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What’s Behind Glandular TherapyBy Author Unknown

In brief. Glandular therapy the use of raw concentrates of glandular and organ tissue began near the turn of the century and has continued to attract the attention of European physicians. But in recent years, glandular therapy has begun to take hold in the United States as well. The theory is that like cells help like cells. In practical terms, this means that raw adrenal concentrate, for instance, contains a variety of known and unknown intrinsic factors that support adrenal function in the recipient (patient). The following report by Jack Challem considers the rationale of glandular therapy, some clinical experiences, a description of some of the glandular supplements available on the marketplace, and possible indications for use.


It is probably safe to say that total health is the sum of health of our individual organs and glands. When we are ill, it is because our organs and glands, individually or systemically, cannot function at optimum levels.

The health of our glands and organs in essence, the parts that compose the total you are influenced by many factors. One of them is our biochemical individuality, that is the hereditary factors that determine our physiological capabilities. For such genetic reasons, some of us have stronger hearts than others, or perhaps weaker kidneys.

Diet is another influence on the health of our glands and organs, and it interacts directly with our genetics. Good nutrition can help a person attain the genetic potential of his organs and glands in terms of the highest level of functioning.

When a person’s nutrition is not adequate, his glands and organs cannot receive the specific nutrients that they require. Among the many consequences of such deficiencies are an increased susceptibility to infection, an inability to deal with stresses, and overall degeneration of the body.

A third factor affecting health is the inevitable process of aging. As we grow older many of our nutritional requirements increase, and glands and organs do not function quite as well as when we were younger. Often organs and glands begin to atrophy.

These are all some of the reasons why we generally become more susceptible to degenerative and infectious diseases as we age.

Yet perhaps the greatest day-to-day influence on our health is stress. Stresses can be physiological (physical labor, wounds and healing, infections, cold or heat) or psychological (pressure at work or home, anger, irritability). Stresses act directly upon our endocrine and other glands, depleting nutrients that are

essential for the whole body and preying on possible genetic weaknesses in certain areas of the body. The endocrine glands, in particular, are subject to these stresses since they are inextricably involved in our responses to stresses.

While many nutritionally-oriented health professionals have begun to use megavitamin therapy to combat stress, another group of doctors has considered the value of “glandular therapy.”

What is glandular therapy? Simply, it is the use of glandular and organ substances to bolster the function of a patient’s organs or glands.

While this, at first glance, smacks of sympathetic magic, some modern physicians have taken the observations of anthropologists and placed them in a clinical and therapeutic situation. And they have done so with surprising results.

The key concept in glandular therapy is that Like cells help like cells. Many believe that raw glandular tissues contain intrinsic factors that are distinct from vitamins, minerals, hormones, or enzymes. The fact that these active agents have not yet been identified seems of little consequence. It follows that vitamins were believed to exist at a certain time but were not identified until Casimir Funk appeared on the scene.

These cellular factors, interestingly, are not species specific but rather are organ-specific. This means that the raw cellular material of a bovine liver, for instance, will be picked up from the bloodstream by a living human being’s liver when eaten. Skeptical? It was documented by Dr. A. Kment in German medical publications in 195 8 and 1972. Kment demonstrated, through radioactive isotope tracing, that factors from glandular tissues were taken by the bloodstream and absorbed by corresponding glands in the recipient.

While this research was conducted with injectible glandulars, the clinical results of doctors using oral dehydrated glandular concentrates (in tablet or capsule form) strongly suggest that active factors are indivisible and are relatively undisturbed by digestion.

Historically, glandulars are not completely unfamiliar to us. When eating meat, most “primitive” peoples (as well as carnivores) ate the total animal including organs, glands, and muscle tissues. Nutritionally, eating all parts of an animal makes sense. Glands and organs vary in their levels of known nutrients. Zinc, for instance,- is extremely high in the prostate; but it is low in other organs. Eating a total animal would seem to offer one type of balanced nutrition.

There was a time, not too !wig ago, when most American families would regularly eat heart, stomach, or other organ meats as part of their dinner. Today, we have a tendency to indulge ourselves in only the muscle meats of cattle, hogs, and chickens. The use of glands and organs is now generally reserved for haute French cuisine. Most Americans simply have acquired a distaste for organ meats or they just don’t know how to cook them.

This problem, which is a significant one, can be dealt with easily by two means. To ground beef, a typical American staple, one can add one-quarter (by. weight) of an organ meat. The nutrition will thus be provided without altering the taste of the beef. The other alternative is the ingestion of raw glandular and organ substances that have been dehydrated and processed at low temperatures in order to retain their “rawness” and formed into tablets. The problem of taste and cooking is thereby bypassed.

Glandular, or as it is sometimes called, cellular, therapy has roots that date from the turn of this century. The first therapeutic use of glandulars came in 1912 with the administration of thyroid cells to children. What is considered a landmark day in glandular therapy occurred in 1931 when a surgeon, Professor de Quervain, consulted Dr. Paul Niehans to assist him in the treatment of a patient who developed muscular spasms after the removal of the thyroid and accidental damage to the parathyroid glands in surgery. Dr. Niehans, now considered to be the father of glandular therapy, chopped parathyroid glands from a young calf and administered it to the patient in injectible form. A positive response in the patient was noted within minutes, and she lived for more than 35 years without a relapse.

Writing in the July, 1977 Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Ivan Popov and his colleagues explained the indications for glandular therapy. This modality would be used in instances of:

  1. Congenital insufficiency.
  2. Reduced functional capacity due to disease.
  3. Decline in function of organs, groups of organs or function units (regulating circuits) due to aging.”

The use of glandular and organ concentrates follows this logic: that the glandular supplement improves the activity of the particular gland(s) by delivering cell-specific and gland-specific factors. Translated into practical terms, this means that raw adrenal gland or concentrate would support adrenal function in the recipient. By doing this, it would thereby offer nutritional and other subtle biochemical support to the anti-stress and anti-fatigue qualities that the adrenal is known to possess. Similarly, raw liver concentrate would assist liver function, thereby aiding the organ in detoxification of alcohol and other toxins.

Several firms have recently begun to manufacture from raw glands tablets that contain concentrates of these tissues. A brief description of some of these organ concentrates, as well as a review of that organ’s function will be offered. In many cases, as well, a therapeutic rationale and indication will be discussed.

The brain is the source of all body processes, whether voluntary or involuntary. This organ is an amazing “computer” that records our perceptions and directs our responses to the environment. If a person’s nutrition is complete, the brain will probably function properly. It is when particular nutrients and other biochemical factors may be limited that brain function is impaired.

How much of our brain capacity is determined by genetics, how much by environment, and how much by diet? Surely, each has a clear influence. But a fascinating laboratory study several years ago shed interesting light on this subject and how raw glandular concentrates may influence brain chemistry.

In this study, flatworms were conditioned to respond in a certain manner to stimuli. This group of flatworms was sacrified and then added to the food supply of a second group of flatworms. This second group then began exhibiting the behavior patterns that were learned by the first group. This research demonstrated that the actual learning process had a biochemical basis and, two, that the characteristics of these cells could be transferred with the delivery of cellular material from one organism to another.

While we are evolutionarily far more advanced than a simple flatworm, we are still faced with many psychiatric disorders. It is very possible that concentrates of brain tissue contain intrinsic factors that would improve our own brain chemistry.

The pituitary is one of the most important of our endocrine (hormone-producing) organs. It produces at least six hormones that govern a wide range of body processes.

Produced in the anterior pituitary lobe are thyrotropin (TSH), a hormone that stimulates thyroid function; adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates activity of the adrenal cortex, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), that regulates the production of sperm or eggs; luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers the manufacture of testosterone and the testes in the male and the corpus luteum (ovaries) in females, prolactin, which stimulates the secretion of milk as well as parental behavior; and growth hormone (GH), which governs cellular metabolism.

The fact that only one gland governs such diverse activities in the body seems mind-boggling, but the anterior pituitary lobe is only one of three sections of the pituitary. The mid-lobe stimulates the hormone intermedin, which is involved in the regulation of adjustable skin pigment cells.

And at least five distinct hormone fractions are produced in the posterior pituitary. These influence water metabolism, blood pressure, kidney function, and the action of smooth muscles.

Needless to say, supplemental pituitary concentrate would probably support and assist all of the areas in which the organ has activity. The pituitary, in many respects, is a cornerstone endocrine gland as it operates in a feedback system with other endocrine glands.

For two glands that weigh only about 118-ounce each, the adrenals are what we depend upon in times of stress. When confronted by either physical or psychological stresses, the adrenals increase their metabolism and brace us for either “fight or flight.”

Each adrenal gland, located immediately above the kidneys, has two functioning parts, the medulla and the cortex. The medulla manufactures epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenalin). Both hormones trigger a rapid response from the sympathetic nervous system, that is increasing heartbeat and respiration.

The adrenal cortex, which is the outer portion of the gland, produces a number of steroid hormones, including cortisone. These hormones regulate the body’s excretion and retention of minerals, particularly sodium and potassium. Glucocorticoids, produced by the cortex, govern blood sugar levels.

The B-vitamin pantothenic acid and vitamins C are precursors to many of the adrenal hormones, and thereby support adrenal function. Poor adrenal function can result in Addison’s disease which is characterized by weight loss, nausea, low blood pressure, malaise, and brownish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes.

Of all the glandular concentrates used, raw adrenal has been generally one of the more popular and perhaps even the first widely used. Clinicians have used adrenal for patients with fatigue and carbohydrate dysfunctions (hypoglycemia and diabetes), as well as to improve lowered resistance to infections and allergies.

The thymus, located at the forward base of the neck, is a key gland in our immunological defense system as it stimulates production of white blood cells, an important defense against disease and infection.

It is especially intriguing that the thymus is fairly large at birth and continues to mature in size until adolescence, when it begins to shrink in size. By middle age, only a few strands of tissue usually remain of the thymus.

During the first few weeks of life, lymphocytes created in the thymus migrate to the bloodstream and colonize lymph nodes throughout the body. These lymphocytes later begin to manufacture the still more powerful antibodies that are vital for immunity.

If the thymus of a newborn infant is damaged, scientists have observed, growth is markedly stunted and susceptibility to infection is increased. A great many clinicians, such as Dr. Roy Kupsinel of Oveido, Florida, administer thymus concentrates to patients to improve their immune system.

Weighing in at four pounds is the liver, the largest gland in the body. Its functions are multi-faceted. The liver produces bile, which is involved in digestion, as well as enzymes and red blood cells in fetal life.

Though it may surprise many persons, the liver is more important in glucose regulation than the pancreas since it stores and releases sugar when necessary.

Often considered a detoxifying gland, the liver breaks down nitrogenous wastes, alcohol, and other ingested substances that may be harmful. It produces lecithin, a fat emulsifier, and is supported in function by vitamin C. In addition to storing sugar, the live also stores the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K).

Recommendations for liver concentrate usually accompany liver diseases such as jaundice and hepatitis, toxemia, and alcoholism. Being the remarkable organ that it is, even cooked liver can influence how the body deals with alcohol and other poisons.

The kidneys, of which there are two, act as a unique biological filter that is involved in the removal of waste products from the body by way of the urine. As well, however, the kidneys maintain fluid and acid/alkaline balances, and proper salt levels, in the body.

Kidney damage sometimes occurs with hypertension, calcium contamination, kidney stones, and infections. It follows that raw kidney concentrate would support kidney function in much the same way that other raw glandular tissues support glandular function again, that like cell helps like cell.

The pancreas, resting just below the stomach and liver, governs glucose metabolism second only to that of the liver. Comprised of two types of cells, duct and ductless cells, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin. This hormone is essential for the conversion of glucose (blood sugar) to glycogen (stored sugar). Also produced by the pancreas is glucagon, which converts glucogen back to blood sugar as needed.

When too little insulin is produced by the pancreas, or when tissues become insulin-resistant, diabetes results. To control this disease of carbohydrate dysfunction, doctors often use insulin that has been obtained from the pancreatic glands of animals.

The duodenum is the first segment of the small intestine that extends from the pylorus to the jejenum. Manufactured in the duodenum is the hormone secretin, which stimulates the production of bile in the liver and digestive enzymes in the pancreas.

The largest of the lymphoid organs is the spleen, the others being the thymus and tonsils. The spleen forms blood cells, filters injurious substances from the bloodstream, stores iron for use in manufacturing hemoglobin (as well as storing blood itself), and produces the bile pigment bilirubin. Obviously, like the other lymph glands, the spleen is very much an integral part of our immune system and thus supports our resistance to disease.

One of the better known organs of the body, , the heart, has also appeared in the form of a raw organ concentrate. As well as pumping blood, the heart itself contains an intricate system of blood vessels to supply itself with important nutrients. Being a muscle, too, the heart has needs similar to those of other muscles such as for adequate vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. And consistent with glandular or cellular therapy, raw heart tissue probably contains minute intrinsic factors that support heart function.

Synthetic reproductive hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, are prescribed widely. But the administration of raw testes or ovarian substance is increasing among many clinicians.

In the male, the testes produce the hormone testosterone and other androgens. These hormones are those which govern the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics, sexual urge, and inhibit FSH hormone from the pituitary in a feedback system.

In the female, each ovary is composed of two distinct areas, the follicles and the corpus luteum. They have somewhat distinctive functions as well.

The follicle produces estradiol and other estrogens. These hormones are involved in the regulation of cellular respiration, blood circulation, the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics, and inhibit FSH secretion in much the same way that testosterone does in the male. Low levels of female hormones can result in the atrophy of the reproductive system and in a reduction of secondary sexual characteristics.

The corpus luteum manufactures progesterone. This hormone stimulates secretions of the oviduct, uterus growth in pregnancy, and also inhibits LH hormone secretion from the pituitary. Both estrogen and progesterone interact in the regulation of the menstrualovulatory cycle and pregnancy.

Below and in front of each ear are the parotids, the largest of the three salivary glands. Each of these glands has a key role in initiating the digestive process.

While the functions of all glands and organs are largely determined by heredity, they are ultimately dependent upon nutrients and other biochemical factors some of which are known and some of which are not yet recognized. Cellular therapy offers an opportunity to include substances which most likely contain those as yet unknown factors in abundance.

The fact that these substances are active biologically has been well established since the turn of this century. And, to be sure, they will be identified in coming years.

It should be remembered, however, that glandular therapy is only one part of a holistic treatment modality. As Dr. Ivan Popov wrote in the Journal of the Academy of Preventive Medicine, he and his associates “do not limit treatment modality, but combine it with other biological approaches, vitamin therapies, and specific diets and nutritional programs.”

Glandular Therapy, better known as Cellular Therapy, is a technique which helps the glands function as close to a normal level as they can achieve. For the cancer patient, it can be very helpful to achieve this optimum level so that the body can more effectively heal itself.