Glandular supplements (also called glandulars) are nutritional supplements made from various organs and tissues of mammals, usually cattle.
Dr. Royal Lee (1895–1965) patented several glandular extraction techniques and later marketed his products under the Standard Process Laboratories label. Dr. Lee and other early nutritional pioneers felt the degenerative processes of a specific organ could be reversed by ingesting the necessary raw materials peculiar to that organ.
While no one so far can totally explain exactly how glandulars work, it is a fact that they do work and work well. They are a very useful tool for treating a wide variety of problems, and they are also relatively inexpensive and non-toxic.
How They Work
The main argument against glandulars has always been that anything taken orally would simply be broken down into simple fats, proteins, or carbohydrates by digestive enzymes, making it useless. But some of the greatest pioneers in natural medicine knew there was more to the story.
Dr. Lee developed a process, which is still being used today, for collecting glandular substances to be taken orally. His process involved extracting protomorphogens, which are basically salt extracts of mammalian glands—usually bovine glands.
Protomorphogen, loosely translated, means the primitive material from which an organ is created. Previously, protomorphogens were available in this country as injected therapies, but unfortunately, their success did them in.
After the drug companies and FDA saw how well they worked, their sale was outlawed within the United States. They had four things going against them: They worked. They were inexpensive. They had few, if any, side effects. And they were non-patentable.
In developing his process, Dr. Lee found that when the cells of any organ are damaged, cellular debris is released into the bloodstream. The body treats these debris as foreign substances and creates antibodies to destroy them. On some occasions, these antibodies also attack the original organ as well, which causes autoimmune disorders. Protomorphogens seem to have the unique ability to neutralize these antigen-antibody reactions, which helps stop this self-destruction.
In theory, when the cellular debris hits the bloodstream, the activity produces ribonucleic acid (RNA). RNA is then filtered and stored in the thymus, a gland associated with the body’s immune system. From there the substance passes to the parotid (salivary) glands in the mouth, where it combines with salivary juices and is secreted as food is chewed. In the process, these tissue-specific particles combine with nutrients necessary to repair a particular organ. Rather than being distributed haphazardly throughout the body, these “tagged” nutrients supposedly will then find their way in greater concentrations to that organ tissue where they are needed.
Since the early 1990s, new research has been published which shows that Dr. Lee and the other foresighted pioneers of glandular therapy were simply ahead of their time. This research has not been done to determine if glandular therapy works, but has been focused instead on how it works.
Animal studies done by Dr. Howard Weiner at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston documented the successful use of glandulars (although they didn’t call them “glandulars”) in the treatment of two autoimmune diseases—multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Weiner found that oral myelin—the sheath that surrounds and protects nerve fibers—had amazingly positive results in treating multiple sclerosis, and oral collagen dramatically reduced the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Human studies then tested oral collagen type II on human arthritis patients. Dr. Weiner and Dr. David Trentham studied 60 people with severe rheumatoid arthritis. In the treatment group, they eliminated the standard therapies gave the patients pure collagen type II derived from chicken sternal cartilage.
Those on the collagen treatment experienced a significant decrease in the number of tender and swollen joints compared to the placebos. Four patients taking the collagen had complete remission, with no side effects.
In general, Dr. Weiner and his colleagues suggested that ingesting different tissue “building blocks” of the tissue under attack can combat autoimmune diseasesd by limiting or shutting down the self-destructive cycle of autoimmunity.
Another research scientist, Dr. Andrew Muir, performed similar studies at the University of Florida Medical School. He fed insulin orally to mice which had been bred to become diabetic. His studies revealed that the beneficial effects of glandulars are lost if they don’t go through at least part of the digestive process. In other words, he found that when substances like insulin were injected directly into the intestine, there was no effect. However, when taken orally and allowed to go through the digestive tract or when pre-treated with digestive enzymes and injected into the intestine, they significantly delayed the onset of diabetes in the mice.
Dr. Muir’s theory of how oral insulin stops diabetes is that insulin passing through the intestinal wall triggers the immune system to stop attacking the pancreas. This concurs totally with Dr. Lee’s theory of how glandulars work.
Besides supporting damaged organs and tissues, glandulars can often be used to avoid the necessity of taking hormones. Many companies have glandular supplements on the market today. A word of caution, though: Don’t take yourself off prescription medication or start taking these products without first talking to a doctor familiar with protomorphogens and glandular therapy.