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Letters to the Editor Issue 113

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listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 113 - July 2005

Global Battle Erupts Over Vitamin Supplements

Bill Sardi
In an unprecedented action, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UNICEF), and an AIDS activist group that promotes drug therapy in South Africa, joined forces in opposing vitamin therapy that exceeds the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), and in particular vitamin C in doses they describe as being “far beyond safe levels”. These health agencies suggest nutrients primarily be obtained from the diet and warn that supplemental doses of vitamin C that exceed a 2000 milligram per day upper limit could cause side effects such as diarrhoea. The AIDS activist group also suggests patients receiving doses beyond the RDA should undergo proper counselling and informed consent before being placed on high-dose vitamin C.

As outrageous as these statements sound, they burst into public view recently with an ongoing battle between Dr Matthias Rath (, a former Linus Pauling researcher, and The Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. The public battle ensued after Dr Rath published a full-page ad in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune advocating vitamin therapy over anti-AIDS drug therapy. Coinciding with these full-page newspaper ads is a legal battle underway in South Africa where The Treatment Action Campaign seeks to censor statements made by Dr Rath.

Dr Rath cites a study by Harvard Medical School researchers that showed dietary supplements slow the progression of AIDS and resulted in a significant decline in viral count. [New England Journal of Medicine 351: 23-32, 2004]. Harvard researchers responded by saying vitamin therapy is important but may not replace anti-viral drug therapy.

Diet Promoted over Supplements
UNICEF and WHO advocate a balanced diet rather than supplements despite the fact AIDS patients have nutritional needs that exceed what the best diet can provide. AIDS patients often exhibit nutrient deficiencies due to malabsorption or diarrhoea. Vitamin E, one of the supplemental nutrients provided in a cocktail developed by Dr Rath for AIDS patients, is known to reduce the incidence of diarrhoea [STEP Perspectives 7: 2-5, 1995].

RDA for Vitamin C is Bogus
Furthermore, the RDA for vitamin C established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), referred to by the Treatment Action Campaign, was established using testing methods that have been proven to be inaccurate. A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine by NIH scientists clearly shows much higher vitamin C levels can be achieved with oral dosing than previously thought possible [Annals Internal Medicine 140: 533-7, 2004]. Twelve noted antioxidant researchers have petitioned the Food & Nutrition Board to review the RDA for vitamin C now that it is apparent the RDA is based upon flawed research ( Steve Hickey PhD and Hilary Roberts, pharmacology graduates of Manchester University, have authoritatively outlined the flaws in the current RDA for vitamin C []. Furthermore, the RDA was established for healthy people and does not apply to patients with serious infectious disease such as AIDS patients.

Health Groups Tip their Hand
This battle over vitamin supplements may be a foretaste of what will happen later this year when a worldwide body called Codex Alimentarius will meet to establish upper limits on vitamin and mineral supplements. Codex is governed under the auspices of the United Nations and World Health Organization. These health organizations are tipping their partiality for drugs over nutritional supplements.

For example, Codex may establish a 2000 mg upper limit for vitamin C as previously proposed by the National Academy of Sciences, or as low as 225 mg which was recently established by German health authorities. Controlled studies do not support the use of either number.

Dr Rath is reported to recommend 4000 milligrams of daily vitamin C for AIDS patients. The amount of oral vitamin C that a patient can tolerate without diarrhoea increases proportionately to the severity of their disease [Med Hypotheses 18: 61-77. 1985]. AIDS patients often don’t exhibit any diarrhoea with extremely high-dose vitamin C therapy. Diarrhoea may occur among healthy individuals following high-dose vitamin C therapy depending upon how much vitamin C is consumed at a single point in time. Divided doses taken throughout the day minimizes this

Huckster or Helper?
Dr Rath, a renowned vitamin researcher who described a vitamin C cure for heart disease and cancer in 1990 in collaboration with Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling [Proc Natl Academy Sciences 87: 9388-90. 1990], is characterized as a “wealthy vitamin salesman” by the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. Rath’s vitamin company is providing free vitamin therapy for AIDS victims in South Africa.

Anti-AIDS Drug Therapy Failing
World health organizations appear to be solely backing AIDS drug therapy at a time when a highly drug-resistant strain of HIV that quickly progresses to AIDS has been reported in New York [AIDS Alert 20: 39-40. 2005], and drug resistance is a growing problem [Top HIV Medicine 13: 51-57. 2003]. It’s only a matter of time till all current anti-AIDS drugs fail.

Of particular interest is selenium, a trace mineral included in Dr Rath’s anti-AIDS vitamin regimen, which appears to slow progression of the disease. Researchers report HIV infection has spread more rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa than in North America primarily because Africans have low dietary intake of selenium compared to North Americans. [Medical Hypotheses 60: 611-14. 2003]. Selenium appears to be a key nutrient in counteracting certain viruses and HIV infection progresses more slowly to AIDS among selenium-sufficient individuals [Proceedings Nutrition Society 61: 203-15, 2002].

The strong reaction by world health organizations against vitamin supplements causes one to wonder if they are afraid vitamin therapy will actually prove to be a viable alternative to AIDS drug therapy.

Bill Sardi
Knowledge of Health 457 West Allen Avenue #117 San Dimas, CA 91773 USA
Tel: 909 596 9507;


Chris Gupta

AIDS Orthodoxy Shaken Up By Maverick Physician

By Peter Chowka©
The highest profile challenge in at least five years to the international medical-industrial complex’s mega-billion-dollar, drug-centered research and treatment approach to confronting HIV/AIDS is occurring right now in South Africa (SA). In 2000, debate about HIV/AIDS also raged in that nation as SA President Thabo Mbeki challenged the partly line that HIV causes AIDS and rejected, for a time, the treatment of individuals who test positive for HIV, and/or who have symptoms associated with AIDS, exclusively with expensive, highly toxic antiretroviral drugs.

Eventually, coordinated efforts and outright threats by the world’s allopathic medical experts, the powerful HIV/AIDS Establishment, NGOs (non governmental organizations including so-called private charities), Western politicians, the United Nations, and the mainstream media succeeded in somewhat reigning in Mbeki on the HIV/AIDS issue. To a surprising extent, however, Mbeki’s government, which is still in power in SA, has not embraced the drug treatment approach to HIV/AIDS completely or quickly enough in the view of its critics.

During the past year, another antagonist has engaged the experts: Matthias Rath, MD, a German born medical doctor who has worked in the United States, including, for a short time in the early 1990s, with the late Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling, PhD The ‘about Dr Rath’ page of one of Rath’s Web sites describes the doctor: “Matthias Rath, MD is an internationally respected physician, researcher, author and humanitarian. Dr Rath’s scientific discoveries in the areas of heart disease and cancer are reshaping medicine.” Rath’s brief association with Pauling involved their proposing a theory of heart disease being related to vitamin C.

Rath’s Background
During the latter half of the 1990s and into the 21st Century, Rath, according to his Web sites, developed and proposed a variety of nutritionally-based ‘solutions’ for heart disease and cancer, and put forth a concept of ‘cellular medicine’, which was defined as a “new branch of medicine that scientifically establishes nutrient deficiencies as the root cause of today’s most common diseases. Cellular Medicine identifies the optimum daily intake levels of essential nutrients for disease prevention and treatment.”

Rath Takes on AIDS, Inc.
In the spring of 2005, Rath paid for the publication of a series of full page advertisements in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and other mainstream newspapers including a major daily in South Africa. One of the ads, published May 10, 2005, was titled “Stop AIDS Genocide By the Drug Cartel!” The advertisement reads, in part, “This human tragedy [of AIDS in Africa] has become a multi-billion dollar market for the pharmaceutical investment business – the drug cartel – in which the return of investment is based on the continuation of the AIDS epidemic. To maintain their global market with patented AIDS drugs, the pharmaceutical drug cartel promotes so-called antiretroviral (ARV drugs) to combat immune deficiencies. These ARV drugs severely damage all cells in the body – including white blood cells – thereby not improving but rather worsening immune deficiencies and expanding the AIDS epidemic…

In contrast to the conventional pharmaceutical treatment methods favoured the individuals and agencies Rath singles out, he proposes that “Micronutrients Alone Can Promote the Defence Against AIDS.”

And why does Rath focus on the country of South Africa? “South Africa,” according to the ad, “Leads Global Health Liberation from the Drug Cartel… Through their involvement in the AIDS epidemic the drug cartel has turned South Africa and the African continent into a battleground to force its multi-billion dollar drug business upon the entire developing world. The people and the government of South Africa have taken on this fight by basing its health care system on effective and affordable natural health solutions. The scientific foundation for this health approach is documented in every textbook of biology and biochemistry: vitamins and other micronutrients are essential cofactors for optimum metabolism of millions of cells in our body – including the cells responsible for effective immune defence. By doing so the South African government is tearing down the artificial wall built in the interest of the drug cartel between biological science and pharma-oriented medicine. Withholding life-saving information about effective natural health and keeping the people of the world ‘health illiterate’ has been the basis for the multi-billion dollar global investment business with patented synthetic drugs. In this war between natural health and the ‘business with disease’ of the drug cartel there can be only one winner. The control of the AIDS epidemic through natural means, which is now in sight, will inevitably terminate the unscrupulous multi-billion dollar drug business with the AIDS epidemic. In this battle for its survival the drug cartel and its political stakeholders are currently mounting their last offensive’ on Africa.”

In April and May 2005, Rath was dragged into court in South Africa by the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign). According to Kaiser Foundation’s Daily HIV/AIDS Report for April 15, 2005, “The South African HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign has asked the Cape High Court to issue a temporary injunction to prevent the Rath Foundation and its head, Matthias Rath, from making defamatory statements about the organization, South Africa’s Cape Argus reports. In its ads, the Rath Foundation suggests that TAC and other groups are ‘front organizations’ for the pharmaceutical industry and that the group has misled people to believe that ‘exorbitantly expensive and highly toxic drugs like AZT and nevirapine’ can successfully treat HIV infection, the Cape Argus reports. TAC has encouraged the South African government to provide access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people in the country. Rath and his foundation have filed a response to TAC’s request, saying that the foundation’s claims about antiretrovirals are true and their criticism of TAC is allowed under the constitutional right to free expression, according to the Cape Argus.”

The High Court case continues as of this writing. Blow by blow reports of the court proceedings and arguments (with Rath in attendance), coverage of the demonstrations by supporters of both sides outside the court, and commentary have spread from South Africa to the world at large. The court case and the issues behind it are now regularly reported on by international news services including the Associated Press and Reuters and by influential newspapers like the Guardian. A May 30, 2005 search of keywords “matthias rath” at resulted in 335 news articles.

Because Rath has interests in various companies that sell nutritional supplements in several countries, he is often identified as a “vitamin salesman” in much of the coverage.

The United Nations, including the WHO, UNICEF, and UNAIDS, Harvard University, (the news site of a prestigious medical journal), and numerous other Establishment interests have all lined up to criticize Rath. On May 26, the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks reported “Anyone who claims vitamins can cure or treat HIV/AIDS is a ‘charlatan’, UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot told a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday. Reacting to questions about vitamins proponent Matthias Rath, Piot said it was unfortunate that there would always be people who tried to make money out of the misery and suffering of others.” (Readers who are aware of the exorbitant profits of the international drug industry over the decades may find some irony in Piot’s comment.) On May 13, the same UN source reported “AIDS denialists and the Traditional Healers Organization have come out in support of Rath, going so far as to stage protests and distribute pamphlets and posters in Khayelitsha and other townships in the Western Cape.” In fact, Rath appears to enjoy considerable support at the grassroots in South Africa and elsewhere.

At policy levels, on April 15, 2005, Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report noted that “South African Health Minister [Dr] Manto Tshabalala-Msimang on Tuesday [April 12] defended the Santa Clara, California-based Dr Rath Health Foundation, which recently ran advertisements stating that vitamins and nutrition therapy alone could prevent AIDS-related deaths, South Africa’s Business Day/ reports. ”Tshabalala-Msimang has also been a members of the South African Parliament since 1994. “Tshabalala-Msimang – speaking in Durban, where she is attending the World Health Organization meeting on nutrition and HIV/AIDS – said the group supports the South African government’s stance on the “importance of micronutrients in combating HIV/AIDS”, according to Business Day/ (Kahn, Business Day/, 4/13)… Tshabalala-Msimang agreed that HIV-positive South Africans have been subject to “a confusing chorus of medical claims” from businesses selling nutritional supplements and vitamins, according to Business Day/ “If you eat properly, you can delay the onset of AIDS – in some cases indefinitely,” Tshabalala-Msimang said, adding, “As you know, once you start (taking antiretroviral medicines), you are on them for life. If you can delay starting, it’s all the better in my view (BusinessDay/, 4/13).”

“But it is the arrival of Matthias Rath that has sent the TAC into a frenzy which is quite frightening. Rath is loud, forceful and uses quite intemperate language in his advertisements. In this way there is a similarity between Rath and the TAC. It is a case of two extremists meeting each other and, were the issues not so grave, it would be amusing to watch them slug it out. In the midst of all the noise around him, Rath makes a perfectly valid point regarding the value of vitamins and the role they can play in improving the health of AIDS patients. Whether vitamins can cure AIDS is, of course, something that must be proved scientifically. However, one does not have to be a medical doctor or a scientist to know the necessity of good nutrition and healthy living for one’s body to fight off disease. A campaign that promotes antiretrovirals to the exclusion of all other methods is simply not credible.”


Chris Gupta

Further Information _supplements.htm


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