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Newsletter v2n24

Newsletter v2n24
Back Issues

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric." (Bertrand Russell)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 2, No 24) October 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.

"WE'RE TOO SOON OLD AND TOO LATE SMART" was one of my Dad's favorite expressions. (Another was, "Don't talk while I'm interrupting.") Fortunately there have always been folks who catch on quickly and point the way to the rest of us. Such a man is Jack LaLanne, who, in the very best traditions of Bernarr MacFadden, brought fitness into our living rooms through television.

Even before I was of school age, I recall that when my mother took off her apron and started pushing the dinette chairs out of the way, it was time for the Jack LaLanne Show. Of course she had to turn on our ancient TV a good five minutes ahead of time, to let it warm up. I usually stuck around for the program, mostly as an excuse to see LaLanne's big white German Shepherd dog, Happy. But my line of work today shows just what a strong, if subliminal, impression the incredibly cheerful, incredibly agile Mr. LaLanne had made on me.

Jack LaLanne just turned 88. He is still both agile and cheerful. He gets up at five AM every morning and does a two-hour workout, saying, "You don't get old from age; you get old from inactivity."

That's a good point. A survey of persons over 100 years of age found that the one thing almost all centenarians have in common is that they have something that they absolutely, positively must do tomorrow.

And Mr. LaLanne says: "The only way you can hurt this body is "don't do it." Sit around on your big, fat behind and think of the good old days, or make some excuse why you're not doing it."

People have always called enthusiasts like Jack LaLanne "health nuts." Well, what other kind of nut would you want to be? A disease nut?

"I was strict vegetarian," said Mr. LaLanne in a TV interview. "I was into juicing. And you know, I was a nut. I was a filbert! I was a crackpot. That just shows you, right? You see, my life was saved. I was a skinny, weak, miserable, sugar-holic kid. At age 15, I attended a health lecture, and I quit eating meat, and I ate natural foods, and I started exercising. My whole life changed. If something changed your life, wouldn't you be enthusiastic about it?" ("Modern Marvels: The Quest for Health," A&E TV, 1998)

And in USA TODAY, May 31, 2000 ( ) he said:

"I have only two rules for eating well: If man made it, don't eat it. That includes synthetic sweeteners and food dyes. And keep everything in natural balance. This means eating whole grain cereals rather than overly processed ones, and eating fresh fruit and vegetables instead of canned ones, or those sweetened with processed sugars. I also don't eat red meat."

LaLanne has been in the health business since 1936. His TV shows ran for 34 years, a Guinness World Record. He is a chiropractic college graduate. He just received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And yes, he now has his own website.( )

"I can't die," Jack has often said. "It would ruin my image!" He coins a good phrase, but he makes an even better example. If an 88-year old gentleman can be a "filbert" and get up every morning and exercise for two hours, well, darn it, so can we.

Other articles or interviews about Jack LaLanne:

COIK I could read the Dutch language at age seven even less that I can now. ("Mijn naam is Andrew Saul." That's about it, folks. But before I forget: here's a Doctor Yourself Really Easy Health Hint:

Repeat "Ik ben niet ziek" every morning when you first awaken.

(Heeft u begrepen wat ik in het Nederlands zei?)

Okay, okay. I'm back.

When they returned from being stationed in the former Dutch colony of Aruba, my Navy uncle and aunt brought me a plastic model kit. I was thrilled until I opened it: it was a waterwheel-style old time flourmill, of all things. I do not know exactly what they were thinking, as warplanes and model cars were much more to my 7-year-old taste at the time. And what's more, the model had absolutely no instructions in English whatsoever; just diagrams.

Undaunted, I got out my Testor's glue, opened every window in the house as my Dad always told me, and proceeded to attempt to assemble my multinational little plastic flourmill. I did pretty well, until I came to step 11.

I distinctly recall how confused I was by a part that looked like a round metal box with a tiny red and a tiny blue plastic tube protruding from its side. Each tube seemed to be filled with a hard shiny substance, and if you bent them, they kept their shape. The pictures indicated that the center of the round silver box was to be attached to the water wheel. The red and blue things were to be connected to something with a plus sign and a minus sign that was not included in the kit. Arrows showed that if you did this magic, the wheel somehow would turn round and round. But at that young age, I did not yet understand the concept of electricity, or motors, or wires, or batteries. I simply did not know.

Today, as you read this, you might be inclined to say, "Those were wires for connecting to a battery, kid. You don't get out much, do you?"

That's because it is clear to you, and it is clear because you already know it. And that is what COIK means: "Clear Only If Known."

And a minute ago, you knew about as much about what COIK stood for as I once knew about electicity.

The point?

Language remains a barrier in international relations, model building, and health care. Complex Latin medical terms and fancy technical words are stumbling blocks for many people who seek to become their own doctor.

You can sidestep this problem with a medical dictionary or an internet search. I recommend, and regularly use, a Merck Manual when I have to look up a term. (Your library has one.) And when you use it, don't be bashful; remember what Einstein supposedly said when asked how many feet there are in a mile:

"I don't know."

The questioner was flabbergasted at such an answer from such a man, but Einstein merely added, "Why should I clutter my head with things I can look up?"

Great communicators from Gutenberg to Harold Hill to Richard Simmons know that you have to put it in the people's language if you really want to get the message across. A Merck Manual plus a medical dictionary (such as Dorland's or Taber's, or any of the numerous, free, on-line dictionaries) will help take most of the mystery, and all of the puffery, out of medicine.

Free Online Medical Dictionaries

And a few good natural healing books will tell you what you can do instead of gulping down yet another doctor's drug. To start, you might want to read my quickie reviews at

Books that Dr. Abram Hoffer has favorably reviewed in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine are listed at

DID YOU KNOW that fake snow used in TV and the movies is actually potato flakes?

DID YOU KNOW that most hair sprays work well as insecticides? Ugh.

DID YOU KNOW that has received over 1.8 million hits in the last 11 months? Wow!

AND: Chicken is still a meat.

READERS SAY: GRAVES' DISEASE "I have Graves Disease (the largest single cause of hyperthyroidism), diagnosed in February of 2000. I was put on various levels of propylthiouracil (PTU) to get my thyroxin levels under control. I'm supposed to be between 0-5. In March of 2002 I stopped taking my medicine (in two years I had never been below 9) and started vitamin and mineral therapy on my own. I had my blood tested a week ago and for the first time in two and a half years my levels are normal: 2.49 to be exact. My endocrinologist does not think it will last, of course, and wants me to get either radiation therapy or a thyroidectomy, but I feel better than I have in years.

"I belong to the National Graves Disease Foundation ( ) and posted my story on their bulletin boards - the only story on the whole site about any type of vitamin therapy. Within 24 hours, all of my postings and responses and anything to do with vitamins were removed and my account was suspended.

"I think Graves Disease is a nutritional deficiency disease that is correctable with proper vitamin and mineral intake. Dosage is mostly something we have to research and figure out for ourselves, depending on ones own individual needs.

It is so scary to me that the doctors are encouraging damaging medicine/radiation/surgery as treatments and completely ignoring the fact that vitamins and minerals have worked for other people."

Mary Beth Workman

Editor's Note: When asked, the director of the National Graves' Disease Foundation declined to comment. However, their website makes it clear that the attitude of that organization is very "conservative," listing only anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, and subtotal thyroidectomy as valid therapies. Their "FAQ" page states, rather unequivocally, "there is no 'natural' way to 'cure' Graves' disease."

But I think there are more options than these. "Factors that can trigger the onset of Graves disease include stress, smoking, radiation to the neck, medications, and infectious organisms such as viruses. Genes make only a moderate contribution to the susceptibility to Graves disease. No single gene is known to cause the disease or to be necessary for its development." (from the dictionary at )

If Graves' disease cannot be passed off as genetic, and can be "triggered" by stress, smoking, radiation, medication, or even pregnancy, it sounds like an immune system problem that therapeutic nutrition may greatly help.

I have received a sizable number of inquiries requesting information on alternative treatments for Graves' disease. Remembering that I am not an endocrinologist, I like the attitude of and recommend it as your first stop.

What have you tried? What works? I welcome your input, as this controversy continues.

A REMINDER that the ONLY mail I send out to my mailing list subscribers is this Newsletter and **nothing but** this Newsletter, twice monthly. If you receive anything else purporting to be from it is probably bogus, and usually spam. Yes, spammers routinely make up phony return addresses to attempt to cover their tracks. (But if you examine the full "headers" of such messages, you will see where they really come from, and can complain directly to that internet service provider.) I send NO advertisements, ever, and endorse NO products whatsoever. And I never send "attachments" of any kind. You should never open attachments from anyone due to the risk of computer viruses that may be contained in them.

Free antivirus software (not a trial edition, no ads, free updates, and I use it personally) is available from

ANOTHER (AND MUCH MORE PLEASANT!) REMINDER: Dr. Abram Hoffer's 85th Birthday is November 11. Birthday cards may be sent to him at #3A - 2727 Quadra Street Victoria, B.C. V8T 4E5 Canada

(From the USA, postage to Canada is 60 cents. International readers will want to inquire with their post office.)

AND: I am still collecting testimonials as to how megavitamins have helped my readers and their families. Thank you for those already received; the more the merrier. Email me your story; the sooner the easier for me. ( , with "Birthday" in the subject line, so I see it for sure).

READERS SAY: "PROVE IT!" R. G. writes, "Show me one example where, beyond a doubt, a healthy kidney was destroyed by too much protein. Hasn't happened, won't ever happen."

If only that were true. Williams, S. R. (1993) "Aging Western Kidney" in: Nutrition and Diet Therapy, Seventh Edition, p 668 reviews the following studies showing kidney damage from high protein diets:

Brenner, BM et al: Dietary protein intake and the progressive nature of kidney disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 307(11):652, 1982.

Klahr, S et al: The progression of renal disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 318(25):1657, 1988.

Mitch, WE et al: The Progressive Nature of Renal Disease. NY: Churchill Livingston, 1986.

A free MEDLINE search will bring up plenty more.

TWO DRUG-FREE APPROACHES TO CHRONIC PAIN When working with a very sick person, one of the first questions I ask is, "Are you having any trouble sleeping?" and Another big question is, "Are you in pain?"

There are an almost uncountable number of brands of pain relievers on the medical market. Were pain due to a drug deficiency, they might have more to offer.

I am not in favor of pain except as a warning. Pain is often our wake-up call to action, and our bodies need to get a message to and an effective response from our busy brain. As protests on the Capitol Mall get the attention of lawmakers in Washington (sometimes, anyway), so does pain act as the squeaky wheel demanding grease.

Putting in earplugs does not fix a squeaky wheel. The best pain relief will help cure the cause of pain. At the very least, we want the hurt to go away temporarily without harmful side effects. So we have therapeutic value and safety as benchmarks for pain relief.

Here are two alternatives to pharmaceutical products:

D- or DL-PHENYLALANINE Unlike left-handed, essential L-Phenylalanine, the D- or "right-handed" form of this common amino acid is not actually a nutrient but an amino acid analgesic. It is non-prescription (1993) but rather costly for an effective dose. Practitioners using DLPA (Dextro-Levro-Phenyl-Alanine) normally employ it for chronic pain that is unresponsive to other measures. Arthritis or lower back pain would be examples. While no substitute for medical or chiropractic care, DLPA may well be a suitable companion.

DOSAGE The dose of DLPA needed may vary from person to person, and is generally determined by starting with perhaps 1,000 mg daily for two weeks and then gradually increasing to a level that provides relief. If 3,000 mg per day doesn't work after a few weeks, it probably will not work at all. About two-thirds of those using it will report real improvement in this time. If they don't, there is no point in wasting money.

Persons reporting pain relief will generally be able to LOWER their dose gradually and will often be able to maintain pain-free status with less DLPA than before. It is a bit unusual for an analgesic substance to work BETTER over time and require LESS; the opposite is the rule. (Consider morphine, for instance.) DLPA has a long duration of action yet the body does not seem to build up a tolerance to it.

You will probably not find D-Phenylalanine for sale, hence the focus here on DLPA. It is the D-form that is active; you cannot therefore substitute the levro- ("L") form that is so widely found, at far lower cost, in foods and stores.

SAFETY Our earlier criteria for natural pain relievers included safety and healing value. The safety of DLPA is very good indeed. It is non-addictive and virtually non-toxic. Some estimates place its safety on a par with vitamin C or fructose. Still, it is not to be used during pregnancy. Persons with phenylketonuria obviously should not take any extra phenylalanine. Persons with high blood pressure should take DLPA after meals. Outside of these, there are virtually no adverse effects.

Added value may come from the fact that phenylalanine is converted by the body into phenylethylamine. Low levels of phenylethylamine are correlated with clinical depression; if DLPA raises these levels there is a real biochemical benefit. As a pain-killer, it seems to act by keeping enzymes called enkephalinase and carboxypeptidase A from breaking down the body's own morphine-like natural painkillers, the enkephalins and the endorphins. This makes a lot of sense: if the body relieves its own pain, a safe mechanism is probably at work. DLPA appears to assist that mechanism.

CONDITIONS HELPED Research has indicated that migraine, joint pains, neuralgia and even postoperative pain respond to DLPA, and it has been reported to reduce inflammation. DLPA does not deaden normal sensation even when taken for a lengthy period. Prescribed medication may still be taken with DLPA without interference.

VITAMIN C (Ascorbic Acid) ANALGESIA At high intake levels, Vitamin C is known to reduce inflammation and act to as a natural antibiotic and antihistamine. These properties are surprising enough to many, but one of the biggest surprises ever occurred during the 1970's in Scotland at the Vale of Leven Hospital. There, Ewan Cameron, M.D. was giving ten grams (10,000 milligrams) of Vitamin C intravenously each day to terminally ill cancer patients. The study was about Vitamin C and cancer; the unexpected finding was in pain relief.

STRIKINGLY EFFECTIVE In Great Britain, it was policy to provide terminal patients with any and all pain relief available, including addictive narcotics such as heroin. The argument would be simply that if one were dying anyway, a drug's analgesic value outweighs any drawbacks such as dependency. Dr. Cameron and Dr. Linus Pauling wrote in Cancer and Vitamin C (Warner Books, 1981):

Cameron and Baird reported (in 1973) that the first five ascorbate-treated patients who had been receiving large doses of morphine or heroin to control pain were taken off these drugs a few days after the treatment with vitamin C was begun, because the vitamin C seemed to diminish the pain to such an extent that the drug was not needed. Moreover, none of these patients asked that the morphine or heroin be given to them- they seemed not to experience any serious withdrawal signs or symptoms. (page xii)

Any vitamin that approaches the pain relieving power of morphine or heroin must be considered some kind of analgesic indeed. The fact that 13 out of 100 terminally ill cancer patients given vitamin C were still alive and apparently free of cancer after five years is some kind of miracle.

DOSAGE OF "C" Although quite a lot of vitamin C is needed for results, it is a remarkably safe and rather simple therapy. Details of vitamin C dosage and administration, written by medical doctors, will be found at

Additional information will be found in Dr. Cameron's "Protocol for the Use of Intravenous Vitamin C in the Treatment of Cancer," which is posted at

Dr. Cameron's references cited in his article are posted at

REFERENCES ON D,L-PHENYLALANINE used in the preparation of my article, above, are posted at

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