"He who lives by rule and wholesome diet is a physician to himself." Concise Directions on the Nature of our Common Food so far as it tends to Promote or Injure Health. (Published by Swords of London: 1790, p 7)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF (SM) NEWSLETTER Vol 1, No 17 June 24, 2001 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of http://www.doctoryourself.com , a free online library of more than 200 natural healing articles with over 3,000 scientific references.
HEARD ANYTHING BAD ABOUT VITAMIN C LATELY? If you haven't, you've been away visiting your relatives on Neptune for too long. For nearly three decades, I have seen that, like all other fashions, vitamin-bashing goes "in" and "out" of style. Lately it has (again) been open season on Linus Pauling, the world's most qualified, and most vocal, critic of our scorbutic (vitamin C deficient) medical system. Pauling's two unshared Nobel prizes (he is the only person in history with that distinction) are no protection from ignorant critics who slam vitamin C without considering some basic biochemistry first. May I offer the following C-boosting facts:
1. Medical and nutritional authorities have always said that there is no difference whatsoever between natural and synthetic vitamin C. But the recent junk-science reports study panning vitamin C invariably include the comment that only vitamin C supplements are the problem, not vitamin C from foods. You can't have it both ways.
2. Vitamin C is the body's most important water-soluble antioxidant. It protects our cells from cancer-causing free-radical damage. In our stress- and pollution-filled environment, why are people being warned off the very substance that they need most?
3. If vitamin C "harms" DNA, why do most animals make (not eat, but MAKE) between 2,000 and 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C per human equivalent body weight per day? Evolution would never so favor anything that harms vital genetic material. White blood cells and male reproductive fluids contain unusually high quantities of ascorbate. Living, reproducing systems LOVE vitamin C.
4. Why all the flurry of anti-vitamin reporting? Easy: 100 MILLION Americans take vitamin C every day. This is therefore primarily a political issue, not a scientific issue. What would happen if everybody took ample supplements of all the vitamins? Doctors and hospital administrators and pharmaceutical salespeople would all be lining up for their unemployment checks, that's what.
I listed TEN WAYS TO SPOT ANTI-VITAMIN BIAS IN A SCIENTIFIC STUDY in my Doctor Yourself Newsletter EXTRA sent out on June 15 (This article is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/antivitamin.html ). Linus Pauling's complete vitamin and nutrition bibliography is posted at http://doctoryourself.com/biblio_pauling/html
VITAMIN C: WHO NEEDS IT?
Our national disease-care system (for it is certainly not a HEALTH care system) depends on sickness. This is neither a new problem nor an uniquely American problem, for even the ancient Vedas say that "the carpenter desires timber; the physician, disease."
More recent critics come from within the medical profession itself. One is Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin (formerly Chairman of the Department of Oral Medicine, University of Alabama Medical School). My favorite saying of his is, "Health is the biggest failing business in America." Dr. Cheraskin has a lot to say about the safety and effectiveness of large doses of ascorbate in The Vitamin C Connection (reviewed in a previous Newsletter) and now in Vitamin C: Who Needs It?, the most complete recent summation of vitamin C's role in medicine that I have seen.
When a long-time professor, holding doctorates in both dentistry and medicine, speaks up on the value of vitamin C megadoses, you know that it is time to tell the world. Dr. Cheraskin has been researching vitamin C for fifty years. He has hundreds of scientific publications to his credit (the complete bibliography is posted at http://doctoryourself.com/biblio_cheraskin.html ) Dr. Cheraskin elegantly but insistently challenges not only our altogether-inadequate US RDAs, but also our national obsession with the germ theory. "It is time to lay to rest the notion that germs jump into people and cause diseases," he writes (p 71). Here is a physician who fully appreciates the value of vitamins. Truly adequate nutrition prevents, and cures, real illnesses.
One of his strengths as an author is that he can walk you through study after study without boring you in the least. Dr. Cheraskin writes directly to you. It is both his sense of humor and exemplary competence in the field of therapeutic nutrition that make Dr. Cheraskin's books so interesting, and important, to readers.
How important? Vitamin C: Who Needs It concisely reviews dozens of medical studies in under 200 pages. 22 pages of references are provided. Vitamin C's role on diabetes, oral health, fertility, cancer, cardiovascular disease and life extension receive special emphasis. I am yet to meet a vitamin critic that shows any evidence of having read this research. Well, they can start now.
Next time someone tries to tell you that you are "harming" your body or "wasting" your money on extra vitamin C, tell them that Doctor Cheraskin sent you.
Vitamin C: Who Needs It by Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D. Birmingham, AL: Arlington Press,1993 ISBN: 0-944353-04-5 (195 pages plus glossary, index, and references)
"Is honey safe for little children? I am especially concerned about bacterial contamination."
I raised my kids on raw, unprocessed honey. I think the pasteurized, filtered, see-right-through-them store varieties are not worth buying. Commercially processed honey sometimes has a thin layer of water under the lid, on top of the product. This can support bacterial growth. I have never found this with raw honey, though. It stays naturally fresh and pure, just the way the bees made it. Honey from the comb is better still. I am told that untouched comb honey found in Egyptian tombs was still fresh and edible after over two thousand years.
YOU CAN BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR
The purpose of this newsletter is to help you towards becoming your own doctor. This is neither impossible nor illegal, and is more and more essential all the time. It's not impossible, for you can go to any book or paper in print, read it, apply it, and draw practical conclusions from it. What you will read is just what any physician reads. In fact, you may discover material that your doctor never saw, or did see and never investigated. With a good bibliography, an inquiring mind, and gradual experience, there is no reason why you cannot become fully competent to treat yourself and your immediate family in the vast majority of instances.
How can one say this? Aren't doctors the ones for this duty; isn't it their special province to be the formally educated authorities on health? Commonly, yes: but a doctor's authority in America often exceeds his or her knowledge. Whole bodies of knowledge in healing are ignored because they are unorthodox and non-medical. A doctor's education seems exhaustive, yet M.D.'s study so much of drugs and surgery, and so little of nutrition, fasting, herbal remedies, spinal manipulation, massage, vitamin and mineral therapy, homeopathic remedies and more that we realize their qualifications are only partial. This takes nothing away from their dedication as individuals, but being individuals they are prone to following certain theories over other theories, particular practices over other alternatives, and holding opinions as well as facts. This is true with any person, certainly, but it is our responsibility to cover all possible ground in our efforts to cure and prevent illness. If we learn more than the doctor in areas of value to our health, it is our duty to apply this knowledge to the betterment of ourselves and our family. We need total health more than medically approved health. Our wellness should not be limited to our doctor's experience, but enhanced by our own experience.
Indeed, whose judgment is final for your health and life? Why not have you decide? This seems an awesome responsibility, yet we do it every day. Any mother or father, adult or child constantly makes the most immediate health decisions as the occasion arises. The cut, the cold, the fever, the ache: all these and the serious emergencies too are in our hands first.
This is the pivotal point: major traumatic injury aside, it is not generally necessary for us to turn over the responsibility for our wellness to another. The pioneers in this country couldn't, and evidence is mounting that we, today, shouldn't
"Over a million patients are injured in hospitals each year, and approximately 280,000 die annually as a result of these injuries. Therefore, the iatrogenic (doctor-caused) injury rate dwarfs the annual automobile accident mortality of 45,000 and accounts for more deaths than all other accidents combined." (JAMA, July 5, 1995, 274:29-34.)
You can picture this death rate: it is about equal to three loaded jumbo jets crashing and killing everyone aboard every two days.
Can we do better? Quite possibly. It is becoming increasingly obvious that medical emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks do not just happen, but are mostly the result of unhealthful, long-term lifestyle choices. Almost all health providers agree that good preventive care must start at home. The dispute arises over where to draw the self-care line. It is a big jump from eating less fat to, say, curing pneumonia with 20,000 milligrams of vitamin C an hour, but both can be done.
Editor's Addenda to Last Issue:
The correct spelling is Dr. Hans Nieper. I forgot the "I before E, except after C" rule again. Send your donations of dictionaries and spell checkers to me at the address at the bottom of this Newsletter.
And, that why-not-use-a-placebo reference from last issue is: About 90% of the patients who visit doctors have conditions that will either improve on their own or that are out of reach of modern medicine's ability to solve. (New England Journal of Medicine, Feb 7, 1991)
HOW TO BE (MORE OF) A VEGETARIAN
Try overkill, or what in our house we call "the power of wretched excess." If your child wants to eat meat, prepare some... and overcook it. If your child wants to eat hot dogs, buy the cheapest ones you can find... and let the kid eat them to the point of nausea. (Remember your first job in a bakery or ice cream parlor, and the owner said you can have all you want? Heh, heh!) Relentlessly serve nothing but meats for dinner, and lunch, and snacks, and breakfast. Take your child shopping, and pick out tripe, liver and tongue. Let them listen to a live lobster being steamed. Tour the meat packing room at your local supermarket. You probably won't be allowed to tour a slaughterhouse, but that would be the consummate therapeutic trauma. These are coarse techniques to be sure, but killing animals by the millions every day has got to stop. If our future is our children, let's tell them straight: meat means dead animals, and there is nothing pretty about it.
The Doctor Yourself Award for STEALTH FOOD Manufacturer of the Week goes to GENERAL MILLS, INC.
Good ol' CHEERIOS. I ate them when I was a kid, and you did too, I'll bet. Today, regular Cheerios are even better, as they are lower in sugar than in the old days. Of course they contain a lot more salt, but pobody's nerfect. And the other flavors of Cheerios (so-called "Honey" Nut, and "Apple" Cinnamon) have lots of sugar. And precious little honey or apple. But FLEA POWDER CHEERIOS are the flavor you probably have not heard about... even though you may have already tasted them back in 1994.
Yes, FLEA POWDER. The chemical chloro-pyrifos-ethyl (which also kills ticks and termites) was sprayed on oats used to make no less than 16 different General Mills, Inc. cereals. Not 16 boxes, but 16 varieties, amounting to 160 MILLION BOXES, including TRIX, BOOBERRY and LUCKY CHARMS ("Ooh, now look at what they 'ave in wit' me Lucky Charms: pink dead fleas, yellow dead ticks, and blue dead termites!")
Of course there are precious few insects in General Mills' cereals, because they check for them. But in 1994 General Mills (with annual sales of about 9 BILLION dollars) did NOT check for pesticide residues. L. Robert Lake, director of policy and planning in the Food Safety division of the FDA) said, "One of the things bothering us about the General Mills incident is it went on for an extended period of time, and they didn't know. It means they didn't have a good system for checking oats." (The Washington Post, August 21, 1994)
The Post continues, "By the time the company found out about the illegal spraying, 110 million boxes were on the shelves in grocery stores and consumers' homes." "People had already fed it to their children," said FDA's Mr. Lake.
So what happened next? A massive product recall? A series of Saturday morning cartoon-time TV announcements to not buy, and not eat Cheerios that you already bought? No such luck. "We didn't want to raise an alarm for no good reason and scare people, but we didn't want to fail to warn them either." said Dr. Lynn Goodman, assistant administrator for pesticides and toxic substances at the Environmental Protection Agency. Well, certainly no one was alarmed, for there was no recall at all. The Post continues, "The two government agencies decided not to press the company to recall the cereal. 'We were concerned that a recall would have been very disturbing to parents... We did not want to cause a public panic.' "
Well, THAT certainly makes me feel better!
General Mills now checks for pesticides. Good. But who checks General Mills? If a company can sell 110 million boxes of contaminated cereal, and nothing at all happens, what does this say about our government's real interest in food safety?
(The full text Washington Post article, expertly written by Sharon Walsh, appeared August 21, 1994. Your public librarian can get you a photocopy through interlibrary loan.
COMING NEXT ISSUE:
Okay! Okay! My New THYROID ARTICLE will be included, by readers' very insistent popular request.
PLUS: A First Aid Alternative to Stitches
Readers ask about Vitamin C and Arteries
(AND MORE, OF COURSE!)
Newsletter Ideas? To submit a question or suggest a topic for the newsletter, email me at doctoryourself.com/contact.html
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This newsletter is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision.
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