Early Life and Education
Dr. Joseph Mercola was born, raised and educated within the city limits of Chicago, and regards himself as a true Chicagoan. The son of Jeanette Aldridge and Thomas Nicholas Mercola, he wasn’t raised in a particularly health-conscious household. His introduction to natural health came much later, partly due to a book he read on the importance of running and aerobic exercise entitled “Aerobics,” written by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper.
As a high school freshman, Dr. Mercola watched the Apollo 11 moon landing, which inspired him to pursue a career in aeronautics. However, the sheer population density in Chicago made it difficult for him to get admitted into the space program. This did not faze him, however, and still pursued an engineering course in college to continue his road to becoming an astronaut. He eventually shifted to a premedicine course, which served as his transition into a new stage of his life.
During his training in the field of medicine, Dr. Mercola served as a pharm tech at a physician’s office and as an assistant at the Illinois Eye Bank and Kidney Bank, where he facilitated donations for organ transplants. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1976, and the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982.
As a traditional doctor, his medical practice back in 1985 consisted of conventional techniques, such as routine physical checkups, medicine prescriptions and school physical exams. He served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years and the chief resident at the Chicago Osteopathic Hospital from 1984 to 1987. He eventually became board-certified by the American College Osteopathic General Practitioners.
His foray into natural and holistic medicine only began in the early ‘90s, when he noticed that conventional approaches failed to treat his patients. He then focused on modifying their diet and making them more physically active, which led to great improvements in their health.
This realization pushed him to form alliances with other like-minded individuals, such as scientists and medical professionals, to learn more about the natural and holistic side of medicine. He eventually founded Mercola.com in 1997, which has been steadily gaining popularity over the decades since.
Founding of Mercola.com
Dr. Joseph Mercola founded Mercola.com in 1997 as a portal for natural health information and resources. It is one of the first health websites established to cater to readers who are interested in holistic medicine. Mercola.com is now routinely among the top 10 natural health websites on the internet, boasting over a million newsletter subscribers, and garnering more than 10 million page views per month.
Mercola.com aims to provide up-to-date natural health information and data that will most benefit its readers and subscribers, helping them achieve peak health and adopt better lifestyles. It also strives to expose corporate, government and mass media hype that diverts people from what is truly best for their health and often toward a path that leads straight into an early grave.
Mercola.com provides a harmonious community for educated and open-minded individuals who are determined to change the modern health paradigm. Subscribers and readers belong to a variety of populations, from homemakers to health care experts, all seeking to improve and maintain their state of health.
Originally based in Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Mercola.com now operates at Cape Coral, Florida, and has a remote office in Manila, Philippines.
You can also listen to his weekly podcasts, where he interviews renowned health experts on various topics.
Achievements, Publications and Books
Dr. Mercola has written a total of 15 books, three of which have been included in The New York Times Best Sellers list, namely “Effortless Healing,” “The No-Grain Diet” and “The Great Bird Flu Hoax.” His most recent books, which have also been hailed as best sellers in the health category, are “Fat for Fuel,” “Ketofast” and the newly released “EMF*D.”
He also has written 30 scientific studies and reports published in medical journals and publications, with topics ranging from the dangers of aspartame to mercury toxicity. He was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition in October 2012, which requires a minimum of four requirements:
- Co-write five or more publications relevant to nutrition in referred medical or scientific journals
- Demonstrate significant experience in patient care
- Hold a doctoral degree from an institution that is accredited by the Regional Accrediting Organizations
- Maintain status with the ACN
- “EMF*D: 5G, Wi-Fi and Cell Phones: Hidden Harms and How to Protect Yourself” (2020)
- “KetoFast: Rejuvenate Your Health With a Step-by-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals” (2019)
- “KetoFast Cookbook: Recipes for Intermittent Fasting and Timed Ketogenic Meals From a World-Class Doctor and an Internationally Renowned Chef” (2019, with Pete Evans)
- “Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health” (2018, with Dr. James DiNicolantonio)
- “The Fat for Fuel Cookbook: Recipes and Ketogenic Keys to Health from a World-Class Doctor and Chef” (2017, with Pete Evans)
- "Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy" (2017) — USA Today Best Seller
- "Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself " (2015) — The New York Times Best Seller
- "The Great Bird Flu Hoax: The Truth They Don’t Want You to Know About the ‘Next Big Pandemic’" (2006, with Pam Killeen) — The New York Times Best Seller
- "The No Grain Diet: Conquer Carbohydrate Addiction and Stay Slim for Life" (2003, with Alison Rose Levy) — The New York Times Best Seller
- "Dark Deception: Discover the Truth About the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure" (2008, with Jeffry Herman)
- "Generation XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food World" (2007, with Ben Lerner)
- "Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type" (2007, with Kendra Degen Pearsall)
- "Take Control of Your Health" (2007, with Kendra Degen Pearsall)
- "Sweet Deception: Why Splenda®, NutraSweet®, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health" (2006, with Kendra Degen Pearsall)
- "Dr. Mercola’s Total Health Program: The Proven Plan to Prevent Disease and Premature Aging, Optimize Weight and Live Longer!" (2004, with Brian Vaszily, Kendra Degen Pearsall, Nancy Lee Bentley)
- "Aspartame Can Harm Your Health," British Medical Journal, October 3, 2004
- "Fish Oil Far More Effective Than Aspirin For Pre-eclampsia," British Medical Journal, September 12, 2003
- "Managing Hypertriglyceridemia," Canadian Medical Journal, April 1, 2003
- "Nutritional Ignorance Will Sabotage Treatment," British Medical Journal, September 13, 2002
- "Dietary Manipulations That Resolve Atopic Dermatitis," British Medical Journal, June 7, 2002
- "Myopia Possible Link to Increased Refined Carbohydrate Intake and Hyperinsulinemia," British Medical Journal, May 17, 2002
- "Recent Advances in Nutritional Alternative to Parathyroid Hormone for Osteoporosis," British Medical Journal, February 26, 2002
- "Omega-3s and Childhood Asthma," Thorax, March 2002:57(3)281
- More on Terrorism," Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA), January 2002
- "Many People are Taking Insulin Like Growth Factor Without Even Knowing It," Western Journal of Medicine Vol 175 (6):378, December 2001
- "Fluoride and Apoptosis: Trading Dental Caries for Cellular Death?" British Medical Journal, July 20, 2001
- "Accuracy of Hair Analysis," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 285:1576-77, March 28, 2001
- "Mercury Toxicity and Systemic Elimination Agents," Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 11:53-62, March 2001
- Columnist for The Townsend Letter, a nationally prominent alternative medicine periodical, from October 1997 to June 2001
- "Recurrent Otitis? Think Allergy" Family Practice News page 12-13; October 1, 1996
- "Natural Progesterone for PMS," Patient Care 30:27-28, September 15, 1996
- "The Basis For Microcurrent Electrical Therapy in Conventional Medical Practice," Journal of Advancement in Medicine 8:107-120, 1995
- "Cracking Down on 'Neck Cracking,'" American Family Physician 45:452-459, February 1992 (article to discourage patient's self-manipulation which leads to ligamentous laxity)
- "Minocycline Trials in Rheumatoid Arthritis," Patient Care January 20, 1992 p.20-21
- "Calcium Channel Blockers and Dysmenorrhea," Journal of Adolescent Health 1:1-2, January 1992
- "Better Sleep For Less Pain in Hand Rheumatoid Arthritis," Patient Care December 15, 1991 p. 15
- "Nutrition Software Helps Monitor Patients' Diets," Computer News For Physicians, p. 29-30, June 15, 1990
- "Premarital HIV Testing," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 261:2198, April 21, 1989
- Served as editor for HIV Monograph by Abbott Laboratories published in 1989 and distributed to physicians nationally
- "Private Resources Should Share AIDS Funding Responsibility," Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) 88:313, March 1988
- "What Physicians Should Know About AIDS Antibody Testing," Osteo Med News December 1988
- "Premarital HIV Test Is Worth the Money," American Medical News p.45 September 9, 1988
- "Pediatrics and AIDS," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 258:3119-3120, December 4, 1987
- "Recent Developments In Smoking Cessation," Osteo Annals 14:31-32, 1987
- "The New American Diet (Book Review)," Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA)153:107-108, 1987
- "Update On Rubella, Hepatitis, and H. flu Vaccines," Osteo Med News 3:31-32, 1986
- "Calcium Supplementation in the Treatment of Hypertension" Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) 85:104-107, 1985
- "NMR Analysis of Human and Rabbit Lens," Experimental Eye Research 34:545-552, 1982
Due to his tireless efforts in disseminating important health information to the public, Dr. Mercola has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 2009, he was named the top Ultimate Wellness Game Changer, which awards “100 innovators, visionaries and leaders in 10 categories who are harnessing the power of new media to reshape their fields and change the world.”
He also has received prestigious awards from Emord and Associates P.C. for his contributions to holistic medicine, including the Sacred Fire of Liberty Award, Excellence in Health Journalism Award and the Freedom of Informed Choice Award.
Organizations and Partnerships
As a means of upholding health freedom, Dr. Joseph Mercola has partnered with various organizations to support their operations and keep important information available to the public. A percentage of the proceeds from the Mercola site directly goes to the funding of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AHVMF), the Consumers for Dental Choice, the Organic Consumers Association and other organizations that promote the freedom of choice in health and wellness.
He also is a member of professional organizations, serving on the advisory boards of the following associations and institutions: Functional Medicine University, American Nutrition Association, Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundation and Bio-Solar Proto.
Mercola Editorial Team
- Dr. Mercola, Writer, Researcher, Editor 1997
- Steve Rye, CEO, 2008
- Janet Selvig, Chief Editor, 2006
- Ann-Mari Ahlstedt, Researcher, Writing Assistant, Editor, 2007
- Ann Margarette Talon, 2017
- Cindy Bevington Olmstead, Researcher, Editor, Writing Assistant 2009
- Donna Rose Santiago, 2016
- Elaine Catherine Ferrer, 2010
- Gail Morris, Researcher, Writing Assistant, 2015
- Heidi Saliba, Writing Assistant, Editor, 2019
- Julie Wilson, Researcher, Writing Assistant, 2016
- Martha Rosenberg, Researcher, Writing Assistant, 2016
- Matthew Bellissimo, Writing Assistant, Editor, 2020
- Rachael Bieschke, Researcher, Writing Assistant, Editor, 2002
- Thomas Nico Sagun, 2016
- Viv Sade, Writing Assistant 2019