Everybody's the Same, and Everybody's Different
Recent stories in the news have sounded an alarm against nutritional supplements. These articles are interpretations of Consumer Reports material that has questioned their safety. The articles imply that nutritional supplements should have approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The articles, and original reports, seem to imply that nutritional supplements in general are dangerous. A more careful inspection reveals that the issue is with specific substances in non-nutrient products promoted for easy weight loss, better sex, improved athletic performance, and so on. Consumer Reports articles propose greater FDA oversight and regulation to protect consumers from harmful effects of all dietary supplements.
But, according to its web page fda.gov/food/dietary/supplements, FDA does regulate "both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients." FDA assigns manufacturers of supplements the responsibility for evaluating supplement safety. But if FDA finds a problem it "is responsible for taking action."
These recent articles appear to be a part of a years-long campaign to bring the nutritional supplement industry under the authoritarian control of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. But, as many of us know, greater FDA oversight will not make anything safer; and this strategy may result only in the pharmaceutical industry increasing its profits and power. Mercola.com ("Consumer Reports Joins Pharma Campaign Against Dietary Supplements", August 09, 2016) provides a fairly good view of the controversy. Andrew Saul at orthomolecular.org reminds us that there have been "No Deaths From Vitamins. Absolutely None". Orthomolecular's August 12, 2016 "Supplements Are Safe: Who is Lying to You Now?" addresses Consumer Reports' study, also.
It's no secret that FDA-approved, doctor-prescribed drugs are a major cause of death in the U.S. each year. Many of these deaths are the result of patients taking drugs as prescribed by the doctor. In 2000 an article appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that prescription drugs kill 106,000 people annually. Recently an article in the British Journal of Medicine written by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine claims that medical error, including the use of prescription drugs as prescribed, kills 251,000 each year and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after cancer and heart disease. In 2010 researcher Robert Wachter wrote that diagnostic errors, which get no attention, contribute to many medical errors. A study published in January 2016 in Anesthesiology found that half of 277 surgeries observed involved medication errors and adverse drug events and that "there is a substantial potential for medication-related harm" in the surgical setting. And we should not forget the overuse and abuse of antibiotics that has induced antibiotic resistance in bacteria, a phenomenon known to FDA, which did nothing about it, since at least 1970.
Also noteworthy in this context is the outbreak in 1989 in the U.S. of a disease called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) that caused over 37 deaths. When it was determined that the amino acid tryptophan was associated with EMS, the FDA in 1991 banned its sale. Closer epidemiological study found that a specific batch from a Japanese company using genetically engineered bacteria to make the tryptophan was responsible for a deadly impurity in the amino acid. The FDA, however, whose expressed policy was to promote biotechnology, attempted - successfully - to obscure the fact that an impurity from genetic engineering was the cause of EMS. Interestingly, in 1991 Michael R. Taylor accepted a newly created post at FDA, "Deputy Commissioner for Policy". He authored the FDA's guidance that appeared in 1992 on genetically engineered food. To accept this FDA position, Taylor left his job as a lawyer and lobbiest for biotech giant Monsanto. In 1996 Taylor left the FDA and returned to work for Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy.
We should not forget the letter written in 2009 by nine FDA scientists to then President-elect Obama alleging that the agency was "fundamentally broken" and that "there is an atmosphere at FDA in which the honest employee fears the dishonest employee...." The letter further alleged "systemic corruption and wrongdoing that permeates all levels of FDA." The letter said that FDA scientists were "ordered, intimidated, and coerced... to manipulate data in violation of the law" (wsj.com, "FDA Scientsts Ask Obama to Restructure Drug Agency", Jan. 8, 2009). Following on this, in 2012, six FDA whistleblowers filed a lawsuit against FDA for unconstitutionally targeting and monitoring them. The lawsuit alleged that FDA "converted private emails... initiated searches and seizures..." violated their "right to free speech..." and so on.
The FDA/conventional medical/pharmaceutical sector has serious, deep-rooted problems that need to be corrected before it points a finger at the nutritional supplement industry.
The FDA, however, was not responsible for the Consumer Reports atricles. Consumer Reports chief medical advisor and medical editor, Marvin Lipman, M.D. probably was. He's written articles such as "The dangers of dietary supplements", and recommends that - to be safe - one should research supplements on "trustworthy sites such as ConsumerReports.org." Another expert on the Consumer Reports panel was pediatrician Paul Offit, M.D. who famously called Linus Pauling, Ph.D. a quack for recommending high doses of vitamin C, even as he, Offit, recommends high doses of vaccines for infants. A July 26, 2016 Consumer Reports article claims that "an expert panel of independent doctors and dietary supplement-researchers" created the report, but the panel was stacked with people who oppose even the proper use of nutritional supplements.
In fact, some of the "supplements" Consumer Reports warns against in its report do have potential for harm without contributing benefit. But compared to the number of nutritional supplements produced and marketed responsibly that are beneficial and have little or no unwanted side-effects, the Consumer Reports picks are hardly mentionable.
Quick and Easy
Advertising that promotes a quick and easy fix for our health problems, whether by dietary supplements or prescription drugs, usually is too good to be true. But sometimes we might go for it anyway, maybe because we've been tricked, or because we haven't been responsible for our health and we want to get back what we think we've lost. Marketing is the poblem here: some products that claim to be dietary supplements do contain ingredients that are potentially dangerous for some people. Furthermore, our culture, fragmented and specialized as it is, encourages us to rely on "the doctor" for our health care because we're performing our own specialized tasks and we don't have time to be better informed. This detachment makes us dependent on doctors and questionable "supplements", and makes us externally dependent on the dangerous inefficiency of the diagnosis-drug match game: "I need someone or something 'out there' to be healthy."
An example of how this perception-reversal is maintained is in the concept of diagnosis. A medical diagnosis is the process of using a patient's symptoms, history, and medical tests to identify or name her/his apparent disease. Diagnosis is important to match the disease with a developed drug or medical procedure. (And it's important for insurance companies.) With a diagnosis, "the doctor" can write a prescription that the patient will need to take possibly indefinitely, because "health depends on it".
But diagnoses usually do not address underlying causes. Conventional medical practice deals in symptom-based diagnosis and treatment. It is not equipped to provide support for biochemical, nutritional, or metabolic imbalances - just the idea is met with scorn and acqusations of quackery.
Reputable nutritional supplement companies that produce very high quality products also will promote their products relative to a diagnosis. In some cases, this is useful and effective. However, relying on the diagnosis-nutritional supplement matching game, even when it is successful, obscures the likelihood that the diagnosed disease is merely a manifest symptom of deeper nutritional, metabolic imbalance. In order to compete with the conventional system, nutritional supplement makers must use the same approach.
In fact, there is no reliable way for a doctor to know a patient's nutritional insufficiencies. Hair, blood, urine, saliva, feces, and so on have only a relative value in determining what can be recommended or prescribed to the patient. There is no reliable way, except for one.
Doctor, Diagnosis, Drugs
You're not feeling right - you don't know why - so you go to the doctor's office. The doctor looks you over, arrives at a diagnosis, prescribes medicine, and bills the insurance company.
Usually the medicine is a toxin that interrupts a metabolic pathway or interferes with a normal process in the body. Calcium channel blockers, cholesterol lowering statins, and proton pump inibitors are examples of these toxins. These "medicines" are among the most prescribed in the U.S.
And yet each of these three has a very good "natural alternative" (a phrase that demonstrates the reversed perception: why is the doctor's first choice in re-establishing the patient's health a toxin with harmful side-effects that may extend the patient's poor health?) Health imbalances for which the doctor prescribes potentially dangerous "medicines" may be caused by dietary, nutritional insufficiencies and lifestyle stresses that may be specific to the patient. Instead of first addressing basic nutritional needs to support normal physiological function, the doctor prescribes a substance that further compromises normal function, a substance he prescribes to everyone with the same apparent symptoms, as if the cause of the diagnosed disease is the same from patient to patient.
Calcium channel blockers are usually prescribed for high blood pressure and hypertension. Magnesium is known as the natural calcium channel blocker and calmative. It's also the consensus that a majority of the U.S. population is magnesium deficient. Heart disease is one of the top three causes of death each year in the U.S. Insufficient magnesium is associated with cardiovascular (as well as all-cause) mortality. Magnesium is critical for many important metabolic reactions in the human body.
Your doctor may discover that your cholesterol numbers are higher than the established quantified standard conventionally agreed upon by the experts. And even though this has nothing to do with your original purpose in going to the doctor, he may want to prescribe a statin drug that blocks the body's normal and natural production of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is one of the most important molecules in the body. It is essential in the structure of human cell membranes. Stress and gender hormones and vitamin D are metabolites of cholesterol, and it is necessary in tissue repair and other functions. Except for a small number of people who may be genetically predisposed to maintaining very high blood cholesterol, inhibiting the cholesterol metabolic pathway can produce health problems. The use of niacin, a B-complex vitamin, to moderate cholesterol, as pioneered by psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, M.D., has been the safe "alternative" for many years. Increasing one's daily fiber consumption and improving one's food choices also might be helpful in modulating blood cholesterol that's considered high. Since cholesterol is one of the body's ways of controlling inflammation, eliminating the causes of inflammation (food sensitivities, mental and emotional stress, poor sleep, and so on) will be helpful.
One of the deadliest doctor-prescribed medicines is the proton pump inhibitor. These drugs are designed to reduce acid production in the stomach, which is identified as a cause of "acid reflux disease". But when we understand that, in most cases, acid reflux is the result of too little hydrochloric acid production possibly from too little chloride in the diet, we get a glimpse of the tragic folly that is conventional medicine and drug prescribing in America. Proton pump inhibitor use has been associated with poor magnesium absorption and bone fractures, among other things.
If, on your visit to your doctor, he finds that you have high blood pressure, he may prescribe a calcium channel blocker and tell you to avoid table salt. Table salt is sodium chloride, a main source for the body's chloride dependency. However, it is not the chloride that's contributing to your high blood pressure, it's probably the sodium. And though sodium is necessary for normal health, medical scientists have identified it in certain amounts as causal in high blood pressure, and they tell us to limit our salt intake. Magnesium and potassium supplementation can help normalize blood pressure.
If you've been using table salt that contains an aluminosilicate anti-caking agent, this may represent another layer of complexity to your health. Aluminum is a very good acid neutralizer. Sodium aluminosilicate is approved by FDA as a "generally recognized as safe" food additive. But aluminum is a neurotoxin and continues to be explored in research as a causal factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Aluminum has no biological function in the human body. It is toxic.
Once you begin taking proton pump inhibitors the pH of your stomach juice will become even less acidic. Normal stomach pH should be very acidic, roughly 1.5 to 2.5. This low pH is necessary to begin digestion of protein foods and activation of the very important enzyme, pepsin. Without this and other proteolytic enzymes, you will limit absorption of amino acids from the gastrointestinal tract into your body.
If your high cholesterol is the result of chronic, generalized inflammation, a contributing factor may be poor glutathione production. Glutathione is the body's endogenous anti-inflammatory enzyme - possibly the most important in-cell enzyme in the body. The body's cells make glutathione from three amino acids absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the liver. Therefore, the proteolytic enzyme action on dietary proteins, with glutathione production in view, is very important.
Glutathione neutralizes reactive oxygen species that are produced in cells as a result of normal energy production. That is, energy production in the body's cells always occurs with free radicals as a by-product. Glutathione, along with other enzymes, neutralizes those free radicals. Without glutathione these free radicals may lead to generalized inflammation, which is a cause of many of our chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The signs of nutrition deficiency diseases (rickets, scurvy, pellagra, and beri-beri for example) represent the end stage of the disease process that likely has been ongoing for some time in the form of other noticeable, or not-so-noticeable, imbalances. For example, Linus Pauling believed that athersclerosis was a hidden or overlooked sign of scurvy and suggested high-dose ascorbic acid and the amino acid lysine to correct the problem. We want our food to provide us with all of the nutrition materials that we need for good health, and this may be possible for a few of us, but not for all of us. Conventionally trained nutritionists give us information based on the current medical dogma but they resist new, better information. And since everybody's the same and everybody's different it's hard to determne appropriate requirements for essential vitamins and minerals with accuracy for every person. But it can be done.
In addition to harmful dietary aids, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription drugs, there are relatively safe supplements that have a desired effect but do not benefit the highest potential of human function, and do have hidden side-effects. If these supplements are consumed for a specific purpose and they achieve that purpose, then they should be in the category of drugs, not nutritional supplements. Their side-effect may not be as pronounced as that experienced from prescription drugs or hyped weight-loss formulas, but if they take something in exchange for whatever they give they are not nutritional. Fish oil supplements fall into this category. But this is not to say that these should be controlled by the pharmaceutical industry or medical doctors.
Indicator Muscle Testing
The only way to determine if this specific nutritional supplement in this specific dose is beneficial and without side effects for this specific patient is to obtain immediate feedback from the bodymind of the patient. This kind of feedback can be obtained using indicator muscle testing.
Indicator muscle testing is not a muscle test to determine the quantitative strength of a muscle. A young weight lifter's deltoid muscle is much stronger than the deltoid muscle of an elderly, sedentary woman. Both the weightlifter and elderly woman should be able to demonstrate that the muscle works properly, however. That is, the normally healthy muscle contracts and sustains a contraction against a moderate force, and weakens, or demonstrates inhibition, with specific challenges. Once this proper function of an indicator muscle is established, the muscle can be used as an "indicator" for imbalances in the whole bodymind.
This muscle testing is a test of a specific muscle, the right deltoid muscle for example; it's a test of the nerve that supplies motor and sensory function to the muscle; and it's a test of the polarized electrical current in the perineural tissue that surrounds every millimeter of neuron in the body. The muscle will not function properly without its nerve supply, but the motor and sensory neurons in the nerve will not function without the direct current (DC) in the perineural sheath. In fact, the neuron will die without the perineural DC.
The "imbalances" found in the bodymind using indicator muscle testing relate to specific loci on the body that have a specific electromagnetic frequency that resonates with the electromagnetic frequency of a nutrient - a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, or fatty acid. In the electromagnetic body, these imbalance-loci are called "currents of injury", in general. In other words, there is not a place on the body labelled "vitamin C" but there is a place that has a high resonance value with vitamin C. If that place, when specified, causes an indicator muscle to weaken, we say that there is a current of injury there, and that supplying vitamin C will correct that current of injury and help in balancing the body's electrical-energy system.
With the knowledge and practical application of the muscle test as a feedback mechanism that provides the bodymind's reaction to specific nutrients and drugs, our understanding of the use of these substances changes. We begin to have a more basic and comprehensive perception of the human bodymind as electromagnetic and not simply as mechanical or chemical. In fact, our rigid belief that the bodymind is purely mechanical or chemical limits and inhibits the holistic perception of its electromagnetic nature. Indicator muscle testing reinforces the idea that the body is an irreducible whole organism. In this view, we see that all substances taken into the body have an impact on its energy system and, therefore, that all medicine is energy medicine - some contributes to and supports the body's energy, while some compromises the body's energy.
Dr. William Conder