The Science of African Biochemistry

A Nutritional Guide for Healing, Diet, and Well-Being

Tariq M. Sawandi, M.H., N.D.

Healthy and unhealthy foods
Healthy and unhealthy foods

There are differences in body physiology between the races of Mankind. Every human has a specific biochemical makeup and therefore requires a unique biochemical diet in order to stay healthy and free from disease.

Nature has programmed every human body-type with certain food parameters which helps to prevent damage to the biochemical nutritional homeostasis (balance). Ancient African health practitioners taught that the human body has a vital force (aura, electromagnetic field) that allows one type of vitamin to change into another type of vitamin/or energy.

It is important to understand that energy is the basic unit of the human body. It is the foundation upon which all the cells, organs, tissues, and chemicals are formed in the body. The body emits a vibratory frequency which reflects the thoughts, foods, and medicines we ingest and contributes to the structure of our vital force.

The Center for Disease Control ‘s 2001 health statistics show that African-Americans are1.8 times more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites; Blacks are1.3 times more likely to die from breast cancer; 2.8 times more likely to die from prostate cancer and 1.4 times more likely to die from colon cancer. More than 2.7 million African Americans – 1 in 9 have diabetes. African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. About 72,000 African Americans have sickle cell anemia, and the disease occurs in approximately 1 in every 500 African-American births and 1 in every 1,000-1,400 Hispanic-American births. Approximately 2 million Americans, or 1 in 12 African Americans, carry the sickle cell trait.

The purpose of the following report is to show that this great human tragedy in our communities CAN BE STOPPED NOW, entirely on the basis of existing nutritional health knowledge. We will explore the theory that cancer, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia is a deficiency disease aggravated by the lack of an essential food compound in African people’s diet, and that its control is to be found simply in restoring this nutrient in our daily diet.

The Western View of Health and Disease

The average doctor today under the Western system of medicine has spent over ten years acquiring training to learn about disease causation. Hence, there is a tendency among many physicians to look for a positive “cause-and-effect” relationship in which something clearly causes something else – a virus, or bacteria must “cause” a disease. The idea that disease is caused by an outside agency, or virus is rooted in the Germ Theory of disease, first proposed by the French scientist, Louis Pasteur in the mid-1800’s.

There are many diseases that plague the human family today which modern science has spent many billions of dollars searching for a prevention or cure, but they are no closer to the answers today than they were over a hundred years ago. Perhaps the main reason is that they are still looking for that “something” which causes these diseases instead of the “lack” of something.

The ultimate solution to the scientist’s most puzzling medical problem is to be found in a near-primitive concoction of herbs and foods. However, medical doctors have been trained to search for “complex” answers rather than looking to the simple laws of nature. As Dr. Laila Afrika, pioneer of African ethnomedicine put it aptly:

“In health science they (western doctors) believe that the body destroys itself with disease. Therefore, they must give toxic, poisonous drugs and vaccines to stop the body from killing itself. In Caucasian medical science, they believe that evil bacteria and virus are trying to kill good bacteria and virus.”

African Health Science

The African system of health disagrees with the idea of germs being the sole source of disease. Historically, African health science was founded upon holistic principles. This science pre-dates Egyptian medical science and is between 20,000 and 100,000 years old. In fact, it is the oldest medical science on the planet. African health practitioners were devoted to teaching individuals to improve their physical, mental, and spiritual health through preventative lifestyles. The African physician and health professional had to first develop their own understanding of how African physiology worked on all levels before they could treat diseased individuals. This wholistic wisdom has been passed down to us as “The Science of African Bio-chemistry”. This is the African health system according to “Naturopathic” principles. In this system, the patient is given an herb or food that will help the body defend itself. For example, if a patient is suffering from joint pain (arthritis), then this would perhaps indicate that there may be a calcium and/or mineral deficiency caused by a nutritional deficiency in the diet.

The African physician would advise or teach their patient what lifestyle, nutritional, emotional, or dietary changes should be made to alleviate the condition. This philosophy was consistent with the laws of nature and is based upon a belief in the body’s innate God-given, natural ability to heal itself when given the appropriate herbs, seeds, and foods.

The human body contains millions of microorganisms which support and help to keep our immune systems healthy and have enabled us to have healthy lives. The ancient Africans believed that a healthy immune system is responsible for the health and healing of the human body. From this premise, health problems occur as the result of “something lacking” in our nutrition, leaving the human body vulnerable to disease. African medicine is a nutrient based system. A diet and lifestyle deficient in vital nutrients makes us susceptible to opportunistic infections, and cellular disorganization (cancer). This is why some people who are exposed to the cold virus do not get a cold. Or why some people are able to recuperate from a deadly disease such as cancer and others, cannot. However, many scientists and physicians reject the vitamin deficiency concept of disease until it is proven and tested through clinical trials.

African Physiology and Nutritional Needs

The African health scientists have discovered that many of the intricate biochemical processes that govern the body can be influenced by the presence or absence of certain vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. The ailments that African people suffer from today are based on our improper diet and lifestyle. The science of African bio-chemistry is based on the melanin molecule which is dominant in Africans. Western health science is based on white body chemistry, and is incompatible with the African body type.

According to Dr. Carol Barnes in his book, Melanin: The Chemical Key to Black Greatness:

“Melanin is a molecule, but a very large complicated and complex living molecule. It has a very high molecular weight of over 200, meaning that one molecule of melanin is composed of a three dimensional configuration of over 200 individual atoms. It is a living molecule, a life chemical, and it is charged like a battery. In fact, it operates like a battery or super-conductor, yet it is heat-resistant and is characterized by a nice, sweet fragrance.”

Melanin is responsible for manufacturing and sustaining life and it keeps the Black human in constant contact with the natural energies of the Universe.

This is because Melanin is found not only in the skin, hair, and eyes, but it is also contained in many other vital organs of the body as well. It is in the nervous system, the spinal cord, the glands, the brain, the DNA, the muscles, intestines, heart and liver. Its presence can be found throughout nature and is also found in many of our foods – plants, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. It is also found in animals, in the soil, in the bark of trees, rivers, streams, and seas. In explaining the importance and significance of melanin in African physiology, Professor T. Owens Moore, in his book “The Science of Melanin”, liken melanated people to plants:

“A melanated human body is synonymous with chlorophyll in plants. The chlorophyll functions as a converter of solar energy. Similarly, melanin is a converter of physical energy. We know that such pigments are essential to maintain the vitality of the plant. Thus, no flora without pigment exists on this planet. White leaves do not exist. The pigment chlorophyll is necessary for all vegetation. Similarly, melanin is important for proper human physiology.”

Yes, the same melanin that gives life to the plants that grow in the soil is a life giver to humans as well. On the molecular level the electrons in melanin molecules orbit and rearrange themselves. They undergo what is called resonance. This rearrangement of electrons causes certain energy shifts in the body. This energy is then used in metabolism and cellular organization. Melanin depends on nitrilosides to keep itself clean.

“When we eat synthetic foods, or cooked foods, we don’t get enough B vitamins and a lot of toxins are not removed and end up in the brain,” states Dr. Jewel Pookrum.

When melanin becomes toxic, it adversely affects the biochemistry, and the individual with toxic melanin becomes susceptible to a host of diseases. How does melanin become toxic? When we eat certain foods that are not compatible with our physiology, melanin is blocked from making the energy exchanges that are needed and this has resulted in dysfunction and disease. Dr. Laila Afrika states in his book, African Holistic Health:

“Blacks have specific nutritional and dietary needs. These nutritional needs arise because we have specific bodily differences as compared to other races and cultures. For example, over 70% of Black people (worldwide) cannot digest cattle milk. In addition, the intestinal florae (bacteria, virus, fungus and yeast) that naturally live in Black people’s intestines are unique to Blacks. Subsequently, Blacks assimilate food in the intestines differently. Also, despite centuries of living in countries outside of Africa , their intestinal florae are the same as it was in their ancestor’s stomachs 2,000 years ago in Africa . Melanin (black color pigment) is obviously most abundant in Blacks. This melanin aids in protecting Blacks from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It also increases the speed of nerve and brain messages which are transmitted between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and all nerve signals transmitted throughout the bodily nerve network…Black people’s blood crystallizes differently from Caucasian’s blood. These are some of the many reasons why Blacks have unique nutritional, medical, and dietary needs.”

After African people were transported into the cities of America and Europe during slavery, their eating habits were changed drastically and suddenly. The result has been chronic and metabolic diseases of all kinds.

A brief look at the African-American diet tells the story. The food shelves of Black Americans are now lined with high carbohydrate foods that have been processed, refined, synthesized, artificially flavored, and loaded with chemical preservatives. To compound this problem, most of the vitamins, trace elements, and enzymes are completely removed through the manufacturing process, mostly so as to render the food more durable. We are told by the food processors that the vitamins and minerals are put back into the food before sending it to the market. And so we see the word “enriched” on our bread, milk, and other foods. But make no mistake about it; nothing is left but raw starch which has little nutritive value. These starch synthetic chemicals are injected, which form only part of the missing vitamins, and are not properly ingestible by human beings because they are not “in balance”.

Most African-Americans assume that it makes little difference what they put into their stomachs as long as they are full. And one of the leading culprits in the way of poisonous foods eaten by Black Americans is soul food – Ham, potato salad, French fries, pork chops, chitterlings, collards, pig feet, cornbread, black-eyed peas, and hog maws. All of these foods are cooked in or laced with pork fat, lard, milk, eggs, butter, salt, spices, and lots of refined sugar. These foods are not compatible with our bio-chemical makeup, and are responsible for the many diseases that we suffer from today.

Let us pause, then, and reflect on the significance of this knowledge. Is it possible that hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatic diseases, much of our gastrointestinal disorders, sickle cell anemia, and skin disorders all are related directly or indirectly to a deficiency in our diet? Let us return to the main topic – African Bio-chemistry, and to the realm of those questions for which we do have answers. It is no longer a speculation, but a fact supported by a mountain of evidence that “nitriloside” (beta-cyanogenetic glucosides)-rich plants and foods are a vital part of an amazing bio-chemical process in the African body type.

The compound nitriloside occurs abundantly in nature in over twelve hundred edible plants and found virtually on every continent in the world. It is mainly found in the seeds of those fruits in the “Prunus Africanus” and “Prunus Rosacea” species of plants. It can also be found in grasses, sorghum, millet, cassava, and many other foods that generally have been removed from the foods of Western civilization.

Like sugar, nitrilosides can be classified as a food component or a food factor. It is non-toxic, water-soluble, and completely normal to and compatible with human metabolism. Since it was an essential food compound in the diet of our African ancestors, I call it “African Nutritional Factor”.

African physiology evolved over millions of years to be in the best possible harmony with the diet our ancestors were eating. If we were to eat now approximately what we ate then, our bodies will automatically tend to resume the harmony of their natural state. In other words, our immune systems would perform at its highest function if we give it those food nutrients, in the form that it craves.

The African diet was primarily vegetarian. That is, our diet was almost exclusively from the plant kingdom. Very little animal or dairy products were eaten. However, today, the foods that once provided African-Americans with ample amounts of natural nitriloside compounds were replaced altogether by foods almost devoid of this factor. Significantly, it is during the time span that we have been in the Americas that the cancer rate has moved steadily upward to the point where, today, it is one of the number one causes of death of Africans in America.

The Protective Role of Nitriloside Foods against Cancer

For centuries, nitriloside-rich plants were used by Africans as a food and medicinal agent without manifesting any side effects. This diet has been one of the deciding factors that protected the integrity of the biochemical processes in African people. Preventing the formation of cancer cells, appear to be closely related to the traditional African diet. Let’s examine the science behind this ancient wisdom.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the anti-cancer effect of nitriloside food nutrients. Its molecular composition was first isolated and identified in the 1950’s by Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, a biochemist in San Francisco . He advanced the theory that cancer was caused by a deficiency of the compound nitriloside. According to Dr. Krebs, cancer is the result of “over-healing” of the body. This is why smoking, a poor diet, or excessive exposure to the sun, or any number of harmful chemicals can cause cancer. Anything that causes damage to the body can lead to cancer if the body’s healing processes are not functioning properly. And, indeed, this has been proven to be true. According to Dr. Stewart Jones, author of Nutrition Rudiments in Cancer,

“When cancer begins to form, the body reacts by attempting to seal it off and surrounding it with cells that are similar to those in the location where it occurs. A bump or lump is the initial result.”

According to G. Edward Griffin’s book, World without Cancer,

“Anything that produces prolonged stress or damage to the body can initiate the healing process. If this goes unchecked because the body lacks the necessary chemical ingredients to restore the equilibrium, then the result is cancer.”

It is significant that prior to African people’s arrival to the Americas, there were no known records of them contracting cancer while maintaining their traditional diet. Millet was once Africa ’s staple grain. It is high in nitriloside content. In fact, missionary and medical journals have recorded many cancer-free tribes all over Africa .

As far back as 1913, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the world famous medical missionary to Africa , discovered the basic cause of cancer. Although he had not isolated the specific nitriloside compound, he was convinced from his observations that a difference in food was the key. In his preface to Alexander Berglas’s book, Cancer: Cause, and Cure, he wrote:

On my arrival in Gabon ( Africa ) in 1913, I was astonished to encounter no cases of cancer. I saw none among the natives two hundred miles from the coast…I cannot, of course, say positively that there was no cancer at all, but, like other frontier doctors, I can only say that, if any cases existed, they must have been quite rare. This absence of cancer seemed to be due to the difference in nutrition of the natives compared to the Europeans…”

From all over the African continent, the one thing Africans have in common is that the degree to which they are free from cancer is in direct proportion to the amount of nitrilosides found in their diet. As much as 80% of the tropical African diet consists of nitriloside and thiocyanate yielding foods. The main staples of sub-Sahara Africa are cassava, yams, sorghum, and millet grains. Let us reinforce our knowledge with the science of how nitriloside foods work to fight cancer, sickle cell anemia and other chronic diseases.

Bio-chemical Process of Nitriloside against Cancer Cells

The nitriloside compound is a crystalline structure which contains two units of glucose (sugar), one of benzaldehyde, and one of cyanate, which are tightly bonded together. Locked together in this natural state, it is completely inert chemically and has absolutely no effect on human tissue.

There is only one substance that can unlock the nitriloside molecule and release the cyanate and benzaldehyde. That substance is an enzyme called “beta-glucosidase”, which is known as the “unlocking enzyme”. When the nitriloside molecule comes in contact with this enzyme in the presence of water, both the cyanide and benzaldehyde are released, which are high toxic by themselves. Now both of these substances working together are at least a hundred times more poisonous than either of them separately. This phenomenon is known in biochemistry as “synergism”.

Perhaps the most interesting fact of all about this biochemical process is that the “unlocking enzyme” is not found anywhere in the body except at the cancer cells, where it is always present in large quantities, as much as one hundred times that of the normal cells. The result is that the nitriloside molecule is unlocked at the cancer cell site, releases its poisons to the cancer cell, and only to the cancer cell!

Another important enzyme in this process is called “Rhodanese”, which is called the “protecting enzyme”. This is because it has the ability to neutralize the cyanate by converting it instantly into nourishing by-products, which are actually beneficial and essential to health. But more than that, the protecting enzyme is found in great quantities in all parts of the body except at the cancer cell site, which prevents the cancer cells from being protected. On the other hand, healthy cells are protected, because of the excess of this enzyme which completely neutralizes the effect of the unlocking enzyme.

There are voluminous private records and medical papers written and published by well-known nutritionists, and physicians who have used nitriloside therapy in the treatment of their own cancer patients, with an effectiveness approaching 100%! It has been used to control and cure breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and colon cancer, without any toxic side-effects.

The Controlling of Sickle Cell Anemia through African Nutritional Factors

Another benefit of the traditional African diet is the connection between nitriloside plants and the control of sickle cell anemia. In Africa , and other parts of the world, people of African descent have developed sickle cells in the blood apparently as a natural immunity to malaria. The development of the sickle cell trait was dependent, in part, on the nitrilosidic chemistry of the native African diet. Once Africans were transported to the Caribbean and the Americas , their diet became deficient in the nutrients needed to inhibit cell sickling in the blood. The result is the painful hemolytic crisis caused by the clumping of the red blood cells. According to research developed by Dr. Robert Huston which appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1974, he learned that sickle cell anemia could be controlled by cyanate tablets. However, cyanate is also produced by nitriloside plants acting within the body, and it seems logical to assume that this is the way nature intended it to be taken.

According to Barbara Dixson’s book, Good Health for African Americans,

“In Africa , an estimated 25 percent of the population carry the sickle cell trait, yet the incidence of sickle cell disease itself is rare. In fact, from 1925 to 1950, it was estimated that fewer than one hundred cases of sickle cell anemia were reported throughout the continent.”

As is well-known, sickle cell anemia is relatively rare in the Caribbean . Those with the sickle cell condition are found living healthy into old age, and few ever experience serious crises. In fact, the Jamaican diet is rich in Thiocyanate where cassava and yams are staples. It is proposed that sickle cell anemia represents an “unrelieved nutritional condition” which is dependent on the presence of thiocyanate and nitrilosides in Africans who are genetically predisposed to the disease. The significance of this research is that the solution to sickle cell anemia can be found in the field of nutrition rather than drugs, blood thinners, and blood transfusions.

Other Health Benefits of African Nutritional Factors

Another welcomed consequence of eating nitriloside and thiocyanate plant foods is that they prevent high blood pressure, arthritis and rheumatism, gastrointestinal disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

Experiments conducted by Dr. Ernest Krebs have indicated that trace amounts of cyanate and benzaldehyde released in the mouth and intestines are a part of the delicate balance of nature and serve beneficial effects in the human body. In the mouth and stomach, these chemicals apparently attack the bacteria associated with tooth decay and bad breath. The large and small intestines are home for over four hundred different kinds of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, flora, and some fungi. These microorganisms live in harmonious, symbiotic relationship with us, provided the conditions are favorable and the friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus) are sufficient in quantity. These bacteria feed on the fermentable carbohydrates in our diet (found in grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, roots, and seeds). If the African body type lacks in a sufficient diet rich in nitriloside and thiocyanate plant foods, it causes a decrease in the number of favorable intestinal bacteria and a subsequent increase in unfavorable organisms. This is the beginning of many problems such as gas and constipation, yeast infections, to colon and rectal cancer. However, African Nutritional Factors, interact with the “bacterial micro-flora” in the stomach and colon to suppress or eliminate the ailments associated with westernized foods.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

But, more than that, thiocyanate is known as a natural regulator of blood pressure, which helps to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) in African physiology. High blood pressure is a condition in which the muscles in the walls of the arteries constrict, causing the heart to pump harder or in which arteries have lost their elasticity due to arteriosclerosis. One of its underlying causes is a deficiency of African Nutritional Factors. Dr. Afrika states in his book, African Holistic Health:

“Hypertension is usually caused by a lack of proper nutrition. Improper nutrition weakens the internal organs, immune system, and lowers the organs’ abilities to utilize nutrients which feed the body. The body begins to starve because the loss of proper nutrients creates a nutritional debt. Moreover, the nutritionally starved body tries to get more nutrients to pay the debt. Consequently, the body demands more food (nutrients in the blood ) by drawing on more (below-nutrient-level) blood. In order to increase the blood supply the body begins to increase the pressure. The increase in pressure is the body’s attempt to feed itself.”

The body is merely defending itself by reacting with high blood pressure caused by a poor diet lacking in essential plant nutrients.

Traditional African doctors consider heart disease (arteriosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and hypertension) to be a combination of poor nutrition and destructive eating habits. When this occurs, there is a tendency for cholesterol to accumulate in the arterial lining. The major cause is a loss of vein and artery flexibility due to a lack of biochemical precursors and enzymes which prevents the artery walls from deteriorating. These chemical precursors have been found in natural foods containing nitrilosides.

Arthritis and Rheumatism

The fact is nitriloside food factors also serve as bio-chemical mechanisms in African physiology to prevent rheumatism and arthritis. Once they enter into the blood stream, derivative compounds called “salicylates” are produced. This natural compound helps to fend off arthritis and rheumatism. Some African health practitioners including myself attest to the theory that many toxins bind to cell membranes and disturb cellular metabolic functions, and can cause tissue damage which contribute to many of the symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis, and muscle aches. Intestinal bacteria – “Proteus mirabilis”, for example, an organism recently implicated in rheumatoid arthritis, is believed to be produced by the toxic waste in the body causing painful joint inflammations.

Whereas rheumatoid arthritis disease afflicts millions of people of African descent in the U.S., affecting one in 10, very few cases have been reported among the larger populations of tropical Africa. This has defied explanation in Western health sciences. According to African traditional medicine, rheumatism and arthritis is a disease reaction which creates inflammation caused by crystallized urine and toxic waste. These impurities accumulate around the joints, bone lining and connective tissues. Arthritis is waste in the bone joints while rheumatism is waste in the muscles. Both of these diseases are caused by the same thing – excessive fat and meat, synthetic foods, and a poor diet deficient in thiocyanates and nitrilosides.

In this connection, Robert Houston, M.D., author of Sickle Cell Anemia and the Metabolites of Vitamin B17, compared the rate of rheumatoid arthritis between African-Americans and continental Africans. He found that Africans living in West Africa and throughout tropical Africa only experienced rare cases of rheumatism, arthritis, and osteoarthritis where millet and sorghum grains are staples. He also found that a “salicylic acid isomer” is nutritionally produced from the nitriloside in millet and sorghum grains which works in the body to nourish healthy tissue and joints.

As demonstrated in the foregoing research, nature has assigned to the African body-type a specific diet for keeping it vital, healthy, and free from cancer. There is much yet to be learned about our bodies, and no one can claim nitrilosides are the whole answer. It is possible that an important role also may be played by other vitamins and enzymes. However, nitriloside rich foods and vitamins seems to be the most vital and direct acting of all these factors. It is an interlocking part of the total African bio-chemistry.


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