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In 1983 a group of young men in New York City with AIDS began macrobiotics under the guidance of Michio Kushi. They hoped to change their blood quality, recover their natural immunity, and survive at that time a nearly always fatal illness. In May, 1984, a research team led by Martha C. Cottrell, M.D., Director of Student Health at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Elinor N. Levy, Ph.D. and John C. Beldekas, Ph.D. of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Boston University’s School of Medicine, began to monitor the blood samples and immune functions of ten men with Kaposi’s sarcoma (a usual symptom of AIDS). They issued a series of reports on their findings. The macrobiotic approach to AIDS was outlined in AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity by Michio Kushi and Martha Cottrell, M.D., AIDS & Diet by Kushi and Alex Jack, and The Way of Hope: Michio Kushi’s Anti-AIDS Program by Tom Monte.


• Men with AIDS Stabilize on Macrobiotics

The NYC research team reported in , the British medical journal, that the men with AIDS were stabilizing on the macrobiotic diet. “Survival in these men who have received little or no medical treatment appears to compare very favorably with that of KS [Kaposi’s sarcoma] patients in general. We suggest that physicians and scientists can feel comfortable in allowing patients, particularly those with minimal disease, to go untreated as part of a larger [dietary] study or because non-treatment is the patient’s choice.”[i]


• Modern Agriculture Led to Evolution of HIV

In an analysis of diet and immune-deficiency disorders, educator Michio Kushi, who led an AIDS and diet seminar for 250 medical doctors in Africa sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), attributed the emergence of HIV and other new viruses to modern agricultural practices and patterns of food consumption that have disrupted traditional societies and ecosystems that have existed in harmony for thousands of years. HIV acquired its virulence and elusiveness as a result of modern environmental and medical interventions, including monocropping, pesticide and chemical fertilizer use, and abuse of antibiotics and other drugs. As it made its way through depleted soil, a chemically weakened food chain, and immuno-suppressed blood systems, HIV gradually evolved into a stronger, more lethal virus. Kushi also explored the role that a modern diet based on extremely expansive foods such as sugar, sweets, fatty foods, oily and greasy foods, and fruits and juices, as well as use of too much alcohol, drugs, and medications, may have played in loss of natural immunity to disease.[ii]


• Umeboshi Plums Protect Against H1N1 Virus.

Umeboshi, an aged, salted, pickled plum and staple in macrobiotic cooking, contain a substance that can suppress the growth of the H1N1 virus, researchers at the Wakayama Medical University in Japan reported. They said the substance is a type of polyphenol whose existence has not been previously confirmed. When applied to the affected cells, the growth of the virus was suppressed by roughly 90 percent after about seven hours. “We can expect to suppress the virus growth by having about five pieces of umeboshi a day,” Hirotoshi Utsunomiya, associate professor of pathology and team leader, said. Ume-Sho-Bancha and Ume-Sho-Kuzu medicinal drinks are two of the main macrobiotic home remedies for preventing or relieving swine flu and other infectious conditions.[iii]     


Arthritis, a painful bone and joint disease, affects millions of people. Major forms include osteoarthritis, the painful hardening of bones and joints in the hands or spine, which affects primarily older people, especially men. Rheumatoid arthritis, involving the inflammation and swelling of the joints, especially in the hands and feet, appears primarily in women aged 25 to 50. A balanced diet has benefited many people with arthritis. In macrobiotic counseling experience, excessive animal food and salt contributes to osteoarthritis, while potatoes, tomatoes, and other nightshade plants may lead to rheumatoid arthritis.


• Vegan Diet Improves Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a random case-control study of 66 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, scientists reported that 40% of the vegan diet group experienced improvement compared to 4% of the group eating a nonvegan diet. “The immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels against gliadin and beta-lactoglobulin decreased in the responder subgroup in the vegan diet-treated patients, but not in the other analysed groups.” The researchers concluded that the vegan diet (which avoids all animal products and emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, and other plant quality foods) may be of benefit to certain RA patients.[iv]


• Traditional Societies Free of Arthritis

“Arthritis is not a genetic disease, nor is it an inevitable part of growing older—there are causes for these joint afflictions, and they lie in our environment—our closest contact with our environment is our food,” explains Dr. John McDougall, an American holistic medical doctor. He cites research showing that rheumatoid arthritis did not exist before 1800 and that many types of arthritis were rare to nonexistent in rural regions of Africa and Asia. “As recently as 1957, no case of rheumatoid arthritis could be found in Africa. That was a time when people in Africa followed diets based on grains and vegetables.” However, with the influx of meat, dairy products, and highly processed foods, arthritis began to appear in traditional societies. “An unhealthy diet containing dairy and other animal products causes inflammation of the intestinal surfaces and thereby increases the passage of dietary and/or bacterial antigens,” Dr. McDougall observed.[v]


• Nightshades Linked to Arthritis

Tomatoes, potatoes, egg-plant, peppers, and other members of the night-shade family are a prin-cipal cause of arthritis. In a survey of over 1400 persons over a 20-year period, researchers at Rutgers University, the University of Florida, and the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation reported that these plants, along with tobacco (another member of the nightshade family) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people. “Osteoarthritis appears to be a result of long-term consumption and/or use of the Solanaceae which contain naturally the active metabolite, vitamin D3, which in excess causes crippling and early disability (as seen in livestock).” Removing nightshades from the diet has “resulted in positive to marked improvement in arthritis and general health,” the researchers concluded in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery.[vi]



Autism, in which the child does not develop close personal relationships and lives in a world of their own, usually appears between one and three, and symptoms persist throughout life. Medically, autism is considered irreversible.


• Sonic Rebirth

Simulating the sound of the mother’s voice in utero, Alfred Tomatis,  M.D., the French expert on the effects of sound and music on human development,  has helped relieve many cases of autism by recreating the sound of the mother’s voice in embryo and playing it back to the autistic child to reestablish the sonic contact that was disrupted in the womb. “The vocal nourishment that the mother provides is just as important as her milk,” he explains. For adopted children or children whose mother isdead or incapacitated, he uses the filtered music of Mozart, which has a similar effect. Dr. Tomatis recommends a natural diet high in whole grains, fresh vegetables, and less dairy food, especially yogurt, for optimal hearing and development.[vii]


• Boy Recovers from Autism with Macrobiotics and Music

Judy and Dick Harvey adopted James, an orphan from Vietnam who was later diagnosed as autistic, in the early 1970s. The boy loved to eat french fries, cheese, candy, and salty foods, but discontinued these, along with dairy, red meat, eggs, poultry, and refined sugar following a consultation with educator Michio Kushi. Through macrobiotics and participation in classical music, he overcame his disabilities, went on to study at the University of Nebraska where he majored in math and physics, and is now living a normal life.[viii]


• Autistic Girl Changes Diet and Tests Normal within a Year

After only two weeks on a macrobiotic diet, parents of an autistic little girl noticed positive changes. (The family chose to remain anonymous.) Almost daily she emerged with new skills. A year later, she was a completely different child. “Her therapists and teachers were all amazed by how much she has changed and progressed,” the parents related. “When retested for speech, her scores were well above the average for her age. The only trace of autism was her pragmatic speech, and difficulty coming up with new ideas to maintain a dialog with peers. But that too was continually and rapidly improving. Incredibly, within a year she was at the level of a typically-developing child in the following ways: 1) eye contact, 2) joint attention, 3) the desire and initiative for social interaction and play with peers, 4) the ability to show and recognize a wide variety of emotions and appropriately respond to them, 5) pretend play skills.”[ix]


• Gluten- and Dairy-Free Diets Reduce Autistic Behavior

In a review of nutritional approaches to autism, researchers at the Center for Reading Research at Stravanger University College in Norway reported that gluten and/or casein (dairy) free diets help reduce autistic behavior, increase social and communicative skills, and lead to the reappearance of autistic traits if the children go off the diet. In a randomized double-blind study of 20 autistic children, researchers in Norway found that children given a diet low in gluten, gliadin, and casein (dairy protein) developed significantly better than controls.[x]


Celiac Disease

Celiac disease (DC) is a genetic disorder of the small intestine. Exposure to wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten products causes an inflammatory response that atrophies the villi and interferes with absorption. CD was first described in the 1880s and linked to wheat only in the 1940s. While the disorder is hard to reverse, a macrobiotic way of eating, centered on rice, millet, and other non-glutenous grains, usually improves digestion. See Gluten Intolerance below.


• Refining of Wheat May Underlie Celiac

For thousands of years, wheat, barley, and other glutinous foods were consumed as staple foods without any reported intolerances or digestive problems. The emergence of Celiac in the late 19th century accompanied the refining of grains that made cheap white bread widely available. According to macrobiotic researcher Alex Jack, consumption of excessive refined flour and other adulterated gluten products may have led to a gene mutation that was inheritable among susceptible family members. A similar process appears to have led to the mutation of the BRCA gene linked to breast cancer following increased dairy consumption in Europe. In the case of Celiac, the villi of the small intestine appear to have lost the ability to function properly after excessive exposure to refined flour, especially that made with commercial baker’s yeast and other additives.[xi]


Children’s Health

Nutritionists and physicians initially raised questions about the adequacy of the macrobiotic regimen for children, especially since they were not getting dairy products. But over the years, scientific and medical studies generally found that macrobiotic youngsters were adequately nourished and in many cases exceeded the nutritional levels of ordinary children eating the modern way.


• Macrobiotic Day-Care Center a Model for British Children

A British nutritionist found that a macrobiotic day-care center in London not only “supported normal growth” in nursery school children but also could be used as a model to implement national dietary guidelines. Comparing the nutritional adequacy of macrobiotic meals provided preschool children by the Community Health Foundation with ordinary meals at a nursery in Notting Hill, the investigator found that the macrobiotic food met current U.K.-R.D.I. dietary, energy, and nutrient standards and that the children’s anthropometric measurements including weight, height, and skinfold thicknesses were normal. In contrast, the ordinary nursery school diet was high in dairy food, lard, and other saturated fats that have been associated with the development of atherosclerosis beginning in childhood. “This illustrates the power and potential of nursery meals to contribute to the adoption of a nutritionally sound and beneficial national diet.”[xii]


• Macrobiotic Children Develop Normally

In a study of vegetarian preschool children, researchers at New England Medical Center Hospital in Boston found that the growth of macrobiotic youngsters did not significantly differ from those of non-macrobiotics before age two. After age two, macrobiotic children tended to put on weight more  quickly  than  the children brought up on yoga diets, Seventh-Day Adventist diets, or other vegetarian regimes. Nearly all the children had been breast-fed, and it was found that macrobiotic children who had been weaned did not differ in caloric intake from non-macrobiotics, according to the study published in .[xiii]


• Macrobiotic Children Have Higher IQs

In a study of mental development, macrobiotic and vegetarian children were brighter and more intelligent than ordinary youngsters their age. The mean I.Q. was 116 for the group as a whole, or 16 percent above average. The children’s mean mental age was found to exceed their mean chronologic age by approximately a year. The macrobiotic children’s I.Q.’s and mental ages were slightly higher than the other vegetarians. “In the judgments of both the pediatrician and psychologic technician, the children as a group were bright,” the researchers concluded in the . They speculated, however, that the brightness may be due to better education on the part of the macrobiotic and vegetarian parents, not to diet.[xiv]


Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease for which there is no medical cure. However, it lends itself to improvement or recovery with a macrobiotic diet.


• Free of Crohn’s for 35 Years

After suffering for seven years from Crohn’s, Virginia Harper recovered with the help of macrobiotics. Over the last 35 years, she has enjoyed optimal health and gone on to become a leading macrobiotic teacher and counselor. At You Can Heal You, her healing center in Nashville, Virginia has helped many others with digestive disorders and teaches worldwide. She is the author of .[xv]



Nearly 30 million Americans—1 in 8—are diagnosed with diabetes, the fastest growing chronic disease in the country, and nearly 300 million people around the globe have the condition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of cases will double by 2030. Special programs on a dietary approach to diabetes were offered at Kushi Institute and other macrobiotic centers. In Italy, the International Un Punto Macrobiotico Foundation sponsored diabetes intervention studies in Thailand, Cuba, and other countries. Planetary Health, Inc. proposed a macrobiotic study for the Middle East, where diabetes is skyrocketing, and published a primer Diabetes: The Macrobiotic Approach.


• Thai Patients Get Off Insulin on Macrobiotic Diet

A study by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand found that a macrobiotic way of eating (known as the Ma-Pi 2 Diet) designed by Italian educator Mario Pianesi offers an effective, alternate approach to the care of diabetes patients and that it may help patients on insulin maintain their blood sugar levels without an insulin injection. In a dietary intervention study at the Wanakaset Research Facility of Kasetart University in Trad Province, researchers found a statistically significant reduction in blood sugar levels, weight, blood pressure, and heartbeat ratios among 44 patients put on a macrobiotic way of eating.  “Subjects were in significantly better health, more vibrant, more peaceful, and more energetic,” the study reported in 2006. The four patients on insulin were able to maintain their blood sugar levels within the range of 110-171 mg without any insulin injections and all subjects were free of any adverse effects.[xvi]


• Cuban Patients Get Off Insulin

In a 6-month macrobiotic dietary intervention study of the Ma-Pi 2 Diet carried out in 16 adults with Type 2 diabetes at the Diabetic Care Center in Colon, Cuban physicians reported in 2009 that anthropometric variables significantly improved, including lean body mass and glucide and lipid metabolism. “All participants were able to eliminate insulin treatment, and 25 percent continued treatment with glibenclamide only,” the researchers reported. “According to lipid levels and ratios, cardiovascular risk was also considerably reduced.” The investigators noted. “Hemoglobin, total protein, albumin, and creatinin levels indicated that nutritional safety was maintained. There were no adverse events.”[xvii]


• Brown Rice Consumption Reduces Diabetes Risk

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was associated with a lower risk of the  disease. The researchers estimated that replacing 50 grams of white rice (just one third of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. The same replacement with other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, was associated with a 36% reduced risk.[xviii]


• American Patients Get Off or Reduce Insulin

In a review of the macrobiotic approach to diabetes, Robert H. Lerman, M.D., Ph.D. cited a recent case series in 13 patients with type 2 diabetes provided with nutrition education and provided with meals at the Kushi Institute. Under the supervision of Martha Cottrell, M.D., most experienced reduction in or elimination of diabetes medication, weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and improvement in energy after starting the new way of eating in the course of the program.[xix]



Following the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, the macrobiotic community prepared dietary guidelines for the epidemic then raging in West Africa.

• Modern Agriculture Linked to New Viral Diseases

In consultation with Michio Kushi, Planetary Health researchers Alex Jack, Edward Esko, and Sachi Kato hypothesized that Ebola broke out in Central Africa following the introduction of monoculture and commodity crops, especially cassava and bananas, which displaced grains, beans, and other organic and natural crops. The changes upset the delicate checks and balances in the soil biota and in local ecosystems, giving rise to virulent new strains of microorganisms. After coming into contact with chimpanzees or other primates infected with Ebola virus, SIV (Simian Immune-deficiency Virus, the precursor to HIV), and other pathogens or eating contaminated bushmeat, people in this region acquired natural immune deficiency, and Marburg (1967), Ebola (1976), AIDS (1981), and other lethal diseases took hold and spread. In the case of Ebola, the virus originated with contaminated fruit that was eaten by bats and passed to primates and humans. The potency of the virus increased with each mammal and compounded its virulence. The guidelines, including home remedies to treat symptoms, appeared on and helped airlines personnel, travelers, and others in the region deal with the emergency.[xx]


Environmental Illness

Macrobiotics has been helpful in dealing with environmental illness and chemical sensitivity.


• Physician Heals E.I. with Macrobiotic Diet

In 1974 Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., a 31-year-old physician, suffered from Environmental Illness. She had ugly red eczema over the lower half of her face, periodic asthma, recurrent sinus problems, wicked migraines, chronic back pain from an old riding injury, and unwarranted exhaustion and depression. By the early 1980s she was having strong adverse reactions to chemicals such as workmen gluing down a new Formica countertop. She had treated her sensitivities with injections, multiple vitamins and ionizers, cotton blankets and pillows, bottled water, oxygen tanks, aluminum foil. In 1987, after following a macrobiotic diet for six months, the excruciating shoulder pain disappeared, and over the next few months other chronic symptoms vanished.[xxi]


• Diet Helps Patients Suffering from Chemical Sensitivity

In a study of 160 patients suffering from chemical sensitivity, those who followed a macrobiotic diet for at least one year reported an average decrease in chemical sensitivity of 76 percent, according to an article in the .[xxii]



The term “macrobiotics” means long life, and a balanced, whole foods diet has traditionally been associated with healthy aging and prolonging life. In one study in at a Boston hospital, researchers found that geriatric patients experienced significant improvement on a macrobiotic diet.


• Macrobiotics Assists Psychiatric and Geriatric Patients

Dr. Jonathan Lieff, Chief of Psychiatry and Geriatric Services at the Shattuck Hospital in Boston and doctors at Tufts University School of Nutrition, designed an experiment in 1982 to test the effect of macrobiotic food on long-term psychiatric and geriatric patients. Some of these people had been confined in the hospital for 30 years or more. In a double-blind study in which neither the ordinary hospital staff or patients knew they were participating, macrobiotic meals avoiding meat, sugar, processed foods, and synthetic food additives and including whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits designed to look and taste like regular foods were introduced to a ward of 16 patients over an eight-week period and 18 controls. Altogether 187 food items on the macrobiotic menu were prepared, as well as chicken, coffee, and butter which were difficult to simulate. During the test, the researchers noted medically significant reductions in psychosis and agitation among the patients. The scientists found significant improvement in experimental group cooperativeness when compared to the control group, as well as less irritability and improvement upon manifest psychosis. “These data show that the described change in total diet does have a significantly favorable effect on the health and behavior of geropsychiatric patients,” the observers concluded.[xxiii]


Gluten Intolerance

Celiac affects only a tiny fraction of the population, while gluten intolerance affects millions of people. It arose following the introduction of new hybrid varieties of dwarf wheat during the Green Revolution in the 1950s and 1960s. The wheat led to higher yields but required synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and much more water. When switching to organic whole wheat or barley from heirloom seeds, many people with gluten sensitivities are able to digest gluten without difficulty.[xxiv] Macrobiotics has been helpful for many people with gluten sensitivities.


• Ex-Gluten Sufferer Changes Diet and Enthuses ‘I Love Gluten’

Born in Russia, Katya Thomas moved to the Netherlands with her family while she was a teenager. By her early twenties, she had developed severe gluten allergies. Just the taste of a morsel of food containing wheat, barley, or oats would precipitate violent symptoms. Doctors told her that she would have to avoid glutinous products the rest of her life. But on a gluten-free diet, Katya soon discovered that most of the products targeted for people like her contained sugar, chemicals, and other ingredients that only made her condition worse. Determined to heal herself naturally, Katya tried many vegetarian and vegan approaches. Ultimately, a balanced macrobiotic diet not only regularized her digestion, but also enabled her to enjoy wheat and other glutenous foods again. Today she is a natural foods cook, consultant, and healer, and her story “I Love Gluten” and classes have helped others recover from gluten sensitivities.[xxv]


Hospital Food

The modern hospital diet dates to Fanny Farmer, the popular cookbook author who was the first woman to lecture at Harvard Medical School in the early 20th century. Her medicinal recipes were as bland and tasteless as her ordinary recipes were rich and artery-clogging. Macrobiotics has been introduced into several hospitals and influenced many others to begin to serve whole grains, fresh foods, and other healing foods.


• Boston Hospital Serves Macrobiotic Food

In 1980, a macrobiotic lunch program was started at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston for doctors, nurses, and staff. Overall response was favorable and improved noticeably after the macrobiotic food line was integrated with the regular cafeteria line.  By the second year, half of the food served each day in the cafeteria was prepared macrobiotically. Regular attendance increased from about 60 to 120 to 200 persons each day. At lunch, from 70 to 90 percent of all meals served included at least one item from the macrobiotic menu. Dr. William Castelli, director of the Framingham Heart Study, contrasted the healthfulness of the macrobiotic food program at the Shattuck Hospital with ordinary hospital food.[xxvi]


• Irish Hospital Offers Macrobiotic Meals

Macrobiotic food was introduced at the National Children’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Cecilia Armelin, pediatric dietitian, drew up a sample meal plan including for breakfast: whole oat porridge; for lunch: miso soup with dulse and parsley, brown rice with haricot or azuki beans, Brussels sprouts, dried apricots and raisins; and for dinner: lentil/barley soup seasoned with miso and parsley and whole grain millet with pears and chopped walnuts. She especially recommended these foods for children with multiple allergies or food intolerance.[xxvii]


Medical Education

Until recently, medical schools offered little if any instruction in nutrition. As alternative medicine went mainstream, they began to encourage their students to become familiar with acupuncture, macrobiotics, yoga, and other popular complementary approaches.


• AMA Encourages Students to Sample Macrobiotic Meal

By 1998, the American Medical Association reported that two-thirds of medical schools in the United States were offering courses in alternative and complementary medicine. Among the key recommendations offered by the physicians was that the new medical school curricula include an experiential component. Macrobiotics was singled out in () as one of the principal modalities which young medical school students should be familiar with: “Experiencing acupuncture or therapeutic massage or tasting a macrobiotic meal adds a dimension to the learning experience that a lecture or simple demonstration cannot. The deeper understanding that results should provide a better basis for responsibly advising patients.”[xxviii]


By 2015, nearly 90% offered courses in alternative medicine, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.[xxix]


Mental and Emotional Health

From the macrobiotic view, there is no rigid distinction between mind and body and between spirit and matter. Food governs mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well as physical health and vitality. Individuals and families have overcome a variety of mental and emotional conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses.


• Man Recovers from Schizophrenia with Macrobiotics

With the help of his mother, Charlotte Mahoney-Briscoe, David Briscoe healed himself of schizophrenia by adhering to a balanced macrobiotic diet. David, diagnosed with mental and emotional illness in the 1960s, unsuccessfully tried many hospitals, medications, and confinement before changing his diet. In high school, he become physically ill, with acute kidney problems, frequent sore throats, digestive problems, fevers, and a duodenal ulcer. For his depression, he went to psychiatrists for six years and became addicted to Thorazine. After changing his way of eating to brown rice, soy sauce, and other foods, he made a complete recovery. David is currently married, the father of four children, and director of Macrobiotics America, an online school.[xxx]


• Diet Effective in Treating Mental Illness

Dr. Stephen Harnish, a New Hampshire psychiatrist, reported that macrobiotics had benefited many of his patients who were chronically and severely mentally ill. Citing several case histories, he described a young woman with a history of severe depression who had been in a state hospital for two years and treated with anti-depressants and antipsychotic medications. Tests by Dr. Harnish’s department found that the woman was hypoglycemic and administration of a macrobiotic diet high in complex carbohydrates and one that avoided animal food and sugar resulted in steady improvement, reduced medication, and return to normal functioning. “She now has motivation to do new things and has made plans to return to school.” He noted that hundreds of other psychiatric patients could benefit from this approach.[xxxi]


Microwave Cooking

A clean, natural flame is ideal for cooking. Wood, gas, kerosene, charcoal, solar, or other renewable energy source is best. Macrobiotics discourages electrical and microwave cooking that give a chaotic vibration and weaken the food.


• Microwaved Food Alters Blood Chemistry

In a study of people eating a macrobiotic diet, researchers at the Swiss Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry and the Environmental-Biological Research and Consultation reported that microwaved food produced a decrease in hemoglobin; an increase in hematocrit, and leukocytes; higher cholesterol, and a decrease in lymphocytes. In addition to altering blood chemistry, the researchers found that microwaved food appeared to increase the activity of certain bacteria in the food, and altered cells resembled the pathogenic stages that occur in the early development of some cancers. The scientists also reported biological changes in the microwaved food itself, including increased acidity, damaged protein molecules, enlarged fat cells, and decreased folic acid, a nutrient in the vitamin B group associated with protecting against spina bifida, a birth defect.[xxxii]


Migraine and PMS

Over the years, the East West Foundation, Kushi Institute, and other macrobiotic organizations published case histories of of people who recovered from scores of common conditions ranging from flu and infectious diseases to female disorders, from digestive and circulatory conditions to severe nervous disorders.


• Severe Headaches and Female Complaints Eliminated

A former medical consultant for the Department of National Health and Welfare in Canada successfully treated her own migraine headaches with a macrobiotic diet. Dr. Helen V. Farrell reported that she suffered from classical migraines since she was eleven, experiencing scintillating scotomas, dysplasia, transient parasthesias, and vomiting. As she grew older, the headaches were less frequent, and when she discontinued dairy food and exercised regularly they began to disappear altogether. Dr. Farrell, who specializes in treating female complaints, has successfully introduced many of her patients to a macrobiotic diet. She reports that it is particularly effective in treating premenstrual syndrome.[xxxiii]


Nuclear Radiation

From the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to nuclear accidents in the Soviet Union, macrobiotic quality foods proved instrumental in preventing and relieving atomic sickness, including leukemia, thyroid cancer, and other conse-quences of excessive exposure to radioactivity. Medical studies in Japan and Canada confirmed the ability of miso and sea vegetables to discharge Cesium-37, Strontium-90, and other radioactive particles from the body. In 1990, the Kushi Institute organized an airlift of thousands of pounds of miso, seaweed, and other major staples to give to Soviet medical doctors in Chelyabinsk and Chernobyl.


• Macrobiotic Diet Saves All Patients in Nagasaki

In August, 1945, at the time of the atomic bombing of Japan, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis’s Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the fallout that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, wakame  and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness. “I gave the cooks and staff strict orders that they should make unpolished whole-grain rice balls, adding some salt to them, prepare strong miso soup for each meal, and never use sugar. When they didn’t follow my orders, I scolded them without mercy, ‘Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood!’. . .“This dietary method made it possible for me to remain alive and go on working vigorously as a doctor. . . . It was thanks to this food that all of us could work for people day after day, overcoming fatigue or symptoms of atomic disease and survive the disaster free from severe symptoms of radioactivity.”[xxxiv]


• Miso Soup Key Food in Protecting Against Nuclear Fallout

In interviews sixty years after the atomic bombing of Japan, seven former patients at St. Francis Hospital, fourteen other atomic survivors in Nagasaki, and eight survivors in Hiroshima described how miso soup and other macrobiotic quality foods helped them prevent or relieve radiation sickness. Analyzing her findings, Hiroko Furo, an associate professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, concluded that “miso was very helpful for the survivors’ healing and that macrobiotic food contributed to the easing atomic bomb syndrome.” Dr. Furo suggested that the macrobiotic diet would be useful for those who are undergoing radiation therapy and may eventually be incorporated into the medical treatment of cancer.[xxxv]


• Kelp Protects Against Nuclear Fallout and Radiation

During the Cold War, scientists at the Gastro-Intestinal Research Laboratory at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, reported that a substance derived from the sea vegetable kelp could reduce by 50 to 80 percent the amount of radioactive strontium absorbed through the intestine. Stanley Skoryna, M.D. said in the in 1964 that in animal experiments sodium alginate obtained from brown algae permitted calcium to be normally absorbed through the intestinal wall while binding most of the strontium. The sodium alginate and strontium were subsequently excreted from the body. The experiments were designed to devise a method to counteract the effects of fallout and radiation.[xxxvi]


• Miso Eliminates Deadly Iodine-131 from the Body

Following up the macrobiotic survivals in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from radition sickness at the end of World War II, Japanese reseachers reported that miso is effective in helping to remove radioactive elements from the body and controlling inflammation of organs caused by radioactivity. In laboratory studies, researchers at Hiroshima University Medical Center found that there was only half the amount of radioactive iodine 131 in the blood of the group of rats fed with miso in contrast to the control group three and six hours after the injections. Lower amounts of radioactive particles were also measured in the kidneys, liver, and spleen. Although there was no difference in the amount of radioactive cesium in the blood, a high amount of cesium was eliminated from the muscles of the group eating miso.[xxxvii]


• Macrobiotic Diet Helps Victims of Soviet Nuclear Accidents

Lidia Yamchuk and Hanif Shaimardanov, medical doctors in Cheljabinsk,  organized Longevity, the first macrobiotic association in the Soviet Union in 1985. At their hospital, they used dietary methods and acupuncture to treat many patients, especially those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other disorders associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. Since the early 1950s, wastes from Soviet weapons production were dumped into Karachay Lake in Cheljabinsk, an industrial city about 900 miles east of Moscow that was the center for Soviet nuclear weapons production during the Cold War. In Leningrad, Yuri Stavitsky, a young pathologist and medical instructor, volunteered as a radiologist in Chernobyl after the nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. Since then, like many disaster workers, he suffered symptoms associated with radiation disease, including tumors of the thyroid. “Since beginning macrobiotics,” he reported, “my condition has greatly improved.”[xxxviii]



Two out of three American adults and one out of three children are overweight or obese.   These  are  major risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, selected can-

cers, and other disorders. Almost everyone who starts macrobiotics loses weight as green protein and polyunsaturated fats and oils replace animal-quality protein and saturated fat. The Kushi Institute instituted a popular Weight-Loss Seminar and macrobiotic counselors and personal chefs were consulted frequently for this condition.


• Kanten Key Food in Weight Loss Diet

Kanten, the traditional Japanese gelatin, made from agar-agar seaweed and an important part of the macrobiotic way of eating, is a key food to reduce obesity and chronic disease. In a study of 76 overweight patients given a balanced weight-loss diet, Japanese scientists report that those given a small serving of kanten before their dinner lost 4.4 percent of

their body weight over 12 weeks compared to 2.2 percent by controls.[xxxix]



Osteoporosis, the thinning of the bones and susceptibility to fracture, commonly occurs in middle aged and elderly people as a result of eating too much meat, dairy food, and other animal protein that leech calcium and other minerals from the bones, as well as excessive salt, caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. In addition to avoiding or reducing these foods, natto is particularly effective in treating this affliction. Natto, fermented soybeans that clump together with long sticky strands, has been a staple in Far Eastern cooking and macrobiotic healthcare. It is especially beneficial for the intestines and digestion.


• Natto Helps Relieve Osteoporosis

In a study on the effect of consuming natto on bone density, Japanese scientists found that total hipbone mineral density increased with increasing habitual natto intake in postmenopausal women, although not  at  other  skeletal  sites.   There  was  also  improvement  at  the  femoral neck and at the radius in older women.[xl] Natto’s antibiotic and antitumor properties are now being investigated. It is also effective in reducing the effects of hangovers.


Pregnancy and Child Birth

The Kushis had five children, wrote Raising Healthy Kids and Macrobiotic Pregnancy and Care of the Newborn with Edward and Wendy Esko, longtime macrobiotic teachers and parents of eight children, and gave many seminars on children’s and family health. As a rule, they recommended natural home birth or assistance of a midwife in a hospital setting. In many cases, dietary modification or adjustment would successfully deal with any problems encountered. However, for difficult deliveries, they sometimes recommended acupuncture, moxibustion (burning herbs to stimulate acupuncture points), or shiatsu massage. Prayer and meditation are also important healing methods they encouraged. At the Kushi Institute, the One Peaceful World Children’s Shrine and Memorial was erected to honor the spirits of unborn children who died prematurely through abortion, miscarriage, accident, or disease. Modern medicine has validated the use of traditional Far Eastern methods for assisting childbirth.


•Moxibustion Aids Breech Births

In China, moxibustion (burning herbs to stimulate acupuncture points) was traditionally used to treat breech babies. In a study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of moxa, researchers at the Women's Hospital of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang, and Jiujiang Women's and Children's Hospital devised a clinical trial of 260 expectant mothers with breech presentation. The women were randomly divided into two groups. During the thirty-third week of pregnancy, the intervention group received stimulation of acupoint BL 67 (on the bladder meridian on the outside corner of the fifth toenail) for seven days with treatment for an additional seven days if necessary. Fetal movement correlated with overall success in righting the developing babies. The intervention group experienced an average of 48 fetal movements vs 35 in the control group and although 24 subjects in the control group and 1 in the intervention group underwent external cephalic version, 98 of the 130 fetuses in the intervention group were cephalic at birth vs 81 in the control group of 130 fetuses. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and lauded by the AMA.[xli]


• Moxa and Acupuncture May Reduce Caesarean Section

In a review of six trials of the traditional Chinese use of moxa for breech deliveries, researchers concluded, “There is some evidence to suggest that the use of moxibustion may reduce the need for oxytocin. When combined with acupuncture, moxibustion may result in fewer births by caesarean section; and when combined with postural management techniques may reduce the number of non-cephalic presentations at birth.”[xlii]


• Shiatsu and Acupuncture Aid Childbirth

According to Chinese medicine, a correct balance of Qi (life energy) and quantity of blood are vital in order to commence labor and continue the childbirth process. Correspondingly, there are two main reasons for a delayed or difficult childbirth: lack of Qi and blood or stagnation of Qi and blood. In a retrospective study of 80 women aged 22-40 who required labor inducement, researchers compared traditional inducement methods (including shiatsu and/or acupuncture), conventional methods (pharmaceutical, mechanical), and a combination of both. Researchers found that traditional inducement methods, whether or not combined with conventional methods, are an important and effective tool in their ability to reduce the extent of intervention throughout the birth process and also in reducing delivery completion interventions. “Significant difference was found in shortening labor process when inducement treatment combined both Chinese medicine and conventional methods, in comparison to conventional inducement alone {medicinal/mechanical),” the researchers concluded. “This is an important result considering the high availability and low cost of Chinese treatment, and especially because it is a non-harmful method of inducement.”[xliii]

[i] “Patients with Kaposi Sarcoma Who Opt for No Treatment,” Letter. Lancet, July 1985.

[ii] Kushi, Michio; Jack (1995). AIDS and Beyond: Dietary and Lifestyle Guidelnes for New Viral and Bacterial Disease. One Peaceful World Press. (1997) Humanity at the Crossroads. One Peaceful Word Press. (2003) Macrobiotic Path to Total Health.

[iii] “Umeboshi Have H1N1 Suppressant,” Japan Times, June 3, 2010.

[iv] Hafstraim, I. et al. “A Vegan Diet Free of Gluten Improves the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Rheumatology 40(10):1175-79, 2001.

[v] McDougall, John. “Diet: The Only Real Hope for Arthritis,” The McDougall Newsletter, May/June, 1998.

[vi] Childers, N. F.; Margoles, M. S. “An Apparent Relation of Nightshades (Solanaceae) to Arthritis,” Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery 12:227-231, 1993.

[vii] Campbell, Don (1997). The Mozart Effect. Avon Books.

[viii] Harvey, Judy. “Overcoming Autism with Diet,” One Peaceful World Journal 29:1, Winter 1997.

[ix] Anonymous. Macrobiotic Recovery from Autism, Planetary Health/Amberwaves, 2014.

[x] Knivsber, A. M. et al. “Reports on Dietary Intervention in Autistic Disorders,” Nutri Neurosci (4)1:25-37, 2001. A. M. Knivsber et al., “A Randomized Study of Dietary Intervention in Autistic Syndrome,” Nutr Neurosci 5(4):251-61, 2002.

[xi] Jack, Alex. “The Origin of Celiac,” Amberwaves Journal, Spring 2014.

[xii] Ventura, Valerie. “A Comparative Study of the Meals Provided for Pre-School Children by Two Day Nurseries,” Department of Nutrition, Queen Elizabeth College, 1980.

[xiii] Shull, M. W. et al. “Velocities of Growth in Vegetarian Preschool Children,” Pediatrics 60:410-17, 1977.

[xiv] Dwyer, J. T. et al. “Mental Age and I.Q. of Predominantly Vegetarian Children,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 76:142-47, 1980.

[xv] Esko, Edward; Jack, Alex; and Harper, Virginia. Crohn’s and Colitis: The Macrobiotic Approach, Amberwaves Press, 2016.

[xvi] Bhjumisawasdi, J. et al. “The Self-Reliant System for Alternative Care of Diabetes Mellitus Patients—Experience Macrobiotic Management in Trad Province,” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 89(12):2104-15, 2006.

[xvii] Porrata, Carmen, M.D., PhD., et al. “Ma-Pi 2 Macrobiotic Diet Intervention in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” MEDICC Review, Fall 2009, 11(4):29-35.

[xviii] Hu, Emily A. et al. “White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review, BMJ 2012; 344.

[xix] Lerman, Robert H., M.D., Ph.D. “The Macrobiotic Diet in Chronic Disease,” Nutri Clin Prac December 2010; 25(6):621-626.

[xx] Jack, Alex; Esko, Edward (2014). Ebola & Diet. Planetary Health, Inc., Michio Kushi with the Kushi Institute Research and Faculty Committee, Ebola Relief and Prevetion: Dieary Recommendations and Proposals. Kushi Institute, 2014. 

[xxi] Rogers, Sherry A. M.D. “From HEAL’s Advisory Board: The Cure Is in the Kitchen—One Case History,” The Human Ecologist, Fall  1990, pp. 19-21.

[xxii] Rogers, Sherry A., M.D. “Improvement in Chemical Sensitivity with the Macrobiotic Diet,” Journal of Applied Nutrition 48: 85-92, 1996.

[xxiii] Lieff, Jonathan et al. (1987). “Study Results of Dietary Change in Shattuck Hospital Geropsychiatric Wards, 5 North and 6 North,” in Michio Kushi, Crime and Diet, pp. 229-34.

[xxiv] Green, Peter (2010). Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0060766948.

[xxv] Thomas, Katya. “I Love Gluten,” Amberwaves Journal, Autumn 2012.

[xxvi] Iglehart, Tom (1987). “The Shattuck Model: Macrobiotics in an Institution,” in Michio Kushi et al., Crime and Diet. Japan Publications, 1987, pp. 203-29. ISBN 978-0870406829.

[xxvii] Armelin, Cecilia. “Wholefood Diet,” National Children’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, 1989.

[xxviii] Wetzel, Miriam S. et al. “Courses Involving Complementary and Alternative Medicine at U.S. Medical Schools.” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:784-87, 1998.

[xxix] “Most medical schools offer courses in alternative medicine.”, July 8, 2015.

[xxx] Briscoe, David; Mahoney-Briscoe, Charlotte (1989). A Personal Peace: Macrobiotic Reflections on Mental and Emotional Recovery: Macrobiotic Reflections on Mental and Emotional Recovery. Japan Publications. ISBN 978-0870406980.

[xxxi] Harnish, Stephen, M.D. (1989). “On My Awakening to the Macrobiotic Way,” Doctors Look at Macrobiotics. Japan Publications. ISBN 978-0870406867.

[xxxii] Blanc, Bernard H.; Hertel, Hans U. “Influence on Man: Comparative Study About Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven,” Raum & Zeit, 3(2): 1992.

[xxxiii] Farrell, H.V. (1988). “PMS Is Not PMS,” Doctors Look at Macrobiotics, pp. 177-91.

[xxxiv] Akizuki, Tatsuichiro, M.D. Nagasaki 1945 (1980). Quartet Books, 1981. Akizuki, Tatsuichiro, M.D., “How We Survived Nagasaki,” East West Journal, December 1980.

[xxxv] Furo, Hiroko, Ph.D. “Dietary Practices of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors,” Illinois Wesleyan University, 2006.

[xxxvi] Skoryna, S.C. et al. "Studies on Inhibition of Intestinal Absorption of Radioactive Strontium," Canadian Medical Association Journal 91: 285-88, 1964.

[xxxvii] “Miso Shows Promise as Treatment for Radiation,” Japan Times, September 27, 1988.

[xxxviii] Jack, Alex. “Soviets Embrace Macrobiotics,” One Peaceful World 6:1 Autumn/Winter, 1990.

[xxxix] “Effects of agar (kanten) diet on obese patients with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes,” Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, 7(1):40–46, 2005.

[xl] Ikeda, Y. et al. “Intake of Fermented Soybeans, Natto, Is Associated with Reduced Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women: Japanese Population-Based Osteoporosis (JPOS) Study,” J Nutri 136(5):1323-8, 2006.

[xli] Cardini, F.; Weixin, H. “Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: a randomized controlled trial,” JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1580-4.

[xlii] Coyle, M. E. et al. “Cephalic version by moxibustion for breech presentation,”

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;(5):CD003928.

[xliii] Amir, N. et al. “Efficacy comparison between Chinese medicine's labor inducement methods and conventional methods customary in hospitals,” Harefuah. 2015 Jan;154(1):47-51, 67, 66.

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