Letter No 7 of the Professor Henri Joyeux – 29th of April 2014
Dear Friend, Dear Reader,
Dr Jean Seignalet (1936-2003) was an excellent colleague. I met him as he was a resident of the Montpellier Public Hospital (alumnus 1962). Later he became a junior professor at the Montpellier Medical School and directed the histocompatibility research lab of the Center for Transfusion and Hematology from 1969-1989 at the Center of Transfusion and Hematology.
He was an indefatigable scientist and scholar, had earned many degrees and was very competent in three fields: immunology, gastroenterology and rheumatology. He had more than enough competencies to deserve a professor’s chair, but jealousy and local maneuvers kept him from an appointment. Among French Montpellier University faculty members, he is the one that left the most positive contributions to public health.
He authored more than 230 publications nationally and internationally, as well as two major books: “Groupage HLA en Rhumatologie” in 1985, prefaced by Jean Dausset, a Medicine Nobel Prize winner of 1980, and “Alimentation, Troisième Médecine” (Nutrition or the Third Medicine) in 1996, that I prefaced, and that was continuously re-edited until 2012 and was translated into Spanish and Italian.
He was a pioneer in the development of many organ grafts: kidney, liver, heart, pancreas. In the 1980s, he became conscious of the importance of nutrition for his own health. He effected a radical change of nutritional habits, which allowed him to heal from serious symptoms of depression. As one of his rheumatology students, Pierre Poinsignon (Grenoble, France) wrote about him: “His intuition is that health and nutrition are much more directly correlated than one generally thinks. His past career as an immunologist led him to the discovery of a link between autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and nutrition. Then he elaborated a theory incriminating some foods as triggers of some auto-immune diseases, but also a great amount of ‘lifestyle’ diseases.”
Thanks to his solid double scientific and medical culture and knowledge of biology, Jean Seignalet, became convinced of the extreme importance of human nutrition compatible with the Hippocrates’ principles that existed 500 years BC : “Let thy food be thy medicine”.
“Let Thy Food Be Thy Only Medicine”
His meticulous research, based on a solid study of scientific literature – he knew how to spot the best publications among great numbers of articles devoid of great value – was at the origin of a study applied to more than 2500 patients, who were monitored with utmost rigor. More than quantitative, his results were at the foundation of the nutrition method he developed, based on the quality of foods and food choices. He later called it the Seignalet Diet.
He excluded two major food groups from our daily habits: animal dairy products whatever they are, and gluten, which is responsible for intestinal porosity (leaky gut) and let pass through our bodies bad molecules that our digestive system should normally have eliminated.
He also suppressed any cooking. He considered that all cooking methods deteriorate nutritional qualities of foods we eat, and engaged in a raw-foods-based diets, for which he was often attacked. In short, he came back to an old-time nutrition method, and called his nutrition method “hypotoxic”.
He based his original concepts on clinical findings and individual treatment trials that were danger-free and economical since it only consisted in changing the nutrition habits of his patients.
In 1992, he mentioned his work and his book to me. He needed a courageous publisher. I introduced his book to my publisher, François Xavier de Guibert, who was independent from the lobbies of both the pharmaceutical and the food industries. From word of mouth and the many conferences we gave together or separately, his book became a best-seller : “Nutrition or the Third Medicine”. At the time, we did not dare call nutrition the “first medicine” because of some reluctant or aggressive colleagues.
Jean Seignalet died in 2003 from a pancreatic cancer that had spread to the liver. Because of this, some of his jealous colleagues said that his diet was dangerous.
His Discoveries and Results
The efficiency of the Seignalet Diet opened the path to a global vision of medicine by relying on solid scientific and original findings. It explains the mechanism of the diseases it encounters in increasingly diverse patients’ profiles. How and why can nutrition be a causal factor for a chronic disease? His method obtained very good results: more than 91 of the 155 diseases observed reacted favorably to the diet. They can be divided in three categories: autoimmune diseases, what he calls “clogging” diseases, and elimination diseases.
Among the 2.500 patients he followed, 2.250 improved substantially with his nutritional method, therapeutically a success, which confirms the merit of his scientific reasoning based on hyperpermeability of the intestine. What one calls “leaky gut” is now scientifically recognized.
The efficiency of his nutrition method speaks best to the soundness of his innovative and revolutionary scientific theories. It was made possible thanks to volunteer patients, who he welcomed free of charge, and to his many readers who give favorable testimonies on the web.
His conviction regarding the extreme importance of nutrition for numerous pathologies led him to accomplish research pertinent to many fields of medicine, but also biology: rheumatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, pediatric medicine, neurology, psychiatry, dermatology, ophthalmology, pneumology, cancerology, dietetics, and immunology, genetics, anthropology, bacteriology, molecular biology, aging biology, and physiology.
Critiques Against the Seignalet Method
Such critiques are easily debunked. Three objections are often expressed, mostly by these colleagues who do not want to hear about his method, although they obviously have not used it with their patients:
Critics contend that suppressing dairy products would be conducive to osteoporosis and thus to decalcification. It could lead to pains and bones fractures, at first invisible but that could transform into serious fractures that could lead to a need for a wheelchair. Such criticism forgets that the best calcium supply is vegetable-based: Vegetable calcium is better absorbed through the intestinal barrier i.e. up to 75%, as opposed to animal-sourced calcium that is at best absorbed up to 40%. Good calcium stems from fruits, vegetables and legumes, so long as these foods are chewed for a long time and ground in our “Palate of Flavors” (i.e., our mouth) before they are swallowed.
Skeptics insist that the improvement that you obtain with a radical change of nutritional habits has a placebo effect, devoid of any scientific value. Such criticism mostly stems from medical doctors or specialists in rheumatology, gastroenterologists, geriatricians, and even pediatricians… They hold on to and depend on protocols given and imposed in consensus conferences that most of the time are manipulated and supported by the pharmaceutical industry.
Finally, some contend that “his diet did not keep him from contracting pancreatic cancer”. This is by far the most fair criticism, but it is easily explained by those who know the inner workings of the pancreas, this magnificent gland that we do not respect well enough and is so fragile.
Our pancreas plays two main roles. First, it regulates the amount of sugars in the blood thanks to the fabrication of two hormones: one that raises the amount of sugars when it is lacking, glucagon, and the other that lowers the amounts of sugar when there is too much: insulin.
Its second role consists in fabricating one liter (33 Fl. Oz) of pancreatic fluid that is meant to help digesting fats found in our foods. This liquid contains enzymes that, for the most part are pre- or pro- enzymes and that become active only through the action of gastric juice.
Jean Seignalet knew all this very well. He also knew that consuming almost exclusively raw foods could overstimulate (i.e. force) his pancreas. This is why he regularly ordered from abroad some enzyme pills that must have alleviated him or helped his digestion both of meat proteins and of the hidden fats meats contain. In reality, he probably got intoxicated with pre- enzymes that fatigued his pancreas to the point of stimulating sleepy cells that multiplied very fast, to the point of being disseminated to the liver and ganglions found around the pancreas.
All this did not keep Jean Seignalet from becoming a prophet of modern medicine, and to develop a method that, we contend, was proved its solidity from the start.
For this reason, I accepted to participate to a French TV show La quotidienne on France 5 dedicated to the diet proposed by Jean Seignalet. I do recommend to watch this show if you can access it from the internet.
That being said, I do regret the early death of our dear and innovative colleague who, despite reaching the age of retirement, had decided to continue his research for many more years.
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