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Originally published July 7 2008

The Nutritional Origin of the Term "Red Neck" and Other Fascinating Historical Facts About Vitamin Deficiencies

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) There is a long and fascinating history of 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 in vitamin C. The historical accounts of this condition mostly involve sailors who, when long sailing voyages, were overcome by this nutritional deficiency. 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 that are also 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 causes heightened susceptibility to sunburns. Interestingly, most Americans are, today, deficient in B vitamins as well, which is why they are so easily susceptible to sunburns. 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.

Colonial Americans Rejected the Wisdom of American Indians

The early colonial settlers in America, by the way, didn't 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 (and too arrogant to follow the food preparation ways of the Indian "savages"), 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. It's no wonder so many modern Americans remain so deficient in B vitamins.

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. Yet modern (arrogant) medicine remains nutritionally illiterate, refusing to teach expectant mothers much at all about prenatal nutrition (beyond folic acid, anyway).

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. And yet most Americans get only the minimal amount of iodine necessary to prevent disease, not the higher intakes that would enhance health and help prevent obesity and cancer! (Read books by Dr. David Brownstein to learn more about Iodine. See )

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. We have not yet, however, come to our senses enough to actually recommend levels of nutrients that would prevent degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

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. It is why, for example, the truth that Vitamin D, all by itself, prevents nearly four out of five cancers is still not taught to the public (and is, in fact, censored by the cancer industry, which steadfastly remains invested in the business of keeping cancer alive and well in America today).

What history has really taught us is that Western medicine is a system run by illiterates who, after hundreds of years of claiming medical superiority, still have not admitted that a single nutrient can treat a single disease. Astonishingly, it remains the regulatory view of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that no nutrient has any therapeutic effect whatsoever on human health. If it did, it would be classified a drug, not a nutrient, and would therefore be outlawed as an "unapproved drug."

Facts are stubborn things, but the blindness of Western medicine has proven itself to be far more stubborn in its pursuit of enforced nutritional illiteracy among not just the population, but the entire medical profession as well.

Illiteracy among the uneducated is a dangerous thing, but when selective illiteracy is embraced by those in the position of apparent authority, it becomes a dangerous disservice to humanity.

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