ARTHRITIS — Searching for THE TRUTH — Searching for THE CURE
By now you might be feeling a little uneasy about your diet. It should be overwhelmingly apparent that humans inherit the way they metabolize foods much the same way they inherit things like the color of eyes, hair or skin. It should be equally evident that having one diet that is appropriate for everyone is an impossibility! The problem now becomes how can we determine our individual metabolic identity?
It might be easy to determine our metabolic identity (and in turn what foods we are best adapted to) if we were one of the Gaelics Dr. Price observed during the early 1900’s. Like the other groups living in relative isolation, the Gaelic gene pool was very stable. From time to time spontaneous mutations to the gene that controls metabolism must have occurred. However, since the food supply was fixed, these progeny would undoubtedly become maladapted and have less chance to pass this gene to their offspring. Darwin saw this phenomenon was at work over the centuries in determining survival. It resulted in his theories on evolution through natural selection. Dr. Pottenger saw a similar yet more immediate pattern of survival being tied to nutrition in his cat studies.
Genetics does not work in a straight-line fashion. The children of two brown-eyed parents might have blue eyes. The problem stems from the fact that there are dominant and recessive genes at play in determining eye color. It’s the same way with your inherited metabolic identity. Given the fact that today’s blood-lines are hopelessly mixed it would be impossible to look to your family tree and accurately predict metabolic type and in turn the foods to which you are best adapted. Fortunately George Watson, M.D. discovered how to do just that through direct means.
Dr. Watson was aware that the biochemistry of ‘burning’ food for fuel was complex. He realized that there were a number of intermediary biochemical steps that had to occur before food could be converted into energy. Each one of these steps had a specific demand for just the right amount of vitamins, minerals or enzymes. If there was a deficiency the process of converting food into energy would be badly compromised. It was like having a series of gears all connected in tandem. If one of the gears was removed it would effect all the gears later in the chain.
This is why only foods in their whole form will suffice for those wanting to regain and optimize their health. Quite simply the exact combination of each vitamin, mineral and enzyme found in a whole food is what we are best adapted to. No amount of fortification or enrichment with other vitamins and minerals can provide what nature has already provided.
As you will find more is not always better when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Many biochemical processes ‘compete’ with each other. Adding vitamins or minerals in a scatter-shot or helter-skelter fashion will cause one process to run faster or produce more of the next intermediate in that chain. In so doing this process will competitively ‘inhibit’ another process and in turn create deficiencies. This is exactly how multivitamin supplementation can create more harm than good.
I grimace every time I walk into a health food store and hear a customer being lectured about how this vitamin is good for this and that mineral is good for that. Even the best biochemist will readily admit that while we have a fair understanding of some of the major human biochemical pathways there are literally thousands of other more subtle processes that we don’t fully understand that are equally important. To think that we can fabricate a food that meets our biochemical needs better than a whole food (that we’ve adapted to over thousands of years) is sheer folly. The whole food is truly perfect for our biochemical and nutritional needs.
Watson focused on the major biochemical reactions responsible for ultimately liberating energy from food. He saw that there were two key interlocking cycles responsible for energy production. The first cycle would release some energy (approximately 20% of the food’s potential) but more importantly it would create many of the raw materials for the next cycle. These raw material intermediates would be consumed and release the remaining 80% of energy in the second cycle. Watson gives a detailed explanation in his book NUTRITION AND YOUR MIND.
Even though the second cycle holds the majority of the energy it’s the first cycle that was more critical to total energy production. Any kind of disruption in the first would limit and compromise the optimal energy yield (80%) found in the second cycle.
Dr. Watson knew that a myriad of psychological and nervous system disorders could be induced if the brain was starved for energy. Considering that might be the problem he devised tests to measure how fast and how efficiently energy was produced in these two cycles in his patients with psychological symptoms. He wasn’t too surprised when he observed all his patients were indeed not getting the optimum ‘bang for the buck’ in terms of energy production from these two cycles. What was a surprise was that the patients fell into two very separate and different groups in terms of how the first cycle synthesized intermediates for the second. The values from both groups were also much different from those of ‘normal’ controls.
Watson saw that the first energy cycle in one group of his patients was much slower than normal. The sluggish movement of this cycle not only slowed the release of the first 20% of energy, but more importantly inhibited the remaining 80%. From an energy standpoint this was like drinking water through a extraordinarily thin straw. Plenty of water is available but it has to get through the straw before it can be utilized by the rest of your body.
Watson observed that the second group of his patients displayed the opposite extreme. The movement of their first energy cycle proceeded much faster than normal. On the surface this might seem like a good thing but it actually created deficiencies undermining the generation of the bulk of energy (80%) in the second part of the cycle.
What these patients faced was similar to asking them to survive four days on 10 gallons of water. The only stipulation is that they would have to drink it all during the first hour. Unlike camels we don’t have the physiology to store water over extended periods of time.
Our physiology normally gives us feedback (thirst) to space the consumption of water fairly evenly over the four days. The second energy cycle acts much the same way. It can only take advantage of a limited amount of raw material intermediates from cycle one at a time. The overflow will not be used in the production of energy. Later when cycle two ‘becomes thirsty’ and is once again able to use those raw materials they will not be available. Cycle one has “used up all it’s water too quickly” and that means a drought for the second energy cycle.
Where the energy production of the first group of patients is systematically starved the second group is forced into a chronic ‘feast or famine’ situation. Over the course of time neither group gets anywhere close to the energy output realized by ‘normal’ controls.
Since the current drug treatments were woefully inadequate in improving the symptoms of his patients Watson began exploring the effect of certain vitamins, minerals and foods. He knew for example that niacin (vitamin B-1) participated in the enzymatic breakdown of sugar at several places in the energy cycles. A deficiency of this crucial nutrient had a profound effect in slowing down brain metabolism to the point of causing what appeared to be mental illness. He used painstaking research to test literally hundreds of foods and nutritional supplements on each subset of patients. What Watson found would give us a profile, a thumbprint if you will, generally suggesting our inherited metabolic identity.
Up until this time researchers assumed that nutritional problems were caused only by deficiencies. Giving their patients large doses a wide variety of nutrients seems to be an obvious and logical solution. Watson found that this strategy yielded little if no positive effect for the majority of his patients. In fact some of his patients actually experienced an increase in symptoms! After testing each supplement individually he found that a dichotomy emerged.
For example supplemental calcium (a nutrient considered wholly beneficial) only helped a minority while worsening the condition of the majority of his patients. Watson observed that patients and the nutrients that rectified their symptoms were falling into two mutually exclusive groups.
Beneficial for 1st group Beneficial for 2nd group Vitamin/Mineral Full Dose Vitamin/Mineral Full Dose A (fish liver oil) 10,000 lUs A (palmitate) 10,000 lUs D 400 lUs E (mixed tocopherols) 400 lUs C 500 mgs B1 10 mgs B2 l0mgs B6 l0mgs B12 100 mcgs Niacin 25 mgs Niacinamide 100 mgs Para Amino Benzoic Acid 100 mgs Folic Acid 200 mcg Biotin 150mcg Pantothenic Acid or Calcium Pantothenate 100 mgs Inositol 250 mgs Choline 250mgs Potassium 200 mgs Magnesium 100mgs Iron 15mgs Copper 1 mg Manganese 5mgs Chromium 100mcg Calcium 500 mgs Phosphorous 250 mgs Iodine (derived from natural source) 0.15 mgs Zinc 10 mgs
You might have already noticed that the nutrients were given in specific ratios. This balancing of nutrients is subtle but extremely important. We’ve already discussed how foods in their ‘whole’ form provide the perfect combination (and ratios) of vitamins and minerals needed by our energy cycles.
Watson found that pairing the correct nutrient with the proper sub-group was not enough. Too much of an individual vitamin or mineral could actually create deficiencies elsewhere. Watson found that this was especially true for B-vitamins and minerals.
Foods had an even more profound effect (positive as well as negative) on patient symptoms. A continuum emerged similar to what was observed with the supplements. Groups one and two were positioned on opposite extremes. Group one would improve if placed on a low fat, low salt, low purine and high complex carbohydrate diet. Group two required just the opposite (high purine, high fat, high salt with restricted carbohydrate) to resolve their symptoms.
Unless you or someone you know has suffered from gout you’re probably not familiar with purines. Gout is the result of uric acid crystal build-up in joints. These crystals cause irritation and with it a great deal of misery and pain. Before the advent of drugs like allopurinol the only remedy that physicians had to offer was to put their patients on a low purine diet. They knew that purines were directly related to uric acid levels in blood.
Purines are a special type of protein found in a variety of meats and vegetables. If a food contains protein it usually contains some purines. Higher amounts of purines exist in dark meats (including fish and fowl) as well as crustaceans (shrimp, scallops, oysters, and crab). Purines are most concentrated in organ meats (liver, kidney, heart and other sweetbreads). Nuts, lentils and all beans (including soybeans) have moderate purine content. Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, peas and mushrooms are vegetables that also contain significant amounts of purines. Watson found that this food component was the single most important dietary variable for his patients.
Watson, like Dr. Philpott, perceived that what he was witnessing was the product of some type of defective or disordered carbohydrate metabolism in his patients. It would not be until years later that Rudolph Wiley Ph.D. would pursue Watson’s work and recognize that there wasn’t anything ‘disordered or defective’ about these patients metabolism at all. Their different and seemingly extreme metabolisms were simply an expression of their inherited genetic makeup. Their blood glucose curves looked extreme due to the fact that they were being fed the wrong foods!
In the early 1900’s Dr. Weston Price witnessed how imported foods, new to isolated populations, had a dramatic effect on health. But he concluded that physical degeneration was due to the depletion of key nutrients in these ‘new’ foods. Recall Price did his work during the early 1900’s. Scientists were just beginning to learn how to test foods in the lab for their vitamin and mineral content. Dr. Price routinely took samples of indigenous foods from those remote areas and evaluated them for nutritional content.
Price’s laboratory analysis revealed that the indigenous foods often possessed over five times the amount of vitamins and minerals of their civilized counterparts (remember this level of depletion was already evident in 1920!). Refined foods like sugar and white flour were completely devoid of any important nutrients. It was the hope of science at the time that these nutritional gaps could be filled through supplementation after refinement. The only problem is that it would be impossible to put back the exact (and perfect) combination that nature had provided. Dr. Watson and later Dr. Wiley would demonstrate that while vitamin and mineral depletion played an important role the actual type of food was equally important in predicting the impact on health.
Dr. Wiley realized that the extreme metabolism of the patient group that could only be satiated by a relatively high purine, high fat, high salt and limited carbohydrate diet were those that inherited their metabolism from ancestors that relied on animals as their primary source of nutrition.
These ancestors consumed huge amounts of purines from the prized organ meats of animals. These organ meats held the richest stores of other crucial nutrients like vitamin C that could not be obtained in sufficient amounts from vegetation. The entire animal was consumed including large quantities of fat. Nothing was left to waste.
Since they relied primarily on flesh they had to learn how to store it and became very adept at salting, drying, smoking and other curing techniques.
At the same time these people could not tolerate large amounts of carbohydrate of any kind. It’s fairly obvious that inhabitants of the colder regions of the world (like the Outer Hebrides of Scotland) must have relied heavily on animal sources. Long, frigid winters and short growing seasons along with limited storage capabilities were not conducive to vegetarianism. At the same time those living in arid deserts and semi-arid plains faced similar challenges. Australian Aborigines and the Indians of the North American Plains were good examples of races with similar ‘extreme’ metabolisms living under very different climactic conditions.
At the other end of the metabolic spectrum were those patients that thrived on an almost vegetarian diet consisting primarily of complex carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit. Their ancestors undoubtedly lived in much more temperate settings abundant in vegetation and far better suited for agriculture. Animal food sources were utilized less often and in much smaller quantities in their diets. This would explain their relative metabolic difficulties with purines, fats and salt.
It became evident to Dr. Wiley that what his predecessors had observed and described as disordered or defective carbohydrate metabolism was nothing of the sort. The patients were ill simply because they were eating a diet that was mismatched to their inherited metabolic needs. The more polarized the dietary needs they inherited from their ancestors the less capable a balanced, middle of the road diet would be in keeping them well. Only the proper ‘extreme’ diet to meet their extreme metabolic needs would suffice.
Dr. Wiley put his Ph.D. in biological physics to work to try and better understand the underlying mechanisms driving human metabolism. He agreed with Dr. Watson that while there was an almost unlimited spectrum of individual metabolisms that they would all generally land into one of three metabolic subsets.
Prior to Wiley’s work the best way to determine which metabolic subset a patient occupied was by having them test three different diets. Once the patient landed upon the appropriate diet for their metabolic type they would feel an immediate increase in energy and many of their symptoms would promptly resolve.
Wiley found a constant that was universal for healthy individuals – venous blood plasma pH. He discovered that, with very little variation, a pH of 7.46 was optimal. The patients (that were eating in a fashion mismatched to their metabolic subset) would consistently have pH values much higher or lower than 7.46.
One subset would tend to drift up and the other two would tend to drift down away from the optimal value. Once the patients ate the appropriate diet (the one meeting the metabolic needs they inherited from their ancestors) their blood plasma pH would normalize back to 7.46. Dr. Wiley outlines this phenomenon in detail in his book BIOBALANCE.
For some time we have known that all biological life is sensitive to changes in pH. The various bacteria that we routinely consume with every meal are destroyed in the stomach since they cannot tolerate a high pH environment. Plants are a classic example. Any gardener will tell you that no matter how good the fertilizer most plants won’t survive without the proper soil pH. Some plants are very limited and will only thrive in a very narrow pH range. Catalysts that drive biochemical processes often operate within similarly narrow pH ranges. In other words if the pH increases or decreases by only a few hundredths of one unit the effectiveness of the catalyst plummets. In many cases small pH fluctuations will cause them to become completely inactivated.
Patients that eat a diet mismatched to their inherited metabolic subset will always show a number of amino acid deficiencies. These deficiencies will only be somewhat resolved through added amino acid supplementation. Seemingly negligible changes away from optimal venous plasma pH inactivate the mineral and vitamin catalysts responsible for driving amino acid synthesis in the body. Supplementation with large doses of vitamins and minerals can provide only marginal assistance. They furnish more of the needed catalysts but are mostly nullified by being forced to operate in the wrong pH range.
Proper amino acid synthesis is vital since these are the requisite building blocks for all biological processes. Without them aged or damaged tissues cannot regenerate, hormones cannot be produced and digestive enzymes cannot be created. There simply isn’t enough raw materials (amino acids) for their creation.
Compromised amino acid synthesis can be responsible for sub-clinical hypothyroidism, weak adrenals, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency and a myriad of other seemingly unrelated health problems. The implications are far reaching.
Recall the work done by Dr. Stoll and the University of Kentucky physiology lab. They showed that the intestinal tract not only had the highest demand for blood but it also required more cellular regeneration than any organ system in the body. Poor amino acid synthesis would directly limit cellular regeneration in the gut. This underlying mechanism would speed the development of leaky gut syndrome and, as a consequence, the transmission of undigested food proteins into the bloodstream. Remember, leaky gut syndrome is the gateway (literally) for all chronic arthritis and auto-immune conditions.
Do you know your blood type? Dr. Peter D’Adamo added to our knowledge of the impact of foods on chronic disease with his research on lectins.
Lectins are a special type of protein that possesses glue like properties. Bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms use the lectins contained in their outer walls to attach themselves to different tissues in the human body. At the same time our body utilizes lectins as a defense mechanism. The cells in our liver’s bile duct employ strategically placed lectins to capture bacteria and other parasites.
D’Adamo noticed that lectins found in certain foods could create mischief in susceptible blood types. He found that if a food was consumed containing protein lectins that were incompatible with your blood type antigen an agglutination or clumping of blood cells would result. Dr. D’Adamo describes the lectin/health connection in his book EAT RIGHT 4 YOUR TYPE.
The food lectins might effect local tissues but could also be telegraphed to far away organ systems (liver, kidney, brain, etc.) and agglutinate the blood cells in that area. An example is what happens after a person with blood type A eats a plate of lima beans.
Due to imperfect digestion a fraction of protein lectin from the lima bean survives. It may interact directly creating irritation in the stomach or intestinal mucosa or it may pass through the leaky gut and directly into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream it can take up residence in a number of tissues. After settling the lectin has a magnetic effect on other cells in the area. It clumps the cells together and consequently they are targeted for destruction. The immune system responds by sending a variety of inflammatory chemicals to the area to help rid it of these perceived foreign invaders.
Dr. D’Adamo tested several foods by taking their extracts and directly observing (under microscope) their effect on each of the four different blood types. Not surprisingly, the foods that had a clumping effect on the cells of a specific blood type showed similar negative reactions in individuals possessing that particular blood type. These same foods would also provoke a positive reaction in the same individuals when tested using intradermal techniques.
The conclusion reached by Dr. D’Adamo’s work is clear. Some foods will tend to be toxic to certain blood types. Certainly they will create inflammation and stress on multiple systems within the body whenever eaten. As you might imagine their toxicity will only be magnified in the presence of a small intestinal mucosa that is leaking peptides. These foods in effect are poisons and should be completely eliminated from the diet. More on lectins will be discussed in the Protocol section.
Several primitive cultures were aware that certain foods were unsuitable for consumption. However this didn’t stop some of them from learning how to use these foods anyway. Corn was a specific example. In a geographic area where corn grew wild one Indian tribe was aware of it but refused to eat it. Another would occasionally eat it but did not cultivate it (even though they cultivated other foods). The third tribe actually cultivated the corn, using it as a significant food source. They all no doubt had the same blood type (probably O).
The group that cultivated corn did not eat it in it’s whole form. It was first ground then alkalinized with lime before cooking. Could this combination of this mechanical, chemical and heat treating liberate enough of the harmful lectins to make corn safe? Did the Indians that avoided it completely have better health than the other two tribes?
By now some of the riddles of what you (and your doctor) considered a mysterious disease have begun to unravel. You can see that your body has a predetermined, true, genetic self that cannot be violated. The myriad of symptoms including problems with weight, allergies, headaches, fatigue, sleep, depression and finally arthritis are all signs that you’ve been swimming against the current. In many cases for a very long time.
Dr. Price’s work with indigenous populations demonstrates that health to some degree is inherited. Dr. Pottenger’s cat studies give hope that we can reverse inherited damage.
I’m alternately frustrated and sad that with our mountain of medical expertise that so much of health is left to dumb luck.
Witness two farmers (who happen to be brothers) living only miles apart from each other somewhere in rural U.S.A. Both eat the same foods (with breakfasts consisting of bacon, sausage, farm fresh eggs and whole milk) every day. They both do the same work, breath the same air and have similar stresses filling their everyday lives. One brother has a chronic weight problem, develops high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and suffers an early death from heart attack. The other brother’s health seems to be almost bulletproof even though he smokes and is a moderate drinker. He lives to be 93. What’s going on here?
In this instance one brother has stumbled upon a diet that meets his metabolic needs very well. The other brother has been less fortunate. Even though he doesn’t smoke or drink he finds himself confronted with a relentless physiological stressor, a diet mismatched to his inherited metabolic needs. He is swimming against the current and as his physiological strength is depleted he is carried into a disease state.
You can also see why rheumatoid disease and arthritis in general have a strong yet unpredictable presence in so many family trees. The inborn gene holding the ‘extreme’ metabolism is like a card waiting to be dealt. Once received it can only be offset if the person inheriting it eats in an ‘extreme’ manner too. All things being equal those with metabolisms at the extreme ends of the spectrum will have a high probability for disease while those in the middle will be spared.
Dr. Wiley, armed with sophisticated blood plasma pH testing capabilities, sought to find what percentage of people would fall into each of the 3 metabolic subgroups. What he discovered was significant. Approximately 85% of all men inherited metabolisms that would benefit from the ‘light’ dietary regimen. Therefore the general movement to a more vegetarian diet, one lower in fat and especially restrictive in purine rich red meats, would have a profound benefit for a majority (85%) of the male population.
Well documented studies by Dr. Nathan Pritikin and later by Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated that a very low fat (less than 10%) diet would actually reverse coronary and vascular disease. Of course the sample of patients that they were testing happened to be the subgroup of the male population with metabolisms that could only be satisfied with this ‘light’ diet. To make matters worse they resided in the ‘extreme’ end of that subgroup.
The remaining 15% of the male population (occupying the other two subgroups) would metabolize fats, purines and cholesterol well and show no ill effects from a diet high in these food constituents. They would, by definition, be at low risk for coronary and vascular problems. However since they didn’t display coronary problems they were overlooked in these dietary studies.
A Center for Disease Control (CDC) study recently found that obese men were 70% more likely to suffer from arthritis. At the same time men who were underweight were 40% more likely to suffer from arthritis than men of normal weight. This dichotomy strongly suggests that the men with arthritis were also the men possessing ‘extreme’ metabolisms. The CDC surmised in their study findings that weight alone is a risk factor, and a modifiable one. Their recommendation to the overweight group was to lose weight. They ignored the fact that the underweight group was similarly predisposed to developing arthritis.
People would not be well served by losing or increasing weight as a means of decreasing their risk for developing arthritis. The underlying reason for their obesity or inability to gain weight is an ‘extreme’ metabolism. If they don’t match the appropriate diet to their inherited metabolic type they would never be able to normalize their weight naturally.
The underweight group could artificially double their caloric intake while the obese group employed diet drugs to normalize their weight but the same deleterious metabolic process would continue. They might actually achieve their normal weight but, fundamentally and metabolically, nothing has really changed. They would still be much more likely to develop arthritis (even at a normal weight) and more medical confusion would be heaped onto the arthritis pile. Abnormal weight correlates with incidence of arthritis but only because mismatched diet/metabolism creates persistent weight problems.
The balanced diet advanced as nutritionally sound a generation ago is a far cry from what is promoted today. It has taken 30 years for medicine to realize the simple fact that diet was indeed a key factor in, among other things, cardiovascular disease. As a result the healthy American diet has grown progressively lower in fat, protein and especially purine. This movement (as you will soon see) has really done little more than ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. We are still ‘rolling the dice’ and relying on luck for the largest part of our health.
While a minority of 15% of men will pay the price for eating a ‘light’ diet, women will suffer much more. The casualty count is apparent when you see the statistics showing women are seeing physicians at a rate five times more often than their male counterparts. Dr. Wiley has found that fully 50% of today’s women will require a ‘heavy’ eating regimen at least part of the time.
We are all standing at an intersection preparing to watch an inevitable collision. Women driven by the ever increasing societal pressure to be thin are embracing low fat, high complex carbohydrate, more vegetarian-like diets in every increasing numbers. 50% of women will find magic in these diets, the others will find poison. Even more daunting is the fact that the gene for the ‘heavy’ diet is dominant in women. This means more women will inherit the metabolic need for exactly the opposite of what is being espoused as healthy, wholesome and nutritious.
Dr. Wiley made an even more extraordinary discovery when further observing the metabolisms (and blood plasma pH’s) of women. It would serve to explain why some women complained so bitterly during the pre-menstrual part of their cycles (PMS) while others noted that their major symptoms occurred during menses and still others complained of post menstrual difficulties.
Many women, however, showed no intensification of symptoms at all throughout their hormonal cycles. It is little wonder why physicians concluded that psychological stress or hypochondria was at the root of the majority of these complaints from their female patients. There was little other obvious explanation.
This could also be used to explain away the fact that depression and other mental conditions exhibit a strong gender bias toward females. However hypochondria can not be blamed for the strong preference that rheumatoid diseases exhibit toward women.
Autoimmunity is fairly widespread, occurring in about 5% of the adult population in North America and Europe. Over two-thirds of the patients are female and many have more than one autoimmune disease (the risk of a second autoimmune disease is markedly increased after development of the first). Women are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis three times more often than their male counterparts. Other rheumatoid diseases show an even greater bias. Ninety percent of lupus sufferers are women.
Wiley discovered that the metabolic needs of many women would actually change with their hormonal cycle. In other words a diet that was matched perfectly during one portion of a menstrual cycle might be completely inappropriate for another part. If a woman ate the same diet all the time she would suffer a huge amount of physiological stress during that portion of her period when her foods didn’t match her metabolic needs. That applied stress would prompt an exacerbation of symptoms.
I have to admit the first time I considered Wiley’s discovery of metabolic cycling I was very skeptical. Dr. Watson had already found that his patients would need to eat in an even more extreme fashion in times of severe cold or heat. For example those already on the ‘heavy’ diet (rich in purines, fats and restricted in carbohydrates) would have to eat even more fat while increasing their restriction of carbohydrates to feel their best. Symptoms would tend to exacerbate during these climactic extremes if this wasn’t taken into account.
This aspect paralleled my readings in nutritional anthropology. The northern cultures that used animals as their primary nutritional source had even more limited access to carbohydrate (from vegetation) during long and bitterly cold winters. Inhabitants of arid climates during hot, drought conditions would face a similar situation. In both instances their bodies would be genetically tuned to accommodate for an even higher percentage of their nutrition from animal sources in order to survive. At times when vegetation was more abundant more would be consumed.
The idea that individuals would vary a bit within their metabolic subset in concert with the seasonal changes seemed very plausible. The possibility of women actually changing their metabolic subset within their hormonal cycle did not.
Of course one of my problems with accepting the above is that I (as a man) had no frame of reference for the experience of changing hormonally or metabolically. Wiley found that men didn’t have hormonal fluctuations that could result in cycling into another metabolic subset.
I started asking women about their personal experiences and found that many were already aware of their need for different foods during certain points in their cycle. When I explained the idea of ‘cycling’ from a scientific standpoint they weren’t surprised at all. They had already intuited it.
Of course they didn’t know what were the best foods for them to eat. During the years their cravings might lead them to chocolate and other salty or high fat foods that seemed to ease their symptoms. These same women were the ones that would experience an increase in symptom severity at a certain point in their menstrual cycle.
Not surprisingly the women who did not experience cyclic changes in their symptom severity did not have the same strong cravings. Like men they had a harder time accepting the possibility that some women would need completely different foods during different parts of their cycle.
Dr. Wiley found that men were only capable of shifting into another metabolic subset at two times in their lives; puberty and at the end of their physical growth. The was also true for women but with a caveat. Women could also change after the birth of a baby. Wiley found that these cases were fairly rare but did happen. This might explain the onset of problems in otherwise health individuals after puberty, in their early 20’s (when growth stops) and shortly after childbirth.
Conceivably this is one reason why a woman who was able to quickly and easily normalize back to her pre-pregnancy weight after her first child could have so much problem losing weight after her second childbirth.
It’s well known that in many cases rheumatoid disease onset has occurred shortly after a birth. This metabolic ‘shifting’ phenomenon might be one of the straws that in effect ‘breaks the camels back’ after the huge physiological stress of pregnancy. My readings in anthropological nutrition illuminated the fact that our predecessors didn’t take the nutritional needs of pregnant women lightly. Dr. Weston Price observed that women prepared by modifying their diet well before pregnancy took place. After conception very specific foods would be gathered (sometimes from as far away as 20 miles from their homes). These were considered a necessity in supplementing the mother’s normal diet.
We resist the fact that much of what we are is genetically predetermined – especially when it inconveniences us. We delude ourselves by thinking that our technology is clever enough to keep us healthy. If you examine what has happened to our health during the last century it becomes apparent that we can’t defy what nature has intended for us.
The monarch butterfly gives us an appreciation of the complexity of what nature has locked into our genetic code. The species travels thousands of miles during the course of a round trip migration. They start from and amazingly return to the same place. This migration seems even more improbable given the fact that at least 3 generations of monarchs are needed just to complete their northern migration. Another 3 generations will expire before reaching home. How do they navigate? How do they know where ‘home’ is when they’ve never seen it? The last butterfly that actually saw ‘home’ was 6 generations ago! Somehow the genetic information is passed (very successfully) from generation to generation.
The last 14 chapters have been devoted to carrying you upstream to find the origins of arthritis. You’ve witnessed where arthritis, rheumatoid and other auto-immune conditions have the same origin as most other chronic conditions. You’ve had to unlearn a great deal about the relationship between diet and arthritis. Initially the facts seemed to diverge but now they might be coming together a bit.
You will find that ALL people will be able to improve their arthritis simply by finding their specific food allergies, inherited metabolic identity and then eating the appropriate whole foods diet. However for most this will not be enough for a cure. There is a whole world of opportunistic micro-organisms that are vigilantly waiting for the defensive shields provided by our immune system to drop. These micro-organisms stimulate the immune system using the same gateway as foods. They have keen instincts for survival and once they’ve gotten a foothold, it will take special measures to dislodge them.
The next several chapters will be devoted to moving back downstream. We need to get a greater appreciation of what happens along the way to developing arthritis and rheumatoid disease.
Note : Those next chapters have not been posted to the Internet, but will be in the finished book when it’s published. Parts of the Protocol section are available, however.