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Born in 1894 in the tiny community of Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania, Melvin E. Page, the son of a physician and the eldest of three brothers (two of whom were successful inventors) became one of the most revolutionary pioneers in balanced body chemistry and nutrition.
After one year in college, Dr. Page discontinued his studies and embarked on a career as a school teacher. He gained a position as master of a one room schoolhouse in Rosebud, Montana, during which time he was forced to hunt wild game for food, make corn meal cakes and eat whatever he could attain from the dryland farmers. In winter the temperatures averaged 25 degrees below zero. After two years, he decided to return to the University of Michigan where he obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, was made Captain in the ROTC, became middle weight boxing champion and a member of Sigma Epsilon Fraternity.
In 1919, Dr. Page began his dental practice in Muskegon, Michigan, where he became known as one of the top prosthodontists in the country. He invented dentures based on engineering principles which diminish trauma, the loss of vertical distance, and the loss of alveolar bone is kept to a minimum. During this time he also became aware that it was necessary to remake the classic dentures for many of his patients within two and one-half years. Their mandibles (jaw bones) would resorb under the dentures and bridges. In fact, this is a common problem that still exists owing to inadequate nutrition (and in some instances a combination of factors) especially among North Americans. He wanted to learn why bones resorbed – why the mouths of his patients deteriorated. He made his investigations at Mercy Hospital and at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon. He ran more than two thousand blood chemistries and discovered that no absorption of bone occurred (and no cavities) when the calcium to phosphorus ratio were in a proportion of 10 to 4 in the blood. The Department of Dental Research of the United States Air Force confirmed his findings of a calcium/phosphorus ratio to be correct 42 years later. Dr. Page also found, according to current test readings, that the blood sugar level should be at 85, plus or minus 5. (Sclavo test) Restore this ratio and sugar level, and the resorption would stop. Thus, the basic research of Dr. Melvin E. Page uncovered the knowledge that sugar increases serum calcium. Calcium is drawn from the bone tissue and is carried in the serum.
Dr. Page was the youngest man to have been on the staff of either hospital. His idea that diet and nutrition could cause a biochemical condition affecting the teeth, and the fact that he dared to suggest, to referred patients, that they change their eating habits by eliminating sugar among other things, was beyond acceptability. He was ostracized by his professional colleagues for his approach and so he temporarily terminated his research in blood chemistry at the hospital and his private practice.
Dr. Page’s group of colleagues and close friends included Samuel Beal, DC; D.C. Jarvis, MD; Royal Lee, DDS; Dr. William Sheldon; T. L. Cleaves, MRCD, of England; Francis M Pottenger, MD and Weston A. Price, DDS; as well as J. I. Rodale (Prevention Magazine) and Victor Pierce. These men were all pioneers in the development of alternative medicine as we know it today. They all believed that since man in his natural state, consuming the proper nutrients, was able to live without degenerative disease, perhaps our headlong rush into industrial age might have overlooked some of life’s basic principles for healthy living.
Leaving Michigan, Dr. Page resettled in St. Petersburg, Florida. While waiting to acquire his dental license, he became a deep sea commercial fisherman. Once again, difficult times drove him back to nature and the outdoors which he loved. This love permeated the very heart of the practice which he established in Florida in 1940 and continued until his death. At the age of 84, this nutritional pioneer still walked a mile to and from his office almost daily. His practice was a team approach with his wife Helen, who was his diagnostic technician and whom he married in 1963. His treatment and philosophy was simple and logical. However, it did not offer the convenient and fast cure looked for by so many individuals. The condition of your body at any given moment took as long to develop as your present age. Fad diets, over-night cures and radical therapies can do nothing more than create harmful side effects. Dr. Page believed that body chemistry, when properly balanced by proper nutrition and other factors, will not only prevent dental problems but will naturally affect the rest of the body as well. He bluntly stated that you cannot affect the teeth through body chemistry and nutrition, without having beneficial effects on the entire body. The history of this man as concerns his work is an interesting narrative of a true pioneer, who has forged ahead with his ideas in spite of tremendous difficulties from colleagues in the dental and medical profession, the press, and others who scoffed at his forward-thinking ideas, such as:
- The harmful effects of the use of sugar.
- The harmful effects of using chemical additives and other food preservatives for the sake of “shelf life.”
- Using Vitamins, Minerals and Digestive Enzymes to supplement daily food intake.
- That milk is not the perfect food for everyone.
- That a person’s endocrine system must be in balance for optimum physical and mental health, through the use of micro doses of endocrines (where warranted)
Dr. Page was a man truly interested in the welfare of his fellow man, and who unselfishly devoted his life on a total basis to serve mankind. He was a man who realized many years ago the danger mankind faces because of technology that creates an artificial environment, one that can insidiously destroy us all. This significant message challenged all patients when they entered the office of Dr. Page. It was a key to the unyielding determination of this man and his work to expose and combat increasing dangers of civilization as they affect all of us in our personal lives.
Dr. Page was a member of the Academy 100 of the State of Florida, of the New York Academy of Science, and the International Society for Comprehensive Medicine. He was a life member of the American Dental Association. He was a Fellow of the International College of Applied Nutrition and of the Royal Society of Health (England). Recognition certificates from many associations and professional fraternities, too many to list, lined one complete wall of his office. He published numerous articles on his work in nutrition in such periodicals as the Journal of the American Dental Association, Applied Nutrition, the Western Society of Periodontology, Nutrition and Health, Prosthodontics, and the Dental Digest and also Prevention Magazine. Books which he has written include:Young Minds With Old Bodies – 1944; Body Chemistry in Health & Disease – 1953; Your Body is Your Best Doctor– 1972, Keats Publishing, Inc.;Degeneration – Regeneration– 1949; Health Versus Disease. From a generous donation by Dr. Page’s wife, Helen Page, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation has been given the rights to keep Dr. Page’s works in print and available to the public.
In 1972, Dr. Page was invited to present his work at the World Congress of the “Federacion Dentaire International”, held in Mexico City. His work has been a source of reference and interest internationally as well as nationally for many scientists, dentists, physicians and writers interested in the field of nutrition and health. After all – these ideas had been his for some forty years! At the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Centennial celebration, a department wing was named the “Melvin E. Page, DDS Oral Medicine Diagnostic Laboratory,” recognition by his peers for his nutritional work. Only today are we coming to a fuller understanding of the value of his research into Calcium-Phosphorus levels and how it works in the balancing of body chemistry. His unique system of graphing the endocrine system has proven most valuable in determining a greater understanding of a person’s genetic potential for life. These systems were refined from research performed on more than 3000 case studies. Thirty years ago, Dr. Page, using the system he developed, consistently was successful in healing many of the degenerative diseases most common today.