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Everyone has an Opinion About Health and Nutrition...Here's Mine

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I make no apologies that my opinion shows itself throughout Cforyourself. I do, however, try to limit most of the site to information backed by studies and clinical evidence, with a small dose of my take on the subject.

This page includes information and opinions that I hope you find interesting. Let me know. Also, please let me know if there is a particular subject that you'd like discussed on this page. I am open to including the opinions of others on this page and, of course, the letters section.

 
 

Nutrition and the Medical Profession

 


Nutrition is an area that interests most everyone in one form or another.  In terms of gaining and maintaining optimum health, proper nutrition is imperative.  I find it very disturbing that the vast majority of those in the conventional medical profession:

  • Lack nutritional expertise
  • Profess that a "balanced diet" is all that is required for health
  • Disregard nutritional therapies out-of-hand

Our society is not overflowing with people in excellent health.  Chances are that your family physician is much more likely to suggest surgery over nutrition, drugs over diet (heck, they call the whole profession "medicine").  This is appalling.  The Hippocratic Oath states "...and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.", from whence "...do no harm" proceeds.  Hippocrates also said "Of several remedies the physician should choose the least sensational."  Following these precepts of Hippocrates would naturally lead us towards nutritional and  natural therapies and away from drugs and surgery, whenever possible.  This would logically lead to nutritional therapies being sought out instead of shunned, and using potentially mischievous and sensational drugs much more cautiously.  In his book Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra contrasts the wisdom of the body and the use of drugs by stating 'By comparison, a man-made drug is a stranger in a land where everyone else is blood kin".  Please see Drug-related Deaths in the In The News Section.  Also, if you are a health care professional, please read the Open Letter to the Medical Community.

 

Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death

April 9, 2008


This is the title of a Reuters story as reported on Yahoo! News today. The lead paragraph says:

"Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday."

This sounds pretty definitive, doesnít it? More evidence that we all better stop eating eggs. Those things are deadly! According to Dr. Luc Djousse and Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School:

"Whereas egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death".

Oh, so six eggs a week seems to be OK, but seven and put your affairs in order.

Since the lipid hypothesis of heart disease has taken hold as gospel, we have been hearing about the high cholesterol in eggs. To show how well established this theory has taken hold in the conventional wisdom, the story states:

"Eggs are rich in cholesterol, which in high amounts can clog arteries and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke."

No room for any opposing opinions there. This is why we are all encouraged to eat egg-white omelets and use Egg-Beaters®. And why do eggs have so much cholesterol anyway? There is a lot of cholesterol in eggs because there is a lot of cholesterol in chickens, just like there is a lot of cholesterol in humans. Maybe it isnít such a good idea to be monkeying around with drugs that foul up our bodies natural mechanisms to make cholesterol.

It has been my somewhat-educated opinion that the lipid hypothesis is flat-out wrong anyway. The studies supporting the link between high cholesterol and heart disease are weak, at best. I refer you to my page on cholesterol, if you are interested in more on this.

But lets get back to the news of the study. So far we have learned that eating seven eggs a week will greatly increase your likelihood of an early demise. Also we have been reminded that eggs are high in cholesterol and we all know how dangerous that is.

The researchers studied over 21,000 male physicians taking part in a much larger study since 1981. During the study period:

"1,550 of the men had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes, and more than 5,000 died."

Then in paragraph 14 of the 17-paragraph story we are told:

"Egg consumption was not associated with (heart attack) or stroke," the researchers wrote.

What! Wasn't eggs, cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes the whole story! Apparently the facts didnít fit the story, but I do give them some credit for telling us the truth at all. After the story has now blown up as we read it, the last paragraph tells us some very important details:

"Men who ate the most eggs also were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise -- all factors that can affect the risk of heart attack and death."

So there you have it. Older, fatter, drinking, smoking couch potatoes die sooner. Maybe that should have been the title of the story, but then I guess it wouldnít have been much of a story.

Cholesterol & Heart Disease

February 2, 2008


Due to the increased amount of information on Cforyourself concerning cholesterol and heart disease, I have added a dedicated page in the Heart Disease section devoted to a discussion of the relationship (or rather the lack thereof) of serum cholesterol and heart disease. This is very important information.

Statin  drugs, the drugs to lower cholesterol, are the largest selling drugs of all time producing $27.8 billion in sales in 2006! The drugs do lower your cholesterol level, but as discussed on my page, lowering your cholesterol does not prevent heart attacks. On occasion folks will tell me they are taking, or have been told to take. Statin drugs and would like my opinion. I tell them “Don’t get your cholesterol checked. Forget about it!” This is met with skepticism as is most everything else I tell them.

Please visit the new Cholesterol page and please join in the discussion in the new Forums.

How to Live Longer and Feel Better

December 25, 2006


Originally published in 1986, the Oregon State University Press has recently released a Twentieth Anniversary edition of Linus Pauling’s monumental book for the layman, How to Live Longer and Feel Better. While simple in its prescriptions for health and in its plain, matter-of-fact style, the information that supports Pauling’s assertions carry the Noble-prize winning scientists’ enormous understanding of chemistry, biology and nutrition. All this is backed up by his easy to understand explanations and references to numerous scientific studies. Recognized as one of the greatest scientific minds of the twentieth century, Pauling was one of those rare geniuses that could distill a complex subject in a way that we less gifted could understand.

I first read How to Live Longer and Feel Better in 1991. Pauling states his case with an elegant simplicity while the reader comes away understanding that this guy knows what he is talking about. I was immediately captivated because the information presented is so simple, so important to human health and nobody seems to know about it! It was the impetus to the publication of this website dedicated to Dr. Pauling’s life and work.

Paulings’ ascertion that high-dose vitamin C could prevent and cure the common cold, followed later by claims of its benefit for cancer and heart disease were quite controversial. Paulings ideas, while not well received by the established medical community that is dominated by “conventional wisdom” and hampered by a general lack of education concerning nutrition, could not be dismissed due to his stature in the scientific community. Combine this with his ability to speak directly to the common man and you have a force to be reckoned with. Even so, the inertia was, and remains, daunting.

Most of the people I talk to are reluctant to accept this simple, powerful information. I believe there are several, common reasons for this. The most basic is people’s general hard-headedness and hesitancy to accept something new, especially if it is revolutionary. Building on this is the classic response “If this were true, everyone would know”, a rationale derived from the logical position that something so basic and important would not elude the medical community. If further support of the status quo is desired one need look no further than the many studies showing vitamin C’s ineffectiveness. Amazingly, this is not a hard objection to overcome.

The biggest obstacle in the way of people’s willingness to accept the importance and effectiveness of vitamin C is the dosage requirement. The amount of vitamin C needed to provide the results Pauling described is, in “vitamin” terms, huge. If we disregard the vitamin C studies where dosage was obviously too low, we are left with studies that show amazing benefit.

Most of us have an intuitive understanding that nutrition is important to human health. It is most obvious that we all need to eat to live. Most of the media coverage of “diet” and health focuses on foods that may be harmful or lead to disease. A classic example of this is the “diet-heart idea” that claims that “high” levels of cholesterol in the blood leads to heart disease. The acceptance of this idea has led to a very large change in the food industry with the introduction and promotion of foods low in fat and cholesterol. What is lost in the rush to eliminate the foods that are killing us is the other side of the nutrition coin. What are the nutrients that are required for our systems to work at their best, to prevent and cure illness and at what levels are these nutrients necessary to promote optimum health? These are questions and some answers that Pauling brought to the public’s attention in his classic last book and that others, including your humble reviewer, are attempting to amplify. If this approach to nutrition makes sense to you and you are interested in learning more then How to Live Longer and Feel Better is the best place to start.


Most Vitamin Studies are Worthless

May 1, 2006


There seems to be a relentless flow of studies that show that vitamin C supplementation is of little or no value. Tara Parker-Pope writes for the Health section of the Wall Street Journal. Her recent article on the value of supplementation took front-page honors. She dismisses vitamin supplementation altogether as unnecessary (Visit Bill Sardi's excellent Knowledge of Health site for a complete reprint and critique of this article). How could all this research be wrong and just a few of us be right about the value of vitamin C? It would seem to defy common sense. The answer is very simple and entirely consistent with the reported studies. The answer is dose.

The vast majority of vitamin studies use doses that are inadequate to produce positive results. It is my opinion that whenever a study concerning vitamin C uses a daily dose of less than 1000 milligrams, that study is worthless (or even worse than worthless since the results are so misleading). If the purpose of the study is to determine vitamin C’s potential for curing anything, then the minimum dose needs to be many times higher. To emphasize this, I now report on a fictitious study:

Money Doesn’t Ease Poverty, Study Shows

This is the finding of the Institute for Eliminating Poverty that has just released the results of their five-year, peer-reviewed, study of money and poverty. The study and its results, while provocative, pass scientific muster and must, therefore, be considered definitive. Here are the details of the study process.

A randomized double-blind controlled study of 1000 families at or below the poverty line were each given $100. After a closely-followed five-year period no more of these families had bettered their financial circumstances than 500 matched control families. This study, while controversial in its bold conclusions, demonstrates that a lack of money is not at the root of poverty. The designers admit that the results surprised them, but stand by their rigorous scientific method. When asked what, if not more money, was the key to raising people out of poverty, the lead researcher responded “beats me!”


Supplement Industry is Not Sick

March 23, 2003

In the March 11, 2003 issue of The Wall Street Journal there were two articles, the Health Journal by Tara Parker-Pope and an Op-Ed piece Herbal Overdose by Jerome Groopman that dealt with the new rules for the dietary supplement industry. The FDA has said that the product in the bottles we buy must match the list of ingredients on the label, without any contaminants. I believe this rule is a reasonable expression of government regulation of industry in the public interest. Both of the WSJ articles felt the FDA should have gone farther.

Tara Parker-Pope says that the industry “…still won’t provide answers to such basic questions as; is a supplement safe? Does it work? Is it backed by scientific study? Will it interfere with prescription medicines or other treatments?” Now these sound like basic questions, but in reality are quite complex and, due to our amazingly individual chemistry, are definitely not the same for every person. And, is it really necessary that the government do this? Tara answers that question for us by stating “[b]ut with a little effort, consumers can find resources for objective and credible answers to these questions.” I’ll take that as a “no”.

Our elected representatives are all in a lather over the “crisis” in the prescription drug business. Do we really want or need the costs and regulations of the supplement business to follow this lead? Jerome Groopman thinks so. He says that the government needs to “classify herbs and dietary supplements as medicines.” That’s absurd. Leaving herbs out the discussion for a moment, dietary supplements are nothing more than elements of food that have been separated, or synthesized, and concentrated. This is not to say that they should not be taken without some care and understanding, but it also means that overall they pose a small fraction of the risks of drugs. Aspirin is immeasurably more dangerous than vitamin C. While we hear of the occasional tragedy involving supplements as we have recently with the death of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, in April of 1998 the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that adverse drug reactions may be the fourth-ranking cause of death in the United States, right after heart disease, cancer, and stroke!

I for one do not want the government telling me that I need to see my doctor to get a prescription for vitamins. Doctors generally have little interest in nutrition anyway. Amazingly, they get only a few hours, if any, class work in nutrition in medical school, and there is little extra time in a busy doctor’s day for investigating an area that most see as tangential, at best, to their primary work. This pervasive lack of knowledge about nutrition leads to a dismissal of how vital nutrition is to general health and the ability to fight disease. Supplementing your diet is tossed off with the old saw “eat a balanced diet.” While eating a healthy diet is, of course, important, it is almost impossible to get all the nutrients at the quantities required to support optimum health from a modern diet. Food in the industrialized world is often highly processed and almost always subject to considerable transportation with a consequent reduction in nutritive value. Supplementation, especially in this environment, only makes good sense. The public understands this as evidenced by the multi-billion dollar supplement market. Most of us don’t want the medical profession to act as gatekeepers for access to the nutrients we understand contribute to our wellbeing.

If prescription vitamins seem far-fetched, how long do you think it would take before the maximum dose an individual pill could contain was the RDA for that vitamin? For vitamin C, that would mean that the largest tablet available would be 90 mg. You would have to take eleven of these to come close to the 1000 mg of today’s most popular supplement!

What impact would this increased regulatory burden have on the supplement industry? That doesn’t appear to be a question worth the asking. I believe it would destroy it because the many millions of dollars spent by the pharmaceutical industry to satisfy the government regulations for drugs to be “safe and effective” are recouped from the gross profits of new, patented medicines. This cannot happen in an industry that is almost 100% “generic”. But this doesn’t seem to bother Dr. Groopman. In his article, he tips his hand and tells us why he doesn’t devote even a sentence of concern for the industry or the freedom of the consumer. When discussing the late president Theodore Roosevelt, Dr. Groopman states that “[h]is solution to his medical problems was to pursue a robust life of good diet and ample exercise, in essence, exerting his considerable willpower to try to overcome his maladies and rebuild himself.” Well, doctor, there are those of us that believe “good diet and ample exercise” can, in fact, produce positive health benefits on their own and not just simply as an expression of willpower. For us, let’s please not let the government make a mess of, or worse, destroy the supplement industry.


Breastfeeding and IQ

June 23, 2002

The results of a recently concluded study show a strong link between the duration of breastfeeding and the IQ of the person. Articles reporting on this circulated through the newspapers and the Internet. The Washington Post article is entitled “Breast-Feeding Linked to IQ Gain“. Details include the following:

“Infants breast-fed for nine months grew up to be significantly more intelligent than infants breast-fed for one month or less, according to a study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.”

Now why am I putting this on the Editorial page, you ask? Well, it’s because of the focus, which is so ingrained that I’ll bet hardly anyone even noticed. The title tells it all. Feeding infants powder from a can is used as the baseline for comparison-not the natural way of feeding breast milk. Let me propose a title that looks at this from the other perspective:

Lack of breastfeeding leads to reduced brain development

How much more shocking is that title? The baseline needs to be the natural way. Not the other way around. Let me try another example to bring it into what I do:

Study shows high vitamin C intake linked to reduced incidence of heart disease

Instead of:

Lack of adequate vitamin C linked to heart disease

I understand this is a semantics issue, but I think the abysmal status quo is so ingrained that we aren’t alarmed about the toxic nature of the modern world. And this makes it very hard for most people to realize that taking what seems to be a huge amount of vitamin C may be a very reasonable thing to do.


Life Expectancy - Are We Really Living Longer?

January 24, 2002


When I talk about the chronic illnesses that afflict so many of us in old age, most people think they are an inevitable consequence of our vastly increased life expectancy. Is this true? Have the chronic illnesses that kill most Americans—heart disease, stroke and cancer—always been waiting for us? Did our ancestors die before they got a chance to get sick? Let’s look under the surface of our increased life expectancy statistics and see what we can find.

Higher population densities have contributed to less healthy living conditions for much of the world. Sanitation and clean water become a problem when a lot of people live close together. In the past hundred years or so huge strides have been made that have improved the living conditions for all but the poorest countries. This has resulted in a dramatic decrease in infant mortality, since the youngest among us are the weakest. Infant mortality has an inordinate affect on life expectancy statistics.

Worldbank.org states “Infant mortality rates fell from 80 per 1000 live births in 1980, to 54 per 1000 in 1998.” This is an improvement from 8% of live births down to 5.4%. How does this affect life expectancy overall? Just for illustrative purposes let’s say that the babies that die as infants die at age zero and the ones that survive past the “infant mortality” stage live to age 60. For the 1000 people with the infant mortality rate of 80 per thousand, their life expectancy is 55.2 years (80 x 0 + 920 x 60 all divided by 1000).
Reducing the infant mortality rate to 54 per thousand raises the average life expectancy for the whole group to 56.76, an increase of 2.8% and yet the oldest age has not changed. Now this example is obviously more simplistic than things really are. Of course, with any average life expectancy some folks will die in infancy, some as children, etc. and some will live substantially longer than the promised average number of years. So how has life expectancy changed in the United States and what can we learn about how much longer people are actually living?

Below is a chart showing the change in life expectancy in the U.S. from 1890 to 1990.

Data are for white males in the United States

Sources:
1890-U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census
All others-Dept. of Health and Human Services and National Center for Health Statistics

The bottom (green) line shows that the group born in 1890 could expect a life span, on average, of only 42.5 years. Those born in 1990 will have an average life span estimated at 72.7 years. This is a 71% increase in life expectancy. While this is, of course, very good, is this attributable to the miracles of modern medicine allowing us to live longer, or a reduction in infant mortality or some combination?

The second (blue) line shows that those people born in 1850 and still alive (shown as “at age 40”) in 1890 could expect an average life span of 67.4 years. 100 years ago, if you managed to live to age forty, you could expect to live to around sixty-seven. For those born in 1950 (forty years old in 1990) and still alive, their average life span is estimated at 75.6. What this says is that if you managed to live past infancy and didn’t die young (usually from accident or infectious disease) your life expectancy in 1990 is only 12% longer than 100 years before.

If the dramatic increase in life expectancy shown in the first line were largely attributable to people living longer than ever before, as it seems most people think, this would be most evident by looking directly at the life expectancy for older people. This is what the top line shows. The people that were sixty years old in 1890 died at an average age of 74.7. In 1990, those sixty years old can expect an average life to end at age 78.7, only 5% longer than people born in 1830!

What these data conclusively show is that many more of us are living into old age, but if you do, don’t expect to live more than a few years more than the old folks born when Andrew Jackson was our seventh president, who, by the way, was seventy-eight when he died.


   


C and Heart Disease

A letter to the Editor of Life Extension Foundation by Owen Fonorow, Vitamin C Foundation

December 28, 2001


Editors
Life Extension Foundation
C/o William Falloon
Saul Kent


Dear Editor

You have false and misleading information on the cover and thus you place your readers health at risk. On page 26 you add the word "may" to the article title "Combination of vitamin E and aspirin may prevent heart disease" which mitigates somewhat. Ms. Ivy Greenwell should be aware that the so-called "atherosclerotic lesions" in mice are not the same as atherosclerosis in humans. The earliest papers that clearly describe this include THE REVERSIBILITY OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS, G.C Wills, Canadian Med Jour, July 15, 1957, Vol 77 Page 106109.

Furthermore,

1. Mice make their own vitamin C endogenously. Unless the mice in this study were "genetically engineered" so as to not to make vitamin C, these animals are worthless for studying the problem of atherosclerosis. The so-called atherosclerosis, or fatty streaks that can be induced in these animals by abnormally high cholesterol intakes are not the same type of lesion as the human - nor the guinea pig - lesion.

2. If the mice were the strain engineered not to produce vitamin C in their livers (like guinea pigs) then the experiment may still not be valid since it is unknown whether these mice have evolved the ability to produce Lp(a).

3. The article thus promotes the utter mythology that a "high fat" diet leads to atherosclerosis. We have come to expect this propaganda from the mainstream, but not Life Extension.

Researchers in cardiology generally agree - the primary cause of atherosclerosis is a lesion. It is known that aspirin attacks tissues. Thus in theory, aspirin may actually cause or contribute to cardiovascular disease if it causes lesions in blood vessels, even if it can help prevent heart attacks by inhibiting blood clotting.

In my opinion, these experiments, as reported in American Heart Association journals are designed to preserve the status quo. Ms Greenwell ignores the recent large scale studies on aspirin that were either abject failures, or showed that humans in the study suffered far more strokes than would have otherwise been expected. So the most interesting piece of information is missing. Who funded this study?

We have no quarrel with the observation that vitamin E is important and that lowering cholesterol is not. However, LEF should know that the Rimm Harvard study that brought vitamin E to prominence was designed in the only way possible to not find a significant effect for vitamin C. By focusing on 650
who developed heart disease (out of 45,000) they were surprised that vitamin E significantly delayed the onset of cardiovascular disease. Morale, if you are not getting enough vitamin C, vitamin E can protect you for some time. However, if they had studied the ENTIRE 45,000, and focused on who did and did not
get cardiovascular disease, they would probably have found a significant protective effect for vitamin C. Why would any scientist design a study in this manner?

We applaud Life Extensions attempt to be scientific. What you seem to forget is that unlike the modern sciences of Physics, Chemistry or Astronomy, the findings of so-called medical "science" can mean billions to the companies that sponsor the research. Furthermore, Medicine and Pharmaceutical companies
"feed" off human illness. Medicine and medical doctors do good, but as you know full well, there are entirely evil people behind the scenes who, somehow, plant false medical-news stories that keep people sick and protect medicine's enormous income stream. We find that often the study conclusions do not match the data. There is ample evidence that a deliberate Media campaign is underway to discredit the use of antioxidants for both Heart and Cancer patients.

These reports usually misrepresent the underlying science. Life Extension would be of value if rather than acting like school kids, and parroting these self-serving conclusions, you instead were to follow the example set by the late Linus Pauling. Pauling did not read the conclusions until after he had read the paper, analyzed the data and formed his own conclusions.

Please find people who can read and understand the data, and then form their own conclusions. This should be Life Extensions policy.

Sincerely,

Owen R. Fonorow
Vitamin C Foundation
Pauling Therapy


SIDS Cause Still Baffles Medicine

April 6, 2001


I have a section of Cforyourself dedicated to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While relatively little work has been done on this subject, there is some very interesting clinical evidence that SIDS, or Crib Death, may be associated with acute induced scurvy. It also just makes sense. I encourage you to look at the SIDS evidence discussed on the SIDS page. The medical community, in all its steadfast reluctance to consider nutrition with the same seriousness as drugs and surgery, remain baffled, as discussed in an article published April 23, 2001 at Healthcentral.com entitled "Cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome remains elusive". The article states:

"Despite decades of research, scientists remain confounded. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome steals more small lives each year than cancer, pneumonia, heart disease and AIDS combined."

Here is my frustration. The medical community in general is disappointingly ignorant of nutrition, but this does not stop them from expressing what is taken to be knowledgeable advise to a public that accepts what they say and acts on it. If a new mother were to stumble on my SIDS page, she might, quite reasonably, ask her doctor if there is any truth to this vitamin C-SIDS link. If the doctor is not knowledgable concerning this subject (quite likely), then they should be honest about that and not tell the mother that there is no link (also quite likely).

Your health and health care are in your hands. Research for yourself. Listen to your doctor. Consider what I present here. Investigate the enormous amount of information that is now so easy to get on the Internet. Then make your own informed decisions.

As Linus Pauling put it:

"Do not let either the medical authorities or the politicians mislead you. Find out what the facts are, and make your own decisions about how to live a happy life and how to work for a better world."

And take your vitamin C!

 


Forty Percent of Americans Take Vitamins

 

March 18, 2000

 


A story with the above name about a recent study was published by Reuters Health on March 14, 2000 and carried by Yahoo!, among others, I am sure .  It started out by stating that about "40%" of Americans "popped" a vitamin or mineral within the past month.  Now "popped" in and of itself doesn't sound very respectful already, but then they said, "[w]hile most vitamin and mineral products are harmless, even safe products can have side effects or be considered unsafe if taken with other products or in excessive amounts, according to a report published in the Archives of Family Medicine.".  So much for any possible benefits these supplements may have!

Then they quoted Holly Noble, a registered dietitian in the University of Michigan Health System "It's wise to seek the counsel of a doctor or dietitian'' before taking any supplement.  Well, let me tell you, if you have a doctor that is knowledgeable about nutrition and is a source of guidance for you concerning supplementation, then don't ever let them go!  They are rare, indeed!  I have yet to find one for myself.  Noble continued: it is important to be counseled about the use of vitamins and minerals, and to remember that these supplements are "not a solution to a poor diet.''  I agree and I think one place for counsel about nutrition and especially vitamin C is right here and the books and links I refer you too.

The allopathic medical community's knowledge of nutrition is pathetic, in my opinion.  You would assume that doctors would understand nutrition well since it is so much part and parcel to health, but they generally know very little.  If you are a frequent visitor to this site and sites like this, you are quite likely much more knowledgeable about nutrition than your doctor.  A sorry state of affairs, but true.

If they only had as much caution prescribing dangerous medications we'd all be better off.

 


Isn't Taking Pills "un-natural"

 

March 10, 2000

 

 
A reader, Paul Nightingale, wrote in on this subject.  He asked:

    "Yes, but we obviously weren't created with the idea of popping pills every day, we can't naturally get that amount of Vitamin C, doesn't this tell us that we mustn't therefore need it? Maybe that's the reason we can't make it as easily as animals can, because we don't need it so badly?

    "I don't know but it all sounds a bit drastic to me."

These are reasonable, logical questions, that I happen to have good answers for!  First, we can't make vitamin C at all.  We have lost the ability entirely.  Which brings up the questions:

     - How can other animals production of vitamin C be a guide for us? And
     - How much might have been in our diet when we lost the ability to make it?

This amount would have had to have been enough for the mutation to take hold, even though not necessarily enough to promote optimum health.

Both these questions are discussed at the top of the Why Take C page at:

Now, as far as supplementing versus getting what we need from food sources, I cannot argue that the best way to get the nutrients we need is by eating the whole foods that will give us these nutrients.  It is intuitively obvious that whole foods contain lots of good things that go together well.  That understood, I think it is almost impossible in the industrialized world to get the nutrients we need in adequate quantities for optimum health reliably from our diet alone.  I think this is particularly true for vitamin C, where very large quantities are indicated by the quantities synthesized by most animals and the vast experiences of thousands of us that take a lot of C with good to amazing results..

In general I would recommend eating whole foods, restricting sugar, generally not eating too much and supplementing some essential nutrients, especially vitamin C.

 


Study Recommends Infants Sleep in Cribs

 

October 8, 1999

 


A new study found that an average of 64 young children die each year while sleeping in bed with their parents or other adults. The article is available from Intelihealth

I can't help commenting on this.  This points up the myopia of the conventional medicine establishment perfectly.  They treat something that is wrong, hopefully fix it, and declare victory.  All the while little or no real consideration is given to the patient as a whole.  The entire situation is not taken into account.  An "illness" is diagnosed and treated as if it were somehow separate and distinct from the patient who has it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

To those in the medical profession that treat the whole individual, our greatest thanks.  Unfortunately, you are in the minority.

 


If Vitamin C Is So Great, Why Doesn't Everybody Know?

 

February 7, 1999

 


I just had a brush with being sick (see "A Case of the Flu" ) that brought this question into clear focus.  I make the analogy elsewhere that if an infection is like a brush fire, your immune system is the fire department and vitamin C is the water.  Trying to take the proper amount to ward off the flu has been difficult and it has made it all the more clear why vitamin C is not looked upon as the amazing substance it is.

The answer to why people don't know about the wonders of vitamin C is dose and I'll explain why this leads to the belief that vitamin C supplementation is unimportant, and the disbelief that vitamin C can do what it can do.

Our federal government, in all it's wisdom, created the RDAs.  Now the levels set for the RDA amount are the levels the government has determined is a little more than the amount necessary to prevent overt disease symptoms.  These levels have almost nothing to do with nutrient levels that will provide for optimum health.  Most everyone, including the conventional medical community, think that the RDAs indicate the levels of nutrients that are more than adequate for anyone and, to make things worse, that a "balanced diet" is all anyone needs (see my editorial below on Balanced Diet ).  These two tremendously false assumptions taken together produce an environment where an opinion like the one expressed at Cforyourself is scoffed at and not even seriously considered.  Most of the people I talk to about vitamin C think I'm a kook, or find my passion for the subject always good for a few laughs.  By the way, new nutrient guideline amounts are being studied by the federal government called "Dietary Reference Intakes" that will be a much better guesstimate of what someone should take to promote health.

Now, the reason that nobody knows how effective vitamin C can be is that no one (almost) is willing to take enough to produce the fabulous results possible.  Once you start from a mind-set as described above, it is hard to seriously consider that a reasonable amount of vitamin C might be 100 times the RDA.  This is why studies done to evaluate if vitamin C can help a cold are consistently favorable but not stunning.  Giving people an extra 500 mg or 1000 mg a day is good and will produce study results that indicate C may be helpful, but that is nowhere near an adequate amount for most of us to expect consistent cold prevention. Please see "A Case of the Flu" that gives details of my recent experience with vitamin C and the flu.

I believe this situation exists for vitamin C and cancer as well.  As a matter of fact, Linus Pauling's landmark vitamin C and cancer study used a daily dose of only 10,000 mg.  In Klenner's paper, he proposes that studies be done using intravenous C in the range of 100-300 grams per day!  If I was diagnosed with cancer, you'd better believe that I would find a doctor that would try this treatment.

The point of this editorial is to drive home the paramount importance of dose.  We are always careful about taking drugs at the proper dose (how many times have you thought to yourself "Is it time yet that I can take another dose of that medicine?"  So take your C and take enough!

 


Colds & Flu "Off-Season"

 

October 27, 1998

 


Well, it's just about that time of the year again when we'll start hearing about the "colds & flu" season.  All the news shows will start trotting out the doctors urging us to get our flu shots.  The stories will be interspersed with ads for Contac®, Thera-Flu® and the like.

Why don't we make colds & the flu "off-season" for good?  Now I'm not going to tell anyone that they shouldn't get a flu shot.  That is a decision you, with advise from your doctor perhaps, need to decide for yourself.  But let's examine the dynamics of the "colds & flu season" a little.

We always expend a considerable amount of our energy maintaining our body's balance, technically called "homeostasis".  During the warmer months most of us maintain this homeostasis with adequate reserves to fend off most sickness.  The added stress imposed with colder weather to keep warm and adjust to the changing inside and outside environment lowers our resistance.  If our systems were barely able to keep us sickness-free in the summer, then the likelihood that we catch something during the winter is that much greater.

If we could boost our body's ability to maintain its homeostatic balance, it only makes sense that we would have sufficient reserves to withstand the added stress of winter and probably not get sick.  I have been sick once in the last seven years and I truly believe I could have avoided that if I had been a little more diligent taking my C.  Yes, I know it is hard to believe that I wouldn't take my C as much as I should, but I was taking a lot and got over-confident in my ability to resist.

So take your C every day (see How Much to Take ) and increase the number of doses you take if you start to feel sick and let's tell the cold remedy folks to peddle their wares somewhere else!

 


"Balanced Diet" a Myth

 

July 22, 1998

 


I have been responding to some postings at alt.support.attn-deficit with the purpose of trying to get people suffering from this malady to look at the possibility of a nutritional component.  I saw the large posting that touched on this as well as pummeling the health care industry.  A response to this post included the following concerning nutrition:

"Anyway, the idea that we aren't getting enough nutritian is patently false, we are living, longer, better quality lives then ever before.  Every decade we gain another few years on how long we will live, so much so that they want to raise the retirement age.  I don't think thats the mark of a polluted society. Sugar is dumbo's feather, it was proven not to affect energy levels either way, but people still perceive that it cause kids to become "hyper" whether they've been given a sugar pill or not. (Although MSG makes me quite sick) and if its the only thing you've had to eat that morning, well, then you probably will get a burst of energy."

Since the belief that american's nutrition is all it should be is so widespread and FALSE, I posted this reply that I would like to share with you:

Life expectancy has risen greatly over the past several thousand years, even in this century, but why?  Sanitation has played a great role in this.  Also, people here rarely die of starvation.  Antibiotics are responsible for the elimination of plaques.  Advances in surgery and emergancy care have eliminated a lot of death due to accident.  Infant mortality has decreased tremendously due to these reasons.  Indeed, when infant mortality is removed, the life expectancy has risen little since the 20's.  The chronic dieases and conditions that are the bane of medicine are very much linked to nutrition.

I say all this as a backdrop to this statement-the average american diet is terrible and leads to many, many diseases and conditions that the health care industry is baffled to fix.  Our bodies enzyme systems developed over thousands of generations in accordance with the diet that we ate for the vast majority of our evolution.  This diet contained very little simple charbohydrates, NO refined sugar, white flour, additives, preservatives, etc.  It did contain a lot of fresh fruits and vegtables, and a relatively high proportion of animal products (including fat), although little milk before the very recent advance of animal husbandry.

The result of all this is that we eat things that cause us difficulties (acute and chronic, physical and "mental") and don't get enough of what we do need (why we should supplement).

Whether you buy into any conspiracy theories about ADD and the medical-pharmaceutical complex matters little, the fact is that a diet containing the foods that your system has evolved for will eliminate most chronic conditions and many of the disorders and conditions that we suffer from.

I do believe that this includes most illness, including mental illness.  It also means supplementing to make up for the deficiencies we are bound to have.  This is a complex subject that should not be tossed off lightly.  So many people that I talk to vitamin C about scoff or say that it didn't work for them.  Nutrition is not something you should try for a week and draw conclusions.  Every individual is different.  Different foods have very different consequences depending on who you are.  The amount of supplementation depends on your biochemical individuality.

To all those suffering from ADD, I ask that you look into the nutritional aspects of your treatment.  Your brain is an organ and it is most sensative to its nutritional requirements.  The nutrition we throw at our systems does indeed make us sick.

 


Vitamin C Study

 

April 10, 1998

 


As many of you have probably read or heard, there is a just-reported on study that links 500mg vitamin C supplementation to possible DNA damage.  Since DNA damage is the bedrock of cancer, vitamin C is being reported as causing cancer.  While all the details of the study are not yet available, these headlines are pretty serious stuff.

I will leave it to my friends at the Vitamin C Foundation to produce a detailed scientific response to this study.  They have a page devoted to explaining this study that I am sure you will want to visit.  Just click here to go directly to the article.

From the information I have seen, I do have some initial comments:

  • This study was of very short duration, utilizing very few participant
  • Man is among a very small group of species that do not synthesize vitamin C in their bodies.
    When adjusted for body weight, all the species that do make vitamin C make it at higher levels
    than this study found to be harmful.  Why are these levels of vitamin C apparently only harmful
    to man?
  • Many previous studies concerning vitamin C and arthritis and cancer have centered on
    determining the therapeutic value of C supplementation, with success, I might add.  How could vitamin C now turn out to be a contributor to these ailments?
  • Dr. Lunec states that follow-up studies using higher doses than 500mg/day would be unethical (due to the danger, I assume).  I would be happy to participate and have the scientists look for DNA damage in me.  I have been taking 15,000+ mg/day for seven years with no intentions of stopping.  Surely, these scientists could find ample subjects that are already taking 1000+mg/day to study without exposing anyone to new dangers.  I implore them to study some  of us!

 

 

Rusty Hoge

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