Cover Story: Selling The Promise Of Youth
As Dr. Ron Rothenberg bursts through the door of his anti-aging institute in Southern California, a cell phone pressed to his ear, his nurse warns him of the busy day ahead. There will be four-hour consultations with each of three prospective patients, she says. They're all coming to hear the 60-year-old Rothenberg's pitch about how his tailored regimens of diet, exercise, and hormones will make them feel younger and live longer.
In between the meet-and-greets, Rothenberg catches up with patient Dr. Howard Benedict, a retired dentist. The two men met in 1999 and became friends while surfing at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Rothenberg put Benedict on a $10,000-a-year regimen of 30 vitamins and supplements, plus testosterone gel and injections of human growth hormone. Benedict says his arthritis pain has eased so much that he rides his bike and surfs for hours at a stretch, after sucking down a huge protein smoothie he learned to make from Rothenberg's in-house nutritionist. "Those other guys my age, they're only out there surfing for a half-hour," says Benedict, 61. As a sly smile creeps across his face, he adds: "I feel like I'm 20 years old with my wife. It's just amazing."