WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
April 1995


DEAR FRIEND:

     When we’re young we wish we were older and when we’re old we wish we were younger.  We’re never satisfied. 
     The ideal would be to have the energy and vitality of the young, but the wisdom and security of the old.  This absent, the young take for granted their youth and madly scramble for learning and fortune.  The elderly take for granted their wisdom and security and become preoccupied with regaining their lost youth.

     And so it goes with the nonsense of the age game we play.
     But what I want to talk about here is an ism that has been largely ignored in our rights-guaranteed society.  That ism is ageism.
     Let me get on my soap box and give you my beef:  What business is it of anyone to know your age?  Sure, there are certain things that require adulthood such as driving and drinking, but once you have reached adulthood, what further reason is there for you or others to keep track of your age?
     What is the difference between asking someone’s age and asking what their religion, politics, race, weight or bank account balance is?  What positive image or information does revealing how "old" you are yield? 
    
     I don’t know about you, but I want others to judge me based upon exactly what they see and hear (from my own lips).  I don’t want to be categorized at all.  I don’t trust categories.  Religion, race, sex, salary, nationality...and age... are pieces of information that ignite biases, not true understanding.
     Although most of the isms have become taboo, everyone feels free to ask you your age.   When I was much younger it didn’t bother me, but now it does.  It does because I know as soon as I reveal my age I become classified in the inquirer's mind.  (A good reason for adults not to "celebrate" birthdays.) 
     Time itself will place its own limitations upon me soon enough.  When I am no longer able to do something because of my age, that will become evident to me and everyone else.  But until then why tell someone my age, and have them conclude incorrectly that I can’t do something, because that’s the prejudice they hold for that age category?  
     You and I are working hard to be the best we can be.  If we are to be judged by others, it should be based upon results, what we actually do, not some category someone wishes to label us with.  Being asked your age and asking others theirs preoccupies us with arbitrary numbers rather than encouraging us to bring the best out of ourselves regardless of the number of sunrises we have seen. 
     Not only does revealing age create a category for you in others’ minds, but it creates a category for yourself.  If you figure by age 40 you should not be trying to beat your record in the 100 yard dash, or by age 55 you should be retiring, or by age 70 your sex life should be over, or by age 50 creating a better physique is futile, then so it will be.  If we believe we can or can't, we're right.  We self-fulfill our own age biases by guaranteeing that we age, that we give up, become inactive and defeated because we think the age numbers dictate it.  Age is an excuse, not a reason.
     On the contrary, there is little that can't be done at any age.  You can always begin a new career, gain new knowledge, become a community leader, make a better world, gain new friends, grow new muscle and improve athletic performance.  Doing so adds life to years, not just years to life.
     Meanwhile, I continue to be asked my age, particularly when I compete in new sports I have come to love such as Olympic badminton (see Vol. 6, No. 11) or 2-on-2 volleyball.  I haven't come up with a very good answer until now.  From now on, in reply to "How old are you?" I think I'll just say, "I'm not old yet."
     Down with age numbers and up with being the best we can be at all times, ever moving forward and judging others based on what they accomplish, not how we categorize them.
 
FIGHTING FREE RADICAL DISEASE
     When you make a bonfire on a cold evening, the fire creates warmth and light but also noxious smoke.  When the wind blows the smoke towards you, you move because breathing the smoke is very uncomfortable.   Likewise, few home fires ever kill the residents.  It's the smoke, the toxic byproducts of combustion that suffocate and poison people.
     When gasoline is burned in your automobile, you enjoy the ride, the heat, the air conditioning, the music and other features possible because of the power created from the gasoline’s combustion.  But if you were to close the garage and let the car run, the byproducts of combustion would overtake you and result in your demise.
     Burning is a reaction requiring oxygen and is techically, in fact, oxidation.   The energy released from the reaction of oxygen with combustible chemicals creates heat and energy that drive our modern society.   It is the exhaust from all this combustion that is causing us problems in our environment.  When chemicals combine violently as they do in fires and other oxidative processes, the chemicals do not simply disappear, but rather form new chemicals that in turn violently combine with other chemicals - which changes these chemicals into violent chemicals - which in turn combine with other chemicals to turn them into violent chemicals - and on and on the chain reaction goes.  New toxic compounds are created as well as chemicals that have unpaired electrons in their  outer electron shell (free radicals), which violently seek to disrupt other chemicals in their proximity.  Exposure to such free radicals and toxins jeopardizes our health.
     This is what we increasingly face in our combustion byproduct-polluted environment.
     We also face the same problem within our bodies every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year of our lives.  You see, we are nothing but controlled furnaces ourselves.  The food we consume is the kindling fuel and the oxygen we breathe is the ignitor.  The heat and energy harnessed from this combustion make us alive and permit all living activity.  The internal combustion of food is the difference between life and an inert rock.
     Over time, our environment has the capability of neutralizing many of the noxious products of combustion created by human industry.  Free radicals are eventually linked up with compounds that neutralize them.  Toxins are often dissipated by the physical and biological forces within nature itself.  However, if the exhaust from our industry exceeds the capability of the neutralizing effects of the environment, we will all choke to death. 
     Similarly, the combustion that is occurring in our bodies is creating various toxic end products and violent free radical chemicals.  In microcosm, our cells, and organelles within those cells, and the biochemicals within those organelles, face the same dilemma with their microenvironments that we do on a more macrocosmic Earth-wide scale.  If the noxious end products of combustion exceed the body’s  capability of neutralizing them, then organelle and cellular destruction can occur - resulting in cell disease which leads to tissue disease - which leads to organ disease - which leads to body disease - which can ultimately lead to death itself.
     It is the imbalance between the generation of noxious, toxic byproducts of physiological combustion and the body’s ability to neutralize these compounds that is the basis for essentially all disease.  Disease, in effect, is an imbalance which either swamps the body with free radicals and toxins, or disrupts the body’s ability to neutralize such toxins.
     Free radicals are not all bad.  Free radicals are used by our body for beneficial processes such as to stimulate differentiation in a developing baby, to activate natural detoxification systems such as the cytochrome P450 system in every cell, stimulate muscle repair and growth after exercise, and they are even used by our immune cells to kill foreign disease-causing microorganisms.   It is thus imbalance that causes problems, not the mere presence of free radicals.
     Specific biological free radicals include chemicals such as the superoxide anion, nitric oxide, ozone, hypochlorous acid, hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals.  These are a few of the chemicals that are generated each second in our lives from the billions of chemical processes that are going on in our bodies.
     Fortunately, our body has various scavengers that can neutralize these free radicals.   These include enzymatic scavengers such as glutathione peroxidase, glutathione dehydrogenase, glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase.  There are also antioxidant scavengers such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and many other nutrients found within natural foods.  These scavengers have the ability to donate electrons to free radicals.  As I mentioned, free radicals have an unpaired electron in their outer shell and are running around looking for a chemical to steal one from, to pair up this unhappy electron.       Scavengers can do so without themselves becoming a free radical perpetuating a chain reaction.  In effect they absorb the “wildness.”
     On the other hand, some chemicals serve as catalysts  promoting oxidation and the formation of free radicals.  Different factors can also compromise our internal system of scavengers.  Either one of these situations can result in disease and cell death.
     As I detail in my book, Lipid Nutrition: Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease, fatty acids are highly vulnerable to oxidation and free radical damage.  This is particularly important since all of our cell and organelle membranes are made up primarily of fatty acids.  If these plasma cell membranes are disrupted or destroyed, it's like our body being shot with an automatic rifle or we are slicing and stabbing ourselves with a knife.  On a cellular level there is structural damage, damage to the genetic material within the cell, loss of integrity of all structures, and macromolecular cross links of connective tissue commonly seen in all degenerative disease conditions.
     Lipoproteins such as LDLs can have their fatty acids oxidized leading to atherosclerosis, as cells within blood vessel walls and macrophages (immune system cells) take up these volatile destructive chemicals.
     As I have discussed many times previously, it is not cholesterol in the body that is the cause of atherosclerosis and heart  and cerebrovascular disease, but rather the excess oxidation of cholesterol.   People with high levels of cholesterol do not necessarily get heart disease, but people with low levels of cholesterol that is oxidized do.
     Cholesterol can, in fact, serve as a free radical scavenger itself since it does intercept blood and tissue free radicals as it forms oxidized cholesterol.  If cholesterol is lowered aggressively by drugs or dietary modification, as is commonly recommended today in medicine, the ability to quench free radicals is actually decreased, thus increasing the susceptibility of the patient to a variety of free radical diseases such as cancer.
     For example, colon cancer is primarily caused from oxidized cholesterol that is passed from the body, in the bile, into the gastrointestinal tract.  This in combination with excesses of anaerobic, pathogenic bacteria in the colon and excesses of iron can cause free radical damage to the lining of the colon resulting in colon cancer.  In aggressive cholesterol lowering therapies, the excess dumping of oxidized cholesterol into the bowel is the likely cause of the increased risk of colon cancer in people so treated.
     Other notable diseases caused by free radicals include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases and various forms of arthritis.  Some believe essentially all diseases are ultimately linked to free radical pathology.
     So what can we do to keep the balance between free radical production and neutralization, to maintain health? 
     Preventing free radical excess:
     1. Become physically fit through regular exercise.  Strenuous exercise without fitness generates a huge exhaust of free radicals which can cause extensive tissue damage.
     2. Avoid the following: chronic use of drugs, chronic exposure to xenobiotics such as pesticides and other environmental pollutants, radiation from industrial or medical machinery, cigarette or marijuana smoke, heavy metal exposure (e.g. mercury, lead), free calcium, excess iron storage, excess unbound iron (where iron saturation exceeds 40%), processed and fried foods that contain unsaturated vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils, oxidized cholesterol found in heated and processed foods that contain cholesterol such as powdered milk, powdered egg and all animal origin products that are heated and cooked, levels of supplemental vitamin D even moderately above RDA levels, which have been shown to  cause free radical damage such as soft tissue calcification,  excess exposure to ultraviolet light and sunshine without slowly preconditioning the skin.
     3. Limit alcohol intake.
     In effect, the modern industrial cocoon we have created for ourselves is highly noxious and free radical generating.  As we continue to industrialize and remove ourselves from our natural healthy environmental roots, we close the door in the garage with the car running.  The resultant free radical generation overloads the body’s ability to neutralize.  Disease is the result.
     How to neutralize free radicals:
     1. Promoters of oxidation and free radical formation include heat, moisture, air and light.  Therefore, be careful to keep foods properly covered, sealed, refrigerated and frozen.  Preferably try to eat everything as soon as possible and decrease the keeping of leftovers.  Move away from processed, packaged foods, toward freshly prepared foods right at home.
     2. Use whole foods.  Whole foods have inherent within them antioxidants which help protect the fragile chemicals within from forming free radicals.  Once whole foods are processed, milled, refined and fractionated, and thus have their insides exposed to air, sun, warmth and moisture, without their protective associated nutrients, they are rapidly destroyed or changed into various free radical toxins.
     3. Add lemon juice to fish.  The citric acid will help bind heavy metals such as lead, free calcium and mercury that can promote free radical formation.  Lemon juice can also be added to drinking water with benefit. 
     4. Be sure to eat adequate protein.  Protein has the ability to bind various toxic compounds, rendering them far less dangerous.
     5. When you are thirsty, drink clean, fresh, pure water, not soda.  Water can bind free radical generating compounds such as singlet oxygen.
     6. Zinc is readily lost in saliva, perspiration and during many other metabolic processes.  An inadequate diet can result in an improper zinc to copper ratio.  A healthy diet as described in the Health Letter will take care of this, but to help more quickly turn the tide when refractory disease is present, supplementation would be wise.  A physically active person might be wise to take a zinc supplement of 15-25 mg per day and limit copper intake to dietary sources unless the water they are consuming is low in copper, in which case they could take 2 mg of copper per day.  This will help to maintain a more ideal zinc to copper ratio of 5:1 to 7:1.
     7. Increase fresh foods containing high levels of vitamin C and consider taking a food source vitamin C supplement (See Resources B and C).  Vitamin C is believed to increase conjugated bilirubin which can neutralize oxidized cholesterol  being released in the bile.
     8. The consumption of probiotic cultures present in cultured dairy products, or as a supplement, will help inoculate the digestive tract with the appropriate microorganisms to limit the levels of anaerobic free radical generating organisms in the bowel.   Consumption of probiotic products daily is recommended.  (See Resource I)
     9. Increase the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids.  These are the predominant fatty acids in olive oil, canola oil, eggs, and nuts.  Monounsaturated fatty acids help chelate free radical generating iron, and prevent peroxidation of iron fatty acid complexes that can induce peroxidation.  Other fatty acid sources include canola, sunflower and flax seed oils, but these should be consumed in a raw, uncooked state.
     10. Magnesium intake should be adequate since deficiency can cause free radical pathology through a variety of mechanisms that are in particular damaging to the heart.   Dairy products and nuts are excellent sources of magnesium.  If a supplement is taken, about 400 mg per day is recommended.
In essence when you look at all the dos and don’ts regarding free radicals and disease you can see that if you follow the life-style pattern we continue to describe in the Health Letter you will be on the right road.  Fresh, wholesome, whole, natural foods daily, sunshine, fresh air, avoidance of environmental toxins, regular exercise, pleasant social contact, and control over your own destiny are the keys to avoiding free radical pathology and achieving a full and healthy life.
     Reference:
          B) Wysong Food C™ a concentrated food-only source of vitamin C. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          C) Wysong Food A•C•E™ a concentrated food-only source of vitamins A, C & E. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          I) Wysong H-Biotic™ a probiotic and enzyme supplement. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          A) Lipid Nutrition: Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease, by Dr. R. L. Wysong.  Available from the Wysong Library Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman, Midland, MI  48640.
 
RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
     First off, let me say that if you think you are helping your weight condition by drinking diet pops, or adding NutraSweet to your coffee, think again.  These products neither strip weight off nor prevent you from gaining more. 
     Nevertheless, the marketing campaign for these products has been incredibly effective.   Boat loads of diet Pepsi and Coke are consumed by an overweight population who use this act as a token effort to address a weight problem that results from far more complicated and fundamental lifestyle and dietary infractions.  (For a thorough discussion of this, see my book Synorgon Diet: How To Achieve Healthy Weight In A World of Excess, Resource D.)
     In spite of evidence that aspartame, the active ingredient in Equal and NutraSweet, caused brain tumors, it was approved for use almost 15 years ago.  In the period from 1983 to 1987, the percent change in brain tumors in men rose from 2.1% to 8.1% and in women from 2.1% to 11.7%.  No one knows whether this increased incidence is a direct result of aspartame, but it certainly could be.
     Since February of 1994, there have been almost 7,000 reported cases of adverse reactions to aspartame according to the FDA.  In terms of numbers of complaints the FDA receives from non-drug items, aspartame comprises 75% of these complaints.  Problems include dizziness, mood swings, numbness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, spasms, abdominal pain, vision changes, joint pain, skin lesions, memory loss and seizures.  There have been 5 deaths reported to the FDA believed to be directly attributed to aspartame.
     If these are the reported problems, they certainly represent only the tip of an iceberg.  Aspartame has become such an intrinsic part of the American diet that most people would not know how to attribute cause and effect to this product.  Babies are practically weaned onto it.  Thus it will be increasingly difficult to determine what health problems are or are not caused by aspartame, since no one will know what it's like to not have their body saturated with the stuff. 
     One behavioral physician estimates that 35% of the population are vulnerable to an adverse reaction to aspartame.  This is because aspartame is made up of biologically active amino acids.  The phenylalanine amino acid component of aspartame can influence brain chemistry since biochemicals used to influence mood and other neurological effects in the brain are composed of this amino acid.
     In spite of the fact that the FDA has approved aspartame for baked goods, heating the product can be particularly dangerous.  As much as 10% of aspartame is composed of methanol, which in the body is broken down into formaldehyde, formic acid, and diketopiperazine.  These break-down products are carcinogenic and toxic in sufficient concentrations.   The absorption of methanol by the body is enhanced when the product is heated.  Methanol, common wood alcohol, is the contaminant in bootlegged whiskey that caused blindness in people during prohibition.  Methanol’s toxicity is cumulative and can cause severe metabolic acidosis, brain edema, damage to retinal ganglia and much more. 
     As with every other manipulation of our environment (of which food is also an intrinsic part) time tells a morbid and mortal story.  The wide-spread consumption of aspartame in recreational foods consumed by children and everyone else in the population is just plain scary.  If you are using it on the basis that it is an improvement over cane sugar, which was previously used in most products needing sweetening, it is not.   You have been hoodwinked and you are playing Russian Roulette with yours and your children’s health if you have jumped on the bandwagon.
     Reference:
          D) The Synorgon Diet: How To Achieve Healthy Weight In A World Of Excess, by Dr. R. L. Wysong.  Available from the Wysong Library Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman, Midland, MI  48640.
            Journal of Applied Nutrition, November 1, 1984: 42-52    
            Biol. Psychiatry, 1993; 34: 13-17
            Neurology, May 1992: 1000-1003
            J. Advancement in Medicine, Winter 1991: 231-241
            Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, by Robert E. Gosselin, M.D., Ph.D., Williams and Wilkins, 1984: III-275-279
 
TAX OVERHAUL
     I don’t know about you, but I resent income taxes.  Its complication is an absurdity.  I sign tax forms prepared by accountants, putting my neck on the line as to their validity, when I in fact have no really good idea what is being done.  Well, sure, I could become more aware by spending 500% of my time studying tax law and its constant change, but don’t we all have something better to do?  Another option is to spend umpteen dollars on tax attorneys and accountants to supposedly look after our interests, but you know my feelings on being forced into a position where we have to rely on “experts.”
     There is no question that citizens need to support public amenities.  But an income tax, a prying IRS bureaucracy, and a loophole system that only benefits those who can afford the expertise to help keep what is rightfully theirs is not the right way.
     New hope comes from individuals now in Congress such as the new Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Bill Archer.  He plans to not only improve the current tax system, but to replace it all together.   An option he is going to look at closely is a consumption rather than an income tax.  To me this is incredibly beautiful in its simplicity. 
     If a point-of-purchase tax replaced the income tax, the IRS would be obliterated, year-end tax reporting and record keeping would be a thing of the past, and an entire tax industry fed by the complexity of the current system would have to retrain to do productive useful work. 
     Doesn’t it make sense to tax consumption when it is consumption that is exhausting our world’s resources, and reward industry and saving?
     A point-of-purchase tax system to eliminate the present income tax system deserves massive support from people who want to see our social and economic world move in a more rational direction.  Write Bill Archer at the address listed in Resource E to express your support for his bold and much needed innovative initiatives.
     I wrote to Bill Archer, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee - as I encourage you to - and here is his response:
     "Thank you for your letter.  I'm glad to know of your support for eliminating the income tax and replacing it with a consumption-based tax.  While the Ways and Means Committee will initially address the tax cuts specified in the Contract with America, I plan to study and consider the possibility of eliminating our current income tax and replacing it with some type of consumption tax.  I'm about convinced that we can't effectively make the income tax the tool that the American people will be most comfortable with and the engine that will drive job creation, economic activity and increase the family income for the people of this country.   I want to emphasize, however, that any consumption tax would be a complete alternative to the income tax, not an add-on tax.
     Again, I appreciate your views on this important issue.
     Sincerely,
     Bill Archer"
     Letters are heard and are powerful.  Those in positions of responsibility know that the views of a few who take the time to write represent only the tip of the iceberg.  They are thus encouraged - as Mr. Archer should be - or threatened by a possible large undercurrent of their constituency.
     (P. S. I wrote this before Newt Gingrich's recent speech likewise advocating radical tax revision.  While you're at it, write to him also, encouraging his support for a consumption tax and abolishment of income taxes and call Resource F to find out how you can further help advance this important cause.)
     Reference:
          E) Bill Archer, 1236 Longworth, House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515-4307.
          F) Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (CATS) 1-800-767-7577.
 
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
     Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by varying symptoms of abdominal distress and discomfort.  These may include diarrhea, bloating, gas, frequent bowel movements, increased mucus in the stool, nausea, loss of appetite, flatulence and abdominal pain.  The following are natural methods that may be helpful in alleviating and even deterring the condition.
     1. Eliminate all refined foods such as white flour, white sugar, white salt and white refined and hydrogenated oils.
     2. Simplify meals.  Eat only one cooked entree combined with salad at each meal.  (See Vol. 7, No. 10  on food combining.)
     3  Increase natural, fresh, whole foods.
     4. Elimination of wheat, dairy, or pork may be necessary if there is allergy or sensitivity to these products.  The only way to really know is to eliminate them one by one to see if relief results.  (See Vol. 6, No. 12 on food allergies.)
     5. Take an omega-3 essential fatty acid combination supplement daily.  (See Resource G)
     6. Take garlic oil capsules with each meal or the deodorized garlic if the full potency stuff is too much for you. (See Resource H.)
     7. Take an enzyme probiotic supplement at each meal.  (See Resource I.)
     8. Take an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule, which is quite effective in relieving gas and intestinal hyperactivity.  (See Resource J.)
     9. Do these things along with all other dietary and life-style recommendations discussed monthly in the Health Letter for not only relief of this condition, but much improved overall health and vitality.
Reference: g,h,I,j
     G) Wysong EFA™ a natural fatty acid supplement. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
     H) Garlic oil. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
     I) Wysong H-Biotic™ a probiotic and enzyme supplement. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
     J) Peppermint oil. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
 
RESTORING YOUTH TO SKIN
     Skin loses its elasticity and resiliency over time just like paint cracks and peels.  In both cases, free radical damage causes chemical changes such as cross-linking of molecules resulting in loss of pliability.  The vitamins and minerals that are free radical fighters such as vitamins A, C and E, the B vitamins and the minerals zinc and selenium all can slow this free radical cross linking damage.  By converting your diet to the recommendations in the Health Letter and taking an RDA-level, broad-spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement you can retard damage and even restore some youth.  (See Resources C and K.)  It is also important to increase the appropriate essential fatty acids in the diet (see my book on Lipid Nutrition, Resource A) and stay away from all of the synthetic harsh detergents and chemicals and replace them with natural skin cleansers and lubricants.  (See Resources L and M.)
     Reference: c,k,l,m
          C) Wysong Food A•C•E™a concentrated food-only source of vitamins A, C & E. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          K) Wysong RDA™ a broad-spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          L) Wysong Revitalizing Shampoo™. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          M) Wysong Dermal™  a natural skin moisturizer. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
 
THE SUN, VITAMIN D AND CANCER
     In regions close to the equator, colon and prostate cancer are extremely rare.   On the other hand, the rates of these cancers in more northerly industrialized nations are extremely high.  It is hypothesized that the ability of the sun to cause the formation of vitamin D in the skin creates a protective effect for people in equatorial regions.  Get daily sunshine even during the winter months when at all possible and don't permit yourself to be cocooned unrelentingly under incandescent and fluorescent lights.
 
DON'T BE PICKY ABOUT EXERCISE
     Don’t let yourself be discouraged from exercising.  If you find a particular exercise not enjoyable, find something else.   Don’t let discouragement with one type of exercise cause you to give up altogether.  It is not so much the kind of exercise you do, but rather that you just do it.  Find something you enjoy and stick with it.  The benefits from regular exercise are far too many to miss.
 
TOUCHING FOR HEALING
     In a previous issue (Vol. 6, No. 9) I talked about how laboratory animals touched by their caretakers skewed research results.  Those animals who were touched did not get ill as expected, or recovered from illness as unexpected.
     You can use this same principle to increase your health.  Touch others as much as you can (without getting thrown in jail).   Find someone who will give you a massage in return for you giving them one, or hire a masseuse and get a massage regularly.       Hug your kids and encourage them to hug you.  Do lots of spouse touching.  Shake hands, hold hands and put your arm around a friend.
     There is healing magic in touch.  Make it a part of your everyday life.
 
FIND FRIENDS TO BOOST YOUR HEALTH
     Enjoyable regular social contact is perhaps one of the most important things that can be done to maintain and improve health.  Studies show that people who isolate themselves are at high risk for a variety of degenerative diseases.  Good social contact makes you feel good about yourself and the world around you.  It often leads to laughter and touching which are also factors that strongly improve health.
     Spend more time with family and relatives.  Joining local organizations of one kind or another is an excellent way to gain the social contact you need.  It is the strong positive effect of social contact with people of like mind that is one of the primary benefits of religion.
     If you find yourself feeling alone, do something about it.  Find a group you   enjoy and make it a part of your life.  If philosophically there is nothing that matches you, then engage in an organized sport activity.  The social camaraderie possible in competitive and team sports is one of the added bonuses to this form of exercise. 
     Do what you have to do to find friends who make you feel good about yourself.
 
THE UNTOLD RISK OF HEART SURGERY
       Most heart surgery patients, for example, return within three to five years.  These are the lucky ones, since many of them don’t return because they die.
     As one surgeon noted, those who supposedly “got well” were really never the same again.   After many years of doing hundreds of heart surgeries, he noted that he never saw anyone go through cardiac surgery who came out the same.  “There are personality changes, memory loss...a transformation happens in the operating room that changes the patient forever.”
     Fear is probably a greater incentive for humans than reward.  Be afraid of heart surgery, or any surgery.  Hopefully this fear will prompt you to do the things that are necessary to stay off the table.
     Reference:  
          Confessions of a Former Heart Surgeon, Health and Longevity, Baltimore, MD: 18
 
LAUGH YOUR WAY TO HEALTH
     You have probably heard of the well known author, Norman Cousins.  At one time he was diagnosed  with an incurable, fatal disease.  Rather than accept the death sentence, Cousins decided to take matters into his own hands. 
     He decided to laugh.
     So he rented movies by the Marx brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Candid Camera and whatever else he could find that he found funny.  He watched them and he laughed, day in and day out.
     In spite of the dire predictions, Cousins' laughter reversed his disease and he recovered fully.
     By laughing, Cousins caused the release of certain neurochemicals in the brain such as serotonin which set the stage for healing.  As I have discussed in previous   issues of the Health Letter, there is a mind-immune system link and serotonin is one of those links.
     If you aren’t feeling well, why not try the laughter cure?  Do whatever you can think of that makes you laugh.  Read funny books, jokes, watch comedians and movies and visit with friends you find funny.
     Reference: 
          Anatomy of an Illness, by Norman Cousins
 
MUSTARD FOR CHEST CONGESTION
     By mixing two to three tablespoons of powdered dry mustard with water into a thick paste, a mustard pack can be prepared.  Spread the paste on a square of flannel or cheese cloth, then fold it over and place on the chest.  Plastic wrap can then be laid across this and then a blanket over top.  Leaving it on for 10 or 15 minutes is reportedly quite effective for breaking up chest congestion.  Be careful of skin irritation, particularly in youngsters, no matter what product is applied to the skin.
     Reference: 
          Alternatives, December 1987: 5
 
GINKGO BILOBA EXTRACT FOR ALZHEIMER'S
     A group of 40 patients with the senile dementia of Alzheimer’s disease were assigned to two random groups.  One received 80 mg of ginkgo biloba extract three times a day and the other received a placebo.  In those receiving the extract there was significant improvement in a wide range of neurological abilities.  Some people may have headaches or dizziness at this higher dose and should start off at a dose of 40 mg three times a day, and then slowly increase to the higher 80 mg dosage.
     Reference: 
          Human Psycho Pharmacol, Vol 9, 1994: 215
 
THYROID AND PROGESTERONE FOR STRESS INCONTINENCE
     Stress incontinence is loss of bladder control in stress situations.  Evidence suggests that many individuals respond to thyroid supplementation and progesterone treatment.  Although laboratory results may not show a thyroid deficiency, many physicians argue that such testing is practically worthless since many individuals respond to thyroid therapy   in spite of negative laboratory results.   For sources of natural progesterone see Resource N, and for thyroid therapy consult with a nutritionally oriented health care practitioner,  see Resource O.
     Reference: n.o.13
          N) Natural Progesterone. (If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.)
          O) Wysong Resource Directory, available from Wysong Institute, 1880 N. Eastman Rd, Midland, MI  48640, $15.00.            
          Townsend Letter, February 1995: 93
 
          A) Lipid Nutrition: Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease, by Dr. R. L. Wysong.  Available from the Wysong Library Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman, Midland, MI  48640.