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Preview: Comments on Whole Health Source: Nutrition and Infectious Disease

Comments on Whole Health Source: Nutrition and Infectious Disease

Updated: 2018-04-21T00:58:55.925-07:00


Hi Ryan, By "cereals", Mellanby meant g...


Hi Ryan,

By "cereals", Mellanby meant grains. He was talking about their traditional foods, not processed grains.

His hypothesis was that a diet lacking in vitamin A was conducive to infection. He also felt that grains may interfere with vitamin A status when eaten in large amounts, as they also antagonize vitamin D (due to the phytic acid). As far as I know, no one has found the substance that antagonizes vitamin A, if one exists. They may just have been deficient in A because they weren't eating many animal foods.

Hey Stephan, I know I'm waaaaaay late on this...


Hey Stephan,

I know I'm waaaaaay late on this discussion, but I'm doing some research for a presentation and am wondering about what Mellanby means by "cereals" when he says that that the Kikuyu ate mainly this food as their diet. Does this mean they were eating refined grains (i.e. white flour) or their traditional diet of whole grains?

Here's the quote I'm referring to:

The high incidence of bronchitis, pneumonia, tropical ulcers and phthisis among the Kikuyu tribe who live on a diet mainly of cereals...

I know this post is getting on in age now, but I j...


I know this post is getting on in age now, but I just now came across it. I wanted to put myself forth as a guinea pig, of sorts, as I am currently pregnant and supplementing with CLO and extra vitamin D3. I had my D levels tested about 6 months ago, and scored a 43. I want to be in the 60s, to help with an autoimmune issue I have and also just for glowing health. :-) My D3 has 4000 IU, and I take one every day. I'm not getting much sun this summer because it's just too stinkin' hot, but once it cools down again, I'll be out there getting my daily sun therapy. My CLO offers 7,000-10,000 IU of vitamin A per day, and I'm perfectly comfortable with that.

Oh, and I would certainly hope that any woman who was self-directed enough to research nutrition on the internet would never think to sue someone for promoting a nutritional idea on their blog. It's up to each of us as individuals to decide what we do with the information we read. Warning Stephen that he ought to have a lawyer seems like overkill.

Oh, for what it's worth, I *have* had signs of insufficient vitamin A. Night blindness, keratosis pilaris, mild eczema, and very sensitive skin. I'd personally prefer to get at least 20,000 IU per day, but can't really afford that much of the good CLO.

Coyote, Thanks for the story and the references. ...



Thanks for the story and the references. I think it's interesting all the anecdotal reports I've heard about the effect of fat-soluble vitamins on skin quality. Vitamins A and K2 in particular seem to improve skin quality in many people, including myself. There's actually data that K2 influences collagen production in the skin, and vitamin A clearly has an important role there as well.

Anna, It does dovetail nicely with Price's work. ...



It does dovetail nicely with Price's work. I still haven't been able to find a reasonably priced copy.

Your post came out on my last day in London and I ...


Your post came out on my last day in London and I was able to locate a copy at a UK online used bookseller for a very reasonable £20 (but they wouldn't ship to the US, so my SIL took delivery of it and then re-mailed it to me); the book arrived this week. Looks like it was withdrawn from the University Of London's library stacks. It's in very good condition (for a book from the 30s) and has a few notations here and there in blue pencil.

What a treasure (and it has a wonderful sort of tobacco-like "old book" fragrance that is a bit intoxicating). I can't believe how this very relevant research is ignored/forgotten by the contemporary medical and dental professions.

Thanks for bringing Mellanby's book to the light of day, Stephan. It's a great pairing with Price's work.

Well I just want to add my little anecdotal eviden...


Well I just want to add my little anecdotal evidence of the safety of vitamin A.

I went to a doctor of osteopathy in Florida back in 1987. His name was Dr. Mittlestadt. He played golf everyday around noon in the Florida sun but he didn’t have any age spots on his skin. When he asked me to guess his age I said “around 65”, when he told me he was 80 years old I was very surprised. He had me feel of his skin, it was very smooth and he also had very few wrinkles on his face. At age 80 he was still practicing medicine full time, so what was his secret?

He was a big proponent of vitamin A supplementation in high doses. He personally had supplemented vitamin A 150,000 units per day for 47 years! His blood levels of vitamin A were normal. He had even
taken as high as 1 million units a day for a period of two months. He routinely prescribed the 150,000 units per day amount to his patients. Young children in the 2 or 3 age group would receive 5,000 units 2x per week and gradually increase as they became teenagers.

Now I wouldn’t want to try his lifelong experiment myself, but I do think vitamin A toxicity is way overblown.

By the way, there are two studies I know of on the use of high dose vitamin A per day, one is a short term study of 6 weeks, the other is a long term study of 12years.

The first one had 25,000 iu/day:

The second one had a total vitamin A consumption of between 16,369-24,318 iu/d:

Homertobias: I think you were addressing me and n...



I think you were addressing me and not Anna regarding my two pregnancies and my sons former eye problems!

Thinking back, I would say I ate eggs just very occasionally when carrying both boys (up til 2 months ago, I was a chronic cereal eater for breakfast all of my life!). I now average 2 eggs per day, and occasionally up to 4.

Regarding iodine, I was a refined salt user (with added iodine) at that time. We now use Celtic Sea Salt exclusively (for the past 7.5 years). When I remember to do so, I eat one sheet of toasted Nori seaweed per day which has 80% of the RDA for iodine.

We ate margarine and drank skim milk when I was pregnant with my eldest (the one with the tracking problems etc), and used butter and whole milk with my youngest.

I would probably describe my former vitamin A deficiency as minor, as I have never had a problem with night blindness.

I wish I would have known then what I know now! Unfortunately, trusting that a prenatal vitamin will correct improper nutrition is the American way today.

There is no way on God's green earth that I got enough vitamin A per day during pregnancy.

BTW, My sons are now 13 and 9!

Saying I should get medical tests is an "appeal to...


Saying I should get medical tests is an "appeal to authority." There's no reason that I should have to get any tests done when I don't believe in medical treatment or doctors, except in the case of emergencies. You are imposing a false standard of proof to ask me for medical tests. The proof that I'm healthy is my ability to eat foods I couldn't eat in the past without having any reaction, as well as many other benefits that I have described.

You see, I practice pan-critical rationalism and so does Matt and so do most of our readers. Even before I knew what it was, I practiced it. I read Max More's paper on Pan-Critical Rationalism about 15 years ago when he first published it.

Here are some shorter articles which can give you an introduction to the ideas of Pan-Critical Rationalism. Basically, you reject ALL "appeal to authority." My only authority is myself. Matt's only authority is himself. And the same goes for everyone else who belongs to HED.

We don't try to impose dogma on others. We are open to all possibilities and we are open-minded, curious, questioning, rational, and inquisitive by nature. We are willing to question and criticize all ideas, even the HEAD itself. This idea is implicit in the precepts of the HEAD, because I state in #7:

"These guidelines are simply a frame-work for getting started. In the long run, you should try to become more flexible. The goal is a total freedom from diet dogma, including in the extreme case the dogma that you think the HED may contain (if any). Experiment with varying the amount of carbs and fats in your meals over an extreme range. Experiment with mixing large amounts of foods together in meals. Eventually try to eat foods that you were previously allergic or intolerant to, like wheat, whole grains, beans, fiber, starches, sugars, dairy, fruits, juices, vegetables, fish, nuts, etc. The goal is to be able to eat everything, literally, not just large amounts of a few foods. The HED encourages you to overcome all dietary rules, dogma, fears, and limitations. Find your own Way. By starting with a high degree of dietary freedom, you can eventually attain more."

Hence, nobody can say that the HEAD is a "religion" of closed-mindedness. On the contrary, it's a religion of complete and total rationality and open-mindedness, whereas the dogma of low-carb and gluten avoidance and other things is a closed-minded religion. The HEAD is based on PCR implicitly. People who are open to the idea are pan-critical rationalists, even if they have no idea what that word means.

Homertobias, I'd be interested to see that case re...


Homertobias, I'd be interested to see that case report if you have an electronic copy.

One last warning on Cod Liver Oil: If you must ta...


One last warning on Cod Liver Oil:

If you must take it, please carefully inspect your brand. Consumerlab found several brands where the listed amount of Vitamin A per teaspoon was very significantly different from the actual content. One brand had twice the amount of A that was listed. Of course, the DHA and EPA in CLO is awesome. I do supplement DHA/EPA just not CLO. Naturaldatabase lists the "average" Vitamin A dose per 20ml as 15,000. If Briggs and Freeman's Textbook "Drugs in pregnancy and Lactation" is correct that the average american consumes 7,000 IU's, you certainly are getting up there on dose, especially if the brand you are using inaccurately reflects its dosage.

Anna, I always like your coments. They are intel...



I always like your coments. They are intelligent and well reasoned. Congratulations on cleaning up your family's diet.

I don't think eye "tracking" problems are necessarily related to Vitamin A deficiency. Nor do I think strabismus is. It's the "rods and cones", the actual seeing apparatus which is Vit A dependent. Also the cornea and it's lubrication are Vit A dependent. Not so much the surrounding eye muscle strength (strabismus) or how the brain tells the eye to move.
Didn't you eat eggs during your pregnancy? I think free range grass fed chicken eggs rich in omega 3's and Vitamin A are an excellent dietary addition for mothers to be. And I bet you ate them during your pregnancies.
I think that iodine may well be another story. There is a NEJM article a few months ago - 20% of americans deficient, especially in the noncoastal areas where the soil does not get enriched with iodine from the sea. Important for thyroid function of course, but also very important and preferentially secreated in breast milk. Most prenatal vitamins didn't contain iodine and those that did often didn't contain the amount listed. There's also data linking postpartum depression with subtle hypothyroidism. Hummmm.
I'm just quoting a textbook that Vitamin A deficiency in developed countries is rare. Subtle Vitamin A insuficiency may be more common though.
You can get your vitamin A level tested. Just ask your doctor. You need to fast. Serum level is best.
I do have a case report of Vitamin A toxicity, symptomatic, with documented Vitamin D level > 100. Its interesting, but its only a case report.

I've been following the interesting exchange on vi...


I've been following the interesting exchange on vitamin A.

homertobias, I think I've mentioned taking about a tablespoon of HVCLO daily before, somewhere on this blog or others... In actuality, when I went back and measured, the shallow tablespoon I'm filling is really the volume of a teaspoon. It was silly not to measure more accurately from the outset when I started taking it a year ago. So, I suspect I have not been getting too much vitamin A, but thanks for your concern. On the other hand, I was relying on HVCLO for vitamin D for a long time, which was a bad idea. Hopefully getting vitamin D replete will take care of any vitamin A toxicity I may have experienced.

Bruce, I'm guessing that since Stephan has tolerat...


Bruce, I'm guessing that since Stephan has tolerated all these comments from you he'll tolerate this one from me.

I don't know you but I've followed your comment on Eades' blog and other blogs. Eades was completely gracious toward you. He told you that if what you were doing was working that he was happy for you and to go ahead and keep on doing it. Your response? To call him a religious fanatic. Not on his blog, but here. That's a priceless display of cowardice and malice, in my opinion. It's no wonder you're not getting the attention you want.

Bruce, if you're trying to provoke me into deletin...


Bruce, if you're trying to provoke me into deleting your comments, you're getting damn close. I understand that you're frustrated that everyone is not flocking to your new diet philosophy, but you need to get over it. If you want to be part of this community, you're going to have to start behaving like an adult.

Another interesting thing to do while watching "Bi...


Another interesting thing to do while watching "Bizzare Foods" is to "people watch". Look at the inhabitants of these areas and notice body weight, facial structure, teeth. Note if they are eating excess carbs and check out their bodies! Just saw an episode on Hawaii yesterday and there were sooo many obese people! Andrew was talking about the Hawaiian addiction of SPAM eating. They also appear to eat ALLOT of starchy plants!

Seafood is also a MAJOR staple just about everywhere, but again, they eat the organs and especially the heads!

I echo Jenny's thoughts on the Vit A deficiency is...


I echo Jenny's thoughts on the Vit A deficiency issues, and I also l-o-v-e watching the Bizarre Foods show (my son groans about the show, but he always sits down to watch it with me, too - it must make my cooking choices seem tame in comparison).

The vision problems Jenny describes are very common, I think. I know several school children who have similar tracking problems (not the same as needing corrective lenses) and are receiving (very expensive) vision therapy for it. My own son had similar signs of vision tracking problems throughout kindergarten and first grade and had trouble reading. About halfway through his first grade year, for other reasons, I began gradually changing our family's diet (incl adding Vit A-rich foods). His reading ability greatly improved over the summer before the start of 2nd grade. By mid-third grade, we did not notice any vision tracking problems anymore. I know it could be coincidence and maturity, too, but so many things seem to be resolving throughout the family as we move away from the SAD and processed foods, and into old-fashioned, nutrient-dense foods.

I know a number of people who show signs of subtle Vit A deficiency - follicular hyperkeratosis in kids and young-middle aged adults is quite common, as are complaints of night blindness in 30-40yo adults, etc. Intake of Vit A could be inadequate in some of them, but I also suspect gluten issues that create fat-soluble vitamin malabsorption, too, at least in some cases.

So like iodine consumption, overall, overt Vit A deficiency rates are very low in the US, but mild deficiency is probably much more common than conventionally thought and very easily missed by those not looking for it.

I strongly question whether the majority of indivi...


I strongly question whether the majority of individuals in the US get 7,000 to 8,000 IU of vitamin A per day! I can tell you for fact, that until several years ago, this household did not come anywhere near it! Our veggie sources were basically limited to potatos, green beans, corn, peas and occasionally spinich. My husband and I don't particularily like carrots, but I keep them in the house for my two boys who like to munch them right out of the fridge.

You mention organ meats to most people in this country, and you get all sorts of negative looks and noises! Organ meats are staples in most other countries around the world, and always have been.

How many of you have ever seen the Travel Channel show "Bizarre Foods" with Andrew Zimmern? He travels all over the world and tastes traditional native foods. Anyone who is serious about diet should definately try to catch this, or better yet get the DVD set (season one and two are avalible on Amazon, and season three is upcoming). Organ meats, bugs, fermented foods are all figured prominantly in diets everywhere but here!

Although healthy in every other way, my eldest son was born with multiple vision problems that did not get diagnosed until the end of the 3rd grade, and which have since been corrected with therapy and excellent diet. He has 20/20 vision, but HAD problems with tracking, convergence, depth perception and more. My younger son was born with strabismus (cross eyes) which was successfully corrected with two surgeries.

I can't help thinking that a lifelong difficency in vitamin A on my part, and reliance on a perscription prenatal vitamin for my nutrition during pregnancy contributed strongly to their eye problems (I believe the A source in these vitamins was from beta-carotene)!

Veggies are not enough! Get your A from animal sources too!



EVERYTHING MOST PEOPLE THINK THEY KNOW ABOUT DIET AND HEALTH IS 100% WRONG.Eating saturated and mono-unsaturated fats with unlimited starches and/or unrefined sugars is absolutely healthy - even burgers, pizza, tacos, burritos, pasta, hot dogs, etc. Junk food and refined sugar can be healthy, as long as you don't eat them often. Comfort foods can be more healing than "high quality" foods. The greatest dietary villains in fast food are refined sugars, HFCS, artificial sweeteners, PUFA oils, and trans fats, i.e. sodas, fries, ketchup, mayo, and desserts. The best way to maintain a healthy body is not by restricting calories or foods or macro-nutrients, but rather by eating all you want and sometimes much more than you want - emphasizing nutritious foods, not refined sugars and processed vegetable oils.HEALTHY PEOPLE DON'T DIET.BE HEALTHY. EAT EVERYTHING.The Way of the High-Everything-Diet (HED)1. Eat all the fat you want, especially saturated fat : coconut oil, butter, cream, whole milk, half and half, cheese, beef, lamb, goat, buffalo, etc. Other good fats : macadamia nut oil, foie gras, pork leaf fat, olive oil in small amounts, and occasional avocados. Poly Unsaturated Fats (PUFAs) and Trans Fats are best avoided, like most commercial mayonnaise, salad dressing, chicken fat, turkey fat, fried food, hydrogenated oil, etc. Use normal pork, lard, duck, and goose fats in moderation. You may have fish occasionally, but don't eat just fatty fish : like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. Eat leaner fish, as well : cod, haddock, pollock, etc. Eating too much PUFAs from fatty fish (or fish-derived oils) can deplete Vitamin E. Beware of mercury content in certain fish, like albacore tuna and swordfish. If you can't digest fat well, eat less fat for a while and build up. If you are overweight or obese, try reducing fats some and eating more starch instead. Don't eat a fat-free diet, like idiot body-builders promote. Egg whites, skim milk products, light tuna, potatoes, and skinless chicken breasts are virtually devoid of fat. Never eat those foods exclusively, or any similar foods, as the basis of your diet.2. Eat all the starch you want : unbleached unenriched bagels, organic white rice (esp sushi rice), brown rice, sprouted bread, potatoes, sourdough, corn tortillas treated with lime, soaked beans / peas / lentils. Don't fear natural starches, whether refined or unrefined. They help you to heal. Do not believe anyone who says starches are fattening. That's only true for unhealthy people. Starches are not fattening for healthy people and they can help you get healthy faster than anything (with saturated fats). Try to avoid any bread or starch with the wrong kind of oils : like corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, rapeseed, or hydrogenated oils. Eat all the vegetables you like, preferably boiled (as in soup) or steamed. Raw veggies can be hard on digestion. Vegetable juices can be used, either raw or cooked. A properly functioning metabolism can quickly digest fiber and starch without gas, bloating, or other problems. Most people don't have such a strong metabolism, so they should initially limit fiber, esp whole grains, beans, raw vegetables, fruit peels and seeds, or nuts.3. Eliminate white sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), and other refined sweeteners from your regular diet. Preferably avoid food with HFCS in general, like most packaged foods in the USA. A small amount of sugar in breads is OK, but don't eat food high in refined sugar (like more than 10% of its calories or with sugar in the first few ingredients). Be[...]

Some quotes by Bruce Lee, quite relevant to the HE...


Some quotes by Bruce Lee, quite relevant to the HED Anti-Diet Philosophy...

"Use no way as a way. Use no limitation as a limitation."

"All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."

"As you think, so shall you become."

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."

"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential."

"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at."

"Forget about winning and losing, forget about pride and pain."

"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."

"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it."

"Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind."

"Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against."

"The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be."

"Obey the principles without being bound by them."

"If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you."

"I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude."

Homertobias and Tom, I think we're basically agre...


Homertobias and Tom,

I think we're basically agreeing, or close enough. I would say the evidence is not convincing that doses near 10,000 IU per day are teratogenic in humans. When you get up to 25,000 IU per day, you're in uncharted territory and I would not support going that high for a prolonged period. That much vitamin A would require eating 5 ounces of beef liver or eight ounces of chicken liver per day, assuming no other sources of A. That's probably beyond what we evolved for.

The other wild card is vitamins D and K2. Although I'm not aware of any data to support this notion, I wouldn't be surprised if they protected against excess vitamin A. Vitamin D in particular seems to serve as a balance for vitamin A in a number of processes.

Homertobias, I agree with you that vitamin A deficiency is probably not an issue in the average Western omnivore. Vitamin A is a nutrient that has partially survived our degraded food system, while vitamins D and K2 have been all but eliminated.

No I don't, but it would be very interesting to se...


No I don't, but it would be very interesting to see good data on how toxicity of vitamin A varies with D3/K2 status. I do agree that taking a CLO supplement in pregnancy is probably a good idea, but it's hard to recommend a safe upper limit in the absence of the aforementioned data.

Stephan, As much as I enjoy our intelectual "fenci...


As much as I enjoy our intelectual "fencing matches", and I do enjoy them. Excess Vitamin A in pregnancy is something that I am dead serious about. I have make sure that I don't harm somebody. It would just take one wildly enthusiactic fan of yours to go overboard and.....what if you are wrong. Even if technically your wording is correct, you don't want a birth defect on your conscience.

Stephan I would never never spam your blog. ITS Y...



I would never never spam your blog. ITS YOUR BLOG. And you seem to be such a nice guy. But Stephan, post on the benefits of Vitamin supplementation and pregnancy....ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? You better have a realllly good lawyer and alot of malpractice insurance dispite any disclaimers you may post on your blog. No matter what you think and whether you are right or wrong DON'T DO IT.
Anyway, back to your last comment. And you know I don't dare drag and drop after my last failed foray into computer literacy. ( MY own 82 year old mother makes fun of my computer skills)
Yes, you are right, Vitamin A deficiency can cause birth defects. But Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the developed world.(Williams, SR "Nutrition and Diet Therapy" p.159) The teratology society states in their position paper that the average balanced american diet contains approximately 7,000 - 8,000 IU's of Vitamin A from various sources and that this should be considered before additional supplementation. It is possible that strict vegans MAY become Vitamin A deficient although this is not common. Their most common deficiency is B12. I do not consider strict vegetarianism a healthy diet.

I looked at your table, I'm with Tom. The US has two standards,the RDA is 8,000IU. The minimal teratogenic dose has yet to be defined but is closer to 25,000IU. Almost everything in that table has much lower doses of vitamin A. Several of the tabled studies show a "well defined increase in specific "Neural crest" defects, which I believe. Then the next study says no effect of (too low a dose) high dose vitamin a on cleft lip?, neural tube?,This is apples and oranges.
"In summary doses of preformed Vitamin A are teratogenic as may be marked maternal deficiency." (Drugs in pregnancy and Lactation, Briggs, Freeman 7th edition)
Acute promyelocytic leukemia: All trans retinoic acid (ALTRA) has been used to treat the above referenced leukemia. Initial studies demonstrated a remarkable response to high dose daily treatment. However later experience demonstrated that such high doses can lead to differentiation syndrome characterized by respiratory distress, fevers, kidney failure, and hypotension. A large number of patients who developed this died. So ATRA must now be used with caution at low doses and in conjunction with other forms of chemotherapy. (Chomienne,C "Retinoid differentiation therapy in Promyelocytic leukemia, FASEB)

Tom, Also, several of the studies in the table we...



Also, several of the studies in the table were looking at doses higher than 10,000 IU, because they lumped women eating >10,000 IU into one category. I don't know what the average intake in those groups was, but it must have been more than 10,000 IU.