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Newsletter v1n11

Newsletter v1n11
Back Issues

"Without health there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object." (Thomas Jefferson, 1787)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF (SM) NEWSLETTER Vol 1, No 11 March 30, 2001 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of , a free online library of more than 180 natural healing articles with over 2,500 scientific references.

THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENTS on last Newsletter's bean-boosting, cold-sore crushing, legume and lysine article. All we are saying is give peas a chance.


Do you remember when there wasn't even a name for what we now know as PMS? It wasn't that many years ago that doctors considered it to be all in a lady's head. Long before that, "hysterical" women were considered to have it all emanating from their uterus. The solution? Surgery to remove the uterus (and with it the "hysteria"), hence the "hysterectomy." Half a million hysterectomies are still performed annually, most of them medically unnecessary.

Even twenty years ago, I do not recall that there was much serious discussion about PMS. A lot of angry ladies changed that. Now TV adds discuss PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). What's a dysphoric? A person exhibiting dysphoria, of course. Now for the real answer: a person with anxiety, depression and restlessness. It is derived from the Greek word dusphoros , which (appropriately enough) means "hard to bear."

So now I've got dysphoria to read.(That was subtle, but did you get it? If you didn't, I'll get datphoria next Newsletter.) But seriously, folks:

Vitamin B-6 PMS/PMDD symptoms may indicate pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) deficiency, as they are greatly relieved by pyridoxine supplementation.

B-6 dosage to the tune of 500 mg daily is very safe. Probably tens of millions of women suffer PMS symptoms; only a very few cases of B - 6 overdose problems have been reported. Daily dosage over 2,000 mg has occasionally caused temporary nerological symptoms in some persons. But this only happens if pyridoxine is given alone, or way out of proportion to the other essential B-vitamins. Taking ALL the B vitamins together (as B-complex) is the safest and most effective therapeutic approach. When a balance is maintained, B-vitamin toxicity is virtually nonexistent. Is there a safe harbor? I think so. Use the entire B-complex, taken every two to three hours. Consider adding perhaps 50mg to 100 mg of pure pyridoxine to each dose if dysphoric symptoms are really awful.

You can get some (probably less than 5 mg) of B-6 from food, if you really like to eat whole grains, seeds and organ meats. A goodly slice of beef liver contains a whopping 1.22 mg of B-6. Other dead animals' parts contain less (turkey and chicken breasts are pretty good, but chicken liver is only 0.6 mg per serving), while most other foods ontain very little. Avocados (0.5 mg each) and bananas (0.7 each) lead the pyridoxine league for fruits. Potatoes (0.7 mg each) and nuts (especially filberts, peanuts and walnuts) are relatively good veggie sources.

The US RDA for B-6 is about 2 mg daily (and it is LOWER for women), and this is ridiculously inadequate. A strong case can be made for increasing this to at least 25 to 65 mg per day for people without PMS symptoms. But don't hold your breath for any raising of standards anytime soon. Consider that some research (the 1975 MRCA study, for starters) has shown that of children ages 2 through 12, 74% did not get the US RDA of B-6. That's pretty terrible, but it is worse for adults 19 and over: 99% got less than the US RDA of B-6. Does THAT ever explain the PMS problem in the USA!


(From Paul Mason This site offers many complete papers by the world's leading magnesium experts.)

Increasing dietary magnesium often decreases menstrual cramping as well as PMS. Calcium causes muscles to contract, while magnesium helps them to relax. Dietary calcium gives temporary relief of menstrual cramps. However, calcium also depletes the body of magnesium and ensures cramping will occur in the following month if magnesium is not replenished.

Magnesium is used by some doctors to treat mental stress. On the periodic table, magnesium appears near lithium. Lithium is often used to treat stress and related disorders. Magnesium is needed to shift calcium into and out of cells. Cells require a small amount of calcium, however too much calcium is a problem. Magnesium serves to regulate essential cellular minerals.

If you do not suffer from kidney disease, consider taking an oral daily dietary magnesium supplement. For generally healthy people the only known side effect from taking too much magnesium is diarrhea. Your body continuously discards excess magnesium through urine and feces.

The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium (Mg) is 350 mg (milligrams) per day for men and 280 mg/day for women. Most researchers studying hypomagnesemia (not enough Mg) are now convinced the RDA is insufficient to maintain an adequate amount of biologically available Mg for all body functions. Magnesium is necessary for normal functioning of over 300 enzymes that are present in your body. (Enzymes are chemical substances necessary for normal metabolism).

If you do not have enough available magnesium (magnesium deficiency), it slowly degrades your general health in a variety of ways. Magnesium deficiency is directly linked to heart disease. Moreover, because of the many ways your body employs magnesium, it plays a role in diabetes, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, kidney stones, migraine, leg and menstrual cramps, eclampsia, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, tetany, and a host of other problems.

Magnesium supplements are commonly available in 100 to 250 mg magnesium oxide (MgO) tablets or capsules. It's available without prescription at drug and health food stores everywhere. For women, try starting with 200 mg per day. Take the supplement with your largest meal. After 2 weeks increase your daily dose by a convenient increment, say, 100 or 125 mg. (Tablets are easily snapped in half). If frequent bowel movements or gas become a problem, reduce the amount and gradually increase again by spreading the dose over three meals.

Pre-menopausal women do not require as much Mg as men. 2.3 to 3.0 mg per pound of body weight per day is usually sufficient to maintain adequate magnesium in women. However, after menopause, women should increase the dose.


Also recommended: Seelig, Mildred (1980) Magnesium Deficiency In The Pathogenesis Of Disease. (Plenum, NY) Among the best works on this important subject.


I thank Connie, one of my many health-wise correspondents, for sharing this protocol that may help get rid of gallstones. She writes: "I've gotten some very helpful and valuable info from my sister who went through this problem a couple years ago. Here are some Gallbladder Dietary Guidelines that I'll share, in case you could use it to help someone else." I have edited and added to them.

Dietary Guidelines for Cholelithiasis or Biliary Colic

Basic principles:

If overweight, lose it.

Eat as little as possible; try a short fast.

Increase vitamin C-rich foods

Drink more fluids

Eat a low fat, high fiber dairy-free vegetarian diet

Especially Helpful Foods:

beets, carrots, artichokes, lemons, parsnips, dandelion greens, watercress, horseradish, mustard greens, water chestnuts, beet tops, barley, watermelon, grapefruit, radishes, apples, tomatoes, olive oil, celery, oat bran.

Herbs to look into:

Burdock Root, Walnut, Alfalfa, Ginger root, Catnip, Peppermint, Fennel

Fresh juices: Try combinations of carrot, radish, prune, black cherry, celery, beet, cucumber and parsley.

Avoid: alcohol, fried foods, fatty foods, rich foods, salty food, heavy protein foods, cow's milk and other dairy products, white bread and other refined foods, processed foods, sugar and sweets.

Especially Important Supplements:


Vitamin C

Vitamin D (what is in a good multiple vitamin is probably enough)

Vitamin E

Essential Fatty Acids, found in fish, green vegetables and in the next very important item: Lecithin granules (several spoonfuls daily)

Multiple Digestive Enzyme tablets each meal, and also with raw-veggie snacks.

Don't be a gallstone martyr: if you need medical care, see your doctor.

Reader's Question: "Can you talk about lactose intolerance?"

Sure can. First of all, you probably aren't, even if you've been told you are. The majority of supposedly lactose intolerant people are not, and can eat ice cream and small amounts of milk. (Williams, Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 6th ed, page 146). It is my understanding that the definitive medical test is the "breath hydrogen assay," which you can have your doctor arrange for you to have done. Only about one in three people initially diagnosed lactose intolerant will turn out to be truly so.

There are several ways to proceed here: first, just avoid milk products completely. Many people simply fare better without any dairy at all. Try for a couple of months and see if you are one of them. In his books, Abram Hoffer, M.D., writes how he did exactly this and how much better he's felt as a result: no more headaches. Dr. Benjamin Spock (yes, THE Doctor Spock) recommended against milk, even in growing (weaned) children. Milks contains lactose, which is digested by the enzyme lactase. Lactase production in humans decreases after age 5, and in other mammals not long after birth. A good argument for vegans, perhaps. Be sure you get enough calcium and other bone minerals from moo-less sources such as lots of fresh vegetables.

Chinese cabbage, or bok choi, is especially high in calcium. In fact, all "greens" are a great non-dairy source of calcium, and whole potatoes are surprisingly good as well. The fruit with the highest calcium content I know of is, believe it or not, the fig! Molasses and almonds are two other ways to bone up without abusing Bossy.

If you are really hooked on the white of the cow (and I confess that this includes me), try limiting yourself to yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses. These and other cultured milk products are very digestible. Speaking as a former dairyman (I milked over one hundred head twice a day), I will say that fluid milk is perhaps the least desirable dairy product of all, and is also the most likely form to provoke a reaction.

I personally speculate that lactose intolerance may be mostly the result of a poor colon bacteria environment, from eating too much of the wrong foods, or even too much of the right foods. More on this as you meet Roy Walford, M.D., later in this newsletter.


Ramig, V. B. Make your own yogurt. Mother Earth News Health, Nutrition and Fitness, No. 11

Rowell, D. What acidophilus does. Let's Live, July 1983

Sandine, W. E. Roles of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in human health. Contemporary Nutrition, 15:1, 1990

Savaiano and Levitt Nutritional and therapeutic aspects of fermented dairy products. Contemporary Nutrition, 9:6, June, 1984

Sehnert, K. W. The Garden Within: Acidophillus-Candida Connection, Burlingame, CA: Health World, 1989

DO ANTIBIOTICS WORK? Often, sure. But at what cost in side effects, gross overprescription, and resultant encouragement of disease-resistant "superbacteria"? There may be a time to use an antibiotic. But that time is not right off the bat. Other, safer modalities should be tried first, and tried correctly. Just with aggressive use of sufficient vitamin C, the nation's need for antibiotics would plummet. ( )

BOOK REVIEW: Walford, Roy L. Maximum Life Span. NY: W. W. Norton, 1983. (ISBN 0-393-01649-8) 202 pages, plus two appendices, bibliography, and index.

"It's already possible to live to be well over 120 years if you start young, and take the necessary (albeit exceedingly stringent) measures. In my own laboratory at UCLA Medical Center, we have extended the maximum life span of fish by 300 percent." This is the voice of Roy Walford, M.D., who insists that we can live longer than we expect -- much longer -- but it "can only be done by slowing down our actual rate of biological aging." And he has a very specific prescription to do it: eat less food.

So who is this guy? Hang on; he's a real scientist, and the author of five books, one of which is The Immunologic Theory of Aging. Dr. Walford has been on the medical faculty of UCLA for over 30 years, and is a member of the NAS Committee on Aging. He has received shelves full of awards, including the American Aging Association Research Award, the Kleemeir Award of the Geriontological Society, and the Henderson Award of the American Geriatrics Society. The doctor is an acknowledged heavyweight in the field of aging research.

He knows a lot about nutrition and dieting, too. In this book, he has a lot to say about various popular diets including the Atkins, Scarsdale and Pritikin. As Dr. Walford concisely reviews decades of research on aging, he makes it not only painless but downright interesting to read. He has traveled all over the world, and tells a great story (in fact, a lot of great stories), usually with an imbedded anti-aging lesson. He has a wonderful sense of history, and his enthusiasm and wit is everywhere evident in his writing.

Dr. Walford, while calling death the ultimate "crime against consciousness," also tells us that "Sponges do not age. Nor do sea anemones." Not a lot of consciousness there, admittedly. He has tripled the lifespan of fish (who cares?) and greatly extended the lifespan of mice, rats and some assorted microscopic critters (again, who cares?). Well, I do, for one. I at least want to know how he did it. I do have an aquarium full of moderately rare fish.

So here is the plan: you keep the animals hungry. Dr Walford's research found that systematic underfeeding leads to longer lives in pets. And, he submits, it will do the same for people. He calls it "intermittent fasting." You eat every other day, or eat less every day. Another Walford phrase is "undernutrition without malnutrition." The author wisely states that this is one reason that choosing nutritious foods and taking vitamin supplements are essential, but his recommendations go far beyond recreating equivalencies for the Five Food Groups. For example, Dr Walford daily supplements his diet with 1,600 mg of Vitamin C (over 2000% of the RDA) and a very substantial 600 IU of Vitamin E (over 3000 % of the RDA). With modest understatement, he explains "We shall not get far unless we are bold enough to part company with the Food and Drug Administration, the nutrition moguls of the National Academy of Sciences, and many experts occupying academic chaise lounges, because we must in some instances considerably exceed a sacred quantity, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)."

This is an especially keen declaration, since Walford is himself a member of the National Academy of Sciences. I do like this man's style.

Furthermore, if normal life expectancies are to be believed, my life is already more than half over. This whole topic becomes ever more vital as our years click by. "The 90-year-old man of the future will have the physical vigor of the 50-year-old man of today," says Walford. He has my full attention now, for most of us are generally going in the wrong direction: we systematically over- eat. Obesity is an epidemic, and population-wide weight statistics bear this out unmistakably. In the USA, at least half of us are overfat.

But on the other hand, hasn't modern medical science extended our lives? Well, yes and no. Our average life expectancy has increased, but maximum life span has not. There have always been a small number of people living to 110 or so, and it is largely unchanged today. Honest documentation of old age has been historically hard to come by. The confirmed leader in modern times appears to be Fanny Thomas (no relation to Danny, a short-lived smoker). Fanny is certified to have lived to be 113, "attributing her longevity to the fact that she ate applesauce three times a day and never married."

Interestingly, Walford torpedoes a common myth: "It's probably not true that women age more slowly than men, because there's no difference in maximum life span between the sexes." Where lifestyles are equal, men live as long as women. So you can do what Fanny did. And maybe even if you are a man ... and married, perhaps... and have only a moderate passion for applesauce.

Dr Walford provides dozens of references to back up his statements. Maximum Life Span is appropriately illustrated, very well organized and indexed, and is complete with food tables and the doctor's own recipes and diet plans. I also like the map of downtown Washington, D.C., showing the locations of no fewer than 64 food lobbyist's offices... all within a few blocks of the White House.

But mostly I like Dr. Walford's utterly unapologetic attitude that death is to be beaten back for a good solid 120 years (that's about 40 years longer than most people expect to live, Dr Jack Kevorkian notwithstanding). I also like Dr Walford's expressed appreciation for Nobel prize winners Linus Pauling and Roger J. Williams, both of whom publicly advocated vitamin supplementation for decades, and both of whom, perhaps not so coincidentally, lived into their middle 90's.

I am pleased that Dr. Walford openly proclaims that he takes megadoses of supplemental nutrients. Every medical doctor making such an admission helps patients the world over. But the real key to Dr. Walford's plan is what you don't do: eat. Aye, there's the rub, for how many people would just as soon eat now and die young than sacrifice the joys of pigging out for a mere 40 extra years of existence?

DoctorYourself Recommended WEBSITE OF THE MONTH: You are going to love Habib's 500 Natural Hygeine links all gathered together for you at It's enough to make you want to make a road trip to the nearest salad bar!

Today's Reason to Become (More of) a Vegetarian: Mad cow disease. Ever hear of "mad vegetable disease"? 'Nuff said.

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