Sunday, June 6, 2010

Become your own doctor - nobody else cares about you like you do

I have been a fan of Andrew Saul's website for a few years. I even got to sit next to him at a luncheon. He's like a rock star to me. I like his website motto: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This especially includes your health care.

For those of you who don't know it, his website, is a treasure trove of health advice from the vitamin perspective. Plus, it's interesting. He has added some Frequently Asked Questions, which are in themselves very interesting. Here's just a sample of the FAQs from what is billed as the "World's Largest HEALTH HOMESTEADING Website." I like that, too!

Doctor Yourself? Do you honestly think you can become your own doctor?

Very often, yes. This is neither impossible nor illegal, and is more and more essential all the time. Healing is too big a topic for any one person to know it all. While that statement includes me and you, it also includes your doctor. But it is not impossible to learn more than your doctor knows, particularly in key areas. You can go to any book or paper in print, read it, apply it, and draw practical conclusions from it. What you will read is just what any physician reads. In fact, you may discover material that your doctor never saw, or did see and never investigated. With a good bibliography, an inquiring mind, and gradual experience, there is no reason why you cannot gain considerable competence in treating yourself and your immediate family in many instances. Remember that in doing your research you will also learn when you really do need a physician.

How can you say this? Aren't doctors the ones for this duty; isn't it their special province to be the formally educated authorities on health?

Commonly, yes: but a doctor's authority in America often exceeds his or her knowledge. Whole bodies of knowledge in healing are ignored because they are unorthodox and non-medical. A doctor's education seems exhaustive, yet MDs study so much of drugs and surgery, and so little of nutrition, fasting, herbal remedies, spinal manipulation, massage, vitamin and mineral therapy, homeopathy, and more that we realize their qualifications are only partial. This takes nothing away from their dedication as individuals, but being individuals they are prone to following certain theories over other theories, particular practices over other alternatives, and holding opinions as well as facts. This is true with any person, certainly, but it is our responsibility to cover all possible ground in our efforts to cure and prevent illness. If we learn more than the doctor in areas of value to our health, it is our duty to apply this knowledge to the betterment of ourselves and our family. We need total health more than medically approved health. Our wellness should not be limited to our doctor's experience, but enhanced by our own experience.

A lot of the media, professional organizations, politicians, and physicians aren’t going to concur with your ideas here, are they?

Nope, especially since I believe that alternative healing methods are much more than just temporary or half measures. I am not going to give you yet another "use drugs wisely" or "help your doctor help you" speech. That stops short of true wellness self-reliance because it always defers final say to the doctor, and trust medical, conventional treatments for the "real illnesses." That will not be the case here. I believe that your doctor works for you, not the other way around. Your physician is your contractor, and it’s your jobsite. Following the government's health advice, the American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association, the syndicated doctor's advice columns in the newspaper, or television commercials for patent remedies will not be recommended, either. Rather, I offer some unusual substantiation, references, research summaries, obscure clinical material, unpopular preventive or therapeutic measures, little known or under-used facts and approaches to do-it-yourself health. My presentation is incomplete, of course, because there is so much to know. Hopefully, this will be a starting point, sort of a "health homesteader's handbook."


  1. First of all, this guy is not even an MD. He has a doctorate in Human Ethology. Secondly, he's distributing dangerous misinformation; obviously because he has no medical background. This is from his site:

    "L-dopa (levodopa) is a commonly prescribed treatment for Parkinson's [Disease]. But the human body can make this substance without drug intervention. Vitamin C in very high doses greatly stimulates L-dopa production [according to a 1979 study], as well as enabling your body to naturally and safely produce its end product, epinephrine."

    Parkinson's disease results from the degeneration or death of the dopamine producing brain cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain. The treatment isn't as simple as increasing the output of the remaining living/functional cells; only ONE 1979 study suggests that this may delay the onset of severe symptoms.

    Also posted on the same page referring to Parkinson's disease:

    "Another important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, can be made by your body from dietary choline. Choline is obtainable in quantity, and at low cost, from supplemental lecithin."

    Anticholengeric drugs are used to decrease, not increase the level of acetylcholine so that L-dopa can work more efficiently.

    Instead of quoting studies, he does nothing more than relate a single case study which was almost always completely resolved following the use of high dose vitamin C or similar. There is absolutely no information on how typical such results were and what could be done if the remedies listed do not work, how much high dose C's effectiveness is limited by years of damage caused by the disease, and how long to keep C at bowel tolerance if your disease is long term, and some case studies of what can happen in long-term disease with orthomolecular medicine.

  2. Jules,
    I'm not bothered by this. Please show me where the harm is in high dose vitamin C and I'll post it. Everybody knows that you pee out the excess, so it is almost impossible to overdose. When you get to bowel intolerance you cut back. I am on on mere 6 grams per day, whereas I believe Linus Pauling was taking something like 40 grams per day or more. Personally, why is a medical dcotor onsidered more authoritative than a Ph.D? I, myself, have spent six years in higher education and I figure I have as much on the ball as a medical doctor, thanks to the freedom of information on the Internet. I am sure you are aware that in Europe an MD is basically an undergraduate degree. The Internet allows people to get information that their doctor would otherwise withhold. I will send your message to Andrew Saul, with your permission, and see what he says.

  3. The fact that you are so opposed to the medical establishment that you would state that you are "not bothered" by someone who falsely implies he is a medical doctor and spreads misinformation is disturbing.

    Personally, why is a medical dcotor onsidered more authoritative than a Ph.D?

    A person with a medical degree is considered to be more authoritative in the field of medicine than someone with a Ph.D in another field because they have had extensive medical training. You can't do research on the internet and claim that you have more knowledge than someone who attended 7+ years of medical school.

    I am sure you are aware that in Europe an MD is basically an undergraduate degree.


  4. Jules, Please show me where Andrew Saul is holding himself out as a medical doctor on his website. He is not falsely implying otherwise. As for misinformation, that's possible in any profession or any act that we do. I don't think that doctors are alone in this. Actually, I do claim that I have more information than my son's psychiatrists when it comes to my son, and certainly I would have more information about me than my doctor. As the writes "If we learn more than the doctor in areas of value to our health, it is our duty to apply this knowledge to the betterment of ourselves and our family. We need total health more than medically approved health. Our wellness should not be limited to our doctor's experience, but enhanced by our own experience." My son's psychiatrists actually thought they could treat his psychological problems with drugs, which was ridiculous and my son proved them wrong. They couldn't. Rather than admit that maybe this wasn't they right strategy, they clung to it, defended it, of course, didn't help him and nearly ruined him. They acted like the other half of psychiatry (Freud, Jung et al) didn't exist. I had to do my own homework there, so yes, I figure I must know more than they do since they never brought different perspectives to the table in order to bring about healing. Lots of people are intimidated by an MD after a name. That's really so nineteen fifties, like when we all thought advertising was king. The more people who are now tacking university degrees after their name implies that they should have the intellectual rigor and eyes opened to challenge the stuff the doctor is peddling. So, when I see my doctor here in Europe, I know that he has spent five years studying nothing but the nuts and bolts of the human body, and has even less of a clue about the workings of the mind than a doctor who may have picked up a little more worldly knowledge pursuing another degree before medical school. Of course, much boils down to the individual doctor and how intellectually curious he or she is. From my experience, psychiatrists are not intellectually curious. The drugs ruined their brain. Thanks for the comments, BTW. I do appreciate the challenge.

  5. "...he has spent five years studying nothing but the nuts and bolts of the human body..."

    Well, and the "evidence" for certain treatments to work. While it is obvious that most MDs never check the research that comes up with the alleged "evidence" for flaws. Or Robert Whitaker for instance wouldn't have had anything to write about.

    The intellectual limitedness (or should I say blindness?) of modern western medicine is most apparent in the field of psychiatry. We don't even have any tenable, scientific evidence that what this field deals with actually are medical problems. So, in a way, it is completely ridiculous to invest almost all our resources, financial and others, into the search for treatments that only can be expected to work, if the problems actually are of a biomedical sort. That the treatments obviously don't work, should be an eye-opener for every shrink. As we all know, it isn't. The one-sided indoctrination in med school, and later at pharma-sponsored conferences, does its magic, rendering most of the students/participants intellectually incapacitated to an extent that only can make you wonder how on earth it is possible. Anyone who wasn't subjected to this incapacitating influence, and has preserved his/her natural curiosity and open-mindedness, can do a better job, not least thanks to the internet, yes.

    The "déformation professionelle" is by far most pronounced in the field of psychiatry, but it also is present in other medical specialities. To put one's faith blindly in an MD is probably the most dangerous one can do.

  6. Jules, Please show me where Andrew Saul is holding himself out as a medical doctor on his website. He is not falsely implying otherwise.

    He implies that he has a medical degree by claiming to be an authority in medical treatment of the body.

    Actually, I do claim that I have more information than my son's psychiatrists when it comes to my son, and certainly I would have more information about me than my doctor.

    I never said you wouldn't know more about your own body than your medical doctor. I stated that you know far less about the field of medicine. What would you do if you suffered a heart attack or stroke? Take some vitamins and call it a day?

    So, when I see my doctor here in Europe, I know that he has spent five years studying nothing but the nuts and bolts of the human body, and has even less of a clue about the workings of the mind...

    And? Still, that has nothing to do with the fact that medical doctors (MD's) here in the US spend 7+ years obtaining their education. I'm not interested in your British psychiatrist (no offense).

    Finally, I wanted to apologize for my previous rudeness. I hope you can forgive my behavior as it was uncalled for.

  7. It's okay, I'm enjoying this. Stirs up the old gray cells and all. Of course, I think I would be an idiot if I had a heart attack and tried to fix it after the fact by downing a bottle of vitamins, but I would do everything in my power to avoid the heart attack in the first place. This is where vitamins, exercise and diet come in (and yes, Psychiatrists wanted to earn like medical doctors so they grabbed on to a good thing when they saw it, which was medication, even though there is absolutely no proof that mental illness like SZ or bipolar is a brain disease and the drugs perform poorly. I actually respect psychiatrists, the ones who can actually help you through your crisis by lending an educated, empathetic ear. But they are few and far between these days. I think Dr. Stern, my son's psychiatrist is good because she is not out there working as a paid voice for pharma and she practices good psychotherapy. But, comparing psychiatrists to other doctors are like comparing apples to oranges.

  8. But there have been studies done that show that those disorders affect the brain.

    For example, a researcher at Yale University has identified amygdala differences that are present in adults with bipolar disorder and also in adolescents with bipolar disorder suggesting that these are features that appear early, at least by adolescence in the disorder. Differences in the ventral prefrontal cortex (a part of the brain that includes the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the prefrontal cortex above the eyes) appear to progress over the course of adolescence in bipolar disorder.

    And even just a brief search pertaining to schizophrenia turns up many results as well:

    "Lateral ventricular enlargement is one of the most consistent findings in patients with schizophrenia" :

    "Progressive Ventricular Expansion in Chronic Poor-outcome Schizophrenia" :

    "Brain Connectivity Is Not Only Lower but Different in Schizophrenia: A Combined Anatomical and Functional Approach" :

  9. Oh boy. The "It's like diabetes"-bs once again. Yes, Jules, studies have shown this, studies have shown that. Studies also have shown childhood trauma to change/influence brain structure (and, indeed, genes too). So much for "abnormalities" in the brains of people who are not drugged. As for those who are drugged, studies have shown neuroleptics to shrink the brain. (Let me know, if you want references. They're not farther away than a couple of Google-searches.)

    I don't know anyone, who'd ever succeeded in overcoming diabetes by merely becoming conscious and working through the psychological trauma they've experienced in their lives. Not as much as one single individual. I know quite a bunch of people, myself included, who've overcome such a "severe mental illness" as so-called "schizophrenia" only and solely by becoming conscious and working through their trauma. These people have done this in many different ways. It can be, but it doesn't need to be psychotherapy. Also making conscious changes to one's diet can raise a person's level of consciousness in general. Which certainly doesn't contribute to an enhanced level of consciousness, since it specifically is designed to lower this level, are psych drugs. And, in fact, I've never met anyone who has recovered fully, thanks to psych drugs. That's why they, very correctly, are said to be no cure, but merely a tool to "manage symptoms" (suppress and diminish life energy, including cognitive abilities). Virtually everybody I know, who bought into the medical model, and kept on popping pills, ended up "chronically mentally ill". IMHO, this ought to have us seriously reconsider the brain disease hypothesis, broadening our, taken the consequences for people in emotional distress into account, almost criminally limited horizon.

  10. Yes, Jules, studies have shown this, studies have shown that.

    So you're suggesting that the studies I linked to above are somehow flawed because older anti psychotics have been shown to adversely affect the brain? You're not really making sense.

    Again, I think you're both misunderstanding me. I'm not opposed to treating mental illnesses with things other than medication; but I think it's ridiculous to rule out the idea that medication does help some people and that these illnesses are known to physically affect the brain.

  11. Jules,
    The point I usually bring up is probably not scientific enough for you, but here goes. Anything we think or action we take can be measured in the brain. Thinking about sex can light up certain areas of the brain when measured, but is this evidence of a disease? Are enlarged ventricles îrreversible? Can't otherwise normal people have enlarged ventricles for other reasons? Does medication cause enlarged ventricles (not clear from what is cited if the subjects were on meds). Robert Whitaker's new book makes a good case for saying that medications seem to work in the short run, but are toxic in the long run. I have inserted Nancy Andreasen's findings below. There is also the placebo effect, so I am not surprised that people say the drugs work for them. You can also have the placebo effect with vitamins. Then there is Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, who makes the case that illnesses like SZ are psycho-spiritual in nature, and that if you clear up the confused thinking the physical effects resolve themselves. It takes a lot of effort and time to get to the bottom of psycho-spiritual issues, and some people never do. The constant focus on the drugs as the primary treatment means that people aren't seriously encouraged to explore other options.

    Nancy Andreasen
    A. I haven’t published this yet. But I have spoken about it in public lectures. The big finding is that people with schizophrenia are losing brain tissue at a more rapid rate than healthy people of comparable age. Some are losing as much as 1 percent per year. That’s an awful lot over an 18-year period. And then we’re trying to figure out why. Another thing we’ve discovered is that the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose.

  12. Jules: Not only the older neuroleptics do, let's call a spade for a spade, and skip the "adversely affect"- eufemisims, shrink the brain, but also the newer ones (cf. Nancy C. Andreasen's research findings).

    Science is always "flawed", because all scientific research always is based on certain preconceptions, whose correctness hasn't been proven. One of those preconceptions, one of the most basic ones in psychiatric research, is that "mental illness" exists as a medical, biological phenomenon, and not as an existential one. Where is the research that shows this to be true? In fact, not any scientific research, but individual experience (so-called "anecdotes", yes) indicates that emotional suffering is part of the human condition per se. That indeed it is the incentive that has us seek transformation, growth, (personal) development, and thus a precondition for life to take place. So the question is, whether suffering should be defined as something exclusively "bad", that needs to be fought and eradicated from the surface of the planet, or whether there actually are constructive, "positive", aspects about suffering that make it a friend rather than an enemy.

    Human beings have always suffered emotionally, existentially, and they will always suffer existentially. Unless we manage to do away with the essentially humane in our nature, and reduce not only all nature around us, but also ourselves into nothing more than a "resource", a piece of technology, robots. We're well on our way, and psychiatry is fighting in the front line in this war we have waged against (human) nature.

    I'm not entirely against drugs. If someone wants to take them, go ahead. What I am against is that people aren't told the truth. That, for instance, they're told they suffer from biological brain diseases, that "physically affect the brain" while there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to support this opinion. Show me the research that with 100% certainty rules out trauma to physically affect the brain! It doesn't exist. What exists is research that shows trauma to affect not only the brain, but the entire body, actually. Chronic pain for instance is a symptom of PTSD. At the same time, a remarkable number of people with "schizophrenia" suffers from chronic pain. Does this (as well as numerous other similarities in the symptomatology not only between "schizophrenia" and PTSD, but also between other "mental illnesses" and PTSD) cause the "experts" to become curious? Nope. On the contrary, everyone who actually does become curious is regularly ridiculed, and tried to be discredited. Which is the same as to ridicule trauma victims, denying their experiences. A trauma on top of a trauma, as someone once said so aptly.

  13. That, for instance, they're told they suffer from biological brain diseases, that "physically affect the brain" while there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to support this opinion.

    Unfortunately I think we've reached an impasse. I find it sad that you're so devoted to your idea of the truth that you refuse to consider the fact that you may be wrong. I have already presented links to several (peer reviewed and published) studies that show clear evidence of physical damage to the brain cause by mental illness but I don't think that matters; you know you're right and that's the end of it.

  14. Jules: I've asked you here before: please show me the evidence that pins down the brain damage referred to in these studies to definitely be the result of "mental illness", and not of traumatic life experiences - or of eating too much cheese, for that sake: did the researchers consider anything else than "mental illness" to be the possible cause of the brain damage?? In other words: did they, definitely, rule out any other possible causes, such as having experienced child abuse -or eating too much cheese - before they came to their conclusions?? The answer is, no, they didn't. They saw a psych label, and they saw brain damage, and so they concluded, aha, "mental illness" causes brain damage. That's a bit thin, don't you think? It's actually doing exactly the same, you accuse me of doing: it's being so devoted to one's idea of the truth (that "mental illness" can't but must be the cause) as to refuse to consider the fact that one may be wrong.

    What more is, in this case both substantial evidence of trauma to cause changes in brain structure (McGill University, 2009), and the strikingly high correlation between trauma and "mental illness" (Hammersley, Read, 2007 - it doesn't go away just because the abusers want it to) is ignored, which simply is unscientific, and so are the experiences of trauma survivors themselves, which is adding insult to injury.

    If someone wants to believe in the biomodel, so be it. It's their choice. However, and as mentioned above, just because our highly abusive society does whatever it takes to obscure and deny the devastating consequences of its abusiveness, silencing the victims by blaming them, that doesn't miraculously turn abuse into loving kindness. And, on another note, as long as there is no unambiguous evidence to once and for all rule out trauma to be the possible cause of emotional suffering (and no matter how many times you keep on repeating that there would be such evidence, it doesn't make your statement more true), the doubt ought to count in favor of the accused. No one ought to be persuaded, or even forced, as it is more often than not done today, to confess their faith in the biomodel, and have "insight". No one ought to have their experience devalued, or even denied.

    I recently had the pleasure to meet one of the leading activists in the field, and listen to her telling her story. She grew up the daughter of parents who were members of a pedophile ring. Go figure it out. Upon entering the system, she hardly reached to start and talk about it, before she was interrupted by the shrink: "You know, we hear these stories all the time. And when we then contact the family it turns out, it's all pure invention."[my emphasis] Read: "It's your broken brain that has you imagine, you were abused, while the abuse, according to the abusers, in fact never took place." Consequently, she was not listened to, but silenced. With drugs (to fix her "broken" brain). Fortunately, this person, in spite of extreme emotional pain, had the awareness, strength and self-confidence necessary to see through the con, and extricate herself rather soon from the suffocating grip of the abuser-protection-system that is called biological psychiatry.

    Now I ask you Jules: what would you tell someone who confided to you that they are the victim of abuse? That it's "all in their head"? That they should go and have it examined, as there obviously must be something wrong with it when they seriously believe abuse is real, and not just a figment of diseased brains? And that, even if there was some sort of abuse, it certainly wasn't that bad as to be a possible cause of their emotional suffering? Would you maybe even go as far as to suggest, as it actually is done by numerous "experts", that their "broken" brain, their "mental illness", invited the abuse??


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.