The Vitamins in Medicine, Part 2 (Vitamins C, D, E, K and More)

By Franklin Bicknell, MD, and Frederick Prescott, MD

Summary: Nutrition and medicine have seldom seen eye to eye. Though the discovery of the vitamins in the early twentieth century did cause some physicians to grasp the profound connection between vitamin deficiencies and degenerative disease, medicine as an institution never truly embraced this idea. Ultimately, the American Medical Association declared—in concert with the industrial food industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—that most Americans do not suffer vitamin deficiencies of any consequence. This position, however, contradicts decades of scientific study, as famed natural nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee argued throughout his career. One of the books Dr. Lee cited most often in making his case was the text here, The Vitamins in Medicine, by British physicians Drs. Franklin Bicknell and Frederick Prescott. Backed by over 4500 scientific references, the text sums the totality of scientific knowledge about the vitamins at the time of its publication in the mid-twentieth century. While the book does take some typically medical views of vitamins, e.g., that they are single chemical substances and not synergistic biochemical complexes, as Dr. Lee taught, it nevertheless supports strongly the notion that many, if not most, of our modern ailments stem from partial (or “subclinical”) vitamin deficiencies. “This book not only tells of the ravages caused by ignoring nature’s ways,” Dr. Lee said, “but it also shows us the way to prevent these bodily damages.” In this second part of the book, Bicknell and Franklin discuss vitamins C, D, E, and K (along with a few other vital, if lesser known, nutrients). In Part 1, the authors examine vitamin A as well as the various B vitamins. Though the information in this book is over seven decades old, it is still incredibly valuable today, when so few health practitioners actually know what the vitamins do—or what a lack of them can cause. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1953. Original publisher William Heinemann, London.

The Vitamins in Medicine, Part 1 (Vitamin A and the B Complex)

By Franklin Bicknell, MD, and Frederick Prescott, MD

Summary: Nutrition and medicine have seldom seen eye to eye. Though the discovery of the vitamins in the early twentieth century did cause some physicians to grasp the profound connection between vitamin deficiencies and degenerative disease, medicine as an institution never truly embraced this idea. Ultimately, the American Medical Association declared—in concert with the industrial food industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—that most Americans do not suffer vitamin deficiencies of any consequence. This position, however, contradicts decades of scientific study, as famed natural nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee argued throughout his career. One of the books Dr. Lee cited most often in making his case was the text here, The Vitamins in Medicine, by British physicians Drs. Franklin Bicknell and Frederick Prescott. Backed by over 4500 scientific references, the text sums the totality of scientific knowledge about the vitamins at the time of its publication in the mid-twentieth century. While the book does take some typically medical views of vitamins, e.g., that they are single chemical substances and not synergistic biochemical complexes, as Dr. Lee taught, it nevertheless supports strongly the notion that many, if not most, of our modern ailments stem from partial (or “subclinical”) vitamin deficiencies. “This book not only tells of the ravages caused by ignoring nature’s ways,” Dr. Lee said, “but it also shows us the way to prevent these bodily damages.” In the first part of the text (see link to PDF below), the authors discuss vitamin A as well as the various B vitamins. In Part 2, Bicknell and Franklin go on to address vitamins C, D, E, and K and a host of other vital nutrients. Though the information in this book is over seven decades old, it is still incredibly valuable today, when so few health practitioners actually know what the vitamins do—or what a lack of them can cause. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1953. Original publisher William Heinemann, London.

The Direct Effect of Malnutrition on Tissue Degeneration

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this 1949 address to the Seattle chapter of the American Academy of Applied Nutrition, Dr. Royal Lee touches on some of the major findings of early nutrition history that are still, incredibly, ignored to this day. Topics include the importance of calcium, phosphorus, and raw protein to tooth health; the total destruction of nutrients in bread caused by bleaching; the connection between vitamin E deficiency and heart disease; the dependency of connective-tissue integrity on adequate vitamin C levels; and the various lesions of B vitamin deficiencies. Dr. Lee explains that most of the health problems caused by nutrient deficiency are the result of the consumption of overcooked and processed foods and concludes with perhaps the most important edict for good health: “We must take the trouble in our homes to prepare our foods from the basic materials as far as possible, even to the extent of growing our vegetables and fruits on properly composted soil if we can. The dividends will be quite possibly twenty years added to our life span, to say nothing of the life added to our years.” 1949. Reprinted by Selene River Press in Lectures of Dr. Royal Lee, Volume I

Butter, Vitamin E, and the “X” Factor of Dr. Price

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Could eating butter prevent hot flashes? Such a suggestion would sound outlandish to today’s nutrition “experts.” Yet not only did researchers in the mid-twentieth century show butter helps counter disorders associated with menopause, but the now maligned food was once regarded as a powerful healer in general, with physicians prescribing it for everything from psoriasis to tuberculosis. The reason for butter’s formerly stellar reputation is simple, explains Dr. Royal Lee in this wide-ranging 1942 publication. Butter is loaded with bioactive fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E, and as Dr. Weston Price observed in his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, these nutrients are so critical to good health that human populations have historically placed a special emphasis on foods containing them. Butter produced by cows pasturing in the springtime is particularly nutritious, Dr. Lee adds, its deep yellow color indicating a high content of the famous “Activator X,” an elusive fat-soluble nutrient shown by Dr. Price to be essential for moving calcium from the blood into the bones and teeth. Given modern nutrition’s proscription against butter and other animal fats in the diet, it’s no wonder that today America is plagued by osteoporosis and other calcium-related disorders—not to mention the myriad other ailments Drs. Price and Lee would have predicted for a nation starving itself of fat-soluble vitamins. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1942.

A Fresh Look at Milk

By Francis Pottenger Jr., MD 

Summary: “There is no question that pasteurized milk and milk from poorly fed cattle produces osteoporosis in the experimental animal.” This quote by Dr. Francis Pottenger Jr., whose famous cat experiments in the 1930s established that malnutrition is inherited, sums up the great paradox of pasteurized milk: Americans drink it by the gallon believing they are strengthening their bones, but in truth it does the opposite, as shown by animal experiments going back decades. In this telling article, Dr. Pottenger discusses a study organized in 1933 by a farmer whose aim was to produce the finest milk possible from his cows. With the aid of a group of scientists, he discovered some basic principles of milk production that have been long ignored by the American dairy industry and health “experts” alike: not only does pasteurization destroy the nutritional value of milk, but the health of the cow greatly determines whether the milk it produces is beneficial or detrimental. “When the health of the cattle fails,” Dr. Pottenger explains, “the nutritional f actors of milk will decline, and partly metabolized food nutrients will produce sensitizations not only in the cow but in those who use the milk.” The implications of this statement are almost beyond belief. Included also is a description of the forgotten Wulzen anti-stiffness factor, a vitamin-like component of raw milk shown by early nutrition researchers to help prevent arthritis. From Modern Nutrition, 1962. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 27A.

The Fallacy of “High Potency” in Vitamin Dosage

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: There’s no harm in taking high doses of synthetic vitamins, right? That’s what most people believe anyway. Even many health practitioners think so. Yet early nutrition research showed clearly that ingesting large doses of synthetic, non-food-based supplements (what pass as “vitamins” in today’s world) can have serious consequences on your health. For instance, as Dr. Royal Lee points out in this 1950 article, even a moderate excess of synthetic thiamine (vitamin B1) induced disorders such as herpes zoster, hyperthyroidism, gallstones, and sterility in test subjects, and high doses of synthetic vitamin E caused calcium loss in the bones of test animals—the very opposite of the intended effect. The latter case, Dr. Lee says, illustrates the “little known and highly important” fact that high doses of a synthetic vitamin can cause the very same symptoms as a deficiency of that vitamin. Thus long-term use of most any supplement sold today may only make worse the condition it’s being taken for—something to think about your next trip down the vitamin aisle. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, circa 1950.

Do You Want to Lose the Hair on Your Chest?

By Dr. Royal Lee and unknown author

Summary: Two articles featuring quotes and commentary by Dr. Royal Lee that contrast the incredible nutritional value of butter with the equally incredible lack of nutritional value of “oleomargarine” (what we call simply margarine today). In particular, the relationship between vitamin E and pubescent development is discussed, with Dr. Lee reminding readers that “sex development demands vitamin E, and butter is our main source in the American diet.” Dr. Lee presents photos of boys and girls demonstrating the failure of sexual differentiation to occur as a result of nutrient starvation. He also discusses the vital roles of the vitamin F and D complexes—both found naturally and in their entirety in butter but not in margarine—in assimilating and distributing calcium in the body. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 59, 1948. Multiple original sources. 

Cost of Malnutrition

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this creative and forward-thinking commentary on preventive healthcare, Dr. Royal Lee discusses the ways in which proper nutrition saves businesses money by fostering employee health. Getting enough vitamin A complex, for instance, helps maintain the integrity of mucous membranes and thus prevents infection and lost man hours. Sufficient vitamin B complex keeps the nerves and heart functioning properly, while adequate vitamin C complex promotes stamina by optimizing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. A proper amount of vitamin D complex prevents cramps, irritability, and bone-calcium loss, and so on. From Let’s Live magazine, 1958.

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.

This Molasses War—Who Is Prevaricating? / Bone Meal—Nutritional Source of Calcium

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Two articles that appeared in Let’s Live magazine in 1952 and 1953. In “This Molasses War—Who is Prevaricating?,” Dr. Lee compares natural and refined sugars. He posits that carbohydrates are not essential in the human diet and offers proof by way of certain traditional peoples who eat no carbs and yet experience perfect health. He also discusses the virtues of molasses, which is rich in minerals and is protective against tooth decay, whereas white sugar promotes cavities. Lee also describes the famous experiments of Dr. Rosalind Wulzen of Oregon State College that led to the discovery of the “anti-arthritic factor” in molasses and raw cream that was later named after her. In “Bone Meal—Nutritional Source of Calcium,” Dr. Lee describes the virtues of finely powdered bone flour as a source of protein and minerals, particularly calcium. He states that for the teeth, cold-processed bone meal is unexcelled. He also discusses the role of trace minerals also found in bone meal. 1953.

The Need for Vitamins

By L. Stambovsky

Summary: In this article, written amidst the Great Depression and the outset of World War II, the author describes the vitamin-poor state of the typical American citizen in terms that still apply today. “Quantitatively, most Americans get enough calories in the form of [refined] carbohydrates…But refined sugar and starch, while they are energy sources, provide little or no accessory or vital food factors [i.e., vitamins and minerals].” This basic message sums up the work of many of the early nutritionists, who tried in vain to communicate the fact that nutrient deficiencies are at the root of most modern degenerative illness. Includes an illuminating chart listing various vitamin deficiencies and their associated diseases. From Drug and Cosmetic Industry magazine, 1942. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 31.

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.

The Wulzen Calcium Dystrophy Syndrome in Guinea Pigs

By Hugo Krueger, PhD

Summary: An authoritative, fully-referenced report on the mysterious and famous Wulzen factor, an anti-stiffness nutrient found in the cream of raw milk and in fresh molasses. The author writes, “In 1941 Wulzen and Bahrs reported that guinea-pigs fed raw whole milk grew excellently and at autopsy showed no abnormality of any kind. Guinea-pigs on pasteurized milk rations did not grow as well and developed a definite syndrome, the first sign of which was wrist stiffness. On pasteurized skim milk the syndrome increased in severity until the animals finally died. There was great emaciation and weakness before death.” Doctors such as Royal Lee and Francis Pottenger, Jr., had long studied this anti-arthritic factor, which was never accepted by orthodox medicine and regretfully remains ignored to this day. From American Journal of Physical Medicine. Reprint 81, 1955.

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. 

Quotations on Vitamins from the United States Department of Agriculture Yearbook for 1939

By the United States Department of Agriculture

Summary: Excerpts from one of the most quotable government documents ever published. In the 1930s, even as the FDA was harassing doctors and companies promoting nutritional therapy, the USDA published independent studies demonstrating the widespread effects of vitamin malnutrition in the American public (proving that not everyone in the department was asleep at the switch as America’s food supply became adulterated, refined, and chemicalized). The USDA Yearbook for 1939 was such a surprisingly candid assessment of nutritional deficiencies in the country that the Lee Foundation published and distributed highlights from it in the form of the booklet shown here. If the statements in the USDA’s yearbook had been published by supplement companies, the FDA would have brought legal actions. Unsurprisingly, reports like this stopped coming out of the USDA in subsequent years. From The United States Department of Agriculture Yearbook for 1939.

The Vitamin P Group of the C Complex

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this extensively referenced article, Dr. Royal Lee shows that the natural vitamin C complex is more than just ascorbic acid, in this case discussing the important part of the complex known as the vitamin P group (which includes rutin and other bioflavonoids). For decades, Lee and others knew that focusing on just ascorbic acid led to an incomplete understanding of the function of vitamin C, just as using only ascorbic acid in clinical studies had failed to bring complete systemic relief to scurvy. This scientific explanation of the complete vitamin C complex should serve as a cornerstone for approaching the subject of vitamins in general and vitamin C in particular. From Vitamin News, 1948.

Vitamin F and Carbamide in Calcium Metabolism

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: An important article about two of the most overlooked nutritionally and biochemically essential substances in the human body. The roles of carbamide (a.k.a. urea) in denaturing proteins—and thus reducing their antigenicity—and of vitamin F (fatty acid complex) in defusing calcium bicarbonate (ionized calcium) into the cell fluids are virtually lost on orthodox medicine. Yet holistic doctors have repeatedly discovered this article since its publication in 1946 and been amazed at the clinical efficacy of the applied knowledge it presents. From Journal of the National Medical Society. Reprint 20, 1946.

Maternal Malnutrition and Fetal Prenatal Developmental Malformation

By Howard H. Hillemann, PhD

Summary: A thoroughly researched report on the birth and developmental defects known to result from specific nutrient deficiencies in human and test-animal mothers during pregnancy. Professor Dr. Howard Hillemann of Oregon State College covers deficiencies of vitamins A, C, and E, fats, carbohydrates, the B complex vitamers (including folate), protein, calcium, phosphorous, and manganese. Includes 61 references. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, reprint 66A, 1956.

Nutrition and Arthritis

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this monumental 1952 pamphlet, Dr. Royal Lee argues that arthritis is the direct result of nutrient deficiencies brought about by the overconsumption of cooked and processed foods. Insufficient intake of vitamins A, C, and G; various minerals; and the woefully forgotten Wulzen factor—an “anti-stiffness” agent for joints found in raw sugarcane juice and raw cream—all help contribute to the disease, Dr. Lee writes. (Interestingly, while raw cream was shown to prevent joint stiffness in test animals, pasteurized cream provided no such protection, which may explain why arthritis became epidemic in the USA after food processors began pasteurizing the nation’s milk supply.) Dr. Lee not only shows how these deficiencies lead to the arthritis-inducing conditions of acidosis and toxic bowel, he also delineates precise supplement protocols to reverse the arthritic condition, featuring his famous raw food concentrate formulas Betalco and Minaplex (known today as Betacol and Organically Bound Minerals). Dr. Lee also backs up his ideas with several carefully documented case studies showing how patients reversed crippling cases of arthritis using his protocol. This compilation is a tour de force of nutritional therapy—indispensable for all health practitioners and anyone else interested in restoring wellness through diet. From the Vitamin Products Company, 1952.

Natural Versus Synthetic Supplements

By Judith A. DeCava

Summary: This manifesto of whole food nutrition should be standard reading for anyone even thinking about taking or prescribing vitamin supplements. In it clinical nutritionist and researcher Judith DeCava spells out the precise differences between natural and synthetic supplements in light of modern nutritional discoveries. While science today ballyhoos the health benefits of phytochemicals such as lycopene and anthocyanins, for instance, DeCava notes that these substances are effective only when they are ingested as part of the food they come naturally packaged in; when chemically isolated or artificially synthesized, “they never seem to work as well.” This is similar to the message of Dr. Royal Lee, who eighty years ago insisted that vitamins are not isolated chemicals, as chemists and pharmacists defined them, but are complexes of cooperating compounds that work together synergistically to perform a nutritive function. While isolated food fractions may have a pharmacological (drug-like) effect, they are not nutritive, Dr. Lee warned, and do not belong in the category of nutrient. From Whole Food Nutrition Journal, 2003.