By Dr. Royal Lee
Summary: “Most overweight people have an obviously disordered endocrine balance,” writes Dr. Lee in this speculative paper on the nature of weight gain and loss. While historically the thyroid has always been considered the main dysfunctional endocrine gland when it comes to obesity, Dr. Lee points to another player, one “higher up the chain” of the endocrine system: the pituitary gland. With some modern researchers claiming the cause of obesity to be resistance of the pituitary to the hormone leptin, Dr. Lee appears to have been on the right track, once again years ahead of his time. 1954.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
Obesity and the Physiology of Osmotic Transfers
Cell nutrition is only possible by osmosis of nutrients and osmotic elimination of toxic wastes. Obesity results when the factors are incompetent that relate to the mobilization and use of the fat reserves.
The central regulator of tissue permeability is the posterior pituitary gland. A daily dosage of 0.01 grain will reduce osmotic assimilation of nutrients through the intestinal wall and cause a loss of appetite within a few days. The loss of appetite is probably due to the reduced permeability of the vascular walls to fat, which cannot be so readily deposited and remains in the bloodstream. With a high blood fat, “no appetite” is the result.
To more readily mobilize more of the reserve fat, a dosage of lecithin may be desirable, [as may be] small doses of bile salts. Both are emulsifiers and must be present in the bloodstream to aid in the process of fat mobilization.
The key to this whole syndrome is the posterior pituitary action. Most overweight people have an obviously disordered endocrine balance, but too much attention in the past has been directed to the thyroid. Sometimes the thyroid is at fault but not very often.
The pituitary-deficient patient is the type that cannot reduce in spite of food restriction. The effect exerted by the posterior pituitary is accomplished by it action of cholesterol, which is capable of forming films one molecule thick on tissue membranes and thereby regulate osmotic transfers. The use of the pituitary fraction for this purpose must be attended with watchful attention for possible untoward effects, for this hormone complex is just as dangerous if improperly managed as the thyroid factor.
The effects of overdosage are those of a deficiency of the vitamin G complex. In fact, it is probable that the use of white bread, refined sugar, and candy, by creating a vitamin deficiency, is the basic cause of the obesity syndrome we have under consideration. The symptoms are heart pains, nervous tension, insomnia, venous congestion, visible veins on various parts of the body, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, etc. We must consider the probability that the venous degeneration is due to the failure of the posterior pituitary [hormone] pitressin to protect the veins from excess hydrostatic pressure of the blood, as the arteriole tone is dependent on the presence of that hormone in the bloodstream.
These patients soon lose their lethargic state of mind and body just as they lose their appetites. The suggested diet is fresh grape juice, buttermilk of raw certified milk, raw peanuts or almonds for protein, and alfalfa tea or tablets of alfalfa minerals.
The specific action of posterior pituitary [extract] is to decrease osmotic transfers and raise blood pressure to some extent.
The action of lecithin is to lower blood pressure and mobilize reserved fat into the bloodstream.
Bile salts specifically stop an abnormal craving for sweets or candy.
By Dr. Royal Lee.
Form No. [illegible] 176
April 6, 1954