New Light on the Biological Role of Vitamin E

By Herbert M. Evans

Summary: In 1922 biologists Herbert Evans and Katharine Bishop discovered that rats deprived of a certain fat-soluble substance in their diet failed to reproduce. Thanks to this research, the substance—later named vitamin E—was known initially as “the antisterility vitamin.” In subsequent years, however, researchers would discover that vitamin E is responsible for much more than fertility, its deficiency leading to muscular and neural dystrophies in various species of animals, particularly in the young. In this lecture from 1939, Dr. Evans discusses both his own research and that of others into vitamin E’s critical role in the health of muscle and nerves, adding that while a certain minimal amount of the vitamin may ward of full-blown degeneration, there are likely effects of partial inadequacy as well, such as slowed growth. While today medicine has nebulously reduced the function of vitamin E to that of an antioxidant, Dr. Evans’s discussion speaks to a role much more immediately involved in the physiology of the body. Indeed, he notes, when scientists fed rabbits a diet deficient in vitamin E but supplemented with a known antioxidant, the animals “developed the [same] dystrophy and succumbed in the usual way.” From Journal of the Mount Sinai Hospital, 1939. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 56.

Raw Food Vitamins

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this article from Health Culture magazine, Dr. Royal Lee describes in detail the negative effects of cooking and pasteurizing foods, specifically with regard to the destruction of vitamins, amino acids such as lysine and glutamine, and enzymes such as the phosphatase group, which help free up calcium in raw milk for absorption and aid its digestion (phosphatase is destroyed in pasteurized milk). Phosphatase also neutralizes the infamous compound phytic acid, so abundant in whole grains, that binds minerals and prevents them from being taken up by the body. Lee also discusses the vital role of vitamin E in nutrition. Reprint 30C, 1956.

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 Scope of Vitamin E

By the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research

Summary: A 19-page booklet produced by the Lee Foundation reporting on the history and clinical applications of natural vitamin E. This is one of the most complete and concise reports on perhaps the most misunderstood vitamin complex: “Four vitamin factors have been isolated in the course of time from the E complex—alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol. Of these, the alpha form has been found the most powerful and is often erroneously considered as the whole vitamin E. Actually the term ‘vitamin E’ should only be used in reference to the element which occurs in foods [since] in its entirety it includes factors not present in alpha tocopherol alone.” In fact, the report concludes, the natural vitamin E complex is “highly intricate, perhaps the most intricate of all [the] complexes” and the four tocopherols should be regarded merely “as factors and not as the entire E complex.” Much of the information in this critical document is completely lost to modern nutrition. 1955.

Vitamins and Their Relation to Deficiency Diseases of the Alimentary Tract

By Edward A. Johnston, MD

Summary: This excellent report, a reprint from the Journal of the American College of Proctology, starts with a clear description of the all-important connection between vitamin complexes (as they are found in whole foods) and the endocrine system. “When we consider that vitamins in the food are the substances with which the endocrines are able to secrete their active principles, it is apparent that a glandular insufficiency may take place in the absence of vitamins….All of the ductless glands, the thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, pineal body, pituitary, adrenals, gonads, pancreas, islets of Langerhans, and spleen must have one or more of the vitamins in order to secrete their vital fluids, and if deprived of the vitamins, will atrophy and cease to function.” Such events, Dr. Johnston says, are obviously bound to weaken the body and make it more susceptible to disease. “Stomach ulcers are probably the best instance of bacterial invasion primarily due to a lowered resistance resulting from a vitamin deficiency. Other instances of vitamin A deficiency, and often found in conjunction with infections of the intestinal tract, are infections of the eyes, tonsils, sinuses, lungs, buccal and lingual mucosa, and the skin.” This is the Royal Lee philosophy writ large. From Journal of the American College of Proctology, circa 1940. Lee Foundation of Nutritional Research reprint 2.

Vitamin E Versus Wheat Germ Oil

By Ezra Levin

Summary: The author of this report founded Viobin Corp, which developed wheat germ oil concentration methods. Fully referenced, the article declares that there is far more to wheat germ oil than alpha-tocopherol and that the effect delivered by natural vitamin E depends on much more than the isolated tocopherol. For instance, Levin writes, “It appears that, for the first time, evidence has been presented of the presence in wheat germ oil of a factor that exerts a beneficial effect in neuromuscular disturbances other than vitamin E [i.e., tocopherol].” Levin’s claims support Dr. Royal Lee’s contention that vitamins are synergistically combined complexes and not isolated chemicals. “For many years,” he adds, “we in our laboratory have suggested that research workers, in reporting their work. make a sharp distinction between vitamin E [tocopherol] and wheat germ oil. [The neuromuscular study] makes such differentiation imperative.” From the American Journal of Digestive Diseases, 1945. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 9.

Vitamin E

By Franklin Bicknell, MD, and Frederick Prescott, PhD

Summary: A few pages about vitamin E from the classic text The Vitamins in Medicine. This authoritative book, which featured over 4500 references, was originally published in 1942, and in 1953 the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research published its third edition. In this excerpt, Bicknell and Prescott give some critical information not generally known about vitamin E. For instance, while chemists long ago declared vitamin E to be the single compound alpha-tocopherol, the authors, like Dr. Lee and many of the other early nutritionists, thought differently: “While alpha-tocopherol means one distinct substance,” they write, “vitamin E may mean either alpha-tocopherol or a mixture of this and other similar substances.” Other gems about vitamin E are packed into these few pages, which go a long way to combat the poor level of understanding of nutrition’s “most misunderstood vitamin.” From The Vitamins in Medicine, 1953.

The Physiology of Vitamins A and E

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this article from the Central Florida Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Royal Lee gives the background and clinical applications of natural vitamins A and E. Far from the simplistic and deficient modern description of these vitamins as antioxidants, Dr. Lee describes the active and vital role each of these fat-soluble vitamin plays in maintaining and healing tissue. From the Central Florida Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 1946. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 16.

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 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.

Maternal Malnutrition and Congenital Deformity

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.

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.

The National Malnutrition

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.

It Can Happen Here

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this reprint from the magazine Nature’s Path, Dr. Royal Lee rips food processors for adding poisonous additives and preservatives to their products and selling them as harmless to an unsuspecting public. Nitrates in meat, bleach in flour, and aluminum exposure are highlighted. “Are we…witnessing the crumbling of our civilization by reason of the compromise with principle that is being made by the guilty parties who have so thoroughly sold the public health down the river?” Lee asks. “‘Just a little poison in the flour’….’Nitrates in meat never hurt anybody’….’Aluminum toxic? Are you crazy?'” Just a few examples, Lee says, of how large-scale poisoning of the population has been glossed over in America. From Nature’s Path magazine. Reprint 30F, 1951.