Interview with Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez
This article originally appeared in the February/March 1996 issue of the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients and is reprinted with permission of Robert Crayhon, M.S., and of the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, 911 Tyler Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368-6541; (360) 385-6021: Fax (360) 385-0699; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D., is a practicing physician in New York City who specializes in treating cancer with a treatment originated by Dr. Kelley, D.D.S. He has a unique perspective on nutrition, autonomic nervous system balance and biochemical individuality. He joined Robert Crayhon for the June 16, 1995 taping of the national TV show, "Alternative Medicine." His address: 36 East 36th Street, Suite 204, New York, N.Y. 10016. His office phone number is 212-213-3337.
RC: Dr. Gonzalez, how did you start approaching cancer from your unique comprehensive metabolic and nutritional approach?
NG: I was a second year medical student intending to become chief of medicine at Sloan Kettering, and a friend of mine introduced me to Dr. Kelley, the infamous dentist who developed this elaborate nutritional approach to cancer. Skeptically, I approached him, and he said, "All I ever wanted was someone from the orthodoxy to look through my records." At the time, my research advisor at Cornell, where I was a medical student suggested I do it as a summer project. It evolved into a five year research study. We went through ten thousand of Kelley's records, and found that this man had indeed reversed advanced metastatic cancer. We went through the cases of thousands of patients.
RC: The way Dr. Kelley started– correct me if I’m wrong– was when he found out he had pancreatic cancer he walked into a health food store and bought pancreatic enzymes. The whole thing began by chance.
NG: That's right. It was purely by chance. He had a lot of digestive problems, as patients with pancreatic cancer will. In an attempt to help his digestive problems, he started taking huge doses of pancreatic enzymes and immediately felt a change in his tumor. That's how it started.
RC: There are many facets to the therapy that you do, but pancreatic enzymes are– you believe– the most powerful anticancer substances available. Why are they so anti-cancer?
NG: It’s the way the body is designed. In orthodox and even unorthodox physiology, we tend to think that the enzymes serve one function: to help to digest food. Indeed they do that. But Kelley– as did many researchers before him and since– believed that the enzymes are a primary defense against cancer, and are far more important than the immune system in terms of controlling the development and growth of cancer. So we believe that is one of their designated functions in the human body.
RC: Critics of this will say, "Pancreatic enzymes released into the digestive tract are molecules way too big to get into the bloodstream."
NG: In the 1940s, scientists documented that they do in fact get absorbed. There is a wonderful study from 1976 in Science magazine, one of the ultimate scientific journals, where a professor at Cornell did a study with rabbits and mice and found that the pancreatic enzymes are absorbed through the intestinal tract, complete and active, and are not destroyed in the gut.
RC: Are there any studies on pancreatic enzymes' anti-cancer activity?
NG: Yes. There is a wonderful study from 1965 where a doctor used them in animal models and a doctor found they had an extraordinary, powerful anti-cancer effect.
RC: Now these are inexpensive substances, aren't they, compared to pharmaceuticals?
RC: Why hasn't there been a greater interest in pancreatic enzymes? I know they were studied for nearly a hundred years. Is it because they were overshadowed by the work of Madam Curie, and the belief her work generated that radiation would cure all cancer? Or is it because pancreatic enzymes are unpatentable?
NG: Because of FDA regulations, pancreatic enzymes fall in the category of a natural substance. Therefore, there is no impetus for a drug company to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in researching pancreatic enzymes. They cannot patent what they might find. There is also the psychological resistance to look at natural substances in the orthodox research community, although that is starting to change.
RC: I know that your practice is based on biochemical individuality, the belief that everyone has unique needs. Some of your cancer patients are not given that much pancreatic enzymes because their pancreas is strong and they do not need support in that area. You really examine each person to find out what their unique needs are.
NG: Correct. The doses vary quite widely, depending on the patient.
RC: Roger Williams and other researchers firmly established that we are all biochemically unique. Yet medicine fails to recognize this. Why do you think that is, and why do you think medicine is looking for the one therapy that will suit everyone?
NG: It is the limitations of human thinking. People want to reduce things to simple answers. Nutrition is not a simple answer. There is no simple way to approach even a single individual patient. Everybody is different. Everybody needs a different diet, different doses of supplements, different supplements. The same dose of one supplement will make one patient feel wonderful and make another patient feel very sick.
RC: Let's look at calcium. So many women are taking calcium because they are told that it is going to strengthen their bones. Yet you have said that the misuse of vitamin and mineral supplements are a real problem, and that people don't realize that the wrong nutrient for the wrong person can have profoundly adverse health effects. Why is that? Because of the individual responses to these nutrients?
NG: Yes. In certain patients, calcium can stimulate certain kinds of cancer, like breast cancer. If you look at the statistics epidemiologically, the increase in breast cancer parallels the increase in use of calcium.
RC: As well as the increase in toxins in our environment and the use of synthetic hormones. You also say that for some people, vitamin E is the wrong nutrient and should not be taken.
NG: We have been saying that for years. Everyone laughed at us. I have a lot of respect for the Shute brothers and other people who have researched vitamin E. Yet some free radicals serve a useful function. Too many antioxidants may knock out the beneficial role of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are how our body defends itself against infection. I have seen people on high doses of C and E who develop more infections, not less.
RC: The other point to underscore here is that you believe the reason that studies of nutrients come up with mixed results is not just because, say, vitamin E or C is good for some and fails to help others– it is because it is good for some and bad for others, and that researchers are not looking for the bad effect, because they are not looking for the effect of nutrients on the autonomic nervous system. A large part of your understanding of the patient comes from looking at which particular portion of the nervous system is dominant, correct?
NG: That's right. The unconscious nervous system does many things in your body: it digests food, controls glandular function, and controls heart rate and body temperature, to name just a few of its actions. This unconscious system is divided into two halves that work in opposition, but together, in helping the body achieve homeostasis. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenals and thyroid, and inhibits others. The parasympathetic stimulates the liver, the pancreas, and digestive tract, and inhibits others. They work together, although they are in opposition. These are the two nervous systems that together control your day-to-day physiological functioning.
RC: How do you determine which part of the nervous system is dominant, and why is that important to your therapy?
NG: Because out of that we are able to determine which diet and supplements will suit the patient best. Their sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance tells me what kind of program they need.
RC: Let's say a person comes to you who is parasympathetic dominant, and you put them on the wrong diet, will you make things worse?
NG: You can kill them.
RC: Even if it is a vegetarian diet that is low in fat?
NG: Parasympathetic dominant people need red meat three times per day. Putting them on a vegetarian diet is like raising a lion on hay.
RC: Are there personality types associated with these different types of autonomic dominance?
NG: Sympathetic dominants are aggressive, type A businessmen that get up at six and get more done by noon than the rest of us do in the whole day. They are very ambitious, smart, and energetic in the morning. Parasympathetics would like to sleep until noon, and are very creative. Artistic ability tends to be in the parasympathetic side of the nervous system.
RC: Can people change from one side to another?
NG: We are seeing people who are the opposite of their genetic inheritance. Chemicals in the environment have knocked out their strong nervous system. Wrong diets have gummed up their works.
RC: We are told that everyone should go on a diet high in complex carbohydrates. T. Colin Campbell and others suggest this protects against various degenerative diseases. Is this some form of insanity, in light of the ample evidence that we are all biochemically unique?
NG: It is absolute insanity to suggest that the whole human species as different as it is could be put on one diet. The human species occupies every ecological niche from the arctic circle to equatorial rain forests and there are different foods available in these regions, and people have had to adjust. There is no way one diet is suitable for everybody. The Eskimos are one of the most famous meat eating peoples. They live in the Arctic circle. They have no growing season. They have no fruits. They have no vegetables. The only Eskimos that could survive are those that eat a high fat, high protein diet.
RC: The Eskimos are dying off. Don't they thrive on a diet of 80% saturated fat? Is an increase in carbohydrates in their diet killing them?
NG: Yes. And they were among the healthiest people in the world until they switched their diet to a Western one. When they cut their saturated fat consumption from 80% to 40%, they began to develop our pattern of degenerative diseases. For them, fat was the perfect fuel. There was a study that showed that Eskimos lacked the enzymes to digest complex carbohydrates. Zookeepers know that if you raise a lion or tiger on grains and beans it is going to die. Eskimos need red meat as well, to function effectively.
RC: And right now you are doing some controlled trials.
NG: That's right. We are doing controlled clinical trials with pancreatic cancer. Our hope is that once these studies are published and we document that this program can indeed work, the academic medical world will start putting money behind it. Then we can train other doctors to do it.
RC: You don't accept every patient that comes to your door. And it not simply a space or time limitation. Do you reject a patient if their immune system has been destroyed by conventional therapies?
NG: Most of the patients I see have had chemo or radiation. It is a question of amount and the type of cancer where it is being used. RC: There are many books in health food stores which say that the underlying cause of disease is that we are all too acid, in large part because of a meat-based diet, and need to push our body towards a more alkaline state by eating more fruits, vegetables, almonds, millet, etc.
NG: That is absolutely incorrect. Sympathetic dominants tend to be more acid, parasympathetic dominants tend to be too alkaline, and balanced people tend to be somewhere in between. Sympathetic dominants do well on alkalinizing foods like fruits and vegetables. Parasympathetic dominants need acid forming foods, of which red meat is the most powerful.
RC: Dr. Kelley's wife got into trouble with a vegetarian diet, didn't she?
NG: After Kelley cured himself of cancer on a vegetarian diet, he assumed that it was the perfect diet and that the whole world should be on it. He put his wife on this diet to help with her allergies. Initially she did well. Then she began to do worse and worse; He began to make the diet more strictly vegetarian, eventually putting her on all raw fruits and vegetables with no protein at all. She ended up in a near coma. He was confronted with the fact that here he was the great nutrition doctor, and he almost killed his wife with the wrong diet. He was going to have to call an ambulance and put her in the hospital. He figured the only thing he hadn't done was put her on red meat. Initially she refused, but he convinced her. He put some meat in the blender, and fed it to her, and within an hour she was feeling better. She has been eating red meat two to three times per day since. That's almost twenty-five years ago. She has been in excellent health since.
RC: Very few people are looking into the effect of macro- and micronutrients on the autonomic nervous system function. This may turn out to be, as you believe, one of the most important ways our diet and nutrient intake affects health. Dr. Gonzalez, thanks for being with us.
NG: My pleasure, Robert.
Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D., P.C.
Linda L. Isaacs, M.D.