Dr. R. L. Wysong
August 1999
    Health in youth can be an illusion.  Here’s why.  The young start with clean genetics (usually) and ride high on the river of growth and sex hormones coursing through their vessels.   Their digestive capacity rivals a garbage disposal, the immune system is well armed, alert, and has suffered few casualties.  Their entire body is incredibly adaptable and vibrant, healing any injury with quite incredible speed.  Given this trove of healing riches, there can be a lot of squandering without an apparent dent in the health bank.
    The abuse begins with infants suckling a latex nipple on the other end of which is the granddaddy of all junk foods – baby formula.  They then wean to a smorgasbord of nutrient-impoverished processed foods, and quickly get hooked on every manner of refined carbohydrate laden with additives (to make food “fun”) and greased with hydrogenated oils to create just the right “mouth feel.”  Kids drink oceans of pop, herds of burgers, several Idahos every year in fries, and enough pizza dough to stretch to the moon and back several times.  They keep ungodly hours once puberty kicks in, may do little exercise other than tapping buttons on a remote control or a keyboard, and in general seem totally oblivious to healthy living.
    But they seem healthy.   Not just a little, but a lot.  They have tons of energy, sleep like logs, can excel in school and win state sport championships.  What’s the deal?   Adults can’t live like that.  We’d get sick or kill ourselves trying to keep pace with their antics.  If I ate in just one day, now, what I used to eat back when I was immortal and had a stomach of cast iron, you’d have to tube both ends to keep me vented and ramrod Tums down the top end to try to quell the conflagration that would surely incinerate me from the inside out. 
    So what youth does is excuse a lot.  But this does not mean all is well.  I’ve mentioned before that autopsies of Korean and     Vietnam War casualties demonstrated an extremely high incidence of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease of heart attacks.       These were young service-aged men.  They showed no detectable symptoms of heart disease and in fact were fighting incredibly demanding wars.   But this disease was lurking within, growing, and would have eventually manifested itself in middle or later years as heart disease or a heart attack.
    Now a new study (1999) of autopsies performed on almost 3000 men and women, white and black, between the ages of 15 and 34, showed the same results.  Atherosclerotic lesions in all the aortas and most of the right coronary arteries were seen in the youngest age groups (as young as 15!) and increased in prevalence with age.  Men, women, blacks and whites were all affected.
    So, all is not well because the kids do just fine on Surge, Ding Dongs and Cocoa Puffs.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is intelligent nutrition.  They have no idea what’s going on.   Besides, they think food is cotton candy and Kool Aid.  You must take the lead.
    Heart disease is a nutritional disease.  No, it’s not from butter or cholesterol.  It’s from the dramatic departure we have taken from our genetic roots and the glut of carbohydrates and nutrient-stripped processed foods we feed our kids because it’s convenient and they like it (just like an addict likes their fix).
    Start today.  Learn all you can and implement.  Get your kids on the foods they are designed to eat, and save them an adult lifetime crippled with degenerative disease.
        JAMA, 1999; 281:72735
    To understand how to get to health, we have to understand where we’ve been.  Let’s go back in time – way back.  I mean back beyond standing agriculture and even beyond the use of fire for cooking.
    How long ago was that?   Well, agriculture began about 10,000 years ago and the use of fire in the preparation of foods likely emerged a little earlier.
    What was life like for these distant pre-agriculture, pre-cookery ancestors?  For one thing, they lived outside, exposed to fresh air and sunshine daily.  They also got plenty of exercise looking for foods.  No grocery stores, no fast food, no pizza delivery and no mail order.
    What did they eat?   Exactly what they could find, catch, and digest.  That would include meats, fruits, nuts, eggs, insects and some vegetables.   That’s it. No fries, croissants, Ding-dongs, Diet Coke, Jolly Ranchers, Twinkies or Pop Tarts.  There weren’t even any of our modern “health foods” such as whole wheat bread, pastas, fortified cereals, tofu or veggie burgers.
    What would have been the predominant food?  Likely prey.  Envision yourself placed in this time and setting, with a family to feed.  You would be looking for the most calorie- and nutrient-dense foods you could find.  You would let the herbivores do all the grazing and digestion with their specialized stomachs, which are capable of converting essentially any plant material into edible protein and fat.  Then you would eat them.
    You would also take advantage of any fruits, nuts and edible vegetables available. And you would likely not pass up any scavenging opportunities you came across.
    Notice that wheat, oats, barley, rice, soybeans and other grains and legumes would not be a part of the diet at all.  First off, we could never find enough of them in the wild to make even much of a mouthful.  Secondly, if we did find them in any quantity they would be toxic to us without first being cooked or sprouted.
    A common feature of our natural diet was that it was raw.  Yes, even the meats, organs, eggs and insects – raw.   Remember we’re far back in time, even before the use of fire (much less the microwave, stove, oven, deep fryer or extruder).
    How can we know this is the way it was?  Two clear ways. One is logic:  It’s reasonable to infer from the evidence that we were not suddenly dropped from outer space onto earth with fry pans, matches and rotisseries.  We began from zero.
    We had only our natural bodies in a natural world, exactly like  every other creature on earth.  Every other creature on earth eats raw foods exactly like they are found in nature.  (We don’t.   Do you think nature doesn’t notice?)
    Secondly, studies of the diets of today’s still-primitive societies, as well as past cultures that can be studied paleontologically, show that this is how they lived and clearly reveals this is how they ate.
    So this is where we have been.   It is what we came from.  But does this have anything to do with us here today in the Computer Age on the brink of the 21st century?  It has everything to do with us – because it is this expansive historical context, which served as the womb that shaped and defined us.  It is this natural wild setting that occupies the vast majority of our history.  It is the incubator within which life on planet earth has developed.
    Let’s put our situation in true perspective.  If we drew a time-line 276 miles long, the time during which we have been consuming modern processed foods (since the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago) would occupy only about one inch on the last itsy bit of the entire line.   Try to envision this – one inch, compared to 276 miles.
    This is an extremely important concept to understand when attempting to determine healthy life choices.  Health is achieved by matching our genetic makeup (tuned to the 276 miles, not the one inch) to the proper environment, including foods, (our most intimate, internalized environment).
    For example, a fish is healthy in water, eating smaller fish – and will soon get sick and die if you take it out of water and try to feed it lasagna.  Why?  Because eons of genetic adaptations to water and fish food make these things a requirement for fish health.  Its genes are programmed to accept only specific environmental data.  Part of that data is water, another is smaller fish for food. 
    In our case, what are our genes programmed for?  Since 276 miles on the time line represent living in nature eating raw natural foods, that is the data our genes properly accept... not the new synthetic environment we have created in the last one inch of time. 
    Our genes are an internal code of the external world.  When we are born, our genes fully expect to be dropped onto the forest floor and remain within that context for a lifetime.
    Therein lies the key to health.   Today’s modern world of convenience, cocooning us within air-conditioned plastic dwellings, breathing polluted air, receiving almost no sunshine, exercising little, drinking polluted and treated municipal water, and eating a variety of fractionated, synthetically fortified, processed foods that are barely recognizable as having ever come from nature, is not what our genes expect.  We are, in effect, fish out of water.  We’re in a genetic time warp, but we should not confuse our origins because of this new synthetic world.
    Well, wait a minute.  Can’t it be argued that we have by now “adapted” to this modern environment – including the wonders of food technology?
    No, for many reasons.  For one thing, sufficient time has not elapsed for our genetic makeup to change significantly.   Remember that one inch is nothing compared to 276 miles.  It is practically a drop in the ocean.
    Additionally, consider this sobering fact:  The majority of the diseases of our modern era are what are called chronic degenerative conditions – such as heart disease and cancer.  Since these do not really become manifest or cause death until the later years of life, they cannot affect – to any significant degree – the genetics of a population.  In other words, if these diseases which are caused by eating improperly and being out of the correct genetic context only emerge after a person has reproduced, the children will have the same genetic weakness as the diseased parents, and no genetic change in a population occurs.
    Genetic makeup changes through selection of mutational differences and survival of the fittest.  (This does not mean I buy macroevolution.  See my book, The Creation - Evolution Controversy.)   If our improper living caused diseases that killed before we reproduced, that would be one thing.   If that were the case, only the fit, those who had unique genetic strength to adapt to this new synthetic world, would survive and thus would have a chance of changing the genetic makeup of the population through their offspring.
    But, that’s not the case.   Before we are culled out of the population by modern degenerative diseases, we produce children carrying our same degenerative disease-prone genetic makeup.  There thus can be no genetic adaptation to this new environment because, in effect, the unfit (all of us succumbing to modern degenerative disease) survive long enough to reproduce the same weaknesses.
    We are, as a population, thus genetically doomed to continue to reap the consequences of being out of proper genetic context generation after generation – with no evolutionary hope of salvation from these degenerative conditions.
    To overcome this trap we must use our minds.  Our great intellect is in large part there because of the quest for food.  A cow is as smart as it needs to be to figure out how to eat what is always underfoot.  The apex predator man, however, needs great cunning, memory, logic and analytical thought.
    We live in a complex world where subtle undetected influences can have dramatic impact on long-term health.  The spear and arrow are now replaced with the grocery cart, but even more cunning is necessary today in order to survive well and remain healthy.
    Opening the door to true health potential is not hard if you grasp the key.  That key is to understand our proper genetic context as I have just explained.  This is the foundation, the heuristic cornerstone, and the beginning of health enlightenment.
    This concept of tuning our lives to our genetic roots provides a tool to intellectually evaluate life choices.   A good word here is algorithm, which means a logical framework used to solve problems.  Just like a blueprint algorithm can map the construction of marvelous edifices and identify flaws in construction, so too can our genetic context algorithm build health and identify the causes and solutions to health problems.
    How do we apply the algorithm to achieve maximum health?  Simply put, the closer we make our lives to what our genes were designed for, the greater the chance for health success.  That means fresh air, clean water, exercise, sunshine, rest, pleasant social contact and fresh raw foods to the degree it is possible to achieve this.  It’s all-inclusive and involves our entire life.  True health depends on this wisdom and self-management.
    We must use the archetypal genetic pattern as a model, an algorithm for choice making.  The closer we get to the lifestyle our ancient ancestors in the wild created genes to expect, the greater our chance for health.
        Sci Amer, 1993; 269:86-93  
        Ethnology and Sociobiology, 1990;11:375-424    
        J Food Lipids, 1993; 1:143-57   
        Agriculture and Human Evolution, 1983:56-61  
        Wysong RL, The Synorgon Diet – How To Achieve Healthy Weight In a World Of Excess, 1993  
        Am J Clin Nutr, 1971; 24:562-73  
        Euro J Clin Nutr, 1997:207-16  
        Nutrition, 1989;  5:189-191 
    In 1997 there were 8,509 cases of rabies in animals reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Almost 93% of these cases were in wild animals with the remainder being in domestic species.  There was a 19.4% increase in reported cases over 1996 (7,128 cases).   Increases occurred in all species except cattle.  Raccoons head the list at 4,300 cases (this is an epizootic now, having spread into 19 states and the District of Columbia).
    In order of incidence:   skunks 24%, bats 11.3%, foxes 5.3%, cats 3.5%, dogs 1.5% and cattle 1.4%. Bats had an almost 29.3% increase over 1996, and were responsible for all cases of rabies passed to humans in 1997.  Cases of rabies were reported for 46 of the 48 contiguous states.  
    Wild creatures are beguiling and beautiful.  It is their natural inclination to always remain distant from the apex predator, man.      When wild creatures seem more friendly than usual, caution should be used since any unusual behavior could signal the presence of rabies.
        JAVMA, 1998:171327
    Alopecia (loss of hair) can be caused by a variety of factors in cats.  Included would be dermatophytosis (fungal infection), demodicosis (mite infestation), atopy (hereditary allergy), food or fleabite hypersensitivity, endocrine alopecia, and psychogenic alopecia.  Since cats are by nature meticulous groomers, it is difficult to sort out pathology from normal behavior until alopecia or some other form of dermatological skin disorder appears.
    Psychogenic alopecia can be the most vexing to diagnose and is usually only able to be identified by ruling out all other possible causes.  Other causes can be determined by skin scraping, and peculiar patterns of alopecia. For example, loss of hair on the back at the base of the tail is usually pathognomonic (disease specific) for flea bite allergy.  For some unknown reason, fleas biting an allergic cat anywhere on the body will cause excessive grooming, biting, licking and hair pulling at the base of the tail.
    Another means of diagnosing psychogenic alopecia is by observing results after the use of antidepressants such as clomipramine or amitriptyline.  A positive result with these drugs, in the absence of any other identifiable cause, is the route to the most definitive diagnosis.
    Some of the factors that are believed to be related to psychogenic alopecia are early weaning, any stressful event or change such as a move or introduction of another animal into the household, or failure to allow the cat outside.
    This is yet another domestication-induced disease in animals.  In the wild, cats would nurse until they are 8-10 weeks old or even longer in some instances. Domesticated kittens are often prematurely weaned onto processed foods.  Additionally, the cat is an intelligent and clever predator that is psychologically stimulated by the hunt, and usually receives no such replacement stimulation within the home unless owners actively engage with the cat in playful activity.  Psychogenic alopecia is also breed-related, having a higher incidence in the Oriental breeds such as the Siamese, Burmese and Himalayans.
    Dogs also have an obsessive disorder called Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD).  Affected animals do behaviors that are repetitive such as spinning and self-mutilation.  Although there are breed dispositions, there is also likely an environmental factor resulting from domestication and confinement, in effect, extracting them from their natural, more challenging and healthful environmental context.
    It is interesting that trichotillomania (an obsessive-compulsive disorder in people who pull their own hair out) is likewise related to social and environmental factors such as stress.  People who have trichotillomania could also benefit by regular exercise and creative, challenging, intellectually stimulating activity.  However, long hours of cerebration may in itself precipitate hair pulling in humans.  We were not meant to just sit at desks and think, but were meant to combine our intellectual activity with physical exercise.
    Since antidepressants are effective in psychogenic alopecia in cats, these drugs may also benefit humans with trichotillomania, but before they are used it might be a good idea to try some of the natural nutraceutical approaches to antidepression such as St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Thiamin and 5-hydroxytryptophan (as in Wysong Vivreis™), in combination with fresh natural foods, exercise, and pure air and water.
        Dodman DH, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, 1997:99-143  
        JAVMA, 1999:71-74  
        Moon-Fanelli AA, Trichotillomania, 1998    
        Psych Clin North Am, 1992; 15:777-90  
        JAVMA, 1998:1760  
    Guinea pigs, like humans, require an exogenous source of vitamin C.  Without adequate intake of vitamin C, guinea pigs can experience scurvy similar to that in humans.  Signs include subcutaneous and joint hemorrhages, anorexia, poor coat, weight loss, lethargy, arthralgia, and nasal discharge.  The disease is common enough in guinea pigs fed commercial rations that it should be suspected in any sick guinea pig.
    Here is how veterinarians who specialize in rodent medicine treat it.  Daily injections of 100 mg. of vitamin C are given intramuscularly or subcutaneously to not only those suspected of vitamin deficiency, but to all ill guinea pigs.  That is 100 mg. for a creature weighing in on a scale of grams, not pounds.  This makes the 60 mg. vitamin C RDA level for humans seem extremely low, to say the least.  Scaled up to human weight, this rate of vitamin C therapy would be 20 to 30 grams per day.      This is, in fact, in accord with the levels some practitioners suggest for illness in humans.
    Additional clues about the impact vitamin C can have on health can be learned by examining the tissue targets of scurvy.  Since scurvy manifests itself in subcutaneous, joint, metabolic, dermatological, and upper respiratory signs, then it can be concluded that vitamin C is critical for the health of these tissues.16
        Vet Med, 1998; 981-87
    Various types of algae, including spirulina and other blue-green species, are now commercially available for consumption by humans.  These foods are among the most nutrient-dense natural foods ever found.
    There are, however, toxic forms of algae.  Microcystis spp are toxic and worldwide in distribution.   Cases of poisoning have been reported in livestock, humans, companion animals, fish and wildlife in the United States, Canada and other countries.           Microcystis produces microcystins, which have the ability to be hepatotoxic.  Microcystins are cyclic heptapeptides contained within the algal cell, but are released when the cells are disrupted, such as by stomach acidity.  The most common microcystin is microcystin-LR, which has been extensively studied and has caused acute hepatotoxicosis and death in farm animals and severe liver injury in humans.
    Microcystin liver pathology includes enlargement and progressive centrilobular hepatocyte rounding, dissociation and necrosis.  Following this there is a breakdown of sinusoidal endothelium with intrahepatic hemorrhage leading to death.  Microcystin-LR causes the rearrangement of filamentous actin within the hepatocyte, resulting in these histopathological changes.
    Algae can bloom wherever there are appropriate conditions.  For example, recently in Colorado, a warm stagnant pond with ample nutrients combined with a breeze blowing across the water, concentrating algae near the shore.  Twenty-four of a herd of 175 Herefords died acutely over a 3-day period of time from consuming the algae-laden water.
    Algal cells in clumps surrounded by a clear glycocalyx characterize Microcystis.  Although mouse bioassays are used to determine toxicity when blue-green algae toxicity is suspected, a much more humane method is high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) for microcystin-LR.  This is also a more rapid method of diagnosis, and should be used by all commercial producers of algae to verify the safety of their products.  The lethal dose for microcystins ranges from 30 to 11,000 mcg/kg depending upon the species, but any finding of microcystin in the water should be of concern.
    Supplement companies should keep pressure on suppliers to verify, on a continuing basis, the safety of algae products and you should make sure they do.
        CRC Crit Rev Environ Control, 1985; 15:275-313   
        Gorham PR, Algae and Human Affairs, 1988: 404-31
        J Vet Diagn Invest, 1993; 5:403-8  
        JAVMA, 1998:1605-1607   
        Nat Toxins, 1995; 3:50-7  
    A variation of the typical composting described last month is worm composting.  Worms work in our soil to break down the organic matter in an ecosystem consisting of worms, bacteria, and fungi.   The castings, or manure, of the worms become the compost, which is full of the nutrients that make compost such a great fertilizer in gardens or potted plants. 
    The worm compost bin setup is different from the traditional compost pile and can also be done indoors.  The container should be a small bin with 1 cubic foot of space for each 1/4 pound of worms.
    You will need water, worm food (fruit and vegetable scraps, dead house plants, bread, coffee grounds and filters, crushed egg shells, cereals and grains – no meat, oil or dairy products), 2 cups of soil or compost, shredded newspaper for bedding, worm bin, scale and red worms (or red wigglers). The ratio of worms to food by weight should be 2:1, or twice the weight in worms than food scraps produced each day.
    The worm bin should have a large surface area of fresh air so the worms can breathe.  The bin must have a cover to keep it dark.  Also, drainage and air circulation holes should be drilled into the sides and bottom of the worm bin.
    Take 2 1/2 lbs. of newspaper torn lengthwise for each cubic foot in the bin.  A 2’ x 1' bin would need 5 pounds of newspaper. Place the shredded newspaper in the sink and cover with water, wait about a minute then remove the paper, allowing the excess water to drain from the paper, and put the wet shredded paper in the bin.  This water will help keep the worms moist, as they need to stay moist in order to breathe through their skin.  Add a couple of handfuls of soil to the top of the newspaper, which provides grit for the worm gizzard to help grind up their food (much like a bird).  Then add your worm food and worms and cover with more soil or compost.  The top layer will protect the worms from freezing.
    Feed the prescribed amount (twice the amount of worms by weight per day) from every day to once a week, making sure to bury the food each time.  Within six to eight weeks you should see a marked difference in the appearance of the compost.  The worm manure, known as castings, will replace the newspaper.  The castings are toxic to the worms and should be removed.  The castings are the new compost for use in your garden or potted plants.  
    The easiest way to do remove the compost is to push the contents of the bin to one end and set up a new pile on the cleared end.  Once the pile is set up with food, give the worms a few days to migrate to the new side, then remove the compost and build up that side.  A second method would be to dump the contents of the bin on the ground and make little piles of the compost, wait for the worms to migrate to the center of the piles and then remove the worms and start a new box.  A third method would be to take out 2/3 of the bin contents and then rebuild the bin with the remaining third still in the bin and add more worms as necessary.
    With composting our organic waste plus additional efforts to recycle newspaper, junk mail, plastics and aluminum we can dramatically reduce the volume of garbage going to the landfill each year by 50% to 70%.
        Biocycle, April 1999  
        Home Composting, 1992  
        Aviation Space Environ Med, 1996; 67:445-52    
    Ginkgo biloba extract is effective in preventing the acute altitude sickness and temperature-related vascular problems that many people experience at high altitudes.
        Aviation Space Environ Med, 1996; 67:445-52    
    Adding cloves to ground meat will kill 90% of E. coli bacteria.
        Q Rev Biol, 1998; 73:3-47  
    There is a strong positive association between high consumption of dietary components contributing to an alkaline environment, such as potassium, magnesium, fruits and vegetables, and increased bone mineral density in the elderly.
        Am J Clin Nutr, 1999; 69:727-36  
    Sulforaphane, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, inhibits the initiation of cancer.
        J Nutr, 1999; 129:768-74  
    Contrary to popular belief, high protein intake does not increase the risk of ischemic heart disease, and in fact will lower the risk if used to replace carbohydrates.
        Am J Clin Nutr, 1999; 70:221-7  
    The majority of people who live past the age of 100 have never seen a doctor, thus preventing the iatrogenic (doctor-induced) diseases, accidents, and overmedication that plague many of the elderly.
        Centenarians, 1990  
    A low fat diet does not lower cholesterol levels, but exercise does.
        NEJM, 1998; 339:12-20  
    Women can take lower dosages of hormonal estrogen replacement therapies and get the same benefits with reduced side effects if they take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
        Ann Intern Med, 1999   
    Brisk walking is nearly as effective as vigorous exercise in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
        NEJM, 1999; 341:650-8
    Menopausal hot flashes are associated with a maternal history of smoking.
        J Women's Health, 1998; 7:1149-55
    Engaging in sexual activity once or twice per week can significantly enhance immune function.
        East Psycholog Assn, 1999
    Removal of head lice with a fine-toothed comb is a safer method of controlling the problem than the use of insecticide lotions, which can be toxic.
        BMJ, 1999; 318:1422
    Attending religious services regularly correlates with a dose-dependent increase in life expectancy.
        Demography, 1999; 36:273-85
    Steroid drugs cause premature bone cell death and osteoporosis.
        J Clin Invest, 1998; 102  
    Married prostate cancer patients have significantly longer average survival than those who are divorced or single.
        J Urol, 1996; 156:1669-70
    Supplementation with L-carnitine significantly increases running speed, while simultaneously lowering oxygen consumption.
        Nutrition Res, 1997; 17:405  
    Vitamin E supplementation can reduce the risk of stroke by 53%.
        Am Acad Neurol, 1999
    Leaving the lights on while children sleep at night is related to an increased risk of nearsightedness.
        Nature, 1999; 399:112