By Dr. Lynn Toohey
Several autoimmune diseases in general, and arthritis in particular, cause a cascade of inflammatory
processes that are responsible for great discomfort and pain. While there are several nutritional approaches
for fighting the inflammation that has been activated, there is an amazing nutrient on the horizon of
common discovery which is reported to interfere with the aberrant immune response actually causing the
inflammation. That nutrient is CMO, otherwise known as cetylmyristoleate, or technically referred to as
For years, we have known that certain foreign antigens (virus, bacteria, even food molecules) can
trigger the immune system to attack self tissue in people who are genetically susceptible (over 90% of
patients with rheumatoid arthritis carry a gene that determines susceptibility). Therapy has consisted of
trying to alleviate the pain and inflammation that is caused after the immune system is activated, after the
T-cells are programmed to attack the body, and after the cascade of inflammatory substances has been
initiated. Whether treating the condition with drugs or with natural substances, the approach has been to try
and decrease the inflammatory substances, while nothing much has been devised to address the CAUSE of
the condition and actually interfere with the autoimmune response in rheumatoid arthritis. Some
treatments, such as a food rotation diet, can help eliminate the trigger, or antigen, if the trigger is food.
Building the immune system and fortifying the immune barrier of a leaky gut can prevent these antigens
from passing into the systemic circulation. However, an answer to correcting the process of the abnormal
T-cell response in rheumatoid arthritis has eluded scientific discovery.
That is, nothing much has appeared until now. Now there is CMO, a nutrient that is actually a
fatty acid that appears to reprogram immune cells which have been given a message to destroy healthy
cartilage tissue. “CMO is a natural immunomodulator that may act to modulate the immune response and
bring it back to normal” (Sands, L. Arthritis Defeated at Last. Acquarius Holdings, Ltd. 1998). Time
magazine reported on this ground-breaking substance discovered years ago by a researcher at the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) facility (Time, October 28, 1996). Unlike supplements like glucosamine sulfate
or chondroitin sulfate, which support tissue regeneration by providing building blocks, CMO is addressing
the underlying problem of immune attack due to misguided programming. Many building blocks can help
produce replacement cartilage for what is destroyed by T-cells, but they are not stopping the destructive
immune process itself. The end result is that if destruction outpaces repair, the inflammatory condition just
worsens. The answer is to directly modify the immune response from the beginning step, before an
inflammatory condition prevails. The idea is that once the immune attack is addressed, it affects the
vicious cycle of pain and inflammation, allowing the body to heal itself.
CMO is a newly recognized substance that has demonstrated remarkable results. Since it is a
newly discovered nutrient, the scientific evidence is just starting to accumulate on its remarkable benefits.
Harry W. Diehl, an experienced medical researcher, was employed by the National Institute of Arthritis,
Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases at the National Institutes of Health when he discovered CMO.
He was intrigued by the fact that mice could not get arthritis, even if an attempt was made to induce the
arthritis experimentally. However, rats, which are the biological kin to mice, could and did develop
arthritis. Diehl reasoned that there must be something the mice possessed that prevented them from getting
arthritis. He soon isolated a compound (CMO®) which exists in mice but not rats. When the compound
was given to a group of rats that had developed arthritis, the rats which were protected by the CMO did not
get arthritis, and they grew 5.7 times as much as the control group! (Diehl, HW. & May, EL. Cetyl
myristoleate isolate from Swiss albino mice: an apparent protective agent against adjuvant arthritis in rats.
Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. March 1994).
Reports of benefits in human studies are beginning to accumulate, such as the trials conducted by
William Freshwater, DC (The American Chiropractor 1999:21(3):17-19), by Dr. H. Siemandi (The effect
of CMO and adjunctive therapy on arthritis and autoimmune disease. A randomized trial. The Townsend
Letter for Doctors and Patients. Aug-Sept 1997:59-63), and a clinical study monitored by the San Diego
Clinic (Sands, L. Arthritis Defeated at Last. Acquarius Holdings, Ltd. 1998). The San Diego clinic
describes numerous encouraging stories (case histories and personal reports) of the beneficial effects of
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The nutritional information, suggestions, and research
provided are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease and should not be used as a substitute for sound
medical advice. Please see your health care professional in all matters pertaining to your physical health.