Letters to the Editor – December 2013/January 2014

Modern Medicine Creates Lifetime Drug Dependency

(Re: On Being Grateful for What We’ve Got, by Helke Ferrie; Nov. 2013)

I was gratified to read Helke Ferrie’s article, ‘On Being Grateful for What We’ve Got’ in your November issue. My mother has been on the blood thinner, Warfarin, for almost three years now. She was prescribed this drug when a small clot was discovered in her leg during a hospital stay.

Now she visits the health clinic every few weeks so they can monitor her blood and adjust the blood thinner dosage as necessary. She was also told she would have to be on this drug for the rest of her life, “to be sure no other clots form.”

I’m concerned that this ‘preventive’ drug strategy is at the least unnecessary; and at worst, harmful; she’s putting this toxin into her body every single day.

Interestingly, just a few days ago Dr. Oz was ranting on his show about the ill-advised guidance given to patients by many (most?) mainstream doctors – ie. that their patients must stay on drugs like this for life. So it appears that Ms. Ferrie and Dr. Oz are in mutually good company in their efforts to educate the public. We need voices like theirs to counter the drug misinformation that continues to bombard us daily.

Kelly Green,
Stoney Creek, ON

Natural Health Products: Know What You’re Consuming

Not all natural health products are created equally. While some manufacturers cut corners and substitute ingredients, there are other natural remedies which have been clinically tested and approved by Health Canada for their effectiveness. The bottom line: it’s important for the public to educate themselves and understand what they are consuming.

“Many natural health product manufacturers do deliver what they promise and aren’t just out to make a quick buck,” says Mackie Vadacchino, CEO of A.Vogel Canada.

Vadacchino references a recent article published in the Journal of BMC Medicine which claimed that 44 herbal products from 12 un-named companies contained 20% filler not listed on the bottle, and that one third of the product offerings did not contain any DNA of the plant-based supplement the company was advertising.

“The study was disappointing as it did not provide a complete picture of the industry,” said Vadacchino. “There are high quality herbal products that have been thoroughly tested in clinical environments and that have been approved and licensed by Health Canada. The study could have been a great opportunity to educate consumers about the differences in natural products instead of tarring the entire industry with the same brush.”

“When buying natural health products, the most important thing a consumer can do is arm themselves with knowledge,” says Professor Dr. Eccles, a leading researcher at the Common Cold and Health-Care Centre and part of the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. “You don’t buy wine without understanding the provenance of where it comes from; it’s the same with these natural products,” says Eccles. “Consumers should only buy from companies that have highest quality – those that have done testing and trials that are published in the public domain.”

Eccles believes you get what you pay for. “The companies that standardize their processes are the only ones who are able to deliver a consistent product each time,” he explains, pointing to a study he undertook, with four other researchers, for A. Vogel.

The study was the largest clinical trial to date to test the safety and efficacy of Echinacea. As a result of the study findings, A.Vogel’s Echinaforce is the only natural product licensed by Health Canada for both prevention and long-term treatment of colds and ‘flu. The product has also been approved for use for up to four months, where other products can only be used for two weeks.

A. Vogel leads in clinical studies, their products undergo 500+ quality control checks and transparency in testing is considered crucial. Eccles, who has visited the A. Vogel manufacturing site in Switzerland, also stressed that A. Vogel remedies are derived from fresh plants. Just as when fresh herbs and spices are used in cooking (vs their dried equivalents), a more potent product is delivered.

The public would have been better served if the study published in the Journal of BMC Medicine had also been transparent with its findings, as consumers need to be fully informed when it comes to natural health products.

Monika Haefele

Question About Vitality’s Massive Online Archive of Published Articles

I have been reading your magazine for many years now and consider it to be an excellent source of up-to-date health information.

I also use your website but find one thing frustrating – [when I’m researching a topic] and a specific article comes up in a search, nowhere can I find the date of original publishing. I like to know how old the information is, but there is no way I have found of determining that. Could you please correct that?

Otherwise, thanks for many years of great information and inspiration.

Anne Graham

Vitality responds:

Thank you for your inquiry. Here’s how to ascertain the date of publication of any article in Vitality’s online database of over 1600 articles:

When you have the article open on your screen, just hit the icon beside it marked ‘Print’ and it will indicate the issue date for you (eg: Nov. 2013). You then have the option of printing, or not printing, the article.

Thank you again for your kind words and your interest in Vitality!

How Much Cinnamon is Too Much?

(Re: ‘Culinary Spices That Heal’ by Julie Daniluk, Nov. 2013)

Wow – that is dangerous advice (1 tsp of cinnamon per day). A brief look on Wikipedia (bit.ly/1a9sCbO) at the toxicity of coumarin (probably the active component in cassia cinnamon that gives it its anti-tumour, anti-diabetes fight) shows that you can build up to toxic levels with 1 tsp of cinnamon a day. Ceylon cinnamon does not seem to have the same health benefits although the jury is still out on that.

Too much cassia cinnamon may be dangerous to your health: Read more: bit.ly/1a9sY1X

I think your article could at least have mentioned these possibilities.

Newatt Smith, Toronto

Julie Daniluk responds:

In the article I said “less than 1 tsp” of cinnamon a day. The medicinal dose that shows the ability to balance blood sugar is as little as 1/4 of a tsp.

The PDF report at: (https://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/349/high_daily_intakes_of_cinnamon_health_risk _cannot_be_ruled_out.pdf) states that Ceylon Cinnamon (the one that I recommend) contains “hardly any” coumarin – the chemical that can be hard on the liver.

Knowing that, I see that it would have been prudent to include a warning. So here is my official warning to readers:

The Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon) recommended in the article Warming Spices that Heal by Julie Daniluk is safe. Do not exceed 1/4 tsp of Cassia cinnamon (the cheaper variety) per day for long periods of time as it can be taxing to the liver. High quantities of Cassia cinnamon may be toxic for people with liver problems. Talk to your doctor if you take medication before you start using higher doses of cinnamon as it can interact with antibiotics, diabetes drugs and heart medication.

Julie Daniluk R.H.N.  www.juliedaniluk.com

Staying Home on Sick Leave and Hand Sanitizers

(Re: “On Naturally versus Artificially Acquired Immunity”, by Kashka Kril-Atkins; Oct. 2013)

In reading the article ‘On Naturally vs Artificially Acquired Immunity’ a couple of thoughts come to mind. Kril-Atkins raises an important point about how society would benefit from sick people staying home while they recuperate. Venturing out into the public does a disservice to themselves and to all with whom they come into contact.

However, as the article mentioned, “Time itself is a commodity in short supply.” I understand this to mean we don’t have the time these days to stay home and recover when we are sick; not only do we not have the time, we aren’t afforded the luxury of a shared understanding that recovering from illness takes precedence over work. I was happy to see this point made by such an esteemed homeopath as Kril-Atkins.

Kril-Atkins’ article also brought back memories of my childhood, and the simple, yet effective, practice of repeated hand-washing my dad enforced. Now that I have children of my own and tend to echo my dad’s order I hear, “But I’ve used the hand sanitizer.” I explain the abrasiveness of these sanitizers, especially when used regularly, and how they actually weaken a person’s immunity. But I have a hard time convincing them that this purse staple, carried by so many, is in fact unnecessary for such frequent use.

In any case, I will look forward to reading Vitality’s thought-provoking articles in future issues.

J. Morrison,

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Health Canada Manipulates ‘Independent’ Safety Review of Cell Phone Radiation

The former President of Microsoft Canada recently testified that Health Canada has manipulated the outcome of a safety review of the radiation emanating from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters.

“We have uncovered documents that prove Health Canada is controlling the so-called ‘independent’ safety review by the Royal Society of Canada,” said Frank Clegg, now CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST). “Health Canada is ignoring the science that explains why some Canadians are getting sick from microwave radiation.”

On October 28, 2013 the Royal Society of Canada  held a public meeting in Ottawa to hear from Canadians who have developed symptoms such as: insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations from everyday wireless devices. Doctors and researchers also testified, and called for stricter safety measures.

The Royal Society panel reviewing microwave safety has been dogged by controversy; the chair of the panel resigned in July after he was exposed for an undeclared conflict of interest. For highlights from the Oct. 28 Public Hearing visit: bit.ly/1euMWbL. To keep abreast of developments at Canadians 4 Safe Technology (C4ST), visit: www.c4st.org


Readers: To have your say, email your letters to: letters@vitalitymagazine.com, or write to: Vitality Magazine, 356 Dupont Street, Toronto Ontario M5R 1V9

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