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Being Sick is generally thought to be a negative. What if you need to get sick in order to stay healthy?


Sickness Can Be a Blessing, but not a Pleasant One

by Dr. Michael Jonas Kahn, Ph.D.

The body oftentimes gets sick in order to get better. This is the bodies way of correcting a toxic situation---either expelling it through the lungs and nasal passages, as in colds and congestion, or by burning it up in fevers and flu's.

In other words, sickness can be a blessing, especially if it is a part of a detoxifying process that accompanies an improvement in diet. For as diet improves the body, it will clean itself up and expel toxins as part of the natural healing progression towards health. Long term health cannot be achieved through medication alone. It can be attained as a part of a slow, natural process by the body, supported by a high-fiber, low-fat diet.

This will not always be a neat and pleasant process, and for one who is seeking long-term healing, it should be known ahead of time that THE ROAD TO TRUE HEALTH MAY BE DISCOURAGING AT TIMES AS THE BODY CLEANS ITSELF UP BY GETTING SICK TO DO SO. This is also why, for the most part, colds an flu's should be left to run their course and not be suppressed with drugs, if possible. Suppressing minor sicknesses in the short run leads to accumulations and greater body toxicity in the long run. Colds turn into flu's, flu's turn into sinus, bronchial and lung problems, then asthma, allergies, pneumonia or cancer.

The prescription, as far as natural healing is concerned, would be to rest, drink lots of water and eat as lightly as possible, preferably soups, steamed vegies, some grains and a little protein, if the body is able to take sustenance---the reason for a light diet being to use as little energy as possible for digestion so as to be able to use it for immune system responses.

Another understanding of sickness may be gleaned from animals. For if you observe them when they get sick, they simply sit in one place or another, drink water occasionally and wait until their sickness leaves and hunger returns. They seem to instinctively know that the body is the doctor. Of course, if the sickness is life-threatening, or too painful, then medication may be needed or even desirable. But until sickness is chronic and reaches that point, natural healing would treat it by improvement in diet and life style.

So, what is being said here is that the next time illness catches up with you, consider your body is still working, and is able to muster the energy to expel the problem or at least make the effort. And, if you have really changed to a more natural diet, think of it as a house cleaning, because when it is over you should be that much closer to being less toxic, and more healthy.

Indeed, if we didn't get small sicknesses periodically, we would most likely never make it to the age of 21. And furthermore, if medical science ever does come up with a so-called miracle drug (like interferon) that will supposedly eliminate (suppress) the common cold process, then the human race will be doomed to even greater sickness as there will be no escape from the gradual building up of toxic waste inside each individual. This over-prescribing of drugs and over-the-counter medications, in my opinion, one of the major reasons there is probably more disease and sickness than ever before in history, as people continually seek immediate remedies for long-term life style problems.

Thus, if you really want to get truly healthy in the long run, start with what you are eating. Supply your body with the nutrients to give the immune system what it needs and the rest will take care of itself. THE BODY IS THE DOCTOR, BUT IT CAN'T HEAL ITSELF WITHOUT THE ELEMENTS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE TASK, namely the minerals and vitamins found in a high fiber, low fat diet. Try and remember that the road to healing will most likely not be a "rosy path," but a retracing back through many past illnesses that were not handled naturally in the first place. This will make the road to wellness appear as a series of hills and valleys on up to optimum health. So buckle up and be prepared for the ride. If you have improved your diet, the ruts could be a blessing... in a not so pleasant disguise. Bon appetit...

Michael Jonas Kahn is a Holistic Doctor with a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science and twenty five years experience in the study, teaching and practice of natural healing. His self-evaluative health and diet education program has helped countless people over the years to take an objective look at their health, and also provide them with a simple common sense nutritional approach to bring themselves back into body chemistry balance, ...and optimum health. He also has a website that can be visited at

Montreal Doctors Studying Proteins From Whey Discover Important Immune System Booster

by Roger Guest, M.Ed.

Over the last few years there have been some rather surprising developments in the war against disease and aging. Not the least of which is something that has recently come out of Montreal. After almost two decades of work focussing on dietary proteins and the human immune system, Dr. Phil Gold, Dr. Gustavos Bounous, Dr. Patricia Kongshaven and Dr.Sylvain Baruchel have produced an important breakthrough that may save or extend the lives of millions of people.

Cells in the human body need certain amino acids to fight off disease and to replicate in the proper fashion. Whey from cow's milk, is exceptionally rich in one of these essential amino acids, cysteine. In combination with two other amino acids, cysteine helps form glutathione, which functions as an antioxidant, a detoxifying agent and is a vital element in the optimum functioning of the immune system. It also promotes longer and healthier life by assisting in cellular replication and healthy growth.

Cysteine, although of tremendous value to the body under the proper conditions, can be toxic and is usually eliminated by the digestive system. However, Drs. Buonous, Gold et al. have found a way to get the body to absorb and work with more cysteine and in turn produce more glutathione bringing a host of benefits and no toxic side effects.The culmination of all this work is a concentrated whey protein product that has recently begun to be marketed in Canada and in the US.

Because of its ability to boost the immune system, this patented whey protein concentrate is finding many applications and has become the subject of numerous therapeutic studies. Among the dozens of diseases being tested with this therapy are AIDS, cancer and hepatitis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis and arteriosclerosis, cataracts, diseases of aging and stubborn bacterial infections.

What Glutathione does:

We are all likely to benefit from anything that promotes the optimal functioning of the human immune system. What makes this new whey product especially interesting is its ability to provide the body with the building blocks that allow one to sustain an elevated level of the amino acid glutathione in ones cells without negative side effects. A number of obstacles have prevented doctors from accomplishing this before. However, by use of a patented process, Dr. Buonos and his colaborators have achieved a significant breakthrough with what they call Humanised Milk Serum which is 90% protein and almost fat free (HMS90 for short).

GSH or Glutathione (glue-ta-Thigh-own) may be hard to say but it appears to play a crucial role in our ability to maintain good health in three essential ways.

First of all, glutathione is a free radical scavenger (I love that term it conjures up images of swashbuckling little microbes chasing away the bad guys). In effect, this means it protects the body from being damaged by unstable forms of oxygen or oxidized cholesterol that roam around the blood stream and cause havoc such as cellular damage, artery problems and the like. Not only is glutathione a powerful antioxidant but it regulates other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E so that they can do their job effectively.

Secondly, GSH acts to help detoxify the body, ridding it of unwanted foreign elements such as pollutants, carcinogens and drugs or chemicals. Whether one is fighting off disease or simply trying to maintain buoyant health, GSH, concentrated principally within the liver, acts by combining with undesireable elements and ridding the body of them through urination or bile.

Thirdly, GSH helps to regulate protein in DNA biosynthesis and cell growth. This has a particular impact on the aging process. As we get older, our cells loose their ability to replicate and regenerate themselves. GSH keeps the process active longer. Elevating the level of GSH in the body decreases the frequency of DNA breaks, and aids in their repair. In short, it helps keep us younger longer.

Naturally, all three of these essential functions suffer when GSH levels are depleted. Those with chronically high levels of GSH in their blood and tissues tend to live longer and remain freer of disease more often. On the other hand it appears that those of us with correspondingly lower levels of GSH tend to be generally at greater risk for disease, live shorter lives, and sustain less satisfying degrees of health.

Up until now, the task of enhancing the bodily production of glutathione has been hampered by the fact that scientists could not find the appropriate means to induce the absorption of the right combination of building blocks without throwing something off balance. HMS90's significance lies in it's unique ability to pass cysteine into the body in undenatured form, thereby providing the body with the most important building blocks necessary to sustain elevated intercellular glutathione levels.

HMS90 studies are increasingly catching the attention of both traditional physicians and alternative health practitioners and for once they seem to agree. In February of 1997, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta reported that Immunocal (HMS90) can inhibit HIV replication while also stimulating the production of glutathione, an amino acid that helps control progression of the virus. Small trials of the treatment in HIV-positive children and adults have demonstrated its benefit.

For athletes, this food supplement is said to delay muscular fatigue induced by oxiradicals that accumulate in the muscles during the aerobic phase of strenuous muscular contraction. Hence it may prove useful in preventing cellular damage and improve athletic performance as well as allow athletes to recover more rapidly from strain or injury.

Roger Guest is a psychotherapist in Outremont , Quebec. He is also a consultant in health care products. For more information on this subject please contact the author at: (514) 278-9751 or by email at

Julius M et al. J. of Clinical Epidemiology 1994, 47(9): 1021-1026.
Lang C.A., Mills, B.J.,Mastrapaola W., Gerontologist, 1990, 30:39a.
J.Sastre et al. Am. J. of Physiology, Nov. 1992, 263 (Spt 2)R 992-5.
N. Balasubramaniyam et al. Cancer Letters, 1996, 87:187-192.
Kawano N. et al Actra Hepatol, Japan 1992, 1468-1473.
P.Gold, G.Bounous, P.A.Kongshaven Us Patent #5230902, 27 July 1993
G.Bounous, Phil Gold, U.S.Patent #5456924, Oct.10, 1995.
Kennedy, R.S. et al Anticancer Research, 1995, 15: 2643-2650.
Dr. Earl Mindell's What you should know about the Superantioxidant Miracle, Keats Publishing 1996
Elazab, M. J. of Alternative Therapies, Apr. 97: 7.


by Peter Montague

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is an ailment, or a family of ailments, that has very real consequences for tens of millions of Americans.

In various large surveys 15% to 30% of Americans (37 to 75 million people) report that they are unusually sensitive or allergic to certain common chemicals such as detergents, perfumes, solvents, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, foods, or even the smell of dry-cleaned clothes. An estimated 5% (13 million people) have been diagnosed by a physician as being especially sensitive. Many of these people react so strongly that they can become disabled from very low exposures to common substances.[1, pgs. 232-233] Typical symptoms include prolonged fatigue, memory difficulties, dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty concentrating, depression, feeling spacey or groggy, loss of motivation, feeling tense or nervous, shortness of breath, irritability, muscle aches, joint pain, headaches, head fullness or pressure, chest pains, difficulty focusing eyes, nausea, and more. This group of symptoms is known as environmental illness or, more commonly, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), meaning "sensitivity to many chemicals."

MCS has been recognized by its symptoms for 50 years because MCS sufferers in many geographical areas, researchers studying them, and doctors treating them, have reported a remarkably consistent picture of disease. However, because MCS sufferers react to chemicals at levels that are hundreds or thousands of times lower than allowable occupational exposures, traditional toxicology dictates that their symptoms cannot be caused by chemical exposures. Nor is MCS a true allergy because there are no IgE-mediated reactions involved, so allergists don't know what to make of it.

In sum, because MCS does not fit any of the three currently-accepted mechanisms of disease --infectious, immune system, or cancer --traditional medicine has not known how to explain MCS, and so has often labeled it "psychogenic" --originating in the patient's mind. This has left MCS sufferers in limbo. Told they are crazy, or imagining their disease, or making it up, they find themselves passed from physician to physician without any satisfactory answers and often without relief from their very real distress. (Some MCS sufferers DO have psychological symptoms, but that doesn't necessarily mean their disease ORIGINATES in their mind.) Forty percent of MCS sufferers report having seen more than 10 medical practitioners.

MCS came to the attention of mainstream science and medicine forcibly in 1987 when U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) installed 27,000 square yards of new carpeting and painted and remodeled office space at its Waterside Mall headquarters in Washington, D.C. Some 200 agency employees developed symptoms associated with "sick building syndrome"[1, pgs. 174,76-77] -- and several dozen EPA employees later reported developing MCS. The National Research Council has now accepted that "sick building syndrome" is a real phenomenon, producing MCS-like symptoms.

Most recently, MCS has been in the news because there are two new, large populations of people who exhibit some or all of the symptoms of MCS: Gulf War veterans, and women with silicone breast implants.

Since 1990, progress has been made defining and understanding MCS, though there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, real progress has been made. A new book -- a second, updated edition of CHEMICAL EXPOSURES; LOW LEVELS AND HIGH STAKES, by Nicholas A. Ashford and Claudia S. Miller[1] -- offers a lucid, thoughtful description of the current science and medicine of MCS, suggests a hypothesis (which could be tested) about the origins of the disease(es), and offers real hope to sufferers that one day their ailments will be understood and treated, possibly even prevented.

The stakes are enormous, and the chemical industry knows it. If a clearly-defined disease emerges from research on MCS, with chemical causes that are understood, then it can't be too many decades before chemical corporations will have to face liability and compensation claims from millions of victims harmed by their products. Who knows where this might lead in the relationship between corporations and an angry public?

Like the tobacco companies before them, the chemical corporations are bent on casting doubt on the serious medical research now being conducted to discover the causes and physiologic mechanisms of MCS. The chemical corporations have labeled such research "junk science," and they have funded a new research arm of their own (modeled on the Tobacco Research Institute?) called the Environmental Sensitivities Research Institute (ESRI). DowElanco, Monsanto, Procter and Gamble, the Cosmetic Toiletries and Fragrances Association, and other companies and trade associations involved in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and other chemicals, each pay $10,000 per year to keep ESRI going. The head of ESRI is Dr. Ronald Gots, who also runs something called the National Medical Advisory Group, which provides expert witnesses to defend the chemical corporations in tort lawsuits. Dr. Gots has published no original peer-reviewed research on MCS, yet he and ESRI specialize in claiming that MCS is a mental disorder. Dr. Gots says, "[E]verything that is known about MCS to date strongly suggests behavioral and psychogenic explanations for symptoms."[1, pg. 280] In other words, if you exhibit some or all of the symptoms of MCS, you are probably crazy and if your doctor thinks otherwise, he or she is probably a charlatan. Such a claim has special staying power because it cannot be tested scientifically. As long as anyone is around to assert its validity, such a claim surrounds MCS research with an aura of controversy -- and controversial topics have trouble attracting mainstream funding.

Here is a typical "advertorial" by ESRI from the February, 1996 issue of THE MERCHANDISER (Spring Grove, Pennsylvania):

"Multiple Chemical Sensitivities: Fear of Risk or Fact of Life?

"Scientists are increasingly concerned that a doubtful new diagnosis--supposedly caused by everything 'man-made' in the environment--is unnecessarily making thousands of Americans miserable each year. One of these so-called 'modern diseases' is called MCS, for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Many established scientists and physicians doubt MCS actually does exist; it exists only because a patient believes it does and because a doctor validates that belief. For information on MCS, write the Environmental Sensitivities Research Institute, 6001 Montrose Road, Suite 400, North Bethesda, MD 20852."

The authors of the new book on MCS are highly qualified. Nicholas Ashford is professor of technology and policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with advanced degrees in chemistry and law. Claudia Miller is a medical doctor with a masters degree in environmental health; she teaches at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Their 1989 report on MCS, funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, won the prestigious Macedo award of the American Association for World Health. Their new book is a pleasure to read. It is clear, thoughtful, intelligent, and carefully written. It makes an important contribution to our understanding of chemical sensitivity.

In reviewing several hundred studies -- not all of them of good quality --Ashford and Miller describe the common themes that emerge from the good ones: MCS seems to be a disease (or family of diseases) that occurs in two stages. MCS is "initiated" by a high exposure (for example, a chemical fire, or spill) or by repeated moderate exposure to pesticides or solvents or some other strong chemical(s) such as those found in chemical dumps or used in remodeling homes or offices, including new carpeting. After the "initiating" exposure, symptoms are then "triggered" by extremely low exposure to many different chemicals, such as those found in fragrances, or tobacco smoke, pharmaceuticals, or foods. Not everyone exposed to chemicals gets MCS, just as not everyone stung by a bee goes into anaphylactic shock. A certain portion of the population seems predisposed to react strongly to chemicals after an initiating event.

The mechanisms of MCS are not understood, but recent evidence suggests that the nervous system (or perhaps the nervous and immune systems together) somehow become sensitized by an initiating exposure. Thereafter, low exposures to common chemicals bring on major symptoms way out of proportion to the size of the stimulus.

Ashford and Miller suggest that MCS is not really the best name for this ailment or family of ailments because it fails to reflect the importance of the initiating chemical exposure. They suggest that the name Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) better describes the true nature of the illness(es) --initiated by a toxic exposure which leads to the loss of tolerance for common chemicals. They suggest that different initiating events may give rise to somewhat different ailments, all of which cause sensitivity to chemicals --just as different infectious diseases can all cause a fever.

The scientific community has held several symposia on MCS (or TILT) since 1990 and a scientific consensus has been reached on the double-blinded, placebo-controlled research that needs to be conducted to define this disease (or disease family).

Despite this consensus, the research is not being conducted because the needed facilities do not exist. A special "environmental medical unit" needs to be built, preferably in a hospital, to test MCS patients by exposing them to chemicals under controlled conditions and observing their responses. Despite numerous recommendations that such a unit should be built -- including a recommendation from the National Research Council -- the funding is not there.

Without naming him, authors Ashford and Miller blame Ronald Gots and others like him for the logjam: "...those who continue to promote untested and untestable psychogenic theories for MCS are part of the problem. Their lobbying of policymakers and others in this regard has contributed to widespread governmental inertia on this issue, making it near impossible to obtain funding for essential studies specifically directed toward MCS. Many of those who advocate psychological explanations in government-sponsored meetings and in the scientific literature are paid corporate spokespersons or consultants with financial conflicts of interest. Yet these conflicts generally are not revealed when these individuals appear in scientific meetings, author scientific articles, serve on official panels or boards, or serve as reviewers of grant proposals. Policymakers and publishers of scholarly journals need to recognize and remedy this appalling injustice." [1, pg. 256]

These are not academic questions. Seventy thousand Gulf War veterans, alone, have sought help. They are told they must prove their disease exists -- but without research they have no proof. The same is true of tens of thousands of women whose breast implants have left them with many of the symptoms of MCS. (David Kessler, when he was head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, "We know more about the life of a tire than a breast implant.") These and millions of other people are genuinely suffering, yet they are told --with no research basis --that there is nothing medically wrong with them -- it's all in their minds. Only research can find the truth.

Quite possibly, MCS or TILT is a new, fourth disease mechanism parallel to infections, immune disorders, and cancer. Those suffering its symptoms cannot gain relief from their torment until the needed research is done. Those who are being paid by chemical corporations to stand in the way of that research deserve the labels inhuman and inhumane. Would criminal be too strong a word?

--Peter Montague (National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)

[1] Nicholas A. Ashford and Claudia S. Miller, CHEMICAL EXPOSURES; LOW LEVELS AND HIGH STAKES. Second Edition. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1998). ISBN 0-442-02524-6.

Reprinted with permission from:

---February 12, 1998---

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