Q: Welcome Harry Diehl. We are delighted to introduce you to the readers of Nutrition & Healing, both for who and what you are and for what you have achieved. Please tell us about your arthritis research.
A: A number of years ago…my next door neighbor was a carpenter with a family. He came down with arthritis. His knees started to swell, he had to quit work. My neighbor saw all the doctors, but the more treatment he took, the worse he got. His face became swollen from the medication, his knees were still swollen, he finally had to go to the hospital…This went on for ten years or so. Both legs had to be amputated…I never saw a man in such an awful condition…l really felt sorry for him… So, I started a lab at home and worked into the night. I was determined to find something to relieve my neighbor and the millions of people who have arthritis. I started working with mice…I tried every way to give those mice arthritis, but they just wouldn’t get it. I was frustrated. . .the first thing you do in animal research is create a ‘disease model’ like the human disease in animals, then you work on that. I knew exactly how to give rats arthritis…but it just wouldn’t work in one single mouse!
Q: Mice don’t get arthritis?
A: No, and here I was trying to give it to them! Finally someone …said to contact this famous researcher at U.C. Berkeley, so I wrote over there and Dr. Fay Wood wrote back and said, “If you…can give mice arthritis, I want to know about it because mice are 100% immune to arthritis. It dawned on me that what I wanted was already in those mice somewhere.
Q: So you analyzed mice?
A: I had a research doctor friend who was working on pain killers [and]…he had lots of mice and said I could have all I wanted. I remember driving to the airport in the middle of the night for shipments of mice. I worked and worked, and isolated some things, then I did the same thing with..rats and compared the two on a thin-layer chromatograph…The mice were altogether different from the rats. There were a number of factors the rats didn’t have…so now I had to try the mouse factors in the rats to see if they protected the rats from arthritis.
Q: How many years did it take?
A: A little over a year to find a factor that really worked. Then I had to find out exactly what it was chemically. Took a long time, working with column separation and thin-layer chromatography and just old-fashioned chemical cooking. I finally figured out that Cetyl Myristoleate was the most active [factor]. Then I had to figure out how to make that synthetically…I tried the synthetic Cetyl Myristoleate to protect rats from arthritis, and it worked fine…
Q: What happened then?
A: I actually had that synthetic process patented, but I couldn’t get anybody interested. So I let it go until I got arthritis myself about six years ago.
Q: You were eighty?
A: About that time, I could hardly walk; my knees, hands, heels all hurt. The doctor gave me cortisone shots, then he told me he couldn’t give me any more cortisone, that nothing was left but pain pills…I thought, here’s this process I found years ago just laying there…so why not cook myself up a batch. So I did. I took..Cetyl Myristoleate [and l said, man, I’m feeling better! Then it’s out of my knees, my heels…the pain’s gone from everywhere! I had a [chronic problem with] headache[s] …and that disappeared. Hasn’t been back since! I’d been going to the hospital once or twice a year with bronchitis; that quit, too…My doctor was so impressed he wrote a letter and sent it to a pharmaceutical journal, and they published my animal research in l994. I’ve heard it might help other problems in addition to arthritis. I got a letter from a doctor last week who had a patient with emphysema so bad she could hardly breathe. She took the Cetyl Myristoleate, and in ten days she was breathing almost normally, the doctor said. I read another letter from a doctor who measured objective parameters of airflow in an emphysema patient and found them improved after Cetyl Myristoleate. I’ve heard from several people whose blood pressure went down to normal, too.
Q: Do people have any Cetyl Myristoleate in them naturally?
A: Not a drop. So far, it’s been found in mice, male beavers, and sperm whales.
Thank you Harry Diehl. It is good to know that at age 86, in the spirit of Thomas Edison…you are still out there…looking for better ways to do things that need doing.