The following is a transcription of the First Quarter 1979 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
“The health of the American people is far from what it ought to be and what it could be.”
—Dr. Bruce Douglas
Our Health Status
Dr. Douglas of Rochester, Minnesota, is a member of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, a Section Council Member on Preventive Medicine for the American Medical Association, and is presently serving as chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. He also reportedly stated:
“It is being said that even if we were to double our annual outlay for health care from the present $140 billion to $280 billion, we probably would not even dent the health status of the American people in a significant way. We must figure out a way to keep people healthy and not let them get into trouble. To have a real impact we must do things differently.”
Surely, we must acknowledge this quoted opinion to be both a valid reason and a challenge to change our present method of pursuing the goal of good health.
Where to Start?
No doubt the most sensible method would be to start at the beginning by making sure that expectant and nursing mothers eat right. Failure to do so is producing too many disadvantaged children or children who are not physically or mentally whole.
For a majority of the diseases of man, the cause must not be viewed in the rigid sense of a single causative agent. Enlightened science no longer countenances the old pattern of thinking engendered by the bacteriologic era of medicine. The etiology of disease entities or abnormalities must be viewed as an intertwining network of multiple interacting factors in which genetic factors, environment, and nutrition are likely important. The controversy of an earlier day between genetics and environment and nature and nurture has now subsided since it is appreciated that both types of factors are important. How logical it is, then, to start with optimum nourishment of the infant in the uterus.
We have previously cited examples of good health and long life such as the Hunzas, in the mountains of India, the Georgians in Abkhasia, USSR, the villagers in the Andes Mountains of South America, and our own ancestors previous to the time that the technocrats started to feed us overprocessed foods and substitutes for natural foods.
Food vs. Chemicals
As food production and food processing have become more sophisticated, the end result has usually become less nourishing and possibly a greater hazard to health. Some nutritional surveys in this country and Canada have determined that an increasing number of people are becoming malnourished. The interested nutritionists believe this may be due to the fact that vital nutritional substances are lost through the ever-increasing shortcuts now used in food processing. Chemicals of various kinds, hues, and textures as replacements for natural product losses apparently are unable to safeguard our present or long-range health. Instant, convenience and fast foods have plunged us into this era of engineered foods without their proponents’ knowing where we are headed or the possible end results.
Apparently at the request of early medical scientists our governmental regulatory agencies have followed outdated 19th century nutritional values instead of facing contemporary reality in these days of ever-expanding agribusiness. Then too, both industry and government authorities have only considered the practically obsolete consequences of a single chemical poison in our environment but have neglected to study the many combinations of chemicals and drugs to which our body may be exposed. And the ancient toxicology approach of a certain threshold of toxicity for each chemical, below which no effect may occur, should be declared null and void as it entirely ignores both cumulative and group chemical effects of often heavily advertised food substitutes.
The conglomerate giant food corporations spend $4 billion yearly to influence or persuade us to buy what they promote as a new food product. As Dr. Myron Winick, director of the Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition, says, “Our food choices are not nutritional choices. Instead, they are governed by a constant barrage of advertising.”
Prospective parents have been handicapped in obtaining nourishing food. The birthrate has been going down steadily since 1957. The offspring in too many instances have been crippled physically or mentally. Proof of the descending birthrate is reflected in the closing of schools throughout the nation. The increase in the physically handicapped is reflected in the plethora of begging organizations springing up and adopting a motivating name regarding a specified condition. In the past some of these mostly unregulated organizations have been accused of spending the greater share of donations for organizational upkeep and salaries instead of the implied research and care of the victims of that particular affliction—a regrettable situation. In some instances duplication of research has also failed to be of any benefit in solving the problem. Medical experts outside of these programs have deplored the lack of funds for nutritional research and pregnancy education.
Nutrition in Pregnancy
Last year, Representative James H. Scheuer cosponsored a bill to consider possible revision of the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Act. He cited figures indicating that ten million children under the age of sixteen received no medical care. The measure as considered was to provide comprehensive health care services to pregnant women and children from birth to age one. It is now known as the WIC Supplemental Food Program. This law is now administered by a state agency in most states. It reads as follows:
“Substantial numbers of pregnant women, infants and young children are at a special risk to their physical and mental health by reason of poor or inadequate nutrition or health care, or both. It is, therefore, the purpose of the program authorized by this section to provide supplemental nutritious food as an adjunct to good health care during such critical times of growth and development to prevent the occurrence of health problems.”
Previously, in too many instances, the medical experts have failed to consider proper nutrition and less drugs for the would-be mother. For example, in the Medical Tribune of 8/14/74, an article entitled “Confronting Our Inadequate Nutrition” by Alfred D. Klinger, MD, states:
“I know numerous obstetric papers which don’t even mention the existence of nutrition as a possible factor in the complications of pregnancy. One gets the impression that it is not merely unimportant but that it is totally irrelevant.”
This has been the op in ion of modern medicine for almost three decades, but recently the AMA has seen the light and no longer recommends the strict limitation of weight for pregnant women that it once did. Apparently the light is shining more brightly. We learn from Health, Volume 24, No. 3, 1978, Wisconsin Division of Health:
“Good nutrition is always important but there are times in life when good nutrition and the right types of foods are critical. For infants and young children good nutrition is vital to proper development. When a woman is pregnant or nursing an infant, her nutrition has an impact on the health of her child as well as on her own health.”
As to eating and gaining weight during pregnancy, too many modern obstetricians disagree with the entire bodily health protection of the old family doctor and his advice to “eat for two.” Instead they advise their pregnant patient not to put on weight, and if she was overweight at the time of conception to lose weight. But, according to other doctors, and as specifically stated by Dr. Harold H. Sandstead of the USDA Science and Education Administration of the Human Nutrition Laboratory: “Trying to lose weight during pregnancy is probably a very bad idea.”
A healthy pregnant woman will ordinarily gain some twenty-five pounds. Holding the weight down to have an easier birth with a smaller baby seems to be a false premise. This theory along with fetal monitoring and some other tests are believed to be contributing to the steadily increasing thousands of cesarean sections performed for the delivery of the fetus during the past several years. And, according to Dr. Albert D. Haverkamp, a Denver obstetrician, one of eight births is now a cesarean section—or double the amount before fetal monitoring. Apparently incensed, he continues: “This is an outrage, a case of technological overkill.”
A lightweight fetus may fail to carry out its part in the normal delivery procedure. A heavier fetus, according to natural birth advocates, gradually settles down and is cradled in the maternal pelvis. The weight of the fetus tends to aid the symphysis pubis to spread in anticipation of a natural birth. Failure of this natural phenomenon has in some instances contributed to the increase of cesarean sections. And, apparently the half-starved underweight baby has less chance of survival, often requiring extensive and expensive care and a specified amount of time to be spent in the incubator at the hospital. Present estimates are that each child placed in perinatal intensive care, at delivery, costs his parents (or the taxpayer) approximately $600 per day. We understand that some would-be parents are now reappraising the benefit risk factor and have opted for adoption.
Some doctors’ antipathy toward natural childbirth and the possible total cost for an at-risk baby are believed to be contributing to our declining birth rate and fewer healthy children. Because of a lack of adoptees a recent news article advises that a naturally born adoptive child racket of imports from South America is trying to supply the U.S. demand. Reportedly the top fee is $10,000 for a healthy child.
Drugs Still Questionable
Just as chemicals have been allowed to accumulate in our food to the extent that we ingest five pounds per capita per year, so too the number of drugs being given to women during gestation, labor, and delivery is on the uptrend. A recent Houston study showed the average mother consumed nineteen different drugs during pregnancy and hospital delivery in 1977, to compare with less than four taken by the average mother in 1963. This, together with snacking on less nourishing food and the increasingly higher rate of degenerative disease in our present society, must reflect the inability of science to assess the unsafe effect of chemicals and drugs in degenerative disease in adults, or birth defects in children.
Now, almost twenty years after the European thalidomide tragedy we do not have completely satisfactory methods to determine if a specific chemical will have teratogenic effects on our progeny. Not even expert toxicologists can assure pregnant women who are daily exposed to chemicals in their food, drink, and general surroundings or advise them specifically as to the side effects of some drugs regarding potential harm to their developing babies. In the past several years the presence of pesticide residues has also clouded the picture. Some concerned pharmaceutical manufacturers deplore this lack of prediction in regard to teratogenic effects and have recommended that the pregnant woman avoid all drugs.
Food a Necessity, Drugs a Risk
The pregnant woman’s vagaries in diet, often expressed by a desire for salt herring, pickles, sardines, buttermilk or yogurt, may be the usual expression of her body needs of bone and blood building substances to normally feed the fetus. It is no joke. The demand should be satisfied and considered vital in the new metabolic process she has acquired. Yet, some modern doctors fail to recognize the symptoms and treat it as a sign of tenseness or stress and prescribe an antianxiety or mood altering drug. The physical change, especially of the first pregnancy, may incite fear in addition to the emotional problems of any pregnancy. The importance of the birth of a healthy child should be the would-be mother’s greatest concern and should be so treated by her doctor of choice.
Time being of the essence to the busy doctor, he usually finds it easier to give the patient a “script” for a so-called relatively safe minor tranquilizer, rather than to take the time to study the individual problem. A little positive nutritional advice (not weight loss) would quiet the prospective mother’s fears and do away with the probable psychoactive drug used as a pharmacologic crutch. We find these thoughts verified in the following quotation: “What the thousands of anxious patients need is the busy doctor’s last available commodity—time.”
We have lifted this appropriate observation from Benzodiazepines in Clinical Practice. It is a book written by Dr. David J. Greenblatt and Dr. Richard I. Shader to inform doctors about Valium and Librium. In general their story is a warning in regard to the overuse of these and similar products of the barbiturate group of tranquilizers. The barbiturates have ranked first in prescription use in this country for several years and continue to rank high even though the FDA has somewhat restricted their use. Psychological or physiological dependency has been reported and a patient may convulse if she or he stops taking the pills after prolonged use. Large doses have caused epileptic-like convulsions that are often misdiagnosed. Large doses may also cause symptoms similar to too much alcohol, such as mental confusion, sleepiness, a staggering gait or coma. Recently a manufacturer warned doctors to advise users not to drive or to operate machinery after using his product. The muscle relaxing powers of such products are believed to reflect action on the central nervous system rather than directly on the muscles. They are used as relaxants in muscle cramps such as charley horses and back sprains, especially for athletes.
Some obstetricians are said to endorse injecting this type of drug into the veins of the laboring mother to make delivery easier. All too often it is believed to be used as a “hold back” agency until the late doctor can arrive. But such procrastination in delivery time is not in accord with the principles of nature. Dr. Charles Carter, an authority on retardation, recently completed a study that demonstrated such hold back practice in delivery might cause an oxygen deficiency to the brain and a mentally deficient baby. We have also learned that a new study by the National Institutes of Health has determined that the inhalant anesthetics, sometimes used in so-called “twilight sleep,” have a strong association with the loss of motor function and muscular action of the baby. Apparently halothane was a prime offender.
Further Risk of Drugs at Childbirth
Sarah H. Broman of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, along with Yvonne Brackbill, a psychologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, have made a seven-year study of over 3,000 infants. They found that drugs given at childbirth can have a lasting effect on a baby’s behavior and muscular functions and that even a year after birth many children born to mothers given drugs were slow to stand and walk and some even had difficulty sitting. At the end of the seven-year study some of the children had reduced learning skills, including perception, memory, and judgment. They believed such results mandate more caution in the use of drugs during childbirth and in advising the prospective mother of possible postnatal effects.
This is considered to be the most comprehensive drug test to date. It included inhalant anesthetic drugs used to put women to sleep during delivery, as well as the routinely used pain killers. The effects on infants were related to dosage—the stronger the drug and the higher the dose, the more serious the effect. Author Yvonne Brackbill said, “It is difficult to avoid concluding that the damage is permanent.” And Dr. Samuel Draege, responsible for the study at NIH, said: “It may be that this study shows that several generations of children, born in this country under obstetric medications may be starting life with a deficit.”
In The Hidden Malpractice author Gena Corea advises, “In the vast majority of cases, the low-risk pregnancies statistics show that it’s safer for women to give birth on their own, naturally, rather than with the doubtful ‘aid’ of anesthetics, drugs, electronic monitors, etc.”
Alcohol a Hazard
Many obstetricians fail to warn the expectant mother of the danger of drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy, according to alcohol abuse specialists. They advise that such drinking has become a potential epidemic and has now been cited as the third most common cause of mental retardation in infancy. It is common knowledge that alcoholics fail to eat properly. Instead of “eating for two,” some women are drinking for two. As Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego, has stated:
“You really have to think of this situation that when a mother drinks during her pregnancy, her unborn baby is drinking too. So, if you will, the baby is being pickled in alcohol during the entire time that the mother is drinking during her pregnancy.”
If not so tragic it would be funny. Researchers now agree that heavy drinking by pregnant women is risky and may cause abnormalities in the offspring. The National Council on Alcoholism suggests that women abstain from drinking during pregnancy so that the new baby will not suffer the ill effects of the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Smoking and Pregnancy
The recent Health Education and Welfare report on smoking is said to cover approximately 30,000 articles in the scientific literature. In commenting on the report, Secretary Joseph Califano said, “Women who smoke during pregnancy face the possibility of creating long-term irreversible effects on their babies.”
Further proof of such effects has been supplied by the Pennsylvania State University Medical Center in a report based on 50,000 pregnancies. This report advises that maternal cigarette smoking can imperil the health of unborn and newborn children. Colds, influenza, and lung conditions such as emphysema and Legionnaires’ disease are usually symptomatically worse in adult cigarette smokers.
All too often the obstetrician or pediatrician advises the mother it is more convenient to bottle feed the baby instead of nursing it. At least for the first week or ten days both the normal and handicapped child need the colostrum in the first milk from the mother’s breasts. This milk provides special helpful nutrients such as a greater quantity of lactalbumin, lactoprotein, and several immunity factors such as an antistaphylococcal factor, immunoglobins, and lysozymes. Human milk contains lactoferrin, which inhibits growth of pathogenic intestinal microorganisms—cow’s milk does not. The strongest argument for breastfeeding is that it is relatively foolproof. After all, nursing of the young has been nature’s way for millions of years and has provided many generations of healthy descendants. To be healthy mammals we had better go along with nature instead of continually challenging her. Our challenge to modernity must be to—
Protect the Unborn
We have now reached the point where tens of thousands of children are afflicted with abnormalities at birth. Many of these are preventable, according to the Society for the Protection of the Unborn through Nutrition (SPUN). Anyone interested in prenatal nutritional management may contact them at 17 North Wabash, Suite 603, Chicago, Illinois 60602 or call (312) 332-2334.