV/AIDS therapies, Michael attempted to produce a free public forum at the West Hollywood, California Community Auditorium. When the forum drew an audience of over 200 people because of a two-page story Michael placed in Los Angeles' New Times newspaper, Michael realized his calling as an AIDS treatment advocate.
After being asked about testosterone use for HIV therapy by HIV-positive friends, and seeing his friends get healthier when they were put on testosterone therapy, Michael began investigating potential medical applications for testosterone and other anabolic steroids in 1994. In 1995, Michael met Nelson Vergel by introduction of internationally recognized hormone therapy expert Mauro DiPasquale, M.D.
Nelson, a resident of Houston, was HIV-positive himself and already using testosterone and other anabolic steroids along with progressive nutrition and exercise as parts of his personal wellness program. Nelson was practicing what Michael had been studying far away in Los Angeles. Their commonality as treatment advocates yielded Michael a role as voluntary Director of Research and Education for Nelson's new non-profit organization, Program For Wellness Restoration (PoWeR). PoWeR is a non-profit research and educational organization that focuses on a comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS wasting and body composition problems utilizing nutrition, exercise, and hormonal intervention.
During the time that Michael and Nelson became friends and co-workers Michael began writing regularly for Muscle Media magazine. Michael's two years of exposure to Muscle Media's 300,000+ readers helped PoWeR spread the word around the United States and the world that the intelligent medical use of testosterone and anabolic steroids, the progressive use of dietary supplements and eating a natural, whole-foods diet while getting regular exercise could help improve HIV health and longevity.
Michael fought Big Pharma when he exposed deceptive marketing that sold human growth hormone (hGH) to HIV+ people while he refused bribes. Michael was the one of the first to assert that hGH did not of itself build muscle. HGH was being prescribed and sold at a very high profit to increase muscle for HIV-positive people who were losing muscle tissue and dying of wasting. As a twist of fate, a Los Angeles area pharmacy outlet for Serono's hGH product Serostim approached Michael with an offer of a $600 per patient "finders' fee" for recommending Serostim hGH and referring patients to that pharmacy. Since Michael managed the PoWeR patient information service that helped over 300 HIV-positive people per month, this could have amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. Instead, Michael took note of the doctors and others who he was told were receiving kickbacks for getting HIV patients to use Serostim, published an article about it and was asked to testify before federal authorities. His efforts contributed to Serono being fined $700 million dollars by the US government.
Consulting And Lecturing
Because of Michael's love for science and the medical literature he has been a consultant to medical doctors, dietitians and the HIV public regarding hormonal and nutritional therapies and exercise for HIV/AIDS. Michael has given over 150 lectures to the general public and the HIV community and their doctors, dietitians and caseworkers. Topics have included progressive nutritional topics, The PoWeR Guidelines for HIV, anabolic hormone therapy, exercise, and politics related to natural health care. During the five years Michael lectured on HIV topics, because of Michael's attention to detail, his knowledge of published medical journal studies, his animated speaking style and his willingness to talk about critical issues doctors don't cover, Michael broke all world attendance records on multiple occasions, including filling West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center's largest room with 395 people.
Michael's publications, presentations and assistance include PoWeR's nutritional, hormonal and exercise research data, which he co-authored, at the XI International AIDS Conference in Vancouver in July, 1996 (Mooney, et al. Abstract We.B.3271); a co-authored paper on the combined therapeutic application of nutrition, anabolic steroids and exercise for HIV that was presented at the XII International AIDS Conference in Geneva (Vergel, et al), a co-authored paper on anabolic steroid therapy for HIV (Pharo, et al, Second International Conference on Nutrition and HIV Infection, Cannes, France - 1997). He is the Editor and Publisher of Medibolics, as a web site and in its former printed form, and during this time, had over 100 articles published in magazines, newspapers, and newsletters, including Muscle Media, POZ, Positively Aware, European AIDS Treatment News, Ironman, and Current Medical News.
Michael was a consultant to National Institutes of Health researcher Fred Sattler, M.D. of USC-LA, for Dr. Sattler's study, Effects of Pharmacological Doses of Nandrolone Decanoate and Progressive Resistance Training in Immunodeficient Patients Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 84(4):1268-1276, 1999. (See study acknowledgements.)
Michael continued to break new ground when he published the first hypothesis that insulin resistance was involved in lipodystrophy, one of the most problematic side effects of HIV anti-viral medications, like protease inhibitors. His article, with suggestions to reduce lipodystrophy, first appeared in Medibolics (November, 1997) and then European AIDS Treatment News (Summer, 1998).
In December, 1999, Michael Mooney and Nelson Vergel released their book Built To Survive: A Comprehensive Guide to the Medical Use of Anabolic Hormones, Nutrition and Exercise for HIV(+) Men and Women. At 184 pages, Built To Survive provided details that serve the needs of the patient and doctor alike, as it is written in easily understandable language, while it contains 407 medical journal references. Built To Survive has over a dozen 5-star consumer's reviews and three medical doctor's reviews on Amazon.com. There have been three updated editions of Built To Survive.
The University of Illinois AIDS Book Review Journal says, "It is a book for the individual, but also a highly recommended book for all medical, academic, and public libraries."
Michael and Nelson donate all book profits to help fund non-profit HIV research and educational organizations.
Michael's activism extends into politics. He served eight terms as the Political Committee Chairperson or Co-Chairperson of the Northern California (NORCAL) chapter of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), and served on the national legislative committee of the NNFA (now called the Natural Products Association). Michael co-founded the San Francisco branch of Citizens For Health, a national grass-roots lobbying organization in 1993, to help pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), opposing the Food and Drug Administration's unsuccessful attempt to begin regulating dietary supplements as prescription items. Successful political activism, including his involvement in the largest letter-writing campaign to Congress in history, which generated over one million letters, yielded four awards for Michael's work towards the passage of DSHEA, including Activist of the Year from Citizens For Health. (Citizen's For Health was the second largest lobbying organization in the USA in 1994.)
Michael's media exposure includes over 60 television and radio interviews, including ABC-TV and NBC-TV (Los Angeles), FOX-TV (Los Angeles) and KPFA Radio (Berkeley), covering nutrition, politics or hormonal therapies; an interview in Sports Illustrated, where he was described as an "authority on anabolic hormones;" an interview for a Discovery Channel look at anabolic steroids and Olympic athletes, and being referenced on this subject on ABC-TV's Good Morning America.
Michael's currently spends some of his spare time reading scientific reports and producing documents that demystify natural health care and the progressive use of nutritional supplements for longevity and optimum health. He also works on his free information website, www.michaelmooney.net, his favorite focus being debunking the negative vitamin studies that are promoted in the mass media in a web page section called "Nutrition in the Press: Corrections." Michael is in the process of writing a new book about a progressive nutritional topic.
His Personal Progessive Health And Recreation Program
Michael continues his own personal progressive health program, which includes anti-aging-potency nutrient supplementation, a high protein-low carbohydrate-moderate healthy fat natural foods diet, exercising for optimal body composition and longevity, employing weight-training, boxing, running, and trying new sports, including taking up scuba and skydiving at the age of 51.
Michael travels throughout the United States and the world for work and for fun, playing with dogs whenever he has the chance.