Monday, March 28, 2005

Self Care Archive

Whole Health MD, bills itself as a leader in Complimentary and Alternative self care education. It is. A key issue for self care practitioners is the need to obtain pertinent verifiable information, quickly. The Whole Health reference library meets that challenge. It is easy to use. It provides comprehensive, clearly presented, extensively researched analysis of diseases, treatments and expected results for those seeking options in managing their own care.

Friday, March 25, 2005

In "Oh Canada " Mathew Holt presents an authentic, detailed, and extensive( it's a long read) analysis, about US and Canadian medical care systems.

It dispels perceived myths, creates perspective, and provides context for the issues and beliefs, surrounding the systems that deliver medical care on both sides of the border.

Medical care systems are not immune from the economic integration process already engaged. It is logical they will be become part of the trend. In that milieu, separating fact, fiction, hypobole, and rhetoric will be a benefit to your health.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Vitamin E - Efficacy- Historical Record- Last Post... For now

Here are two historical perspectives on the value of Vitamin E to our health.

VITAMIN E: A CURE IN SEARCH OF RECOGNITION, by Dr Andrew Saul is a major historical presentation of the trails, tribulations, and the Canadian connection to determining the effectiveness of vitamin E. In compelling detail, Dr Saul lays out why it does what it does. More importantly, he proves it.

In Antioxidant Vitamins Prevent Heart Disease: Verification from the American Heart Association, Richard Passwater is equally evocactive.

There is no doubt about Vitamin E efficacy.

Vitamin E- More of The Rest of the Story

Heart disease is primary cause of death in US. In "Vitamin E Safe- Effective- and Heart Healthy", Chris Gupta says:

"If all Americans daily supplemented with a good multivitamin-multimineral, plus extra vitamins
C and E, it could save thousands of lives a month."

His commentary is vociferous. There is absolutely no doubt where he stands on the issue of supplementation.

"Instead of regulating toxic and dangerous drugs
we have our regulatory bodies chasing innocuous
nutrients so their pharma buddies can continue
making obscene profit from sickness and death!"

Once you get past the vitriol, there is a body of pertinent well researched evidence to support his claims.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bill C-420 - Why Care

Here's two reason why Bill C-420 is important to you. We are aggressively, in steadily increasing numbers marching down the preventative self-care path. Bill C420 provides a critical option for those Canadians who have decided self-care is a key health care strategy. It also creates a modicum of competition for the drug companies.

When passed, Bill C-420 will re classify supplements, herbs vitamins and minerals as food, as opposed to their current listing as drugs. A key side effect of the legislation is to maintain current dosages. If it is not passed, proposed dosage restrictions will severely impair the efficacy of many common supplements.

Vitamin E ... The Rest of the Story

... Yes I do like that quote from Broadcaster Paul Harvey. A couple of weeks back there was a great hue and cry in mainstream media about a Vitamin E study. The hue was Vitamin E was not a panacea for preventing heart disease. The cry was Vitamin E is not as useful as 'we' think.

We said the reported results were incomplete. They were. Here's a resource you want to consult to help you sort out the facts, when it comes to medical research studies.

Bill C-420 -- What is it Anyway

Bill C-420 is a private member's bill, drafted as a response to a 'directive ' issued by Health Canada, in January 2004. The directive was an aggressive unilateral action to classify all supplements and herbs as drugs. It was 'deemed' necessary to protect Canadians from purported un-substantiated medicinal claims made by food based products.

Health Canada's intention with the directive is to keep Canadians safe, an important, but narrowly focused public health policy. Simultaneously, the directive is detrimental to our health. Restricting access in the self-care genre is not a strategy to keep Canadians well. It exacerbates the current crisis in the Canadian medical care system. A system paralyzed by systemic service rationing, and high drug costs.

Self care is preventive. It keeps people out of the medical system, shortens waiting lists, and by doing so, lowers costs in the medical system. That's one of many reasons why Bill C-420 is important to your health.

The bill is in committee for final drafting. Three readings are required to pass a new law, in Canada. If approved without amendments, Bill C-420 will re-classify supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbs as food. It will reinstate a critical self care option.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Imagine Radio -- No Screaming -

Check out World Talk Radio . Here's the internet at its best delivering on demand information that you are not likely to get from your local station. The program schedule is an eclectic array of pertinent, personal, practical information, including several self health themes .

Most importantly they are delivered in a intelligent, rational style, with a low decibel level, a welcome reprieve from main steam talk radio. Radio you can program yourself.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Here Comes the Sun...

...Hopefully very soon, for those of us living in the northern half the continent, as the dregs of a dreary winter linger too long.

As we head outdoors, come warnings about over exposure to the sun. The key issue is full spectrum protection. Protection from difference spectrums of sun light- UVC, UVB, UVA .

Current products to do a pretty good job of protection against skin burns, from radiation in the UVB spectrum. Consumers need to know that Sun Prevention Factor numbers or SPF, the numbers commonly found on product labels, ranging from 4- 40, are not a very good barometer of full spectrum protection.

The key ingredients to look for in full spectrum UVA protection are avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789), Mexoryl SX, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. There is on going research into the efficacy, or effectiveness of the ingredients.

There is also some dispute about the immune depressing factors of sunlight. As we move into spring and summer, there is a consistent public health advisory, to stay out of the sun between peaks hours, 10 Am-4PM. Such admonition pretty much precludes getting outside at all, if taken literally. And there is another school of thought, with a much more different perspective, exposure to sun light is crucial to the body's production of vitamin D

As Paul Harvey says ... Now the rest of the story... In a series of posts we'll cast a ray intending to gleam a "sun strategy"!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Evidence in the Numbers

Statistics Canada says Canadians are using more complimentary and alternative health services and therapies.

More Alternatives

The trend has been up for the last 5 years, since the first major study on Complimentary and Alternative Health, CAM was completed. Most, if not all of these services are paid 'out of pocket'. They are not covered by provincial health care plans. Nor are they tax deductible . Few are insured by private insurers with the exception of corporate group plans.

Despite that Canadians have determined, there are benefits in alternative therapies and services they are willing to pay for. One reason could be because they can get them. They don't have to wait in line.

The numbers say, self health care in the alternative sector is growing, is privately financed by Canadians individually, is creating business and employment, and generating tax revenue, a panacea indeed!

Bill C-420 Update

Check out Chris Gupta for update on the current standing of Bill C 420 . There is a wealth of background material on the history of the bill, as well as some strident commentary on the issue surrounding it. One of those being your ability to manage your own self care, as you're accustomed.

Headlines Misleading

Two headlines designed to get your attention.
The Heart study concluded, "after seven years, those taking the (VitaminE) supplements had a slightly higher rate of heart failure. Although no one knows why. Conclusion presented "It ( vitamin E) does not reduce the risk of these diseases if you take supplemental vitamin E."

Did the study prove that? What does a slightly higher rate mean? Vitamin E was given to people who already had heart conditions and diabetes to see if it would prevent them. How can risk be reduced, when the disease is prevalent?

The news reports on the study do not reveal, how prevalent the diseases were in the subjects studied. Were the subjects severely incapacitated, mildly so, or in the middle? The news reports did not discern the type of vitamin E used or what bearing that may have on the results.

A supplementary regime is intended to prevent a disease condition, not cure it Current drug therapies are designed to manage such conditions not cure them. The study proves that in the boundaries of its focus , Vitamin E may not be a curative therapy. However, there is a body of evidence that draws other conclusions. This is an important distinction, mostly ignored by news reports, for people actively engaged in self care.

On the Prostrate cancer study, report here's the lead line: "High blood levels of the major vitamin E components, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, seem to cut the risk of prostate cancer by about 50 percent each, a study shows"... That would seem to be good news. This study concludes the antioxidant activity of Vitamin E is the catalyst in reducing the risk of prostrate cancer.

Conclusion, just like that car you buy, check under the hood of medical studies, particularly the conclusions drawn by headlines, your health may depend on it.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


CV Technologies, the Alberta based manufacturer of Cold-fx is emerging as one of those 'instant' 10 year success stories. The company recently held its annual meeting in Edmonton and probably got more notoriety for its master Promoter Don Cherry than for the accomplishment embedded in its business plan. However the plan and track record are worth a hard look. The company has embraced the current prove it regulatory culture and is emerging as a leader in " developing evidence-based natural therapeutics for disease prevention and health maintenance"

The company has a 'pipeline of products' and perhaps more importantly a research technology that took $15 million, and a decade to perfect. Going forward that process, known as ChemBioPrint technology may be more valuable than the product line. Chem Bio Print is a proprietary tool that allows the company to meet evidential standards demanded by regulators. It could very well be the catalyst to a dominant position in the market place.


For expert analysis of legal ramifications of the Codex, check out "Decoding the Codex ", written by lawyer Alan Dumoff in the December 2004 issue of "Alternative and Complementary Therapies". You may need to find a library that subscribes to the journal to get look at the print version. Alternatively an online subscription can be had at Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Publishers..

Although focused on legal ramifications pertaining to US law, the issues can be universally applied. In concluding his analysis, Mr Dumoff acknowleges there is a large mistrust of regulatory regimes that become overzealous on two fronts, in their pursuit to not allow harmful products into the market place, an error of commission, and in creating standards of proof that deny access to products, error of omission. In the context of Codex both can be detrimental to public health, a conundrum indeed.

Codex 5 - A Reference

Here's a sampling of websites that address codex issues.

Codex Official Website

International Sites and Position Papers
European Commission International Affairs
National health Freedom Organization
Alliance for Natural Health
Council for Responsible Nutrition
American Holistic Health Association

Canadian Sites, Canada is the chairman of the food labeling committee.
Health Canada Food Program
Chairmanship of Codex Committees
Canadian Representatives to Codex Committees
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canadian Dairy Information Center
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food

A few Related Sites
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Chris Gupta
Citizens Voice for Health Rights

Friday, March 11, 2005

Codex 4 - Bill C-420 Health Outsourcing!

Your favorite vitamins herbs and supplements are about to re-classified, again!. Currently all vitamins in Canada are considered drugs. That may come as a surprise. Bill C-420 seeks to put neutraecuticals, supplements and vitamins back into the food category. That's a good idea according to the Non Prescription Drug Manufacturers Association.

The association is uring it members support the change to the definition of natural health products because of the confusion and costs associated with changing the regulatory status of NHPs. As NDMAC sees it Canadians will retain the right to choose their supplements with good selection and affordable prices if Bill C-420 succeeds. Natural Health Products are a sizable portion of a $3.6 billion the self-care industry, in Canada.

The bigger picture affecting Canadians be they consumers, or business is confusing . It involves international trade and the agreements Canada has concluded. Health and business are inextricably link to CODEX. Once CODEX becomes law, it already has in Germany, all signing countries (Canada included) must comply to these "world" regulations. That means Bill C-420 could be trumped by international trade agreements. The impact is Germany which classifies its natural health care products as drugs could issue a complaint against Canada which classifies them as food. The consequences of that is imports and exports of the raw materials for natural health care products could be curtailed. Or Canada could be forced to adopt European standards in Natural Health Care Products to preserve other trading relationships.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Codex 3 - Lots of Action In Canda

Here's a summary of political activity on Codex in Canada.

Second Opinion

Distortion is the bane of mainstream journalism. Objectivity has long ago given way to advocacy. The reportage of the World Health Ogranization's policy on Traditional Complimentary and Alternative Medicine and their application for self care is a case in point.

Codex 2 - Self Care - Not So Good

There's confusion about how Codex Alimentarius Commission standards and a European Union Dieteary Supelement initiative affects Canadian consumers and business. Codex in Canada is managed through several government departments. Health Canada says the standards are voluntary. However in creating of the Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada has effectively classified all of those products as drugs with requisite licensing requirements. Next could be the adoption of Codex dosage standards. Those standard are very low. Simply put you might not be able to get 1000 mg dosage of Vitamin C, if these standards are enforced through international trade agreements. A portion of self health care is about to be outsourcing!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Codex - Your Health Managed in Europe

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a global organization that is going to play major role in your life. Actually it has been doing that since 1963. In Canada, the effects of the Commission's activities can be seen in the new licensing requirements for natural health care products. These new policies bring Canada into line with global standards.

The regulatory intent is to bring these products into a regulatory regime that creates standards and tests for medicinal and health claims. Standards are fine. However there is growing concern that under the guise of public health safety proposed regulations may have rather serious implications for the type of food you eat, the vitamins you take, and the ingredients for the medicines you use

Over the next few posts we'll take a look at what's going on

Jerry McGuire Syndrome

"Evidenced Based"

"Show me the money" from a punch line in the 1996 “Jerry McGuire” to an idiom today. Type it into Google and you get 25 million that’s right, 25 million results. It’s' meaning has morphed to mean: ‘prove it,’ ‘show me’, where's the evidence?

In health care Jerry's admonition is "what's the evidence base?" Governments everywhere are demanding practitioners and companies show them the evidence. One could say not any too soon! In the complimentary, alternative, self- care genre, in Canada, two new government bureaus have been setup. Health Care Network is mandated to understand the policy dimension of complementary and alternative health care. These include: educational approaches, regulatory options,consumer utilization, information and informed choice issues. The Natural Health Products Directorateis the body that now licenses all natural health care products.

For consumers informed choices are critical in self-care management. For business, in this environment, there's a demand for companies who create processes, products, and services that meet the 'evidence' test. Given recent controversies in prescription drug regulation, credible may well need to be added to the evidence based lexicon.

For consumers an evidence based system has the potential to deliver vetted unbiased standards, which embrace safety and efficacy. For regulators it means rules need to be crafted with a patient /consumer based public health focus. There is a danger. Regulation can mean restriction, which benefits the status quo, while potentially disabling innovation. Consumer/patient diligence in the process needs to be high, remember Jerry's admonition, “show me", applies across the board when it comes to preserving our health, through unfettered access to a spectrum of therapies.

Nasty Business

So I as watching the Brier, and up popped a commercial for Strauss Herbs. There were several messages in the 30-second spot. The product is presented as safe, scientific, and evidence based. All intended to make you feel secure in using the product. Evidence-based is a term we hear and see a lot, in health care. Not everyone agrees with the Strauss Herbal message. Dr Terry Polevoy for one, Health Canada for another. Although the government has been satisfied following a court case in British Columbia. Dr Polevoy seems undeterred. This is the nasty side of the Alternative-Care debate. However it is encouraging that with an Internet connection and a few mouse clicks consumers, patients, companies and regulators have the ability to sort things out for themselves. "Evidence-based" can be applied to rhetoric, as well as therapy.

Healthy Home

Good health starts at home. Canadians are engaged in managing their own health care! An Ipso Reid study in 2004, conducted for the Non Prescription Drug Manufactures Association indicated 54% of Canadians intend to be more pro-active, in self care. In the last 5 years Canadians have concluded proactive health management is one way to stay off 'waiting lists'. Interestingly, the study indicated more would do so, if a source of reliable un-filtered information were readily available. Self-care places high emphasis on choice, options, and alternatives. Former Prime Minister Trudeau once said governments had no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Perhaps a similar admonition, can be applied to facilitating Canadians' ability to manage self care.