The Physiology of Salt Metabolism

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: There’s no point talking about—or restricting—the consumption of table salt without considering the potassium level of an individual. So says Dr. Royal Lee in this discussion of the critical relationship between the minerals sodium and potassium in the body. “The present custom of restricting salt for patients with cardiovascular disease seems to be an ill-advised substitute for balancing up their potassium-sodium intake. A deficiency of potassium may be a primary cause of the very condition in which sodium is being restricted, and [more dietary] potassium [may] be the real remedy needed.” 1951.

B Complex and the Weak Heart

By William Brady, MD

Summary: William Brady was a medical doctor who wrote a popular syndicated newspaper column in the 1940s and ’50s. In this article from 1947, Dr. Brady discusses the importance of the B-complex vitamins—specifically thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacinamide (B3)—to both heart health and proper carbohydrate metabolism. In multiple studies conducted at the time, he notes, vitamin B supplementation had been shown to reduce or eliminate the need for exogenous insulin in diabetics, while the link between vitamin B deficiency and heart disease had been known since all the way back in the 1920s, thanks to the work of pioneering nutrition researcher Sir Dr. Robert McCarrison. Astoundingly, medicine still fails today to grasp the importance of B vitamins to proper heart function, while both conventional and alternative doctors remain woefully ignorant of Dr. McCarrison’s remarkable and still groundbreaking research. From the Waterloo Daily Courier, 1947.

A Concept of Totality

By Joe Nichols, MD

Summary: Pioneering holistic medical doctor Joe Nichols writes about the “six chief causes of disease”: (1) emotions (2) malnutrition (3) poisons (4) infections (5) accidents, and (6) inheritance. The worst, he says, are the emotions. “Worry, fear, anxiety, hate, envy, jealousy—these are the great killers,” he explains, recommending the three A’s (acceptance, approval, and adoration of others) as a remedy. A second great killer, Dr. Nichols says, is malnutrition, which starts with soils that have been exhausted of minerals through irresponsible farming practices utilizing artificial fertilizers. “The end result of chemical farming is always disease, first in the land itself, then in the plant, then in the animal, and finally in us. Everywhere in the world where chemical farming is practiced the people are sick. The use of synthetic chemicals does not make land rich. It makes it poorer than before.” Dr. Nichols founded the Natural Foods Associates and edited its magazine, Natural Food and Farming, one of the first natural-food magazines published in the United States. From Natural Food Associates, 1954. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 58. 

Foreword to “The Real American Tragedy”

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Processed food is not food—no matter how much we tell ourselves it is. If there’s one statement that sums the opinion of early nutrition researchers, that’s it. When industrial food processing burst onto the scene in the late nineteenth century, it began fundamentally changing the stuff that had always nourished human beings. Harsh mechanical and chemical methods destroyed the power of our food to nourish us; and to make matters worse, artificial substances of untested effect were added to the mix. This destruction of America’s food supply is one of the great ignored crimes of history and the subject of C.E. Burtis’s 1960 book The Real American Tragedy. In the book’s foreword, presented here, leading nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee describes a telltale pattern observed repeatedly by nutrition’s first investigators: wherever processed foods were introduced, cancer, heart disease, tooth decay, and other “modern” diseases—virtually unknown previously in the population—soon followed. While this fact is utterly ignored today, it was entirely evident to Dr. Lee and his colleagues that a preponderance of processed and artificial foods in the diet is the main reason for America’s poor health. From The Real American Tragedy, 1960. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

Diseases of Faulty Nutrition

By Sir Robert McCarrison, MD

Summary: Dr. Robert McCarrison is a bona fide giant in the history of nutrition. As a member of Britain’s Indian Medical Service in the early twentieth century, he conducted some of the first feeding studies investigating the effects of vitamin-deficient diets on test animals, and his 1921 book Studies in Deficiency Disease remains a classic on the physiological consequences of malnutrition. In this essay from 1928, Dr. McCarrison focuses on the “minor manifestations” (or, in today’s terms, subclinical symptoms) of vitamin deficiency, which he rightly names as harbingers of serious illness that any good doctor should be familiar with. He also admonishes his medical colleagues for fixating on bacteria as causes of disease, noting that it is malnutrition that sets the stage for infection in the first place. “Obsessed with the idea of the microbe,” he writes, “we often forget the most fundamental of all rules for the physician—that the right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health, and the wrong kind of food the most important single factor in the promotion of disease.” From Transactions of the Seventh Congress of the Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine, 1928.

Civilization and Cancer

Compiled by Dr. Royal Lee

SummaryOne of the absurdly ignored facts of nutrition history is that preindustrialized tribal societies—eating their traditional, whole-food diets and no processed foods—experienced practically no cancer whatsoever. Here Dr. Royal Lee presents excerpts of communications by field doctors of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries reporting a virtual lack of cancer in various nonindustrialized populations, including the famed Hunza of western Asia, natives of Brazil and Ecuador, and myriad Native American tribes. Also included is a clip reflecting a telling, dirty secret of modern nutrition research: test animals to be induced with cancer are fed processed-food diets because it’s so much harder to bring the disease about in animals that are eating whole foods. While there are surely other factors involved in the development of cancer, one of the best defenses against the disease, as this article affirms, is a diet of whole, unprocessed, “uncivilized” foods. From Natural Food and Farming, 1960 and 1962. (Excerpts originally compiled by Dr. Royal Lee, 1959.) Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

The Heart in Chronic Malnutrition

By J. Higginson, A.D. Gillanders, and J.F. Murray

Summary: A comprehensive review, reprinted from the April 1952 issue of the British Heart Journal, documenting heart lesions caused by malnutrition among Bantu adults in South Africa. In all twelve fatal cases studied, “the hearts were dilated and hypertrophied,” the authors note—a “distinctive pathological pattern” they attributed squarely to malnutrition. Specifically, the high-carbohydrate Bantu diet, along with B vitamin deficiencies, are implicated. From the British Heart Journal, 1952. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 74.

Low Blood Sugar and Susceptibility to Polio

By Benjamin P. Sandler, MD

Summary: In this excerpt from his book Diet Prevents Polio, physician, nutritionist, and polio expert Dr. Benjamin Sandler explains how he came to believe, based on years of clinical observation, that susceptibility to infection by the polio virus (and other disease) is determined by quality of diet. “Specifically,” he writes, “I suspected that children and adults contracted polio because of low blood sugar brought on by a diet containing sugar and starch.” To read about the science behind Dr. Sandler’s theory—and how high-carbohydrate diets set humans up for infection and disease in general—see Diet Prevents Polio in its entirety within these archives. From Diet Prevents Polio, published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1951. 

The Cereal Grains: Some of Their Special Characteristics

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: With grains getting a bad rap in some nutrition circles these days, we tend to forget that historically many cultures thrived on diets rich in cereals. The rye eaters of the Swiss Alps, the oat lovers of the Scottish isles, the wheat-heavy Hunza of northern India—all were studied and touted by investigators of the early 1900s for their extraordinary hardiness and freedom from disease. (Of course, their grains were whole, genetically unaltered, grown in healthy soil, and freshly milled before cooking, but that’s another story.) In this 1953 missive, Dr. Royal Lee discusses the nutritional virtues of some of our common grains, commending wheat for its high phosphorus content, rice for the superior biological value of its protein, and oats and rye for their muscle-building effect. He even explains why barley tea—once a household remedy for everything from teething to insomnia—might help keep you free from infectious disease. For anyone questioning the nutritional value of whole grains, Dr. Lee’s words will come as a thought-provoking surprise. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1953.

Cancer’s Sweet Tooth

By Patrick Quillin, PhD

Summary: “It puzzles me why the simple concept ‘sugar feeds cancer’ can be so dramatically overlooked as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan,” writes Dr. Patrick Quillin in this stirring article from the April 2000 issue of Nutrition Science News. Quillin, recounting the discovery by Nobel laureate Dr. Otto Warburg that cancer cells feed exclusively on glucose, discusses his own experience in working with over 500 cancer patients as the director of nutrition for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Limiting sugar consumption and keeping one’s blood-sugar level within a narrow range, he says, “can be one of the most crucial components of a cancer recovery program.” That barely any of the four million cancer patients in America receive this information as part of their treatment is nothing short of scandalous. From Nutrition Science News, 2000.

Vitamins in Dental Care

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Originally published in Health Culture, this 1955 article outlines the critical roles of natural vitamin complexes, such as vitamins A, B, C, D and F, in maintaining and restoring dental health. Dr. Lee specifically credits the research of the celebrated Dr. Weston Price: “Dr. Weston A. Price was the first dentist to publish an article asserting that dental caries was primarily a result of vitamin deficiency. This was in 1927. In 1923, I had prepared a paper on the subject of ‘The Systemic Cause of Dental Caries,’ and read it to the senior class of Marquette Dental College, subscribing to the same hypothesis.” Amazingly, conventional dentistry still fails to comprehend the basic truth that a properly nourished body is resistant to tooth decay. Reprint 30G, 1955.

Saving Your Face

By Fred Miller, DDS

Summary: Another article from pioneering dentist Fred Miller. The title is a metaphor for keeping your teeth healthy throughout life through proper nutrition. “I make it a flat statement of fact,” he writes, “that, with the few exceptions that must always be allowed for, there is no good reason why a man should not take to his grave with him the vital teeth he now has in his mouth.” Originally published by Esquire in 1941, this is a republished version from 1955 that appeared in the newsletter Natural Food and Farming, the official publication of the Natural Food Associates.

Nutrition and National Health: The Cantor Lectures

By Sir Robert McCarrison, MD

Summary: In this in-depth lecture before the Royal Society of Arts, Dr. Robert McCarrison discusses conclusions and observations of his pioneering research as Britain’s former Director of Research on Nutrition in India and its implications for the health of Britain’s population. “The greatest single factor in the acquisition and maintenance of good health,” he says, “is perfectly constituted [i.e., whole, natural] food.” 1936.

Nutrition and Health

By Sir Robert McCarrison, MD

Summary: Dr. Robert McCarrison, the famed British nutrition researcher knighted for his work in India (which culminated in the classic reference Studies in Deficiency Disease), gives a lecture to London schoolchildren about diet and nutrition. He recounts his famous rat-feeding studies mimicking the diets of differing populations in India and, based on the results of his studies, gives his prescription for a basic healthful diet: freshly milled grains, raw milk and milk products, legumes, fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, and meat. Reprint 43, 1937.

Acid-Base Balance of Diets That Produce Immunity to Dental Caries Among the South Sea Islanders and Other Primitive Races

By Dr. Weston A. Price 

Summary: The notion of “alkalizing” one’s diet—or eating foods that supposedly increase the pH within the body and thus optimize health—has been around as long as the science of nutrition itself. In this 1935 article, famed dentist and nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston A. Price debunks the hypothesis that an alkalizing diet helps prevent tooth decay. Citing data from his famous worldwide study of populations free of dental disease and other degenerative illness, Dr. Price states, “In no instance have I found the change from a high immunity to dental caries [cavities] to a high susceptibility…to be associated with a change from a diet with a high potential alkalinity to a high potential acidity.” In fact, he adds, his data show, if anything, that good tooth health is the result of an acidifying diet. Dr. Price further discounts the notion that an alkalizing diet promotes health in general and instead stresses the importance of eating whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly the fat-soluble vitamins so abundant in animal foods. From Dental Cosmos, 1935. Reprinted with permission from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.

The Role of Some Nutritional Elements in the Health of the Teeth and Their Supporting Structures

By John A. Myers

Summary: A remarkable overview of some of the great, ignored research in nutrition history. First, author John Myers details the pioneering works of Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis Pottenger Jr., who in the 1930s showed clearly that tooth decay is but one symptom in an overall debilitation of human health brought on by the consumption of processed foods—a degeneration that includes diminished resistance to bacterial infection, onset of any number of degenerative diseases, and the alarming introduction of birth defects and mental illness in offspring of people who eat “modern” foods. Myers then touches on the famous studies of residents of Deaf Smith, Texas, the “county without a dentist,” and shows how these studies were used to justify the mass fluoridation of water in America despite their evidence suggesting something quite to the contrary. Finally, Myers draws form his own twenty-five years of clinical experience to illustrate the obvious practical effectiveness in preventing and reversing tooth decay and other dental disease by supplementing the diet with essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, D, and E, the minerals zinc, iodine, and magnesium, and the essential fatty acids. A true classic on alternative health. From Annals of Dentistry. Reprint 107, 1958.

Nutritional Aspect of Dental Disease

By John H. Gunter, DDS, MD

Summary: In this thought-provoking chapter from 1943’s A Guide to Practical Nutrition, physician and dentist John Gunter connects the dots between malnutrition and tooth decay. “It is generally known that inadequate nutrition predisposes to lowered resistance to bacterial invasion,” he writes, and such invasion includes the attack of oral bacteria on teeth. Indeed, he notes, tooth decay and periodontal disease tend to flourish only in populations subsisting on foods of “deteriorated biological value”—that is, foods deficient in vitamin and mineral complexes—such as white flour, white sugar, and the other industrially manufactured foods of modern civilization. Dr. Gunter proceeds to detail the roles played by various nutrients in preventing not just tooth decay but oral disease in general, a list headlined by the vitamins A, B1, C, and D as well as the minerals calcium and phosphorus. While dentistry today sells tooth decay as a story of defenseless teeth being attacked by sugar-loving bacteria, Dr. Gunter’s article affirms what he and many other nutrition-minded dentists of the early twentieth century knew firsthand: a well fed tooth is well protected. From A Guide to Practical Nutrition, 1943. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 115A.

Why Dental Caries?

By John Courtney

Summary: For thirty years John Courtney was the head of Research & Development for Standard Process, Inc., the raw-food supplement company founded by Dr. Royal Lee in 1929. In this article, Courtney explains how early nutrition researchers such as Dr. Weston Price showed beyond doubt that tooth decay is the result of a diet deficient in vitamins and minerals. Yes, Courtney says, bacteria attack teeth to cause cavities, but those bacteria wouldn’t get anywhere if the teeth weren’t weakened in the first place by poor nutrition. Moreover, malnutrition also diminishes the bacteria-killing action of the saliva bathing the teeth. Thus, he summarizes, cavities are “due to a deficient diet and a vitamin and mineral imbalance, which in turn, by starving the endocrines, renders them unable to secrete sufficient amounts of the germicidal ferments to prevent dental caries [cavities] and other infectious diseases.” From The Clinical Nutritionist. Publication date unknown. 

Vitamins in Dentistry

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: A classic Royal Lee document, read before a New York dental group in 1940. In it Dr. Lee outlines how far the understanding of nutrition and dental health had come and how poorly the dental profession had stayed current with this advance of knowledge. He cites many examples—fully referenced—of the direct effect of nutrients on dental health. A great paper if anyone bothered to read and understand it. “Drill ’em and fill ’em” was the dental mantra then, as it is today. Reprint 30B, 1940.