Dr. R. L. Wysong
November 1996

     Recently ABC’s 20/20 Television Program contacted our offices wanting to interview me regarding pet foods.   The reporter wanted me to tell them what I knew about all the “bad” things that are going into pet foods.  She had heard about hair, hooves, feathers, guts, 4-D meat (dead, dying, diseased, disabled), and even euthanized dogs and cats as ingredients.
     I explained that these were not ingredients that we used, but that unless she was looking for a story that simply sounded sensational, she was going to have difficulty arguing how these ingredients, in and of themselves, are the real culprits in causing harm to pets.  I explained, for example, that in the wild, carnivores eat all of the things that she believed were so awful.  For example, 4-D meat is the exact thing that even the most robust carnivore consumes.  They don’t bring down the healthiest animals in a herd.  They take the easy meal – which is often the dead, dying, diseased, and disabled.  
     I went on to explain that the real problem in the pet food industry was the bogus “100% complete and balanced” claim, and further detailed that this was literally robbing the health of millions of animals.  I shared with her various scientific articles proving that foods with “100% complete and balanced” labels caused a variety of diseases and tens of thousands of deaths.  We sent her literature proving these points and I told her that if she wanted to address this in the program, I would do all that I could to help, since it is a mistaken notion by the pet-feeding public that they can feed one food out of a can or bag for an animal’s entire life and create good health.  That is the real demon that needs to be exposed.
     She listened politely, but I could tell from her questioning that she still liked the idea of being able to do a story about the fact that inner tubes, industrial sludge, and ground up old shoes went into pet foods.  She said she would get back to me. 
     A while later she called again wanting to know if I knew of a rendering plant she could visit.  I said there are several all over the country, but I was not sure that is something that she would find to be a very pleasant experience whether she was trying to find out what went into human foods or into animal foods.  This query was after she had received all of our literature explaining in detail that foisting “100% complete and balanced” foods was the real problem that needed to be addressed. 
     I didn’t see it but I did hear that 20/20 did do a program on pet foods in which they emphasized the “inferior” ingredients which were going into pet foods.  Although they only mentioned in passing my argument about the fallacious “100% complete” claim.
     I have seen, over the past year in particular, a variety of articles in publications also attempting to make boogie men out of the various ingredients that are used in pet foods.  I certainly don’t deny that the quality of ingredients can make a significant difference in pet foods.  But, these arguments are dealing with symptoms and not fundamental causes.  Is the trick simply to find a pet food that has no feathers, 4-D meat, euthanized dogs and cats, or viscera in it?  Sure, everyone would like to believe, that pet foods only contain filet mignon, chicken cordon bleu, and choice grade A rack of lamb – all for $7.00 per 50 lb. bag.  You see, pet food manufacturers are magicians able to convert something like lamb at $12.00/lb. into a $7.00 per 50 lb. “100% complete and balanced” product.  It creates a sensational story when people then learn that their pet food containing “poultry” may contain poultry “guts.” 
     People think about food in terms of good or bad based upon what they would like to put on their own plate and not necessarily what would be best for the health of the animal.  The viscera of poultry, for example, can be one of the most nutritious parts of the entire chicken.  If Americans hear that poultry feet go into a pet food, they feel revulsion.  But, pet food manufacturers who have used poultry feet now can no longer even obtain them because they are being sold at a premium into      Japan as a delicacy for human consumption.  So what is “good to eat” and what is “bad to eat” has become what our arbitrary emotional reaction is to the ingredients, not whether it actually fits the genetic criteria for healthy food for the animal.
     As I continually repeat in the Health Letter, it is the “100% complete and balanced” myth that is the real danger.  But in addition to this, there is an even more fundamental and insidious danger which we all choose to overlook.  That is population.        Not only is human population a fundamental problem, the basic engine that drives almost all social, environmental, and economic ills for humans, but it is also a problem that is compounded by a swelling pet population.  Our Earth is finite.  Its resources are finite and dependent upon precarious tillable soils and weather.   Can we all really just continue to swell the ranks of humans and pets without limit, when the resources upon which these creatures depend is finite?
     As population continues to grow (and I am speaking here of both human and pet), being choosy about what we eat ourselves or feed to our animals may be a luxury that will become lost.  Increasingly, as consumers demand inexpensive foods but yet continue to increase demand through population pressure, little more than sawdust, hair, and feathers may be available. 
     Don’t be misled by all of the sensational pet food ingredient boogie men that are being purveyed.  First things first.  Population must be controlled within the sustainable limits of our planet.  Next, no creature should eat a singular food regardless of its claims about being “100% complete and balanced,” day in and day out, for its entire life.  When choosing a commercial food, pick the one with the best ingredients, to address the health of your animal and not your emotional inclinations.
     Everyone assumes that if you go to the hospital, or you take your pet to the hospital, things will be done to restore health. 
     But consider this.  Studies have shown that as many as 36% of patients admitted to a university hospital suffered iatrogenic (doctor-caused) injury and up to 25% of these injuries were serious or fatal.  Similarly, 65% of cardiac arrests at a teaching hospital were preventable. 
     The most common cause of iatrogenic injury is improper use of drugs.  Typically about 180,000 people die each year as a direct result of iatrogenic injury.
     Although I know of no similar studies for veterinary hospital admissions, there is no reason to believe a similar danger does not exist.  The majority of veterinary medicine is conducted just like conventional human medicine – using the same diagnostic, surgical and pharmaceutical approaches.
     The fault cannot entirely lie with veterinarians or physicians.  When people see illness they want something done about it – now.  People see disease as something for which modern medicine will surely have a quick fix.  So people go the veterinarian (or visit their physician) for every little ill and expect something to be done.  Even if the veterinarian may understand that whatever condition your animal has may easily resolve itself with time, they know that you will not be satisfied unless something is done.  So the doctor may hospitalize the animal, they may do diagnostic tests, they may then administer various pharmaceutical agents.  All of this is in an attempt to create a quick fix to please the client.
     But all of modern invasive and pharmaceutical interventions are laden with contraindications and inherent dangers.  Add to this the possibility of contagion picked up within the hospital, and the weakening of the immune system as a result of the stress of being hospitalized, and you have the formula for disaster.
     Certainly seek professional help when it is really needed.  But don't be so quick to run for medical help with the slightest ill.        Give nature a chance to take its course.  I would estimate that as many as 90% of all human and veterinary visits are totally unnecessary and would resolve themselves given nothing more than time.  If you additionally follow the Wysong Feeding-For-Health Program you will decrease the possibility of illness in the first place, and if illness does strike, shorten its grip.
          JAMA, December 1994; 272: 1851 (WHL Vol 9-10 page 3)
     No current treatment reliably sustains the loss of weight achieved by dieters.  This is for two reasons.  One is that the body adjusts itself metabolically to increased weight, so that any change downward is resisted.  It’s kind of like the body has set the thermostat lower.  Secondly, the common approach to weight loss is wrong.  It does not address the fundamental causes and focuses on quick fixes including drugs, surgery, and nutritional fad products. 
     Obesity is a modern lifestyle and dietary problem.  It results from a departure from our proper environmental context.  All band-aide efforts to maintain healthy weight will ultimately either fail or cause spin-off diseases.  I discuss this at length in my book The Synorgon Diet: How To Achieve Healthy Weight In A World Of Excess (see Resource below). Although addressing humans, the principle I discuss there also applies to pets as well.
     Body weight is ultimately determined by energy taken in versus energy expended.   If we take in more food energy than we expend, the excess will be deposited as fat.  Energy expenditure is the combination of resting energy used for just the processes of living, such as the heart beating, breathing and maintaining high concentration gradients across cell membranes.  This accounts for 60% of total energy expenditure.  The thermic effect of digesting, transporting and depositing foods during digestion accounts for about 30% of energy expenditure.  Only about 10% of energy, therefore, is normally consumed by physical activity.
     Thus you can see, the vast majority of energy usage by the body is more or less involuntary in the form of resting metabolic energy and thermic digestive energy.
     The involuntary energy expenditure going on in the body moment by moment increases as body weight is increased.  Unfortunately, it does not increase proportionately with increased body weight.  In fact, compensatory changes that do occur actually end up opposing the maintenance of a new reduced body weight different than the usual  heavier weight when sudden dramatic changes in weight from “dieting” occur.
     For example, loss of 10% weight will result in reduced energy expenditure by 15%.   So if 2000 kilocalories per day are consumed, that would mean 300 kilocalories (15%) per day would be left over for redeposition as fat.  So when dieting occurs and weight is lost, the body simply lowers the thermostat disproportionately causing less metabolic energy to be burned – preserving fat deposits – and yet at the same time there will be an increased sense of hunger. 
     Little wonder dieting is so often foiled.  The key is to change the way dieting is approached.  The change in lifestyle and nature of food consumed is required for lasting benefit.  Use the Wysong feeding for Health Guide on p. 4 including all supplements.  Additionally, it is very important to work at it slowly and be content with small incremental changes.  By such steady gradual change, the body has a chance to readjust metabolically so that lasting benefit can be achieved.
          The Synorgon Diet is available from the Wysong Book Store Catalog for $12.95 + S&H.
          The New England Journal of Medicine, March 9, 1995: 621-
     Research and development on the first in a line of Wysong Nutrient Support Formulas (NSF) has been completed.  The first formula is appropriately called Contifin™.  It is specifically designed to prevent degradation of and stimulate healing in connective tissue injuries, including those occurring within blood vessel walls, intervertebral discs, ligaments, cartilage, joints and tendons.
     A more complete list of possible uses includes osteoarthritis, arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, ankylosing spondylitis, chondromalacia patellae, cartilage eburnation, tendonitis, bursitis, fracture repair, tendon and ligament tears and repair, ligament sprains, post-surgery skin wound healing, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
     The formula has been designed for use both in animals and humans, as evidenced by some of the conditions it is targeted at in the above list.  Humans and animals are subject to the same degenerative conditions as a result of modern living conditions which remove us both from our proper environmental context.   Thus similar remedies apply.
     The supplement will come in capsule form and contain a variety of natural ingredients derived primarily from cartilage and connective tissue.  Research backing for the use of Contifin™ ingredients is extensive and impressive, including hundreds of clinical studies.  One of the ingredients, glucosamine, has been found to be the most effective treatment available for arthritic conditions, even compared to the most powerful arthritis pharmaceuticals, including NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  These benefits are without the severe side effects from commonly used pharmaceuticals.
     The health and restoration of damaged connective tissue, including cartilage in the joints, is dependent upon the right nutrients available for the body to repair and build tissue that is damaged.  The make-up of cartilage, for example, consists of cells (such as chondrocytes) that synthesize collagen and proteoglycans.  These complex filamentous-like materials create a matrix that holds water and gives connective and joint tissues viscoelastic properties resulting in elasticity, flexibility and resistance to compression.
     We are completing our technical brochure on the product wherein all of these things are described in more detail, but let it be said at this point that the combination of nutritional ingredients such as glucosamine, collagen, amino acids, chondroitin and a variety of other components serve as important precursors that stimulate the body repair.
     What’s so remarkable about this is that up until now, many joint conditions have been viewed as irreparable.  Now evidence proves that this is not at all the case.  For example, in one study using just one Contifin ingredient, 252 doctors in Portugal studying over 1200 patients reported over 95% improvement – and this improvement continued for a long as 6-12 weeks after treatment stopped.  The researchers concluded, even having all of the modern pharmacological agents at their disposal, that this was “better than any other treatment.”
          See Wysong Contifin™ Monograph