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Cetyl Myristoleate: Who Discovered It

Updated on April 19, 2010

Who Discovered Cetyl Mryistoleate

Who First Discovered It?

Dr. Harry W. Diehl.  Dr. Diehl was employed by the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases. He was responsible for identifying and characterizing over 500 compounds, several of which were patented by the NIH.

His motivation to discover a way to help victims of arthritis began over 50 years ago when a friend, developed a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and eventually became disabled.

Watching his long time neighbor and friend become crippled, Dr. Diehl embarked on a quest to find the reason and relieve the discomfort.


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Working on his own in his spare time, Diehl did his own experiments,  as cruel as it sounds, on mice. Unable to infect arthritis into mice, Diehl's research instincts told him that mice held the answers he was searching for.

Finally he found the factor - cetyl myristoleate, a member of the Omega 3 family of fatty acids.  It was something that mice had that people didn’t. 

This Omega-3, cetyl myristoleate, is an oil, is the hexadecyl ester of the unsaturated fatty acid cis-9-tetradecenoic acid. Diehl patented his discovery of cetyl myristoleate use for rheumatoid arthritis in 1977.

To prove his theory that mice are immune to arthritis because of this compound, Diehl and a colleague at NIH began to experiment on laboratory rats. Their research was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Diehl sought pharmaceutical companies to develop and market this newly proven compound, but because it was a natural substance and not a drug, none were interested.

Being a scientist, not a marketer, Diehl let his discovery lay dormant for about 15 years.

Osteo Arthritis


As Diehl got older, he began to experience osteoarthritis in his hands, his knees, and his heels. This is a form of arthritis that is general caused from an old injury or simply overuse of the joints.  Something linked to old age.

Dr. Diehl’s personal doctor tried the usual regimen of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone without much effect.

Out of curiosity and desperation, Dr. Diehl decided to try out cetyl myristoleate on his own form of arthritis.  He injected CM into his knee.

And it worked.  He was successfully treated and found relief from his own osteoarthritis.

Extremely impressed, Diehl’s doctor encouraged him to publish his findings and make it available to others.

After this was the time, CM was refined and introduced as a supplement instead of an injection.

In 1991 the commercial marketing of cetyl myristoleate began as a dietary supplement.

But again, Dr. Harry W. Diehl was no salesman, and the discovery went virtually unnoticed by the general public.


In 1994, the San Diego Clinic picked up the torch.

Their research staff did the first clinical study on cetyl myristoleate (CM or CMO). In it they proved that this Omega 3 Fatty Acid was of great benefit to osteo, rheumatoid, and reactive arthritis.

It proved helpful to nearly all forms of arthritis ---except gouty arthritis.

In Nevada December 1995, at the National Medical Conference on Aging, cetyl myristoleate was introduced to the medical community

Five doctors afflicted with a variety of arthritis conditions tried CM at the conference

Within three days, all five doctors responded successfully

The results are that hundreds of doctors began treating with CM on their arthritis patients.

It wasn’t until 2000 that more scientific studies were done, proving the effectiveness of CM in combination with other Essential Fatty Acids. 

Through double blind, placebo, controlled studies, documentation showed improvement in range of motion and overall function of patients with ostoearthritis.  And concluded that CM in combination with other EFAs "...may be an alternative to the use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs for the treatment of OA." Journal of Rheumatology. 2002;29:1708-12

Development of CM Continued

Research continued and a CM topical cream was introduced.  It’s relief was felt in as little as 30 minutes, but not as long lasting.

 Double blind, placebo, controlled studies, were again performed and confirmed the use of a topical CM complex cream as "effective treatment for improving range of motion and ability to ascend/descend stairs, ability to rise from sitting, walk and sit down, and unilateral balance." 

The Summary of this study states:

"Considering the increasing incidence of OA in the elderly population, pain-reducting medications such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), and COX-2 inhibitors have been common treatments. However, prolonged intake of NSAID increases the risk of gastrointestinal side effects and renal toxicity, and may inhibit synthesis of cartilage matrix. There is a need for alternative products that benefit patients with OA without harmful side effects." (J Rheumatol 2004;31-767-74)


Although Dr. Dielh first patented cetyl myristoliate for rheumatoid arthritis, these studies were done on patients with Osteoarthritis.

Dr. Dielh's mode for administering CMO was injection into the swollen joint. These studies proved along with the San Diago Clinic studies, the effectiveness of pills and creams.

This Omega 3 CMO fatty acid CM Complex may provide an alternative to NSAIDs and their side effects.


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