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

Soft vs. Hard Water

Q. We just bought a new house, which has a built-in water softener. All water supply to the house comes through the water softener. Is it safe to drink such water and use it in cooking? Or is it harmful, just like distilled water is? - B.G., Pasadena, CA.

A. In Britain, the government recently banned artificial water-softening treatments and issued a public warning about the potential health hazards of using soft water. This action came after a study which revealed that soft water areas of the country had about 50% more deaths from heart disease than areas with hard water.

In the United States, several studies have also linked soft water with heart disease deaths. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported in 1971 that the death rate due to heart disease was considerably higher in naturally soft water areas than in naturally hard water areas. Since then, other studies - including one by the National Heart and Lung Institute - have supported the conclusion that soft water is a killer. The Environmental Defense Fund, a consumer organization, recently reported that "It has been conclusively demonstrated that there's a very strong link between soft water and heart disease deaths."

So, my advice is not to use soft water or artificially softened water for drinking or cooking. The natural mineral balance of the water is distorted in the softening process and too much sodium is added, while the beneficial minerals, calcium and magnesium, are removed. Such water is OK for washing clothes, but I would not use it even for bathing, since water minerals are absorbed through the skin during bathing.

Why not buy bottled spring or mineral water (sold in most health food stores) and use it for drinking and cooking?

Dry Skin

Q. I'm writing to you in regard to a niece of mine who is 15 years old. Her mother has passed away, and, while I was helping her, I noticed she had very dry skin. She said she uses hand lotion, but it gives only temporary relief. For most of her life, she has had dry, itchy, flaky skin. She notices that it is more severe in the winter months and will improve somewhat during the spring and summer months. Sometimes she also experiences cracks in the skin. Other than this, she seems to be in good health, and does well in her studies at school. I would appreciate it if you could advise me as to what vitamins and minerals she could take, and the amounts. - Mrs. S.C., Bowlus, Minn.

A. Dry, itchy, flaky skin, especially during the winter months, has made many dermatologists rich. You see, in almost 90% of the cases, the cause is simply over-dryness of the skin due to our hot air heating systems combined with excessive bathing and using strong detergent-based soaps and shampoos. The effective remedy for such conditions is:

  1. Avoid excessive bathing and too hot water in the bath or shower. Take baths not more often than once a week and shower with tepid water when needed, using soap only on private parts and under arms.
  2. Use mild soap such as Tone, or those sold in health food stores.
  3. As a final rinse after a bath or shower, use vinegar water - 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to one quart of water.
  4. Morning and evening, apply generously Nivea cream all over the body. Or use some of the natural skin creams, preferably those with vitamin E and aloe. vera, which are sold in health food stores. My Formula F-Plus - which you can blend yourself from commonly available oils - can also be used two or three times a week.
  5. Before applying cream or oil, give yourself a dry brush massage over the whole body. It will stimulate the oil glands of your skin and help to keep your body moist (for brushing directions, as well as for F-Plus Formula, see my book, How To Get Well).
  6. In the winter months, if your house is heated by a hot air system, use a humidifier to modify the excessive dryness of the air.
  7. Spend as much time outside as possible - walking, jogging, playing tennis, skiing, riding bicycle - whatever.
  8. Eat the Optimum Diet, adding at least 1 tbsp. olive oil in the form of dressing on a salad, and take all the vitamins daily, especially vitamins A (25,000 LU.) and E (200 LU. for your 15-year-old niece, but more for older persons).
As I said, 90% of dry, itchy skin will be remedied by these simple, do-it-yourself measures. There are, of course, infectious and other pathological skin conditions that are not caused by simple dryness, like those caused by parasites and fungi; by liver, gallbladder or kidney malfunctions; mental stresses; and nutritional imbalances. These conditions must be diagnosed by a doctor and treated accordingly, usually by a special medication, nutritional approaches and supplementation, and by elimination of underlying causes. However, before you spend a fortune on dermatologists and expensive tests, try the above anti-dry-skin program and see if your case is among the vast majority for which this do-it-yourself approach will supply effective relief.


Q. I have a problem - retaining water, or bloating. I take birth control pills and eat very little salt. Every time I drink a protein supplement or if I do a shoulder stand very long or lie on a slant board very long - the next day I am bloated in my legs and hips and stomach and my jeans are so tight that I am very uncomfortable. I don't like to take diuretics and would like to know what is causing this. I am 22 years old and don't think that I am getting an adequate supply of protein daily, but when I take one of those protein drinks, I bloat. - M.K., Lincoln, IL

A. I can suspect three reasons for your bloating:

  1. Birth control pills. Bloating is one of the side effects of birth control pills.
  2. Weakened kidneys.
  3. The combined stress of both above-mentioned factors on your heart, kidneys, and circulation mechanism.
To test the correctness of my assumption, you might wish to stop taking the extra protein and the Pill for a couple of months and see what happens. If you must, use contraceptives other than the Pill. (See my article on Birth Control in the June issue of Let's LIVE.)

Skin Cancers

Dear Dr. Airola, I would like to pass along my experiences with castor oil and vitamin E for skin cancers. For the ones that look like whiteheads, rub in castor oil nightly. Eventually they disappear. For the reddish, scaly ones, rub in vitamin E daily. I enjoy your wonderful column, and I hope that this information will be of help to your readers. - O.M.K., San Diego, CA.

Vaccinating Children

Q. I have read much on the dangers of vaccination, and having a three month-old baby, am now undecided as to what to do. I would very much like to know your opinion on this subject. My family is following the diet suggested in your books. - Mrs. B.G., Regina, Canada

A. I am, generally speaking, very much against any kind of vaccinations, especially for young babies. The danger of possible complications and harm from the vaccinations outweighs by far, any real or imagined benefits. I myself have raised five healthy children, and none of them has ever had any vaccinations. Dozens of children die each year, and thousands are severely harmed and crippled for life, as a direct result of vaccinations.

Swollen Glands

Q. My glands around my ears, throat, and back of neck swell quite regularly. Doctors usually prescribe penicillin, which I think only worsens the problem. I have had this trouble for as long as I can remember. I am 26. I have frequent colds and sore throats along with a stiff neck. I am a vegetarian, I eat well, and take supplements. What can I do? -Mrs. G.W., Sardis, B.C., Canada

A. In addition to the above, your long letter also stated that you have had pneumonia twice, pleurisy, infectious mononucleosis, and in each case you were treated with lots of penicillin and other antibiotic drugs. You also have had a tonsillectomy.

It seems that your level of resistance is very low, no doubt lowered by huge amounts of drugs. Antibiotics do exert a great stress on the body and damage the glands. The fact that your lymphatic glands are always swollen and that you are run down and tired, indicates that you are extremely toxic, possibly because of chronic infections. Swollen glands indicate that your body is working hard to fight the infection and detoxify the body. Your kidneys may also be damaged due to mononucleosis and many antibiotic treatments.

I would suggest that you embark on an extensive health-building and resistance-increasing program that includes the Optimum Diet, plenty of rest and relaxation, exercises and walks in fresh air, possibly two to three weeks of juice fasting, and large doses of all the major vitamins and supplements as outlined in How To Get Well (available at health food stores). Take at least 50,000 I.U. of vitamin A, 2,000 I.U. of D, 400 I.U. of E, 3,000 mg. of C, and lots of brewer's yeast - two to three tablespoons a day. For a period of at least two months, take also a high-potency B complex vitamin. But, remember, sufficient rest, good sleep, relaxation, positive mental attitude, plenty of exercise, and walking would be perhaps even more important than vitamins and good nutrition.