Doctor heal thyself… Genetics professor reveals how he keeps his health in tip top shape



21:05 GMT, 13 October 2012

Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College, London

Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College, London

Tim Spector, 54, is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College,
London, and author of Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your

He is married to consultant dermatologist Veronique Bataille.
They live in London and have two children.


I’ve had to change my diet because I travel so much it is unfeasible to be vegan, but it taught me to look further than the steak and chips on a restaurant menu.

There is evidence which shows that the more diverse your diet, the healthier your gut bacteria – which can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.


Rather than not drink alcohol at all, it’s better to drink up to three units a day if you’re a man, or two if you’re a woman.

That’s why I haven’t given up the booze. It’s believed that an antioxidant found in red wine, resveratrol, may help to counter the ageing process.


My grandmother passed down some bad genes – she had diabetes.

I’m aware of the hereditary nature
of the condition and know that I need to keep an eye on diet and
exercise as you can actually switch off these genes.

Cheers: Drink to your health

Cheers: Drink to your health

I’ve always exercised, but it’s better to do little and often rather than one huge blast every week, so I cycle to and from work.


When I gave up meat I became deficient in B6 and B12, which can be quite dangerous and may cause anaemia.

However, I think that you should only take vitamins if you have a confirmed deficiency, rather than popping lots of multivitamins on the off-chance.


I decided to change my lifestyle after a frightening experience earlier this year.

I was on holiday in the Dolomites and felt dizzy when I got to the top of a mountain: when I got back down I was seeing double.

It transpired that I had high blood pressure. I was given various medications to lower it, but rather than commit to long-term pill-popping I looked at dietary options.

Having read a lot of diet books and concluded that most are rubbish, I decided to try a low-protein vegan (and fish) diet. It sounds drastic but in four months I lost 12lbs and managed to get off some of the tablets.