[|Home | Introduction | Q & A | The Human Being |Yin & Yang | The Ginger Compress | Food and You |General Dietary Recommendations|Disclaimer |Personal Information | Modern Scientific Medicine-Tragic Error| Signs of The Times II|Signs of The Times III |]



(My commentary in italics.)

The following materials are garnered from the daily papers and other sources and are intended to illustrate a number of points:

1. The people of the world have a co-dependency relationship with the pharmaceutical-medical -scientific research complex AND vice-versa.

2. This relationship, like all co-dependent relationships, is unhealthy for both the population of the world and, in the long run, the pharmaceutical-medical- scientific research complex.

3. The scientific-medical-pharmaceutical complex doesn't have a clue as to how to approach the problem of disease/health.

4. No-one can take their health for granted any longer and need, as a matter of scientific fact, to quit being reliant on medical authorities of every stripe and become self-reliant with regard to being healthy, vital and creative people.

Vitamin C Danger/Needle & Damage Done/Supplements Futile/ Pharmaceutical Drug Addiction/Death By Prescription/Perils of Antibiotics/Biotechnological Unreality/Dangers of Antacids/ Dangers of Microwave Cooking/The Biotechnological Reality


This was sent to me by a friend, Don Beckett- his comment follows:


----- Dr. Bernard Lewinsky (Monica's Daddy!), an oncologist specializing in radiation therapy (on LARRY KING LIVE)

Gee, Doc -- you mean, if you looked at people as PEOPLE, you'd have a hard time blasting them with nuclear radiation! Hmmm, I see your point.


New Scientist, 28 March 1998

They call it "terminator technology", a "breakthrough" in genetic engineering. It is the seed that doesn't germinate. If adopted, it means that the tradition of saving seeds from one crop for the next season's planting will disappear.

In early March 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a Mississippi seed company, the Delta and Pine Land Company, were granted a patent for a technique that can sterilize the seeds produced by most agriculture crops.

They expect the technology to be adopted by all the major seed companies which for many years have been looking for ways to prevent farmers from recycling seeds from their crops.

Willard Phelps, a spokesman for the USDA, predicts the new technique will soon be so widely adopted that farmers will only be able to buy seeds that cannot be regerminated.



Reported by George Monbiot in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1997.

Monsanto, that company that health and freedom activists love to hate, has embarked on one of the most extraordinary and ambitious corporate strategies ever launched. The story begins with a single chemical, glyphosate. Sold to farmers and gardeners as "Roundup", it is the world's biggest selling herbicide, earning more than $2 billion last year alone. The company's patent on Roundup runs out in 2000, but far from sowing corporate catastrophe, this event seems likely to enhance Monsanto's market value.

For the past 10 years it has cleverly been developing a range of new crops, genetically engineered to resist glyphosate. Spraying with Roundup does not harm these crops, but destroys all the weeds that compete. New patent legislation in Europe and the U.S. allows Monsanto to secure exclusive rights to their production.

The first Roundup ready plant Monsanto released was a genetically engineered soybean. Between 50 and 60% of processed foods contain soy, so the potential market is enormous.

Alarmed at possible increases in the use of herbicides, as well as the health effects of genetically engineered crops in general, environmentalists and consumer groups in Europe started calling for products containing the new beans to be clearly labeled. But in the U.S., Monsanto insisted that would be impossible to keep Roundup ready soybeans apart from ordinary ones.

As the new beans were snapped up by growers in the U.S., Monsanto began an extraordinary round of acquisitions, buying shares in seed and biotechnology companies worth nearly $2 billion in the past 18 months alone. Among its purchases are companies which produce the famous Flavr-savr tomato, own the U.S. patent on all genetic manipulations of cotton, and control around 35% of the germ lines of American corn.

Monsanto is now experimenting with new rice, corn, potato, sugarbeet, rape and cotton varieties. It has been suggested that within a few years all the major staple food crops will be genetically engineered. The new products are so attractive to many farmers that Monsanto has managed to sign away their future rights to the seed they grow, and allow the company to inspect their fields whenever it wants.

Monsanto's new crops could not have become commercially viable without major legislative change. As members of the trade lobby Europabio, Monsanto and the other big biotech companies have mastered the legal climate in which they operate. Despite significant public opposition, in July, Europabio managed to persuade the European Parliament to adopt a new directive, allowing companies to patent manipulated plants and animals.

Researchers and lawyers from Monsanto already occupy important posts in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which regulates the food industry. Only the New York Attorney General's office has taken the company to task, forcing it to withdraw ads claiming that Roundup is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

But Monsanto has been most successful when appealing to multilateral bodies. Last month, the World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed its ruling that the European Union can no longer exclude meat and milk from cattle treated with Monsanto's bovine growth hormone, despite protests from farmers, retailers and consumers.

Biotech firms are now trying to persuade the WTO to forbid the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Any country whose retailers tell consumers what they are eating would be subject to punitive sanctions. (My emphasis)

With astonishing rapidity, a handful of companies is coming to govern the global development, production, processing and marketing of our most fundamental commodity: food. The power and strategic control they are amassing will make the oil industry look a corner shop.

More successfully than any other lobby, they are inhibiting the two remaining means of public restraint on their activities: government regulation and genuine consumer choice.

Of course, this whole enterprise is, in the long run, doomed to failure. The fact of the matter is, after several generations, those people, and their families, who choose to eat biogenetically engineered processed foods will simply die out. Ipso facto, those people, and their families, who choose to eat locally grown organic and biodynamically grown cooked whole grains and vegetables will thrive, and will necessarily not be customers for Montsanto's products. Therefore, Monsanto will have no customers. This is typical of modern corporate thinking - they can only see the consequences of their actions on their spreadsheets ; and spreadsheets are, after all, merely virtual reality. As the saying goes - "buyer beware".

Top of Page

West County Times May 29, 1998

Farm drugs imperil foods

The FDA prepares stiff regulation of agricultural antibiotics, as the first strong evidence indicates they create resistant germs

By Lauran Neergaard. ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Worried scientists say farmers using antibiotics in chickens, cattle and fruit orchards are creating drug-resistant germs that can wind up in the food people eat, a disturbing twist on the growing concern that antibiotics are fast losing their power.

Scientists have long suspected that farming was adding to the problem of antibiotic resistance, and now say they're finding the first strong evidence: A salmonella strain impervious to five antibiotics is rampant in Britain. U.S. scientists this month estimated it has sickened thousands of Americans, too --including a Vermont dairy farmer who nearly died. Chickens sold in Minnesota were contaminated with another germ, campylobacter, resistant to a powerful antibiotic.

The U.S. government is about to impose stiff new requirements on makers of new animal antibiotics, and the World Health Organization is calling specialists to Geneva next week to search for other solutions.

"We're at the point right now where we have got to do something," said Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who discovered the campylobacter risk. "This can't continue."

"We know there is a problem," agreed the WHO's Dr. Klaus Stohr.

The question is, "How big a problem?"

Some industry groups deny there's proof that antibiotics on the farm harm human health. "We don't know if it's true or not," said Kenneth May, of the National Broiler Council.

Others acknowledge some risk, but insist it must be balanced with the realization that antibiotics are vital to animal health.

If farm antibiotics are restricted, "The real question is, 'What will it do to the world's food supply?'" said microbiologist Gail Cassell, of Eli Lilly & Co. "My plea is that we need more data."

The Food and Drug Administration considers the threat serious enough that it is preparing stiffer rules for new animal antibiotics, including requiring manufacturers to track treated animals for early resistance signs.

"There will be predetermined conditions of when the drug cannot be used anymore," said FDA veterinary chief Stephen Sundlof. The requirements "may just be too unpalatable for drug companies to accept."

Antibiotics are fast losing their power against numerous germs, particularly those spread in hospitals. Most to blame are doctors who over prescribe drugs and patients who take them improperly.

But scientists say antibiotics on the farm are helping form new strains of food-borne germs, too, even as the government is under pressure to approve more agricultural drugs.

Almost half of the 50 million pounds of antibiotics produced in the United States is used in animals -- 80 percent to help animals grow faster, not treat disease --and 40,000 pounds is sprayed onto fruit trees.

Take fluoroquinolones, powerful antibiotics reserved for severely ill people until 1995, when the FDA approved two of them for poultry. They're put into chicks' drinking water to prevent a flock-destroying disease, not to kill the campylobacter also in poultry, the leading carrier of food poisoning germs. The fluoroquinolone exposure caused rapid growth of campylobacter mutations, Osterholm said.

He tested 76 chicken products sold in Minneapolis-St. Paul grocery stores last year. Seventy-nine percent were contaminated with campylobacter. Twenty percent of the bacteria were resistant to fluoroquinolone.

People didn't catch this resistant campylobacter before 1995, said Dr. Frederick Angulo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But 13 percent of human cases tested last year were fluoroquinolone-resistant, and the number is rising.

Then there's the salmonella strain that almost killed the Vermont dairy farmer last summer, killed 14 of her cows and sickened eight of the farmer's relatives.

The CDC said the family caught salmonella DT104, resistant to five popular antibiotics, by drinking unpasteurized milk and handling sick cows.

Nobody knows how the cows got sick or how DT104 spread here. It's been widespread in Britain for a decade, causing outbreaks from sausage and chicken.

The CDC estimates the strain now infects 68,000 to 340,000 Americans annually.

Worse, salmonella DT104 in Britain appears to be losing its susceptibility to fluoroquinolones, raising concern it might become untreatable, the FDA's Sundlof said.

His agency is weighing this in debating Bayer Inc.'s request to expand fluoroquinolone use into cattle.

The CDC is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to refuse a Mexican company's request to treat blighted fruit trees with gentamicin, a widely used human antibiotic.

Top of Page

San Francisco Chronicle.

April 15, 1998.

Prescriptions may be killing thousands.

Study claims that more than 100,000 people each year have a fatal reaction to properly dosed medicine


In their research, University of Toronto scientists pooled and analyzed data from 39 U.S. studies on adverse drug reactions published between 1964 and 1996.

They looked at two groups: patients who had an adverse drug reaction while in the hospital that was serious enough to prolong their stay, and outpatients who had a drug reaction bad enough to hospitalize them.

While other studies have looked at those two groups separately, this was the first to combine them, leading to the "extremely high" prevalence of drug reactions, as the researchers called it.

Between the upper and lower fatality estimates is the midpoint of 106,000 drug-induced deaths.

That means that in 1994, which the researchers chose as a representative year, 0.32 percent of patients on a prescription drug, or three out of every 1,000, had a fatal reaction to it.

Los Angeles Times.

April 15 1998.

By Terence Monmaney

Properly prescribed medications may kill more than 100,000 people a year, taking more lives than diabetes or pneumonia, according to a new analysis that suggests prescription medications cause more harm than previously believed.

The new study, which will appear today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, estimates that 76,000 to 137,000 people died in 1994 from such treatments.

That would make adverse drug reactions between the sixth and fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Moreover, of the 33 million hospitalized patients in 1994, some 2.2 million had a nonfatal reaction serious enough to require medical attention, the researchers say.

Although some experts questioned the study methods, the new estimates put the problem in the most dramatic light yet, suggesting that despite saving perhaps millions of lives, medications bring on more misery than previously acknowledged.

The study "puts into clear perspective that adverse drug reactions are a major form of death and injury that can be prevented," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group and author of the book "Worst Pills, Best Pills."

He said the injuries and deaths detailed in the study are nearly twice as high as estimates recently done by his consumer group.

The findings should not encourage people to abandon vital medications, said the study's leader, Dr. Bruce Pomeranz of the University of Toronto, who added he was surprised by the death toll.

"What's needed is more awareness of the potential problems with taking some drugs," he said. "Before you take a medication you should know about its risk-benefit ratio."

Of course, from a macrobiotic standpoint pharmaceutical drugs are one of the leading causes of disease because if ingesting them indeed results in the symptoms of a disease for which a person is being treated going away, this merely means the drugs are driving the symptoms deeper into the body to surface later as a much more serious illness. Furthermore, they ALL damage the immune functions of the body, thereby making it much more difficult for the body to heal itself. See the related story.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a drug industry group, cautioned patients not to panic. "Prescription medicines are safe and effective when used properly," said Alan Holmer, the group's president.

Now, what else would you expect him to say?

The analysis did not specify which drugs were most risky or which diseases patients had when the adverse reactions occurred.

But other studies have found that the drug types causing the most serious medical problems in hospitalized patients are painkillers: from narcotics that halt breathing to aspirin pills that induce stomach bleeding; antibiotics and anti-viral drugs, which can cause severe diarrhea; and cardiovascular and anticoagulant drugs, which can cause a range of problems including internal bleeding.

In addition, some people are allergic or sensitive to particular drugs, while other bad reactions happen when two or more drugs are combined.

For instance, the widely prescribed allergy drug Seldane, or terfenidine, was pulled from the market after reports it triggered heart-rhythm problems in people also taking the commonly administered antibiotic erythromycin.

Adverse drug reactions especially trouble the elderly, experts say, because they are more likely to have multiple underlying health problems and also tend to have a weakened liver and kidneys, which break down and eliminate medications.

Pharmaceutical drugs damage the kidneys and liver and intestines.

Medical researchers believe that adverse drug reactions have been underestimated for years.

That is chiefly because hospitals and physicians seldom report such reactions, dismiss them as unavoidable or mistake them for disease symptoms.

The U.S. Health Care Financing Administration proposed new federal regulations last fall requiring hospitals to step up drug-reaction monitoring.

But some physicians have criticized the proposed monitoring system, which would involve periodic reviews of patient charts, as intrusive and costly.

The researchers' approach was "conservative," they said, in that they focused only on correctly prescribed drugs.

Their analysis did not even consider other sources of prescription drug problems, such as patient compliance errors, intentional overdoses, narcotic abuse and accidental poisonings.

"The truth is we missed a lot of people," Pomeranz says, including those who "died at home."

Other researchers questioned aspects of the study because it is a "meta-analysis," which involves statistically analyzing data pooled from other studies, rather than studying real people.

It is often difficult to establish that a very sick person died from a drug reaction rather than an underlying illness, said Dr. John Burke, a medical epidemiologist at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, who has studied adverse drug reactions.

He urged caution in accepting the study as fact, but also praised it as a "spur traction" in attacking the problem of adverse drug reactions.

You may want to follow up on this study by getting the book:

PRESCRIPTION FOR DISASTER : The Hidden Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet, Thomas J. Moore - "How Dangerous are the Drugs You Take". Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Top of Page


September 1997.

Why is the United States addicted to pharmaceutical drugs? SeeRelated Story (July '98)

by Kaare Bursell.

In the August 12, 1997 issue of the Wall Street Journal is an interesting and eye-opening article about the pharmaceutical drug industry in the United States. The subject of the story is that many patents held by the major drug corporations for pharmaceutical drugs have recently expired or are about to expire. "About 40 drugs with $16 billion dollars in sales in 1996 - one-quarter of the industry's U.S. revenue and an even higher percentage of total profits for some companies - are set to lose patent protection by the year 2002" according to the story. Of course, the main thrust of the story is how this is going to affect the industry.

From a macrobiotic perspective some of the numbers are totally staggering inasmuch as that they reveal how much American individuals are either dependent, or made to think they are, on drugs for their continued survival, in monetary terms alone. Obviously, the entire pharmaceutical industry is very keen to keep the American individual addicted to the notion that pharmaceutical drugs are good for you. Here is a quote from a Bruce Downey, chief executive of Barr Industries Inc., Pomona, N.Y., which plans to churn out cheap copies of the antidepressant drug Prozac, which now sells for $2.00 a pill, and other drugs, "It's an unprecedented period. It isn't just a great opportunity for us, it will be a great opportunity for consumers as prices drop."

For example, Merck & Co stands to lose a lock on 4 drugs that accounted for more than half of its $6.18 billion sales in the United States last year; Schering-Plough Corp. stands to lose exclusivity to drugs accounting for 57% of its $2.61 billion sales last year; Eli Lilly & Co. will lose control over drugs, including Prozac, that accounted for $4.02 billion in sales in 1996.

And here is the staggering figure, "..the U.S., the largest single pharmaceuticals market by far with more than 60% of world wide sales."

The population of the United States is around 250 million people, and the total world population is around 5 billion people. This means the U.S. population is 5% of the world population and ingests more than 60% of the pharmaceutical drugs produced by the world's drug corporations, to the tune of $64 billion a year. Why is this?

Also, this figure of $64 billion doesn't include sales of other so-called "legitimate drugs", like alcohol, vitamin, mineral and other supplements like blue-green algae etc., or the sales of illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana etc., and it is obvious the U.S. population keeps the Mafia and the Columbian Cartel etc., rolling in very healthy profits every year.

The reason why people are so willing to take drugs can be answered on many levels. The main four reasons are diet, emotions, way of thinking and spiritual life. From a macrobiotic perspective, as long as a person consumes a diet based on animal protein products then it is not possible, according to yin-yang theory, to avoid taking some kind of drug. This is simply a law of nature that cannot be avoided.

One of the consequences of eating a meat-based diet accompanied by taking extreme yin in the form of refined sugar as alcohol and other drugs, is that one has a tendency to become emotionally chaotic, suffering from fear, anxiety, depression, anger etc., and dealing with these by taking drugs.

Intellectually, for as long as people continue to think the human body is a physico-chemical machine, which is commonplace today, then they have no trouble thinking that the ingestion of chemicals of one kind or another is okay.

Spiritually, the taking of drugs has the effect of eroding one's sense of self, of how it feels to be a human being, so that as long as one continues to ingest drugs, one's sense of self gradually takes on all the characteristics of a machine, a robot like entity, alien to one's true humanity. This explains the last few decades increasing fascination with movies based on the extra-terrestrial beings and other similar fancies coming out of the film industry which are making such a big impact at the box office.

Top of Page

The Arizona Republic. Thursday May 2 1996.

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables: Supplements Futile, Studies Say.

By Gordon Slovut

Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune.

There's no way around it. You have to eat fruits and vegetables to obtain the healthy benefits of vitamins that have been touted as cancer and heart disease preventatives.

That's the message of three major studies released today reporting that anti-oxidant supplements - beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin c tablets- did not prevent deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Dr. Lawrence Kushi (a son of Michio Kushi), a University of Minnesota scientist who headed one of the studies, said it appears in the case of heart disease that something or some combination of things in fruits and vegetables produce the protective effect.

The idea there is some active ingredient in foods and herbs and plants which accounts for their effectiveness in helping people be healthy is utter nonsense.

"The best course for an individual is to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables a day," said Dr. Lee Wattenberg, the University of Minnesota's authority on chemoprevention of cancer.

The findings of these studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are contrary to popular consumer trends.

Vitamin supplements are a $1.82 billion business in the United States, and growing. The average American household spent $66.44 in 1995 on vitamins, up 40 percent since 1991, according to America's Reserach Group of Charleston, SC.

Wattenberg said many scientists had seized on beta carotene as the key cancer preventative because it is plentiful in the types of vegetables that studies have shown offer the most protection against the disease.

It was logical to assume that the degree of protection could be increased with supplements, loading people's bodies with more beta carotene than they would likely get from foods, he said.

"It appears now that we were wrong," he said. "It means we have to look for something else."

Kushi lead one of the three studies. His study followed 34,486 post-menopausal Iowa women, assessing their intake of vitamins A, E and C from food and from supplements to see whether their vitamin intake protected them against death from heart disease.

Anti-oxidants are vitamins that are believed to destroy the chemicals that contribute to the formation of cancers and the grow of plaque that narrows the arteries.

During the seven year period ending Dec. 31, 1992, 242 of the study subjects died from heart disease.

The women who consumed moderate amounts of foods rich in vitamin E - meaning four to seven servings of margarine a week, nuts and seeds three or four times a week, and mayonnaise or cream salad dressing two three times a week - had a much lower than average chance of dying of heart disease. Those who avoided the vitamin E-rich foods had about double the heart risk.

But researchers found no additional benefit for women who took the vitamin supplements.

In the same Journal, Harvard researchers said a 12-year study of 22,071 physicians, half of whom to 50 milligrams of beta carotene and half of whom were given placebos, turned up no evidence that the supplements produced any benefit or harm in relation to death from cancer, heart disease or all other causes.

In a third study, researchers headed by Dr. Gilbert Omenn of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle reported that 30mg of beta carotene and 25000 International Units of vitamin A a day did not reduce the risk of death from lung cancer, heart disease or any other cause among 9000 heavy smokers or asbestos workers.

The study was stopped at four years when it appeared that the 9000 receiving the supplements were dying faster than the roughly equal number of similar men and women who were not getting the supplements. Researchers feared that the supplements were causing harm, but the study results were not conclusive.

Light Bulb Joke.

How many medical researchers does it take to change a light bulb?

Results are inconclusive and further research is necessary.

Top of Page

San Francisco Chronicle

Needle Accident Story.

April 13 1998.

This story is part of an extensive investigative report done by the San Francisco Chronicle on Needle Accidents in hospitals and attributing the cause of many hospital workers developing 20 some odd infectious diseases to it. However, although it is obvious that having syringes with better safety design features is a good idea and notwithstanding the alleged negligence of the needle manufacturer, it is simplistic to suggest that infected needles are the sole agency responsible for hospital workers developing infectious diseases.

If we read the following story, which is the one showing the situation of a health worker accidentally sticking a needle into herself after she had drawn blood from a person with HIV, closely, you will notice she went and took the drugs given to people who have HIV (AZT etc.) within hours of accidentally sticking the needle into her. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C Virus 2 MONTHS LATER and HIV, 13 MONTHS LATER..

This indicates from a macrobiotic viewpoint the intake of these powerful drugs compromised her immune system and as a result she developed Hepatitis C and HIV symptoms. I will elaborate here on what I have written in the Introduction, in the description of the Fifth Stage of the Process of Disease/Health. Micro-organisms that are considered to be pathogenic are not pathogenic because they cause pathogenic changes in organs and tissues; they are pathogenic because they are attracted to organs and tissues which are pathogenic and have been undergoing pathogenic changes for many months and years.. These pathogenic changes are brought about by long term intake of inappropriate foods which are, of course, the standard modern foods of meat, sugar, and the highly processed, chemicalized foods littering the supermarket AS WELL AS antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, vitamin pills, etc., etc.

What do these microorganisms find so attractive about organs and tissues which are undergoing pathogenic changes? They are doing what bacteria, viruses, worms, spirochetes, chlorella, amoeba etc., have always done. They are mopping up decaying and dead cells. As Rudolf Virchow, one of the major architects of the Germ Theory stated on his deathbed, "If I had my life to live over again I would devote it to demonstrating that microbes do NOT cause disease, they attack diseased flesh." Therefore, it does no-one who is showing evidence of having an infectious disease any good at all to give them drugs which are designed to wipe out the organisms because in so doing the real problem is not being addressed and furthermore, intake of these drugs merely causes further damage to the organs and tissues.


If you had to have your blood drawn at the University of California drug clinic here at 18th and Folsom streets, you wanted Ellen Dayton to do it. She was that good. Not good enough, though, to avoid an accident that strikes health care workers more than a million times each year.

It happened March 20, 1996. Dayton, a nurse practitioner, had just finished drawing blood from a young cocaine and speed addict infected with HIV. Holding the needle in her right hand, she reached across with her left, moving reflexively to catch three blood-collection tubes as they rolled toward a counter's edge.

The needle, filled with infected blood, pierced the side of her left index finger. ``I felt scared and stressed and panicked,'' she says, recalling the fateful moment. ``And at the same time, there was this other voice minimizing things, like, ``No, it's not going to happen to me. I'm not going to get HIV.''

Two months later, she tested positive for hepatitis C. Within 13 months she learned that she had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Today, she can no longer take care of the weak and the sick and the drug addicted because she must take care of herself.

Most days she feels so ill she cannot leave her couch. Her better days are usually consumed by medical appointments and arduous hours of treatment. And though it is not a life that has turned out as she had hoped, it is still one that she does not regret.

``I knew that I was working with people with HIV, but that was the commitment,'' she says. ``And even knowing how dangerous it is from where I sit today, I wouldn't choose to do it differently. ... That's what I came to California to do.''

Dayton, 55, came from a farm in upstate New York, growing up so poor that she will not speak of her childhood. She fled after high school, bouncing from New York City to Berkeley to Buffalo, becoming a single mother, going on welfare, eventually coming out as a lesbian.

In the early 1970s, she got a job at a battered women's shelter in Buffalo and ``found out that what I really wanted to do was work with people,'' she says. ``It really seemed I was a natural.''

Dayton took night courses in human services, found a new job working with the mentally ill and confirmed her talent for counseling.

``I loved it because I was good at it,'' she says.

But as she raised a teenage daughter, she struggled to make ends meet. Then, in 1986, she came to San Francisco. Hired first as a drug and alcohol counselor, she soon got a job with the AIDS health project at San Francisco General Hospital, where she was drawn to the nurses and doctors dedicated to fighting the deadly disease. ``I began asking them about becoming a nurse practitioner because I saw it as something that I wanted to do,'' she says, ``and I never really had that -- a real goal.''

It would be a difficult process: She studied for three years in a select program at the University of California at San Francisco while working in her spare time at San Francisco General. ``It was probably the hardest thing I've done with my life,'' she recalls. ``But I made it. And I felt great.''

By December 1995, Dayton was working two jobs, one at San Francisco General and the other at the University of California drug clinic.

She did well, making more than $60,000 a year and settling down with her partner. The possibility of contracting a disease from a needle stick was far from her mind. ``I knew that everyone got needle sticks,'' she says, ``but it's one of those things where you think it (an infection) is not going to happen to you.''

When it did happen, 10 weeks after she started her job at the clinic, Dayton was using a blood-drawing needle without a safety shield, the only device available. She calmly finished her work with the patient, reported the accident and within hours began taking AZT and other drugs to fend off the possibility of an HIV infection.

The powerful drugs made her nauseous almost immediately. Soon she was too ill to work. And then the guilt set in. ``I blamed myself in the beginning,'' she recalls. ``And yet I knew I was good at drawing blood. I was really good. Lots of times when someone couldn't get into a (patient's) vein, they would call me in. And if there had been a needle with a safety shield on it, I would have used it, and the needle stick wouldn't have happened. So I don't blame myself now.''

Instead, she blames the needle manufacturer -- Becton Dickinson and Company --for selling a product that she contends in a lawsuit is unreasonably dangerous. But her life has changed forever.

``It's so horrid what my family and I have had to go through this last year and a half,'' she says, ``and it's not like there's an end to this. It keeps going on and I don't know where it's going.''

``I don't know if I'm ever going to get better, to feel the same again. I sort of feel like I'm probably not. And some days it's just, I just cry.''

Top of Page

April 9, 1998

New York Times

Study Finds Possible Harm From Higher Dosages of Vitamin C


Those who think that if a little vitamin C is good, more must be better should think again, say a team of British researchers, who found that a supplement of 500 milligrams a day could damage people's genes.

Many Americans take that much, or more, in hopes of preventing colds and reaping the widely celebrated antioxidant benefits of vitamin C. Antioxidants, which block cellular and molecular damage caused by the highly reactive molecules called free radicals, are believed to protect against heart disease, cancer, eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration, and other chronic health problems.

But the British researchers, chemical pathologists at the University of Leicester, found in a six-week study of 30 healthy men and women that a daily 500-milligram supplement of vitamin C had pro-oxidant as well as antioxidant effects on DNA, which houses the genes. The researchers found that at the 500-milligram level, vitamin C promoted genetic damage by free radicals to a part of the DNA, the adenine bases, that had not previously been measured in studies of the vitamin's oxidative properties.

The finding, published in the current issue of the British journal Nature, corroborates warnings that have been issued for decades by an American physician, Dr. Victor Herbert, professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Herbert has shown, primarily through laboratory studies, that vitamin C supplements promote the generation of free radicals from iron in the body.

"The vitamin C in supplements mobilizes harmless ferric iron stored in the body and converts it to harmful ferrous iron, which induces damage to the heart and other organs," Herbert said in an interview.

"Unlike the vitamin C naturally present in foods like orange juice, vitamin C as a supplement is not an antioxidant," Herbert said. "It's a redox agent -- an antioxidant in some circumstances and a pro-oxidant in others."

In contrast, vitamin C naturally present in food, he said, has no oxidizing effects.

Vitamin C supplements in large doses have been linked to genetic damage as far back as the mid-1970s. In a study then, Canadian researchers found that use of the vitamin in doses larger than in the British study, but not much larger than the amounts some people take to ward off colds and the flu, damaged genetic material in three systems: bacterial cells, human cells grown in test tubes, and live mice.

The lead author of the new study, Dr. Ian Podmore, said that at 500 milligrams, vitamin C did act as an antioxidant on one part of the DNA, the guanine bases. Oxidation of guanine to oxoguanine is what is usually measured to determine the degree of DNA damage through oxidation.

As expected, when the volunteers took a daily 500-milligram dose of vitamin C for six weeks, oxoguanine levels indeed declined, "which is why vitamin C is generally thought to be an antioxidant," Podmore said.

But when they measured a second indicator of DNA oxidation, oxoadenine, the researchers found that it had risen rather than declined, "indicating genetic damage to this DNA base," Podmore said.

A colleague, Dr. Joseph Lunec, said that at the 500-milligram level, vitamin Cs "protective effect dominated, but there was also a damaging effect."

"There should be caution about taking too much vitamin C," Lunec said. "The normal healthy individual would not need to take supplements of vitamin C."

In the United States and Britain alike, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for healthy adults is 60 milligrams, which can be easily obtained from foods -- by drinking about six ounces of orange juice, for example. Larger amounts are recommended for smokers and for pregnant and lactating women, but even these amounts can be readily obtained from foods.

Actually, from a macrobiotic perspective, Orange Juice is not the best source of Vitamin C(50mg per 100gms); oranges are too yin and each glass of orange juice is equivalent to about 12 oranges, which is much too extreme. Much better balanced sources of natural Vitamin C are Broccoli (113 mg per 100 gms), Brussel Sprouts (102), Collard Greens(92), Kale (125), Mustard Greens(97), Parsley(172) and Dandelion Greens(90).

Lunec took issue with the late Dr. Linus C. Pauling, the Nobel laureate chemist who took 12,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily and suggested that people could take as much of it as they wanted with no ill effect. (Dr. Linus Pauling died of Prostate Cancer).

"We think that's not the case, to say the least," Lunec said. "You can have too much of a good thing."

The research team is now studying the effects of lower doses of vitamin C, "to see if we can maximize the protective effect and minimize the damage," Lunec said. Given the new finding, he said, "it would be unethical to test higher levels."

Top of Page

Comments or questions can be sent to the address below as I check this address every few weeks. Please mention Alchemycal Pages in the subject line. Thank you. Patricia


The Alchemycal Pages Copyright © Kaare Bursell, 1996-2031.