Definition; The prevention of risk factors themselves, beginning with a change in social and environmental conditions in which the factors are observed to develop and continuing for high risk children, adolescents and young adults.
Weston A Price was an American Dentist whom in the 1930’s did a huge amount of research to try and understand why in recent times our jaws have been shrinking causing more overcrowding of teeth (leading to a greater need for orthodontic treatment) and the impaction of wisdom teeth. He travelled the globe, looking at indigenous tribes and their dental history, studied ancient skulls and the diets of non-Westernised societies. He concluded that the diet of young women especially, influenced the developing mouth of babies and therefore the dental future of these children. In many cultures, young women who were destined to marry and bear children would be fed special diets to prepare them for childbirth in order to give their babies the best start in life. These special diets often were high in fat. In his book “Nutrition and physical degeneration” first published in 1938, he called this the first stage in Primordial Prevention, noticing that the children of these women were blessed with wide jaws and a lack of overcrowding. Ancient skulls show us that impacted wisdom teeth were rarely a problem for our ancestors and it has become a 20th-21st Century problem along with breathing problems, tooth grinding and sleep apnoea due to restricted oral and nasal passages.
Our Western diet has become so entrenched in processed food that we have lost touch with our dietary roots. That is not to say that ancient diets were ideal and of course malnourishment has been the cause of many health issues. However, so much of our food is lacking essential nutrients and has become so over-processed that it is far removed from what it should be. It has become a cardboard imitation of real food which does not give us the vital nutrients to build strong bodies.
Why is our food to far removed from reality?
It could be said that since the 1940’s a lot of research into dietary health was lost, especially during the Second World War and American Big Industry became so powerful and influenced research to their advantage. We have lost touch with real food and have been led to believe that cardboard cereals with their fortified vitamins, biscuits and crackers made with industrial oils, bread made with highly processed flours and “natural” juices are good for us. Why ? Because millions of dollars are spent on advertising to reinforce the message that we need fast food, highly sweetened drinks, energy bars and the like. But do we really need these products?
Would you rather eat a whole orange that has grown in the sun, is wrapped in its own packaging and oozes goodness or a glass of orange juice that has no fibre, added Vitamin C, super concentrated sugar and comes in plastic ?
Would you rather eat homemade granola made from whole oats, fresh nuts, and great quality dried fruit or cardboard cereal in a cardboard box. Not only will you be charged an exorbitant rate for this, but when you open the box, there is a small pile of highly sweetened dried food, a handfull of what looks like sawdust at the bottom and packaging for landfill.
Nurture your body? Or feed the big industry that has fooled us into believing processed food is good for us ?
These are the choices that are open to us and the choices we make influence not only our own health, but that of our descendants. Weston A Price also made note of an elusive nutrient which he named Activator-X. This nutrient was to be found in the diets of ancient and native societies, especially those that produced animal products from areas that had abundant and lush grass. This was thought to be the key to providing offspring with great bone structure and healthy growth, but he did not ever find the key to the puzzle. His research was taken up later, but it wasn’t until 2005 that this elusive nutrient was found to be what is named Vitamin K2. This fat soluble vitamin is different from the blood clotting Vitamin K1 and is the activator for Vitamin A and Vitamin D, which along with Calcium help to build strong bones, form wide jaws, and also reduce hardening of the arteries that cause some types of heart disease.
So, where can this elusive Activator -X Vitamin K2 be found?
When animals consume Vitamin K1 from grass and leafy greens, their digestive tract converts it to Vitamin K2. Butter from grass fed cows, eggs from pasture raised chickens and organ meats (liver, pate, etc) are all excellent sources. Some fermented foods such as sauerkraut, fermented soy beans, Gouda cheese have a similar form of vegetarian K2.
Primordial prevention is all about getting back to basics and ensuring that we recognise the value of food that will nurture our souls and build strong, healthy bodies, remembering that it is not only about what we eliminate from our diets (such as refined foods) but also what we add to our diets to strengthen from within.
This subject is further demonstrated by Australian Dr Steven Lin, who has taken this study even further to discuss how the lack of Vitamin K2 increases the prevalence of tooth overcrowding, wisdom tooth impaction, tooth grinding, snoring and sleep apnoea as well as a whole host of other medical disorders. I would consider his book essential reading for understanding how dietary changes can impact structural degeneration and especially for anyone wanting to learn about how to build strong babies prior to conception.