Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 for 21: History of Targeted Nutritional Intervetion

I've decided to start to go over Dr. Henry Turkel's book which he wrote in the 1980's. Dr. Turkel was one of the first doctors to use nutritional supplementation in people with DS. The first post covering his book is scheduled to post tomorrow. But, before that, I thought it would be helpful to share an article which is in our book that goes over the history of Targeted Nutritional Intervention (TNI).

The History of Targeted Nutritional Intervention
By Qadoshyah Fish

Henry Turkel

The idea of giving vitamin supplements to individuals with Down syndrome has been around for many years.  It started in the 1950’s with Dr. Henry Turkel’s work¹. The effects and all that the extra chromosome did were not yet known at that time.  Therefore, Dr. Turkel’s work was, in a way, working in the dark.  It was not until 1974 that researchers began to realize what genes were on the 21st chromosome. It was not until a few years later that it was discovered some of these genes were actually being over-expressed in patients with Down syndrome and therefore causing some or all of the problems associated with Down syndrome. This would not be fully realized until years later when the Human Genome Project was done in the 1990’s.  In the 1970’s and years prior, it was thought that the genes from the extra chromosome were “turned-off” and played no role once the person was born, as can be seen in this quote from Dr. Turkel’s book,
The medical consensus that there were no metabolic imbalances in Down syndrome was so deeply entrenched that as recently as 1977, some medical students were still being taught that the extra genes encode structural defects before birth and then “turn off” (Expert’s testimony in Superior Court, Los Angeles, California #C 88260). (Medical Treatment of Down Syndrome and Genetic Diseases by Henry Turkel, M.A., M.D., Ilse Nusbaum, M.A. Copyright 1985. Page 172)

Dr. Turkel’s supplement was called the “U Series.”  It was a protocol with a variety of vitamins, minerals, drugs and many other nutrients to be taken throughout the day. Because Dr. Turkel’s work was without all the medical research that we have today, the doses of vitamins and nutrients that were given patients were very large “mega doses” of nutrients. His protocol was conceived after the father of a boy with Down syndrome approached Dr. Turkel in 1940 about a “possible treatment for his son.” Dr. Turkel’s “U Series” helped this child and therefore word spread about the “U Series.” In the 1950’s Dr. Turkel restricted his practice, with a few exceptions, to only patients with Down syndrome and other forms of mental retardation.  Dr. Turkel saw many improvements in the patients in which he used the “U Series.”

In 1959, Dr. Turkel applied for a “New Drug Approval” for his “U Series” from the Food and Drug Administration, but they denied Dr. Turkel’s appeal for approval. It was denied because the FDA did not consider the newly discovered implications of the extra genes on the extra chromosome 21 and therefore “concluded that since the ‘U’ Series could not remove the chromosome, it could not help the patients.” (ibid, page 209).  The FDA stopped Dr. Turkel from interstate distributing of the “U Series”, but he was legally able to sell the “U Series” within the state of Michigan.

Dr. Jerome Lejeune, who discovered the cause of Down syndrome, Trisomy 21, was also using vitamin and nutritional supplements with his patients with Down syndrome during the 1960’s. He was not using the “U Series,” but he was using some of the same vitamins and nutrients that were in the “U Series.”

Jack Warner

Dr. Jack Warner started his private practice in the early 1960’s². A few years after beginning his practice, Dr. Warner saw his first patient with Down syndrome.  It was then that Dr. Warner started extensively researching Down syndrome.  In 1984 his research led him to meeting Dr. Turkel. Dr. Warner was  impressed with the good results that he saw with the “U Series” that he started referring many of his patients to Dr. Turkel.  After constant research and continuing to see the beneficial effects from the “U Series” it led Dr. Warner to several other doctors and biochemists from the Linus Pauling Institute. This gave new knowledge and showed the increased benefits and effectiveness of certain nutrients from new research which led Dr. Warner to design the High Achievement Potential Capsules (HAP Caps) to be used with patients with Down syndrome.

HAP Caps were formulated in an FDA laboratory and received FDA approval in 1986. Unfortunately Dr. Warner’s research and HAP Caps have “fallen by the wayside” since his death in 2004.

Nutrichem’s MSB Plus

In 1982 Kent Macleod met the mother of a child that was severely brain damaged and had seizures³. He was able to treat this child with certain vitamins and it helped him tremendously, stopping his seizures. This mother began to research how nutritional supplements may benefit her son and found the work of Dr. Henry Turkel.  She asked Macleod to look at the research and findings of Dr. Turkel. She set a meeting up with Macleod and some mothers of children with Down syndrome to discuss the work and claim of Dr. Turkel. At this meeting, Macleod told the parents that if he were to consider this treatment, he would change Dr. Turkel’s formula.  Therefore, Macleod started to develop the first MSB Plus formula. Macleod’s work with children with Down syndrome continued to grow slowly over the years by word of mouth as parents told other parents the health benefits.

In the early 1990’s, Macleod was contacted by a mother, Dixie Lawrence, who’s adopted daughter had Down syndrome. Dixie asked Macleod if he would consider customizing the MSB formula based on her daughter’s blood work results.  At this time there was research and work being done in France by Dr. Marie Peeters-Ney and Dr. Jerome Lejeune on amino acid deficiencies being linked to certain genes on the 21st chromosome. After hearing the positive reports by parents who had been giving their children MSB Plus for the past 10 years and seeing the research done in France, Macleod was convinced to work with Dixie on a customized formula for her daughter.  Interest in Nutrichem’s MSB Plus grew tremendously after Dixie aired on the Day One program in 1995.

Today Nutrichem still provides their MSB Plus formula to thousands of families all over the world. 

International Nutrition’s Nutrivene-D

Nutrivene-D was originally developed by Dixie Lawrence Tafoya for her daughter with Down syndrome in the early 1990’s⁴. Dixie learned of Dr. Turkel “U Series” and was able to find Dr. Turkel in Israel where he had retired.  Dr. Turkel informed Dixie that he was not seeing patients anymore and that he had left his “U Series” to a pediatrician, Dr. Jack Warner, in the U.S.⁵. Dr. Warner greatly altered the “U Series” formula, which would now be known as the HAP Caps. Dixie decided to pursue this further and therefore she and 30 other families met with Dr. Warner.  The HAP Caps did not have much impact on Dixie’s daughter.  By this time research had been published that showed metabolic differences in patients with Down syndrome.  Using this research, input from numerous scientists and her daughter’s blood and urine analyses, Dixie started to develop her own TNI formula. Dixie “fine tuned” the formula by looking at the specific abnormalities measured in her daughter’s blood and urine testing.  

The scientists who were initially involved by researching abstracts and articles which documented metabolic and nutrient concerns in Down syndrome also helped reference the TNI formula to the U.S. RDA for safety.
Today, the Nutrivene-D formula still uses scientists and doctors to make updates and improve their formula based on current research and studies which are done. Certain nutrients may be added or changed, as new research emerges. The Nutrivene-D formula is used by thousands of families throughout the world.


Since the calm beginnings in the 1950’s and Dr. Turkel’s approach with “mega-doses” of nutrients, to where we are at currently with Nutrivene-D, it has been a long path and will continue to be an ever changing path as new research emerges. Dr. Turkel started with a good idea, but thanks to new research, and much work to scientists, parents, and doctors, we can now safely give children with Down syndrome a formula which is “targeted” to meet their specific metabolic and nutrient needs. 

1)    Medical Treatment of Down Syndrome and Genetic Diseases by Henry Turkel, M.A., M.D., Ilse Nusbaum, M.A. Copyright 1985
2)    Warner House Clinic History.
3)    Down Syndrome and Vitamin Therapy, Unlocking the Secrets of Improved Health, Behaviour and Intelligence by Kent Macleod. Printed October 2003
4)    A Circle of Friends II by Aunt Gini Mullaly & Deborah Saxton-Bolt. Copyright 2000.
5)    Smart Drugs & Down’s Syndrome by Steven Wm. Fowkes & Ward Dean, M.D. February 14, 1994 issue of Smart Drug News. [v2n10]

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