Introducing A True American Genius, Royal Lee

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Subject: Introducing A True American Genius, Royal Lee

I’d like to introduce the readers of this forum to a true genius. Royal Lee worked his whole life to understand the causes of health, an approach that proved to be magnificently successful in restoring that precious gift, that in today’s world seems all to rare. It was Dr. Lee’s conviction that the first effect of malnutrition was the loss of the human will. The will to be healthy, free, prosperous and strong. There is so much to say about this man, I feel (and have felt) overwhelmed by the task to describe the man and his life’s work. The introduction of a book, The Lectures of Dr. Royal Lee, Volume I compiled and edited by Mark Anderson, sums up so much, that I have decided to excerpt much of that introduction here……I hope this will inspire you to read more of Dr. Lee’s words, for his pioneering efforts in the health care arena should live in perpetuity, assisting in the prevention and alleviation of human suffering, a vital first step in the evolvement of human progress.

The Lee Philosophy:

Those who have studied the life’s work of Dr. Royal Lee cannot help becoming infected with his passion that integrated science, history, physiology, agriculture, engineering, invention, biochemical manufacturing, politics, education, business, and philosophy. Dr. Lee’s unswerving pursuit of the truth led inexorably into and through these avenues of knowledge. It seems much more than a single lifetime could encompass. Amassing one of the most extensive personal libraries in history, no field was off limits to Dr. Lee’s thirst for knowledge, which could only be slaked by pursuing a wide and wholistic perspective. His practical solution-oriented approach to humanity’s problems gained him over seventy patents granted by the U.S. Patent office. There was probably no field in industry – from automotive to military, food and agriculture, and later the U.S. space program- that did not rely on some invention by Royal Lee. Whether it was the mechanism that synchronized the sound and picture in movie projectors, making ‘talkies’ possible; motor governors that revolutionized the production of all types of precision motors from industry to home; the key compensation tracking motor of the famed Norden Bombsight, credited with giving America a decisive advantage in WWII; cardiographic recording devices, or home and commercial stone-grinding electric flour mills to preserve the germ and bran of fresh grains, Lee Engineering badges could be found inside almost any device of advanced technology.

An interesting footnote to his long list of inventions was based on his experience serving in the First World War. He freely gave the War Department his invention of a vastly superior prototype field rifle that used hydrogen gas instead of gunpowder. It had significant advantages because hydrogen, the most abundant substance in the universe, was not subject to many problems associated with gunpowder, which Lee considered a primitive way to hurtle a small projectile with speed and accuracy. In army tests, it functioned perfectly. Although his invention would have made defending freedom much quieter, the Generals were not ready for such a drastic change in 1918. This should have alerted Royal Lee that superiority of a method is no assurance of its general acceptance.

The endocrine system had been his particular fascination since high school. He began compiling a biochemistry notebook at age twelve. Though most of the glands were hardly understood at the time, and most hormones not yet discovered (nor were any vitamins), he believed that this system was the Master Control Mechanism of the body and that nutritional complexes were the keys to the ductless glands of internal secretion. In 1916, at age 21, he began developing nutritional-complex formulas designed to promote endocrine function. He studied all he could about animal feeding research and the work of the early endocrinologists, particularly in the field called organotherapy. He named his first design Catalyn, though it would be some years before he invented the technology to manufacture it.

While at Marquette University Dental College in Milwaukee, he recoiled at the primitive state of dental equipment and applied his engineering skills to designing the best in the world. He deduced that sudden variations in the drill bit speed as it struck and drilled the tooth was, in large measure, responsible for the nerve pain it caused This led him to invent the governor motor, which could keep the drill bit speed constant, even when drilling through teeth. He later sold his dental equipment patents and business to a large dental supply house in Chicago, who proceeded to “bury” his inventions. He should have remembered his 1918 experience with the army Brass and his Lee Rifle, when he shocked his professors at Marquette during his 1923 graduation speech to the faculty and student body. It was entitled, The Systemic Causes of Dental Caries". It was a bombshell hitting dental dogma. Based on documented and available evidence, Lee Pointed to the inevitable conclusion that teeth rotted because of the internal state of the body, which which was controlled by its nutritional status and consequent endocrine health. He carefully referenced his hypothesis. This radical thinking must have caused an auditorium-sized case of TMJ disorder as jaws dropped and eyebrows raised throughout the room. When later called upon by professors to further defend his thesis, Lee presented the very information that was ‘hidden’ in dental textbooks provided by Marquette Dental College to prove his points. The professors were not aware of all that was in these textbooks. Before the first lecture in this volume was delivered (to dentists) Lee would have his final proof. His friend and dental colleague, Dr Weston A. Price, embarked on an epic round-the-world expedition to photograph and extensively document the effects of the devitalized “foods of commerce” (processed, packaged foods) on the health, heredity, and mortality of indigenous people throughout the planet. Price’s landmark masterpiece published in 1938 was properly entitled, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. That this treatise is not part of the corpus curricula in all schools of the healing arts reveals a foundational gap in theory.

By the height of the Great Depression, Lee’s engineering royalties earned him enormous wealth. Being a man of simple tastes, he poured resources from his Lee Engineering Company into his first love: human and animal nutrition. Medical researchers were spending public millions searching for the causes of disease while Dr. Lee spent his own money researching and discovering the causes of health. He founded the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, the Vitamin Products Company (1929), and Standard Process Laboratories. He received $1 per year from each throughout his life. In the early 1930’s, he purchased large farms in the fertile glacial moraines of Wisconsin, where he had grown up on a farm. On these organically maintained farms he built a laboratory, and custom designed unique equipment to concentrate and preserve the full nutrient complex from all manner of botanicals. Based on exhaustive research, which included having foreign science journals translated into English, he designed hundreds of nutritional formulas and invented the Cold Processing method to capture and protect the botanical-nutrient-complexes of the foods he grew. From his studies of physics, he applied the axiom of holism the “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” He eschewed the Cartesian model of breaking down the whole into fragmented parts. Common sense, the rarest of all senses, informed him that the whole was a functioning mechanism that had characteristics well beyond the chemical components. After all, why does H2O not burn though its composition is only two highly combustible elements? The whole expresses characteristics antithetical to the parts. To make this point to his chemically-minded critics, he often posed the question: “What part of a watch keeps time?” No part does. Only the complete set of the synergistically combined parts will yield the function that transcends any of the parts. He understood the nature of food to be a biological living whole, capable of absorbing the energy of teh sun, something that only living plants can accomplish, and that no single part of the plant can. Humans and animals must obtain the sun’s life-giving energy through the whole plant, and thus obtain vital new compounds through the transformation that occurs in the body under the influence of the endocrine system. Biology, he taught, differs greatly from chemistry when considering the whole. Lee spent an adult lifetime mocking the attempts of chemists to make a functioning mechanism or create living action out of synthetic chemicals, when only whole food could provide the life force. The vitamin principle is one of life force. Chemical drugs like chemical ‘vitamins’ are the opposite side of that principle. Royal Lee said this bes when he described the consequences of the non-application of this life principle during a lecture in January 12, 1951:

“One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition. It’s a substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poisons over food, in which we are feeding people poisons in trying to correct the reactions of starvation.”

Reading Dr. Lee’s manuscripts and especially perusing his massive library, it emerges that he had three great heroes whose lives inspired his own, and whose traits mightily shaped his character. They were Galileo Galilei, Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Harvey W. Wiley. For those of you who do not know of Dr. Wiley, you soon will as you read the following lectures. Royal Lee had Galileo’s sense of exploration and his willingness to follow the scientific truth wherever it led and to accept the truth even when it led to facts that stood in contradistinction to what the most esteemed contemporaries professed. The desire for acceptance and popularity among peers is perhaps the most dangerous fault to which a scientist can fall prey. Galileo suffered persecution, humiliation , and imprisonment at the hands of the Vatican and the Inquisition for defending his discoveries. In Lee’s case the commercial interests, whose security was disrupted by his discoveries and the advancement of his theories, relentlessly pursued Lee. At their behest, government agencies were assigned to destroy him by any means; their specialty was character assassination at the hands of bought experts, and perpetual legal prosecutions. But he never gave in, not even close. Lee hated lies and he hated feigned expertise. Hi love of liberty and the true spirit of America were holy to him. Totalitarianism, in all forms, government, scientific, and commercial, were often the target of his writings. He loved the very idea of America, where truth could be told and human progress made real. That, no doubt, is why he loved Benjamin Franklin. He had Franklin’s inventiveness and keen common sense, which helped him navigate the treacherous waters of a society built upon the commercial entrenchment of false scientific models. In Franklin’s spirit, Lee felt that inherent rightness could overcome the inertia of entrapped ideas and entrenched models. But any who knew Lee will tell you that he also had the spit and vinegar and dogged single-eyed vision of Dr. Wiley who, after decades of struggle through the end of the 19th Century, brought America its first Pure Food and Drug Law in 1906. And Wiley was determined to enforce it by driving adulterated counterfeit foods and drugs out of this country. But when he went after the interstate commerce of white bleached flour, Coca-Cola, and sickening chemicals of all kinds that were added to foods (to help the manufacturer and grocer) he found that commercial interests tightly controlled the politicians. In 1912 he was fired. The American people loved Dr. Wiley, but that was not enough for President Taft (who lost re-election that year). Wiley’s 1930 self-published book (Macmillan “lost” the original and only manuscript), “The History of a Crime Against the Food and Drug Law” (see page 141), was a handbook for Dr. Lee to prove his case that the health and welfare of the American people had been, as he put it, “…sold down the river by government and medical authorities to the purveyors of cheap counterfeits.” (Read "Recent Conclusions in Malnutrition p.12, and the attachments, as an example). He loathed seeing a hundred million of his countrymen being used as a 10th Century colony of guinea pigs fed devitalized foods, and responding to the damage with drugs. In a 1957 preface to Dr. Harrower’s 1932 classic, “Practical Endocrinology”, Lee wrote “…illnesses of a people who are trying out the mass experiment of starving their endocrine glands by the use of foods depleted of essential minerals and vitamins through processing, refining and the progressive depletion of soils.” No doubt, Dr. Lee’s personal heroes would think well of their protege. The reader will readily observe in these lectures that Lee’s courageous character reflects his mentors.

Royal Lee gave many hundreds of lectures to audiences throughout the U.S. Most often these were to groups of doctors, from every branch of the healing arts. Before the fashionableness of the term “holistic”, Dr. Lee reached across multidisciplinary lines, believing as such, that nutritional therapeutics must be at the foundation of any healing discipline. But as you will read in the following lectures, with his knowledge of sustainable agriculture and the irreplaceable value of topsoil, he lectured at farming conferences. He spoke to lay groups and church groups. Some of those lectures are herewith included. The Lee Foundation offered many hundreds of reprints, books and booklets, transcribed lectures, and articles. The reprints and articles were bound into three separate portfolios specifically relevant for 1) the doctor 2) the homemaker and 3) the farmer and agriculturist. This incredibly informative corpus of knowledge was sold at less than the cost of printing to anyone who contacted The Foundation. These portfolios enlightened tens of thousands around the nation. The average price of a booklet or reprint was one to five cents. This was the beginning and spearhead of the natural healing movement in the U.S. For over 30 years, doctors received the latest word in nutritional therapeutics contained monthly in Vitamin News. As the editor and chief writer, Lee gave the naturalist physician real tools with which to counter the symptoms of starvation.

The Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research no longer exists. Following Dr. Lee’s death in 1967, (when, we are told by a prominent attorney, cheers went up in a certain government building in Washington) The Foundation survived under his wife Evelyn, eventually closing in the mid 1980’s. It had accomplished much in awakening those who were alert enough to understand its message and inspired the work of a generation of doctors. Mrs. Lee, his dearest companion since the early 1920’s, bravely took over and ran his enterprises until retiring in her early 90’s. She passed away at age 105. The closing of The Foundation will no doubt be frustrating to the reader of these lectures because in the are hundreds of reference materials noted as being available. However, for research scholars, the stately Lee Memorial Library at Standard Process in Palmyra, Wisconsin, houses originals and copies.

Dr. Lee emoted a personal and humble charm and a dry wit that grows out of someone close to the land. As you will read in The Bostonian magazine article from 1943 entitled “The Amazing Royal Lee” (page 26), “You probably wouldn’t notice him walking down the street, nor pay any particular attention to his voice, if you heard it. His looks, like his voice are plain. That simplicity is infectious, however.”

It was often said by many doctors that Royal Lee was consistently forty years ahead of his time. About many things, yes. But the record shows that he was well over fifty yeas ahead of his time in many areas of human physiology, immunity, genetics, and biochemistry. Very early on, in the mid-1930’s and more focused in the 1940’s, he first described the phenomenon of autoimmune disease, for which a medical term did not even exist. He was convinced that one of the inevitable degenerative reactions to starvation was in immune response that caused antibodies to form against the host’s own (degenerating) tissues. His correspondence shows that by 1946 he was writing letters to physicians to warn them that natural tissue antibodies (autoantibodies) formed against the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis as well as to other organs in different diseases. At that time, rheumatoid arthritis was considered by the medical establishment to be a bacterial disease. In the 1970’s is was known to be caused by a virus. In the 1980’s it was known to be caused by genetics. Finally in the last few years it has been recognized to be and officially classified as an autoimmune disease. To arrest this process of degeneration, Lee developed the protomorphogen. He had clues from an earlier generation of endocrinologists who practiced organotherapy, particularly Henry Harrower, M.D. He advanced their work by developing a patented method for extracting the cell’s protein nucleus from animal organs. These were not mere organ desiccates. The DNA/RNA complexes were naturally found in this nucleoprotein extract. Although DNA had not yet been discovered, though the nucleus’ control over growth and repair was known, Lee instinctively named this nucleoprotein-concentrate a protomorphogen, or cytotrophic extract (proto meaning primary and morphogen meaning structure or form). In 1947 he published his book, “Protomorphology: The Principles of Cell Autoregulation”. Lees protomorphogens eweree only part of his strategy to correct the autoimmune process. Nutritional therapeutics were to be provided simultaneously. He taught that all degenerative disease, at some point in the downward spiral, developed an autoimmune process. The latest biochemical research (over fifty years later) is discovering that he was absolutely 100% correct. In 1947, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reviewed and roundly criticized this book.

Here again, he followed his research, he believed what his research revealed, and developed a strategy to correct the problems that the research uncovered. He did not await government money, or bureaucratic institutes, or for the ‘consensus of medical opinion’ to form. He researched, discovered, and solved. In his 1972 book, “A New Breed of Doctor”, orthodox-turned-naturalist medical physician Alan Nittler described Lee as “…the best informed person on nutrition in America and perhaps even the world.” And today, the constant media headlines of current breakthroughs in nutritional science with regard to our most common and dreaded diseases and birth defects seem like ancient TV reruns to people who had learned the exact same facts and much more, forty or fifty years earlier from the Lee Foundation. Silently, we reply to the news, “You are just figuring this out?”

I’ve marveled over the past 25+ years of clinical experience just how much Royal Lee knew about the human body, and how genius his nutritional protocols and products are. The results speak for themselves. As long as the degenerative processes have not gone beyond the point of no return, the body has an amazing ability to repair past neglect due to malnourishment (eating dead food with long shelf live will guarantee you no quality of life).

For those interested in reading more of Royal Lee’s works, I suggest you check out

In Health,


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