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Letters to the Editor Issue 78

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 78 - July 2002

Late breaking news re: EU Directive

(reply to Catherine Crawford's letter)

EU Draft Food Supplements Directive

Thank you for your letter about the vote on the Food Supplements Draft Directive. We know there have been concerns about this, especially as the UK is the largest producer and user of vitamin and mineral supplements. As a result of the debate the Commission accepted the key designation 'nutritional or physiological' effects. There will be no legal vacuum, as many had feared. Herbal mixtures are, of course, outside the scope of this Directive, and subject to national regulations.

We have also sought to bring all products currently in use into the annexes of the Directive, so that they are equally in line for testing and validation in the wider EU market over the next four years. Meanwhile they continue to be regulated by the UK, as at present. We need to establish that Member States will be able to retain them for domestic use, even if they have not got the wider clearance.

Finally, we are determined to make sure that levels can be set close to the upper safe limits, not on Recommended Daily Allowances, which were intended to indicate the amount which would prevent severe deficiencies. We accept that some other Member States set their limits in this way, because they are defining the products differently and selling them only through pharmacists. We shall return to this point, because we need to ensure that traditionally cherished products sold in the UK are neither sidelined nor disadvantaged by the new rules.

David Martin MEP (Scotland)
Vice President European Parliament

A Dietary Supplements Health Education Act for the UK?

As you know, the USA has benefited from the passage of The Dietary Supplements Health Education Act (DSHEA) Act in the mid-90s.

DSHEA has paved the way for: Truthful, non-misleading scientific research to be made available to educate consumers about dietary supplements. The Government and FDA have strict guidelines about these studies and the use of educational materials.

Is there a concerted effort being made to suggest the same sort of legislation here in the UK?

Much play could be made of the fact that allopathic medicines are responsible for a huge amount of iatrogenic disease. It is well-recognised, even by allopathic medicine, that 40% of hospital beds are occupied by people who have been damaged by their medications. How many die?

How many die from supplements?

I am all for pulling any quack substances off the market and certainly protecting consumers from poor quality or dangerous herbs etc.

However, if Big Brother is allowed to restrict us so drastically without a whimper from the public what next?

Peter Smith, LCH MARH,
Registered Homoeopath

The Editor Replies

Draconian governmental, European and Global (through Codex) restriction of dietary and herbal supplements is already well underway, despite decades of publication of serious clinical evidence in learned, scientific journals demonstrating the significant positive therapeutic effects of supplements both in the prevention and treatment of many diseases.

This situation as arisen through the covert and duplicitous actions over many years of the apparent infiltration of pharmaceutical interests into the supplement industry. The professional and consumer public is furious; however it is going to take a costly and sustained battle to attempt to quash these destructive restrictions, which could have a drastic effect upon the health of us all.

Sandra Goodman, Ph.D.

More re European Supplement Directive

Not my usual style to protest about anything, but if the European Directive on supplements goes through, I shall vote against the party that allows it to become law. I am 67 years old and have voted Labour all of my life but that would finish me!

My experience of drugs is that they cause more problems than they solve. It is only the power of the drug companies that ensures that they continue to be prescribed, not results!

I treat one or two small problems very successfully with herbs and supplements and feel that at my age I should have the right to do so!

God bless you in your fight.

David Johnson

Organic Food and Health

Congratulations on an excellent article.

As a nutritional medicine doctor with a Zoology degree it is time we discussed the food chain reality and the relationship of type b malnutrition and environmental factors to the epidemic of chronic degenerative and debilitating disease in the UK.

I have directed a video called 'What have we done to our food?' which draws attention to some of the issues you raise in your article.
I am also running a course for doctors on Nutritional Medicine with Dr Paul Clayton and we have attracted some excellent speakers from the nutritional world. I believe the conventionally trained doctors realize pharmaceutical medicine has not stopped the advance in human disease and therefore perhaps that they have been praying to the wrong god!!!

Please visit

Kind regards
Dr Mark Draper

Heal Ourselves – Heal the Earth…

As we begin to prepare for the forthcoming Earth Summit + 10 at Johannesburg later this year, many commentators and environmentalists are wondering what real progress has been made in the last decade since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Are we any nearer to understanding the plethora of environmental issues now facing the world, and the part we must all play in reversing the decline?

Environmentalists have, for more than 30 years now been trying to shame a largely apathetic public into taking more care of their natural world and embrace greener, more sustainable lifestyles.

Thanks to their campaigns we're now all more aware and informed of issues like pollution, rainforest destruction, climate change and the rest, but action to turn these issues around is still painfully slow in coming due largely to the fact that nature is still an alien environment for most of us; we have become so dis-connected from our earth's life-giving rhythms and pulses, that a walk on the wild side is a rare and remote experience that does not fit comfortably into our busy material lives these days.

The idea that we are somehow separate from and superior to nature is fundamentally challenged by ecotherapists, as this pathological mindset leads us to fear those things that we can't rationally explain or control, and then leads us to destroy the Earth, our only home. I am not alone in firmly believing that we came out of the earth, not into it.

How does it work?

It's not rocket science, but it does involve knowing a little about how our brains function, as ecotherapy is fundamentally a marriage between elements of psychology, earth education, indigenous wisdom and even shamanism. Our complicated lives today, especially in our crowded and stressed cities demand that the left-side of our brains – the side that deals with organizing, analysing, problem solving and number-crunching is over-stretched for much of the time, while the right side, which handles expression, creativity, and intuition goes through the average day barely pressed into service. This is this side of the brain that traditional hunter-gatherers have used for thousands of years to survive and remain connected and at one with their natural environment. So, by taking people out into nature and employing a range of therapeutic activities, we can now connect them through right-brain stimulation to the heartbeat of mother nature, which in turn will make them understand themselves and their relationship with nature better. Most importantly for the future of the planet, these individuals and their families will surely go on to lead healthier, more sustainable lives and may even become effective environmentalists in the future.

Just think how the world could change if George Bush or even Tony Blair could be persuaded to spend a few hours in the wilderness with an ecotherapist prior to the forthcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg!

Graham Game

Graham Game has spent 30 years studying and practising ecopsychology, earth education, indigenous wisdom, shamanism and ecotherapy in the UK and USA, and also works in nature conservation.

Ozone Therapies Information

I wish to start by thanking you for putting together such an informative website on alternate health therapies. Good information is hard to come by.

I work for an ozone company based in Lima, Ohio, USA. We have developed our own ozonated olive oil after a trip to England for the International Ozone Association World Congress in 2001. This conference had dozens of lectures from Master's work to post doctorate studies and experiments dealing with the effects of ozone on many common problems the U.S. medical community has trouble treating.

I saw a note at the bottom of an article for ozone therapies including the ozone sauna. I just thought I would share this information. Thank you again for trying to distribute information to people when the FDA and the American medical community will not give a straight answer.

Jake Dicus,
Earth Safe Ozone,  Tel: 001 419 227 0303

Top US Government Agency Reveals New Fluoridation Fears

The US Environmental Protection Agency has been forced to acknowledge concerns about fluoridation chemicals which have been flagged up for decades by anti-fluoridation campaigners.

In the 1990s, three scientific studies showed that aluminium fluoride compounds similar to those created by artificial water fluoridation caused brain damage in rats. Eighty per cent of the rats died before the end of each of these experiments.

Declaring themselves "astounded", the scientists wrote: "Not only did the rats in the lowest dose [aluminium fluoride] groups die more often during the experiment, they looked poorly well before their deaths. Even the rats in the lowest dose group that managed to survive the 45 weeks looked to be in poor health."

In October, 2000, after reviewing the experiments, the USEPA formally called for further research into the health effects of aluminium fluoride compounds found in tap water.

In April 2002, the Risk Management Research Laboratory of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a "REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE" notice on its website.

"The release of fluoride proceeds through a complex, multi-step equilibrium process that is not well-understood," it says. "The primary objective… is to investigate the reactions that take place when fluorosilicates are added to drinking water supplies and what concentrations of which fluorosilicate species may be monitored in finished drinking water supplies."

Government scientists now suspect that the fluorosilicates used to artificially fluoridate drinking water combine with other water treatment chemicals and contaminants to form highly toxic compounds. In their Request for Assistance, they stated: "These data are expected to aid in the development of pharmacokinetic and toxicokinetic studies and to further the understanding of the fate of fluoride, including its interactions with other species in drinking water."

Jane Jones, campaign director of the National Pure Water Association, said "For fifty years Government officials have promoted water fluoridation as a completely safe public health measure, routinely denying that fluoride chemicals added to tap water can create highly dangerous compounds. At last, science is exposing the spin doctors' propaganda. They can't hide behind pseudo science any more."

Last August, the NPWA president, Dr Paul McCormick, wrote to the Medical Research Council asking them to recommend safety testing of these chemicals. "We didn't expect them to take any notice," said Ms Jones. "But now that the US EPA admits that legitimate scientific fears exist, we expect the MRC to advise the Government to stop fluoridation forthwith. How many red flags do they need? Public health officials who parrot that artificial water fluoridation is safe must be silenced. Our 42-year campaign against fluoridation is completely justified."

Further Information

Jane Jones,
Campaign Director.
National Pure Water Association
Tel: 01924 254433.

Extract from The Shadow of Soy

by Sean Carson

Faster than you can say "isoflavone," the humble soybean has insinuated itself into a dominant position in the standard American diet. And that shouldn't be a surprise. Cheap, versatile, and karma-free, soy in the 1990s went from obscurity as vegan-and-hippie staple to Time magazine. With mad cows lurking between whole wheat buns, and a growing distrust of conventionally- produced dairy products, soy seemed like the ideal choice, the perfect protein. But like all seemingly perfect things, a shadow lurked. By the final years of the last decade, a number of soy researchers began to cry foul.

Soy Good? Soy Bad?

As the soy industry lobbied the FDA for a cardiovascular health claim for soy protein, two senior FDA scientists, Daniel Sheehan and Daniel Doerge – both specialists in oestrogen research – wrote a letter vigorously opposing such a claim. In fact, they suggested a warning might be more appropriate. Their concern? Two isoflavones found in soy, genistein and daidzen, the same two promoted by the industry for everything from menopause relief to cancer protection, were said to "demonstrate toxicity in oestrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid."

Moreover, "adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues and, apparently, by several distinct mechanisms." Sheehan also quoted a landmark study (Cassidy, et al. 1994), showing that as little as 45mg of isoflavones could alter the length of a pre-menopausal woman's menstrual cycle. The scientists were particularly concerned about the effects of these two plant oestrogens on foetuses and young infants, because "development is recognized as the most sensitive life stage for oestrogen toxicity."

It wasn't the first time scientists found problems with soy, but coupled with a Hawaiian study by Dr. Lon White on men, the controversy ended up on national television. While industry scientists criticized both the White study and the two FDA researchers (who are now disallowed from commenting publicly on the issue), other researchers weighed in on the anti-soy side. The tofu fight had begun.

What about Asia?

One of the favourite mantras of soy advocates is that the ubiquitous bean has been used "safely by Asians for thousands of years." With many soy "experts" (often with ties to the soy industry) recommending more than 250 grams of soy foods – and in some cases, more than 100mg of isoflavones each day – it's easy to get the impression that soy plays a major role in the Asian diet. If you saw it on TV or read it in a magazine, it must be true, right? Well, not exactly.

According to Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation ( and author of Nourishing Traditions, "The tradition with soy is that it was fermented for a long time, from six months to three years and then eaten as a condiment, not as a replacement for animal foods," she says. Fallon states that the so-called Asian diet – far from centering around soy – is based on meat. Approximately 65% of Japanese calorie intake comes from fish in Japan, while in China the same percentage comes from pork. "They're not using a lot of soy in Asia – an average of 2 teaspoons a day in China and up to a quarter cup in some parts of Japan, but not a huge amount."

So, while Asians were using limited to moderate amounts of painstakingly prepared soy foods – the alleged benefits of which are still controversial – Americans, especially vegetarians, are consuming more soy products and isoflavones than any culture in human history, and as one researcher put it, "entering a great unknown."

Oddly, nowhere in industry promotion does anyone differentiate between traditional, painstakingly prepared "Asian" soy foods and the modern, processed items that Fallon calls "imitation food." And therein lies the rub. Modern soy protein foods in no way resemble the traditional Asian soy foods, and may contain carcinogens like nitrates, lysinoalanine, as well as a number of anti-nutrients which are only significantly degraded by fermentation or other traditional processing.

"People need to realize that when they're eating these soy foods – and I'm not talking about miso or tofu – but soy "burgers," soy "cheese," soy "ice cream," and all of this stuff, that they are not the real thing. They may look like the real thing and they may taste like the real thing, but they do not have the life supporting qualities of real foods," Fallon says.

Requiem for a Thyroid

One of the biggest concerns about high intake of soy isoflavones is their clearly defined toxic effect on the thyroid gland.

Harvard-trained medical doctor Richard Shames, MD, a thyroid specialist who has had a long time practice in Marin, says that "genistein is the most difficult for the metabolic processes of people with low thyroid, so when you have that present in high enough concentrations, the result is an antagonism to the function of thyroid hormone." Far from being an isolated problem, Shames says that recent data tags twenty million Americans being treated for thyroid problems, another thirteen million who ought to be treated if they would get a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test, and another thirteen million who would show up normal on a TSH test but would test positive on another, more specific test.

All in all, Shames believes that low thyroid conditions – many due to exposure to oestrogen-mimicking chemicals like PCBs and DDT in environment – are the mother of most modern health epidemics. That's a lot of thyroid problems. Some estimate the number to be as high as one in ten. Shames says that 8 of 10 thyroid sufferers are women – often older women.

"If you're a normal person, and one in ten are not normal, the effect [of 50mg of soy isoflavones] may be fairly insignificant, but even a normal person can have problems at levels greater than that," says Shames. Dr Gillespie says the daily amount to cause thyroid problems may be as low as 30mg, or less than a serving of soy milk.

A number of soy proponents say the thyroid concerns are exaggerated and that if dietary iodine is sufficient, problems won't likely happen. Not so says Shames. "Iodine is a double-edged sword for people with thyroid problems, and for those people, more is going to increase their chance for an autoimmune reaction… throwing iodine at it is not going to be the protective solution." Shames recommends limiting soy foods to a few times a week, preferably fermented or well cooked.



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