A Look at the Man behind Youngevity Supplements and it's Amazing Health Claims (sources provided)
What are Dr. Joel Wallach's Amazing Health Claims Linked to Youngevity Supplements?
Mineral Depleted Food Crops — Fact or Illusion? In his audiotape "Dead Doctors Don't Lie," Wallach claims that depleted soils give rise to mineral deficiency diseases, which threaten the health of Americans. In support he cites U.S. Senate Document 264, of 1936, which states:
Erosion and unwise farming methods have led to mineral depleted soils resulting in mineral deficient plants, livestock and people. The alarming fact is that food now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us — no matter of how much of them we eat. Laboratory tests prove that the fruit, vegetables, grains, eggs and even the milk and meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago. It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals" [74th Congress, 2nd Session, 1036].One of Wallach's critics recently labeled U.S. Senate Document 264 a "baseless opinion piece" and also rejected the notion mineral deficiencies adversely affect the health and longevity of Americans.1 That anyone would say this today must astonish, since it has been known for quite some time that our agricultural soils in many areas lack certain minerals. One of the first elements found to be lacking in close to two thirds of the arable land was iodine, and these areas were known as the "Goiter Belt." Iodine deficiency not only severely affected the health of humans; in Montana alone, 1 million pigs died annually from iodine deficiency before iodized fodders were introduced. Later, areas deficient in cobalt, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, boron, fluorine and selenium were identified.2, 3 Food crops from soils low in selenium not only causes animals to develop fatal selenium deficiency diseases, human health is also adversely affected, as evidenced by studies which revealed that human cancer mortalities are higher in low selenium regions. The need for additional selenium in our food chain thus became apparent; a recently concluded 10 year trial 4 showed that human cancer risk can be significantly reduced by supplemental selenium. The view thus can be defended that many Americans are dying prematurely of cancer because they are not getting enough of a needed essential mineral, selenium, with their food.
That not all may be right with our food crops was also concluded by the authors of the well documented, 735 page Kellogg Report 5 of 1989. This report, which addresses the impact of nutrition, environment and lifestyle on the health of Americans, warns that:
Today's food production system systematically reduces nutrient content resulting in a low nutrient density food. As a consequence, large sectors of the U.S. population are becoming chronically deficient in nutrients, and millions are already afflicted with nutrition related illnesses, from anemia to cancer, or troubled with undiagnosed symptoms: fatigue, anxiety, headaches, nervousness, depression, eating or drinking disorders [The Kellogg Report, 1989]
Wallach thus is not the only to warn about the consequences of soil depletion and other aspects of intensive agriculture.
Cultures with Long-Lived Populations — Do They Exist?Wallach mentions 5 cultures whose populations attain unusually long life spans. He is drawing his knowledge from published and credible sources. It thus must astonish when his critics argue that no such cultures exist. The best know of these cultures are the Hunzas of Kashmir, about whom numerous books have been written. There can be no doubt that many of them live at least to 100 years of age, although the actual ages claimed in individual cases may be somewhat uncertain. Physicians such as Sir Robert McCarrison established that the Hunzas remain remarkably free of disease during their long lives. This has been attributed to lifestyle, diet, agricultural practices and the mineral rich glacier milk used for irrigation and as drinking water. 10 The villagers of Vilacabamba in Ecuador, similarly are famous for their longevity and good health. According to extensive clinical studies, this population rarely develops arteriosclerosis, diabetes or solid tumors. Lymphocytic leukemia was the only malignant condition found and was observed only in some very old people toward the end of their lives.11 The health and long life spans of the Vilacabambans were attributed to an apparently optimal mineral composition of the soil, plants and water in the area.12
Other cultures with long life spans are the Russian Georgians, the Abkhazians, Azerbaijanis and Armenians, the peoples residing near Lake Titicaca and some tribes of Tibet. In his book "Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures," Wallach shows the copy of a May 1973 newspaper clipping showing the Azerbaijani Shjimos Mislimov at his 168th birthday. Mislimov, who died in September of the same year, 13 as he was at the time the oldest person living in the Soviet Union, a special postage stamp was issued to honor him.
Based on this evidence it would thus seem difficult to deny the existence of long lived cultures. Long life spans are also increasingly reached in the Western industrialized nations. In the early 1960's, centenarians were still quite rare; in Hungary (population: 10.3 million), 23 were found in 1961, in Austria (population 7.4 million), 17 (cf. "Geriatric," L. Heilmeyer et al. eds., Thieme Verl. Stuttgart, 1966, p. 228). In 1966, only 4000 People living in the U.S.A. were around one hundred years old. Today the number is estimated to be 40,000. The number is likely to increase during the next decades and along with it more and more people will reach even longer life spans. According to Wallach, the biological life span of humans is about 120 — 140 years. However, the upper limit of the human life span is actually unknown. The example of Mislimov proves that one can live longer than that, and Wallach mentions the Chinese doctor Li, who allegedly died at the age of 256 years. While skeptics tend to be critical of claims of extreme longevity, the fact is that well documented longevity records are now broken with increasing frequency. Thus, during the next decades, we may expect a further increase of the number of "supracentenarians." This could be in part because, for the first time in human history, people will reach the age of over 100 years who were born after the discovery of vitamins. Don't let us forget that vitamin C is known only since 1910, and most other vitamins were discovered even later than that. In the developed countries, people are now growing up of whose parents was able to take advantage of the new nutritional and medical discoveries prior to their birth and during their entire life span.
Dr. Wallach's Cystic Fibrosis Research.Wallach's contributions to cystic fibrosis (CF) research and therapy were rejected in 1979, and even today his American critics declare his findings as invalid, even though other researchers are now discussing the disease in quite similar terms. At the very least, Wallach deserves recognition for being the first to observe pancreatic lesions typical of CF in 3 young rhesus monkeys in the obvious absence of a genetic defect. The monkeys were born in Yerkes Primate Research Center 14 by mother animals that had been given extra doses of vegetable oil to treat a skin condition during pregnancy.
Wallach proposed on the basis of these findings that CF is an environmentally induced disease and suggested the CF could be prevented and treated by selenium and other antioxidants. He conducted a survey of 120 families with one or more CF children and concluded that the history and patient profile was consistent with an acquired environmental disease caused by a prenatal deficiency of selenium, zinc and riboflavin, and CF can be exacerbated by diets which are also low in vitamin E and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
His work triggered the interest of a group of physicians who were looking for ways to help their CF patients. A few years later these doctors were so impressed with Wallach's therapy that they awarded him the "Wooster Beach Gold Medal" in 1988 and nominated him for a Nobel Prize in 1991. This nomination did not follow the prescribed procedure and was not recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee. Critics now hold the mentioning of this nomination against him as any such nomination should be kept strictly confidential. While this is true., it is actually a very minor point which should not be used to detract from his contribution.
To demonstrate the CF like pancreatic lesions develop in populations residing in regions naturally low in selenium, Wallach and his wife, Ma Lan, M.D., a Chinese physician, traveled to China to conduct more research. In collaboration with researchers at Harbin Medical University, Wallach showed that hitherto ignored pancreatic lesions occurred in 35% of 1700 documented cases of Keshan disease (KSD), which is a cardiomyopathy occurring in low selenium regions of China. 15 In the meantime, other researchers have drawn attention to the aberrant oxygen free radical activity and the low selenium and antioxidant status in cystic fibrosis patients. 16 17 1819
Although prenatal selenium and antioxidant vitamin deficiency is still not accepted as a cause of CF, it is agreed that selenium deficiency may develop in CF children because of digestive mal-absorption or after prolonged total parinateral nutrition. 20 21 22 A case of cardiomyopathy in a CF patient which was caused by selenium deficiency has also been described.23 The therapy of CF patients with selenium and antioxidant vitamins has since also been tested in a clinical trial. One German group 24 concluded: "In cystic fibrosis (CF) patients the ant oxidative balance is chronically disturbed. Free radicals were generated by bronchial-pulmonal infection and additionally (there) exists a deficiency of ant oxidative substances by internal mal-absorption especially (of) vitamin E and selenium. For CF patients therefore we recommend a sodium selenite substitution therapy, best in combination with vitamin E."
Amalgam Fillings and Multiple Sclerosis.Dr. Wallach mentions mercury from dental amalgam fillings as a cause of multiple sclerosis (MS). His critics argue that this is not proven, which is true, but authorities on MS would also agree that mercury is definitely on the list of suspect causative agents. The hypothesis that MS is caused by an allergic reaction to mercury from dental amalgam was first proposed in 1966 by Ernst Baasch. 25 This neurologist at University of Zurich became interested in the effects of mercury after he himself developed MS following the insertion of dental amalgam fillings. 26 In his subsequent study he noted the presence of amalgam fillings in 498 of 500 consecutively examined MS patients. As amalgam fillings are so common in the general population, he cautioned that this does not prove nor disprove a causal relationship. Baasch further found that 2 MS patients improved after they had their amalgam fillings removed. Another patient reportedly developed MS after she received her first amalgam fillings at 19 years of age; this patient, according to Baasch, could have been sensitized to mercury because she had been treated with mercury for congenital syphilis at 8 years of age. 27 Finally, this author also suggested that other toxic metals could be factors in the causation of MS. Studies of the mercury/amalgam status of 100 MS patients revealed that 11 of these patients had previously been treated with mercury ointments. The acute exacerbation of MS symptoms during removal (pulverization) of one old filling was reported by Ingalis. 28 Because of the apparent connection of mercury exposure with MS and other neurodegenerative diseases. 29
Cardiomyopathy — A Selenium Deficiency Disease? Wallach states that cardiomyopathy is caused by a selenium deficiency, his critics counter that cardiomyopathy is really an entire group of heart muscle diseases with several different causes. Wallach uses a pathologically more precise definition of cardiomyopathy, based on the detection of oxygen radical damage of the heart muscle. Oxygen radical damage of the myocardium can occur in many diseases. Since selenium prevents the generation of oxygen radicals, cardiomyopathy is caused by primary selenium deficiency in regions naturally low in selenium, as was first shown to be the case in the Keshan Disease regions of China. 30 Cardiomyopathies due to selenium deficiency were at first considered unlikely to develop in the Western industrialized nations until they were shown to occur in patients after prolonged total parenteral nutrition, in subjects with destructive lifestyles such as alcoholics, in patients suffering from intestinal malabsorption or from diseases resulting in decreased Se retention such as AIDS and in cancer patients treated with certain catatonic drugs. Selenium deficiency also plays a role in the causation of Coxsackie B-virus (CBV) induced cardiomyopathies, as nonpathogenic strains of CBV have been shown to become highly pathogenic under conditions of selenium deficiency. 31 Selenium deficiency thus is the major cause of cardiomyopathy. Classical textbooks of cardiology, even the newest excellent and up to date reference book on "Nutritional Influences on Illness" [2nd Edition 1993, Third Line Press, Tarzana, Calif., p. 189], clearly states that selenium deficiency is associated with the development of cardiomyopathy, while deficiencies of other agents, e.g. magnesium, L-carnitine, coenzyme Q only may be factors in the development of the condition.
Copper Deficiency — A Cause of Aneurysms, Graying Hair and Facial Wrinkles? Wallach is being criticized for stating that all aneurysms are caused by a copper deficiency, when he in fact only claims that aneurysms are most frequently caused by copper deficiency. That this is true is know from studies in many animal species (e.g. pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, cattle, chicks, turkeys, etc.)
Copper deficiency need not be caused solely by low dietary copper intakes; copper deficiency may be induced by dietary components, notably fructose and ascorbic acid; some also consider excessive zinc as a possible risk factor. In all, rather than being criticized, Wallach should be given credit for drawing attention to the important role of copper deficiency in the pathogenesis of aneurysms.
The fact that copper influences the pigmentation of hair is well supported by observations with copper deficient animals. Experiments conducted in the early 1930's showed that the fur of black coated rats turned gray when they were placed on a copper deficient diet. Achromotrichia has been described in other species deficient in copper: rabbits, dogs and sheep. Copper is known to be required for the transformation of tyrosine to melanin. In copper deficiency, the physical nature of hair is also affected, it becomes brittle and crinkled because oxidative processes which give hair its normal elasticity require copper. 34 Other factors contribute to the graying of hair, a deficiency of pantothenic acid, for example. Clinical studies of the effects of copper supplementation on hair color in humans are lacking but Wallach does report one case in which gray hair regained pigmentation in a woman after supplementing with copper. Wince copper is required for elastin and collagen biosynthesis, changes of elastic connective tissues are expected to occur in copper deficiency. Since 75% of the typical diets in the United States furnish less than the current daily requirement of 2mg of copper per day, 35 chronic copper deficiency thus could indeed contribute to hair depigmentation and skin wrinkling, especially in women. In a recent study with 20 pregnant women on self selected diets, positive balance was observed only if a copper supplement was consumed. 36
Alzheimer's Disease — Does It Occur in Pigs and Can It Be Cured? Wallach was also criticized for suggesting that 50% of 70 year old Americans have Alzheimer's disease and also because he claims to have cured pigs with "Alzheimer's" disease, when pigs are not known to develop this disease. As to the first point, Dr. Wallach said "one out of two people who reach the age of 70 years gets the disease," he did not say "one out of two people who reach the age of 70 years has the disease"!
Malabsorption Disease: It Does Exist! While Wallach claims that many Americans suffer from 'malabsorption disease,' his critics argue that this is a nonexistent disease, like the long discredited idea of autointoxication. Here, again, one must side with Wallach, since malabsorption disease, a.k.a. malabsorption syndrome, celiac disease, sprue syndrome, nontropical sprue, idiopathic steatorrhea is a well characterized and relatively common disease. 37 38 In his book, "Let's Play Doctor," Wallach provides a correct description of celiac disease and its treatment in lay terms. Nowhere in his books or lectures does Wallach mention autointoxication, a condition which was widely diagnosed in the early 20th Century 39 but which is no longer recognized as a defined disease entity.
Male Pattern Baldness and Dietary Tin — Unproven Hypothesis? In his lectures, Wallach occasionally mentions that male pattern baldness is caused by tin deficiency. The basis for this claim is that he observed significant hair re-growth on himself following tin supplementation. Male pattern hair loss was originally reported by Klaus Schwarz et. al. 40 to develop in tin deficient rats, and these findings were subsequently confirmed in a 1990 study by Yokoi et al 41 of Kyoto University. The claimed stimulation of hair growth by tin at high dilutions thus is not an unfounded idea although it is not clear whether the hair regrowth he observed in his self experiment was actually or solely due to the tin present in the plant derived mineral extract he was ingesting
Is there a Sodium consumption and High Blood Pressure connection? Wallach's critics sometimes single out statements or opinions which he made or supposedly has made which appear to identify him as uninformed. One of such statements is that sodium consumption is unrelated to high blood pressure in humans. In a recently published review on the role of dietary salt in hypertension it is stated, 44 "Most people can eat as much NaCl as they like and nothing happens to blood pressure." That a few, especially those with kidney disease, do not excrete it as fast as it is taken in and respond with a rise of blood pressure, is rather generally known and also known to Dr. Wallach.
Low Back Pain and Osteoporosis: Wallach was accused of expressing the "absurd idea" that all low back pain is due to osteoporosis. However, Wallach only mentions osteoporosis as a contributing cause of low back pain. He is (correctly) linking calcium and copper deficiency with the initiation of osteoporosis which he then claims triggers disk degeneration and back pain. In his book "Let's Play Doctor," he writes: "Bachache is usually a muscle strain from overwork and/or a subluxation resulting from a fall, auto accident of improper lifting technique. On occasion, a serious case of constipation will cause a 'backache' from impacted stool or pressure from gas. Prevention includes proper lifting technique, strengthening exercises, proper nutrition including calcium (2000 mg) and magnesium (800 mg), high fiber diets and eight glasses of water per day."
Concerning the So Called "Colloidal Minerals.""Colloidal minerals" comprise a group of liquid mineral supplements which are produced by leaching deposits of humic shales with water. These extracts are claimed to contain mineral in highly bio-available forms and have other unusual properties, all of which ware disputed by the critics, primarily because colloidal substances, in general, are not absorbed. In this case the argument rests on the question of nomenclature. The extracts were originally thought to contain the minerals predominantly in colloidal forms. It is now know that they contain the minerals in ionic as well as in colloidal forms. Because the term "colloidal" may give rise to misunderstandings, the products are now referred to as "liquid" or "plant derived minerals." The first of these products has been marketed for more than 70 years and was claimed by the original promoters to have been used as a remedy by local Native Americans, which is not as farfetched as it would seem since these had extensive knowledge of healing plants and minerals. It has been claimed that these products may be contaminated by radioactive elements or contain organic compounds that could be carcinogenic, estrogenic or stimulate the immune system, etc., but none of this is backed b evidence. As to the superior bioavailability of liquid minerals as compared to minerals in their elemental state, this claim is correct inasmuch as iron, which was widely used in the elemental form for supplementation has a very low bio-availability and liquid iron salts are known to be well absorbed. A more detailed discussion of liquid minerals may be found elsewhere. 46
Dr. Wallach's Publications. A partial list of Dr. Wallach's publications, reviews and books authored or coauthored during the period from 1965 to 1994 comprises 55 titles: 20 of his papers were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA); 6 reviews appeared in professional books, the remainder in other professional veterinary journals. Wallach is also the coauthor (with W.J. Boever) of an authoritative treatise, "Diseases of Exotic Animals: Medical and Surgical Management" published by W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia in 1983.
Wallach's research papers reflect his wide range of interests and experience. His first paper appearing in 1965 describes goitrogenic hypothyroidism in feeder lambs; subsequent articles and reviews deal with common diseases and treatments for waterfowl, game birds, exotic birds, reptiles, fish ruminants, kangaroos, monkeys, elephants, nutritional problems of captive exotic animals, descriptions of a case of degenerative arthritis in a black rhinoceros, of visceral gout and nutritional problems in captive reptiles, angioedema in a gorilla, fibrous osteodystrophy and hypervitaminosis D in green iguanas, the immobilization of small and very large animals (rabbits, Guinea pigs, African elephants), steatites in captive crocodiles, the anesthesia of reptiles, the hand rearing of a white rhinoceros, surgical techniques for caged birds, the foot care for captive elephants, erysipelas and cystic fibrosis.
Summary and Concluding Remarks. As a veterinarian and pathologist working in zoos, Dr. Joel D. Wallach had the unique opportunity to observe, diagnose, treat and autopsy a great variety of exotic animals. This led him to recognize the importance of nutrition and especially minerals in health and disease. His discovery, in 1979, of cystic fibrosis like pancreatic lesions in rhesus monkeys and their nutritional causes led him to propose an alternative etiological hypothesis of the disease in humans and make new treatment recommendations involving antioxidant vitamins and trace elements. Although his ideas were rejected at the time, they are now being rediscovered by others. After years of practice as a naturopathic physician, Wallach entered the multilevel marketing business and became nationally known as the author of "Dead Doctors Don't Lie." In this lecture, Wallach voices his opinions on numerous medical and scientific issues. Wallach's popularity and success has led some of his detractors to question his credentials and the veracity of some of his statements. The present account shows that Dr. Wallach's academic record is unassailable, and that his opinions and views are generally well substantiated. If he startles some of his critics this may be because developments in his area of expertise are not generally know or ignored by the largely drug oriented conventional medicine.
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by Dean Wolfe Manders, Ph.D.
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