|Issue #143 October 2014|
Welcome to this edition of Naturopathic News, issue #143. It has been my mission over the last 16+ years to help you find optimal solutions to your health problems. This newsletter has been one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the more you are able to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter please send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.
We are moving from Pennsylvania back to Colorado. Our 14 acre farm in Steam Valley has been on the market since July. It's in a beautiful setting, just 20 minutes North of Williamsport. Since we moved in 1998 only organic methods have been used for our large garden and small fruit orchard. We really want the next owners to have a similar respect for the land. If desired, there would be no problem obtaining organic certification.
I will be continuing my practice in Colorado after we move. Those of you wanting to continue naturopathic/homeopathic care after I leave, we can do that. For years I have successfully worked with patients long distance--CA, VT, GA, FL, OR, Germany, and the Middle East, by phone/Skype. I am putting together a list of patients who want to continue working with me after I relocate. If you and I haven't already had that conversation please contact me by October 31 and let me know.
I am unaware of any naturopath or homeopath that will be in the Williamsport area after I leave.
For physical medicine I highly recommend that you seek care with Solley Chiropractic.
For Cranio Sacral Therapy I recommend Beth Shafranco in Williamsport, Catie Rasmussen in State College, and Laurie Brosius in Punxsutawney.
For acupuncture I recommend Linda Spencer in Wellsboro.
Regular appointment schedule, Monday-Friday until October 31. I am accepting new patients
Friday, October 31, 2014 is my last physical day in my office at Solley Chiropractic.
I will be doing all my Pennsylvania appointments by phone/Skype after October 31,2014.
By the end of November/beginning of December we will be packed up and on our way. Driving to our new home in the mountains.
There will be no change with your Emerson Ecologics status after I leave. Your account will still be associated with my practice and you will continue to receive your 10% discount on the supplements and herbs that you order.
It will be more expensive for me to practice in Colorado. Hence I will be raising my office fees. However, any active (2014) patient will continue to receive my 'Pennsylvania' fee rate, even after I am established in Colorado. This is my way of thanking you for your continued support.
It's worked very well to care for my long distance patients. However, there are limitations to using phone or Skype. If I need to examine you--take your blood pressure, feel your glands, listen to your lungs, etc.--I can't do that. Though you can find some common homeopathic remedies in local stores, anything beyond that I will have to mail to you. You will have to pay more attention to how much medicine you have left to not be stuck without your remedy for longer than a day or two. I will do my best to make this transition as smooth as possible so that your healing process will not be disrupted. If you have any questions about how this can work for you please email.
STAYING HEALTHY THROUGH THE SEASON
For those of you who didn’t take a look at my September 2014 newsletter you should do that now. That entire issue of Naturopathic News is devoted to staying healthy-whether it’s the flu, a cold, or trying not to get sick when everyone else at work or school is sick.
12 HORMONE ALTERING CHEMICALS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.
Here are 12 of the worst hormone disrupters, how they do their dirty deeds, and some tips on how to avoid them.
Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the sex hormone estrogen in your body? No! Unfortunately, this synthetic hormone can trick the body into thinking it’s the real thing – and the results aren’t pretty. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, and according to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies!
How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – and it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body. For more tips, check out: www.ewg.org/bpa/
Dioxins are multitaskers, but not in a good way! They form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormone signaling occurs in the body. This is a bad thing! Here’s why: Recent research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin in the womb and early in life can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years. But that’s not all! Dioxins are very long-lived, build up both in the body and in the food chain, are powerful carcinogens and can also affect the immune and reproductive systems.
How to avoid it? That’s pretty difficult, since the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated, but you can cut down on your exposure by eating fewer animal products.
What happens when you introduce highly toxic chemicals into nature and turn your back? For one thing, feminization of male frogs. That’s right, researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of the herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.
How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine. For help finding a suitable filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/
Did you know that a specific signal programs cells in our bodies to die? It’s totally normal and healthy for 50 billion cells in your body to die every day! But studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates can trigger what’s known as “death-inducing signaling” in testicular cells, making them die earlier than they should. Yep, that’s cell death – in your man parts. If that’s not enough, studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes, and thyroid irregularities.
How to avoid it? A good place to start is to avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates, so read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates. Find phthalate-free personal care products with EWG’s Skin Deep Database: www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel?! That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.
How to avoid it? You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one at: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide) As for food, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Eating iodized salt is one good way.
What do breast milk and polar bears have in common? In 1999, some Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered something totally unexpected: The milk contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in fire retardants, and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, have since been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe – even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt their activity. That can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. While several kinds of PBDEs have now been phased out, this doesn’t mean that toxic fire retardants have gone away. PBDEs are incredibly persistent, so they’re going to be contaminating people and wildlife for decades to come.
How to avoid it? It’s virtually impossible, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. A few things that can you can do in the meantime include: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust; avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs). Find more tips at www.ewg.org/pbdefree/
You may or may not like heavy metal music, but lead is one heavy metal you want to avoid. It’s well known that lead is toxic, especially to children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems. But few people realize that one other way that lead may affect your body is by disrupting your hormones. In animals, lead has been found to lower sex hormone levels. Research has also shown that lead can disrupt the hormone signaling that regulates the body’s major stress system (called the HPA axis). You probably have more stress in your life than you want, so the last thing you need is something making it harder for your body to deal with it – especially when this stress system is implicated in high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression.
How to avoid it? Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. (Check out www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/ for help finding a filter.) And if you need another reason to eat better, studies have also shown that children with healthy diets absorb less lead.
Arsenic isn’t just for murder mysteries anymore. In fact, this toxin is lurking in your food and drinking water. If you eat enough of it, arsenic will kill you outright. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer. Basically, bad news. Less well known: Arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates. What does that mean for you? Well, disrupting the glucocorticoid system has been linked to weight gain/loss, protein wasting, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation and high blood pressure.
How to avoid it? Reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels. For help finding a good water filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/
Caution: That sushi you are eating could be hazardous to your health. Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them! The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.
How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices.
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
The perfluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment – ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome, since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.
How to avoid it? Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.
How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out at: www.ewg.org/foodnews/
Shrunken testicles: Do we have your full attention now? This is one thing that can happen to rats exposed to chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. Worried? You should be. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. And children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies.
How to avoid it? Start by checking out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/) and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: The Environmental Working Group provides several resources to address the issue of endocrine disruptors. Support their efforts as you can.
NOT TAKING SUPPLEMENTS CAUSES MISCARRIAGE, BIRTHING PROBLEMS, AND INFANT MORTALITY
by Andrew W. Saul, Editor
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 27, 2014
http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and also the OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml are included.
It is simply incredible what people have been told about vitamins. Now the press is trying to scare women away from prenatal supplements. (1,2) Didn't see that one coming, now, did you?
Several friends who work as missionaries asked me if vitamin C supplementation would help the indigenous peoples they work with in South American rainforests. Since I think supplemental C is valuable for all humans, I said "yes." They took it from there, and for years now have been giving multi-thousand-milligram doses of ascorbic acid powder to the natives daily. The result is that miscarriage and infant mortality rates have plummeted.
Vitamin C Protects Mother and Baby
Far from being an abortifacient, vitamin C in fact helps hold a healthy pregnancy right from the start. Pediatrician Lendon Smith, M.D., known to TV audiences nationwide as "The Children's Doctor, had this to say: "Vitamin C is our best defense and everyone should be on this one even before birth. Three thousand mgs daily for the pregnant woman is a start. The baby should get 100 mg per day per month of age."
For centuries, postpartum hemorrhage was a leading cause of death in childbed. Hemorrhage very often occurs in scorbutic (vitamin C deficient) patients. (3) Optimum dosing with vitamin C prevents hemorrhage and saves women's lives. One way it may do this is by strengthening the walls of the body's large and small blood vessels.
"Harmful effects have been mistakenly attributed to vitamin C, including hypoglycemia, rebound scurvy, infertility, mutagenesis, and destruction of vitamin B(12). Health professionals should recognize that vitamin C does not produce these effects." (Levine M et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, April 21, 1999. Vol 281, No 15, p 1419)
Dr. Frederick R. Klenner, M.D., gave very large doses of vitamin C to over 300 pregnant women and reported virtually no complications in any of the pregnancies or deliveries (4). Indeed, the hospital nurses around Reidsville, North Carolina, noted that the infants who were healthiest and happiest were the "Vitamin C babies." Abram Hoffer, M.D., has similarly reported that he has observed a complete absence of birth defects in babies born to his vitamin-C taking mothers-to-be.
Specifically, Klenner gave:
(1) 4,000 mg each day during the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy)
(2) 6,000 mg each day during the second trimester
(3) 8,000 to 10,000 mg each day during the third trimester
Some women got 15,000 mg daily during the third trimester. There were no miscarriages in this entire group of 300 women.
Klenner gave "booster" injections of vitamin C to 80% of the women upon admission to the hospital for childbirth. But just with oral supplemental vitamin C, the results were wonderful. First, labor was shorter and less painful. (My children's mother, with her 2 hr 45min and 1hr 45 min labor times, can confirm this.) Second, stretch marks were seldom to be seen. (Yes, I can vouch for this, too.) Third, there were no postpartum hemorrhages at all. And, there were no toxic manifestations and no cardiac distress. Among Klenner's patients were the Fultz quadruplets, which at the time were the only quads in the southeastern U.S. to have survived.
Vitamin C even helps with conception. Vitamin C supplementation increases sperm production. More sperm, stronger sperm and better swimming sperm all manifested within only four days, at 1,000 mg daily C doses, in a University of Texas study. And this has been known now for over 30 years; it was first reported in Medical Tribune, May 11, 1983. (5)
Sex: Another Reason to Take Vitamin C Supplements?
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 14 day trial of 3,000 mg per day of vitamin C reported greater frequency of sexual intercourse. The vitamin C group (but not the placebo group) also experienced a decrease in Beck Depression scores. This is probably due to the fact that vitamin C "modulates catecholaminergic activity, decreases stress reactivity, approach anxiety and prolactin release, improves vascular function, and increases oxytocin release. These processes are relevant to sexual behavior and mood." (6)
Supplemental vitamin C is also good for rapidly reproducing rabbits and fabulously fertile fish. (7,8) And the odd thing here is that fish and rabbits make their own vitamin C, inside their bodies, 24/7. Humans don't, and can't. If animals that make vitamin C benefit from more of it, then people who cannot make C (and that is all of us) will benefit more.
Vitamin E Supplementation Prevents Miscarriage
This has been well known for nearly 80 years.
"1922 was the year the USSR was formed and Alexander Graham Bell died. And it was the year that vitamin E was discovered by H. M. Evans and K. S. Bishop. In 1936, Evans' team had isolated alpha tocopherol from wheat germ oil and vitamin E was beginning to be widely appreciated, and the consequences of deficiency better known. Health Culture Magazine for January, 1936 said, "The fertility food factor is now called vitamin E. The expectant mother requires vitamin E to insure the carriage of her charge to a complete and natural term. If her diet is deficient in vitamin E, the woman is very apt to abort. It is more difficult to insure a liberal vitamin E supply in the daily average diet than to insure an adequate supply of any other known vitamin."
"As early as 1931, Vogt-Moller of Denmark successfully treated habitual abortion in human females with wheat germ oil vitamin E. By 1939 he had treated several hundred women with a success rate of about 80%. In 1937, both Young in England and the Shutes in Canada reported success in combating threatened abortion and pregnancy toxemias as well. A. L. Bacharach's 1940 statistical analysis of published clinical results "show quite definitely that vitamin E is of value in recurrent abortions."
"Yet when the MDR's (Minimum Daily Requirements) first came out in 1941, there was no mention of vitamin E. It was not until 1959 that vitamin E was recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as necessary for human existence, and not until 1968 that any government recommendation for vitamin E would be issued." (9)
Taking supplemental vitamin E (at least 200 IU and perhaps 400 IU daily) greatly reduces the chance of miscarriage. By the end of WW II, there were already dozens of medical studies confirming this. (10)
Vitamins Vital for Pregnancy
Vitamins deliver healthier babies. The first few weeks of pregnancy are especially crucial to the developing embryo. Yet many women only begin to eat right and take necessary vitamin supplements once they know they are pregnant. This is weeks or even months too late. Nutrition needs rise during pregnancy. Even the RDA's are higher. This may be obvious to you, but many women eat really poor diets in general. Then, in a vain attempt to "get all the nutrition they need from a balanced diet" while "eating for two," they tend to eat more of that same poor diet. Telling them to not take prenatal supplements is a genuine tragedy, for which the media and the medical professions cannot easily be excused.
One can only wonder why the media continually, repeatedly fails to even mention how vitamin supplementation benefits mother and baby. Here is what they missed:
If you really want to avoid miscarriages and birth defects, avoid drugs of all kinds, prescription and over-the-counter. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and all but the most essential medications.
Vitamins are safer, vastly safer, than any drug. A really good diet, properly supplemented with a daily multivitamin plus appropriate quantities of other vitamins, will go a very long way to protect mother and baby.
4. http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerpaper.html See also: Stone, I. (1972) The Healing Factor. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. Chapter 28. http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
5. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=386823 See also: Dawson EB, Harris WA, Rankin WE, Charpentier LA, McGanity WJ. Effect of ascorbic acid on male fertility. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1987;498:312-23. PMID: 3476000 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3476000 ; and: Dawson EB, Harris WA, Teter MC, Powell LC. Effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the sperm quality of smokers. Fertil Steril. 1992 Nov;58(5):1034-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1426355.
6. Brody S. High-dose ascorbic acid increases intercourse frequency and improves mood: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Biol Psychiatry 2002 Aug 15; 52(4):371-4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12208645
7. Yousef MI, Abdallah GA, Kamel KI. Effect of ascorbic acid and vitamin E supplementation on semen quality and biochemical parameters of male rabbits. Anim Reprod Sci. 2003. PMID:12559724 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12559724
8. Ciereszko A, Dabrowski K. Sperm quality and ascorbic acid concentration in rainbow trout semen are affected by dietary vitamin C: an across-season study. Biol Reprod. 1995. PMID:7626724 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7626724
9. Saul AW. Vitamin E: A cure in search of recognition, by Andrew W. Saul. Reprinted with permission from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2003; 18: 3-4, p. 205-212. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2003/pdf/2003-v18n0304-p205.pdf
10. Bicknell F and Prescott F. (1953) The Vitamins in Medicine, Third Edition. William Heinemann Medical Books Ltd. http://www.worldcat.org/title/vitamins-in-medicine/oclc/8581908/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true
More about the history of vitamin supplementation during pregnancy:
Dr. F. R. Klenner's megavitamin vitamin C therapy: http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerpaper.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/klenner_table.html
Case HS. Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story. Basic Health Publications, CA. In press.
Hillemann, H. H. (1961) "The Spectrum of Congenital Defect, Experimental and Clinical" Journal of Applied Nutrition 14:1,2.
Smith, L., ed. (1988) Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C: The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. Tacoma, WA: Life Sciences Press. http://www.whale.to/a/smith_b.html and http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: For a long time there was an unsubstantiated belief that extra Vit. C during pregnancy might set the infant up to be deficient once born. Actual research however, disproved that idea completely.
REGULATION OF VITAMINS: POLITICS AS USUAL
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 7, 2014--Commentary by Rolf Hefti
http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and also the OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml are included.
Medical politics has been pervaded with unfounded, misleading arguments, tantamount to propaganda, instead of good evidence. Over the last several decades, the US mainstream medical establishment and the public health authorities, along with the help of the medical industry-sponsored mass media, have launched and broadcast numerous campaigns touting the value of firmer supplement rules for the American people .
The justification usually given is the lack of formal product testing for safety and efficacy, which, it is claimed, makes vitamins a big public health threat. If supplements were to be approved as prescription drugs by the public health authorities (meaning the FDA), this might prevent the alleged danger to the public . After all, the public has been led to believe that medical products approved by the US government are safe and effective.
These anti-vitamin politics are exemplified in recent mainstream media releases. For example, an article titled "So Many Supplements, So Little Regulation" suggested that a pressing need exists for stricter regulation of vitamin supplements . It attempted to make a case for better supplement policies because of grave safety issues. Some food supplements have been found to contain drugs that should require a prescription. However, unlike the platitudes offered by medical officialdom in favor of tougher vitamin regulations, the facts tell a different story.
Supplements Are Very Safe
Annual reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers over the last three decades clearly show that nutritional supplements are much safer than over-the-counter drugs, even aspirin. Vitamin supplements aren't harmful like drugs. Even though vitamin supplements are not regulated as drugs, vitamin supplements also don't cause deaths . . . at all . So, the claim that vitamin supplements are a significant danger to public health is wrong.
The Real Culprit
On the other hand, prescription drugs, properly taken (never mind poisoning by improper intake) are a major cause of death in the US, killing well over 100,000 people every year [5,6,7]. This is a major public health threat. FDA approved, firmly regulated drugs are causing gigantic harm to the public. Why, then, the brouhaha about FDA "safety" approval of vitamins? It's evident that the public knows the terrible safety record of prescription drugs and is concerned about it. Many drugs are very unsafe. And the FDA drug review procedure that tests drugs for side effects and sets the allowable usage is flawed.
The depiction of US healthcare by the aforementioned article should have read, "So Many Supplements, So Little Regulation, So Little Harm." And, most importantly, it should have pointed out the big threat to public health by stating, "So Many Medical Drugs, So Much Regulation, So Much Harm." Instead, the article resorted to disinformation about vitamins, accommodating the standard party line in disease care. The pharmaceutical industry and their colleagues in the medical profession demand a high standard of proof of safety for food supplements but evidently have not attained this for their own medical products.
"The foxes are guarding the hen-house. Pharmaceutical companies submit their own safety studies for FDA approval of a new drug. Drug companies have paid billions of dollars in fines for unethical practices and documented direct harm, including deaths, among other side effects. The public's confidence in the FDA is undeserved." (Ralph Campbell, M.D.)
The highest standard of proof of safety (and efficacy) is testing in the real world, where vitamins are safe and effective at preventing disease and improving health. The FDA's product safety approval process neither prevents nor eliminates grave threats to public health [8,9]. Clearly, there exists urgency and necessity to protect public health from the hazards of prescription drugs. In contrast, there is little urgency or necessity for more rigorous regulation of vitamin supplements as drugs. The endless string of crusades for more vitamin regulations indicates political and profit motives are likely involved.
Profit Pushes Politics
Human history all too often repeats itself. The mode of repetition centers mainly around power, domination, and greed - and widespread public ignorance and indifference about their nature and influence - leading to a vicious cycle of injustice and war. In the healthcare industry, the dominant player is orthodox medicine. A variety of therapeutic modalities (for instance, nutritional medicine) are minority players. In recent decades, alternative medicine has experienced massive expansion [10,11]. This development is in large part due to new rules implemented by the U.S. Congress in 1994 that gave the American people unrestricted access to vitamin supplements, facilitating industry growth.
Concurrently, for more than two decades the pharmaceutical-medical industry (orthodox medicine) has been a major influence on the FDA, with their own help from Congress . This put the government in a conflict-of-interest situation: the industry the FDA is supposed to regulate by law is also, at the same time, paying the agency enormous sums of money. This resulted in the FDA increasingly making decisions favorable to the medical-pharmaceutical industry, supporting that industry's self-serving "disease care" interests [1,9]. From its inception, the overriding interest of organized medicine has been to generate profits and to assure its monopoly status in healthcare Over the last 100 years, medicine has had a history of ostracizing relevant competitors who encroach on the profits in its bottom line [13-15]. Throughout much of that history, the FDA has been a willing assistant and enforcer of the medical profession's profit interests [1,12,16].
Thus the nonsensical attempts and bogus arguments presented by the ruling medical elite in support of firmer vitamin laws, under the pretext of "protecting public health", are in reality attempts to stifle, diminish, and eradicate the booming supplement industry . These specious motions are acts of injustice to the public. After all, the contrived campaigns are rock-solid evidence of politics.
Capricious anti-supplement crusades will never be in the best interest of American health, simply because the foxes guard the henhouse. Many people call it a scam. I call it a repetition of the history of organized medicine.
1. Emord JW, "The Rise of Tyranny", Sentinel Press, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0982059500
2. Angell M, Kassirer JP, "Alternative medicine: the risks of untested and unregulated remedies", N Engl J Med. 1998 Sep 17;339(12):839-41.
3. Scutti S, "So Many Supplements, So Little Regulation", Newsweek.com, 15-Nov-2013, http://www.newsweek.com/so-many-supplements-so-little-regulation-3267
4. Saul AW, "No Deaths from Vitamins. None." Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 3, 2014. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v10n01.shtml
5. Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN, "Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies", JAMA, 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1200-5.
6. Dean C, Feldman M, Rasio D, Smith D, Null G, "Death By Medicine", Independent review commissioned by the Nutrition Institute of America, 2003. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2005/pdf/2005-v20n01-p021.pdf
7. Leape, LL, "Errors in medicine.", Clinical Chimica Acta, 2009 Jun;404(1):2-5. Epub 2009 Mar 18.
8. Abramson J, "Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine", 2008. Harper Perennial; ISBN-13: 978-0061344763
9. Light DW, Lexchin J, Darrow JJ, "Institutional corruption of pharmaceuticals and the myth of safe and effective drugs", J Law Med Ethics. 2013 Fall;41(3):590-600.
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DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: For many years in a row I’ve published on my blog the National Poison Control Center’s report on deaths from supplements, and herbs. You can summarize the annual results quite succinctly. There aren’t any reported deaths from supplements and herbs.
About The Ebola virus
I thought seriously about writing about Ebola in this month’s newsletter. Mainly to provide all of you with some information you can trust without fear or panic. Then two great resources became available and I decided to let them give you information.
First, check out the epidemic update from Paul Herscu, ND, MPH. Dr. Herscu is a naturopathic doctor specializing in homeopathic medicine. I’ve previously shared his epidemic updates concerning influenza in past newsletters.
Here is his Epidemic Update for Ebola - http://paulherscuepidemics.blogspot.com/2014/09/ebolavirus-2014-outbreak.html
Second, if you prefer your info packaged in visual sound bites the Rachel Maddow Show did an accurate review of Ebola in their October 15, 2014 show—available as a podcast from iTunes.
Here are some pages from my website that are of particular interest:
Store: 436 supplements and herbs can be accessed from this page. If yours isn’t one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Newsletter: Here you will find all 143 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “Wet sock treatment”.
Come join my fan page at www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.
Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier. I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!
LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compel people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.
Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5, 10, 15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.
Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 40 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.
Licensed naturopaths like me receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme.
What I’m offering to is easy access to this experience and training. Both for you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste.
Let me hear from you and we’ll get started.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST
For a long time I looked for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. For a few years now I've been using ZRT Laboratory in Oregon as well as Doctor's Data in Illinois.
Until a few years ago, venipuncture blood serum was the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. Since then, the blood spot method was developed. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
The cost for ordering a Vit. D test through my office is $70 prepaid. Once you prepay I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to the lab it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the paper copy arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, and most accurate way to do it yourself. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for disease prevention and health maintenance.
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 40 years, herbs for over 30 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.
Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days). It’s a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.
To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. At the same time, I receive a percentage of each supplement sale. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.
That’s it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you’ve thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP