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Letters to the Editor Issue 147

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 147 - May 2008

Urgent Appeal: Please Help Steven and Ondrea Levine

Steven and Ondrea Levine (Steven is the author of Who Dies? A Gradual Awakening, and other books) are facing huge difficulties right now. Ram Dass, Sharon Salzburg, and Jack Kornfield have established a blog and fund at

Here’s an extract from their letter:

We are writing to ask your support for two beloved friends of ours, Stephen and Ondrea Levine. They are currently facing significant difficulty. After a life-time of giving, they are now at a time to receive from those of us whose lives have been touched by their presence and teaching.

Their greatest needs are financial. Ondrea has Leukemia and the costs of her insurance and treatment have used up their savings. Stephen’s health is not good either, and he is too frail to travel or teach. When we heard about this, we felt moved to contribute to a fund set up for them, and to encourage others to do the same.

Stephen and Ondrea have been among our generation’s most important teachers, demonstrating and encouraging others to embrace the power of love and generosity. For three years, they ran a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week free phone line for those dying or in need of support. When the phone bills got too high, they sold their house to keep the project going. For decades they regularly corresponded with thousands people who were seeking spiritual guidan, giving freely to those in need, many of whom were sick or in the final years of their life.

The circle has now come around, allowing us the opportunity to give to these two life-long givers. We hope to raise several hundred thousand dollars in small and large donations to help them through this time.

Daniel J Benor MD ABHM
Tel: 001 866-823-4214; 001 609-714-1885
International Journal of Healing and Caring – On line:
Source: Melissa West

Further Information

Please be generous and donate:

Biodynamic Products Under Attack: New European Laws Affecting Weleda And Wala

From ELIANT Campaign Initiative Group:

“The European Parliament and bureaucracy has decided that Weleda and Wala medicines and Biodynamic babyfoods and such like are too small a market for special laws of protection to be made for them, and instead are demanding they fit into laws made for synthetic products to protect the population from poor quality.

For example, a perfectly good Biodynamic babyfood company has been put out of business by being forced to put synthetic vitamins into its packs, when the food already had more natural vitamins than the EU standards. Hence the people who want good quality babyfood stopped buying it.

This is a direct and immediate threat to freedom of choice throughout Europe and after that the rest of the world. This will affect Biodynamic and organic agriculture, perfectly good scientific alternative anthroposophic medicines, Waldorf/ Steiner education and other initiatives coming specially from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. 80 years of most fruitful work for humanity is being seriously threatened at this very moment and perhaps even more importantly the capacity of people to have choices of top quality products and education.”

What Can You Do To Help?
The ELIANT group is seeking one million signatures showing support for these products and methods (and the free choice associated with them!) to urge the EU Parliament to pass a law to protect their special character. They believe this is a MOMENTOUS issue we MUST get through or else many other things will go as well in due course.

The ELIANT group reports, “In the last six months 340,000 signatures have been collected from 100 countries but we need another 660,000.” They are encouraging supporters to sign the initiative and also to spread the word to others, that they might sign as well.

To support this action go to the following website:
After filling out your details and sending, you will receive a confirmation email. You must respond to that email to be counted! You can also send a physical letter to:
Rebgasse 37, D-79540 Lörrach
Or Fax +49 (0)7621 168 18 63
Further Information
ELIANT Campaign Initiative Group
Source: Chris Gupta

Correspondence Regarding CAM Material Removed from BBC Website

February 28, 2008
RT. Hon. David Tredinnick MP,
Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 0AA
Cc: Lord Baldwin
Lord Colwyn

Dear David,
Everybody associated with the Parliamentary Group for Integrated and Complementary Healthcare has a clear and well established interest in the professional and sensible progression of all CAM options. This has been proved time and again by the energy and attention given by you and Lords Baldwin and Colwyn as well as Lord Walton before his retirement. This effort, plus that of all dedicated organisations such as us, has brought about many beneficial changes over the years with the result that the public have many more worthy options when considering what is best for their continued good health.

Occasionally however, negative actions and comment appear with, it sadly seems, the main purpose of undermining this progress. The reasons behind this usually embrace political, financial or dogmatic positions that certain well recognized establishments take. Their arguments and agendas are, of course, understood but on such occasions it is, I am sure you will agree, vital to challenge actions they may have taken and refute comment we consider inappropriate as well as inaccurate.

To that end, we, and many others, have serious concerns with recent action taken by the BBC in removing all reference to CAM on their BBC Health Website. The BBC, an organisation that must be impartial in its dissemination of information if its creditability is to be retained and the public to continue funding its existence, has a recognized difficult task, but total removal of a well established side to healthcare is hard to explain. Even harder to accept, or even understand, are such excuses as those offered which include “Editorially unsatisfactory” and “Disproportionately time consuming” neither of which offer any obvious validity for an organisation whose sole purpose is to present all sides of news and events. Further, they have declared that CAM has been removed in order to “Make space for new and exciting work”. I am sure you will agree that the increasing use CAM by or on behalf of GPs is exciting and a turning point in the healthcare of the nation. The removal of any information that offers alternative considerations to a subject (Western medicine in this case) cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be said to offer an impartial or balanced view.

We can only guess at the real pressures that brought about this extremely disturbing decision, but, in the belief that you and Lord Baldwin and Lord Colwyn have similar concerns, the BCMA asks that you use your positions and experience within government circles to initiate a full review into the action taken by the BBC and if not justifiable, have CAM information restored to their website. The BBC is a public servant and must be seen to represent us all in its task of providing full and factual information not only in the UK but to the world at large.

Knowing how busy you all are I would like to thank you for your time in reading and understanding our concerns.

Terry Cullen, Chairman BCMA
Tel: 0845 345 5977

Statin Toxicity: Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 and Green Tea for Mitochondrial Function and Energy Levels

Mitochondria are specialized cellular structures responsible for the generation of the body’s energy supply. Tissues with a high energy requirement, particularly the heart and muscles, contain high numbers of mitochondria.

Scientists in the USA have recently devised a laboratory method to investigate the possible harmful or beneficial effects of a wide range of substances on the functioning of mitochondria. Over 2000 substances were screened for their possible effects on mitochondria, including statin drugs and green tea.[1]

Statin drugs are widely prescribed to reduce blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but have been associated with adverse effects including muscle weakness and pain. Three of the statins investigated (fluvastatin, lovastatin and simvastatin) had a toxic effect on the mitochondria (via increased production of damaging free radicals), interfering with energy production; this effect worsened if the blood pressure drug propanolol was also taken.

One possible way to counter the toxic effect of these statins is by supplementation with Coenzyme Q10, since it is known that statin drugs reduce Coenzyme Q10 levels.[2] Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance which plays a vital role in energy generation within mitochondria, acting in conjunction with enzymes to convert sugars and fat into energy. In addition, Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, protecting mitochondria from the damaging effects of toxic free radicals.

In contrast to the toxic effect of statins on mitochondria, it was found that a substance found in green tea, called deoxysappanone, had a beneficial effect on mitochondria, reducing the levels of toxic free radicals, boosting activity and increasing energy production.[1]


1.    Wagner et al. Large Scale Chemical Dissection of Mitochondrial Function. Nature Biotechnology. 26(3): 343-351. 2008.
2.    Tavintharan S et al. Reduced Mitochondrial Coenzyme Q10 Levels in HepG2 Cells Treated with High-Dose Simvastatin: A Possible Role in Statin-Induced Hepatotoxicity? Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2007. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.05.013.

Vitamins Reduce the Duration and Severity of Influenza

Vitamins fight the flu by boosting the body’s own immune response and by accelerating healing. Individuals can be better prepared for an influenza epidemic by learning how to use vitamin supplements to fight off ordinary respiratory infections. The most important vitamins are vitamins C, D, niacin, and thiamine.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D has known anti-viral properties1 and has been directly associated with fighting influenza in a recent scientific review.2 Extensive evidence now shows that vitamin D serves as an important regulator of immune system responses.3 The most dramatic evidence is a recent double-blind trial proving that vitamin D prevents cancers,4 supported by two recent epidemiological studies.5,6 Vitamin D has been part of a supplement combination proven effective against HIV in a recent double-blind trial.7

During a viral infection, the body can draw on vitamin D stored in the body to supply the increased needs of the immune system. The withdrawn supplies of vitamin D are quickly replenished with 4,000 to 10,000 IU/day doses for a few days. Due to biochemical individuality, we recommend vitamin D blood testing as a routine part of a yearly physical exam.

Niacin has known anti-viral properties. The most persuasive evidence comes from recent work with HIV patients8-12 Niacin is required for cells to generate the energy they use to perform virtually all biological functions.

Niacin’s effectiveness fighting viruses may have to do with accelerating wound healing as well as improving immunity. Accelerating tissue repair limits collateral damage and minimizes the risk of secondary infection. Niacin has been proven to promote healing of damaged skin in double-blind trials.13 Other recent findings (niacin reduces injury to the brain after strokes and reduces inflammation in general) also provide evidence of healing.14,15

Niacin, 500 to 2,000 mg/day in divided doses, is generally well tolerated during periods when the immune system is fighting viral infections. One takes such doses for several days starting at the onset of a viral infection. Dividing the dose reduces flushing. Using ‘no-flush’ form niacin (inositol hexaniacinate) eliminates the flushing side effect.

Vitamin C
Strong evidence shows that high doses of vitamin C prevent common colds and reduce a cold’s severity and duration.16 Given the similarities between cold and influenza viruses, the scientific case for treating influenza with vitamin C has been investigated and shown to have merit.17 Fighting influenza with vitamin C has been tested in the clinical setting and reported to be effective at very high doses.18,19
Extraordinary quantities of vitamin C, between 20,000 and 100,000 mg/day, are surprisingly well tolerated during periods when the immune system is fighting viral infections. These large daily amounts are best taken divided up into as many doses per day as possible, beginning immediately at the first sign of a viral infection. To achieve maximum effect it is necessary to maintain high concentrations of vitamin C in the body. Large, very frequent oral intake of vitamin C can maintain much higher blood plasma concentrations of vitamin C than is generally believed.16,19,20

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Two items of recent scientific research have shown that the B-vitamin thiamine has anti-viral properties. TTFD, one of the fat-soluble forms of thiamine, was recently proven to be a potent inhibitor of HIV virus replication.21 Thiamine was shown to be an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis B.22

Influenza killed more people in the two years following World War I than all soldiers killed on both sides in four years of machine-gun warfare. Influenza has been and remains a serious threat to human health. There is a great deal of public concern about the possibility of a repeat of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Vitamin C, niacin, vitamin D, and thiamine act together to strengthen the immune system, and to optimize health. Intelligent, high-dose vitamin supplement use can do much to eliminate the risk of death and disability for individuals with average health, and dramatically reduce the hospitalization and death rates amongst the most vulnerable members of the population.


2.    Cannell JJ et al. Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D. Epidemiology and Infection. 134(6):1129-40. 2006. Free access to full text paper at secure/materials/readings/09_Cannell.pdf
3.    Tavera-Mendoza LE, White JH. Cell Defenses and the Sunshine Vitamin. Scientific American. 62-72. November 2007.
4.    Lappe JM et al. Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation Reduces Cancer Risk: Results of a Randomized Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 85(6): 1586-91. 2007.
5.    Abbas S, et al. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer – Results of a Large Case-Control Study. Carcinogenesis. 29(1): 93-9. 2008.
6.    Freedman DM et al. Prospective Study of Serum Vitamin D and Cancer Mortality in the United States. J Natl Cancer Inst. 99(21): 1594-602. 2007.
7.    Kaiser JD et al. Micronutrient Supplementation Increases CD4 Count in HIV-Infected Individuals on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: A Prospective, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 42(5). 523-528. 2006. “Micronutrient Supplementation Can Significantly Improve CD4 Cell Count Reconstitution in HIV-Infected Patients…”
8.    Murray MF. Niacin as a Potential AIDS Preventive Factor. Medical Hypotheses. 53(5): 375-379. 1999.
9.    Murray MF, Langan M, MacGregor RR. Increased Plasma Tryptophan in HIV-Infected Patients Treated with Pharmacologic Doses of Nicotinamide. Nutrition (NY). 17(7/8): 654-656. 2001.
10.    Murray MF. Treatment of Retrovirus Induced Derangements with Niacin Compounds. The Foundation for Innovative Therapies. Inc. USA 9 p. US 7012086. 2006.
11.    Pero RW. A Method for Increasing Tryptophan and Nicotinamide Levels In Vivo, and Therapeutic and Monitoring Methods. Lynpete Trading 6 Pty. Ltd. Trading as Genetic Health Enterprises, S. Afr. PCT Int. Appl. 73pp. WO 2008008837 A2 20080117. 2008.
12.    Dube MP et al. Safety and Efficacy of Extended-Release Niacin for the Treatment of Dyslipidaemia in Patients with HIV Infection: AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study A5148. Antiviral Therapy. 11(8): 1081-1089. 2006. “(D)doses up to 2,000 mg daily was safe, well-tolerated and efficacious in HIV-infected subjects.…”
13. v04n01.shtml
14.    Maynard KI. Natural Neuroprotectants After Stroke. Science & Medicine. 8(5): 258-267. 2002.
15.    Yu, Bi-lian; Zhao, Shui-ping. Anti-Inflammatory Effect is an Important Property of Niacin on Atherosclerosis Beyond its Lipid-Altering Effects. Medical Hypotheses. 69(1): 90-94. 2007.
16.    Hickey S, Roberts H. Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C. Lulu Press. 2004. ISBN 1-4116-0724-4. Reviewed at
17. v02n01.shtml
18.    Ely JT. Ascorbic Acid Role in Containment of the World Avian Flu Pandemic. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 232(7): 847-851. 2007.
19.    Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia, and Acute Induced Scurvy. Med Hypotheses. 7(11): 1359-76. 1981. Free access to full text paper at See also: Cathcart RF. The Third Face of Vitamin C. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 7:4:197-200, 1993. Free access at 1992/pdf/1992-v07n04-p197.pdf or
Other Cathcart papers posted at and
20.    Duconge J et al. Pharmacokinetics of Vitamin C: Insights Into the Oral and Intravenous Administration of Ascorbate. PR Health Sciences Journal. 27: 1 2008.
21.    Shoji, Shozo et al. Thiamine Disulfide as a Potent Inhibitor of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Type-1) Production. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 205(1): 967-75. 1994. “The results suggest that thiamine disulfide may be important for AIDS chemotherapy.”
22.    Wallace AE, Weeks WB. Thiamine Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B Infection. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 96(3): 864-868. 2001.

Further Information Andrew W Saul PhD, Editor


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