Independent and original thinkers have always been at the forefront of crucial advances in medicine and dentistry. Common elements of their findings have included observation, imagination, integrity and common sense. Dr. Francis A. Pottenger was such a man. He applied the principles of nutrition and endocrinology early in his practice. Dr. Pottenger was a pioneer in using crude extracts of the adrenal cortex for allergic states and the syndrome of depletion. In his practice, he always highlighted proper diet based on the principles discovered by Weston Price.
He was known for his classical experiments in cat feeding because he discovered a disproportionately high level of high mortality among cats undergoing adrenalectomy. A chance observation about their food led to his experimentation.
More than 900 cats were observed during a 10-year period. Dr. Pottenger discovered that a diet consisting exclusively of raw milk and raw meat was the only adequate intake which insured the maintenance of optimal health for the cats. Cats on the all-raw diet showed good bone structure with wide palates and plenty of space for the teeth as well as excellent bone density, shiny fur, and lack of parasites and disease. They reproduced with ease and were gentle and easy to handle.
Cooking the meat, or substituting heat processed milks for raw, resulted in heterogeneous reproduction and physical degeneration that escalated with each successive generation. Kittens of the third generation did not survive six months.
There was an abundance of parasites and vermin while skin diseases and allergies increased from an incidence of five percent in normal cats to over 90 percent in the third generation of deficient cats. Bones became soft and pliable and the cats suffered from adverse personality changes. Males became docile while females became more aggressive. The cats suffered from most of the degenerative diseases encountered in human medicine and died out totally by the fourth generation.
The changes in facial structure and beginning of degenerative diseases that Dr. Pottenger observed in cats on deficient diets mirrored the human degeneration that Dr. Price found in tribes and villages that had abandoned traditional foods.
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