Edgar Cayce:Almonds Research Compared to Cayce Readings
Mentions of almonds in the Cayce readings fall into several categories: (1) as general sources of nutrition, (2) as sources of fats (in low or no meat diets), (3) as cancer/tumor preventatives, (4) as a skin lotion/therapy, (5) as a spiritual symbol. The use of almonds as a source of fats was most commonly found in low or no meat diets recommended as a cancer preventative or part of a cancer cure.
Date: 4/23/2005 10:04:04 PM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 15129 times
Almonds in the Cayce Readings Compared to Current Medical Research
Douglas G. Richards
Nutritional Properties of Almonds
Cayce makes occasional references to specific nutritional properties of almonds (e.g., 1861-10). In one reading he says, "The almond carries more phosphorus AND iron in a combination easily assimilated than any other nut." (1131-2) Almonds were also suggested to a pregnant woman as a good substitute for milk as a source of calcium (480-46) and to a woman with lymph and uterine tumors as a source of calcium (1140-2). In reading 659-1, a general reading on the vitamin biotin, he identifies the almond as a good source of biotin, and remarks that it is useful as a cancer preventative. Cayce most commonly identifies almonds as a good source of fat/oil for people on a meatless diet, recommended for cancer (4438-1, 3515-1, 1012-1, 1000-11, 967-2, 787-1).
Current research confirms the validity of all these statements. The primary research on almonds in the prevention of disease looks at them as a source of healthy fat (as opposed to highly saturated animal fats). Most has focused on heart disease and lowering of cholesterol rather than cancer.
The nutritional information provided by the Almond Board (Fisher & Lachance, 2000; USDA, 2001) gives the following values for phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E (biotin was not measured), for 1 ounce of nuts:
Phosphorus 134.379 NA
Iron 1.219 6
Calcium 70.308 8
Magnesium 77.963 21
Vitamin E 7.422 35
Fisher and Lachance (2000) also calculate the "nutrient density" of the major nutrients compared to the percent daily value (DV) for 100 grams. Almonds top the list of nuts at 37%, followed by cashews at 33%, and filberts (hazelnuts) at 32%. Walnuts and Brazil nuts are substantially lower in nutrient density (both at 27%). Pecans (24%) and macadamia nuts (15%) are at the bottom of the list. Note in the Cayce readings below, that filberts and cashews were often recommended as well as almonds.
This makes almonds a good source of these vitamins and minerals, though there is nothing on the specific relationship of phosphorus and iron. Almonds are also a particularly good source of Vitamin E and magnesium.
In addition, Fisher and Lachance (2000) discuss some other nutrients that may also contribute to the health benefits of almonds. These include dietary fiber, the mineral boron, and phytochemicals. A number of phytochemicals have been identified in almonds, including flavenoids and plant sterols. Phytochemicals have been associated with the prevention and/or treatment of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and osteoporosis. More research is needed to explore the role of phytochemicals in almonds.
Two readings (480-46, 1140-2) recommend almonds as a source of calcium, as an alternative to milk.
For a pregnant woman, as a source of calcium:
5. Well that sufficient calcium be taken, whether this is in small quantities of the calcium itself - as a mineral, or whether from the minerals of the fruits or vegetables that make for the assimilating and activity of same. These as we find are preferable; that is, through the food values as in the fish and fowl, and especially in nuts such as the filberts and almonds and the like. (480-46)
For a woman with lymph and uterine tumors (as an alternative to milk for calcium):
12. (Q) With lacteal area disturbed, shall I continue to drink so much sweet milk?
(A) This is not so well, for the casein as well as the quantity of calcium in same makes for a hardening of those activities through the lymph flow in the intestinal system.
If this is altered to the milk that is a natural creation from nuts it would be much better; particularly as almonds and filberts; not so much of those that carry too much grease or oils in same as the Brazilian nuts, but particularly almonds and filberts will be helpful and carry with same elements that are much preferable to so much milk. (1140-2)
Are Raw Almonds Better Than Roasted Almonds?
The Cayce readings do not discuss whether raw almonds are better than roasted almonds. Some of the studies state explicitly that the almonds were raw (e.g., the Davis et al. (2001) study on cancer). Others, such as the retrospective epidemiological studies, do not, but it is likely that roasted almonds were commonly consumed, since they are much more available in stores than raw almonds. Is there a difference?
Based on the USDA (2001) nutrient database, most nutrients in the almonds are not affected by roasting, with the exception of three vitamins. The amounts of the minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, are not affected, although there could conceivably be a change in their bioavailability. Likewise the amounts of vitamin E, and the fatty acids, of known importance in heart disease and cancer, remain the same. However, three vitamins decrease substantially in roasted nuts: thiamin (2/3 is lost), pantothenic acid (1/3 is lost), and vitamin A (90% is lost). There is no information on biotin. An Almond Board bibliography lists two additional studies of the effects of roasting on almond quality (Cunningham, 1989; Perren, 1997).
It seems reasonable, therefore, until more is known about the effects of specific components of almonds, to consume raw almonds in preference to roasted almonds. Roasted almonds, however, still have substantial nutritional value.
Almonds as Sources of Fats
The Cayce readings address almonds as sources of fats almost entirely in the context of cancer or tumors, rather than cholesterol or heart disease. Several readings refer explicitly to almonds as a preferred non-meat source of fats.
For a man with incoordination of circulation (as a non-meat source of fat):
36. In the matter of the diet: Do not eat HOG MEAT of any character, nor fat meats, pieces of fat from even fowl or flesh of any kind. Fats should be supplied for the body through the use of nuts; especially almonds or hickory nuts - these are preferable to other characters of nuts. Beef juices and fruit juices may be taken. (1012-1)
For cancer tendencies, as a fat source:
13. (Q) Are there any foods that should be eliminated, and if so, suggest diet?
(A) Rather use the fruit and vegetable diet. The fats should be more from nuts than meats; for these, as we find, would be most helpful - and especially cashew nuts, almonds, filberts, and the like. (1000-11)
For tumor tendencies, as a fat source:
16. Citrus fruit juices should form the greater portion of the morning meals, as should the RAW vegetables the noon meals; while the fruits, cooked or prepared vegetables or the other activities for the system should furnish the evening meals. Nuts, especially almonds, filberts and the like, should form the greater portion of the oils or fats for the body. (967-2)
For tumors, as a fat source:
8. Hence, there should be a reduction in sugars - only taking those sugars from fruits and from the vegetables; with the fats that would be from nuts, preferably. Use rather almonds and filberts than black walnuts, English walnuts or even Brazilian nuts; though these will be helpful at times, but very small amounts of same. (787-1)
The virtues of almonds and other nuts as sources of fats are strongly confirmed by recent research. The research specifically with almonds focuses on effects on cholesterol, while epidemiological research on nuts in general focuses on heart disease.
Gene Spiller and his colleagues (Spiller et al., 1992, 1998) have shown that adding almonds to a low-saturated fat diet lowers cholesterol levels. Despite a high total fat intake (39% of calories from fat), the almond-based diet significantly lowered total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol), while preserving HDL-cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) levels. Other studies confirming this effect include Abbey et al. (1994) and Resnicow et al. (1991).
Other studies have shown that not only almonds, but other nuts as well, protect against heart disease. Three epidemiological studies have found an association between coronary heart disease rates and nut consumption. In one, involving about 31,000 California Seventh Day Adventists, the risk of coronary heart disease mortality was decreased about 25% among people who consumed nuts one-to-four times per week, compared to those who ate nuts less than once per week. Eating nuts five or more times a week was associated with a 50% reduction in risk of heart disease (Fraser et al., 1992). In another study involving about 34,000 women from Iowa, the women who ate nuts two or more times a week had a 40% lower risk of dying from heart disease (Kushi eet al., 1996). And in another large study at Harvard University, with data from over 86,000 women, eating over five ounces of nuts a week was associated with a 36% reduction in risk of coronary heart disease (Hu et al., 1998). Hu and Stampfer (1999) have written a recent review of the epidemiological evidence linking nuts with lower risk of heart disease.
There have been several articles discussing reasons why almonds and other nuts may protect the heart. Fisher and Lachance (2000) note that the cholesterol-lowering effect alone is insufficient to account for the magnitude of reduction in cardiovascular disease risk associated with regular nut consumption. The antioxidant Vitamin E (of which almonds are a very rich source) is a prime candidate for preventing heart disease because it prevents oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, a key step in the process of heart disease (Frei et al., 1997). Folic acid is another candidate because it has been found to reduce elevated blood levels of homocysteine, a strong independent predictor of coronary heart disease (Boushey et al., 1995). Several minerals present in almonds (magnesium, copper, and potassium) may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Other components may include the amino acid arginine and the fatty acid oleic acid (Fisher & Lachance, 2000). Fraser (1999) notes that, although nuts may account for a relatively small percentage of dietary calories, the potential interacting effects of these factors on disease risk may be considerable.
Almonds as Cancer/Tumor Preventatives
Several Cayce readings specifically recommend almonds in the context of cancer prevention, usually with other elements of diet. The most often quoted readings say:
"Those who would eat two to three almonds each day need never fear cancer." (1158-31)
"If an almond is taken each day, and kept up, you'll never have accumulations of tumors or such conditions through the body." (3180-3)
Almonds were recommended in cases of breast cancer in the following readings, as part of a diet emphasizing leafy vegetables and low (or no) meat and fat:
"Eat an almond each day - one almond - the body will have no more trouble or recurrence of this nature through the system." (3515-1)
"Almonds, Brazilian nuts, cashew nuts, and the like, are well. Almonds, especially." (4438-1)
The scientific research of the potential of almonds to prevent cancer is just beginning to be done. There is a report in the April 2001 issue of the medical journal Cancer Letters that suggests that Cayce was on target, although we still don’t know how strong the preventative effect is in humans. Paul Davis and Christine Iwahashi of the University of California at Davis studied the effect of eating almonds on colon cancer in rats. They fed the rats whole almonds as well as almond oil and almond meal. They also injected a chemical that induces cancer. After 26 weeks on the almond diet, they looked at the colons of the rats to see whether cancer was developing. For control groups, the researchers used rats who were fed either wheat bran or cellulose, two high fiber foods that can help prevent cancer. The whole almonds and the oil and meal all had cancer preventative effects. The whole almonds were especially effective, and were better at inhibiting the cancer than either wheat bran or cellulose. The authors suggest that a combination of compounds only found in the whole almonds is necessary for the full effect. They conclude that "almond consumption may reduce colon cancer risk and does so via at least one almond-associated lipid component."
The Davis study is not the only one looking at the potential anti-cancer components of almonds. Takeoka et al. (2000) isolated three triterpenoids from almond hulls (the outer part of the almond, as opposed to the part usually eaten). They note that almond hulls are a rich source of these triterpenoids, which have reported anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, and anti-cancer activities.
Almonds as a source of biotin
In reading 659-1, a reading specifically on the biological role of the biotin, Cayce stated that it is useful as a cancer preventative, and that almonds are a good source.
Biotin is one of the B vitamins. Good sources include nuts according to medinformation.com, which also states: "The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for biotin is 150-300 mcg. The adult daily supplement range is 300-600 mg. Deficiencies are rare since biotin can be produced in the intestines from foods such as those mentioned below. Adequate dietary intake would provide 30-100 mcg (micrograms) daily. For example a 3 ½ ounce serving of peanut butter would provide approximately 39 mcg of biotin."
The information published by the Almond Board, and the USDA Nutrient database for Standard Reference (2001), does not provide information on biotin in almonds. However, they do provide data for the other B vitamins. Almonds are a good source of riboflavin (13% of the DV (0.22 mg) in one ounce), niacin (5% of the DV (1 mg) in one ounce), as well as the other B vitamins (Fisher & Lachance, 2000).
Is biotin a factor in cancer prevention? Despite substantial interest in vitamins and cancer prevention (Young & Newberne, 1981), there appears to be little work involving biotin. A Medline search on biotin and cancer yields many references, but most refer to the use of biotin in an immunoassay, not to the effect of biotin on cancer. There are only a few relevant studies, none of which involve a direct experiment on supplementation of biotin and its effect on cancer. Cherbonnel-Lasserre et al. (1997) found a strong decrease in biotin content in colorectal tumors, in comparison to normal tissue. On the other hand, Baker et al. (1981) found increased levels of vitamins including biotin in colon cancer cells, hypothesized that tumors need these vitamins for enhanced growth, and suggested antivitamin therapy. Some other studies have bound biotin-containing intranuclear inclusions in cancer cells (Okamoto et al., 1995; Tanaka et al., 1998; Sasaki et al., 1999), but see these primarily in terms of their potential for interference with biotin immunoassays.
Since there has been substantial work on Vitamins A, C, E, and some B vitamins in regard to cancer, biotin would seem to be overdue for some serious research as a cancer preventative.
Almonds as a Constituent of a Skin Lotion
Several readings mention almonds as a constituent of a skin lotion, in an acne reading, for sunburn, for skin blemishes, and as an ingredient of a commercial skin cream being developed. Almonds apparently were a constituent of skin creams in Cayce’s time. The high Vitamin E content of almonds would make a skin application reasonable. Topical Vitamin E has been shown in several studies to inhibit cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation (Gensler & Magdaleno, 1991; Lopez-Torres et al., 1998; Krol et al., 2000). One study (Gensler et al., 1996) found that the form of Vitamin E found in some skin lotions (thermostable esters, used to increase shelf life) may actually increase skin cancer, rather than prevent it. This may turn out to be relevant to using natural almonds, rather than modified Vitamin E.
One article on Medline, Maiche et al. (1991), referred to almond ointment in the context of its protective effect in acute radiation skin reaction. Reading 1206-13 is especially interesting in this regard, as it links the protective effects of almonds to both skin blemishes and cancer. Relevant to almonds ingested to prevent skin blemishes and cancer, Gerrish and Gensler (1993) found that dietary Vitamin E was also a skin cancer preventative.
Almonds as a constituent of a skin lotion (in an acne reading):
8. When there are the irritations of the skin, we would find it well to use the Stearate of Zinc Powder with the Balsam of Tolu in same. This should not be necessary save in the first period of the warm weather.
13. (Q) Can you give the entity a recipe for a skin lotion?
(A) The better skin lotion is the powder as we have indicated, or a lotion with an almond base. (1293-2)
For skin irritation from sunburn:
5. For such lotions we would use the almond cream, or the almond cream with the oils. Rub this on about twice each day; it would be quite beneficial to the body. (442-4)
Almonds as skin blemish preventer (and cancer preventer):
"And know, if ye would take each day, through thy experience, two almonds, ye will never have skin blemishes, ye will never be tempted even in body toward cancer nor towards those things that make blemishes in the body-forces themselves." (1206-13)
For an ingredient in a skin cream being developed with advice from the readings:
Of course, an almond cream for the evening, see? and one with more grease, to be sure, for the night - see? …
19. (Q) Would you mix the almond cream with the acid?
(A) Mix the almond cream with the acid. Not so much of the acid, to be sure - best to test it on the hands, see? Then, as we find that it will work with those, we will find how that it cleanses the pores, how that it makes for the removing of lines, how it makes for the addition of pliability, and get away from that roughness and also from that leathery expression or feeling that comes to so many as the years come. We are through for the present. (658-2)
5. (Q) How much acid shall I use with the almond cream for an afternoon cream?
(A) Just sufficient that the activities of same WITH the oils, or with the properties used in the cream, are active upon the skin itself, and this makes for a sensation that is pleasing to the texture or to the skin itself; but where this is to be exposed - that is, as of afternoon cream - see, this should not be of a great quantity - about one to ten, see? one portion to ten portions of the cream, see? (658-3)
Recommended for Diabetes
One reading (834-1) recommends almonds as part of a diet for hyperglycemia (diabetes?) emphasizing fresh vegetables.
"And these we will find in the closer adherence to the vegetable and citrus fruit and nut diet; though the nuts should never be other than either the almond, filbert or hazelnut, for these are the better for the body-building without influencing the body in certain directions as others do." (834-1)
Two articles on Medline address almonds in relation to blood sugar levels. One, Katsilambros et al. (1988) looked at metabolic effects of honey in combination with other foods, including almonds, in Type II diabetics. Honey alone raises blood sugar; in combination with almonds (here treated as a fat-rich food), the hyperglycemic effect was delayed, but still present, and there were higher triglyceride levels. Teotia and Singh (1997) looked at the ability of almonds and almond fractions to reduce blood sugar, and found a definite hypoglycemic action.
Research by Garg et al. (1994) found that diets rich in monounsaturated fat (like that in almonds) may have a more desirable effect on Type II diabetes than diets that are rich in carbohydrate. Fisher and Lachance (2000) note that until recently the recommended diet for people with diabetes emphasized a significant percent of calories from carbohydrates and a minimal fat intake, but more recent guidelines acknowledge that some individuals may benefit from a diet higher in monounsaturated fat (American Diabetes Association, 1998).
Biotin, discussed above in relation to cancer, is of importance in diabetes. An enzyme called glucokinase has a central regulatory role in glucose metabolism. In high doses, biotin enhances beneficial glucokinase activity, and has been suggested for diabetes therapy (McCarty, 1999; Romero-Navarro et al., 1999).
Ulcer Treatment with Almonds
There are two listings on Medline in foreign journals, without abstracts, on ulcer treatment with almonds (Kleiberg, 1968; Zittlau, 1985). No information was given on how successful this treatment was, but it is another interesting application of almonds in the digestive system.
Adverse Effects of Almonds
Are there any adverse effects of almonds? There are no Cayce readings advising anyone to avoid almonds. However, in the medical literature there is research on almond allergies, which, like allergies to other nuts, are in rare cases a problem. Ewan (1996) discussed the features of allergic reaction to a variety of nuts. Peanuts are by far the most common cause of nut allergy, with almond allergy rarer. All patients with nut allergies had other allergic disorders as well.
Only one question was addressed to Cayce on a possible adverse effect of almonds. For a 2-year-old child, the parents asked the question:
"(Q) Is there anything to be done about the piece of almond that went up this body's nose?
(A) It has been absorbed and eliminated from the system through the alimentary canal." (299-4)
This sort of concern is reflected in the medical literature in a paper by Young et al. (1979) entitled: "Radiological case of the month. Tracheal foreign body: (an almond)." In both adults and children, thorough chewing of almonds is important. In fact, almonds are used in studies of chewing efficiency (Mowlana et al., 1994).
It is also possible to take any good thing too far. There are two papers in the literature concerning malnutrition in infants who were fed diets consisting primarily or entirely of almonds or almond extract (Doron et al., 2001; Kanaka et al., 1992). Almonds are a good source of nutrients, but should never be the only source of nutrients, especially in infants.
Almond as a Spiritual Symbol:
Two Cayce readings (39-3, 3180-3) speak of the Biblical passage from Numbers 17:8, where Aaron’s rod blossomed and bore almonds, giving the almond the symbolism of divine approval. The relevant Biblical passage says:
"Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of the Lord, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds." (Numbers 17:8)
"Use that in hand - for the simple rod stretched over the mighty sea became the power in the hands of him who walked with the Creative Energy - God. The withered rod became the budded almond in the hands of him who sought to know His ways, and applied same in the life. Keep thine paths straight. Walk in the shadow of His wing. Keep thine eyes, thine heart, ever to that source from which emanates all power that lifts man toward the Creator." (39-3)
"Other characters of nuts (other than coconut) are well, though especially almonds are good and if an almond is taken each day, and kept up, you'll never have accumulations of tumors or such conditions through the body. An almond a day is much more in accord with keeping the doctor away, especially certain types of doctors, than apples. For the apple was the fall, not almond - for the almond blossomed when everything else died. Remember this is life!" (3180-3)
Laetrile and Bitter Almonds
People sometimes associate the Cayce statements about almonds and cancer with the alternative cancer treatment of laetrile. Laetrile is an anticancer drug made from the pits of apricots, closely related to almonds. Laetrile is also known as amygdalin (the scientific name of the almond is Prunus amygdalus). It has been very controversial, with questions about both its efficacy and safety, and is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.
Laetrile is most likely not relevant to the Cayce recommendations or to the health effects discussed above. All the studies cited above involve sweet almonds, the type that is commonly available in the United States, and was likely the only type easily available in Cayce’s time. Bitter almonds, a source of laetrile, are used to make almond extract, but are very difficult to eat due to the bitter taste. No studies have been conducted on the health properties of bitter almonds. The bitter taste is due to the presence of cyanide, which is also the hypothesized source of the effect on cancer. Shragg et al. (1982) warn about cyanide poisoning after bitter almond ingestion.
The reports in the medical literature have been primarily negative about the safety and efficacy of laetrile. Moertal et al. (1981) reported in JAMA that, although there was no toxic reaction in their patients, cyanide toxicity is a possibility. Schmidt et al. (1978) reported laetrile toxicity in dogs fed high doses. Pro-laetrile studies in the literature are more difficult to find. There is a lengthy review of the work in favor of laetrile by James South on the website http://www.smart-drugs.net/ias-laetrile-cancer.htm.
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