Monthly Archives: January 2014

WHAT FOOD SHOULD YOU EAT?

28 January 2014    guest author  orthopaedic surgeon and instructor  Dr Jon Driver-Jowitt FRCS  orthopaediciq.org   opined:

This is not scientific precision.  This is not peer reviewed.  This might not resist the rigor of an editor.  These are simply observations intended to spur thought and look laterally.

Much advice about food appropriate for health has been given. Much of that has been based upon (often marginal) statistics. Many are deduced from self-reporting surveys. However the variables are so great that it is impossible to accommodate these into meaningful statistics. A few of these variables include quantum of food, types of mixtures of food, frequency of these foods, plus multiple variables related to micro-nutrients ingested simultaneously, and more.

When in doubt, it has been said, look in the instruction book. The instruction book for  animals (including the human)  exists in the animal. It is the inclination to eat some foods and the abhorrence of others.

Without the instruction book, one has to look at design specifications. Unfortunately the animal-machine-design did not consider the possibility of limitless food, or great food variety, or types of current cultivars. So selection by appetite might be flawed, and one is left guessing (somewhat) about the design specification. That is what is addressed here.

But before that, if one wants to live longer, the method has been (scientifically) available for the better part of a century. Simply, eat less. Eat less than your appetite drive. Eat less than your cohorts.

But let us look at design. Suppose humans were to be designed from scratch, which fuels (i.e. foods) should be selected, bearing in mind the limitations of availability, and knowing that the human is a mobile device with defined functional requirements and a limited life-span? Consider these options, and consider how they fit with current eating patterns:

Fat is probably the most desirable and quintessential food for humans.  It is the supreme appetiser.  It carries essential vitamins. Fat the highest calorific gain of all foodstuffs whilst it has a low energy cost for ingestion and digestion. It is the most cost effective source of energy. Yet fat has powerful negative feedback mechanisms.  Therefore, although fat stimulates appetite it also produces satiation relatively rapidly. Rapid satiation allows food to be spread to the entire pack, in keeping with expectations of le milieu exterior which demands survival of the group, not the greedy individual. However the satiation of fat can be strongly altered by salt.  Therefore, salted fat and perhaps salted protein can become “compulsive” foods, inducing the eater to keep eating until gorged.  So we have yet another factor, the “additions” to food which induce compulsive feeding, prompted by those intent on making money out of food.

Protein is probably neutral tasting without the fat and salt, is not particularly palatable and does not have the “addictive” quality of carbohydrate. But it contains “essential” components which the human cannot manufacture, including amino-acids and vitamin C (curiously a “water-soluble” vitamin). It is also heavily mechanically bound to fat, and often inseparable.

Carbohydrate, on the other hand, was never particularly attractive to early humans.  Yes, I know well enough that some carbohydrates, the sugary carbohydrates, are exceedingly attractive.  But in primitive societies, all carbohydrates were not attractive.  Pure sugar is a relatively new evolution. The current sweet fruits and even potatoes are the product of intentional selective breeding to make those carbohydrates more palatable.

The metabolisms of carbohydrate, the sugars, are again very different from fat, in that the same metabolic pathways are used for both the anabolism and the catabolism of carbohydrate. The control of carbohydrate metabolism lies outside the direct metabolic pathways, relying on end-organ control. These includes insulin receptors.   This is distinct from fat where the anabolic and catabolic pathways are different, and so allowing feed-back to curb appetite and metabolic direction.

Carbohydrate’s prime quality is that it is cheap.  As a consequence commerce has “wrapped” carbohydrate in both fats and sugar in order to make it compulsive eating at a cheap price.  Amongst the most tempting ingestants are those that have both sugar and fat, as in chocolate.

Refined and manufacturer altered carbohydrate once ingested, prompt the desire to keep on eating it. Carbohydrate can have a long shelf life, is easily stored and so lends itself to easy snacking. No surprise that it is perfect to fuel “habituation eating”, and ultimately obesity.

Sugar is impregnated into cake carbohydrate or spread on the top as icing.  Fat is used as a layer to make bland carbohydrates or even carbohydrates and protein more palatable, as in deep fried foods – where salt is added for good measure. Cheap beans are made more palatable for sale by adding the salt and sugar of ketchup.Salt is impregnated into carbohydrate ( chips and French fries).

Water, the foundation nutrient.  Many children are metabolically confused because the water offered to them is laced with calories, primarily sugar and some metabolically noxious colourants. They then lose the distinction between thirst and hunger. When thirsty they might attempt to satisfy themselves  by choOsing “food” rather than fluid (sugar laden drinks, iced cream ). The outcome is hypercaloric habituation.

It therefore might not be what you eat, but which combination one eats, that influences the health or disease of individuals.  There is some evidence that individuals like to eat the same food and will repeat eating that ingestant by choice.

“Humans like variety, humans need variety, and humans need a balanced diet”.  This may not have been the case with evolutionary man and it is certainly not the case with many animals.  Those animals can adapt to a particular foodstuff (obviously one that is available) and then continue eating that foodstuff by choice, even where alternatives become available.

The legend has arisen that individuals need a “mixed and balanced” diet.  As far as I am aware there is no evidence that this mixing needs to occur in the same meal.  True enough, one needs the vitamins and one needs the different proteins, fat and carbohydrate.  But does one need them simultaneously, wrapped around each other and made into tempting compotes?

Editorial comment:  The science concurs:

The evidence  for higher water intake, moderate protein and low sugar/salt no-smoking   intake is self-evident except to sugar, beverage  and cigarette manufacturers, marketeers and addicts.          But the fraudulent promotion of the low saturated fat (ie meat), low-cholesterol , high carbs regime for all remains a big problem.

Dr Ancel Keys  PhD (1904-2004) was a revered polymath  traveler, oceanographer biologist turned physiologist nutritionalist (Biology of Starvation; the K Ration) , who correctly  recognized and  promoted the Mediterranean Diet (>35% fat), and long outlived his critics. But he and his followers  set USA-led  nutrition and health  back 50 years with his  wrongly interpreted Seven Countries study  claiming that atheroma was caused by saturated fat- related hypercholesterolemia, thus   promoting  the Omega6PUFA low cholesterol diet and cholesterol-busting statins- but not explaining the question  of fatal sudden death- coronary thrombosis posed by Sir George Pickering in 1964.

Keys  may  still be laughing  his head off at the  $billions he made  for the  Fast-Food industry & Big Pharma, and the millions  of quality health years he cost gullible Americans and their ilk  with his wrong  high-omega6 diet and thence  the money-spinning statins-for-all poison myth.

After the decades of derision poured  as a result on the ketogenic high-fat-protein  low sugars Atkins diet, the Disease-monger (Food,  Sugar, Disease, Big Pharma)  Industries  will scoff,  as they recently mocked  sports physiologist  Prof Tim Noakes’ conversion to high-fat ketogenic diet for those  with the appropriate physiology, his Real Meal Revolution . .   Some cardiologists and dieticians even attacked him publicly for promoting scientific evidence against the  high-carbs lowfat  diet, including the Womens Health Initiative , not Big Pharma wishful thinking  taught  by the academics  and clinicians  whose livelihoods depend on their promoting Big Pharma and other new-tech products.. 

Read Noakes’ modern  nutrition bible, the American science writer   Gary Taubes’  The Diet Delusion(2009);  and read  the British Dr James le Fanu’s earlier Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine (1999 London pp 323-376),  that dissected Keys’  toxic cholesterol-busting mythology,  including statins  that are now promoted for all seniors.

Its not a question of statin denialism  since such drugs may have an appropriate  place in severe hypercholesterolemia. Over all, the majority of hypercholesterolemic and CVD patients will do better on multisystem-beneficial metformin (antioxidant, antiinfective, antithrombotic, antidiabetic, insulin-sensitizing, appetite-reducing, weighloss-promoting),  titrated to tolerance; with modest other essential multibeneficial  supplements- (water; fish oil, coconut oil,   DMSO, all vitamins especially BCo, C,D and K2;  minerals especially magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium and iodine; and other aging-and -diet-conditioned deficiencies of eg CoQ10, arginine, alphalipoic acid, carnitine, ribose, carnosine, acetylcystine, garlic, cinnamon, proline  etc.  )  than  a multisystem-toxic statin.

THE SYDNEY HEART DIET STUDY    And now the truth emerges yet again, that debunked Keys’ high Omega6 diet theory: as it did in the original ignored  but landmark  Sydney Heart Diet Study report in an elite 1978 journal (Adv Exp Med Biol.)  aboutLinoleic Acid with Low fat, low cholesterol diet in secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. Woodhill JM, Leelarthaepin B, ea) discrediting  Keys’ (and the USA Govt) postulate.                                                                                                                                The new 35year followup  2013 BMJ multicentre  paper (Ramsden,  Leelarthaepin B ea) from the Universities of Sydney, N Carolina and  Illinois and the  USA NIH :    Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study  reevaluated effectiveness of replacing diet saturated fat (from animal fats, margarine,  shortenings)  with omega 6 linoleic acid Om6LA  (safflower oil/margarine )  for a mean of 39months;  in a  single blind, parallel  randomized controlled trial  in 1966-73  in 458 men 30-59 years, with recent coronary event. Controls received no specific diet instructions. Non- dietary aspects equivalent in both  groups.                                  Results The intervention group (n=221) after only 3.25 years  had 62-70% higher rates of death  and CHD and CVD than controls (n=237; P=0.04-0.05)) (all cause 17.6% v 11.8%),                  Conclusions Advice to substitute PUFA for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for CHD risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant PUFA Om6LA , have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary  LA  in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, CHD and CVD. Updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of CVD benefit. These findings (could) have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute Om3LA , or PUFA  in general, for saturated fats.

THE MESA STUDY:  The Sydney Diet Heart Study outcome  has just been confirmed again by the Dec 2013 Harvard USA MESA study (de Olivera, Mozaffarian  ea J Am Heart Assoc.) Circulating and Dietary Omega-3 and Omega6 PUFA  and Incidence of CVD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. in 6 USA centres,  which confirms that  higher intake and levels of fish oil (but not ALA or Om6PUFA) halves CVD: Over 10 years, in a multiethnic cohort of 2837 US adults- mean  age 61.4yrs at outset-  plasma  PUFAs  measured at baseline (2000-2002),  and dietary PUFAs ,  through 2010 during 19 778 person-years of follow-up,  circulating n-3 eicosapentanoic acid EPA and docosahexanoic acid  DHA inversely associated with incident CVD, with extreme-quartile hazard ratios (95% CIs) of 0.49 for EPA  (0.30 to 0.79; Ptrend=0.01) and 0.39 for DHA (0.22 to 0.67; Ptrend<0.001).  No significant associations with CVD were observed for circulating n-3 alpha-linolenic acid ALA or n-6 PUFA (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid). Associations with CVD of self-reported dietary PUFA were consistent with those of the PUFA biomarkers. Both dietary and circulating eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, were inversely associated with CVD incidence. These findings suggest that increased consumption of n-3 PUFA from seafood (but not alpha-linolenic acid or n-6 PUFA), may prevent CVD development in a multiethnic population.

But then we senior medics born around WW2  were schooled  in the English /Scottish (not American) medical tradition of Drs Cleave, Burkitt,  Painter & Campbell’s  Saccharine Diseases, refined sugar, boozing,  smoking  and physical indolence-TV sloth as the chief causes of the burgeoning post-WW2 epidemic of obesity, diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and violence. 

Humans rarely  need what Big Pharma, science  invents for megaprofits. We have known for 50 years that  the current pandemic of degenerative and modern infectious diseases  is due to bad diet – fast-food  – and slothful lifestyle,  tampering for megaprofit with food production and the environment, and reversible by correcting these factors with exercise, fresh whole food and organic farming, and avoidance of boozing,  smoking, TV sloth, and continuous wars for profit, especially the Breast-and -Prostate Screening wars for the $billions  to be made from screening aging men and women for early ie silent cancer. 

The Sydney and MESA studies quoted thoroughly debunk  the fast-food high  Om6/carbs  low fat  diet promoted the past 50 years by the Food and Disease Industry, and by  the Peskin-Rowen Om6 PEO  and the statins-for-all hypotheses;  and the nonsensical UK Wald and Law Polypill including high-risk statin-aspirin-betablocker -diuretic-ACEI   for all senior citizens. . Even an advertorial Wikipedia entry promoting  such nonsense has been allowed…

BALANCING INTAKE OF ANIMAL/DAIRY  PROTEIN -SFA WITH MARINE Om3 PUFA, PLANT MCT & Om6, without added refined/concentrated  sugars like fructose and cornstarch:                                                              As Mike Howard the Health Ranger writes this week, healthful pasture-fed butter is back, and margarine debunked even by its manufacturers; and almost half the USA states moving to enforce labeling of GMO foodstuffs so that consumers can choose what they buy. .

and biochemist  GD  Lawrence from Dept  Biochemistry, Long Island University, NY  writes in  May 2013 Adv Nutr.   Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence:  Early studies showed that saturated fat SFA  diets with very low levels of PUFAs increase serum cholesterol, whereas other studies showed high serum cholesterol increased the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). The evidence of dietary SFA  increasing CAD or causing premature death was weak. Over the years, data revealed that dietary SFAs are not associated with CAD and other adverse health effects or at worst are weakly associated in some analyses when other contributing factors may be overlooked. Several recent analyses indicate that SFAs, particularly in dairy products and coconut oil, can improve health. The evidence of ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) promoting inflammation and augmenting many diseases continues to grow, whereas ω3 PUFAs seem to counter these adverse effects. The replacement of  SFA in the diet with carbohydrates, especially sugars, has resulted in increased obesity and its associated health complications. Well-established mechanisms have been proposed for the adverse health effects of some alternative or replacement nutrients, such as simple carbohydrates and PUFAs. The focus on dietary manipulation of serum cholesterol may be moot in view of numerous other factors that increase the risk of heart disease. The adverse health effects that have been associated with SFA  in the past are most likely due to factors other than SFAs.  This review calls for a rational reevaluation of existing dietary recommendations that focus on minimizing dietary SFAs,   for which mechanisms for adverse health effects are lacking.

The University Oregon Linus Pauling Micronutrient Centre website on EFAs has not apparently been updated with the latest MESA and Sydney trial reports; but it advocates (from Japan, and American Heart Association recommendations) Om3 fishoil intake of 2-4gm/day and Om6LA perhaps three times that- rather than the Keys-based 20:1 Om6:Om3 low SFA high carbs  balance that has done so much harm in our lifetime. 

BENEFITS OF FISH OIL AND COCONUT  (MCT) OIL:           are  achieved by taking a tsp of clean (eg Baltic) codliver oil or a gm of fish oil concentrate a day; and no Om6LA supplement other than as a salad/pasta dressing; combined with liberal virgin coldpressed coconut oil for massage, cooking, and food dressing, or as a desertspoon+  a day.. 

The Wiki Health entry for coconut oil usefully still notes the historical deliberate- profiteering- fallacious marketing bias against coconut oil- SFA- which has now been again debunked by the Sydney and MESA studies:  Advocacy against coconut and palm oils in the 1970s and 1980s due to their perceived danger as a SFA saturated fat caused companies to substitute trans fats instead of  them.  Many health organizations (still) advise against the consumption of high amounts of coconut oil due to its high levels of SFA, including the USA FDA & ADA, the UK NHS,  the WHO,[3] International College of Nutrition, and American Heart Association,[7]  Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acida SFA that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Most of the increase is however  HDL cholesterol, hence the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol is decreased.[30] A decreased ratio indicates reduced risk for heart disease.[31] It is also found in significant amounts in laurel oil, palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil), and human and animal breast milk. This may create a more favourable blood cholesterol profile… Because much of the saturated fat of coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid, coconut oil may be a better alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil when solid fats are required.[34] In addition, virgin coconut oil (VCO) is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides,[35] which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats.[34][36

Similarly, the Wiki entry on  Medium-chain triglycerides ie coconut oil-  states its nutritional benefits without any harms: MCTs are  considered good biologically inert source of energy that the humans find reasonably easy to metabolize. MCTs have potentially beneficial attributes in protein metabolism … and..  their tendency to induce ketogenesis Due to their ability to be absorbed rapidly by the body, MCT have use in the treatment of malabsorption ailments. and  neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease)[14] and epilepsy through the use of ketogenic dieting.[15][16] Serum high-density lipoprotein is increasingly elevated as the chain-length of triglyceride decreases.[17]

We should not be relying  on heavily marketed,  factory-processed and poison-laced (margarines, Roundup GMO, exogenous sexhormone -laden meat ) foods, TV-armchair  lifestyle; exploiting and burning fossil fuels; and Big Pharma’s synthetic new designer wannabe drug $$$ rainchecks-  like statins, antidiabetics, antiobesity, antianxiety, antiosteoporosis, antiplatelet, antidepressant, antiinflammatory,  antihypertensive, memory, analgesic  and antibiotic  drugs  for quick fixes, which treat symptoms but not causes, do not reverse the consequences of environmental destruction, bad and deficient diet and unhappy slothful lifestyle.

Dr Driver-Jowitt pragmatically  and succinctly puts healthy diet balance in perspective.

ndb.

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THE 2014 VIRUS SEASON DAWNS: URGENT UPDATE: AVOIDING THE SEMMELWEIS REFLEX; natural antibiotics- Vitamins C & D3 – avoiding vitamin denialism.

update 22/3/2014the March equinox:Vaccines and antivirals for preventing   and  treating  influenza in healthy adults have  very modest benefit.  as  the seasonal flu epidemic wanes in the northern hemisphere and approaches in the south, Authorities eg the US CDC  continue relentlessly to promote mass flu vaccination. The South African Authority NICD recommends vaccination for anyone at high risk ie the elderly, infants or the sick, and carers. It also recommends antivirals eg Tamiflu for infection- but the BMJ recently publishes  Study claiming Tamiflu saved lives was based on “flawed” analysis. a 2012 BMJ  report by the samemedical journalist   Zosia Kmietowicz   notes Cochrane group rejects Roche’s offer of “advisory board” to discuss analysis of oseltamivir data. The 2011 Cochrane question remains unresolved:  Does Oseltamivir Tamiflu  Really Reduce Complications of Influenza?

But current Cochrane review of controlled trial publications to 2013 confirms  Vaccination of pregnant women is recommended internationally, while healthy adults are targeted in North America. The overall efficacy of inactivated vaccines in preventing confirmed influenza has a NNV of 71 (95% CI 64 to 80). . Live aerosol vaccines have an overall effectiveness corresponding to a NNV 46 (95% CI 29 to 115). Vaccination had a modest effect on time off work and had no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates. Inactivated vaccines caused local harms CONCLUSIONS: Influenza vaccines have a very modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost in the general population, including pregnant women.  This review includes 90 studies, 24 of which (26.7%) were funded totally or partially by industry. Out of the 48 RCTs, 17 were industry-funded (35.4%).

A current German review  Methodological quality of systematic reviews on influenza vaccination.   Fourty-six systematic reviews fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Average methodological quality was high  but variability was large (AMSTAR range: 0-11). Quality did not differ significantly according to vaccination target group. Cochrane reviews had higher methodological quality than non-Cochrane reviews (p=0.001).  this was due to better study selection and data extraction, inclusion of unpublished studies, and better reporting of study characteristics (all p<0.05).

20/1/2014   Protecting us from the new year northern hemisphere viruses:   natural antibiotics- Vitamins C & D: avoiding vitamin denialism as cause of more deaths.

Abstract: The Semmelweis  Reflex is about rejecting, deriding important new scientific discoveries or any serious sincere statement/action.    I didnt  fully appreciate the importance of that  age-old human  (mostly male) evil – mocking, martyrdom  and murder by denialism-  until I started this review of the current flu season threat and the role of supplements, and researched  pioneer medical martyrs Drs Ignaz Semmelweis, Jack Drummond  and Linus Pauling  as  paradigms of the scourge of modern vested-interest denialism and falsehoods, in medicine as much as politics, religion etc..

In fact,  just as it is negligence to deny (as Semmelweis’s persecutors did) gloving up or  properly washing  hands between examining patients , or ensure that every adult has bloodpressure checked occasionally, it is clearly bad practice  not to ensure that everyone – especially the young and old,  takes a multinutrient plus extra vigorous dose vitamins D3 and C, plus some protective herbs- garlic, cinnamon, ginger, origanum; and fish oil and/or coconut oil if not both; and drastically cut down sweetness intake- especially fructose, sucrose  and aspartame that now pervade all mass- produced food and drinks..

update 21 January 2014 : URGENT: THE 2014 FLU EPIDEMIC:     “High H1N1 prevalence and mortality rates a concern:    Type A (H1N1) influenza, the  commonest flu virus in Canada this year, has a higher  than anticipated mortality rate  causing some to wonder if it’s virulence has increased.             The worrisome factor  “is the reported mortality rate,” says  McGill University. As of Jan. 13, there were twenty confirmed deaths in Canada   attributed to H1N1. “There are more deaths than what we expect for the regular H1N1 influenza, The strain this year could be more virulent . 96% of this year’s lab -confirmed influenza is H1N1. The virus is unusual in that it appears to affect younger people more than other strains of seasonal influenza. People  20 to 65 are being hit harder than usual, comprising 52% of flu cases.                                  However, if you look at Europe,  it’s still H3N2. Its an example of how   you never know what the flu is going to do.”           Alberta confirmed a death  on Jan. 8, due to the virus H5N1, an avian virus. The  deceased woman had recently returned from China. The mortality rate is higher with H5N1 than H1N1, “but fortunately, it’s not an easy virus to transmit”. So far, it seems that there are no cases of H5N1 transmission from human-to-human. It seems   like the cases of H5N1 are few and far between and related to contact with birds in  China.     Patrick Janukavicius, Montréal, Quebec.  In the same period, at least 20 children have reportedly died of the same strain in USA.

update 12 Jan 2014  THE ANTIFLU VACCINE DECEPTION: this review by Doc Joe Mercola     stresses the disease-mongering myths,  futility and risks in real life of flu vaccination  and antiflu drugs eg Tamiflu ; and the overwhelming importance of natural immune boosters like Vit D3 & C, zinc, selenium,  herbs, and hygienic prevention.

1 Jan 2014  CURRENT INFLUENZA STATUSThe  22 December  solstice is the sun at its southern nadir seen from planet Earth, the onset respectively of real winter in the Northern hemisphere, and real summer in South Africa. Last year   the Gregorian New Year heralded a fierce flu season in the northern hemisphere, and as usual feathered- and jet-propelled  air travel brought the corresponding surge at the bottom of Africa.

And ominously, the Plagues & Pandemics   (Howard Phillips 2012) of temperate climates  that did so much historically  to mould global demography not least  the past 360 years in South Africa ( –STDS- pox, bubonic, polio, cholera, influenza, and now  tuberculosis, Mad Cow disease, and   HIV-AIDS). and especially antibiotic-resistant germs – are all on the increase despite (or because of) the increasingly futile $trillion armamentarium of 20th century designer vaccines and other antimicrobials.. 

Pneumonia is a welcome   friend of the old, often rapidly relieving prolonged degenerative incapacity;  such ending mostly by virus respiratory infection  the gateway for the  final bacterial infection.  

Unlike the  selflimited coronavirus common cold, breath-and hand-borne type A  influenza, although usually mild in the well,  is the commonest trigger in the frail.  Many  of us in our (grand)parents’ time lost relatives in the 1918/1919 “Spanish”  H1N1  flu pandemic. But that was a unique  global catastrophe because it killed mostly  armies  of healthy men, and then  young working adults, apparently from cytokine storm, with 30 % of the workforce out for up to3 weeks if not  20% mortality.  This is harrowingly described in the recently published   Letters ( to his Mother) of Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, who lost – apart from his first wife to TB- more young relatives to the  flu  than to warfare.

The recent spring  months here – apart from seasonal allergies -have seen declining viral respiratory illness in Cape Town, with the  upper respiratory accent often shifted down to more gastritis-enteritis .

But New Year 2014   UK and northern North America forecast  and are having a  wet if not white New Year.  ‘Flu rates are reported already high  and rising  in USA and Canadamostly influenza A H1N1(swine-avian flu-the main 1918/19 killer); including already 6 deaths in USA and 3 in Canada.

but not in Europe, where  the influenza (A > B) prevalence is still low and slightly more H3N2 than H1N1;  in UK there has rather been been increase in RSV respiratory syncytial virus bronchitis in infants. .  .

In fact by 28 December the exploding H1N1 deathtoll had hit 13 in Texas alone; especially in youths; with increasing Tamiflu resistance reported eg in Missisippi.. On 24 Dec the USA CDC mailed an emergency Advisory Notice to Clinicians: Early Reports of pH1N1-Associated Illnesses for the 2013-14 Influenza Season: From November through December 2013, CDC has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were infected with influenza A pH1N1 pdm09 virus. Multiple pH1N1-associated hospitalizations, including many requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and some fatalities have been reported.  While it is not possible to predict which influenza viruses will predominate during the entire 2013-14 influenza season, pH1N1 has been the predominant circulating virus so far. For the 2013-14 season, if pH1N1 virus continues to circulate widely, illness that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults may occur. 

Our  regional  South African Communicable Diseases Institute says H1N1 was documented here from April to September. But of 2566 pts with severe respiratory illness for January to October 2013 enrolled and tested at the five sentinel sites, only 6% were positive for influenza – mostly virus -H1N1. A pneumonia case in Cape Town was found to be due to Leigionnaire’s.

Now from China 147 human cases of avian influenza H7N9 have been confirmed including 48 deaths. – especially from poultry contact. No vaccine is currently available for avian influenza (H7N9) virus.

SAPA–AFP, 10 December 2013:  Resistant flu virus keeps contagiousness.  A mutant form of the H7N9 flu virus that is resistant to frontline drugs is just as contagious as its non-resistant counterpart, according to a study, published inthe journal Nature Communications.  The virus has claimed dozens of  lives since its outbreak in February. H7N9 is believed to have spread to humans from poultry, where it circulates naturally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on its website that “so far”, no evidence has emerged of  “sustained” transmission of H7N9 among people.

And H7N1 and H7N7 has broken out in ostriches in South Africa,

So never mind the  common cold  coronaviruses and many other prevalent infections, increased caution is due against all common diseases at this season- both the USA H1N1 swine flu circulating the past few years,  and now the Chinese H7N9 flu. . And the MERS-Co Virus Middle-East SARS-type outbreak has not gone away… 9 new cases reported the past week or two  from the KSA alone .the-deadly-middle-east-coronavirus-outbreak/

A  current NEJM  has a new report of a trial of quadrivalent Vaccine for Prevention of Mild and Moderate-to-Severe Influenza in Children by vaccine manufacturers GSK. The vaccine reduced severity by perhaps 70%- but at a cost of 1.5% serious adverse events, 50% more than the control group (hepatitis A vaccine only).                                                                                    The question remains- why risk  flu vaccine’s ~1.5% serious adverse events when a single high dose of vitamin D3  300 000iu  even just annually, and regular vitamin C with a multivite  including zinc and selenium (at trivial cost ) largely cover one  against a multitude of infections including AIDS and TB, and all degenerative health   problems?

PRECAUTIONS:

Is it coincidence, or divine evolution, that we have had available at low cost  for about 60 year (never mind zinc,  selenium, iron, iodine, vitamins A and vitamin E) two safe natural major antimicrobials in vigorous safe dose   –  vitamins  C and D3?  Medico-Pharma Big Business and governments have been heavily discrediting and ruthlessly suppressing these  for their own profiteering vested interest  even as plagues of HIV, TB,  influenza rage, and Big Business determinedly profits hugely from killer  smoking and alcohol sales despite increasing  marketing restriction?   South Africa- a major producer of alcohol and tobacco-smoke, and fossil-fuel-burning power stations, factories and motorvehicles – continues to lead the world with  the highest road and respiratory death rates  despite zealous attempts to reduce their lethal  use.

Apart from optimal hygiene including  avoiding livestock  and poultry contact, smoking, alcoholism and pollution including  swimming and sick buildings- air-conditioning-           what can we take  to minimize avoidable influenza  ie immune depletion risk? apart from enough  sunshine, exercise, rest, sleep, walking barefoot, not carrying a cellphone,   and good mixed fresh organic diet? The clinical benefit of influenza vaccines is anything but proven, and the adverse risks appreciable.

Big Business and thus governments  and the media  profit from illness, so they keep publishing articles promoting Big Business: new antibiotics, vaccines  and other synthetic drugs that do not prevent or cure but if anything perpetuate chronic degenerative obesity-diabetes-vascular-respiratory,- digestive-arthritic-cancer diseases; – and  GMO-genetically modified preserved  food  and bottled drinks stuffed with slow poisons like refined cornstarch – fructose; salt; sucrose and cereals, soya,  Roundup, antibiotics, preservatives, estrogenics,  aspartame,  and especially boiled and baked omega6 and sugars;  instead of marine omega3 and MCT- medium chain triglyceride virgin coconut oil, and unrefined cereals eg oats, wholewheat bread etc..  

Big Business and it’s cash-cow  Disease Industry decries  the natural healthgiving lowsugar Asian/ Mediterranean  diet-organically pastured and grown livestock meat and dairy products, lightly cooked if not raw (oily)  fish,  fruit and nuts, coloured veggies,  and plenty of  oils in their natural plant form. These were  the norm till food processing became Big Business in our lifetime post WW2, and the developed world was bluffed by Organized Medicine, the Food Barons and Big Pharma  with the masterly fiction of Ancel Keyes, into jettisoning the natural longevity “sea and farm” diet of the east eg Japan, and West eg Mediterranean (fresh produce & cholesterol-rich dairyproducts, meat and fish)  for the Diet Deception (Gary Taubes, Tim Noakes) and Bad Pharma ( James le Fanu, Ben Goldacre) of Ancel Keyes‘  low-fat high-refined cereals, margarine; and  the cholesterol -busting and psychotropes/ painkillers /antidementia/antivascular/ antidiabetic disease Designer Drugs-for-all  myths.

It spends multimillions promoting alcohol,  smoking and ever-newer designer prescription drugs and vaccine, and  disinformation on old well-proven cheap drugs like  reserpine, amilozide, metformin,  natural physiological  human hormone replacement,  natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories ,  and decrying  ineffective but deliberately lowdose and isolated or imbalanced  vitamins and minerals .

The ATBC vits A+E trial  (isolated highdose vits A and E) was  one such  farce in very high risk smokers in an icy climate. . Others have been the recent Norwegian trial using only up to 1000iu vit D supplement a day,

and the current Annals Int Medicine editorial  review of three new articles condemning multisupplements: , on which Mike Howard publishes a scathing critique

*a commercial multisupplement in the TACT  post-heart attack trial – but the composition of the multisupplement  included only deficiency-disease prevention microdoses of micronutrients including 100iu vitamin D3/d and equally negligible vitamin K-  not pharmacological doses of key vitamins eg vits B, C, D & K2 that are well proven to greatly reduce infections and chronic degenerative diseases ;

* the  Physicians’ Health Study  randomized elderly professional men  to placebo or combinations of vitamin C (500 mg synthetic ascorbic acid), vitamin E (400 IU of synthetic alpha-tocopherol), beta-carotene (50 mg Lurotin), and a multivitamin (Centrum Silver – this included  anti-deficiency disease low dose of all common vits and minerals BUT   only 400iu Vit D3),   .

* The third study- on lowdose (traditional anti-deficiency disease) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer was simply a literature review of 26 best-quality  published trials of microdoses – not pharmacological safe macrodoses.

ie these  three trials published in this  Annals Internal Medicine issue to please Big Pharma advertisors to discredit supplements shared the usual problem of now well-known futile lowdose supplement doses  at least of vitamins D3 and K, if not also vitamin C in the multigram dose scientifically promoted by the Drs  Stone- Klenner-Pauling followers.

Sir Jack Cecil  Drummond (1891-1952) was one of the world’s pioneer 20th century  biochemists and nutritionists in UK,  from  1916- 1952 discovering or defining  and promoting  under his world-famous biochemist professors Rosenheim, Halliburton and Funk the role especially  of vits A, B, C  and E. Thanks to his and Churchill’s forceful vision and foresight, he oversaw  food supply and diet  and thus keeping Britons healthy through and after WW2. He was  so successful in promoting healthy cheap and unpatentable micronutrients and natural fresh food  (in the face of the mushrooming megaprofit  processed food  and designer drug industry) that it  speculatively led to his and his family’s  1952 assassination by competing interests  in France The Vitamin Murders, Fergusson 2007. .

        MURDER BY DENIALISM: It is incontrovertible   common cause that irrational and often jealous medical denialism costs endless lives:
* Scurvy prevention:  Dr James Lind (who did the first ever recorded clinical trial) showed by 1750 that sailors’ scurvy on long sea voyages  was preventable; but  despite his pioneer discovery, the British navy cost the lives of thousands more seamen from scurvy when the Admirals  neglected for 50years until the Napoleonic Wars to supply the fresh produce-  eg limes – that rapidly cured and prevented the lethal scourge.

This despite the fact that another UK navy surgeon Dr John Woodall had already over 130 years earlier- by 1617 – published in UK  The Surgeon’s Mate stating We have in our owne country here many excellent remedies generally knowne,- Scurvy-grasse, Horse-Reddish roots, Nasturtia Aquatica, Wormwood, Sorrell, and many other good meanes… to the cure of those at home…and Sea-men returned from farre who by the only natural disposition of the fresh aire and amendment of diet, nature herselfe in effect doth the Cure (of scurvy- for which antiscorbutic citrus had been known since antiquity) without other helps. the Lemmons, Limes, Tamarinds, Oranges, and other choice of good helps in the Indies… do farre exceed any that can be carried tither from England.

* Childbed fever prevention:  in 1865  Dr Ignaz Semmelweis (1818 -’65) an AustroHungarian Roman Catholic ob-gyne in Vienna, was locked up, and beaten to death  within weeks, because he showed – to the outrage of his peers- that handwashing with chlorinated lime eradicated the epidmic puerperal fever (three times that in the midwives’ ward)  in  the  doctors’ labour wards; 70years before Thir Reich terrorists took charge, his senior colleagues reacted violently to his progressive promotion of (what was already more advanced British and  French) hygiene and science, and his urging them to wash their hands after examining corpses before examining women in labour..  .  Tragically for Semmelweis and new mothers in the Hapsburg empire then,  Pasteur (b 1822) and Lister (b 1827) ‘s germ antiseptic discoveries  were already being implemented further west, but  had not yet been publicized.

    *metformin after centuries of use as an antidiabetic herb galega officinalis,  and its extraction as an antidiabetic in 1922, came into increasing use globally from the 1950s as the best treatment for type 2 diabetes, but the USA- to protect their own new patent antidiabetic  drugs – ruthlessly suppressed  its use there (like that of the natural salt lithium for manic depression)  for 40years till the mid-1990s.

     *AIDS and ART denialism: until  5 years  ago in South Africa   the  overwhelming-majority “people’s”  government  (with the country’s vast resources),  and its successive  “health”  ministers,   cost the lives of an estimated 300 000  AIDS victims through sufferers  – indigent state dependents-  being denied  antiretroviral ART  drugs, (never mind still till now denied quality education and civil  security,  and thus    adequate basic nutrition, and meaningful housing,  jobs and thus hope.)  Genocidal AIDS denialism about which the still-ruling (since 1994) leadership cadre did nothing until under  intense  international pressure and repeated Constitutional Court orders, combined with political rival factioneering in the ruling party,   they  ousted the denialist president and his denialist Disease Minister in 2008.

DENIALISM TARGETS IN NUTRITION: 

VIGOROUS VITAMIN C ASCORBIC ACID  PHARMACOTHERAPY : Much effort and Big Pharma money  has been  spent to denigrate the irrefutable science-based work   (between their advocacy years shown) of Drs Irvine Stone (1934-1984), Fred Klenner(1948-74) and Linus Pauling (1970-1991) of  antibiotic dose >50 to 1000 mg/kg/d pure vitamin C (not the antiscurvy  10mg/d)  – as a universally needed essential in primates. We primats,  like guineapigs and a few birds and fish species,  are among the few  that do not make their own since we  lost the needed gene and thus enzyme in our evolution..

It took about 150 years after Lind’s publication for the antiscorbutic factor to be named as vitamin C by Dr Jack Drummond, another 10 years for it to be assayed and its structure proven- but despite the pioneering clinical work of Dr Fred Klenner in the 1950s proving the lifesaving benefit of tens of grams a day intravenously, it took another 20 years before Dr Linus Pauling  took up Dr Irvine Stone’s conviction and put highdose vitamin C  on the world Nobel prize map; just on Pubmed,  vitamin C has >51 000 citations  since 1921, and intravenously in 763 entries  since 1946, with  Dr Fred  Klenner reporting  it intravenously  asmajor antibiotic in the Southern Medical journal from 1948..

The 2009 book  Injectable Vitamin C and the Treatment of Viral and Other Diseases collection  of  medical journal papers from the 1930s to 2006 details the exhaustive scientific evidence proving the uniform benefit of even 1gm a day vit C both as an antimicrobial antiinflammatory antioxidant  and immunomodulator against major crippling / lethal diseases from polio to tuberculosis, pneumonia, hepatitis, rabies, encephalitis, neuritis, poisoning, cancer, and pancreatitis;                                                                                   

          and the persistent resistance of the FDA and other multinational Regulators to recognize (so as to protect their domestic patent drug manufacturers- Big Pharma and their politician and civil service lobbyists )- such uniquely safe and effective natural drug therapy.         The final chapters of that 2009 book pose the crucial questions of overwhelming vested interest by the organized medical – hospital –pharmaceutical mega-industry and governments in not eradicating preventable disease, the Big Pharma banning of natural effective remedies-  The Origin of the 42-Year Stonewall of Vitamin C, and Medical Resistance to Innovation,

The  University of Oregon,  the  Riordan-Gonzalez group and more recently Hemila and Chaker‘ and Ullah et al’ s 2012 reviews have  published much  validating what Drs Goodall, Lind, Drummond, Stone, Klenner, Pauling and Cameron started.

VIGOROUS   VITAMIN D3 CHOLECALCIFEROLPHARMACOTHERAPY  costing wholesale ~ <US$0.5/month for ~200 000iu /month  in South Africa)  reduces serious infection by perhaps 90% ie 9fold: . eg 80iu/kg/d – 500iu/d (15000u/month) for an infant, 50 000iu/wk or 200 000iu/mo for an adult; who if obese, may need two  to three times the average dose, to achieve the (?) optimal 25OH vit D level of around 70ng/ml for health, higher for any acute or chronic chronic illness.

The modern prophets of vitamin D3 have been the three pre-WW2 doyens :

Prof Chris E Nordin (MB ChB 1950) working in bone physiology for 60 years now; 84 papers on vitamin D on Pubmed 

Prof Walter Stumpf (1927-2012; MD 1952) the recently deceased  professor at North Carolina University, neuropsychiatrist and radiobiologist  in his 60year medical career with over 500 publications (76 on Vit D on Pubmed) including early discovering that vitamin D targets all systems and diseases; professor-walter-e-stumpf-ahead-of-his-time/ and https://healthspanlife.wordpress.com/tag/stumpf-dr-walter/

paralled by Prof Robert Heaney (MD 1951) at Creighton University, osteoporosis and nutrition authority with 119 vitamin D papers on Pubmed since 1982, over 400 publications to date;

succeeded by Prof Mike Holick (PhD 1971, MD 1976) with 391 publications on vitamin D since 1970 on Pubmed, who has done more than most to show that the maximum daily body production of vitamin D3 with plenty of sunlight is enough to prevent rickets and reduce all disease, but nowhere near the pharmacologically therapeutic 80iu/kg/d needed to maintain a vigorous all-disease protective bloodlevel of 60-100ng/ml.

and Dr John Cannell (MD 1976, registered psychiatrist from 1993, nutritionalist), a  legendary whistleblower .   who successively campaigned against  #cigarette smoking; and  uncovered:   # the cigarette-smoking  (Black Lung) compensationitis fraud of miners’ pneumoconiosis;          #the fictitious inflated “above national average” school results (Lake Woebegone)  that all states were inventing and  reporting (as is still happening – mass government deception- in South Africa) ;  then the  
# recovered memory therapy (RMT) scandal – a form of psychotherapy in which patients recovered memories of abuse that they had no previous memory of. Such therapy resulted in false memory syndrome (FMS) of events that never occurred as well as an epidemic of multiple personality disorder (MPD), a rare disorder historically conceived of as being a hysterical disorder.  Unfortunately, many MPD patients believed the psychiatrist conducting the RMT and went home to falsely accuse their parents and others of horrendous acts that never occurred. Cannell teamed up with two Harvard professors to write a peer reviewed paper on RMT, debunking the witch-hunt;                                                                               then since the 1990s researching and promoting  # vitamin D deficiency as major cause of much psychopathology including autism, and vigorous vitamin D therapy to correct multiple diseases, through the Vitamin D Council. He has (co)authored some 13 papers, and published a book. .

Now a major longterm German Cancer Research screening program has just publishd   the 2002-2013 ESTHER study (Perna ea) of 10 000 citizens followed with serial 25OH vit D  levels; to assess the association of apparently unsupplemented vit D levels with fatal and nonfatal CVD in the same study population.  Follow-up data, including survival status, up to over 9  years. Comparing subjects with 25(OH)D levels below 12ng/ml and above 20ng/ml resulted in the lower vitamin D level cohort showing a higher hazard ratio of 1.27 (95% confidence interval = 1.05-1.54) for total CVD and 1.62 (1.07-2.48) for fatal CVD in a model adjusted for important potential confounders. No significant association for nonfatal CVD was observed. In dose-response analysis, we observed an increased cardiovascular risk at 25(OH)D levels below 30ng/ml. Results for CHD and stroke were comparable to the results obtained for the composite outcome CVD. Our results support evidence that low 25(OH)D levels are associated with moderately increased risk of CVD, BUT  the observed association is much stronger for fatal than for nonfatal events.

But the benefit of sunlight in healing tuberculosis has been used for well over a century; while the Google antibiotic benefit of calciferol on Pubmed goes back at least to 1950.

In a prospective 16 mo trial in press from Australia, vit D3 even just 60 000iu/month (ie 2000iu/day) halved antibiotic use in seniors.  (Tran, Neale  ea 2014) Effect of vitamin D supplementation on antibiotic use: a randomized controlled trial.

Since the toxic dose of vitamin D long term  reportedly may be as high as 600 000iu/day or a blood level well >150ng/l , imagine how much better the antimicrobial benefit of vitamin D3 at 80 to 100iu/kg/day or pro rata – even higher eg 10 000+iu/day for obese people who sequester more vit D in fat. .

Dr Robert F  Cathcart wrote 30 to 20 years ago in  Med Hypotheses. 1981 Vitamin C, titrating to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy   The amount of oral ascorbic acid tolerated by a patient without producing diarrhea increase somewhat proportionately to the stress or toxicity of his disease. Bowel tolerance doses of ascorbic acid ameliorate the acute symptoms of many diseases. Lesser doses often have little effect on acute symptoms but assist the body in handling the stress of disease and may reduce the morbidity of the disease. However, if doses of ascorbate are not provided to satisfy this potential draw on the nutrient, first local tissues involved in the disease, then the blood, and then the body in general becomes deplete of ascorbate (Anascorbinemia and Acute Induced Scurvy). The patient is thereby put at risk for complications of metabolic processes known to be dependent upon ascorbate.                     1984 Vitamin C in the treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). evidence is that massive doses of ascorbate (50-200 grams per 24 hours) suppress the symptoms of the disease and can markedly reduce secondary infections. In combination with usual treatments for the secondary infections, large doses of ascorbate will often produce a clinical remission which shows every evidence of being prolonged if treatment is continued. .. despite continuing laboratory evidence of helper T-cell suppression. There may be a complete or partial destruction of the helper T-cells during an initial infection that does not necessitate a continuing toxicity from some source to maintain a permanent or prolonged helper T-cell suppression. However, it is possible ascorbate may prevent that destruction if used adequately during that prodrome period. Emphasis is put on the recognition and treatment of the frequent intestinal parasites. Food and chemical sensitivities occur frequently in the AID syndrome and may aggravate symptoms considered to be part of the AID syndrome. A topical C-paste has been found very effective in the treatment of herpes simplex and, to a lesser extent, in the treatment of some Kaposi’s lesions.  Increasingly, clinical research on other methods of treating AIDS is being “contaminated” by patients taking ascorbate.                                                     1991 A unique function for Vitamin C is as reducing substance,  electron donor. When vitamin C donates its two high-energy electrons to scavenge free radicals, much of the resulting dehydroascorbate is re-reduced to vitamin C and therefore used repeatedly. Conventional wisdom is correct in that only small amounts of vitamin C are necessary for this function because of its repeated use. The point missed is that the limiting part in nonenzymatic free radical scavenging is the rate at which extra high-energy electrons are provided through NADH to re-reduce the vitamin C and other free radical scavengers. When ill, free radicals are formed at a rate faster than the high-energy electrons are made available. Doses of vitamin C as large as 1-10 g per 24 h do only limited good. However, when ascorbate is used in massive amounts, such as 30-200+ g per 24 h, these amounts directly provide the electrons necessary to quench the free radicals of almost any inflammation, and reduces NAD(P)H and therefore  provide the high-energy electrons necessary to reduce the molecular oxygen used in the respiratory burst of phagocytes. In these functions, the ascorbate part is mostly wasted but the necessary high-energy electrons are provided in large amounts.

A recent review from Atlanta Kearns ea found 30 papers which aggregate to show that annual vitamin   D3 dose (not D2) of  optimally 300 000 to 500 000iu (wholesale cost ~R5 in South Africa)  for deficient adults is best for avoiding poor patient compliance with minimal risk and major benefit.

THE INFERIORITY OF VITAMIN D2 SUPPLEMENT: It should be noted that the long-used Lennon’s Strong Calciferol datasheet  (1974 updated 2004) does not indicate that this 50 000iu tablet labelled ‘calciferol’  is in fact vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), not the fourfold more potent cholecalciferol D3 formed by sunlight in the skin. This is disclosed only on the Lennons website.. and in the South African Medicines Formulary.  So ‘Strong Calciferol’ in South Africa (actually  the D2 not D3 form of calciferol) is convenient but seriously deceptive mislabeling-  much weaker than the ideal vitamin D3, and therefore its effect unpredictable compared to D3- in fact Dierkes ea Norway show that  giving D2 may actually lower 25OH vit D level in the blood..   Sadly, despite this being reported to the local manufacturers and authorities, no correction of the clinically serious misperception created by the Strong Calciferol label and insert has been issued  to health practitioners by the Medicines Control Council and the manufacturer Aspen-Lennons. 

A recent 8yr study in Cape Town blacks   Reciprocal seasonal variation in vitamin D status and tuberculosis notifications in South Africa Martineau, Nhamoyebonde ,Wilkinson ea   confirmed that vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D <20 mg/L) is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-uninfected people in Cape Town as it is Europe. Vitamin D deficiency was present in 62.7% of 370 participants and was associated (OR ~5.4)  with active TB in both HIV-uninfected  and HIV-infected -(P < 0.001) people. Vitamin D status varied according to season:  25(OH)D concentration was double in summer-January- March compared to winter (23 vs 12ng/l; P < 0.001). Reciprocal seasonal variation in TB notifications was observed:lowest in autumn  and highest in spring October through December (4,2 vs. 5; P < 0.001). Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among black Africans in Cape Town and is associated with susceptibility to active TB both in the presence and absence of HIV infection.

Antimicrobial implications of vitamin D is detailed by Youssef,  Peiris ea (USA  Dermato-Endocrinol  2011)   against all microorganisms – viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoa  (except perhaps leishmaniasis)  as both profound prevention and therapy; in many cases without commercially invented marketed antimicrobials to which there is growing and deadly  microbial resistance, let alone toxicity.. There is evidence that seasonal vitamin D deficiency  status contributed greatly to the 1918/19 flu-pneumonia pandemic (Grant & Giovannucci 2009).

and finally, a month ago JAMA published from Marianna  Baum,  Richard Marlink ea the universities of Miami, Harvard and Florida  Effect of Micronutrient Supplementation on Disease Progression in Asymptomatic  Antiretroviral-Naive HIV-Infected Adults in Botswana A Randomized Clinical Trial,  that Micronutrient deficiencies occur early in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and supplementation with micronutrients may be beneficial; however, its effectiveness has not been investigated early in HIV disease among adults who are antiretroviral therapy (ART) naive.  2 year supplementation with either daily vitamins BCo,  C and E, selenium alone, or B,C,E with selenium vs placebo: study  conducted in 878 patients infected with HIV subtype C with a CD4 cell count greater than 350/μL who were not receiving ART between  2005 and July 2009.  Results  participants receiving the combined supplement of vitamins plus selenium vs placebo had half the  risk of reaching CD4 cell count 250/μL or less (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.46); and secondary events of combined outcomes for disease progression  or AIDS-related death, whichever occurred earlier [adjusted HR, 0.56); . There was no effect of supplementation on HIV viral load. Multivitamins alone and selenium supplementation alone were not statistically different from placebo for any end point. Reported adverse events were adjudicated  unlikely  related to the intervention, and there were no notable differences in incidence of HIV-related and health-related events among study groups.Conclusions and Relevance  In ART-naive HIV-infected adults, 24-month supplementation with a single supplement containing vitamins BCo,C,E and selenium was safe and significantly reduced the risk of immune decline and morbidity. Micronutrient supplementation may be effective when started in the early stages of HIV disease.

THE PARADOX OF THE GLUCOSE- ASCORBIC ACID- CHOLESTEROL- STEROID CASCADE:              Is it coincidence, or  evolution, that the basic animal fast-energy circulating anabolic substrates are glucose, fatty acids and aminoacids?   from which basic glucose C6H12O6 ( from ingested  fructose C6H12O6 and sucrose C12H22O11, or fats or protein)  the liver manufactures the basic cardinal steroid  cholesterol C27H46O.     Then from cholesterol we metabolize by adding or splitting off carbon molecules  the crucial anabolic and regulating  human hormones-                                                                                                                    1. ouabain C29H44O12  the  adrenal hormone  made also  in the hypothalamus and heart ; adrenal),                                                                                                                                           2.  active calciferol C27H44O the strengthening and reproductive secosteroid;                                                                                                                                   3 the prime sex/ reproductive steroids  pregnenolone C21H32o2,  and thence progesterone C21H30O2,  testosterone C19H28O2, DHEA C19H24O2. and thence estradiol C18H24O2. and                                                       4 the prime adrenal mineralo/glucocorticoid steroids  cortisol C21H30O5, aldosterone C21H28O5.

But we primates and a few other species lost the ability to synthetise on demand in quantities of grams a day the crucial vitamin C ascorbic acid C6H8O6 that is key to all the above.                                                                                            And vested interests in the Disease Industry want us to believe the biological nonsense  heresy  that we must ingest minimal unprocessed foods- cholesterol, fats (especially dairy, marine oil Omega3 and medium-chain triglyceride- coconut oil)   and abundant vitamins C and D3, but eat abundant processed foods-  refined plant Omega6,  refined carbs- fructose,  sucrose, fruit juice,  cooldrinks, cereals, confections- which overload causes insulin resistance and thus lipidemia,  obesity- metabolic syndrome -diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The Semmelweis reflexA current Wiki essay sums up the current genocidal problems of deliberate deceptions/denialism in Diet, Vitamins and causality  – for ruthless profit and possibly cynical eugenics: “The Semmelweis  effect is a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.The term originated from the saga of Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered that childbed fever mortality rates reduced ten-fold when doctors washed their hands with a chlorine solution before examining  patients. His hand-washing suggestions were rejected by his contemporaries, often for non-medical reasons. For instance, some doctors refused to believe that a gentleman’s hands could transmit disease (see Contemporary reaction to Ignaz Semmelweis).   In his book The Game of Life, Timothy Leary provided the following polemical definition of the Semmelweis reflex: “Mob behavior found among primates and larval hominids on undeveloped planets, in which a discovery of important scientific fact is punished”. The expression has found way into philosophy and religious studies as “unmitigated Humean skepticism concerning causality“.[2]”

Idealism, ethics may evolve; but the  problem of  human bigotry, self-interest and subjective ie personal bias do not diminish, they spread.  It is classic that Semmelweis  (1818-1865) the observant innovative  Catholic medical scientist of his time (before microbes and antiseptics   were known) was fatuously condemned  not just by his jealous  competing Vienna colleagues,  but even by his progressive and reformist  Copenhagen  contemporary obgyn Prof Carl Levy (1808-1865)- who outlived him by only 4 months;

ironically at the same time that their Copenhagen contemporary Dr Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was increasingly  isolating himself on the lonely ethical journey  against the convenience lazzez- faire  tide, writing for ethical life and religion against the hypocrisy  of the Church and becoming the father of both reformist theology and psychology. But unlike Semmelweis who was way ahead of the bioscience  and humanity of his time, Kierkegaard stuck to and isolated himself in   promoting the incompatible ie  blind-faith-based   religion – the dilemma of Abraham’s conviction (or delusion)  to sacrifice his son-  and ethical morality;

and closely followed by    Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) another more  profound European  thinker who bridged  science, spirituality, progressive education, architecture, agriculture, natural medicine, nutrition,    and   social  reform;

contrary to the rationalists of the 19th Century “Age of Enlightenment” and since, like   British historian-philosopher -ethicist  Winwood Reade (1838 – 1875)  who published the enduring secularist’s bible The Martyrdom of Man (1872), of which  Churchill wrote  25 years later  “he was right but wrong to say it” on the book’s critique of the wrongs of war and religion, of mankind’s selfishness, corruption  and destructiveness (by the greedy aggressive acquisitive minority)  against the  weak masses and the environment) that carries on worse in the 21st century than even the 20th century;                                                                                                                                          and    150 years later bioscientist and philosopher Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) rationalized sadly   the non-overlapping Magisteria of Science and Faith, objective “provable” science – which in fact is seldom immutably constant as is mathematics-  and purely faith-based  “unprovable” religious belief.

It was only a year ago that Richard Conniff published his column on   Strange Behaviours, The Medical Martyrs. And the medical  hero martyrs in this review-  Semmelweis,  Margaret Sanger, Drummond  and Pauling –  never made it onto his list.

But then nor did  the modern medical  freedom fighters  Steve Biko,  Agostinho Neto,  Che Guevera. Jonas Savimbi, Neil Aggett, and the living spouse of Steve Biko, Dr Mamphele Ramphele….

Women of the Century apart (like Margaret Sanger, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi,  Helen Keller, Benazir BhuttoMother Theresa, Aung San Suu Kyi -many of whom have been martyred),                 it is a philosophical debate whether among the men  the medical martyr  Semmelweis (1818-1865) ranks with  his  19thC contemporaries-   Lincoln (1809-1865), Kierkegaard(1813-1855), Pasteur (1822-95), Lister (1827-1912)  ;  and his successors (and 20th C  leading achievers): Koch(1843-1910), Edison(1847-1931), Steiner (1861-1925), Gandhi(1869-1948),  Weizmann(1874-1952), Churchill (1874-1965), Einstein (1875-1955), Jung (1875-1961), FD Roosevelt(1882-1945), JK Galbraith(1908-2006), Martin Luther King (1929-68), Pauling and Mandela   as arguably giant enduring male leaders -innovators-  teachers and achievers  of the past two centuries.

Unlike eg Socrates, Hippocrates  and Jesus of Nazareth, one of the  five greatest polymath medical and ethical sages of all time Rabbi Dr Moses Maimonides (RamBam)  avoided martyrdom by burying himself in practicing selfless medical service for sultan and peasants alike, and jurisprudence   for his GreekoRoman based  Islamic-Sephardic   times and philosophy, like his guru predecessor Avicenna and his contemporary savant Averroes. .

CONCLUSION:   Today it can  be argued that the denial of effective phamacotherapeutic doses of especially  vitamins C and D3, let alone supportive doses of balancing vits (A, B1,3,5,6,9 & 12, E and K2); the often-crucially  deficient minerals (eg magnesium, sulphur, phosphate, iodine, zinc and selenium), and biologicals like human transdermal balanced HRT, coenzyme Q10, alphalipoic acid, milk thistle, cinnamon, fish oil, chondroglucosamine, DMSO, coconut oil,  is a repetition of denialism of the germ theory,  and of optimal physiological human micronutrition as well as macronutrition. .

      – especially when patients are poor and thus malnourished, and plagued by diarrhoea and stress, TB, lipidemic vascular disease and cancer; and when antiretroviral ART- although life-saving- is even more diabetogenic and neurotoxic  than untreated AIDs.

Even transdermal administration is  better than nothing, perhaps  better  (for the frail and noncompliant eg oldies) than oral or injection eg of vitamins D3 & C and progesterone , metformin, (in addition to the usual magnesium chloride, vits A, BCo & E)  may be beneficial whether by patch or cream for both healing, infection, calming,  heart, circulation, infection, arthritis, osteoporosis,   and neuritis, applied under coconut oil,  codliver oil and DMSO as further analgesic, anti-inflammatory,  memory and absorption enhancers.

REFERENCES:     New reviews bear out the major benefits of micronutrient supplements selenium,  zinc, silver, vits A, B, C, D, E;  and DMSO, sutherlandia and aloe  against HIV-AIDs. and co-infection;

Micronutrient supplementation for children with HIV infection. Irlam JH,  Rollins NC ea . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Oct 11;10:CD010666.

Effect of micronutrient supplementation on disease progression in asymptomatic, antiretroviral-naive, HIV-infected adults in Botswana: a randomized clinical trial.Baum MK,  Marlink R ea .JAMA. 2013 Nov 27;310(20):2154-63. .

Preliminary trial of aloe vera gruel on HIV infection.Olatunya OS,  Oyelami OA. ea, J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Sep;18(9):850-3. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0735.

In vitro effects of Sutherlandia frutescens water extracts on cell numbers, morphology, cell cycle progression and cell death in a tumorigenic and a non-tumorigenic epithelial breast cell line.Stander A,  Joubert AM. ea, J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 6;124(1):45-60

Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine.Parcell S.Altern Med Rev. 2002 ;7(1):22-44.

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention.DebMandal M, Mandal S.Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Mar;4(3):241-7

below  are some of the  most recent  94 studies  of vitamin D and human infectionin   published just  in 2013:

New insights on the role of vitamin D in the progression of renal damage: Kidney Blood Press Res. 2013;37:667-78. . Lucisano S, Santoro D.ea  Many studies indicate relationship between hypovitaminosis D and survival, vascular calcification, bone mineral metabolism, immune, cardiovascular and endocrine. Vitamin D analogs reduces proteinuria, in particular through suppression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and exerts anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. In particular vitamin D deficiency contribute to an inappropriately activated RAAS, as a mechanism for progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or cardiovascular disease. Human and experimental models of CKD showed that vitamin D may interact with B and T lymphocytes and influence the phenotype and function of the antigen presenting cells and dendritic cells, promoting properties that favor the induction of tolerogenic T regulators rather than T effectory. Interstitial fibrosis may be prevented through vitamin D supplementation. .

Should vitamin D supplementation be a regular part of asthma care? Gordon BR.Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2014 Feb;47:97-108. .Vitamin D (vitD3) deficiency occurs frequently and has profound effects on health, especially asthma.

Vitamin D in asthma and future perspectives.Huang H,  Zarogoulidis K. ea Drug Des Devel Ther. 2013 Sep 23;7:1003-13.

 vitamin D deficiency associated with development of Acinetobacter baumannii infections in critically ill patients?; Türkoğlu M, Aygencel G et al.; Journal of Critical Care 28 (5), 735-40 (Oct 2013)

Association between vitamin D and hepatitis C virus infection: a meta-analysis. Villar LM, Romero-Gomez M. ea World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Sep 21;19(35):5917-24.

Association between prehospital vitamin D status and hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. Quraishi SA, Christopher KB. Ea, Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Oct;98(4):952-9.

Human parvovirus B19 associated dilated cardiomyopathy. Jain P, Jain A, Khan DN, Kumar M. BMJ Case Rep. 2013 Aug 5;2013.

The role of vitamin D supplementation in the risk of developing pneumonia: three independent case-control studies. Remmelts HH,  van de Garde EM ea  .Thorax. 2013 Nov;68(11):990-6.

Correlation between serum vitamin D level and severity of community acquired pneumonia in young children   Ren J, Sun B, Miao P, Feng X. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2013 Jul;15(7):519-21. Chinese. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23866270

Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation. Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb YB, Pandolfi F. J ea Biol Regul [Correlation between serum vitamin D level and severity of community acquired pneumonia in young children].Homeost Agents. 2013 Apr-Jun;27(2):291-5.

Pre-hospital vitamin D concentration, mortality, and bloodstream infection in a hospitalized patient population.Lange N, Christopher KB ea. Am J Med. 2013 Jul;126(7):640.e19-27.

Vitamin D deficiency in HIV infection: an underestimated and undertreated epidemic. Pinzone MR, Nunnari G. eA Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 May;17(9):1218-32.

Vitamin D deficiency and sudden unexpected death in infancy and childhood: a cohort study.Cohen MC, Offiah A, Sprigg A, Al-Adnani M. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2013 Jul-Aug;16(4):292-300.

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and the risk of pneumonia in an ageing general population.Aregbesola A, Tuomainen TP. ea J Epidemiol Community Health. 2013 ;67:533-6.

Treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.Nunn A, Phillips PP, Abubakar I.Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 ;19(3):273-9.

Role of vitamin D in children with respiratory tract infection.Esposito S, Baggi E, Bianchini S, Marchisio P, Principi N. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2013 J26(1):1-13.

Tuberculosis incidence correlates with sunshine: an ecological 28-year time series study.Koh GC, Dedicoat M. PLoS One. 2013;8:e57752.

Improving outcomes in patients with psoriasis.Tidman MJ. Practitioner. 2013 ;257:27-30, 3.

vitamin C refs & infection:

Authors’ perspective: What is the optimum intake of vitamin C in humansFrei B, Birlouez-Aragon I, Lykkesfeldt J.  Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(9):815-29.

Micronutrients at the interface between inflammation and infectionascorbic acid and calciferol. Parts 1 & 2: .Ströhle A, Wolters M, Hahn A. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2011 ;10:54-74- FULL TEXT IS ON LINE. .

Vitamin C for preventing and treating tetanus Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):

update: THE END OF PROT(E)OS: TAKE NATURAL STRONTIUM SALTS [not the synthetic RANELATE-PROT(E)OS]- AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS, CARIES, ARTHRITIS..

UPDATE 10 January 2014:  PROTOS SUSPENDED -another snakeoil bites the dust- strontium ranelate. It has apparently never been registered in USA anyway.

EU Panel Recommends Suspension of Prot(el)os/Osseor

Miriam E. Tucker  January 10, 2014

This does not affect the physiological use of natural strontium salts as one of a score of natural bone anabolic elements along with the other essential minerals, vitamins proteins and hormones  in our Milieu intérieur  .

neil.burman@gmail.com

update 11 Dec 2010

once again, a relevant comment from a reader (qv Doris Bevans below) prompts an update- and a title revision. The risk  is not strontium, but the patent designer drug Protos/Proteos /Protelos – strontium ranelate- ie as this column has stressed from the start, it appears to be the synthetic anion ranelate that is the problem, not the metal cation  strontium. This is similar to the sodium situation, where it is the anion chloride in table salt that is mostly the hypertension- fluid retention problem, not sodium.

These strontium comments by users  mostly generalize- as this review has- about  strontium . But of course as a useful comments website  shows, there are many natural salts of strontium in use.

The focus of this strontium review column the past three years has naturally been on the potentially hazardous designer patent drug Proteos, Protos, Protelos  strontium ranelate StRan – for which there is absolutely no need considering the numerous perfectly safe and multisystemically  far better alternatives.

Perusal of Google makes it obvious that  StRan is not a natural salt- in fact there is no mention of ranelic acid or strontium ranelate  (Sr2SN2O8) until some 20 years ago when someone first created it-  to enable patenting of a strontium salt for osteoporosis. Imagine how long industrial chemists must have schemed to find a new molecule to carry the useful strontium cation? But the story has apparently yet to be revealed on the internet. One can only speculate why the story of it’s invention has not been put on the internet.

But the common earth metal  strontium was already ‘discovered’ over 200 years ago  – in Scotland-   and has numerous industrial uses  as diverse natural salts. Ward Dean MD points out that strontium salts have been used medicinally for well over a century-  against osteoporosis but especially painful cancer in bone, against dental caries and arthritis; with the optimal dose apparently around 600mg strontium a day.  Usefully, this is about the same optimal dose as calcium, since  as Dean says   “a  comprehensive regimen of synergistic bone-enhancing substances should provide the optimum regimen for preventing and treating osteoporosis. We know that obviously the optimal regime includes  appropriate sex hormones.

So far there  are at least twelve agreed biologically valuable  metal(oid)s  ie cations for humans:  sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium,  iron, zinc, copper,  boron, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, chromium, vanadium, cobalt; and arguably lithium, gold, silver, silica and nickel.

However, no-one has yet   shown that strontium  is an essential (trace) element like the recognized lighter metals.. .

But just as lithium salts were recognized to have major multiple medicinal benefits within 50 years of discovery ( by the mid 19th century),  natural strontium salts have been recognized and promoted as useful for osteoporosis prevention and management since at least Shorr and Carter 1950 .

And of course the designer StRan  has still not been registered for use in the USA. The detailed data sheet for strontium ranelate warns chillingly of its deadly risks of venous thromboembolism and dermatitis; that it contains phenylalanine;  and that it confounds calcium level measurement.

So the glowing testimonials by consumers to the benefits of strontium salts in USA can only be from the use of natural strontium salts there, unless Protos/Proteos was brought into that country by patients.

And indeed, there do not appear to be any adverse effects to natural strontium salts used in sensible dose the past century.

Rousselet ea showd already in 1975  tight feedback regulation between calcium, strontium and vitamin D:  “Oral administration of strontium to calcium wellfed rats blocks intestinal absorption of calcium. When high doses of vitamin D are given over long period, the inhibition of calcium intestinal absorption disappears. Under these conditions the absorption of strontium is increased. It is suggested that there is only one absorption mechanism for these two cations. An overdose of vitamin D increases the renal elimination of strontium but under these conditions the plasma concentration of the strontium is unchanged. Vitamin D brings about the same action on  bone fixation of the strontium as it does on  bone fixation of calcium. Bone fixation is increased with low dosages,  decreased with high dosages.”

So like lithium and silica, there is no apparent reason not to use moderate  doses of  natural strontium  salts orally in supplements.

Phosphates are indeed , like zinc and  copper , calcium and magnesium, biologically essential in the right balance. It looks like strontium may be the same. .  But that doesnt make the synthetics bisphosphonates or strontium ranelate safe- indeed they may cause deadly complications. So why risk them when the only winner is the manufacturer?

And this time the FDA has been wise to deny registration of StRan. As a designer drug it is not in the category of lithium and metformin, enormously beneficial drugs in recommended doses which the FDA denied  without reason to Americans for at least 20years, (except could it have been to protect their own drug company profits?) costing vast numbers of lifeyears and lives.

Hence in future correspondents praising strontium  need to state what form of strontium they are taking.

update 14 November 2010

Crystal comments today: “My mother has taken strontium Sr for the past 2 years and her bone density from her last bone scan has improved greatly.  I am a believer!

Dear Crystal,

Assuming you are talking about the topic of this column- strontium ranelate-  is that  great? I am also a believer in faith and prayer; but  faith doesnt prove anything  objectively, in fact it still leaves  billions starving and in abject poverty, and  all of us in major jeopardy from mankind’s madness, greed and  ruthlessness .

If doctors  rely on faith,  prayer and Big Pharma, regulators- not  critical evidence, common sense  and experience  – heaven help Mom, all patients.

Improvement in bone density doesnt translate into longterm benefit, healthy  longevity.  What real benefit is strontium  ranelate having for Mom, on fracture rate, muscle ie strength, and all other aging systems?

The biggest risk for osteoporotic fracture is not low  DXA bone density (a very profitable designer hi-tech technology that irradiates patients totally unnecessarily)  but failing muscle, co-ordination, balance- for which strontium apparently does nothing.  Overall, the top disablers and killers  of old age are  not fractures but vascular disease, cancer, dementia, strokes.  At no age do fractures appear in the top 10 causes of death in the USA.
And there is still no evidence of StRan’s longterm SAFETY- in fact the potential risk of the DRESS syndrome makes strontium ranelate contraindicated when the proven safe more-than-twenty  natural proven  bone multinutrients that greatly improve all systems are so effective and available.

Why take a snakeoil designer drug like Proteos when natural works both better and safer?
Look at how bisphosphonates improve bone density- but at terrible multihazard risk of  later disaster –  teeth and jaw loss, fractures from harder but more brittle bones, skin & gullet complications.

Why risk  strontium ranelate’s “memory loss and diarrhoea during longer-term treatment” (Deeks ea 2010), or venous thromboembolism (Osborne 2010) .    And in a massive study, Guerra-Garcia ea 2010 have just shown that over the 5 years 2004-2008 in 12 000 patients, the prescription of  StRan  has risen 10fold and bisphosphonates 50%- but without reduction in the incidence of hip fracture.

Yet the current Wiiki entry on strontuim ranelate still omits the horrendous risk of the DRESS syndrome; and still tells the lie that the drug reduces hip fractures by a third. Presumably  the StRan  manufacturer Servier uses Wiki as its carefully sanitized advertorial.

Focusing just on medium-term fracture benefit (up to 5-10years) and ignoring all-system benefits and risks,  is absurd negligence- the criminal deception practiced by Big Pharma and blissfully ignored by the FDA and the leading journals and “expert reviewers” who depend on big pharma’s  handouts .

Appropriate natural supplements reduce  premature ALL-CAUSE disease and deaths by almost half.

If you are taking StRan, you and your doctor have conned yourselves, as intended by  Big Pharma, ( the Disease Industry and the Governments- politicians- who  are well paid to  support  their Disaster Capitalism ) . Only Disease Pays. And worst of all, they have conned you  into taking potentially lethal costly poison that does  overall no good. Has anyone checked her height, her spinal xray, her memory, bloodpressure, carotid calcification, kidney function  to show that these markers  havent deteriorated  despite StRan?

Drug companies NEVER allow the true adverse effects to be published in their fabricated trial result reports – thats why the big mafia companies  – Pfizer, Bayer, GSK- are fined $billions every year. They could care when a raincheck con like Proteos, a statin, a Vioxx  or a fosamax can bring them a few-score $billion in profits in the years before it is canned due to increasing patient disasters. They simply budget into the price patients pay for  the fines and litigation, and the few million in compensation they pay out for the disasters since American law deliberately PROTECTS them, as it did in the biggest medical scam ever,  the Swine Flu swindle  of 2009. And in 2010 the even bigger  Professor Scott Reuben scandal -over which Pfizer and Bayer get off scot free.. .
No new trials have been published the past few years to justify the use of StRan as being superior to other snakeoil designer drugs designed for osteoporosis, let alone against multipurpose natural preventatives.
This confirms the destitution of Big Pharma.
 No chronic synthetic drug of the past 40 years has been shown to reduce  premature ALL-CAUSE major common disease and deaths as the basket of natural supplements does.    I will be delighted when another such  drug is discovered- as the 90year old natural plant extract metformin is, and fish oil  is, and appropriate HRT hormone replacement is. .

update: 22 Dec 2009:  on this radiant southern summer solstice day, there is no good news  on strontium ranelate because no new trials have been published in the past 19 months.

In their Cochrane Review of 2006, Reginster ea could find just 4 trials of strontium ranelate for  3 to 4 years ; these showed 37% fewer spinal fractures but only 14% fewer non-spinal fractures -results no-where near as good as with safe lowcost multisystem protection with appropriate non-oral human estrogen and testosterone, and vigorous dose of a blend of  calmag boron zinc manganese, proline,  the vitamins B6-9-12, C, D and K .

And as with SERMS eg tamoxifen, and bisphosphonates, why use StRan for osteoporosis  when there is better safer natural multisystem prevention and  treatment?  Severe complications may be rare (<1 in 10,000 cases) but as reported by Reginster ea,  except for the profit of manufacturers, why risk life-threatening reactions? – Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS) and TEN toxic epidermal necrolysis with bisphosphonate,  but with StRan  TEN syndrome,   and DRESS – angioedema, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), let alone renal failure and alopecia..

Again, Prescrire sums it up:  “Strontium: confusion and hallucinations. Do not use strontium”. We now acknowledge this should read strontium ranelate.

Only the crazy or the malicious  would recommend aspirin or designer anti-inflammatory drugs  (with their  major risks)  for mild to moderate pain  when paracetamol or, better, a simple safe mix of natural anti-inflammatory-analgesics would suffice eg MSM-curcumin-pantothenate-catsclaw-bromelain-boswelia.

Osteoporosis occurs mostly in the elderly ie those at far higher risks- osteoporosis is a late sign of multisystem deficiency risks, with patients far more likely to die from the concomitant other degenerative diseases – frailty, vascular, malignant, dementing- than from fractures .  So it is criminal to delay effective prevention till osteoporosis is present, then prescribe risky drugs like SERMS, bisphosphonates or StRan when far more multisystem effective and safe therapy has long been available and proven.

22 May 2008

The promotion of essential micronutrients like sex hormones, vitamins and minerals for multisystem health including bones is vital.

But what evidence for longterm cost:benefit is there for strontium ranelate StRan  for anything let alone bones?

A warning was published in 2005 (Prescrire Int. ) Strontium: new drug. Postmenopausal osteoporosis: too many unknowns. [No authors listed]). . No new trials have appeared since. .

There is in fact only one solitary major trial published of sodium ranelate  SrR in osteoporosis, the SOTI-TROPOS trial by Reginster,  Meneur ea for the strontium ranelate  SrR manufacturers (Servier) at 72 centers in 11 European countries and Australia, in some 5000 postmenopausal women recruited from 1996 through 1998 ie till about 2003, with either previous postmenopausal fracture or frank osteoporosis: All on 1 to 1.5gm calcium and vitamin D 400-800iu/day, they were randomized to placebo or StRan 2gm/day. After a mean of 3 years, compared to placebo, vertebral fractures in 1442 women at a mean of 69yrs were reduced by 49% from baseline , but in the entire cohort nonvertebral fractures were reduced by only 16% from baseline at mean age of 77yrs.. All fractures were reduced from 12.9% to 11.2% ie 4.3%pa to 3.7%pa; hip fractures from 3.4% to 2.9%, vertebral fractures from 14% to 7.7%.

Are these differences significant for patient care, when the longterm effects of StRan therapy are unknown, and the longterm adverse effects of biphosphonates are becoming horrifically clear?

But these trials of StRan used only weak baseline prevention of lowdose calcium and vitamin D . Numerous other preventative bone-and muscle-strengthening supplements were apparently specifically excluded or omitted – magnesium, estrogen. vigorous-dose vitamin D eg 2000iu/d, vitamin K, androgen, boron, zinc.
And like the concurrent Womens’ Health Initiative, the SOTI-TROPOS trial was stopped woefully too soon instead of letting it run for at least 10 years to see the longterm benefit (if any). Worst of all, it did not test whether StRan adds any benefit on a sensible baseline of all the proven supplements that we have used for decades.

As Winzenberg ea ask in a recent 2007 Australian review, Strontium ranelate Does it affect the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis? Strontium ranelate did not cause gastritis, back pain or death, but more or less doubled numerous adverse effects :
*50% more (ie six out of 100 women taking strontium ranelate) experienced diarrhoea compared to four out of 100 taking placebo,
• The risk of vascular system disorders including venous thromboembolism (two trials, n=6669, 2.2 vs. 1.5%, OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1–2.1) , pulmonary embolism (two trials, n=6669, 0.8 vs. 0.4%, OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.0–3.1) * as well as nervous system disorders such
as headache (3.9 vs. 2.9%), seizures (0.3 vs. 0.1%), memory loss (2.4 vs. 1.9%) and disturbance in consciousness (2.5 vs. 2.0%) is
slightly increased with taking 2 g of SrR daily over 3–4 years
• There were no RCTs identified which compared StRan to other treatments of postmenopausal osteoporosis.”

It is common cause that the chief risk factor for fracture is not bone density but frailty, falls; and that the only microsupplements that strengthen muscle are apparently androgen, zinc, calcium and magnesium and the vitamins D3 and B6, 9 and 12. There is no absolute contraindication to appropriate long term human androgen plus estrogen replacement .

Now Fuchs ea show that “Strontium ranelate does not stimulate bone formation in ovariectomized rats” – sex hormones are necessary for strontium to benefit bones.

With the oldfashioned calmag, zinc, boron, fluoride ,vitamins A-E, and parenteral androgen plus estrogen, we have seen bone density rise by 1%pa and hip density by 1/2% pa over 15years from age 52 in a frail woman with severe rheumatoid arthritis, despite management with corticosteroid and other remittive drugs, and repeated surgeries to replace destroyed joints. She has never sustained an osteoporotic fracture.

So what is the indication to add the costly long-term (ie >10year) unproven strontium to proven effective supplements?

Strontium ranelate may work in the medium term (3 to 5 years) but there is still apparently no more justification for using strontium ranelate  routinely for preventing/ treating ageing osteoporosis than there is for biphosphonates or calcitonin.

UPDATE 2014 ON LACK OF LIVER DAMAGE FROM HERBALIFE, BLACK COHOSH and KAVA

neil.burman@gmail.com

1/1/2014  again, its comforting that no new evidence of hepatotoxicity of genuine black ohosh; or kava; or (USA-grade) Herbalife  products have been reported  the  past two years.

Teschke ea from Germany make the important point that herbaltoxicity is  likely due to the “kava paradox”,  that no toxicity is reported  with  ancient time-tested herbal remedies used appropriately by tradition in their fresh natural state and their countries of origin eg Pacifi islands; ,

but that adverse events occur with commerial eg alcohol-extracted and often preserved and old  preparations, and in untested combinations with other substances especially statins,  ethanol, and unknown viruses. .

The Herbalife company has just had to publish again  an update rebuttal of bad papers wrongly implicating and accusing Herbalife.  Their summary says:

World J Hepatol. 2013 Oct 27;5(10):601-2..              A correction of misinformation regarding Herbalife. Appelhans K, Najeeullah R, Frankos V. Herbalife International of America Inc, Torrance, CA     The authors of the subject article by Senadhi et al from Indiana State University  have misrepresented the safety and regulatory status of Herbalife‘s products. While we are very concerned with the unwarranted and unfavorable publicity that the inaccuracies listed could generate for Herbalife, we would welcome any inquiries that these authors may have to better clarify our commitment to the safety and quality of our products as has been demonstrated in part by our ability to establish positive relationships with regulatory authorities worldwide through continued cooperation and compliance. This letter clarifies the misinformation presented about Herbalife in the subject article

16 March 2012   it is comforting to note that there have been no new reports the past year of toxicity from these products.

In fact  some lab work seems to favour black cohosh for cancer prevention;

Anticancer Res. 2012 Jan;32(1):21-30.   Chemopreventive potential of black cohosh on breast cancer in Sprague-Dawley rats. Einbond LS, Soffritti M, Degli Esposti D, Tibaldi E, Lauriola M, Bua L, He K, Genovese G, Su T, Huggins L, Wang X, Roller M, Wu HA.  Columbia University, HHSC-1518, 701 W. 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA. lseinbond@gmail.com     This study examines the chemopreventive potential and action of the herb black cohosh on Sprague-Dawley rats. CONCLUSION:Our results suggest that black cohosh may have chemopreventive potential for mammary cancer.
while Herbalife has published objective rebuttals of toxicity from Herbalife other than in isolated countries where irregular ingredients were used in local manufacture:
World J Hepatol. 2011 Oct 27;3(10):275-7. Revisiting acute liver injury associated with herbalife products.  Appelhans K, Smith C, Bejar E, Henig YS  Herbalife International of America Inc., Torrance, CA 90502, United States.   In the November 27, 2010 issue of the World Journal of Hepatology (WJH), three case reports were published which involved patients who had consumed various dietary supplements and conventional foods generally marketed as weight loss products. The reference to Herbalife products as contaminated and generally comparable to all dietary supplements or weight loss products is not scientifically supported. The authors provided an insufficient amount of information regarding patient histories, concomitant medications and other compounds, dechallenge results, and product specifications and usage. This information is necessary to fully assess the association of Herbalife products in the WJH case reports. Therefore, the article does not objectively support a causal relationship between the reported cases of liver injury and Herbalife products or ingredients.
Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Mar;21(3):333-4. doi: 10.1002/pds.3203. Misconceptions regarding the association between Herbalife products and liver-related case reports in Spain.
Appelhans K, Frankos V, Shao A.  Source  Product Compliance and Safety, Herbalife International of America, Inc, Torrance, CA, USA.

2 Feb 2011

Since June 2010 there have been no new cases of toxicity from Black Cohosh, herbalife or kava reported on Pubmed.

BLACK COHOSH: BEGGING THE QUESTION OF INDICATION- NEED.

The new literature analysis Suspected black cohosh hepatotoxicity: no evidence by meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials for isopropanolic black cohosh extract  by Naser et al from Yale , and Germany(the main producer of black cohosh BC products)- begs the question.

As this colunm has previously reviewd about BC,  women have died from or needed liver transplants after taking it.. Hence most Authorities have Black Box warning requirements Recurrences of liver reaction have been reported on rechallenge. These scattered cases can be argued away on metanalysis, but they cannot be ignored. One death or acute liver failure is unacceptable when BC is never an essential drug without other safe options.

Another study also published now (Wang ea from the FDA Centre for Drug Evaluation ) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20920542 contradicts the German metanalysis with more basic toxicological data: “Computational analysis of positively predicted constituents showed … specifically, protocatechuic acid from black cohosh… predicted positive for liver toxicity endpoints also confirmed with literature findings”

Black cohosh is not physiological hormone replacement, BC is recommended by its proponents solely for menopause symptoms (it has no other benefits) for up to 6 months.

So why risk, use black cohosh at all?

Appropriate balanced hormone replacement – preferably human hormones, not xenohormones ie hormones not found in the healthy women, and not by swallowing it- is indicated permanently in all women .

As previouslly pointed out in this column, the International Menopause Society has summed it up in putting approriate HRT as the main agent(s) for menopause symptoms as well as  for its permanent multisuystem benefits;  and the human hormone gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA as the only alternative that is both safe and cleearly proven better than placebo for improving both hot flashes and sleep, anxiety. Used appropriately and with sensible monitoring and dose titration, all such hormone balance has no longterm risks.

MDICOLEGAL LIABILITY: under the new Conumae Protection Act CPA in South Africa, the pendulum has gone ridiculously too far. irrespective of the onus on manufacturers and promoters of any product, the onus is on the end-prescriber, end-dispenser to warn consumers of potential risks,  and any consumer claim for consequent damages is legally against only the final and retail supplier.

So no supplier of black cohosh is protected against consequent liability unless he gets a signed waiver from the purchaser after the recorded warning about its potential toxicity.

16 June 2010

there are no new adverse toxicity reports on Hebalife, black cohosh or kava  so far in 2010 .

Both Herbalife,  and black cohosh products, remain marketed and in demand  in South SAfrica.

There are  no new serious adverse reports or concerns published  on Pubmed or Google about Herbalife products in 2009.

On Pubmed there were 2 new cases of liver and coagulation problems associated with black cohosh in mid2009, from a Germanic and an Italian institute; and 14 hepatitis cases associated with kava ingestion confirmed  from around the world .

4 Jan 2009

This review  is not about benefit of black cohosh (independent trials show none for menopause symptoms) or Herbalife (trials support that Herbalife is indeed a weight loss aid), or kava (it is a confirmed anxiolytic analgesic euphoriant); but about toxicity potential however rare – considering that none of these  products can make any claim to being a necessity.

Contamination aside, there are no new  relevant reports  on Herbalife the past two months on Pubmed,

but indeed  4 new reports on black cohosh; and one on kava.

Lessons for black cohosh and Herbalife may be learnt from kava. Kava-kava was hastily banned  eg  in Europe and South Africa early this decade owing to reputed association with hepatotoxic deaths. But on careful study these toxicity claims appear to be uncertain.

The claimed benefits of kava are analgesic, euphoriant and relaxant, without addiction potential. The four trials of Kava (between 1991 and 2003, in Italy and Germany) confirmed that kava has anxiolytic benefits in the menopause syndrome.) . The hepatotoxicity (not reported from the source – Polynesia – unless taken by alcoholics) was reported largely from western countries, where commercially sold  kava extract was apparently differently extracted, and from the aerial leftovers of the kava; whereas in Polynesia it is extracted only from the root. A recent website from the NIH shows it is not banned there, but expresses much caution.

A careful analysis of kava hepatotoxicity by Teschke ea in Germany last month again finds little evidence of toxicity if kava is taken from a reputable manufacturer  at prescribed dose and for short duration  – as applies equally to alcohol, and most drugs.

Herbalife

An objective  NICUS  Nutritional Institute of University of Stellenbosch Report critical of  Herbalife is quoted verbatim in the Summer 2008  Newsletter of the Association of Dieticians of SA. NICUS- a world authority in Nutrition – confirms it stands by this report. It could thus be taken as a directive (to condemn Herbalife)- to dieticians for whose professional advice some patients wrongly substitute diet supplements;  where these modalities- careful  professional diet advice and counselling, and supplements-  are actually complementary..

But there does not appear to be any  more  evidence to condemn Herbalife than there was a year ago. As far as Pubmed and Google reveals,  the reports  [to date end of 2008 on Pubmed) of adverse effects  were from 4 discrete European regions [ Iceland; Switzerland; Spain & Israel) , apparently wth locally formulated Herbalife, not the USA main factory product, leading to assumption of a local production fault. There appear to have been 2 cases of liver failure in some 33 affected patients, in one of whom liver transplant became necessary but the patient died.. .

One cannot condemn all  babyfood because some is deliberately adulterated with melamine by ruthless Chinese sham factories. Commercial babyfood is arguably a necessity for many.

We await an updated rebuttal from Herbalife in the new year- but there does not seem to be anything for them to add to their rebuttal of last year..There has been no published evidence to justify update on Herbalife during 2008.

The accusation (by one patient, and a  convicted fraudster, Minkow) of a claimed lead-contaminated  Herbalife batch  in California   has, strangely, generated no updates for months now- but on the wiki herbalife update , it says “In August 2008, Minkow retracted all accusations against Herbalife and removed any mention of the company from his Web site.[30]” – there is no report of whether Herbalife bought his silence or not , which is a pity- see also. ;   but see also heavy flak against Minkow , suggesting that his whole campaign was a successful bear scam  to profit from Herbalife shares.

The  current  Wiki Herbalife  review also quotes a new trial validating benefit for weightloss. Caveat Emptor.

It may be asked why a Nutritional authority like NICUS:  warns  against Herbalife but not against the potentially fatal black cohosh. New independent analyses are both for and against them:

ie

Black Cohosh:

Analyses of case reports from Univ Florida (Palacio 2009) and Italy (Borrelli 2008)  recommend caution about black cohosh for humans in view of adverse case reports; while a German analysis (Teschke 2008) exonerates black cohosh in every single case till then.

A trial from USA (Davis 2008) found that “black cohosh significantly increased the incidence of lung metastases in tumor-bearing mice compared with mice fed the isoflavone-free control diet”.

Clearly the valid divergence of opinion comes down to complex statistics of probability.

Black cohosh has been associated with severe liver failure and  transplantation in a number of women on a number of continents, for which reason the local Health Products Association, like all responsible authorities , finally agreed and issued recommendations that Black Cohosh label must be black-boxed- there is no justification for it’s sale as a useful product, unlike the role than can be argued for food substitute powders.

So why should anyone use black cohosh for menopause symptoms (when it’s benefit seems to be largely placebo, with grave doubt about safety) , when there are proven safe symptom relievers eg GABA (no adverse reports); or lowdose balanced appropriate parenteral human sex hormones (no adverse reports, and have numerous longterm multisystem benefits- which neither black cohosh nor GABA can claim..).

This review  is not about benefit, but safety. Regulators remain silent about drastically curtailing sale of the most lethal substances in widespread unregulated (and unnecessary)  use- paracetamol, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, statins for uncomplicated  mild-to-moderate lipidemia, alcohol, tobacco and sugar, and pollution of everything by industrial adulteration with synthetic (often estrogenic) endocrine disruptors and virtually all fast foods with cornstarch and/or sugar.

The hysterical approval of diethylstilbestrol  DES by the FDA by 1950, and for a massive  1950 maternity trial  against all evidence (even though it’s toxicity was recognized by 1953,  it’s sale anywhaere was finally banned only 20 years later) continues to torment the original myriads of  guineapig women, their children and now grandchildren. These scandals are dictated by individual opportunist, corporate and governmental greed, and indifference to medical evidence and prevention.

The analogy for black cohosh, kava  and Herbalife  is perhaps:

#the ~20year delays before the FDA would licence the lifesaving lithium salt, and metformin, in USA;

#the ~5year hysteria over HRT after the Women’s Health Initiative – when the over-estimated risks of inapproriate use of  OHT in elderly women were stupidly and harmfully (for thousands of women) extrapolated to young women and other  HRT preparations;

and

#the melamine- baby milk formula catastrophe – the problem for the latter was exclusively some contaminated  babyfood batches made in China especially for the lucrative export market. .

The jury can thus be considered as still out on both black cohosh, kava  and Herbalife,  until manufacturers of commercial  products (not traditional preparations of  eg kava and black cohosh taken by residents who grow these)  can produce evidence, confirm  that the risk was limited  to specific batches of the commercial product  and adherence to accepted recommendations, and not due to other possible risk factors.

LIVER DAMAGE IN EUROPE ASSOCIATED WITH HERBALIFE USE:

4 Sept 2007 Review
The following reports below of HerbaLife-associated liver failure appear on Medline – from Spain, then Israel and Switzerland.
:The July 2007 reports of the two dozen Herbalife-associated hepatitis cases from Israel & Switzerland reveal that liver problems occurred after about 5 months on the products; and that relapse occurred in about 20% on rechallenge with Herbalife ie in this percentage the association is proven.

Herbalife results for weight control have been reported as good. The only problem is historical according to the current Wikipedia entry: “Some of the original Herbalife weight loss products contained the active ingredient Ma Huang or Sida cordifolia, two herbs containing ephedrine alkaloids.

Adverse reactions involving the company’s Thermojetics original green tablets were recorded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Herbalife subsequently stopped using ephedrine in its products in the face of rising insurance premiums.[3][4] The U.S. FDA banned supplements containing ephedra in 2004.[5]“

It is possible that the case reports below are unrelated to Herbalife itself , or that in those countries ephedra-containing Herbalife was still in use at the time, or that potentially hazardous herbs etc were added locally.

From Yahoo.com, there is an authoritative rebuttal from Iceland dated February 2007.

A score of drugs and herbs can cause liver damage, topical ones – albeit rarely- include mushrooms; black cohosh and kava – see a recent list.

Drugs like ticrynafen, methyldopa and cerivastatin were discarded among other reasons because of liver problems, which are among many reasons why necessary sex hormone contraception and replacement should rather not use designer patent ie synthetic drugs, and especially not by mouth (hepatic first pass effect).

So it is always difficult to blame a single product, as the ongoing debate about black cohosh shows – which many “first world” regulators have “black boxed” ie added a compulsory warning to black cohosh warnings.

As with black cohosh, with a rare adverse event report, users of such products must weigh up for themselves.

As they say, since Herbalife tends to be custom-made in each country, with numerous ingredients (some undisclosed), it is so far impossible to incriminate whether the cause was local product corruption, or some appreoved component, of which the known possible culprits are ephedra and camelia.

Other known hepatotoxic herbs like black cohosh, kava and mushrooms were not mentioned. A few of the patients had viral hepatitis. Only 7 cases had also taken other known potential liver sensitizers – some synthetic sex hormones (4), aspirin (3), statin (1) and hydrochlorothiazide(1), of which 2 cases had positive recurrence of hepatitis on rechallenge with Herbalife.

UCT Medicines Information Centre is unaware of any such problems locally, and can recollect only perhaps 2 queries about Herbalife in some 23 years. Clarification is awaited from Herbalife headquarters.

From Swiss data the estimated incidence was below 2 cases per million Herbalife users, but both studies were based only on hospital records.

Considering the severe global problem of hepatitis from other causes (due to alcohol; obesity/diabetes (steatohepatitis, sulphonylureas, glitazones); numerous infections; carbon tetrachloride; synthetic sex hormones (oral contraception and postmenopausal hormone therapy) , mushrooms, antibiotics and antivirals, , autoimmune disease, antiepileptics, nifedipine, amitryptiline, allopurinol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories including aspirin and paracetamol , black cohosh, kava, antifungals and paracetamol), and that the rare adverse association of herbalife with liver damage may well have been limited only to Herbalife products made in those three “European” countries at that time, there is clearly no cause for alarm about Herbalife – just awareness.

The urgent problem of endemic liver disease is rather the avoidance of infections and potentially hazardous antimicrobials; mushrooms; carbon tetrachloride, alcohol excess; sale pf paracetamol without inclusion of protective vitamins and N-acetyl cysteine; and avoidance of potential hepatotoxins which are rarely if ever justified considering their risks, and safe effective alternatives available for eg statins, sulphonylureeas, glitazones, black cohosh, kava, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories; oral sex hormones; and sulphonylureas.

The centuries-proven plant galega officinalis (extract) metformin after 85years of modern use remains the only drug proven in longterm use to both reduce liver damage, lipidemia, thrombosis, adiposity and insulin resistance, and thus almost halve the incidence of new diabetes, hypertension/vascular disease, cancer and thus all-cause premature medical mortality.

Thus appropriate general use of metformin with long-proven vitamins, minerals, biologicals, safe herbs, fish oil and systemic human sex hormones – combined with prudent lifestyle and largely natural fresh foodstuffs- – does away with most of the well-known potential hepatitis drug risks listed above.

In defence of free market enterprise and choices, those who choose convenience safe proven food substitutes or other complementary products as part of an acceptable balanced regime advocated by suppliers like Herbalife do well, they should just be sure of the ingredients and supplier; and they should report and discuss what they use with some knowledgable up-to-date healthcare provider.

Response from Herbalife

04.09.07
Herbalife’s South Africa CEO responds reassuringly:

Good day,
Herewith a statement from Herbalife in response to the issues raised by yourself earlier in the week:

While we are aware of reports of abnormal liver function blood tests such as those reported by Dr. Oneta, our extensive consultation with internationally recognised liver experts has led repeatedly to the conclusion that these associations in time cannot be linked to any Herbalife product.

These small numbers of reports are anecdotal and millions of satisfied customers all over the world have been using our products for more than 27 years. All Herbalife products are formulated and manufactured in accordance with strict standards overseen by the Herbalife Scientific Advisory Board, which is chaired by David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.N. Quality control is overseen by our Scientific Affairs Group, chaired by Y. Steve Henig PhD and made up of an international panel of experts in nutrition and botanical dietary supplements.

Herbalife products, which are now sold in 65 countries, are formulated, registered and labelled in accordance with the regulatory requirements in every market where sold. All Herbalife products are safe to consume as directed.

Many consumers who choose to use Herbalife weight-management products for weight loss are overweight, some significantly so. Pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes can be associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disorder that may return certain types of abnormal blood test results. These test results, therefore, may have nothing to do with any herbal supplement, but rather are the result of a pre-existing medical condition. In addition, it is possible for an individual to have an allergic reaction to our products, the same way one might to any food product; for example, strawberries or shellfish. Herbalife supports the recommendation that consumers visiting their doctors for medical treatment inform them of any supplements they may be taking.

As a socially responsible company, we operate an adverse event reporting procedure that deals with the small number of queries we have from doctors and consumers and we operate an open dialogue policy with the medical community. All adverse event reports are investigated thoroughly in consultation with the consumer and the physician (if they are available) to fully understand the facts. None have resulted in the compulsory withdrawal of any product, ever. In the United States, Herbalife actively lobbied Congress to pass legislation mandating the submission of all dietary supplement and over-the-counter drug serious adverse events to the Food & Drug Administration. That new law takes effect December 22, 2007.”

REFS:

J Hepatol. 2007 Oct;47(4):521-526. Herbal does not mean innocuous: Ten cases of severe hepatotoxicity associated with dietary supplements from Herbalife((R)) products. Schoepfer AM, ea.University Hospital Bern, Switzerland.
METHODS: To determine the prevalence and outcome of hepatotoxicity due to Herbalife((R)) products. A questionnaire was sent to all public Swiss hospitals. Reported cases were subjected to causality assessment using the CIOMS criteria. RESULTS: Twelve cases of toxic hepatitis implicating Herbalife((R)) preparations (1998-2004) were retrieved, 10 sufficiently documented to permit causality analysis. Median age of patients was 51 years (range 30-69) and latency to onset was 5 months (0.5-144). Liver biopsy (7/10) showed hepatic necrosis, marked lymphocytic/eosinophilic infiltration and cholestasis in five patients. One patient with fulminant liver failure was successfully transplanted; the explant showed giant cell hepatitis.     Causality assessment of adverse drug reaction was classified as certain in two, probable in seven and possible in one case(s), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We present a case series of toxic hepatitis implicating Herbalife((R)) products. Liver toxicity may be severe. A more detailed declaration of components and pro-active role of regulatory agencies would be desirable.

J Hepatol. 2007 Oct;47(4):514-520. Association between consumption of Herbalife((R)) nutritional supplements and acute hepatotoxicity. Elinav E, ea -Hebrew University Medical Center, Israel.
: In 2004, identification of four index cases of acute hepatitis associated with Herbalife((R)) intake led to a ministry of health investigation in all Israeli hospitals. Twelve patients with acute idiopathic liver injury in association with consumption of Herbalife((R)) products were investigated.
RESULTS: Eleven of the patients were females, aged 49.5+/-13.4 y. One patient had stage I primary biliary cirrhosis and another had hepatitis B. Acute liver injury was diagnosed after 11.9+/-11.1 months of initiation of Herbalife((R)) consumption. Liver biopsies demonstrated active hepatitis, portal inflammation rich with eosinophils, ductular reaction and parenchymal inflammation with peri-central accentuation.
. CONCLUSIONS: An association between intake of Herbalife((R)) products and acute hepatitis was identified in Israel. We call for prospective evaluation of Herbalife((R)) products for possible hepatotoxicity.

Med Clin (Barc). 2007 Feb 17;128(6):238-9.
[Hepatotoxicity associated with the consumption of herbal slimming products] Duque JM,ea. [Article in Spanish] Letter