The Article below is one of a series of articles published in Medical World, now defunct, in about 1930-1935. It was scanned from very poor copy and corrected, but undoubtedly has errors. Nevertheless, I think many will find it interesting.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM EARLY 1930s PUBLICATION WALTER B. Guy, M.D., St. Augustine, Fla.
DEGENERATIVE DISEASE AND ITS ETIOLOGY
It has been customary up to this time to look upon the degenerative diseases so common in advanced life as a group of separate diseases rather than as a distinct entity and to say this man or this woman is afflicted with or died as the result of several different affections or complaints. In a recent case, that of Mr. Edison, the famous inventor, we read in the daily press that he was suffering from the results of diabetes, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, nephritis and so forth. It is the writer's intent to take up the subject of degenerative disease and endeavor to show that this group, so increasingly prevalent is, in reality, not many separate affections, but one in substance, arising from one general cause and differing only in its mode of manifestation and in the tissues involved. In this group the writer includes arteriosclerosis, hypertension, nephritis, affections of the heart, tuberculosis, diabetes, neoplastic growths, senile insanities and many other affections that are caused by degeneration of the varied tissues of the human organism.
In organic life we have, in order, birth, adolescence, maturity, decline and death. At birth the constructive forces are in the ascendency; in maturity the constructive and destructive are in balance; in the senile the destructive force is in excess. If health were perfect the organism would complete its full life cycle with probably an average of 120 years' duration, but the destructive agencies, destroying the balance between the constructive forces of life and invading micro-organisms and other injurious factors, bring about premature decay and death. Cancers or neoplastic growths are seemingly increasing; at least statistics claim so. Also arteriosclerosis, diabetes, nephritis, senile insanities are increasingly prevalent, so that this subject is well worth considering, and if but a small beam of light can be thrown on this enigma, a big step forward can be assured. In the first place, let us consider the protective agencies of the animal organism; but instead of talking about antibodies, vaccines, antitoxins, immunity of blood serum, diet and so forth, let us rather go to rock bottom and consider the very essential mineral elements of which our body is composed.
Suppose that today we first consider an element that has been but little studied, yet is probably the greatest disinfectant, antiseptic, germicide, deodorant and preservative -that nature has ever produced; viz., chlorine.
It is generally believed that organic life began in the saline ocean many aeons ago, and that the chemical formula of that ocean, of the blood serum and temperature of the body has not changed materially since that time.
That the ocean is always free from corruption, no matter how many of it animals die within it, is probably due to its chlorine content; not only to sodium chloride, but also to the chlorides of magnesium, calcium and other minerals present. It is to this chloride group of minerals that I wish to direct your attention, for in the proper concept of the role of the chlorides in the human organism we shall find, I fully believe, the key to long life and health; and the reason why, in the treatment of degenerative disease, the best indicated remedy fails to relieve or inhibit the ravages of disease.
First of all, let us study the part that chlorine plays in the digestion of food and its absorption into the body tissues. In Prof. A. E. Austin's "Manual of Clinical Chemistry'' he says: "Chlorine may be found free, as hydrochloric acid, in the gastric juice, or combined with albumin and albumoses, or it may be found united with sodium, chiefly in the fluids of the body, and with potash in the solids."
Under "Potassium" he writes: "Potash is also found as a chloride by preference in morphological elements like blood corpuscles, muscle cells. etc.”
Under "Calcium" he says: "Calcium chloride is found in the gastric juice, as a secondary product. “ Also, he says hydrochloric acid favors the excretion of the calcium phosphates.
Concerning the amount of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice a very important factor, as I shall later point out to you, Prof. Austin says the normal gastric juice in man is from 2 to 3 parts in 1000. In healthy dogs, 5 parts is found. That a healthy dog can eat septic meat and if its stomach is opened one-half hour later, this foul, odorous meat will be found sterile is a well-known truism, showing conclusively the germicidal power of free chlorine in the process of normal digestion. Too often, however, acidity of the stomach is not due to an excess of hydrochloric acid, but rather to an excess of lactic acid, and if the contents of the stomach is alkaline, oxybutyric, diacetic and other acids due to putrefactive processes are present. This can readily be determined in practice by giving a few drops, well diluted, of dilute hydrochloric acid, when usually relief will quickly be obtained.
We are, however, concerned at this time in the consideration of progressive degeneration, and whether or not the normal production of free chlorine in the gastric juice is involved in the cause of progressive degenerative disease. In healthy digestion, Austin further says, that in half an hour after eating of food, all lactic and other acids should have disappeared, owing to the inhibitive action of hydrochloric acid. Further, he says that what is true of lactic acid is also true of the other organic acids, butyric, formic, and acetic, all of which are especially abundant where there is stagnation of gastric contents due to pyloric obstruction.
What, then, may we expect to occur when this fundamental, normal, sterilizing acid is deficient, or absent, and what, then, are the causes of its inhibition? The answer to these questions opens up a vast field of research; but enough data are already at hand to supply us with sufficient information to make us realize, if we study them carefully, that an absence or deficiency of this acid is a large factor in the etiology of degenerative diseases.
The first question is readily answered: Hydrochloric acid is the only normal acid in the animal economy; all other acids, such as lactic, uric, carbonic and so forth, are waste products, to be eliminated as quickly as possible, and the normal acid is truly the chief factor in their removal or destruction, for if we have a too great excess of carbonic acid, we have coma, as in diabetes or later stages of pneumonia; if uric acid, deposits in valves, arteries and articular surfaces and so forth. When this hydrochloric acid content of the gastric fluid is deficient or absent, grave results must gradually and inevitably appear in the human metabolism. First of all, we shall have an increasing and gradual starvation of the mineral elements in food supply. The food will be incompleteIy digested and failure of assimilation must occur. Secondly, a septic process of the tissues will appear; pyorrhea, dyspepsia (imperfect or painful digestion), nephritis, appendicitis, boils, abscesses, pneumonia, etc. will become increasingly manifest. Again, a normal gastric fluid demands activity of the gall-bladder contents and of the pancreas for neutralization. Deficiency of normal acid leads to stagnation of these organs, causing diabetes and gallstones. In other words an absence or a great deficiency of HCl gives rise to multitudinous degenerative reactions and prepares the way to all forms of degenerative disease.
That this normal acid is nature's true antiseptic has been clearly demonstrated by Dr. Burr Ferguson, of Alabama, who injected hydrochloric acid, 1-1500, intravenously and subcutaneously, causing rapid repair, in many septic infections, such as abscess, osteitis and tuberculosis. The writer has proved in several cases, such as septic induration (hardness) following gunshot wound, delayed repair following operation that this acid, given by mouth, well diluted, hastens delayed or absent phagocytosis and repair of injured tissues. What, then, are the causes of its disappearance in the gastric fluid, following eating of food? First, Prof. Austin says most conclusively that "hydrochloric acid secretion may be completely suppressed by emotion or worry." In these days of emotional worry and distress, loss of homes, business, incomes and money,(the Great Depression of the early thirties) we may well fear that in the near future a great increase of degenerative disease, such as cancer, nephritis, cardiac, nervous and mental affections "must assuredly occur unless man can rise above worldly affairs and find the true and only source of contentment and happiness. To this state the true physician must continually point, first himself finding and then showing it to others. As long as mental depression envelops like a dark cloud the soul of man, so long may we search in vain for the indicated remedy and relief of our patient's distress. Shall we, then, fold our arms and give up the fight? Not by any means. The remedy the doctor prescribes is it not, in a spiritual sense, the symbol of a healing force? Nature's recuperative powers? Yes, and the patient's faith must be present to reinforce the doctor's knowledge. But how much better for the physician’s own abiding faith if a truer concept of the nature of disease and tissue pathology can be truly visualized, and this necessary acid and the deficient minerals be restored to the starving tissues, feeding and cleansing the vital fluids! To do this no massive doses of inert, sterilized minerals are required. Rather an ionized dilute solution of these elements will quickly bring about a change of the impaired metabolism. The writer is using, after months of study and research, helped along by brilliant results, again discouraged by absolute failures, an acid solution of arsenicum, ferrum, potassium and chlorine. This, properly diluted, can be used intravenously or by mouth.
One remarkable case may be quoted here, of a coloured woman more than 80 years age, with an enormous adenoma of colon, who was found with complete stoppage of bowels, vomiting and gas pains. Instead of the use of an opiate, a solution of mineral chlorides was given intravenously, with complete relief in six hours. Four more injections were given, followed by treatment by mouth. Within four months all traces of growth had disappeared. Eighteen months later, a hard sarcomatous growth appeared in the right tibia. The chlorine solution was again given by mouth and at this date, two months later, the growth has almost disappeared.
Tuberculosis, especially of bones and in lungs, rapidly improved, while septic boils disappeared. Hypertension, by removal of toxins, becomes normal; and, strange to say, the erythema of skin seen in excessive hot weather is rapidly relieved by injections of these acid mineral chlorides. In diabetes, thirst and sugar are rapidly reduced to a minimum. All cases of arthritis are helped by giving this normal acid in addition to other remedies.
When one considers that this normal acid is derived from the tissues of the stomach or gastric membrane and not directly from the sodium chloride of the blood, one readily realizes that an ample supply of sodium chloride alone is insufficient to restore normal gastric acidity. Rather that it is, instead, a complex process, the sodium atom being picked up and combined with the phosphorus atom, giving rise to sodium phosphates to be eliminated, thus allowing the chlorine atom to be set free to combine with the potassium and other minerals and albumins in the gastric acid cells and to be made ready for future digestive functions.
That the removal or breaking down of toxic products found in impaired metabolism is best accomplished by an acid is very well demonstrated by considering methyl guanidine, the deadliest toxin yet recovered from animal tissues. A few minims of this toxin, when injected into the tissues of an animal, cause convulsions; a slightly larger dose, immediate death. Yet, when hydrochloric acid is combined with it, it becomes a harmless food substance.
This paper would not be complete without reference to malignant growths already mentioned. So far, search by studying cell growth has ended in complete failure. Not in cell life is the secret to be found, but rather in the media in which the cell lives and the nerves control. That cell growth is materially influenced by the nerve centres of the spinal cord is undoubtedly true, as shown by the rapid wasting of the cellular tissue when involvement of the anterior horns Of the spinal cord occurs in infantile paralysis and progressive muscular atrophy. Such being the case, a toxin causing destruction of the inhibiting control of cell growth probably present in the posterior spinal nerve centres would allow wild growth of cell life; therefore neoplasms in all their multitudinous forms and a general failure of the antiseptic powers of the blood serum will bring about what is known as malignancy. In the writer's limited experience, cancerous growths seem to appear when the blood pressure is low, indicating beginning failure of the adrenal system to combat toxemia. When hypertension is present, the other group of degenerative diseases makes itself evident. In youth, a deficiency of normal gastric acid may allow tuberculosis to become active, for all are probably infected, but only those deficient in natural immunity develop this disease.
Of dietary causes, one naturally considers the great excess of sugar now eaten, which produces a surplus of lactic acid, and an excess of egg proteins, making an unbalanced diet. But the worry, fatigue, failures and despair of our present civilization, I believe, are the greatest factors of all. Austin has clearly shown the absence and deficiency of hydrochloric acid in gastric fluids in pneumonia, consumption (tuberculosis) and cancer, as well as in those mental states previously mentioned.
In Neoplastic Disease by Prof. James Ewing, page 73, writing on probable causes of cancerous growth, we find: "It has been shown that the presence of lactic acid is dependent on impaired motility and deficiency of HCl. Since these conditions are present very early in cancer, the test for lactic acid is of considerable diagnostic value.” On page 71 we find that deficiency of HCl causes alkalescence, and this is found in cancerous disease.
- That normal hydrochloric acid is necessary for complete healthy digestion.
- That deficiency of this acid tends to sepsis, suppuration and general toxemia.
- That if adrenals are inactive, degenerative forms of disease usually appear.
- That if the adrenals are impaired, malignant neoplasms may be expected.
- That neoplasms are most likely caused by failure of the inhibitory nerve controls, probably located in the posterior nerve centers of the spinal cord.
- That emotional worry, grief, anxiety,depression, are factors to be considered as causes of acid deficiency of gastric juice and thus give rise to many conditions causing degenerative processes and alkalescence so commonly found in cancerous disease.
The writer, after administering this acid solution of mineral chlorides to over one hundred cases of chronic disease of many types, including cases of diagnosed cancerous growths in the digestive system, feels confident that this method is without doubt a reliable and satisfactory one for such conditions and also a method of preventing cancerous disease. If cases are too advanced for hope of recovery, this treatment ameliorates symptoms and prolongs life. Also, above all else, it opens up a new field of research which he believes will lead to ultimate victory over the degenerative progressive diseases so.