Medical science has been able to prevent diphtheria, smallpox, and typhoid fever by vaccination. We have been able to reduce the mortality from tuberculosis by pasteurization of milk and improved general hygiene. Typhoid fever and cholera have been prevented by chlorination of water and proper sewage disposal. Humans have been protected against these diseases because they have been artificially immunized and because their environment has been controlled to some extent, and not because the bodys inherent ability to prevent infection has been built up.
It is far more important to enable the human to maintain his natural powers against infection than it is to keep bacteria and viruses away from his door, especially since we do not have vaccines available for many common infections. I do not believe that Nature over intended that man should suffer sickness, crippling, and death through infections. From my observations and studies in human nutrition I have become convinced that Nature originally did endow us with natural powers of protection and that we have lost these powers through errors in diet. A polio vaccine may some day be a reality. Until then, it is necessary that we fortify ourselves with good food.
The purpose of this book is to show how one may fortify the body through diet and thus prevent infection. The method which I offer as a protection against polio is based on the concept that the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels will prevent the invasion of the bodys tissues by the polio virus and thereby prevent the infection. I shall offer evidence to show that a lowering of the blood sugar to abnormally low levels is the most important factor of susceptibility to infection. Since the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels is fundamentally dependent on the food we eat, the method of prevention becomes a matter of diet. Thus the human has the power of preventing this crippling disease because he has control over what he eats. Knowledge is power. I state without reserve that we have this knowledge.
The concept that low blood sugar is a factor of susceptibility to polio also helps us to understand why polio is more prevalent during the summer, why polio often follows physical exertion, fatigue, and swimming in cold water. It also helps us to understand why rest helps prevent infection. I shall present evidence to show that these predisposing factors may cause low blood sugar and thus favor polio.
I shall not discuss the geographic distribution of polio, nor the fact that polio is worse during certain years, nor the effects of rainfall on the incidence of polio because we do not have the answers to these problems. I regard them as unimportant when it comes to preventing polio. Even if we knew the answers to these questions, it is doubtful that we could do anything about them. The human is always at the mercy of the weather. Weather is part of his natural environment. The human organism has, however, been endowed physiologically with the means to adjust to changes in his environment and to withstand its rigors and hazards.
Intensive research during the past twelve years on the relationship between diet and susceptibility to infection, not only in polio but also in common respiratory infections and tuberculosis, has convinced me that the human organism can protect itself against infection virtually completely by proper nutrition.
That there is a direct relationship between nutritional standards and susceptibility to infection is shown by the great increase in the incidence of tuberculosis in countries that experience a reduction in nutritional standards during war time. Knud Faber, a Danish physician, in an analysis of factors responsible for the increase in tuberculosis mortality in Denmark, Sweden, and England during World War I, concluded that the reduced consumption of meat and fish was the most important nutritional factor. Dr. Faber began his study without any preconceived ideas as to what were the responsible factors for this increased tuberculosis mortality. He writes:
"In Denmark the increase in tuberculosis mortality took place in 1916-1917 simultaneously with a greatly reduced consumption of meat and fish, and the decrease of the mortality coincided with a greatly increased consumption of these foods. If we take beef, veal, and fish alone, the fall in consumption was extraordinary during 1915-1916. The total calories consumed was not diminished because there was sufficient bread and flour." He continues:
"We see the same thing in Sweden, though to a less marked degree. The rise in tuberculosis mortality was recorded in 1914-1916, and in those years the consumption of bread and flour rose, whereas that of meat decreased. After 1916 we see a steady and continuous fall in tuberculosis mortality, and at the same time flour foods fell off while the consumption of meat and fish rose rapidly. It may be added too, that in England, a rise in tuberculosis mortality coincided with a lower consumption of meat and butter and an increased consumption of flour foods."There has been a similar rise in tuberculosis mortality in practically all belligerent countries in Europe during and since World War II and for exactly similar reasons, namely, a great reduction in the consumption of protein foods, such as, meat, fish, and eggs, along with an increased consumption of the more available and cheaper starchy foodstuffs.