Tipton dentist sinks his teeth into nutrition
Aaron R. Walther, The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 01–At the age of 75, Dr. Ronald Shuler still operates his dental
practice in Tipton. And while many of his colleagues have retired,
Shuler still has the energy to keep going.
He is able to, he said, because of proper nutrition, exercise and a
healthy diet, things he believes are poorly lacking in our nation and
leading to unnecessary disease, obesity and shortened lifespans.
Shuler also is a certified clinical nutritionist and is working to
spread the word about the important role proper nutrition plays in
people's lives every day.
"What got me into nutrition is that I was seeing what was happening to
my patients. In my opinion, I changed my focus to the prevention of
disease. I was looking at ways to help people have vibrant, quality
health. It makes more sense to study prevention," he said.
Shuler has been running his dental practice in Tipton for five years.
Before that, he practiced in Sedalia for several years.
Shuler served in the U.S. Air Force and arrived at Sedalia Air Force
Base, now Whiteman Air Force Base, in 1954. He was eventually shipped
off to Greenland, where he says he became interested in dentistry.
After returning to Missouri, Shuler attended Central Missouri College,
now the University of Central Missouri, where he majored in
communications, chemistry and physics. After graduating, he attended
dental school at St. Louis University. It's there where his interest
in doing medical research really took off.
"After two years, I was doing research in microcirculation and
smoking; how smoking affects circulation in the body," Shuler said.
"The school was so impressed they wanted to send me to grad school."
Shuler was awarded the prestigious Edward H. Hatton Award for his
research work and eventually entered a residency program in oral
pathology at Firmin Desloge Hospital in St. Louis.
Shuler then wanted to serve as an officer in the Air Force and work in
oral pathology, but at the time, "the Air Force had no place to put
me," and he eventually ended up back at Whiteman working as a dentist
with the rank of captain.
"When I got out (of the Air Force), I came to Sedalia in 1971 and
opened my practice," Shuler said.
Shuler also has been involved in research involving the element
magnesium and the adverse effects magnesium deficiency can have on the
human body. He said he worked with Dr. Mildred Seelig of the American
College of Nutrition. Noted as one of the world's leading authorities
on magnesium, she helped Shuler with his research.
"I did a study that showed one of the reasons people have headaches is
because of magnesium deficiency," Shuler said. "If you go to your
doctor and get a blood test, they don't check for magnesium, you have
to ask for it."
Shuler's research with magnesium led him to become a consultant for
the Riordan Clinic, a health care facility in Wichita, Kan., that
promotes proper nutrition as a key element in battling illnesses.
Shuler also belongs to the Life Extension research group. According to
lef.org, the group is a global authority on nutrition, health and
wellness, as well as a provider of scientific information on
anti-aging supplements and therapies.
Shuler is the only dentist on the medical advisory board at Life Extension.
"I'm trying to get people proactively involved in their own health,"
Shuler said. "And I want the medical world to understand that if you
can incorporate nutrition into treatment, it will make a big
Shuler also believes poor nutrition has a major impact on how long people live.
"We are killing ourselves by what we are eating," he said. "Our food
is nutritionally poor."
Shuler explained that every cell has DNA and at the end of every DNA
strand, or chromosome, is a telomere, which works to protect the
chromosome. Without proper nutrition, these telomeres can shorten and
if they get too short, can lead to damage of the chromosome and cause
But Shuler said research has found that a substance in grapes,
resveratrol, may be able to help regrow telomeres and aid in slowing
down aging. Shuler said he takes a resveratrol supplement that is
equivalent to drinking 1,000 bottles of wine a day.
"I don't get drunk, but I'm doing telomere replication, causing it to
regrow," he said.
Shuler's passion for health spills over into other areas of his life
as well. He started running at the age of 62 and has participated in
several of Sedalia's annual Firecracker Mile runs, an event in which
he has won several medals. And, even at age 75, he gets up at 5:30
a.m. every day and rides his bicycle four or five miles.
Shuler also has consulted on nutrition with Olympic athletes,
including swimmer Brooke Bennett, speed skater Cathy Turner, and
volleyball gold medalists Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana.
Throughout his many years of research and consulting, the most
important thing to Shuler is that people are properly educated about
nutrition and how good nutrition can lead to a healthier, happier and
"That is the whole purpose of this," Shuler said.