WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
August 1996
DEAR FRIEND:
 
     Historically the relationship between nutrition and disease began when humans experimented with various herbs and foods to treat ailments.  For example, Egyptians used liver to treat night blindness (vitamin A deficiency), and Central American Indians used specially treated corn to prevent pellagra (vitamin B3 deficiency).
     Then at about the beginning of the twentieth century, it was discovered that the lack of certain foods could cause disease.  For example, the removal of the bran layers of rice could cause beri beri.  The absence of fruits and vegetables could cause scurvy.   An exclusive feeding of singular foods could cause disease, such as pellagra from a diet primarily of corn.  Also during this period it was discovered that by altering foods from their natural state, disease could result.
     During the first half of this century, with the advancing tools of technology, scientists were able to isolate and synthesize vitamins.  Some deficiencies caused by modern processing could be “solved” by “fortification” with synthetics.
     Then we entered the most recent era, in which nutrients are not seen just as preventive tools, but as therapeutic tools as well.  For example, large doses of nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) can decrease cholesterol in hypercholesterolemia.  Vitamin E in large doses can help prevent atherosclerosis, and vitamin C in megadoses can prevent a wide range of pathologies including asthma, autoimmunities, viral disease, atherosclerosis, and cancer to name a few.  Folic acid in doses beyond that available in the modern diet prevents neural tube defects in babies.
     We have thus moved from discovery of the relationship between nutrition and health, to use of nutrition as a preventative, to use of nutrition as therapy.  Although the practice of this newer knowledge lags far behind the revelations in the scientific literature, progress is certainly being made.
     We should not, however, get caught up too much in the advancing, reductionistic view of health:  That is, if we can break disease down into its smallest pieces and fix these pieces with synthetic patch work, we have accomplished our ultimate aim of optimal health.  In actual fact, most all nutritional disease (which most all disease is) could in fact be prevented by optimizing the diet through the use of whole, natural, raw foods.  These are the foods we are genetically adapted to and if we wish to reach the health our genetic potential offers, this is the best way to achieve it.
     This is not to say we should not remain alert to advancing nutritional knowledge.   Our modern setting basically precludes our eating an ideal raw, whole food diet.  Thus, supplementation is prudent and can afford us the best insurance, given modern limitations, to reach our best health.
     Reference:
          Townsend Letter, June 1996: 56
 
HOW MUCH WATER?
     The advice to drink six to eight glasses of water daily is repeated so often in the health community that it has assumed fundamental truth status.  As I have mentioned previously, when something is almost universally accepted, it is highly likely that the truth lies somewhere else.
     I have written a letter that we send to various publications when we see this advice given.  To date I have not received a reply.  I reproduce it below to enable you to give some thought to my contrary view.
But before reading that letter and considering the reasons not to drink that much water daily, let me give you some reasons to drink a lot of water.
     When faced with just about any illness or ailment, drink as much water as you possibly can.  At the first signs of illness, drinking three 8 ounce glasses in 15 minutes can sometimes stop the problem dead in its tracks.  I have found this remedy helpful for stomach distress that can hit me in the middle of the night after I have had a super good mega munchie treat just before bedtime.  It's also helped with headaches, muscle pain, crappy mood, and when I feel like I am coming down with something.  It works and should be the first thing you think of when you’re not up to par.
     You can continue to flush your system until you feel better and then return to a more normal water consumption level - which I believe to be drinking when you are thirsty.
     The fact that huge quantities of water force-fed may reverse illness is not proof that the illness was caused by lack of water any more than curing a headache with aspirin proves you should be taking aspirin all the time.  Exactly why large quantities of water have this healing effect is not known.  We can speculate that it may help removal of toxins that may be accumulating, create an unfavorable environment for pathogens, modify pH, or may somehow contribute to energy production.
     When you do this water flushing try to use only good, clean, purified water, not the municipal recycled stuff laden with a variety of chemicals and contaminants including chlorine and fluorine.
     Now with this said, consider the following letter questioning mega consumption of water on a daily basis as a routine:
     "Dear __________:
     What scientific evidence do you have for humans needing to drink at least "48 ounces of water daily?"
     1.       What is the logic of:
           a.       Drinking when not thirsty?
           b.       Forcing yourself to urinate every 30 to 60 minutes?
           c.       Never getting a full night's sleep because of urination requirements?
           d.       Being tied to carrying a water source around all day long every day?
     2.       Any substance can be toxic in sufficient quantity - at what level is water toxic?
     3.       Why do we have the sense of thirst if it is never to be used (which would be the case if 48 ounces of water were drunk daily)?
     4.       Why is always drinking when not thirsty not the same as always eating when not hungry?
     5.      Why does water taste wonderful when you are thirsty, but verges on repulsive when not (e.g. 48 ounces/day)?
     6.       Most importantly, what evidence is there that archetypal humans before our age of "enlightenment" consumed such quanitites of water, or were even in a position to do so?  Further, what mammal in the wild does so?
          Forcing water for short periods of time during illness may be a useful therapeutic tool, but is a questionable maintenance requirement.
          Pure thirst for water is rare.  It usually follows intense physical activity with profuse sweating.  A more common "thirst" is for the high juice content of fruits.   If large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten daily, there is seldom even a desire for water - other than as I said, if you are involved in intense physical activity.   The advantage of obtaining fluids from fruits and vegetables is that we are receiving a bounty of important nutritional elements including fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, bioflavonoids, accessory nutrients and so forth.   If we force-saturate our body constantly with water, such as with six to eight 8 ounce glasses per day, we will decrease the desire for, and therefore the consumption of, these important foods.
          I would appreciate your response."                                                      
 
SUDDEN DEATH IN YOUNG ATHLETES
     There occurred 158 sudden deaths in trained athletes in the United States from 1985 to 1995.  Sudden deaths in these young competitors, who are usually in good physical shape and capable of exceptionally high levels of performance for long periods of time, are unexpected and tragic. 
     If you think your child is protected by the mandatory physical exam by a physician before participating in basketball, football, track and the like, think again.
     In a study of these 158 deaths, it was found that the median age was 17 years with a range from 12 to 40 years.  Basketball and football accounted for the most cases (68%) of sudden deaths.  Ninety percent collapsed during or immediately after a training session or formal athletic event. 
     The most common structural cardiovascular disease identified was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an abnormal proliferation of heart muscle tissue).
     Of 115 athletes who were exposed to standard medical screening, fewer than 5% were suspected of having cardiovascular disease.  The actual conditions of fewer than 1% were diagnosed accurately.  Medical evaluations failed to identify 47 of the 48 cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
     Few athletes with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have any symptoms prior to collapse, nor do they have a definitive family history of the disease.
     Indeed this is usually a surprise event, and false confidence created by a “physical” could lead to pushing young aspiring athletes quickly to the grave.
     Many of these athletes have advanced atherosclerotic disease.  This, as well as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, can be caused by nutrient deficiencies as a result of feeding a modern processed diet.
     Recently, I was at a sporting event for young children between the ages of  7 and 10.  A bonus with their entry fee was an all-you-can-eat buffet.  There were nitrate-laden hot dogs, white flour hot dog buns, heavily sugared ketchup, hydrogenated oil potato chips sitting in direct sun and white rice crispies caked with sugared syrup.  Where were the major minerals?  The trace minerals?   The balanced amino acids?  The active enzymes?  The water soluble and fat soluble vitamins?  The fiber and bioflavonoids, coenzyme Q-10 and all of the hundreds of other nutrients available in the whole natural foods that these young bodies are genetically adapted to?  Parents who try to build Olympians on diets such as these are in effect trying to put the Empire State Building on a foundation of toothpicks.
     If you love your children, put first things first.  Winning of an athletic event is not first, building a healthy body with appropriate natural foods and creating a foundation for a healthy life that will permit your child to be the best he/she can be at anything, should be first and foremost.
     Reference:
          Journal of the American Medical Association, July 17, 1996: 199-201
 
HOW TO BECOME A VIRGIN WHEN YOU’RE NOT
     Women from all over the Gulf states are flocking to Egypt where a clever surgical procedure is being done to restore the “hymen” in unmarried, unvirgin women.  Not only do men in these regions expect their brides to be virgins, but if they are not great shame is brought to her family.  If a blood-stained white silk handkerchief is not displayed to close family members waiting outside the bedroom, the bride can even be killed by brothers, uncles or even the father.
     The solution for those who have strayed among these women is to have a clever surgery performed.  A gelatin capsule containing a blood-like substance is sutured in place so that when it bursts during intercourse on the wedding night, everyone will be convinced that she was indeed a virgin.  In one case, by feigning insanity a new bride was able to postpone intercourse with her new husband for four months, until she could save sufficient money ($100 to $600) to have the procedure performed.
     Reference:
          Lancet, June 8, 1996: 1625
 
MELATONIN - BEWARE
     The use of melatonin for jet lag, insomnia, as an antioxidant, and for other purposes is becoming extremely popular.  Chronic use of this substance makes me nervous.  I say this because melatonin is a biochemical which is produced naturally within the body.  If you consume it, then you risk the chance of what is known as negative feedback inhibition.
     Negative feedback inhibition is the mechanism by which the body regulates levels of the various compounds it produces.  If the level of the endogenously produced biochemical reaches a certain threshold, there is negative feedback on the gland that produces it so that production is shut down and excesses do not occur.  If you take such compounds by mouth or by injection, then the gland can be artificially inhibited from producing it naturally.  Over time this inhibition can cause the gland to lose its ability to produce the compound.  Similarly, if you “inhibit” your arm from any activity by putting it in a sling for a month, it will lose its strength and flexibility.
     Therefore, by regularly taking melatonin, the pineal gland can become inhibited from its natural ability to produce melatonin.
     Additionally, consider that melatonin is a nighttime and winter compound.  It is something that increases in the blood the less light that you have.  What happens at night and in the winter?  All functions decrease, including the immune system.  This is one reason that increased deaths occur in the early morning hours and in winter time when melatonin is high.
     Granted, melatonin may be useful in certain instances of intractable insomnia or jet lag.  But if it is taken, it should be for only brief periods of time so that the body’s natural balances are not disturbed.  If it is taken over a long period of time be sure you gradually wean yourself off of it so that the pineal gland has a chance to slowly restore its function.
 
ARE VITAMINS TOO EXPENSIVE?
     Repeatedly we hear from nutritional supplement nay-sayers who claim that people are being fleeced by health food companies and vitamin pushers.  Forgetting for a moment the fact that most of these nay-sayers belong to a medical industrial complex that is raking in over a trillion dollars a year, consider the following.
     In the USA alone, about 25,000 babies are born each year with the birth defect spina bifida.  Each of these children will require some $40,000+ in medical care by the time they are 14 years of age.   Even though it has been known for decades that folic acid supplementation would decrease the incidence of such birth defects by 75% or more, nothing was being done and those who advocated the use of this pennies-a-day vitamin were labeled as quacks.
     In the past 10 years, some 250,000 children have been born with spina bifida, costing the United States close to $10 billion in avoidable health care costs.
     Now, finally, the public health service is recommending fortification of foods with folic acid since the average American diet is deficient in this nutrient.  But this comes only after years of debate, with the medical community wanting to keep status quo and being bent on attempting to prove that nutrition cannot really affect health.
 
ARSENIC USED TO SOLVE MARITAL PROBLEMS
     A 35-year-old man was diagnosed as having Guillain-Barré syndrome and was treated with steroids.  Five months later he was admitted to the hospital with fever and bronchitis.  Chest pathology was determined by x-rays.  He was given antibiotics, but eight months later he was readmitted with peripheral neuropathy (disease in the nerves of the limbs), abdominal pain and diarrhea.   He was unable to walk without help and had neurological weakness in HIS arms and legs.  There was hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin) of his palms and soles, and white transverse lines on his nails (Meé’s lines). 
     After extensive laboratory testing it was finally determined, almost a year after the initial presentation, that he was suffering from arsenic poisoning.  It seems his wife wanted a divorce and custody of their son and had been seeding his food with ant killer containing arsenic.
     Arsenic has been used for centuries both to commit suicide and homicide.  Accidental exposure from industrial or environmental sources is rare, although occasionally there have been cases reported of arsenic poisoning coming from natural therapies such as certain Indian remedies and some sources of kelp.
     Yet another reason to become more directly involved in preparing your own foods... and always check over receipts when your spouse shops at farm and garden stores.
     Reference:   
          Lancet, June 8, 1996: 1596
          Lancet, 1992; 339: 1540
          BMJ, 1993; 306: 506
 
LIGHT - THE ULTIMATE HEALTH FOOD
     The combination of modern indoor lifestyles, clothing, and skin cancer scares have decreased the amount of light we receive.       Additionally, when we go outside we wear sunglasses and slather on sunscreens.  
     Do you think the sun, the ultimate source of energy for all life, is our enemy?   Of course not.  If it were truly the cancer/death promoter currently propagandized, the human race would not exist, since we have sprung from a time when we spent all of our time outdoors unclothed.  Light is not the enemy of life, it is its cause.
     Why do you think you feel better in the summer, have more energy and less illness than in the winter months?  Why do you think you feel better when you take a trip south where daylight is intensified and increased?   Why do you think death rates increase in the winter and depression and illness abound?
     Welcome light into your life.  Try to get a good dose on as much of your skin as you can legally expose every day.  Don’t overdo it if your skin is bleached white from being cocooned in clothing indoors.  Slowly acclimate to the sun since, of course, anything in excess can be harmful.
     Enjoy the sun’s warmth and its rays and let your body receive its healthful benefits.  Even new promising therapeutic methods for removing infections now expose the blood directly to UV light.  When sun hits our skin, its rays penetrate deep within tissue helping to purify and energize us. 
     The sun is not carcinogenic, it is our weakness as a result of modern lifestyles and environmental pollutants that is the real culprit.
 
DECREASING MORTALITY WITH VITAMINS E AND C
     In a study of over 11,000 people ages 67 to 105, it was found that those individuals who took supplements of vitamin E and vitamin C had a decreased risk of coronary heart disease mortality, cancer mortality and a lower overall risk of total mortality.
     This is yet another in a seemingly never ending line of controlled scientific studies demonstrating the benefits of supplementation with these vitamins.
     Reference:
          American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 1996, 190
 
THE ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS OF EXERCISE
     In a study of 39 participants in the 1994 Hawaii Iron Man World Championship Triathalon, it was found that the susceptibility of lipids to oxidation is reduced by exercise.  These effects appear to be independent of whether antioxidant supplements were used.  Evidently there is an internal mechanism by which the body increases its own endogenous antioxidants (e.g. glutathione) to protect the body against free radical damage.  This protective effect of exercise can carry over into helping to prevent many diseases which are free radical based.
     A corollary of this is that for those who live a sedentary life, their internal antioxidant mechanisms are sluggish and ineffective, thus leading to the development of a variety of chronic degenerative diseases.
     Regular, progressive, challenging exercise, combining aerobic workouts and weightbearing exercise, is therefore a potent antioxidant in itself and a key to maximizing health and longevity.
     Reference:
          Journal of the American Medical Association, July 17, 1996: 221
 
DON'T EAT THE SKIN
     Potential toxicities from eating plant-based foods include not only the pesticides and herbicides which maybe present, but also the wide array of natural toxins the plant produces in its skin to ward off predators.
     Unlike animals, which can either flee or fight their predators, plants have to just sit there.  Their inability   to move is made up for by their capability of warding off predators through the use of natural toxins.  This explains in part the vast biochemical complexity of plants, with over 1-1/2 million chemicals thus far identified in them.
     Where do plants concentrate these toxins designed to prevent their being eaten?  On their surfaces, the skins, their first and only line of defense.
     You can’t wash these natural toxins away any more than  you can easily wash away the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are glued and waxed to the skin of fruits and vegetables by farmers and food processors.
     As I see it, the only real solution is to simply not eat the skins.  Peel your fruit and vegetables.  If they cannot be peeled, eat the whole fruit squeezing out the good parts and spitting away the skin carcasses.  It is less important that you receive the fiber from the skins than that you protect yourself from the natural and synthetic toxins which are present within it.
 
IF YOU MUST TAKE A DIET PILL
     I am not an advocate of diet pills.  The cause of obesity is far more complex than can be addressed by a pill (see my book, The Synorgon Diet, How To Achieve Healthy Weight In A World Of Excess available in Resource below).
     However, many in desperation will look to the various pharmaceuticals that are being offered as an aid to reducing obesity.  An alternative is the combination of ephedrine and caffeine, both of which are substances derived from natural products.  20 mg of ephedrine plus 200 mg of caffeine has been found to be the most effective in increasing the burning of calories while sparing the loss of muscle.
     There are a variety of side effects attendant with the use of this medication which include nervousness, agitation, tremors, insomnia, increased blood pressure and heart rate, constipation, dry mouth, confusion and increased sweating to name a few.       Thus is the price paid for isolating compounds, even if they are found in nature, and consuming them.  However, these side effects are not as dangerous as those with many of the pharmaceutical preparations (such as dexfenfeluramine).  Additionally side effects from the ephedrine/caffeine combination may be dramatically decreased by very slowly introducing ephedrine and caffeine to the diet until the dosage of 20 mg ephedrine and 200 mg caffeine is reached.
     Long term use of this combination is associated with an increase in thermogenesis, as well as a decrease in side effects.  It has the additional benefit of increasing HDL levels and decreasing insulin resistance.
     Reference:
          The Synorgon Diet is available from the Wysong Book Store Catalog for $12.95 + S&H.
          Townsend Letter, June 1996: 62
          Current Therapeutic Research, 1990; 40; 3: 323
 
HOW TO REMOVE BEE STINGS
     As many as 10% of the general population experience bee stings.  In the U.S. there are about 17 deaths per year as a direct result.
     It is important that the sting be removed as quickly as possible to decrease the amount of venom that is injected.  There has always been debate as to how best to remove it, with the most common advice being that you should scrape it off, rather than squeeze it or pick it off.  Evidence, however, demonstrates that there is no preferred method of removal, but that the more rapid the removal the better.
     When a honey bee stings, the entire distal segment of the bee’s abdomen, a nerve ganglion, muscles, and the end of the digestive tract along with the sting are inserted into the skin.  The sting itself has two lancets with curved barbs on the outer aspect.  Once the sting is detached from the bee, the muscles that remain attached coordinated by the nerve ganglion (a miniature "brain") cause the stylets on the sting to continue their one-way traction working themselves deeper into the flesh.  At the same time a valve and piston on the ends of the moving lancets pump venom from the sack through an opening near the tip into the wound.
     By removing the sting as rapidly as possible, the injection of venom is interrupted, thus decreasing the likelihood of more serious consequences from higher levels of venomization.
     It is also interesting to note that an alarm pheromone is emitted at the base of the honey bee’s sting.  This pheromone serves as a signal to attract other bees and aid them in locating the enemy - you.  This is particularly important with Africanized bees, since they can respond in greater numbers to this signal and thus result in a larger number of stings.  This is yet another reason to remove a sting as soon as possible by squeezing, pinching or scraping.
     Reference:
          Lancet, August 3, 1996: 301
 
ZINC LOZENGES FOR COLDS
     A controlled study of 100 people demonstrated that the use of zinc lozenges nearly halved the duration of cold symptoms.       Patients were enrolled in the program within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms and given either lozenges containing zinc gluconate or calcium lactate.  They took the lozenges every two hours while awake.
     The results were surprising to the medical researchers (How could a simple nutrient do what fancy pharmaceuticals can’t?).       They found that zinc has the ability to interfere with the formation of viral capsid proteins, impair the ability of viruses to adhere to respiratory cells, and can induce interferons and reduce prostaglandin mediated inflammation.
     Reference:
          Lancet, July 20, 1996: 184
 
SQUATTING AT THE STOOL
     The correct way to go #2 is the way people do it who don’t have modern bathrooms.   Modern toilets configured like chairs do not permit positioning and natural pressures to assist in bowel movements.  The result is often undue straining, incomplete evacuation with stool retention and hemorrhoids.
     By squatting at the stool, increased abdominal pressure is created and the body is anatomically configured in such a way to permit evacuation with more ease.
     Toilets should be reconfigured to be more flush to the floor.  Since this is not possible in most instances, an alternative is to create an elevated floor by way of benches or stools on each side of the toilet to permit squatting over the toilet.
     This innovation may seem a bit acrobatic and you want to be sure everything is stable and secure so you don’t come tumbling through the bathroom door at this most inopportune time.
 
RIBOFLAVIN FOR MIGRAINES
     In a study of 49 individuals who had recurring episodes of migraines, those who consumed 400 mg per day of riboflavin with breakfast for at least three months had 70% fewer migraines and 70% less severe migraines. 
     Reference:
          Cephalagia,  1994; 14: 328-329
 
FISH OIL FOR CROHN'S DISEASE
     People with Crohn’s disease have recurring episodes of inflammatory bowel dysfunction.  Pharmaceutical treatments only provide temporary relief and are fraught with dangerous side effects.
     In a controlled trial of patients with Crohn’s disease, 39 received fish oil and 39 received placebo.  After one year, 23 patients (59%) in the fish oil group remained in remission while only 10 in the placebo group did.
     Fish oils provide a variety of fatty acids, particularly of the omega-3 class, that can be immune modulating and anti-inflammatory as I describe in my book Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease  (see Resource 19).
     Reference:
          Lipid Nutrition is available from the Wysong Book Store Catalog for $12.95 soft cover or $14.95 hard cover   + S&H.
          New England Journal of Medicine, June 13, 1996: 1557
 
SALT AND HYPERTENSION
     Although sodium restriction is commonly believed to both prevent and treat hypertension, there is little agreement.  A recent meta-analysis of some 56 randomized controlled trials in fact has shown that although sodium restriction might help in older individuals who are hypertensive, there is no evidence that sodium restriction in the general normotensive (normal blood pressure) population  is of any benefit.
     Although modern highly refined and additive-laden salt would be wise to restrict or even exclude from the diet, the use of whole trace mineral-rich salt has many health benefits (see Wysong Whole Salt technical brochure available from Resource 21).
     Reference:
          Whole Salt Technical brochure is available from Wysong Corporation, 1880 N. Eastman Rd., Midland, MI   48642.
          Journal of the American Medical Association, May 22, 1996: 1590
 
NON-HODGKIN's LYMPHOMA AND MEAT EATING
     Pesticides and herbicides containing persistent chlorinated dioxins and the related chlorinated dibenzofurans are highly lipophilic (readily absorbed into fat tissue).   When these compounds are sprayed on farm lands and crops and then consumed by farm animals, they are incorporated into their fatty tissues.  When humans then consume these meat products, including fish and dairy products, they in turn absorb these compounds into their fatty tissue.
     Some studies now strongly suggest that there is a relationship between exposure to herbicides and pesticides and the development of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.   It is believed that the compounds may compromise the immune system, interact with oncogenic (cancer-causing) viruses, and transform into a variety of carcinogenic compounds through the process of cooking.
     It is of interest to note that individuals, particularly women, eating large amounts of hamburger were particularly at risk of developing high levels of the dioxin-type compounds in their fatty tissues.
     This is yet another reason to moderate intake of animal products and try to find sources of these foods that have an organic, clean, pesticide- and herbicide-free history.
     Reference:
          Journal of the American Medical Association, August 21, 1996: 524
          Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 1996, National Academy Press; 1996
          Environ Health Prospect, 1994; 102: 962
 
EXERCISE HIGH
     Exercise alone can provide a powerful antidepressive effect.  Plasma beta-endorphin concentrations increase during and for a time after vigorous exercise.  This biochemical produced by the body not only is antidepressive and mood elevating, but analgesic (pain-killing).  In long distance runners this compound helps decrease the pain from extreme exertion.  Proof that mood elevation and analgesia are indeed caused by the body’s release of beta-endorphins is the fact that naloxone, an opioid antagonist, can block the analgesia and mood elevation effect of beta-endorphins.
     The high that can be felt from regular exercise is somewhat addicting because it just plain makes you feel good.  Perhaps it is a survival mechanism to encourage people to remain active.
     The benefits from regular exercise are too numerous to mention.  Be an exercise druggy.
     Reference:
          Lancet, August 17, 1996: 477