A Skeptical Look at Dwight Lundell, M.D.
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Dwight C. Lundell, M.D. lost medical license in 2008. Since that time he has been promoting books that clash with established scientific knowledge of heart disease prevention and treatment. His book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, invites people to "forget about everything you have been told about low-fat diets, saturated fats, cholesterol and the causes of heart disease." According to The Great Cholesterol Lie Web site:
- Dropping your cholesterol levels will not lower your risk of heart disease, attack, or strokes.
- During his career as a cardiac surgeon, he performed over 5,000 heart operations, most of which could have been easily prevented had the patients been given the right information.
- "Heart disease has a cure . . . .You can beat it without harmful medications and painful, risky surgery."
- The Great Cholesterol Lie . . . is "as close to a new heart as you can get without laying on Dr. Lundell's table."
- Lundell "guarantees" that the book "can turn your health around."
This article tells why I would not trust Lundell's advice.
Medical and Regulatory History
After graduating from the University of Arizona Medical School in 1971, Lundell completed a one-year internship and two years of surgical residency in general surgery at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, followed by two years of residency in chest surgery at Yale University Medical Center in New Haven, Connecticut. He became certified in cardiothoracic surgery, which he practiced for about 25 more years.
|In 2007, Lundell began the Healthy Humans Foundation Blog, which stated that he was "refocusing" his career on the prevention and cure of heart disease . He also produced a book called The Cure for Heart Disease which, according to its description on Amazon Books, "is different than every other book exploring the number one killer of Americans" and is "a riveting yet straight forward discussion that challenges public consensus, explains the reasons for the epidemic of heart disease, and provides an easy to follow guide to eliminate heart disease."  A comment on the Amazon page indicate that it advocates a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, low-dose aspirin, fish oil,l and conjugated linoleic acid supplements for everyone.|
In 2004, the Healthy Humans Foundation issued a news release that plugged the book and said that Lundell had retired from the practice of surgery in 2004 .
Between 2000 and 2008, Lundell was subjected to five regulatory actions by the Arizona Medical Board:
- In 2000, the board concluded that his postoperative management of a patient who had died following carotid artery surgery was substandard and insufficiently documented. He was censured for unprofessional conduct, assessed a $2,500 civil penalty, and placed on probation during which he was required to take continuing medical education courses in carotid artery surgery and medical recordkeeping. He was also required to submit to monitoring of his patient records .
- In 2003, the board noted that 13 out of 20 charts reviewed by the consultant were deficient because they did not include adequate initial evaluations of the patients. Lundell was censured again and was placed on probation that included quarterly chart reviews .
- In 2004, the board found fault with his management of two patients and concluded that his records for these patients were inadequate. He was reprimanded and ordered to serve two more years of probation, during which he was required to undergo an extensive evaluation of his fitness to continue practicing medicine .
- In 2006, the board sent him an advisory letter for failure to maintain adequate records and for a technical surgical error .
- In 2008, the board reviewed Lundell's management of several more patients and revoked his medical license. The board's order mentioned that the board was investigating his care of seven patients because the Banner Desert Medical Hospital had suspended Lundell's surgical privileges .
Financial and Legal Trouble
Lundell also ran into considerable difficulty in his nonmedical affairs. Although the full records are not readily available, documents I found on the Internet indicate the following:
- In 1990 Lundell filed for bankruptcy. At that time, there were several lawsuits pending in state court on the theory that he was a partner in a construction business called West Coast Construction in which he had invested. I don't know the outcome of these suits, but he ultimately wound up owing at least $20 million dollars.
- In 2005, he again filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have assets of $12,990 and liabilities of $20,185,769.60. The liabilities included $74,264.77 in credit card debts, $78,932.48 for accounting services, the $20 million debt related to the previous bankruptcy, and "unknown amounts" of state and federal taxes owed. The financial statement also listed his earnings as $0 for 2005, $0 for $2004, and $288,436 for 2003 .
- In 2004, Lundell leaded guilty in federal court to three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns. A newspaper report indicates that he had become a client of "tax protester" Wayne C. Bentson after a long-running dispute with the IRS and that rather than filing tax returns from 1992 to 1996, Lundell had filed affidavits contesting the government's right to levy taxes . In 2005, Lundell was sentenced to three years' probation, but the probation was terminated after 16 months. Bentson was ordered to pay $1,129,937 to the Internal Revenue Service and was sentenced to four years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release .
Lundell says he founded the Healthy Humans Foundation "to help the human race free themselves of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, and other diseases caused by improper nutrition and misleading consumer information."  I was unable to find an entry in the business listings of the Arizona Secretary State or the IRS's database of nonprofit organizations.
From 2007 through May 2010, Lundell was listed as an advisor to NourishLife, a company that markets vitamins, fish oil supplements, and conjugated linoleic acid supplements as "pharmaceutical grade" products claimed to help children with speech problems. After the Chicago Tribune criticized the products and mentioned that Lundell had lost his medical license , he was removed from the page of advisors on the NourishLife Web site.
A biographical sketch on Amazon.com states that Lundell formulated and promotes two dietary supplements for Asantae (a multilevel company): HeartShot™ and RealW8™. HeartShot is claimed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease" disease by "dramatically reducing inflammation." RealW8 is claimed to "help you control the addiction to sugar and carbohydrates, thus allowing you to lose weight." 
Lundell's book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, is offered for $49.95 through The Truth About Heart Disease Web site, which also invites people to sign up as members:
- Silver membership ($47/month) includes "a vast amount of information" every month."
- Platinum membership: (77/month) adds access to month;y teleseminars in which Lundell answers questions and twice-monthly interviews with "cutting edge experts."
- Gold membership: ($245/month) adds a one-hour or two half-hour private consultations with Lundell.
The Bottom Line
Dr. Lundell would like you to believe that he has special knowledge of heart disease prevention. I do not trust his advice.
- Healthy Humans Foundation Blog, accessed Sept 18, 2011.
- The Cure for Heart Disease: The Truth Will Save a Nation. Amazon.com Web site, accessed Sept 18, 2011.
- Charles D. Retired Heart Surgeon Dwight Lundell Continues to Save Lives Retired heart surgeon Dwight Lundell spent 25 years performing over 5,000 heart surgeries. Today his newest book, The Cure for Heart Disease continues to save lives by exposing the truth behind the causes of heart disease and attacks. Healthy Human Foundation News Release, PR Web, Nov 11, 2008.
- Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (censure with probation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, June 27, 2000.
- Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (decree of censure & probation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell. Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, March 20, 2004.
- Consent agreement and order for letter of reprimand and probation. In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, June 17, 2003.
- Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (license revocation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, October 9, 2008.
- Lundell D. Voluntary petition for bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona, filed Oct 14, 2005.
- Grado G. E.V. surgeon suing Banner for stripped privileges. East Valley Tribune, April 15, 2004.
- Arizona man sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud. U.S. Department of Justice news release, May 15, 2005. The Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator site indicates that Bentson was released on May 23, 2008.
- About us. Healthy Humans Foundation Web site, archived Jan 26, 2009.
- Shelton DL. Speech experts are wary of untested supplement sold as a speech aid for kids with verbal apraxia. Chicago Tribune, Sept 10, 2010.
- Asantae Web site, accessed Oct 11, 2012.
This article was revised on February 8, 2013.