"Let no one who has the slightest desire to live in peace and quietness be tempted, under any circumstances, to enter upon the chivalrous task of trying to correct a popular error." (William Thoms, deputy librarian for the House of Lords, c. 1873)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 3, No 3) December 18, 2002
"Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of http://www.doctoryourself.com , a free online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000 scientific references.
THE VITAMIN E STORY
The first course I ever taught was entitled "Forgotten Research in Medicine." That was in 1976. Even by that time, there had been a strikingly large number of impeccably qualified researchers and physicians who had left drug-and-cut medicine behind in favor of a naturopathic approach. I had seen so much well-documented evidence for the safety and effectiveness of therapeutic nutrition against major chronic diseases that I figured it must presently be self evident to everybody. Surely, I thought, it could only be a matter of time (say twenty years at most) until all doctors shifted to natural healing, because word would spread like wildfire and all their patients would demand it of them.
I'd read a variety of articles documenting an incredibly bitter controversy which raged throughout the 1950's over the use of vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) for cardiovascular disease. Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute were at the center of this storm, which encircled their work in Ontario, Canada. They were among the very first medical doctors to clinically employ large doses of the vitamin in place of conventional drug therapy. Like many pioneers, they caught all the arrows. Almost all of the positive articles I saw were based on case histories and came from the popular press. Almost all of the criticism seemed to come from the medical press, which seemed singularly resistant to even try the Shute's approach, let alone endorse it. Yet, somehow, their unwillingness to test the Shute's high-dose, natural vitamin E protocol did not seem to prevent them from dismissing it.
In the early 50's, Canada was a hotbed of leading-edge nutritional research. Maybe there is something in the water up there. In Saskatchewan at about the same time, Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphrey Osmond found that niacin was the best way to treat psychosis. The Shutes found that vitamin E was the best way to treat heart disease. One might think that the only possible professional response to such important discoveries would be grateful acceptance and widespread journal publication.
Just the opposite occurred.
For decades it has been said that pharmaceutical medicine has little to gain from a cheap vitamin cure that cannot be patented and exploited for high profit. Observers have also witnessed what happens to medical doctors that have defected to drugless healing: they gain many grateful patients, and lose a lot of research funding. Few pharmaceutical companies willingly contribute to the competition.
The Shutes saw early that such would be the case, and paid their own way. They created their own research foundation and treatment facility (The Shute Institute), created their own journal (The Summary), and in so doing, some would say, created their own trouble.
The Vitamin E Story is Dr. Evan Shute's first-hand, ring-side account of the discovery that high-dose d-alpha tocopherol cures serious disease. It is also an unusually interesting autobiography of an unusually interesting man. Evan Shute, an obstetrician by training, was a poet by inclination. He once delivered 25 babies in 17 days, yet he also wrote children's stories and published ten volumes of verse. Dr. Shute's professional character is perhaps best illustrated by his repeated efforts to credit medical student Floyd Skelton with major contributions to the development of vitamin E cardiovascular therapy. The Shute's personal integrity is demonstrated by their maintaining a non-commercial stance and never profiting from the sale of the vitamin. Oddly enough, in 1948 they actually advocated making vitamin E a prescription item.
Perhaps this is understandable, given the spectacular, wonder-drug-style patient recoveries that the Shutes had already seen by mid-century.
TWENTY YEARS OF IGNORED SHUTE VITAMIN E RESEARCH: A Timeline 1936: Vitamin E-rich wheat germ oil cures angina.
1940: Vitamin E suspected as preventive of fibroids and endometriosis, and curative of atherosclerosis.
1945: Vitamin E shown to cure hemorrhages in skin and mucous membranes, and to decrease the diabetic's need for insulin.
1946: Vitamin E greatly improves wound healing, including skin ulcers. Also demonstrated effective in cases of claudication, acute nephritis, thrombosis, cirrhosis and phlebitis. Vitamin E strengthens and regulates heartbeat.
1947: Vitamin E successfully used as therapy for gangrene, inflammation of blood vessels (Buerger's disease), retinitis and choroiditis.
1948: Vitamin E helps lupus erythematosus and shortness of breath.
1950: Vitamin E shown to be effective treatment for varicose veins, and in cases of severe body burns.
1954: The Shutes' medical textbook, Alpha Tocopherol in Cardiovascular Disease, is published.
1956: The Heart and Vitamin E is published.
It is not overly easy to see how such promise could be ignored for long. But it was. Dr. Shute's frustration with an unnaturally stubborn medical profession comes starkly through his text.
"It was nearly impossible now for anyone who valued his future in Academe to espouse Vitamin E, prescribe it or advise its use. That would make a man a "quack" at once. This situation lasted for many years. In the United States, of course, the closure of the J.A.M.A. pages against us and tocopherol meant that it did not exist. It was either in the U.S. medical bible or it was nought. No amount of documentation could budge medical men from this stance. Literature in the positive was ignored and left unread. Individual doctors often said: "If it is as good as you say, we would all be using it." But nothing could induce them as persons of scientific background to make the simplest trial on a burn or coronary." (p 146)
The American Medical Association even refused to let the Shute's present their findings at national medical conventions. (p 148-9) In the early 1960's, the United States Post Office successfully prevented even the mailing of vitamin E. (p 166) Linus Pauling wrote, in the book's 1985 forward:
"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." (vii)
O that things were truly better today, but they are not. Yes, the American public can and does buy vitamin E (even by mail) without a prescription. Still, I am unaware of any burn clinic using topical vitamin E as their primary treatment. I am yet to see "megadose vitamin E cures cardiovascular disease" commercials on TV. I have never seen a bottle of vitamin E in an intensive care unit. It has now been nearly 60 years since vitamin E was seen to greatly help diabetics and cardiovascular patients and only very recently has medical research "discovered" a glimmer of the value of this vitamin. For half a century, vitamin E has been an available specific for intermittent claudication, angina, prevention of and recovery from heart attack, thrombophlebitis, and a wide variety of other serious conditions.
Aye, there's the rub.
Vitamin E is entirely too good for too many purposes. Consumer Reports trashed it in back in 1972, and often since. It didn't help matters that Evan Shute was "only" an obstetrician. (This obstetrician was, however, made a Fellow of the American Society of Angiology in 1969.) And today, vitamin E's very availability, and exceptional safety, seemingly render it unattractive for hospital use as the spectacular therapy that it is.
The Vitamin E Story surprised me with Chapter 12, a collection of rather funny real-life obstetrical experiences that Dr. Shute evidently just had to put down on paper. I'm glad he did, as the stories are both delightful and bizarre. There is the account of proof of ovulation in a 102 year old woman. There is the case of "cranial nerve neuralgia cured for two years by a hemorrhoidectomy. This shows the suggestive power of the knife." Then there is the surgeon who smoked during operations, the cigarette ash getting into the wound. And let's not overlook the marriage ceremony performed during labor. "Uterine contractions imposed an odd punctuation to the responses, but the minister did most of the talking, fortunately."
But this book is mostly the story of the Evan Shute who published over 120 medical papers; the doctor who was opposed to circumcision; the doctor who treated tens of thousands of patients with large amounts of vitamin E.
Tocopherol has been known and studied since the 1920's, generally in small quantities as a means to ensure a full-term pregnancy. Without the Shute brothers' high-dosage clinical work, especially in cardiology, no one at all would be megadosing with vitamin E today. We owe them our thanks, and our lives.
The Vitamin E Story, by Evan Shute, M.D. James C. M. Shute, editor. Forward by Linus Pauling. (Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing, 1985. 219 pages, softcover.) ISBN 0- 920413-04-8 This book is available for US $14.00 (postpaid to US addresses) from the Shute Institute, 367 Princess Ave., London, Ontario, Canada N6B 2A7. Canadian and international ordering information may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org .
(My review, above, also appeared in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 3, Third Quarter, 2002, pages 179-181.)
A bibliography of the Shutes' principal written work is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_shute.html
For specific vitamin dosage information on CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, Angina, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Congestive Heart Failure, and other heart-y topics, try a site search for "Shute" or for "heart" from the top of the main page at http://www.doctoryourself.com Do so, and there's going to be a whole lot for you to look at . . . for which I make no apology whatsoever. Cardiovascular disease remains our number one enemy, the biggest killer of men AND women.
CANCER, VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS, AND QUALITY OF LIFE by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Recently the Canadian news media announced, with considerable excitement, that the addition of folic acid to flour not only decreased the incidence of spina bifida in babies but also decreased a serious form of cancer by the same degree, about 50%. This made me feel good because it showed that the publicity given to vitamins (including their possible use in cancer) will persuade many women to take B complex vitamins. This anti-cancer effect of folic acid is a most favorable, if unintended, consequence.
On the other hand, another recent study ["Mega-Dose Vitamins and Minerals in the Treatment of Non-Metastatic Breast Cancer," Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 10/15/2002] concluded that "survival times were not improved for the vitamin/mineral treated group over those for the controls" over an average of five-and-one-half years. I initiated this study in order to establish that breast cancer cases did better on vitamins. The outcome was disappointing, but there are possible explanations.
In my series of 273 patients, there was only a small number that would not follow the nutritional program. The outcome with the non-compliant group was in fact not very good compared to the ones on the program.
While all my patient charts were scrutinized, the investigative team, employing certain criteria, used only about 90 of my patients and compared them against an equivalent group that had not been treated in this way. I think that had the study group used all my cases, the results might have been different. But these were the only ones who were almost entirely stage one cases, unilateral with no metastasis. Most of my patients were stage 2, 3 and 4.
One has to accept the possibility that early (stage 1) breast cancer cases in fact may not need as much vitamin C if their immune system is already functioning fairly well in contrast to more advanced cases, but they do have a much better quality of life with vitamin therapy. This was not investigated, nor could it have been. My own clinical observations remain the same. The breast cancer cases that I see do much better on a vitamin C program combined with other nutrients.
What may be confusing is that one of the authors who agreed in the published report that both of the groups fared equally well reported to the press that vitamin C was harmful. This is incomprehensible to me and corrective reports have been released to the press. I still use the program with modifications to impove it and will continue to do so. Based on the results on over 1200 patients seen since 1976, I know that many of my patients, after several years, discontinued their program, usually because they were getting on so well. The beneficial effect of the program would not be sustained after the program was stopped.
(Editor's Note: There seems to be no end to flawed studies that purport to show that vitamins are useless, or worse. Thanks to Dr. Hoffer for helping us better understand the situation with his article, above, and also those at: http://doctoryourself.com/cancer_hoffer.html http://doctoryourself.com/hoffer_vitc_can.html http://doctoryourself.com/chemo.html http://doctoryourself.com/hoffer_cancer_2.html http://doctoryourself.com/hoffer_factoids.html http://doctoryourself.com/hoffer_paradigm.html http://doctoryourself.com/biblio_hoffer.html
I will continue the discussion below:
DO NOT BE FOOLED BY JUNK SCIENCE ON VITAMIN C MEGADOSES My most common readers' questions ask about some so-called, media-hyped "danger" supposedly due to taking a lot of vitamin C. The majority of the negative articles about vitamin C can be exposed for what they really are with a little help from my article posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/antivitamin.html , with more to be found at http://www.doctoryourself.com/c_roberts.html .
But since the holidays are so busy, here's a quickie reminder:
If two thousand milligrams of vitamin C were harmful, the entire animal kingdom would be dead. Our nearest primate relatives all eat well in excess of two thousand milligrams of vitamin C each day. And, pound for pound, most animals actually manufacture from two to ten thousand milligrams of vitamin C daily, inside their bodies. If such generous quantities of vitamin C were harmful, evolution would have had millions of years to select against it. Vitamin C is not a problem; it is a solution.
References showing how beneficial vitamin C megadoses are will be found by the sleighful at http://www.doctoryourself.com/bibliography.html .
See also: DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTERS Vol 1, No 18 http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v1n18.txt and Vol 2, No 3 http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v2n3
DOCTOR YOURSELF QUICK HOLIDAY HEALTH TIP:
SCIATICA Was that sack full of toys just too heavy for your aching back? Persistent lower backache and upper leg pain with stubborn nerve inflammation can mean sciatica. Saturation doses of vitamin C and a few trips to a good chiropractor can often work wonders. And if you haven't already done so, make it your New Year's resolution to lose that excess weight, there, Santa. . . and stop smoking that pipe (or anything else) you may be holding tight in your teeth. If you do not, sciatica will be back on your list for 2004.
'TIS THE SEASON TO BE WHACKED OUT ON CAFFEINE H. L. writes: "Ruth Whalen's excellent caffeine articles at http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine_allergy.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html are also quite alarming. I seem to have some of the described ailments. How do you stop caffeine intake without the withdrawal headaches? Then, how to avoid the caffeine-brain callback about three to four weeks later?"
And S. C. writes: "Any chance of some suggestions on how to painlessly withdraw from caffeine and cleanse the system as a whole? I am a great fan of your juice fasting, but I get a "caffeine" headache if I don't get my 8-10 oz. cuppa joe in the morning."
I hear you. Who wants "cold turkey" (especially around the holidays, when hot turkey is to be preferred by compulsive bird-eaters). Here are my suggestions, some of which were collected from my former coffee-junkie college students:
1) Vitamin C reduces caffeine withdrawal symptoms, especially the headache. Studies have also shown that vitamin C reduces cravings for drugs including nicotine http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v2n15.txt and even narcotics such as heroin http://www.doctoryourself.com/pain.html . My dosage recommendation? "Take enough C to be symptom free, whatever the amount may be." Although it normally can take a couple of months to get over a caffeine habit, my students report that high antitoxic doses of vitamin C can greatly speed the process.
2) To work the psychological end of the street, I'd recommend you substitute a cup of something else for your morning coffee. Postum, herb tea blends, hot water and lemon, (or my personal fave, hot cider) are all good choices. Enjoy the society, the ritual, and the cold weather creature comfort of pouring and holding a steaming mug of caffeine- free something-else in your hands. Even decaf is a good start.
3) "What about tea?" you may be asking. Yes, there is caffeine in regular tea, roughly half that of coffee. Tea also contains some antioxidants, which are good for you. But then, fruits and vegetables contain far more antioxidants, and zero caffeine. So I concur with Writer the Second, above, and suggest you dust off your juicer.
GREEN TEA VS. BLACK TEA Their leaves are picked off of the very same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference is that green tea is not aged (fermented), whereas black tea is. Uncrushed, unoxidized green tea leaves are healthier for you. But both naturally contain caffeine. A 5-ounce cup of average-brewed tea has roughly the same amount as a 12-ounce caffeine- containing soft drink. (Ray and Ksir (1990) Drugs Society and Human Behavior, chapter 11. St Louis: Mosby)
HOMEOPATHY FOR CAFFEINE (and Tobacco) ADDICTION? Years ago, a national advice columnist published a reader's letter claiming that eating a pinch of tobacco before smoking a cigarette reduced the amount of smoking a person did. Maybe it was the yukky taste. Maybe it was fear of mouth cancer. Or, maybe it was the principle of homeopathy, which may be colloquially explained as "the hair of the dog that bit you." Tobaccum 6X (which is a harmless microdilution of, you guessed it, tobacco) might be a more gum-friendly way to try this idea.
Therefore, I think homeopathic unroasted coffee, Coffea Cruda 6X, might be worth trying for caffeine addiction. And let's face it: any dependency that has physical symptoms as the consequence of quitting is a true addiction. This includes caffeine. Maybe it is time for us to wake up and NOT smell the coffee.
Homeopathy articles at my website include: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fire.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/demystify.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/homeopathy.html
HO-HO-HO HOMEOPATHY BOOKS I OFTEN RECOMMEND (but I do not sell them. Suppliers of homeopathic books and remedies are all over the Internet; please refer your questions to them or to a homeopathic practitioner.)
Boericke, William Homoeopathic Materia Medica (Ninth Edition, 1927) Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel.
This shortened, one-volume listing of homeopathically active substances provides the framework on which to build an intermediate knowledge of the "like treats like" science of homeopathy. Several hundred remedy resumes are provided with over 350 pages of cross-indexing, symptom by symptom. This standard work is unusually inexpensive (because of the publication date) but is in clear need of revision, especially in the Therapeutic Index, which does not always agree with the much more comprehensive and superior Repertory immediately preceding it. Other more recent and more expensive Materia Medicas await the detailed needs of the more experienced homeopath, but Boericke's nearly 75 year old text is hard to beat for everyday reference and home use. (1042 pages, cloth)
Clarke, John H. The Prescriber (Ninth Edition, 1972) Essex, England: C. W. Daniel Co., Ltd.
This book is just what the title indicates: a homeopathic prescription guide that is the next best thing to having a personal homeopathic doctor. Clarke's work has stood the test of time. In this one volume, the reader will first find the best 60 page introduction ever written on just how to use homeopathic remedies, plus a list of abbreviations, and then over 300 pages of foolproof cross-indexing (repertory). With The Prescriber, a Materia Medica, and study, one can become a competent homeopath. Simple to use and to the point, The Prescriber is an essential reference for a healthy home.
Coulter, Harris L. Homeopathic Science and Modern Medicine (1981) Richmond, CA: North Atlantic Books
No one is a better historian of homeopathy's struggle with allopathic (drug) medicine than Dr. Harris Coulter ( http://www.empiricaltherapies.com ). Here, in just over 100 pages, he makes a strong, logical and well-researched case for "the physics of healing with microdoses." If you've always wanted to know how and why "like cures like" and to read a fine review of the literature on infinitesimal dosage, this is the book. Although merely a pamphlet compared to Coulter's multi-volume homeopathic treatise Divided Legacy, this little book still provides over 250 citations from medical journals, a handy table of remedy dilutions, and an annotated bibliography. A 31-page article by J. T. Kent, MD, on case taking and prescription is also included. (157 pages, paper)
OKAY, ONE LAST CAFFEINE QUESTION
N. K. writes: "Our 11-year-old son became extremely strange and looked almost insane (it really worried me), pulled pranks and barely even remembered what he had done. We were extremely worried, as he had always been a happy, smiling boy, and a model student, devoted to music and hard working. It all disappeared. We then discovered that he consumed a bottle of soda pop or a can of energy drink on the way home from school.
"At first, we did not know what was causing his sudden deterioration in his personality. We thought about the teenage hormones. But as I searched through Internet sites and discovered about the amount of caffeine in the soft drinks he consumed, I started to read about caffeine's effect on the brain. Your information was really useful. We eliminated all the caffeine-containing food and drinks (as far as I know) from his diet and now he seems almost back to normal. But he probably consumed a lot of caffeine for about three weeks, and I have a concern about possible damage to his brain. Is there a likelihood of permanent harm?"
If a few weeks of heavy caffeine consumption is dangerous, much of the world (and all of its truck drivers and doctoral students) are surely doomed. More seriously, caffeine, a methylated xanthine, is not known for its long-tem effects. Miscarriage or low- birthweight babies, heart attack, elevated blood pressure, benign breast lumps, panic attacks, and lower academic performance may result from habitual, maintained caffeine use. Probably the worst one can say is that, with caffeine consumption to the equivalent of seven to ten cups of coffee a day, and for an extended period of time, there can be observable and perhaps permanent damage to the rhythm of the heartbeat. Three weeks is not what I would call extended.
On the other hand, I know of one lady who drank just a single cup of coffee and her heart rate jumped to 275. That can't be good for the ticker. Your common sense, along with a cooperative physician, can help you keep an eye on this.
I think your son staying off the caffeine will bring real and permanent improvement.
Happy holidays! and remember: things go better without Coke.
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