Applied Trophology, Vol. 1, No. 6
(June 1957)

The Constipation Syndrome

The following is a transcription of the June 1957 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.

Also in this issue:

  • Isotonic and Hypertonic Laxatives
  • Tip of the Month (Waning Sex Drive)
  • Ike’s Doctor Declares U.S. “Most Unhealthy” in the World
  • High Points of Niacinamide B6

The Constipation Syndrome

Constipation is a common complaint that many of our authorities attribute to various nutritional shortcomings,1 from a lack of bulk-forming factors to a lack of the vitamins and minerals needed by the liver and other organs or even lowered thyroid activity due to iodine or vitamin deficiency.

A congenital thyroid weakness is quite often the cause of a most stubborn kind of constipation,2 illustrating the variety of physiological disturbances that may be responsible. For that reason, there can be no universal remedy that is safe or logical, laxatives being well known to be highly reliable in effect and dosage for different persons. In fact, most of the drugs used for the purpose are unfit for habitual use.

For instance, senna, a low-cost botanical drug commonly used, is a definite cause of hemorrhoids, while phenolphthalein, a cheap, synthetic drug much used that Merck’s Index tells us is “contraindicated in piles or in predisposition to piles,” is also known to cause an immediate rise in blood sugar. These two drugs are the most likely active principles you will get in drugstore laxatives if you unwarily seek relief by using a highly advertised proprietary remedy.

There is probably no better example of the penalties of departing from the natural principles of physiological therapy than this. We might also recite the story of mineral oil, long sold for its “laxative effect” but now considered so dangerous that its use “should only be considered under the category of toxicology”3 because of its contribution to cancer alone, cancer of the lower bowel in particular. The same reference cites the fact that mineral oil promotes hypoprothrombinemia, now known to predispose to coronary thrombosis. Becker cites tests in which as much as 60 percent of the mineral oil in an emulsified laxative preparation was absorbed through the intestinal wall, much of it no doubt to lodge permanently in the liver. All of this is quite contrary to the past assurances of makers that it was “harmless.”

Another dangerous laxative is milk of magnesia. It causes nosebleed; you will find patients complaining of recurrent nosebleed to be users of milk of magnesia. Magnesium hydroxide, like aluminum salts, has a great affinity for phosphorus; it can create a phosphorus deficiency and possibly destroy phospholipids such as vitamins E2 and F2.

Perspiration deodorants contain aluminum acetate, which paralyzes the nerve endings (by this destruction of the phospholipid nerve insulation) and thereby stops sweat glands from functioning. Lead salts were once used for this purpose. Lead is also a phosphorus robber, quicker acting than aluminum.

The physiological story goes back to Dr. Quigley’s analysis of the diet of patients getting treatment for cancer. He says, “95 percent suffered from constipation or some form of stomach or intestinal disease”4 He said also that the average content of natural vitamin-supplying factors in their diet was only 8.5%, the remainder being white flour products, refined cereals, white sugar, and candy.

We must realize that the liver is one of the first organs to crack under such starvation, and liver function no doubt must be impaired before constipation can follow (Williams and Wilkins). Dr. Barnett Sure in his book Vitamins in Health and Disease points out the relation of devitaminized foods and constipation, stating that “it is amusing coincidence that certain states legally require that middlings sold for stock feed must not be robbed of their wheat germ” (p. 54). He points out that rickets usually involves constipation, that scurvy is accompanied by constipation, that white bread causes constipation, and that lemon juice added to the baby formula is a good remedy for constipation.

Pellagra often begins with constipation, Bicknell and Prescott say in The Vitamins in Medicine (p. 399), adding that constipation is definitely associated with vitamin B deficiency (p. 265) and that intestinal hypotonicity, dilatation, stasis, and hypomotility follow B1 deficiency (p. 226).

It would seem then that freshly ground whole wheat (or rye) flour in fresh baked bread is the best physiological remedy for constipation. Or try whole wheat muffins, pancakes, or breakfast cereal. We advise the prospective user of any whole grain product to get freshly ground meal or flour, however, since the oils oxidize inside of a week, rendering the flour or meal poisonous in effect—rancid cereal oils being destructive to most fat-soluble vitamins, including the very hard-to-get vitamin F complex.

It is very probable that a major contributing cause of cancer is the rancid oils in stale, bleached, and chemicalized flour and cereal products. For instance, wheat germ oil produced from stale germ was found to be a definite carcinogen in rat tests,5 while fresh wheat germ oil, with its intact vitamin E, is considered a preventive of cancer.6 (Refrigeration of whole grain meal slows the oxidation about ten to one.) No wonder men like Dr. Quigley feel that cancer is the offspring of constipation.

Considering these facts, it is evident that there is no shortcut to the prevention of constipation by drugs or laxatives. One might as well find a substitute for fresh air. Counterfeit foods such as oleo, hydrogenated fats, synthetic sugars (glucose, corn syrup, dextrose) and refined foods such as white flour, refined sugar, refined oils—loaded with bleach chemicals or bleached by filtration through activated carbon, which also removes all vitamins—are examples of the foodless foods that we permit in our dietary pattern and that cheat us of health, constipation being only one of the warning signals that we, in the main, ignore or try to subvert.

Whole wheat pancakes for breakfast, with real butter and tupelo honey, are one way to solve the constipation problem. (Tupelo honey is the highest of all in levulose, the sugar the diabetic can tolerate—65 percent of its sugar is levulose.)

Constipation causes another real danger. The poisons produced can be very pathogenic. Guanidine is one of the poisons suspected to be formed, and it can contribute to the cause of convulsions, arthritis, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, hypertension, and eclampsia.

Histamine,7 another poison released in the bowel, can cause many specific reactions. In the main it is known as the offending agent in all allergic reactions. The flora of the bowel is important; it can be either friendly or toxin producing. We might quote Elvehjem8: “We should not ignore the original idea of Metchnikoff that certain types of bacteria in the alimentary tract may be deleterious—because they destroy certain vitamins or amino acids or because they produce toxins detrimental to health. As we learn more about intestinal flora, we should be able to control both the beneficial and the detrimental types of organisms and to compensate for changes that we cannot control.”

In this control of the flora of the bowel, the acidophilic group of organisms has long been known as beneficial. The first to be widely used, of course, was the sour milk bacteria. And yogurt, with its special culture, has been much used. But both of these require lactose (milk sugar) for their support. They cannot live on the ordinary carbohydrate forms. Similar organisms that can be supported on ordinary carbohydrates have been isolated. The acidophilus yeast (lactic acid yeast) is one. It converts ordinary carbohydrates (starches and nonmilk sugars) into lactic acid, whereas baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast convert them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Lactic acid favors other friendly bacteria and blocks the growth of toxin-producing organisms. Often the use of two wafers of Acidophilus Yeast [Lactic Acid Yeast] with each meal controls constipation. In this case I would suspect the constipation to be due to guanidine, which acts to produce spastic constipation, whereas an excess of histamine would create atonic constipation and a ballooned colon. This colon condition is considered a predisposing cause of arthritis by some authorities. Guanidine absorbed through such a thinned barrier could cause the calcium deposits of osteoarthritis, arteriosclerosis, and other forms of calcareous infiltration.

Guanidine is a specific calcium precipitant in body fluids, and it is a muscular fatigue poison (end product of overworked muscle). That is why coronary arteries are often calcified, being the only sign of such pathological change in the body. Guanidine is an organic alkaline base and can be formed by bowel bacteria; it no doubt becomes dangerous only in states of systemic alkalosis.

Parathyroid hormone is the physiologic regulator of the blood guanidine level. The calcium and guanidine contents of body fluids are complementary, so by regulation of the guanidine level, the calcium content of the body fluids is maintained at a normal level by the parathyroid.

The common syndrome of constipation, calcium deficiency symptoms, and a drift to arthritis is obviously a situation calling for Acidophilus Yeast [Lactic Acid Yeast], a whole wheat regimen, and raw foods that contain phosphatase (all…bran, and cereals only if uncooked, soaked whole wheat or rye as breakfast cereal, raw fruit and juices, raw vegetables and juices, Ostogen [Calcifood] wafers, and Biost tablets). A change to raw milk alone has cured wheelchair arthritis cases (though keep in mind the fact that milk, raw or pasteurized, is the commonest offender as an allergen.)

Citrus juices are out for the victim of arthritis unless grown in neutral soil (like that in the Indian River district of Florida, where seawater seeps in under the trees). Otherwise their alkaline ash aggravates the cooked-food alkalosis. Phosphatase, the enzyme of raw foods and raw milk, provides free phosphoric acid by splitting the phytates in cereals that are so essential to permitting the body to maintain its acid-alkaline balances. Otherwise the alkaline ash vegetable foods will build up a hyperalkaline state that predisposes to allergic reactions and arthritis, as described in the February 1957 issue (Vol. 1, No. 2) of this publication.

Isotonic and Hypertonic Laxatives

Warm physiological salt solution (one teaspoon of table salt in one pint of warm water) will flush out the bowel within an hour unless the patient is deficient in salt, for otherwise the concentration of salt is equal on both sides of the intestinal tract, and the water or salt cannot be exchanged and must pass through.

Patients who have been on a low protein diet may be low in carbamide, another physiological salt, and the same schedule with carbamide instead of salt may be preferable.

Upjohn’s Citrocarbonate is an effervescent salt that can also be used (one heaping teaspoonful to a pint of warm water). It contains the blood inorganic mineral salts in balanced proportion to equal the natural pattern. It is valuable, as is carbamide, to replace sweated out minerals in hot weather. These mineral salts are lost because water cannot be diffused out of sweat glands or kidneys without the help of these salts. Osmosis fails to occur. We cannot eliminate water without losing carbamide and sodium chloride. They are necessary to all osmotic transfers.

Epsom salts and Glauber’s salt operate as hypertonic laxatives. They hold and attract water into the bowel. But they are irritating to a degree and are not physiological or natural components of body fluids.

Disodium Phosphate is considered the mildest of such laxatives. It is recommended for children in the materia medica texts and may be considered as natural a salt as sodium chloride or carbamide. The use of these salt laxatives, or “bowel flushes,” will be of varying success, depending on the degree of osmotic balance they meet in the body. If the body is low in any of the components, that component will be absorbed, and the water retention effect will be lost, the laxative effect nullified to that extent. Repeating the dosage daily will in time bring on the effect desired unless some factor like hypothyroidism prevents the action. As we pointed out at the beginning, there is no universal constipation remedy.


  1. Sure, Barnett. “White Bread as a Cause of Constipation.” The Vitamins in Health and Disease, p. 166.
  2. Mongolism and Cretinism, Second Ed., p. 294. Grune and Stratton. Benda points out that too much calcium phosphate (bonemeal) inhibits the thyroid (causing constipation); Moelig. “Lesser Known Uses of Thyroid Substance.” J. Mich. St. Med. Soc., 49:553–538, 1950.
  3. Becker, George L., MD. “The Case Against Mineral Oil.” J. Diges. Dis., 19:344–347, 1952.
  4. Quigley, D.T., MD. Jol. Roentgenology and Radium Therapy, 34:81, 1935.
  5. Rowntree, L.G., et al. “Neoplasms in Albino Rats Resulting from Feeding Ether Extracted Wheat Germ Oil.” Soc. Exper. Biol. & Med., 36, 424, 1937.
  6. Adamstone, F.B. Path., 31, 722, 1941.
  7. Martin, Gustav J. Ion Exchange and Absorption Systems in Medicine, p. 305. Little, Brown & Co.
  8. Elvehjem, C.A. Am. Dietet. Assoc., 22:959, 1946.

Tip of the Month (Waning Sex Drive)

For the patient who complains of waning sex drive (nutritional castration), suggest capsules of the fat-soluble Chlorophyll Complex, with its vitamins A, E, F, and K. We will refund the price to you for any patient who fails to report a lift on a schedule of four capsules a day. (And remember that vitamin K deficiency is suspected to be one important cause of coronary disease. Chlorophyll Complex protects us from harm from the hydrogenated fats and synergizes in this respect with the vitamin F.)

Ike’s Doctor Declares U.S. “Most Unhealthy” in the World

“The present epidemic of coronary thrombosis and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) has made the United States ‘the most unhealthy country in the world,’ the physician who attended President Eisenhower in his coronary attack said here Saturday.

“Dr. Paul Dudley White, well known in his own profession long before his presidential patient made him famous, spoke at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Heart Association at the Veterans Administration Center in Wood, Wisconsin, on June 1, 1957.”

—The Milwaukee Sentinel, June 2, 1957.

High Points of Standard Process Nutritional Adjuncts

Niacinamide B6 Capsules: Its main use is in mental depression, mental slowness, the common pellagra symptom, “refined cereal disease.” Cytotrophic extract of brain [Neurotrophin PMG] is a good synergist. Niacinamide B6 is also important in tendency to cramps of muscles, where Calcium Lactate is also important. The physiological effect of B6 (pyridoxine) is to promote the synthesis in the liver of vitamin F forms. The uses of the vitamin F complex and B6 are relatively parallel: both promote the ionized calcium levels in the body fluids. (See Lee Foundation Reports No. 1, 2 and 3 for details.)




Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson is Senior Editor at Selene River Press.

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