"Let no one who has the slightest desire to live in peace and quietness be
tempted, under any circumstances, to enter upon the chivalrous task of
trying to correct a popular error."
(William Thoms, deputy librarian for the House of Lords, c. 1873)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 3, No 3) December 18, 2002
"Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of http://www.doctoryourself.com , a free
online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000
THE VITAMIN E STORY
The first course I ever taught was entitled "Forgotten Research in
Medicine." That was in 1976. Even by that time, there had been a strikingly
large number of impeccably qualified researchers and physicians who had left
drug-and-cut medicine behind in favor of a naturopathic approach. I had seen
so much well-documented evidence for the safety and effectiveness of
therapeutic nutrition against major chronic diseases that I figured it must
presently be self evident to everybody. Surely, I thought, it could only be
a matter of time (say twenty years at most) until all doctors shifted to
natural healing, because word would spread like wildfire and all their
patients would demand it of them.
I'd read a variety of articles documenting an incredibly bitter controversy
which raged throughout the 1950's over the use of vitamin E (d-alpha
tocopherol) for cardiovascular disease. Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute were at
the center of this storm, which encircled their work in Ontario, Canada.
They were among the very first medical doctors to clinically employ large
doses of the vitamin in place of conventional drug therapy. Like many
pioneers, they caught all the arrows. Almost all of the positive articles I
saw were based on case histories and came from the popular press. Almost all
of the criticism seemed to come from the medical press, which seemed
singularly resistant to even try the Shute's approach, let alone endorse it.
Yet, somehow, their unwillingness to test the Shute's high-dose, natural
vitamin E protocol did not seem to prevent them from dismissing it.
In the early 50's, Canada was a hotbed of leading-edge nutritional research.
Maybe there is something in the water up there. In Saskatchewan at about the
same time, Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphrey Osmond found that niacin was
the best way to treat psychosis. The Shutes found that vitamin E was the
best way to treat heart disease. One might think that the only possible
professional response to such important discoveries would be grateful
acceptance and widespread journal publication.
Just the opposite occurred.
For decades it has been said that pharmaceutical medicine has little to gain
from a cheap vitamin cure that cannot be patented and exploited for high
profit. Observers have also witnessed what happens to medical doctors that
have defected to drugless healing: they gain many grateful patients, and
lose a lot of research funding. Few pharmaceutical companies willingly
contribute to the competition.
The Shutes saw early that such would be the case, and paid their own way.
They created their own research foundation and treatment facility (The Shute
Institute), created their own journal (The Summary), and in so doing, some
would say, created their own trouble.
The Vitamin E Story is Dr. Evan Shute's first-hand, ring-side account of the
discovery that high-dose d-alpha tocopherol cures serious disease. It is
also an unusually interesting autobiography of an unusually interesting man.
Evan Shute, an obstetrician by training, was a poet by inclination. He once
delivered 25 babies in 17 days, yet he also wrote children's stories and
published ten volumes of verse. Dr. Shute's professional character is
perhaps best illustrated by his repeated efforts to credit medical student
Floyd Skelton with major contributions to the development of vitamin E
cardiovascular therapy. The Shute's personal integrity is demonstrated by
their maintaining a non-commercial stance and never profiting from the sale
of the vitamin. Oddly enough, in 1948 they actually advocated making vitamin
E a prescription item.
Perhaps this is understandable, given the spectacular, wonder-drug-style
patient recoveries that the Shutes had already seen by mid-century.
TWENTY YEARS OF IGNORED SHUTE VITAMIN E RESEARCH: A Timeline
1936: Vitamin E-rich wheat germ oil cures angina.
1940: Vitamin E suspected as preventive of fibroids and endometriosis, and
curative of atherosclerosis.
1945: Vitamin E shown to cure hemorrhages in skin and mucous membranes, and
to decrease the diabetic's need for insulin.
1946: Vitamin E greatly improves wound healing, including skin ulcers. Also
demonstrated effective in cases of claudication, acute nephritis,
thrombosis, cirrhosis and phlebitis. Vitamin E strengthens and regulates
1947: Vitamin E successfully used as therapy for gangrene, inflammation of
blood vessels (Buerger's disease), retinitis and choroiditis.
1948: Vitamin E helps lupus erythematosus and shortness of breath.
1950: Vitamin E shown to be effective treatment for varicose veins, and in
cases of severe body burns.
1954: The Shutes' medical textbook, Alpha Tocopherol in Cardiovascular
Disease, is published.
1956: The Heart and Vitamin E is published.
It is not overly easy to see how such promise could be ignored for long. But
it was. Dr. Shute's frustration with an unnaturally stubborn medical
profession comes starkly through his text.
"It was nearly impossible now for anyone who valued his future in Academe to
espouse Vitamin E, prescribe it or advise its use. That would make a man a
"quack" at once. This situation lasted for many years. In the United States,
of course, the closure of the J.A.M.A. pages against us and tocopherol meant
that it did not exist. It was either in the U.S. medical bible or it was
nought. No amount of documentation could budge medical men from this stance.
Literature in the positive was ignored and left unread. Individual doctors
often said: "If it is as good as you say, we would all be using it." But
nothing could induce them as persons of scientific background to make the
simplest trial on a burn or coronary." (p 146)
The American Medical Association even refused to let the Shute's present
their findings at national medical conventions. (p 148-9) In the early 1960'
s, the United States Post Office successfully prevented even the mailing of
vitamin E. (p 166)
Linus Pauling wrote, in the book's 1985 forward:
"The failure of the medical establishment during the last forty years to
recognize the value of Vitamin E in controlling heart disease is responsible
for a tremendous amount of unnecessary suffering and for many early deaths.
The interesting story of the efforts to suppress the Shute discoveries about
Vitamin E illustrates the shocking bias of organized medicine against
nutritional measures for achieving improved health." (vii)
O that things were truly better today, but they are not. Yes, the American
public can and does buy vitamin E (even by mail) without a prescription.
Still, I am unaware of any burn clinic using topical vitamin E as their
primary treatment. I am yet to see "megadose vitamin E cures cardiovascular
disease" commercials on TV. I have never seen a bottle of vitamin E in an
intensive care unit. It has now been nearly 60 years since vitamin E was
seen to greatly help diabetics and cardiovascular patients and only very
recently has medical research "discovered" a glimmer of the value of this
vitamin. For half a century, vitamin E has been an available specific for
intermittent claudication, angina, prevention of and recovery from heart
attack, thrombophlebitis, and a wide variety of other serious conditions.
Aye, there's the rub.
Vitamin E is entirely too good for too many purposes. Consumer Reports
trashed it in back in 1972, and often since. It didn't help matters that
Evan Shute was "only" an obstetrician. (This obstetrician was, however, made
a Fellow of the American Society of Angiology in 1969.) And today, vitamin E
's very availability, and exceptional safety, seemingly render it
unattractive for hospital use as the spectacular therapy that it is.
The Vitamin E Story surprised me with Chapter 12, a collection of rather
funny real-life obstetrical experiences that Dr. Shute evidently just had to
put down on paper. I'm glad he did, as the stories are both delightful and
bizarre. There is the account of proof of ovulation in a 102 year old woman.
There is the case of "cranial nerve neuralgia cured for two years by a
hemorrhoidectomy. This shows the suggestive power of the knife." Then there
is the surgeon who smoked during operations, the cigarette ash getting into
the wound. And let's not overlook the marriage ceremony performed during
labor. "Uterine contractions imposed an odd punctuation to the responses,
but the minister did most of the talking, fortunately."
But this book is mostly the story of the Evan Shute who published over 120
medical papers; the doctor who was opposed to circumcision; the doctor who
treated tens of thousands of patients with large amounts of vitamin E.
Tocopherol has been known and studied since the 1920's, generally in small
quantities as a means to ensure a full-term pregnancy. Without the Shute
brothers' high-dosage clinical work, especially in cardiology, no one at all
would be megadosing with vitamin E today. We owe them our thanks, and our
The Vitamin E Story, by Evan Shute, M.D. James C. M. Shute, editor. Forward
by Linus Pauling. (Burlington, Ontario: Welch Publishing, 1985. 219 pages,
softcover.) ISBN 0-920413-04-8 This book is available for US $14.00
(postpaid to US addresses) from the Shute Institute, 367 Princess Ave.,
London, Ontario, Canada N6B 2A7. Canadian and international ordering
information may be obtained from
(My review, above, also appeared in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine,
Vol. 17, No. 3, Third Quarter, 2002, pages 179-181.)
A bibliography of the Shutes' principal written work is posted at
For specific vitamin dosage information on CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, Angina,
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Congestive Heart Failure, and other
heart-y topics, try a site search for "Shute" or for "heart" from the top of
the main page at
http://www.doctoryourself.com Do so, and there's going to be a whole lot for
you to look at . . . for which I make no apology whatsoever. Cardiovascular
disease remains our number one enemy, the biggest killer of men AND women.
CANCER, VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS, AND QUALITY OF LIFE
by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Recently the Canadian news media announced, with considerable excitement,
that the addition of folic acid to flour not only decreased the incidence of
spina bifida in babies but also decreased a serious form of cancer by the
same degree, about 50%. This made me feel good because it showed that the
publicity given to vitamins (including their possible use in cancer) will
persuade many women to take B complex vitamins. This anti-cancer effect of
folic acid is a most favorable, if unintended, consequence.
On the other hand, another recent study ["Mega-Dose Vitamins and Minerals in
the Treatment of Non-Metastatic Breast Cancer," Breast Cancer Research and
Treatment, 10/15/2002] concluded that "survival times were not improved for
the vitamin/mineral treated group over those for the controls" over an
average of five-and-one-half years. I initiated this study in order to
establish that breast cancer cases did better on vitamins. The outcome was
disappointing, but there are possible explanations.
In my series of 273 patients, there was only a small number that would not
follow the nutritional program. The outcome with the non-compliant group was
in fact not very good compared to the ones on the program.
While all my patient charts were scrutinized, the investigative team,
employing certain criteria, used only about 90 of my patients and compared
them against an equivalent group that had not been treated in this way. I
think that had the study group used all my cases, the results might have
been different. But these were the only ones who were almost entirely stage
one cases, unilateral with no metastasis. Most of my patients were stage 2,
3 and 4.
One has to accept the possibility that early (stage 1) breast cancer cases
in fact may not need as much vitamin C if their immune system is already
functioning fairly well in contrast to more advanced cases, but they do have
a much better quality of life with vitamin therapy. This was not
investigated, nor could it have been. My own clinical
observations remain the same. The breast cancer cases that I see do much
better on a vitamin C program combined with other nutrients.
What may be confusing is that one of the authors who agreed in the published
report that both of the groups fared equally well reported to the press that
vitamin C was harmful. This is incomprehensible to me and corrective reports
have been released to the press. I still use the program with modifications
to impove it and will continue to do so. Based on the results on over 1200
patients seen since 1976, I know that many of my patients, after several
years, discontinued their program, usually because they were getting on so
well. The beneficial effect of the program would not be sustained after the
program was stopped.
(Editor's Note: There seems to be no end to flawed studies that purport to
show that vitamins are useless, or worse. Thanks to Dr. Hoffer for helping
us better understand the situation with his article, above, and also those
I will continue the discussion below:
DO NOT BE FOOLED BY JUNK SCIENCE ON VITAMIN C MEGADOSES
My most common readers' questions ask about some so-called, media-hyped
"danger" supposedly due to taking a lot of vitamin C. The majority of the
negative articles about vitamin C can be exposed for what they really are
with a little help from my article posted at
http://www.doctoryourself.com/antivitamin.html , with more to be found at
But since the holidays are so busy, here's a quickie reminder:
If two thousand milligrams of vitamin C were harmful, the entire animal
kingdom would be dead. Our nearest primate relatives all eat well in excess
of two thousand milligrams of vitamin C each day. And, pound for pound, most
animals actually manufacture from two to ten thousand milligrams of vitamin
C daily, inside their bodies. If such generous quantities of vitamin C were
harmful, evolution would have had millions of years to select against it.
Vitamin C is not a problem; it is a solution.
References showing how beneficial vitamin C megadoses are will be found by
the sleighful at
See also: DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTERS Vol 1, No 18
http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v1n18.txt and Vol 2, No 3
DOCTOR YOURSELF QUICK HOLIDAY HEALTH TIP:
Was that sack full of toys just too heavy for your aching back? Persistent
lower backache and upper leg pain with stubborn nerve inflammation can mean
sciatica. Saturation doses of vitamin C and a few trips to a good
chiropractor can often work wonders. And if you haven't already done so,
make it your New Year's resolution to lose that excess weight, there, Santa.
. . and stop smoking that pipe (or anything else) you may be holding tight
in your teeth. If you do not, sciatica will be back on your list for 2004.
'TIS THE SEASON TO BE WHACKED OUT ON CAFFEINE
H. L. writes:
"Ruth Whalen's excellent caffeine articles at
http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html are also quite alarming. I seem
to have some of the described ailments. How do you stop caffeine intake
without the withdrawal headaches? Then, how to avoid the caffeine-brain
callback about three to four weeks later?"
And S. C. writes:
"Any chance of some suggestions on how to painlessly withdraw from caffeine
and cleanse the system as a whole? I am a great fan of your juice fasting,
but I get a "caffeine" headache if I don't get my 8-10 oz. cuppa joe in the
I hear you. Who wants "cold turkey" (especially around the holidays, when
hot turkey is to be preferred by compulsive bird-eaters). Here are my
suggestions, some of which were collected from my former coffee-junkie
1) Vitamin C reduces caffeine withdrawal symptoms, especially the headache.
Studies have also shown that vitamin C reduces cravings for drugs including
http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v2n15.txt and even narcotics such as
http://www.doctoryourself.com/pain.html . My dosage recommendation? "Take
enough C to be symptom free, whatever the amount may be." Although it
normally can take a couple of months to get over a caffeine habit, my
students report that high antitoxic doses of vitamin C can greatly speed the
2) To work the psychological end of the street, I'd recommend you substitute
a cup of something else for your morning coffee. Postum, herb tea blends,
hot water and lemon, (or my personal fave, hot cider) are all good choices.
Enjoy the society, the ritual, and the cold weather creature comfort of
pouring and holding a steaming mug of caffeine-free something-else in your
hands. Even decaf is a good start.
3) "What about tea?" you may be asking. Yes, there is caffeine in regular
tea, roughly half that of coffee. Tea also contains some antioxidants, which
are good for you. But then, fruits and vegetables contain far more
antioxidants, and zero caffeine. So I concur with Writer the Second, above,
and suggest you dust off your juicer.
GREEN TEA VS. BLACK TEA
Their leaves are picked off of the very same plant, Camellia sinensis. The
difference is that green tea is not aged (fermented), whereas black tea is.
Uncrushed, unoxidized green tea leaves are healthier for you. But both
naturally contain caffeine. A 5-ounce cup of average-brewed tea is has
roughly the same amount as a 12-ounce caffeine-containing soft drink. (Ray
and Ksir (1990) Drugs Society and Human Behavior, chapter 11. St Louis:
HOMEOPATHY FOR CAFFEINE (and Tobacco) ADDICTION?
Years ago, a national advice columnist published a reader's letter claiming
that eating a pinch of tobacco before smoking a cigarette reduced the amount
of smoking a person did. Maybe it was the yukky taste. Maybe it was fear of
mouth cancer. Or, maybe it was the principle of homeopathy, which may be
colloquially explained as "the hair of the dog that bit you." Tobaccum 6X
(which is a harmless microdilution of, you guessed it, tobacco) might be a
more gum-friendly way to try this idea.
Therefore, I think homeopathic unroasted coffee, Coffea Cruda 6X, might be
worth trying for caffeine addiction. And let's face it: any dependency that
has physical symptoms as the consequence of quitting is a true addiction.
This includes caffeine. Maybe it is time for us to wake up and NOT smell the
Homeopathy articles at my website include:
HO-HO-HO HOMEOPATHY BOOKS I OFTEN RECOMMEND (but I do not sell them.
Suppliers of homeopathic books and remedies are all over the Internet;
please refer your questions to them or to a homeopathic practitioner.)
Boericke, William Homoeopathic Materia Medica (Ninth Edition, 1927)
Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel.
This shortened, one-volume listing of homeopathically active substances
provides the framework on which to build an intermediate knowledge of the
"like treats like" science of homeopathy. Several hundred remedy resumes are
provided with over 350 pages of cross-indexing, symptom by symptom. This
standard work is unusually inexpensive (because of the publication date) but
is in clear need of revision, especially in the Therapeutic Index, which
does not always agree with the much more comprehensive and superior
Repertory immediately preceding it. Other more recent and more expensive
Materia Medicas await the detailed needs of the more experienced homeopath,
but Boericke's nearly 75 year old text is hard to beat for everyday
reference and home use. (1042 pages, cloth)
Clarke, John H. The Prescriber (Ninth Edition, 1972) Essex, England: C. W.
Daniel Co., Ltd.
This book is just what the title indicates: a homeopathic prescription guide
that is the next best thing to having a personal homeopathic doctor.
Clarke's work has stood the test of time. In this one volume, the reader
will first find the best 60 page introduction ever written on just how to
use homeopathic remedies, plus a list of abbreviations, and then over 300
pages of foolproof cross-indexing (repertory). With The Prescriber, a
Materia Medica, and study, one can become a competent homeopath. Simple to
use and to the point, The Prescriber is an essential reference for a healthy
Coulter, Harris L. Homeopathic Science and Modern Medicine (1981) Richmond,
CA: North Atlantic Books
No one is a better historian of homeopathy's struggle with allopathic (drug)
medicine than Dr. Harris Coulter
( http://www.empiricaltherapies.com ). Here, in just over 100 pages, he
makes a strong, logical and well-researched case for "the physics of healing
with microdoses." If you've always wanted to know how and why "like cures
like" and to read a fine review of the literature on infinitesimal dosage,
this is the book. Although merely a pamphlet compared to Coulter's
multi-volume homeopathic treatise Divided Legacy, this little book still
provides over 250 citations from medical journals, a handy table of remedy
dilutions, and an annotated bibliography. A 31-page article by J. T. Kent,
MD, on case taking and prescription is also included. (157 pages, paper)
OKAY, ONE LAST CAFFEINE QUESTION
N. K. writes:
"Our 11-year-old son became extremely strange and looked almost insane (it
really worried me), pulled pranks and barely even remembered what he had
done. We were extremely worried, as he had always been a happy, smiling boy,
and a model student, devoted to music and hard working. It all disappeared.
We then discovered that he consumed a bottle of soda pop or a can of energy
drink on the way home from school.
"At first, we did not know what was causing his sudden deterioration in his
personality. We thought about the teenage hormones. But as I searched
through Internet sites and discovered about the amount of caffeine in the
soft drinks he consumed, I started to read about caffeine's effect on the
brain. Your information was really useful. We eliminated all the
caffeine-containing food and drinks (as far as I know) from his diet and now
he seems almost back to normal. But he probably consumed a lot of caffeine
for about three weeks, and I have a concern about possible damage to his
brain. Is there a likelihood of permanent harm?"
If a few weeks of heavy caffeine consumption is dangerous, much of the world
(and all of its truck drivers and doctoral students) are surely doomed. More
seriously, caffeine, a methylated xanthine, is not known for its long-tem
effects. Miscarriage or low-birthweight babies, heart attack, elevated blood
pressure, benign breast lumps, panic attacks, and lower academic performance
may result from habitual, maintained caffeine use. Probably the worst one
can say is that, with caffeine consumption to the equivalent of seven to ten
cups of coffee a day, and for an extended period of time, there can be
observable and perhaps permanent damage to the rhythm of the heartbeat.
Three weeks is not what I would call extended.
On the other hand, I know of one lady who drank just a single cup of coffee
and had her heart rate jumped to 275. That can't be good for the ticker.
Your common sense, along with a cooperative physician, can help you keep an
eye on this.
I think your son staying off the caffeine will bring real and permanent
Happy holidays! And remember: things go better without Coke.
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