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Letters to the Editor Issue 76

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 76 - May 2002

More: EU Supplement Directive

I was appalled and alarmed to learn that many of the better absorbed forms of minerals that I take myself and recommend to my clients will soon disappear from the market. What can we do about it? According to Mike Abrahams there are not enough MEPs on our side to make a dent in the vote on the directive on 12th March. Everyone seems to be accepting this as inevitable. Are there any plans for a consumer protest? Can it make any difference?

I look forward to your comments.

Sandy Halliday SRN
Nutritional Therapist

EU Supplement Directive

Congratulations on your previous issue, focussing on the EU Directive, which deserves the high profile you gave it. Few national papers seem to have realized what's going on.

Simon Best
Editor Electromagnetic Hazard & Therapy

EU Supplement Directive

I am registered with the Nursing Council as 'a nurse working in complementary medicine'; my interests in my work and my own health favours the use of nutritional supplements, organic foods where available and the individual being responsible for their own health and wellbeing and being able to choose freely from products as we have them at this present time in our health shops, supermarkets and from a variety of speciality supplement companies.

If our foods were all grown organically we would benefit, but until we return to organic farming everywhere we shall be short of essential elements in our daily diet. Food is our medicine, and it is poor in nutrition in many instances.

I have recently visited the Hebredian Isles where seaweed is used to fertilize. This leads to flowers growing everywhere, and flowers are herbs which help to nourish and heal us and supply essential vitamins and minerals, keeping our animals who graze these areas healthy. What have we now – foot and mouth, BSE and the poor animals who know what is correct for them to eat – if only they could get it – suffer.

Until our farming policy changes to a quality rather than quantity-led, we NEED supplementation – we need our Health Food Shops and our vitamin/mineral supplements. We have recently started taking liquid vitamins/minerals deep mined in Utah and feel the benefit.

I don't care what Europe wants to eat and supplement themselves with; I do care about my rights being taken away from me personally and my right to advise people in my practice what to take. It reminds me of people who say homeopathy can't possibly work – but it even works on animals and this isn't because they believe in it or have faith in it!!

SG Mellor
SRN, MSSCh, MBChA, Assoc MFHom, Assoc LMHI
Leigh, Lancashire

EU Supplement Directive

I am writing in response to Mike Abrahams' article in the March 2002 edition of Positive Health Magazine. Although I have a degree in psychology and diplomas in several holistic therapies I am writing as a consumer rather than a therapist, because I think it is about time that some of people's ordinary fears and concerns are voiced, as well as the implications for industry, health professionals and health-food retailers.

More than six years ago, my mother underwent surgery for colon cancer. After her diagnosis I researched all that I could about possible contributory factors and protective measures, so that I could assist her from an informed position. I found that most articles and books agree that scientific evidence exists, to support the belief that certain vitamin and mineral supplements are useful in both prevention and treatment of many types of cancer and other illnesses, when used in an appropriate dosage. In most cases an appropriate dosage for prevention and treatment is higher than that currently provided by standard RDA type multi-vitamin products. In respect of my mother I particularly made use of cancer-prevention recommendations in the book Stop Ageing Now by Jean Carper, as the information can be traced back to scientifically documented research material, and provides advice on upper limits regarding the risk of toxicity.

Thankfully, after six years of taking specific vitamins and minerals at dosages recommended in the above book, my mother has been given the all-clear and no longer has to attend hospital for check-ups. Whether this would have been the case if she had not taken the vitamin and mineral supplements cannot of course be proven, but as she feels much better for it, I am tempted to think it is a significant contributing factor.

Under this new legislation my mother would no longer be able to obtain certain vitamins and minerals, and others only in much lower dosages than she currently takes (forcing her to purchase and consume a greater quantity of low-dosage products if she wants to maintain her current dosage levels). It is obvious that:

* her rights to seek to maintain her own health in a way that scientific research suggests will prevent the cancer from returning, are being taken away from her;

* since scientific research is available that shows the effectiveness of specific dosage of certain supplements in prevention and treatment for cancer, those responsible for the new legislation are actually endangering my mother's life, and the lives of countless other people who also take supplements for similar health reasons, by making these products only available in ineffective dosage, or unobtainable all together.

Hypothetically, if a product were suddenly announced that had been scientifically shown to reduce the risks of getting cancer in the first place, and had also been shown to slow or reverse existing cancer in some people, and if Government then legislated so as to make that product unobtainable or illegal to sell, or available only in so low a dose as to be ineffective, there would be public outcry. Yet in effect, this is exactly what is happening, although the outcry is small because so very few members of the public seem to realise the situation and its implications.

Paul D Pritchard BSc(Hons)

EU Supplement Directive

Having read the recent article concerning EU Food Directive, I felt that we are actually missing the whole point. The point I would have thought was to control the range of additives placed in food – which is what the complex list of chemicals is in fact. I would have liked to see a much wider restriction being imposed on the food industry.

* Caustic Soda and Potash – food supplements?
* Slaked lime – a food additive? Surely there are better ways of adjusting the pH in foods!

There are also a number of what I believe are errors:

* Tin – there is no known biochemical benefit from these salts – in fact they can be very toxic;
* Vanadium – there is no known incidence of deficiency of this element in humans or other animals for that matter. More than enough is available in the balanced diet.
* Sulphur is fully provided by an adequate balanced diet (sulphur amino acids) we do not need any additional input into the diet.

I for one hope that the EU at the end of the day restricts the list further – I would like the choice of eating food in the most natural state as possible.

Tim Keohane

EU Supplement Directive

I listened to a short discussion on the radio this morning about the EU Directive. The argument for the directive was that it would regulate what amounts of, say, chromium were contained in a certain supplement. The speaker was very definite that there was not sufficient evidence that such things as chromium (he was very keen on chromium) and boron were of benefit to people. I feel sure you can dispute that one! Also that it was definitely beneficial to the consumer to know exactly what was in the products and also whether they were indeed beneficial – for this more information was required. There was a representative against it who was presenting a very good case until he suggested that if a supplement contained seaweed and dandelion (can't remember the exact combination) and the consumer thought it would help, then it would – I felt he must have regretted saying that as it really played into the hands of those who want the directive to go forward. The interviewer was good and persisted with questions which really were not adequately answered by the man supporting the directive. If I had not known about the directive, then I would not have gained much knowledge from the discussion.

I received a leaflet from Higher Nature this morning with a letter about the Directive. They can send a draft letter to be used for writing to MPs Perhaps readers of Positive Health could do this. I am receiving mine via e-mail.

Catherine M Crawford

Buteyko Breathing

Thank you so much for the articles on the Buteyko method of breathing. Just by practising what little I've learned from your internet site I can now breathe through my nose! And from the information I've researched on Buteyko I've found out that even though there's only 3 practitioners in the whole USA, there will be a seminar coming to Minnesota next month—which I will be at. I think I can only keep getting better now. Take care!

Sabrina Stauffer
PSA, Regional Heart Center

Further Research into Soybeans

Soybeans have received a lot of attention recently both in Positive Health and other media. In particular the study that suggested large amounts of soy may increase the risks of breast cancer. This was one of many studies and it was based on soy supplements rather than dietary sources. The exact effects of soy- derived compounds in the body are not fully understood. However, the World Cancer Research Fund UK (WCRF) is committed to funding more research in this field.

According to the WCRF (UK), recent evidence suggests that colorectal cancer may be hormone-dependent. This organisation is funding a study that is examining this link more closely: 'Phytoestrogens and human colorectal cancer prevention – regulation of the vitamin D growth control system'. When this system is stimulated it works to halt or prevent the development of pre- cancerous cells that could develop into tumours. Many studies support the anti-cancer activities of phytoestrogens in soybeans although there has been no consistent findings to explain the exact mechanism involved.

Led by Professor Heidi Cross at the University of Vienna, the 3 year study ends in October 2002 with results to be reported soon after. Professor Cross says 'soy is an important source of the phytoestrogens genistein and daidzein. Our study aims to examine the mechanism by which these particular phytoestrogens work in triggering the vitamin D cancer prevention system. This study is the first of its kind in cancer prevention'.

Meanwhile the WCRF (UK) suggests that we add a good source of phytoestrogens to our diets by way of lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans or rye bread. Small amounts of dietary soy added every now and then should be sufficient. Balance is the key!

Mary Martin
Reflexology Practitioner and Teacher


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