The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 4, No. 8 March 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 a million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
CONCEPTION AND CONTRACEPTION Well, here's another of my greatest "Foot-in-Mouth Moments in Nutrition Education," in a series of hundreds:
Some years ago, while giving a talk on vitamin C at a local college, I made reference to the 18th century British explorer James Cook. Captain Cook was unusually dedicated in employing nutrition to wipe out scurvy on his ships. I mentioned that, on a long voyage, the captain did experiments with his seamen.
Boy, did that break the ice.
So, for whatever reason, I seem to get a lot of questions about natural birth control. I'm asked, What options are there to drug or barrier methods? Can a safe, natural form of contraception really cost nothing, and be over 99% effective? As a former school sex-education coordinator and author of a Master's thesis on the subject, I offer the following excerpt, which surely should be rated at least PG-13.
THE BILLINGS OVULATION METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL Even if it is granted that birth control education should begin very early, and that fertility awareness is a desirable inclusion, some objections may remain. One such objection is that there is no reliable indicator of fertility. This erroneous idea is widely held but false. A woman's cervical mucus secretion is a most reliable indicator of fertility (Clift, 1945; Billings, 1981). Using this fact to prevent conception is the basis for the Billings Method, or Ovulation Method, of Birth Control.
The Billings Method is named after Drs. John and Evelyn Billings of Melbourne, Australia. They have been instrumental in developing, testing and promoting this natural birth control method since the early 1950's. It is also known as the Ovulation Method or the Mucus Method. It is not the Rhythm Method. In fact, the reason the Billingses began their investigation of natural birth control in the first place is because the Rhythm Method was not reliable.
"Natural birth control" often conjures up images of ineffectiveness, complexity and Catholicism. This is unfortunate and inaccurate. Natural birth control methods are at the very least better than no contraception at all. Even the Rhythm Method, when carefully and consistently employed, may be as high as 80% effective in preventing pregnancy (Billings, 1978). Rhythm has been widely used since 1930. Kantner and Zelnik (1972) said that
"Those who have heard about the Rhythm Method, however, generally know more than those who have not about the time of risk within the menstrual cycle. About 47 percent of those who have heard about rhythm know when the period of greatest risk is, compared to 24 percent of those who have not heard about rhythm." (p. 17)
Learning rhythm, then, seems to increase fertility awareness.
Because the failure rate with rhythm is still too high, there have been attempts to improve on it. The temperature method is perhaps one of the best known refinements on rhythm. It is based on an observed temperature rise at the time of a woman's ovulation each month. Three days after this temperature rise, she is infertile until at least the next menstrual period. While temperature indicates ovulation, it fails to predict it. Intercourse before the thermal shift, then, again becomes a matter of rhythm-style calendar estimation. Another drawback is that "Not all temperature curves have a temperature rise which is easily recognizable. Often it is difficult to correctly determine the beginning of the hyperthermic phase" (Doring, 1973, p. 173). A significant temperature rise may be as low as 0.1 degree centigrade, making this quite reliable method demanding to use.
The Billings Method refines and simplifies natural birth control greatly. Its refinements are that it requires no equipment (no thermometer, no calendar), no guesswork, and that it will predict ovulation. It is simple enough that "At least 80% of women learn the ovulation (Billings) method at the initial instruction" (Billings, 1973, p. 167). "Experience has shown that an overwhelming majority of women, probably nine out of ten, can immediately interpret their own mucus system... The remainder can also be taught to do so" (Billings & Billings, 1974).
The Billings Method is a one-step reading of a woman's cervical mucus. It is performed by the woman herself in a moment and without internal examination. Every day, she gently wipes the labia with clean, dry, white toilet paper. She looks at the paper to see if there is any mucus on it. If there is, she is likely to be fertile. If the mucus is wet and slippery, and can be easily stretched, then she is very fertile. If the paper stays dry, she is likely to be infertile that day. On the day of the most wet, slippery, clear mucus she is most fertile of all. This day is called the peak day, and is the very day she ovulates (Billings, 1978). She will also feel wettest on this day. She remains fertile for three days after the peak.
It does not matter how old the woman is, nor does it matter how long her menstrual cycles are. Unlike with the Rhythm Method, there is no need for regular menstrual cycles. There is no need to "fit" into a normal, clockwork- like 28 day model. If a woman has short menstrual cycles, she will ovulate early. If they are long, she will ovulate late. The mucus is there at ovulation, regardless. If she misses a period, there will simply have been no ovulation, and therefore no fertile, wet mucus that cycle.
A woman does not even have to know how to read and write to use the Billings Method Effectively. Trials in Tonga (Polynesian islands in the south Pacific) between l970 and 1972 showed high levels of acceptance and success with the Billings Method. "331 couples opted for the ovulation method. Most women found the mucus symptom immediately recognizable, and were pleased by the simplicity of the method." (Weissmann et al, 1972, p. 813)
Colored stamps, shells, beads and knots in a rope are sufficient for record keeping. Even blind women can be taught to use the method (Billings, 1981; Billings & Billings, 1974). Abnormal temperature, such as a low fever, will interfere with the temperature method of birth control. It will not obstruct accurate readings with the Billings Method, however. Abnormal vaginal discharges, also, "do not prevent the woman from recognizing the time of fertility" (Weissmann et al, 1972, p. 814).
The ovulation mucus symptom is common to all women, including post- menarche girls. Given the knowledge, any woman can use the method for her entire reproductive lifetime without financial cost. Unlike medical methods of birth control, there are no harmful side effects with the Billings Method. Since a significant number of adolescent girls avoid birth control because they perceive it as harmful to their bodies (Zabian & Clark. 1987), this is an important positive feature of the method. Indeed, increased self- knowledge have very positive results. Says Billings: "This self-awareness of the natural manifestations of female reproductive physiology... offers warnings against impulsive sexual relationships which might lead to pregnancy" (1981, p.194).
It is one thing for knowledge to exist and another thing to deliver that knowledge to those who most need it. One of the problems in teaching the Billings Method has been a shortage of informed teachers. In 1988, the National Directory of Billings Ovulation Method Teachers listed fewer than 400 entries for the entire United States. Few physicians and nurses know of the method's effectiveness, and fewer teach it. Billings (1972) said that "The combined biological failure-rate and user-failure rate of the ovulation (Billings) method in Tonga was 0.69%" (p. 1193). This is a very low failure rate indeed, since Rossman (1967) places the birth control pill at 1.2%. Planned Parenthood says that excellent use of natural birth control can be up to 99% effective. (What's the best method of birth control for me?", 1986). It would not seem that lack of effectiveness explains failure to promote the Billings Method. It is more likely that there is some other reason.
The simplicity of the method has already been discussed above, as has the universality of the mucus symptom among women. If it is a simple matter, and if all women experience it, perhaps it has not been taught simply enough, or not taught at all.
A nurse-midwife taught us the method in half an hour. It took another few hours to read the Billing's 1978 book, The Ovulation Method. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press. The updated version you will now find is Billings, Evelyn and Westmore, Ann (1983) The Billings Method New York: Ballantine Books). We subsequently used the Billings Method for nearly 15 years and the method, properly used, never resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Again and again I say, you are designed to reproduce. Be certain you are correctly instructed in this, or any other birth control technique, by an experienced instructor.
(For more information: The international Billings Method website is http://www.woomb.org. A Google search for "Billings method teachers" will bring up other ovulation method websites and Billings chapters in your country. Or, just click here: http://www.woomb.org/national.html)
Commonsense caution: The Billings Ovulation Method obviously provides no protection whatsoever from sexually transmitted diseases. This is one of the most important reasons why it is appropriate only for strictly monogamous, long-term relationships. For those in such a relationship, sex is more fun (and maybe even more frequent) if you are confident about the outcome.
Speaking of outcomes, you can use the method backwards to assist conception. If a woman knows when she is ovulating, obviously it will greatly increase her chances of becoming pregnant.
So now to enrage GYN's, fertility specialists, and dietitians everywhere:
If you want to conceive, try having the man take megadoses of vitamin C for a few weeks prior. At least 6,000 milligrams a day, and as much as 20,000 mg/day guarantees very high sperm production. Divide the dose throughout the day for maximum effect. And that effect is what, exactly? More sperm, stronger sperm, and better swimming sperm all occurred, at even lower daily C doses, in a University of Texas study (Medical Tribune, May 11, 1983). A Medline search for "vitamin C fertility" at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi will bring up additional studies. Vitamin C for fertility even works on trout. Take more C and evidently, regardless of your particular species, you'll make vast quantities of super sperm. You think this won't work? Have I shown you my baby pictures?
Here's more: zinc and plenty of it helps the prostate and increases seminal fluid production. There is a scientific literature a mile long about zinc and male fertility. About five to ten times the RDA will do it. That is approximately 50 to 100 mg of zinc daily. For best absorption and best results, divide the dose into two, or better yet, four doses. Zinc gluconate is well absorbed, and zinc monomethionine better still. These are available at any health food store without a prescription.
A lot of wussy nutritionists will tell you that such levels of zinc are harmful. Truth is, most men don't even get the puny RDA of zinc, set laughingly at 10 or 12 milligrams. Zinc lozenges for the common cold are many times higher than this. Up to 550 mg of zinc has been safely given daily for a few weeks.
Continued high doses of zinc can produce a copper deficiency, and sometimes a copper deficiency anemia. This is very easy to compensate for. To begin with, most Americans have copper water pipes in their homes. Drink a glass or two of cold water first out of the tap every morning and you'll get copper. Secondly, eat more raisins and other copper-high foods. Third, take a multiple vitamin (as you should be doing anyway) with copper in it. Finally, do what the evidently fertile citizens in India have been doing for thousands of years. Buy a copper metal cup, fill it with cold water at bedtime, and drink it first thing the next morning. Make this Ayurvedic routine your routine, and start knitting booties.
I have worked with supposedly "infertile" people who have tried "everything" to conceive a child. Nutrition, especially the vitamin C part, is not even mentioned in any fertility textbook I've ever seen. I've received some nice postcards from couples who have taken an odd idea or two of mine and gotten pregnant within a month or two. It is a wonderful feeling, by the way, to have helped them bring a soul to the Earth.
(All references to this article are posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/fertility.html)
And looking optimistically ahead, my information on having a successful pregnancy and delivery is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/pregnancy_lactation.html
CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: I will have the honor of speaking on the same program as Dr. Abram Hoffer, Dr. Hugh Riordan, and other outstanding nutritional physicians and scientists at the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine's 33rd Annual Conference, "Nutritional Medicine Today," to be held at the Fairmont Waterfront Centre Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 29 - May 2, 2004.
Actress Margot Kidder (http://www.doctoryourself.com/lois.html) will be doing a special presentation, and Barbara Reed Stitt, author and former probation officer, will speak on "Nutrition and Behavior in School and Prison." Other presentations include "Down Syndrome and Vitamin Therapy," "IV Vitamin Therapy for Schizophrenia," "Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease," and "Intravenous Vitamin C Therapy in Cancer." My presentations will include "Taking it to the People: Orthomolecular Medicine on the Internet" and inaugurating the brand-new Orthomolecular Hall of Fame. There are many other scheduled presentations and topics in addition to those I've listed here. It is going to be one terrific conference and I hope many of my readers can attend.
If you would like more information, please write to the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine office at 16 Florence Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 1E9 (requires 60 cents postage if you are writing from the USA), or you can email email@example.com .
GUEST BOOK REVIEW: DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing That Works Reviewed by Julia Woodford, Editor, Vitality Magazine (Reprinted with permission of Vitality http://www.vitalitymagazine.com, Feb. 2004, p 74, 78-79.)
In his newly released Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing That Works (Basic Health Publications Inc.; 2003 http://www.letsliveonline.com/BasicHealth/doctorYourself.html), author Andrew Saul, Ph.D, presents us with the combined wisdom of his research, personal experience, and outcomes derived from his work as a consulting specialist in natural healing for more than 25 years. Although he doesn't get into the environmental triggers that can instigate some diseases, Saul does cover a lot of ground in the nutritional medicine field. The book is even endorsed by the father of orthomolecular psychiatry, Abram Hoffer, who comments in the book's introduction:
"With this book, Dr. Saul is making a major contribution toward consolidating what is known in the huge and growing field of natural, orthomolecular medicine. Some day it will be considered malpractice for any healer anywhere to ignore the vast importance of nutrition and the optimum use of nutrients in preventing and healing disease."
The various health issues covered in this book - everything from acid reflux/hiatus hernia to psoriasis to vaccinations (52 health issues in total) - contain many insights on genuinely effective natural treatments, most of them rooted in orthomolecular medical theory.
For example, Saul's research and experience cited in the use of vitamin megadose therapy to alleviate ADD/ADHD is fascinating. If what he says is true, that 3,000 mg a day of niacinamide can in some cases eliminate or drastically reduce the learning and behavioral problems associated with ADD, then this is obviously a valid alternative to the standard "Ritalin-for- lunch" approach. Could it really be this simple? (To decide, please see http://www.doctoryourself.com/adhd.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_imbalance.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/kidraise.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_ABC.html)
ON CANCER In the section on cancer, Saul shares convincing arguments for the efficacy of alternative medicine. In his words: "Worthy adjuncts and alternatives to chemotherapy, radiation and surgical treatments are unpopular with organized medicine, yet are employed by far thinking physicians and self reliant persons around the world. Why is this? Because all possibilities need to be considered in undertaking the treatment of such a serious disease for which there are too few survivors."
These alternative "possibilities" endorsed by Saul include mega-dose vitamin C therapy, as utilized by Nobel prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling in the 1980s, American physician Hugh Riordan in current day, and Frank Watts, MD, at his cancer clinic in Mexico. More specifically, according to Saul: "Vitamin C has been shown to be preferentially toxic to tumor cells. Laboratory and clinical studies indicate that in high enough doses one can maintain blood plasma concentrations of ascorbic acid high enough to selectively kill tumor cells." These megadoses, which can range anywhere from 5,000 mg per day to 50,000 mg per day (depending on the patient's individual requirements) are administered intravenously at the higher end of the dosage spectrum, since it is not possible to consume 50,000 mg/daily by oral means. (DY Editor's note: It is possible, all right, but not convenient. IV's are not all that convenient, either. Very large oral C doses require buffering. http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v4n5.txt)
Vitamin B complex, chlorophyll, vitamin E and zinc supplementation are also included as part of the nutritional approach to treating cancer, and good evidence is presented for each. According to Saul: "It is our population-wide, but medically disavowed vitamin deficiency that is almost certainly the single most overlooked predisposing cause of cancer." By repairing these deficiencies, Saul believes that the human body has a shot at returning to homeostasis, disease-free.
Of special note is the subsection on "Comfrey for Cancer." Here we find numerous historical accounts of the use of comfrey leaf for external cancers, as well as comfrey root for internal tumors, tuberculosis, and ulcers. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v2n15.txt)
ON DEPRESSION In this section, Dr. Saul puts tryptophan at the top of his best remedy list because the human body is able to break it down into "anxiety-reducing, snooze-inducing niacin", as well as "the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin." Again, clinical evidence is presented to back up the almost miraculous effect of tryptophan on some types of depression. Because tryptophan supplements are illegal for sale in both the U.S. and Canada, Saul includes a list of tryptophan-rich foods (think brewers yeast; poultry, beans) and mentions 5-HTP as a legal alternative for those who want a tryptophan derivative in supplement form.
ON ENDOMETRIOSIS In this section, the author explores the role of both selenium and folic acid, deficiencies of which are known to cause endometriosis in cattle. Thus, he recommends that women supplement daily with 400 to 1000 IU vitamin E plus 100 to 200 mg selenium as a prevention and treatment for endometriosis. Further, folic acid deficiency (often caused by birth control pills) is alleviated by regular intake of leafy green vegetables, asparagus, organ meats, or supplements. Other nutrients recommended for endometriosis treatment and prevention include vitamin C, B complex, EFAs, and magnesium. While I subscribe to the traditional Chinese medicine theory that endometriosis is often caused by liver congestion, and is therefore alleviated by liver cleansing arid repair, I nevertheless am very interested in this theory of Saul's that endometriosis can also be caused by malnutrition, and therefore cured by supplementation with specific nutrients.
And on it goes. From natural remedies for failing eyesight (sprouts instead of laser eye surgery) to infertility ("Fertility: His and Hers," by Andrew Saul: see Vitality magazine, page 32-36, and further below) to sleep disorders, the author brings thoughtful commentary, case histories, and prevailing research to the reader in search of answers. In justifying his seeming obsession with vitamin megadose therapy, Saul comments: "The quantity of a nutritional supplement that cures an illness indicates the patient's degree of deficiency. It is therefore not a megadose of the vitamin but rather a megadeficiency that we are dealing with."
Overall, the chapters are somewhat shorter and less detailed than I would like, sometimes raising more questions than they answer. But the natural solutions which Dr. Saul presents are provocative and exciting, and the bibliography at the end of each chapter gives the reader ample resources to explore available research further. Doctor Yourself is nutritional medicine in action, and as such deserves a prominent place in the library of anyone serious about self health care.
("DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works" is available through all booksellers. Of course, getting your copy directly from me means you also get it autographed. Please go to http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html for more information and http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html to order.)
JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
Here are some of your vital statistics:
In just ONE SQUARE INCH of your skin, there are:
77 FEET of nerves, 19 FEET of blood vessels
In your one human lifetime:
Your eyes will blink 450 million times. You will breathe 650 million times You will grow 1,000 layers of skin Your nails will grow 7 feet You will lose 70 miles of hair from your head And your heart will beat 2,500,000,000 times!
If you rub your forearm briskly for a few seconds, 300,000 skin cells will come off of it. By age 70, you will shed 105 pounds of skin.
Your bones are 50% water.
IN ONE MINUTE: a hamster's heart beats about 500 times, and a whale's about 9 times.
IN ONE DAY: a baby cries an average of 133 minutes
(Sources included The Body Almanac, by Neil McAleer (Doubleday, 1985) and Science Kit/Boreal Labs.)
VIRUS WARNING A reminder to all that the ONLY email I send out to my mailing list subscribers is this Newsletter and **nothing but** this Newsletter. It is always in plain text, and NEVER sent as an attachment. I never send "attachments" or "downloadable" items of any kind. Period. You should never open attachments or downloads from anyone because of the considerable risk of computer viruses that may be contained in them.
If you receive anything but this Newsletter purporting to be from "doctoryourself.com" it is completely bogus and probably a virus. It is most certainly not from me. Any email trying to tell you that "something is wrong with your account" is a fraud and conceals a virus. Don't be fooled. Just delete it. Yes, it's true: computer viruses routinely make up phony return addresses to attempt to cover their tracks. Additionally, I send NO advertisements, ever, and endorse NO products whatsoever. It is my longstanding policy to ensure that your email address is held strictly confidential.
Free downloadable antivirus software (not a trial edition, no ads, free updates, and I use it personally) is available from http://www.grisoft.com . (Select "Download AVG Free Edition.") Remarkably, updates from the Grisoft website are also free of charge. They are currently at update number 400, which I think illustrates the magnitude of the computer virus problem. Taking care of your computer is much like taking care of your body: an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.
CAFFEINE-CLOUDED CHILDREN "Nearly three-quarters of all children over the age of 6 months regularly use caffeine, according to the Medical Tribune, a newspaper for physicians." (Jean Carper, "Your Food Pharmacy" June 15, 1994.)
Why caffeine whacks you out so much: http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine_allergy.html
KIDS, ALLERGIES, FOOD ADDITIVES
"Dear Dr. Saul,
"I am accustomed to reading descriptions of Dr. Feingold's work and the Feingold Association that make me wonder what planet generated the information. So it was a delight to read your page describing the above. Thank you!"
"Jane Hersey, Director "Feingold Association of the US"
Thank you for the kind words. Here follows, for all to read, an excerpt of the article (http://www.doctoryourself.com/placebo.html) that you refer to:
Back in the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, an allergist, noticed that some children seemed to be noticeably sensitive to artificial colors and other food additives. He worked primarily with hyperactive kids, had their parents clean up their diets and go chemical-free, and the hyperactive behavior stopped. From this came a classic book, Why Your Child Is Hyperactive.
Feingold was an M.D.. He was credentialed in every way and then some. I posses correspondence from him and you should see just the letterhead. Feingold's diet was so effective that Feingold Associations, grass roots groups of parents, sprung up across the nation. Basically all they did was keep painted foods out of their children's stomachs.
The food industry's response was predictable. Study after study has been bankrolled to show that food additives, and sugar, for that matter, have no negative effect on children's behavior. Yeah, right! Been to a kid's birthday party lately? Ever taught school during the week following Halloween? Ever tried to nap a toddler full of M&M's? Most importantly, did you ever read Feingold's book? This man knows what he is talking about and got good results.
As long as we let kids eat chemically dyed "foods" and "drinks," we might just as well give them a can of Sherwin-Williams housepaint and a spoon.
The worst that can be said about the Feingold approach is that it doesn't work for all children. Somewhere around 45% to 50% of kids will improve on his program. Maybe it is no more than a placebo effect. But it may still be worth a try because there is no harm to it. Doctors give chemotherapy with a success rate of under 30%, and chemo has serious side effects. What is the down side of not feeding kids food paint? How can it possibly hurt to try avoidance of unneeded chemicals? What really rankles you is that allergists have made a subculture out of avoiding various molds, pollens, hairs and foods... all substances that we have had millions of years of evolutionary exposure to. Allergists will be quick to tell you that your child is allergic to cats or to corn... but not, of course, to an industrial synthetic chemical dye. For it would somehow seem to them that only substances found in nature can produce an authentic allergy. Factory foods and artificial colors bearing molecular names a yard long cannot cause hyperactivity. But corn can.
Logic like that does not even pass the straight-faced test.
MORE INFORMATION: 1) My thoughts on food allergies continue at http://www.doctoryourself.com/allergies.html and at http://www.doctoryourself.com/allergies_2.html
2) A bibliography of Dr. Feingold's work is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_feingold.html
3) The Feingold Association's toll-free telephone number is 800-321-3287.
4) If you have a child with ADHD (or any of the other junk-food designer- diseases courtesy of the chemical food industry), be sure you look at the excellent website of the Feingold Association of the USA, http://www.feingold.org/home.html , our Doctor Yourself "Website of the Month." Although their print Newsletter, "Pure Facts" costs $38.00 per year (including bulletin board access), it is among the very best I've seen and worth every penny. You can request a free sample issue from the Association right at their website.
I did, and here's what was on just the first page of the 8-page February, 2004 issue (Vol 28, No. 1):
"Supplements Found to be as Effective as Ritalin for ADHD." (Harding KL, Judah, RD, Gant C. Outcome-based comparison of Ritalin versus food- supplement treated children with AD/HD. Alternative Medicine Review 2003 Aug; 8(3):319-330.
"Consumer's Ability to buy Supplements Threatened (About S. 722, a bill to limit your access to vitamins. Fight it now at http://www.doctoryourself.com/limitUSA.htm .)
"Junk Food Wars Accelerate" (About soft drink vending machines in schools)
And here's an especially nice quote from page 5:
"The Charleston, South Carolina school district signed a five-year contract valued at $8.1 million with the Pepsi Bottling Group. Pepsi's profit? A lot more than lunch money." (Jim Guest, President, Consumer's Union.)
REPORT THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS
OK, here's a worthy task: let's get Consumers Union (who publishes Consumer Reports magazine) to change their pro-pharmaceutical position on vitamin supplements. In testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee on October 28, 2003, Charles W.F. Bell, C.U.'s Programs Director said:
"Pre-market safety testing should be required for dietary supplements . . Many consumers are surprised to learn the government does not currently evaluate the safety of dietary supplements before they are sold. This situation poses a serious risk to public health, and amounts to a vast, uncontrolled clinical trial on an unsuspecting public. . . We support the provisions in S. 722 that would authorize the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to require the manufacturers of dietary supplements, or any ingredient in a dietary supplement to submit data demonstrating that the dietary supplement is safe. The Secretary would then be authorized to review the data and issue a determination that either the ingredient is safe and that continued marketing is approved, or that continued marketing is disapproved. . ."
I think Mr. Bell has it quite wrong. Vitamin supplements a "serious risk to public health?" Is he kidding? There is not even one death per year from vitamins. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/replace.htm)
Really now: What could possibly make better cost-effective, preventive consumer-sense than nutrient supplementation? Consumer Reports (http://www.consumersunion.org) would do well to emphasize to their readers that, as long as they such a lousy diet, that supplements are the solution, not the problem.
Keep in mind that this whole flap has never really been about ephedra or any other such anomaly. Consumer Reports has previously and repeatedly published strikingly negative articles about vitamin supplements in general. They should know better.
Well, at least the Consumers Union has the right position on soda pop in schools.
LOADED SMOKING GUN + EMPTY NUTRITION = DEAD PEOPLE
A new study shows that unhealthy lifestyle choices kill nearly a million Americans each year. (Mokdad AH et al. Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004;291:1238-1245.)
"The leading causes of death in 2000 were tobacco (435,000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths), poor diet and physical inactivity (400,000 deaths; 16.6%), and alcohol consumption (85,000 deaths; 3.5%) . . . These analyses show that smoking remains the leading cause of mortality. However, poor diet and physical inactivity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death. These findings, along with escalating health care costs and aging population, argue persuasively that the need to establish a more preventive orientation in the US health care and public health systems has become more urgent."
Like, say, advocating that everyone take vitamin supplements? JAMA has begun to do so already. (Fletcher RH and Fairfield KM. Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults. JAMA. 2002; 287:3127-3129. Also: JAMA. 2002; 287:3116-3126.)
And let's not forget that over 100,000 people die each year from correctly- prescribed pharmaceuticals, obediently taken as directed. (JAMA. July 26, 2000; 284(4):483-5.)
For more on what you can do to insure your access to your vitamins: http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v3n23.txt http://www.thehealthcrusader.com/pgs/CrusadorNewsletterJan04.pdf http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2003/2003_preprint_eu_02.html http://www.iahf.com http://www.alliance-natural-health.org
TOBACCO ADDICTION THEN AND NOW
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO:
"Queen Victoria permitted no smoking in the royal palaces, even in guest bedrooms. Count Paul von Hatzfeldt, the German Ambassador, once was discovered at Windsor Castle, lying in his pajamas on the bedroom floor with his head in the fireplace, blowing smoke up the chimney." (Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought, p 15-16.)
IT WAS TEN YEARS AGO TODAY: "I deny that cigarettes cause cancer and are not safe." (Charles Whitley, Tobacco Institute spokesman, to the Associated Press, March 26, 1994.)
AND RIGHT NOW: Tobacco kills 50 Americans every single hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Stop this madness. Get yourself on the all-volunteer, no-advertising Smokefree mailing list at http://www.smokefree.net .
"Eating Records: Tree: 11 ft. birch (4.7 inch diameter trunk) in 89 hours by Jay Gwaltney, age 19, on WKQX's Outrageous Contest, Chicago, September 11-15, 1980. As he finished, he said, about the taste, 'As far as trees go, it's not bad.'" (Guinness Book of World Records, NY: Bantam, 1989, p. 499)
"The greatest omnivore is Michel Lotito (b. 1950) of Grenoble, France, known as Monsieur Mangetout, who has been eating metal and glass since 1959. Gastroenterologists have X-rayed his stomach and have described his ability to consume 2 lb of metal per day as unique. His diet since 1966 has included 10 bicycles, a supermarket cart (in 4 1/2 days), 7 TV sets, 6 chandeliers, and a low-calorie Cessna light aircraft, which he ate in Caracas, Venezuela. He is said to have provided the only example in history where a coffin (handle and all) ended up inside a man." (Guinness, p. 496.)
How about that. And I forgot my spoon.
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