Throughout my journey from Indiana farm boy to Doctor of Chiropractic, my undying love for nutrition and biochemistry has deepened with each passing year. And with it, so too has my appreciation of the true genius of Dr. Royal Lee.
Most of my colleagues know Royal Lee as the founder of the whole-food supplement company Standard Process. Yet Dr. Lee’s writings, recordings, and enduring body of work show that he was so much more than a supplement salesman. His vision was never about selling supplements. It was about figuring out the cause of illness—and seeing it corrected.
Dr. Lee was fascinated by dentistry in his early years, but his predominant interest was more in the tools of the dentist than the actual dentistry. As an unbound visionary and innovator, he felt that the dental equipment of the time was bulky, inefficient, and overpriced. Wanting to make a change for the better in his profession, he set out to fix these tools, undeterred by his young age.
If Dr. Lee had a more common mind, he would have gone into mechanical engineering to unlock the secrets of these machines. But he took a different path. With his gift for figuring out how things worked, he went to dental school to learn for himself why and how each piece of equipment functioned. In this way, he was able to innovate from the ground up.
Dr. Lee went on to form the Lee Dental Appliance Company and manufacture his first patented machine, a foot-controlled motor device. He also invented a number of other dental tools, focusing on lower cost and increased efficiency. With more than a hundred patents to his name, innovation came easy to him, and time and again he was able to bring his visions to fruition. Many of Dr. Lee’s patents in the electric motor world are still in use today. Well beyond that of a mechanic, Lee had an intuitive understanding of the inner workings of machines, knowing how they should, could, and would work with some mastermind engineering.
Royal Lee’s interest in nutrition also began to grow during his years in dental school. In 1923, he wrote his senior thesis on the link between malnutrition and dental caries. Through his research, he learned that it is easier to prevent dental issues with proper nutrition than it is to treat them after the fact with dentistry. Nearly a hundred years later, science is still being informed by his theories and revelations.
Dr. Lee’s many world-changing patents improved the way systems worked in the world, but he credits his discoveries in nutrition as some of the greatest achievements of his life. Lee’s work took place against the backdrop of the industrial revolution, a huge turning point in American life that began in the early twentieth century. Everything was speeding up, including how we as a society addressed nutrition. Dr. Lee was one of the few who could see the storm brewing.
Fresh, locally grown food gave way to industrialized, synthetic foods. The nutritionally bankrupt Standard American Diet became the norm, and Dr. Lee foresaw the devastating consequences to our nation’s health. Much like Dr. Harvey Wiley, Lee spoke up about the legality of refining and bleaching flour and adding synthetic vitamins and corn-syrup sweeteners to our food. His 1950s speech “The Iron Curtain in Nutrition” discussed the suppression of Dr. Wiley’s research in the interest of the powers that be, and Lee used his position to make Dr. Wiley’s books and research available to the public.
A lifelong student of biochemistry, Dr. Lee was decades ahead of his time in his understanding of vitamins: what they are, where they come from, and how they are utilized by the human body to sustain homeostasis. Lee never sold out to the ideology of synthetic vitamins, knowing it was based on incorrect science. He understood that altering the natural diet would never work in a health care setting. It was as futile as trying to alter Nature herself. He scoffed at the use of chemical medications to treat conditions caused by a chemical diet. The very foundation of his work centered around the idea that real food is whole and nature-based rather than processed and synthetic, and he constantly reminded those around him that supplements would not be necessary if people simply grew and prepared food correctly and ate a whole food diet.
Dr. Royal Lee loved the science. He loved creating a machine that milled flour while preserving the germ of the wheat. He loved the processes of extracting nutrients from whole foods while preserving the living enzyme systems within those foods. He loved making products that filled the nutritional void of the Standard American Diet. When you listen to Dr. Lee talk about food and nutrition, you can hear his passion and conviction. He transmits his mastery of this knowledge so thoroughly that you cannot help but share his vision, even if for a moment. When it comes to understanding how to use food to preserve health, Dr. Lee changed the game.
But he never set out to sell supplements. Rather, he wanted to change the way the entire food system worked. One of the few to foresee the destructive path that our country was headed down, Lee felt his calling was to publicize his research and educate the public about nutrition. He didn’t want to teach others how Catalyn worked. He didn’t even want to sell Catalyn. In the beginning, he gave it away for free. But there was such an overwhelming demand for his products that he created Standard Process.
Dr. Lee did not come up with Zypan to “fix” stomach issues. He understood how the stomach worked. He understood the biochemistry of HCL and pepsin production. He understood that a body void of these two vital enzymes would develop serious health conditions. Dr. Lee created Zypan to get a patient back on the right track, but with the understanding that if there were no changes in the patient’s diet and lifestyle, they would be taking Zypan forever.
Dr. Lee’s vision behind Standard Process was never that SP supplements would fix an ailment or treat any certain diagnosis. He understood how deficiencies are expressed in the human body and that the only way to treat them is with natural, whole foods.
To carry Dr. Royal Lee’s torch, I use Standard Process supplements as the vehicle for my wellness program, The New-Start Solution. There’s no denying the genius behind Royal Lee’s extraction processes and his vision for developing soil to produce nutrient-rich foods. Like Dr. Lee, I use SP supplements to get my patients’ health back on track, but selling these supplements has never been my vision.
Rather, I want to teach as many people as I can about why we need supplements, and about the diet and lifestyle changes that can sustain our health. I don’t want to sell supplements. I want to sell the reason Dr. Lee invented his wheat mill. I want to sell people on the idea that they should understand why our health has come apart. I want to teach them not only how to put it back together but keep it together, all in the hope that the demand for better nutrition will influence the marketplace to grow and supply healthy food once again.
That is why I developed my own wellness program centered around education rather than sales. Many patients who come into my office seeking answers to their health issues are used to the quick fix. We’ve become accustomed to taking a pill to remedy our health rather than learning why our health is broken to begin with. The New-Start Solution is different. As a starting point for their health journey, patients get a detailed report of their current health status with a thorough symptoms analysis called “What’s Your Health Percentage?”
Many of us are looking for a weight loss secret, but there is no secret. Weight management is directly connected to a healthy lifestyle. The New-Start Solution is based on the idea that your health is your responsibility, and it allows you to take control of it.
Symptom: The Expression of Dysfunction
Dysfunction: The Expression of Deficiency
Dr. Trent Mozingo
Founder, Wholistic Doctors United | Treat the Whole Body
Images from Selene River Press.