Food and Behaviour Research

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The dominant diseases of modernized societies as omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency syndrome: substrate beriberi

Rudin, D.O. (1982) Med Hypotheses.  1982 Jan;8(1) 17-47 

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About 1900, modern food selection and processing caused widespread epidemics of the B vitamin deficiency diseases of beriberi and pellagra which, for genetic reasons, often expressed as different diseases ranging from bowel and heart disease to dermatoses and psychoses. But the B vitamins merely help convert essential fatty acids (EFA) into the prostaglandin (PG) tissue regulators and it now turns out that, through hydrogenation, milling and selection of w3-poor southern foods, we have also been systematically depleting, by as much as 90%, a newly discovered trace Nordic EFA (w3) of special importance to primates and sole precursor of the PG3(4) series, even as a concurrent fiber deficiency increases body demand for EFA.

Since substrate EFA is processed by many B vitamin catalysts, an EFA deficiency will mimic a panhypovitaminosis B, i.e., a mixture of substrate beriberi and substrate pellagra resembling vitamin beriberi and pellagra but exhibiting as even more diverse endemic disease. This would constitute a second stage of the Modern Malnutrition and explain why some workers now hold the dominant diseases of modernized societies to be new, nutritionally based, pellagraform yet lipid-related and to range, once again, from heart disease to psychosis.

It is an assumption that our dominant diseases are unrelated to each other or are merely revealed by out diagnostic acumen and therapeutic success; and that hydrogenating millions of tons of food oils annually, to destroy the rancidity producing w30EFA, is safe for primates. Extensive beriberiform disease is reported here in 32 typical cases taken from medical practice which responds strikingly to linseed oil supplements (60% w3-EFA) in confirmation of identical results in Capuchins.