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Pottenger, Watson, and Kelley, Revisited

Syndrome X

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It is very difficult to do justice to the monumental contribution these three men-Francis Pottenger, MD, George Watson, Ph.D., and William Donald Kelley, DDS-made to the fields of health, nutrition and medicine. The result of their combined foresight and brilliant research serves as the foundation for an evolving new nutritional analysis and delivery system which promises to change the way we will practice nutrition-and even medicine-in the future. W.L. (Bill) Wolcott and I have been working synergistically for the past two years and have jointly evolved a protocol based upon the past research of these three, great, scientific minds as well as current research of our own to document a new nutrition and health paradigm we have coined Foundational Medicine. We wish to pay tribute to these three men as they represent the cornerstone of our research on metabolic type testing.

Whenever most people hear the name Francis Pottenger, they automatically think of Pottenger's Cat Studies.1 Indeed, the cat studies were most valuable for their contributions to understanding the influences of certain nutrients and lack of certain nutrients on processes of growth, reproduction and degenerative conditions. Probably of equal importance, though not as widely known, Pottenger carefully delineated in his Symptoms Of Visceral Disease, 2 the relationship of nutrition to the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Further, he illuminated the autonomic influences as essential components in defining metabolic individuality. From his valid and reproducible research, we have extrapolated many of his findings and built them into our metabolic testing protocol. Dr. Francis Pottenger is truly the father of the neuro-endocrine aspect of metabolic typing.

Dr. George Watson was a full professor at the University of Southern California. His biochemical research career spanned from 1950 to the mid-eighties. His research encompassed the role of biological oxidation in defining metabolic individuality, particularly as relates to psycho-chemical states and personality disorders. The oxidation rate, as he describes it, is the speed at which the tissues of the body convert food to energy, involving glycolysis, Kreb's/citric acid cycle and beta oxidation. Through his objective testing, he classified people as being fast, slow or suboxidizers. Fast oxidizers produce an acid venous blood pH, and slow oxidizers produce an alkaline venous blood pH. He found that manifestations of physical and psychological imbalance occur when the venous pH deviates too far from the optimal pH of 7.46. Dr. Watson viewed health and nutrition as a patient specific problem rather than a disease-specific problem. He states that when metabolism as reflected through oxidation and venous plasma pH is too far out of balance, the patient is more susceptible to disease. His book, Nutrition and Your Mind,3 eloquently describe his fascinating research.

The turn-around that he effected with many of his patients is phenomenal. I practiced nutrition based upon his approach for many years. Based on his principles, I subsequently developed a mini-glucose tolerance test to determine acid-alkaline balance and its relationship to the oxidative processes. Dr. Watson's oxidative research is of equal importance to that of Dr. Pottenger's neural-hormonal research. Both of these brilliant scientists significantly advanced our scientific knowledge of metabolic type testing and have proven to be the fathers of the Foundational Medicine philosophy.

Dr. William Donald Kelley is not a forgotten man. He lives in the hearts of many of his patients that are alive today because of his nutritional protocols based on his system of analyzing metabolic individuality. Today, Bill and I have great admiration for this creative mind of science. Witnessing in his patients and realizing the deep import of the age old adage that "one's food is another's poison," Kelley was the first to utilize computer technology to analyze components comprising metabolic individuality. Based on Pottenger's original work with the autonomic nervous system, Kelley developed a systematic, testable and repeatable means of determining one's metabolic type and thereby delineating the appropriate nutritional protocol. Today, Kelley is not recognized in the traditional circles of medicine, although he truly deserves this recognition. One of his patients who is now a patient of mine was diagnosed with leukemia in 1972. She was advised to have the traditional chemotherapy but sought alternative treatment instead. She was treated by Dr. Kelley in 1972 and has sustained a full remission. Had she been treated with the traditional chemotherapy, she probably would be history today. This is the legacy that Dr. Kelley leaves with all of us. His Non-Specific Metabolic Therapy4 is grounded in the wisdom of treating the person who has the disease, over the disease that has the person.

Why is the legacy of these three scientists so important? First and foremost, it lays the foundation from which Bill and I developed our metabolic type testing. Our research has shown that every human being is dominant in one of five metabolic types:

1. Fast oxidizer-acid blood
2. Slow oxidizer-alkaline blood
3. Sympathetic dominant-acid blood
4.Parasympathetic dominant-alkaline blood
5. Balanced/Mixed

We have developed a simple, accurate methodology utilizing a modified glucose tolerance test along with a dietary, physical, and psychological questionnaire to determine any individual's metabolic type dominance. Without this metabolic type testing, accurate nutritional protocols happen only by chance, not through scientific rationale. This is why the field of nutrition appears so confounding and perplexing - what works for one patient with a condition does not work for a different patient with the same condition...unless you know the metabolic type involved. Keep in mind, whereas the slow oxidizer and the sympathetic dominant cannot have a heavily weighted meat and fat diet, the fast oxidizer and the parasympathetic should in order to be healthy. Different foods and supplements have different biochemical actions on each of these metabolic types. Potassium will acidify the blood in certain metabolic types (slow oxidizers) and alkalize in other types (parasympathetics). It is not the focus of this essay to explain our metabolic testing, but to give credit to and express respect for the gifted scientists that uncovered a wonderful discipline from which we all can prosper through a lifetime of good health and well-being.

1. Contact Price-Pottenger Foundation for more information [Price-PottengerNutritional Foundation P.O.Box2614 La Mesa, CA 91943-2614 619-574-7763
2. Pottenger, Francis. Symptoms Of Visceral Disease. C.V. Mosby, 1919.
3. Watson, George. Nutrition and Your Mind. Harper and Rowe, 1972.
4. Kelley, William Donald. The Metabolic Types. Kelley Foundation, 1976.
5. Wolcott, W.L. "A Theoretical Model For Clinical Application of the Initmate Relationship Between the Autonomic Nervous System and the Oxidation Rate in the Determination of Metabolic Types and the Requirements of Nutritional Individuality." Copyright, 1983.


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