Dr. R. L. Wysong
June 1996
    Modern society is really quite remarkable in its ability to fill virtually any consumer demand that can be imagined.   If you have a need (or just want new goodies) and there is profit to be made, someone somewhere will be there to take your money.
    Although we would like to believe that the noble professions would be above such profit mongering, and administer only genuine help for genuine needs, such is not the case.  Though requiring rigorous training and commitment, and controlled by license and regulation to assure quality of service, the professions have increasingly become protected trade organizations with seemingly only one ultimate purpose - profit.
    This is not to say that people don't start out with noble intentions, for example, when they begin medical school.   It is not to say that there are not instances of philanthropy, selflessness, compassion, and competency.  But in the main, as an industry, modern medicine is not driven by compassion, but rather by the profit motive.
    Take, for example, the case of the Ft. Lauderdale mother who is being charged with child abuse because of the 200 hospitalizations and 40 surgeries she subjected her 8-year-old daughter to over the course of her life.  Doctors took the mother's diagnoses at face value and obligingly removed the child's gallbladder, appendix, part of her intestine, etc., to the tune of some $2 million in medical bills.  Now the evidence suggests the child likely needed none of it.
    True, the mother deserves blame, but what about the physicians who took the money?  In what other field can you victimize customers (children) to this degree and not get slapped in jail?
    But this is just an egregious example of what almost everyone in society believes to be the right thing to do.  You know the sayings that a doctor should never treat himself, or that a lawyer who takes himself as a client is a fool.  Such trite little pieces of advice are nothing more than marketing slogans designed to make the public feel as though they are absolutely dependent upon "experts" and "professionals."
    A medical community that takes millions to saw people apart to "fix" diseases that could be prevented with nutrients costing a few cents a day, or attorneys who rake in hundreds of thousands in law suit liability cases such as from spilt coffee or improper automobile paint jobs, do not represent society's interests, but rather their own.
    Become your own expert by gaining the knowledge necessary to direct and care for your own life.  No one will ever care as much about you as you.  Trusting that money will somehow buy that kind of care from others is a sure road to misery.
        USA Today, Wednesday April 17, 1996: 3A
    Long before there were immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs, people found folk remedies very effective for a variety of maladies.  But since what is new is supposed to be better, many of these time-tested solutions to health problems have been left by the wayside.
    A “folk” remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks its own joint cartilage, is the consumption of chicken cartilage.  Research since 1911 has demonstrated the effectiveness of oral tolerance therapy - eating the very proteins that are being attacked in the body - to be an effective treatment.  Some people find the consumption of chicken cartilage to be the only thing that helps them with their rheumatoid arthritis in spite of having tried every modern pharmaceutical preparation.
    The reason oral tolerance therapy can work is because of a natural mechanism that occurs within the intestinal tract each time we eat.  When the digestive system is exposed to foreign protein, instead of attacking this foreign protein and then setting about producing immune cells such as killer T-cells or T1-cells that could then attack the body’s own tissues which contain similar proteins, there are mechanisms that turn these normal immune reactions off.  Whereas if a protein were injected into the body the immune system would swiftly attack it and perhaps even attack related proteins within the tissues causing an autoimmune reaction, proteins in the digestive tract are tolerated.  If this were not so, the theory is we simply would not be able to survive because every time we ate we would experience an immune reaction to the foods and our immune system would then set about attacking our own tissues which contained similar proteins.
    So, by consuming proteins that are similar to those being attacked in autoimmune disease, such as cartilage proteins in rheumatoid arthritis, insulin in juvenile diabetes, and nerve tissue in multiple sclerosis, the digestive immune suppression mechanism is triggered, thus decreasing the body’s reaction to its own tissues and suppressing the autoimmunity.
    Pharmaceutical researchers are busily trying to isolate specific proteins which can be used for oral tolerance therapy.   Targeted autoimmune diseases include lupus erythematosus, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, uveitis and rheumatoid arthritis.  An alternate to waiting for pharmaceutical companies would be to choose foods that target the problem such as cartilage for arthritis and specific desiccated food organs matching the organs that are diseased.
    For many years alternative practitioners have utilized desiccated organs in the treatment of the corresponding organ diseases.      Though normally not used as oral tolerance therapy, this would certainly be an additional indication for their use.  Desiccated organs are available from Resource below.
        Desiccated organs (glandulars) are available from the following sources:  Nutraceuticals 1-800-669-8877 or American Laboratories Incorporated 1-402-339-2494.
        Science News, September 2, 1995: 158
    Contrary to popular perception, transplants never cure an original disease and never make a person healthy.   Transplantation is not a medical miracle, but rather an admission of medical failure. 
    Every person’s organs are highly individualistic.  If transplanted into another person, the recipient’s body will react against the organ just as if the organ were a disease agent.  The only way to prevent rejection is through the use of powerful immunosuppressive drugs, antibiotics, and a host of other pharmaceuticals that often leave the recipient a mere shadow of the whole healthy person.
    Nevertheless, there are long lines of eager surgeons waiting for donor organs who mislead patients into trusting in this last ditch medical elixir for saving their lives. 
    Because demand for organs is larger than supply, there is increasing political and medical pressure to harvest more organs.
    Here’s an example.   Nicholas had been hit in the head by thieves.  36 hours later he was declared “brain dead.”  No attempt by surgical intervention to remove the bullet could be made, according to the press.  But why didn’t they try?  For the reason that surgeons feared the heart might stop and they could no longer harvest organs out of the body.
    So Nicholas was not ultimately killed by the thieves, but by the physicians of the transplant team.  The parents were persuaded to donate him to the medical experimentation, being convinced that their son’s organs would live on in other people and thus his death would not be in vain.
    There is in fact no instrument capable of demonstrating the irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain and “death” while the heart still beats.  A case in point is that of Gary Dockery, a 42-year-old former policeman from Chattanooga, TN who had been shot in the head 7-1/2 years ago and has unexpectedly come out of his vegetative state.
    Everyone has the right to participate in transplantation.  But everyone should become aware that it may cause the explant donor to be murdered, and recipients will not be cured.
    Again, the solution is to live our lives in such a way as to optimize and retain health, not rely on heroics to save us.
        Civis, Winter 1996: 4
    For most people in modern society increasing age brings on a thinning weakness and fragility of bones.  As calcium and other minerals plus matrix whole proteins are lost from the bones (not inevitable, as you will see), various fractures and postural deformities occur.
    Wrist fractures and hip fractures are very common, particularly in older women.  There are also crushing fractures of the body of the vertebrae, resulting in a collapsing of the spine, causing the classic Dowager’s Hump and a loss of height by as much as 1-1/2 inches per decade.
    As I have mentioned before in the Health Letter, the seriousness of this is not simply the fractures, but that 20% of those who suffer a hip fracture usually die within one year as a result of complications.  As many as 50% of elderly people with such fractures end up in nursing homes.  This is no small problem with as many as 1/3 of women developing severe osteoporosis and over 1.2 million fractures each year at a cost of over $6 billion annually.
    Peak bone density occurs at about the age of 35 and from there, if you follow modern living habits, it is all down hill.  Then for women, when menopause begins, loss greatly accelerates setting the stage for osteoporotic bone fractures.
    Now if osteoporosis were just an inevitable consequence of the years like balding or wrinkles, we might as well just resign ourselves to it.  But evidence indicates that this is one of the class of degenerative diseases I speak of repeatedly in the Health Letter that is a consequence of modern technological life, and thus is both preventable and reversible.
    For example, one study has shown that hip fractures doubled in incidence for people aged 75 years between 1971 and 1981. In another study it was shown that hip fractures doubled between 1956 and 1983.   These first two studies were in England, but another in Sweden showed that the incidence of hip fractures in people 80 years or older doubled between 1950 and 1981.   Forearm fractures in Sweden doubled between 1955 and 1980.
    Anthropological studies in England have shown that skeletons from the year 1729 to 1852 were much more dense than bones from similarly aged people today.  
    Bone is a living, dynamic tissue being constantly remodeled, added to, repaired and subtracted from.  It consists of not only calcium, but of many different minerals as well as an important organic matrix of tissue.  It, like any other tissue in the body, can be no better than how we live and what we eat.  We are indeed how we live and what we eat.   Studies of societies more “primitive” than ours with individuals much more active and close to nature, but eating less calcium than modern day people, have shown them to have far less osteoporosis.
    It doesn’t take much searching to determine what needs to be done to reverse and prevent osteoporosis if one simply examines how modern life departs from what we are genetically intended for.   As opposed to living in nature and eating fresh whole, natural foods, today we spend the majority of our lives not exposed to natural sunlight and exposed to an increasingly polluted environment.  We eat processed foods which have had nutrients altered to toxins and essential nutrients stripped from them.  We exercise little, often live under high stress, in fear or with a feeling of hopelessness.  We drug ourselves with pharmaceuticals with every ill, causing a cascade of side effects without first examining what the cause of our illness is.  Then we saturate our bodies with recreational drugs such as alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
    Recognizing that we have departed from our natural environmental context and placed ourselves in this new artificial health-wrecking setting - and then taking the steps to change that - is the key to preventing and reversing osteoporosis, as it is to preventing and reversing all of the modern degenerative diseases.
    Reference: 5 6 7 8  10 11
        Lancet, 1983; 1: 1413-1414
        Lancet, 1985; 1: 150-151
        Acta Orthop Scand, 1984; 55: 290-292
        Acta Orthop Scand, 1985; 56: 158-160
        Lancet, 1993; 341: 673-75
        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1967; 20: 43-45
        Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis, Alan Gaby, M.D., 1994, Prima Publishing
    In the interest of equal time for men, and with public figures being diagnosed with the condition, prostate cancer is receiving increasing media attention.  After lung cancer, prostate cancer is in fact the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.  In 1995 alone, 40,000 men died from it.
    In 1993, the American Cancer Society recommended that clinicians test all men 50 years of age and older for prostate cancer by means of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  PSA, a serine protease, is elevated in most men with clinically important prostate cancer.  But although such national screening would cost some $28 billion and at least $3 billion every year thereafter, the test is unproven.  The true sensitivity and specificity of PSA screening are simply unknown.  False positive results are common, due to the presence of benign prostate hypertrophy or just prostatitis.  Almost half of all men with benign prostate hypertrophy have elevated PSA values.
    So what is the harm, you might say, in a simple needle prick to draw blood to test for this antigen if it might even remotely have a chance of saving you from getting this dreaded disease?  As I have mentioned repeatedly in the Health Letter, don’t underestimate the dangers of clinical testing.  In the case of PSA, 2 out of 3 men with abnormal results on the test will have no cancer.  But think of what this means to the 2 out of the 3.  In order to determine for sure if they have cancer, they are going to need repeat testing, ultrasonography and biopsy.  The cost and anxiety of having these tests and then waiting for the results is enough to cause disease.  
    When needle biopsy is performed to confirm or deny the results of the PSA test, about 20% of those patients have complicating infections and about 4% have bleeding.  You can bet all of them experience significant anxiety over the test and the potential results. 
    A test is meaningless unless it means that it would be followed up by some clinical act.  What good does it do to test if there is not something you can do about the condition if the test is positive?   With a high number of false positives there can be a significant number of people who are subjected to treatment and the consequences thereof.  These are not insignificant, as the accompanying table demonstrates.
    As you can see, impotence, incontinence and even death (up to 2% if prostatectomy is performed) are not trivial concerns, particularly when it is often not known whether the prostate is even diseased enough to affect the health of the person.
    Some studies have shown that quality adjusted survival is in fact reduced by PSA screening.  In another study, treatment, when compared to just plain observation, increases quality adjusted survival by less than one year and decreases survival of men over the age of 70 in those with significant prostate disease.  In particular, men with a life expectancy of less than 10 years should understand that screening and treatment are unlikely to be helpful and indeed may worsen the quality of their lives. 
    In spite of what your doctor may tell you about the advisability of having this test, “Definitive evidence of whether prostate screening and treatment improve health will be unavailable until the turn of the century when current clinical trials will be completed.”
    Unfortunately many physicians are now recommending adding a PSA measurement to a panel of tests as if they were simply measuring something like a red blood cell count or hemoglobin.  Such advice is inappropriate in light of the unproven nature of the test and the dangers to the individual who receives false positives, as well as to those who are subjected unnecessarily to treatments with serious side effects.
    If you are unsure about what to do and are perhaps engaged in a debate with your physician on this subject, go to your local hospital library and obtain the reference cited at the end of this article, make a copy and present it to him/her.
        Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis, Alan Gaby, M.D., 1994, Prima Publishing
        New England Journal of Medicine, November 23, 1995: 1401
    For decades nutritionists have stated that humans need no more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C which is 60 mg per day.  A diet containing 60 mg of vitamin C was considered to be “100% complete and balanced.”  Anyone taking a vitamin C supplement beyond this level was doing nothing more than creating “expensive urine.”
    Now after hundreds of studies which have shown the RDA levels to be too low, the publication of the National Academy of Sciences, the very organization responsible for establishing RDA's, concludes that 60 mg is too low for optimal nutrition. 
    Although 60 mg of vitamin C might prevent the deficiency disease scurvy, or at least its overt signs (not the subtle damage to collagen throughout the body such as within blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease), it is not sufficient to maintain optimal health.  The research used to establish the RDA was based upon flawed studies.
    Researchers now have found that 100 mg a day will saturate white blood cells and 200 mg will saturate blood plasma.   Researchers  did conclude that doses above 400 mg daily had no evident value and the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C sharply declines with increasing dosage, resulting in the majority of the vitamin beyond that level being excreted.
    Scientists elsewhere, such as at the Linus Pauling Institute, argue that although vitamin C may be excreted at higher dosages, the vitamin exerts beneficial effects while within the body.  Similarly, they argue that a person would not want to be allocated only the amount of water that is the difference between what comes into their home and what leaves their home.  It is what is done with the water while it is in the home that is important.  They argue the same thing can occur with vitamins.  Even though a large percentage of them may be excreted, they are exerting beneficial effects while within the body.
    So what is the optimal dosage of vitamin C?  Nobody knows in spite of any claims to the contrary.  This recent revision in the Acadamy’s thinking demonstrates that the only thing constant in nutritional thinking is change. 
    Although it is possible to get 200 mg of vitamin C in the diet, few people eat appropriately to obtain this and thus supplementation would be wise for most.  Whether a person decides to consume more than the 200 mg of vitamin C is based upon each person’s personal judgement after evaluating the various arguments. 
    My feeling is that since it would be possible to consume between 500 and 1000 mg of vitamin C in a natural diet in preindustrial, archetypal times, then at least this amount would be appropriate.   More may even be necessary in our modern day with various pollutants and stresses which further increase demands.  Also considering that vitamin C deficiency may lie as a root cause of cardiovascular disease, which kills approximately 50% of our population, supplementation may be indeed wise.      To consume higher levels of vitamin C, I take the food form C we have developed along with some synthetic vitamin C as a combination.
        Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 16, 1996
    I do everything I can to make sure there is no blank, white paper of any nature that goes unused in our offices.   All of the junk mail that comes in is opened and the contents searched for paper that is unused on one side which can then be used in fax machines and laser printers for rough drafts of written materials.
    If you open envelopes on the three edges so that they can be folded open, you now have a clean, white surface on the inside of the envelope that can be  used for scrap paper.   The large 8-1/2 business envelopes can be opened the same way and make excellent scrap paper for office work or for the kids at home.
    An excellent opener that can be used to salvage the inside of these envelopes is shaped as is drawn below.  It very nicely and quickly opens envelopes.
    Then once these papers have all the white sides used we then take them to our recycling bins.
    I know we’re not saving the world by this action, but it is at least something that can be done to cut down on the usage of natural resources and increases awareness in the staff here that we should live responsibly by being creative with resources we have available and using wastebaskets as only a last resort.
    Air Force pilots during World War II ate huge amounts of bilberry jam because it improved their night vision.   European bilberries and their American cousin, the huckleberry, are rich in anthocyanosides.  These antioxidants and the pigments in the berry have an affinity for the color producing apparatus in the retina in the eye, and can speed up the production of rhodopsin which affects night vision.
    Those who are exposed to high contrast lights such as computer screens, and those who work a lot at night may not be able to produce sufficient rhodopsin.  Bilberry may help.
    Bilberry extract, like most all natural remedies, has a long list of ancillary benefits as well.  It is interesting that pharmaceutical drugs have at most one benefit (if that) and then a long list of contraindications that can ruin your health.
    Here are some of the other benefits of bilberry, usually taken as a 25% extract at a dosage of 160 mg to 480 mg per day.
    1.          Stopping the progression of cataracts.
    2.          Improving nearsightedness.
    3.          Decreasing the inflammation of arthritis.
    4.          Decreasing the hardening of arteries by inhibiting calcium build-up in atherosclerotic plaque.
    5.          Relieving leg cramps and pain from peripheral vascular disease.
    6.          Decreasing pregnancy problems such as varicose veins, hemorrhoids and also assisting in abnormal menstrual cycling.
    7.                   Protecting against ulcer formation by increasing the secretion of gastric mucus which protects the lining of the stomach.
        Annali di Ottalmologia e Clinica Oculistica, vol. 115, 1989
        Annali di Ottalmologia e Clinica Oculstica, vol. 114, no. 4, 1988
        Il Farmaco, vol. 42, no. 2, 1986
        Health Revelations, October 1995: 3
    Cholesterol takes different forms such as LDL, VLDL and HDL.  Lipoprotein (a) is another form in which fat is carried within the body.  As I have mentioned in previous issues, this particular lipoprotein that has a specific apolipoprotein (a) (technically a glycoprotein that is covalently linked by disulfide bridge to the lipoprotein), has a strong relation to cardiovascular disease.
    Lipoprotein (a) is influenced strongly by genetics and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.   Some believe it is the most significant of all risk factors.
    Recent research has demonstrated two important things.  One is that children who receive breast milk have lower levels of lipoprotein (a) than those who receive formula.  Secondly, adults and children who eat hydrogenated fats containing trans-fatty acids have higher levels of lipoprotein (a).
    Yet another reason to keep infants off of the granddaddy of all junk foods, formula, and to keep yourself and your children away from all hydrogenated fat containing products.
        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1996: 386
    Although mainstream medicine and public opinion are persuaded that lowering cholesterol is the way to prevent heart disease, that doesn’t make it so.  While conventional thinking debates about how to lower cholesterol, be it by diet or pharmacologic agents, we need to question the basic thesis that cholesterol is public enemy number one.
    I have repeatedly emphasized through many years of the Health Letter that it is the oxidation of cholesterol and other lipids that is one of the root causes of cardiovascular disease.  In corroboration of this, a recent study of 64 men who had their first myocardial infarction (blockage of a heart coronary artery) before the age of 45 were studied relative to their blood lipid levels, and their oxidation and antioxidant status.
    This study showed that for those who had a low level of the antioxidant vitamin E within their LDL cholesterols, a greater risk for development of stenoses (blockages) of coronary vessels was present.
    By eating foods in their whole, raw form as much as possible, antioxidant vitamin levels will automatically climb in your tissues.  But as an insurance policy it is wise to increase particularly the three most significant antioxidant vitamins in supplemental form, vitamins C, A (beta carotene) and E.
        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1996: 377
    A study of  22,748 pregnant women demonstrated that those who consumed 10,000 IUs or more of supplemental vitamin A before the seventh week of gestation were at significantly increased risk of carrying a child with a birth defect. 
    Preformed vitamin A in the diet comes from animal sources such as dairy products and liver.  It is also supplemented in some foods and taken as a direct dietary supplement as a part of multi vitamin/mineral tablets and as a vitamin alone.  The RDA for vitamin A is 2700 IUs per day, but many supplements contain more than this and of course people have the ability and sometimes the inclination to take more than the recommended number of tablets of any dietary supplement.
    Provitamin A, or beta-carotene, does not carry the dangers that preformed vitamin A does.  For example, isotretinoin, a synthetic form of vitamin A used in severe cystic acne, can increase the risk of malformation in babies by 25 times or more.  High doses of vitamin A, above 10,000 units per day, as well as Isotretinoin can cause a variety of cranial facial, conotruncal defects, thymus abnormalities and aberrant central nervous system structures in the fetus.   Apparently the vitamin in high dosages affects the development of the embryo’s cephalic neural crest cells from which are derived the various structures mentioned above that can become abnormal.
    On the other hand, if there is not sufficient vitamin A in the diet, birth defects can also occur.  Here we have a classic case of the dose makes the poison.  At a certain level, about 8000 IUs per day, vitamin A is health-enhancing and protects fetuses against abnormalities.   Increase that dosage and you get birth defects.
    The best way to take vitamin A supplements is to take it as part of a vitamin/mineral supplement which includes 0.4 mg of folic acid and no more than 8000 IUs of vitamin A, both of which will help prevent birth defects and otherwise contribute to overall health.
        New England Journal of Medicine, November 23, 1995: 1370-, 1414
    If you suffer from occasional heartburn, you usually know the problem.  Some dietary indiscretion makes you pay dearly after you retire and lie down for the night.  The solution here is don't do again what you just did.  If a particular food causes heartburn, but yet you really love it and can’t live without it, you’re going to have to try to eat it much earlier in the day if possible to permit digestion to occur while you are still upright.
    If heartburn is a chronic problem, then you need to look at the possibility of such risk factors as chocolate, caffeine, peppermint, onions, tomatoes, citrus, alcohol, smoking, aspirin, drugs that relax smooth muscle such as Theophylline and beta agonists, birth control pills, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Heartburn is also a very common problem in the obese.
    For those attempting weight control through increasing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, heartburn is often a natural consequence.  By decreasing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet and increasing proteins, healthful fats and vegetables, many people experience permanent relief.
    When I have the problem, I take one or two 3 mg capsules of garlic oil.  I either swallow these with a little bit of yogurt, or let them semi- melt in my mouth and then swallow them.  I can really stink up the bedroom doing this, but it has been a life saver to me again and again.
    Other remedies include bicarbonate soda or a calcium-based antacid.  Avoid the aluminum products and the sweetened products such as Maalox and Mylanta.
    One physician recommends the following, in addition to a low carbohydrate diet, to be taken in divided doses before meals:
    • Sano-Gastril (a brand name) - 3-6 chewable tablets
    • Gastramet (a brand name) - 3-6 capsules
    • Okra Pepsin (a brand name) - 3 capsules
    • Licorice root extract - 100 mg
    • L-Glutamine (powder) - 2-4 grams. 
        Annals of Internal Medicine, 1995;122
        Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 1972; 31; 1
        Health Revelations, December 1995: 7
    Although aspirin is often an extremely effective treatment for headaches, some people experience stomach distress from it and some even are subject to rebound headaches from its use.  Headaches are not caused by a lack of aspirin and therefore,  it might be wise to try some alternative approaches.
    First of all, review your recent history to see if perhaps the headache is a result of some kind of stress, chemical or food.  Caffeine, cheeses, chocolates, alcohol, hormone therapy, cigarette smoke, medicines, artificial sweeteners and just about anything else may be the cause.   Eliminate causes when they are identified.
    To stop the headache once it has started, you might try one of the following herbs:
    1.          Feverfew - 50-300 mg per day.
    2.          Capsaicin - sniffing this extract from cayenne peppers may provide immediate relief.
    3.          Ginkgo biloba - this herb helps brain circulation and should be taken at recommended label dosages.
    4.          Ginger - 500 mg of dried ginger in a glass of water repeated every four hours as necessary has provided dramatic relief for some people.
    As a preventive, be sure you’re eating fresh, whole, natural foods, exercising regularly, getting outside and breathing fresh air and getting doses of sunshine.  Make it a daily priority to be taking antioxidant supplements, and a broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement including magnesium, vitamin C, the B complex and chromium.  Additionally,  increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet derived from fish oils and flax seed oils can help decrease the inflammatory prostanoids that are often responsible for headache.   The omega-3 oils work similarly to aspirin, but have many more benefits without the potential side effects of a refined drug.
        Lancet, November 7, 1992
        Cephalagia, 1993; 13
        Modern Medicine, 1995; 63; 219