The Nitrogen

Besides the quantitative increase of protein destruction there is also a qualitative alteration. The ammonia excretion in the urine is increased, from which an increased production of the acid in the body may be deduced. Sulphuric and phosphoric acid are increased in consequence to the increased destruction of cell proteins, and lecithin (lipoids), moreover lactic acid and other organic acids, appear in the blood and urine. But above all comes the excretions of imperfectly decomposed protein split products, amino acids (as glycocol, leucin, tyrosin), albuminoses, oxyprotein acid. Now one knows that in phosphorus poisoning the postmortem fermentative protein splitting in the liver, the so-called autolysis, is increased, and it is possible that the qualitative alteration of protein metabolism is associated with this influence of phosphorus on the fermentative decomposing process in the liver.

In general one can remark that a material which effects an increased and abnormal protein destruction belongs to the febrile agents, as it happens with phosphorus (and arsenic). Naturally, the already mentioned actions on the fat and protein metabolism are only crude toxic manifestations in the direction of consumption. More than crude directions cannot be presented at the present time for fatty degeneration, fever, and consumption.

Phosphorus attacks the carbohydrate metabolism earlier than the fat and protein metabolism. Through investigations it has been demonstrated that in phosphorus poisoning the glycogen markedly decreases, especially in the liver (less in the muscle). But in spite of rapid destruction of glycogen, no increase of blood sugar content appears and only rarely does man show a glycosuria. Accordingly, the burning of sugar seems increased. On the other side, in certain stages of phosphorus poisoning there seems to be a reduction of the limits of assimilation for sugar by man and therefore the early appearance of an alimentary glycosuria. How far the glycogen formation is disturbed or prevented is still not determined. In general it seems in the first phase of phosphorus action that the dissimilatory activity in carbohydrate metabolism is increased; in the second phase, the assimilatory activity is increased. If now one considers the production of acidosis and the appearance of organic acids in the blood and urine, then the similarity to diabetes in broad trends is not to be rejected.

Still more than phosphorus itself is phosphoric acid used as a remedy in diabetes. And this will be comprehensible from the important role of phosphoric acid and at the same time from the physiologic action of weakened phosphorus on carbohydrate metabolism.

The significance of phosphoric acid in physiologic carbohydrate transformation in muscle function has been brought to light by the works of Embden and Meyerhof and American authors.

Muscle energy is obtained through anoxybiotic carbohydrate splitting. The mother substance, called lactacidogen, is a glucose monphosphate. In muscle contraction, very soon phosphoric acid is set free and this phosphoric acid seems, as Schmitz expressed it, to be the vehicle for conveying new quantities of carbohydrate to destruction. It can be assumed that in muscle work, lactacidogen is destroyed under the influence of lactic acid and phosphoric acid in the dissimilatory phase. Phosphoric acid unites with the hexes molecule again to form lactacidogen the assimilatory phase. Accordingly, the splitting of hexoses in the animal organism can occur only through the intermediate combination with phosphoric acid. The situation is, however, essentially more complicated. One knows now that other phosphoric acid, compounds, as creatinphosphoric, the so-called phosphagen, are present in muscle. This compound is also split on muscle irritation and is again elaborated during rest.

It is assumed that the undoubted favorable action of phosphoric acid on the capacity of performance of muscles, which has been proven in extensive investigations conducted on soldiers and workers by the increase in performance and the lessened fatigue, occurs through some type of connection with the discovered physiologic role of phosphoric acid. Perhaps the introduction of phosphoric acid serves as a vehicle for the activation of the already present but still not suitable phosphoric acid. The phosphates are just as important in the central nervous system as in the muscles as much for its function as for therapeutic influence. We shall return to this later. Phosphoric acid therapy in bodily and mental exhaustion has long been known to medical empiricism in the form of sodium phosphite-lemonade, indeed before the physiologic basis just discussed and before preparations like Recresal and Tonophosphan (an organic phosphite compound) we known. On the other side homeotherapy from the beginning through the consideration of the symptomatology, has drawn attention to this chief trend of phosphoric acid and its compounds.


Experimental observations on muscular organs have brought great probability for the fact that the action of phosphorus does not differ in principle from its oxidation products (phosphites and phosphates) but that it is concerned more with a difference in intensity. K. Engel studied the inorganic phosphites in conjunction with the action of tonophosphans. With sodium phosphite (Na2 HPO3) he found a complete analogy but with the significant difference that sodium phosphite is not toxic. In a series of surviving organs of frogs and mammals (heart, intestine, bladder, uterus), it was seen that great dilutions (6-8 potency) acted stimulating on the movements, while larger doses (5-7th potency) damaged the function. The hypophosphites which constantly form when phosphorus comes into contact with water in the presence of oxygen, were shown to be even less effective.

In the same way as phosphites, though stronger, acted a highly diluted phosphorus solution (an alcoholic solution) of phosphorus 1:1000 was diluted with ringer or Locke solution. The solution contained essentially phosphorus and hypophosphoric acid. Engel states expressly that this solution is comparable to the blood after the absorption of phosphorus. Since only the highest dilutions were employed, so the acid character of these substances does not come into consideration for the action. The equality of functional increase through the smallest doses and the damaging of the same test object by larger doses suggest that the action of phosphorus solutions occurs through phosphites.

Contrary to the older reports of H. Schulz and J.Neumann phosphites proves themselves toxic upon the intact animal after subcutaneous injection (manifestations; paresis, flow of tears, diarrhea and polyuria, trembling and crying at every contact, death). While in acute intoxications nothing essential is found in the organs, guinea pigs treated for four weeks with phosphites show the following findings: “Lungs, isolated hemorrhages into the alveoli; kidney; marked congestion of the glomeruli, at times appearance of blood in the renal cortex; liver; moderate but unmistakable fatty degeneration of the liver cells and considerable hyperemia”. After these findings it is not comprehensible why Engel states in conclusion that in protracted intoxication with phosphites, one does not observe any striking organ degenerations which are characteristic for the acute, but primarily for the chronic poisoning of phosphorus. In this respect he himself stresses that the actions of phosphorus solutions on the entire animal are exactly the same, only more intensive and rapid in course, than with phosphites.

That phosphates also cause a functional improvement effect has been shown by Staub on insufficiently poisoned frog hearts. The secondary alkaline phosphate of sodium (Na2HPO4) acts more favorably than the primary acid (NaH2PO4). Addition of glucose improves the action further, though glucose alone is without influence. The functional increase of the heart, completely analogous with that of voluntary muscle, is perceived as the result of improved carbohydrate destruction in the heart muscle through the introduction of free phosphate ions. Staub does not consider that a calcium deprivation is the case of the functional increase of the mechanically or toxically insufficient heart, for the similarly calcium-depriving citrate does not cause the same actions.

It is worthy of remark that in the studies of Engel essentially larger doses (about 3-4th potency) of phosphates were necessary for the production of the functional increase than of phosphites. Correspondingly, that the poisonous doses of phosphates are still greater has been shown by the studies of Starkenstein. This study had given a complete parallelism of phosphoric acid (the ortho-pyro and metaphosphoric acid) or their alkaline salts with the other calcium-precipitating acids (oxalates, fluorides) in toxic action. Only the doses necessary vary, and likewise according to the method of administration. That it is concerned with a calcium precipitation in the intact animal and in single organs proceeds from the fact that the toxicity can be removed through calcium chloride injections or hindered by them. Also according to Staub, the depression of blood coagulation and the increase in temperature caused by the phosphates is common to all other calcium-precipitating salts and likewise conditioned through calcium deprivation. If one follows Staub in this regard so that the toxic action of phosphates depends upon an inactivation of calcium, then it is not said thereby that there are no other actions which are peculiar to the phosphate anion. Naturally, these will appear more in biologic actions, in actions approximating the physiologic.

Otto Leeser
Otto Leeser 1888 – 1964 MD, PHd was a German Jewish homeopath who had to leave Germany due to Nazi persecution during World War II, and he escaped to England via Holland.
Leeser, a Consultant Physician at the Stuttgart Homeopathic Hospital and a member of the German Central Society of Homeopathic Physicians, fled Germany in 1933 after being expelled by the German Medical Association. In England Otto Leeser joined the staff of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He returned to Germany in the 1950s to run the Robert Bosch Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart, but died shortly after.
Otto Leeser wrote Textbook of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Leesers Lehrbuch der Homöopathie, Actionsand Medicinal use of Snake Venoms, Solanaceae, The Contribution of Homeopathy to the Development of Medicine, Homeopathy and chemotherapy, and many articles submitted to The British Homeopathic Journal,