Dr. R. L. Wysong
December 1995


    Last week an insurance company required that I have a physical exam.  Now, as you know, I am not one to “go to the doctor,” but insurance companies need to maximize their odds.
    I can’t even remember the last time I had a physical exam.  Though I've spent considerable time in such places on the other side of the counter, when I entered the clinic and smelled the smells, heard the sounds and saw the sights, my body and mind reacted involuntarily, but decidedly:   This is not a place I want to be.
    Deeply ingrained into my being - from experiences as a child having adenoids and tonsils out, teeth filled and visiting loved ones who were ill - is the feeling that this was not a happy place.  You would get a similar feeling in a courtroom, jail, or sitting in the principal's office.   Such feelings are a sure sign you've lost control, and your health care is not something you should lose control of.  Such emotions, as I have described repeatedly in the Health Letter, are in themselves emotions that can create illness.  I was getting sicker by the minute. 
    Don’t get me wrong, the people were nice and I understand they are simply doing their job, but this does not cancel the unpleasantness. 
    First the nurse gave me a cup for me to urinate in... as if my bladder is the reservoir of an artesian well and has an always ready on/off spigot attached to it.  Then they drew a couple of vials of blood from my arm.  As I watched the blood flow into the tube, I thought about how this is my essence, my being, my property that is being stolen.  I then lay down on a table and had electrodes attached to my body to create an electrocardiogram, and I again thought about the invasion, the intrusion into my body.  Yes, I'm being a little melodramatic, but I'm sure you've had similar feelings so just bear with me.
    I then waited for the doctor to perform the coup de grace.
    Now there I was, a wonderful specimen of a man and perfect in every respect (my humble opinion).  She nonetheless proceeded to first check my knee jerk - as if this could actually give any more information than watching me walk.  Then she unwrapped from around her neck that most magical of instruments, the stethoscope, and listened carefully to different points on my chest and back, thumping gently and apparently listening with great diligence.  Yep, my heart was beating and I was breathing and that is about all this instrument discloses about a healthy person.  Then my ears were checked, I guess to make sure I have an ear drum, my nose was checked to make sure I can smell, and my eyes were checked to be sure I have vision.  (I anxiously await the test results to see if I have any of these senses.)
    Such an examination is by and large ritualistic.  As much information was gleaned about me as if a witch doctor recited incantations, thumped me with a chicken leg and read dried bones tossed on the floor.  It's impressive though, all wrapped up in modern technology.  It keeps us duly in awe and obeisant... and justifies the fees.
    The bottom line is this.   If you feel well, eat well, are active and are free of abnormal symptoms, no ritualistic diagnostics should ever make you believe you're sick.  More sickness is likely created by healthy people being subjected to medicines and surgery because of tests, than is ever caused by real disease.
    She then retired to a chair, made some notes, looked at the insurance form and then hesitatingly told me that in order to complete the exam she would need to have me drop my drawers so she could check me for hernias and then probe me rectally to palpate my prostate.
    This was too far.  I respectfully declined telling her that if the form did not mandate these procedures I didn't want them done, nor would I want them done even if it did mandate them.  I know I’m healthy, I know I don’t have a hernia, and I know my prostate is just fine.  No way. My mom told me a long time ago these are my private special places.   (I know you women who get your regular check-ups are saying, "What a wimp," but though you may tolerate as supposedly necessary these invasions, I'm sure you can empathize with my thoughts.)
    After the exam was concluded and I left, stepping out onto the sidewalk to go to the car, a sense of relief and exhilaration passed over me.  But the fire in my belly to prevent disease was well stoked.  I again resolved in my mind that this is not the place I want to ever have to be, and I will continue to work to try to keep me (and you) out.
    Granted, this was a routine physical and I am healthy.  If I were ill to the point of not being able to resolve it myself, I guess I would have to resign myself to such care.  But even then, I would be highly selective as to where I would go since I understand there are many health care options out there.
    Nevertheless, this experience again makes me realize how easily people become victimized by conventional medical practices.  With little knowledge and the constant indoctrination that your health is a doctor’s responsibility, people offer themselves up on the altar of medicine as a willing sacrifice.  Make no mistake about it.  If you don’t know what you’re doing and if you simply surrender yourself to the will of medical practitioners, you are indeed making the ultimate sacrifice.
    If you have similar feelings when visiting a medical institution like I have expressed here, make it your resolve to get command of your life and your health so that you are in control.  Only permit others to participate in assisting you in maintaining your health as you desire and dictate.  The Health Letter is specifically designed to give you this kind of power over your own health destiny and all readers should be sure to obtain a copy of the Resource Directory, available from the Institute, which provides a bounty of alternate more complimentary health care options should health fail beyond your ability to resolve it.
Antioxidant Dangers
    Antioxidants have become the most popular of all nutritional supplements.  The reason for this is that free radical damage seemingly lies at the root of most diseases.  Free radicals - oxidation products - are responsible for oxidizing cholesterol and causing atherosclerotic plaque with resultant cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cataracts, arthritis, neurological and psychological problems, cancer, gum disease... the list continues covering the gamut of modern diseases.
    But if a little bit of antioxidants help, then won’t a lot more be better?  This seems to be the reasoning of some.  Many people now take several grams of Vitamin C a day, over 1000 IUs of vitamin E, and high doses of beta carotene and other antioxidant nutrients.
    But as I mention repeatedly in the Health Letter, everything is potentially toxic at high enough dosage.  The dose makes the poison.
    Free radicals are not all villains.  In fact, they are a normal consequence of the metabolic activity of a healthy body.  For example, white blood cells use free radicals to destroy bacterial and viral infections.  The liver cytochrome P-54 enzymes help to detoxify harmful chemicals through the use of free radicals.  Even normal energy production via respiration and the Krebs cycle uses free radicals - chemicals with unpaired electrons in their outer orbitals - to transfer energy along chemical pathways to create stored forms of energy such as ATP.  ATP is the basic energy compound of the body without which we would simply not survive.  If this metabolic process is interfered with by saturating the body with high levels of antioxidants, this energy metabolism is interfered with.   We can thus become extraordinarily tired and susceptible to diseases in spite of the fact that we think we are being real smart with our antioxidant use.
    So how much of the antioxidant vitamins should we take?  Determining this depends on the individual.  If you are eating plenty of fresh, raw, whole, natural foods, and do not face a lot of free radical stress such as air pollution and tobacco smoke, and do not live at high altitudes where there is not as much atmospheric shielding of free radical generating radiation, then lesser dosages would be appropriate.  But if you are eating the standard processed food fare, or smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods that have been heat processed, or live at high altitude, or even fly frequently, then high dosages might be better.
    There is a lot of safety in getting as much nutrition as possible from the natural foods you eat.  Nutrients work in balance with other nutrients and natural foods automatically create such balance.   Once we start taking isolated nutrients we risk imbalance, overdosage and underdosage. 
    A general guideline for the use of some of the major antioxidant vitamins would be to do as suggested by Dr. Harmon, who developed the free radical theory of disease in 1954.
    He takes 400 IUs of vitamin E, 2000 mg of vitamin C, 100 mcg of selenium, 30 mg of coenzyme Q10 each day and then 25,000 IUs of beta carotene every other day.
    But everyone is not Dr. Harmon.   Everyone should make a judgement based on their individual lifestyle and how they feel.      Some people who have been experiencing chronic fatigue while taking high levels of antioxidants have found their energy levels restored by decreasing the dosage.  You will need to be the judge.
        Townsend Letter, October 1995: 104
    Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of fats increasingly deficient in the human diet.  Wild, natural foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whereas the modern monocultured farm crops, which provide the basis for today’s human diet, predominate in omega-6 fatty acids.  This shift in balance of dietary fatty acids directly affects every cell membrane in our body.   Fatty acids, as they comprise the cellular membranes in the billions of cells in our body, help determine our health. 
    Since we are nothing but an accumulation of living cells, the cell membrane is in effect the gate keeper of life.   (See drawing below.)
    Not only do the fatty acids in the cell membrane affect what goes in and what goes out, but they help to biochemically determine how the body reacts to the variety of stressors assaulting us moment by moment.
    To determine the effect of increased omega-3 fatty acids on heart and blood vessel health, 334 primary cardiac arrest patients, aged 25 to 74 years, and 493 controls were studied.  All cases prior to the study were free of prior clinical heart disease and were not using fish oil supplements.
    The results of this recent study showed that those consuming the equivalent of one high omega-3 fatty fish meal per week had a  50% reduction of primary cardiac arrest.  There was even a higher reduction in risk between those in the group with the highest levels of omega-3 in their cell membranes compared to those with the lowest levels.
    Omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to decrease blood clotting by decreasing platelet aggregation, as well as decreasing coronary spasm and fibrillation which is the major cause of mortality from coronary heart disease.  Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the accumulation of myocardial cellular calcium which occurs at the time of heart attack, a critical factor in the development of fatal arrhythmias and death.
    Everyone should be trying to decrease the amount of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet in proportion to omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are available in fish, wild meats, and various plant foods, particularly flax seeds, canola, and full-fat extruded soybeans (as a whole soy supplement and also as a part of a peanut butter spread).
    For further information on this, refer to my book Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease (see Resource A).
        Journal of the American Medical Association, November 1, 1995: 1363
        A)             Lipid Nutrition - Understanding Fats and Oils in Health and Disease, by Dr. R. L. Wysong, available from the Wysong Book Store Catalog.
        If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
    The dried ripe fruit of the plant Vitex agnus castus is used as a medicinal herbal preparation with a broad range of useful applications for women.   The plant extract has been studied quite extensively and considerable documentation is available demonstrating its biochemistry, and phyto-pharmacologic actions.  Its advantages are that it does not replace anything the body normally produces and is not a refined, purified chemical with the serious contraindications common to these types of medications.
    In Germany the compound is frequently used as an initial intervention in a number of menstrual disorders including premenstrual syndrome, hypermenorrhea (excessive bleeding), polymenorrhea (frequent and abnormal menstrual cycles), anovulation (inability to produce eggs), poor lactation, uterine fibroids and mild cases of endometriosis.  Many of these conditions are a result of corpus luteum insufficiency and an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.   Vitex is valuable in balancing these abnormalities by stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.  Vitex increases luteinizing hormone production and mildly inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormone.  The result is a shift in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone with progesterone increasing.
    Other nutritional interventions that are helpful in these conditions include supplemental vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin E, and other phyto (plant) medicines like Black cohosh, Dong quai, Evening Primrose oils and natural progesterones from yams.
    Vitex is prepared in an alcohol-based tincture of the fruit, in which 100 ml of the solution contains 9 grams of the fruit.  With this method, 40 drops are taken in the morning over several months without interruption.  In another form, capsules containing 175 mg are given once a day.
    As with other natural therapies, improvement is not dramatic and immediate, but rather takes time.   Response to this compound may take anywhere from four months to 1-1/2 years.   In some conditions, however, there may be an alleviation of the problem within 1 or 2 menstrual cycles.
    If you are suffering from reproductive system health problems, then the above listed nutrients as well as phytomedicines including Vitex may be an excellent opportunity to solve the problem without resorting to dangerous hormonal replacement therapy or surgical procedures.   (See Resource B.)
        B)             Vitex. If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
        Townsend Letter, October 1995: 138
    Oh, for the good old days.   Reproduced here is a medical bill from 1943 for a tonsillectomy of an 11-year-old boy.  The total fee, including one day of hospitalization, was $17.00 and this was paid in cash by the child’s father at time of discharge.
    Tonsils haven’t changed.   The method of their removal hasn’t significantly changed.  But boy, has the bill changed.  Today a tonsillectomy would cost about $2000.00 and that would be for surgery as an outpatient without even hospitalization.  But you say that is simply because the value of the dollar has changed.  Well, let's compare.
    In 1943, the same year as the tonsillectomy, the cost for a loaf of bread was 11.  Today, it is about $1.00, or 10 times greater.  In the same year an automobile might cost $1500.00, whereas today it would cost between $15,000.00 and $20,000.00, a 10-to 13-fold increase.
    Now go back and compare the $17.00 tonsillectomy bill to the present $2,000.00 charge that does not even include hospitalization.  We have a 118-fold increase.
    There are a lot of people having a financial bonanza with your health care.  The best thing you can do is just say no.  Learn how to take care of yourself so you don’t get ill.  When you do get ill learn how to treat yourself, or if you can’t, seek alternative medical care systems.  If you can’t do that complain as loudly as you can when you get your bill even if it is covered by medical insurance.
        New England Journal of Medicine, October 19 1995: 1084
Nutritional Prevention Of Cataracts
    The opacity that occurs in the lens that has become cataractous, is believed to be due to oxidation and degradation of lens proteins.  Antioxidants are found to be low in such lenses. 
    One of the major antioxidants in the lens is glutathione.  To help prevent glutathione depletion, which is often in decline when cataracts develop, a supplement of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) which is a precursor of glutathione may be of benefit.  This compound is superior to taking glutathione itself, because glutathione is largely destroyed in the digestive process whereas NAC is not.  Other nutrients that may help spare glutathione in its role in protecting lens proteins are Vitamin C, E, zinc and selenium. 
    All of these nutrients should be in plentiful amounts if you are eating properly and taking a broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement.  If cataracts run in the family or cataracts are beginning to develop, it might be wise to take additional amounts of these separate nutrients to try to forestall or reverse the condition.  (See the Eyes section of Resource D.)
        D)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
        Biol Pharmacol Bull, 1993; 16: 870
Antibiotics And Developmental Delays In Children
    A national survey of 700 children between the ages of 1 year and 12 found that those who have taken more than 20 courses of antibiotics are over 50% more likely to have developmental delays.
    Children who experienced the developmental delays were found, however, to be developing normally in their first year of life.      These children were also 37% more likely to have had several ear infections, to be more likely to have reacted adversely to immunizations, and were twice as likely to have had ear tubes inserted due to middle ear infections than those children who were not affected.
    The incidence of developmental, behavioral and mental disorders for children under the age of 18 has grown in the United States from 4.8 million to 7.5 million in the last four years. 
    Parents who run their child to the doctor to get antibiotics for every sniffle and fever, however well intentioned, may be creating more harm than good.  (Contact Resource C.)
        C)             Development Delay Registry, P. O. Box 12394, Silver Spring, MD  20908, 301-924-3060
        Townsend Letter, October 1995: 9
Childhood Ear Infections
    Food allergies or sensitivities are the most likely cause of childhood middle ear infections.  Such problems may ultimately be linked right back to the introduction of a child at an early age to foods other than the food it should have, mother’s breast milk.
    Food allergy can cause swelling of the tissues within the middle ear, causing blockage of the Eustachian tube that normally drains the middle ear.  This results in a buildup of fluid pressure within the middle ear and an ideal medium for bacterial growth.      The pressure can cause chronic pain and rupturing of the ear drum.  Conventional approaches often result in antibiotic therapy and the surgical insertion of drainage tubes in the ear. 
    A better approach is, first of all, to nurse children.  Secondly, try to find the food allergen and eliminate it from the diet.  The assistance of a holistic physician would be very beneficial in this regard, or learn to do it yourself.  (See the Nutrition section of Resource D.)
    Convert the diet to more natural, fresh, whole foods as described regularly in the Health Letter.  Also, the child should be on a broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement. 
    For ear ache episodes, garlic oil or mullein flower oil ear drops can be put in the ear and a heat pack placed on the ear to give relief.  Antioxidant nutrients such as food source A, C and E, colostrum tablets, probiotic supplements* and colloidal silver for resistant infections (see Vol. 9, No. 11) may be very effective in treating the infection.  If the child has been undergoing a course of antibiotic treatment, then certainly taking the probiotic supplements would be wise to restore the natural balance of friendly intestinal organisms.
        If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
        D)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
Coenzyme Q-10 For Breast Cancer
    A Danish physician, who has treated 200 cases of breast cancer a year for the past 35 years, remarks that he has never seen a spontaneous complete remission of a tumor by the use of any anti-tumor therapy like he has seen with the use of coenzyme Q-10.
    Thirty-two women with breast cancer took 90 mg of coenzyme Q-10 along with high doses of essential fatty acids and antioxidants.  All lived over two years, even though statistically at least  six of them should have died.  Instead, six women actually went into partial remission and breast tumors disappeared entirely in two of them who took 300 mg or more of the enzyme daily.
    It certainly would be worth a try.  Taking 200-400 mg of coenzyme Q-10 a day may be a cancer preventive or a therapeutic approach.  Coenzyme Q-10 is fat soluble and is, therefore, best taken with a full meal containing fats or with some other fat containing food.
        Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 1994; 199: 1504
        Health Revelations, August 1995: 6
Beating Diabetes Naturally
    Type II diabetes, the kind that develops in adult life as opposed to the type you are born with, puts people at peril not only from the effects of the disease but from the effects of conventional therapy. 
    Some holistic physicians argue that the standard protocol of the American Diabetes Association and physicians who recommend more fiber and carbohydrates, and insulin-stimulating drugs, is opposite of that which should be done.  Not only do they argue that the treatment is wrong, but they believe it contributes to increasing obesity which is already a problem with diabetics, and increasing   risk of heart disease from drugs such as the oral sulfonylureas which increase the risk of dying from a heart attack 250%.
    Since type II diabetics may actually be producing too much insulin, prescribing more insulin may hurry along death from insulin-sensitive heart disease.  An alternate approach which some physicians have claimed remarkable success with includes :
    A low sugar, low carbohydrate diet.  Increasing protein and fat in the diet will not increase blood sugar.   Take the supplementary nutrients described in the chart below. 
    This program should be done under the supervision of a physician so that appropriate blood sugar and other tests can be monitored.  There can be a dramatic decrease in blood sugar and the need for insulin can change quickly.  Careful monitoring is necessary including developing the ability to test oneself for blood sugar.  For further assistance on reversing diabetes naturally, see the Diabetes section of the Wysong Book Store Catalog (Resource D).
        D)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
        Health Revelations, August 1995
Zinc Deficiency Caused By Calcium
    Zinc is an important dietary mineral that is involved in a wide range of immune, metabolic and enzymatic functions.   It is a critical mineral nutrient that plays a role in many biochemical functions, including protein synthesis and nucleic acid metabolism.      It provides catalytic activity for over 200 enzymes and is part of the structure of many proteins, hormones, and nucleotides.      Those individuals who are jumping on the calcium supplement bandwagon may be putting themselves at risk of zinc deficiency since calcium interferes with the absorption of zinc.
    Therein lies the danger of emphasis on singular nutrients.  It is not so much the amount of a single nutrient that is important, as its relationship to all other nutrients.  Minerals are all interconnected.  For example, calcium must be in correct proportion to phosphorus or bone metabolism may be disrupted.  Additionally, if excessive calcium is taken in relationship to zinc or iron, both of these latter two important minerals may become deficient since calcium can interfere with the absorption of both.
    Nearly 1 in 2 older Americans consume less than 2/3 of the RDA for zinc (15 mg/day).  In one study it was found that in a group of 59-79 year old women, zinc absorption fell six-fold when calcium supplements were taken.
    The solution is to emphasize whole, natural foods eaten in variety.  This will help supply the appropriate levels of all nutrients and in proper balances.  Foods particularly rich in zinc are red meats, milk, poultry, eggs,  sea food and nuts.  Although many plant materials such as grains may contain zinc, the zinc can be bound to compounds such as phytate that make it less available for use in the body.  Thus, an emphasis on fibers and vegetable-based diets, combined with large calcium supplement intake, may create risks of zinc deficiencies. 
        Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter, August 1995: 1
Zinc To Improve Pregnancy Outcome
    Low zinc levels have resulted in growth retardation, anemia, enlargement of the spleen and liver, abnormally small gonads (testes in the male, ovaries in the female), nervous system malformations, loss of appetite in infants and children, and geophagia (craving to eat dirt and rocks). 
    In a recent study, 580 African women were studied to determine if zinc affected pregnancy outcome.  Those who received a daily dose of 25 mg of zinc in early pregnancy had greater infant birth weights and head circumferences.  The researchers concluded that incorporation of 25 mg of zinc in a daily multi vitamin/mineral supplement is advisable.
        Journal of the American Medical Association, August 9, 1995: 463
Aluminum Toxicity
    Aluminum at sufficient levels is toxic.  I have mentioned this before in reference to the use of aluminum cookware where aluminum can leach out of the metal into foods, particularly when acid foods are cooked.  I have also talked about the potential toxicity of aluminum absorbed through the skin and into tissues from underarm deodorants.
    Affirming the danger of systemic  (absorbed into the body) aluminum is recent evidence that aluminum absorbed from bone cement used in vestibular surgery can be highly toxic.  In one case, a 29-year-old man underwent surgery with the use of the bone cement to help bridge bone defects.  Two weeks after the surgery the patient experienced dizziness, right sided paresthesias, seizures, and died on day 143 from brain failure due to persistent convulsions.  In another case a 54-year-old woman had the same operation performed and the same cement used.  On day 7 she developed confusion and alteration of consciousness.  On day 80 she died due to grand mal seizures, and refractory status epilepticus which led to brain failure.  It was determined that aluminum leached out of the cement and into cerebro spinal fluid, post auricular fluid, and serum.
    A variety of encephalopathies (brain pathologies) can result from aluminum toxicosis.  Symptoms can include agitation, confusion, myoclonic jerks, grand mal seizures, obtundation (loss of sensation), coma and, as above, death.  These are the more dramatic symptoms of toxicity.  Lower doses may cause a wide range of symptoms which may mimic other disease states and be attributed to things other than aluminum.
    To be sure, use an ounce of prevention.  Don’t cook in aluminum cookware, don’t use deodorants with soluble aluminum compounds, and don't let surgeons put aluminum in your body.
        If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
B Complex For Arthritis And Stroke Risk
    Modern processing methods easily alter, destroy, or strip B vitamins from natural foods.  Our bodies were designed to metabolize foods using the unaltered vitamins that ride piggy back with the proteins, carbohydrates and fats within foods.  When these fragile vitamins are lost, we cannot metabolize the foods properly and over time become susceptible to a wide range of degenerative diseases. 
    Arthritis is one such disease and may be significantly improved by converting the diet to fresh, whole foods and taking a multiple B complex supplement including as much as 6.4 mg  of folic acid a day and 20 mcg of vitamin B12.  In tests of people with osteoarthritis, grip strength was significantly improved with these supplements.
    I’ve also mentioned how the level of homocysteine in our bodies can be directly related to atherosclerosis and cardio and cerebrovascular disease.  Without sufficient B vitamins in the diet, homocysteine is not properly metabolized and participates in the development of   atherosclerosis.  By taking a B complex supplement and higher than RDA levels of folic acid and vitamin B6, along with converting the diet to whole, natural foods, levels of homocysteine can be significantly reduced and the risk of stenosis (closure) of coronary vessels and carotid vessels in the neck can be greatly reduced.
        Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1994; 13: 351
        New England Journal of Medicine, February 2, 1995: 286
Get An Adrenaline Rush With Sugar
    In a study of 25 children it was found that after the consumption of two 12 ounce cans of cola their bodies released large amounts of adrenaline, the flight or fight hormone.  Adults, on the other hand, had adrenaline levels that only increased half as much as the children.
    The result of the surge of adrenaline results in shakiness, weakness, pounding of the heart and attention deficit.
    Ingestion of high levels of sugar cause a blood sugar rebound effect.  First the high level of sugar causes the release of large amounts of insulin which rapidly lowers the blood glucose.  But then, the glucose drops below normal and to compensate the body releases adrenaline to help boost the glucose back up to within normal.
    Over time, this constant stress on the pancreas to produce insulin, and on the adrenals to produce adrenaline, will take its toll.      The organs become exhausted, less efficient, and the entire body is thrown into metabolic chaos leading to chronic degenerative diseases and the walking wounded syndrome that can be seen everywhere.
    Keep your kids away from processed, refined sugar products.  Whether parents will do that or not is the big question.  Because, after all, we certainly wouldn’t want to deprive them, right?  Besides when they develop their adult onset diabetes, their intractable obesity, their chronic loss of vigor and heart disease in later years, they probably won’t know it is us parents who caused it by pandering to their sugar cravings.
        Journal of Pediatrics, 1995; 126; 2: 171
“Anemia” For Better Babies
    For generations doctors have told pregnant moms to be careful of anemia.  Anemia has been seen as a major “problem” affecting up to half of all pregnant women and signaled by a fall in hemoglobin.   Many pregnant moms have been given blood transfusions (bad idea - see Vol. 6, No. 6) and supplements of iron and B vitamins.
    A new study of 153,602 pregnant women demonstrated that those women who had hemoglobin levels lower than the 110 g/l advised by the World Health Organization had the healthiest and largest babies.  In fact, those babies born to mothers who had hemoglobins that fell as low as 86 g/l were the largest.  Researchers also now believe that the hemoglobin level should fall below 105 g/l before the risk of a preterm baby is reduced.
        The British Medical Journal, February 25, 1995
Increasing Gallstone Surgery
    When you get a new toy, you play with it more.  This applies to kids ...and physicians.
    Since its introduction in 1989, laparoscopic colecystectomy has become the treatment of choice for gallstones.  The procedure has replaced the traditional open abdominal surgical technique.
    Since the introduction of this new high-tech, peep-hole surgery, there has been a 29% increase in gallstone surgeries in Connecticut, a 28% increase in Maryland and a 50% increase in an HMO.  There is no evidence that gallstone disease has increased by the same levels.  Surgery consumers heed the warning... caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).
        Journal of the American Medical Association, May 24, 1995: 1581
Alzheimer's Over Diagnosed
    True, Alzheimer’s Disease causes very specific histological features in the brain which can only really be established upon autopsy.  But with the increased awareness of the disease, many who do not have it are diagnosed with it.  Any mental failing or dementia in elderly persons is easily diagnosed as Alzheimer’s simply because it is a popular disease.
    The danger in over-diagnosis is that it creates hopelessness where it need not.  Only about half of all   Alzheimer’s diagnosed patients are confirmed postmortem.
    Alzheimer’s-like symptoms can be linked to such things as metal poisoning with aluminum or mercury, or a deficiency of essential nutrients such as the B vitamins.  Hypothyroidism, reactions to drugs, atherosclerosis, and anemia can all cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s.  But all of these conditions are reversible and a mistaken Alzheimer's diagnosis is tragic because the patient may often be "left for dead" at that point.
    Loss of mental function with age is to be expected in people who are losing everything else with age.  This need not be.  Degeneration of the body and the mind is not inevitable, it is, rather, something we do to ourselves.  We eat dead, devitalized, synthetic foods, stop being active, stay away from sunlight, fresh air, and clean water, sit like a blob in front of a television set for hours, don’t exercise or mentally or physically challenge ourselves.  What else is to be expected but degeneration?  The body and mind become what you demand.
        Lancet, 1981; 1: 824