“We are a nation of walking wounded. A biological deterioration of American health is thought to be taking place (due to our) food additives, pollution, medical system devoted to drugs and chemicals, foods grown on depleted soils, and vaccination programs.”
–Dr. Lendon H. Smith
When Those Providing Parental Guidance Need Guidance
In a world in which science is increasingly in the service of business, it can be difficult to sort through all the conflicting advice and information regarding our children’s health. Dr. Lendon Smith was a household name in parental guidance during the 1960’s. In addition to having a five minute daytime show called The Children’s Doctor from 1966 to 1969, he appeared regularly on both The Tonight Show and The Phil Donahue Show .
Although much of his work has been discredited, many of his controversial views are still being discussed today. Smith formulated a theory while working at a free clinic for heroin addicts that they suffered from hyperactivity and began prescribing Ritalin for them. In 1975, his medical license was restricted as a result. He later reversed his position on the use of the drug, and argued against its use in the treatment of children with ADHD. Many of his parental guidance theories revolved around nutrition and he advocated the use of naturopathic medicine.
His belief in alternative medicine eventually led to his surrendering his license in 1987. At that time, insurance companies did not cover services provided by chiropractors, homeopaths, or acupuncturists. He signed patients’ insurance claims after referring them for alternative treatments, including nutrition-oriented specialists. Because he had not treated the patients himself, he was charged with an ethics violation by the Board of Medical Examiners. Despite much of his work having been discredited as the result of surrendering his license, many of his theories are still being discussed today.
Parental Guidance Regarding the Importance of Nutrition
According to Smith, proper nutrition is of prime importance not only for physical health, but for mental and emotional health as well. Ahead of his time in many ways, he cautioned against sugar, bleached flour, and junk food. In his opinion, these things contributed to hyperactivity, obesity, allergies and illnesses in both children and adults.
Numerous studies have since been conducted that support his theories regarding nutrition and natural medicine. For example, one recent study revealed that long-term use of Ritalin can affect the brain, resulting in chronic depression and limited impulse control.
Smith also voiced concerns over the use of vaccines, which has become a modern controversial issue. This is partly a result of a loss of public trust in drug companies that often seem to prioritize profits over public health. He authored and co-authored a number of parental guidance books on children’s health and nutrition, including “Feed Your Kids Right“. Most of his work focused on nutrition, hyperactivity, and stress reduction, issues which are perhaps even more relevant for today’s parents.
The Life Balances International Program that he developed proved to be a failed experiment that further discredited his other work. He presented it as a “monitoring method” to determine whether an individual was deficient in a particular nutrient. Responses to a questionnaire and the results of blood chemistry tests were run through a computer program that concluded what dietary supplements were necessary. All of this seems scientifically logical.
However, his claim that individuals’ reactions to sniffing the contents of the bottles would determine which one they were in need of was less scientifically sound. He stated that
“The sweeter or more delightful the smell, the more it is needed. If the contents smell repugnant, it is not to be taken at that particular time.”
The supplemental products were marketed and sold in a package that included an electrolyte solution, 20 bottles of vitamins, and 6 bottles of minerals. The cost of the program was $688.00.
In an interview on the currently popular Dr. Mercola’s website he addressed several issues that have gained greater social awareness in recent years. Among those issues is the depletion of topsoil caused by the use of nitrogen and phosphates in modern farming. Valuable minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium are depleted from the soil, reducing the nutritional value of the crops.
Another issue is the growing number of psychiatric “conditions” that have been added to the DSM for purposes of compensation by insurance companies. In his view, effective parental guidance for many children suffering from such conditions has been replaced by drug therapy to the detriment of children.
One of the most difficult tasks parents face today is sifting through all of the often conflicting parental guidance information now available. Dr. Smith’s legacy seems to be one of reminding parents of the importance of proper nutrition and reducing the need for the miracles of modern medicine.