Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for May 31, 2006

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I get into work and I ask my friend if he was able to get me the Miswaak. He reaches under his desk and pulls out a small twig. It’s about eight inches long and it doesn’t have the bristles that a regular toothbrush has. He says the bristles will form as I use it. He told me I should clean it using water and to place it in water for thirty minutes before using. After thirty minutes, I give it a try. It has a nice mild tree taste to it and although a little weird and unconventional, I like it. Now let’s see if it works for my allergies…

I’ve been taking 200 mg of Niacin now for three weeks and I’m feeling great. The vitamins really seem to be working. The vibration is very faint and I can barely feel it anymore. I’m so excited about my recent success that I’ll tell anyone who will listen. As I’m explaining my story to a women in the office, I mention how I had Plantar Fasciitis and a guy mentions that he’s been dealing with the same problem and has orthopedic inserts that don’t seem to fix the pain. So I’m now explaining my story to both of them and how the Niacin got rid of it within a week.

He was absolutely amazed at hearing this and was willing to give it a try. I tell him to pick up 100 mg of pure Niacin at his local health food store.

My follow up appointment with the Naturopath should be fun on Saturday. Wait until I tell her about the microwaved plastic allergy and my new toothbrush. I’m going to ask her if there is a positive way to test for the benzyl butyl phthalate plastic allergy and I’m also thinking about the hormone test for Xenoestrogen. Something that will confirm my new diagnosis.

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May 31, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 31, 2006

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Wheatgrass and Cancer

Cancer is a six-letter word that put fear in the hearts of many people. It is now estimated and widely accepted that 60 percent of all women’s cancers and 40 per cent of all men’s cancers are related to nutritional factors alone. Cancer is a slow developing disease. The appearance of a tumor in the body is not the start of illness. Rather it is the culmination of a decade or more of pathological change in the cells of the affected organ. By the time the disease is clinically diagnosed it has progressed so far and affected the entire organism so seriously that only one out of five cancer patients reaches the so-called five-year survival line.

No only is the disease dreaded but also the traditional methods of treatments. There are only three forms of conventional treatment. There are not only physical scars but the emotional scars of feeling like a piece of meat. After the carving of the surgeon, the disfiguring can be brutal, especially on women who have undergone radical mastectomies. It would seem worth while if it did solve the problem but surgery frequently result in the spreading of cancer cells to other parts of the body which then calls for the radiation or chemotherapy and sometimes subsequent surgery.

Chemotherapy injects highly toxic substances and can actually cause cancer, e.g., cyclophosphamide, which is used to treat bladder cancer. Those who are administrating the injections are very careful not to get any on their own skin because it will burn, yet they inject it into your veins.

Radiation can kill cancer cells and also create new ones. Like chemotherapy, it seriously weakens the immune system, thereby subjecting the patient to the risk of other diseases, for example pneumonia.

Since 1971 the United States declared war on cancer with the following statement from President Nixon: “The time has come in American when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease.” In that year 337,000 people died of cancer, and about $250 million was spent on cancer research.

Since then, over six trillion dollars have been invested over the years in cancer research. Approximately $75 billion is spent on cancer treatment each year: about $25 billion for direct health car, $9 billion in lost productivity due to treatment or disability, and $41 billion in lost productivity due to premature death.

Now all these years later, we have cancer epidemic instead of a cancer cure. According to Dateline (NBC August 21, 1996), twice as many people get and die of cancer today than did in 1971, and increase far beyond population growth. About 40 percent of Canadians and American get cancer and most of them (62.5 %) die of it.

This year alone cancer will claim the lives of some 61,800 Canadians and about half a million Americans (all figures in this article exclude non-melanoma skin cancer.) Lung cancer has become an epidemic among Canadian women, experts warn, and there’s no sign of relief in national cancer data. “It is a big concern and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” said Mary Jan Ashley, professor of public health at the University of Toronto . Lung cancer rates are rapidly going up in women – it’s an epidemic. And it’s going to keep going up for the next decade at least. Lung cancer in Canada killed an estimated 6,000 women in 1996 – 700 more than breast cancer. Nationwide statistics, by the National Cancer Institute of Canada, show lung cancer deaths among women are projected to rise to new heights this year, as well as prostate cancer rates with almost 20,000 men projected to get the disease in 1997.

Even with the introduction of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy with biologic response modifiers, and CT scans, MRI scans, and all the other new medical technology, almost every form of cancer, except cervical cancer and lung cancer have remained constant, which means that there has been no significant progress in cancer treatment.

The fight against cancer is so intense that more money is collected each year than can actually be spent responsibly on meaningful research. With the billions of dollars raised each year it would be nice if more of these funds were directed to cancer prevention.

These depressing statistics reveal the extreme gullibility of the millions of people who keep donating to one of the wealthiest disease clubs: The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), despite the fact it has failed to accomplish its primary aim: to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer.

If the fight of cancer was even slightly helping, than fewer and fewer people would get it and die of it. Since the reality if the opposite, the present strategy is obviously not working. What is working are the thousands of people who profit form this dreadful disease, e.g. CCS executives, researchers, radiologists, pharmaceutical companies and so on. A childhood neighbour of my husband, told us that he went into cancer research because he knows he will always have a job. More people live off cancer than die of it. Cancer is not only a deadly disease, but also a very profitable industry.

While significant progress has been made with some forms of cancer, e.g. Leukemia and Hodgkin’s Disease, the much more common big killers such as lung, colon, rectal, prostate and breast cancer are claiming more victims each year. Lung cancer among women has quadrupled since 1970 and according to a recent study in the incidence of prostate cancer is expected to double in the next 10 years.

Despite all the praise about the countless so-called breakthroughs in cancer research, treatment and diagnosis, basically very little has changed during the last few decades.

To sound good there is distorted information about cancer. They use terms like five year survival rates instead of a cure. They think that if you live for five years after being diagnosed that you are a success. You tell that to a 30 year old mother of three small children, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and she can read right through the smoke screen. Statistical sleight of hand conceals how many die after five years. According to Dr. David Prescott and Dr. Abraham Flexer in their book Cancer: The Misguided Cell, the figure is between 12 and 15 per cent. Also because cancer depressed the immune system, many people die of other diseases and their deaths often don’t show up as cancer deaths in statistical records. Even two-time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling has described the so-called War on Cancer as “largely a fraud.”

Most people still don’t realize that the fight against cancer will never be won so long as we continue to pollute our air, soil and food with toxic contaminants, dump cancer-causing chlorine and toxic industrial effluent into our drinking water. We are surrounded by carcinogens; PCB’s, dioxins, vinyl chloride, various herbicides and pesticides. We eat meat that has been injected with hormones and feed with synthetic chemicals. We consume vegetables and fruit drenched in organochlorine pesticides which effect our immunity and reproduction. We even spray cosmetic carcinogens on our own lawns.

According to the World Health Organization, 80 per cent of all cancer is environmentally caused and thus preventable. Therefore, the emphasis should be on prevention instead of treatment. More and more scientists now agree that there will never be a cancer cure and that the most effective way to combat cancer is prevention. While the CCS agrees that prevention is effective, it spends less than five per cent of its budget on it and then only in the form of education such as brochures advising people not to smoke or expose themselves to excessive sunlight. We are starting to hear statements on diet, like increase fibre and eat more fruits and vegetables. Though they are truthful statements, they don’t go much beyond that.

Dr. John Bailar of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Guelph, Ontario, has said, “The long history of research that has focused almost exclusively on treatment has not produced the benefits we all hoped and expected to see. It’s time to put the main emphasis on prevention instead of treatment.” Prevention requires less pollution, healthier food, cleaner air and safer water, all of which translates into increased expenditures instead of increased profits and that simply doesn’t look good on a balance sheet.

The reason the War on Cancer has not been won is that it has never seriously been fought. People are no longer taking the risk of becoming a statistic in this war. The day of the people blindly trusting their doctors isn’t any more. More people went to non-traditional methods last year in treating sickness than going to their doctors.

There are less books being written about coping with cancer and more being written by people who have conquered cancer from a nutritional perspective. Much credit it being given to green foods and specifically wheatgrass juice.

What I like about what is being written is not only the cure, but living a lifestyle that would make it difficult for the disease to start in the first place. If the cancer can be detected in an early stage it is much easier to strengthen the immune system to fight off the cancer with natural means. The most promising protective factors to date have proven to be vitamins and minerals, a restriction of food intake, the elimination of poisons produced or retained in the body, the active ingredients in certain herbs, and green foods.

Almost all essential nutrients have a cancer-preventing effect. They promote the body’s capacity to heal itself and exert a favourable influence on regeneration and regulation throughout the system. They also strengthen the detoxifying function of many of our essential bodily processes. These nutrients are all found in living or fresh and unprocessed foods, complete with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and highly unsaturated fatty acids. It is important that people understand that dead food will not feed the cells of the body.

Dr. G.H. Earp-Thomas of New Jersey for more than half a century, did investigations in aiding agriculturists all over the world to do their share in keeping up with the food needs of the earths expanding population. He isolated over one hundred elements from fresh wheatgrass and concluded that it is a complete food. Wheatgrass contains a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals in a synergistic combination, making it fully assimilable. It also contains all essential Amino Acids, packaged with dozens of trace elements, enzymes, DNA, RNA including Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) with its alkaline base of chlorophyll.

Dr. Ann Wigmore is respected as the one who established the benefits of Wheatgrass juice. She began growing and chewing young blades of wheatgrass which she grew in her home. She soon recovered from a longstanding problem with colitis, which had been medically untreatable. She noticed such a change in her energy that she began giving wheatgrass juice to her elderly and sick neighbors. “In a matter of weeks,” she reports, “all of them were able to get out of bed, and they became more active than they had been in years.”

Dr. Ann treated people with chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer. She used wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice therapies, along with diet emphasizing the use of green and raw foods. Many people who came to her place “Hippocrates” in Boston claim to have found, cures for diseases considered by the physicians to be incurable.

In the book “How I Conquered Cancer Naturally”, Eydie Mae tells of her recovery of breast cancer. Not wanting to submit herself to traditional therapy she went to the Hippocrates Health Institute. During her two weeks there she learned the importance of wheatgrass, from drinking it several times a day to using it as an implant in an enema. What was just as important was that the fear of dying had been replaced with hope for recovery. At her first check up after that her urine colony count had gone from 300 down to 120. The doctor was full of questions and so intrigued that he did some research himself. His research uncovered an ingredient called abscissic acid that could reverse the growth of a cancerous tumor. In the experimental test abscissic acid in its natural form was found to be deadly against any form of cancer, and it takes only a very small amount. When some live tumor-bearing animals were given injections of abscisic acid, their tumors quickly deteriorated!

After a few months Eydie Mae’s urine colony count slowly but steadily went down until it was at zero. She began to notice things like her hair getting soft again and her nails getting flexible. Tiredness gradually disappeared as well.

Dr. Wigmore reports that the wheatgrass used in her program contained not only abscisic acid but laetrile, which may have anti-cancer activity.

May 31, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 31, 2006

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I took an earlier train this morning and I decided to walk around Union Station to kill some time before my next train. I remember there is a place that may have smoothies so I figure that would be a great way to start the day. As I’m looking at the menu board I notice a sign on the counter that says “Wheatgrass” and it lists the nutritional benefits:

  • One ounce of wheatgrass is equivalent to 2.5 lbs of leafy green vegetables.
  • Contains high levels of vitamin A,C, B and E.
  • Contains 17 forms of Amino Acids.
  • Helps prevent tooth decay and can improve digestion.
  • Contains chlorophyll, a very potent antioxidant that will purify the blood, cleanse your tissues and cells and rid your body of harmful toxins.
  • One ounce will give your body the cancer-fighting enzymes that are lacking in today’s average diet.

WOW! How can I say no to this!!?? I’ve never heard of wheatgrass before…and no doctor has ever mentioned this. I always thought that the grass growing around the store was some kind of decoration. Nope, that’s wheatgrass and they grow it inside of the store.

I ask the women behind the counter about it because it’s not listed on their menu. One ounce for $2.50. What a great investment. I purchase one ounce and gulp it down and it actually tastes like grass. Who cares what it tastes like…the benefits are incredible. Especially for a guy who doesn’t eat a lot of green veggies.

May 31, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 30, 2006 (Bill Cameron)

This is one of the most incredible health articles I have ever read. If doctors and specialists are unable to diagnose the early signs of cancer then why do bother even trying?

“The throat specialist interpreted my problem as tension, a benign blockage of the throat. A surgical resident said it was a fibrous growth of some sort, nothing to worry about, and scheduled a test two months away. These missed diagnoses are hard to justify. Difficulty swallowing is one of esophageal cancer’s more obvious symptoms. It’s half a year from those early symptoms until the surgeon leans into my face and tells me I have advanced, aggressive cancer.”

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 Chasing The Crab

by Bill Cameron
The Walrus — May 2005

In this story, the last he ever wrote, broadcaster, journalist, and author
Bill Cameron describes his journey into what he called “Cancerland”.

The anaesthetic was lifting. The surgeon’s face was two inches above mine, perpendicular to mine, as though he was preparing for a kiss. I’m pretty sure the conversation went this way:

“Can you hear me?”

“Yes.”

“I know what this is. We’ll do a biopsy but I’ve seen it before. Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Advanced. Aggressive, moves quickly. Your wife took some notes.” He patted my shoulder. His face lifted away.

In the May sunshine, my wife told me what he’d said. It was difficult to absorb. My chance of survival less than 20 percent. Surgery to remove my esophagus. Before that, chemotherapy, radiation, a clinical trial to test a new drug. I could feel the iron walls of cancer clanging together around me, shutting down the rest of my life. I had a book half-written, grandchildren not yet conceived. The judgment was unacceptable, but how do you resist it?

“Don’t give up on me.”

“I won’t,” my wife says. “Don’t give up on yourself.”

Two weeks later, a battery of tests. After the first one, my cellphone rang while I was driving my car. The surgeon’s resident wanted to know if I’d been experiencing double vision or headaches. “We think we’ve found something on your brain. Do you have the phone number of your pharmacy? We need to control the swelling.” I pulled over. The next week, a neurosurgeon chiselled open the right side of my skull and pulled out an alien mass, a jellyfish-shaped creature with trailing tendrils. It was a metastasis of the esophageal cancer, which rarely travels to the brain. This distant colony of my cancer promoted me to Stage IV, no surgery possible, clinical trial out of the question, early death a virtual certainty.

Esophageal cancer is mostly a male disease, not common and not kind. Some 14,250 Americans were diagnosed last year: 13,300 died. There are two main forms: squamous cell carcinoma, more common in blacks, and adenocarcinoma, which is quickly rising from its boutique position in the hierarchy of cancer and is now the fastest growing of all cancers on the continent. For all that, it is deemed rare, an orphan cancer in the research world, dwarfed by the Big Four: breast, colorectal, prostate, and lung. “You can fight this.” “Your mind is your most important ally.” “We’ll beat this together.” Yes, yes, of course, but how?

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Cancerland, the world of therapy, faith and hope, is an enormous kasbah, with huge rooms at the front devoted to conventional treatment, radiation, and chemotherapy, and smaller and smaller rooms behind them, some well-lit, some murky: experimental drug treatment, massive infusions of multivitamins, new vaccines, the application of powerful light, the insertion of tiny radioactive spheres in the area next to the tumour, distant healing. And then, at the end of the bazaar, the little chambers of the long shot: goji juice from Asia, blood cleansing, distillations from apricot pits, amino acids, green tea. Someone with Stage IV cancer looks for hope in places the doctors say there is none.

 “The treatment for this cancer,” says the small, neat, radiation oncologist, “is not curative. It is palliative.” This is medicine-speak for: you’re on your way out, and we will try to keep the road as smooth as possible. Conventional oncology has seen my cancer before, has fought it, almost always without success, and is now weary and wary of arousing false hope. Diagnosis, then treatment for a few months, which will fail, then close the file. Nothing works.

I’m a broadcaster. For a few years, I had noticed my voice faltering. Twice in the middle of a newscast I lost it entirely. It became thin and cracked easily. A throat specialist prescribed expensive speech therapy. I was having difficulty swallowing. Then, in the late winter and early spring of 2004, I found myself vomiting chunks of raw carrot into the kitchen sink, strips of prime beef into the bushes at my son’s hockey banquet. I’ve drunk enough alcohol in my time to be familiar with the shame of this, but during these attacks, which came more and more often, I was sober. The throat specialist interpreted my problem as tension, or “web-and-pouch,” a benign blockage of the throat. A surgical resident said it was a fibrous growth of some sort, nothing to worry about, and scheduled a test two months away. These missed diagnoses are hard to justify. Difficulty swallowing is one of esophageal cancer’s more obvious symptoms. It’s half a year from those early symptoms until the surgeon leans into my face and tells me I have advanced, aggressive cancer.

The conventional, more or less for-the-look-of-the-thing treatment for Stage IV adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is radiation and chemotherapy, given in sequence or together. The High Temple of this treatment is the Princess Margaret Hospital, part of the University Health Network, a gigantic sheaf of high-rise medical buildings along University Avenue in Toronto. There are two particular layers of Princess Margaret the cancer outpatient gets to know. In the basement, radiation suites. On the second floor, infusion rooms, where bags hang from poles and drip toxic chemicals into your arm.

Here and there, people from our lives outside, our healthy pasts, meet in the therapy wards as though caught by coincidence in the same trap. My children’s pediatrician, fighting a lymphoma. A baseball broadcaster with a brain tumour, keeping his chin up in the radiation waiting room. Not a thief, a mugger, a murderer in the bunch—why us? But that takes you toward the degrading sequence of denial, anger, pleading. Why me? Why not you? Put your head down and get on with it.

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Radiation first. Ten units to neutralize what’s left of the brain tumour. Works apparently: no news from that quarter for months. Ten units to attack the main tumour in the esophagus. The technicians measure my chest and tattoo it with little dots. Permanent tattoos, which I will wear punkily and proudly for the rest of my life. A great metal half-wheel slides under me, then around and above, clattering and grinding. Radiation loses its effectiveness when your bones start breaking, but my radiation oncologist has done her sums correctly, and I come out of the treatment intact and able for the first time in months to swallow food like a grown-up.

 Chemotherapy. After radiation or with it. This is a Dresden carpet-bombing model. In theory, in hope, the cancer stays dead and the healthy tissue regenerates.

My medical oncologist has a suite of toxins with attractive, scientific names; she’ll move from one to the other as each fails in turn. Actually, the doctors put it another way. The treatments don’t fail you. You fail them. “You’ve failed 5-fu now, no effect on the disease. And you’ve failed cisplatin. We’ll move on to a third-line treatment.”

Chemo daycare. Maybe the term is a medical joke, code for the infantilization of cancer patients. A great long ward staffed with jocular nurses and businesslike doctors, lined with beds and smooth reclining chairs. The middle-aged, the old, the young, one girl pregnant, barely into her twenties, with a needle in her arm and a clear tube running above her, with spouses and subdued gaggles of children in attendance. Headgear to cover hair lost to the toxins. Continual, ickily cute little alarm-chimes as bags run dry. The sound of instructional videotapes from the next bed. “Cancer patients may find their sexual impulses reduced during treatment. You may also experience some difficulty in sleeping….” “Remember,” says a friend who has an evil case of pancreatic cancer, “most people with our kind of illness are old and weak and die fast anyway. So don’t believe the statistics. We are statistical outliers. We’re strong.”

Each time, you leave the infusion suite feeling not great, not bad, much as before, but apprehensive, curious. Three or four days later, a giant sandbag falls from the sky and hits you directly on the top of the head. You are tired, suddenly, very tired, your feet drag, your body seems plastered against the unmoving air. You are despondent. You may be nauseous. You may experience epic, almost unstoppable diarrhea. Your self-pity index rises. Some people refuse chemotherapy in advance, having seen what it’s done to others. Alternative clinics around the world are filled with people who are terrified of chemical treatment.

Then, after two or three days, the great weight lifts, and you are free to get on with your life, frayed and each time a little more fatigued, but alive.

“What’s it like having cancer?” asks my fourteen-year-old son. We are driving to a baseball game. He’s direct, as usual.

Damn good question, Nick, I think to myself. To begin with, you become suspicious of your own body. It hid this pernicious condition from you for months. Now you can’t trust the signs it sends out. A cramp in the shoulder from too long at the keyboard must mean a tumour in the neck bone. Hiccups, farts: the march of malignancy. Hair loss. If you want to wound a television performer, take his hair away. Mine slithers down the tub drain two weeks after my first chemotherapy. I’m left with a ludicrous halo of fine brown sprouts like a bad salad arranged around an ostrich egg. It’s humiliating. For the first time in my life I wear hats.

But all this would be too much information for Nick, even if I had the ability or the courage to explain it.

“Hard,” I say, “and it makes you tired. But I’m going to beat it.” He asks one question, then backs away from talk of my illness. I know why. I was sixteen when my mother died of cancer. I remember all this exactly.

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Four o’clock in the morning is cancer hour. I blink awake, trying to remember what’s just gone wrong. It’s not the vanishing dream that’s the horror, but the conscious world with this inescapable menace. Fortunately, there’s work. If I were a stonemason or an oncologist I’d be stuck, but my novel lies on my laptop, and I can put in three hours every morning, driving my hapless protagonist through his journey. I can do a little broadcasting, chip away at journalism—the store of yakking skills declines slowly. One morning, an appalled cbc Radio producer has to watch me commute vigorously from microphone to men’s room, shaving deadlines by a micrometre.

 Tastes change. My sister makes Nanaimo bars, succulent treats of our childhood. Now, they taste oversweet and clingy. I order soup and a hamburger, and can manage only a couple of spoonfuls and bites. I’m always explaining to servers that no, no, it was very good, I’m just not as hungry as I thought. I use little-old-man tricks to help me through my new physical weakness. I get out of the car by pushing off the door frame with my left elbow. I grunt and sigh as I move.

But mostly, Nick, it’s the fear and sadness at the thought that I might not see you growing up, see your brother and sister emerge from the whirlpools of young adulthood: Patrick already a fine writer, Rachel a fine artist. I can see looking back how your personality blossomed from, say, eight to fourteen, but I can’t see the same distance ahead. I want to live that.

My marriage is suffused with a new closeness. Cheryl is my spirit guide, my overwhelmingly best friend. She arranges schedules, doles out drugs and vitamins, insists that I eat, indulges me when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Leave this? No.

Not that we don’t argue. Some days I’m pissed off or uncaring, I skip the endless intake of vitamin pills and capsules or the tall glass of vile-tasting Chinese herbs. It’s clear I’m lazy and unfocused. I don’t value her help, so why the hell should she spend her life trying to save mine if I’m too bloody lazy to co-operate? This discussion does not reach the high-volume Sturm und Drang of the early years of our marriage, but it stings, all the more because she’s usually right.

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Late August. A CT scan—the first since I began chemotherapy.

 “The results are mixed,” says the medical oncologist, a slim woman with a precise manner. “The primary tumour is stable,” she says, “but the metastases on the liver have increased.” The scan shows little white chips, flakes, on a darker mass; more than before, a thriving colony. The aggressive, adaptable cancer has made a beachhead and is constructing fortifications. How many lesions, I ask. “Too many to count,” she answers.

I felt more nauseous than chemotherapy made me. The painless radiation treatments, the improvement in my throat, my recovery from the chemical fatigue had made me complacent. I assumed that if I were obedient and followed the protocol, I would be rewarded. Now I have failed the first line of defence. 5-fu is off the table, and we move on to other treatments. I am stunned and discouraged. Too real, too real. Death moved closer.

What moved closer, exactly? I had written about death—some contrived device about a big jar or pot moving downward past the eyeline, cutting off the view, turning life to black. I don’t think it’s that. Maybe it is simply a dispersal of molecules at the end of the day. My identity, my marvellous life, with its broadcasting triumphs, my writing, my family, my taste for music, my modest gourmet cooking, my treacheries and defeats: will all this vanish instantly? To be recycled as ions or mustard seeds? Wasn’t it all worth a little more than that? Or am I to be greeted by some peal of cosmic laughter on the other side of the famous white light? “What a fool, to be afraid that that was all there was.” And straight to hell for lack of imagination.

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Supplements. Throw everything at it. See if anything works. Vitamins B, C, D, E, R-lipoic acid, magnesium, acidophilus, beta-carotene, biotin, whey protein shakes, milk thistle, fish oil, German enzymes and a great wheel of a sickly sweet multivitamin to bind it all together. Linus Pauling and his colleagues reported results with cancer from large doses of vitamin C. Oncologists dismiss the idea with a wave of the hand. Doctors, particularly those at teaching hospitals where the orthodoxy is guarded and passed on, are always waving their hands dismissively. In general, any treatment that does not fall within the traditional, proven, conventional canon is treated with great suspicion or simply dismissed. Many demand patients stop using vitamins entirely during chemotherapy, on the grounds that it may interfere with the action of the chemicals. There is no proof for this. But the belief hangs on.

 Well, take your choice. Nutritionists develop cancer-fighting menus; old-line doctors say eat what you like, forget the turnips and beet greens, just keep your weight up. Doctors of Chinese medicine make up teas from dried fungi, moss, bark, and roots, and practise acupuncture, the placement of tiny needles at various junctures of the body to shape and liberate the chi (spiritual energy). Western doctors react with indifference or, sometimes, with rage.

Cancerland is at war. On one side, a range of conventional healers, contemptuous of alternative therapists, quick to charge quackery, confined by the steel cage of rigorous testing and scientific proof. On the other, a wide span of non-conventional doctors, from scientists testing new substances and techniques in the lab to psychic healers and blood-purifiers to outrageous, cynical predators with magic pills and cancer-fighting electrodes. Traditionalists say the alternative-medicine people are bunko artists, from acupuncturists and chiropractors on down. The alternative-medicine practitioners paint a picture of traditional medicine financed by a cabal of drug companies and supported by a bloc of bought-and-paid-for politicians.

All this presents someone with a disease like esophageal cancer with some unhappy choices. New treatments and drugs, say the orthodox, must be proven scientifically, through clinical trials. But cancer of the esophagus draws little interest from the lab. In Canada at the moment, there are two clinical trials specific to esophageal cancer. One, two. Still, if you rush to the hospital with news about a great new treatment for bowel or stomach cancer, you’ll hear the mantra—not a proven therapy for esophageal cancer. Not yet.

This opens the way for alternative healers, many of them respectable and responsible people with new ideas, some of them sharks. And that has intensified the war in Cancerland.

The war is prosecuted on the Internet, through law-enforcement agencies, government regulators, the police, and the courts. The Internet gives you the best focus. Search for alternative therapy or cancer treatment on the Net and there is an instant cacophony, a buzzing, whining, and banging as the traditionalists trade artillery rounds with the New Age therapists.

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It’s November, dank and sad. America has just voted, and woken to find George W. Bush in the White House again. Pennsylvania is disconsolate and looks sadly sideways at Ohio, which did the deed. I spent the night in Philadelphia. Now I’m on my way to Allentown, an industrial suburb of classic Burger King style, just off the freeway.

Dr. Stephen Barrett doesn’t seem depressed at the election results, or encouraged either. He doesn’t seem to have noticed there was a vote. He leads me to his basement office, beginning a very long, unstoppable monologue about publishing a web page on the Internet.

Barrett is a retired psychiatrist, a short man with a shock of white hair, difficult to interrupt when in full flow, which begins instantly, and something of an obsessive, underground in his paper-stacked basement firing salvos into the ether against his enemies. Perhaps all those years of silent listening have taken their toll. I’ve come to talk to him about his web page, quackwatch.org, the scourge and flail of alternative medical practice of all kinds: chelation, naturopathy, dental revision to remove mercury fillings, magnetic bracelets, oxygenated water, an enormous range of techniques, some plausible, some arcane, each with a constituency and a healthy cash flow. Barrett could concentrate on the obviously fraudulent and make his life easier, but he attacks anything outside mainstream medicine with equal zeal whenever he can. He can’t back away from a fight, and it must be a complete fight, in the centre of a circle with enemies all around.

He has three or four fat targets lined up at this point: the most sinister, he says, is the television infomercial, which creeps onto the air in the early hours of the morning and seduces the sad, sick, and hopeless.

“Infomercials are like mail fraud. There are a few people out there who are delusional, but most of them are conscious criminals. They know what they have is illegal and they hope they will make millions before the government gets them and puts them away somewhere. The industry is organized… it has set up a regulatory process for advertising, I am going to send them thirty complaints…I’m going to be right in there.”

The single most striking infomercial Barrett has in his stack of tapes is produced and hosted by a California physician named Lorraine Day, who says she cured herself of cancer by avoiding radiation and chemotherapy, and developing insights from the Bible. She offers as a bonus a new analysis of aids: it is not stopped by condoms, it can penetrate intact skin, an hiv-positive doctor or surgeon is dangerous, and the government could control the epidemic immediately, but refuses to do it. The back of her video box is lined with trigger phrases: You Can’t Improve On God. Why You Don’t Have To Accept A Death Sentence From Your Doctor. Cancer Doesn’t Scare Me Anymore. At three o’clock in the morning, from inside a ravaged body, sent home by your oncologist to die as comfortably as you can, this can be hard to resist.

And then there’s Hulda Clark. She is a minor player in the alternative-therapy world, but I find her bizarre, compelling. Her website shows a plump, motherly woman with a Wife of Bath gap in her front teeth. She’s a Canadian who studied biology in Saskatchewan and naturopathy at the Clayton College of Natural Health in Alabama. Her insight is that people who have cancer always have a human intestinal fluke, a parasite, in their livers; the livers of those who are cancer-free are fluke-free. This discovery has escaped everyone else, but that may not matter; the condition can be cured quickly through application of electricity from a special Hulda Clark zapper. Stephen Barrett’s quackwatch.org stooped on Hulda Clark’s operation, based in Tijuana, Mexico, with cries of delight, and the regulators stooped as well. Her New Century Nutrition offices, then just “Century Nutrition,” have been shut down twice.

And where is Hulda Clark now? I ask Barrett. “Oh, still in Tijuana, but I don’t think she’s really big potatoes, you know.” Perhaps four or five cases of blood-purifying and electronic zapping of human parasitical flukes. Four or five lives almost certainly shortened and several thousand dollars a week pouring into Dr. Clark’s purse. In Cancerland, small stuff.

Barrett is admiring when I tell him I have Stage IV esophageal cancer, surprised I’m driving, working, and walking around. But when I tell him I take acupuncture treatments and drink Chinese herbs, he almost hops like Rumpelstiltskin. “Chinese herbs? Herbs? They’ve got you then! They’ve got you!”

——————————————————————————–

Four a.m. cancer thoughts.Writing therapy. Scribble scribble.

I’m on a spiritual journey, according to the meditation manuals, a healing journey. Certainly, I realize one night in the bathtub, I’m travelling backwards in time. My forearms are the pipestems I remember from hateful gym class in Ottawa in the late 1950s. My legs have lost their flab. My hip bones poke down on the thinned-out flesh of my ass and pin the skin to any hard surface I sit on. In church I’m fifteen years old again. My weight has fallen from more than 200 to 156, aided by chemotherapy diarrhea, which strips weight from the body like a deer stripping an elm tree. My wife puts me on slimy chocolate protein drinks.

Nobody besides their shareholders cares much for the drug companies, in spite of many advertisements featuring sincere, doe-eyed models in lab-coat costumes miming research. The first thing a cancer patient learns is the ferocious cost of cancer drugs—if you’re without a drug plan, prescription expenses of thousands of dollars a year will break you fast. Half the bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical costs—and after you’re bankrupt, then what? A new book on the economics of the pharmaceutical business recently bounded toward the top of the best-seller lists, indicating a certain jaundiced attitude in the US toward the drug industry. It’s called The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, as straightforward a title as you’ll find. The author, Dr. Marcia Angell, is the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She makes a persuasive case that the large pharmaceutical companies distort and exploit patients everywhere.

Angell estimates Americans are spending $200 billion a year on prescription drugs, many of them modestly reformulated from previous medicines to protect a patent. She says that most of the new drugs come not from the labs of the big companies, but from taxpayer-funded research at academic institutions, biotechnology firms or the government, and that for years the industry was the most profitable in the US, falling only recently behind commercial banking and mining/crude oil production. The drug companies have one of the largest, most aggressive lobbies in Washington, they are lavish contributors to political campaigns, often hype or invent disorders to match new treatments, and routinely twist research results to protect their products.

So, as you watch the liquid drip into your arm—the cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, docetaxel, gemcitabine, oxaliplatin and the ever-popular, never-to-be-forgotten irinotecan, which flattens you with a giant punch and tramps on your intestines afterwards—you can see money slipping into the ether, back toward the corporate headquarters of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hoffman-La Roche, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Aventis. This lends a certain poignancy to the New Age view of conventional medicine as a corrupt cor-porate front.

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There are a few hundred of us in a banquet room at a waterfront hotel in Toronto. The man next to me has cancer of the pancreas. A Canadian, he’s abandoned his work as a horse trainer in the southern US to come home for treatment, and the results he’s gotten so far have sent him straight to Dreamhealer.

Dreamhealer is Adam, a West Coast teenager who heals either up close or at a distance, by sensing and visualizing a disorder inside the body and then confronting it, throwing it into limbo. Adam runs us through various exercises in visualization—the disease is vulnerable to imagination, so imagine the tumour flinching away from fire, from attacking white cells. Then cleanse yourself with a visualization of a sweet cascade of water.

Oh, phooey. The theory laid out in Adam’s book is a tangle of science: quantum physics that dictates that all matter, human, animal, and otherwise, is linked, that illness is energy gone awry. Adam inexplicably cured the advanced pancreatic cancer of the singer Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins—took that solid tumour wrapped around an artery in Hawkins’ body and busted it up, they say, leaving Hawkins’ surgeon muttering something about him maybe not having cancer after all. Adam scanned my body twice, from thousands of miles away, wrestled with my cancer and failed to evict it, but did not charge me a dime for the effort. That, in alternative medicine, may be the most rigorous test of faith available.

Just before I was catapulted into Cancerland, I got an assignment to interview the Dalai Lama. These days, I’m lucky. The Dalai Lama is praying for me, along with the congregations of the First Congregational Church in Halifax and Runnymede United Church in Toronto and dozens of freelance worshippers around the world. I have been the focus of prayer services (and felt myself lifted for a little after them) and the focus of supportive thoughts from friends and colleagues. This may be more than morale-building: there is some evidence that “therapeutic touch” and even Reiki treatment, which involves miming massage without physical contact, may improve a sick person’s well-being and influence the course of his recovery. Some evidence. This kind of phenomenon does not go under the microscope easily. The philosopher argued that he might as well believe in God, because if he was wrong it wouldn’t matter, and if he was right he was ahead of the game. Maybe it’s the same for distant or psychic healing. Who, exactly, is in a position to dismiss the possibility that it might work? Who is confident enough to tell the dying that their hopes are futile?

There is, however, a Ouija-board, incense-scented dimension to much of the alternative world, and deep anger and suspicion as well. You can get at some of what the alternative world is saying by rummaging around on the Internet and turning up transcripts of meetings and professional seminars. It’s a bit like being a child, sitting on the steps during a grown-ups’ party and hearing grown-up talk, spicy and forbidden, the voices of the angry and disaffected, sharing secrets and suspicions.

——————————————————————————–

We meet the Princess Margaret chemotherapy oncologist on January 3, cheered by the holidays. She makes nervous chat. “How are you feeling?”

“Quite good, actually. What does the scan say?”

“It’s not good.”

I’ve been bumping down the repertoire, failing chemicals as I go; cisplatin and 5-fu, then cisplatin and docetaxel, and finally irinotecan, which was so gruelling I thought it must be doing a heroic job. Instead, the cancer has seized on me like a dog on dinner. The lesions on my liver are growing.

“I don’t know where to go from here. I’m out of bullets. I’d like to arrange a referral to Palliative Care. They’ll come to your house. Manage your pain.”

We are silent.

“It’s going to kill you, you know,” she says.

I know I shouldn’t ask this. I bite my lip to prevent myself. “How long do you think I’ve got?”

“Three months.”

Ninety days. Ninety days? You can’t run up a dollar library fine in ninety days. I’ve been waiting for the Seventh Cavalry, the sudden stunning research breakthrough. A manipulated measles virus. A denatured smallpox virus. Shark cartilage. I’d been hoping to string it out as long as I could until something came up. But this is cutting it a bit fine.

——————————————————————————–

There is one option, short of lying down and accepting the sentence. My friend with pancreatic cancer has turned up a doctor in Brooklyn who’s developed a new approach to chemotherapy: instead of large doses of one or two agents, he combines several in smaller doses, given more frequently, expecting a synergistic strengthening of the attack. We visit him in his office; he sits behind his desk like a large, wise St. Bernard, making the occasional joke and signalling the joke with a wink from behind his little round glasses. His theory makes intuitive sense. A doctor in Brampton, Ontario, is prepared to adapt and administer the protocol. Five hundred dollars for the consultation: bargain basement for US medicine. Treatment will begin in three weeks.

But what if we fail that too? A backup plan makes sense. Best to check out the very last ditch.

——————————————————————————–

Tijuana is a sudden, shocking shot of Central America: hillsides gouged and abandoned next to built-up blocks, ragged kids, signs pointing to high-proof debauchery on Revolution Street. The tour takes us to four clinics. The first two are sleek, smooth places with sophisticated-looking technology, a CT scanner, a magnetic-resonance imager, cozy cafeterias with jolly cooks in the clean kitchens behind. The first offers an instant tender on my treatment: $40,000 (US), plus extras, plus rent for a bachelor flat next door if I want privacy. The second seems warmer, a little less focused on my wallet, and serves us lunch—fruit, avocado salad, vegetable soup. The third seems deserted, the kitchen empty two hours before dinnertime. The guide is an empty-headed chatterbox, and the physician in charge, an obese man who rocks behind his desk, emphasizes that he treats the entire patient, not just the disease. And there is a whiff of Hulda Clark here. The fat doctor shifts in his chair and says, “Clark? The woman? Well, she might once in a while treat one patient here. Many doctors use our facilities.” The tour organizer later confirms that much of this clinic’s business involves Hulda Clark.

The fourth clinic is the domain of a strange, hyper, Haitian surgeon who lectures us on the development of cancer and his mighty contributions to the fight against it. He goes into his office refrigerator and pulls out one little bottle after another: “This is a serum for breast cancer, this is for bone cancer. I invented all this. I sell these all around the world.” After an hour we ask for a tour; again, an atmosphere of vacancy and deception, almost desperation. This clinic, in spite of the genius of its proprietor, seems to be slipping down the drain.

Nice lunch, though, at that second hospital, and friendly people at the long cafeteria table. One man in particular waves us over to talk. He’s Ken from Sacramento, and he’s finishing up a month and a half of treatment. He, too, has adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, Stage III. One of the “lucky ones,” he was eligible for surgery. The doctors in the US cut him, flipped him over, and cut him some more, eighty stitches in all; his wife says they moved his lung over and broke some ribs in their efforts to get everything. After all that, he said no to chemotherapy and they wrote him off. “They tell you there’s no hope,” he says dryly. “And they do it with a smile on their face.” Walking away has paid off—so far. He’s ned, the hungered-for badge of cancer victory—No Evidence of Disease.

“How are you doing?” I inquire.

“Depends on who you ask.”

What did it? Experimental vaccines: the cancer is sampled, the sample analysed, reformulated, and turned into a vaccine, and returned to destroy its mother. Multivitamins, a stringent natural diet, coffee enemas (I judge each clinic on how many of these it promises to administer every day; one required five); and laetrile, a mysterious concoction derived from fruit pits that has natural cancer-fighting properties. A large circle of laetrile believers and manufacturers has been promoting the substance for decades, in the teeth of fraud prosecutions and prison time. Exasperated researchers have run laetrile through the experimental high hurdles repeatedly with no result. But that’s what you’d expect, with the drug lobby and the government, wouldn’t you? It’s like the permanent light bulb; they know it works but they won’t let you have it.

——————————————————————————–

Cancer is not the best thing that ever happened to me. Even if against all odds I emerge five years from now able to walk and talk, cancer will still have been a colossally enervating and humiliating drag, a sudden shunt into old age and infirmity. But it has taught me some lessons. I have never been very good at friendships. Now it seems I have friends I barely knew were friends, whose affection and company I treasure. Before, I would have wriggled away from companionship; now I savour it. I’ve always felt a bit of a fake as a father, a plaster paterfamilias at the end of the table. Now I can feel my children’s love, and it warms me. I never imagined the connection between me and my wife could grow this deep, affectionate, humorous, respectful. I would just as soon have passed on the whole experience, even if that meant half-living on a remote asteroid of self-absorption: this is just a little stressful for an artist. But as an experience, since there’s really not much choice, it will do.

 ——————————————————————————–

At cancer hour in the dark bedroom, I wonder what it would be like to die of this cancer. I do not say will, not yet. Cancer shuts down internal organs. My mother died when her breast cancer reached her brain. The target here seems to be the liver, and that would, not will, involve discolouration of the skin and, no doubt, abdominal pain, and, in the end, shutdown, since you can’t live, the doctors say, without a liver. The oncologist at Princess Margaret cancels the referral to Palliative Care “since you’re seeking further treatment” and wishes us luck. My wife has already talked to the unit, explained that I am still driving my son to hockey and doing a little grocery shopping. They agree it’s a bit early and say to call any time.

The chemotherapy unit in the William Osler Health Centre in Brampton is a little shabbier than the one at Princess Margaret. The oncologists here take occasional shifts with sprained ankles and stab wounds in the emergency room, and show up the next morning with bags under their eyes. But the puritanical orthodoxy of the teaching hospital that is Princess Margaret does not exist here. The Brooklyn formula, drugs given in combination in smaller doses, more frequently, makes intuitive sense, and if that fails, says my new oncologist, we’ll move on to something else. Nobody here is sending me home to die. Not yet.

So here we are: docetaxel, gemcitibine, and our old friend irinotecan—all mixed up in a bag-and-tube cocktail. At home, I down a daily regimen of oral chemo: thalidomide, Tarceva, and Temodar. When I feel the familiar dull weight of the drugs, the chemo fatigue, begin to settle in, I almost welcome it. That which does not kill you, says the proverb, makes you stronger. Well, we shall see.

——————————————————————————–

Bill passed away on March 12, 2005

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 30, 2006

Almost a week after taking vitamin E supplements and I’m noticing a difference. Not with the nervous system, but with my skin. On the top of my chest, I have always had oily skin and a few small zits. I never go anywhere without a shirt on so what do I care? But since I’ve taken the vitamin E, the difference in my skin is incredible. Not only has the small zits cleared up, but my skin all over is so smooth I can’t believe the difference.

Imagine people who are deficient in vitamin E, buying skin care lotions to make their skin beautiful and soft, and I’m sure these products do. But what happens when they stop using it? The skin returns back to the way it was before and so they go back and keep buying the product. They are covering a symptom and not getting to the root cause of the problem.

Came across this article in the paper this morning. Bill Cameron went to the doctor for heartburn, coughing and hiccups. Simple symptoms that maybe people wouldn’t even bother going to see a doctor and later he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. What’s the point of going to a doctor if they can’t put all of the symptoms together and recognize the early symptoms of cancer?

Spreading esophageal awareness

The slight weakening in Bill Cameron’s voice, his heartburn, coughing and the bouts of hiccups were all treated as individual complaints. But when the journalist couldn’t swallow, a doctor did a biopsy and told him he had esophageal cancer.

After hearing the grim news, Cheryl Hawkes, Cameron’s wife, was asked by the doctor: How did this get so far? Her husband died nine months after being diagnosed.

She came up with the idea to make May 31 esophageal cancer awareness day. She went to see her city counsellor. He took it to Mayor David Miller, who liked the idea and proclaimed the day.

Esophageal cancer is most curable when diagnosed early. But since early symptoms are either non-existent or include mild heartburn or coughing bouts, the cancer is usually more advanced when diagnosed, the People Living with Cancer website (www.plwc.org) reports.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 30, 2006

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I mentioned to a friend of mine about my allergies to plastic chemicals in a toothbrush. Am I supposed to stop brushing my teeth all together? He tells me about a natural toothbrush that is used in muslim religion called a Miswaak and he can get me one.

Miswaak: An Oral Health Device
Preliminary Chemical and Clinical Evaluation

A variety of oral hygiene measures have been used since the dawn of time. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which toothpicks, chewsticks, tree twigs, linen strips, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered.

Those that originated from plants are tasty twigs and although primitive they represented a transitional step towards the modern toothbrush. It has been stated that about seventeen plants could be enumerated as natural sources for several of these oral hygiene devices.

The most widely used tree twigs since early times is the Siwak or Miswaak. The stick is obtained from a plant called Salvadore Persica that grows around Mecca and the Middle East area in general. It is widely used among Muslims after Prophet Mohammed realised its value as a device which should be used by Muslims to clean their teeth. In this respect he is considered the first dental educator in proper oral hygiene.

Advantages of the Miswaak:

1. Miswaak strengthens the gums and prevents tooth decay.
2. Miswaak assists in eliminating toothaches and prevents further decay.
3. Miswaak creates a fragrance in the mouth.
4. Miswaak is a cure for illness.
5. Miswaak eliminates bad odors and improves the sense of taste.
6. Miswaak sharpens the memory.
7. Miswaak is a cure for headaches.
8. Miswaak creates lustre (noor) on the face of the one who continually uses it.
9. Miswaak causes the teeth to glow.
10. Miswaak strengthens the eyesight.
11. Miswaak assists in digestion.
12. Miswaak clears the voice.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 30, 2006

Benzyl Butyl Phthalate can be found in our toothbrushes. Something that we are supposed to use three times a day contains a chemical that can cause Allergic Rhinitis…

Chemical substances in toothbrushes

As a part of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s survey of chemical substances in a number of consumer products, knowledge of which substances are contained in and migrates from the toothbrushes is requested. The project Survey and migration of chemical substances in toothbrushes is carried out in four phases. The examination includes survey of the market, qualitative and quantitative analyses and health evaluation of possible harmful effects from substances, which migrate from the toothbrushes.

Phase 1 concerns examination of the toothbrush market in Denmark. This information has been procured from four sources:

  • Search via the Internet
  • Purchase of toothbrushes in groceries and specialist shops
  • Through contact to suppliers and producers, whose identity appeared from the packaging
  • Through contact to a range of relevant shops and organisations

Approx. 8 million toothbrushes are sold in Denmark yearly, of these approx. 80% are one of the following three brands:

  • Aquafresh
  • Jordan
  • Colgate

They are primarily sold in groceries throughout the country.

According to the producers’ information most of the common toothbrushes are made of thermoplastic, e.g. polypropylene, SAN (Styrene-Acrylic Nitrile-copolymer) or other styrene copolymers. The bristles are made of polyamide. Furthermore, they inform that the dye used when manufacturing the toothbrushes is approved for foodstuff use, and they all have a policy not to use materials or packaging containing phthalates.

Phase two deals with qualitative analyses of constituents in toothbrushes. The following analyses have been carried out:

Screening by means of FT-IR for identification of antioxidants, types of polymer, phthalates and – to a certain extent – inorganic pigments of all 26 types of purchased toothbrushes GC-MS and ICP-MS for analysis and identification of antioxidants and organic pigments in order to evaluate the migration of substances from the toothbrush to artificial saliva on 10 types of toothbrushes chosen on the basis of information gained in Phase 1 and in the screening by means of FT-IR

Determination of calcined residue followed by an ICP-screening for identification of the possible inorganic pigments on the same 10 chosen types of toothbrushes, on which GC-MS analyses have been carried out

The results of the FT-IR-screening showed that the majority of the toothbrush handles are made from polypropylene, homopolymer or copolymer. At some of the handles smaller amounts of additives are identified in the polypropylene material. The brushes of all the examined toothbrushes are made of polyamide, which are evaluated to be identical – according to the FT-IR analysis.

At a subsequent GC-MS screening of 10 chosen toothbrushes almost 80 different compounds are identified. Of special interest for further quantification were 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone (toothbrush M-005), carvone (B-004 and B-005), 2-methyl-benzene sulphonamide (B-004 and B-006), 4-methyl-benzene sulphonamide (B-004 and B-006) and benzyl butyl phthalate (M-005). The selection is based on the classification of the substances and description of effects that potentially may cause concern to the consumer, if the concentration of the migrated substances from the toothbrushes is found to be too high.

Compared with the results from the FT-IR screenings, at which a high amount of chalk has been identified, a high amount of calcium has been found at the ICP-MS-screenings. In most cases also a high amount of magnesium has been identified. The deposit of calcium and/or magnesium in the toothbrushes probably derives from the use of chalk or dolomite as fillers. Titanium has been found in most cases and derives from titanium dioxide used as a white pigment. A high amount of aluminium derived from aluminium oxide could serve the same purpose or may have an opal effect.

In some cases a high amount of copper, nickel and zinc and traces of manganese has been found. These elements presumably derive from metal thread or otherwise for fastening the brushes on the toothbrush or from the mechanical parts in electrical toothbrush heads.

Phase 3 deals with screening for possible harmful effects from substances, which migrate from the toothbrushes. A screening has been made of the substances, which have been identified by the GC-MS-analyses. The screening is based on a literature survey in order to secure that the substances focused on at the quantitative analyses are the most relevant.

It was suggested to select 5 toothbrushes for a quantitative analysis. The suggested selection was based on the identified substances and the found descriptions of effects, which might be important for the consumer’s use of the toothbrushes.

Phase 4 deals with the quantitative analysis of substances migrated from the toothbrush during use under normal conditions (these substances are selected based on the results found in the first 3 phases of this project), and the evaluation of health effects of migrated substances and health risks from daily use of toothbrushes.

The health assessment was based on a specific quantitative analysis of the amount of the following migrated (released) substances from the 5 selected toothbrushes:

  • 2-Butoxy-ethanol
  • 2-Butoxyethyl acetate
  • 1-Butoxy-2-propanol
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate
  • Carvone
  • N,N-dimethylacetamide
  • 2-Methyl-benzene sulphonamide
  • 4-Methyl-benzene sulphonamide
  • 1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidinone
  • Naphthalene
  • 1,1,2,2-Tetrachlorethane
  • 3,5,5-Trimethyl-1-hexanol
  • Nickel 

Based on the measured concentrations of the 13 substances found migrated from the 5 toothbrushes and by the use of the suggested exposure scenario, it was concluded that none of the substances were found in concentrations exceeding the used values for tolerable daily intake. These reference values were based on established or suggested ADI, TDI or RfD values.

The evaluation does not comprise sensitive consumers (allergic or the like), who might experience problems using some of the toothbrushes. Overall it was concluded that the evaluated migrated substances do not constitute a health risk for the consumer of toothbrushes.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 29, 2006

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To assist recycling of disposable items, the Plastic Bottle Institute of the Society of the Plastics Industry devised a now-familiar scheme to mark plastic bottles by plastic type. A recyclable plastic container using this scheme is marked with a triangle of three “chasing arrows”, which enclose a number giving the plastic type.
 
The resin identification codes:

  1. PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate – Commonly found on: 2-liter soft drink bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars.
  2. HDPE: High Density Polyethylene – Commonly found on: detergent bottles, milk jugs.
  3. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride – Commonly found on: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink-wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers.
  4. LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene – Commonly found on: dry-cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers.
  5. PP: Polypropylene – Commonly found on: bottle caps, drinking straws
  6. PS: Polystyrene – Commonly found on: packaging pellets or Styrofoam peanuts, cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, take-away food clamshell containers.
  7. OTHER: Other – This plastic category, as its name of “other” implies, is any plastic other than the named #1–#6, Commonly found on: certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 29, 2006

If using plastic containers in a microwave is a such a health risk, why do they make them?? The term “Microwave safe”only means it won’t melt in a microwave oven and has nothing to do with the safety of people’s health.

Chemicals in plastic

Several research studies have found that when plastic comes in contact with certain foods, molecules of the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the food or beverage. Certain characteristics of the food item can make it more likely pick up plastic molecules.

The more liquid a food is, the more it touches the plastic, so the more opportunity it has to pick up plastic molecules. Acid foods, such as tomato sauce, appear to be particularly interactive with plastic. If you heat a food item in a plastic container—even if the container is microwave safe—the transference of plastic from the container to the food is even more likely.When molecules of plastic—or more properly, molecules of the chemicals that get added to plastics during manufacturing—get into our bodies, it’s not a good thing. They can cause unwanted effects in the human body; for instance, some of the chemicals mimic estrogen. Estrogen, of course, is a normal, essential human hormone; but having too much of it (or the molecules that mimic estrogen) has been associated with breast cancer and other health problems. In general, chemicals that fool the body into thinking they are estrogen or other hormones are called endocrine disruptors.

So, what would a better food-storage solution look like? The primary characteristic you want in a container material is inertness—that is, you want a material that holds tightly to its own molecules and does not let them go floating off into the food or drink touching it. On this score, glass and porcelain arethe best choices. Companies do make some storage containers with glass or porcelainbottoms and plastic tops. Some of them are oven-safe and large enough to cook in; in those cases, you can simply store the leftovers in the same thing you cooked in. Although these “combo containers” are designed to be air- and liquid-tight, they often don’t seal quite as tightly as the best all-plastic wares. But given the health advantages of food-on-glass storage vs. food-on-plastic storage, the tradeoff seems more than acceptable. The glass and porcelain containers are usually microwave-safe, too, though it’s usually best to microwave the dish covered with a plate or paper towel rather than the plastic lid.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 28, 2006

Tobacco Smoke Linked to Allergic Rhinitis in Infants

May 18, 2006 – CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) epidemiologists say it’s environmental tobacco smoke—not the suspected visible mold—that drastically increases an infant’s risk for developing allergic rhinitis by age 1.

Commonly known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly reacts to allergens (aggravating particles) in the air. The body then releases substances to protect itself, causing the allergy sufferer to experience persistent sneezing and a runny, blocked nose.

This is the first study to show a relationship between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and allergic rhinitis in year-old infants, the UC team reports in the June issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and an early online edition May 17.

“Previous studies have addressed risk factors for allergic rhinitis, but they failed to examine multiple environmental exposures, and some yielded contradictory results,” says Jocelyn Biagini, lead author and an epidemiologist in UC’s environmental health department.

The study evaluated the effects of numerous indoor exposures to such things as environmental tobacco smoke, visible mold, pets, siblings and the day-care environment on 633 infants under age one.

“We found that infants who were exposed to 20 or more cigarettes a day were three times more likely to develop allergic rhinitis by their first birthday than those who were not exposed,” says Biagini.

These findings, she says, suggest that for the health of their children, it’s important for parents to eliminate tobacco smoke from their homes.

“An infant’s lungs and immune system are still developing in the first year of life,” says Grace LeMasters, PhD, coauthor and principal investigator of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS). “Environmental tobacco smoke puts harmful particulates in the air that—when inhaled regularly at such an early age—could lead to serious allergic conditions like asthma.”

CCAAPS, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is a five-year study examining the effects of environmental particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.

About 43 percent of children, says Dr. LeMasters, are exposed to home environmental tobacco smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 21 percent of all American adults smoke cigarettes. Of them, 12 percent report smoking 25 or more cigarettes daily.

While household mold, long thought to be a major cause, did not contribute to allergic rhinitis development, Biagini says, it did increase the infant’s risk for ear infections.

Infants exposed to a mold patch about the size of a shoebox were five times more likely to contract ear infections requiring antibiotics than those living in mold-free homes, she explains.

The UC study also suggests that infants with older siblings are less likely to have allergic rhinitis.

“Research has shown that exposure to certain infections early in life may decrease your risk for allergic diseases,” explains James Lockey, MD, professor of environmental health and pulmonary medicine. “We found a ‘sibling protective effect’ for allergic rhinitis—this may mean the more siblings infants have, the more infections they are exposed to. As a result, the infant’s body may be better equipped to fight off allergic diseases later in life.”

Collaborators in the study were David Bernstein, MD, Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD, Patrick Ryan, Linda Levin, PhD, Tiina Reponen, PhD, Jeff Burkle and Manuel Villareal, MD.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, many of which are can be triggered by airborne environmental pollutants.

University of Cincinnati

Yup, you guessed it. My father smoked when I was a kid and stopped when I was ten after his brother died of cancer. Only problem with this theory is that my brother doesn’t have allergies.

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 27, 2006

I mentioned to my wife that Cindy suggested going to a Osteopath but I didn’t know what it was. I checked my health plan and I’m covered!

About Osteopathy

Osteopathy takes advantage of the body’s natural tendency to strive toward a state of health and homeostasis. A much in demand specialty, the Osteopath is trained to palpate (feel) the body’s “living anatomy” (i.e. flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural makeup). They address health problems with a non-invasive system of medicine called, “Osteopathic Manual Medicine” in order to restore normal function in areas impaired by trauma, chronic illness, acute health problems, etc.

This all sounds very interesting and there happens to be an office close by where we live.

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Entry for May 27, 2006

Kevin Trudeau says you should visit a chiropractor once a month, whether you need to or not and today was my appointment.

My wife and I arrived at the chiropractor’s office and the first thing the receptionist hands us is a three page health questionnaire. I’m filling out the form for internal vibrations and my wife for her lower back pain. Both of us don’t really have any of the chronic symptoms listed in the questionnaire. In fact, my wife feels silly even going to a chiropractor at all. Having read the book by Kevin Trudeau, I was going for a check up and wasn’t really looking for anything more.

The doctor calls me into his office and reviews my file. I mention the internal vibration and the vitamin deficiencies. I told him about taking Niacin and the B Complex vitamins and how they have had the greatest effect. He said B complex vitamins play a large part of a healthy nervous system and explained that the first visit is primarily to check the range of motion, posture analysis, muscle tone and strength. The next ten minutes are spent in a variety of positions and he places pressure quite hard at times. He mentions that I should also be taking vitamin E at 200-400 IU. He says the B vitamins are lost through the urine and that is why treatment is slow and over a long period of time. Vitamin E however is stored within the body. I mention about my research and the parasympathetic nerves. He doesn’t say too much about them and mentions that I should research some other medical conditions called “Bruit” and “Fasciculations”.

As the appointment progresses, I decide to mention that my knees are weak when I try to get back up from a crouched position. I told him that I’ve been talking calcium/magnesium suppliments for about a week and it appears to mild improvement. He checks my knee strength with a hammer and trys a few things. I also mention that I have muscle twitching and he says it can be a symptom of calcium deficiency and could explain the weakness in my knees as nothing appears to be obviously wrong. By the end he says my upper back is stiffer than it should be and my neck is too straight causing my head to be further from my body. He recommends a follow up appointment in a week.

My wife then goes in for her appointment not really expecting too much and she came out with the following diagnosis: Sacroiliac joint syndrome and facet syndrome. She came out quite surprised at the things he was saying. Her posture was incorrect as one of her legs was longer than the other and one of her syndromes left uncorrected can lead to a hip replacement later in life. He mentioned these problems existed long before the pregnancy!

So why isn’t a chiropractor visit standard after child birth? Seems like the logical thing to do after the body has been through a tremendous amout of physical stress. If she didn’t have the birth, she could’ve gone for years not knowing about these conditions leading to more serious problems.

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Entry for May 26, 2006

And after fifteen years of Allergic Rhinitis, Doctor Google may have found the answer when no other doctor could. A chemical called Benzyl Butyl Phthalate. Very interesting reading but I really don’t eat a lot of microwaved food in plastic but something to think about for sure.

Plastic Chemicals Linked to Asthma, Allergies

Oct. 6, 2004 — Certain chemicals commonly added to plastics are associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and eczema, according to a new study.

The findings come from researchers including Carl-Gustaf Bornehag of the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute in Boras, Sweden. The report appears in the October issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Bornehag and colleagues compared 200 Swedish children who had persistent allergy or asthma symptoms with a similar number of kids without such symptoms.

Doctors screened the children for common allergens (substances that can trigger an allergic reaction or asthma symptoms) such as certain tree pollens, cat dander, dust mites, and mold.

Affected children had at least two incidents of eczema (an allergy-related skin condition), wheezing related to asthma, or hay fever symptoms (runny nose without a cold) in the past year. At the study’s end, they had at least two of three possible symptoms.

Researchers took dust samples from the moulding and shelves in the children’s bedrooms.

Samples containing higher concentrations of chemicals called phthalates were associated with symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

PVC flooring in the children’s bedrooms was also associated with symptoms.

Phthalate Primer

Phthalates are commonly added to plastics as softeners and solvents. They’re used in a wide variety of products including nail polish and other cosmetics, dyes, PVC vinyl tile, carpet tiles, artificial leather, and certain adhesives.

By leaching out of products, phthalates have become “global pollutants,” say the researchers. More than 3.5 million metric tons of phthalates are produced annually.

Phthalates aren’t new, but they have become more common in recent decades. Towards the end of World War II, only “very low levels” of phthalates were produced.

In fact, phthalates are now so widespread that they are hard to avoid.

Asthma and allergies have also increased in the developed world during the last 30 years, prompting some experts to wonder if environmental changes are responsible, since genetic shifts might not be seen as quickly.

This study concentrated on three common phthalates: BBzP, DEHP, and di-n-butyl phthalate.

BBzP was associated with rhinitis and eczema and DEHP was linked to asthma; di-n-butyl phthalate was not associated with any symptoms.

The dust samples didn’t have outlandish concentrations of the phthalates. Levels fell within the range of what is normally found in indoor environments, say the researchers.

“Given the phthalate exposures of children worldwide, the results from this study of Swedish children have global implications,” they conclude.

So with the new information, I went back to the site with the effects of microwaved water to find out if the water was microwaved using plastic…and it was!

We have seen a number of comments on this, such as what was the water in the microwave boiled in. The thinking is that maybe some leaching took place if it was in plastic. It was boiled in a plastic cup, so this could be a possibility.

May 26, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 26, 2006

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Great in Microwave!

“Major microwave oven manufacturers recommend the use of plastic wrap as a cover for microwave proof containers.”

And then there is the other side:

Students Studies Toxicity of Plastic Food Wrap

As a seventh grade student, Claire Nelson learned that Di(2-ethylhexyl)Adipate (DEHA), considered a carcinogen, is found in plastic wrap. She also learned that the FDA has never studied the effect of microwave cooking on plastic-wrapped food. So Claire began to wonder: “Can cancer-causing particles seep into food covered with household plastic wrap while it is being microwaved?”

Three years later, with encouragement from her high school science teacher and the cooperation of Jon Wilkes at the National Center for Toxicological Research, Claire set out to test her hypothesis. The research center let her use its facilities to perform her experiments, which involved microwaving plastic wrap in virgin olive oil.

Claire tested four different plastic wraps and found that “…not just the carcinogens but also xenoestrogens (substances that act like estrogen) were migrating into the oil… “ Xenoestrogens are linked to low sperm counts in men and to breast cancer in women.
Throughout her junior and senior years, Claire continued her experiments. An article in Options magazine reported that “her analysis found that DEHA was migrating into the oil at between 200 parts and 500 parts per million. The FDA standard is 0.05 parts per billion.”

Claire’s dramatic results have been published in science journals. She received the American Chemical Society’s top science prize for students during her junior year and fourth place at the International Science and Engineering Fair (Fort Worth, Texas) as a senior.

Claire’s experimental results suggest that heating plastic-wrapped foods in the microwave is dangerous, and that it’s safer to use tempered glass or a ceramic container instead. For the record, a study reported in the June 1998 issue of Consumer Reports suggested that toxins may migrate into food from plastic wrap at room temperature too. So the best choice may be to avoid plastic food wraps altogether.

Starting around 1995, I’ve had mild hair loss mostly on the top of my head. I thought it was normal although both of my parents have a full head of hair. The only person to ever comment on it was my acupuncture doctor. She found the hair loss unusual and mentioned that poor function of the kidneys could cause this.

Then I come across the following web site that talks about the effects of Xenoestrogen:

Exposure to xenoestrogen chemicals in food and water may also cause early follicle burnout.

May 26, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 26, 2006

My wife mentioned something interesting tonight. We were talking about the microwaved food and she mentioned that I could have the allergy to the food cooked in plastic containers. What if I cooked things using ceramic or glass?Would that will make a difference?

Something to think about…

May 26, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 24, 2006

“Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons. Instead of simply guessing at what might be wrong, discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.”

– The Analyst

This quote is so true. The body is like a baby trying to communicate in the only way it knows how. It’s our job to try and figure out the language. Throughout the past year, I’ve come to realize that every single minor detail is a symptom of something even if you don’t think it’s a symptom.

Here’s another quote:

“Orthodox medicine has so much to learn.”  -Prince Charles

May 24, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 24, 2006

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Here comes the sun…

I take my regular dosage of vitamins but this time without B2 and have my usual breakfast. I start the day by doing some yard work outside and it’s a great bright sunny day and not a single cloud in the sky. After a couple of hours being outside, I realize that my eyes aren’t itchy like they have usually been and in fact, my eyes don’t seem to be as sensitive to light anymore. I walk around in the bright sun looking at the sky and there is definitely a difference.

I ask Doctor Google about the effects of B6:

What is the function of vitamin B6?

Much of the body’s chemistry depends upon enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions take place. Because vitamin B6 is involved with more than 100 enzymatic reactions, its function in the body is diverse and far-reaching.

Support of nervous system activity

The role of vitamin B6 in our nervous system is very broad, and involves many aspects of neurological activity. One aspect focuses on the creation of an important group of messaging molecules called amines. The nervous system relies on formation of these molecules for transmission of messages from one nerve to the next. (The molecules can be classified as “neurotransmitters” for this reason.) Amines are one type of neurotransmitter in the nervous system. They are often made from parts of protein called amino acids, and the key nutrient for making this process happen is vitamin B6. Some of the amine-derived neurotransmitters that require vitamin B6 for their production include serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and GABA.

Deficiency symptoms for vitamin B6

The key role of vitamin B6 in the nervous system also results in many nerve-related symptoms when B6 is deficient. These symptoms can include convulsions and seizures in the case of severe deficiency. The critical role of vitamin B6 in the formation of red blood cells means that B6 deficiency can also result in symptoms of anemia, malaise, and fatigue. When anemia is exclusively related to B6 deficiency, it is usually classified as hypochromic, microcytic (pernicious) anemia.

Nutrient Interactions

How do other nutrients interact with vitamin B6? As a member of the B vitamin family, B6 has key interactions with many of its family members. B6 is essential for making vitamin B3 (niacin) from the amino acid tryptophan. In Down’s syndrome, for example, some of the problems related to vitamin B3 deficiency appear to be lessened by intake of vitamin B6. Vitamins B2 and B3 are both needed to convert vitamin B6 into its various chemical forms, and imbalances in vitamin B1 metabolism create imbalances in vitamin B6 metabolism. B6 deficiency can also reduce the body’s absorption of vitamin B12.

Could I have a deficiency in B6 AND B12? I do another search on the effects of B12:

What is the function of vitamin B-12?

Forming red blood cells

Perhaps the most well-known function of B-12 involves its role in the development of red blood cells. As red blood cells mature, they require information provided by molecules of DNA. (DNA, or deoxyribose nucleic acid, is the substance in the nucleus of our cells which contains genetic information.) Without B-12, synthesis of DNA becomes defective, and so does the information needed for red blood cell formation. The cells become oversized and poorly shaped, and begin to function ineffectively, a condition called pernicious anemia. More often than not, pernicious anemia isn’t caused by a lack of B-12 itself, but by a lack of intrinsic factor — the stomach-made protein required for the absorption of B-12.

Developing nerve cells

A second major function of B-12, less clearly understood than the first, involves its participation in the development of nerve cells. A coating which encloses the nerves — called the myelin sheath — forms less successfully whenever B-12 is deficient. Although the vitamin plays an indirect role in this process, supplementation of B-12 has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and other symptoms in a variety of nervous system disorders.

What factors might contribute to a deficiency of B-12?

Stomach problems can contribute to a B-12 deficiency in two ways.

First, irritation and inflammation of the stomach can prevent the stomach cells from functioning properly. When functioning improperly, the cells may stop producing a substance required for B-12 absorption called intrinsic factor (IF). Without IF, B-12 cannot be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the body’s cells.

A second way for stomach problems to create B-12 deficiency is through inadequate secretion of stomach acids. Lack of stomach acids (a condition called called hypochlorhydria) gets in the way of B-12 absorption since most B-12 in food is attached to proteins in the food, and stomach acids are necessary to release the B-12 from these proteins.

The above stomach problems that can contribute to B-12 deficiency have a wide variety of causes. These causes include abuse of over-the-counter antacids, abuse of prescription medicines used to control stomach acidity, and stomach ulcers (also called gastric ulcers), which may themselves be due to infection with the bacteria, helicobacter pylori.

Stomach problems can create B-12 deficiency through inadequate secretion of stomach acids. That’s exactly what I had!! Niacin seems to have fixed my symptoms of low stomach acids but what about the twelve months I had low stomach acid? Do I have a B-12 deficiency as well? B6 is involved with more than 100 enzymatic reactions and I know I’m low on enzymes. I ‘m still talking an enzyme supplement with every meal.

I check for the daily doses of B6 and B12.

  • RDA for vitamin B6 = Males 14-50 years: 1.3 mg
  • RDA for vitamin B12 = Males 14 years and older: 2.4 mcg
  • My multivitamin dosage: B6 = 10 mg & B12 = 15 mcg

I take a look at the B complex that the naturalpath gave me back on January 14th and the two vitamins with the highest dosage are B6 & B12.

  • B1 = 50 mg
  • B2 = 25 mg
  • B3 = 80 mg
  • B5 = 50 mg
  • B6 = 250 mg
  • B12 = 100 mcg

Her instructions back then were to take it twice a day! I stopped taking the B6 complex pills because I had a weird chest pain whenever I took them. Let ‘s see what it does this time. I’ll add it to my morning pills and take it once a day to start. I’ll also add the calcium/magnesium suppliment as well.

May 24, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 23, 2006

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For the past few days my eyes have been incredibly itchy. I’m rubbing them constantly and although this is probably not helping the situation it’s only started recently so I suspect it’s my level of B2. I have been taking 100 mg for a week and now and my lips do seem to be improved.

When I first read about a B2 deficiency, it suggested a dosage based on my weight. I made the calculation to about 50 mg per day. The B2 suppliment that I purchased only came in 100 mg. Maybe I’m taking too much B2? Tomorrow, I’ll stop taking it as a single suppliment and see what happens. I’ve been doing a bit of research lately on vitamin deficiencies and I’ve also read that a deficiency in B6 can also cause cracked lips. Maybe I need that too!

Today I had a runny nose so I decide to start the microwave embargo again. This past weekend was the first official time I had microwaved food since I lifted the ban. I’ll try it again and see what happens. This time, there is no acupuncture and no chinese herb effecting the results.

My allergies never seem to fit into the classic symptoms of allergies. I never get a headache and it’s not effected by weather or the seasons like most people. I have nasal congestion all of the time and the occasional runny nose. It gets worse when I’m extremely tired but for the most part, it doesn’t get any worse or any better. I’ve tried numerous nasal sprays, pills and procedures and nothing really works to my satisfaction. I will say that acupuncture has had the greatest effect but I think it’s something environmental that I’m exposed to every single day.

My allergies started around 1991 and I should follow up with my Orangeville doctor to find out the date when I first complained about it. My parents bought their first microwave oven when they moved into a new house on June 20th 1991. Coincidence?

The microwave embargo is on…

May 24, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 22, 2006

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Today I come across an online nutrition calculator. Here is what it says:

Daysworth Nutrition Calculator

This powerful new tool can help you in countless ways. Use the Daysworth Nutrition Calculator to determine your nutritional status. Just select a single food or build your own personal menu from over 6,000 food choices. The online calculator will determine your nutritional status based on the foods you eat.

Keep track of your calories, fat and carbohydrate intake to help with your weight loss goals. Monitor your intake of cholesterol, total fat and saturated fats to help ensure optimal heart health. Watch your protein and carbohydrate levels to make sure you’re getting enough for optimal athletic performance and muscle growth. Check your fiber intake to help maintain regularity and prevent uncomfortable or unhealthy conditions. Guarantee your diet includes all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need to maintain good health. 

And the best thing of all? It’s totally free! I register with the site and I enter all of the foods for today.

With my healthy new diet eating oatmeal and apples for breakfast, a tuna sandwich with tomatoes for lunch, a banana for an afternoon snack and halibut fish with broccoli and potatoes for dinner, I should have no problem.

Today’s diet, according to the calculator I am deficient in ten vitamins and minerals based on the daily recommended allowance. Good thing I’m not tracking my old diet. I’m in deep trouble…

May 22, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for May 20, 2006

For the past two days I’ve had no niacin flush after taking my regular dose of 100mg twice a day. When I go to bed I have no vibration but when I wake up in the morning, I can feel it. From my research on the internet, the common dose for a niacin deficincy is between 1000 and 1500 mg a day. It also says to raise the dosage in small amounts and to increase it if you have gone more than three days without a flush. I don’t want to raise it without seeing my doctor so I’ll have to wait until June 3rd.

Today is just my third day taking 100mg of B2 suppliment and I’ve noticed a mild improvement. My eyes are still itchy and light sensitive but the dry spot on my bottom lip is slowly getting better.

May 20, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

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