Paavo Airola - Health Forum - Vegetarian Times - May 1982 Index


Q. I've got some difficult health problems. I used to eat good food until I visited a health food store three years ago. Then I started improving my diet. I ate brown bread before, but now I eat the best kind. I ate potato chips before, but now I eat natural chips. I ate some foods that were refined carbohydrates - macaroni, rice, candy bars - but I cut that out completely. I also changed to raw vegetables. I still cheat, though, by drinking pasteurized milk, eating processed meats, fried food, ice cream or jam. I also added yogurt, herbs and vitamins to my diet. I had two ailments I wanted to get rid of, tinnitus and nervous tension, so I added the following to my diet:

Herbal nerve tablets- up to 28 tablets a day for three years.
Vitamin A and D tablets - 1200 mg. D and 25,000 mg. A a day.
High-potency time-release 100 mg. B-complex tablets - up to 15 tablets a day.
1000 mg. time-release vitamin C - up to 15 tablets; even though it produced diarrhea, I thought this was a temporary side effect. Vitamin E tablets - 400 I.U. , four tablets a day.

I didn't get very satisfactory results, so I added herbs for prevention: ginseng, gentian, capsicum and senna (even though I didn't have constipation) in order to get four bowel movements a day which, carding to Jethro Kloss, is the normal rate of excretion.

I thought I had a good dietary plan. But after three months of kung-fu training, and three weeks of lifting 100 lb. railway ties, and doing spring exercises, and jumping rope for two years straight plus being a laborer all my life, I developed, on top of the other ailments (which showed mild improvement), a new ailment. Fifteen months ago, I developed intestinal gas and I haven 't been able to overcome it with the stomach tonic herbs I 'd been taking. I've been to five doctors totaling ten visits. I've been on fasts totaling a month, with enemas. As a last resort, I had x-rays of the stomach and lower bowel, which showed nothing. All the doctors, including the naturopath, think the condition might be irritable bowel. It seemed to regulate after cutting out the vitamins and herbs. The gas feels and sounds like it is bubbling and gurgling across my whole abdomen, so much so that it gets sore, and even the rectum. I am perplexed! I 'm just 25 years old, but feel like 50. Do you have any advice? Do you think bacteria from a mini-silverator water filter is causing the trouble? Do you think the vitamins caused the problem? Are herbal remedies completely harmless or do you have to use them with discretion. Can aluminum teflon coated pans cause the condition? - B.J., Edmonton, Alberta

A. I am printing this letter because you are a classic example of what self-doctoring and haphazard self-medication, even with vitamins and herbs, can do. You have totally paralyzed your digestive apparatus with the most incredible abuses that I have seen in a long time - and I see things you wouldn't believe. Your case demonstrates the grave danger of indiscriminately taking large doses of vitamins and herbs without a doctor's prescription. Anyone who is not educated and trained in the field of nutrition, vitaminology or herbology (and very few are) should not prescribe for himself, but should seek a nutritionally-knowledgeable doctor and follow his or her advice.

Here are some of the worst abuses that have led to your present condition.

  1. Misuse of herbs. Herbs are medicines. You don't take aspirin to prevent headaches or penicillin to prevent infections; neither should you take herbal medicines to prevent illness. Taking as many as 28 tablets of strong herbal medication a day can paralyze any system. Furthermore, medicinal herbs should not be taken in tablet or capsule form, but in the form of teas, or infusions.

  2. Misuse of B vitamins. After taking 1 1/2 grams each of synthetic B1, B2, B3, B6, pantothenic acid and probably 15m mg. of B12 and biotin daily for 3 years, it is amazing that you are still alive! This is a suicidal dose of potent synthetic B-vitamins. The fact that they are of the time-release type makes them even more dangerous since they are not dissolved until they are each deep in the intestinal tract, irritating its sensitive linings and paralyzing and killing its beneficial intestinal flora. No wonder you cannot digest foods and everything turns into gas! Since the intestinal bacteria are being destroyed by astronomical doses of strong herbs and vitamins, your food cannot be digested properly - it putrefies instead, and causes gas.

  3. Misuse of vitamin C. Taking 15 grams of vitamin C a day will cause diarrhea and disrupt the digestive processes in most people, as it did for you - yet you continued with it for three years!

  4. Misuse of laxatives. As if vitamin C caused diarrhea was not enough, you took enemas, a powerful laxative, only because Jethro Kloss (some authority!) said everyone should have four bowel movements a day!

  5. Improper water filter and cooking utensils. You are adding to your problems by using a questionable water filter and definitely very harmful cooking utensils - teflon-coated aluminum pots - the most dangerous utensils on the market.

  6. Failure to heed your body's signals. Incredibly, you discovered that by cutting out all vitamins and herbs your condition improved, yet you went right back to taking these mammoth doses of pills!

I hope and pray that you will take your tragic example as a learning experience. Thank God that you are still alive. Thousands of people die every year from iatrogenic causes (doctor-caused). I wonder how many die needlessly as the result of indiscriminate use of supposedly harmless alternatives to drugs - vitamins and herbs.

My final words of advice are: immediately stop taking all vitamins, herbs and supplements. Go to a good fasting clinic where you can undertake a long, cleansing juice fast under supervision, allowing your digestive system to rest and become revitalized. Ask your naturopath to recommend a juice fasting clinic. Then start eating lightly and carefully following the fast-breaking rules outlined in my juice fasting book. Gradually adopt an Optimum Diet as recommended in my books. At your age, you should take no synthetic vitamins at all - only minimal preventive doses of mild, 100% natural supplements. If you ever need therapeutic doses of vitamins, find a knowledgeable doctor and let him prescribe them for you. And, get yourself stainless steel or glass cookware!


Q. I am trying to make the transition from supermarket foods to health foods. I realize this cannot be done instantly, but is a gradual process. I have lots of anxiety and depression. I drink certain herbal teas, such as sage leaves and catnip, but I still am very nervous and get upset easily. According to the literature I have read, what you eat affects your whole metabolism.

If you could give me any advice on specific nutritional foods that would help my nervousness, I would appreciate it. - C.A., Palm Springs, California

A. Your body must be fed with all the nutrients it requires in order to function properly. If any part of any body, any organ or gland, is not functioning properly, "the nerves" will be affected. Deficiencies of any nutrient, or any bodily malfunction, such as low blood sugar, for example, will affect nerves. What I am trying to impress upon you is that you don't just feed the nerves - you have to feed and take care of the whole body. Again, the total approach which I stress so persistently in all of my writings.

In addition to the Optimum Diet, and a general health-building mode of living, which must include plenty of physical exercise in fresh air, rest, relaxation and a positive state of mind, the following food supplements are specific in keeping the nervous system working properly:

  1. B-complex vitamins, high potency, especially, B1 , B3, B12, B6, pantothenic acid and choline.
  2. Brewers yeast, tablet or powder.
  3. Minerals: calcium, magnesium and zinc.
  4. The best herbs for irritated nerves are: valeriana, hops, chamomile, catnip, holy thistle, lavender, skullcap and lobelia. Also, avoid coffee, tea and all caffeine. containing beverages, such as colas. Avoid also all sugar and white flour products and all so-called junk foods.

Cure for Arthritis

Q. Would you please send me information on the cure for arthritis? I have arthritis in my hips and legs. I would very much like to find something that would cure it. - Mr. P.B.L., Chicago, Illinois

A. No diet, drug, vitamin or herb can cure arthritis. Arthritis can only be cured by your body's own healing effort. Our bodies are equipped with a most elaborate and extremely effective self-healing mechanism, and given proper conditions and support (in the form of special diet, supplements, exercises, therapeutic baths, fasting, herbs, etc.), the body can correct virtually any disorder and restore health. In other words, you must help your body to cure itself. I wish I had sufficient space to give you the complete program which can assist your body to cure itself of arthritis, but I do not have such space within this column. The program is outlined in detail in my books, How to Get Well and There Is a Cure for Arthritis.

Juice Drinking

Q. How much juice should I drink each day? - Mrs. P.P., Albuquerque, New Mexico

A. Not knowing your age, your general health condition or specific illnesses from which you may suffer, it is very difficult for me to answer your question. It is amazing (and amusing) how many people write to me asking advice and telling me about their various health problems and what has been done for them so far (in length - sometimes 20 pages or more!) but totally omitting their age! You see, if you are beginning to feel the early symptoms of arthritis, it would help me tremendously if I know your age. If you are 82, I might suggest going down on your knees and thanking the good Lord that arthritis didn't set in until now. But if you are 18, I would probably suggest very drastic measures aimed at preventing you from developing this crippling condition so early in your life. This even applies to such a seemingly simple question as to how much juice you should drink. If you are very young, and reasonably healthy, I would say: eat your fruits and vegetables, don't drink them. Those who go all out for natural, whole, unprocessed foods often forget that there is nothing whole or natural about juices. They are fragmented, isolated and very concentrated foods. Gorging indiscriminately on carrot juice, for example (some juice freaks drink as much as 2-4 quarts a day), can cause too much stress on the pancreas, adrenals and liver, and can even contribute to the development of hypoglycemia and diabetes. Many juices are extremely rich in sugars, which can play havoc with your metabolism and have a detrimental effect if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, if you are young, and/or relatively healthy, use juices sparingly - not more than a half glass at a time, and dilute juices 50-50 with water if they are sweet.

Now, having said that, I must add that juices have their rightful place in many therapeutic and fasting programs. For example, I advise juice fasting for practically every metabolic and degenerative illness, recommending as much as 4-6 glasses of various juices a day. Especially for older people, whose digestion, chewing ability and assimilation are not very efficient, juices can be life-saving. Many juices possess therapeutic, medicinal properties. Specific juices should be used for specific conditions.

Hormones and Cancer

Q. In a question and answer period after one of your lectures, you gave advice on enlarging 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? - Ms. P.S., New York, New York

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.

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 seven times as compared to women who don't take hormones.