Sunday, March 8, 2020

Retrospective #386: Max Planck was right…

Max Planck was right when he said, “Truth never triumphs – its opponents just die out.” Planck (1858-1947) was the originator of quantum mechanics and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. A longer version at Wikiquotes is, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

If you sense my frustration, you’re right. It is discouraging, at times, to realize that the message that “food is the best medicine” is lost on people who have spent a lifetime writing prescriptions. Medical doctors should be the first to acknowledge this. It was, after all, Hippocrates (460BC-370BC), the “Father of Western Medicine” and author of the Hippocratic Oath that many physicians take when graduating from medical school, who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Yet, most doctors have forgotten. It is very sad indeed.

Examples abound. I recently tried to share the English and Spanish language versions of a 16-page booklet I have written on “Type 2 Diabetes, a Dietary Disease” with the professional staff of a local network clinic that proclaims “Everyone Welcome” and “Bienvenidos Todos.” The network administrator wouldn’t even give me the courtesy of an appointment. When I sent her the e-file text of both brochures, she said they only “use educational material that is peer-reviewed or has an .edu or .org tag.” When I said I would be happy if only the staff read it (not the patient population), she didn’t reply. I had been stonewalled by “the establishment.”

In conversation with two women at a party a while ago (in 2017), one woman, who is an MD and former head of a large hospital, told the other that her husband had an appointment to be evaluated for cognitive impairment. I know personally and have written about Dr. Mary Newport's experience with exogenous ketones for her husband, and I had just read Amy Berger’s “The Alzheimer's Antidote.” So, I suggested that a ketogenic diet has been strongly associated with a delayed onset and improvements in cognitive function. My doctor scoffed and dismissed the suggestion. She, the former hospital head, said “KETOSIS is dangerous and to be avoided.” N.B.: Her husband died in 2019.

Undeterred, I replied, quoting Dr. Richard Veech, the go-to expert on ketones at the National Institutes of Health, that “ketosis is the normal state of man.” We are either in a fed state or a fasting state. When fasting, after the body uses up its hepatic glycogen and amino acids, it breaks down body fat to make fatty acids and ketone bodies. I told my doctor friend she was confusing KETOSIS with KETOACIDOSIS. In the former, the level of ketones is 0.5-3mmol/L, a normal, healthy state, whereas in the latter it is >30mmol/L and life threatening.

I said I would not go on, and the doctor snidely quipped, “Do you promise?” I walked away and stood at a window for a long time looking at a long row of hostas under mature oaks. I could have told this so out-of-touch doctor how John Hopkins has been using the ketogenic diet to treat intractable childhood epilepsy since 1921 with marked success. Google it: ketogenic diet/Johns Hopkins. It’s NOT dangerous to be in ketosis. KETOSIS is “the normal of man.”

But the other woman said her husband “wouldn’t change his diet anyway.” I guess he’d rather be a vegetable.

The doctor came over to me later to apologize “for being rude.” I accepted, but I was still piping hot. I told her she was pig-headed and out-of-touch with recent developments in nutrition and health. But retired doctors apparently still carry a lot of authority, and they can only hurt the ones they love. Those that maintain their licenses without keeping up with continuing education courses in their specialties are doing a disservice to the ones they still serve. For the aging population of physicians and their friends, it may take too long for Max Planck’s “new generation,” and the latest developments in medical science, to change the medical Standard of Care. But Hippocrates’ 2,500-year-old sage advice is free and available to everyone else: “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD.”

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