Paavo Airola - Nutrition Forum - Let's Live - July 1976 Index

Bran Fad

Q. A great deal has been said recently about the importance of bran in the diet. But, I have been told by two persons, whose opinions I value highly, that it is very harmful. Their reasons were that it becomes rancid rapidly, like wheat germ, and that it is likely to have a high concentration of insecticides. I would greatly appreciate your opinion on the subject. Mrs. V.R., Rosemead, CA

A. A very timely question indeed. Everyone is suddenly gorging on bran and, as with every new fad, overdoing it! Adding bran to the diet can be beneficial, but only if it is done right. I have heard several complaints from those who took bran for constipation, saying that their constipation got worse. And, it will, if bran is taken in a dry form by sprinkling it on other foods. If taken dry, bran will soak up so much moisture in the intestines, that it will actually contribute to constipation instead of relieving it. I disagree with your "experts" on rancidity of bran. Although the fat content of pure bran varies, generally it is so minimal that the risk of rancidity is negligible certainly not at all comparable to the rancidity danger of wheat germ, which has a very high fat content. As you understand, it is only the fat that is subject to rancidity. As far as the concentration of insecticides is concerned, this can be a danger. We must aim at a supply of bran from organically grown wheat, and I hope that the health food stores will soon be able to obtain such quality of bran.

Here are a few points on using bran correctly:

  1. Bran should be used as a dietary addition only if you suffer from constipation, chronic bowel sluggishness and/or diverticulitis. If your bowel movements are normal, and if you eat my high-residue Optimum Diet with emphasis on whole grains, vegetables and fruits, you won't need bran.
  2. If you do take bran, soak one tablespoonful of raw bran in a glass of water overnight, and drink it in the morning, after first warming the mixture to body temperature. You may take another glass in the evening if you wish. If your problem is constipation, you should add one tablespoon of whole flax-seed and soak overnight together with bran.
  3. Bran is almost 100% undigestible cellulose. Consequently, it will not add calories to your diet and can be safely consumed by those who are overweight. In fact, some enterprising bakeries already are making breads with a high content of bran, and claiming that it has 25% less calories than regular whole-grain bread without extra bran.
  4. Bran is an excellent supplement for those who eat a typical American low-residue diet of constipating foods: white bread, sugar, prepackaged cereals, TV dinners, canned, processed, and refined junk foods, and an excess of animal proteins.
Bran is also a good biological remedy for the conditions mentioned in point #1. But if you are healthy, have normal BMs, and your diet is devoid of refined, processed foods and contains an abundance of roughage in the form of whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh and cooked fruits and vegetables, you can safely ignore the present bran fad.

Calcium Orotate and Sea Salt

Q. You wrote once about calcium orotate. Is that available now? If so, where?

I have been told there is a difference between natural sea salt and that which one buys in a health food store. In fact, I have seen and tasted salt which was said to have come more directly from the sea. It was rough and chunky, dark, and had a different flavor than the white crystals we're all so used to tasting and seeing. I would like more information on this and where I might purchase some. - R.T., Roswell, N.M.

A. Calcium orotate is now available from most health food stores. If yours doesn't have it, ask them to order it for you, or check Let's LIVE magazine for advertisements, and order directly from the manufacturer.

There is a big difference between the regular white sea salt and the whole sea salt, which, as you said, is darker and of different flavor. Most sea salt producers evaporate sea water only long enough for sodium chloride to settle; such sea salt will be almost pure sodium chloride and white in appearance, since the other sea minerals will be left in the remaining water. The whole sea salt, produced by evaporating sea water completely, contains all the minerals and trace elements of the sea water, in addition to sodium chloride. Ask your health food store for whole sea salt. I don't know if there are any American manufacturers, but I know that there is available an imported whole sea salt product from France.

Hormones and Cancer

Q. In the January, 1976 issue of Let's LIVE, a reader asked your advice on developing small breasts. Among other suggestions, you mentioned a doctor having remarkable success with a pituitary hormone and also some doctors administering female hormones. Years ago, I heard that pituitary hormone therapy can lead to cancer, and just recently there is a great deal of talk of estrogen therapy causing cancer. I marvel at your extensive knowledge and also respect your integrity very much, and so would like your opinion: could this kind of therapy lead to cancer? Mrs. R.D., Brooklyn, N.Y.

A. Since you didn't ask for irrefutable scientific evidence, only for my opinion, the answer is: yes! It seems, any tampering with the endocrine gland system and the body's own hormonal levels may lead to an array of mental and physical disorders, including the increased risk of developing cancer. I am not familiar with research that links pituitary hormone therapy with cancer, but there is now ample evidence through several reliable studies in many countries that estrogen therapy, whether it is in the form of birth control pills, or post surgical and menopausal estrogen-replacement therapy with Premarin or similar drugs, increases dramatically the risk of developing cancer up to 7 times as compared to women who don't take hormones.

Nocturnal Micturition

Q. How To Get Well appears to be comprehensive, except for one omission, which would, with my luck, be my immediate problem: multiple nocturnal micturating, which is of recent origin. I shall be grateful for your help. E.H.H., Los Angeles, CA.

A. "Multiple nocturnal micturition" is, translated to plain English, a frequent getting-up at night to urinate. This is one of the most conspicuous symptoms of prostate disorder - infection, enlargement, congestion, tumor, etc. It could also be caused by bladder infection or dysfunction. Both prostate and bladder disorders are, by the way, covered in How To Get Well, with complete natural, biological, and nutritional treatments outlined for both conditions. Not knowing your age, or your health stature in other respects, it would be unwise to suggest any definite treatment. You see, if you are 85, you would be among 95% of all males of this age in this country that have similar symptoms. And, in spite of inconvenience, the condition could be considered rather normal and harmless. On the other hand, if you are 30, a sudden onset of "multiple nocturnal micturition" could possibly be symptomatic of a very serious condition, and should be immediately diagnosed by a doctor and treated accordingly. Can you see now why I must know the age of the person before I can give any useful advice?

Can't Read Test Reports

Q. I have had many urine and blood tests through the years, and have been told they are okay, but even if they give me the reports, I can't read them. I am wondering, why don't they make the reports so that everyone can read and understand them, which would then help us to better understand our own condition. A.B., Minneapolis, Minn.

A. Test reports are made for doctors who have completed long and extensive studies (6-8 years) which enable them to understand the significance and complexities of the many factors and variables involved in such tests. Even if they were written in more understandable terms, it would be not only impossible, but also dangerous for a layman to draw his own conclusions and make a diagnosis on the basis of his limited knowledge and understanding of the various complex medical diagnostic tools of which blood studies and urinalysis are examples.

Coffee and Tea

Q. What is the danger of coffee? What part or parts of the body are affected? I usually have a cup of coffee once or twice a day. We do not use it at home, but only when we go out. What about tea? - A.J., Don Mills, Ontario, Can.

A. Caffeine in coffee stimulates the heart, brain, and nervous system. The main danger is that by counteracting natural sleepiness and tiredness, it acts as a whip that makes a tired horse run it enables the tired body to function when it actually should be resting, thus contributing to a stress debit for which you must pay sooner or later in the form of stress-caused pathological conditions of some sort like heart disease, or nervous exhaustion. In addition, caffeine has been implicated by Canadian researcher, Dr. Meera Jain (reported in the Journal of Canadian Medical Association, November 16, 1974) as a possible cause of bladder cancer. Also Lancet, a very respectable British medical journal, reported that excessive coffee drinking is definitely responsible for a large percentage (25% in men and 50% in women) of all bladder cancer cases. Caffeine in cola drinks is just as harmful as that in coffee.

Tea contains caffeine, too, although in somewhat lesser amounts, so the above applies also to tea. In addition, tea contains an excessive amount of tannin, which has been linked to the increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus by a recent study under grants from the National Cancer Institute.

Enlarged Prostate

Q. I am a 64 year old male, and I have to urinate about every two or three hours, with dribbling afterwards. Is this prostate trouble, and, if so, what do you recommend for this condition? R.C., Spring Valley, Ill.

A. Yes, it appears that your symptoms are typical of prostate enlargement. It is estimated that over one half of all American males of your age have a prostate problem, usually an enlargement. There are many causes for this, including certain potentially harmful sexual habits such as unduly prolonged abstinence from sex, suppression of approaching ejaculation, etc. But nutritional deficiencies are often the primary contributing causes of prostate disorders, especially the deficiencies of zinc and essential fatty acids (as in vegetable oils). Lots of walking is extremely beneficial, as well as the practice of "sexual regularity". Avoid coffee, alcohol, and all strong spices. Eat plenty of raw vegetables and fruits, plus sesame seed oil and pumpkin seeds. Pollen, as well as lecithin and vitamins E and B6, are also very beneficial. In my book, How To Get Well, (available at health food stores), I have a complete section on prostate problems, including diet, all the supplements, specific corrective exercises, and the excellent additional sources of referential reading on prostate problems, by such well known authors as John Tobe, J.I. Rodale, Harald J. Taub, and Herbert Kenyon.

Drinking Water

Q. I read that distilled water is not good for you unless sea water is added to it. Where do we get this sea water? Our water comes from a lake and has so many chemicals and fluorides in it that it tastes like medicine, so we can't drink it any more. Would it help to take mineral tablets? Mrs. T. J. , Mitchell, S.Dak.

A. Supermarkets and health food stores in most cities now sell bottled drinking well or spring water, as well as distilled water. Obviously, when the local water supply is as bad as yours, you cannot drink tap water. I recommend using spring or well water, the harder the better. But, if you must drink distilled water, you will be wise to add minerals to it, to make it as natural as possible. Again, most health food stores now sell bottled sea water or sea water concentrates. You may add two tablespoonfuls of plain sea water, or one to two teaspoonfuls of concentrate to a gallon of distilled water. There is also on the market concentrated bottled water from Salt Lake, Utah, which can be used as a mineral supplement, or as an addition to distilled water. Taking mineral tablets while using distilled water will also help to counteract a possible demineralizing effect on the body.