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Editorial Issue 112

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 112 - June 2005

The freedom to improve our health and treat numerous conditions using nutritional and herbal medicines is constantly under threat. Positive Health has widely publicized the campaigns being conducted by the Alliance for Natural Health to oppose the EU Nutritional and Herbal Supplement Directives. In the May issue we reported an apparent reprieve for the repeal of hundreds of nutritional and herbal products on the 'Positive list'; the final decision will be rendered on 1 August.

Relative Risks Comparing Drugs, Everyday Events, Food and Supplements (see Graph on Letters page 53) compiled by Ron Law, illustrates and calculates the relative risks of events such as highly preventable deaths related to hospital care (>10,000), pharmaceutical drug-related deaths (1,000), food-related deaths (10), compared to the risk of a single flight on a Boeing 747, which is 1 per million passenger flights. The relative risk of natural healthcare products is 0.014. The dot on the bubble graph illustrated on page 53 is too small to print. "According to international risk management literature, supplements fall into the ultra safe category and pharmaceuticals fall into the dangerous activity category…"

Despite this compelling evidence documenting the safety of taking supplements, it is out-of-order for researchers such as Kaye and co-workers from Department of Anesthesiology, Texas Health Sciences Center (see Research Updates page 41) to publish statements such as "Because of the many adverse effects of herbal preparations". This is patently untrue. To err on the side of caution, patients ought to cease taking their herbal medicines for 2 weeks prior to surgery. If they couldn't do without their herbal prescription, then their medical herbalist could consult with the patient's physician and anaesthetist to discuss any potential herbal-drug interactions.

The media revel in raising the spectre of fear about the potential harm of supplements, and are constantly goading us about how we the public are wasting our money in purchasing nutritional and herbal supplements. We aren't often assaulted by such vitriolic diatribes urging us not to spend our money on chocolates, ice cream or booze; in fact, the reverse. Why the paranoia if we wish to consume supplements which may enhance our immune system, help to fight infection and inflammation and perhaps even lower our risk of dying from cancer or heart disease.

Reiterating the safety of nutritional supplements, we publish the authoritative and highly referenced review by Neil Levin regarding Vitamin E safety (see page 53), as well as Patrick Holford's letter explaining the synergistic interactions between Vitamin E and co-enzyme Q, which is blocked by cholesterol-lowing statin drugs and why vitamin E acts as an antioxidant only when co-enzyme Q is present (see page 56).

Serena Smith, suffering from lymphoma and undergoing chemotherapy, decided to supplement her cancer treatment with, as she called them 'illicit complementary treatments' including homeopathy, electrical crystal therapy, acupuncture, flower essences and a CD from InnerTalk for healing. As a complementary healer and practitioner, despite her built-in prejudice against the dangers of chemotherapy, when given the stark choice between dying within a few months or having a chance to live with chemotherapy, Serena took the right decision and went for cancer treatment. However, as she describes in her moving article (see page 20-22), the illicit complementary therapies she had greatly improved her energy levels and helped her cope with the unpleasant side effects of the chemotherapy.

In her final Expert Column, Linda Lazarades (see page 28) recounts the rather fantastic discovery about Vitamin D that may have profound implications for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis. It appears that when there is a deficiency of Vitamin D, cytokine-producing cells, which trigger inflammatory processes, don't die but keep on producing cytokines. This discovery may be clinically useful for many inflammatory conditions, including arthritis and food intolerances.

We have introduced numerous value-added benefits to becoming a Positive Health subscriber. These include free e-books on a spectrum of topics, including Allergies, Cancer Nutritional and Detox Regimes, Chronic Fatigue, Fertility and Childbirth and others. Additionally, subscribers benefit from discounts off quality products, ranging from organic food, supplements, free tickets to major exhibitions and free online advertising for practitioners.

We will be launching additional initiatives to encourage more readers to subscribe, including a free e-newsletter with behind the scenes information about major health topics and items of interest. Positive Health magazine is one of those rare totally independent publications with editorial integrity; I would encourage everyone to log onto to check out all the benefits of subscribing and sign up for your free newsletter.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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