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Letters to the Editor Issue 225

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 225 - October 2015

What’s Happening to the NHP Lawsuit Against Health Canada?

by John Biggs BSc NCP OHP

Health Canada’s Natural Health Product Regulations (NHPR) started in 2004. In the years following, Canadians have lost domestic retail access to thousands of safe, effective natural health products (NHPs). Even though the situation has stabilized, there is still apprehension about where this regulatory path is heading and further loss of health-care choices.

Canadians concerned about the products we’ve lost - or the possibility that the NHPR will hand control of NHPs to the pharmaceutical industry -  may wonder what happened to the lawsuit against Health Canada. It is still proceeding, but the wheels of justice turn slowly.

Stall Tactics

In September 2012, famed constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati filed a statement of claim on behalf of its plaintiffs against Health Canada’s regulation of NHPs. It lists numerous constitutional and human rights violations by the NHPR and argues that unless a health product has either caused harm or has been adulterated, Health Canada has no jurisdiction over it. (On this, the Food and Drugs Act is very clear.)

Since there has never been a death attributed to an NHP in Canada, the associated risks are not sufficient to justify Health Canada’s intervention. Hence, the claim asserts that the NHPR go beyond Health Canada’s legal authority.

Health Canada’s reaction to the filing was a motion to strike, requiring them to prove on all counts that the suit was frivolous and vexatious. Galati’s immediate counter was a motion to stay, that is, if there is validity in the plaintiff’s allegations, the enforcement of the NHPR should be suspended until the case has been ruled on.

At every juncture, Health Canada stalled, going past its submission deadlines. The dates to hear just the pre-trial motions were announced in December 2013, more than a year after the case was filed. Shortly thereafter, all three plaintiffs in the case were audited by Canada Revenue Agency.

The motions were heard in January 2014 and, in June 2014, the judge ruled that the courts would hear the case but only on constitutional grounds. In other words, as long as the plaintiffs withdrew their claims for financial damage, the suit could proceed.

Health Canada appealed this ruling, maintaining the case should be thrown out. Galati appealed, asserting since one of the plaintiffs was an individual, not a corporation, that he had every right to seek damages.

So, now the motions will be judged in the Federal Court of Appeal. The dates have not yet been determined, but keep in mind that the courts are still only deciding whether they will hear the case - almost three years after the statement of claim!

Why Classify NHPs as Drugs?

The case would likely proceed faster if the government had something to gain. Yet, with an entire Health Canada directorate at risk, getting any ruling is not expected to be quick or easy. Moreover, many in the industry would not want the directorate disabled, as that would suspend government oversight of NHPs. But would that be such a bad thing? Let’s look at what Health Canada was supposed to do and what they actually did with these regulations. The whole process made a mockery of our so-called democratic system.

In 1997, what was at the time the largest public protest in history made it exceedingly clear that Canadians did not want NHPs legally categorized as drugs. The 53 parliamentary recommendations that followed mandated that NHPs should be regulated in a way that clearly distinguished them from drugs, that is, pharmaceuticals. Despite this, Health Canada classified NHPs as a subset of drugs anyway, albeit with their own regulations and directorate.

Why was Health Canada so insistent on classifying NHPs as drugs? The answer is at least two-fold.

Firstly, the drug category controls NHPs based on what they are used for, instead of what they are, which is largely very low-risk, food-based nutrients or extracts. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your porridge, it’s considered a food. But if you take that exact same cinnamon, put it into a capsule and take it to lower blood sugar, it has just become a drug and now requires a long list of warnings and contraindications. Yet it’s still the same cinnamon - the only thing that changed was what you used it for. The real issue isn’t the safety, it’s the potential sale.

When it comes to ultra-safe herbs and nutrients, this is a form of government censorship. Secondly, the drug category blurs the distinction between drugs and NHPs in the public’s mind. This is why so many thousands of products like Nicorette gum and Crest toothpaste, which few, if any, would consider ‘natural’, were awarded natural product numbers. This is why the “Natural” Health Products Directorate changed its name to the “Natural and Non-prescription” Health Products Directorate, and boasts over 80,000 products, now including disinfectants.

As the number of new pharmaceutical drugs slows to a trickle and the green revolution kicks into high gear, this is all leading to the future of drug creation, where use-patents for isolated constituents from botanicals form the basis for next-generation drugs. Bayer, for example, already possesses hundreds of these patents and, along with other pharmaceutical companies, has been highly involved with every committee or board convened as the regulations evolved. When these new-generation drugs arrive, with the distinction between NHPs and drugs being so blurred it will all seem, well, natural.

And if, in the US, the biotech and pharmaceutical lobby succeeds in pressuring the United States Patent and Trademark Office so that natural substances can be patented, an entire raft of such drugs will quickly appear.

Canada has the highest quality natural products industry in the world. And though there have been some good things to come out of the NHPR, like site licensing, mandatory good manufacturing practices and testing of ingredients, the magnitude of hype expressed over safety concerns is dramatically out of proportion to any actual harm NHPs realistically do.

So when Health Canada tries to make you believe that NHPs and drugs are the same, the stats speak for themselves: Zero deaths in over 60 years from over 70,000 products, (many of which you can’t get here any more - see sidebar), versus hundreds of deaths yearly for both Aspirin and Tylenol that you can buy at a gas station. Once again, the issue isn’t safety - it’s the sale.

John Biggs BSc NCP OHP is a member of Citizens for Choice in Health Care and the owner of Optimum Health Vitamins in Edmonton, Alberta. He has closely followed the history, context, and development of NHP legislation in Canada since 1997.

Lost Access to Natural Health Products

Tens of thousands of natural health products are no longer available for domestic retail purchase in Canada since the 2004 implementation of Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Regulations. These regulations were supposed to protect Canadians’ access to NHPs but, as reflected in the examples below, they have had the opposite effect. For the full list of products lost from the Canadian market, see List of Products Lost at .

Reasons for Loss of Products

A. Imported and U.S. lines/products are withdrawn from the Canadian market due to regulatory and financial burden. Examples include products sold in Canada for more than a decade from Allergy Research Products (more than 650 extremely high-quality natural products), Gaia Herbals (hundreds of herbal tinctures), Solaray, Kal and all other products produced by Nutraceutical Inc. (over 5,000 of some of the best products anywhere in North America), Source Naturals (2,300 products in two lines of nutraceuticals);

B. Natural product number (NPN) application is denied due to lack of evidence or evidence not recognized by Health Canada. After decades of safe sales and usage, approximately 28,000 products submitted for licensing have failed to obtain an NPN through Health Canada not because they were unsafe or ineffective, but because they failed to meet one specification or another. Most were sold here for decades. Examples include products by Nature’s Way/Enzymatic Therapy, Nutra Research, Olbas, Salus Tonics, Sambu Cleanse and Vita Plex;

C. Forced withdrawal of all products on market containing one or more disallowed ingredients. Examples include nattokinase; Health Canada forced its withdrawal despite no reported problems or adverse events since its emergence onto the market in the 1990s. This caused hundreds of products to withdraw from the market or reformulate to omit. Other examples: emu oil (now only available for topical use), serrapeptase, pleurisy root, shark liver oil extracts and choline alfoscerate;

D. Forced product reformulation to achieve NPN requirements and remain on Canadian market (due to disallowed potencies and/or ingredients), including Tracelabs Alcabasem Sisu Magnesium Citrate with Malic Acid (a top-selling magnesium formula), Absorb Science Viagreat-SX and Nature’s Sunshine HTP Power. Plus multi-ingredient formulas such as multivitamins and minerals with added greens, enzymes and mushrooms as well as vitamin D in doses higher than 1,000 IU and folic acid in doses higher than 1 mg (these dose limitations are widely available in the US);

E. Products discontinued voluntarily by Canadian manufacturers/ distributors due to regulatory process and financial burden. Thousands of products have been discontinued both before and during the regulations because their sales did not justify the cost of compliance or because acceptance was unlikely. Elimination of all slower selling products has decreased the variety of NHPs on the Canadian market. Repetitions of the same products now dominate. To see the extensive list in this category, see - Citizens For Choice In Health Care.


Health Action Magazine Canada

via Klaus Ferlow


One Foot in the Grave when I found Dr Sircus

A few days after my 60th birthday, I was in the emergency room because I had so many muscle spasms and pain I could not breathe. I ended upon Oxycodone and .got worse and worse. Soon, I could hardly get out of bed. I had a biochemical re-occurrence of my prostate cancer 6 years, earlier. I had my prostate removed due to cancer, but they did not, apparently “get it all.” All summer I failed to get better.

I finally got an MRI right after Thanksgiving in 2014. The MRI showed evidence of significant metastases in my spine, hips, ribs, neck, lymph nodes – and my PSA was 2,080. A PET scan later confirmed all of this. My MD brother in law said, “I didn’t know PSA could go that high.” Neither did I. People with PSA that high, are gone in less than a year.

Well, since I could hardly move, was close to being hooked on painkillers – it was time to quit and die or do something different. I found some hemp oil and started taking it to get off the pain meds. I started to sleep a LOT better and within a few nights, I was off painkillers. My PSA two weeks later had dropped to about 1,700. I then tried the Lupron shot and my PSA continued to drop fast.

I learned about the hemp oil from Dr Sircus but it was not so much his protocol that attracted me, it was his “give-a-shit-attitude,” which many doctors do not seem to have anymore. I Reached out to Dr Sircus, and he told me to SLOW MY BREATHING WAY DOWN! And do his protocol. Therefore, I purchased the Breathslim.

Cool device! At first I it was a gimmick. I mean it looks meager. However, it really does train your breathing rate over time. It has made me breathe consciously slower and this had all kinds of ramifications for me emotionally and mentally.

The MRI showed a lot of spinal stenosis. So here is the short story, I was out by a bon-fire, and noticed that when I turned and put my back to the fire, it felt quite different to me than sitting with a regular heating pad. I noticed my back felt very comforted by the fire. I surmised it was due to infrared waves. Therefore, I set out to find a good infrared system and guess what I found from my regular doctor that the Biomat would be helpful for this. Dr Sircus had that on his protocol as well. Hmmmmmm! Starting to see a pattern? Maybe I should look to Dr Sircus’s protocol to help make me better than I had hoped would ever be possible again.

The magnesium oil helped my pain. That was enough to sell me on the wisdom of reading Dr Sircus’s Magnesium book. I knew when I took pH strips out and checked my urine that I was very acidic. I mean, a PSA of over 2,000 one is going to have some serious acid problems. Baking soda and Magnesium baths were on the docket. Made sense to me. Once again, I noticed that Dr Sircus’s protocol seemed to have just what I needed, at the time when I needed it, and it was something I could “do” at home. At the time, money was very tight. However, this is not a costly therapy to begin.

My first experience with the Biomats sold me that I had found a way to get far infrared into my body. The Bio-Mat “Cancer Sandwich” (using a Bio-Mat mini on top and Bio-Mat pro, underneath) turned out to be a great time to meditate. I needed to change my life. Turn it inside, out. Well, the first experience of combining meditation and mats was transcendent to me. This helped me get my mind out of the cancer funk. Amazingly, as the mats helped me, I got better every day.

It was at this point when I ordered the Live O2 system based upon Dr Sircus’s recommendation. I was “all in,” as they would say in Vegas, when it came to the rest of the remaining protocol elements. When I purchased a Live O2 system – I added glutathione and other items and started drinking magnesium bicarbonate.

I could not do one pushup when I started; and I could hardly walk due to the numbness in my legs. I had developed a “dropped foot” that I would catch my toe and I would stumble; I had to spend a month on the mats, so that the tingling and numbness in my legs and hands ended enough so that I could keep my balance to get in and out of the bathtub.

The Live Oxygen system puts a smile on your face like being 16 again! That is how powerful that system is. By the way, I just did 70 push-ups and sprint in place. Lupron has taken a lot of muscle mass off me and made me feel very weak. The Live O2 system has blasted through the weakness.

I had a spot on my lungs that showed up on the MRI and scan, which they said they did not know what it was. Right after starting the O2 treatment, I started coughing one morning and I coughed up a lot of phlegm in my throat on night. I coughed up some grey, gooey mass and from then on, my lungs felt like they were Teflon coated!! WOW!!!!!!

At the beginning of August, I was able to drive a car for more than 12 hours, attend a wedding, dance with my granddaughters, my wife, my two daughters, be with my son, etc. ALL NIGHT LONG! (Until the band quit). After, I cried tears of joy.

And what a joy! I thought that my days were all gone. I owe Dr Sircus a deep debt of gratitude for bringing forward such a synergistic and helpful protocol that let me live as I never thought I would live, again.

I have stayed on the hemp oil. The full spectrum oil, not just CBD. My numbness and tingling on my whole left side has virtually gone. According to my Oncologist, this is very rare to have it “come back” once feeling leaves. Why? Dr Sircus is my answer!

Rick Simpson’s oil instructions are clear. Of course, I presumed I was able to start faster than the average person – besides I justified trying to go faster, because I was very sick. So, I ramped up the use/dose quickly. WOW! You had better warn your spouse not to call the ambulance if she cannot get you to wake up! I slept like I was out cold because I was! Once I slowed down, and ramped up as Simpson suggested, I could function if I moved my timing during the day to fit what I needed to do.

I wanted to contact Dr Sircus when I was completely healed and tell him my story. My PSA is now 2.1. If his protocol plus my work and the grace of God could get me off my death bed, and dancing all night with my family well maybe people should consider this wonderful protocol and try it.

The Natural Allopathic Protocol is powerful and at the same time extraordinarily safe because nutritional medicines, not pharmaceuticals, are employed.

Further Information

Reprinted from Dr Sircus Facebook post 27 Aug 2015 and website:


Coconut Oil - Miracle Wonder Food or 'Sat Fat' Nightmare?

UK celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, speaks out in an Australian online magazine about why coconut oil may not be the wonder ingredient that everyone’s touting it is.

We at ANH feel that mainstream dieticians, doctors and even academics who are grimly hanging on to the ‘saturated fat is bad’ myth no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary are misleading large swathes of the public. With Jamie’s new book, Everyday Super Food just out, we’ll be looking eagerly to see whether coconut oil made it to the last edit.

In short, hitting out against coconut oil makes no sense given the weight of evidence. We’ll briefly take you through some of the science about coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) to show you why.

It’s a pretty confusing world of mixed health messages out there. But in the maze of messaging, the pursuit of health, longevity and vitality appears to be central. But whom should we listen to? Who are today’s health and wellbeing spin doctors? Following the money is usually a good starting point. Swiftly followed by keeping tabs on what the myth busters that have science on their side are saying. One of the biggest myths to be busted in recent years is the cholesterol myth, which we won’t go into again here. Suffice to say, low-fat processed foods, along with statins-for-the-over-50s, are just two examples of internationally coordinated health policy messages pushed by governments around the world that have both been shown to be deeply flawed and against the public interest.

As more and more people discover the benefits of low or no added sugar, low simple carb and healthy fat diets that promote nutritional ketosis (and therefore clean, fat-burning), we are likely to be bombarded by more efforts to unhook us from the belief that MCT oils are actually good for us. Let’s be prepared.

MCTs - attractive facts

(see bibliography and references below for further detail)

  1. Fat basics. Saturated fats are solid at room temp, which is why you’ll find your coconut oil and goose fat sitting solid in a jar in air-conditioned supermarkets and cold kitchens. But the fact that these two fats turn solid at room temperature doesn’t mean they behave the same way in your body. Far from it!
  2. MCTs are transported from the gut to the liver and are immediately usable, whilst being burned ‘cleanly’ (unlike carbs) for energy. The fact that they’re used immediately for the brain, organs and muscles means they’re not stored as fat either;
  3. This rapid conversion to energy also results in the production of ketones - the preferred fuel of the brain. Hence MCTs are a better choice for those with increased energy needs e.g. following major illness or surgery, during normal or stunted growth, to enhance athletic performance and endurance, and to counteract the decreased energy production that results from aging. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want anti-ageing support?
  4. In terms of weight loss aids, MCTs have a lower calorie content than other fats, are minimally stored as fat, and actually enhance metabolism which means you burn more calories - even when you’re sleeping!
  5. MCTs are anti-inflammatory, help support the immune system, increase high density lipoproteins (HDL: good cholesterol), have a slight blood sugar lowering effect and even act as anti-coagulants;
  6. Long-chain triglycerides (e.g. safflower, soybean, corn oil) may promote inflammation due to conversion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids into arachidonic acid-derived eicosanoids;
  7. Much of the knowledge about the fundamental differences between the metabolism of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides has been known for decades, particularly through studies of appropriate fats for use in parenteral nutrition (tube feeding), where patients often have upregulated immune systems, an increased demand for energy and higher risks of pathogenic infection;
  8. Coconut oil, rich in MCTs, is also chemically stable at higher temperatures and therefore good for cooking. Unstable oils that are damaged by heat, have a less than desirable effect on the body too;
  9. If you’re not yet convinced you can read more about the range of positive health effects of coconut oil from this presentation on coconut oil from Pennington Biomedical Research Center;
  10. Lastly, in case you think otherwise, evidence of the differences in metabolism of vegetable-based MCTs and animal-derived saturated fats in animals have been known for a long time (e.g. 1982). This is not new science and coconut oil as a heat-stable addition to our diets is long overdue.


We are often the victims of excessive categorization. One such problem is using the term ‘saturated fat’ to describe all fats that are, to use the chemistry term, ‘saturated’ (i.e. fats in which the orbitals in carbon chains are fully bonded with hydrogen atoms). Slight differences in structure can lead to great differences in metabolism and health consequences following their consumption. The ‘lipid hypothesis’ that drove public health and nutrition policy for over 3 decades is now defunct scientifically.

Based on the existing evidence, knowledge of biochemical pathways, as well as decades of experience from clinical and sports nutrition, MCTs must be regarded as a beneficial fat. MCTs behave in the body quite differently from animal-based saturated fats, which, in moderation, can also be a useful addition to the diet. We have to look at the big picture - at all of the available evidence.

We are adamant that those who attempt to dismiss MCTs as an unhealthy fad diet have yet to have the privilege of either engaging with the known science or deriving its benefits.

Further reading / Bibliography 

Some key papers:

Medium chain triglycerides: an update.

The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between.

An update on parenteral lipids and immune function: only smoke, or is there any fire?

A comparison of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in surgical patients

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs): Beneficial Effects on Energy, Atherosclerosis and Aging.

Additional lay articles

David Mendosa: The best saturated fats.

Mercola: Coconut oil – this cooking oil is a powerful virus destroyer and antibiotic.

Further Information

Reprinted from ANH - Alliance for Natural Health International

Alliance for Natural Health International


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