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Newsletter v2n16

Newsletter v2n16
Back Issues

"When we try to pick anything out by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." (John Muir)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER Vol 2, No 16, June 20, 2002 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of , a free online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000 scientific references.

BRONCHITIS: ANTIBIOTIC OR VITAMIN C? Years ago, one of my first "natural nutrition" talks was to a roomful of physicians at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, NY. It was actually going quite well, until I mentioned that vitamin C in quantity was a good cure for bronchitis. Then all hit the fan, so to speak.

But in May, 2002, the journal Lancet published a paper showing that azithromycin, an antibiotic commonly used against bronchitis, is no more effective than even LOW-dose vitamin C in treating the condition. And for those of us that have tried HIGH dose vitamin C, well, there was no contest from the start.

Antibiotics in general seem ineffective against acute bronchitis. The medical supposition is that perhaps this is because it is a viral disease, not a bacterial one. To a megadose vitamin C user such a distinction is academic. I once saw orthomolecular physician Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., ( ) on a national TV talk show. He said that disease names can be a waste of time. He prefers to classify illness by how much vitamin C it takes to cure them. Bronchitis, for example, is a 60-gram (per day) cold. Pneumonia would be a 120-gram cold.

Right on! More at

TEN WAYS TO DODGE A DERMATOLOGIST While in college, a friend of mind went to a dermatologist because he had a slight rash. The specialist told him it was dermatitis and issued him a nifty cream to put on it. The visit cost my buddy half a week's pay, and when he came to realize that dermatitis meant itchy skin, he went ballistic. You might be able to save some space in your checkbook, and maybe even some time in the waiting room, with a few of these ideas:

Shampoo less often. If you are troubled by simple but annoying scalp conditions, this is really worth a try before you drop the big bucks on a doctor. A physician I go to for once-a-decade physicals prescribed not one but TWO antibiotics (one topical, one oral) for a chronic scalp irritation. He also recommended a very expensive shampoo and said to use it often. Nuts to that; the condition went away when I simply stopped shampooing every day and went to just once a week.

Use less soap. Not none, but less! I am not suggesting that you become the poster person for vagrancy; just use less of what everybody knows dries out skin. You use soaps and detergents to dissolve grease and oil when you wash your clothes and clean your dishes. We all know that soaps and detergents cut grease. Right! They do the same to your skin, removing the natural moisture, oils and softness that no product can truly replace. A naturopath once told me that one should shower without soap, except for judicious application to personal areas that really need it.

Do not trust sun block. To avoid sunburn, wear loose, cool, comfy clothes instead. Simple, no? You'd be genuinely surprised just how many people still do not realize that the ozone layer is not what it was thirty years ago. More ultraviolet light (UV-B in particular) does in fact now reach us than it did a generation or two ago. You can avoid practically all basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer, simply by putting on some clothes. I like a nice tan as much as the next person, but you simply have to use common sense here. Look: if you were diagnosed even with relatively easy-to-cut-out skin cancer, wouldn't you do just anything to be able to go back and prevent it? Even wear a hat and a shady shirt? Well, now is the time to start.

Switch to more natural perfumes, soaps and deodorants. For this, you may need to stop by your local health food store. There really are many more natural, much more gentle alternatives to the cheap, caustic, common cosmetic chemicals that contribute to creams and other commercial creations' irritation of our skin! (Has the Pulitzer Prize in Alliteration been awarded yet?) I know two people who used to have numerous, small polyp-like growths on their neck and underarms. These were no more than slightly unsightly, yet they were hardly an improvement to the basic birthday suit. In each case, they went away when the one person stopped using anti-perspirant deodorants, and in the other case when the woman stopped putting perfume directly on her skin. Read the label; even some "natural" deodorants are not that natural. However, most are a big improvement for a small cash difference.

Build skin health from the inside out. To have healthy skin, grow it. Your skin is an organ, not exactly like your lungs or heart, but a lot more visible, and a lot bigger, too. Your skin is, in fact, your body's largest organ. Eat more FIBER; try a VEGETARIAN DIET; and how about a few days JUICE FASTING? See for yourself if a healthy inside equals a healthy outside.

CHOCOLATE: Stop eating it. It is no myth but a matter of observable fact that if you eat a good bit of chocolate, your skin will break out. If you cut out the chocolate, your skin will likely improve. Part of this is due to dietary fat; part is due to chocolate itself. Try and see. Hershey's common stock will do well enough without your help.

Use less skin and hair glop. You'll save a pile of cash, and if you follow the suggestions above, you won't need all that the stuff anyway. I remember a neat "Nancy" cartoon where she bathed and showered and dried her hair, then covered it with all the sprays, gels, mousses and what have you. She looked in a mirror, realized how yucky her chemical hair was, and went back into the tub to wash it off all over again. Okay, it wasn't the most hilarious cartoon I've ever seen (that, of course, would be the "Far Side" take on "the real reason dinosaurs became extinct"). But the point was made nonetheless.

Take your vitamins. Your skin loves vitamin E (internally and externally), the B-complex vitamins, and assorted other nutrients that modern diets so often lack.

Eat more lecithin. Lecithin contains linoleic and linolenic acid, the absolutely essential fractions of dietary fat. As adult Americans try to reduce their fat intake (generally a good idea), no one has told them that they may thereby be creating a fatty acid deficiency. Since the US government and most dietitians just cannot own up to the necessity of food supplements, we had better consider them ourselves. The irritable-skin, dry-skin, broken-skin consequences of long-term linoleic and especially linolenic acid deficiency are probably very common. I eliminated my own psoriasis-like skin problem with just a few days supplementation of three tablespoons of lecithin per day. A few TBL per week keeps it away. No dermatologist needed. More on psoriasis at and

Reduce stress. A personal observation: I was under high stress at one job for about four years, and I noticed four things: 1) my hair got gray; 2) my hair started to come out in the comb; 3) when I started taking more vitamins, the hair stopped coming out; and 4) when I started doing the work I love, my hair stopped graying. In my opinion, I am less gray than I was in 1989. You can look at my unretouched photo on my website's main page, marvel at my toupee, guess my age, and email me your answer. The winner will receive absolutely nothing. I am kidding about the toupee; it's all natural.

NEW BOOKS about MAX GERSON, M.D. and EVAN SHUTE, M.D. My new reviews of Evan Shute's "The Vitamin E Story" and Howard Straus' biography of Dr. Max Gerson will appear in the Second Quarter issue of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 17, No 2, due to be published in two weeks. Single copies or subscriptions may be purchased from JOM at 16 Florence Ave., Toronto, Ontario Canada M2N 1E9.

ART NEWS: Over forty new paintings and drawings have been posted at the DoctorYourself Free Art Gallery, , bringing the total to over 100.

READERS ASK: "When one travels by air, what is the smartest way to carry vitamins? Do the x-rays, irradiation (or what have you) make it unwise to take them with one on an air journey?"

Not taking vitamins with you is what is really unwise. Vitamins ease jet lag, travel stress, and maybe, possibly, perhaps, even the effects of airline food. Airport security is a fact of life, and a good one. Years ago, I boarded a plane in Ghana, West Africa and there was no security check whatsoever. Not cool. X-rays probably do not effect supplements even as much as light or water or high heat. Food irradiation may destroy vitamins, but that is different from and much more intense than anything they'd zap with at an airline terminal.

Still, there a few pointers that may help get you and your supplements through the gate without a fuss.

1) Carry all supplements in their original bottles, preferably sealed and unopened. You do not look much like a smuggler that way. Carry your store receipt right with them.

2) ALWAYS get a "note from your doctor," typed on your doctor's most impressive letterhead, and have it on you. Usually, this note merely has to say, "My patient, (insert name here), takes vitamins. Please call my office if there are any questions. Signed, Dr. So-And-So." This can really help streamline the Customs experience.

3) If you are traveling to any of the growing number of countries where supplements are not available for sale without a prescription, it would be best if the above note were written out as a formal prescription by your doctor. Ask. The worst he can say is no. Then, you can threaten to call your doctor at 3 AM from Katmandu when you get sick. (I do not maintain a database of which countries allow which vitamins. Your public library or travel agent can provide such information if you ask them nicely.)

4) If you are accustomed to taking vitamin C as in the crystalline form, you will have to forego the pleasure while you are on the road. There is something understandably suspicious about people carrying a few pounds of white powder in their suitcases. Travel with tablets.

5) Put yourself in the Customs officer's position. Make it easy for them to pass you through. Your own suggestions and experiences are welcome at .

HOW TO AVOID PESTICIDES Real-world people shop at supermarkets, and real-world affordable fruits and vegetables contain pesticide residues. Not everybody can buy organic; not everybody is a gardener. Here are easy and effective ways to reduce your chemical consumption.

Rule number one: Wash your fruits like you wash your hands: "Use soap, Jimmy!" Mom and Dad were right: just running your mitts or your munchies under tap water does little to remove oily grime. Agricultural pesticides do not come off in water, either. If they did, farmers would have to apply them after each rain or even a heavy dew. That would be both labor-intensive and expensive. So petrochemical companies make pesticides with chemical "stickers" that are insoluble in water. They do their job and stay on the fruit, rain or shine.

Soap, or detergent, is more effective in removing pesticide residues than you think. You can prove this for yourself. Take a big bunch of red or green grapes, and place them, with a squirt of dishwashing detergent, in a large bowl or pan of water. Mix the detergent in thoroughly, and swish the grapes around for a minute. Carefully watch the water. You will see evidence that detergent works. If you do not think that that stuff is pesticide residue, try another bowl of grapes in water without detergent, and try another bowl of organically-grown grapes in water WITH detergent. Seein' is believin.'

It is necessary to rinse detergent-washed fruits before eating, of course, but that is hardly a burden. Rinse until the water is clear. When you handle the detergent-washed fruit, you will also notice that it feels different, too. We are so used to fruit with chemical coatings on it that when we touch truly clean fruit, it's a new tactile experience. Go ahead, try it. Nobody's looking.

Whatever benefits they may confer on the tree, pesticides do you no good in your gut. Children may consume disproportionally large amounts of pesticides because kids eat a lot of fruit relative to their body weight. For parents, there is a measure of comfort in knowing that their kid's chemical intake has been minimized.

In my opinion, newly detergent-washed fruit does not keep very well. The former petrochemical coating probably served as a moisture barrier and even an oxidation barrier. No worries: you only wash as much as you are going to eat.

In case you think I am taking too easy-going a view on chemical farming, I would like to point out that I am an avid organic gardener. I also advocate purchasing chemical-free foods whenever possible, including organically-grown produce. It costs more to buy organic, but, if you can afford it, it is probably money well spent. Home gardening, on the other hand, is an incredibly cheap alternative. All those stories that you hear about a thirty-dollar investment in seed and fertilizer yielding several hundred dollars worth of fresh food are literally true. If you think I'm more full of fertilizer than my garden is, I recommend that you try it and see. For starters, you could try leaf lettuce, zucchini squash, cucumbers, bush green beans, and a dozen tomato plants. You will soon be supplying half the neighborhood.

A cheap organic gardening hint: none of the veggies I just mentioned require ANY pesticides to grow well.

Another cheapskate hint: save those potatoes that are "no good" because they've sprouted "eyes." Don't throw them away; plant them. The "eyes" are indeed sprouts, each of which will grow into an entire potato plant bearing several, or even many, spuds. Cut the 'tater up and plant each piece a sprout on it. No pesticides needed here, either. I currently have a garden full of potatoes, all free, growing from last year's cast-offs.

Pesticides are bug poisons. It is hard to kill an insect. I distinctly recall flea powdering my Basset hound, an activity I performed frequently. I'd dust that dog so well that he looked like one of the Three Stooges with a sack of four poured on him. There would be heaps of flea powder in the dog's nooks and crannies, and I watched fleas walk and even tunnel through piles of poison powder without ill effect. Bugs are tough little stinkers, all right. And you eat the stuff they try to kill them with. Delish!

So, as it takes a lot of spray to stop a hungry bug, it takes at least a little detergent to remove the spray. Or, you could insist on no sprays, and risk more bugs. Would you buy such produce? No? Then we need to be honest, admit it, and be willing to clean the fruit effectively.

Many fruits and vegetables are not merely sprayed, but are waxed as well. So-called "food grade" waxes improve shelf life, appearance, and coat over and lock in any previously applied pesticides. This poses a problem, for waxes do not readily dissolve in detergent solution. You might find a product or two on the market that is certified to remove waxes from fruits. The other alternative is to simply peel them. Frequently waxed fruits include apples, pears, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and even tomatoes are generally waxed. The lack of a high gloss is not proof positive that a fruit is unwaxed: many waxes, like many types of floor polyurethane or spray varnish, are not at all shiny. One way to tell if a fruit or vegetable is waxed is to run your fingernail over it and see if you can scrape anything off. Another way is to read the label and see if the produce is waxed. This may require a trip in back to the warehouse to see the carton that the produce came in. Rotsa' ruck on that.

A peeler costs under a buck, and effectively removes wax. A squirt of dish detergent costs a few cents.

AND REMEMBER: Cantaloupe: Pop's got the ladder.

For more of my sordid gardening adventures, you might enjoy

HICCUPS When I was kid, Mom told me about the time a Pope had the hiccups for over a week. A whole bevy of medical specialists were called in to help, but couldn't.

Over the years, that image really has somehow stuck with me.

Hence this next, quite nondenominational, item:

Even at the risk of bending the Medical Practice Act, I just had to include this oldie but goodie. I got this hiccup ("hiccough", for you proper folks) cure from my outlaws, er.., inlaws, and it is as effective in practice as it is ridiculous in description.

To cure ordinary hiccups, you do the following: Drink out of the far-side rim of a glass. It may also be described as "drink out of a glass upside down,'' although you aren't really upside down. It looks weird enough without that, but this is why bathrooms have doors.

My experience has been that it takes a full cup of water and about thirty seconds of this type of sipping for the hiccup reflex to cease. It has never failed me. (Mag. Phos. 6x, a Schuessler Cell Salt in homeopathic potency, is also effective against hiccups as reported in Dr. Schuessler's Biochemistry, by J.B. Chapman, M.D. More on cell salt therapy is posted at .)

A probable explanation for the success of the drinking out-of-the-other-side-of-a-glass technique is that your bending-over posture and your concentration on performing such an unusual feat serves to restrict the spasmodic inhalation characteristic of hiccups. The act of drinking itself might create new nerve messages to displace the hiccup reflex, calming the glottis and diaphragm. At any rate, it works.

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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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