A Veterinary Surgeon who goes on to train as a Doctor is a rare animal indeed, but in the 1970’s Joel Wallach from Missouri in the USA did just that.
This gave Joel Wallach a new perspective when treating human patients as he realized early in his career as a doctor that many of the diseases suffered by both animals and human beings were the same, and were brought about by deficiencies in the diet. The big difference was that these deficiencies were instantly recognised and treated in animals, whereas in humans this was rarely the case and treatment was often long, complicated and unfortunately quite often unsuccessful.
Wallach was brought up on a farm and he saw for himself how his father made sure that his livestock was always in tip top condition. After all, his father was in business and obviously could not afford to keep sick animals that not only involved costly veterinary fees but greatly reduced their profitability. As a young lad, Wallach tells the amusing story of how he recognized his own calcium deficiency by comparing his symptoms with what he had observed in his father’s farm animals, and successfully treated himself with the calcium pellets that they routinely gave to the veal calves.
CONGENITAL BIRTH DEFECTS AND THEIR PREVENTION
While a student at veterinary college Wallach studied animal husbandry and nutrition. He learned how to design vitamin, mineral and trace mineral supplement programmes for livestock. His professor at that time was researching the effects of mineral deficiencies during animal pregnancy and the resulting congenital birth defects. He created spina bifida in laboratory animals way back in 1956, by feeding the pregnant females with diets deficient in zinc, vitamin B12 and folic acid, long before folic acid was recognised as such a vital ingredient in the diet for pregnant women. Wallach was excited to discover that up to 98% of birth defects in animals could be prevented by supplementing the female with the proper nutrients prior to conception. The very fact that veterinarians could prevent and cure diseases in a whole herd or flock with nutritional supplements was a great fascination to him. He reasoned that if only this concept could be successfully applied to humans it would eliminate an enormous amount of unnecessary misery, add many healthy years to people’s lives and save the health service vast sums of money.
IMPORTANCE OF MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
Whilst vitamins, enzymes and hormones were important to health, Wallach noted that mineral deficiencies in particular caused expensive diseases and livestock losses. Plants eaten by livestock cannot provide minerals so to prevent disease a supplement of all known essential minerals was added to the animals’ diet. Nothing was left to chance. If only the same could be done for the human “herd”!
Wallach learned that copper deficiency caused aneurysms. A turkey farmer lost hundreds of his turkeys due to ruptured aortic aneurysms which was found at autopsy. The pathologist suspected copper deficiency and so the following year the amount of copper in the feed pellets was doubled, resulting in not a single turkey in the flock of 500,000 dying from a ruptured aneurysm on that farm.
According to Wallach, all copper deficiency diseases have been eliminated in the animal industry with commercially prepared pellets, whereas in humans these same copper deficiencies are treated symptomatically at great expense, involving unnecessary pain and misery and sometimes even death.
ABSENCE OF ARTHRITIS IN FARM ANIMALS
If an animal has arthritis it is in pain, it lies down, refuses to eat, doesn’t gain weight as it should and is therefore no longer profitable. As a result the animal industry learned many, many years ago to prevent and cure livestock arthritis by supplementing with clay, bone meal and limestone. Now, any number of feed pellets or other supplements exist to cure arthritis in all manner of animals from chickens, sheep, pigs and cows to lions, tigers and bears by rebuilding cartilage, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue, bone foundation and bone matrix. Unfortunately, the prognosis for human victims of arthritis is nowhere near as good. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are routinely given, even though doctors rarely mention the dangerous side effects to patients. No treatment prevents or cures arthritis. Some treatments can cause gastric bleeding, kidney failure and liver damage. When the drugs no longer work the only option left is joint replacement at enormous cost to the health service.
FOLLY OF TREATING SYMPTOMS, NOT THE CAUSE
Treating the symptoms instead of the underlying problem is a no win situation. Instead of just killing the pain, the joints must be rebuilt in exactly the same way as is done with animals.
Wallach claims that most trace mineral deficiencies in the clinical phase are never diagnosed as such by the orthodox physician. He is critical of doctors who, through no fault of their own, are not taught nutrition during their medical training. The “cure”, however, is often simply a matter of replacing the missing trace element. Positive clinical responses can occur in as little as 48 hours to 30 days. If animals can be cured with good nutrition or supplements, then why not humans?
NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY DISEASES
In diagnosing the cause of death at autopsy in a wide variety of animals, Wallach gained a great deal of experience and quickly learned that wild animals, too, were often rife with nutritional deficiency diseases. They were lucky if they found natural salt licks, clay beds or some other source of minerals. If they were less fortunate they suffered from infertility, congenital birth defects such as spina bifida, cleft palate, heart defects, cerebral palsy and/or degenerative diseases. Unfortunately, nutritional deficiencies are seldom, if ever, reported by human pathologists, so human health never progresses. It is claimed that every animal and every human being that dies of natural causes dies of a nutritional deficiency disease.
Some time later, when working in a game reserve in Africa, Wallach observed that wild animals such as rhino and elephant spent much time breaking open and eating clay, termite nests and limestone beds to obtain calcium and trace minerals. The healthiest animals were always found in the mineral rich areas.
THE TRAGIC STORY OF CYSTIC FIBROSIS
A particularly impressive event relating to one specific mineral deficiency came to light in 1978. Whilst working in the pathology department of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, Wallach made an extraordinary discovery. For the very first time he diagnosed a case of cystic fibrosis of the pancreas in an animal. Despite being a fairly common disease in humans, it had never before been recorded in animals and all veterinary literature at that time stated that the disease definitely did not exist in animals. The autopsy at which Wallach made the discovery was on a 6 month old baby rhesus monkey. By chance, while previously working with monkeys at the NASA experimental laboratory, he had witnessed what happened when pregnant monkeys were accidentally deprived of selenium in their carefully monitored diet; their babies developed cystic fibrosis. After further meticulous tests, Wallach was able to prove that the disease was caused by a selenium deficiency in the mother and was NOT a genetic disease, as was previously believed. Wallach realised straight away that the discovery would have a far reaching and dramatic outcome. He now knew “congenital and neonatal selenium deficiency in animals equalled cystic fibrosis in humans”. Here, at last, was a way in which to wipe out a hitherto incurable disease. Wallach was hailed as a hero and invited to lecture in 20 different States in America as well as several European countries.
The diagnosis was based on characteristic cystic fibrosis changes in the pancreas and liver in baby monkeys and these were confirmed by cystic fibrosis experts from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Emory University and the University of Chicago. Experts from the National Institutes of Health and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation were overjoyed. However, when they learned that Wallach could reproduce the cystic fibrosis changes with a congenital selenium deficiency in almost any animal species he was fired from his job with 24 hours notice and ‘blackballed’ from research. Within a few months the scientific community, still clinging to the established dogma that cystic fibrosis was a genetic disease and not a congenital one, finally won the day; the scientists closed ranks and Wallach’s discovery was discredited and ignored.
The facility that he was working for was trying to get a multi- million dollar grant to study genetics and they were afraid that if Wallach showed that cystic fibrosis was not genetic they would not get the grant.