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Vinegar for a Leaner, Longer Life: The Work of D.C. Jarvis, MD

Vinegar for a Leaner, Longer Life:  The Work of D.C. Jarvis, MD
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Effective Then, Effective Now:

  • Jarvis, (a Vermont medical practitioner) details how to use vinegar for weight loss in 1958.
  • Jarvis describes how “Vermont folk medicine has much to give to those . . . who prefer instead to plan to be strong, active and free from disease to the very end of their days.”
  • In over fifty years of practice, Dr. Jarvis observed that vinegar improves digestive health, promotes sleep (when used with honey), improves chronic fatigue, relieves itchy scalp and skin, decreases migraines, helps relieve dizziness, rapidly relieves sore throat, and much more.

If the next paragraph seems familiar, it’s likely because you read it before as the opening to our inaugural issue’s “Effective Then, Effective Now” column—a description of how sixty-four of seventy (91.4%) women suffering from nausea and vomiting of pregnancy were completely relieved of all nausea and vomiting within three days. Dr. R.L. Merkel reported these spectacular results in 1952 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.[1] Since the 1970s, the results have been the same for women with whom I’ve worked—and of course they’re totally unknown to or ignored by 99% of all American obstetricians!
So here it is again, as it applies equally well this month:
We humans have had the same bodies and body chemistry (with of course unique individual variation) for the last two or three hundred thousand years. Some real experts say even longer! So if any human health problem could be safely and successfully improved or eliminated in the past, it’s very likely that the same human health problem can be eliminated today using the same treatment. That’s what Effective Then, Effective Now is all about.
The article starting on Green Medicine’s first page is titled nearly the same as this one. That’s because both articles describe the same thing—weight loss and longevity associated with vinegar ingestion. To my knowledge, the very first written description of the vinegar/weight loss and vinegar/longevity connections were published in 1985, by DeForest Clinton Jarvis, MD, in his book Folk Medicine.[2] However, his report was much more precise and fun to read!
From his book, pages 72-74:
If the waist measurement is greater than that of the chest, or the chin is inclined to be double, then it is generally safe to conclude that normal physiology and biochemistry in the body are disturbed. When this happens, Vermont folk medicine depends on apple cider vinegar to bring about a disappearance of excess fat.
If a woman whose dress fits tightly will sip two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water at each meal, generally she will find at the end of two months she can take her dress in one inch at the waistline. At the end of two months she will be able to take it in another inch, and by the end of the fifth month one more inch. At the end of one year of taking apple cider vinegar in this amount a woman who has taken a size 50 dress will be able to take a size 42, and one who has taken a size 20, to take a size 18. At the end of the same time a younger woman who has worn a size 16 will be able to take a size 14.
The loss of weight will be gradual. If a woman between 5 feet and 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 210 pounds takes two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water at each meal, she will weigh about 180 pounds at the end of two years. If a man has a paunch, he will lose the paunch in two years’ time. The apple cider vinegar will have made it possible to burn the fat in the body instead of storing it, increasing the body weight.
No change in the daily food intake is made except to avoid foods that experience has shown the individual will increase the amount of fat deposited in the body. If continued day after day, this treatment for excess weight is completely simple, and completely effective. If the daily routine happens to be such that it is not practical to take it at each meal, a dose can be taken in the morning, another at bedtime, with the third taken at some convenient time in between.
It’s true that this information—which works well for those who use it for themselves—did not come from double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Instead it comes from the “eyes-fully-open” observations and experience gained from over fifty years of medical practice by a caring practitioner whose goal was what works best and safest for his patients. Unfortunately, during the 20th and 21st centuries, medical schools have discarded and even discourage teaching what was once called “the wisdom of the elders,” even when it has been shown to work for generations! The University of Michigan Medical School from which I graduated in 1969 had been one of the most prominent educators in homeopathic medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. By 1969, all of their extensive homeopathic library was locked away in a basement to which no one was allowed access without special permission. Very few medical students knew it existed.
But I’ve digressed. What did Dr. Jarvis write about vinegar and longevity? In the first decades of the 20th century, nothing at all was known about acetic acid, AMPK activation (see accompanying article), and longevity. How could he have known that vinegar contributes to longevity? Observation and experience led him to this conclusion, even without detailed knowledge of “how it works.”
Dr. Jarvis did not credit only the use of vinegar with longevity effects. He concluded the introduction of his book this way: “Vermont folk medicine has much to give to those who reject as inevitable the specter of physical impairment and weakening, and who prefer instead to plan to be strong, active and free from disease to the very end of their days.” In addition to vinegar, which Dr. Jarvis mentions the most, he tells us that use of honey, kelp, iodine, and potassium are all significant in being strong, active, and free from disease to the very end of our days on planet Earth.
More of Dr. Jarvis’ Observations about Vinegar
Read Dr. Jarvis’ book for details of his observations about vinegar, including elimination of small joint arthritis, improvement of digestive health, sleep-promoting effects (when used with honey), improvement of chronic fatigue, relief of itchy scalp and skin, positive effects on migraine headaches, reduction in dizziness, and rapid relief of sore throat. He also writes about many specific uses for honey, kelp, iodine, and potassium.
While Dr. Jarvis specified apple cider vinegar in his book, he also wrote this: “Apple cider vinegar, utilizing the whole apple, represents a pure form of ideal elements.” Since all vinegars contain acetic acid, all vinegars made from whole fruit and not “distilled” meet the criterion of “whole” for the most useful vinegar.
Dr. DeForest Clinton Jarvis (1881–1966) was a member of the Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, the American Medical Association and other leading medical societies of the time.
Other articles in this issue:

[1]    Merkel RL. “The Use of Menadione Bisulfite and Ascorbic Acid in the Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1952;64:416-418

[2]    D.C. Jarvis, MD. Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health, Weight Loss, and Allergy Treatment Using Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Kelp and Iodine. Crest Book, 1958.

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