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Grant Genereux's Theory Of Vitamin A Toxicity

Discussion in 'Health' started by franko, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. franko

    franko Member

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    I recently stumbled across the blog of Grant Genereux, an engineer from Canada, wherein he recounts his story of how he cured himself of severe eczema as well as chronic fatigue and brain fog with an elimination diet.

    But that's just the beginning of it, because he has also done what I consider to be a genius work of health / nutritional investigation and he puts forth a compelling theory that Vitamin A is the root cause of the autoimmune diseases (eczema, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto's, Celiac, Crohn's / IBD, etc.) and is also likely to be a major contributor to depression, chronic fatigue, cancer and obesity.

    He presents the case that Vitamin A (i.e. retinol) has been misunderstood since it's initial discovery due to botched experiments by the original scientists and that this misunderstanding has essentially become entrenched in nutritional science because subsequent researchers either repeated the original mistake or dismissed their contrary findings to support the original conclusion.

    In short, his theory is that "Vitamin A" is not a vitamin at all, and is actually a toxin and that our bodies are equipped to safely store and utilize the substance in appropriate amounts, but when the body exceeds its storage capacity for the substance (which is primarily stored in the liver) the body has to store it in other organs and tissues (because its fat-soluble and cannot be easily excreted) and that's when it wreaks havoc on the organs and tissues and slowly destroys your body from the inside out (which we observe as "autoimmune diseases").

    Vitamin A is recognized by mainstream medicine to be toxic in excess (see: Hypervitaminosis A) but part of Grant's theory is that it is way more damaging than they realize because it accumulates over time, and we can reach toxic levels the substance over time just by consuming more of it than the body can safely store / utilize.

    The theory sounds preposterous at first — but if you think about it, that's only because we assume that the scientists were smart people who did good research and any substance identified as a "vitamin" must surely be so — but if you read his research, I think you'll find that he presents a small mountain of evidence to back up his theory and that the mainstream theory has giant holes in it that most people are not aware of.

    Here is a link to the post where he introduces his theory: Ending the Mystery of Autoimmune

    Also, I know that my personal anecdote does not prove anything, per se, but I will add that I found this theory very compelling and so I gave it a try, and I could give much more detail, but the short version of my experience is: I completely dropped my previous Peat-inspired diet and went on a minimal vitamin A diet and within about 3 and a half months it has essentially cured my chronic fatigue and depression as well as improved or eliminated a myriad of other symptoms. I'm not saying I'm feeling perfect but it has been a dramatic reversal. I feel like my health was taking a dive for a decade — going into a steeper nosedive with each passing year — and it wasn't until trying this elimination diet that I've been able to "pull up" and start gaining altitude, to start genuinely healing.

    I have been experimenting with diet and supplements and hormones for almost a decade now, trying to reverse my declining health, and I have never had a dramatic healing experience like this. And the amazing part is, I didn't add anything, I only subtracted things. I stopped taking thyroid, stopped any hormones, pretty much stopped all supplements (except for some infrequent B and K vitamins and some minerals).

    All I did was stop everything else and just eat a vitamin A elimination diet — which in practice for me mostly meant: no more orange juice, no more dairy, no eggs, no pork. I mostly just ate beef and rice / bread / potatoes and coconut oil and some apple juice — and some other minimal vitamin A flavorings like onions, garlic, olive oil vinaigrettes, etc. Also less often I ate other low-retinol meats like chicken and tilapia.

    I may write up my personal experience in more detail later, but for now I'm just trying to urge people to read Genereux's material and I am hoping to get some discussion going on his research and his vitamin A toxicity theory. Thanks for reading.

    ADDENDUM:

    If you want to skip the introduction linked above and download his books on the subject directly, here are the links. Here is a quote from Genereux about them:

    "I am publishing this in a free eBook ... I’ve put this information into an eBook form because it is now just way too long to include in a blog post. The book is entirely free. There are no hooks or catches to it. There is no advertising, or any monetary gain in this book for me, or anyone else. The only cost to you is your time in reading it. This book is intended for the people who have these diseases, and for their families."

    Extinguishing the Fires of Hell (2015)
    https://ggenereux.blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/extinguishing-the-fires-of-hell2.pdf

    Poisoning For Profits (2017)
    https://ggenereux.blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/poisoningforprofits.pdf
     
  2. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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    Intriguing, it would be interesting to hear @Ella's opinion on this theory since she has researched vitamin A extensively.
    I'm glad you are feeling better @franko.
     
  3. jitsmonkey

    jitsmonkey Member

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    My personal experience has been 180 degrees opposite.
    Like most binary viewpoints (A is good/A is bad) I doubt this hypothesis is accurate.
    Limiting beta-carotene for sure my experience has been similar
    but definitely not limiting fat soluble A, quite the opposite.
    Not arguing your improvements, just not likely the correct conclusion as to why.
    Congrats. Experimentation FTW.
     
  4. Richiebogie

    Richiebogie Member

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  5. OP
    franko

    franko Member

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    Thanks, I figured I owe it to the raypeatforum community to report on this rather than just disappear — I have gained a lot from the members here. Just glad to have something positive and hopeful to report.

    I know it sounds absurd and, frankly, it contradicts Peat in a major way because the Peat-inspired diet happens to be quite high in Vitamin A, especially when you include the carotenes in orange juice and carrots. But still, I have gained a lot from the members here, so I wanted to throw it out there and I just hope that people will read it and evaluate it for themselves.

    As they say, "The proof is in the pudding". Also, this Vitamin A elimination diet is not that tough an experiment to try. For one it's free. You don't have to buy any supplements or anything. Also the diet is not that weird. You can have a dairy-free pancakes for breakfast, a hamburger w/ sauerkraut for lunch, and beef pot roast with rice for dinner and have almost no vitamin A in your diet that day.

    Yep. It's a lot of material but it's easy to read IMO. He gets straight to the facts. I went ahead and edited my original post with the direct links to both his ebooks.
     
  6. Janelle525

    Janelle525 Member

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    I posted about this several weeks ago and I think the gist of the thread basically said what about the balance between the fat solubles in particular vitamin D? Maybe his vitamin D was low or maybe he was really hypothyroid, or maybe the foods eliminated were foods he was allergic to. Just some theories.
     
  7. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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    Thanks so much! I wondered where you'd been. Do you like grits? It looks like they are low in vitamin A.
     
  8. OP
    franko

    franko Member

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    Yes, they are. And I did eat some grits — although they are not as good without butter and cheese (which I missed at first, but as I improved, the sacrifice of dairy became more than worth it).

    Btw, one might be able to add some vitamin A foods like dairy back into your diet in the future, Genereux has said that it can take 200 days, on average, for your body to deplete it's vitamin A stores. So when your retinol stores have been fully depleted (Genereux has been doing a "No A" diet for I think 3 years now) you may be able to reintroduce them and have no ill effects as long as you keep your consumption moderate.

    One thing that intrigued me initially was that the world's staple carbohydrates — rice, wheat, potatoes and oats — all have zero vitamin A.
     
  9. Janelle525

    Janelle525 Member

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    Yes and poor countries suffer because they subsist on low nutrient foods.
    From the wiki:
    "Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness, and is critical to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality.[2] About 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children in the developing world go blind each year from a deficiency of vitamin A, around half of whom die within a year of becoming blind. "

    "In countries where children are not immunized, infectious diseases such as measles have higher fatality rates. As elucidated by Alfred Sommer, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as it may increase children's risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness."

    Also this...
    "a stressed liver may be more susceptible to vitamin A toxicity."

    Vitamin A is pretty important! I do agree overdosing on it is also probably just as bad.
     
  10. OP
    franko

    franko Member

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    Genereux partially debunks the Vitamin A deficiency concept in Chapter 6 of Poisoning for Profits. Here is a quote with just one of his arguments:

    "Next, we are going to consider what really happens when people are forced to endure long periods of chronic starvation, and diets completely void of vitamin-A. The prisoner of war camps during the second World War provides us with ample examples. [...] For now, we are going to particularly focus on the Japanese run camps, because it is well documented that the only rations allotted to the men captive in these camps was one cup of rice per day. Additionally, with the fall of Singapore and Hong Kong at the very start of the Pacific war the Japanese had captured about 190,000 British and allied troops. These men (the ones that survived) were captive for the entire duration of the Pacific war, so that’s for about 3 1/2 years. For the most part, they lived on nothing more than one cup of rice per day, and that’s if they were lucky. That’s it. Almost no protein, no fruits and vegetables, nothing else.

    [...]

    Clearly, for most the men held in these camps they were not only extremely malnourished in all manner of essential proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, they had no vitamin-A whatsoever. [...] Therefore, under these conditions and according to the VAD theory, every one of these men should have quickly gone blind and had all of their epithelial tissues, and therefore all of their internal organs and glands, completely and quickly destroyed. There should have been massive and widespread cases of xerophthalmia, and blindness reported. It should have been almost ubiquitous within the prisoner populations. Obviously, that was clearly not the case. Not only did that not happen, but it was also nearly the complete opposite. Upon liberation, many of these prisoners were examined by Western medical teams. What’s reported should have been, and to a certain extent was, downright astonishing. The eyes and vision in the men remained in exceptional health. The doctors made special notes of how perfect the eyes appeared in most of these men. The sclera was remarkably void of any vascularization (a condition that normally occurs with xerophthalmia), and was perfectly white. American doctors reported the same (very noticeable and surprising) findings in the men liberated from the German P.O.W. camps.

    How can that be? These men were chronically starved for years, and many starved to the brink of death (and of course many did die). They probably did not consume even mere specks of vitamin-A for more than three years, and there were almost no signs of vitamin-A deficiency reported.

    [...]

    The makeup and structure of the eye is very similar across most species of mammals. The proteins of the eye are also not species specific. The primary nutrients found in, and making up the eye, are proteins, and the B and C vitamins. Of course, we’ve been bamboozled into thinking that only the human eye needs massive amounts of vitamin-A. That’s right, we are supposed to believe that after more than 100 million years of evolution on the planet we humans are the only species that need to supplement with vitamin A to prevent our eyes from self-disintegrating. That, in itself is just so absurd, that it’s almost laughable. Sadly, it’s not laughable because it is a big fat lie that’s at the root cause of our chronic diseases.

    Of course, this big fat lie needs to be kept secret. If we were to learn that the human eye has the same structure, protein composition, and therefore the same nutrient needs as in most other mammals, we might question why it is that only humans need to supplement with vitamin-A. How is it that all animal species on the planet can endure prolonged periods of starvation and yet retain perfect eye health and humans don’t? According to the vitamin-A deficiency theory, we should see entire herds of animals on the great plains of Africa and in the Canadian Artic all dropping dead at about the eight-week mark into the dry seasons. All of them should have their eyes disintegrating, and their skin burning off, infected, and all their internal organs failing at about the same time too. Hopefully, you see just how ridiculously absurd that whole notion is."​
     
  11. Waynish

    Waynish Member

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    I bet it was the milk... Try adding in liver to your diet. If you feel better, then you can't blame A. If you feel worse, then let's talk more about this theory :P
     
  12. Wagner83

    Wagner83 Member

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    Your improvements could be simply from ditching dairy. Have you tried eating other retinol - rich foods since stopping the dairy (liver ?)? I Think the fact the vitamin is stored when there's too much doesn't prove anything, afaik this is what happens to FSV. Also it seems when people research one thing they start turning it into the most important thing to study.
    This being said, thanks for sharing. Stargazer had an awful experience with supplemental retinol, he wrote about it.
     
  13. mipp

    mipp Member

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    I read his books a couple months ago when they were mentioned in the other thread and he didn't really convince me. Some thougts:

    - (obvious) his vitamin A elimination diet excludes most foods you can think of and doesn't prove anything about vitamin A. You eliminate hundreds of other variables when you restrict yourself to a diet of rice and meat. I believe him when he says he cured his eczsema, but as others have already mentioned, it could be anything: dairy, certain fats, leafy vegs, gluten, food additives, anything
    - it seems he never tested his own hypothesis on himself. Why not just supplement retinyl palmitate or acetate for a while and see what happens? IIRC he says somewhere he's afraid his eczema might return or something like that
    - the evidence he presents is not convincing. He spends a lot of time arguing that when Canada closed cod fishery in the 90s, it correlated with a significant drop in incidence of some auto-immune diseases. It seems to be the most significant revelation and strongest piece of evidence against vitamin A in his book. The thing is, there is not much vitamin A in cod meat. Cronometer says from 5 to 50 IU per 100g. That's not much. Milk chocolate bar has 200.
    - other dubious claims and conclusions. At one point he mentions Okinawans, how they are known for their longevity and exceptional health and suggests that it's because their diet is low in vitamin A. In reality it is anything but. The traditional Okinawan diet is distinct from typical Asian diets in that sweet potato is a staple instead of rice. Wiki even cites daily consumption over 800g. that would be like 100,000 IU a day as beta carotene. And Genereux believes carotenoids are as evil and poisonous as retinol. Somewhere else in the book he actually even talks specifically about high consumption of sweet potato being responsible for higher rates of certain diseases in South America and among racial minorities in the US.

    These are just the few things I remembered. There were some mandatory conspiracy theories involving nazi doctors and whatnot which make it difficult to take this guy seriously. There are some interesting observations too. Like those about prisoners of war and apparent lack of any signs of vitamin A deficiency. It seems we can survive without dietary vitamin A for quite a long time. I'm not sure if that means that vitamin A is toxic and should be restricted, or that it is so vital to our survival that we accumulate huge reserves in our bodies so that we can survive when food is scarce.

    I have experimented with low vitamin A diet myself, first inspired by another user from this forum, then several weeks of almost complete elimination after reading about Genereux's success with eczema. Can't say it's worked for me so far. My skin problems didn't improve, dandruff returned with force. When I ate almost nothing but rice and meat my skin looked unhealthy and I had lots of tiny little bumps on my forhead. Not like typical acne lesions that I still occasionaly have, more like clogged pores or something. They disappeared when I went back to a more varied diet with eggs, some dairy etc.
     
  14. sunraiser

    sunraiser Member

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    Vitamin A can be both good and bad, depending on your current transient status quo.

    I'm learning acutely that the body is constantly balancing vitamins and minerals by increasing and decreasing uptake of what's needed.

    Retinol from liver has been great for me when I'm on my feet all day ans getting a little sun, but bad when sedentary.

    I think it's just a metabolic stimulant that needs to be balanced with other cofactors. If you're sedentary you won't have sufficient ATP to uptake magnesium. This eventually leaves you vitamin K and D deficient and with a fatty liver (because of defunct sulfation pathways and unhappy lymph system, perhaps). Vitamin A, K and D work together in a close balance so this state is obviously going to make too much Retinol a negative.

    Retinol from supplements or liver overrides the body's rate limiting mechanisms and can cause problems, hence why food cravings should be listened to!

    On this note, I'm now of the opinion that it's impossible to restore metabolic health without exercise. The insulin/prolactin relationship is something I need to understand better but it seems to be a calcium metabolism and dopaminergic road block.

    The body works via routine. You won't just "feel" like exercise at first. 20 mins high intensity interval or simply being outside on your feet for a fair bit of the day have been key trends in my higher appetite better sleep days.

    For me, running feels bad, but a run warmup followed by sprints walks and rests as per intuition is genuinely energising. I go from fatigue to energised and more positive mood.

    Also, interval sessions with star jumps, sprints on the spot (high knees) occasional burpees feels good. The first two mins feels bad but then it feels good. Sometimes you have to force yourself when your body is coping with a prolonged negative routine.

    Weights and bodyweight still make me feel bad, though perhaps that's because overtraining caused my initial decline.

    It's interesting that short 20 min interval type bursts feel good. Perhaps the body preserves this mechanism at all costs so we can always run from danger or chase prey.

    It's imperative to resolving insulin issues and in turn fatty liver and upping vitamin A tolerance.

    Looking at health and vitamins in a microcosm is so unbelievably damaging as it creates irrational fears and makes people ignore their intuition. It's easy to be scared in a state of metabolic insufficiency. I was scared of exercise for a long time after overtraining.
     
  15. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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    @franko, I really appreciate you sharing this information with the forum. I'm sure it doesn't apply to everyone but there are people that are struggling with autoimmune issues that have tried everything to no avail or with only partial improvement and perhaps this could give them an additional avenue to explore on their healing journey.
    I've suspected for many years that retin-a was a contributing environmental factor in my development of celiac disease. I learned it is advised against for people with celiac disease because it increases intestinal permeability via one of the interleukins.
    It's also interesting that people with autoimmune diseases are reporting substantial improvements from the carnivore diet. It does make me wonder if vitamin A could be a factor for them. I could personally never go back to carb restriction but sadly the carnivore diet proponents are blaming everything on the carbs. This seems like a much safer approach.
    Do you use eggshell or oyster shell calcium since you aren't eating dairy?
     
  16. Wagner83

    Wagner83 Member

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    Reply to sunraiser's post :
    The idea to push some form of exercise to create the lacking energy is interesting, but speaking about intuition it can be difficult and tricky to force oneself to perform high intensity training. Walking ie an obvious starter, hopefully with some nature, sunlight and free mind involved.
    I often think that just like habits the initial force required to create movement is greater than what is needed to keep things going, but I could be wrong.
     
  17. sunraiser

    sunraiser Member

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    I understand you. I think it's essentially that modern life means this kind of exercise is not NEEDED for survival so it becomes unintuitive. It will resurface as a need if you're playing sports or if for some reason you need to chase prey to eat or run away from a wolf, I can assure you.

    This area is where we have to slightly ignore our intuition and observe the results we get. Walking for 30 minutes isn't enough for me, but being on feet most of the day is a good alternative. Walking all day feels purposeless unless you have an outdoor job, so high intensity interval is far superior. You can obviously use your own version and build slowly.

    I fully agree that the initial force is much greater, and something in the body seems to kick in when you demand energy in this way. Also--- this is just ME personally - perhaps different types have different needs. It's just a consideration when nothing seems to be working.
     
  18. raypeatclips

    raypeatclips Member

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    @franko Have you had your vitamin D levels tested at all?

    Like others in this thread I am sure the other fat solubles are involved. I asked OP blog about his vitamin D levels and he rubbished my theory, despite not taking any vitamin D supps other than the measly amount added to milk, living in a cold cloudy country, and seemingly not having his vitamin D blood levels tested. IMO the "vitamin A = bad" theory is far too narrow minded.
     
  19. sunraiser

    sunraiser Member

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    Just a note of importance - you cannot have sufficient mucosal barrier without both vitamin A and vitamin D. Perhaps vitamin A in absence of properly metabolised vitamin D increases permiability, but so will avoiding vitamin A.
     
  20. Blossom

    Blossom Moderator

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    Thank you. I'm sure it's possible I could have been low in D during the winter back then. Vitamin D wasn't even a thought to me back in the early 90's.
     
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