“Abuse of Antibiotics” and “Harmless?” (Tranquilizers and Children)
The following is a transcription of the September 1961 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.
Abuse of Antibiotics
The following is a translation (from French) of a book review originally published in the magazine La Vie Claire, No. 165, July 1961, Paris. The book, Menaces Sur Notre Vie (Menaces to Our Life), is published by the firm Gallimard, of Paris, France.
The Americans have been the first to abuse antibiotics; they used them in different areas of medicine without studying beforehand the effects on health. From this comes the therapeutic accidents now well known.
For some years in America, a countercurrent has formed that points out the defects of these medicines. Some American doctors have shown in particular that the abusive use of antibiotics in diseases of the gums and of the teeth attacks the dental enamel, which becomes yellow, brown, and even black. Contrary to all predictions, it provokes an increase of caries, a greater fragility of the denture.
It is probable that antibiotics destroy the buccal flora that protects the teeth, and, further, they penetrate the tissues and derange or inhibit the defense processes, the formation or alimentation of the teeth. Yet more serious is the problem raised in France by Professor Pech, faculty member of the University of Montpelier (France), in his remarkable study Menaces Against Our Life.
This menace is constituted by the employ of antibiotics, or “mold quintessences,” in food.
If the subject treated appears to be rather limited in comparison with all the sanitary, dietetic, and alimentary problems, it is not any less important…because he constructs a new bridge between health and the quality of food. In the same way that Dr. de Larebeyrette and his collaborators have demonstrated that the consumption of white bread causes serious vascular accidents in hemogliasics, Professor Pech shows that the ingestion of food containing the “quintessences of molds” causes arteriosclerosis, or infiltration of the arterial walls by cholesterol, which leads to accidents, often fatal, that were formerly called “true aneurisms”…He reveals to the reader new reason and new means to protect oneself against certain alimentary intoxications; also, accessorily, we might say…he indicates the means to combat the effects already produced in the organism by the unknowing ingestion of substances toxic enough to cause very often “sudden death.”
The thesis of Professor Pech is constructed and laid out like a mathematical demonstration or like the reasoning of a famous policeman; yet this does not prevent the exposé from being exciting from one end to the other as well as instructive.
The initial troubling fact is the statement of the historical coincidence between periods illustrated by the frequency of sudden vascular accidents and the periods during which the food of man or animal contained these mold quintessences.
“From 1690 to 1845, frequent presences of molds in the alimentation of man and animal. During the same epochs, frequent dislocations of vital arteries by cholesterol crystals and noncrystallizable fats” (p. 91).
“1845 is a date to remember. It marks the prohibition, official and rigorously imposed, of selling for the alimentation of man or livestock moldy foodstuffs” (p. 90).
“From 1845 to 1950, suppression of molds in all foods of man and livestock. Diminution, almost to practical disappearance, of all the vascular accidents mentioned above” (p. 91).
“1950 to the present, introduction into the food of man and livestock of antibiotics, elements giving to molds certain properties. Reappearance in agonizing number of fatal lesions by atherosclerosis (deposits of cholesterol and fats in the vital arterial walls)” (p. 91).
A revealing index is furnished by the observation of the property that molds have of transforming in depth certain organic matter into cholesterol.
“By studying under microscope the surface of Norman cheeses, one discovers there the presence of microscopic plants recently described and classified under the name of molds. Desmarets did not hesitate to consider them the agents of transformation of casein into fatty matter and crystallizable fat. A methodical experimentation in Norman cheese plants led him to the observations that confirm that bold hypothesis. The transformation of casein into fats was all the greater, since the surface of the cheeses, by comparison with their volume, was also greater” (p. 107).
“The vegetation of molds on the wooden debris of coffins in contact with the cadavers transformed the tendons, the muscles, and even the organic matter of the bones into crystallizable fat, just as, in the observations of Desmarets, molds, in developing on the surface of cheese, transformed the interior casein into fat” (p. 108).
These few indications give a certain “flavor” to the notation “x (unknown)% of fat” that the cheese manufacturers voluntarily inscribe on their packages.
The author points out in passing how the name “cholesterine,” then “cholesterol,” was substituted for the old classification “crystallizable fat.”
He cites further (p. 115) the opinion in 1887 of Lieutaud—doctor-regent of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, first physician of the king, and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and of the Royal Society of London—on the cheeses of Roquefort, Brie, Normandy, Dauphine, etc. “Of these cheeses the best one is the one that is left alone.”
Finally, the contraproof of the accusations raised against molds is supported by the observation of the accidents that result in animals because of a moldy foodstuff or by addition of antibiotics.
“In 1811, a report of veterinarians attached to the Spanish Army, pointing out a disastrous mortality rate among horses to which was fed the bread that was too moldy and refused by the troops…Quickly fatal in strong doses (4 pounds of moldy bread a day); in small doses (one-quarter of the moldy bread per day), they determined in the horse, through prolonged use, the production in the brain of cholesterol accumulations able to attain the volume of a pullet egg.”
Further, on p. 236:
“In cages carrying several hundred chickens raised by antibiotic alimentation beyond three months, more than one-tenth of these were found dead. These corpses, turned over to the service for the utilization of meat unfit for consumption, were minutely autopsied. All the deaths were due to infarctus of the heart, ruptures or obliterations of cerebral arteries. Atherosclerosis was the cause of these accidents. Improper handling on the part of the raiser one will say; he must have been aware of the necessity to slaughter an animal having consumed antibiotics just as soon as it is at the point fit for consumption. This is an essential condition for profit in raising livestock. But let us transpose this to the human level. Undoubtedly, at present, the increase in man of sudden death through cardiovascular accidents would no longer be evident if the decision was made to sacrifice all the individuals having reached the age of forty.”
Also on p. 236:
“In young men, 22 years on the average, accidental death after having been officially recognized as being in good health, U.S. doctors have, in 300 autopsies, atherosclerosis in 77 percent of the subjects. This proportion is almost the same in France in young animals slaughtered in the large urban centers.”
Professor Pech poses then the dramatic problem of the toxicity of antibiotics added to the food of livestock, from which the consumer benefits, if one can say that, through the intermediary of meat and animal products. He brings to light, in passing, the gravity of the fault committed by man in wanting to make a food from a medicine, transgressing, therefore, a great principle of Hippocratic medicine:
“Food, medicine, and poison are substances that one cannot confuse if one pays attention to their properties. Food is often the best medicine—only the alterations that destroy it transform it into poison. Medicine badly employed can become poison. Poison can, in the hands of prudent and experienced men, become medicine. Neither medicine nor poison has ever been able to become food” (p. 167).
“Despising the great Hippocratic principle, having succeeded in making medicine from poison, from the medicine we make a food” (p. 169).
Remarking that all foods of animal origin are presently more or less contaminated by antibiotics and consequently are dangerously harmful, the author does not think, moreover, of the possibility of nourishing man with something other than the products and by-products of animal origin. He asks only that the animal products that are guaranteed free from antibiotics be offered to the consumer. By doing this he speaks as a doctor, and we don’t feel obliged to adopt his conclusions in this sense. Doesn’t he recognize, however implicitly, that doctors do not know all about the alimentary questions.
“The ignorance in which they hold not only the consumers but also the doctors about the generalization of these processes is a scandal” (p. 141).
Certainly, it is only a question here of the employ of antibiotics in livestock alimentation and the accidents that can result from it. But it is evident that if doctors are held in ignorance of facts concerning antibiotics, which are essentially medicines, what all must they be ignorant of in the alimentary domain, the interest of the large trusts being at stake? Further, Professor Pech recognizes equally that the additions of antibiotics that increase the rate of growth in animals were solving a serious problem—that of the undernourishment of certain countries and certain classes.
“The economists exult. We are going to, at less expense, thanks to the miracle molds, produce in less time more meat, more milk, and more eggs. The alimentation of a population continuously increasing seems no longer to be an agonizing problem” (p. 41).
Now, if one suppresses the antibiotics in the alimentation of livestock, is the aforesaid problem going to become more agonizing? Which is what the manufacturers of antibiotics do not fail to point out, in their defense. How to answer, if not that the problem of the alimentation of man in its entirety, taken at the same time quantitatively and qualitatively, does not seem to be able to allow another solution than the daily range of whole grains, which have practically everything the organism might need and which are easy to complement with fats, raw foods, etc., allotting to each man presently living only his proportional share of available tillable land in the world.
We have selected from this for the most part very interesting book by Professor Pech, some debatable affirmations, such as this one:
“The veterinarians and these raisers are not responsible, having wished by the addition of antibiotics to the food of livestock to produce more meat more quickly. They have wanted to preserve their contemporaries from famine. Their intentions were good” (p. 227).
For the veterinarians, let us reserve our judgment. It is true that Professor Pech titles chapter 15 of the 13th part, with a certain dark humor, “Indulgent Conclusions.” This is no longer applicable, however, in the modern agricultural and livestock raising methods; the goal of the exercise is no longer to nourish man but only to manufacture products to sell, the only limit to the fantasy being the legislation on the suppression of frauds.
If the raisers had the least worry about the alimentation of man in general, they would begin by no longer raising stock. They would reforest a part of their lands, and on the rest they would produce fruits and grains. Doing this, they would assure an integral conservation of the principal (capital), all the while, however, producing more units of food than under the form of meat. But they would earn less. This said, we subscribe without reservations to affirmations such as the following:
“Should be judged as criminals against humanity, those who, in order not to avow an inevitable error or through desire for gain, have wished to prolong the ravages of the present epidemic of atherosclerosis” (p. 241).
“To put men who believe themselves prudent in the impossibility of knowing the nature of the foods offered on the market and to oblige them against their will to consume foods that they suspect to be unhealthful is an act typically evil and perfidious. If they are in the right, this is to attack by ruse their health and even their life” (p. 244).
“Not to furnish the consumer with foodstuffs guaranteed effectively free from all elements of molds is a Machiavellian procedure, and we weigh our words.”
In resume, the book of Professor Pech Menaces Against Our Life denounces a true scandal, among many others: alas, the utilization of a medicine as a food because of mercenary reasons, which will only cease when those responsible for the public health will have started to act through an enlightened and alert public opinion.
Harmless? (Tranquilizers and Children)
Some “harmless” tranquilizers have had serious effect on children. Drugs of the phenothiazine family of tranquilizers (mainly prochlorperazine and chlorpromazine) used to treat nausea and vomiting in children have been found to occasionally produce symptoms similar to those of bulbar polio, meningitis, encephalitis, lockjaw, and brain tumor. Dr. S.G. Cohalan of New York University Bellevue Medical Center, reporting in the American Academy of General Practice Journal, said that the seizures cause extreme extension of the neck and back, with violent turning of the head and eyes to one side.
The chewing muscles may develop spasms, with drooling and difficulty in swallowing.
Since in some cases the illness was mistaken for the disease it suggested, several patients almost were subjected to having their windpipes cut open, in the belief that they had bulbar polio.
These reactions followed use of these drugs in dosages originally recommended by the manufacturers. These dosages have subsequently been lowered.
—Reprinted from Modem Nutrition, Vol. 13, No. 5, May 1960.