Applied Trophology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February 1964)

Lecture by Melvin E. Page; Metabolic Catalysts; Lysine in Human Nutrition

Contents in this issue:

  • “Lecture by Melvin E. Page, DDS,”
  • “Metabolic Catalysts: The ‘Living Units’ of Cells,”
  • “Lysine in Human Nutrition,” by R. Jansen.

The following is a transcription of the February 1964 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.

Lecture by Melvin E. Page

Taken from a lecture by Melvin E. Page, DDS, to members of the Greater New York Dental Society, St. Petersburg, Florida, December 1963.

The answer, as we see it, to any degenerative process is not the finding of a new drug, but in the prevention of these degenerative changes by removal of causes, which means correction of the body chemistry. A good diet today consists more in what is left out than in what is put in, because we are flooded with things we should leave out.

So little is known about the physiology of the body, the digestive processes, by some people that now I understand that our food is quite likely to be radiated so that it will keep for years. Any food that keeps is not fit to eat, for it is the enzymes that go with natural foods that are thus destroyed. They supply these essential ingredients to the process of digestion and assimilation. If we have to eat dead foods we are going to be dead people before our time.

The good share of our food production is based upon supplying people with what they want whether it is good for them or not. If it is convenient, tastes good, smells good, and doesn’t cost too much, they’ve got a market. People should learn that they must take just as good care of their own bodies in which they live as they would of their livestock, a horse or cow or dog, because this body that we live in is just as much an animal body as these animals have, and if we don’t learn how to take care of it, it makes a pretty poor place to live. It might be almost a prison. Whereas if we do take care of it properly it will last a long time and serve us faithfully without aches and pains. This means that the education of people must be expanded considerably. A person can go to school for twenty years, learn how to make money, how to be of service in many ways to people and to himself, but he really doesn’t have ten minutes of instruction about his own body and how to take care of it. Because of this lack of instruction, he is very apt to lose his body and bring his genealogical line to a sudden end.

Metabolic Catalysts: The “Living Units” of Cells

“A world of disordered function lies revealed in any lesion if we only have the eye to see it. It is the high function of the pathologist not merely to attach correct labels to the lesions he sees but to construct the course of events from the earliest inception of the disease to the final moment when we fall out of ‘the splendid procession of life.’”1

Until some “radar-like” diagnostic procedure is invented, we must realize that there exists a “fourth-dimensional” aspect of disease that defies present-day diagnostic methods. Botulinus toxin and tetanus toxin causes severe muscular paralysis without observable lesions even in fatal cases.2 These are examples in which the function of an enzyme but not the structure of the cell is disrupted, with a “jamming” of the metabolism as a result.

These enzymes are the metabolic catalysts (composed of proteins, vitamins and minerals) that are present in vast numbers in every cell. The enzyme systems are extremely sensitive to injurious influences such as poisons and loss of nutrition. The breakdown of the enzyme systems results in sickness or death of the cells.

It is this enzyme world, perhaps, that was referred to in an editorial in J.A.M.A., June 3, 1961, quoted as follows:

“Vast as is the current knowledge in the basic sciences, Thomas (Professor of Medicine, New York University, School of Medicine) suggests that we include a course in medical school curriculum entitled ‘Medical Ignorance.’ Further study might provide the top-echelon students with a subsequent course entitled ‘Advanced Medical Ignorance.’ These are not facetious suggestions. It may be as important to discover our deficiencies in knowledge as to bend every effort to insure maximum use of available knowledge. The need for exposing our weaknesses is amply illustrated at the bedside.”


The infinitely complex and delicate structural and functional mechanisms of the enzymes, which are metabolic catalysts, have many ramifications. Such phenomena, formerly referred to by Boyd as “autoimmunity”:

“It is now recognized that under certain conditions not at present clearly understood antigenic substances formed in the body (auto-antigens) may excite the formation of antibodies, with a resulting antigen-antibody reaction. The initial stimulus can start a mechanism which is self-perpetuating, thus suggesting an explanation for the continuance of the lesions and clinical manifestations long after the original injury has passed away and been forgotten.”3

But these are academic considerations. We do not have to “see” an enzyme system to know of its existence, any more than we have to see the electrical current that powers a motor. All we have to observe is that the motor starts running when we turn on the power, stops when we shut it off. We need to know that sand jams the bearings and that proper lubrication is necessary for its continuous operation. This analogy is an oversimplification, but its appropriateness is obvious.

“If we continually interfere with nature, we must pay the penalty.” These are not our words, but are by the outstanding medical pathologist William Boyd, MD. And what does Boyd suggest as the means of “not interfering”? We learn of a new kind of disease called “iatrogenic disease.” We quote as follows:

“Use of the library makes us aware of the fact that the picture of disease is changing before our very eyes. Old diseases are passing away as the result of the assaults of modern therapy, but new ones are continually taking their place. The inn that shelters for the night is not the journey’s end. Many of these new diseases are iatrogenic (iatros, a physician) in nature, that is to say, they are the result of the well-meant but injudicious use of therapeutic agents.

“In these days when tranquilizers take the place of babysitters, blood transfusions are given thoughtlessly, indiscriminately and often needlessly, exposure to diagnostic or therapeutic ionizing radiation has become so universal, antibiotics are regarded as the cure-all for the most minor infections, and steroid therapy is the refuge of the destitute, it is small wonder that the old maladies are replaced by new manmade ones, and that allergies to a multitude of antigens have become so commonplace that they are said to exceed pathogenic microorganisms in number. I must apologize for the too frequent use of the words ‘what is powerful for good can be potent for evil,’ but this is true of so many situations created by modern therapy that I have been unable to resist the temptation.”4

Then Boyd gives us his definition of disease: “Disease may be defined as merely a summation of chemical reactions that have gone wrong.”5 The “tools” by which these chemical reactions are governed are the “living units” of the cells, the enzymes or metabolic catalysts! These are vitamins, minerals, and proteins in action. Their enemy is heat! Examples are the pasteurization of milk at 140°F to the autoclaving of canned foods at 225°F. Since one of the tests for completed pasteurization is a check for enzyme activity, it is quite obvious that no enzyme can survive this heat.

The intermediate processes in the biochemical network are the conversion mechanisms whereby the assimilation of food is performed—often called “chain reactions.” Chains consist of links, and, as a chain is broken by a missing link, so the enzyme systems of the body are “jammed” by poisons and deficiency states.

One of the insidious effects of this “jamming” of the chain reactions is obesity. There is a very definite biochemical background to the cause of obesity; a concept that the physician should—if he does not—realize has a much greater magnitude than the “total calorie” idea that is prevalent.

No one will doubt that the “900 calorie concoctions” that are popularly being vended—appealing primarily to the cosmetic conscious person—are starvation formulae. These are not only low in calories, but they fail to build the body and furnish the essential factors so necessary for proper function.

Each cell, which is really a biochemical machine, contains chemical and physical mechanisms designed to obtain material from its environment to satisfy the nutritional and energy requirements of the organ concerned. When these mechanisms, which involve a relationship between structure and function, are impaired the result is sickness, and it may even be death. Herein lies the reason for constantly keeping a supply of the metabolic catalysts (vitamins, minerals, proteins) in our daily intake of food. In this way the metabolic “jamming” may be averted or at least kept to a minimum.

The doctor should never forget that it is the whole patient who comes to consult, not just a disordered liver, a cardiac lesion, a lump in the breast, or a painful knee. In the words of an Old French proverb: There are no diseases, but only sick people.


  1. Boyd. Textbook of Pathology, Seventh Edition, p. 3.
  2. Ibid., 11.
  3. Ibid., 109.
  4. Ibid., 5.
  5. Ibid,, 10

Lysine in Human Nutrition

By R. Jansen

Lysine and dental caries: It was reported in 1952–53 that smooth-surface dental caries in white rats are produced by a diet containing heat-processed cereal foods (McClure, 1952) or commercial roller and spray-dried skim milk powders (McClure and Folk, 1953). The more severe the heat treatment during the preparation of the milk powder, the greater the cariogenic effect of the powder in the rats’ diet (McClure and Folk, 1955a). Because of the well-known heat sensitivity of lysine and the fact that both the heat-processed cereal and milk diets were lysine-deficient, the role of lysine was investigated. It was found that lysine supplementation improved growth and afforded a striking decrease in caries susceptibility on both diets (McClure and Folk, 1955b).

By using paired feeding techniques, it was shown that caries reduction was not completely related to the growth-promoting effect of L-lysine. A specific role for lysine in these diets was indicated by the fact that arginine, histidine, ornithine, cadaverine, or D-lysine were not effective in reducing caries. McClure found that when lysine was administered by intubation, thereby bypassing the oral cavity, it was still cariostatic (McClure, 1957). A systemic involvement of L-lysine in controlling dental caries was indicated. If lysine was injected, however, it was utilized for growth as well as when intubated, but no effect on caries reduction was noted.

McClure and Folk had earlier reported that when a cariogenic spray-dried milk diet was supplemented with lysine, no reduction in formation of caries was noted. In this instance, the diet was not deficient in lysine by the criterion of growth. Recently, however, Edmonds et al. (1960) reported that lysine supplementation decreased dental caries in rats fed autoclaved skim milk diets even though the unsupplemented diet produced good growth.

The role of lysine in reducing dental caries in rats fed some cariogenic diets is not clear. It is known that rats of some strains will suffer caries when fed one diet, whereas those in other strains will not. Possible interrelationships with minerals are suggested by the recent work of McClure (1958). In this study lysine supplementation reduced dental caries produced by diets containing toasted bread. Mineral supplementation (CaCO3 and NaHPO4, or milk ash) also reduced the caries produced by wheat diets. NaHPO4 was found to be the cariostatic agent.

Supplementation of a shredded-wheat biscuit diet with CaC03 and NaHPO4 reduced caries incidence from 76 to 54 percent. Further supplementation with lysine reduced the incidence to 16 percent. Toasting bread decreased growth but did not increase caries susceptibility, again suggesting a possible difference between the growth promoting and caries inhibiting effects of lysine.

In general, it appears that the types of cariogenic diets most likely to respond to lysine supplementation are those in which the native lysine has been made unavailable by heat processing.

Cremer and coworkers (1960) reported a study of the relationship between growth and caries in rats receiving heat-treated milk samples of lysine availabilities ranging from 28 to 100 percent. As expected, large differences in weight gain were found, depending on the lysine availability. However, no differences in the incidence or severity of carious lesions were noted. These results are somewhat at variance with those of McClure, although even where an effect of lysine was noted by McClure, no strict correlation with growth was noted. Possible reasons for the discrepancy mentioned by the authors are 1) rat strain; 2) the use of 11 percent of butter fat in Cremer’s diet compared with essentially no fat in McClure’s; and 3) Cremer’s study involved fissure caries and McClure’s smooth-surface caries.

The heat-treated milk powders used by Cremer et al., although not having any effect on caries susceptibility, did disturb endochondral ossification in femurs of rats. The authors point out that their results do not exclude the possibility that lysine deficiency may be an accessor factor in caries formation under given circumstances. In any case, the many studies by McClure’s group in which lysine supplementation reduced dental caries indicates an effect of lysine on dental caries with certain diets used with a certain rat strain. The mechanism through which lysine acts in these cases is not presently known.

—R. Jansen, Journal of Nutrition, February 1962, p. 22

Note: According to other animal tests, one percent of the diet muse be lysine, the requirement for this amino acid being greater than for any other. Aside from this caries-inhibiting effect, the lack of lysine causes human subjects to feel worn out and irritable. – Ed.

Danielle LeBaron

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