I am thrilled that this project on Miso probiotics story is finally coming to completion after its beginning in 2003. I met Anna Bond in 2003 who introduced me to the story of Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki who was the Medical Director of Saint Francis Hospital, only two kilometer from the epicenter of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb blast. I met Dr. Hiromitsu Watanabe of the Department of Radiation Biology at the Hiroshima Medical Center in 2003 and 2004, and he generously shared with me extensive basic science research on Miso and its protective effect on radiation injury as well as protection from solid tumors in animals. His work showed that 180 days old Miso had the most potent effect, freeze-dried had the same therapeutic effect as live Miso paste, and that sea salts did not lead to hypertension.
By 2006, the foundation gave a partial grant to Dr. Hiroko Furo, of Illinois Wesleyan University, to interview the survivors of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. Although Dr. Akizuki had just passed away in 2005, his wife and a total of 30 survivors were willing to tell their story to Dr. Furo. Dr. Furo's work is if historic importance to confirm some of Dr. Akizuki clinical impressions. Though not of scientific vigor, the value of human observations are as valuable as scientific data. The comment on "sugar", then a precious commodity, induced radiation rash even in people who were protected inside buildings will always be memorable to me.
We now can proudly say that the foundation can share this treasure with the public. The combination of hard science of Miso protective effects against radiation injury and the “living testimony” of those who lived to tell the truth of what they believed saved them from this disastrous war injury is a rare opportunity of chance.
The goal of the foundation is support this kind of documentation which would otherwise be forgotten.
Miso is a living, functional probiotic: Digestive enzymes from Aspergillus oryzae fungi break down the substrate and facilitate the secondary fermentation process by Lactobacillus organisms. The bacteria are in the same family as that which ferment dairy to make yogurt and kefir.
Christian Elwell, a Yankee in New England, makes Miso in the age- old traditional methods used in Japan for centuries. Owner of South River Miso Company, Chris is an innovator and used different substrates to create favors to suit "Global" consumers worldwide. One of his signature favors is Garlic Pepper Miso has a rich red orange color with totally unique favor. Miso can be used as a condiment for favoring foods, soups and salads. No matter how nutritious the food may be, it has to taste good to survive! We talked passionately about the future of Miso and the "Globalization" of this probiotic, which originated in China and then refined in Japan. Japan's consumption of Miso is dwindling as more western type foods are replacing traditional foods, yet the rest of the world is just beginning to understand Miso and promoting this probiotic for broader use.
Alex Jack once said "Out of ashes, the seed of health and peace continue to sprout."
George W. Yu, M.D.
George W. Yu Foundation for Nutrition and Health, Clinical Professor of Urology, George Washington University Medical Center, Senior Staff of Aegis Medical and Research Associates 12/29/2009