Posts filed under ‘Vitamins + Supplements’

Vitamin Propaganda Continues

I am completely disgusted and seriously alarmed by the tenor of “health news” of late.    Have you noticed?  Everything is aimed at discrediting vitamins.  Never mind that the studies are seriously flawed.  Never mind that other studies show the importance of vitamins to human health. The drug companies (the entities who finance “medical” research in this country) have an agenda — creating doubt about vitamins in the mind of the average American.  Then, when the UN Codex goes into effect (yes, it’s still in the works and its implementation is being negotiated), there will be no hue and cry.

One Sunday morning in February of this year (2007) was an excellent example.  I had Fox News on and their medical specialist was reviewing the latest medical “news.”  The featured stories included the “dangers” of antioxidants, the uselessness of garlic and, oh yes, the safety of estrogen replacement therapy!  I think what made it so powerful to me was the juxtaposition of stories, combined with the news items I have seen that have been completely overlooked by the media that demonstrate just how important vitamins are to human health.  So, let me debunk this morning’s news and fill you in on some very interesting data.  This letter is quite lengthy, but I think the information too important to shortchange.

First, the “dangers” of antioxidants: One of the media outlets actually ran a headline “Vitamins Can Kill!”.  Isn’t yellow journalism wonderful? Now to the facts.   The study is a statistical analysis of previously done research.  Since the numbers in the study are so large, it is considered the ‘best’ study done.  The statisticians substitute quantity as their primary criterion, rather than the quality of the data.  And, if you read the report, you will find that the analysts massaged the statistics to get the result they were looking for. When they first did their analysis the results were neutral.  So, they threw out one-third of the studies in order to demonstrate a very small increase in mortality among people taking anti-oxidants. They didn’t even respect their own standards!

And, as if that weren’t clue enough to their bias, there was also no control for health status or for whether the anti-oxidants were being taken singly or in combination.  Or, even what form or what quality of the anti-oxidants the participants were taking.  Why are these parameters important?  First of all, many people in our culture only turn to vitamin therapy when they are very sick or dying.    Obviously, there is a higher death rate among sick people than well people of the same age!  That’s a ‘duh’!  But, it wasn’t considered important enough to be taken into account.    Secondly, several studies indicate that anti-oxidants work in concert with each other.    Taking them as single items — the medical, drug-based model — results in aberrant outcomes.  They either don’t work as well, or cause unexpected problems.  A good example was the Finnish study from the 1980’s that indicated problems with anti-oxidants.  It was then revealed that Finland has no naturally-occurring selenium in its soil.  And, selenium is crucial to the activity of vitamin E.  But, no selenium supplementation was included in the study.  (For a more detailed discussion, you can access two articles I wrote “Finnish Anti-Oxidant Study” and “Sorting Out The Anti-Oxidant Controversy” on our web site http://www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com under the Heading “Vitamins .”  Just click “Treatments” on the green navigation bar, and then click on Vitamins on the left hand side.)

However, the point of the most recent anti-oxidant study wasn’t clarity, although the study’s primary author insists that it was.  I think the conclusion of the study’s author says it all,  “The governments of the world now have the responsibility to inform people of these results. They have been too slow in the past in requesting that health supplements are properly evaluated, and allowing these products to be added to foods. People have been buying these supplements and foods advertised as having these supplements added under the impression that they
are good for them, when in actual fact they are harmful. Any potential health supplements should not be allowed to be added to foods unless they have been shown to be beneficial, or at least proven not to be harmful.” (emphasis added)  In the article on Medscape, the author commented that the study’s author said that food supplements should be regulated in the same way as medical products.  (The article can be accessed through a Google search: antioxidants + JAMA + 2007; click on Antioxidant Vitamins May Increase Mortality).

I believe the whole point is to accustom people to government regulation of their health options.  We are facing a concerted effort to make all herbs and supplements by prescription only.  (For more information on this, you can go to http://www.healthfreedomusa.org )

At the end of the Fox News segment on this anti-oxidant research, the doctor trotted out the old canard about getting everything you need from food.  Given the amount of data about the degradation of the nutrient content of our food supply, this is laughable.  Remember the recent study showing that fresh produce at the supermarket has the same nutrient content as frozen or canned produce?    And, the fact that in the 1940s, government studies indicated that freezing reduced nutrient content by 98% and canning by 99%?  Anti-oxidants are very sensitive to light, heat and oxidation.  So, they are readily destroyed by our handling and storage procedures.  So, where does that leave us?  Back to choosing the right supplements for our personal needs via a customized blood chemistry panel.

And, what about garlic? The latest study being bandied about states unequivocally that garlic does not affect cholesterol levels. http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20070226/garlic-may-not-lower-cholesterol  This study flies in the face of hundreds of other studies that demonstrate the value of garlic for a multitude of cardiovascular health factors, including:  reduction of arterial plaque formation, reduction in LDL cholesterol, reduction in age-related increases in aortic stiffness, modest reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, platelet inhibition (i.e., a reduction in clot formation), increased fibrinolytic activity (again, reduced clot formation), and reduction in rancidity of the oils in the blood.  Garlic has been called “phyto-HDL” and “herbal warfarin,” but without the side effects.  So, why the dichotomy in the results? Here’s the story.

The problem with this most recent study is that the wrong forms of garlic were used. The study used three types of garlic: raw in sandwiches, garlic powder or powdered Kyolic, an aged garlic which is marketed as odor free.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/27/health/27nost.html.  Why is this a problem?  First of all, the active ingredient in garlic is the smell!  So, obviously, the Kyolic product cannot be considered therapeutic.  It is useless for any of the health benefits of garlic — anticoagulation, cholesterol effects and antibiotic effects.

The mechanism by which garlic produces effects impacts the other two forms of garlic chosen. Once garlic is crushed (chewed or powdered) it releases two chemical precursors that combine in an alkaline environment to produce the active substance.  The alkaline environment in the digestive tract is the small intestine.  The first stop when you swallow is the stomach, which is extremely acid; and the acid destroys the chemical precursors, essentially eradicating any therapeutic effect that garlic might offer.  And, drying garlic to create powder, also damages the allicin.

What you need to know is that, in order for garlic to offer therapeutic effects, it must be in an enteric-coated tablet that dissolves in the small intestine.    Any study done on other forms of garlic is destined for failure. Which, when you think of it, is very convenient if your goal is to discredit a natural agent in favor of expensive — and toxic — drugs. Since there is plenty of information about the correct form of garlic available in the literature, I can only conclude that the study design was deliberately chosen to achieve the desired result.

Third, the Fox News segment addressed the “safety” of estrogen therapy. The doctor was highlighting a study on transdermal estrogen therapy, i.e., patches.  The point of the study was that transdermal delivery reduces the risk of strokes and blood clots. Hunh?  Does everyone in the country suffer from memory loss?  Or, do the commentators just assume we’re stupid?

The news about estrogen-replacement therapy (HRT) is that it is carcinogenic!  All of the studies demonstrate that estrogen therapy increases the risk of breast cancer.    And, this information has been available for years!  Just consult my web site under “Health Conditions,” “Women’s Health” for a series of articles dating back to the 1990s about the risk of cancer with HRT.  Yet, when I did a recent on-line research on this topic, all of the articles I found relating to estrogen therapy and cancer focussed only on endometrial cancer.  Do you remember the drop in cancer rates in this country, particularly breast cancer over the last year?    This was mostly due to women stopping HRT on their own.  Many doctors are urging women to disregard the risk of cancer and continue HRT for its supposed “benefits.”  And, the drug companies are funding many studies to find rationalizations for continued use of hormone prescriptions, because the loss of revenue is seriously affecting their bottom line.

There are many herbal, safe alternatives to menopausal symptoms.  However, the protocol is individualized for each woman.  If you want help, please call the Clinic and schedule a consultation to deal with menopause.

I would like to give you much of the more positive vitamin news that offsets this sort of propaganda; however, space is becoming a problem.  So, let me just give you one example of important news that never made American headlines. The study was conducted in Canada and published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.  It found that children born of mothers who took a daily multivitamin containing folic acid had a much lower risk of common childhood cancers.  The statistics are as follows — a 47-per-cent lower risk for neuroblastoma (the most deadly form of childhood cancer), a 39-per-cent lower risk for leukemia (the most common form of pediatric cancer) and a 27-per-cent lower risk for other brain tumors,such as medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors.  These results are extremely powerful, statistically.  Why haven’t we seen them heralded in every newspaper in the land?  What’s more important than reducing the risk of childhood cancers?  But, I’m afraid positive news regarding vitamin supplementation doesn’t fit the media model.

I have first hand experience of the media bias from just last year.  Remember the West Nile Virus scare, and my recommendations concerning Medi-Herb St. John’s Wort for both prevention and treatment?  I prepared a press release, in an effort to disseminate what I considered to be vitally important information.  We contacted several media outlets, and no one would put it on the air.  Their reason?  Nothing that was not AMA approved got air time!  If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what does.

Other important information about the role of vitamin E taken prenatally to reduce the incidence of asthma in children and the benefits of fish oils in pregnancy can also be found on our web site http://www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com or on my blog, http://www.DrRichardsTalksBack.com.  Space prevents me from elaborating on them  further in this letter.

So, what can you do?  Become an educated consumer.  Read every news article with a skeptic’s eye.    Use my web site or blog, and others like them for analyses of “news articles.”     And, take care of yourself and your family by obtaining a personalized, blood chemistry-based nutrition program from our clinic.

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April 2, 2007 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

Vitamin E and Asthma Risk

I have been very interested in work that is being done in Scotland by Dr Graham Devereux, of the department of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Dr. Devereux and his team studied over 1,250 women who were pregnant and attending neo-natal clinics in Scotland between 1997 and 1999.

They published 2 articles, one in April of this year, and the latest, in September in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study involved maternal diet from conception through age five, tracking the children’s risk of asthma and respiratory disease. Their findings certainly offer food for thought. They found that low intake of vitamin E during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk among offspring for developing persistent asthma, beginning during the first two years of life and continuing to at least until age five. In fact, children born to mothers rated in the bottom 20% for prenatal vitamin E intake were more than five times more prone to asthma than children born to mothers in the top 20% of intake. Youngsters born to mothers with relatively poor vitamin E intake during pregnancy were also at higher risk for developing persistent wheezing in their first 5 years of life, the Scottish researchers reported.

It makes sense, since vitamins E and A are vital to the development of the skin and mucous membranes. And, fetal airways are fully developed during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. It appears that a child’s diet at age 5 has little impact on asthma. Dietary sources of vitamin E include eggs, whole grains {not processed or refined; ie, wheat germ, not white bread}, and soybeans. Vitamin E is added to some oil products to preserve freshness; however, not in large enough quantities to be therapeutic. Refined flour has become so widespread in the American diet that many people no longer tolerate the taste of whole grains and won’t eat them. And, of course, eggs are “taboo” because of cholesterol! That restriction is particularly unwise during pregnancy when the fetus requires cholesterol to build every cell membrane. I would add my clinical experience to this finding. I find that exposure to a number of environmental chemicals, particularly pesticides, markedly increases respiratory problems in young children. There are at least two facets of this study that I find of interest:

  1. It has not received wide attention in the American press. In fact, the week it was published, the lead on all the news programs was about “obesity.” {Please refer to my blog from April 27, 2005 “Body Mass Index Invalid” for another piece of suppressed “health” news.} Yet, the information about vitamin E could actually benefit both you and your children! Trouble is: Vitamin E isn’t a drug, and no one can patent it.
  2. The article I referenced went on to say that “more study” is needed and no one should take vitamin E! Please!! Vitamin E, especially natural vitamin E containing all of the naturally occurring isomers, is essential  to red blood cell membrane integrity {vitally important when exposed to cigarette smoke, or smog!}, skin health, heart health, and is a vital anti-oxidant in eliminating free radicals.

The problem we have, especially in America, is that we have invented an entirely new category of “science.” “Food science.” This discipline — and I use the term loosely — is most concerned about taste, mouth feel, shelf life and customer acceptance. Nutritional value isn’t on the list.

So, we increasingly process and massage our “food.” Moving ever further away from the field and the tree, creating a host of unintended and unpredictable, consequences for ourselves. At my clinic {see www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com}, I routinely provide my patients with nutritional programs based upon their blood chemistry profile. And, yes, vitamin E is one of the foundation items it seems almost every person needs. {See my article “Vitamin E and Heart Health” from November 10, 2004 for the differences in the type of vitamin E}.

Remember one very important point: Human physiology hasn’t changed much over the last 10,000 years. Yet, food fads come and go. It’s very important that we provide our bodies — which are, after all, biological machines — with the essential fuel they have required for the last 100 centuries! Repeatedly, researchers discover that there are good reasons why our foods contain the vitamins and minerals that they do. And, I find that the programs I have prescribed for years are repeatedly validated as “science” catches up with common sense. If you are interested in learning what, if any, nutritional deficiencies you have, contact me through my web site and have a nutritional blood chemistry analysis prepared.

December 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Analysis of Misleading Medical Study re Calcium and Osteoporosis

Are you as tired as I am of all these “scientific studies” designed to demonstrate that what you really need is drugs? The latest in a long list of poorly designed – or possibly, purposefully rigged – studies is the latest, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, on February 16, 2006. The headline screams “Calcium, Vitamin D Won’t Protect Older Women From Fracture.” Let’s analyze both the article on Forbes.com and the study that generated it. The article is very biased. I believe the author reveals that bias by the way the article is structured. The lead sentence basically states that taking daily calcium and vitamin D do not provide significant health benefits. Then, in the second paragraph, a positive finding is actually turned into a negative. It turns out that the calcium given to healthy postmenopausal women over the age of 50, even in the wrong form and at low dose (see more about this below), did increase hip bone density, “. . . but [they received] no significant reduction in their risk of hip fracture until . . . their. . . 60s.” Hunh? “Nearly 50% of all hip fractures occur in adults older than 80 years. Hip fracture at a young age is not common and is usually the result of a MAJOR traumatic event or, RARELY, is related to bone pathology.” (emphasis added) This statement from a teaching article on Emergency Room medicine. (http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic198.htm) Furthermore, the greatest at risk group from osteoporosis is elderly white women, who experience hip fracture. Black women, black men and white men are not among the at risk population. Pub Med has more than 175 articles on this topic. Here is the link to just one which contains this statistic. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8651229&dopt=Abstract) However, the study did not control for race. The third paragraph unequivocally states that vitamin D had no effect on the risk for colorectal cancer. Given the recent information concerning serum vitamin D and incidence of cancer, this statement is simply abysmally ignorant. The truth is, study participants took 400 IUs of vitamin D, the current RDA. However, data has shown that many people suffer from a subclinical vitamin D deficiency and that, as their serum vitamin D concentration rises, their risk of colorectal cancer, as well as reproductive cancers, such as ovarian and breast, declines. This study was published in England, but didn’t make much of a splash in the U.S. (See my last blog on this topic:www.richardsfamilyhealth.blogs.com/) Dosages need to be in the 1,000 to 2,000 IUs per day range, which is the amount we use at the RFHC. There are other problems with the study as well: the form of calcium used, the dosage given, a lack of screening of study participants for their actual risk for osteoporosis, and, lastly, the length of the study. First, the form of the calcium: The study group took 1,000mgs of elemental calcium in the form of calcium carbonate. In other words, they were taking cement! Calcium carbonate is the most unabsorbable form of calcium you can consume. That’s why it’s so cheap. Do you remember the dolomite craze from the 70’s and 80’s? Dolomite is essentially rock that contains calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide. It was hyped as the answer to both your calcium and magnesium requirements. Only trouble was: It didn’t work. You can’t digest rock! Other calcium products that are essentially calcium carbonate include coral calcium and oyster shell calcium. The dosage was also amazingly low and not adjusted for body weight. Body weight dosages of elemental calcium are as follows: 1,000 mg for a person under 120 pounds; 1,500 mg for a person 120 to 200 pounds; and 2,000 mg for people over 200 pounds. Given the increasing weight of the American population, I would venture that few of the study participants weighed less than 120 pounds. And, among the women who took the supplements, there was an average 12% reduction in their incidence of hip fracture, which increased to 21% in women over 60. It would be interesting to know which cohort experienced the reduction. The finding was not considered statistically significant, but it might have been if the researchers had controlled for body weight. As you may be aware, at the RFHC, we use elemental calcium in the form of calcium citrate – which is very absorbable – adjusted for body weight. In Caucasian women (those most at risk for hip fracture) who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal, I add a product which contains bone matrix – microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). This provides all of the co-factors required to rebuild the bone structure into which the body deposits the elemental calcium. Osteoporosis is a degeneration of the bone matrix, as well as a calcium deficiency. With regard to pre-screening for risk of osteoporosis, none was done. Why is this important? Remember, only about 15% of women over the age of 70 will experience a hip fracture. And, primarily Caucasian women are at risk for hip fracture from osteoporosis. Therefore, when you are doing a study with this many participants, any positive result can be washed away by the number of women who simply are not at risk. And, even under these unfavorable conditions, please remember that there was an average 12% reduction in the incidence of hip fracture in women in their 50s. It just wasn’t “statistically significant” because the proper parameters were not applied to the analysis. The length of the study is also an issue. It lasted seven years, which seems like a long time. But, please remember, both cancer and osteoporosis take 10 or even 20 years to develop. Therefore, the study really was short-term and inconclusive. There is one more item of note in the article that I want to emphasize. It illustrates how important an understanding of physiology, rather than pharmacology, is to proper use of nutritional support. It was noted that some of the women taking calcium plus vitamin D experienced an increased risk of kidney stones. This is a direct function of urinary pH. Now, urinary pH is an intensely interesting and complicated topic. It has ramifications for everything from urinary tract infection, to degenerative diseases (i.e., cancer) — to formation of kidney stones. At the RFHC, we routinely monitor urinary pH for anyone on calcium supplementation. The reason? To avoid kidney stones. Most Americans eat a diet heavy in grains and animal protein. That diet yields an acid urinary pH, and therefore, protects from kidney stones. However, if you eat a diet high in vegetables, with little protein and/or low in grains, you shift your urinary pH to the alkaline side. Voila! You are at risk for kidney stones. Therefore, being monitored while taking calcium supplements is extremely important. Finally, I was unable to find out who funded this study, but I have my suspicions. All of the news reports (although not the article I read) concluded by recommending medication, instead of supplementation to reduce your risk. I find it offensive that such an ill-conceived and poorly executed “scientific study” is being used as an excuse to further medicate us, particularly in light of the severe side effects of the popular medications for osteoporosis. These side effects include erosion and perforation of the esophagus and internal bleeding. Some of the medications (Foxamax, e.g.) actually making the bones brittle — which may actually increase the risk of fracture! Once again, we are forced to read with a critical eye, to really understand the “rest of the story.” So, take care of yourself, get your blood work done and obtain a customized nutritional program from the RFHC to optimize your overall health — which includes reducing your osteoporosis risk!

February 24, 2006 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

Vitamin D Benefits

The recent news reports regarding Vitamin D are very interesting. Prior to this, the media has hyped the notion that vitamin D is “toxic” and shouldn’t be taken in high doses. However, Robbins, et al, Pathologic Basis of Disease clearly states that vitamin D toxicity begins at 1,000,000 IUs per day. The U.S. standards for vitamin D (400 I.U.s daily) are ridiculously low, and are based upon the minimum value that was shown to prevent rickets, a serious deficiency disease, causing softening and deformity of the skeleton in children. Now, cancer specialists are changing these standards. The new recommended dose to maintain health is 1,000 IUs (25 mg) per day. That’s 10 8-oz. glasses of milk daily! Obviously, a supplement is much simpler, particularly for those of us who are either allergic to milk or lactose intolerant. Some of the benefits of natural Vitamin D include:

  • protection from cancer of the colon, breast, ovarian and other cancers;
  • lowering insulin resistance, which is one of the major factors leading to heart disease;
  • repair of lung tissue thus preventing lung disease;
  • protection against high blood pressure by regulating serum calcium levels;
  • and regulation of the immune system, which has an impact on auto-immune diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
  • All of this is in addition to the prevention of rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

There is an interesting article in The Independent, a British publication. The article points out that the campaign to reduce skin cancer by using sun blockers has unexpected side effects — a deficiency in vitamin D which contributes to increased rates of some cancers and osteoporosis. This is particularly a problem in parts of the world where there is little sunshine in the winter months. Researchers at the University of San Diego in California, after reviewing 63 scientific papers on the link between vitamin D3 and cancer published between 1966 and 2004, concluded that people living in the northeastern US, where there is less sun, and African Americans with darker skin were more likely to be vitamin D deficient. They found a correlation with higher cancer rates in these populations, as much as a 50% increase. The reason scientists are paying attention is that the difference is so huge, statistically. But, of course, the media is now featuring other “experts” who maintain that anything over 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day can damage the kidneys and liver. This is, of course, based upon the side effects of synthetic vitamin D, which is not what the research is recommending. The recommendation is for natural vitamin D, also known as D-3, which is the form I have been using for years. By the way, synthetic vitamin D (D2) is no longer listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference. Too toxic — I suspect. The problem with media coverage is that almost all reporters are ignorant of the distinctions I discuss in this article. Reporters simply look for controversy; there is no such thing any more as factual, scientific reporting without finding someone — no matter what their axe to grind — to oppose the information being presented. It’s exhausting, don’t you think? While we haven’t known all of this information, the alternative health care community has long stated that the American population is relatively vitamin D deficient. If you have had a personalized nutritional program prepared by me using your blood chemistry, you are aware that I often prescribe relatively “high” doses of vitamin D (15,000 to 45,000 IUs per day), with no adverse effects; I know, because I’ve monitored these higher doses carefully. So, we’re again finding that optimum nutrition based on your blood profile provides more benefits than you might expect.

December 29, 2005 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

West Nile Virus and St John’s Wort

West Nile Virus, although new to the US, is well-documented. The Centers for Disease Control identifies it as a flavivirus, a member of the Togavirus family. It is closely related to yellow fever and dengue fever. This is important because the Togavirus family are encapsulated viruses, i.e., they are covered with a lipid (fatty) coating. This is exciting, because it means the virus is accessible to treatment utilizing high quality St. John’s Wort (SJW). Several studies have been done on a variety of encapsulated viruses, including herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, parainfluenza virus, vaccinia virus, cytomegalovirus and several retroviruses including HIV1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10. Non-encapsulated viruses or “naked” viruses were also studied for comparison purposes10,13. SJW was a potent anti-viral agent across a variety of encapsulated virus families, but showed no activity against naked viruses. Unlike a vaccine that is specific to each organism, SJW is active against encapsulated viruses by a variety of mechanisms, including light activation, interference with DNA transcription, impairing the assembly of intact viral particles and the lipophilic (fat-loving) nature of the ring structures (the quinone and phenolic groups)4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. These ring structures are critical to the biologic activity of SJW. From these results, it is reasonable to use high quality, pharmaceutical grade SJW in combating West Nile Virus, since there are no effective pharmaceutical agents. Quality is critical since the level of hypericin and pseudohypericin are key. I can only recommend the SJW product produced by Medi-Herb, which is a pharmaceutical house in Australia, adhering to pharmaceutical manufacturing standards. The product is distributed by Standard Process through alternative health care practitioners, including doctors of chiropractic, acupuncturists and veterinarians. SJW is quite unstable and the active ingredients degrade on store shelves. An independent analysis of 3 products (all of which were certified to contain 0.3% hypericin) were shown to be widely variant, with one product 25% below label claims. It is critically important that the phytochemical integrity of the whole plant be preserved for maximum efficacy.16 Medi-Herb SJW is available at the RFHC and is the only brand we carry. References: 1. Andersen DO, Weber ND, Wood SG et al. Antiviral Res 1991; 16(2): 185-196. 2. Lopez-Bazzocchi I, Hudson JB, Towers GHN. Photochem.Photopbiol. 1991; 54(1): 95-98. 3. Moraleda G, Wu TT, Jilbert AR et al. Antiviral Res 1993; 20: 235-247. 4. Tang J, Colacino JM, Larsen SH et al. Antiviral Res 1990; 13 (6): 313-325. 5. Hudson JB, Harris L, Towers GHN. Antiviral Res 1993; 20 (2):173-178. 6. Lenard J, Rabson A, Vanderoef R. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993; 90 (1): 158-162. 7. Degar S, Prince AM, Pascual D et al. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 1992; 8 (11): 1929-1936. 8. Carpenter S, Kraus GA. Photochem Photobiol 1991; 53 (2): 169-174. 9. Lavie G, Valentine F, Levin B et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1989; 86 (15): 5963-5967. 10. Meruelo D, Lavie G, Lavie D et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1988; 85 (14): 5230-5234. 11. Kraus GA, Pratt D, Tossberg J et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1990; 172 (1): 149-153. 12. Takahashi I, Nakanishi S, Kobayashi E et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1989; 165 (3): 1207-1212. 13. De Witte P, Agostinis P, Van Lint J et al. Biochem Pharmacol 1993; 46 (11): 1929-1936. 14. Panossian AG, Gabrielian E, Manvelian V et al. Phytomed 1996; 3 (1): 19-28. 15. Lavie G, Mazur Y, Lavie D et al. Transfusion 1995; 35 (5): 392-400. 16. Constantine GH, Karchesy J. Variations in Hypericin concentrations in Hypericum perforatum L. and commercial products. Pharmaceutical Biology 1998; 36 (5): 365-367.

November 16, 2005 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

CODEX, Supplements & Dianne Feinstein

As promised, here is the text of the letter Senator Feinstein sent one of my clients in response to her inquiry concerning the availability of supplements if CODEX is implemented in the U.S. I have crossed out her name and e-mail address to protect her privacy. If you are affiliated with the Democratic party and are concerned about the availability of natural health care, I recommend you contact the Senator’s office personally and express your dismay at her position. The issue regarding ephedra is a red herring, since the herb was being abused, not used. Yet, we are all being punished as a result of the actions of a few!! “From: senator@feinstein.senate.gov Date: August 12, 2005 9:34:46 AM PDT To: Subject: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message August 12, 2005 Mrs. xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx Pasadena, California xxxxx Dear Mrs.xxxx: Thank you for writing to me with your thoughts about regulating dietary supplements. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome this opportunity to respond. The availability of dietary supplements to the public is important, but it is equally important that these supplements do not put the consumer’s health at stake. I believe that if we are to ensure the safety of those who consume dietary supplements, we must make sure that these supplements are not hazardous to their health. We cannot allow deaths, such as those caused by the dietary supplement Ephedra, to continue. The herbal supplement Ephedra was associated with 164 deaths between 1994 and April of 2004, when it was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sadly, in the time between the FDA announcement of the ban in December of 2003 and the time of the ban’s implementation in April of 2004, four people died from taking Ephedra. I believe that something more must be done to ensure that dietary supplements are safe and effective. Last year, I cosponsored the ADietary Supplement Safety Act of 2003” that would require all dietary supplement manufacturers to report serious adverse experiences to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. After one or more of these reports are collected, the FDA would conduct a detailed evaluation process and investigate the occurrences. Waivers would be available for certain supplements that would not warrant such concerns. Under the bill, the FDA could only remove products from the market if it determines that the product “is not safe or has not been shown to be safe under ordinary or frequent conditions of use.” As such, unless a vitamin is shown to cause such serious adverse events, it could not be removed from the market under this bill. This bill did not pass the Senate last year, but similar legislation may come before the Senate during this Congress. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind. Again, thank you for writing. I appreciate knowing your views on this issue. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to call my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841. Sincerely yours, Dianne Feinstein United States Senator http://feinstein.senate.gov Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website http://feinstein.senate.gov. You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at http://feinstein.senate.gov/issue.html.”

August 16, 2005 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Your Freedom of Choice in Health Care May Be at Risk

There may be a threat to your access to vitamins and minerals looming on the horizon. It’s called the Codex Alimentarius, a United Nations regulation purporting to set international standards for nutritional supplements. I don’t want to “cry wolf”, but there may be some very disturbing developments on the horizon with regard to supplements. I will attempt to summarize the information for you in this post; however, this subject is broad and the opinions many. I recommend you check out the web links listed at the end of this article and reach your own decision. You may have heard of the Codex Alimentarius before, since it’s been around for a while. It is a U.N. project and essentially establishes a world-wide food law governing not only food purity, but vitamins and minerals, as well. The intent is to make the Codex Alimentarius Commission “The” final authority on all matters related to health and nutrition. The Commission was established by and works in coordination with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It has been in existence since 1962. Enforcement of its provisions falls under the purview of the World Trade Organization (WTO) via international trade sanctions. Some of the Codex provisions include setting a maximum “safe” limit for vitamins and minerals in nutritional supplements. This regulation has been in the works for many years and it is set to go into effect this summer. I have seen two different dates — June and August of 2005. In most cases, this will mean no vitamins with potencies higher than RDA (ie, 1.2 mg vitamin B1, 33 mg vitamin C, etc.) And, certain items will simply be illegal — CoQ10, digestive enzymes, mixed tocopherol vitamin E, to name some of the most important ones. It also prohibits anyone from sharing information about the health benefits of nutritional supplementation or foods. Any written guidance would have to be “vetted” through a centralized Commission Approval procedure! All of my nutrition reports and newsletters will immediately become illegal! The pharmaceutical industry has been able to convince certain nations (and only nations can vote) that there is no health benefit from vitamins and they do not prevent disease. I have been trying to get some hard information from a variety of sources to attempt to assess how serious a problem this will be for natural health care and I cannot get ANY hard information. I simply get a variety of conflicting stories and empty assurances. I have called my local congressman’s office — they know nothing about it. I called the Los Angeles office of the FDA, their public information office — she knew nothing about it. I talked to one of my largest nutrition suppliers — they assured me their attorneys said it was “no threat.” In mid-March, I heard back from the FDA public information officer. She sent me the information from the FDA web site (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dscodex.html). The information states that there will be no impact on the availability of vitamins and minerals in the U.S. However, there are several issues that are not addressed. First of all, many of the raw materials are produced overseas. CoQ10, for example is produced in Japan, which owns the patent. In addition, many amino acids are produced in Japan. We have already seen an impact in the pricing of CoQ10. I called Metagenics and they do, indeed, obtain their raw product from Japan. The other major concern to me is that the FDA web site does not address the issue of dissemination of health information by practitioners, such as myself. One of the reasons I have trouble accepting these assurances is that I am noticing disturbing news articles in the American press. If you have been following the news with regard to Vitamin E, you know that the March 16, 2005 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association contains an article claiming that vitamin E increases the risk of death from heart failure and has no health benefits whatsoever. Of course, the product used was “natural source vitamin E,” which means purified d-alpha tocopherol, since 90%+ of vitamin E on the shelves is d-alpha tocopherol. (See my earlier post for an analysis of this controversy.) And, do you remember the flap a few years ago that vitamin C causes genetic damage? Again, experiments done in the test tube, not in a human being. Unfortunately, the Codex Commission depends upon research funded at large universities (mostly by drug companies), and we have already seen, in just these 2 examples, how research can be manipulated to give the desired result. I believe we are being conditioned to accept that vitamins are not good for us and access to them should, therefore, be limited. The question becomes: What can you do?

  1. Increase awareness of the Codex. Tell everyone you know that an unelected and unreachable international organization wants to govern your access to health information.
  2. Share your opinions about this matter with your elected representatives in Congress. Remember: be original, be specific and be constructive. Congresspeople get thousands of pieces of mail. (To find the appropriate e-mail addresses, go to http://www.webslingerz.com/ jhoffman/congress-email.html)

I urge you to do your own research and take the actions you deem appropriate. I will admit that I am frightened by what is happening; but, I can’t make decisions for you. Each of us must evaluate the information for ourselves and take the action we are comfortable with. LINKS: (COPY AND PASTE INTO YOUR BROWSER) http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dscodex.html http://www.webslingerz.com/ jhoffman/congress-email.html http://organicconsumers.org/politics/supplements32705.cfm The CODEX conspiracy … has rapidly pushed their legislative program (Codex Alimentaris) in Europe that will … CODEX drastically restricts vitamins, minerals, herbs and other … LP: CODEX ALIMENTARIS ENDS US SUPPLEMENTS IN JUNE 2005 Liberty Post: CODEX ALIMENTARIS ENDS US SUPPLEMENTS IN JUNE 2005. … choice Americans now have to purchase vitamins, herbs, minerals, homeopathic remedies, … Re: Prescriptions For US All Vitamins/Supplements In June … … Synopsis: Codex Alimentaris Ends US Supplements In June 2005 … they will also take money from the people who peddle vitamins/nutritional supplements. … LookSmart’s Furl – The watxe Archive … Dr. James Howenstine — Codex Alimentaris Ends US Supplements in June 2005… now have to purchase vitamins, herbs, minerals, homeopathic remedies, … http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/PHARMACEUTICAL_BUSINESS/health_movement_against_codex/ http://www.fao.org/documents/show_cdr.asp?url_file=/docrep/w9114e/W9114e00.htm http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/members.jsp?lang=EN http://www.hfn-usa.com/articles/codex-pr.html http://www.newswithviews.com http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/3/prweb218763.php. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/3/prweb218383.php. http://www.alliance-natural-health.org/index.cfm?action=practitioners http://thelawloft.com/Freedom/050125_us_law.htm (THIS ARTICLE IS PARTICULARLY ENLIGHTENING) A new link I discovered May 1st, which tries to give an overview and contains many of the materials cited above: http://www.lostartsmedia.com/thingscodex.html It may be a bit extreme, since at this point, no one really knows for sure. But, it does contain the text of the Codex regarding vitamins.

April 7, 2005 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

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