September 2002 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Patients:
Most of us have gotten use to reading literature proclaiming benefits of vitamins or have gotten nutritional advice from clerks at a local health food store or pharmacy. At the Center, we see patients every day who are taking vitamins and supplements and are not any healthier. We all are presented with “new medical facts” that are advertised in such a way as to persuade us to change our eating habits or buy a magic potion or “new medical cure.” We are told not to eat butter but to eat margarine instead, or to cut out fat and eat more carbohydrates instead. We are told eggs and red meats can cause cholesterol problems. Years latter, we are told just the opposite. We are getting what Ralph Nader calls “pseudoscience.” This country has lost the war on obesity. In spite of the “low fat” diets we have been told to eat by the medical establishment, we are seeing an epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The ages of the victims of this epidemic are getting younger and younger. When I was in medical school there were two types of diabetes – insulin dependent and adult onset. The name of the latter has been changed to “Type II diabetes” because we are no longer just seeing it in adults, but also in children!
In a talk I gave recently at the Gainesville Women’s Health and Fitness Center, I told the fifty women in attendance that good health starts with eating the highest quality food possible. I also shared how our food supply has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. I told the audience that my patient’s with allergies who go to Europe feel better and do not react to foods there like they do in this country. The Europeans do not put preservatives or refine their foods to the extent we do. A number of Europeans in the audience came up afterward to confirm what I had just said and felt the quality of the food on the other side of the ocean was superior.
Foods Are Not What They Seem.
When our parents and grandparents sat down to a meal, they didn’t have to worry about excessive use of pesticides, fungicides, the chemicalization of foods through over processing, “enriching”, or preserving, etc. Fifty years ago a cup of spinach provided a good bit of iron. Today, you would have to eat 65 cups of spinach to get the same amount. Vitamin B12 in an egg today is 600% less than it was back then, and vitamin C complex in an orange is 500% less. That lovely green salad on your table is virtually dead nutritionally! Why?
Over the past century, the rich topsoil in this country has vanished. Important parts of America have blown or eroded away. The natural trees, grasses, and vegetation that anchored the soil are gone. We may not be aware of this in Gainesville, as this is a very ‘green’ community, but hundreds of millions of acres of trees in America have been cut for wood or to clear the land to allow for the raising livestock or to build subdivisions. All we have to do is look to East Africa where famine is caused by a land turned to dust through deforestation. In Ethiopia, for instance, barely 5% of the forests remain from what they were one hundred years ago. Likewise, forests in Brazil and Central America are disappearing. A U.N. report presented at this month’s U.N. Earth Summit meeting was very sobering. During the 1990′s, 220 million acres of the world’s forests were destroyed and almost all in tropical regions in Africa and Latin America. This represents 2.4% of the world’s forests and is larger than the size of Venezuela.
Looking to nature, there is a natural process of birth, growth, death and decay that leads to recycling or enriching the soil. Modern farming methods deplete the soil. In 1855 the German chemist Baron Justus von Liebig wrote that the only minerals plants needed were nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. At the end of his life he regretted creating this “artificial manure” and wrote . . . “nature herself points out to man the proper course of proceeding for keeping up the productiveness of the land.” But by that time the German chemical industry was flourishing. One hundred years later Sir Albert Howard published his landmark book “An Agricultural Testament” and promoted using natural rock dust rather than chemical fertilizers. He wrote “artificial manures lead inevitably to artificial nutrition, artificial food, artificial animals, and finally, to artificial men and women.” Chemical fertilizers force plants to grow and can burn the plants and organisms in the soil. The other thing to realize is that the soil is a living substance that when healthy, maintains a balance of minerals, microorganisms, and symbionts such as earthworms and nitrogen producing plants. When there is a symptom in a plant, it will correlate to a deficiency in the soil or a toxin. Could it be, when we see a symptom in a person (who eats plants), it will correlate to a deficiency or toxin as well? Dr. William Albrecht, of the University of Missouri, found that he could cure undulant fever in livestock and humans by adding trace minerals to the soil in which their food was grown. He further proved that mineral deficiencies and agri-chemical toxicity created plant vulnerability to fungus, insects, and disease in general. And remember, plants do not manufacture trace minerals, they absorb them. Medical science is becoming more aware of the critical importance of trace minerals such as selenium, molybdenum, chromium, etc. for human health.
Natural foods tend to decay or go rancid quickly. Most foods today have been chemicalized to the point bread will last for over a week, milk for several weeks, and many other products have a shelf life of months to years. In their book, Empty Harvest, Dr. Jensen and Mark Anderson point out within a generation of WWI, the foods of commerce took over. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) bowed to commercial interests and allowed the manufacturers of our food supply to adulterate the food supply with all sorts of chemicals such as benzoic acid, sulfurous acid, alum, sulfites, etc.. Our children are reaping the harvest of this with an epidemic of ADD, juvenile diabetes, allergies, and other disorders that were virtually unheard of medically fifty years ago. This is why I suggest patients avoid processed foods and eat organic vegetables and organic meats such as Empire Kosher chicken, Maverick beef, or wild game (these do not have preservatives, hormones, or antibiotics).
Vitamins – Natural vs. Synthetic
It’s not only the foods that have changed, but so have the vitamins. In the beginning of vitamin research, almost all of the scientific experiments used natural supplements that were food-based nutrients. These were whole vitamin complexes, not isolated vitamin fractions such as A or C or beta carotene. With foods and food concentrates containing whole nutritional complexes, the body can choose what it needs and excrete the rest. These vitamin complexes all work together in synergy to keep a balance. For instance, all the antioxidant vitamins and minerals work together like a team, but in different areas of the body. Some work better in fatty tissue and others in non-fatty tissue. If you load up on only one you will not protect all areas of the body.
A medical model has been applied to vitamins by isolating parts of the vitamin complex, trying to find “the active chemical.” This is what goes into a synthetic vitamin. This parallels what allopathic medicine did by isolating individual chemicals from herbs or plants to make medicines to treat disease. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as whole food supplements, and a person can become nutritionally unbalanced or even develop toxicity to synthetic vitamins.
Here’s an important concept – on a milligram to milligram basis, natural whole food vitamins are much more potent than synthetic vitamins. Dr. Royal Lee, a nutritionist, dentist, and researcher felt natural B complex, for instance, was 10-50 times more potent than chemically purified or synthetic B complex. He did not feel “megadoses” of synthetic vitamins were healthy, and he went on to develop the Standard Process™ line of supplements, which are all natural. Biotics Research™ takes a different approach by using plant cell cultures to naturally chelate vitamins and minerals that are added before cold processing the supplements. There are a number of other good companies such as Nutrilite® that also use whole plant materials in many of their products. It has been our experience at the Center that whole food supplements give superior results. That is why we carry these brands that are not available in a store.
Is There a Vitamin Blood Test That Will Let Me Know Where I Stand?
The answer is yes. There are different blood tests that measure vitamin levels. Most of you are familiar with a doctor having ordered a vitamin B12 or folate level on you or a family member at sometime from a commercial lab that also runs other lab tests. The problem with this type of test is that it can be biased by the foods or vitamins you have taken during the few days prior to the test, allowing potential long-term deficiencies to be missed. SpectraCell Labs has a patented test using your body’s own white blood cells to measure the vitamin levels inside the cell. As the average life of a lymphocyte (white blood cell) is four to six months, this technology is reflective of your nutritional status over the preceding several months. The results obtained will uncover deficiencies that standard serum tests may miss. We are pleased to now offer this test to our patients. Not only can most vitamins be measured in this way, but certain important antioxidants, amino acids, and factors associated with carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism can also be screened. A pamphlet describing this in more detail has been enclosed with this newsletter.
Is Hormonal Replacement Safe?
Last month the headlines proclaimed the use of hormonal replacement in women caused an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and strokes. These findings were based on data from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) sponsored WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) where 27,000 women between 1993 and 1998 participated. I never use someone elses interpretation of data, because statistics can be colored so I called Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to get specific information about this study.
First of all, this study did not involve bio identical natural hormonal replacement. This is an important fact. It did use synthetic hormones – Premarin® or PremPro™ (conjugated horse estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate). Just as with synthetic foods and synthetic vitamins, synthetic hormones can have adverse affects. The raw data showed after 5 years, of the 8,102 women in the control group (who were not taking synthetic hormones), 124 women came down with breast cancer. Of the 8,506 women taking PremPro™, 166 developed breast cancer. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board stated there was a 8X greater risk of getting breast cancer by taking “hormones” so the study was stopped. However, in analyzing the raw data, 1.5% of the control group developed breast cancer and 1.95% of the synthetic hormone group developed breast cancer. This is not an 8 fold difference.
The increased risk of heart disease and strokes in patient’s taking Provera has been know for some time. Other risk factors, such as cigarette smoking, were not taken into consideration. The PEPI heart study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) a few years back demonstrated that patients taking natural progesterone had a 75% lower risk of heart disease, whereas those taking Provera had a greater risk than those taking nothing. So this is “old news” that synthetic hormones are not safe.
The bottom line is that natural estrogens including estriol, estrone, or estradiol and natural progesterone were not used in the WHI study. These hormones are structurally identical to hormones naturally produced by the human body. Drug companies cannot patent natural hormones. It is common sense that tells us natural hormones are handled by the body in a different manner than a synthetic drug, and the clinical outcomes are different if hormone deficiencies are balanced using natural hormones. Quality of life issues such as elimination of hot flushes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, frequent urinary tract infections, depression, fatigue, risk of osteoporosis, and mental clouding cannot be ignored.
What’s New At The Center?
• DR. ERICKSON RECEIVES APPOINTMENT Dr. Erickson was honored by being appointed to serve on the Learning Gateway Steering Committee as an expert in health and allergies. This appointment was made by the Honorable Tom Feeney, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. This steering committee was created to provide consultation and policy development so that parents of children with potential learning problems and learning disabilities have access to necessary services and supports. Dr. Erickson will educate the committee about alternative therapies available rather than using drug therapies in children.
• 10% DISCOUNT AT MOTHER EARTH STORES Dr. Erickson has negotiated a 10% discount on all purchases by his patient’s at Mother Earth at Newberry Square or 13th Street locations. Stop by the Center to pick up your discount card. We thank the management at Mother Earth for their help.
• LDM-100 is an incredible herbal supplement that combats viral illnesses, flu’s, urinary infections, and upper respiratory infections. Many of you have had great success with this product. Dr. Erickson has spoken to his herbalist in Arizona who makes this product for the Center, and will be having a new batch made and shipped this month. We suggest you keep several bottles on hand before the cold and flu season starts.
• ADDRESS CHANGES? If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, please notify us with your correct address so we can update our records.
• VITAMIN ANALYSIS BY SPECTRACELL LABS Enclosed is a brochure describing this new service. You may already have had a hair analysis, which looks at mineral deficiencies and toxic elements. The purpose of this test is to assay your body’s vitamin status for the preceding four months through your white blood cells. Most private insurance carriers cover the cost of the vitamin analysis. There is a $30 fee to cover the cost of drawing the blood, processing the specimen and shipping to the lab, payable to the Center.
• FAR INFRA RED SAUNAS High Tech Health, Inc. will extend practitioner pricing on it’s infra red saunas to our patients. If you have an interest in purchasing a sauna for personal use and would like to save money, please call us. A two person sauna costs $2995.
www.prevent-doc.com If you haven’t visited our Web site, we invite you to do so. Each month we try to add something new. Back issues of this journal are available for you to send to a friend or download.
• DR. VERSENDAAL CRA SEMINAR September 28th, 2002 in Orlando, FL.. If you would like to attend as our guest and meet Dr. Versendaal, please contact Mona at our office at 331-5138.