Fascinating Intrigue, and Other Stuff to Think About

Dear Family

I have come across a fascinating new rabbit hole in the realm of health, potentially relevant to those with gut issues, eye and skin problems, autoimmunity, eating disorders, excessive inflammation, or elevated triglycerides, cholesterol, and/or blood sugar.

This rabbit hole was discovered by an engineer named Grant Genereux https://ggenereux.blog/ , and his discovery has to do with a vitamin we’ve all heard about, so normal and everyday that you will be tempted to yawn and not-read this e-mail because how can it possibly be interesting to read 2800 words on the topic of Vitamin A?

All I can say is, if Grant Genereux is even partially correct, he has discovered some pretty earth-shaking stuff in the field of human nutrition. I will paraphrase and quote from one of his books https://ggenereux.blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/PoisoningForProfits.pdf below, adding a few of my own thoughts, and remember: this is only the tip of a potentially enormous iceberg. I am attempting a summary but no empirical data yet exists, and the research is being done only by people like you and me. So do some experimentation, read some more, check out some of the bazillion studies referenced by Genereux, and please let me know what you think. I am dying to geek out with my fellow kitchen table scientists!

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To begin, we have to start with the very concept of “Vitamin” A. The discovery of vitamins was pretty haphazard, and the entire theory (which every medical text today calls a "fact") of Vitamin A's importance was based on studies of rodents, that "proved" the dangers of Vitamin A deficiency. Researchers were very excited about the new science of isolating single nutrients, and they wanted to discover a single cause of night blindness and xeropthalmia.

"Basically, and a bit simplified, it was decided that both animals and humans have the same almost razor thin tolerance for vitamin-A deficiency. Get too little of it, and you’ll go blind, or you’ll first go blind and then you’ll die; or get too much of it and you’ll die with your skin painfully burning off. Either way, it’s a dicey balancing act."

How did we come upon this (our current, modern) theory of Vitamin A?

"Somehow these early researchers, and even  researchers today, have completely  ignored  the  fact  that animal and human  history  is full  of prolonged  periods  of  complete  starvation  with  no 'deficiency' lesions developing in the eye, and no blindness either."

For now, let's call it "Compound A," because assuming that A has been completely misclassified as an essential vitamin is Genereux's primary hypothesis.

Paraphrased: "Compound A is a fat-soluble molecule. Therefore, it will naturally  be  absorbed  (emulsified)  by  fats. This includes both dietary fats, and the body’s storage fats. For us, most of the storage of Compound A is in the fats within the liver, and to a lesser extent in the fats of the adipose tissues (the skin, etc.)

"This storage ratio is not  constant  over  time.  As  the  liver becomes  more  and  more  saturated, more  Compound A  will  remain  in serum  longer  and  slowly  seep  into  and accumulate within the lipids of the adipose tissues. Even with that, the Compound A stored within these fats is not yet toxic.

"At first, Compound A is safely wrapped up, and therefore does not get rapidly exposed to cell membranes. Somewhat similarly, Compound A can be safely transported in serum within wrapper proteins, called retinol binding proteins, the RBPs. When encased within the RBPs, no part  of the  Compound A molecule is  exposed to the outside world (inside the body).  In  this packaging, it is once again safe, harmless, and maybe even useful.

"So, Compound A in reasonable amounts, given adequate amounts of dietary fats and proteins, is by itself not too terrible. However, there is a tipping point to where Compound A can, and does, easily convert into an extremely nasty, and highly toxic molecule (and the thought to be active form of the vitamin).  This  converted  Compound A  molecule is  called retinoic  acid. Retinoic acid is so incredibly toxic it is used as a chemotherapy drug. The reported  functioning  mechanism  of the  “drug” is  that  it  quickly  kills replicating cells. "

When the liver is full up with stored Compound A, Genereux continues, it essentially overflows - and any additional Compound A that is consumed, whether as pre-formed A in animal foods, pro-formed A in plant foods (caratenoids etc.), or in drugs like accutane etc., causes elevated and toxic levels of retinoic acid to circulate throughout the body, wreaking havoc, and - Genereux thinks - triggering autoimmunity.

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It is important to note that foods containing A are not toxic on principle! It's merely a problem if one lives in this modern world and has a liver (and potentially excess fat tissue) that has become fully full-up of A. At that point, no matter how healthy a food is, Genereux and others argues that the disadvantages of its A outweigh any good fats or wonderful nutrition it offers otherwise, and contribute to poisoning the body.

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Okay, so backing up a bit to the first studies that determined the existence of "Vitamin A Deficiency," in the 1920s. Researchers repeatedly noted that high doses of Compound A caused rats to very quickly develop hemorrhages, skin lesions, inflammatory changes in the eye, and exceptionally brittle bones. (“rats were fed on massive doses of  vitamin-A  for  periods  varying  from  10  to  18  days.” ...[researchers]  define "massive doses" as “one  drop  of halibut-liver  oil  per  rat  per  week.”)

…Unbound retinol, and retinoic  acid cause cells to initiate immune assisted apoptosis. Therefore, both retinol, and retinoic acids are toxins."

The fascinating thing about so-called Vitamin A Deficiency, if you read about it pretty much anywhere, is that the symptoms are exactly the same as the known symptoms of Vitamin A TOXICITY. (This always confused me way back when, concerning whether or not to take prenatal vitamins. On the one hand, Vitamin A causes birth defects, while at the same time you need to consume Vitamin A so your baby won't be blind, but at the same time if you take too much your baby will die... I actually started and stopped those prenatals about four times during one pregnancy! During my last two pregnancies I religiously ate egg yolks and liver and cod liver oil.)

Getting back to the studies:

"One source of the problems is that trying to design a viable, yet vitamin-A deplete, diet to  experiment  with  is surprisingly  tricky [especially for researchers back in the early part of the last century who didn't always know how to find a particular form of a nutrient they were looking for (nor did they always know it existed at all!).] The thing  is,  almost  all foods on the planet have at least some vitamin-A in them. In other words, to come up with a completely vitamin-A deplete diet, you need to rule out so many other needed nutrients at the same time. But, that’s only the start of the problems introduced in these experiments..."

Genereux proceeds to describe the terrible fates of early twentieth-century lab rats when they were fed a "vitamin-A-free diet", which involved terrible pain and suffering immediately and death soon after. These studies caused researchers to describe Vitamin A deficiency in the same terrifying way that it is described in today’s nutrition textbooks: a quick-onset, exceptionally unpleasant situation which supposedly leads to early death, and eczema and blindness at the very least, along with dozens of other symptoms.

“….If  that  long  list  of  disease  and  tissue  destruction  did  not cause  the researchers  to pause  and  think deeply,  and  very seriously question  their deficiency concept, then  the  speed  at which  it happened  surely  should  have.  Most  of  the animals in their experiments had become extremely sick by the 8th week of being on a specially designed deficiency diet. By the 8th week, many of the animals  were  too  weak,  sick  and  diseased even  to feed themselves. Bizarrely,  the  researchers  resorted  to force-feeding the  animals for  the remaining two weeks of their experiments. The scene in these laboratories must have been something like mini horror torture chambers.

"...This is not what any reasonable, and thinking, person would expect to see in  response  to  a  mere deficiency, which should instead be a slow process of wasting and  general  tissue atrophy.  After  all,  this  is  the  response that’s always been witnessed  in nature,  and witnessed for over thousands  of years  too, due  to prolonged and  even  complete  starvation.  Clearly  then,  there  was  something  else drastically  wrong  with  the  artificial deficiency diet  used  in these  lab experiments.

"This  takes us  into  the  heart  of  the  matter.  What  in  the  hell were  they feeding  these  animals?  It’s  almost  always  the  same diet used  in  these experiments. Basically, with only some slight variations, here’s the list of ingredients of the de-facto Compound A 'deficiency' proving diet:

▪Casein(“deactivated” milk protein)
▪Starch(usually corn starch)
▪Salt mixture
▪Lard(rendered pig fat)
▪Brewer's yeast(or vegemite yeast)
▪Distilled water

"To understand the rationale behind this diet, the researchers believed that it was deplete only in Vitamin A and that it was complete and sufficient in every other regard. The thinking was that the milk casein would provide adequate   protein.   The   starch   provided carbohydrates. The   high concentration of salt mixture; well I’m not too sure what the purpose of that  was.  The lard provided  ample  fats,  and  the  yeast  provided  the  then known B vitamins. Therefore, even though not ideal, the diet should have been  sufficient  in  sustaining the  lab  animals  in  somewhat  reasonable health."

"Very tragically, essentially this same diet design is used by most follow-on researchers who  repeat  the  experiments  and  confirm  the vitamin A deficiency results. This is not too surprising, though, because this is kind of what  you are  supposed to  do  in  repeating and  confirming  experiments. There is a bit of a flurry of others repeating these experiments in the early 1920’s, some in the 1930’s, 40’s, and even in 1960. They all use the same diet. There are a few tweaks made to it here and there, but it is effectively the  same.  The same diet yields  the  same  results  over  and  over.  Similar experiments are  repeated in  guinea  pigs,  rabbits,  and  even monkeys. Almost all animals fed this diet became seriously diseased, and most died within just ten weeks. So, there you have it. That’s the artificial diet that proved the vitamin-A deficiency theory.  Although not  ideal,  to  the  casual  observer  it  looks  at least  somewhat reasonably  conclusive.  However,  we  are  not  casual observers.  We are inquisitive and  critical  thinkers.  Some  immediate questions show up here..."

(An interesting note is that when the rats’ ”Vitamin-A-free" chow had its fats switched out - for example so that they were eating butter instead of lard - "deficiency" symptoms could immediately began to reverse. “But this is sloppy science for sure, because many variables changed with such a fat-switch (such as form of Vitamins contained in butter, the presence in butter of additional Vitamins K and D, etc), not just one, etc…”)

Another follow-up study showed that, among other things, "even when  vitamin-A  was added to the rodents’  ‘Vitamin-A-free chow’,   the  animals  still  developed xerophthalmia and keratomalacia. THIS result was not just a red flag; it was full-size  flashing  red lights  with  sirens.  Clearly,  there  was  something hugely wrong with the “deficiency” theory."

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"What  is  lard? Basically,  it’s pig  fat  from  the  adipose tissue of  the slaughtered  animal  (mostly  the  skin).  Lard is produced via a  process known  as  rendering. Rendering is exposing the remnants  of the  hog’s carcass  to  high  heat  or  steam  and separating off the fat. Although  that might not sound too delicious, in the animal processing industry, nothing is wasted.

"Of all the mammals on the planet, there are only about two that are known to collect retinol within the fats of their adipose tissues (the skin). It’s humans and domesticated (farmed)  pigs.  In  most  other mammals,  there  is no  detectable  retinol  in their skin lipids...

“So lard is  rendered  pig  fats,  and  that  fat  would normally  have significant levels of various forms of Vitamin A contained within it. But, after rendering, lard is reported to have virtually no Vitamin A, or maybe only trace amounts of it. So, what happens to the original quantity of it? Well, it mostly gets separated off into the yellow (yes, retinol is yellow), less market appealing lards. However, the separation process is not 100% perfectly efficient.   More importantly, the remaining   retinol in the lard is easily converted into retinoic acid via oxidation [especially when "purified" as these researchers were doing to the lard contained in the animals’ A-free chow]. All that’s needed to create the oxidation reaction is heat and oxygen. Ample amounts of both are present in the ‘rendering’ process used to produce lards.  Therefore, the lard in those experiments contained retinoic acid."

This was undetectable to the researchers at the time, but I had to read this twice: THE RESEARCHERS WERE FEEDING THE RATS CHOW WITH LOTS OF COMPOUND A IN IT! And the sort contained in the lard was of a most toxic variety, according to Genereux. When that lard was swapped for butter, you remember, the rats quickly recovered from their "deficiency," and that may be due to many factors - but it was not due to their rat chow having been free of Vitamin A to begin with.

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So there you go. Based on "science" like this, our entire country's food supply has been fortified, since the 1970s, with "Vitamin" A. It's in all milk, cereal, bread products, etc. - by law. Drugs make use of its interesting effect (at low toxicity symptoms can disappear, only to reappear worse than before (skin issues prime among them) when the dose is increased or accumulates).

Then there is the pesticide Roundup, which, according to Genereux (along with Stephanie Seneff and other researchers), messes with our livers' ability to detoxify Compound A, leading us to....our current perfect storm: a nation that is quite possibly being poisoned with molecules which are not necessarily necessary at all, and might more accurately be termed "byproducts" than vitamins.... In this case, Vitamin A could accurately be called a poison.

Genereux feels that toxic levels of Compound A are a root cause of gut dysbiosis. Sort of like...eczema of the digestive system. He feels that food intolerance and gut dysbiosis can resolve only after continuous poisoning ceases, but that resolve it will - and much more effectively than by maintaining a gut-healing diet which includes all sorts of A (my son is THRILLED - I told him he doesn't have to eat liver for the duration of our experiments!)

This could also be one of the reasons why so many are sick when eating a highly-“vitamin”-fortified diet of any sort. It could also explain why, when some of us adopt traditional dietary practices, go on GAPS, and do everything gut-healthy that we can possibly think of, we feel a bit better at first - but then ten years later, we are still very sick, unable to tolerate new foods after all this time.

A partial list of the "side effects" of the chemotherapy drug that is retinol, includes depression. Along with...

-Headache, fever, dry skin, dry mucous membranes (mouth, nose)
✓Bone pain
✓Nausea and vomiting
✓Rash
✓Fatigue
✓Mouth sores
✓Itching
✓Sweating
✓Eyesight changes
✓Back pain
✓Pain in muscles and joints
✓Allergic reaction
✓Abdominal pain
✓Poor appetite
✓Dizziness
✓Drowsiness
✓Insomnia
✓Anxiety
✓Numbness and tingling of hands and feet
✓Weakness
✓Loss of concentration, and sleep problems
✓Hair loss (thinning)
✓Dry eyes, sensitivity to light
✓Decreased night vision, which may persist after treatment is stopped
✓Swelling of the feet or ankles
✓Low blood counts
✓Anemia and/or bleeding
✓Abnormal blood tests: increased triglyceride, cholesterol and/or blood sugar levels.
✓Increases in blood tests measuring liver function.These return to normal once treatment is discontinued (see liver problems)
✓Blood clots
✓Pulmonary embolus or stroke
✓Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
✓Skin desquamation (peeling and shedding)
✓Problems with kidneys
✓Inflammation of the liver
✓Inflammation of the stomach
✓IBD
✓Muscle problems
✓Hearing loss, and ringing in the ears
✓Problems with lipids
✓Problems with blood sugars
✓Inflamed, and peeling of the lips
✓Dry nose and mouth, nosebleeds
✓Depression
✓Thoughts of hurting oneself, or others
✓Psychosis(seeing or hearing things that are not real)
✓Suicide
✓Bone density loss
✓etc.

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Curious about experimentation? Check out this handy article full of action steps: https://eatbeautiful.net/2019/06/23/vitamin-a-detox-diet-free-printable-...

Lemme know what you think!

I’ll report back in six months :)

xoxo
Love,
Sarabeth