Published on May 16th, 2018 | by DrKaayla


Nothing Woo Woo about this Doctor

Is there a connection between cancer and autoimmune disorders?

Do bone broth, collagen, cartilage and other supplements that target connective tissue help?  

Dr. John F. Prudden’s research certainly suggests so, and there was nothing woo woo about him. He worked with the best and brightest, published in 65 peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, kept his distance from alternative medicine, and mostly played by establishment rules. Most important of all, he successfully treated thousands of patients with wounds, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and cancer using bovine tracheal cartilage. Yet his findings aroused comparatively little interest in his lifetime and have been almost completely ignored since his death.

I feel blessed to have been able to interview Dr. Prudden eight times in 1997, the year before his death, and he had quite a few things to say about this lack of interest.  “At the start I was just absolutely transported by these findings and was dumbfounded when their announcement produced nothing but silence. There seemed to be not one bit of curiosity. Distinguished oncologists have seen that their terminally ill patients were indubitably cured, but not once did any of them make an inquiry of me. Is it the herd mentality? Fear of turf invasion?   Whatever. It is an intellectual desert out there. It’s not a new problem, this group condemnation of anything off the standard. It is absolutely typical of human nature to just believe the given of the day. The Galileo story is typical of the human mind-set. He was far ahead of his time, persecuted and excommunicated. Four hundred years later he was unexcommunicated. He must now be feeling a deep sense of relief!  I hope he was smart enough at the time to realize it was all balderdash.”

Fortunately, the bone broth fad is bringing much needed attention to Dr. Prudden’s work. Although the good doctor never tested broth, his research is an important part of the bone broth story I tell in Chapters 1 through 19, the science section I wrote for the book Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World.

Levels of cartilage are highest in broth prepared from joint bones, whereas broths from other bones and skin provide other forms of collagen. If consumed regularly over a lifetime, any true bone broth is likely to provide sufficient cartilage and collagen for disease prevention and maintenance of long-term health.  But not everyone is so lucky as to grow up in a broth-drinking family. And many of us who believe in broth don’t have the time or inclination to make bone broth at home. When that’s the case for me, I rely on Chef Lance Roll and keep my freezer stocked with the fabulous broth that I order here.

For those facing medical conditions, I strongly recommend broth as the dietary foundation.  Yet both alone may not be enough to turn things around.  The reason is Dr. Prudden specified 9 grams a day of a therapeutic-quality bovine cartilage product, an amount that would be almost impossible to achieve from broth drinking alone. For the only cartilage product I recommend, click here. 

As I discuss in Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World, Dr. Prudden documented consistent success treating rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, psoriasis, colitis and other autoimmune disorders, and spent the final years of his career healing cancer.  In his article “The Treatment of Human Cancer with Agents Prepared from Bovine Cartilage” published in the December 1985 issue of the Journal of Biological Response Modifiers, Dr. Prudden documented an 11-year study begun in 1972, in which Dr. Prudden tracked the progress of 31 patients treated with cartilage who had suffered from a wide variety of cancers. Because this article is not available free online, I discuss it in my blog here.  

Given his impressive level of success with patients whom other doctors had dismissed as “incurable,” it’s shocking that so few medical professionals tested Dr. Prudden’s protocols on their own patients either during his lifetime or today.

Dr. Prudden blamed their medical school training. “There is so much to siphon up that students learn the standard procedures like a catechism and then carry the rote learning approach unquestioningly on into their practices. Standard practitioners won’t even believe they can discover things for themselves any more. They believe what they’re told.  We old clinicians are fading into the sunset.” 

Traditionally, clinicians, not researchers, made the significant discoveries. As Dr. Prudden explained, “We developed them in the university hospitals, tried them out and if they worked, interested a drug company in producing them. Wondrous things were discovered. Now it is completely turned around.  Everything starts with a 25 million dollar project at Lilly or Merck.  Sloan Kettering and nearly all the big research centers are in the business of testing agents for pharmaceutical companies. As if it is high science to do randomized, double-blind studies!  A seventh grader could do that!”   

The real science, in Dr. Prudden’s opinion, was discovering biological efficacy.  “From their indoctrination in medical school to the seminars they later attend courtesy of pharmaceutical companies, they learn to look for high-tech stealth bomber-style medications that can successfully attack and destroy.  Doctors today are trained to think it unlikely that a simple, relatively inexpensive natural substance such as bovine tracheal cartilage could have a powerful effect on diseases as deadly as glioblastoma, pancreatic cancers or metastatic adenocarcinomas of the lung.  Or as intractable as scleroderma, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.”  

Today as in Dr. Prudden’s era, simple traditional remedies remain suspect no matter how many reports come in from patients who’ve felt benefits from cartilage or from clinicians who’ve observed them. For  a long time, doctors were even taught food has little or no effect on disease and it’s a rare doctor who includes even one course in nutrition as part of his medical study.

Equally ingrained is the idea that no single substance could possibly be effective against a wide variety of diseases. Indeed, medical watchdogs routinely warn consumers that doctors who claim that one agent can cure many diseases are quacks. The American Medical Association’s and FDA’s long-standing reluctance to sanction natural products has also led many doctors to wait for isolated, purified, patentable extracts available only by prescription. 

In terms of cartilage, Dr. Prudden valued the whole food product. Though intrigued by research on fractions such as glucosamine and chondroitin, he was not convinced they worked better, faster, or more reliably.  “Mother Nature put together cartilage together over eons of time,” he said. “We should never underestimate Mother Nature.  Yet mainline medicine is sold on the necessity of waiting for fractionalization.  That is stupid, for if it works, it works. Use it now.” 

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23 Responses to Nothing Woo Woo about this Doctor

  1. Greg says:

    How can collagen in bone broth be of any special use (as collagen) when it is decomposed into simple amino acids in the digestive system? Moreover, there is a wide variety of bone broths, and some of the commercially sold ones are full of heavy metals or impurities, and so encouraging people to start swilling bone broth could be very problematic. As far as I know, there no rigorous study has shown bone broth to do any of the things it’s adherents claim. See:

    • DrKaayla says:

      I discuss all these questions including the toxic metal issue thoroughly in the book “Nourishing Broth.”

      Yes, there are a lot of poor quality broths and collagens on the market. I recommend high quality collagen and cartilage here:

      As for bone broth, my favorite comes from Lance Roll and his brand is Flavor Chef. Here’s the link:

    • Steven Steiner says:

      Hi Greg, Bone Broth is good but, it’s not gonna do very much to repair the body.

      Collagen Peptides or Collagen Hydrolyzed are 100% effective for mayor repairing.
      Make sure that the Collagen is from 1000 – to 5000 Daltons and not above.

      Collagen will fix your joint Cartilage just remember to double the dose for 3 months. 2 x table Spoon from 40 to 60 gram twice a day.

      • DrKaayla says:

        We have many, many testimonials from people who vouch for healing from bone broth. These people are consuming genuine bone broth several times a day. Though any collagen product can be useful, the science supports maximum benefits from the cartilage form of collagen. I write extensively about Dr. John F. Prudden’s research and other science in “Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World.”

  2. Anne says:

    So sad that this breed of scientist is dying out. Glad Dr. P is finally getting the credit he deserves. Wish I could have met him.

    • Sarah Prudden says:

      I am Dr. Prudden’s daughter, Sarah. I was a Nurse at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for a total of 32 years and am now retired.The time in the day when we would see Dad was at dinner time at around 7 p.m. Then he would go back out to his office to see patients and if need be, would go to there homes. He loved being a Dr. and I loved being a Nurse.He loved his patients and always had hope for them.Even those knocking on heaven’s door. My father was an incredible man who thought outside the box and he still has not received the attention he deserves. His life work at a cost of 10 million dollars invested has been basically pushed aside and forgotten. He died after his own company thought they could do better and at age 78 was asked not to continue as Director of Lescarden. He looked so sad because he knew he didn’t have time to complete his life’s work. He was dying of cancer and had no time. He was extraordinary and has passed down to me the ability to think outside the box. What a shame his work is fading away. Thankyou to you Dr. Kaayla. He is thankful to you too.

      • DrKaayla says:

        I am committed to making sure Dr. Prudden’s good work doesn’t fade away. Thanks for sharing.

      • Bia says:

        Hi,could you please tell me if tracheal cartilage can really cure autoimmune disease (seronegative rheumatoid arthritis)
        Amazon has shark cartilage vitamins which has this.i would be grateful if you can reply

        • DrKaayla says:

          I have written several chapters on autoimmune disease and discuss the science thoroughly in my book “Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World.” I also discuss the differences between bovine and shark cartilages. In brief, I only recommend bovine cartilage for reasons of proven efficacy, cost and safety.

  3. Randi Abbott says:

    We knew your dear father. Loved him as if he was a member of our family. He treated our mom in 1991 with Catrix (the original cartilage pill). We referred to him as UNCLE Dr. Prudden. He looked at me with a tender smile and said “they called my father Uncle Doc, he was a doctor in the Midwest “. We’ll always miss him. We’ve often wondered about his children. He loved EVERYTHING! I have notes from him which I cherish
    P.S. we still take bovine cartilage !!

  4. Ben says:

    Wonderful article. If one preferred to eat whole, raw foods, which joint would you recommend for scraping away at the cartilage? I am inclined to raw meat as the basis of my diet.

  5. Sara says:

    You said bone broth cures cancer but his daughter says he died from cancer so how can we believe it works?

    • DrKaayla says:

      Dr. Prudden died of acute leukemia, which he ruefully admitted was one of the few types of cancer that never responded to bovine tracheal cartilage therapy. I discuss Dr. Prudden’s 31 published cases here At the time of his death he was working on an article documenting his success with an additional 140 “incurables.”

      • Olivia says:

        Thank you for writing about Dr. Prudden’s invaluable research, Kaayla. A Google search brought me to your article, and it is the most informative out of the search results. Would you consider publishing more articles about your interviews with him and his success with the additional “incurables”?

        • DrKaayla says:

          I’ve included nearly everything Dr. Prudden and I discussed in the book “Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World.” I summed up each of the 31 cases in an online blog. I wish I had more content to share. He was a remarkable doctor and human being.

  6. Henry says:

    I have osteoarthritis, just being diagnosed, still mild, I play soccer is there a way for me? any hope? soccer is my life

    • DrKaayla says:

      Absolutely. Glad that the arthritis is still mild. The sooner you get going on the cartilage product the better! I also recommend a whole foods diet rich in bone broth, soups and stews. Also know that athletes who do this reduce their likelihood of injury and recover faster from injuries too. Let me know how it goes for you. Kaayla

  7. Mich says:

    Making a bone broth at home is easy with a slow cooker. And economical.
    Save bones from a whole roasted chicken, Thanksgiving turkey, BBQ ribs, chicken wings, bone-in meats, etc…. (I even saved the bone from a smoked turkey leg I got at a county fair).
    Place in slow cooker with some carrots, herbs, water… and simmer for 12 or more hours. I’ve simmered for up to 48 hours.
    Broth freezes well too.

  8. Gina says:

    I have been a low fat vegan for several years and am looking into the traditional diet. It seems a lot of the people who eat this way die of cancer. Am I wrong ? I would love to eat a diet more like my grandparents but not sure if it is healthy.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Many vegans also die of cancer. Your grandparents did not eat today’s Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in processed and fast food. To ensure the protective benefits of an omniverous diet I recommend going non-GMO, organic, pastured, grass-fed, free range. . .

  9. Alex says:

    Oops! That page can’t be found with the details about Dr. Prudden’s 31 cases treating cancer.

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