Rethink Health  - September 2009

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Natural Medicines Under Attack?

Several of you have drawn my attention to rumours that access to natural medicines and nutrient supplements is about to be restricted.

Medicinal claims are already outlawed, unless products are submitted to the same expensive testing regime expected of pharmaceuticals. It is also true that under European legislation, coming into effect shortly, nutrient dosage will be limited so that “mega-dose” vitamins will no longer be available – hence the health shop low-price sales you have been seeing.

I am only personally concerned with two very limited areas of natural medication, both relating to hormone function – whole thyroid, and progesterone (occasionally with oestriol). There will be no change in the regulation of these as medicines, prescribable by licensed doctors under the Medicines Acts.

Some of you have questioned the on-going availability of suitable thyroid material. The manufacturer we use, under the patronage of the Barnes Foundation in the US, shows no sign of difficulty supplying what we need. We keep good supplies in stock and have a contingency plan in the event that supplies of Armour thyroid are suddenly withdrawn for any reason.

I do not see even this much doubt about supplies of progesterone. It will always be manufactured in bulk as a basis for creating all the pharmaceutical variants of human hormones, so it seems unlikely that the manufacturer will ever decide to withhold it from a useful sales sideline. We have at this moment to change our source of oestriol, but that too is likely to remain available in some form for so long as doctors prescribe it.

As for mega-dose nutrients, I have had no use for these for at least a decade. If you use supplements “grown” as foods, their form hugely intensifies and prolongs their benefit. It also removes all the ambiguity about effects – only purified vitamins E and C ever have any adverse effect, not foods containing them or the equivalent food-based supplements. I’m sure I have made many mistakes in my career, but am proud of my early and unswerving endorsement for food-state and bio-food technologies.

Hope on Climate Change?

 We received this morning planning consent to install 16 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of our home. (We only needed consent because of a planning oddity – the Government requires planners to permit such development, even in conservation areas, provided the panels do not project more than 200mm above the roof and are invisible from the front or side.)

These panels will generate nearly two kilowatts of electricity on average, which is more than we need for most of the day. Our surplus will be sold back to the national grid, thanks to a clever inverter that raises our output to exactly the voltage of the mains at the time, and matches the “phase”, so that it can be fed back into the same main from which our power has been coming. So, no battery or caravan technology is required. And the Government is about to pay microgenerators like us nearly 40p per kilowatt generated as an inducement to install.

With bank interest at present levels, money is far better put into this technology which will earn several percent return on your money. It may even prove worthwhile to borrow money for the installation – watch this space. You do, of course, need a south-facing site (roof or ground) to make it work.

The excitement in Whitehall is because, if enough private citizens and companies go in for this technology, they can get a long way towards achieving their Kyoto commitments without spending any public capital. We may manage to head off new nuclear power stations, and close a few coal- or gas-fired ones. And it could all happen quite quickly, limited only by the supply of panels and suitably experienced electricians.

We shall keep an eye on how the new installation performs, and let you know the outcome.

Silly Season Selection

A few items from news-starved August:-

·        Paraffin candles may cause cancer, if you burn enough of them

·        Beetroot juice increases your stamina

·        The smell of lemons reduces stress (not the G and T it floats in)

·        Alcohol causes mouth cancer (binging on spirits, probably)

·        Tamiflu “nearly killed” a journalist’s daughter

·        Beware of advertorials – favourable articles bought by advertisers.


You can afford to be smug about most of these, I think!