Paavo Airola - Health Forum - Vegetarian Times - September 1981 Index

Toxic Shock, Tampons and Alternatives

Q. Now what? I am 22, unmarried, I work in an office, and have been using tampons lately. (Rely brand, of all things!) since I was fourteen. Now with all this toxic shock syndrome scam what should I do? Are some brands of tampons safer than others? Must I use sanitary napkins? How gross! I wouldn't be able to wear most of my clothes. Aren't there some less bothersome alternatives? I've heard about natural sea sponges - in fact, some of my friends are using them. What do you think about sea sponges. Are they safe and harmless? - Ms. L.S.J., Phoenix, Arizona.

A. First, Rely tampons are not the only brand associated with TSS (toxic shock syndrome). All tampons are dangerous, although Rely, being the most absorbent of them all, has been responsible for more cases than others. Toxic shock syndrome is caused by a toxin produced by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These bacteria are naturally present in the vagina of a large percentage of women. Tampons effectively block the natural flow of blood and other secretions during menstruation and create an ideal condition for staph and other bacteria to grow and multiply. The toxins produced by bacteria enter the system through the micro-ulcerations (breaks) in the walls of the vagina caused by plastic inserters and also by the chemicals and plastic materials in tampons. Inflamed and ulcerated mucous membranes of the vagina and cervix allow toxins to get into the bloodstream and poison the whole body. The symptoms include high fever (102 or higher). vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, sore throat, rapid drop in blood pressure and shock. Approximately 10-15% of the cases result in death.

To answer your questions:

  1. All tampons are dangerous, because all interfere with the natural menstrual flow. Almost 30% of those who died from TSS used brands other than Rely.

  2. Use sanitary napkins or mini pads, even if that would require wearing clothes that would conceal them.

  3. Sea sponges may be just as harmful as tampons. They also prevent the natural menstrual flow and can potentiate bacterial growth. Also, they are not sterile, may contain sand, grit, fungi, bacteria and other harmful substances. Tests conducted by the Iowa State Hygiene Laboratory found that sea sponges, distributed by a local women's health clinic, contained, in addition to pathogenic bacteria, hydrocarbons, nicotine and other chemicals and impurities, apparently absorbed by the sponges from their often-polluted ocean environment.

  4. Finally, if, in spite of all I said above you still insist on using tampons, use brands that contain only cotton and rayon. Change them a minimum of 2 or 3 times during the day, and completely remove them for the night, replacing with sanitary napkins.

Loss of Taste and Smell

Q. My problem is: the loss of taste and smell, which seems to be increasing as I get older. I eat a good diet, take all kinds of supplements, but I don 't see any improvement. Can you help me? - Mrs. P.S.. Niagara Falls. New York

A. One of the common contributing causes of the loss of taste and smell is a chronic sinus condition. Allergies are also often involved. You must avoid all allergens and all foods you suspect you might be allergic to. Avoid all synthetic cosmetics and household chemicals. Many of my patients who have fasted on juices for two weeks or longer, reported that their sense of smell and taste improved dramatically. Juice fasting is also an excellent therapy for a chronic sinus condition. An optimum diet, with emphasis on raw foods is essential, along with the usual vitamin and mineral supplements. The supplements that are directly involved with the sense of smell and taste are vitamin A and zinc. You should try 50 mg. of zinc, and 50,000 units of vitamin A daily for a period of three months - then reduce to a half dose.

Yogurt: A Health Food?

Q. Most health food authorities claim that yogurt is superior to regular milk. Yet, some authorities say that pasteurization of milk destroys some nutritive value, and makes both calcium and proteins in milk less digestible. To make yogurt you must heat milk to boiling temperature. Wouldn't this ruin proteins and most everything else? Wouldn't it be better to drink certified raw milk, or at least soured milks that do not require boiling, such as kefir, for example? - Mr. R.J.K.. Salt Lake City. Utah

A. You are absolutely right in stating a that pasteurization or heating milk to a high temperature makes its protein and calcium less assimilable. In spite of this, yogurt can still be considered a very healthy food, mostly because of the beneficial lactic acid it contains, and because of its favorable influence on the bacterial flora of your intestines. It is also an anti-constipating food which cannot be said about fresh raw milk.

There are many kinds of soured milks. Almost every milk-drinking country has its own favorite - in Bulgaria it is yogurt; in Finland, piima; in Sweden, long mjolk or filmjolk; in Russia, kumis and kefir; in America, clabbered milk or buttermilk; and so on. All of these milks, although soured by different methods - some using herbs, some bacterial cultures, some yeast plants - have approximately the same nutritive value, mainly by virtue of being lactic acid foods and "predigested" foods. My own favorites are kefir and piima.

I agree with you that it would make more sense to choose the kind of soured milk that does not require heating, such as kefir, clabbered milk, etc. Kefir is made by using special kefir grains (which never need to be replaced, but can be used indefinitely) and their "souring" capacity is so great that even regular pasteurized milk can be used, although using raw milk even for making soured milks is preferable.

X-Ray Damage

Q. I am a 30-year old woman. About a year and a half ago I had x-rays of my entire body, including brain and liver scans for a diagnostic work-up. After the x-rays I was given the usual iodine preparation to "draw-up" some of the radioactive material.

About a year before this time I had kidney and stomach x-rays, dental x-rays, plus several chest x-rays.

I am concerned about over-radiation. Should I include anything extra in my diet? I take a multiple vitamin, B-complex, C, cod liver oil, brewer's yeast, pantothenic acid, and E. Is radiation stored in the bones? Can a person rid herself of radiation through fasting? I am normal weight and plan on fasting according to your book. I have heard about Bentonite. Does it draw radiation from the body? Should I take that while fasting or at any other time? Is watching color TV harmful? I am feeling good, but I am worried about the effects of all the x-rays. Can I rid my body of the radiation if it has collected in my body? - Mrs. K.B., Battle Creek, Michigan

A. X-rays are still over-used and abused by doctors, hospitals, dentists and chiropractors, in spite of clear evidence that all radiation is harmful. X-rays are cumulative so that even small amounts, such as those emitted by a color TV or an alarm clock can be dangerous as they add to the total amount received from all sources. Overexposure can cause leukemia, cancer, birth defects and a later development of leukemia in a child born of a mother who received abdominal x-rays during pregnancy.

Actually, repeated exposure to "small" doses of radiation is even more harmful that one excessive exposure. One of the most respected authorities on radiation, Dr. Ernest Sternglass, professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says, "Scientific studies now show that radiation is worse - much worse - when small amounts are administered over a period of time! It is 100 to 1,000 times more destructive than we thought. And when a body is assaulted not only by this low radiation, but by chemical pollutants as well, the destructive power of radiation is magnified even more."

Fortunately. there are many things you can do nutritionally to protect yourself against the harmful effects of x-rays, both when exposure is anticipated, and even after the exposure has occurred.
Kelp and algin, or sodium alginate (can be used as a thickening agent in cooking) have a protective effect, especially against radioactive substances such as strontium 90 and radioactive iodine 131.
Lecithin granules, 2-3 tsp. a day, helps to counteract the effects of radiation.
Bioflavonoids, lemon or lemon peel concentrate. Hospital studies show that patients can withstand heavier therapeutic radiation without damage to healthy tissues, if they are given these compounds.
Rutin strengthens the capillary walls and reduces hemorrhages caused by x-rays. Protective dose: 200-300 mg. daily. In case of severe exposure, 800-1000 mg. daily.
Vitamin C, inositol, and pantothenic acid act as good protectors before exposure, and also help to undo damage after exposure to x-rays.
Brewer's yeast has been shown to provide definite protection against lethal doses of radiation.
Vitamin F (essential fatty acids) provides protection against the harmful effect of x-rays.
Finally, superoxide dismutaste (SOD), an enzyme produced in the body (which can also be taken in tablet form) can significantly diminish the toxic effects of radiation as reported by Dr. A. Michelson.

All of the above-mentioned substances, including SOD, can be bought at health food stores. Use them in addition to the Optimum Diet. Bentonite can also be used, and it is claimed by some to have a protective effect. Fasting is an effective therapy in the treatment of many ailments, but I don't think it can help very much to undo the damage caused by x-rays. However, it may help to get rid of the accumulated radioactive substances, such as strontium 90.

My advice regarding x-rays is: avoid them!! Don't agree to medical or dental x-rays unless they are absolutely needed. In the estimate of many radiation experts, only 5-10% of all medical and dental x-rays given today are actually necessary! This is especially true in regard to dental x-rays. where they are hardly needed at all, but are over-used and abused. Dr. Wilhelm Hueper, famous head of the Environmental Cancer Section of the National Cancer Institute, says that our rising number of cancer deaths is at least partly due to the increasing exposure of the American public to radiation. "X-rays are especially dangerous!" warns Dr. Hueper.