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Editorial Issue 23

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 23 - November 1997

As a child during the 1950s, the treatment for earache was the application of heated oil ear drops. In the days before the widespread use of antibiotics, having a cold meant staying in bed and putting up with the discomfort and deafness of cotton wool plugs in your ears to stop the oil from running out. Although I didn’t like the ear drops, in retrospect this low-tech treatment was less damaging to health than antibiotics fed to children today.

On the negative side, the standard treatment for sore throats or tonsillitis was the surgical removal of your tonsils and adenoids. I never suffered from tonsillitis, but was not spared this surgery (and a diet of jello and ice cream), my first childhood experience of hospitals.

In those days there was an evangelical belief in the ability of science and medicine to conquer and prevent disease, and the development of the polio vaccine by Dr Jonas Salk was hailed, deservedly so, as an inspired deliverance from the curse of polio which left many people paralysed, able to breathe only with the help of an “iron lung”.  As heralded by the war on cancer, it was hoped that medical research would painstakingly discover the causes of diseases, and that the application of scientific medicine would eventually result in the cure and ultimately prevention of major health problems including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

But absolute faith in science and medicine has been shattered many times during the past 30 – 40 years and this has perhaps been a good thing, giving rise to a more critical and sceptical world view, open to the exploration of new paradigms in physics, energy and “holistic” medicine. Hence the presence today of spiritual healers within NHS surgeries, nurses practising Reiki within hospitals (see page 20), and the acceptance and endorsement by the medical profession of previously “alternative” treatments such as acupuncture, homoeopathy, chiropractic and hypnosis.

It is infuriating, therefore, that progress regarding the application of diet and nutrition to the prevention and treatment of many diseases continues to be plagued by an appalling backwardness, ignorance and self-interest within the medical profession, government, industry and the media. As a research scientist who reads mountainous volumes of literature, published in the world’s finest peer reviewed journals attesting to the therapeutic efficacy of certain foods, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients, I can only cringe when the use of diet and nutritional supplements is continually derided and ridiculed, while the consumption of rich food, cream cakes, and alcohol is pushed at and peddled to the public.

Legislation to restrict the level of Vitamin B6 in supplement products to 10 mg is currently under consideration. B6 levels between 11—49 mg would be sold only in pharmacies; above 50 mg would be by prescription only. This proposed legislation, based largely upon a paper considered by experts as being seriously flawed, beggars belief, and has completely demolished any remaining shred of scientific credibility and impartiality of the regulatory bodies involved.

Here we have a government pledged to improve the Health of the Nation, which is intending to restrict the availability of an essential nutrient, vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, mucous membranes, skin, red blood cells, of critical importance to a healthy pregnancy and to brain chemistry, and involved in the manufacture of all amino acid neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Recently published research reports that a significant minority of British young adults are borderline or deficient in vitamin B6 (see Benton et al, page 54). While distinguished experts have decreed that intakes of more than 500 mg per day may carry a risk of neurotoxicity, the government has proposed the restriction of levels of vitamin B6 to merely under 50 mg without prescription! If this proposal becomes law, will we be witnessing the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of consumers for the crime of possessing more than 50 mg of Vitamin B6?

Commitments to improving public health and scientific impartiality seem to have gone down the tubes; our best defense against the imposition of this senseless decree is for all of us to write vehement letters to our MPs. Do it now.


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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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