Letters to the Editor – February 2016

Reader Responds to ‘Ask the Doctor’ Column

[re: Ask the Doctor column, Dec15/Jan16 issue]

Regarding Dr. Rona’s response to M. Ying on enlarged adenoids, I would like to add to the doctor’s list [of foods] to eliminate: potatoes, green pepper, tomatoes and corn. Potatoes have the highest content of solanine. Solanine is a gigantic molecule of steroidal alkaloid hooked to three sugar molecules, which totals a molar (molecular) weight of 870.

Solanine is not soluble in water and does not like the company of digestive enzymes. It moves out of the solution, circulating through the system and settling in the organs, filtration system and adenoids, thereby interfering with natural function.

Solanine causes food intolerance, allergic reactions, and misery – mostly for people with blood type ‘O’. Interestingly, in people with blood types ‘A’ and ‘B’, solanine builds healthy sex hormones.

To M. Ying: there are herbal products on the market that flush out clogged lymphatic systems. Worth a try.
Rudolf Manook, Toronto, ON

Dr. Rona responds:

Thank you for your comments. You are absolutely correct. There are indeed people who do not tolerate corn and the nightshades, so these definitely have to be eliminated if one is sensitive to them. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are in the nightshade family and are well tolerated by some but not others. An elimination diet is the best way to judge whether or not these too have to be discontinued.
Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., Thornhill, ON

Vitality Goes to Arizona

[Editor’s note: the following was written by a Vitality magazine subscriber on her 2-year subscription renewal form.]

As I have severe MCS, I cannot own a computer. So a free (digital) subscription is useless to me. However, my sister in Tucson, Arizona is a digital subscriber. This means I no longer have to mail to her your articles – and I also save on postage!

I do have to ‘air out’ the magazine for quite a while, and I wear gloves to read it if I don’t want to get the black ink on my hands (I’m allergic to soy). So many good articles!
Donna Wilkinson, Lion’s Head, ON

Thanks, Vitality!

Love this magazine! I am always learning something new. I also like it when healthy recipes are included! Every time I read the magazine it inspires me to switch my boring career!
Julie Kane, Toronto

I’ve always loved your magazine. It has taught me so much over the years, empowering me to be healthy.
Michelle, Toronto ON

I used to live in Oakville and would pick up each edition of Vitality. Love the content. Missing it now that I am in B.C. I found a Facebook page where I can catch certain posts. Thank you for this opportunity.
Tinker Stevens, Mission, BC

Natural Health Products Refused by Customs

I like your magazine very much. Recently, I learned that Canada Customs is refusing some natural vitamins from being imported into Canada from the U.S. Yet these are all safe, from reputable companies.

Specifically, I ordered some face creams that Canadian health food stores do not carry, from a shipper in the U.S.  I added some vitamins to my order (I usually only order face creams). Customs decided my order was restricted into Canada.

I am trying to find a list of current restricted items into Canada, from the US.

Health Canada was not helpful, since they sent me a list of drugs that are restricted. Do you have any info to offer me?

I suspect the calcium Hydroxylapatite which I ordered may be one restricted item. I have taken Strong Bones formula, which increased bone density in the neck of my left femur by 9%.

The other was wild yam. I think this may have been a problem for importing as well. I am over 60, I rotate vitamins and face creams that I use in order to stay healthy.

Thanks for any information you can help me with.
Sincerely, Faye Clarkson

Dr. Rona responds

Dear Faye,

This sort of issue has occurred with several of my patients as well. Health Canada will allow the importation of certain banned nutritional supplements for personal use from the U.S.

They limit the amount to a 3-month supply of whatever natural health products (NHPs) are allowed into the country.

The reason they do this is because they want to prevent resale of these banned supplements in Canada.

So, if you ordered more than a 3-month supply, they will not allow the products into the country. If your order was indeed within the allowable limits, then it means your name has been flagged by the Customs people as being a possible importer and distributor of banned supplements.

Either that, or the companies you ordered products from are flagged as potential violators of these rules. This is actually quite common with multi-level marketing companies based in the U.S. They are notorious for selling American products to Canadians, ignoring any and all NHP regulations.

You can obtain progesterone, DHEA, thyroid, and other hormones from the U.S. without a prescription but you may not be allowed to import them into Canada. These require a prescription from a pharmacy in Canada.

In fact, Health Canada has classified some of these hormones under the narcotics category (e.g. DHEA, testosterone). So, if you are importing any of these, you will definitely be scrutinized and penalized by the Customs people.

Your ‘wild yam’ cream may have listed progesterone on the label and your bone density supplement may have contained DHEA or something else deemed unacceptable by Health Canada. These people at Customs are not doctors, naturopaths, or biochemists. I’m not sure exactly what their education level is. but I’d guess they have next to zero knowledge of NHPs. They are most likely given a list of people, companies and products to look for and they act on that.

Believe it or not, companies in the U.S. that sell the hemp extract cannabidiol (CBD) won’t even ship to Canada since Customs considers this non-hallucinogenic, anti-inflammatory natural product to be a narcotic (cannabis). Hemp is allowed on the Canadian market but its extract, CBD, is illegal. Go figure.

Health Canada does nothing about any of this. They don’t have the manpower or the scientific resources to police imported NHPs.

So, by now you must be thinking that these rules are arbitrary and punitive to Canadians and you would be right. Until the government employs people in the know about natural health products, we as Canadians will never be on the same equal footing as Americans regarding access to the personal health products we want to use. It’s unfortunate and the only thing we can do is send letters of complaint to our local members of Parliament demanding action.
Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc 390 Steeles Ave. West Thornhill, ON

Love Your News Briefs!

First off, may I say how much I enjoy Michael Downey’s Health News Briefs in every issue of Vitality magazine. I was particularly struck by his mention in your Dec2015/Jan2016 issue of age-related cognitive decline and how a healthy diet can help slow down, or eliminate, the onset of this disease.

My son, also an avid reader, has done his best to educate me as to how I can improve my health and enjoy my elder years. I listened to him and increased my intake of health supplements. Now I regularly beat my online Scrabble playing buddies, all of whom are younger than I!
D. Campbell, Perth ON

Helke’s ‘Herpes’ Article Being Read Worldwide

[Re: ‘Herpes: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know‘, by Helke Ferrie, in Vitality’s November 2015 issue]

Is there someone I can write to for permission to copy the great ‘Herpes’ article by Helke Ferrie from your website? First I need permission and then maybe ask for a LINK to do that? I belong to a Heath group on Yahoo and they would really enjoy me sending them this article.

I will wait for instructions. I have never done this before and really enjoyed reading it myself as I have the magazine copy.
Bonnie Cole, Toronto, ON

Vitality responds

Hello Bonnie Cole,

Here is a link to the ‘Herpes’ article, now archived on our website after it was released in print. All you have to do is cut and paste the link into a spot on your site, or into any email you send.

The other option would be to send your group a link to the digital version of Vitality’s November issue, and tell them to turn to page 6 to read the article. Here is the link to the November issue in digital format: https://tinyurl.com/qde7ufg

And if you want your group to get free subscriptions to the digital version of Vitality all year round, it’s easy – just have them send an email to: subscribe@vitalitymagazine.com. All they have to do is request their free subscription, and include the name of their city.
Julia Woodford, Editor

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