The narrowing of the face that occurs after a population has abandoned its native diet and embraced Western processed food continues to perplex the medical and dental establishments, which just can’t seem to make the connection between food and physical development. In Dr. Price’s day, scientists blamed lack of facial development on “race mixing,” a premise that Dr. Price soundly denounced. Today orthodontists blame crooked teeth on everything from genetics to thumb sucking to soft foods—that is, everything but the obvious decline in nutrient density in modern diets. Dr. Price’s studies led him to the conclusion that facial narrowing took place primarily when the three fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D and the X Factor, now recognized as vitamin K2) became deficient in the diet, and modern science is beginning to prove him right. Researchers have shown that in rats, vitamin K deficiency during pregnancy results in “facial dysmorphology.” Vitamin K-dependent proteins concentrate in the nasal septal cartilage of the fetus. In humans, if vitamin K is not present in adequate amounts, or is blocked by drugs like warfarin, during the critical period of six to nine weeks gestation, the cartilage calcifies prematurely, resulting in “maxillonasal hypoplasia,” that is, underdevelopment of the maxilla, the bone that determines the shape of the middle third of the face (Australian Dental Journal 1994;39:2). Vitamin K depends on vitamins A and D for signaling, so all three vitamins are involved in the process of facial development. These discoveries point to the important of preparation for pregnancy with nutrient-dense foods, in order to build up stores for the critical early weeks of fetal development. Adequate spacing of children allows a mother to replenish these stores before the next child.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2014.