Reader Q&A

Herbert Shelton’s Death


Would you care to speculate why Shelton lived only to 77 years of age and died with neuromuscular disease?


Well first, Shelton lived to almost 90 years old, so I’m not sure where you are getting 77 from. He was born October 6, 1895, and died January 1, 1985, making him 89 years and 3 months at the time of death. He continued to run his health school until 1981 (age 86), and started his final book with Jo Willard and Jean Oswald in 1982 at age 87 which was published shortly after his death in 1986.

Shelton outlived any reasonable expectations and was mentally cognizant until his last days. That is more than we can say for most people today. Shelton’s father died at age 78, his mother was 82, and most of his cooked food-eating siblings died in their 60’s and 70’s or younger. Shelton was the firstborn yet outlived all but Juanita, the 13th child, and Sam the 10th child. He truly got the maximum life out of the generational hand he was dealt.

Parkinson’s is a condition brought about by many factors, significantly influenced by inherited weaknesses passed down through the generations (susceptibility), similar to a 2×4 having a lot of knots which makes it susceptible to early failure when stressed.

Shelton was born two months premature, weighing less than 3 pounds, he was frail and weak and barely survived, kept warm in a wooden cigar box near the iron stove. Being born premature means a lack of full, required biological development from the start, in the womb, making a person less vital overall and slighter of build as he also was. He was born into a cooked food meat and dairy-eating family and only discovered raw foods as a teen/young adult. His father had chronic health conditions including Asthma, I am not sure about his mother’s health conditions. The real question is why did Shelton last so long given the weaknesses he inherited from birth?

Parkinson’s is a long-term degeneration of certain parts of the central nervous system, developing slowly, sometimes from a very young age, and involves a loss of brain cells in a particular area of the midbrain called the Substantia Nigra.

One factor associated with Parkinson’s symptoms is brain trauma/injury. In 1945 Shelton was involved in an accident with his horse, he was kicked in the head by his horse, leading to him losing several teeth over the coming years, which can give us some indication of the severity of the jarring his brain underwent at that time.

While the body replaces most cells, brain cells are not replaced when they die. Additionally, brain trauma injury kills a lot of cells in a large area. Once gone, they remain gone, leading to decreased ability for the brain to control itself and the body. This is a factor to consider in the development of degenerative diseases or injury of the brain. Brain and nerve injuries are extremely slow to heal and some will never heal in our lifetime. So when we incur an injury to the brain or nerves these often lead to degeneration which cannot be remedied by the body.

Shelton was a busy, active man, particularly intellectually. He used his brain and his body fully, never letting up his entire life. He wrote prolifically, ran a large, successful fasting clinic for decades, wrote endless books, articles, essays, and newsletters, lectured around the world, raised a family, and faced endless opposition and harassment from the medical industry, including being jailed on multiple occasions, he organized and fathered Natural Hygiene Science and so much more. He worked his body to its maximum, and just from that, it’s easy to see how he may have overworked a certain part of his brain/nervous system, let alone the abnormal stress and lack of proper growth caused by his brain injury and premature birth. When he died, that’s the day he stopped writing and working endlessly, he only rested during sleep.

Shelton faced a brain deterioration issue that nothing was going to stop from happening, no matter how well he ate or behaved, all he could do was limit its progression, which he did incredibly well. He lived almost 90 years (89y 3m), Parkinson sufferers always die an early death, but he did incredibly well and was more active into his 80’s than many people are capable of in their 50s or younger.

We are all coming from a deficit, born to parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who have been eating far from their natural diet. We are all born to previous generations with chronic disease symptoms. The question is, do we continue to pass down those degenerative habits to the next generation, or do we create the least harm possible to our cells in this generation so the human species can begin to recover its natural lifespan?

For anyone interested in an accurate picture of Shelton’s life the book “Yours for Health: The Life and Times of Herbert M Shelton” by Jean A. Oswald is a great read.

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