The foremost pioneer in this field was Pierre Delbet, M.D., who sent many communications on his experiences with magnesium to the French Academy of Medicine. One of them dealing with Body Odor s was dated June 5, 1928. Here is a translation of a portion of it.
"The surgeon must endeavor to bring his patients to the operating table with the maximum resistance of which each is capable: resistance to the nervous upset of emotion, resistance to the toxicity of anesthetics, resistance to hemorrhage, resistance to infection. It is a gigantic program whose solution will demand the full play not only of what one knows about biology, but also of what one doesn't know about it.
"I have touched only two small points.
"I give my patients who are to be operated on some magnesium chloride while they receive the preoperative vaccination. Each day they take 100 grams of the solution . . . (containing 1,020 mg. anhydrous magnesium chloride), a solution which I determined in 1915 acts on the white corpuscles (an action that I have called cytophylactic).
"During this period, thirteen years ago, I began to administer this solution, either by the digestive or subcutaneous route, to infected individuals.
"After a few days, they experienced a sensation of euphoria and energy which they called to my attention. At first, I wondered if it weren't a case of those illusions which are so frequent in sick persons who have been prescribed a new medication. Then, when the constancy of the effect had forced itself on my attention, I recalled the relative richness in magnesium of the grey matter of the brain in comparison with all organs of highly differentiated functions, and I wondered if humanity, a great consumer of an elevated order of energy, didn't have a magnesium deficiency. Then I took it myself as a chloride, and had several members of my entourage take it, and during thirteen years, I've made a great number of observations and experiments.
"Today, I will speak only of the preparation of sick persons for the operation.
"At a dose of I gram 20 mg. magnesium chloride can be considered only as a purgative, but it regularizes salts as a matter of course. Taken continuously, it brings them out in many persons who are chronically constipated, and reduces them in many who are diarrhetic. In a few days, if their diets contain nothing particularly toxic, it deodorizes them. It is a very striking phenomenon: their fecal matter loses all of its disagreeable odor. That can be due only to a modification of the intestinal flora, but I haven't succeeded in noting what the modification consists of. Even though it seems a little puerile to establish a relationship between fetidity and toxicity, we do it instinctively; so this deodorization seems advantageous, particularly in patients who won't evacuate stercoral matter for two or three days after the operation.
"Magnesium chloride stimulates the biliary system. Perhaps this is the mechanism by which it regularizes salts.
"The head of my clinic, M. de Vadder, who makes duodenal tubage in my service, has observed at my request that the injection of magnesium chloride into the duodenum brings out a wave of vesical bile."
A Personal Note by J. I. Rodale
In the first paragraph of this chapter, I admitted to being a compiler, but on the subject of magnesium's effect on Body Odor , I went a step further. I made myself a guinea pig. Here are some, of my experiences:
For eight or nine months I took magnesium in the form of dolomite tablets. I wanted to see its effects on me before I recommended it to others. Within a few clays, exactly as Delbet had said, I noticed that it deodorized my stool.
But may I say that this deodorization process began with me many years ago, after a few years of being on the Prevention system, cutting out bread, salt, sugar, and milk and taking the many vitamins and minerals, exercising, etc. But with the addition of dolomite the process of deodorization was made almost complete--let us say 99.4 percent complete.
But when I started to take dolomite tablets, I was not prepared for another change it produced, something that took about six months. This was an almost complete disappearance of underarm odor! Unbelievable, you might say! But perhaps the unbelievable is about to come true. Wouldn't that be something--something as basic as the purification of the inner body, by a simple little tablet?
Delbet in the above quotation says that magnesium's effect on body odor is no doubt due to a modification of the intestinal flora, the beneficial intestinal bacteria that take part in the process of breaking down the food.
It is a known fact that ordinary cooking temperatures kill all the enzymes in foods. But when you eat raw beets, with all their enzymes available to aid in their complete digestion, everything is absorbed and used up in the body.
Now here is an astonishing fact: when I began to take dolomite tablets and would eat cooked beets, with their enzymes destroyed, my stool was not red the next morning. Evidently magnesium either has the property of acting in the place of enzymes, or increases the intestinal flora to such an extent that they could do the job of digestion completely by themselves. The ideal situation would be to eat raw beets and take dolomite tablets. I often eat raw beets in thin slices and find them very palatable.
We found a clue next in a study that was subsequently made of chlorophyll as a deodorizer. For many years there have been conflicting reports about the "green blood" of plants, and utterly contradictory laboratory results arising from tests of the deodorant properties of chlorophyll.
Yet there had been enough confirmation that chlorophyll is a deodorizer, so that we felt it deserved further investigation. We even found one research man, Dr. J. C. Munch, who headed a research laboratory in Mexico City, who found in relation to a study of the effect of water-soluble chlorophyll on Mexican boys and girls "direct application to the armpits has confirmed its properties as a deodorant." And many other doctors writing in various medical journals either confirmed or accepted as a matter of course the deodorant properties of chlorophyllin. Yet the highly respected Dr. F. C. Lu of the Food and Drug Laboratories of the Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare tested chlorophyllin on both dogs and human beings and found no appreciable change in odors. Moreover, there were other research scientists who felt the same as Dr. Lu.
Finally, by close reading of the research reports, we were able to isolate what we consider the significant difference. Chlorophyllin is defined by the Merck Index as sodium magnesium chlorophyllin. But the chlorophyllin used by Dr. Lu and others who got negative results was a special form in which the magnesium had been removed. This is done on the assumption, made by many, that any deodorizing effect of chlorophyll is due -to its tendency to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to free oxygen. Such conversion is performed quite as well by chlorophyllin without magnesium as it is by chlorophyllin with magnesium. The researchers assumed that the commercially refined product would have just the same deodorant effect, if any, as the natural product.
But it did not have the same effect, and the difference, of course, was magnesium. This study left us convinced that chlorophyll is a good natural deodorizer, but only in the magnesium-containing form and only because of the magnesium. In other words, for the deodorizing effect you might as well use the magnesium without the sodium and the green pigment.
Lately we have gotten another clue. There is now much reason to believe that magnesium in large quantities is essential to the healthy functioning of the pituitary gland. This gland, in turn, regulates the functions of all the other glands. And, when there is a noticeable unpleasant odor about anyone's body that cannot be traced to a specific disease condition, it is most often a malfunction of a particular set of glands -the apocrine glands-that gets the blame.
Is it possible that, by regulating and improving the function of the pituitary, magnesium acts through the pituitary to regulate the apocrine glands so that they will no longer release enough of their secretions to form unpleasant odors?
We do not know yet, though we feel we are coming closer to the answer. What we do know is that, for reasons not yet established, magnesium consumed in sufficient quantity to avert any possible deficiency does definitely seem to reduce or altogether eliminate any tendency an otherwise healthy person might have to unpleasant body odors.
Thirty years ago, when I was not on any health system, I had my share of stool and underarm odor. At various times they were unusually offensive, if you will excuse me. But gradually as I stopped taking drugs and began following a good nutritional program, they became less offensive. Formerly on the average my stool was a very dark color, but gradually as I became healthier, it assumed a bland light brown appearance, which is as it should be.
There can be no question that what we eat can affect the odor of our stool and our bodies generally. The seven-month-old infant of a friend of mine, who was being breast fed, was placed on a bottle formula. Immediately his stool began to smell!
I have often read that Orientals claim that Westerners have an offensive smell. When I mentioned this to an artist friend, he confirmed it. Years ago, in Japan, he was married to a Japanese girl who claimed he smelled bad!
The odor of Westerners' might come from wheat (the Oriental eats rice); it might also come from dairy products. Until very recently the Orientals had no dairy industry. Possibly, also, the Oriental's diet may contain more magnesium than ours.
You will recall from Delbet's quotation that he could not deodorize the body of a person with magnesium unless his diet did not contain anything that was toxic. I imagine that the stools of people who take certain medicines must smell badly, unless sledgehammered with deodorant products.
In this respect the taking of Antibiotics is a sure way to start the "body-smell" process, because the Antibiotic is a bacteria killer, killing indiscriminately, the good with the bad, seriously reducing the population of intestinal flora. In other words, the more Antibiotics people take the more they will smell; that is, under the cloak of the chemical deodorant.
That magnesium acts to improve the digestion was discussed in The Medical Tribune of June 3, 1964. It was a case described by Dr. Maurice E. Shils of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research--a 74- year-old man who developed gastrointestinal symptoms after the fifty-third day of a magnesium-deficient diet. His symptoms cleared up in four days after magnesium was added to his diet.
Note that it took 53 days of getting very little magnesium to show an ill effect. This might be because it took that long to reduce the population of intestinal flora. I found this to be the case once when I purposely stopped taking the dolomite tablets. The advantages held for quite a while. But the buildup process, starting low, is much faster.
Science must launch a longtime study on the effects on the body odor of eating various kinds of foods and the taking of various kinds of drugs, exercise, etc. I am sure that many drugs are so toxic that they kill intestinal flora. Thus the doctor is substituting one form of illness for another, the remedy in many cases worse than the disease.
As I have said, I take nine tablets of dolomite a day. At the beginning, I had a few days of light diarrhea, but soon everything set itself in the proper order. Delbet says the same thing in his communication to the French Academy of Medicine, July 10, 1928: "In persons who have normally active bowels, it brings on a diarrhea in the first days, but it does not last."
It would seem, therefore, that with dolomite, good nutrition, and sufficient exercise, and without certain organic disease conditions, most underarm, stool, and foot odor could be eliminated. I believe there is another factor, namely, the emotions, which must be considered. In emergencies and under tensions there might be a temporary return of b.o.
It is not merely a matter of body odor, but if what is behind it means a better digestion, a better absorption of vitamins and minerals from our food, a better feeding of the glands and organs of the body, then it would be an important part of the process of preventing disease in general-from a toothache to cancer.