RNA Investigative Progress; Butter, Whole Grain Bread, and Potatoes; Phosphorus Deficient Diet
Contents in in this issue:
- “RNA Investigative Progress,”
- “On the Consumption of Butter, Whole Grain Bread, and Potatoes,”
- “Phosphorus Deficient Diet.”
The following is a transcription of the April 1967 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
RNA Investigative Progress
Vital Enzyme Dissected
Dr. Copinath Kartha, who spent five years in research at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, New York State Department of Health, in Buffalo, New York, recently reported a momentous achievement at an international scientific meeting in Madras, India.
This scientific project under the direction of Dr. David Harker took sixteen years of intensive work. The purpose of this project was to decipher the very complex structure of ribonuclease, an enzyme that plays a key role in every living cell. Like all enzymes, ribonuclease is a protein substance, and unlike some others it contains over 100 atoms. These atoms are arranged as a chain of twelve amino acid units found coiled, cross linked, and twisted in various intricate patterns.
An Important Achievement
According to those who performed this feat, the first of its kind in the United States, it is of great importance in that it demonstrates the feasibility of determining the formation of enzymes and how they work.
The molecular structure was explored by means of a newer scientific technique known as X-ray crystallography. Only recently, two other proteolytic enzymes known as lysozyme and myoglobin were similarly deciphered in Britain, through this same method. The discovery is very important since it is now known that without the aid of enzymes the body’s chemical reactions are so hampered that they cease to function. It has been this lack of proper function that has been attacked by biochemists who deplore the addition of enzyme inhibiting chemicals of various types to processed foods, as well as the addition of enzyme-inhibiting sodium fluoride to our drinking water. It is believed that this discovery of the complex structure of an enzyme, especially the parts that perform the new verified chemical mission of the substance, could lead to greater knowledge and possibly various new applications.
Apparently, the purpose of ribonuclease is to break down another important vital substance in the life process; namely, ribonucleic acid (RNA). Previous research found the task of RNA is to carry in its structure the “blueprints” for the manufacture of proteins by the various cells of the body. It was also determined that RNA obtains this blueprint from another cellular substance, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which serves as the archive for cell design. It would seem that heredity is merely the passing on by DNA of this blueprint information to future generations.
Cell Growth Control
We learn further, that sometime during the life of a cell it reaches the stage where it becomes important to deactivate RNA. This could be for the purpose of controlling cell growth or also to dispose of the no longer needed RNA when a cell dies. It was found that this deactivation of RNA is the important duty of the newly deciphered enzyme, ribonuclease. With this new knowledge of the structure of this enzyme (and of ways in which it may become deformed), together with its control of cell growth, it is presumed, may help explain why cancer cells spread unchecked throughout the body. It is also the hope of these scientists that this knowledge could provide clues for the development of ways to treat cancer.
Dr. Harker originally became interested in ribonuclease in 1950 while assigned to research at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. This institution is operated by the New York State Health Department as a center for cancer research and treatment. He joined the staff at Roswell Park in 1959. Two million dollars was expended to obtain this vital enzyme knowledge over the sixteen-year period.
RNA As an Immunizer
From another recent report we learn of a scientific study and probable expanded use of ribonucleic acid as an immunizing agent against infectious diseases.
Drs. Guy P. Youmans and Anne S. Youmans, microbiologists at Northwestern University School of Medicine, are responsible for this new information. In the course of their experiments the investigators broke down live non-disease producing TB bacilli into their cellular components and tested each one as a possible immunizing agent. It was learned from these studies that RNA isolated from TB bacilli imparts a high degree of protection against tuberculosis.
They had observed that most existing vaccines, function by creating antibodies within the host (animal or person). These antibodies destroy infectious microbes. However, they believe their investigation points to an entirely new approach and that genetic material could possibly operate in different ways.
RNA, Past and Present
Sweetbreads, the glandular source of ribonucleic acid, has been used as a poultice and as a food product for centuries. However, RNA derived from yeast is about fifty years old and dates from World War I. This type also was used as a healing agent and proved invaluable in old chronic infections. Apparently, it promotes leukocytosis as some of the earlier investigations revealed that a deficiency of nucleic acid in the cellular cytoplasm would inhibit leukocytic activity. In 1962, biochemists Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received the Nobel Price for unlocking basic chemical secrets of the living cell. In reporting their findings, they listed the ribonucleic acids, RNA and DNA, as the necessary incentive for normal day to day cell function
Nucleic acid was found to be the key in every living cell of every living thing, from the tiniest one-celled creature to the complicated combination of cells that make up the human body.
These findings have no doubt served as the background for further RNA experiments as relatively large amounts of nucleic acid have been found in bacteria, the filterable viruses, molds, and the germ portion of seeds.
Investigative research now in progress seems to center around viruses. The theory is that most viruses cause disease by entering cells and changing the DNA blueprints, in effect damaging or killing the cells. Some scientists believe an error in blueprints could cause the cell to make a mistake in manufacturing proteins. They cite the condition phenylketonuria in infants as a probable inherited DNA error that could prevent some cells from making normal use of an amino acid in the production of protein.
If researchers could read the genetic code they, no doubt, could find the errors that lead to defects and disease. Progress is being made and they hope to someday prevent hereditary defect and disorders. “We now have a dictionary, though not a complete one, for reading the code,” says Dr. M.W. Nirenburg, a very enthused biochemist with the National Institutes of Health. “The sequence of the letter in each word is still up in the air, but we and other groups are working hard on this and things should begin to pop soon.” When completed the dictionary will present almost unlimited possibilities for further exploration of the fundamental workings of the cell. However, they are optimistic in regard to the prospects for advancing knowledge of the DNA-RNA code.
On the Consumption of Butter, Whole Grain Bread, and Potatoes
Spontaneous resolution No. IV
At the 10th Convention of the International Society for Research on Nutrition and Vital Substances, the members, in full accord with the eminent agricultural representatives present, urgently appeal:
To all public and private institutions concerned with responsibilities and problems of nutrition of populations, to secure economically by all available means and encourage the propagation of local mass products of agriculture and nutritional economy, namely: milk, butter, cheese, bread cereals, maize, millet, potatoes, which constitute approximately two thirds of the present calorie and approximately three quarters of the protein consumption.
It is particularly desirable:
- In highly developed countries to achieve an increase in consumption of butter and high-value natural fat, by means of appropriate marketing and propaganda measures.
- To improve the nutritional value of bread through use of less refined flour.
- To intensify the distribution of information regarding the potato as carrier of a relatively high content of vitamins of the so-called B-groups, mineral substances, and trace elements.
- That care should be taken that in famine regions of the world, the local consumption of staple foods such as oil, fruit, and cereals should be given preference over the products intended for export.
—Reported in Internationales Journal, Vol. IX, October 1964.
Phosphorus Deficient Diet
In the northern part of Japan (Tohoku), winter is long and severe, and an infant born in October is kept indoors during the winter month. In the northwestern part of Japan (Hokuriku), cloudy weathers last long and are followed by heavy snowfall in winter.
People who have small incomes in these areas live usually on a monotonic diet consisting of rice, miso (fermented soybean), and salted vegetables with very little animal protein. The deficiency of animal protein, besides sunshine, perhaps accounts for their especial tendency to produce rickets in children. Animal protein may furnish them an available phosphorus.
Recently Koyanagi, a Japanese worker, reported that the improvement of adaptation to darkness in children living in Tohoku district was the result of administration of phosphate, suggesting deficiency of phosphorus in their diet.
Three Japanese workers from the laboratory of Nutrition, University of Tohoku, investigated the effect of adding egg albumin and vitamin D to the rice in diet in rats.
They discovered that this greatly enhanced the utilization of phosphorus, a fact which may prove useful in improving the conditions of the human population in these conditions.
—The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, Japan, March 1965.