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Letters to the Editor Issue 63

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 63 - April 2001

Positively Confused

The article Which Food is Best in your February edition, in which Stephen Byrnes described the pioneering nutrition studies of Dr Price in the 1930s, was fascinating until the end, when I came across the bewildering categoric statement that vitamins A and D are only found in butter, cream, lard and tallow.

Hang on a minute, I thought to myself, as distant memories rang alarm bells, surely this is specifically not what Dr Alec Forbes said in his book, The Bristol Diet. A quick thumb throught some well used pages and, yes!, here we are, in chapter 4 titled The Chemistry of Food he says that dietary sources of vitamin A are leafy vegetables such as watercress, spinach, kale, broccoli, the outer leaves of cabbage and lettuce, corn, apricots and peaches aside from liver, liver oils – particularly cod and halibut, milk, butter and eggs. Leafing on through the famous treatise I discovered, …well bless me, – a natural source of vitamin D is sunshine! And perhaps appropriately also sunflower seeds, as well as milk, eggs, fish, fish liver oils. In addition, all plants contain vitamin D2.

Who is right and who is wrong? Must we really eat all this fat or can we carry on as we have been, generally following the advice of Dr Forbes?

I have a strong feeling that what Dr Price really discovered is that a vigorous and possibly hard physical lifestyle, lived largely out in the fresh air, (and sunshine!), sustained by a healthy varied diet entirely free of especially, but not only, refined sugar and all artificial 'valued added' foodstuffs …is good for you!

Yours faithfully
William McMorran

Stephen Byrnes replies to William McMorran

Firstly, I did not make "the categoric statement that vitamins A and D are only found in butter, cream, lard, and tallow" as you have it. What I said was, "The fat-soluble vitamins A and D are only in fats of animal origin, like butter, cream, lard, and tallow, as well as in organ meats." I used the word 'like' to give a sample list, not a complete list.

Secondly, preformed vitamin A is only found in animal fats. The belief that vitamin A is found in plant foods, as Dr. Forbes says, is a common error that is repeated over and over again by well-meaning, but misinformed, health writers. What is found in plant foods is called pro-vitamin A, or plant carotenes, the most famous of which is betacarotene. Although the body can convert betacarotene into usable vitamin A if certain conditions are present, it is not vitamin A. Furthermore, assuming all the conditions are present for the conversion, it takes approximately 4-6 units of betacarotene to make just one unit of vitamin A – a very poor conversion rate. It is, therefore, unwise to rely on plant foods for one's vitamin A needs. I refer you to the article entitled Vitamin A Vagary by Sally Fallon, posted on the Weston Price Foundation website –

Thirdly, the plant steroid ergosterol can be converted into vitamin D2 by the action of ultraviolet B rays from the Sun. It is different, however, from cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, found only in animals and humans. Although both have been used successfully to treat rickets, the D2 needs to be transformed by the body to make it useable by the body. Perhaps I should have said, "Full, usable, complex vitamin D is only found in animal fats." Furthermore, animal sources are typically much higher in vitamin D than plant sources.

Fourthly, the issue of sunlight being a source of vitamin D is oversimplified by many health writers. It is actually very difficult to obtain even a minimal amount of vitamin D with a brief foray into sunlight.[1,2] The body needs a particular band of ultraviolet radiation (UV-B) to convert cholesterol into vitamin D in the skin. Most people do not know that UV-B is only present at certain times of the day and year. UV-B is present only during midday hours at higher latitudes, and only with significant intensity in temperate or tropical latitudes. Depending on one's skin colour, it can take up to two hours of continual sunning to get adequate vitamin D from sunlight.[3] So, again, relying on sunlight for one's vitamin D needs is not a good idea.

Fifthly, and finally, you are incorrect in your assessment of Dr Price's research. Price unequivocally attributed good health in primitive peoples to their lack of modern foods AND their high dietary sources of the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, what Price called the 'fat-soluble activators'. Price concluded that without sufficient vitamins A and D in the diet, human beings could not properly assimilate proteins or minerals – things which nutritional science has confirmed. I encourage you to read the summary papers on Dr. Price's work, or read his work itself, posted at

Stephen Byrnes, ND, RNCP


1. Glerup, Mikkelsen, Poulsen, et al. Commonly recommended daily intake of vitamin D is not sufficient if sunlight exposure is limited. Journal of Intern Med 347:260-8. 2000.
2. Glerup and Eriksen. Vitamin D deficiency. Easy to diagnose, often overlooked (see comments). Ugeskr Laeger 161: 2515-21. 1999.
3. Sayre RM, et al. Vitamin D production by natural and artificial sources. Orlando, Florida, Photo Medical Society Meeting. Conference Proceeding. 1 March1998.

Spiritual Healing Works

I am writing to you, because I feel what I have to say may be of benefit to some of your readers who are thinking about having Spiritual Healing and are not sure if it works or not.

I have been going to an extraordinary healer called Mrs Kathleen Hughes of Bath who has a practice there and also in London. She has been quite remarkable in her help towards me over a period of time – but what is so good now, is that I have written evidence of how effective she really is (see enclosed report from my optician).

My left eye is my weakest and I have glasses for reading and distance. Six months ago, I went for my usual check up and had to have a stronger prescription. To cut a long story short, recently I had difficulty in not seeing as well as before in my left eye and I felt I wanted to rub away something that was uncomfortable; so I had healing with Kathleen, and she advised me to see my optician. This I duly did.

During the tests with the red and green chart, I suddenly could not see green and some of the lettering. This obviously frightened me. My optician said he could find nothing physically wrong but he would send me to a specialist. As we talked about it afterwards, he put the red/green chart back up on the wall. I informed him I could now see the red and the green without any glasses on, and also could see the lettering better. He then tried the test again with weaker lenses, and was amazed to find that my left eye had improved by 50% since my last test six months ago, and indeed, improved by 75% in the last 18 months! I was thrilled as you can well imagine.

If anyone is thinking of having healing or doubting the effectiveness of it, all I can say is try it – it has worked for me on many occasions.

Yours faithfully
Niki Muspratt-Rouse (Mrs)


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