Newsletter v1n5

Newsletter v1n5
Back Issues

"The best doctor gives the least medicines." (Benjamin Franklin) The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER Vol 1, No 5 January 5, 2001 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of , a free online library of more than 180 natural healing articles with over 2,500 scientific references.

VITAMINS FIGHT LEARNING DISABILITIES Nutritional supplements were used, with considerable success, to help overcome learning disabilities in children. In a well-designed clinical trial, "megavitamin" doses were seen to be safe and remarkably effective, even offering improvement in Downs Syndrome children.

Dr. Ruth F. Harrell and associates published their important findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (78:574-578)... in 1981! Although Medical Tribune picked the story up, it is likely that your doctor is as unaware of this research as I was until one of my chiropractic students showed it to me in '93.

The Harrell study was successful because her team gave LD kids much larger doses of vitamins than other researchers: over 100 times the ADULT (not child's) RDA for riboflavin; 37 times the RDA for niacin (given as niacinamide); 40 times the RDA for vitamin E; and 150 times the RDA for thiamin. These are the quantities that evidently get results, and get them safely. Safety and effectiveness are the rule, not the exception, with therapeutic nutrition.

Here is an abstract (summary) of this important article:

"To explore the hypothesis that mental retardations are in part genetotrophic diseases (diseases in which the genetic pattern of the afflicted individual requires an augmented supply of one or more nutrients such that when these nutrients are adequately supplied the disease is ameliorated), we carried out a partially double-blind experiment with 16 retarded children (initial IQs, approximately 17-70) of school age who were given nutritional supplements or placebos during a period of 8 months. The supplement contained 8 minerals in moderate amounts and 11 vitamins, mostly in relatively large amounts. During the first 4- month period (double-blind) the 5 children who received supplements increased their average IQ by 5.0-9.6, depending on the investigator, whereas the 11 subjects given placebos showed negligible change. The difference between these two groups is statistically significant (P less than 0.05). During the second period, the subjects who had been given placebos in the first study received supplements; they showed an average IQ increase of at least 10.2, a highly significant gain (P less than 0.001). Three of the five subjects who were given supplements for both periods showed additional IQ gains during the second 4 months. Three of four children with Down syndrome gained between 10 and 25 units in IQ and also showed physical changes toward normal. Other evidence suggests that the supplement improved visual acuity in two children and increased growth rates. These results support the hypothesis that mental retardations are in part genetotrophic in origin."

What intrigues me most is the need to explore this area further, and medical reluctance to do so. As Lincoln said of the little girl who put her hand in the stocking, "It strikes me that there's something in it." I urge you to read the full paper: Harrell RF, Capp RH, Davis DR, Peerless J, Ravitz LR Can nutritional supplements help mentally retarded children? An exploratory study. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1981 Jan;78(1):574-8.

Dr. Harrell, who had been publishing on vitamin effects on learning for over 30 years, was not inventing the idea of megavitamin therapy suddenly in one paper. Nor has the work ended; the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine is a good resource if you want to know more.

WHY JUICE? You cannot buy freshly prepared vegetable juice in any store at any price... unless they literally juice the vegetables right in front of your eyes and you drink it down before they make you pay for it!. Any juice in a carton, can or bottle has been heat treated and was certainly packaged at least a few days, if not weeks, months or even years ago. This applies to frozen juice, too. So you need one essential and somewhat expensive appliance: your own juicer.

A juicer is not a blender. A juicer makes juice; a blender makes raw baby food. There is nothing wrong with blending your foods. If you found such food to your liking, it would actually be very digestible. However, to make palatable juice you need to extract the fluid part of the vegetable along with the vitamins, minerals and enzymes it contains. Therefore, you need a juice extractor. And we are not referring to a whirl-top orange juicer, either.

Be sure to get a really good juicer. Good juicers make tastier juices, faster. Good juicers also clean up more quickly than cheap juicers. I have no financial connection whatsoever with anyone who makes or sells a juicer. I do not sell juicers, but I sure do recommend owning one. (Okay, I have five. But you'd expect that, wouldn't you?) I personally like the "Champion" brand juicer. Quick and easy to use and to clean. I've had mine for 15 years now and it is used daily. I did buy for an extra blade assembly, but haven't really needed it yet.

The secret to easy clean-up: The moment you have finished making (and drinking!) your juice, just rinse the cleanable parts with water and set them in a dish-drainer rack until the next use. Soap will rarely be necessary as long as you don't mind the plastic parts of the juicer gradually becoming the same color as your favorite vegetables.

WHAT TO JUICE You can juice almost anything you can eat raw. Vegetables are best, especially carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, zucchini squash, romaine lettuce, sprouts, celery and cabbage. You may juice fruits also, naturally. Freshly made raw apple, grape, and melon juices are delicious. It is not generally a good idea to juice potatoes, eggplant or Lima beans (not that you'd want to.) It is wise to peel vegetables that have been sprayed or waxed, such as cucumbers. Sprayed fruits are also good to peel before juicing. Carrots and other underground vegetables often do not need peeling. Instead, give them a good scrubbing with a nylon-bristle vegetable brush while rinsing under tap water. Beets are the exception. Since beet skins are very bitter, it is wise to peel beets before juicing. A hint to save time: dip the beets for about 20 seconds in boiling water and then peel them... it's much easier.

Your juice will taste the best if you drink it right after preparing it. I mean within moments! Fresh juice contains a great amount of raw food enzymes and vitamins, many of which are easily lost as the juice sits. So don't let it sit! Drink it right down, with the thought that this is unbelievably good for you.

HOW MUCH JUICE TO DRINK Drink as much juice as you wish. Remember that it is a food, not a beverage and that you can have as much as you want. There is little fear of over doing it. It is, after all, hard to hurt yourself with vegetables!

More juicing hints at

FITNESS FOR FREE (or close to it!) Some people buy expensive athletic footwear and join pricey exercise clubs. Why? Here is how to get all the benefits of exercise on a shoestring.

1. Adopt a dog. Even if you don't like to exercise, dogs like to. Here's an excuse to walk, jog, or run: blame the dog. A dog HAS to go out several times daily; here's automatic exercise for both of you. Dogs are good company and they don't talk. Plus, nothing adds security to a lone runner like a nice 90-pound doggie.

2. Drive a pickup truck instead of a car. All your friends will want you to help them move. Guaranteed weight-lifting opportunities await you; not to mention how alluring trucks can be to the opposite sex.

3. Better yet, don't have a vehicle at all. Two bags of groceries looks like nothing... until you have to carry them a mile home. I know; before I learned to drive, I lived in rural Vermont. There are few stores there... and a lot of hills. Which brings us to the next idea:

4. Always choose a house on top of a hill. Or, choose a top floor apartment. It is quieter anyway, and you have daily exercise on the stairs.

5. Start a garden. Turn over the soil by hand (yes, using a shovel as well) and you will get real exercise. Then the planting, weeding, watering and harvesting activities are also good exercise. May I also add that this is one of the few exercises that feeds you as a side benefit?

6. Get a woodstove. Not only will you likely save money heating with wood, but you get exercise in supplying the stove with the very wood it burns. Henry David Thoreau said that wood warms us three times: once in cutting it and hauling it in, once from the heat it provides as it burns, and once more from the warm glow you feel as you watch the fire. I think that with oil and natural gas prices going through the roof (so to speak) this winter, you will get a fourth warm feeling: from all the money you save heating with wood.

Curiously, many of the above exercise ideas were life's regular activities for our pioneer forefathers and mothers. They did not need health spas and gyms. They got exercise in keeping warm, keeping fed, and taking care of their family.

BOOK REVIEW: The Greatest Health Discovery

I would catch a little flak from my graduate students every time I'd trot out "old" research studies from the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Now to REALLY annoy them: here's a book of largely pre-Civil War sources of drugless healing. For when Hygienists speak of the 40's and 50's, you don't even know at first which century they are referring to. The natural hygiene lifestyle not only avoids drugs, but also involves neither supplements or nor remedies of any kind. Its reliance on clean living, sunshine, water, unprocessed raw food and therapeutic fasting is straight out of the 1800's.

The Greatest Health Discovery is a condensed recap of the writers and ideas that have shaped some 200 years of an American version of macrobiotics, and is a veritable natural health hall of fame. It includes Dr. Sylvester Graham (born in 1794), who is known for the crackers that bear his name. Did you know that his lecture in my home town of Rochester, NY drew three thousand people at a time when all roads leading to it were made of dirt? (I missed hearing him by just over a hundred years.) There's James Calab Jackson, M.D., abolitionist and founder of what was the world's largest naturopathic hospital in Dansville, NY. There's John H. Tilden, M.D., the originator of the theory of systemic toxemia as the root cause of all illness, and the work of famed twentieth century author Dr. Herbert M. Shelton.

My favorite account is that of Russell Thacker Trall, M.D., who founded the first hydrotherapy facility in the U.S. in 1844, and is credited with setting down a system of natural hygiene still followed to this day. So convinced was Dr. Trall that drugs were poisons, and that food and water would cure, that during the Civil War he wrote to various departments in Washington and to President Lincoln himself, offering "a system of the healing art which, applied to the treatment of the diseases prevailing in the camps and hospitals of our armies, would save thousands of the lives of our officers and soldiers." (page 55) Dr. Trall's successful patients included members of Congress. When he lectured at the Smithsonian Institution in February, 1862, he argued that Willie Lincoln, the President's teenage son, need not die from "a cold, a pneumonia or a fever" but to no avail. To this day, Presidents and Congress are yet to act on the advice of natural healing advocates.

And by the way, Dr. Trall's letters were never answered.

The Greatest Health Discovery is by the Natural Hygiene Society (of America), Natural Hygiene Press, Inc., 1972. Ask your librarian to get you a copy through interlibrary loan.

Vitamin C sprayed into the mouth during cigarette smoking gradually reduces the craving to smoke. Food consumption also declines, as do hunger cravings. By the end of one study, smoking behavior was either reduced or stopped completely. This unusual example of vitamin C's versatility was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 1993:337, pp 211-213.

Isn't it a wonder that the media seem to have missed this one?

DoctorYourself Recommended Website of the Month: You've got to love this scientifically-based site's on-line slide show about mercury toxicity, put together by the chairman of the University of Kentucky Chemistry Department. Thanks to Steve Emerson for the link.

VITAMIN MYTH #5: "There is no difference between synthetic and natural vitamins."

That is most certainly not true of vitamin E. Synthetic DL-alpha tocopherol is far less clinically effective than the natural (d-alpha) form of vitamin E. In addition, synthetic products may fail to contain natural fractions that are therapeutically important. Synthetic beta-carotene, for example, is clinically useless. All the carotenes are needed (and there are many of them), not just the beta form.

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Irregular menstrual cycles? This may sound like an offbeat idea, but many of my adult students have reported that it's helped normalize periods: Try eating a few tablespoons of wheat germ daily. Ladies can put it on breakfast cereal, or on ice cream, and it's not bad. Make sure the wheat germ is fresh, or vacuum packed. I am not saying that this is the sure answer, but it is a harmless method to try. See a doctor if the problem persists.

Today's Reason to Become (More of) a Vegetarian:

Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their risk of a brain tumor. Youngsters eating other cured meats, such as ham, sausage and bacon, had an 80 percent higher risk of brain cancer. This study was done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Kids eating more than twelve hot dogs a month (that's barely three hot dogs a week) have nearly ten times the risk of leukemia as children who ate none. This research was done at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles. But here is the very important good news: Children who ate hot dogs and other cured meats, but who also took supplemental vitamins, had reduced cancer risk. (Jean Carper's syndicated column in Lancaster, PA Intelligencer-Journal, Weds., June 22, 1994.)

Do you recall ever hearing anything in the media about this?

COMING IN THE NEXT ISSUE: Ulcers: A Clinically Proven Naturopathic Treatment Reader's Question: Coughing How Safe is Saccharin, Really? Eye Twitches And more, of course!

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