The following is a transcription of the January 1957 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories. Which Is First—The Disease or the Microorganism? Medical science has been insistent that germs, viruses, etc., are basic causes of disease. Many doctors insist that disease is a state of malnutrition, poisoning from endogenous […]
By Dr. Agnes Fay Morgan
Summary: “The problem with synthetic vitamins is they’re pure,” said the great holistic nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee. What he meant is that, whereas vitamins in food are naturally accompanied by countless cofactors critical for the proper function of the nutrient, synthetic vitamins are lone chemicals, devoid of their required, synergistic helpers. The difference between the two, Dr. Lee said, is the difference between a nutritive and a pharmacological effect. And many early nutrition studies support this idea. In the experiment presented here, eminent nutrition scientist Dr. Agnes Fay Morgan discusses the surprising effects of “enriching” the feed of dogs on a low-vitamin-B diet with synthetic supplements. Whereas dogs with no supplementation developed the symptoms expected of a partial lack of vitamin B—fatigue, poor digestion, slowed growth—the dogs given synthetic B vitamins developed different and far more grave conditions, including progressive neuromuscular degeneration followed by paralysis and, finally, death. These “unexpected failures of nutrition” were exactly the type of pharmacological effects Dr. Lee decried regarding synthetic vitamins, and they compelled Dr. Morgan to warn of the “possible danger of the administration of large amounts” of artificial B vitamins, adding that “fortification of foods with those vitamins” could precipitate conditions worse than those created by a deficiency. This did not deter the Food and Drug Administration, however, which less than two years after this study launched its flour “enrichment” program, requiring the addition of various synthetic B vitamins to all white bread in America—some of those chemicals the very compounds that hurried Dr. Morgan’s dogs to an unnatural death. From Science, 1941.
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.
By H.M. Sinclair
Summary: With the invention of the steel roller mill in the late nineteenth century came the widespread availability of “70-percent extracted” flour—or refined flour, as we know it today. The 30 percent of the wheat grain left behind in refined flour’s production comprises mostly the bran and germ, which happen to contain almost all the food’s vitamins and minerals. In countries that historically relied on bread for their health, such as Great Britain, this was a major problem, and for years a debate raged over what to do about it. On one side there were the “chemical” nutritionists, who proposed doctoring 70-percent flour with synthetic versions of the “token nutrients”—that is, the handful of vitamins and minerals deemed most depleted during refining. Opposing them, as reflected in this 1957 lecture to the Royal Society of Health by Dr. Hugh Sinclair, were the more “naturalist” nutritionists. Since not all the nutrients provided by wheat were known nor the way they function truly understood, Dr. Sinclair says, a wiser course would be to mandate a minimum, higher extraction rate of wheat—as the British government had done during World War II—so that the nutrient-dense germ at least was included. “There have been very many tests on the lower animals of the two types of flour,” he adds, “and it is acknowledged that rats grow better on flour of high extraction than on [chemically] ‘fortified’ white flour.” Unfortunately, facts such as these—like the old-school-nutrition researchers who presented them—were simply ignored as the age of chemical nutrition prevailed. From The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 1957. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 38.
By Marion B. Richards, DSc
Summary: While today synthetic supplements are generally considered beneficial or at worst harmless, early investigations into their therapeutic application painted a far different and disturbing picture. In this 1945 report from the British Medical Journal, pioneering biochemist Dr. Marion Richards reports on her investigations into the effects of synthetic vitamin B1 (known as aneurine in England at the time and as thiamine today). Dr. Richards found that female rats fed a supplement of synthetic B1 developed a subsequent deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) so grave that the animals’ offspring died from lack of it during weaning. These results echoed other studies of synthetic B vitamin therapy, she notes, in which “excessive dosing with one particular factor of the B complex” appeared to lead to “secondary deficiencies” of other vitamins in the complex. In one of the most alarming of these experiments, dogs fed a diet enriched with synthetic B vitamins died faster than dogs fed an unenriched diet. Also worth noting in the study discussed here is that supplementation with additional calcium in the form of chalk only worsened the animals’ resulting vitamin B6 deficiency. Such unintended consequences speak to why “naturalist” researchers of the time warned of the dangers of widespread supplementation with synthetic micronutrients, pointing out that only whole foods of time-tested nutritional value can be relied on to provide vitamins and minerals in the forms and ratios required for human health. From British Medical Journal, 1945. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 10.
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.
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.
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.
By Howard H. Hillemann, PhD
Summary: In this lecture from 1958, Oregon State professor Dr. Howard Hillemann breaks down the number of birth defects occurring in the United States by cause, noting in particular the increasing numbers of defects attributable to environmental chemicals, food additives, and prenatal malnutrition. The report includes a comprehensive discussion of the role of vitamins and minerals in prenatal nutrition, addressing each nutrient individually. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, reprint 66B, 1958.
By D.T. Quigley, MD
Summary: Daniel Quigley was a physician at the Nebraska College of Medicine who rose to prominence with the 1929 publication of his book The Conquest of Cancer. Like many doctors of the time, his clinical experience led him to believe that malnutrition—due to the replacement of natural foods with industrial ones—was not only more widespread in America than the medical establishment believed, but that vitamin and mineral deficiencies, more than anything else, were responsible for the exploding rates of degenerative illness throughout the country and world. In 1943, after years of observing the successful application of whole food nutritional therapy in his practice, Dr. Quigley published the following textbook through the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. In it he warns Americans to avoid completely white flour, white sugar, and corn syrup, each of the refined products fostering disease by delivering calories but precious few of the micronutrients needed by the body for proper function and fighting infection. For optimal nutrition Dr. Quigley recommends a diet of raw milk, eggs, whole grains, seafood, organ meats, fresh vegetables, yeast, and butter—a prescription of highly nutrient dense foods that makes just as much sense today as it did then, when these substances were known to nutritionists simply as “the protective foods.” Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1943.