Abstracts on Relation of Vitamin Deficiencies to Heart Disorders

[By the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research]

Summary: The discovery of vitamins in the early twentieth century was profoundly big news in the field of science, with much of the original research reported by top scientific journals and publishing houses of the day. This would change around the middle of the century, when the monopolistic medical industry conspired to keep nutrition studies out of the leading scientific journals, forcing nutrition investigators to report their findings in lesser known publications. Yet before medicine’s clampdown, vitamin research commanded the full attention of the scientific world, as reflected by these abstracts from the 1930s addressing nutrition and heart disease. The excerpts, taken from a variety of prestigious science journals of the day, consistently report a connection between a lack of vitamins, particularly vitamin B1, and the development of heart disorders. With the rise of industrial food manufacturing fundamentally altering the country’s food supply—including destroying much of its vitamin B1—health authorities at the time would had to have gone out of their way not to see the connection between the processing of America’s foods and the degradation of its health. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 6, 1939.

Calcium Therapy in Diseases of the Cardiovascular System

By Edward Podolsky, MD

Summary: Though the “Big Medicine union,” the American Medical Association, would spend the better part of the twentieth century framing nutrition science as quackery, there was a time in the early 1900s when practicing physicians were excitedly—and successfully—applying nutritional therapy in their patient treatment. In this fascinating 1939 review of the worldwide medical literature, doctor Edward Podolsky discusses the therapeutic use of calcium by his colleagues across the globe in treating various heart disorders as well as hypertension. Among the most interesting therapies discussed is the combined application of the plant-derived drug digitalis and the macromineral nutrient calcium—a hint at what might have been had medicine’s authorities embraced nutrition rather than treat it like an enemy, to be undermined and eradicated. From the Illinois Medical Journal, 1939Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 68.

Cardiac Failure in Cattle on Vitamin-E-free Rations as Revealed by Electrocardiograms

By T.W. Gullikson and C.E. Calverley

Summary: In 1922 researchers at the University of California at Berkeley showed that rats deprived of an unidentified substance found in leafy greens and wheat germ failed to reproduce. The fat-soluble nutrient was named vitamin E, and soon research groups around the world were studying the effects of its deficiency in species ranging from turkeys to the tree-kangaroo. In this 1946 report, researchers at the Minnesota Agricultural Station reveal the surprising results of a ten-year investigation into the effects of vitamin E deficiency on the reproductive health of cows. While the animals were able to reproduce, many of them suffered another, unforeseen calamity: sudden, fatal heart failure. Meanwhile, clinicians were reporting a variety of successful applications of vitamin E therapy in humans, as epitomized by the famous Shute brothers, two Canadian doctors who documented the effective use of vitamin E in nearly ten thousand heart patients—results discredited and ignored by the medical community to this day. From Science, 1946. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

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

A Few Comments on the Relation of Abnormal Heart Sounds to Malnutrition

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this one-of-a-kind discussion of malnutrition and heart health, Dr. Royal Lee describes the characteristic sounds of various heart irregularities as detected by an Acoustic Cardiograph or Endocardiograph. First, he traces the cause of extra heartbeats and fibrillations to a deficiency of factors in the B vitamin complex. He then goes on to describe the connection between a number of other heart abnormalities and deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamins C, F, G, and E2. 1953. Original source unknown. 

The Fight over Vitamin E

By Eric Hutton

Summary: The story of the famous Shute brothers, Canadian medical doctors who gained international renown for treating heart disease with vitamin E. In spite of countless patients testifying to the success of the therapy, the medical professions in the United States and Canada tried every measure to silence and discredit the Shutes, much of it playing out in the popular press. The author of the article explains how the Shutes believed vitamin E helps alleve heart disorders: “The Shutes’ theory about vitamin E is this: It is not specifically a heart medication; that is, vitamin E has no affinity for the heart as insulin has for the pancreas or iodine for the thyroid gland. The chief effect of vitamin E is to reduce the amount of oxygen which the cells and tissues of the body and its organs require for efficient, healthy functioning. Heart diseases happens to be the most dramatic example of the result of oxygen deprivation, and vitamin E’s effect, simply stated, is to condition the tissues involved so that they are able to function normally, or at any rate to survive, on the greatly reduced amount of oxygen available to them when a coronary clot cuts down the oxygen-bearing blood supply reaching them.” Includes a commentary on the Shutes’ theory by the Canadian Medical Association. From Maclean’s Magazine, 1953. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research special reprint 4-54.

For Heart Disease: Vitamin E

By J.D. Ratcliff

Summary: In this rare excerpt from the October 1948 issue of Coronet magazine, author J.D. Ratcliff discusses the function of  vitamin E (known originally as “the fertility vitamin” because of its critical role in animal reproduction) in the area of heart health. In particular, Ratcliff discusses the clinical work of the famous Shute brothers of Canada, medical doctors and researchers who gained international notoriety by successfully treating heart disease with vitamin E instead of pharmaceutical drugs. Ratcliff also addresses the wholesale destruction of naturally occurring vitamins in the modern diet. From Coronet, 1948. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 40.

Foreword to “Rebuilding Health: The Waerland Method of Natural Therapy”

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Ebba Waerland was a natural foods advocate and healer from Sweden who gained international fame during the mid-twentieth century. The Waerland dietary system—named after her husband, physiologist Are Waerland—emphasized whole, natural foods over processed, nutrient-deficient ones, and it was very successful and popular in Europe. For the U.S. edition of her 1961 book, Rebuilding Health, Ms. Waerland asked American nutrition giant Dr. Royal Lee to write the foreword, which is presented here. In it Dr. Lee laments the assumption by modern civilization that industrially processed food is harmless—that “in some miraculous way, [the body] can transmute demineralized, devitaminized foods into healthy tissue.” A short biography of Ms. Waerland, from the book’s jacket, is included along with Dr. Lee’s foreword. From Rebuilding Health: The Waerland Method of Natural Therapy, 1961. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Health

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.

How to Prevent Heart Attacks

By Benjamin P. Sandler, MD

Summary: An absolutely gripping book, published in its entirety by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. Dr. Sandler, a retired naval surgeon and researcher, challenges conventional science’s most basic beliefs about cardiovascular disease. If hardening and blockage of the arteries (i.e., arteriosclerosis) is the reason for heart attacks, he asks, why do many heart attack victims show no evidence of arteriosclerosis upon autopsy? And why do the vast majority of people with significant arteriosclerosis die of non-heart-related reasons? The truth is arteriosclerosis is a “secondary phenomenon, purely incidental, and is not the prime factor initiating [a heart] attack,” Sandler says, who points to dysfunctional blood-sugar regulation as the true cause of heart failure. Based on years of documented clinical work, Sandler reports consistent findings that a high-carbohydrate, vitamin-poor diet—the kind of diet Americans have been eating ever since the wide-scale adoption processed foods at the turn of the twentieth century—significantly weakens the heart and leads to heart attack. He especially warns against the budding advice of the time to reduce animal fat consumption. “To implicate animal foods as the ultimate cause of heart attacks because of their fat content is highly dubious and dangerous and unless absolutely confirmed as the cause…they should not be eliminated from the diet nor even slightly reduced.” Fifty years later, with animal fat still not shown to be linked with heart disease and heart attack rates showing no decline in spite of Americans having reduced their consumption of animal fats significantly, Dr. Sandler’s words ring as true as ever. Note: Be sure to check out the index at the end of the transcription. You’ll be amazed by the breadth of subjects Dr. Sandler covered. 1958.

Maintenance Nutrition in the Pigeon and Its Relation to Heart Block

By Cyrill William Carter

Summary: An important article about one of the critical B complex vitamins that got lost in the rush to synthesize nutrients. Vitamin B4 is a vitamer of the B complex that promotes proper nerve impulse transmission, yet it is not recognized as an essential nutrient by modern science. In the report Oxford researcher Cyrill William Carter notes that in pigeons suffering heart block who had been fed a diet devoid of natural vitamin B complex, supplementation with vitamins B1 and B2 failed to resolve the problem. When supplementation was switched to a yeast extract, which naturally contained the then-unknown B4 vitamer in addition to vitamers B1 and B2, the heart block was resolved. Oxford University scientists worked for over a decade to resolve the relationship between vitamin B4 and vitamin B1. From the Biochemical Journal, 1934. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 3.

Natural Vitamin E for Heart Diseases

Authors unknown

Summary: A riveting article documenting the success of vitamin E therapy in the treatment of heart disease, published by the British journal Popular Science Digest. The key to this success, the authors emphasize, is the use of natural vitamin E over synthetic, the former having been shown to be “highly effective in the treatment of coronary disease, the incidence of which appears to be linked with a deficiency of vitamin E in the diet dating from the beginning of the century, when millers discarded vitamin E in the processing of grain.” While the authors mistakenly confuse isolated natural alpha-tocopherol with the natural vitamin E complex (which includes alpha-tocopherol but other factors in addition), they sum the case for natural vitamin therapy over pharmaceutical drugs brilliantly: “Alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) therapy has the distinctive feature of improving the function of damaged hearts by attacking the underlying pathological changes. Heretofore, the drugs at the disposal of the cardiologist such as digitalis, quinidine, the mercurial diuretics, and nitro-glycerine have helped to re-establish more normal function, but have left the basic pathology unaltered.” In other words, vitamins treat the cause, not the symptoms, as drugs do. The overwhelming clinical success reported in treating heart disease with vitamin E, the article concludes, “is a case for the closest and completely unbiased examination, by those competent to do so, of the claims of those who have developed and sponsored vitamin E therapy.” Words that still ring true today. From Popular Science Digest, 1953. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 40A.

A New Theory of Diet and Coronary Thrombosis

By Ernest Klein, MD

Summary: In this 1954 article from the legendary health magazine Prevention, Dr. Ernest Klein describes his remarkable discovery of a possible predictor of coronary thrombosis (the cause of most heart attacks) as well as a means of its prevention through a simple dietetic therapy. Unfortunately, Dr. Klein’s ideas—based on his observation and treatment of hundreds of patients—were never tested by other researchers because of the refusal of medical officialdom to even entertain them. In fact, upon publication of his findings, Dr. Klein was summarily fired by the hospital he worked at, as was his daughter. It is doubtful, Prevention’s editors opine, that Dr. Klein’s theory was the final word on heart disease and its prevention, but the fact that his findings were suppressed by the medical establishment and never pursued by other investigators is nothing short of scandalous. Unfortunately, obstructing alternative treatments for preventing disease remains stock and trade for medicine, an industry that profits from managing illness, not deterring it. From Prevention magazine, 1954. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 96.

Nutrition and Vitamins in Relation to the Heart

By Richard L. Chipman, MD

Summary: In this profound lecture from 1953, Dr. Richard Chipman elucidates the differences between natural and synthetic vitamins in terms of their effects on the human heart. Whereas lab-made vitamins comprise single chemical compounds, he explains, natural vitamins—or vitamins as they are found in food—are infinitely more complex, comprising “groups of associated principles of synergistic nature” that, if taken apart, “are no longer capable of producing [their] normal nutritional and metabolic effect.” Thus it is no surprise, he adds, that in studies synthetic vitamins failed to show positive effects on heart health, and in some cases even made matters worse, while natural vitamin complexes proved literally to be lifesavers. Dr. Chipman’s words will make you reconsider not just what vitamins truly are but what they are truly capable of in restoring human health. From The Journal of Medical-Physical Research, 1953. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research special reprint 5-54.

Sudden Deaths Blamed on Vitamin Lack

Author unknown

Summary: In this 1949 newspaper report, Dr. Royal Lee explains that the reason so many Americans die of heart disease is basic malnutrition. Pointing his finger directly at refined-carbohydrate foods, he says, “Most fuel-supplying foods like cereal and flour and sugar products on the market today have been depleted of vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals vital to the rebuilding of the body tissue and muscle.” He adds that overcooking foods is also critical in destroying the vitamin power of foods. From the Evening Sentinel, Michigan. 1949.