Article #1: Autolyzing Tumors by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
The word autoloysis is derived from Greek and means, literally, self-loosing. It is used in physiology to designate the process of digestion or disintegration of tissue by ferments (enzymes) generated in the cells themselves. It is a process of self-digestion.
Enzymes exist throughout nature. All organic processes are accomplished by their aid. Seeds sprout by the aid of enzymes. Every tissue has its own enzyme.
It is now common knowledge that the processes of digestion that take place in the mouth, stomach and intestine are made possible by active agents or ferments known as enzymes. For instance, starch is converted into sugar by digestive enzymes that are said to be starch splitting, or amylolytic; proteins are converted into amino acids by protein-splitting, or proteolytic, enzymes. The digestive enzymes digest only “dead” substances and therefore, do not digest the stomach and intestine.
Acids and alkalies do not accomplish the work of digestion. They only supply favorable mediums for the work of the digestive enzymes. The enzyme, ptyalin, of the saliva acts only in an alkaline medium and is destroyed by a mild acid; the enzyme, pepsin, of the gastric juice works only in an acid medium and is prevented from working by an alkali.
It should be equally well known that the chemical changes that take place in the cells and tissues are instigated by enzymes, of which there are a number in every living thing. Simple sugar (monosaccharide) is absorbed from the intestine and carried to the liver where it is converted, by an enzyme, into glycogen (animal starch) and stored until used. When the body needs sugar, the glycogen is reconverted into sugar, again by enzymic action. It is now general knowledge that insulin secreted by the pancreas is necessary to the metabolization (oxidation) of sugar and that when the pancreas fails to turn out sufficient insulin, unoxidized sugar is excreted in the urine.
A number of autolytic enzymes are known and are included under the general terms, oxidases and peroxidases. Physiologists know that proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes are formed within many, if not in all, living tissues.
These various intracellular enzymes play a conspicious part in the metabolism of food substances; that is, in the normal or regular function of nutrition or metabolism. A few familiar examples of autolysis will prepare the reader for what is to follow about tumors.
When a bone is broken, a bone-ring support is built around the fractured section, extending each way from the point of fracture. After the bone is reunited and knitting or healing is completed, and the circulatory channels are reestablished, the bone-ring support is softened and absorbed, except about a quarter of an inch about the point of fracture.
If planaria, or flat worms, are cut into small pieces and placed where they can absorb nourishment, each piece will grow into a small worm. If they cannot get nourishment, they cannot grow. Each piece, therefore, completely rearranges its materials and becomes a perfect, but very minute worm. The piece that contains the pharynx, finding this too large for its diminished size, will dissolve it and make a new one that fits its new size.
The manner in which an abscess “points” on the surface of the body and drains its septic contents on the outside is well known to everyone of my readers. What is not generally known, is that this “pointing” on the surface is possible only because the flesh between the abscess and the surface is digested by enzymes; that is, it is autolyzed and removed.
Certain animals have specialized stores in which they store up a reserve of nutrition to feed them during periods of scarcity or during hibernation. These physiological storehouses are analogous to the “water tank” possessed by the camel. Examples of this are the big-tailed sheep of Persia, the gila monster of our Western plains and the Russian bear. Other animals, including man, possess only the generalized reserves found in the bone marrow, liver, blood, fatty tissue, etc., and the private reserve possessed by each cell in the body.
Both types of animals may draw upon these reserves for supplies with which to nourish their vital tissues, if raw materials from without are not to be had; or, if, due to sickness, they cannot be digested.
These tissues (fatty tissue, bone marrow, etc.) and food substances (glycogen) are not fit to enter the bloodstream before they are acted upon by enzymes. Indeed human fat, or human muscle is no more fitted to enter the circulation without first being digested, than is fat or muscle from the cow or sheep.
Glycogen (animal starch), stored in the liver, must be converted into a simple sugar before it can be released into the bloodstream. This conversion is accomplished by enzymic action.
Many more examples of autolysis could be given, but enough have been presented to convince the reader that it is a common fact of everyday life. It remains now to show that the body possesses control over this process, just as it does over all the other processes of life: that the process is not a blind, undirected bull-in-a-china-shop affair.
A remarkable example of this control is afforded by the piece of diced plenarium that contains the pharynx. Here is manifest the ability to tear down a part and shift its constituent materials. The same thing is seen in the softening and absorption of the bone-ring support around a point of fracture. Only part of the bone-ring is digested, the remainder is allowed to remain to reinforce the weakened structure.
The phenomena of fasting supply many examples of the control the body exercises over its autolytic processes. For instance, tissues are lost in the inverse order of their usefulness—fat and morbid growths first, and then the other issues. In all animals, from worms to man, the various organs and tissues differ very greatly in their rates of loss while fasting. Usually the liver loses more in weight relative to the rest of the body than the other organs, especially in the earlier stages, due to the loss of glycogen and fat. The lungs lose almost nothing and the brain and nervous system still less.
The vital tissues are fed on the stored reserves and the less vital tissues, so that abstinence from food can produce damage only after the body’s reserves have been exhausted.
The body possesses the ability to shift its chemicals and fasting furnishes many remarkable instances of this. The digestion and reorganization of parts seen in worms and other animals, when deprived of food, the digestion and redistribution of reserves and surpluses and nonvital tissues, as seen in all animals, when forced to go without food, constitute, for the writer, some of the most marvelous phenomena in the whole realm of biology.
The body is not only able to build tissue; it can also destroy tissue. It can not only distribute its nutritive supplies; it can also redistribute them. Autoloysis makes redistribution possible.
I propose now to show the reader that this process of autolysis can be put to great practical use and be made to serve us in getting rid of tumors and other growths in the body. This fact is not exactly new for it has been known for a long time. Over a hundred years ago, Sylvester Graham wrote that when more food is used by the body than is daily supplied, “it is a general law of the vital economy” that “the decomposing absorbents (the old term for the process of autolysis) always first lay hold of and remove those substances which are of least use to the economy; and hence, all morbid accumulations, such as wens, tumors, abscesses, etc., are rapidly diminished and often wholly removed under severe and protracted abstinence and fasting.”
To fully understand this, it is necessary for the reader to know that tumors are made up of flesh and blood and bone. There are many names for the different kinds of tumors, but the names of all indicate the kind of tissue of which the tumor is composed. For instance, an osteoma is made up of bone tissue; a myoma is composed of muscular tissue; a neuroma is constituted of nerve tissue; a lipoma consists of fatty tissue; etc.
Tumors being composed of tissues, the same kinds of tissues as the other structures of the body, are susceptible of autolytic distintegration, the same as normal tissue, and do, as a matter of experience, undergo dissolution and absorption under a variety of circumstances but especially during a fast. The reader who can understand how fasting reduces the amount of fat on the body and how it reduces the size of the muscles, can also understand how it will reduce the size of a tumor, or cause it to disappear altogether. He needs, then only to realize that the process of distintegrating (autolyzing) the tumor takes place much more rapidly than it does in the normal tissues.
In his Notes on Tumors, a work for students of pathology, Francis Carter Wood says: “In a very small proportion of human malignant tumors spontaneous disappearance for longer or shorter periods has been noted. The greatest number of such disappearances has followed incomplete surgical removal of the tumor; they have occurred next in order of frequency during some acute febrile process, and less frequently in connection with some profound alteration of the metabolic processes of the organism, such as extreme cachexia, artificial menopause or the puerperium.
No more profound change in metabolism is possible than that produced by fasting and the change is of a character best suited to bring about the autolysis of a tumor, malignant or otherwise.
The conditions Dr. Wood mentions as causing spontaneous disappearance of tumors are, for the most part, “accidents” and are not within the range of voluntary control. Fasting, on the other hand, may be instituted and carried on under control and at any time desired. It is the rule that operations are followed by increased growth in the tumor. Spontaneous disappearance following incomplete removal is rare. The same may be said for extreme cachexia and artificial menopause. In fevers, we have rapid autolysis in many tissues of the body and much curative work going on, but we cannot develop a fever at will. Pregnancy and childbirth occasion many profound changes in the body, but they are certainly not to be recommended to sick women as cures for their tumors. Even if this were desirable, it would be a hit-or-miss remedy. The effects of fasting are certain. There is nothing hit-or-miss about the process. It works always in the same general direction.
Fever is a curative process and does help to remove the cause of the tumor. None of Dr. Wood’s other causes of spontaneous disappearance assist in removing the cause of tumors. Fasting does assist greatly in the removal of such cause.
During the fast, the accumulations of superfluous tissues are overhauled and analyzed; the available component parts are turned over to the department of nutrition to be utilized in nourishing the essential tissues; the refuse is thoroughly and permanently removed.
I could quote numerous men of wide experience with fasting to corroborate what I am going to say about autolyzing tumors, but I do not desire to weary any reader with quotations. I will content myself with one quotation. Mr. Macfadden says: “My experience of fasting has shown me beyond all possible doubt that a foreign growth of any kind can be absorbed into the circulation by simply compelling the body to use every unnecessary element contained within it for food. When a foreign growth has become hardened, sometimes one long fast will not accomplish the result, but where they are soft, the fast will usually cause them to be absorbed.”
Due to a variety of circumstances, some known, others unknown, the rate of absorption of tumors in fasting individuals varies. Let me cite two extreme cases to show the wide range of variation in this process.
A woman, under forty, had a uterine fibroid about the size of an average grapefruit. It was completely absorbed in twenty-eight days of total abstinence from all food but water. This was an unusually rapid rate of absorption.
Another case is that of a similar tumor in a woman of about the same age. In this case, the growth was about the size of a goose egg. One fast of twenty-one days reduced the tumor to the size of an English walnut. The fast was broken due to the return of hunger. Another fast a few weeks subsequent, of seventeen days, was required to complete the absorption of the tumor. This was an unusually slow rate of tumor absorption.
Tumor-like lumps in female breasts ranging from the size of a pea to that of a goose egg will disappear in from three days to as many weeks. Here is a remarkable case of this kind that will prove both interesting and instructive to the reader.
A young lady, age 21, had a large hard lump—a little smaller than a billiard ball—in her right breast. For four months it had caused her considerable pain. Finally she consulted a physician who diagnosed the condition, cancer, and urged immediate removal. She went to another, end another and still another physician, and each made the same diagnosis (an unusual thing) and each urged immediate removal.
Instead of resorting to surgery, the young lady resorted to lasting and in exactly three days without food, the “cancer” and all its attendant pain were gone.
There has been no recurrence in thirteen years and I feel that we are justified in considering the condition “cured.” Hundreds of such occurrences under fasting have convinced us that many “tumors” and “cancers” are removed by surgeons that are not tumors or cancers. They cause us to be very skeptical of the statistics issued to show that early operation prevents or “cures” cancer.
The removal of tumors by autolysis has several advantages over their surgical removal. Surgery is always dangerous; autolysis is a physiological process and carries no danger. Surgery always lowers vitality and thus adds to the metabolic perversion that is back of the tumor. Fasting, by which autolysis of tumors is accelerated, normalizes nutrition and permits the elimination of accumulated toxins, thus helping to remove the cause of the tumor. After surgical removal, tumors tend to recur. After their autolytic removal, there is little tendency to recurrence. Tumors often recur in malignant form after their operative removal. The tendency to malignancy is removed by fasting, in Europe and America literally thousands of tumors have been autolyzed during the past fifty years, and the effectiveness of the method is beyond doubt. The present writer can give no definite information about bone tumors and nerve tumors; but, since these are subject to the same laws of nutrition as all other tumors, he is disposed to think they may be autolyzed as effectually as other tumors. These things are certain—the process has its limitations and tumors that have been allowed to grow to enormous sizes will only be reduced in size; while, not all cysts will be thus absorbed. It is advisable, therefore, to undergo the needed fast or fasts while the tumor or cyst is comparatively small.
One other limitation must be noted; namely, tumors that are so situated that they dam up the lymph stream will continue to grow (feeding upon the accumulated excess of lymph behind them) despite fasting.
Reprinted from Health For All
- Part I
- 1. Introduction
- 2. The History Of Cancer
- 3. What Cancer Is
- 4. Cancer Incidence
- 5. Normal Cells To Cancer Cells
- 6. A “Cure” For Cancer
- 7. The Seven Stages Of Disease
- 8. Can Cancer Be Prevented?
- 9. How Not To Develop Cancer
- 10. The Requirements For Health Will Fullfill The Needs Of The Sick
- 11. Habits
- 12. Cancer Treatment
- 13. Chemical Contaminants
- 14. Geographical Factors
- 15. Cocarcinogens
- Part II
- Part III
- Part IV
- Part V
- Part VI
- Part VII
- Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Autolyzing Tumors By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Some Prefer Cancer By Lewis E. Machatka
- Article #3: Black Pepper Causes Cancer!
- Article #4: Ten Commandments of Cancer Prevention