"Relinquish your need for approval. There is great freedom in that choice." (Deepak Chopra, M.D.)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 3, No 25) November 20, 2003 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written and copyright 2003 by Andrew Saul, PhD, of http://www.doctoryourself.com, an online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000 scientific references. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
IN THIS ISSUE: Whooping Cough Heart Disease Aspirin Can Cause Pancreatic Cancer Why Fluoridated Water is Bad for You Constipation And our Feature Article: THE SAFETY OF VITAMIN E
THE LATEST ON my new book: "DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works" is now published and widely available. However, getting your copy directly from me means you also get it autographed. I am pleased to add that this 90,000 word book actually costs ten dollars LESS than my last one. I guess that's one advantage of having a good publisher. Please go to http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html if you would like to order.
GUEST ARTICLE: Whooping cough outbreak by Melissa Klein, THE JOURNAL NEWS (Westchester, NY: October 29, 2003)
Cortlandt ó Pertussis is called the 100-day cough, but sometimes the Cook family felt like it was an illness that would never end.
First, 13-year-old Kevin Cook got sick, followed by his sisters, Katelyn, 10, and Kristen, 7. They would all cough so hard they would gasp for breath. Katelyn, who is disabled, would actually stop breathing. The coughing fits would end with vomiting.
"It would scare the hell out of them," said Brian Cook, the children's father. "Scare the hell out of us."
Six weeks after a doctor diagnosed pertussis ó or whooping cough ó the Cook children are much better, but they are still coughing.
Whooping cough has sickened 29 people in Westchester County and 25 people in Putnam County. It is the largest outbreak in both counties in recent memory of an illness many people thought was relegated to the history books, if they had heard of it at all. It has sent health officials on a mission to trace how it has spread and raised the issue of what happens in a community when parents choose not to immunize their children against preventable diseases.
The first whooping cough cases in Westchester were traced to four children, all old enough to have had a full series of childhood vaccines, but who received none. They first developed symptoms in July, but they were not diagnosed until August, allowing time to unwittingly transmit the highly contagious illness to others.
"This is an outbreak that really shouldn't have happened," Westchester Health Commissioner Joshua Lipsman said. Health officials do not know who made the four unimmunized children sick, but say they believe the youngsters contributed to the spread of the illness. Pertussis circulates in low levels in a community all the time, mainly among adults for whom immunity has worn off. Even immunized children like the Cooks can get sick because the pertussis vaccine does not confer 100 percent immunity, and immunity starts to diminish during childhood.
Janet Cook said her son might have become ill at an upstate lacrosse camp in July. When Kevin got home, he had the sniffles and later developed the cough, which was incorrectly diagnosed for several weeks. In addition to his siblings, three children of a neighbor, also all vaccinated, got sick.
So far, pertussis has been confirmed in Westchester in 24 children, from the age of 3 weeks when diagnosed to as old as 14. Five adults have also gotten sick. Health officials have been able to connect two-thirds of the cases, most of which have been in the Peekskill-Cortlandt area. Of Putnam's 25 identified cases, 18 are confirmed and seven probable, in residents ranging from 7 weeks to 51 years old.
Loretta Molinari, Putnam's public health director, said five of the county's first seven cases were among children who were not immunized. The first sign of illness in Putnam was in June.
Pertussis usually begins as a cold or with flu-like symptoms and progresses to the severe cough with the characteristic "whoop" sound as people gasp for breath. It is an annoying and uncomfortable illness for most people, but can be life- threatening for infants, who may develop pneumonia.
"If they have these fits of coughing, that can tire out their little bodies, so much so that it's hard for them to breathe," Lipsman said. "They don't get enough oxygen. They may be so uncomfortable they can't eat or breast-feed." In this outbreak, four infants under the age of 4 months in Westchester and the 7-week-old in Putnam had to be hospitalized. All are recovering.
Pertussis is treated with antibiotics, usually erythromycin, which may not always lessen symptoms, but shortens the contagious period. Some 200 people in Westchester, including about 70 at a preschool, and about 80 people in Putnam who came in contact with an infected child or adult, were advised to take a course of preventive antibiotics. A new pertussis test has made the illness easier to identify, and the publicity about the outbreak may have brought more cases to light that would have gone unrecognized.
Whooping cough is such an uncommon illness because most children are vaccinated against it, beginning at 2 months when they receive the first in a series of five shots. New York is among six states that does not require the pertussis vaccine to enter school, but most children get it anyway because it is bundled with the diphtheria and tetanus shots, which are mandated.
The pertussis vaccine once caused more side effects, including fever and unconsolable crying, than other childhood shots. A new purer vaccine called acellular pertussis became available in 1996 and causes far fewer reactions. Public health officials credit vaccines with wiping out such common childhood scourges as polio, measles and haemophilus influenzae type b or Hib, once the leading cause of meningitis in young children.
Paul Offit, the chairman of infectious disease at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he heads the Vaccine Education Center, said some of these illnesses have not been eliminated in the rest of the world, leaving unvaccinated children in the United States vulnerable.
"There are people that come into this country that have those diseases," Offit said. "If you choose to leave a group of children susceptible to these diseases, they'll be back."
Still, media reports of a possible connection between vaccines and autism, a link that has not been demonstrated, and concerns about exposing a baby's immune system to numerous vaccines swirl among parents at play groups and nursery schools. Some are delaying vaccinations until the child is older and, according to one measure, an increasing number are forgoing them altogether.
New York requires that children be immunized against nine diseases before entering kindergarten, but allows parents to bypass the requirement in two ways. They can submit proof from a doctor for a medical exemption, usually based on an allergy or bad reaction to a vaccine. Parents can also claim a religious exemption by giving their school district a signed statement saying they object to immunizations based on sincere and genuine religious beliefs.
In the 2002-03 school year, the state Health Department, which tracks exemptions, recorded 2,150 on religious grounds. The number of such exemptions has risen every year since 1998, state records show. Far fewer parents ó 1,159 ó submitted a medical exemption in 2002-03.
Andrew Saul, a natural-medicine specialist in Rochester, said parents in New York do not have to demonstrate they are a member of an organized religious group when submitting their letter.
"The school district will almost always respond to this with a request for more information," said Saul, who advises parents on the topic on his Web site, http://www.DoctorYourself.com . "The parent does not have to provide any more information."
The Westchester Health Department will not release many details of the families in the pertussis outbreak whose children were not immunized, except to say there were three or four of them, they were "fairly affluent" and they had given schools unspecified vaccination exemptions.
Dr. Ada Huang, Westchester's deputy health commissioner for disease control, told the county Board of Health recently that although their children were sick, these parents had no regrets.
"People have very strong beliefs," she said.
Alyce Edelman, a Bedford Hills resident, said she had heard the concerns about vaccines after her first child was born five years ago. She had a slight reservation about vaccinating her second child, Alexandra, who is a month old, but went ahead. She winced as Dr. Marc Childs gave Alexandra a hepatitis B shot recently.
"I think that, all in all, the benefits outweigh the risks," Edelman said.
Childs, a pediatrician in the Mount Kisco Medical Group's Carmel office, said he gives as many as 100 immunizations a day and is constantly answering parental questions about the shots, dispelling myths and explaining why immunizations are important. If a parent decides against vaccinations, Childs said, he will help them find another medical practice.
"I think that parents who are unwilling to vaccinate their children are basically playing a game of roulette," he said. "It's one thing to put their own children at risk. It's another thing to put the rest of the population at risk, which is what they're doing."
Dr. Michael Lasser, a Cortlandt pediatrician and the head of pediatrics at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, is caring for 20 children who have been sickened with pertussis, most of whom have been immunized. He said he encourages vaccinations for the reason that they could prevent such an outbreak but does not ask parents who refuse them to leave the practice.
While Lasser said he may not agree with the parents' reasoning, he recognizes they have made a difficult decision. "You would meet these families and think they're excellent parents and wonderful parents," he said.
Emily Griffin describes herself as a churchgoing conservative Republican who worked as a tax lawyer before her daughter, Mary, was born a year ago. Under the federal government's recommended vaccination schedule, Mary could have had as many as 19 vaccinations by now. She has had none.
Griffin, a Mount Vernon resident, began reading about vaccines before Mary was born and said she became concerned that the risk of potential problems, from neurological deficits to cancer, had not been sufficiently studied. She said she did not want Mary pumped with vaccines while she was an infant and would probably start the vaccination schedule when her daughter was 15 months old. She said she might ask that certain immunizations like measles, mumps and rubella, which are traditionally given together, be done separately to minimize potential reactions.
"My pediatrician had told me a million times that I'm absurd and I'm the only one who isn't following the schedule," Griffin said.
Griffin said the pertussis outbreak did not give her any qualms and said if Mary were to become sick with a vaccine- preventable disease, she felt confident she would be able to get her treated immediately.
"I don't feel at all like I'm gambling with her life," Griffin said.
Reach Melissa Klein at MEKLEIN@thejournalnews.gannett.com or 914-694-5063.
(Copyright 2003 The Journal News. Reprinted with permission.)
DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER COMMENTARY: On October 29, 2003, Ms. Klein verified the number of unvaccinated children that got whooping cough:
"In Putnam (County), there have been a total of 6 unimmunized children (that contracted whooping cough). That includes a 7 week old baby who, of course, would not have been immunized. In Westchester (County), there are 4 unimmunized kids."
Well, then, that makes a total of 10 non-immunized children for both counties. There were 25 whooping cough cases in Putnam County, and 29 whooping cough cases in Westchester County, for a total of 54. Only 10 of the 54 cases were in non-immunized children.
That means 44 of 54 cases of whooping cough were in vaccinated persons. That is 81%. In other words, better than 4 out of 5 whoopers had had shots. In my opinion, that is the greater story.
Another interesting question would be, Exactly how many unimmunized children did NOT get whooping cough? I expect the number would be considerably higher.
There is no whooping cough epidemic in New York State. But there certainly should be, with over 3,000 new unvaccinated children in the year 2003 alone. And, if you consider what I think amounts to an 81% vaccine failure rate, there should be a deafening chorus of millions of vaccinated New Yorkers whooping away with the "100 day cough" right now.
Where are all those other cases?
It looks to me as if shots are pretty much irrelevant in terms of effectiveness. So why accept the risks and side effects?
More on vaccinations at: http://www.doctoryourself.com/vaccination.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/vaccin_2.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/informed_consent.html
On the natural treatment of whooping cough: http://www.doctoryourself.com/whoop.html
READERS ASK: "I received information in the mail that says that congestive heart failure is really a vitamin B-4 deficiency. It recommends supplementing with B-1 and B-4 to cure Congestive Heart Failure. Perhaps you could include a small article about B-4 in your newsletter?"
OK. B-4 is an older term for adenine. Adenine is a nitrogenous (purine) base found in DNA and RNA. There is therefore a fair amount of adenine in your body. There are about 6 feet of DNA in just one of your body cells, and you are made up of tens of trillions of body cells. If you could line up all the DNA in your body, it would reach to the sun and back. . . several hundred times over. (http://www.mariecurie.org/newsletter/news2000/autumn/0320 00_hgp.htm). Adenine is not a vitamin. (If you search Google for "adenine," you'll find more on this.)
My standard caution to all readers: Be wary of advertisements, doctors, writers and anyone else who sells the very supplements their articles recommend. A financial connection means profit motive and information bias.
CHF is, I think, more complex than can be fixed by a magic bullet. My opinion on congestive heart failure is posted at: http://www.doctoryourself.com/congestive.html
LOW MEAT "MEDITERRANEAN DIET" IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEART (November 09, 2003.)
Lisa Richwine (Reuters, Orlando, FL) writes that, "A Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil, and very little meat, and has been linked to lower heart disease rates. In the new study, researchers tracked the eating habits of about 3,000 men and women in Greece, aged 18 to 89, who did not have cardiovascular disease.The closer people adhered to the Mediterranean diet, the lower their levels of various measures of inflammation, which recent research shows plays a major role in development of heart disease."
Yes, near-vegetarianism works!
And drugs, even the everyday ones, do not:
DAILY ASPIRIN USE LINKED WITH PANCREATIC CANCER (Monday, October 27, 2003)
Maggie Fox (Reuters- Washington, D.C.) reported that "Women who take an aspirin a day - which millions do to prevent heart attack and stroke as well as to treat headaches - may raise their risk of getting deadly pancreatic cancer, U.S. researchers said on Monday. . . Pancreatic cancer affects only 31,000 Americans a year, but it kills virtually all its victims within three years. The study of 88,000 nurses found that those who took two or more aspirins a week for 20 years or more had a 58 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer."
The article quoted study author Dr. Eva Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston as stating: "Apart from smoking, this one of the few risk factors that have been identified for pancreatic cancer. Initially we expected that aspirin would protect against pancreatic cancer."
According to the article, Dr. Schernhammer also said, "This finding does not mean that women should no longer use aspirin" even though "Schernhammer noted that one study showed that regular aspirin use may cause pancreatitis -- an inflammation of the pancreas that can sometimes lead to pancreatic cancer."
How about that.
Say: What if there were one, just ONE case of pancreatic cancer caused by a vitamin? What do you think the press would have said about that? Well, there are ZERO cases of cancer caused by vitamins. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Bupkis. None. Truth is, there are millions of cases of cancer prevented by vitamins.
And THAT'S the good news.
READERS SAY: "Thanks for the excellent help about the constipation. It really helped; thank you so much. I kinda had to force myself to do this because it's kinda embarassing to send someone an e- mail thanking them for the help with their constipation! Thank You So Much! I really mean it!"
Golly, you are welcome. Truly, there is nothing easier to cure than constipation. And I cannot think of anything more important, either. More pleasant, probably: but not more important. Or, on occasion, more fun:
When I was a kid, my Mom invited a friend over for lunch one day. I was sorry to see that dessert consisted of stewed prunes. I did not like stewed prunes. To my genuine amazement, my friend not only ate his serving but mine as well. He then proceeded to have additional helpings. After lunch we went out to play, and my Mom counted pits. There were about thirty pits on my friend's plate. My mother dutifully telephoned his mother, and apologized for inadvertently letting him eat so many prunes.
It all came out (the story, that is) about two days later. It seems that the neighbor's toilet was working overtime. That, of course, is not surprising. What IS a surprise is that we stayed good friends.
However, I do not seem to remember if he ever had lunch at our house after that.
America is constipated, and this is no joke. The average American gets only about 10 grams of fiber daily. A vegetarian gets 50 grams or more. Meat has no fiber whatsoever. More fiber reduces the risk of bowel cancer, as well as that of colitis, diverticulitis, spastic colon and hemorrhoids. Give a diabetic more dietary fiber and s/he will require less insulin. No need to buy fiber in a jar. Eat a largely salad diet and the raw vegetables guarantee a good supply. That's what gorillas do. You will never meet a constipated gorilla. We need to take our lessons from nature.
My moderate, "easygoing" suggestions to help restore your, er, ah, "get up and go" are at http://www.doctoryourself.com/constipation.html, with more to say at http://www.doctoryourself.com/nature.html.
WHY FLUORIDATED WATER IS BAD FOR YOU (Published Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003 in the Palo Alto Daily News)
by SUSAN WILLIS, PhD
As the daughter of a dentist, I grew up with confidence in fluoride. After bouts with cancer and osteoporosis, however, I learned to scrutinize health claims more closely. When I discovered that our water fluoridation product is not natural calcium fluoride, but rather synthetic, non-toxicologically tested, non-FDA approved, non-pharmaceutical grade sodium fluorosilicate, which carries a "toxic" label complete with skull and crossbones, I felt betrayed.
Our water department informed me that this chemical is a by- product of the phosphate fertilizer industry and requires disposal as a "hazardous waste." It is not found anywhere in nature and is 20 times more toxic than calcium fluoride. Safe for me and my family? Doubtful.
But what about all those endorsements for reduction in tooth decay? If you look at nothing else, look at the worldwide data on tooth decay reduction published by the World Health Organization (www.fluorideaction.org/who-dmft.htm). Tooth decay rates have declined worldwide, in fluoridated and non- fluoridated countries alike.
No matter how many dentists, agencies and politicians say we need to drink fluoride for healthy teeth, the fact is, we do not. If other countries can reduce tooth decay without fluoridation, at the same rates to the same levels that we do, we can too.
110 U.S. CITIES REMOVE FLUORIDE
Ninety-eight percent of Europe is non-fluoridated, along with Japan, China, and India. Only seven countries worldwide fluoridate over half their population. Basel, Switzerland, just quit after 41 years, citing ineffectiveness and health and environmental consequences. More than 110 American cities have rejected fluoridation since 1990. Global rejection of fluoridation is underway.
Tooth decay has declined worldwide in recent decades due to better nutrition and use of dental sealants, hygiene, and topical fluoride products, like toothpaste. This is reflected by recent CDC findings that fluoride doesn't work by ingestion, only by topical application. Dental claims that you have to drink fluoride to constantly bathe your teeth in topical fluoride from saliva fail to mention that the concentration in saliva is too miniscule to have an impact (www.fluoridealert.org).
Poverty correlates with tooth decay far more than absence of fluoride, and studies which do not control for that factor are flawed. Baby bottle tooth decay afflicts 50 percent of poor, Head Start children in this country, and water fluoridation is powerless against this problem.
No one knows how much fluoride we swallow daily. What other FDA-defined drug is prescribed that way? The "intended" dose is one milligram per day for adults, and if you drink one liter of Palo Alto water, about 4 cups, you'll get one milligram. If you drink 8 cups of Palo Alto water, you will be at the California EPA Maximum Contaminant Level for high risk of dental fluorosis -- staining and mottling of the teeth (unsightly and expensive to repair).
Further, this dose does not take into account the "halo effect" of water fluoridation -- the chemical is now in many foods and beverages, from food processing with fluoridated water and from fluoride-containing pesticide residues on produce (www.keepers-of-the-well.org).
Fluoride is not benign in the human body. After you swallow it, it is no longer a dental matter. 50 percent of ingested fluoride accumulates in adult bones; 70 percent in the bones of growing children, and 87 percent in the bones of infants. The majority of studies show higher hip or wrist fracture rates for seniors in fluoridated communities, when they have drunk fluoride at least 20 years (www.slweb.org). There is no shortage of studies on the negative impact of fluoride consumption -- for bones, pineal gland, brain, thyroid and people with kidney or cardiovascular disease. Read the FDA- required warning on your fluoride toothpaste container if you have any doubts about the toxicity of ingested fluoride.
(Susan Willis, Ph.D., is a Stanford graduate, and Palo Alto psychologist, wife and mother. She is Treasurer of Palo Alto Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
"CAVITIES ARE GENERALLY A RESULT OF POOR DIET and not lack of fluoride," says the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof). "When they insist on fluoridating the water to save children's teeth, keep this in mind:
"Up to a third of (U.S.) children under 2 consumed no fruits or vegetables. . . And for those who did have a vegetable, French fries were the most common selection for children 15 months and older. . . More than 60 percent of 12-month-olds had dessert or candy at least once per day. . . (which) rose to 70 percent...by age 19 months. Thirty to 40 percent of the children 15 months and up had a sugary fruit drink each day, and about 10 percent had soda." ("Study on Bad Eating Habits Finds Children Under 2 Eating Fries, Drinking Soda" by T.A. Badger, Associated Press, Oct 25, 2003)
VITAMIN E: A CURE IN SEARCH OF RECOGNITION
"Some doctors claim that vitamin E helps many heart cases, but the official view is that the substance has not been proved of value in treating heart disease."
This statement could have been taken verbatim from any of a number of recent news media reports. But in fact, this particular quote is from a 1953 article in Maclean's Magazine entitled "The Fight Over Vitamin E." (1)
Half a century later, it would seem that little has changed.
"(W)e do not support the continued use of vitamin E treatment and discourage the inclusion of vitamin E in future primary and secondary prevention trials in patients at high risk of coronary artery disease." (2)
This statement is from a 2003 analysis that looked at studies employing daily treatment dosages between 50 and 800 IU. Yet since the 1940's, clinicians have been reporting that vitamin E dosages between 450 and 1,600 IU or more are required to effectively treat cardiovascular disease. I would enjoy seeing a meta-analysis of the work of Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute, who treated coronary thrombosis with 450 to 1,600 IU; angina with 450 to 1,600 IU; and thrombophlebitis with 600 to 1,600 IU of vitamin E daily. (3) http://www.doctoryourself.com/shute_protocol.html The recent Lancet meta-analysis did not include them. There is nothing capricious about either study selection or dosage choice. Researchers and analysts know full well that high dosage will obtain different results than low dosage. Statistical analysis of meaningless studies will rarely enable a meaningful conclusion.
DOUBLE STANDARD Countless comedians have made fun of the incompetent physician who, when called late at night during a life- threatening disease crisis, says, "take two aspirin and call me in the morning." Now it's no longer funny. Recently, one of the largest pharmaceutical conglomerates in the world ran prime- time national television commercials that declared: "Bayer aspirin may actually help stop you from dying if you take it during a heart attack." The company also promotes such use of its product on the Internet. (4) http://www.bayeraspirin.com/news/heart_attack.htm This statement comes forth after a century of widespread aspirin consumption. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of men and women and there are over a million heart attacks annually in the US alone.
If you produced a TV ad that said that megadoses of wheat germ oil, or the vitamin E in it, could save your life by preventing a heart attack, not only would people disbelieve you, you'd also be subject to arrest for breaking federal law. Foods and vitamins may not be advertised as treatments for specific diseases. "All statements of nutritional support for dietary supplements must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to "diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."" (5) http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/dietsupp.htm#Ap plication
Yet even traditional nutrition textbooks acknowledge the extensive scientific proof of successful treatment of intermittent claudication with vitamin E. "This therapy helps reduce the arterial blockage," says Nutrition and Diet Therapy, Seventh Edition, a standard dietetics work. (6) Unless there be something absolutely unique about arterial real estate between the knee and the ankle, would not vitamin E also help "reduce the blockage" in other arteries? This is rationale the Shutes used when, 65 years ago, they employed vitamin E to successfully treat circulatory diseases in thousands of patients, using daily dosages as high as 3,200 IU. For that achievement, they were praised by their patients and ostracized from the ranks of orthodox physicians.
By 1971, it was increasingly clear that the Shutes had gotten it right. Intermittent claudication, now regarded as a reliable sign of peripheral arterial disease, was shown by double-blind study to be diminished 66% with the use of vitamin E. The dosage administered was 1600 mg/day. (7)
A TORRID HISTORY 1922 was the year the USSR was formed and "Little Orphan Annie" began. Trumpeter Al Hirt and future heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard were born. Alexander Graham Bell died. And vitamin E was discovered by H. M. Evans and K. S. Bishop. (8)
In 1936, Evans' team had isolated alpha tocopherol from wheat germ oil and vitamin E was beginning to be widely appreciated, and the consequences of deficiency better known. Health Culture Magazine for January, 1936 said, "The fertility food factor (is) now called vitamin E. Excepting for the abundance of that vitamin in whole grains, there could not have been any perpetuation of the human race. Its absence from the diet makes for irreparable sterility occasioned by a complete degeneration of the germinal cells of the male generative glands. (T)he expectant mother requires vitamin E to insure the carriage of her charge to a complete and natural term. If her diet is deficient in vitamin E . . . the woman is very apt to abort. . . It is more difficult to insure a liberal vitamin E supply in the daily average diet than to insure an adequate supply of any other known vitamin." (9)
And that very same year, 1936, the Shutes were already at work employing tocopherol from wheat germ oil to relieve angina symptoms. (10)
Since the word "tocopherol" is taken from the Greek words for "to carry offspring" or "to bring forth childbirth," it is easy enough to see how Evan Shute and other obstetricians were drawn into the work. As early as 1931, Vogt-Moller of Denmark successfully treated habitual abortion in human females with wheat germ oil vitamin E. By 1939 he had treated several hundred women with a success rate of about 80%. In 1937, both Young in England and the Shutes in Canada reported success in combating threatened abortion and pregnancy toxemias as well. A. L. Bacharach's 1940 statistical analysis of published clinical results "show quite definitely that vitamin E is of value in recurrent abortions." (11) And also in 1940, the Shutes were curing atherosclerosis with vitamin E. By 1946, thrombosis, phlebitis, and claudication.
Yet when the MDR's (Minimum Daily Requirements) first came out in 1941, there was no mention of vitamin E. It was not until 1959 that vitamin E was recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as necessary for human existence, and not until 1968 that any government recommendation for vitamin E would be issued. That year, the Food and Nutrition Board of the US National Research Council offered its first Recommended Daily Allowance: 30 IU. It has been as low as 15 IU in 1974 . In 2000, it was set at 22 IU (15 mg) for all persons, including pregnant women. This is somewhat odd in view a 70-year established research history showing how vital vitamin E is during gestation. It is another curious fact that today, when the public has been urged to increase its consumption of unsaturated fats, the official dietary recommendation for vitamin E is substantially lower than it was 35 years ago. "The requirement for vitamin E is related to the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) consumed in the diet. The higher the amount of PUFAs, the more vitamin E is required." (12)
One reason the RDA was lowered is that "dieticians were having difficulty devising diets of natural foods which had the recommended amount (30 IU) of vitamin E." (13) There are about 39 IU of vitamin E in an 8-ounce cup of olive oil. A full pound of peanuts yields 34 IU. Professor Max K. Horwitt, Ph.D., who spent 15 years serving on The Food and Nutrition Board's RDA committees, said in an interview that "The average intake by adults, without supplements, seems to be about 8 milligrams of alpha-tocopherol per day, or 8 tocopherol equivalents. This is equivalent to 12 International Units (IU)." (14) So it might be said that, in the end, the accommodation was not to raise the bridge but rather to lower the river.
Vitamin E is the body's chief fat-soluble antioxidant. It is a powerful one indeed, when you consider that 22 IU is presumed adequate to protect each one of the tens of trillions of body cells in a human being. Even though there has been a veritable explosion in antioxidant research since 1968, the RDA for vitamin E has been decreased.
POSTAL FRAUD "Any claim in the labeling of drugs or of foods offered for special dietary use, by reason of Vitamin E, that there is need for dietary supplementation with Vitamin E, will be considered false." (United States Post Office Department Docket No. 1/187 (March 15, 1961)
On October 26, 1959, the US government charged an organization known as the Cardiac Society with postal fraud for selling 30 IU vitamin E capsules through the mail. Specifically, the charge was "the operation of a scheme or device for obtaining money through the mails by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises . . . that Respondent's product 'E-FEROL 30 I.U.' (containing vitamin E) is therapeutically effective and beneficial in the treatment of heart and cardiovascular diseases for any person so afflicted; that Respondent's said product will prevent heart disease; that "It (vitamin E) is the key both to the prevention and treatment of all those conditions in which a lack of blood supply due to thickened or blocked blood vessels or a lack of oxygen is a part or the whole story of the disease"; that "Vitamin E seems to be a natural anti-thrombin in the human blood stream. . . It is the only substance preventing the clotting of blood which is not dangerous"; that the book "Your Heart and Vitamin E" tells you "What Vitamin E is and Does, How It Treats Heart Disease, Its Success In Circulatory Diseases, Your Foods' Deficiency in Vitamin E" . . . That "It (the book) explains medical facts in every-day language concerning the help that is available for sufferers from diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as Coronary Heart Disease, Angina Pectoris, Phlebitis, Buerger's Disease, Diabetes, Strokes, etc." (15) http://www.usps.gov/judicial/1961deci/1-187.htm
A four-day hearing before the Hearing Examiner in Washington, D.C. generated sufficient testimony to fill "four volumes totaling 856 pages. Seventy-six exhibits were received in evidence. . . for the consideration of the Hearing Examiner. His Initial Decision covers forty-two pages."
It is an oddity of history that, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States of America found both the reason and the resources to prosecute such a case as this.
"The record here shows that the consensus of medical opinion is that Respondent's claims are false and that this is the universality of medical opinion on the subject. Numerous tests and experiments have been conducted to attempt to substantiate the claims made by Respondent that Vitamin E is efficacious for treatment of a number of conditions but these have failed to substantiate the claims. It appears perfectly clear from the testimony of the expert witnesses that Respondent's claims and representations are devoid of scientific support. . . The Hearing Examiner correctly found that the Respondent intends to deceive by its false representation and that actual fraud under established law is proven. . . A fraud order shall issue forthwith forbidding the delivery of mail and the payment of money orders incident to such scheme, to the Respondent, its agents and representatives, all in accordance with 39 U.S.C. 259 and 732." (15) http://www.usps.gov/judicial/1961deci/1-187.htm
After this, all mail addressed to the Cardiac Society was returned to the sender, with "Fraudulent" stamped on the envelope.
DOSAGE AND UTILITY Vitamin E has many clinically important and seemingly unrelated properties. In their books (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) the Shutes discuss a number of them.
1) Vitamin E strengthens and regulates heartbeat, like digitalis and similar drugs, at a dose adjusted between 800 to 3,000 IU daily.
2) Vitamin E reduces inflammation and scarring when frequently applied topically to burns or to sites of lacerations or surgical incisions. Internally, vitamin E helps to very gradually break down thrombi at a maintained oral dose of between 800 IU and 3,000 IU.
3) Vitamin E has an oxygen-sparing effect on the heart, enabling the heart can do more work on less oxygen. The benefit for recovering heart attack patients is considerable. 1,200 to 2,000 IU daily relieves angina very well. My father, duly diagnosed with angina, gradually worked up to 1,600 IU over a period of a few weeks. He never had an angina symptom again. In this, he had the identical success that thousands of Shute patients had.
4) Vitamin E moderately prolongs prothrombin clotting time, decreases platelet adhesion, and has a limited "blood thinning" effect. This is the reason behind the Shutes' using vitamin E (1,000 - 2,000 IU/day) for thrombophlebitis and related conditions. The pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession are well aware of vitamin E's anticoagulant property and that "very high doses of this vitamin may act synergistically with anticoagulant drugs." (21) However, this also means that vitamin E can, entirely or in part, substitute for such drugs but do so more safely. Perhaps this is best summed up by surgeon Edward William Alton Ochsner, M.D. (1896-1981) who said, "Vitamin E is a potent inhibitor of thrombin that does not produce a hemorrhagic tendency and therefore is a safe prophylactic against venous thrombosis." (23)
5) Vitamin E is a modest vasodilator, promotes collateral circulation, and consequently offers great benefits to diabetes patients. (24) The Shutes used a dose of about 800 IU or more, tailored to the patient. For this, among other reasons, Evan Shute, author of over 100 scientific papers, was literally judged to be a fraud by the United States Post Office Department. The 1961 court decision said, "Vascular degenerations in a diabetic are not effectively treated in the use of vitamin E in any dosage. . . vitamin E has been thoroughly studied and that there is no doubt whatsoever as to its lack of utility." (15) http://www.usps.gov/judicial/1961deci/1-187.htm
This statement was premature to say the least. The "thorough study" of vitamin E was not quite completed by 1961. Thirty- eight years later, a crossover study of 36 patients who had Type I diabetes, and retinal blood flows that were significantly lower than non-diabetics, showed that those taking 1,800 IU of vitamin E daily obtained normal retinal blood flow. The patients with the worst initial readings improved the most. "(V)itamin E may potentially provide additional risk reduction for the development of retinopathy or nephropathy in addition to those achievable through intensive insulin therapy alone. Vitamin E is a low-cost, readily available compound associated with few known side effects; thus, its use could have a dramatic socioeconomic impact if found to be efficacious in delaying the onset of diabetic retinopathy and/or nephropathy." (25) Vitamin E also works synergistically with insulin to lower high blood pressure in diabetics. (26)
QUANTITY AND QUALITY The most common reason for irreproducibility of successful vitamin E cures is either a failure to use enough of it, or a failure to use the natural form (D-alpha, plus mixed natural tocopherols), or both. For example, in an oft-quoted negative study (27), researchers who gave 300 milligrams of synthetic vitamin E to patients who had recently had a heart attack saw no beneficial effect. Such failure is to be expected. You can set up any experiment to fail. The Shutes would have used only the natural form, and four times as much.
Natural vitamin E is always the dextro- (right-handed) form. On the other hand, "synthetic vitamin E is a mixture of eight isomers in equal proportions containing only 12.5% of d-alpha tocopherol. One mg of dl-alpha tocopherol has the lowest Vitamin E equivalence of any of the common vitamin E preparations." (28)
There may be other differences. "Vitamin E derived from natural sources is obtained by molecular distillation and, in most cases, subsequent methylation and esterification of edible vegetable oil products. Synthetic vitamin E is produced from fossil plant material (coal tar) by condensation of trimethylhydroquinone with isophytol." (12)
While personal philosophy is the only possible basis for a decision to conduct a study using only the synthetic form of a vitamin, the use of low dosage is generally explained away by alleging doubts about safety.
SAFETY The most elementary of forensic arguments is, where are the bodies? Poison control statistics report no deaths from vitamin E. (29) There is a reason for this. Vitamin E is a safe and remarkably non-toxic substance. Even the 2000 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, which actually recommends against taking supplemental vitamin E, specifically acknowledges that 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) is a "tolerable upper intake level . . . that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population." (30) The Shutes observed no evidence of harm with doses as high as 8,000 IU/day. In fact, "toxicity symptoms have not been reported even at intakes of 800 IU per kilogram of body weight daily for 5 months" according to the Food and Nutrition Board. (31) This demonstrated safe level would work out to be around 60,000 IU daily for an average adult, some 2,700 times the RDA!
In addition to an awareness of anticoagulation medications, "Dr. Shute advises starting with small doses for patients who have rheumatic heart disease. He starts with 90 IU. and very slowly works up the dose. The reason for this is that if too much is given at the beginning the increased strength of the heartbeat may create some difficulty. The same applies to heart failure. The initial dose should be small and gradually increased. If this is done the final dose can safely reach 800 to 1200 IU." (31)
SAFETY IN THE ELDERLY A Columbia University study reported progression of Alzheimer's disease was significantly slowed in patients taking high daily doses (2,000 IU) of vitamin E for two years. (32) The vitamin worked better than the drug selegiline did. The patients in the Alzheimer's study tolerated their vitamin E doses well. Perhaps the real story is that 2,000 IU per day for two years is safe for the elderly.
SAFETY IN CHILDREN Children using anti-epileptic medication have reduced plasma levels of vitamin E, a sign of vitamin E deficiency. So doctors at the University of Toronto gave epileptic children 400 IU of vitamin E per day for several months, along with their medication. This combined treatment reduced the frequency of seizures in most of the children by over 60 percent. Half of them "had a 90 to 100 percent reduction in seizures." (33) This extraordinary result is also proof of the safety of 400 IU of vitamin E per day in children (equivalent to at least 800 to 1,200 IU/day for an adult). "There were no adverse side effects," said the researchers. It also provides a clear example of pharmaceutical use creating a vitamin deficiency, and an unassailable justification for supplementation.
SAFETY IN INFANTS Overexposure to oxygen has been a major cause of retrolental fibroplasia (retinopathy of prematurity) and subsequent blindness in premature infants. Incubator oxygen retina damage is now prevented by giving preemies 100 mg E per kilogram body weight. That dose is equivalent to an adult dose of about 7,000 IU for an average-weight adult. "There have been no detrimental side effects" from such treatment, said the New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 3, 1981. (34) Nevertheless, the 1989 (sixth) edition of the textbook Nutrition and Diet Therapy (6) advised that "healthy persons stand the chance of developing signs of toxicity with the megadoses that are recommended in these studies." (p. 225) That incorrect statement was dropped in the book's next edition. Instead, the 7th edition (1993) said under "Toxicity Effects" that "Vitamin E is the only one of the fat-soluble vitamins for which no toxic effect in humans is known. Its use as a supplement has not shown harmful effects." (p 186)
IMMUNE FUNCTION "Worst Pills, Best Pills" is a monthly newsletter published by Public Citizen, Ralph Nader's "Health Research Group." The October, 2002 issue (Vol 8, No 10) contained this statement by editor Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D.: "You should not take dietary supplements. These products have not been tested or shown to be effective for any use, and their safety is unknown. The only exception to this advice is an inexpensive vitamin or mineral preparation." (p 80) On page 77, the doctor presents a JAMA study (35) alleging that a mere 200 mg of vitamin E is somehow detrimental to patients over the age of 60 with respiratory tract infections.
But there are other studies that Public Citizen might do well to present to its readership. Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., writes: "The effect of daily vitamin E supplementation (800 IU alpha tocopherol for 30 days) on immune responses of 32 healthy subjects (60+ years old) was examined in a placebo- controlled, double-blind trial in a metabolic research unit. The data suggest that vitamin E supplementation improves immune responsiveness in healthy elderly." (36) In a second study, "using a double blind protocol, immune response was studied in a group receiving vitamin E (800 mg per day) versus placebo. The increased immunocompetence was matched by blood vitamin E levels which jumped from 1.1 to 3.1 mg%. No such change in blood vitamin E occurred in the control group (1.1 to 1.0 mg%)." (37)
A recent and perhaps even more important study looked at patients with colon cancer "who received a daily dose of 750 mg of vitamin E during a period of 2 weeks. Short-term supplementation with high doses of dietary vitamin E leads to increased CD4:CD8 ratios and to enhanced capacity by their T cells to produce the T helper 1 cytokines interleukin 2 and IFN-gamma. In 10 of 12 patients, an increase of 10% or more (average, 22%) in the number of T cells producing interleukin 2 was seen after 2 weeks of vitamin E supplementation." The authors concluded that "dietary vitamin E may be used to improve the immune functions in patients with advanced cancer." That improvement was achieved in only two weeks merits special attention. (38)
Note that the doses in these positive studies were four times the dose used in the negative JAMA study cited by Dr. Wolfe.
HYPERTENSION Recent research has indicated that Vitamin E normalizes high blood pressure. (39, 40, 41) In some hypertensive persons, commencement of very large vitamin E doses may cause a slight temporary increase in blood pressure, although maintained supplementation can then be expected to lower it. The solution is to increase the vitamin gradually, along with the proper monitoring that hypertensive patients should have anyway. High blood pressure has been called the "silent killer," and nearly one-third of adults have it. It is all too frequently unrecognized and untreated.
Nearly half of all deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases, and often the first symptom is death. Advocating daily supplementation with several hundred IU's of vitamin E would be good public health policy. Yet vitamin E, for decades lampooned as a "cure in search of a disease," remains virtually the "silent healer" for as much as the public has been advised of its benefits.
Back in 1985, Linus Pauling wrote: "The failure of the medical establishment during the last forty years to recognize the value of Vitamin E in controlling heart disease is responsible for a tremendous amount of unnecessary suffering and for many early deaths. The interesting story of the efforts to suppress the Shute discoveries about Vitamin E illustrates the shocking bias of organized medicine against nutritional measures for achieving improved health." (10, vii)
Dr. Pauling would most likely have appreciated this comment from a recent Harvard Health Letter: "A consistent body of research indicates that vitamin E may protect people against heart disease. . . The data generally indicate that taking doses ranging from 100 to 800 IU (International Units) per day may lower the risk of heart disease by 30%-40%." (42) Over half a century ago, the Shute brothers and colleagues showed that, with even higher doses than those, and with an insistence on the use of natural vitamin E, the results are better still.
A bibliography of selected books and papers by Wilfrid and Evan Shute is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_shute.html .
Evan Shute's autiobiography, The Vitamin E Story, was reviewed by me for The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Volume 17, Number 3, Third Quarter, 2002 (p 179-181) and is also posted online at http://www.doctoryourself.com/estory.htm .
(Reprinted with permission from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2003; Vol. 18, Numbers 3 and 4, p. 213-216.)
All 42 references for this article are posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/evitamin.htm .
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