Archive | April 2018

What? I have scurvy?

As a child I learned the dramatic story of scurvy being reversed with lemons or limes in the kegs of water aboard 18th century sailing ships. Some mystery ingredient in citrus fruits spared vast numbers of sailors from a painful death at sea between ports.

Well, it turns out that was just the British version of the story: according to the Dutch, they figured it out somewhat earlier, when they sent farmers (Boers) to plant gardens near South African ports in order to supply Dutch ships with produce on their long voyages to the East Indies. The Dutch knew their sailors couldn’t make it all the way around Africa without fruit or vegetables; scurvy would kill them.

The French say they knew before the Dutch: in 1535, the Iroquois saved explorer Jacques Cartier’s men, dying of scurvy as they sat stranded on the frozen St. Lawrence River by Quebec, with a tea made of ground needles from a tree.

And with the limitations of how history is recorded, I’m quite certain that many generations of mothers long before these men already told their children they had to eat their vegetables in order to be healthy; mothers usually know first.

And so it was that in 1970, when Linus Pauling first brought the science of vitamin C into the public awareness, my own mother bought a copy of his book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold. For by then the lifesaving mystery ingredient had been isolated and named. From that day on vitamin C tablets were on our breakfast table.

Over the twentieth century, medical science went on to confirm that vitamin C serves many functions in the body, first as a powerful antioxidant. Since cell oxidation is a primary mechanism of all disease, this means it’s vitally important to our health. Vitamin C is also an antihistamine, antitoxin, and antibiotic with antiviral properties. Essentially, it’s against everything we’re against.

More recently, some researchers have begun to recognize diseases as “focal scurvies”, in which certain tissues break down for lack of vitamin C. And osteoporosis is one of those! Our bones need vitamin C to activate the bone-building cells – the osteoblasts – as well as for collagen formation. Dr. Tom Levy, a cardiologist and attorney, explains much more in his 2002 book, Curing the Incurable, and on his website.

So…can he be right? I have scurvy that’s localized in my bones, rather than generalized in my body? If so, what can I do about it?

Not surprisingly, the solution is consistent with what my mother believed in: more fruit and vegetables, and extra vitamin C. But since my diet has always contained these, there must be more involved in the absorption or retention of vitamin C in the appropriate parts of the body, or perhaps a higher dosage needed for optimal health. For now I’m working at increasing my intake of vitamin C to bowel tolerance, following guidelines set by Dr. Robert Cathcart and further explained by Dr. Andrew Saul on his website, in That Vitamin Movie, and in various lectures. Bowel tolerance allows the individual’s body to dictate how much it can use. And the amount a person needs when sick is much much more than what’s needed when healthy.

At first I was alarmed at the megadoses these experts recommend; yet vitamin C is entirely safe – water soluble and with no toxic limit – and there is a century’s worth of evidence of that it can cure serious diseases. So what’s to lose? In That Vitamin Movie Dr. Saul takes 17 or 18 g of vitamin C – his daily dose – on camera, while also explaining that your needs or mine are likely different. There are many forms of vitamin C supplements, but Dr. Saul recommends the cheapest that we will actually take, and of course a diet rich in fruits and vegetables must always be our starting point.

I love a good experiment, so on a day I was well and working at home I spread out 12 g of vitamin C over the day and that proved to be slightly too much. My bowel tolerance seems to be more like 10 g most days. Without burdening you with T.M.I., I’ll mention that in a later experiment I fully cured a UTI without antibiotics by taking 75 g of vitamin C three days in a row. The only challenge was remembering to take all those capsules, and counting them as I did; my bowels didn’t make a single complaint. I’m quite likely to experiment further if I have future infections, and meantime I’m getting at least 6 g of supplemental C each day.

So what do my bones think of this? Of course most victories are hidden inside at the cellular level, so I don’t get to see the immediate results. And when those early sailors headed off across vast oceans, they devoted themselves to long weeks and months using their best navigational tools in order to one day reach land. In the same way, building and maintaining my bones is my longterm quest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your nose knows.

The display of supplements is bewildering. Claims on the bottles lure me in, then I wonder: “Is this just marketing, or is it what my body really needs?”

Finally there’s a simple at-home method so you can know what you need. No more guessing, or chasing every bandwagon. As unbelievable as it may sound, your nose can help you identify what nutrients you, personally, are lacking. Diane Dawber’s new book explains everything.

Through decades of experience helping herself and others to wellness, Diane Dawber learned how to interpret the smell of a nutrient. Her book lays out the published science underlying this, and teaches the reader to make sense of the results. It’s called The Nutrient Scent Test, and you can order it here. 

Until I met Diane I had no idea that how a nutrient smells to me may be entirely opposite of how it smells to you. My nose might tell me I’m sniffing dog food, while you might detect cherry candy – within the very same bottle. And with Diane’s careful instruction I was able to determine what my nose was trying to tell me, and find my way to the excellent health that had eluded me. As I responded to my diagnosis of osteoporosis, this approach proved invaluable.

If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that the only advice my doctor offered was to take an industrial corrosion inhibitor internally along with lots of calcium, and to scale back my life to prevent any possibility of falling. I’m inherently logical, and to me none of this made sense. Nor did it sound like fun.

Along came Diane Dawber, who patiently taught me what the medical system couldn’t. I shouldn’t really brag about how strong my bones are now, because to do that I’d have to disclose how many hard falls I’ve had in the past seven years, and that may be embarrassing. I did post about the first one – which convinced me it was safe to get back on a bicycle. And when my bike threw me into a Tokyo street a few months ago I wiped up the blood and continued on my way. Impressive bruises, but no broken bones!

If you’re trying to decode your own health issues, and you suspect nutrients may be part of your solution, if you’re gripped by fear of not taking the right supplements, or tired of feeling tossed about by the whims of marketing or online claims, this book can equip you with the facts you need next. I highly recommend The Nutrient Scent Test to you. Now, because I’m committed to full disclosure I will tell you that I helped edit the book, thus my name is in the credits. But I offered my time and skills because I so wanted this information to get to you, and I don’t profit in any way from sales of the book. I don’t sell supplements or benefit in any way from recommending them. My commitment is simply to sharing what I’ve learned.

 

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