"The work of the doctor will, in the future, be ever more that of an educator, and ever less that of a man who treats ailments." [Dr. Sir Thomas J. Lord Horder of Ashford (1871-1955), physician to several British monarchs, including Elizabeth II]
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 5, No. 4 for February 5, 2005) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written and copyright 2005 by Andrew W. Saul of http://www.doctoryourself.com , which welcomes over 1.5 million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
IT WAS MORE OR LESS A NORMAL LECTURE until I started talking about vitamin C. I made routine mention that cooking destroys vitamin C. Presently, I added that almost all animals, such as rats, make their own vitamin C. Fully expecting to move on, I was stopped by a student question that I probably should have seen coming:
"If rats make their own vitamin C, are rats a good source of vitamin C?"
"Yes," I answered, "If you eat your rats raw."
Well, that's technically true, isn't it?
The student, presumably a future news anchor, then asked how much vitamin C is in a rat. You have to be ready for these things, you know.
"According to Lendon Smith, M.D., (who cites Burns JJ et al. J Biol Chem 207:679, 1954; Salomon LL, Conney AH, et al. NY Acad Science, 92:115, 1961. Burns JJ. Am. J. Med. 26:740, 1959.), 'If we base our needs on the amounts other mammals manufacture . . . it comes to 2-4 grams daily in the unstressed condition. Under stress, 70 kg of rats make 15 grams of C.'"
RATS STATS So we did some math. Though some are much larger, an average rat weighs about 1/4 of a kilogram. That works out to about 53 mg of vitamin C in a well-stressed 9-ounce rat. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (April, 2002), a glass of newly-purchased ready-to- drink orange juice provides 45 milligrams of vitamin C.
The frozen concentrate provides more. So does a bigger rat.
Of course, just because a rat makes 53 mg of vitamin C does not mean that all of it is in the rat at one time. A rat uses it. But then, orange juice loses it.
In fact, the amount of vitamin C in ready-to-drink brands of orange juice can fall "to zero within four weeks after opening," says the American Dietetic Association. "(P)revious studies have shown vitamin C deficiencies among U.S. adults have risen from five percent to 16 percent in the past 20 years. . . Pasteurized, ready to serve orange juice typically contains 25 percent less vitamin C per serving than frozen concentrates, a result in part of heat destroying the vitamin C." (http://www.eatright.org/Public/Media/PublicMedia_10234.cfm)
Looks like you'd have to eat those rats raw.
All right, wait a minute.
I do not recommend stressing your rats. I do not recommend eating rats, be they raw, well-done, or otherwise.
But there is a message to my madness:
First off, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v5n1.txt) was right: animals thrive on raw food, and they make their own vitamin C to boot. When they are eaten by carnivores, they ARE raw food. Raw foods, rats included, are a good source of vitamin C.
Cooked foods aren't. Heat destroys vitamin C. Nutrition textbooks, plus McDonald's and all the other purveyors of French fries, can now please stop claiming that fries provide vitamin C simply because potatoes do. By the time the fast-food potato is ultra-processed and dredged out of a deep fryer's 340-degrees Fahrenheit boiling oil, the vitamin C is gone without a farewell kiss. Oil-less fries are cooked at even higher blast-air temperatures of 400 to 500∞F. Nuttin, honey.
The moral of the story? We humans would do well to eat our food raw whenever practical. Not being much of a rat-eater myself, I'd recommend lots of salads and raw fruits and fresh, well-chewed nuts. Add to this whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) which you need to cook if you do not sprout them. Scrupulously clean raw milk, if you can get it, is excellent. If you can't, cheese and yogurt are very close to a raw food because of their high, beneficial microorganism count.
Since we do cook so much of our food, and we are under stress, and we do get sick, we truly need vitamin C supplementation. And though it is an excellent preventive, even a mostly raw diet does not provide enough ascorbate to cure serious illness. Therefore, I say, take vitamin C with every meal, and between meals as well.
THREE PILLARS OF ASCORBATE WISDOM Remember the Fire Triangle? No, it is not a Bermuda hangout for psychic arsonists. If you ever were a Boy Scout, or went to a good wilderness camp, you know that to make a fire, you need three things: fuel, oxygen, and kindling temperature. With vitamin C therapy, the magic triangle is QUANTITY, FREQUENCY, AND DURATION.
In previous Newsletters, and at my website, there has been ample discussion about "quantity." And "duration" is a no-brainer: take lots until you are well, pal. And then, of course, keep a maintenance dose going.
So let's talk about that third, often overlooked, and very important leg of the triangle: frequency.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER Divide and conquer disease, that is. By dividing the dose ALL THROUGH THE DAY, our absorption of ascorbate is greatly enhanced. You can achieve three times higher vitamin C blood concentrations with oral-dose vitamin C than has generally been believed. With an "oral dose of 3 g (3,000 mg vitamin C) every 4 hours, pharmacokinetic modeling predicted peak plasma vitamin C concentrations of 220 micromol/L." (Padayatty SJ, Sun H, Wang Y, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Wesley RA, Levine M. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Apr 6;140(7):533-7.) That is good.
Intravenous ascorbate is, of course, even better: "Peak predicted urine concentrations of vitamin C from intravenous administration were 140-fold higher than those from maximum oral doses. . . Only intravenous administration of vitamin C produces high plasma and urine concentrations that might have antitumor activity." Families of cancer patients take note.
IN MEMORIAM I am sorry to inform my readers that Dr. Hugh D. Riordan, world-renowned cancer researcher and Associate Editor of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, recently and unexpectedly died just this January. Dr. Riordan, whose name you noticed in the Annals of Internal Medicine paper referenced above, was I believe the world's foremost physician-expert in the field of intravenous ascorbate therapy for cancer (http://www.doctoryourself.com/riordan1.html). Though Hugh saved many, many lives with his treatment, this is a reminder to all of us that great physicians and cherished friends alike are on this earth for a limited time, known only to the Almighty.
I was just talking with Dr. Riordan on the very day he would die. That morning, he telephoned me, and my answering machine initially picked up the call saying, "No one is available to take your call. Please leave a message." Hugh said, "I'd like to speak to No One, since No One is available to take my call!" I picked up and said, "Hi, Hugh; This is No One," and we laughed.
He then said that he'd just that morning put up his new book, Medical Mavericks III, for free reading at his orthomolecular.org website, and he wanted me to take a look at it. We also discussed our new Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, in which he'd taken a personal and guiding interest. (An update on the OMNS is coming in the next Doctor Yourself Newsletter.)
I told Hugh I was lately remembering his lighthearted, inspirational words from the close of the 2003 Toronto Nutritional Medicine Today conference, which were, "Roses are red; Violets are blue; Orthomolecular is good for you." I said to him, "I think I have a sequel for you, doctor: "Roses are red; You've all heard it said; Orthomolecular for you; you heard it from Hugh!" We laughed some more. He then mentioned that he wrote limericks in high school, but "They were," he said with a grin I could detect even over the phone, "Not for publication."
If there is one thing that is certain in an uncertain world, it is this: Hugh wanted our good work to go on. With his healing message, and his scholarly and joyful life as an example, we will do our best to share with the world what Dr. Hugh Riordan knew, taught and lived.
We celebrate Hugh's life and the lives he so kindly and wisely touched. God bless the soul of this wonderful physician.
READ DR. RIORDAN'S NEW BOOK FOR FREE You can download and read Hugh's last and just-published book, Medical Mavericks, Volume III, at no charge, from http://orthomolecular.org/mavericks3.shtml .
TEMPUS FUGIT Time flies. A good melancholia-shaking saying is: "If not you, then who? If not now, when?" In other words, the best gift we ever receive is to be here now. That, I am reliably informed, is likely why this is called "The Present."
YOU SAY IT'S MY BIRTHDAY? It is indeed. My 50th birthday is Feb 5, 2005. How about that: a fiftieth on Feb fifth of '05. And, if you don't mind, I'd like to tell you what I'd like for my birthday.
At the turn of this new year, in what turned out to be my last email from him, Dr. Riordan presented me with what proved to be his final wishes. All of them centered on getting the message of megavitamin therapy to the public, through the media. Hugh called this "Increasing the Awareness of Orthomolecular" medicine.
One specific desire of his was to have as many people as possible, everywhere, write a Letter to the Editor of their hometown newspaper, calling personal attention to the validity and value of orthomolecular (nutritional) healing.
So here's a thought for you: If you'd like to make a gift to me on my 50th, it would be to type out a hurray-for-vitamins letter and mail it in to your favorite newspaper, big or small, and to a TV news program. Tell them how vitamins are good for your family. Tell them how nutrition keeps your kids healthy. Tell them how vitamins helped you when drugs failed. Do it for Hugh!
You can use any of the following points if it will help you compose your own letter:
ORTHOMOLECULAR (NUTRITIONAL) MEDICINE TALKING POINTS
* There is not even one death per year from vitamins. Pharmaceutical drugs, properly prescribed and taken as directed, kill over 100,000 Americans annually.
* Restoring health must be done nutritionally, not pharmacologically. All cells in all persons are made exclusively from what we drink and eat. Not one cell is made out of drugs.
* Most Americans fail to eat the US RDA for several vitamins and minerals.
* Nutrient therapy increases individual resistance to disease; drug therapy generally lowers resistance to disease.
* The number one side effect of vitamins is failure to take enough of them.
* Supplements are not the problem; they are the solution. Malnutrition is the problem.
* With vitamin therapy, speed of recovery is proportional to the dosage given. As there is a certain, large amount of fuel needed to launch an aircraft or a spacecraft, there is a certain, large amount of nutrients needed to cure a sick body.
* Many persons unaware of the power of simple and safe vitamin therapy are in this position because of contradictory and confusing media reporting.
* Bias against vitamin supplements usually proceeds from persons and industries who stand to lose when cheap, natural health care succeeds. Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies have a vested (cash) interest in disease.
Use any of the above if you dare, and be sure to ASK FOR A RESPONSE. Please send me a copy of your letter, and especially of the reply you get back, would you?
No gift wrapping necessary. Copies to doctoryourself.com/contact.html, please.
For more information on orthomolecular medicine, please do a search at http://www.doctoryourself.com for "Hoffer" and another for "Riordan."
Dr. Riordan's own websites are http://www.orthomolecular.org and http://ww.brightspot.org . Be sure to watch "The Vitamin Song" animated video!
READERS ASK Recently, it has been falsely alleged in the media that vitamin C is somehow bad for diabetics. At my readers' request, here follows an article by the University of Manchester's Dr. Steven Hickey that you will find very informative. Read on and see how fast yet another "vitamin scare story" melts in the sunlight of reason.
DOES VITAMIN C HARM DIABETICS? by Steve Hickey, PhD
Dr Saul asked me to comment on a report in Science News (Science News, Jan. 1, 2005. 167:1) that 300mg of supplemental vitamin C may actually promote the clogging of arteries. It was yet another highly publicised vitamin C scare story. Perhaps we should generate a new "scientific" law for studies of vitamin C:
Scare stories claiming that vitamin C supplements damage health guarantee worldwide publicity for the researchers. This publicity is directly proportionate to the weakness of the supporting data.
It follows that studies with no data will gain maximum publicity. The corollary is:
Studies indicating large benefits of vitamin C supplements will be ignored, no matter how strong the evidence. Furthermore, the establishment will denigrate the researcher and the experiments.
People may remember the medical response to Linus Pauling's claims that vitamin C could cure the common cold, heart disease or cancer.
My first thought on receiving Dr Saul's request was that I had not seen a supplement of less than 500mg of vitamin C in my local health food store for a number of years. The most popular amount per tablet appeared to be 1000mg. The higher doses dominated the shelves and sales.
It is rather strange that the medical studies on vitamin C supplements generally relate to very low intakes in terms of the amounts used by many people who supplement. I realised that to perform an experiment with the low doses generally studied, I would have to go out of my way to find a supplier. It is not that, say, 300mg tablets are unavailable, just I would have to find a different supplier and possibly import the supplement.
Both heart disease and stroke result from atherosclerosis and local damage to blood vessels. According to many studies, doses of vitamin C below 500mg per day are ineffective in preventing the build up of damage in the blood vessel walls. In the year 2000, neurologist Dr Paul Wand did a study for the Life Extension Foundation to refute an earlier and inaccurate claim that vitamin C damages arteries [www.lef.org]. Wand indicated that some studies define "high dose," inaccurately, as only 250-500 mg a day of vitamin C, whereas the serious vitamin user often consumes between 2,000 and 12,000 mg. Wand found that 30 of 34 studies at 500mg or above indicated benefit in heart disease. In four studies below 500mg, only one study in four showed benefit. My investigations with Dr Hilary Roberts for our recent book, Ascorbate (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v5n2.txt), confirmed this relationship.
The questionable health gain for doses below 500mg is not surprising. When the dose is low, the benefits may be undetectable. By way of comparison, most people would not expect half a child's aspirin to cure an adult headache. With such low doses, the expected magnitude of the effect is small and large carefully controlled trials may be necessary to find the effect. Moreover, such large-scale studies are often prohibitively expensive and generally inconclusive. The results obtained may merely indicate variation in other factors or minor problems with the design of the experiment. The real question for supplement takers is, "What dose is effective, if any?"
The correct supplemental dose of ascorbate in diabetes is pharmacological rather than nutritional. An attempt to treat a disease requires a larger dose than that needed by the healthy individual. There is general agreement that an intake of about 10mg will prevent scurvy in most people. However, a dose of 300mg is a low supplemental dose, even for healthy individuals wishing to prevent disease. Doses proposed for the treatment of illness are far larger.
Diabetes is an illness that involves damage to blood vessels and increased risk of heart disease and stroke (http://www.doctoryourself.com/diabetes.html). Indeed, one theory for this increased risk of heart disease in diabetes is that it causes a shortage of vitamin C in the tissues. This hypothesis is secondary to the idea that heart disease and stroke may be prevented or treated using large doses of ascorbate.
The tissues of a diabetic may be in a state of scurvy. Diabetics are under oxidative stress, which, it is claimed, may be prevented by higher doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C is synthesised from glucose in most animals (but not humans), and the molecules are similar. Some of the transporters that pump glucose into cells also pump oxidised vitamin C, which is called dehydroascorbate. Once inside the cell, the vitamin C is reduced back to its original form. Therefore, cells can accumulate both glucose and vitamin C by the same mechanism. When glucose in the blood is very high, the cells will accumulate less vitamin C, as they will pump the more abundant glucose preferentially. The claim that low dose supplements damage blood vessels in diabetics should be viewed in its biological context. A likely explanation is that the intakes studied were simply too small to be effective in providing benefit.
Let us look at the particular study in question (Jacobs, Jr. DR et al. Am J Clin Nut, Nov 2004). Firstly, the researchers invert the theory that high dose supplements of vitamin C will prevent or cure heart disease. Reversing such an idea is often a useful approach in science. The phrase "Always invert!" is a quote attributed to several famous mathematicians and scientists over the centuries. However, the reasons given for suggesting that vitamin C my harm diabetics are misleading. The researchers suggest that vitamin C in a test tube can act as an oxidant. Biologically, vitamin C is generally considered an antioxidant and this is its main role in the body. In certain circumstances, it can act as an oxidant, as can many other antioxidants, such as vitamin E. This oxidant action can be beneficial, for example it may be involved in the action of vitamin C in killing cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/riordan2.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/titration.html)
The other explanation for the suggestion that vitamin C might be harmful is that it can glycate proteins. This is where the argument becomes a little silly. To make my point, I did an internet search for the meaning of glycation and came up with a definition that began "the process by which glucose links with proteins and causes them to bind together." If we were being more accurate, we might use the term carbohydrate rather than glucose, as glycation can occur with other sugars and related molecules. However, glycation is normally associated with glucose, the very substance that is raised in the blood of diabetics.
Even in healthy people or supplement takers, blood glucose concentration is about 100 times higher than vitamin C concentration. Glycation is often caused by glucose. In diabetics, the level of glucose in the blood is considerably higher and will cause glycation with increased risk of tissue damage. Glycation is a well-documented effect in normal diabetics. As a result, diabetic patients are probably the least suitable subjects for an experiment to test the possibility that vitamin C causes glycation.
It is interesting that the paper claims to distinguish food-derived vitamin C from supplemental ascorbate. Only the vitamin C in supplements are claimed to be harmful! However, vitamin C is ascorbic acid and has a single molecular structure; the body has no way of knowing whether a particular ascorbic acid molecule came out of a tablet or a grape. It is irrational to say that vitamin C from a supplement is harmful, whereas that from food is not. I can think of two possible explanations for such a claim. The first is that they mean to imply that some component of food is synergistic with vitamin C and increases its benefits. In this case, we would like to know what these factors are. Isolating such factors might have substantial health implications, if they exist. The second explanation is that the researchers are prejudiced against supplements and wish to dissuade people from taking them.
When Jacobs' paper was published, I identified several problems with both the study design and the interpretation of the data. I emailed one of the researchers, requesting a copy of the data and asking some scientific questions. For example, I asked how this study relates to higher doses of vitamin C, intakes more appropriate for diabetics. I found it hard to believe the conclusions could be derived correctly from the experimental results, and wished to check them for myself. My concern was that the media publicity would influence diabetics into coming off supplements, and their health might be harmed as a result. Unfortunately, I have not yet received an answer to my request.
What conclusions can we reach? The paper concerns diabetic people, who are highly likely to develop heart disease. These subjects need pharmacological doses of ascorbate, at least gram levels of intake, but the study involved lower, nutritional doses. By looking at low intakes of vitamin C, it was claimed that vitamin C supplements may be harmful. This result does not appear to have relevance to vitamin C supplement takers, who consume 500mg of vitamin C or more. If I had diabetes, I would be consuming high doses of vitamin C, several grams a day in divided doses. A diabetic, in particular, would not want to risk low-level scurvy.
(end of Dr. Hickey's article)
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SCARED OFF OF VITAMIN E, here is a new website that will be well worth your visit: http://www.vitaminefacts.org/
CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED AGAINST DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS by Bill Sardi
At a time when the Food and Drug Administration is under criticism for approving unsafe drugs, and when pharmaceutical companies are being called to task for not disclosing negative studies of their products, a concerted effort is being launched against dietary supplements. The obvious reason: don't let the public discover dietary supplements as alternative to prescription drugs that can duplicate the biological action of most prescription medicines with far lower costs and far fewer side effects.
Harvard Medical School, in a joint effort with the FDA and the Institute of Medicine, has released a report that says: "Unlike drugs, which must be proven safe before they can be sold, the current law allows sale of supplements unless the Food and Drug Administration can prove them harmful." The assumption is that prescription drugs are safer than supplements because they have undergone an FDA approval process. But a review of data from the US Poison Control Centers indicates vitamin and mineral supplements are linked with few if any deaths over the past few years and deaths linked to use of herbal products, except for ephedra, are few. (Editor's note: If you have ever seen child-resistant caps on a supplement bottle, it is usually thanks to iron. According to Maryland's Union Hospital, since 1986 there has been an average of two deaths per year "associated with" iron supplements. www.stayinginshape.com/4union/libv/k09.shtml. There is not even one death per year from vitamins. http://www.doctoryourself.com/safety.html)
For comparison, just the use of non-steroidal pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen cause an estimated 16,000 deaths annually. Side effects from properly used prescription drugs, administered by nurses in hospitals, result in over 100,000 deaths annually. The FDA approval process does not guarantee safety.
Public Citizen, the Ralph Nader group, indicates 181 FDA-approved drugs should be recalled because they are not as safe as other drugs or are ineffective. An FDA drug reviewer, Dr. David Graham, had to publish his report on the hidden dangers of Vioxx outside of the country in the British Medical Journal. His job was later threatened for not following FDA protocol even though an estimated 139,000 Americans died prematurely from the use of Vioxx.
Many drug side effects are the result of nutritional deficiencies caused by the medications themselves. But the FDA is stubbornly resistant to warn the public how to avoid drug side effects by taking companion supplements. For example, statin cholesterol-lowering drugs deplete the body of coenzyme Q10 which can result in a mortal condition called rhabdomyolysis. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is toxic to the liver and acetaminophen use is the leading cause for liver transplants. The antidote for acetaminophen poisoning is N-acetyl cysteine, a sulfur-based dietary supplement. The FDA has resisted appeals to combine these nutrients into the drugs or mandate that supplements be prescribed as companions.
Another mistaken complaint is that dietary supplement manufacturers don't have to report adverse reactions as do drug companies. Yet the FDA is obviously working in league with the drug companies to hide negative reports that could trigger the recall of many drugs.
Another false assumption in the report is that dietary supplements interfere with prescription medications. Hilary Tindle, MD, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, and lead author of the report, says: "This is especially critical as more becomes known about the adverse effects associated with individual dietary supplements as well as their interactions with prescription drugs." But vitamins and minerals are essential for life and it is the drugs that interfere with the nutrients, not the other way around.
There is a concerted effort to regulate dietary supplements, which is in reality a smoke screen to limit dosages of vitamins and minerals that can replace many prescription drugs. For example, high-dose vitamin B6 and vitamin C reduce blood pressure equally as well as prescription medications (http://www.doctoryourself.com/hypertension.html). High-dose folic acid is a safe anti-depressant. High-dose vitamin D is as effective as many blood pressure pills. High-dose vitamin C can prevent a form of unstable plaque that causes most sudden-death heart attacks. Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to patent altered vitamin D molecules to treat cancer when high-dose vitamin D is inexpensive and has the same biological action. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/dvitamin.htm)
Later in the year, CODEX, a trade organization linked with the World Health Organization, hopes to limit dosages of vitamins and minerals under the presumption high doses cause significant side effects. The Institute of Medicine report appears to be softening up the public for these limitations.
The report discloses the real reason for restrictions against dietary supplements, in their own words: "In the past five years the biggest change was an increase in use of herbal supplements." The pharmaceuticals companies see herbal remedies advancing while their problematic nostrums are being discredited.
The dietary supplement industry is continually characterized as some giant behemoth that must be curbed. The industry was responsible for $18.7 billion in sales in 2002. For comparison, the sales of just one class of drugs, statins for cholesterol, nearly equal the entire annual sales of dietary supplements. (Editor's note: The pharmaceutical industry's combined annual sales are close to $500 billion.)
Both the Harvard and Institutes of Medicine reports advised users of dietary supplements to disclose their supplement regimens to their doctors. But doctors are poorly educated in the use of vitamins, minerals and herbal products and would offer little help to consumers.
(Editor's note: I enjoy Mr. Sardi's free email newsletter, for which you can sign up at http://www.askbillsardi.com/sdm.asp)
CODEX UPDATE Before all Europe, and ultimately the USA and Canada, lose access to vitamin supplements, be sure to check the latest at http://www4.dr-rath- foundation.org/THE_FOUNDATION/Events/codex2004pat.htm
MOOD FOOD "What you eat can make you sad, glad or even mad, say nutritionists. Jane Szita gets a taste for mind-altering diets." (from the Holland Herald, December 2004, p 24-25.)
(Editor's note: Holland Herald is the in-flight magazine of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. It makes me smile to think that thousands of slightly bored travelers are even now miles in the sky, munching their in-flight snacks, waiting for their in-flight movie. . . and learning about orthomolecular medicine. Reprinted with the kind permission of the author and KLM's publisher, Media Partners http://www.mediapartners.nl .)
While we all know that food affects our waistlines, few are aware that it can also influence our emotional make-up. According to growing numbers of nutri-tionists, getting to grips with the fact that food is psychoactive is essential for our well-being. For, just as the modem diet has triggered an obesity epidemic, so food researchers reckon it's a major culprit behind widespread depression and other mental disorders.
For most of us, "mood food" awareness is limited to indulging in a bar of choco-late to lift the spirits, a coffee to aid concentration, or a plate of oysters as a romantic first course.
High on nuts Treating all foods as cocktails of mind-altering drugs may take some getting used to, but the upside is that eating the right things may dispense with the need for drugs such as sleeping pills or anti-depressants. "A couple of handfuls of cashew nuts delivers the same dose of serotonin naturally as Prozac does artificially," says Andrew Saul, a New York-based natural medicine consultant and author of Doctor Yourself. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html) "It's simple chemistry."
A great deal of mood food research focuses on serotonin, the feel-good hormone, which is produced naturally by foods containing tryptophan (such as poultry, nuts and beans). While trypto-phan is found in many common foods, the diet needs to be rich in carbohydrates for the body to use it effectively - one reason dieters get depressed.
In one experiment, Oxford University psychiatrist Dr Philip Cowen found that, just seven hours into a tryptophan-free diet, two-thirds of people started to show signs of depression. When given tryptophan again, their mood improved.
Brain power But tryptophan is not the only nutrient necessary for healthy brain chemistry. Another is niacin (vitamin B3). During the Great Depression (1892-1933), people in the American South showed high rates of mental illness thanks to a diet of niacin--poor corn. When given supplements, many of them recovered completely. Then Dr Abram Hoffer, a Canadian psychiatrist, saw major improvements in psychotics and schizophrenics after administering large doses of niacin during the 1950s. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/review_hoffer_B3.html) This year, a new study revealed that a high-niacin diet lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 70%.
Then there's the omega-3 fatty acid, found in foods like oily fish and walnuts. This can relieve depression, even in cases where drug therapy has failed. "The brain is all fat," points out Joseph Hibbeln, a psychiatrist and biochemist from the National Institutes of Health, Washington DC. Which explains why low-fat diets get people down. High protein foods - meat, eggs, cheese, nuts - are also mood- enhancers. they keep us on the ball because they break down into amino acids, such as tyrosine, which increase performance-enhancing dopamine and norephinephrine.
A violent diet? Growing evidence also suggests links between food and violence. In 2002, a British study of young offenders found that nutrient supplements (vitamins, minerals and fatty acids), caused a 37% drop in violent offences.
Stephen Schoenthaler, a criminologist at California State University in Long Beach, notes that improving the quality of the diet routinely improves the behaviour of 20% of offenders. He emphasizes that criminals tend to be from the poorest, and therefore least well-nourished, sectors of society. The Dutch Ministry of Justice is currently doing its ovyp study on violent , offenders and nutrition, with a view to implementing diet changes in prisons.
"The problem with the modem diet is processed food," says Gert Schuitemaker, who heads the Ortho Institute, a Dutch nutritional campaigning body. "It's nutritionally poor, and contains additives which are often toxic for the brain." So why aren't we all already. taking supplements or adapting our daily menu? "You can't make much money out of vitamins" says Andrew Saul, citing the $500 billion in sales of the pharmaceutical companies last year as a major disincentive to the promotion of healthy eating. "Doctors and psychiatrists hardly study nutrition," adds Schuitemaker. "They are trained to apply a pharmaceutical solution, without considering diet."
It wasn't always so. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the founder of medicine, insisted, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." And in earlier times it was taken for granted, for example, that eating lettuce reduced anxiety, while quince relieved depression.
Scrap that prescription The modem situation is illustrated by the escalating rate of Ritalin prescriptions in the USA and Europe, to counter an epidemic of behavioural problems in children - although pediatrician Benjamin Feingold obtained excellent results from simply getting affected children to eat an additive-free, low-sugar diet, as long ago as the 1970s. "Giving children Ritalin, while allowing them to eat food stuffed with additives, makes no sense at all," says Andrew Saul. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/adhd.html)
The beauty of mood food is, there's nothing to lose. At the very least, a healthy diet benefits the body, with no side effects; overdosing on cashew nuts is virtually impossible.
But how about those mood-food cliches, oysters and chocolate? Well, oysters are high in tryptophan, which will do no harm, but nutrition experts reckon the best aphrodisiacs are celery (for women) and bananas (for men). As for chocolate, it's phenylethylamine which produces an endorphin effect akin to being in love (or lust). You are what you eat, indeed.
DIETARY DILEMMA? Then DON'T eat processed foods or additives.
GO EASY ON sugar, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate.
DO EAT poultry, nuts, cheese, seeds, pulses and legumes - for a serotonin boost. Walnuts, flax seeds, oily fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, etc) - for omega-3 fatty acids. Mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, tuna, asparagus, salmon and pork - for niacin.
Websites: www.foodmoodproject.org www.healthandnubition.co.uk www.doctoryourself.com www.ortho.nl (Dutch only) www.whfoods.com www.patrickholford.com
(end of the Holland Herald article)
DID YOU KNOW: That a male giraffe is over six feet tall AT BIRTH?
Did you know that the US RDI for dietary fiber is set so ridiculously low that it can be met by eating eight Russell Stover Chocolate Fudge Truffle Eggs?
Did you know that Food Stamps can be used to buy "Froot Loops" and "Twinkies," but Food Stamps can NOT used to buy vitamins?
Did you know that the US RDA for vitamin C for humans is less than 5% of the government's vitamin C standards for Guinea pigs and monkeys?
READ DR. KLENNER'S CLINICAL GUIDE FOR FREE Dr. Lendon Smith's edition of Dr. Frederick R. Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C is now available online for free reading!
My long-time readers (yes, you!) have long been pestering me for copies of this amazingly valuable and relatively rare 68-page book.
Your wishes have been answered. Dr. Klenner's Clinical Guide is now posted in its entirety at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh- clinical_guide_1988.htm
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