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Letters to the Editor Issue 92

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 92 - September 2003

UK Government Rigs Vote on Supplements Ban

Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003: Statutory Instrument 1387
An excerpt from a report concerning the Standing Committee debate and vote to translate the EU Food Supplements Directive into English law, with associated background material. The full report is available from the author.

The EU Food Supplements Directive was passed into UK law recently, but the circumstances surrounding the Government’s approval of it are somewhat controversial. Rather than put the legislation to a democratic vote in the House of Commons, the Government decided instead that a vote held following a one and a half hour committee meeting would be sufficient reason to ban 300 nutrients and 5000 products from the shelves of UK health food stores by 1st August 2005.

The original members of the committee were announced towards the end of June. Two days before the vote was due to take place it emerged that several Labour MPs on the committee, including Kate Hoey MP, were going to vote against the legislation. This would have prevented the legislation from being voted through. On the day before the vote the Labour Party removed five Labour MPs from the committee and replaced them with Labour MPs who, although they had not had an opportunity to read about the issue in great depth, could be guaranteed to vote it through. It is particularly noteworthy that all but one of the MPs who were removed from the committee had previously signed Early Day Motions calling upon the Government to take urgent action to address the serious problems brought about by the Food Supplements Directive.

The five Labour MPs who were removed were: Tony Banks, Tony Colman, Kate Hoey, Andrew Love and Joan Ryan. The five Labour MPs who replaced them were Charlotte Atkins, Ross Cranston, Geraint Davies, John Mann and Claire Ward.

The debate and vote were held on 3rd July in Committee Room 12 at the House of Commons. Right at the outset of the meeting, Chris Grayling MP (Cons) raised a point of order in relation to the removing of Labour MPs from the committee against their wishes. The Chairman (Win Griffiths MP, Lab) replied that there was nothing that he could do about the situation. David Wilshire (Cons) then expressed his concern that the Government were “yet again showing another example of their jackboot approach and determination to stamp on this place and parliamentary democracy, if any honourable Members so much as say that they have doubts about the Government’s dictatorial attitude”.

Chris Grayling then issued a direct challenge to the Junior Health Minister, Miss Melanie Johnson MP (Lab), asking her could she name one item on the list of almost 300 nutrients that will be banned that is unsafe.

Miss Johnson was silent at first, and then replied that she saw no point in selecting individual points to reply to and that she would not respond to a challenge thrown down to oblige her to argue a position.

“Why” asked Chris Grayling “are we allowing laws imposed by the European Commission to take from people in this country the choice that they have freely exercised for years?”

Some of the most dramatic moments of the debate came when Kate Hoey (Lab) stood up to speak. Because she was no longer on the committee she was not allowed to vote, but she was clearly very angry and determined to say her piece. In her speech, she confirmed that she was a member of the Committee until she had said, very honestly, that she would vote against the regulations. “That is probably a lesson that one should not be honest in this place,” she said.

Kate Hoey also stated her belief that “the regulations send out the message that, once again, the elite in Brussels, backed up, I am afraid, by the connivance of the Government, are running our country. The message will go out to millions of ordinary people that the Government care more about the pharmaceutical industry than they do about ordinary people’s opportunities and rights to continue to take products that they have always taken. This is not a public health issue. If it were, we would not be dealing with it in this way and we would already have banned the products. This is a victory for the elite in Brussels and for bureaucracy in Brussels. The idea that we are making a decision on the regulations in an hour and a half in a small Committee Room is scandalous. If that is the way in which the European Union is going, no wonder there is a huge demand in this country for a referendum on any change to the constitution.” She finished her speech by saying that “the situation is scandalous, and I want my voice to be very clear as I say that this is not being done in my name.”

Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) suggested that the genesis of the directive is the product of some ruthless lobbying tactics that are used in the European Union. “Brussels is a place in which one needs to walk with care” he said “because there are so many sharp suits around that will cut one. Such people are there and are lobbying on behalf of all kinds of interest groups.” He went on to say that he unfortunately saw “the hand of the pharmaceutical industry at work, because it is not keen on the diversity of supply of vitamin supplements and all such products that are available in health food shops in this country.” Mr Corbyn also stated that “the other issue must be the power of the medical industry – it is an industry – in the prescription of drugs.” He went on to say that “the pharmaceutical industry prescribes the kinds of medicines that it does, but many people in this country wish there to be a different, more homeopathic form of medicine.”

Graham Brady (Cons) pointed out that “there is a rich irony here”, saying that “the Government believe that they have the power and the right to require our constituents to use a combined MMR vaccination and they will be moving amendments to the Water Bill next week that would give them powers to add fluoride to the public water supply.” Stating that the Government believe that “they can do things to our constituents against their will” he added that “they do not believe that our constituents should have freedom of choice.”

The Junior Health Minster, Melanie Johnson MP (Lab) spoke for less than twenty minutes, and it was clear to all present that she was doing her level best to avoid answering questions on the more controversial aspects of the legislation. It is noteworthy that the only positive thing that she could find to say about the legislation was that “it will open up markets for products manufactured by UK businesses in other member states.” Proof indeed that this legislation was designed to benefit business, not consumers.

After the meeting a vote took place, and the regulations were approved, by 8 votes to 6. It is very clear that had the Government not rigged the Committee and removed dissenting Labour MPs the Regulations would have been blocked.

Prepared by Paul Anthony Taylor
paulandpolly@btinternet.com
Source: Emma Holister
emma@holisters.com

The French Prohibition on Words Related to Healing

by Emma Holister

Where does the EU directive that bans natural supplements lead us?  The UK can look just across the water to France to get an idea…

On reading the book Healing, an Illegal Practice by France’s foremost health freedom author Sylvie Simon we not only discover the truth about the brutal repression of alternative medicine in France but that the very title of her book itself is causing a scandal.

The French Health Freedom Movement is faced with the confusing task of having to dance around in a baffling war of semantics in order to be able to preserve the citizen’s right to choose natural effective remedies.  Simon’s title is aptly chosen. 

The main problem facing alternative therapists in France is the fact that using certain words pertaining to health matters is against the law (L4161-1).  Any therapist claiming the ‘therapeutic’ or ‘medicinal’ properties of a natural treatment risks being denounced and dragged before the law courts for ‘Illegal Practice of Medicine’.  Worse still, they risk being denounced as gurus of dangerous sects.  The repression is both medical and religious in nature!

Practitioners of alternative medicine and indeed patients and parents choosing alternative means to treat their children, are pursued, harassed, criminalized and even imprisoned on the command of the pharmaceutically dominated medical authorities.  There have even been cases of parents losing custody over their children for child neglect because they did not comply to the laws on compulsory vaccination of children against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and tuberculosis.  A school has the right to refuse access to a child who has not been injected with these doubtful chemicals that research is revealing to be harmful to the child’s health and immune system.

These Inquisitors, as Simon aptly names them, do everything in their very great power to stamp out the population’s desire for alternative medicine. The chemical-pushing general practitioners who flaunt the occasional acupuncture needle around as a token gesture to their having ‘successfully integrated’ alternative medicine into mainstream allopathic medical practice is probably the scariest result of this repression of people’s basic human rights.

By law, no one other than a doctor from mainstream allopathic schools of medicine (controlled by the pharmaceutical industry) is allowed to PRESCRIBE, DIAGNOSE SYMPTOMS, or claim MEDICINAL, THERAPEUTIC or HEALING benefits for anything other than what is permitted by the medical authorities (in other words chemical pharmaceutical products).

It is against the law for anyone other than a mainstream doctor to practise acupuncture and homeopathy. A contradiction?  The truth of the matter is that the only way to officially see an alternative medicine practitioner is to go to your mainstream doctor, who naturally will put you back onto those antibiotics and synthetic hormones whilst claiming that acupuncture and homeopathy are very good but are slower and less effective than allopathic drugs – as they have naturally been ‘trained’ to do. Alternative medicine in France has been kidnapped and bastardised by the pharmaceutical industry.

What is the result of this crime against humanity on the French language? A few therapists in alternative ‘medicine’ (oops, can’t say ‘medicine’) claim to have no problem with this legal obstacle. They insist that all we need to do is abandon all vocabulary pertaining to health in order to practise natural ‘therapies’ (oops said the ‘therapy’ word) ‘freely’.

What is more worrying is that the general feeling of aversion towards doctors that is naturally occurring in this country has lead to a very predictable prejudice against those sensitive words ‘doctor’, ‘medical’, ‘cure’. Certain people have even criticised Sylvie Simon’s use of the words Healing and Illegal in her book, pointing out that alternative ‘medicine’ (oops, said it again), does not ‘cure’ because the patient ‘cures’ himself, that alternative ‘medicine’ (or should I say alternative whatsit) is not illegal as long as we don’t use the vocabulary of doctors, because natural therapies have nothing to do with ‘medicine’, ‘doctors’ and ‘cures’, these now being dirty words that the pharmaceutical industry are welcome to keep, we don’t want them anyway.

Well, let’s see, what does that leave us with in terms of vocabulary?

When the massage therapist Savatofski was pursued by our friends in the Medical Inquisition for using the word ‘massage’ (permission to use this word is only granted to the state and doctor controlled kinésithérapeutes) the problem was ‘aptly’ overcome by changing the word ‘massage’ to ‘touching’, which so far, is not against the law. So whilst the alternative medicine practitioners jump for joy for having found a way to continue practising their healing art without more ado, the client is in the strange position of having to say ‘I’m going to get touched’ instead of ‘I’m going to have a massage’.

So what has our good old-fashioned health promoting massage been reduced to? Getting touched in a non-therapeutic manner? That sounds almost as bad as paedophilia!

What does a Chinese Doctor become?  A Chinese Thingy? What does Oriental Medicine become? Oriental Stuff?  What does Oriental Diagnosis become?  Oriental What-ja-ma-call-it?

France is the only country in the world to have an official government committee which studies all the new words occurring in French culture and which determines which of those words will be officially allowed or disallowed.

So before anyone could confiscate my old dictionary with its old fashioned terms, I got it out sneakily and discovered that nowhere is it stated that these ‘medical’ words are the exclusive property of the pharmaceutically oriented modern medical world. In fact, looking at my dictionary of word origins, I discovered that these words all have ancient origins in Greek and Sanskrit that trace the entire history of humanity. So in reality these terms, historically speaking, describe what has now ironically come to be known as ‘Alternative Medicine’. 

Seeing as our forefathers in all world cultures have always used these words, having always had the right to diagnose disease and prescribe healing remedies, I don’t see why we should suddenly change and only allow pharmaceutically oriented doctors to use them. Especially when we know that pharmaceutical products are killing hundreds of thousands of people across the world every year – and that’s just counting the industry’s poisonous ‘remedies’ not to mention all the deaths caused by their relentless poisoning of the planet with pesticides and chemical warfare!

Here is the result of my investigations with the dictionaries. Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto Publishers: Bloomsbury Reference

Diagnosis:
The underlying meaning of Greek diagnosis was ‘knowing apart’. It was derived from diagignoskein ‘distinguish, discern,’ a compound verb formed from the prefix dia- ‘apart’ and gignoskein ‘know, perceive’ (a relative of English ‘know’). In post-classical times the general notion of ‘distinguishing’ or ‘discerning’ was applied specifically to medical examination in order to determine the nature of a disease.

Know:
The words for ‘know’ in the various Indo-European languages mostly belong to one large many-branched family which goes back ultimately to the base gn-, which also produced English can and ken.  Its Latin offspring was noscere, from which English gets cognition, incognito, note, quaint, etc. From its Greek branch come English agnostic and diagnosis.  And in other Indo-European languages it is represented by, among others, Sanskrit janati ‘know’. Old Irish gnath ‘known’, and Russian znat. In the other Germanic languages it is the immediate relatives of English can (German and Dutch kennen, Swedish kanna, Danish kende) that are used for ‘know’: know itself, which was originally a reduplicated form, survives only in English.

The -ledge of knowledge was probably originally the suffix -lock ‘action, process,’ which otherwise survives only in wedlock.  Acknowledge is derived from knowledge.
-agnostic, can, cognition, diagnosis, incognito, ken, knowledge note, quaint, recognise.

Medicine:
Latin mederi ‘heal’ underlies all the English ‘medical’ words (it was formed from the base med-, which also produced English remedy). From it was derived medicus ‘doctor,’ which has given English medical: and on medicus in turn were based Latin medicina ‘practice of medicine’ (source of English medicine) and medicari ‘give medicine to’ (source of English medicament and medicate).
-remedy
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary 1983

Diagnosis:
The identification of a disease by means of its symptoms: a formal determining description.

Diagnose: To ascertain from symptoms, as a disease.

Diagnostic: Distinguishing, differentiating that by which anything is known: a symptom.

Prescribe: To lay down as a rule or direction: to give as an order: to appoint: to give directions for, as a remedy: to limit, set bounds to: to claim by prescription: to lay down rules: to give or make out a prescription: to make a claim on account of long possession: to become of no force through time.

Prescription: The act of prescribing or directing: a written direction for the preparation of a medicine: a recipe: enjoyment, possession, use, etc. from time immemorial or for a period of time fixed by law by which a legal right or title is acquired: any claim based on long use, or an established custom taken as authoritative. Limitation of time within which action may be taken.

References

Sylvie Simon “Exercice illégal de la guérison”
Ron Law’s Study on the Safety of Dietary Supplements:
www.laleva.cc/petizione/english/ronlaw_eng.html
See also: The ABC of a Global Dictatorship on the ban of our
safe and effective dietary supplements and From
Baby Food to a Nation of  Babies on the wrong doings
of the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Committee
on www.CandidaInternational.org under HEALTH FREEDOM MOVEMENTS.
Emma Holister:  emma@holisters.com

Further Information

Campaigning for Health Freedom in France: www.CandidaInternational.org
www.adsnb.org

Bullshitting the Patient

I remember that we were sitting in a room analyzing videoed consultations. The Registrar on the video sat the patient down. “You have sacroiliitis,” she said. We all finished watching the video, consultation technique was discussed, and then someone pointed out that the registrar couldn’t possibly say that the diagnosis was sacroiliitis. All that one could say on the information presented was that the patient had mechanical low back pain. “Oh, well,” someone else said, “We all do that.”

I assumed by this that they meant that we all made up diagnoses of spurious diagnostic accuracy to keep the patient happy. There was a pause, and then a colleague said in a slightly embarrassed tone: “Well, I don’t do that.” There was an awkward silence and then we moved on to discuss the knotty question of whether the registrar had empathized with the patient. This episode occurred several years ago but it has stayed with me.

I suspect that I was probably guilty of the same sin – of dressing up diagnostic uncertainty with an impressive, but spurious, diagnostic accuracy. I have avoided doing it ever since. There is quite a lot published about why patients trust some doctors and not others. The reasons for trust, or the lack of it, are undoubtedly multiple. As junior doctors we assume that the patient will distrust us if we seem uncertain, and that may be true. The risk is that the bullshitting learnt as a junior may persist.

And the odd thing is that it is tolerated. “We all do it.” But I suspect that most human beings are rather finely attuned to picking up the minor levels of deceit in such a practice, which may explain part of the spectrum between trust and distrust that patients feel. I recently had to fill out a form for appraisal, which asked me about my ‘probity’. I remembered the story of Evelyn Waugh visiting the United States. The entry form asked him if any part of the purpose of his visit was to ‘subjugate the government of the United States’. He wrote, ‘sole purpose of visit’, and was detained for a week.

Maybe my appraisal form should, more profitably, have asked me if I bullshitted to patients. It would at least have caused me to examine my conscience. Now, instead of saying to patients that they have sacroiliitis, I tell them that they are allergic to Candida.

Kevin Barraclough, GP Painswick, Glos
doctors@hoylandhouse.freeserve.co.uk
Via: uuzula@aol.com

Health Warning: Screening Can Seriously Damage Patients

Breast cancer checks are at the centre of fresh controversy as concerns grow that hi-tech clinics may harm those seeking to pre-empt illness. Hi-tech screening services, which promise to detect early signs of heart disease, cancer and other conditions while they can still be cured, are being introduced in Britain despite warnings from doctors that they may do more harm than good.

A new allegation that breast screening, one of the longest established procedures, is being over-promoted to women who are not being alerted to the harm that can result has been published in the British Medical Journal.

Regular mammography to check for breast cancer is an established technology, backed by scientific expertise, which is popular with patients. But debate continues to rage over whether it saves lives or prompts unnecessary treatment. Hazel Thornton, a former breast cancer patient and visiting fellow at the University of Leicester, and Michael Baum, Emeritus Professor of surgery at University College, London, and a long-time critic of screening, have teamed up with a colleague to demand information for women that sets out the risks and benefits.

They cite evidence showing 1,200 women would have to be screened for 14 years to save one life from breast cancer while during that time scores would suffer anxiety, surgery and mastectomies for suspicious lumps that turned out to be benign.

The war over the risks and benefits of screening is likely to grow. Clinics offering whole body scans, diagnostic tests and checks for specific conditions such as skin cancer are springing up in London and in other cities promising to provide clients with the ‘ultimate health check’.

At least four clinics have opened in the capital in the past three months offering tests lasting from 15 minutes to two hours and costing up to £1,000. Companies say the tests can reveal small tumours, aortic aneurysms (defects in the wall of the main blood vessel), bone erosion, artery deposits and osteoporosis (bone thinning).

Whole body screening is big business in America. They promise an ultra-fast image of vital internal organs for a price of about £650. The selling point of the scans is summarised in one company’s slogan: “You don’t know what’s inside until you look”. Traditionally, doctors have performed health checks using the thermometer, the stethoscope and their skill as diagnosticians. Now the promise is that new technology will replace the application of a sensitive touch and a listening ear.

But British experts are sceptical. Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal, said a whole body scan had become a fashionable gift in the US for people reaching milestone birthdays of 50, 60 or even 40. “You might be giving your loved one the supreme gift of extra years of life. Unfortunately, you may be more likely to give him or her a lorry load of anxiety and a series of invasive, painful and unnecessary investigations,” he wrote.

The problem is that most scans throw up ‘abnormalities’ but to distinguish those that are benign from those that indicate serious disease is often difficult. Dr Harvey Eisenberg, who runs a scanning service in Newport, California, said he referred 80 per cent of the clients he screened for further hospital checks. “Emerging pathologies are almost always present. In 25,000 patients I have seen maybe 10 that were completely normal,” he said.

Screening may wrongly indicate the presence of disease in some patients – the ‘false positive’ findings – causing them to have painful and unnecessary investigations. An American patient who had a nodule detected on his lung in screening described how he had a lung biopsy to check for cancer, which revealed that the nodule was a healed scar that was non-threatening. The investigation led to him spending four days in hospital, enduring a painful procedure followed by several weeks’ recuperation and left him with a bill of $47,000 (£30,000).

Stephen Swenson, professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, said in the BMJ that screening for lung cancer at his clinic as part of a study had detected 56 cases of the disease over four years. “One could ask why screening should not be advocated. Several uncertainties, however, make it premature to advocate screening on a large scale,” he said.

Although they found more early-stage lung cancers, what was unclear was whether this would delay progression of the disease, even with treatment, or whether the mortality associated with treating lesions which might turn out to be benign outweighed the gain from screening. Professor Swenson writes: “Some of the best doctors in the world have sincere differences of opinion about such screening… If patients simply want to get scanned... doctors should tell patients in explicit terms that such screening has no proved benefit and that serious risks could outweigh benefits (if there are any). Patients should understand that the stakes are high.”

In their paper on breast screening in the BMJ, Ms Thornton and Professor Baum say misconceptions on screening abound. Many people wrongly believe screening reduces the incidence of breast cancer, that all types of breast cancer progress and that early detection is always a benefit. In fact, they say, screening contributes to a rise in the incidence of breast cancer and one in five cancers detected is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer that may not progress. In 40 per cent of cases, DCIS results in a mastectomy, which may be unnecessary for the woman and expensive for the NHS. They claim there has been ‘negligible improvement’ in NHS screening leaflets because of the tension that exists with the screening service’s need to boost uptake.

They conclude: “It is unacceptable that women taking tests continue to suffer damage and regret because they found out the harms of screening from experience. Unless women are able to make true informed choices, funding for the service will continue to be questioned.”

A spokeswoman for the NHS Breast Screening Service said leaflets given to women were revised in 2001 to provide balanced information on benefits and limitations. “All women receive a copy of the leaflet with their invitation to screening which sets out what screening can and cannot do,” she said.

Even the longest established form of screening in the UK – for cervical cancer – is not immune to criticism. In a separate survey in the BMJ, Angela Raffle, Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Avon, and colleagues, calculated that 1,000 women would have to be screened for 35 years to prevent one death. They point out that more than 80 per cent of abnormal findings at cervical screening do not progress to invasive cancer. “The same may well apply in other organs and the prophylactic [preventive] removal of colons, ovaries, breasts and gullets may be killing people without benefit,” they say.

The rationale for screening – that we can nip diseases in the bud – is now being adopted by companies to make fat profits. But abnormalities are more common and difficult to interpret than people think. Early detection can improve survival – but it may also mean merely that patients spend more of their life with the knowledge that they have a fatal disease. Sometimes it is better not to know.

by Jeremy Laurance. The Independent. 11 July 2003.
Source: Chris Gupta     chrisgupta@alumni.uwaterloo.ca

Malignant Melanoma Melodrama

by William Campbell Douglass II, MD

Malignant melanoma, which is causing all this mayhem, must be conquered. Well, not exactly. That is, malignant melanoma does need to be eradicated; it can be a nasty cancer. But, of the ‘million new cases’ of skin cancer, only a small percentage are actually malignant melanoma, which is not caused by sun exposure. The rest are basal cell cancer, which may or may not be caused by excessive sun exposure but is easily cured.

Here’s the kind of propaganda that keeps Americans (and others) on edge about the evil Sun God: “…that’s more than twice the number who will hear they have prostate or breast cancer, making skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States.” Comparing a benign form of cancer, basal cell, with deadly breast cancer is like comparing herpes to hepatitis or conjunctivitis to encephalitis. The people who write this distorted nonsense don’t know they are snowing people. But the medical professionals who review their articles can’t be that uninformed and/or dumb. They are guilty of the worst possible misfeasance and, like crooked stockbrokers, should be jailed and kept in a sun-free environment – where they’ll probably catch melanoma since it almost always goes ‘where the sun don’t shine.’

And there’s more: “While prostate and breast cancers kill far more people, skin cancer – usually caused by excess sun exposure – can be deadly, too. The American Cancer Society expects about 7,600 deaths this year from melanoma, the most virulent of skin cancers.”

Get the clever wording here? The first sentence does not say “sun exposure causes melanoma” because the experts do not know what causes melanoma but they know that the sun is not the cause. They pretend not to know this by ignoring it – a conspiracy of silence. To be fair to the dermatologists, they are not all conspirators; some of them are just ignorant. The second sentence nails down the semantic subterfuge: “The American Cancer Society expects about 7,600 deaths this year from melanoma, the most virulent of skin cancers.” (This is flat-out wrong. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is far more deadly.)

Further Information


A Diet Full of Fish Could Mean a Diet Full of Mercury

By Jane E. Allen. Los Angeles Times

Lee Flynn thought she had a healthy lifestyle. She was thin and active and she ate well with lunches of tuna and fresh vegetables and dinners of halibut, sea bass or swordfish. Yet she spent more than a decade plagued by fatigue, stomach aches and headaches, as if she had ‘a wicked hangover.’ Her hair started falling out. Memory lapses made her think she was losing her mind.

“I really felt something was poisoning me, but I couldn’t find the source,” said Flynn, 59.

The Sausalito, Calif, anthropologist and documentary filmmaker eventually ended up in the office of Dr Jane Hightower, a San Francisco internist. When Hightower heard that Flynn was eating fish nine times a week, she immediately ordered a blood test for mercury. A heavy metal that accumulates in the flesh of fish, especially the popular predatory varieties, mercury can also accumulate in people who eat those fish.

The test’s stunning result: Flynn’s mercury level was 20.6 micrograms per litre of blood. A safe level is about 5, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Like Flynn, many adults and children may be unwittingly overdosing on mercury, say Hightower and some public-health activists, and it’s likely that most of them are going undiagnosed.

In recent years, fish has become the food of choice for millions of Americans trying to eat more healthfully, with per capita consumption at about 15 pounds, a 20 percent increase since 1980.

People on weight-loss diets turn to fish as a lean alternative to beef. Bodybuilders go for the protein; it’s not unusual for them to polish off entire cans of tuna. Others are drawn to the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in fish. Restaurants, meanwhile, are expanding their portions, often serving as much as a pound at a time (a normal portion is 3 or 4 ounces).

The health benefits are undeniable and some people may suspect the warnings are overblown. Last month, researchers at the American Psychiatric Association meeting announced that fish rich in omega-3s may prevent depression late in pregnancy and after childbirth. A study a week earlier in the journal Lancet found that children in the Seychelles Islands whose mothers ate a lot of fish during pregnancy showed no signs of health problems.

Not all doctors ‘think fish’
Even though the federal government and the state of Washington have advised pregnant women to limit their fish intake, some people still don’t get the message or don’t understand the cumulative effects. Furthermore, physicians aren’t trained to ‘think fish’ when patients complain of mental fuzziness, fatigue, hair loss and tingling hands and feet. Those symptoms also can point to thyroid problems, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome or menopause.

Last November, Hightower published a report in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institutes of Health, on 123 patients, 89 percent of whom had excessive mercury she traced to fish.  The study was one of the first to document mercury levels in people eating more than two servings of fish a week. To date, Hightower has documented 300 cases of elevated mercury levels in her patients, including a 4-year-old girl practically living on canned tuna.

“Mercury is a known poison,” Hightower says. “By definition, this means it is harmful and can make one ill or even kill.”

Predators are most toxic
Mercury occurs naturally, but is mostly a by-product of coal-burning, mining and other industries. Once in the water supply, it forms methyl mercury, which lingers in fish flesh. As big fish eat smaller fish, they absorb more of the heavy metal, making predators such as swordfish, shark, tuna and halibut among the most toxic; smaller fish such as salmon and shellfish the least.

Although fresh tuna tends to have more mercury than canned varieties, levels in canned tuna can vary from nearly undetectable to 1 part per million, the level beyond which the Food and Drug Administration prohibits its sale.

Methyl mercury is especially damaging to the developing brains of foetuses and children. The FDA advises pregnant women to eliminate shark, tile fish, king mackerel and swordfish, and limit eating of other fish to 12 ounces a week.  The state of Washington recommends pregnant women also eliminate fresh or frozen tuna steaks and restrict their intake of canned tuna.

But high mercury levels don’t always produce symptoms. Clarissa Lee, a 30-year-old preschool teacher from San Francisco, was eating lots of swordfish, sea bass and halibut last summer while visiting Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons.

In August, she told her gynaecologist that she and her husband wanted to have a baby. The doctor heard about her fish consumption and ran a mercury test. Lee’s level was 37. Lee gave up fish for a while, got her mercury levels down and now indulges in the occasional salmon.

As for Flynn, she gave up fish for almost two years. She now eats fish a couple of times a month, but never touches the predators. Her mercury levels are normal, her memory is back and she feels good. “Do anything to excess,” Lee says, “and that’s when you get into trouble.”

Fish ranked by mercury levels
Americans are consuming more fish, a good source of low-fat protein. But with increased consumption comes the potential for higher exposure to mercury, a toxic heavy metal. Some fish are more likely to contain high levels of mercury. Here are some examples.
The worst: These fish have the highest mercury levels. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and small children are advised to avoid them. King mackerel, shark, swordfish, tile fish, tuna.*
In between: These fish can be high in mercury; they should be consumed only occasionally. Halibut, lobster, mahi-mahi, orange roughy, red snapper.
The best: These fish tend to have the lowest mercury levels. But some may still contain other contaminants, including PCBs. Catfish, flounder, sole, salmon, sardines, shellfish (includes clams, crab, oysters and shrimp), tilapia.
* The state of Washington includes tuna on its list of fish that pregnant women should avoid; the federal government puts it on the in-between list.

References:

USDA Office of Seafood; Food and Drug Administration;
Environmental Protection Agency; Washington State Department of Health
Source: Chris Gupta     chrisgupta@alumni.uwaterloo.ca

Fail-Safe Method of Removing Gallstones

This fail-safe method of removing gallstones worked for me! And I now have a green gallstone preserved as proof.

It’s so simple that surgery seems criminal, especially considering you may be minus a gallbladder! Another fine example of hacking from allopathic medicine! Talk about primitive or what! Talk about a rip-off, according to the ref. cited, a number of doctors know about this but still don’t use it. Who are the quacks here? Disgusting!

Drink daily (one litre per day with or without meals – any way you like) fresh apple juice (I used organic apple juice). This will soften the stones to such an extent that you can squash them with your fingers.

On the 6th day, skip dinner. At 9 PM take 1 or 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt dissolved in 1-3 tablespoons of warm water.

At 10 PM shake together half-cup (4 Oz) unrefined, cold pressed olive oil and 2 oz lemon juice and drink.
Immediately go to bed and lie on your right side with your right knee drawn up toward your chin. Remain in this position for 30 minutes before going to sleep, to help olive oil drain. Another Epson salt solution may be needed during the night, so prepare before going to bed. Next morning you will pass green stones as large as your thumb without feeling a thing.

In my case they where about the size of a pea. At first I thought nothing had happened as the stool was mostly water and I did not observe anything, just yellow (bile?) oily stuff. And I thought the procedure did not work. Needless to say I was very disappointed. However, I had to go again and this time it was still very watery but less yellow and I saw some lumps floating here and there. At first I thought it was some particulate matter and almost ignored it since from my first experience I was not expecting the method had worked – but was curious to see what the lumps were, so fished one out and low and behold, after rinsing, it was a green stone! Must have been at least a dozen or so and probably there were many the first time hidden below the yellow liquid.

WOW now I am believer. Also seem to have more energy a nice unexpected side benefit! It’s so easy and enjoyable to do – think will make it an annual event. Should keep the liver tiptop especially the energy benefit.

So far I have done this four time. My last time included red stones. For some it can take 10 to 20 time before a change in stone type is observed.

Chris Gupta     chrisgupta@alumni.uwaterloo.ca
Ref: What Doctors Don’t Tell You. Letters to the editor. March 1997, Issue 55 Positive Health. (Recipe: from the Dulwich Health Society England). www.positivehealth.com/permit/Articles/Letters/letter55.htm
For an alternate recipe (with pictures and all) click on: Dr. Hulda Clark’s Liver Flush –     www.curezone.com/cleanse/liver/huldas_recipe.asp

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