Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

arthritis and CMO

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on September 7, 2009

Cetyl Myristoleate: A Unique Natural Compound, Valuable in Arthritis
A Sponsored Article
by Dr. Charles Cochran and Dr. Raymond Dent
Arthritis is a disease of epidemic proportions, but it has been
around for so many centuries that it is considered by most people as
a part of growing old or a consequence of physical injury. Arthritis
is in fact a far more complex disease than is generally known. For
instance, Dorland’s Medical Dictionary describes 27 different types
of arthritis, and that does not include such diverse conditions as
systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, fibromyalgia, and numerous
other conditions which some authorities consider to be types of
arthritis.1 One authority states that there are approximately 100
causes for arthritis.2
Arthritis is thought to affect more than 50 million Americans,
and is generally accepted to be the leading cause of movement
limitation and disability. It deserves and receives a great deal of
research and medical attention. There are hundreds of drugs,
procedures, and medical aids and devices directed at coping with the
many manifestations of the disease. Given this degree of complexity,
certainly no one agent alone could ever be expected to manage or
cure “arthritis” in its entirety. New agents take their place in the
spectrum and make a contribution. Now there is a relatively new
discovery of a natural substance, cetyl myristoleate, which shows
promise of making a great contribution in non-infective types of
Cetyl Myristoleate
Cetyl myristoleate was discovered and isolated by one person,
working alone, on a quest to find a cure for arthritis. Harry W.
Diehl, while employed by the National Institute of Arthritis,
Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases, specialized in sugar chemistry.
He used his chemical knowledge and research instincts to great
advantage, identifying and characterizing over 500 compounds, several
of which were patented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
His most significant discovery before cetyl myristoleate was a method
of synthesizing 2-deoxydextroribose , a sugar used in the preparation
of oral polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk.3
Diehl’s interest in discovering a way to help victims of
arthritis began over 40 years ago when his friend and next door
neighbor, a carpenter, developed severe rheumatoid arthritis. His
condition deteriorated over time until he became disabled. The
neighbor had a family to support, but his arthritis made that
impossible. Diehl is a deeply religious man whose feelings
overwhelmed him as his friend’s condition worsened. Harry
thought, “Here I am working at the National Institutes of Health, and
I have never seen anything that was good for curing arthritis.”4 He
decided to establish a laboratory in his home and embark on a search
for something to relieve the pain and disability of his neighbor and
the millions of people who suffer from arthritis. Unfortunately, he
was too late to help the neighbor, but Diehl’s research did lead to
the discovery of cetyl myristoleate, which may someday be hailed as
one of the significant nutritional discoveries of the 20th century.
The Quest
As a researcher, Diehl knew that finding a cure for arthritis
first meant inducing the disease experimentally in research animals.
He started with mice, and quickly realized that he was unable to
induce arthritis in them. Diehl said he tried every way he could to
give those mice arthritis, but they just would not get it. Then, he
contacted a researcher in California who wrote to him, “If you or
anyone else can give mice arthritis, I want to know about it, because
mice are 100% immune to arthritis.”5 At that moment, Diehl’s research
instincts told him that what he wanted was already somewhere in those
It was a long, tedious job, working on his own in his spare time,
but Diehl finally found the factor – cetyl myristoleate – that
protected mice from arthritis. As Diehl said, “It didn’t come on a
silver platter to me, but after years of chemical sleuthing and just
old-fashioned chemical cooking, I found it!” On thin layer
chromatography of methylene chloride extract from macerated mice,
Diehl noticed a mysterious compound, which was subsequently
identified as cetyl myristoleate. As Diehl was to prove, cetyl
myristoleate circulates in the blood of mice and makes them immune to
Cetyl myristoleate is now known to exist in sperm whale oil and
in a small gland in the male beaver. At this time no other sources in
nature are known to contain cetyl myristoleate. While the first
amounts of cetyl myristoleate for experimentation were extracted from
mice, Diehl quickly developed a method for making cetyl myristoleate
in the lab by the esterification of myristoleic acid.
Cetyl myristoleate, an oil, is the hexadecyl ester of the
unsaturated fatty acid cis-9-tetradecenoic acid. The common name for
the acid is myristoleic acid. Myristoleic acid is found commonly in
fish oils, whale oils, dairy butter, and kombo butter. The chemical
formula for cetyl myristoleate is (Z)-ROCO(CH2) 7CH=CH(CH2) 3CH3. Cetyl
myristoleate was unrecorded in chemical literature until Diehl’s
discovery was reported. The current Merck Index of Chemicals does not
list cetyl myristoleate. A search of Chemical Abstracts lists Diehl’s
method of extracting cetyl myristoleate from mice but contains no
reference to cetyl myristoleate prior to his 1977 patent.
To test his theory that mice are immune to arthritis because of
cetyl myristoleate, Diehl began to experiment on laboratory rats.
This research was reported in an article written in conjunction with
one of his colleagues at NIH in the Journal of Pharmaceutical
Sciences.6 In summary, this paper reports that ten normal mice were
injected in the tail with Freund’s Adjuvant (heat-killed desiccated
Mycobacterium butyricum) to which rats and certain other rodents are
susceptible. In a period of 10-20 days, no noticeable swelling
developed in the legs or paws. Mice in a second group were injected
in the left hind paw. Again, after 10-20 days, no swelling was
detected as determined by comparison of the measurements of paws at
the time of injection.
Then, a group of rats was injected with cetyl myristoleate, and
48 hours later, they were given the arthritis-inducing Freund’s
adjuvant. A control group of rats was given Freund’s adjuvant only.
Both groups of rats were observed for a total of 58 days with respect
to weight change, hind and front leg swelling, and general well-
being. All rats receiving only Freund’s adjuvant developed severe
swelling of the front and hind legs, lagged in weight gain, and were
lethargic and morbid. Those receiving cetyl myristoleate before
receiving Freund’s adjuvant grew an average of 5.7 times as much as
the control group and had little if any evidence of swelling or other
symptoms of polyarthritis.
The authors concluded that it was apparent that cetyl
myristoleate gave virtually complete protection against adjuvant-
induced arthritis in rats. Furthermore, a 1:1 mixture of cetyl
myristoleate and a homologue, cetyl oleate, gave results not
significantly different from administering cetyl myristoleate alone.
A Hiatus
Diehl patented his discovery in 1977, receiving a use patent for
rheumatoid arthritis. He then sought pharmaceutical companies to
conduct human trials with cetyl myristoleate, but none were
interested in his discovery. Perhaps the lack of interest was because
cetyl myristoleate was a natural substance and could not be granted a
product patent, or maybe because drug companies know they will have
to run through 25,000 to 35,000 substances before they find one that
makes it to market. Diehl had made a major nutritional discovery, and
no one was interested! Being a scientist, not a marketing expert,
Diehl let his discovery lay dormant for about 15 years.
Cetyl Myristoleate Cures
Diehl’s Arthritis
As Diehl got older, he began to experience some osteoarthritis in
his hands, his knees, and his heels. His family physician tried the
usual regimen of cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
without much effect on the course of the disease. Finally his
physician told Harry he could not have any more cortisone. “So,”
Diehl said, “I thought about my discovery, and I decided to make a
batch and use it on myself.” He did, and successfully cured himself
of his osteoarthritis.
Many of his family members and friends became aware of the relief
Diehl got from his discovery, and they wanted to try it too. Time
after time, people with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis received
astounding relief with cetyl myristoleate. Before long, family
members and friends grew into customers, and cetyl myristoleate
appeared on the market as a dietary supplement in 1991.
Clinical Observations and Usage
In common with many other natural substances and drugs, the exact
mechanism of cetyl myristoleate’ s physiologic activity is unclear. As
a fatty acid ester, it appears to have the same characteristics as
the essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha linolenic acids, except
stronger and longer lasting. These fatty acids are referred to
as “essential fatty acids” because the human body cannot make them
and we must ingest them in our diets. These EFA’s truly are essential
to normal cell structure and body function and function as components
of nerve cells, cell membranes, and hormone-like substances known as
prostaglandins. Many of the beneficial effects of a diet rich in
plant foods is a result of the low levels of saturated fat and the
relatively higher levels of EFA’s. While a diet high in saturated fat
has been linked to many chronic diseases, a diet low in saturated fat
but high in EFA’s prevents these very same diseases.7 The use of
EFA’s over an extended period of time has been shown to decrease the
pain, inflammation, and limitation of motion of arthritis.8
The difference between the activity of EFA’s and cetyl
myristoleate is that the quantity required and the period of time
over which EFA’s are taken are markedly longer. Cetyl myristoleate is
taken in a one month course of about 13 grams, while EFA’s must be
taken over extended periods, sometimes many years, and intake varies
widely from hundreds to thousands of grams. Cetyl myristoleate seems
to have properties in common with EFA’s, but it acts faster and lasts
Because EFA’s are necessary for normal functioning of all tissue,
it is not surprising that the list of symptoms of EFA deficiency is a
long one. In chronic inflammatory processes, the supply of EFA’s is
depleted. Cetyl myristoleate appears to have the ability to correct
the imbalance created by chronic inflammation. Like EFA’s, maybe
cetyl myristoleate turns off the fires of chronic inflammation by
serving as a mediator of prostaglandin formation and metabolism.
Venous blood from the gastrointestinal tract is carried to the
liver via the portal vein. With the exception of intestinal
chylomicrons that enter the lymphatics, all absorbed products pass
initially through the liver, and in most instances are extracted or
modified before passage into systemic circulation. 9 Since all fatty
acids enter systemic circulation through the liver, an oil like cetyl
myristoleate would begin its systemic circulation from the liver
also. It is speculated that cetyl myristoleate stimulates the
production of immunoglobulins and series 1 and 3 prostaglandins,
which could be one explanation for why cetyl myristoleate has such
potent effect in auto-immune and inflammatory conditions.

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