Robert Crayhon 1961–2010
Robert Crayhon, a nutritionist, author, and commentator who was full of humor and passion for the science of food and dietary supplements, died September 4, 2010, from colon cancer.1 He was 49 years old.
Born in Mt. Vernon, New York, on April 30, 1961, Crayon grew up in Pelham, New York, and attended Iona Preparatory School and then Colgate University. He later graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in classical piano. But his deepest love was for nutrition. This led him to earn a master’s of science degree in nutrition at State University of New York (SUNY). As a certified clinical nutritionist, Crayhon lived and taught in Boulder, Colorado, where he founded and ran the Boulderfest Integrative Medicine Conference.1 A modern renaissance man of many talents, Crayhon was also an exceptional jazz pianist, a talented lyricist and composer, an accomplished stand-up comic, and a boxer.
Crayhon had the ability to grasp the “take-home” message when reading technical scientific papers and could distill the information in a way that others could understand and derive benefit. As such, he was a gifted teacher, as well as a capable writer and author of 4 books, including Nutrition Made Simple and The Carnitine Miracle. His passion to understand the health benefits of carnitine, a substance produced by the body from amino acids, was complemented by his passion to study nutrition, brain function, and performance.
“In my opinion,” said Esther Blum, a holistic nutritionist and author in New York, “his greatest achievement was making clinical nutrition and biochemistry hysterically funny. Robert catered to a wide variety of audiences—MDs, PhDs, RDs, fitness professionals, and patients—and was able to break down incredibly complex concepts in order to reach everyone. His humor was an incredible gift he bestowed to those around him” (e-mail, December 29, 2010).
Crayhon went on to help found the dietary supplements company, Designs for Health, his stake of which he sold in 2005. He then founded Crayhon Research in Reno, Nevada, and recorded numerous interviews with leaders in the field of nutrition, such as Harvard Medical School instructor and Robert Wood Foundation Fellow John Abramson, MD. These recordings were inculcated into his company’s serial, Nutritional Medicine Update With Robert Crayhon, M.S., C.N., which will continue to be available though Complimentary Prescriptions has since taken over the company. (Complementary Prescriptions will also continue to hold Boulderfest each year.)
Mark Schauss, who worked at Crayhon Research, said Crayhon was “a gifted writer, communicator, and—most of all—a teacher” (oral communication, December 20, 2010). “He so wanted to impart his knowledge to others that he spent hours and hours learning so that he could share what was out there in the world of nutrition with as many people as possible. His greatest achievement was the number of people he inspired to help others.”
“Robert would always be straightforward with you,” Mark Schauss continued. But more important, “He always tried to help others, especially those less fortunate than him. He would allow people to show up at his seminars for free, or even pay for part of their transportation and lodging if they needed it. He’d give you the shirt off his back. Robert almost always thought of others first. When I asked him what I could do for him the day before his surgery to remove a tumor in his colon, he asked that I go get a colonoscopy (which I did).”
Crayhon also spent time as a frequent guest commentator on various radio and television programs, including Fox News and CNN. He hosted his own national radio show for 3 years and a national television program on health and wellness for two, and was a regular columnist for Townsend Letter, the Examiner of Alternative Medicine. What many didn’t know about Crayhon were the hours he spent in soup kitchens in New York, as well as his support of many other charities. Anyone who had the opportunity to know him will never forget his boundless energy, immense passion for nutrition, and desire to urge others to make healthy choices. His generosity, talents, and attributes, combined with a wonderful sense of humor made him someone very special, never to be forgotten.
“Robert was one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever met,” Blum continued. “He was a rare breed in that he truly used both the right and left sides of his brain and I don’t think I’ll ever meet another gifted soul like him in my lifetime. The challenge lies within all of us to honor Robert through the continual quest for knowledge, sharing that knowledge with the public, and to fearlessly seek out the truth. Robert is irreplaceable, yet together we each hold a piece of him that we can share with the world.”
During his last months, Crayhon was surrounded by friends, particularly Jonathan and Linda Lizotte, who co-founded Designs for Health. Crayhon is survived by his sister and parents.
—Lindsay Stafford and Alexander G. Schauss, PhD, FACN, president and CEO of AIBMR Life Sciences, Inc.
1. Bowden J. Robert Crayhon: 1961-2010. Dr. Jonny Bowden website. Available at: www.jonnybowdenblog.com/robert-crayhon/. Accessed December 29, 2010.