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

B12, Herbs & Teeth

Q. Your report in the February, 1982 issue of Vegetarian Times about B12 in non-meat sources is quite surprising. Sure, I knew meat, dairy products and spirulina have B12. The other non-meat foods were not only new to me, but also to a nutritionist I talked to who studied under you.

While I 'm not trying to impugn these new foods, I would appreciate knowing how you know these foods have B12. If there are sources (literature) that spell these facts out, I would certainly like to know of them. I think a lot of your readers would too.

And while I've got your eye, a question. Can herb teas cause deterioration of the teeth, perhaps from some acids that may be in them? Or can herb teas encourage remineralization of teeth with caries? - B.M., Seattle, Washington

A. If the information that there are numerous all-vegetarian sources of B12, however low, is "quite surprising and new" to you, it indicates that you are still under the spell of the high-animal-protein myth, to which this country has been subjected for the last two or three decades. What is surprising to me is that this information was also new to a nutritionist who allegedly studied "under me." This only shows the extent to which we have all been brainwashed by the slanted research, paid for by the meat and dairy industries, which alleges that foods from animal sources are the only sources of B12.

You would like to know "how I know" that the vegetarian foods which are listed as containing "relatively low amounts" of B12 do, in fact, contain B12. There are hundreds of volumes of various scientific sources of information that I have encountered in my 40 years of research on this subject, which, of course, I cannot even begin to list in the limited space of this column. There are some areas in the very complex science and art of nutrition in which health readers must take the word of a nutrition authority whom they have learned to trust, unless they want to pursue their own extensive, perhaps lifelong, research and find all the original data for themselves. This column is packed with helpful advice and hints which can be used by readers to help them optimize their health. For example, in the same issue that my B12 information appeared, I also gave information that surprised many: potatoes are almost as good a source of vitamin C as oranges; vitamin C increases production of interferon (a current medical miracle) in the body; the Pill causes cancer; improper food mixing can cause diabetes, etc. If I would have listed all the scientific sources and references in support of the above-mentioned statements, I would have needed a column the size of the whole magazine! I feel that most readers of self-help-oriented magazines do not want to be burdened by such voluminous material filled with incomprehensible data and scientific jargon. A few, such as yourself, who are so oriented, should do their own research or read specialized scientific magazines and papers, where such references can be found. Some of the sources I can recommend are The Journal of the American Medical Association; Lancet; publications and reports by The Max Planck Institute in Germany; writings by Dr. Ralph Bircher of Switzerland; publications by the International Society for Research on Civilization Diseases and Environment; publications of Vegetarian Information Sources, Washington, D.C.; publications by W.H.O. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on nutritional composition of foods.

Finally, your last question: "Can herb teas cause deterioration of teeth from some acids that may be in them?" Yes, although occasional use of herb teas will not have any adverse effects, an excessive daily use of certain strong herb teas, especially those containing large quantities of tannic acids, can cause mineral loss from the teeth and possibly contribute to dental carries. Tannic acid requires lots of calcium for its neutralization, which can lead to a calcium deficiency in the body - a possible contributing cause not only to dental problems. but also to osteoporosis. Tannic acid is also a proven carcinogen. This is the reason why I, although a great believer in herbs as medicines, always advise to use herbs with discrimination. Herbal medicines, in the form of herb teas, should only be used for a short duration (as all medicines or drugs) for the treatment of specific conditions of ill health, never for prevention of disease. You take aspirin to cure a headache; you never take it to prevent a headache. Neither should you take herbs to prevent disease; you use them to cure disease when disease is already manifested.

Aren't there some mild herbs that could be used as a tasty beverage to replace coffee and regular tea? Yes, some herbs can be used for this purpose:

The mild herbs most suitable for general, non-medicinal beverage purposes are: rosehips, catnip, lemon balm, lemon grass, alfalfa, chamomile, eucalyptus leaves, raspberry leaves, Spearmint, dandelion and nettle leaves. To achieve desirable flavor, you may combine several herbs. To make herb tea: boil the water, remove the pot from heat, add 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs per cup of water and let steep for 1-3 minutes. Strain, add milk, sweeten with honey if desired and enjoy.

(Note: Herb teas prepared for therapeutic purpose should be steeped for at least 15 minutes and consumed without milk.)

Bee Pollen

Q. I am very much a believer in what you teach, and wish to thank you for sharing your knowledge with so many. I have read some of your books, but cannot recall any mention of bee pollen. I would like to know if you recommend it as part of anyone's diet. What advantages does it possess, if any, and how much should a person take? - P.M., Chatsworth, California

A. Bee pollen is mentioned in many of of my books, especially in Health Secrets from Europe, Rejuvenation Secrets from Around the World that "Work" and Everywoman's Book. I consider bee pollen to be a very important food supplement with demonstrated health-promoting and age-retarding properties. Pollen contains all the water-soluble vitamins, including B12 which is available only in minute quantities of other vegetable foods, as well as many important minerals and trace elements, plus natural steriod-like hormones and a gonadotropic hormone, a plant hormone that is similar to the pituitary hormone, gonadotropin, which stimulates the sex glands. Pollen is an excellent anti-stress food. I recommend 1-3 tablespoons of pollen granules a day for adults and perhaps 1 teaspoon for children under 14.


Q. In your book, How to Get Well, page 164, you gave a remedy for vitiligo: PABA, pantothenic acid and hydrochloric acid. Can you tell me whether these three items are in their natural forms; also whether they are available in a formula already mixed. If so, please send information as to where it can be purchased. J.L.B., Los Angeles, California

A. In the quantities that I recommend these three substances for the treatment of vitiligo, you cannot find them in "natural" form. They must be in so-called synthetic form. I don't know of a product that has all three combined. But individually, they are all sold in most health food. stores. In addition to the above-mentioned three substances, you should take 2-3 tablespoons of brewer's yeast daily. Also, keep in mind that it may take many months (like 6-12) before visible improvement or the total disappearance of symptoms can be observed.

Best Time to Fast

Q. We were talking about fasting one day and a friend mentioned that fasting during the winter would be ill-advised for those who live in the "frost belt" states. Is this true? If so, when is the best time during the year to fast, spring, summer, or fall? - D.G., East Orange, New Jersey

A. By far the best time to fast, if you live in a cold climate, is the spring. Fasting is a process of cleansing, renewal, rejuvenation, rebirth, if you wish. It fits best into the spirit and the mood of spring. Also, warm weather is conducive to fasting and makes it easier to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine as well as outdoor walking, all of which can facilitate the cleansing and rejuvenation processes.

Vitamin C - Cholesterol Relationship

Q. I have read some studies that show that large quantities of vitamin C increase serum cholesterol. I am worried, since I have always had elevated cholesterol and lately have been taking lots of vitamin C, which some writers say is supposed to lower cholesterol. Since I admire your knowledge and wisdom tremendously and have benefited from your writings enormously, would you kindly enlighten me on this very confusing issue? - P.O., Tucson, Arizona

A. The vitamin C - cholesterol issue does appear to be confusing, but there is a very simple explanation to it. Vitamin C helps to dissolve cholesterol deposits from the insides of the arteries and veins. Since dissolved cholesterol will temporarily travel through the bloodstream before it is broken down, the short-range effect of taking vitamin C is the rise of serum (blood) cholesterol levels, as some British studies have demonstrated. But, eventually, as vitamin C intake is continued and given time to do its work, the cholesterol is gradually metabolized by the body and the long-range effect will be lowered cholesterol levels, both in serum and arterial walls.