Dr. John Ott had already made his mark in history with his development of
time-lapse photography. This special technique takes a series of carefully
timed 35-mm. photographs of such things as the growth of a plant or the
opening of a flower.
But eventually age crept up on him, and Ott retired and moved to
Sarasota, Florida. He says that he chose Florida in the hope that sitting in
the sun would help his gradually worsening arthritis.
Able to walk only with the help of a cane, he would sit in the sun on
Sarasota beach, clad only in sunglasses and trunks. But still no help came.
Then, one day, he broke his sunglasses. Out to the beach he still went,
squinting in the sunlight. As he reports what followed, he found within the
next few days a dramatic improvement in his condition. But he was certain of
it when he was able to discard his cane.
Writing in his autobiography, My Ivory Cellar, Dr. Ott recalls the
incident: "The weather had been nice for several days and there was
some light work outside that I was doing as best I could with my cane in one
hand. Suddenly l didn’t seem to need the cane . . My hip hadn’t felt
this well for three or four years. I began walking back and forth, back and
forth. I ran into the house and up the stairs two at a time to tell my
Dr. John Ott was the perfect individual to make such a discovery, for he
had spent a lifetime as an optical scientist. Concluding that his arthritis
had been solved by the full spectrum—all the rays—of sunlight reaching
his eyes, he began research work on the subject. He had earlier erected a
plastic greenhouse, so the ultraviolet light could reach his plants; now he
had taken his sunglasses off—so those ultraviolet rays could reach his
eyes. (Ultraviolet light does not pass very well through glass, tinted
glass, or plastic.)
Later X-rays of his hip confirmed that which he had been experiencing:
"Dramatic healing had indeed occurred! He concluded that his arthritic
condition had been helped by the light upon his eyes rather than merely upon
Having spent a lifetime in research, Dr. Ott went back to work. Hours
were spent in medical libraries, and finally he found what he was looking
for: Dr. Richard Wurtman, associate professor of endocrinology at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had done work in this same field.
Formerly with the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr.
Wurtman had investigated the effect of light on the pituitary and the pineal
glands. He made the startling discovery that both of these ductless glands,
located deep within the brain, are stimulated as ultraviolet light enters
The significance of this can be understood more easily as one considers
that these are two key glands in the body. Not only do they affect growth
and maturation, but their hormones also have a controlling effect over the
entire endocrine system—they affect all of the glands in the body!
Unfortunately, this was the only research which Ott found of the effect
of sunlight on the ductless glands. No research had been done about hormones
and arthritis. Yet that single set of studies by Dr. Wurtman, coupled with
Dr. Ott’s experience, still reveals a lot.
In connection with this, it should be kept in mind that current
scientific research maintains that skin cancer can be caused by an excessive
amount of sunlight on the skin.
When vitamin C was first discovered earlier in this century, it resulted
in some excellent research that was carried on and published by Dr. J.P.
Rinehard and his coworkers between 1933 and 1938. Their investigations
clearly linked rheumatoid arthritis with an inadequate supply of vitamin C.
We do not have space here to include all of the publication references, but
here are three of them: "Studies Relating Vitamin C Deficiency to
Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatoid Arthritis," in Annals of Internal
Medicine, Vol. 9, pp. 586-59, 1935. "Reduced Ascorbic Acid Content of
Blood Plasma in Rheumatoid Arthritis," in Proceedings of the
Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol. 35, pp. 347-352, 1936.
"Metabolism of Vitamin C in Rheumatoid Arthritis," in
Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 61, pp. 537-561, 1938."
This extensive research by Rinehard directly connected the development of
the rheumatoid process (both in rheumatic fever and in rheumatoid arthritis)
with a lack of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The amount of his research and
conclusions was breathtaking. In addition, he gave confirmation of his
findings by producing, at will, rheumatoid lesions in the Guinea pig—simply
by combining ascorbic acid deprivation and infection. It conclusively showed
that infection alone could not produce these effects.
It is an intriguing fact that, even though this definitive research was
done nearly 70 years ago, physicians today generally do not recommend that
their arthritic patients take vitamin C.
Wright Focuses on Heberden’s Nodes
"Heberden’s nodes" is the name given to the bony lumps that
form at finger joints. You may have friends who have this problem. It is
frequently a very painful condition.
A Northwest physician, Johnathan V. Wright, M.D., of Kent, Washington,
made the discovery that Heberden’s nodes is quite responsive to vitamin B6
(pyridoxine). He has had very good success in treating this condition with
this important B complex vitamin.
Ebba Waerland’s Work
Ebba Waerland is a well-known Swedish nutritionist who has helped
thousands with their health problems at Kiholm, Sweden. The Waerland diet
for arthritic problems includes the following:
Immediately take the patient off all salt. Following bed rest, immerse
him in warm soda baths (2 lbs. washing soda to a bathtub). Beginning at 99�
F., the patient lies in the bath for 15 minutes, during which time hot water
is added until the temperature reaches 104� F. These baths are given under
the direction of a qualified professional. As soon as he is taken out of the
bathtub, he is quickly dried and placed in bed, where he perspires freely.
During and after fasts, the bowels must be kept active, with an enema given
night and morning during the fast. But no fasts are given if the person has
neurasthenia, nervousness, goiter, or tuberculosis.
A careful diet is described on pages 57-58 of her book, Rebuilding
Paul and Tennis Elbow
Dr. N.W. Paul did careful research with 314 patients who had so called
"tennis elbow" (technically known as radiohumeral bursitis). This
is bursitis in the elbow. His conclusions, as reported in the Journal of
the American Medical Association for November 30, 1957, showed that food
and nutrition was the real cause of this painful condition. The body is
either not getting the proper food or it is not using it efficiently. The
second of these two possibilities is caused either by a nervous or hormonal
Dr. Paul successfully used the following approach: He sought to remove
all stimulants, change the diet, and relieve emotional tension. An "antipurine
diet" was given. This is a diet that omits all flesh foods. Dr. Paul
had discovered that too much uric acid is present in the bloodstream of
arthritics, and foods containing this waste product (such as meat and fish)
must be eliminated from the diet.
Dr. Blau Decides to Eat Cherries
What do you do when your big toe will not let you rest day nor night? One
day while his family was gone, Dr. Ludwig W. Blau, Ph.D., found that it was
dinnertime. Confined to a wheelchair because of the pain, he wheeled himself
to the refrigerator, but inside only saw meat and cherries. Dr. Blau had
gout in his big toe, and his doctor had sensibly told him he could no longer
eat meat or the gout would become worse. So the refrigerator only offered
the slim pickings of cherries. He took out the bowl and ate them all.
The next morning the pain in his foot was almost totally gone. Could it
be the cherries? So he began eating at least six every day. Then he had to
go out of town on a business trip—and forgot the cherries. Within a few
days, the pain was back just as bad as before. So he went back on his cherry
He told his personal physician as well as other people. Soon he had
compiled twelve case histories of friends whose gout had been greatly helped
by eating cherries. Dr. Blau wrote it all up in Texas Reports on Biology
and Medicine (Vol. 8, No. 3, 1950). For some reason, the cherries (eaten
whole or drunk as cherry juice) does not help the rheumatoid type of
arthritis as well as the gouty type.
Eight years after Blau’s report was published, an article in Food
Field Reporter (November 10, 1958) told of an experiment involving a
number of gout sufferers in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. They drank cherry juice
and had results similar to those that Blau experienced.
It is of interest that this 1958 article also mentioned that several
local dentists were recommending cherry juice to their patients as a helpful
way to treat pyorrhea.
What is in cherries? Cherries have more calcium than phosphorus, much
potassium, and very little sodium. The sour varieties have more vitamin A
than the sweet kind, and all are relatively low in calories.
J.P. Seegmiller in his book, Gout, a 1967 publication, provides
some additional information about this problem that so many suffer with:
"The enzyme, uricase, which is responsible for converting the
sparingly soluble uric acid to much more soluble allantoin, is absent in all
members of the widely divergent species—man, birds, and reptiles. As a
result, uric acid rather than allantoin becomes the end product of purine
metabolism. The remarkably inefficient renal [kidney] excretion of uric acid
in man causes the human species to have the highest serum urate
concentration and thereby makes the whole species in a sense heir to the
gout." That is, if they eat a meat diet.
The problem is that man was not designed to eat meat products (meat and
fish); vegetarians are very unlikely to have problems with uric acid
build-up and gout.
When people eat meat products, they take an excess of purines into their
bodies. There are eight types of purines which fall into three main
categories. The body tries to break them down into a very acid substance
known as uric acid. But the body also produces uric as a waste product of
its own processes. When meat is eaten, far too much uric acid in the system
is the result. Greatly compounding this problem is the fact that uric acid
is not easily disposed of by the kidneys. The result is a gradual build-up
of an excessive amount of uric acid in the system. It is stored in various
places, such as the joints and other body tissues.
The obvious solution is to stop eating meat. In this way the excessive
acid deposits will stop forming. Cherries, in some way, are able to help
eliminate some of that acid build-up.
The Copenhagen Project
Several doctors at the University of Copenhagen teamed up together and
administered zinc to arthritic patients. This important trace mineral was
suspected to be significantly lacking in the patients with this problem.
They later reported, in the British Journal of Dermatology for
October 1980, that when they gave oral zinc to psoriatic arthritic patients—that
"reduction of joint pains as well as increase of mobility and decrease
in swelling of several joints was observed by the research physicians. This
provides favorable evidence that zinc can be quite useful in reducing
inflammation in arthritic sufferers.
On the other side of the world, Peter A. Simkin, M.D., at the division of
rheumatology, University of Washington in Seattle, also gave oral zinc
supplementation to arthritics—in this case to rheumatoid arthritis
patients. He also obtained favorable results, and commented, "Zinc
depletion is common in rheumatoid patients."
The Shatin Research
Far, and down under, in Melbourne, Australia, a remarkable piece of
testing was carried through to completion by Dr. R. Shatin. As later
reported in the August 1, 1964, issue of the Medical Journal of
Australia, thirty-one rheumatoid arthritis patients at the Alfred
Hospital were placed on a very unusual dietetic program. It succeeded so
well that twenty of the thirty patients had striking remissions of the
disease. By the time that the research project was written up and reported,
some of the remissions had continued for as long as eighteen months.
What was this highly unusual diet? It was a meatless, protein diet with
vitamin supplements—from which all gluten had been totally eliminated.
Gluten is wheat protein. When water is added to wheat flour, the gluten
separates and makes a sticky, rubbery substance. To many people, it also has
the quality of being indigestible. But many people who eat wheat products do
not always recognize what it is in the wheat that is bothering them. (In
connection with this, we should also mention that the acidity of wheat is
also a problem to many folk; wheat is the most acid of the grains.)
Some people are allergic to wheat or gluten products while others have no
problem with either. Does only wheat contain gluten? Rye flour also has
gluten in it, to a lesser extent.
It is known that there is an unusually large amount of gamma globulin in
the blood serum of arthritics. Dr. Shatin’s theory is that people allergic
to gluten "produce the extra gamma globulin in order to fight off the
offending wheat gluten in the intestines."
Very likely, there is far more to the arthritis problem than merely wheat
gluten. But, at least, Dr. Shatin has given us clear evidence that gluten
can, for some people at least, be part of the problem.
The Abrams-Sandson Discovery
Reporting their research work in Annals of Rheumatic Disease, Vol. 23,
1964, Drs. E. Abrams and J. Sandson told of their findings, that the
synovial fluid becomes thinner when serum levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin
C) are high. The significance of this insight is important when one realizes
that part of the arthritis problem is a thickening of the synovial fluid.
But when a person is obtaining adequate vitamin C in his diet (or through
additional supplementation by tablets), he is on a far safer path.
The Tel Aviv Experiment
I. Machtey, M.D., and L. Quaknine, M.D., conducted a lengthy series of
research studies, using vitamin E, at an Israeli hospital on the edge of Tel
Aviv. In the course of their work at the Hasharon Hospital, they noted that
some of their patients with osteoarthritis had what is known as the
"restless leg syndrome." Checking into this more closely, they
found that this set of symptoms (which produce a crawling, aching sensation
deep within the muscles and bones of the legs) was related to a vitamin E
Armed with this new information, they decided to give vitamin E to their
arthritis patients. A variety of arthritic conditions (gonarthrisis,
spondylosis, Heberden’s nodes, and osteoarthritis) were tested with
vitamin E therapy. The patients were divided into two groups (without their
knowing about it); half received vitamin E and the other half placebos
(tablets with nothing of value in them).
The end of the study found more than half of the vitamin E patients in
better condition than earlier. Only one placebo patient felt better. Their
research was later written up and published in the July 1978 issue of the Journal
of the American Geriatrics Society.
The McCormick Study
From up in Canada, additional information has been presented about the
importance of nutrition in the control of arthritis. Dr. W.J. McCormick of
Toronto gave massive doses of vitamin C to cases of "incipient
arthritis" with very favorable results. In reporting on his work in the
Archives of Pediatrics for April 1955, he stated that by
"massive doses," he meant from one to ten grams of ascorbic acid
daily. This is the same as 1,000 to 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day.
The Kaufman Clinical Studies
William Kaufman, M.D., a New England physician conducted a study on 455
arthritic patients. Determined by the severity of their condition, he
administered to each one niacinamide in amounts varying from 400 mgs. to
2,250 mg. per day. This important B vitamin dilates blood vessels, thus
increasing muscle strength and bringing more blood to organs, muscles,
bones, and joints. In nearly every patient, Dr. Kaufman was able to measure
improvement in the use of joints and recession of arthritis.
When taking this B vitamin, it should be kept in mind that it comes in
two forms: niacin and niacinamide. Both are equally helpful; but one of
these, niacinamide, does not cause a temporary flushing (reddening) of your
face when you swallow it.
Dr. Kaufman developed elaborate measuring devices, so he could tell
exactly how much improvement was gradually being made in the joint motions
of the arms, legs, and wrists. In this way, he could actually measure
improvement or the lack of it.
Kaufman did not confine himself to niacin; but, in most cases, he also
gave quite large doses of vitamin C, thiamine (Bl),
pyridoxine (B6) and riboflavin
(B2). The amount of niacin he
gave was in relation to the severity of the patient’s condition and the
improvement he was making; the better he was doing, the less niacin was
given to him.
In some cases, dramatically rapid improvement was made; but, for most, it
took more time. Yet taking nutritional supplements was not a difficult task.
In his extensive studies, Dr. Kaufman noticed several things that could
cause complications. (1) Food allergies: Some patients had to avoid certain
foods (chocolate, wheat, eggs, etc.), or they could not make improvement.
(2), Repetitive work done every day in an uncomfortable or awkward position.
Such employment was almost bound to create joint problems. Here are some
examples that he discovered: holding a phone in an awkward position for long
conversations; working with certain tools and machinery; very poor posture
maintained for years; uncomfortable, tight-fitting, or high-heeled shoes;
improperly clad limbs in colder weather (causing hand, wrist, elbow, or
ankle-knee problems). (3) Sodium retention: Many people need to eat less
salt in order to recover. (4) Psychosomatic arthritis: Some people are
stress- type personalities. Things that do not bother others terribly
irritate them. Still others live under seemingly unbearable conditions which
apparently cannot be changed. These may develop joint symptoms, probably
caused by psychosomatic blockage of nutrients, or, because of tension, a
too-rapid utilization of nutrients.
On the average, Dr. Kaufman’s patients had a "joint range
index" of 6-12 points in the first month of nutrient therapy and,
thereafter, a more gradual improvement of one-half to 1 point per month. But
in order to do this, the patient had to eat a nourishing diet without junk
food, in addition to the vitamin supplements. Also he must not mechanically
injure the afflicted joints.
Eventually, an "index range" of 96-100 (no joint dysfunction)
was achieved. But in order to remain in such good shape, the patient must
continue on maintenance doses of niacinamide and a good meatless diet
Dr. Kaufman found that, if joints had earlier fused together (ankylosis),
there could never be a full recovery.
He also noticed that his patients also improved in other ways: Taking the
nutritional supplements frequently strengthened their stomachs, livers,
Dr. Kaufman gave niacin in its niacinamide form, and he reported that he
never found any harmful side effects from the large doses of this vitamin
that he gave to his patients.
We would recommend to any researcher into arthritis, that he try to
procure a copy of William Kaufman’s out-of-print book. It is titled The
Common Form of Joint Dysfunction: Its Incidence and Treatment. From the
above description, the reader can see that Kaufman conducted a far broader
investigation into arthritic cause than did most other researchers.
The Bingham Therapy Program
Dr. Robert Bingham (an orthopedic doctor in Desert Hot Springs,
California) has, over a period of years, worked out a definite program that
he puts arthritis patients on.
"No person who is in good nutritional health develops rheumatoid
arthritis or osteoarthritis," says Dr. Bingham. Having worked with
hundreds of these sufferers, he has concluded that the average arthritic
typically does not get either enough food or enough of the right kind of
food. As a result, he tends to be tense, nervous, worried, overactive, and
has both poor resistance to infection coupled with a history of infectious
or chronic inflammatory diseases. Last but not least, he is frequently
At this point, you are probably wondering what Bingham does to help them.
Here is a brief overview of many aspects of his program:
(1) Bed rest to begin with, 16 hours a day. (2) Increase water intake to
8 or more glasses a day. (3) Gradually reduce all drug medications to the
barest minimum, without producing pain. (4) Reduce and slowly stop all
corticosteroid medications. (5) All foods must be fresh, raw, natural, and
(if necessary) blended. (6) A moderately high protein diet is provided. (7)
Tobacco, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats are totally
eliminated. (8) Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are given. (9) 2,000 mg. of
natural (not synthetic) vitamin C each day. (10) Special calcium
supplements. Sometimes this is given in the form of raw milk (because he
says that pasteurized milk lacks the "anti-stiffness factor" that
raw milk has). But we would suggest that you can generally obtain all the
calcium you need from calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, or calcium
citrate, obtainable in a health-food store. (11) Overweight patients are
urged to reduce.
Bingham also uses water therapy, such as hot packs and hot baths. He
encourages his patients to study and learn more about medical and
nutritional aspects of the disease. He says that this encourages them to
stick by the program and make a more complete recovery.
The drugs which he takes them off of include the pain-relieving drugs,
tranquilizers, and hypnotic drugs. He has noted that these tend to interfere
with physical healing and metabolic normalization.
Bingham has studied deeply into the problem of arthritis; and, when he
speaks, he speaks from knowledge: "Diseases of the bones and joints
which are due to deficiencies in a single nutritional factor are many. They
include scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency; osteoporosis, from lack of calcium
and protein; neuropathy, caused by vitamin B complex deficiency; and
degenerative joint disease are due to a combination of nutritional
In addition, Dr. Bingham believes a major part of the problem is caused
by (1) the highly processed "civilized foods" we now have—such
as soft drinks, cake, ice cream, and similar things; (2) a lack of several
vitamins and minerals, particularly C, B complex, D, pantothenic acid,
calcium, and iron; (3) an excess of sugar, starches, and fats in the diet;
(4) a deficiency in good protein; (5) environmental dangers—such as
pesticides, additives, smog, and even radioactive fallout; (6) and, lastly,
a "rheumatoid personality" type of individual. But he maintains
that good nutrition is more important than all else in the battle with
The files of researchers are seemingly overflowing with studies on
non-drug, surgical methods of treating arthritic and rheumatic problems.
But, for some strange reason, you rarely hear about them. Here are several
The calcium content of the soft tissues increases by as much as 500
percent in rats that have been made deficient in vitamin E. The abnormal
laying down of calcium in soft tissues is part of the arthritis problem in
humans (S.R. Ames, J. Bio. Chem., Vol. 169, p. 503, 1957).
Individuals with arthritis frequently have a serious deficiency of the B
vitamin, pantothenic acid (R.J. Williams, Biochemical Individuality,
Rats deficient in the B vitamin, pantothenic acid, have an abnormality
similar to arthritis (J.J. Barboriak, et al., J. Nut., Vol. 63, p. 583,
Rats kept on a diet that is high in phosphorus and low in calcium have
developed arthritis. The problem was eliminated when they were then given a
diet containing twice as much calcium as phosphorus (A.G. Hogan, et al.,
J. Nut., Vol. 41, p. 203, 1950).
Human volunteers given a diet deficient in vitamin B6
gradually developed sore joints that were similar to arthritis. When the
vitamin was administered, the problem disappeared (R.E. Hodge, et
al., Am. J. Clin. Nut., Vol. 11, p. 180, 1962).
Arthritis was induced by injections of formaldehyde, in rats, and
injections of bacteria in vitamin-C-deficient guinea pigs. Both were forms
of stress, and both caused arthritis. But if the rats were given very large
amounts of vitamin E and the guinea pigs large doses of vitamin C, both were
somehow protected from developing arthritis (H. Selwe, Brit. Med. J.,
Vol. 2, p. 1129, 1949 and B. Tuchweber, Am. J. Clin. Nut., Vol. 13, p. 328,
Twenty-five mg. of pantothenic acid were given daily to several arthritic
patients as their only dietetic change. Some had a decrease or disappearance
of pain and stiffness within two weeks (L. Eising, J. Bone Joint
Surg., Vol. 452, p. 69, 1963).
When the amount of vitamin C in test animals is very low, an arthritic
type condition results (A.F. Morgan, J. Bio. Chem., Vol. 195, p. 583,
When vitamin C is given to test animals in large quantities, it greatly
delays the onset of arthritic-type symptoms; when pantothenic acid is given
to them, these symptoms are completely prevented (J.J. Barboriak, et al.,
J. Nut. Vol. 63, p. 601, 1957).