"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C. Clarke, The Lost Worlds of 2001)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 4, No. 4 January 20, 2004) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written and copyright 2004 by Andrew Saul, PhD, of http://www.doctoryourself.com , which welcomes nearly a million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
WATCH ONE, DO ONE, TEACH ONE
"That's how we learn," a surgical resident told me over three decades ago, when I first gowned up as a student observer in the O.R. "Watch a procedure, then do it, and then teach it. Here," he added, "Hold that clamp like this. Yes, that's it."
He had no business letting me assist with surgery, but what the hay: the patient was out like a light, and the rest of us all had masks on anyway. So I began to learn how to learn: watch, and copy.
Interestingly enough, that's also how I learned to fly an airplane.
"Pay attention," my 275 pound, red-faced flight instructor said. "If you get it right on the first attempt, the flight examiner won't ask you for more."
As much as I dreaded the FAA flight test, I actually paid attention for a much stronger reason: I considered my overweight and hypertensive instructor to be a prime candidate for a mile-high heart attack. If he was going to die in the air, I was not about to let him take me with him. I wanted to be able to control and land that plane in the worst way. I was plenty motivated. I wanted to live.
Motivation is a wonderful thing. Survival is probably the most powerful motivator there is. The breath of life is everyone's number one concern. No one wants to sicken and die, and sick people very much want to get well. That is why the most common use of internet searches is for information on a disease topic.
Not surprisingly, with 18,000 hits a day at the http://www.doctoryourself.com website, I get a lot of mail from people fighting illness. Many folks write to me and want me to lay out in front of them precisely what they are to do to cure their particular health problem. Others just want me to connect them with a practitioner who will do it for them.
My regular readers well know that I do not provide either of these services. I am neither physician nor referral agent. The title this newsletter, my website, and my book (http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html) is deliberate: Doctor Yourself. Such a title choice is meant to confirm my intent that I want YOU to learn to manage your own health care.
But how, when physicians are generally so unwilling to really teach us how? There is only one path left to us: we'll teach ourselves. Face it: most doctors do not explain their trade secrets any more than medieval guild members would show peasants how to make their own sword, purify their own silver, or read Latin. If you made your own sword, why have elite nobles and knights? If serfs had access to their own silver, they would buy their freedom. If everyone could read, well, history would change.
And when everyone read, history did change. Changing your present, and thereby your future, sounds even better.
The goal of the Doctor Yourself Newsletter and http://www.doctoryourself.com is "each their own physician, today." I think one way to do this is to demystify medicine of its needlessly confusing terminology. Another way is to simultaneously present both the validity, and the simplicity, of natural health care. That means simplification without dumbing it down. After nearly 30 years in the field, I am well aware that accomplishing such a goal is no easy task. It is in fact simple ("change your life"), but it is not easy.
"EASY" VS. "SIMPLE"
Asking me what to do, or seeking a physician to do it for you, is easy. Neither will work. If you would be a pilot, you have to hoist yourself into the left seat of an aircraft and take the time to learn to fly. If you are content to be a passenger in the medical system, you are reading the wrong Newsletter. For I say, If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This especially includes your health care. You can learn it, you can do it, and you can share the way with others.
Change your lifestyle and you dramatically improve your health. "That's so simplistic!" rails our inner critic. We doubt natural therapy because it's too simple to work and we doubt self-care because we doubt ourselves. We've been educated to be good consumers, and that includes becoming consumers of health care services. We have not been educated to be self-reliant.
The good news is that therapeutic nutrition is cheap, simple, effective and safe. Of course, we have been taught that anything cheap, simple and safe cannot possibly be effective against real diseases. And when, by our own verified experiences, we find that megavitamin therapy is cheap and effective, we have pharmophilic fear-mongerers trying to tell us that it can't be safe.
Fact: There is not even one death from vitamins per year.
Ultimately, we have to decide who we are going to listen to. I say, read the research for yourself and see for yourself. Everything changes the day you decide to no longer let your health care providers treat you like a child. At first, it may not be easy to face down a domineering doctor, or even to negotiate compromises with a family member. It is not easy to bring yourself to read the research for yourself, and it takes some gumption to try high-dose vitamin therapy for the first time.
Until you see how well it works, that is.
And then, with experience, it becomes easier, like flying an airplane on instruments. The first time I (inadvertently) ended up inside a cloud, I had just been naively trying to climb over it. A very low-time pilot, I had only a few short hours of instrument instruction.
It immediately came in handy. The cloud was vastly bigger than I thought, and instead of my climbing over it, it climbed over me. The world instantly went white. I could not see a thing. As if on a string, my head tilted down to the instrument panel and I could hear my ever-patient instructor's words playing back in my ear: "Look at the instruments. Wings straight and level. Fly the airplane." Those oh-so-very-elementary commands, by the way, can save your life. In what seemed like a half an hour or so (but was actually only about half a minute) I flew out of the other side of the cloud into clear, blue sky again.
It gets easier all the time. I do not fear clouds; I just avoid them. But next time I find myself in one again, well, my experience will reconfirm what I'd taken the time to learn. I may be in an awfully tiny aircraft, but by golly I know what to do to fly out of the soup. Similarly, we do not need to fear illness; we need to learn what to do to avoid it, and to fly out of it in one piece when it is suddenly upon us.
Behaviorist B.F. Skinner said that all learning is the mastery of a very large number of very small steps. And everybody knows the Chinese saying that the longest journey begins with a single step.
Sure, asking another to do it for you is almost irresistibly easy. Learning to do it yourself isn't. But when you fly solo into one of life's many unscheduled but inevitable clouds, if you've practiced for it, you'll be ready.
One of the best parts of the old Prevention magazine (that is, a few decades ago, when it still had J. I. Rodale's teeth) was the letters sent in by readers. Natural-health testimonials and anecdotes are all too quickly dismissed by doctors. Doctors even tend to dismiss other doctors' case reports . . . unless, of course, they like what is reported. Yet all our teachers have said (and any kindergarten grad knows) that this is how we learn: from others.
When you do share your health experiences, I have a suggestion. Medical journal references, and quotes taken from them, add to the credibility of your reporting. Be sure to cite some scientific studies. State University of NY Professor John I. Mosher has described this in terms of baboons. Sometimes a potential rival baboon challenges the leadership of the troop's dominant male. The issue is generally decided by a form of majority vote. If more of the baboons stand behind the challenger, he takes over. If most stand behind the current leader, he remains in charge. Dr. Mosher said it is about the same with bibliographical references: try to get as many baboons as you can to back you up.
I have a pretty good baboon collection on view at http://www.doctoryourself.com , consisting of some 4,000 items in several bibliographies. You may find this to be quite a useful and persuasive arsenal of nutritional research. If you have favorite references that I have not included, do let me know. Please first check to see by doing a search by author's name at my website's main page.
VITAMIN C and ACIDITY L. C. writes:
"You can neutralize vitamin C's acidity by adding half as much Arm and Hammer baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as vitamin C, that is 1 tsp vitamin C powder to one-half tsp baking soda, in 8 ounces of water."
You are right. Linus Pauling recommended the same trick. There is an additional payoff with this technique: harmless (but fun) carbon dioxide.
As a boy, I liked to make baking-soda CO2 fire extinguishers almost as much as I liked making the fires to extinguish. All you do is float a little container of baking soda in a big bottle of a weak acid. (We commandeered Mom's kitchen vinegar jug when she wasn't looking, which was seldom.) Attach a small hose. To use: turn it over. Foam everywhere!
So when you add baking soda to a solution of vitamin C powder (also a weak acid), you might want to stir it up to release the CO2 before you drink it. Or, just belt it down like I do. Should you be watching a "Tool Time" rerun marathon at your local fraternity house, you will be able to belch up a storm with the best of them.
What is really fun is to give your kids a bicarb of soda rinse right after they drink C powder in juice. They'll get a mouth full of fizz.
Why the comparison with vinegar? Because vinegar, considered weak as acids go, is actually more acidic than ascorbic acid. Vinegar has an acidity of between 2.5 and 3.5 on the pH scale. The lower the pH number, the greater the acidity. Your stomach contains a much stronger acid, and therefore has a very low pH, usually between 1 and 2. But because the pH scale is logarithmic, those numbers mean more than you think. A pH of 1 is literally 100 times more acid than a pH of 3. The most concentrated ascorbic acid solution you could make might have a pH of about 3.5 to 4. So ascorbic acid vitamin C is 100 to 1,000 times weaker than acidity of your normal, healthy, happy human stomach.
How so? Well, weak acids, like vitamin C, only partially break apart into charged molecules ("ionize") when dissolved in water. Therefore, even super-concentrated ascorbic acid is not that acidic, especially when you consider that oranges have a pH of about 3.5 due to their citric acid content. Now before somebody tries to pass legislation to let the FDA outlaw salad dressing, or require a prescription for citrus fruits, let's not fail to identify the real dietary acid bogeyman: Soft drinks. Tens of millions of people drink a liter or two of soda a day without batting an eyelash. Yet soft drinks have a pH of about 3. Soda pop contains carbonic acid and frequently phosphoric acid. Let all concerns about acid foods begin with them.
My children were raised with abundant orally-administrated vitamin C powder, but only the sparsest amount of soda pop. They are now nearly thirty years of age, and each has a total of two dental fillings. And by the way, our public water supply was unfluoridated.
BIPOLAR AND LITHIUM
"I have bipolar disorder and have found that vitamin C is extremely helpful. I am taking lithium but have in the past been able to reduce my dose substantially by taking large doses of vitamin C. I understand that lithium has been shown to damage the kidneys over time, so I wondered if vitamin C has been shown to do the same in high doses (2 grams). In your opinion, which would be safer to take long term: 900 mg of Lithium, or 2 grams of vitamin C?"
Okay, it's quiz time, everyone:
1) Is 2,000 mg/day of vitamin C a megadose?
No. Most animals **make** at least that much (or more) per human body weight per day.
2) Does vitamin C harm the kidneys? No medical evidence whatsoever. That is a unfounded factoid
3) Which is safer long term, "C" or lithium?
Am I on Candid Camera? You know what I think about that. I suggest you work with your physician any time you alter your medication. The doctor that prescribed the drug should be involved in any dosage reduction schedule.
Now the big point and the lesson within your letter: only 2,000 mg/day helps reduce your need for medication. Congratulations to you. I wonder what a higher dose of vitamin C might accomplish.
URINARY TRACT INFECTION AND FATIGUE
"I wanted to share a testimonial about the benefits of using temporary high dose vitamin C. Last week, I began to feel very "dragged down" and noticed that my urine was tinged red. Upon closer examination of it, I saw blood flecks in it. I referred to my American Medical Association Symptom Guide (that is the full extent of my use of the American Medical Association!) and found that bladder infection was a possibility. I had never had such an infection before.
"Next, I went to your site and found a reference to bladder infection, and saw, as is often the case, that there was a reference to successful treatment with high doses vitamin C. Since IV administration of it wasn't an option, I began to take 2000 mg orally each hour. After 2 hours I felt noticeably better. After 4 hours my urine returned to a normal appearance. The next morning I felt 90% normal, and continued to take it that next day, but at a lesser dose.
"But the story doesn't stop there. For 9 years I suffered from Epstein Barr Virus and chronic lymphatic swelling. The swelling had in the last year escalated, now appearing along the underside of my arms, and along the pectoralis minor, and into the clavicle area. The day after I did the vitamin C therapy, I happened to check on the lymphatic swelling. It is completely gone! I have checked several times since, and it is still GONE!
"I now believe that the lymph swelling was a low grade infection, perhaps present since I contracted EBV. The intense course of vitamin C may have addressed the infection, which was unknown to me. There doesn't appear to be another logical explanation.
"Thank you, Dr. Saul. Your site is a beacon of hope to many, like me, who "know better" in our spirit than to hand our bodies and futures over to brainwashed (but sometimes very sincere) Western medical people. Thank you for being an advocate and publisher of truth."
Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your successful experience. I agree with both your assessment and your actions. Good for you. You know that I am just passing along information from medical studies that show vitamins cure disease, and that large doses of vitamins cure disease better. Go and tell everyone.
DOCTOR YOURSELF WEBSITE OF THE MONTH: http://www.fightingcancer.com
Jonathan Chamberlain's website has long been one of my favorites, but now its even better. Mr. Chamberlain has made the full text of his book, FIGHTING CANCER, available for download free of charge. (http://www.fightingcancer.com/download.htm) I consider this to be truly altruistic and a wonderful gift to the public.
Mr. Chamberlain has a voice that is at once humble and powerful. I like writers that cut to the chase, and then do not skimp on the practical details. http://www.fightingcancer.com/justgotcancer.htm , an article written for the person that has just been diagnosed, exemplifies this:
"Start taking Vitamin C - build up slowly to just below the level that will cause diarrhea (probably somewhere between 10-30 grams (10,000 - 30,000 mg) a day). Divide it into equal doses to be taken at regular intervals through the day." Right on!
I also like Jonathan's quickie book reviews (http://www.fightingcancer.com/other.htm), and I really like his attitude. He speaks from the heart, but clearly wants you to use your head. Good combination.
"Albert Szent Gyorgy (discoverer of vitamin C - admitted to taking 1 gram a day) and lived till age 89. Linus Pauling: vociferous advocate for vitamin C who took up to 18 grams a day: died aged 94. Dr. Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic (hostile critic of vitamin C) died, ironically in the same year as Linus Pauling, aged 66 - of cancer." (http://www.fightingcancer.com/vitaminc.htm)
Tell your friends and family that Yogi Berra is right: "It ain't over till its over." The set them to reading at http://www.fightingcancer.com/index.html .
IF EUROPE GOES DOWN, USA IS NEXT: THE FIGHT TO KEEP SUPPLEMENTS NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW
An uncomfortable but very important article on CODEX, restrictions on access to supplements, and behind-the-scenes moves to make pharmaceutical medicine your only healthcare option is posted at http://www.thehealthcrusader.com/pgs/CrusadorNewsletterJan04.pdf
Please take a moment and read it over.
To take action now, before it is too late for an **entire continent** (and the USA next), you need to look at http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2003/2003_preprint_eu_02.html and http://www.iahf.com .
Please consider making a donation to the Alliance for Natural Health's legal fund http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/ if you possibly can. They go to court on January 30, 2004.
For more information, you can call John Hammell (toll-free) at 800-333- 2553.
IF NO VACCINES, WHAT THEN?
B. T. writes: "I was wondering if you have offered any information on what to do if you are not vaccinating your children, and they actually became ill from a disease. I am in agreement that healthy eating and a strong immune system is key. However, how do the "common folk" set up a plan of action other than prevention? The reason I ask is because there are many pediatricians out here who believe parents are uneducated if they choose not to vaccinate. So, where can I go to get further educated about what to do in case one of my five children becomes ill? I want to have a game plan ready should I ever need it. I'm sure my pediatrician will not be on my side should this occur. It would be more of an "I told you so" mentality. Many websites tell us the ills of vaccines but then stop with that. If you are able to offer some info that could be posted or used to point parents to some good resources it would be greatly appreciated."
Now there is a top-quality question. And I think I have some equally worthy suggestions for you. Let's address what you are really afraid of first:
WORST CASE SCENARIO: CHILD IS SO SICK AS TO REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION
Read this first: "How to Get Intravenous Vitamin C Given to a Hospitalized Patient: An Intravenous Vitamin C Checklist" posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/strategies.html
Highly-experienced vitamin C specialist Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., comments on this webpage:
"Thank you so much for this. I think it is great. The only thing I might add is that if the patient has been taking vitamin C before hospitalization, I would threaten the hospital, physician, or whoever with neglect, criminal malpractice, etc., for deliberately causing withdrawal scurvy at the patient's time of greatest need. That ought to throw a curve at them. I am linking to your article on my website."
If you have not yet looked at Dr. Cathcart's http://www.orthomed.com website, you don't know what you are missing. It is exactly what parents want and need: a medical doctor's explanation coupled with tons of information on the antibiotic, antiviral, antitoxin and antihistamine properties of vitamin C in huge (that is to say, effective) doses.
Dr. Cathcart's comments on pH-neutral sodium ascorbate intravenous vitamin C: http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/docc.html .
Instructions written by Dr. Cathcart to tell your doctor precisely how to make up a vitamin C IV solution: http://www.doctoryourself.com/vitciv.html
However, parents simply cannot leave the final decision to the doctors, and that's assuming you have doctors that will listen at all. Parents must know the facts about vitamin C megadose therapy. For this, there is absolutely no substitute to reading up on the subject:
http://www.doctoryourself.com/vitaminc.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/ortho_c.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerpaper.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_cathcart.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/naturedoc.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/hospitals.html
HOW TO AVOID A WORST-CASE SICKNESS SCENARIO:
http://www.doctoryourself.com/immune.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/vitaminc2.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/levy.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/klenner_table.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/smith1.html
My "Links" page (http://www.doctoryourself.com/links.html) has more excellent vitamin C therapy websites.
IF WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANY MORE, MAYBE WE SHOULD BE Hon. Sam Brownback, United States Senator from Kansas, responds to a reader's letter:
"Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns regarding pending legislation concerning dietary supplements. I always like to hear from fellow Kansans regarding issues important to you.
"Incidences of allergic reactions to any food product or drug are unfortunate, but especially so when they occur needlessly due to improper labeling. For the safety and wellness of our citizens, accurate labeling and content information needs to be available to consumers. This includes consumer assurance that their foods and medication are not only properly labeled but also safely processed and dispensed. Two bills are currently pending before the Senate addressing such concerns in regard to dietary supplements.
"The Dietary Supplement Safety Act, S.722, was introduced to the Senate on March 26, 2003, and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for further consideration. This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require each manufacturer, packer, or distributor of a supplement, the name of which appears on the labeling, to report serious adverse experiences to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and to investigate such occurrences. As it is written, however, it would step beyond wise regulatory bounds and prove both detrimental to producers of dietary supplements and expensive to consumers of such products. Because of this, I oppose S.722 and will vote against it if it comes to the Senate floor.
"The DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2003, S.1538, was introduced to the Senate on July 31, 2003 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for further consideration. This bill would strengthen the guidelines set forth by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) and increase funding to ensure its proper enforcement. This legislation recognizes not only the importance of dietary supplements to the livelihoods of many Americans, but also the economic growth that the supplement industry has encouraged. Generally, S.1538 argues that the original goals of the DSHEA are adequate if the mechanisms in place to protect Americans from abuse and misuse are adequately enforced. I will continue to monitor this piece of legislation as it moves through committee.
"No life should be put at risk due to improper labeling of foods and medications. I will be carefully monitoring any legislation that arises concerning this issue. If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me again."
"Sam Brownback "United States Senator" http://brownback.senate.gov/
(Doctor Yourself Newsletter comment: Now THAT'S an answer!)
"Until the FDA can make a stand on fluoridated water, which has no FDA approval and is a pesticide, they have no business with non-poisonous supplements."
You bet. Fluoride has a toxicity on a par with arsenic. But there is even some good news to be found here:
VITAMINS COUNTER FLUORIDE AND ARSENIC TOXICITY R. M. writes:
"I don't like cruelty to animals but, the following study about mice being dosed with fluoride and arsenic is interesting. I came across it on the Fluoride Poisoning mail list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FluoridePoisoning/messages
(Chinoy NJ, Nair SB. Beneficial effects of certain antidotes in mitigating fluoride and/or arsenic induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Fluoride 35 (4), 2002. http://www.fluoride-journal.com/02-35-4/354-244.pdf)
The study said, in part:
"Amongst the various antidotes, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) was the most beneficial in bringing about pronounced recovery, followed vitamin E and calcium. However, all three antidotes administered together resulted in significant recovery in the histoarchitecture (tissue structure) and carbohydrate metabolism of liver and serum transaminases."
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