Why I will never go vegan or vegetarian - The key info completely missing from the conversation...
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
There is increasing talk of the vegan/vegetarian/plant-based being the healthiest diet. Data shows that consumption of red meat increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases and many more illnesses. So why do I consider animal flesh and fat a crucial part of my health needs?
I have always eaten meat and it's made me so healthy and vital! ...Not! I have always eaten muscle meat and processed dairy, and I have suffered all kinds of health conditions. But is giving up animal products the answer? When researchers arrive at red meat as the cause of ill-health, they are getting very very close in a sense, but they are missing the full picture.
It is not really red meat that is the issue. It is high consumption of iron-rich muscle meat WITHOUT also consuming copper-rich and retinol-rich organ meats. Without these crucial components iron cannot be properly managed in the body and essentially builds as rust in the tissue and organs causing the largest source of oxidative stress which leads to disease symptoms.
Sure - a clean vegan diet can be amazing for detox – health results can seem really really impressive – but this is really only in the short-term. What the world is not aware of is that ANY diet lacking in retinol (and trust me – the standard western meat eating diet is also lacking there) will over the long-term undermine the production of the Ferroxidase enzyme, which completely disrupts key mineral balance – leaving iron in a toxic unbound form causing all oxidative stress and inflammation. How long does this take? There are many other contributing factors to this mineral dysregulation such as stress/trauma, exposure to toxins, vitamin and mineral supplementation and fortification, among other factors that speed this along. But all contributing factors make retinol requirements even higher and more critical.
Because this iron<>copper dynamic is so poorly understood or even represented – people are completely unaware of the toxic iron lurking in the shadows. Our bodies are incredibly resourceful and can maintain incredible levels of homeostasis despite extreme stress and deprivation, but only for so long. So some vegans and vegetarians may live long reasonably healthy lives without anything too catastrophic coming up, same goes to certain people who …well Keith Richards…say no more. But the thing about this dysregulation is that it is cumulative – and the degree grows with each generation. The majority of people will not fare well with a low/no retinol diet.
Here at the RCP, we are seeing so many vegan and vegetarian clients who had been feeling great, and then have absolutely crashed. Their symptoms and iron<>copper dysregulation is often the most disrupted we see. When these clients add retinol-rich grass-fed beef liver and cod liver oil into their diet and these figures improve (often dramatically), and symptoms begin to disappear.
And so in terms of the picture that is being conveyed via comparing health outcomes of plant-based diet verses meat consumers – very few meat eaters consume the offal, and this is the KEY difference. But it is not even taken into consideration in these common comparisons. This is not a battle between meat-eaters and vegans. It’s just critical information about the importance of retinol for all people of all the different walks of life. Meat eaters chomping down on lean iron-high conventional grain-fed red meat pumped with antibiotics, growth hormones, etc…and not touching the retinol-rich liver are also not getting the nutrients required to safety regulate iron. It is not red meat that leads to cancer or heart disease (especially not clean/organic grass-fed red meat) – it is the lack of retinol to regulate the iron content of that red meat.
I was once asked: “So what type of issues can vegans expect to develop?” …Once again, not just vegans – anybody who isn’t getting adequate levels of retinol (and considering the extent of deficiency and dysregulation – that 'adequate level' needs to be A LOT), can expect to get any symptom/condition/disease on this planet – because every single one can be traced back to the same uniting mechanism – the same root cause which is iron<>copper dysregulation. And because health professionals are not trained or informed about this – they don’t even know to look for it – or how to look for it. True retinol status does not show in blood tests. Standard Vitamin A test do not specify between beta-carotene and retinol either. Retinol is animal-based vitamin A - it is the preformed Vitamin A, completely ready, bioavailable and usable as is. Retinol is only found in animal products (mainly liver but also in grass-fed dairy). And then you’ve got the plant based version of vitamin A which is beta-carotene – however it takes 12 Beta carotene + Energy (Mg-ATP) + Beta-carotene-15-15’-Monooxygenase Enzyme to convert 1 Retinol. And as it turns out Beta-carotene-15-15’-Monooxygenase Enzyme requires Bioavailable Copper (which requires Retinol) so without any animal based preformed Vitamin A (Retinol) in the diet it is unlikely the body can make the conversion – and even if it can, it requires such a large amount of beta-carotene to make enough retinol, and burns through so many of the bodies resources/minerals and energy to make the conversion. It is just not sustainable.
It should also be noted that children cannot make this conversion at all, so if they are not getting any animal-based vitamin A this will render their diet 100% devoid of any vitamin A (aside from any gained through breastmilk in the nursing years) which is a very serious concern, which I see as vital to take into consideration.
Furthermore, beta-carotene can actually decrease or depress REAL vitamin A in the tissue! I would urge readers to check out the info under the heading " Carotenes: Not as Safe as they’re Cracked Up to Be" in this article.
And in terms of taking a synthetic version to address the issue - Retinol resonates at a entirely different frequency to plant-based or synthetic Vitamin A. Even if they are chemically almost the same, biologically they behave completely differently in the body. Vitamins and minerals work synergistically and so isolating any component causes metabolic chaos within the body. When you eat real food, you're not consuming single nutrients, but rather a whole range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors and enzymes that allow for optimal use by the body, and don’t run the risk of drowning real nutrients out of your system, or creating a build-up of free unusable reactive minerals/metals.
Antioxidant vitamins actually behave as PRO-oxidants if they are in synthetic or isolated form – especially in conditions of iron<>copper dysregulation.
Michael Marcel Turcotte from the Center for Health and Wellness gives a very comprehensive comparison between wholefood complexes vs synthetic vitamins here. "Some examples of studies which show how toxic synthetic vitamins are in the body: 1. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased by 400%. N. Eng. J. Med. 1995; 333: 1369-1373 2. Another study involving 29,000 male smokers who were given synthetic beta-carotene and synthetic Vitamin E was also stopped when rates of lung cancer, heart attacks, and death increased. N. Eng. J. Med. 1994: 330; 1029-1035"
What proof is there that retinol really is important?
To use a snippet of amazing insight from my mentor, Morley: "Let me share some research just "mined" in the past 36 hours:
o Retinoic Acid STOPS the negative affects of VDUP-1 (Vit-D Upregulating Protein-1) that alters Glucose metabolism in the cell that is connected to Cancer metabolism...
o All trans Retinoic Acid STOPS Cardiac Hypertrophy (Enlarged Heart)...
o Vitamin-A Deficiency (VAD) 'A'ffects the HPA Axis and causes Over-reactions (Folks, here's a KEY reason for the LOSS of Maggie to "Stress!" -- it's a RETINOL issue!!!!)...
o Leave it to the French (who LOVE Butter & Cream!) to figure out that Hormonal Dysregulation is from a LACK of Retinol!...
o LOSS of Circadian Rhythm is yet ANOTHER impact of LOW Retinol...
o The TRUE Origin of Autism is dysregulation btwn RARB<> CD 38 <> Oxcytocin due to a LACK of Retinol...
o Overgrowth of Candida Albicans is merely a "weed-like growth" in Retinol Deficient "Soil!"
FOLKS, THIS IS JUST THE PAST 36 HOURS, but it's a "Who's Who" of Metabolic Dysfunction.... And I assure you, there are MANY, MANY, MANY MORE such studies... It is A-ppalling and A-stounding what we don't know about RETINOL!
And here's the"A"LARMING "D"ownside: o LOW Retinol status does NOT show in the Blood! The serum levels are "D"eceptive and NOT representative of Tissue levels...
o Retinol is STORED in HSCs (Hepatic Stellate Cells), but this metabolite is restored MORE SLOOOOOOOWLY than previously thought:
I'm quite A-larmed that we have a CRISIS on our hands:
o Typical Earthling eats a LOW/NO Retinol diet, and has for the past 2-3 generations...
o Typical Earthling has been "D"uped into taking Hormone-D Supplements that "D"estroys RETINOL status in the Eyes, Liver, & Body... (There is PROOF of that in ONE Study!...)
o Typical Earthling has RAGING signs of Inflammation: Obesity/Migraines/Lyme/Chronic Fatigue /AutoImmune/NAFLD, etc. -- KNOW that Retinol "A"ttenuates Inflammation...
o Typical Earthling has NO WAY to A-ssess their REAL Vitamin-A status as it's NOT on the "standard" checklist and if it were, what test would be used?!?
o Typical Earthling has NO PATIENCE to allow the Re-storing/Re-stocking of REAL Vitamin-A in their Hepatic Stellate Cells... Tragically, it is NOT a "quick fix!"
Folks, let's be patient...
We are on the CUSP of a KEEN understanding of the metabolic ORIGIN of the ailments of the world... “ - Morley Robbins
And if you are keen to really see the evidence and implications behind this iron<>copper dysregulation bizo…here are a bunch of my favourite (mindblowing) studies and papers which support it and will help inform and empower you. o A jaw-dropping study (one of many) by Sir Doulas B Kell linking unbound iron to a staggering number of different diseases and conditions. And remember without retinol, iron remains unregulated and free to cause chaos. o Another brilliant paper by Sir Doulas B Kell on gaining a 'Unifying understanding of cell death caused by poorly liganded iron'. o A paper about Anemia of Vit A deficiency - it is non-conclusive, but when synthesized with many studies pointing to the role of Ceruloplasmin (dependent on Retinol) to regulate iron safety, it all adds up to the bigger picture. o Direct evidence of Ceruloplasmin's antioxidant properties - it is in fact the MASTER antioxidant, but it is activated by retinol. o An eye-opening article about iron's roll in neurodegenerative disease. “We are saying there is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component, and that this can be woken up by iron dysregulation. Removing this iron will slow down or prevent cognitive degeneration – we can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence,” Professor Douglas Kell said. o Iron supplementation and fortification is put upon us at every turn, but has anybody actually stopped to check - Is stored Iron Safe? o Everyone is looking for a better understanding of cancer! These articles (only a couple out of many) may begin to shed some light. 5x the amount of iron found in breast cancer cells than healthy cells! And an article about the link between iron metabolism and prostate cancer. o A study about iron metabolism in copper deficient pigs. o A study looking at Iron metabolism and ceruloplasmin in rats. o Another study about neurodegenerative disease and the noted lowered ceruloplasmin ativity. o The study of ceruloplasmin's role regulating iron. And another here. o A very interesting paper about how Ferritin is an invalid measure of available iron stores. o A report explaining that 'Data reported so far suggest that increased ferritin concentrations, representing increased body iron burden, are common and not benign'. o A scientific article showing that serum ferritin is a leakage product from damaged cells! o Iron and infection (all pathogens, viruses, myotoxins, parasites ect feed on iron) o A study looking at the truth behind 'Iron Deficiency' (Anemia of Chronic inflammation) and another. o An demonstration of how our iron recycling system is supposed to work - we don't need much iron, but copper (in the active form of ceruloplasmin) needs to keep it moving and regulated. o Unbound iron causes aging and disease! o Retinol improves insulin function having huge implications for diabetes understanding. o A scientific article explaining how iron must be regulated carefully due to it’s reactive potential. o There are way too many to list here, but this gives you an idea and somewhere to start. I would also take some time to read Morley Robbins 80+ Iron Toxicity posts (which can be found here along with many other brilliant resources) where he joins the dots on this research. I think this stuff is probably the most important thing anyone living on this planet could read and arm themselves with. And no matter what – I respect your right to choose whatever you feel is right for your body and for the planet and it’s creatures. I just want to spread this information so people have the full picture and then can use it to make a fully informed decision, and I’m OK if that’s not the same decision as I make for myself. I respect you and your feelings and your needs and boundaries. And none of this is aimed at vegans – it’s just extra information that is lacking in the world, that effects all of us, and I think we all have a right to know it.
But what about the animals? And what about the environment? What kind of world are we leaving for Keith!?
The Root Cause Protocol is all about mineral-rich, high-quality wholefoods. We are passionate about supporting farming methods which work in harmony with nature. We encourage people to know exactly where they are sourcing their food. We avoid commercially farmed produce, including meat products. We get down to our local farmers markets and chat to the farmers and find the ones that care about the quality of the soil they are growing their crops in, the ones that care about the quality of grass their livestock feed on, the ones who care about the quality of life and ethical treatment of their animals, the ones who avoid chemicals, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and other nasties. Rather than commercial meat & dairy, and/or Big Agri Mono-cropping - we want to see plants and animals thriving together in a diverse ecosystem as they would in nature. I would encourage those concerned about the environmental impacts of meat consumption/production to look more into Regenerative Farming.
"Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. By capturing carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, Regenerative Agriculture aims to reverse current trends of atmospheric accumulation. At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming communities."
- Regenerative Agriculture Definition Pete Evans' film The Magic Pill has a great demonstration of the environmental benefits of Regenerative Farming. Pete didn't get to touch on the important aspect of soil mineral depletion in the film, but here Morley filled Pete in on the subject. I think it is also important for people to learn about the origins of the anti-meat movement. Dr Gary Fettke talks here about the fact that this movement is promoted by and based on religious ideological belief systems and also the commercial cereal, sugar and processed food industries rather than on scientific biological reality. For me personally, while I don't get overjoyed at the unfortunate fact that we live in an animal eat animal world, I am at peace with the natural life-cycle and food-chain. I know the animals don't want me to eat them, and I know it scares and hurts them to be slaughtered, but I am as at peace with this as I can be - as long as the animal is given a good quality of life and a quick and as low-distress slaughter as possible. I am learning to come to terms with the dark, ugly, messy, painful, unwanted parts of myself and in turn the mirrored parts of the world such as the food-chain. I can't see an alternative in terms of my cellular needs, so I will gratefully continue to consume animal flesh and products and do my absolute best to source ethical and eco-friendly produce (of plant and animal origin) and support the uprising of the Regenerative Agriculture movement, and diminish of the Commercial Industrial Agriculture beast!