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Newsletter v2n18

Newsletter v2n18
Back Issues

"All my possessions for a moment of time." (The dying words of Queen Elizabeth I, 1603)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 2, No 18) July 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.

CORRECTIVE NUTRITION I used to teach college courses in jail. No, not as an inmate. As an adjunct professor.

Prisons are awful places. First of all, they smell. As in floating prison hulks three hundred years ago, little has changed: you still have the fundamental and repugnant problem of packing as many as possible into the space available. The "keep the lid on the garbage can" theory serves the public to be sure. First of all, what else are you going to do? There are more Americans incarcerated per capita than in any other Westernized country on earth. Pack 'em in, and push the lid down harder, of course. After all, the argument goes, what do we care about their living conditions? They get three squares a day, clean sheets and a roof over their head for free. Perhaps they are lucky we didn't take Marge Simpson's grandfather's advice and just "shoot 'em all, and let God sort 'em out."

With well over half a million Americans behind bars, and even with more prisons being built literally every day, serious overcrowding continues. I am not pouring out my heart asking for more money for more compassionate prisons. The state is doing us a real favor putting most of these characters away. I've seen it all close up.

Let me tell you that the most frightening man I have ever seen was not on a movie or TV screen. He was an inmate at the medium-security prison where I was teaching in 1991. Like most of my students (I called them my "captive audience") he really didn't belong in a college science class. Not that he, or the others, were a discipline problem, because they usually weren't. He had simply never had a single high school science class, the most basic prerequisite for even my simplified, no-lab freshman biology course. (There were no lab classes because inmates could make too many weapons out of the apparatus.)

So, this big guy struggled with the material, nose down to his book, week after week. It occasionally crossed my mind that it might be good for the whole inmate population if this man passed the course. It occasionally crossed my mind that it might be good for me if this man passed the course.

During one class, I was lecturing on human nutrition. I mentioned foods that are especially wholesome, such as beans, whole grain bread, wheat germ and such. To spark class interest, I asked what foods the prisoners were fed. White bread, meat, potatoes and sugar was the general consensus.

"What about vitamin supplements?" I asked

This really got them going.

"No. They never give 'em to us," came the reply. "Got to buy them yourself, at the commissary store. They just got, like, "One-a-Day" multiple vitamin pills there. Gotta buy them with your own money."

No doubt with the bountiful proceeds from the license plate business.

I mentioned that a multiple vitamin each day would be a really good idea for every inmate. They listened. I said that, really, two a day would be even better; one at breakfast and one at lunch. They listened even more intently. They were either planning to break out with this information, or they really cared about their health.

It is somewhat surprising that the State does not give inmates a cheap daily nutritional supplement. It would save money in health care expenses, thereby making the taxpayers happy to spend the three or four cents extra per person per day. I kid you not: you can still find a daily multivitamin at Wal-Mart for this price.

Nothing doing. Politicians and public don't want anything to do with an idea like that. It is a familiar argument: "Why should convicted felons get free vitamins? I work hard to make an honest living and I have to buy them."

Weigh in this fact before you respond to this idea:

At least one in four inmates in New York State prisons tests positive for tuberculosis.

These are often multi-drug resistant strains of TB at that. One of my college students outside the Big House was a prison nurse. Did she ever fill us in. In some correctional facilities, the tuberculosis rate is nearly one in two.

If you want to let prisoners infect each other and die, and if you consider that punishment to fit their many crimes, I will not contest it. I remind you of this, however: Even though you lock them up, nearly every inmate will get out eventually. Their sentences will expire; they will be released. Even WITHOUT work-release, even WITHOUT parole, you still cannot imprison everybody for life. And even if you could, or even if you executed them all, you would still have the guards, the nurses, the cooks, and all other staff that work at the prison coming home each night to their families, to their communities, to where you live.

If you in any way subscribe to the idea of the germ theory, this guarantees the spread of viruses and bacteria outside of prison walls.

Think about that.

Tuberculosis is well known to flourish when diet is poor. There is also a connection with diet and most other contagious diseases. It is economical for the taxpayer to keep inmates from getting sick. Medical care inside a prison is no cheaper than anywhere else. And the spread of disease outside of prison cannot be halted, even with a change of clothes, or rubber gloves.

Many prisons are more like hospitals now. Certainly one of the ones that I worked at was. According to the captain of the guards, about 50% of the inmates in this particular facility were HIV positive. There, I remember that the smell of disinfectant was enough to gag a maggot.

The tuberculosis epidemic in American prisons is kept quiet, just as the Nazis kept quiet about typhoid epidemics in their concentration camps. Any time your actions are comparable with Hitler's, it is high time to reconsider.

In addition to the play-down-the-TB-epidemic policy, our prisons are incapable of dealing with what they have now. Infirmary beds are around a dozen per thousand inmates. At one of the slammers where I worked, 90 inmates were crowded into huts designed to hold 45. With bunk beds and all things considered, the odds are that any inmate is sleeping just feet away from a TB positive individual.

A letter was written to the State about the TB problem in its prisons. I have in my possession the written response from the central Department of Corrections office. It says that "we are doing everything possible to contain the spread of this virus." The letter is signed by a senior health official.

Everyone knows that tuberculosis is not viral, it is bacterial. Well, almost everyone knows that. Corrections certainly doesn't seem to be working on all cylinders.

Back to that big, scary inmate.

He made eye contact with me more during my talk about wheat germ and vitamins than ever before. Yeah, yeah. The class went on to the next chapter.

A number of classes later, everybody was filing out and the Big Guy lagged behind. He moved up close beside me.


"Uh, can I talk to you for a minute?" he whispered.

"Sure, sure," I answered. You got a better answer?

"I, uh, I been eatin' that stuff, that wheat germ you told us about," he said.

"How did you come up with it?"

"They sell it in the commissary," he answered. "They got those mul-tie vitamins, too. Been taking them."

There was an uncomfortable half-second pause, and than he continued:

"Well, I just want to tell you," he said, "that I been taking those vitamins and eatin' that wheat germ for a couple o' weeks now."

"And?" I said.

"And, well, I just want to tell you that I feel more clear."

He put an unusual emphasis on the word "clear," looking me straight in the eye.

It finally dawned on me that this was a compliment, a thank-you.

"Oh, good!" I said. "Keep on doing it."

He left, squeezing through the door like a supertanker going under a low bridge.

From time to time, I have considered the benefits to society of having a man like that feeling more "clear." I think that reaching some form of clarity in prison might go a long way towards actually making them correctional institutions.

Nutritional supplements could make it happen.


HEALTHY EATING "CAN CUT CRIME" (From the BBC News, Tuesday, 25 June, 2002)

A study by researchers at the University of Oxford has found that adding vitamins and other vital nutrients to young people's diets can cut crime. They found that improving the diets of young offenders at a maximum security institution in Buckinghamshire cut offences by 25%.

Bernard Gesch and colleagues at the University of Oxford enrolled 230 young offenders from HM Young Offenders Institution Aylesbury in their study. Half of the young men received pills containing vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The other half received placebo or dummy pills. The researchers recorded the number and type of offences each of the prisoners committed in the nine months before they received the pills and in the nine months during the trial.

They found that the group which received the supplements committed 25% fewer offences than those who had been given the placebo.

The greatest reduction was for serious offences, including violence which fell by 40%.

There was no such reduction for those on the dummy pills. The authors described the finding as "remarkable". Writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry, they said improving diets could be a cost-effective way of reducing crime in the community and also reducing the prison population.

(Lead author) Gesch said: "The supplements just provided the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids found in a good diet which the inmates should get anyway. Yet the improvement was huge."

Related reading: Dr Abram Hoffer's comments:

SELLING OUT R. C. writes "Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletter. It's so refreshing to have this resource available without the threat of being bombarded by sales pitches."

Thank you for the compliment, which should really go to my mother.

Door-to-door salespeople were a fixture of life when I was a boy. My mother had a pretty cool way of dealing with them: before answering the door, she'd always grab a dishcloth and a cooking spoon to carry with her. No, it was not to gag and bludgeon the Fuller Brush Man. It was to silently send a visually effective "I'm busy" message.

So there's Mom, ready to open the door, spot a salesman, and invariably fire the first shot. "What are you selling?" she would immediately ask. This saved considerable time. You might think that not answering the door would have saved more, but I suspect that Mom kind of liked the confrontations.

She always taught us that people that are spontaneously overnice to you are just trying to get your money.

I regularly receive overly flattering emails from distributors of this or that brand of nutritional supplement. Most of these letters assume three things:

1) That I was somehow born yesterday, and never heard of the wonders of their particular company;

2) That surely I am looking for easy money and that I will, of course, want to sell their products for them; and

3) That I will at least want to discuss this with them, link my educational website to their sales website, and openly endorse their pet brand in my Newsletter.

I refuse to do so. I think my objectiveness (and my credibility, such as it is) would go right down the toilet if I had any affiliation with any commercial health business. Furthermore, I refuse to sell my "own brand" of vitamin supplements, and refuse to sell ANY supplements from my website or office or any other way.

Believe it or not, I recently received an invitation from a very large pharmaceutical company to consider going to work for them.

For years I told my college students that everyone has their price, including me, and that the only reason I've not sold out is that so far no one has offered me enough to make it worth while.

This is still true. I did not respond to the drug company.

And as for my price? Well, once again as I told my students, it is very high due to the fact that I am independently wealthy.

If you believe that, there is a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you.

FLUORIDATION: WHO'S NOT If you would you like to know which countries do **not** fluoridate theirwater, consider a look at

What is really neat is that the original letters from the responding governments are posted for you to read firsthand. And there's quite a few of them.

More on this subject at , and a major article is at

CLEANING OUT I just spent the morning in the clinic. Regular "Newsletter" readers will surmise that that is my kitchen, and that I was probably juicing. Right on both counts. Today it was carrot-broccoli-lettuce juice, and it tastes far better than it sounds... or looks. Leaf lettuce and broccoli leaves juice fairly easily. Broccoli stems will not juice well as they are too fibrous. And naturally, the broccoli florets you eat anyway.

In graduate school, a health-nut friend of mine handed me two books that he said I positively HAD to read: Make Your Juicer Your Drug Store, and Dick Gregory's Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat. I think we should indeed make our juicers, our gardens, and our kitchens into our clinics and pharmacies.

If you are ever in northern Rochester, NY and are taking the walking tour of the Charlotte portion of the Genessee River, you will be within a baseball's throw of the house where I grew up. Assuming you'd want to, you could still find some oddball archeological evidence, in what was my Mom's kitchen, to help explain how and why I got into this work in the beginning: Castoria Corner.

My mother was a true believer of laxatives. More than any other reason, this was because she was medicated with phenobarbital for her epilepsy. Depressants like that cause constipation. But in her zeal was overcompensation. On what seemed like a daily basis, my brothers and I were sequentially instructed to "go stand in Castoria Corner," over there by the cereal cupboard, for, of course, some Castoria.

Castor oil is a tried-and-true stimulant laxative. Castoria is, or was, the trade name for a flavored, less oily emulsion that kids were supposed to enjoy taking.

This label claim was not, I assure you, written by a child.

I hated Castoria. But Mom gave it to us regularly. (Ha! You got that, right?)

What came out of all this (heh, heh, heh) was a growing apprehension with laxatives and a growing interest in alternatives. Even as a little boy I'd learned that chewing food well, eating raw vegetables, and raiding my mother's dresser for her stash of chocolate-flavored Ex-Lax were all better than choking down that Castoria.

Eventually Mom relented and Castoria went by the wayside. Maybe it is because we grew to eat better. Maybe it was because we ran and hid more effectively. But to spare your kids the culinary pits of Castoria, here's a tip from Jennifer Daniels, MD, that really works.

Apply castor oil externally, as an over-all body rub. The castor oil is absorbed through the skin and works just fine. Castor oil is cheap and, used this way, easy to take. There is a slight smell but that's a small price to pay for bypassing your taste buds.

Do I recommend routine use of laxatives? I do not. But constipation is such a problem in a population that still stubbornly rejects a high-fiber plant-based diet that we often need to, as W. C. Fields said, "Take the bull by the tail and face the situation." Naturopaths have always maintained that much if not most illness is due to systemic toxemia: a polluted body. Good elimination can be a wonderfully good start for chronically unhealthy people, and a castor oil rubdown will plant a person on the potty in a matter of hours. Another way to do the trick is to take a heaping teaspoon or three of vitamin C powder (6,000 ├▒ 15,000 milligrams or thereabouts), just as Dr. Linus Pauling advised for years.

The real answer to regularity is, of course, a regular routine of high-fiber, raw-food-and-juice, near-vegetarian eating. I learned that, if nothing else, just to avoid the use of laxatives such as Castoria. Plant-based diet will also help you sidestep cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many more constipation-caused killers.

More information at

JUICING TIP OF THE MONTH: Fresh vegetable juice does not keep at all well. People that want to take fresh juice along with them, say to work, can stretch Nature's very short "expiration date" by adding vitamin C powder. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and will help keep the juice from "wilting" (turning dark and losing flavor and health benefits). As an illustrative experiment, cut an apple in half and paint one half with plain water, and the other exposed half with vitamin C solution. Watch and see which side does not turn brown.

How much "C"? Half a teaspoon should take care of a 1 liter Thermos-full for a while, if it is filled to the brim and tightly capped. Still, fresh is best. Another good plan is to juice for breakfast; hit the salad bar for lunch; and juice again when you get home.

HUMOR, SORT OF This was an actual announcement: "Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door."

COMING NEXT MONTH, by popular request: SPECIAL **IMMUNIZATION ALTERNATIVES** ISSUE, including strategies to get your kids into school without having them vaccinated.

Newsletter Ideas? To submit a question or suggest a topic for the newsletter, email me at

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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