Dr. R. L. Wysong
September 1998
    There are many things that verify and validate the natural approach to health and healing.  First of all, there is the compelling logic of it.  We are products of nature, not of a food processing laboratory or a climate-controlled office or home.  For untold eons of time we survived in nature.  The evidence discloses that as long as food and shelter were available we lived pretty much disease-free lives, just as we see animals in such wild settings doing today.
    Then there is the increasing empirical evidence coming from scientific study demonstrating that the closer we get to nature in terms of our food and our lifestyle, the healthier we are.  Additionally, there is the proof of the pudding, the anecdotal personal stuff that scientists may pooh-pooh but which nonetheless convinces you that what you are doing indeed makes you feel better and be healthier.  This comes in the form of your own personal experience, enjoying the benefits of more healthy back-to-nature living.
    But here are some other thoughts to consider.  Have you ever wondered what it is that causes that warm glow inside when you are able to walk through a pristine woods, or sit by the ocean and watch the sun set?  How about the beauty of a fresh snowfall clinging to trees, the smell of a first warm day in spring, or the vistas of unspoiled prairies or mountain ranges?   Watching animals in the wild or even the behavior and antics of our pets affects us similarly with the awe of the wild, of nature.
    Virtually everyone is touched by such experiences even though we have increasingly removed ourselves from them and separated into artificial environments.
    One biologist calls this phenomenon biophilia - defined as the human need for natural places. 
    Everything in nature is happy if it is connected.  Separated, isolated from its sources of life and its familiar context, life itself is jeopardized.
    Think of our connections.   First we are connected to our mother intimately by the umbilical cord.  Our brain and blood vessels course through our body, interconnecting every single cell.   Also consider that as we breathe we are experiencing a connection with the atmosphere and as we see and hear we are connected physically in a very real sense to light and sounds, since these create chemical reactions in our eyes and nerves that in turn interconnect with the rest of our body.
    We are not just receptacles of such information input from the environment, but rather are sensitive responders to it.   Quantum physicists now argue that we are shaped, even at the subatomic level, by not only the genetics that originally formed us, but how we are modeled during the course of life.
    When we feel the wind in our face, the crunch of snow underfoot, listen to a bubbling stream, breathe the aroma of a forest, marvel at the flight of geese in formation, or gaze in awe into the nighttime infinite heavens, we are feeling our interconnectedness with our origins.
    Why does it feel good?   Because it gives us the connection that all life needs.  In effect, it tells us we are indeed connected to nature.
    Understanding the need for this intimacy with nature makes it clear why we must do all we can to protect natural areas for our children and theirs.  This also provides a key to understanding why we become ill.  All of the data now being assembled demonstrating the importance of natural vitamins, enzymes, minerals and various phytonutrients to health also is showing their superiority to synthetic, extraneous, unconnected drugs.  This is just a confirmation that health means connection to nature.
    There is a direct proportionality as proven by this accumulating data.  Break the interconnections you have with your proper natural context and illness will result.  Restore them and health is the reward.
    Nutrition is evolving just like all fields of knowledge.  Nutrition, however, is a relatively new discipline since up until relatively recently it was believed that if you ate to satiety all would be fine.   Malnutrition at that time was merely a matter of undereating.       You were either starving or adequately fed, and that was the long and short of it.
    In the mid 1800’s with the discovery that microbes were involved in the development of diseases, everything came to be viewed in those terms.  Although nutritional diseases have been around for some time - such as beriberi from eating nutrient-poor polished white rice, and scurvy from not eating fresh vegetables and fruits, and pellagra from eating milled corn, and rickets from lack of sunlight - the relationship to diet was not seen. The microbe/disease paradigm led to the conclusion that something in the foods that prevented these diseases was getting rid of the microbes, which were the real root cause.
    But with increasing analytical technology it was soon discovered that there were elements within food which, if lacking, could cause specific nutritional diseases.  Thus, vitamin B1 deficiency became understood as the cause of beriberi, vitamin B6 as the cause of pellagra, vitamin C as the cause of scurvy, and vitamin D as the cause of rickets.  But this understanding only occurred at the turn of this century.
    Thus was born the heady, technologically based field of nutrition as we know it today.  We now can calculate the electron spins of every atom in every molecule that make up the vitamins and minerals that have been demonstrated to be essential in nutrition.  Hundreds of thousands of animals and people have been clinically tested to determine the supposed appropriate levels required for these nutrients to prevent disease.  Minimal amounts to prevent disease are known as the required levels of essential nutrients.  There are about 40 such nutrients which are on the essential list.
    But if you have been reading along with me over time in the newsletter, you know that I am not very impressed with this whole notion that scientists know what nutrients are essential and at what levels they are so.  It is my belief, and I believe the current scientific literature is compellingly convincing as well, that nutrition is far more than this short list.  The natural foods we are intended to consume contain hundreds, even thousands, of chemical elements in complex relationships we have only begun to understand.  It is this complexity of food and its interconnectedness, particularly as it exists in the raw state, that will replace the current paradigm of a short list of essential nutrients as information continues to roll in.
    You see, the problem with conventional nutritional thinking is that they think they have it pretty much all figured out.  When you close the door in your own face, it is hard to see the new hallways of enlightenment lying beyond.  Nevertheless, this is the way that human knowledge advances.  A new idea is at first considered to be absurd, outlandish, quackish and sacrilegious.  It is shunned, especially by “intellectuals” or “scientists.” As evidence continues to mount, the new idea becomes worthy of “further study.”   Only when the evidence is overwhelming and the public has by and large adopted the new idea, will our scientific leaders accept it.  But then, they impute its origination to themselves.
    For a couple of decades now I have been arguing that nutrition is far more than a short list of essentials.  In the beginning for those of us who believed nutrition was far more than a mixture of a few chemicals, ridicule was common.  But slowly things are changing and these concepts are making their way into the mainstream and now being seriously considered by scientists.
    The new paradigm is optimal nutrition - not just adequate nutrition.  Optimal means each individual getting the best nutritional profile they can get, specific for their genetic makeup and specific for their particular life circumstance.  Everyone is different and everyone reacts differently to life.  Thus average minimal requirements only meet the needs of a certain number of the population fitting under the central portion of a bell curve.   Those on each end of the curve either suffer from deficiency or excess.   Following are some examples of some of the research that is demonstrating that nutrition is very complex and that optimal levels of nutrients is the future. 
    The requirement of vitamin A in calves is as follows:  20 IUs per day to prevent nyctalopia; 32 IUs a day for normal growth; 40 IUs a day for normal serum retinol levels; 250 IUs for moderate hepatic reserves; and 1024 IUs a day for substantial hepatic reserves.  So what is the “minimum?”
    Some nutrient requirements are conditional:  In the chicken and in the human there is an increased need for choline and carnitine during early development; a duck eating low tryptophan levels has an increased need for niacin; a chicken having low dietary cysteine requires more methionine; rats on low methionine and phenylalanine diets require more choline and tryptophan respectively.  If a human gets low levels of sun they have an increased need for vitamin D.  If there is increased oxidative stress, as studied in chickens and in humans, there is an increased need for the antioxidant nutrients vitamin E, selenium and vitamin C.      Humans and animals undergoing the stress of surgery or tube feeding require increased levels of a variety  of amino acids, selenium, zinc and choline.
    There are a host of diseases which are impacted by nutrient levels different than so-called minimum requirements (for 13 vitamins, 12 minerals, 2 fatty acids, protein and calories) and even by nutrients which are not considered essential at all.  Noted examples are cancer which is shown to be prevented and even moderated by carotenes, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium and many others.   Cardiovascular disease is likewise impacted by vitamin E and vitamin C.   Vitamin A has now been linked to cancer of the lung, gastrointestinal tract, bladder, prostate, breast and cervix.  Vitamin C  reduces the risk of cancer of the stomach, colon, rectum and lung.
    Then there are specific genetic factors.  Individuals lacking a biotin enzyme which is essential for attaching biotin to its enzymes, or biotinidase which results in multiple carboxylase deficiencies, can only be corrected by higher levels of biotin than are considered minimal requirements.   Similar problems can occur in those who have defects in vitamin D metabolism requiring much higher doses than the average.
    The point is, how does anyone know what category they fall into?  The tests necessary to determine individual biochemical requirements are only beginning to emerge and will likely never be complete.
    Emerging knowledge is creating a heyday for laboratories and reductionistically-minded scientists, who now have a glut of work attempting to determine the “essentiality” of the dozens, even hundreds, of nutrients now being discovered as important.
    We can either wait for each new discovery and modify our vitamin intake, or shoot for optimal right now.  Forget all of the minutia about milligrams and IUs and fancy sounding chemical names and return the diet to its natural form: fresh, whole, raw foods to the degree possible eaten in variety.   Science will never discover a superior eating method or a pill that surpasses the wisdom inherent within natural foods.  In addition, however, since most of us have lived a life deficient and imbalanced in a variety of nutrients as a result of a diet that is primarily processed-food based, taking “insurance” nutritional supplements that are designed based on natural foods and optimal levels would be a wise course.
    The Wysong Foundation Formulas™ including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, essential fatty acids and more are all designed in such a way that respect is given to the bounty of natural foods and the formulas are constantly upgraded to reflect optimizing nutrition, rather than minimizing it to “essential” nutrient status.
        Pet Food Industry, July 1998:42-43
    Thyroid dysfunction - over or underactive thyroid – is one of the most common maladies of modern society.  It is also usually undiagnosed.
    According to the American Society of Clinical Endocrinologists, approximately 1 in 20 Americans are afflicted and almost 3/4 of these go undiagnosed.
    One of the primary symptoms of thyroid disease is depression and women are more often affected than men, particularly during middle and later years.
    Some physicians believe that thyroid disorder is four times more common than even the above statistics.  Those who have their thyroid tested by means of the TSH test will often be told the test indicates their thyroid is fine when in fact it is not.
    About any kind of modern chronic problem may be related to thyroid disease.  Depression, lack of energy, problems with weight control, inability to stay warm, and frequent illness all may be signs.  Refer to the past Health Letter where a method is described for home testing thyroid function (Vol. 8, No. 2).  Also seek out a physician who is familiar with home temperature testing for thyroid function.
    A positive test for thyroid dysfunction may indicate a need for receiving a thyroid supplement.  Even in this case do not neglect following all of the healthy life choices  described in the Wysong Optimal Health Program and be sure to cycle through the Foundation Formulas.
        Townsend Letter, May 1998:39
    An important new piece of research has demonstrated that decreasing sugar availability to cancer can cause the death of some neoplastic cells.  Although this research was intended to find new chemotherapeutic agents, the finding has great significance in light of the argument that I have made for several years in the Health Letter, which is that the modern glut of sugar and carbohydrates in the diet is linked to a variety of degenerative diseases.
    Sugars and carbohydrates abound in the modern diet.  In our natural diet consisting of those foods which could be found and eaten raw exactly as they exist in nature, very little carbohydrate would be consumed.  This then represents another example of how our displacement from our proper environmental and food context is the true cause of cancer and the solution will never be found until we restore that proper context.
    The now popular nutritional advice that carbohydrates should constitute 70-80% of the diet will likely also increase your chance of cancer (and a plethora of other diseases) 70-80%.
        Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1998;95:1511-1516
    I have been harping away for years about the dangers of processed fats in the diet.  This is one of the things that motivated me to write my book, Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils In Health and Disease.
    There is a mountain of evidence now demonstrating the importance of natural, unaltered fats in the diet and the dangers of processed oils and fats.  But here’s new information that really should bring this home to women.
    First off, researchers found that there was no relationship between total fat intake and breast cancer.  They did, however, find that by just increasing the amount of processed polyunsaturated fats in the diet the risk of basic breast cancer increased by 69%.  These fats are primarily the polyunsaturated vegetable oils found in almost every packaged food product and would include corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and the like.
    Conversely, it was shown that by increasing the consumption of monounsaturated fats, such as in extra virgin olive oil, the breast cancer risk decreased by 45%.
    When polyunsaturated fats are heat processed they can be converted into a variety of toxic substances including trans-fatty acids as produced by hydrogenation and partial hydrogenation.  Breast cancer, I’m sure, is only one member of a long list of modern diseases that will eventually be directly linked to the consumption of these toxins.
    But as much as we should fear and avoid the bad fats and oils, we should seek the good ones.  Fats and oils as a part of whole, raw, natural foods are extremely health-promoting.  Additionally, because of the deficiency of such fats and oils in the diet, supplements are wise.   Wysong Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Essential Fatty Acid Supplements, and all of the Wysong human and animal processed foods incorporate fats that have not been adversely altered and have been properly stabilized with natural antioxidant preservatives.   This is not as good as whole, raw, natural foods, but it is the best compromise.
        Archives of Internal Medicine, 1998;158:41-45
    The following are results from recent research findings relating antioxidant supplementation to various diseases:
    1)             Long-term supplementation with vitamin E substantially reduced prostate cancer and mortality in male smokers.
    2)             Vitamin E is an inhibitor of oxidative damage, free radical formation, and lipid peroxidation in focal ischemic brain damage (stroke).
    3)             Alpha-lipoic acid is effective in reducing the symptoms of non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
    4)             Vitamin C and beta carotene have a protective effect on lung function.
    5)             Even without the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lovastatin, vitamin E can decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thus act as a preventative against atherosclerosis and heart disease.
    6)             Vitamin E applied topically can reduce the susceptibility to solar-induced UV oxidative damage of the skin.
    7)             Vitamin E levels are related to a decreased risk of progression of the nuclear opacities in cataracts.
    8)             Beta carotene has a role in the prevention of cervical cancer and precancer conditions.
    Wysong Antioxidant Foundation Formulas including Food A•C•E™ (a food-derived source of vitamins A, C and E) and Spectrox™ (containing a wide array of antioxidants including vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and numerous other potent antioxidants) are excellent supplemental sources of these nutrients.  Of course, fresh whole, raw foods in variety should be the primary source of these nutrients.  However, modern living stresses make supplementation a wise insurance policy.
        J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 1998, 90:440-446
        Br. J. Dermatol., 1998, 138:207-215
        Stroke, 1998, 29:1002-1006
        Diabetes, 1997; 46:S62-S66
        Thorax, 1998, 53:166-171
        Cardiovasc. Drugs Ther., 1997, 11:575-580
        Ophthalmology, 1998, 105:831-836
        Cancer Epidemiol. Biomark. Prev., 1998, 7:347-350
    The primary ingredient in most cough medicines is dextromethorphan.  The medication works by action on receptors in the central nervous system.  Research on chickens has demonstrated that this drug has the ability to cause birth defects.  It is believed that a single dose may be sufficient.  The effect could occur very early in conception, before a woman is even aware she is pregnant and could result in miscarriage or other abnormalities.
    Be extremely cautious with the use of any drug, even if it is approved for over-the-counter use.  We can only pretend to know the full effects of such chemicals in spite of assurances given to us by profit-motivated manufacturers or regulatory agencies.
        Pediatric Research, January 1998:1-7
    In a study of 55 documented cases of Tylenol (acetaminophen) liver toxicity, 24 children died and three required liver transplants.
    This is the most widely used medication for the relief of pain and fever in children.  The reason for the toxicity was repeated doses or higher doses than those recommended.  What is most alarming is the fact that these doses were only slightly above the weight-based recommendations for the drug.
    Parents, beware!  Giving any drug to children, even something as widely used as Tylenol, to children should only be done as a last resort.  Remember also that fever is not a disease to be treated, but rather a reaction of the body to activate the immune system and create an unfavorable environment for pathogenic growth.
        Journal of Pediatrics, January 1998:132
    Certain phytonutrients within soy have the ability to affect female reproductive hormones.  It is the cycling of these hormones that results in all of the menstrual and menopausal symptoms troubling so many women today.
    In a study to determine the effect of these soy compounds on hot flashes, it was demonstrated that the consumption of soy could decrease hot flashes by as much as 45%.  Also, epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the consumption of soy by Asians is likely the cause of their decreased incidence of reproductive cancers such as breast, ovarian and uterine.
    Wysong Estrolog™ has been formulated to incorporate not only the beneficial phytonutrients within soy, but those also within other plant food categories that benefit reproductive health in women.
        Obstet. Gynecol., January 1998:6-11
    Tamoxifen is a drug used to block estrogen in breast cancer patients.  It is often taken for as long as five years.  New evidence now suggests that this drug may increase the risk for women developing endometrial (uterine) cancer.  Researchers have found increased levels of cancer-promoting growth factors and binding proteins in the endometrial tissue taken from those using Tamoxifen.
    There seems to be no such thing as a clean drug.  So often the benefit of a quick fix is offset by damage that exceeds the benefits.
    Soy, as well as Estrolog™, contains phytoestrogens which also can block estrogenic receptors similarly to Tamoxifen, but without the contraindications.
        Obstet. Gynecol., January 1998: 40-50
    Electromagnetic fields by high voltage transmission lines may increase the risk of leukemia in children.  Children studied in Taiwan who lived less than 100 meters from the high voltage source in the age group between 5 and 9 years were at highest risk.
    There is much debate yet about whether electromagnetic fields can induce disease.  Since such fields present a different environmental exposure than we are genetically programmed for, we should be highly suspicious regardless of the conflicting data.  We can use reason to answer questions about a health threat without the need to wait for the consensus of scientific opinion which is so often skewed by commercial interests.
        Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, February 1998:111-117, 144-147