Click here to translate this page. translate gadget at page bottom
Newsletter v3n7

Newsletter v3n7
Back Issues

"I don't know if the world is full of smart men bluffing, or imbeciles who mean it." (attributed to Morrie Brickman)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 3, No 7) February 20, 2003

"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.


So there I was in Africa, in a castle dungeon, lit by a single dim light bulb, looking up at a ceiling entirely covered with bats. My feet were Crocodile-Hunter-deep in "bat poo" (guano) which had no discernable odor. It must have been a very different smell indeed back in the 1500's, when hundreds of slaves were held in this miserable stone cellar and others like it. Ventilation was by a single small barred window, way up high. For those imprisoned there, there was no running water, no toilets, and no hope.

The fortress at Elmina, in Ghana, West Africa was once the world's largest collecting and holding station for slaves before they were shipped overseas. When I visited in 1974, I was not allowed to take photographs because political prisoners were held there. Today it is promoted as a tourist destination.

Do not let those shining white exterior views fool you; Elmina Castle is truly an awful place on the inside, underneath, downstairs in those dungeons. The whole horrible business went on for nearly 400 years.

This was organized oppression on a large, commercial scale.

Today, many people are oppressed by fear and, in a manner of speaking, imprisoned by fear. Political leaders have too often capitalized on their fears, such as the fear of chemical weapons and biological warfare. Whoever you are and wherever you live, you are of course understandably very concerned for your family's health and safety.

One answer to this problem may have something to do with those bats mentioned earlier.

Bats navigate by echo-location. That means the stealthy little guys have on-board sonar. By sending out high pitched pulses and listening to their return, bats can fly around dungeons in the dark without ever hitting the walls or each other, or, incidentally, without ever getting in your hair. Bats also find their food this way.

Many bats like to eat moths. There are moth species that not only can hear the bat's sonar, but when they do hear it, will automatically fold up their mothy wings and fall several meters straight down. By the time the bat gets to where the moth is, it is where the moth was.

The moth does an akido move .

There is an analogous akido move in immunology. It is futile to focus on the preemptive killing of every germ, every time, everywhere. It cannot be done. But rather than live in a bubble, scramble for the latest and greatest antibiotic, or panic if your vaccination card is incomplete, why not concentrate on the many ways you can strengthen your immune system yourself? Most people I've met could use a good health tune up. Now is a very good time to do one. Lots of blunt but practical hints at , with additional how-to's at

"The best defense is not to offend." (Chuck Norris)


Most media hype about bioterrorism is about as accurate as the media hype was for "Star Wars - Episode One." Both have been very overrated.


The classic, perhaps the ultimate contagious disease of all time would be bubonic plague. The loathsome Black Death killed better than one in four Europeans during the 14th century. We are talking 30 million people now, plus 45 million more dead in Asia. Pretty awful. Keep in mind, though, that nearly three in four lived through it. How? The plague being a bacterial disease, and neither vaccine nor antibiotic in sight, how did the great majority of people NOT die?

DID YOU KNOW that there have been dozens of plague cases diagnosed in the southwest USA in recent years? Have you had your plague vaccination? Do you really think you need one? Then why hasn't it spread?

Smallpox, that virtually-vanished viral disease, is another case in point. Even when smallpox reigned supreme, the vast majority of the population did not contract it, and most of those that did nevertheless survived the event. George Washington, to name one. Is smallpox all gone now because of drugs and vaccination, or because of our natural immune systems? Can you prove the first over the second? It is not possible to drug or vaccinate everyone on earth even if everyone on earth could be or wanted to be drugged and vaccinated. There are simply too many people, and there are definitely far too many germs. (There are over two hundred viruses just for the common cold.)

With a reverent sense of history, I offer a revisionist view of the germ theory as Abraham Lincoln might have described it:

"You can infect some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot infect all of the people all of the time." .

How about that always-sick kid I was stuck next to in Bio class?



WHAT TO DO? A healthy immune system is built every day by your lifestyle choices, especially your nutrition choices.

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 1: Take lots of vitamin C and defend yourself against viruses:

And while you are at it, why not blast a few bacteria:

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 2: Conquer chronic tiredness:

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 3: Strengthen your resolve with scientific studies on the antitoxic, antibiotic and antiviral properties of megadoses of vitamin C:

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 4: Take a good multivitamin every day. (I take one each meal.)

Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D., writes:

"In 1992, an eminent immunologist from Newfoundland, Canada and Johns Hopkins assessed the effect of physiologic amounts of vitamins and trace elements on immunocompetence and occurrence of infection-related illness. (1) He assigned 96 independently living ambulatory, healthy elderly individuals to receive either routine daily maintenance vitamin supplementation or a placebo. Subjects in the supplemented group had higher numbers of certain T- cell sub-sets and natural killer cells, enhanced proliferation response to mitogen, increased interleukin-2 production, and higher antibody response and natural killer cell activity. These subjects were less likely than those in the placebo group to have illness due to infections (23 versus 48 days per year).

"In a subsequent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 35 additional healthy, noninstitutionalized elderly subjects were once again supplied with multivitamin versus placebo supplementation. (2) Pike and Chandra note that giving micro-nutrients can play a crucial role in the maintenance of normal immune function in the elderly. This piece of work received very little attention because of its lack of drama. After all, these were just ordinary healthy elderly people given a simple multivitamin trace mineral tablet!

"It is interesting, in light of these Newfoundland studies, that a recent USDA survey of food intake, reported only 1% of Americans meet the minimum standards for dietary adequacy."

(from "The Health of the Naturopath: Vitamin Supplementation and Psychologic State," by E. Cheraskin, M.D., D.M.D. Reprinted with permission.)

(1) Chandra RK: Effect of vitamin and trace-element supplementation on immune responses and infection in elderly subjects. The Lancet 1992; 340/8828:1124-1127.

(2) Pike J, Chandra, RK: Effect of vitamin and trace element supplementation on immune indices in healthy elderly international J Vitamin Nutr Res, 1995;65/2 117-120.


IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 5: Take supplemental vitamin E.

"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." (Meydani, S.N., Barklund, M.P., Liu, S., Meydani, M., Miller, R.A., Cannon, J.G., Morrow, F.D., Rocklin, R., Blumberg, J.B. Effect of Vitamin E Supplementation on Immune Responsiveness of Healthy Elderly Subjects. FASEB Journal 3: A1057, 1989.)

"In a metabolic unit, 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%)." (Meydani, S.N., Barkiund, M.P., Liu, S., Meydani, M., Miller, R.A., Cannon, J.G., Morrow, F.D., Rocklin, R., Blumberg, J.B. Vitamin E Supplementation Enhances Cell-Mediated Immunity in Healthy Elderly Subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 52:#3, 557-563, September 1990.)

from Antioxidants in Health and Disease: The Big Picture, by E. Cheraskin, MD, DMD (Reprinted with permission of the author and the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 10: #2, 89-96, Second Quarter, 1995.) Full text of the article is posted at .

IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 6: Drink lots of vegetable juices, and here are (still more!) reasons why:

Carotene in high doses has been specifically shown to strengthen the immune system by helping the body to build more helper T cells. The amount used in this well-controlled study was 180 milligrams of beta-carotene per day. This is, theoretically at least, the equivalent of 300,000 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin A per day! (6 mg of beta carotene can be converted into 10,000 I.U. of vitamin A in the body.) That amount consumed as the oil, or retinol form of vitamin A, would likely be toxic. But as carotene it is not. There is indeed a big difference between forms.

Also noteworthy is that the study produced positive results in a mere TWO WEEKS.

"Immune system response to short-term, high-dose beta carotene supplementation was examined. Supplements of 180 mg of beta carotene per day for two weeks increased the number of T4 lymphocytes (helper cells) and did not effect the T8 lymphocytes (suppressor cells)." (Alexander, M., Newmark, H., Miller, R.G. Oral Beta Carotene Can Increase the Number of OKT4+ Cells in Human Blood. Immunology Letters 9:221-224, 1985.)

Incidentally, even people with the weakest of immune systems (AIDS patients) have benefitted from huge carotene dosages (Graham, N. American Journal of Epidemiology, December, 1993).

FACTOID FOUND OUT: The factoid: "Excess carotene consumption is dangerous!"

The FACTS: Excess carotene causes the skin to turn slightly orange, once succinctly described as resembling an artificial suntan. The medical name for this condition is hypercarotenosis or just carotenosis. Hypercarotenemia refers to elevated blood levels of carotene, and is also called just carotenemia. Both are harmless. According to the doctor's standard reference Merck Manual, 14th edition, "excess intake of carotene does not cause hypervitaminosis A" (p. 891). Hypervitaminosis A is vitamin A toxicity from the preformed, oil type of vitamin A. It is not due to carotene.

In short, it is singularly difficult to kill yourself with carrots.

"Orange" you glad to know that?

FACTOID FOUND OUT: The persistent factoid: "Scientific studies have shown carotene to be harmful to smokers!"

The FACTS: Smoking is what is harmful to smokers. Studies using SYNTHETIC beta carotene have been the negative ones, such as:

Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta-carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 1996;334:1150ñ 5.

Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Risk factors for lung cancer and for intervention effects in CARET, the Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 1996;88:1550ñ9.

The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med 1994;330:1029ñ35.

Synthetic carotene is generally ineffective, and sometimes appears to be harmful to multi-decade smokers. However, numerous studies have shown that large quantities of NATURAL carotenes, like those in vegetables and vegetable juices, are protective.

By the way, if you are still giving credence to those scare- stories about carotene, please remember that a single 8 inch raw carrot contains over 20,000 IU of the vitamin A activity, which is 400% of the RDA. Be sure to never let your kids eat carrots unsupervised! (NOT!)

Or better yet, be sure your kids do not have to breathe second-hand smoke, anywhere, ever.

So IMMUNE BOOSTER NUMBER 7 of course would be: Stop smoking. More on this follows further below.

FACTOID DEBUNKING FACTS from Dr. Abram Hoffer will be found at

For a really good discussion of vitamin A: anh-vitamins/what-anh-vitamin-a.htm


My aunt needed oxygen to put on her socks. A severe case of emphysema, which a lifetime of smoking had failed to cure, was the reason. She was just one of an estimated 16 million Americans suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), all primarily caused by tobacco use. The fourth leading cause of death, COPD kills over 100,000 annually. That number is increasing; medical research has contributed virtually nothing to stop it. ( m ).

But you can stop it by stopping smoking, and by stopping other people from smoking, and by stopping non-smokers from "involuntary smoking," also known as breathing second-hand smoke. (If you would like to help prevent another generation of tobacco addiction and disease, go to the all-volunteer and send a smokefree EZ-letter to a key decision maker.)

OK, the lecture is over, and now for the part that you tuned in for: what can be done for the disease itself?

I think the following are worth trying:

1) Vitamin E helps the body, especially the heart, to do more work on less oxygen. This has been known for some 50 years My suggestions for use and for adjusting dosage are posted at

2) Carotene (in orange and green vegetables) and lycopene (in tomatoes) are powerful antioxidants. At least some of the damage of empysema is caused by oxidants such as free radicals. While vitamin E is your body's number one antioxidant, vegetable juices will provide a great variety of others.

3) Pricey though it is, I would recommend coenzyme Q-10 for COPD sufferers, at least 300 milligrams daily, divided into six 50 mg doses. This is a hospital-friendly supplement, as there are no known negative side effects and therefore no basis to deny it to any patient. My crash course on "The Art of Inpatient Negotiation" is posted at

4) Some emphysema is due to inflammation. Vitamin C at saturation doses fights chronic inflammation better than and more safely than anything else I know. Yet just ask anyone YOU know with emphysema this simple question: Have you tried it yet? Saturation of vitamin C is easily reached through frequent oral doses, and is fully described in these articles:

Frederick R. Klenner, M.D., author of or mentioned in the above papers, was a board-certified chest specialist. His policy was literally, When in doubt, take a huge amount of vitamin C. He wrote, "Some physicians would stand by and see their patients die rather than use ascorbic acid. "Vitamin C should be given to the patient while the doctors ponder the diagnosis." Very ill patients may need a vitamin C intravenously. How to get your doctor to order this:

5) Chiropractic adjustment, while certainly not a cure for emphysema, may help reduce some shortness of breath symptoms. A "MA" roller can also be useful for some do-it- yourself adjustments (and an internet search will find them for you).

For more about your Unsung Lungs: ASTHMA



TUBERCULOSIS Especially: Both of these articles discuss the nutritional therapy of Max Gerson, M.D., which was demonstrated effective on TB even before it was with cancer.

THE TRICK TO METRICS A gram is 1,000 milligrams. A liter is . . WAIT! There is much more fun to be had with these:

A Youngman is the amount of mirth contained in the average one-liner.

A milliHelen is the amount of beauty necessary to launch a single ship.

And you can blame the following on : 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone 10 cards = 1 decacards 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake 10 rations = 1 decoration 2 monograms = 1 diagram 8 nickels = 2 paradigms 2 wharves = 1 paradox

More seriously, now:

A FINAL THOUGHT: "I think the best advice I can give is, Never waste your time worrying. 95% of what we worry about never happens anyway, and the 5% that does we can't do anything about." (100-year-old retired teacher, Medina, NY)

Privacy Statement: We do not sell, and we do not share, our mailing list or your email address with anyone. We never send out advertisements of any kind. You may notice that there is no advertising at and no advertising in this newsletter. We have no financial connection with the supplement industry. We do not sell vitamins or other health products, except for Dr. Saul's books, which help fund these free public services.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This newsletter is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision.

"DOCTOR YOURSELF" "" and "Doctor Yourself Newsletter" are service marks of Andrew W. Saul. All rights reserved.

Copyright c 2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul Permission to reproduce single copies of this newsletter FOR NON-COMMERCIAL, PERSONAL USE ONLY is hereby granted providing no alteration of content is made and authorship credit is given.