disease

A brief history of nutritional deficiencies and chronic disease

Sunday, December 05, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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There is a long history of discovering relationships between nutritional deficiencies and chronic disease. One of the most well known is probably scurvy -- a disease where your bones lose their rigidity due to a deficiency of vitamin C. The historical accounts of this mostly involve sailors who, on long sailing voyages, were overcome by this nutritional disease. And it actually took hundreds of years before the right scientist came along and discovered that this was caused by a simple nutritional deficiency that could be cured by eating fruits high in vitamin C such as limes. Hence the name 'limeys' for sailors.

That's just one example of a disease caused by nutritional deficiencies. There are many other diseases such as rickets and beriberi caused by nutritional deficiencies. Asian people who historically ate polished, processed rice (white rice) frequently got beriberi, a disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamin). Until the nutritional causes of beriberi were established, however, physicians of ancient Asia thought the disease was some sort of plague.

In America, the term 'redneck' actually comes from a vitamin B deficiency that caused heightened susceptibility to sunburns. Interestingly, most Americans are, today, deficient in B vitamins as well, making them technically rednecks. It also explains why many people are so easily sunburned. As explained in Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Dr. Elson Haas, M.D.:

For a long period of history, the niacin deficiency disease, pellagra, was a very serious and fatal problem. Characterized as the disease of the "three Ds," pellagra causes its victims to experience dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. The fourth D was death. As described previously, the classic B3 deficiency occurs mainly in cultures whose diets rely heavily on corn and where the corn is not prepared in a way that releases its niacin. One of the first signs of pellagra, or niacin deficiency, is the skin's sensitivity to light, and the skin becomes rough, thick, and dry (pellagra means "skin that is rough" in Italian). The skin then becomes darkly pigmented, especially in areas of the body prone to be hot and sweaty or those exposed to sun. The first stage of this condition is extreme redness and sensitivity of those exposed areas, and it was from this symptom that the term "redneck," describing the bright red necks of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century niacin-deficient fieldworkers, came into being.

The early colonial settlers in America, by the way, didnít know how to properly process corn as the American Indians did. The American Indians processed corn using potash (which is highly alkaline) that makes the B vitamins in corn available for assimilation during digestion. But the American settlers, not understanding how to prepare corn, would simply grind up their corn and consume it as corn flour (corn meal). By the way, that's how most people eat corn today: as ground up cornmeal ingredients in chips and foods.

In more modern times, we know very well about what happens when you're deficient in folic acid and you are a pregnant woman: your baby may be born with serious spinal cord defects or even be stillborn. In fact, birth defects are almost always explained by nutritional deficiencies or the consumption of foods and beverages by the mother that interfere with good nutrition.

We also know that iodine is absolutely essential for human health, which is why salt is enriched with iodine. That's in an effort to prevent goiter, a disease that was quite common in the United States until iodine was finally mandated as a salt supplement (enrichment) by the FDA.

As a nation we have managed to force a handful of minerals and vitamins into the food supply that prevent only the most grotesque and physically obvious disorders and diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies. And by the way, those are the only ones that really get addressed through the food supply.

If there is an obvious and immediate link between nutrition and a particular disease such as birth defects caused by a lack of folic acid, then of course this gets recognized and addressed very quickly. But other metabolic disorders such as cancer and diabetes are more complex and so the cause/effect relationship is not so easy to see from the point of view of scientists, the FDA, and even the public. So these don't get addressed.

And that, frankly, is why the public is still not being taught the correlation between nutrition and chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and even mental disorders like clinical depression.

This article is an excerpt from the book, The 7 Laws of Nutrition by Mike Adams.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has authored and published several downloadable personal preparedness courses including a downloadable course focused on safety and self defense. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams created TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org

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