DR. PAUL C. ECK
By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© August 2018, LD Wilson
Dr. Paul Eck (1925-1996) was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Early in his life he had a keen interest in science and chemistry. He also had a strong desire to help others.
Although he took classes to prepare to enter medical school, several experiences with physicians convinced him that medical thinking left much to be desired. Instead, he attended and graduated from the Chicago School of Naprapathy. This is a college of natural healing.
For a short time, Dr. Eck had an office practice where he helped people with basic nutrition and other natural therapies. However, he was drawn to research and went to work for Organon Pharmaceuticals.
Later he worked for a brilliant scientist, Dr. William Ellis. Dr. Ellis designed a highly sensitive electrical measuring device called the microdynameter. It was a superb assessment device.
The microdynameter was unfortunately taken off the market by the American Food And Drug Association, in conjunction with the American Medical Association. However, the principles Dr. Eck learned from working with this machine helped Dr. Eck later on to understand hair mineral analysis.
In 1960, the Eck family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Dr. Eck became a representative for the Viobin company. His job was to educate physicians about the use of nutritional products. Many physicians were awed by his tremendous knowledge of nutrition and biochemistry.
Dr. Eck was a voracious reader and researcher. He could often remember exactly where he read any piece of information. He also read widely on many subject related to health and healing.
HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS
In the early 1970's, physicians asked him to interpret a new test, the hair mineral analysis. It was a mysterious test because supplementing with a mineral that the test revealed was low often did not correct the low hair level. At times, supplementing a mineral that was low caused the hair reading to become even lower!
Dr. Eck set to work to understand why this occurred. He became more and more involved in hair analysis research, painstakingly comparing medical diagnoses and symptoms on thousands of patients’ tests.
In 1975, he founded Analytical Research Laboratories to conduct hair mineral testing.
THE STRESS THEORY
Dr. Eck was an ardent admirer and student of the pioneers of twentieth century biology. These include Rene Dubois, Walter Cannon, Louis Kervan, Alexis Carrel, Adele Davis, Roger Williams, PhD and many others. These scientists studied the wisdom of the body, and how it maintains itself under changing conditions.
One of the most famous of these scientists was Hans Selye, MD, who is credited with the stress theory of disease.
Dr. Eck realized the hair test was measuring the body's response to stress. He saw that all the numbers on the test had to be considered simultaneously. He realized that all the minerals interacted and compensated for each other. This was a radically different understanding of the mineral test, and still is considered a very unusual way to interpret a hair mineral test.
Dr. Eck also learned about the mineral system. This is the way minerals interact with each other, and it is quite complex. It was first described by Dr. William Albright, an agricultural scientist who worked at the University of Missouri. He designed the mineral wheel found on the cover of the ARL hair analysis reports.
He found that when a mineral appears low on a mineral analysis, it may really be low. However, at times it is adapting or compensating for another mineral imbalance.
To make a correction, one had to take into account these adaptations and compensations. This made interpretation of the hair test quite involved.
Hair mineral levels alone, however, could not explain many health conditions, and this puzzled Dr. Eck. His next breakthrough was the insight that in order to use the test properly, the mineral ratios were the key. The mineral levels, he found, are actually less important than the ratios between the minerals. Examples of these ratios are calcium/magnesium and sodium/potassium.
Life really depends upon the quality of our relationships. This is not just personal relationships, but our relationship to our food, for example, and to our entire environment. In addition, all body parts and all the minerals in a body are in relationship with each other.
Mineral ratios are important because they represent the relationships between minerals. These, in turn, are indicators of our relationships with the outer environment.
It was difficult enough to keep in mind all the mineral levels. Mineral ratios added another level of complexity! Dr. Eck was overwhelmed, at times, with the number of ratios and levels that had to be considered in interpreting a hair mineral analysis.
Another concept that Dr. Eck found very critical to understand a hair analysis is adaptation. This use of the word comes from the stress theory of disease.
Adaptation is the process of change or alteration that an organism goes through in order to survive in the face of stressors. Stressors can be almost anything that is harmful to the body.
For example, internal stressors are nutrient deficiencies, the presence of toxic metals and toxic chemicals, infections, injuries, traumas and more. External stressors include cold, noise, mental confusion, and more. How successfully a body adapts or copes is an important determining factor of health.
A way to view a hair mineral analysis is that it reflects the current state of adaptation of the body.
To ease the complexity of interpreting the test, Dr. Eck turned to Dr. Selye's concept of the stages of stress. Dr. Selye determined that stress is mediated through the sympathetic nervous system, particularly the adrenal glands.
He wrote that bodies move through three stages of stress - alarm, resistance and exhaustion. Each of these is worse than the previous one.
If one identifies the stage of stress, then one can take corrective action. By so doing, one can move from a less healthy stage of stress to a more healthy stage.
Dr. Eck set out to identify the stages of stress using a hair analysis. He tried using the mineral levels, but this did not work. Finally, he settled on the use of two mineral ratios – the calcium/potassium ratio and the sodium/magnesium ratio.
We find that Dr. Eck’s method gives the most accurate indication of the stage of stress. Other methods, such as blood tests, urine tests, and questionnaires, do not work well. The hair ratios are not perfect indicators because occasionally contaminants in the hair or other factors can skew one or more of the mineral readings. However, overall it works well.
A man who worked for Dr. Eck for a few years uses the calcium/phosphorus ratio to determine the stage of stress. We find this is not nearly as accurate.
To improve the stage of stress, Dr. Eck drew upon Dr. George Watson's idea of the oxidation types. Dr. Eck realized that Dr. Watson’s oxidation types correlated quite well with Dr. Selye's stages of stress. The two men did not know each other, but both stumbled onto an understanding of what are called the basic metabolic types.
Dr. Watson had experimented with foods and supplementary nutrients and knew which foods and nutrients helped each oxidation type. This is today the basis for the oxidation type diets and the main nutritional supplements we recommend to balance the oxidation rate.
EMOTIONS AND MENTAL ILLNESS
Dr. Eck found startling connections between mental health and specific minerals, the stages of stress, the oxidation types and the levels, ratios and patterns on a hair analysis.
This has far reaching applications in the fields of mental health, education, child development, criminal justice, child protection and other areas of social as well as medical sciences. Dr. Eck's contribution to this field could alone fill several volumes.
Dr. Eck designed an entire set of products to help correct metabolic imbalances. He also programmed a computer to assist practitioners to understand and use his system.
He was able to translate his highly advanced work into a program that anyone can use to improve health.
He also trained many others, although he rarely receives credit for this.
SUMMARY OF DR. ECK’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEVELOPMENT SCIENCE
Dr. Eck discovered some of the basic knowledge of modern development science, although he did not realize it. His contributions include:
- Nutrition is the answer. Dr. Eck recognized the importance of diet and nutritional supplements as keys to health in the 21st century.
- The vital role of minerals in nutrition. Minerals, he said, are the stepchildren of nutrition. He meant they are too often ignored when they need and deserve much more attention. Mineral deficiencies, biounavailability and excesses lead to most of our health problems, he found.
- The critical role of toxic metals in human health. This was a great focus of Dr. Eck’s. It is still not well accepted by most doctors or nutritionists. He understood how they replace vital or preferred minerals in enzyme binding sites, a concept he learned from the late Henry Schroeder, MD. He also saw from hair analysis research how they interact with the sympathetic nervous system and the overall mineral balance of the body. This is far beyond just viewing them as poisons to be chelated out, which is the way most doctors view them.
Copper imbalance. Dr. Eck added much to our understanding of copper metabolism, among other minerals. He found it fascinating how one mineral could affect people in such varied and profound ways from causing birth defects to aggravating cancers.
- Hair analysis. Dr. Eck did a lot of the most profound work on hair analysis technique and interpretation. He established ideal values and ideal mineral ratios, most of which we still use. He set up a special calibrated chart for reading the test that graphs many mineral patterns in a most amazing way. Most people do not appreciate this until they attempt to read the patterns using the calibrated hair charts from other laboratories.
He borrowed from the work of Drs. Watson, Page and Selye and took it a step further by figuring out a method to assess the stage of stress, the balance of the autonomic nervous system, the oxidation rate and much more using the inexpensive, non-invasive hair mineral test. This was quite a task that required a number of years of research. Hair mineral analysis was quite new at the time and poorly understood. He worked out ideal mineral levels and ratios, identified many mineral patterns and figured out the basics of their correction.
- Measuring parameters of the stress response. He realized that hair analysis patterns were stress patterns of the body, rather than diagnosable conditions. This may sound unimportant, but it is quite a breakthrough that unifies medicine and the stress theory of disease.
- Trends or research associations versus diagnoses. Dr. Eck made use of trends or tendencies on hair mineral analyses. This is different from diagnosing disease, and very interesting. For example, the trends can often predict future illnesses with amazing accuracy, and can do so years before problems are revealed on other medical tests. This can be a powerful method of preventive care.
- The importance of cell permeability and the ability to measure it quickly, though roughly, from a hair analysis. This is another breakthrough gleaned from hair mineral analysis that will be appreciated as scientists and doctors begin to realize its importance.
- Supplement program design. Dr. Eck’s supplement programs are unique and we still use his basic design. They work well with many fewer and far simpler products than what most doctors are using today.
- Adrenal burnout syndrome. The causes, symptoms and correction of this common health condition today were elaborated by Dr. Eck almost forty years ago, and are still not recognized by most doctors.
- Importance of congenital, rather than inherited genetic reasons for disease. Dr. Eck warned about the dangers of passing toxic metals and nutrient deficiencies from mother to child many years before this was formally recognized. He could read the evidence clearly on mothers’ and childrens’ hair tests. Medicine still confuses genetic and congenital causes of disease because so far they refuse to employ the hair mineral test to detect congenital toxic metals and many other congenital imbalances that can easily mimic genetic disorders.
- Ideal or optimum values, not reference ranges. Dr. Eck pioneered the non-allopathic concept of using optimum or ideal test values. Almost all doctors still work with reference ranges, an older allopathic concept for evaluating tests. The idea of optimums or ideals is still very foreign to medical care, including holistic care in most cases. This is a far more important concept than most people realize.
- Exercise dangers. Dr. Eck was among the first to warn against too much exercise for most people. Exercise may feel good and is socially acceptable, but is stressful for the body. Recommending vigorous exercise can be like sending a car onto a fast highway when the steering and brakes hardly work at all. Traditional doctors use costly and sometimes invasive “stress tests” to assess exercise capacity. However, even these are usually not as helpful as a much less costly hair analysis to assess a person’s capacity for activity. Dr. Eck was also one of the first to speak and write about “exercise addiction”, years before it became a well-known phenomenon.
- Bioavailability of minerals. Dr. Eck remains one of the very few scientists who understood and taught about the problem of mineral bioavailability. Dr. Eck elaborated the reasons for calcium, magnesium, copper and other mineral bioavailability, some of his most advanced work.
- Blending East and West. Dr. Eck knew about acupuncture principles such as yin and yang, as well as others. He incorporated some of these ideas, but without sacrificing Western scientific methods such as the use of modern spectrographic methods for measuring minerals. His blending of theory and practice, allopathic and natural healing, and Eastern and Western healing philosophies is an incredible legacy.
- Shared freely. I have studied with many doctors. Many kept a lot of their work secret for various reasons. Dr. Eck shared freely. Most of the doctors whom he taught still give him little or no credit for the brilliant insights they claim as their own.
- A friend. From humble beginnings, Dr. Paul Eck was a true friend to me and to thousands of others. He only regretted that he did not have more time for teaching and for his four children who survive him.
As important as the insights of Dr. Eck were the ideas he rejected or at least felt did not fit into his work. These include:
- Most pharmaceuticals. While he knew that drugs may be needed, at times, he also saw the harm they do, in many cases. With development science, very few drugs are ever needed. When they are, it is mainly for emergencies, for surgery or for very short-term therapy.
- Bio-identical and other hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Eck was extremely wary of this popular method of healing. It is almost never needed if a person will follow a development program. Exceptions are the use of insulin, thyroid hormones and others in a few cases if the organs are irreparably damaged or have been surgically removed.
- Chelation therapy. Dr. Eck found that chelating drugs adversely affect the sodium/potassium ratio on a hair analysis. This cost him a lot of support among the chelating doctors.
He did not like synthetic chelators or natural chelators such as chlorella, cilantro, zeolite, high-dose vitamin C, bugleweed, yellow dock and others. These, he found, were not needed and somewhat toxic, in all cases. Many doctors, he said, are anxious to chelate toxic metals without realizing the harm this can cause. Chelators are very rarely needed or helpful at all if one follows a development program. It releases all of the toxic metals much better and much more safely than chelation therapy, in our experience.
- Vegetarianism and raw foods. Dr. Eck understood deeply the problems with vegetarian diets and did not fall for the popular arguments in favor of them, as do many holistic doctors today. He called anyone who eats meat less than three times weekly a vegetarian, and learned how to identify some of these people from a hair analysis. He also advised against the all raw food diet, the Fit For Life diet, and similar popular diets.
- Most exercise regimens. Dr. Eck found that most people are in the exhaustion stage of stress. Heavy exercise may feel good, but it can be dangerous. At best, it slows one’s progress toward health. Even for weight loss, we find that exercise should only be gentle and mild.
- Mineral replacement therapy. This is the misuse of hair analysis or other tests by simply replacing minerals that show up low on the test and avoiding minerals that appear elevated on the test.
This is still the main way that hair analysis is used today. Dr. Eck experimented with it and found it only marginally effective. The reasons have to do with the bioavailability of minerals and other complex factors having to do with body chemistry.
- Symptomatic nutritional therapy. Dr. Eck discovered that if one corrects the oxidation rate and the major ratios on a hair mineral test, most symptoms go away on their own. He avoided most symptomatic therapy, though it is an extremely tempting way to use nutrients and other remedies.
All symptomatic approaches to healing mask deeper problems and rarely correct the causes of imbalances at the deepest levels. They also often have adverse side effects, even if these are hidden.
- Extreme caution with herbs. Dr. Eck advised great caution with herbs. Most herbs have drug-like effects or they would be classified as foods. Also, most herbs work symptomatically and at much more superficial levels than development science requires.
The quality of many herbs is also a large problem today. For example, many Indian and Chinese herbs may be contaminated with toxic metals, in our experience.
- Megavitamin or orthomolecular therapies. Dr. Eck deeply appreciated the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer, Dr. Linus Pauling, and other orthomolecular physicians. However, he found that high-dose vitamin therapy is rarely, if ever needed if one correctly recommends nutrients based on the hair mineral test. Megavitamin therapy and orthomolecular approaches border on symptomatic methods, with all their problems. However, we find that people’s needs for substances such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are indeed higher than the standard recommended daily allowances.
- Washing hair samples at the laboratory. Dr. Eck rejected the still-popular idea that human hair samples must be washed at the laboratory before analyzing them. Studies conducted by Dr. Raymond Leroy and others show clearly that washing the hair at the lab ruins the accuracy of the hair test, especially for the more water-soluble minerals.
- The use of reference ranges in hair analysis. This is the industry standard, but it is an allopathic concept that does not work as well as ideal or optimum hair mineral values.
- Caution comparing hair tests with blood, urine, saliva and other testing methods. Dr. Eck was careful to explain to practitioners that blood tests often do not match hair tests because they measure different body compartments and often measure very different parameters of health. Practitioners often become confused when trying to compare various types of tests.
- The need for intravenous and intramuscular supplements. Dr. Eck did not use these therapies, though they can be helpful for a short time. However, they tend to unbalance the minerals in the body in subtle ways, slowing or stopping deeper healing.
- Food-based products. Dr. Eck rejected the notion that all supplements must be food-based. We have tested this extensively and found that Dr. Eck’s simple formulas, which include many, but not all food-based products, work far better than purely food-based supplements.
- False or misleading nutritional promotion. Dr. Eck did not like the snake oil salesmen and health product peddlers who lie or bend the truth to promote their wares. He never did this, and his lab continues today to promote in a very ethical manner.