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Newsletter v1n20

Newsletter v1n20
Back Issues

"Health is the fastest growing failing business in western civilization." Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D. in Human Health and Homeostasis

The DOCTOR YOURSELF (SM) NEWSLETTER Vol 1, No 20 August 10, 2001 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written and copyright by Andrew Saul, PhD. of , a free online library of more than 220 natural healing articles with over 3,300 scientific references.


"The difference between getting mad and getting even is about 25 years, and I don't just mean in prison time." (Red Green, from PBS's The New Red Green Show)

The difference between staying well and getting well is also about 25 years. Well, maybe 35. When you are in your 20's, you can do almost anything to your body and get away with it. How many of us are walking proof of that. By the time you reach your 60's, you wish you'd done more to prevent the illnesses that you now face. There is still lots of hope. It's by no means too late when you are 60; it's just easier when you are 25.

And since we may well live far longer than we expect, it's still a wise investment to do all you can to get well at 60. "If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself," quipped Eubie Blake, composer of the Charleston Rag. He was over 100 years old when he said it.

As for me, I'm just a young'un. Even so, I began my life during Winston Churchill's last year as prime minister. When I started 5th grade, former president Herbert Hoover was still alive. Length of life is only part of the equation; quality of life is the rest of it. What is one without the other?

Long-lived silent movie actress Gloria Swanson was a bit of a health nut. She said: "If people want to kill themselves by eating the wrong things, that's up to them."

That is a bold but accurate statement. It is accurate because what you eat probably has more to do than any other single factor with how healthy you are. Even conventional nutrition researchers acknowledge this. It is also accurate because no one, and I mean no one, forces you to eat what you eat. Aside from infancy, our choice of what to eat is entirely a free one. You might say that the poor have no food choices, and I would have to allow that in truly desperate situations this may be so. But even the poor in America generally have the luxury of doing their own shopping. If you have only $45 a week (2001 dollars) to feed a family of four, it is tough, but I have personally done it. And the choices are remarkable clear: everyone gets to choose nutritious brown rice or worthless white; nutritious oatmeal or worthless sugar cereals; a few bottles of multivitamins, or to try to get your vitamin C from "Skittles" and "Kool-Aid."

It is remarkable how much we learn in school that we promptly forget. It is equally amazing how we are often never taught what we really need to know. Here's a well-kept secret: the less you spend on food, the healthier your diet is likely to be. Packaged, processed and pricey foods are the least nutritious. Read the label and marvel at the wonderful ways chemistry is used today. You can avoid those additives, save money and eat better by avoiding 95% of what is in a supermarket. Buy rice, beans, yogurt, fresh produce... and check out. I recently bought 20 one-pound cans of canned cooked beans for $5. And no, they were not ptomaine-for-lunch-bunch closeout specials; the freshness date was mid-2003.

My family of four spent about one-third of what most families pay to eat, and yes, that is adjusted for today's dollars. And I generally still spend under $20 weekly to feed myself.

And you are NOT going to waste away if you eat cheaply. Remember that the protein in dairy products is just as good as meat protein. And to side-step dairy, remember that any grain combined with any of the legumes (peas, beans and lentils) makes complete protein that is fully equivalent to that in meat or moo juice. Grain-and-bean protein is also much cheaper, and will provide lots of fiber and a larger assortment of vitamins than dead animal muscle.

Of course it is difficult to believe that you can be healthier and save money doing it. (In Washington, lawmakers seem to find this concept especially elusive!) An even bigger surprise awaits you: simple, real-food meals TASTE better as well.

CAFFEINE ALLERGY: Past Disorder or Present Epidemic? by Ruth Whalen, Medical Laboratory Technician

(Editor's note: Ms. Whalen writes: "Twenty years of idiopathic symptoms and misdiagnosis inspired me to research this. Hopefully others won't have to suffer as I did.")

Caffeine's stimulating properties mask its allergenic properties. Circulating adrenaline (epinephrine) increases in caffeine consuming persons (2,3). In its synthetic form, epinephrine is the drug of choice for anaphylactic reactions, halting the allergic response. But added to a stimulant such as caffeine, excess adrenaline may induce delusions. And the breakdown of some adrenaline byproducts mimics symptoms of schizophrenia (4).

Symptoms of cerebral allergy can range from minimal reactions, such as lack of comprehension and inability to focus, to severe psychotic states, such as delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations (6). Mentioned in a 1936 article by Drs. McManamy and Schube, a young woman, allergic to caffeine, presented with alternating states of delirium and mania, resembling schizophrenia (1). It's known that amphetamine psychosis can't be distinguished from schizophrenia (7,8).

Caffeine toxicity is known to cause excitement, agitation, restlessness, shifting states of consciousness, and toxic psychosis (10), mimicking amphetamine psychosis. Allergic individuals may be erroneously diagnosed, medicated, and lost in a dark disturbed world, until death.

Caffeine toxicity may be mistaken for bipolar disorder (1,12). Symptoms include: chattiness, repetitive thought and action (resembling obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD), restlessness, psychomotor agitation, alternating moods, anger, impulsiveness, aggression, omnipotence, delirium, buying sprees, lack of sexual inhibition, and loss of values.

Allergy can mimic Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (13). As far back as 1902, T. D. Crothers noted that many caffeine consuming children "exhibit precocity" and "functional exaltation" (14).

Toxicity may also masquerade as depression, and anxiety. In 1925, Powers described nervousness, visual problems, and dizziness, in patients suffering from caffeine toxicity (16). In 1974, caffeine toxic patients, experiencing the same symptoms, were erroneously admitted to a psychiatric hospital, for treatment of anxiety (16,17). In other studies, depression and anxiety are also correlated with caffeine intake (18,19,20,21).

In several reports, patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder experienced panic attacks with ingestion of caffeine (18,19,20). One study reveals that six persons improved with caffeine cessation and remained improved for at least six months (21). Other reports reveal that some persons not afflicted with panic disorder, experienced panic attacks with intravenously administered caffeine (22, 23).

One study theorized caffeine as a possible psychosis inducing agent. Researchers eliminated patients' caffeine for a short duration. It was decided that caffeine aggravates symptoms of thought disorder and psychosis (42).

Proportionate to toxicity, physical withdrawal from caffeine may take up to 12 months, or longer. Recovery symptoms include memory loss, confusion, tremors, agitated states, insomnia or somnolence, and nightmares associated with amphetamine withdrawal. Following physical recovery, residual mental symptoms, primarily confusion and mood alterations, may exist for several months.

Evidence suggests that caffeine and synthetic neurotransmitter altering medications merely balance one another, and that upon cessation of caffeine, medication is no longer needed. After experiencing a 10-year course of seasonal BPD, a woman eliminated caffeine from her diet. She no longer needed BPD medication (45).

Back in 1936, McManamy and Schube maintained that in all probability, many people of that era might have already been erroneously diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The doctors further predicted, that in the future, with lack of time, and proper medical insight, many doctors would not be able to diagnose simple disorders such as caffeine allergy, and would label many patients as psychotic (1).

Well, here we are. Welcome to the future.

Copyright 2001 © Ruth Whalen M.L.T., ASCP, BA. Reprinted with permission of the author.

The full text of Ms. Whalen's paper, complete with bibliography and all footnoted references, is posted at .

I would also like to add that high doses of vitamin C greatly ease and often eliminate the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Not consuming caffeine remains the best treatment.

DOCTOR YOURSELF WEBSITE OF THE MONTH, AND IT'S AN ODD CHOICE, I'LL ADMIT: Read all about how our valiant United States Post Office attacked those who sold dangerous, unproven, quack remedies through our mail system! Deadly nostrums like... are you ready?... Vitamin E!

Yes, vitamin E, that "cure in search of a disease," as medical wags of the time so liked to say. But that was 40 years ago. That very same vitamin E is now known to prevent, and reverse, cardiovascular disease. Extensive bibliography and articles on the subject may be found at with a site search from the top of the main page. You can start by telling your postman about these:

New England Journal of Medicine had two articles in the May 20, 1993 issue (Vol. 328, pp 1444- 1456), both of which clearly support vitamin E supplementation. Persons taking vitamin E supplements had an approximately 40% reduction in cardiovascular disease. Nearly 40,000 men and 87,000 women took part in the study. The more vitamin E they took, and the longer they took it, the less cardiovascular disease they experienced. Such effective quantities of vitamin E positively cannot be obtained from diet alone.

Stampfer, M.J., Hennekens, C.H., Manson, J., Colditz, G.A., Rosner, B. and Willett, W.C. (1993) Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary disease in women. New England Journal of Medicine. 328:1444-1449.

Rimm, E.B., Stampfer, M.J., Ascherio, A., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G.A. and Willett W.C. (1993) Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. New England Journal of Medicine 328:1450-1456.

WITHIN YOU, WITHOUT YOU (Editor's note: After having taught both environmental biology and clinical nutrition for some time, it has again and again occurred to me that our skin is a more or less arbitrary line between our external and internal environments. Life goes on both within you and without you, to quote George Harrison. Barry Saltanoff, M.D. has some comments on this idea:)

In fact, there is no "we" and "they". We interrelate with the whole natural world (indeed, the entire cosmos) through a pliable, reflective boundary. At that interface, we dance with "the other" as ourself. We really are one with the environment.

The principles of deep ecology describe the nature of a healthy practitioner-client relationship, and a way of being a physician that supports healthy living on earth. They can inspire us to a deeper calling, which I believe is our destiny as 21st century physicians: to be "gardeners" who cultivate practical change throughout our living planet.

This is the principle of non-interference: when in doubt, don't ....or look for a less invasive approach. (And remember: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!")

Whether the "patient" shows up as an out-of-control perennial garden or as a resistant case of hypertension, the "cure" may be in finding just the right balance between wildness and domestication. Do we read a high diastolic pressure as an aberration, to be eliminated or forced into submission by the chemical scythe of an antihypertensive? Or do we look for an alternative, and forge an alliance with nature's rhythms, apply a more gentle stroke? Do we use self-regulation via breathing, physical exercise, foods (such as garlic) and herbs (such as linden or mistletoe), or homeopathy, or the Bach flower essences?

Common sense is using our senses. We are coming to a time of coming to our senses, re-educating ourselves to see (hear, taste, smell) again, with increasing clarity. We'll be trusting more fully our capacity to discern what is right in front of us. With that clear vision of the present moment, we'll be able to diagnose more accurately, by complementing that objective view with a healthy dollop of intuition.

This way of seeing will naturally restrain us from abusing the living world. Navigating the 21st century will mean flowing much more gracefully in the confluence of technology and nature. We'll think twice before sending single-hulled oil tankers on a cruise too near to pristine beaches which are home to aquatic wildlife. By analogy, we'll be less likely to use potentially destructive therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy without adding safeguards, such as nutritional and herbal support.

In the '60s and '70s, Marshall McLuhan taught that "the medium is the message". In the '00s, we'll come to understand that "the environment is the cure."

The suffering patient is a work in progress. We are the assistants of the Great Sculptor. The bottom line is this: health is the natural expression of a thriving planetary community. It will take all of us together to build a vital community worldwide.

(Barry Sultanoff, Founding Member and former Board Member of the American Holistic Medical Association, was for many years a columnist for Holistic Medicine and East West Journal. He is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and is in private practice near Washington, D.C. His email address is

(The above article originally appeared in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, 911 Tyler Street, Pt. Townsend WA 98368. Telephone 360-385-6021. Reprinted with permission).


Here's a way you can reduce eyestrain for sure, and myopia possibly: exercise your eyes' extrinsic (outside) muscles. This is my personal adaptation of one of the Dr. Bates eye exercises (Bates, William: Better Eyesight Without Glasses, available via interlibrary loan).

Here goes: Cup your hands and gently press the palms over your eye sockets, without touching the eyes or eyelids themselves. Your fingers should be pointing out and upwards, towards your hairline, or where your hairline used to be. Now press your palms evenly inward, creating a uniform pressure all around the skull and muscles that enclose your eyes. Done right, it will feel as if you are wearing deep-sea diving goggles, and we all know exactly what THAT feels like, don't we.

As you press, "look" to the left. It will be dark, of course, but you can feel the eye muscles at work. Now "look" to the right. (Now stand up. Sit down. Fight, fight, fight. Just kidding! Say seated and relax.) Continue to press, and "look" up, then down. Repeat all four motions. Then repeat once more, and then again. Now easily remove your hands, slowly open your eyes, and wait a bit before you put your 'specks on again. How's that feel? Tension gone? Vision a tad sharper? Way to go! Try to do these exercises three times daily. And you can tell your friends you "palmed" another hint from the DOCTOR YOURSELF Newsletter!

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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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