Whenever something that has been etched in granite is threatened by a new trend or force, we become uneasy. We strive hard to maintain the status quo. Our familiarity gene feels comfortable with routine, a knowingness that our expectations will be met. There’s nothing more threatening to the human mind than no longer feeling in charge.
Apply this to your health and healthcare. Most boomers are accustomed to old paradigm: we get ill, see our physician, and take a pill. Now think for a moment about how that simple concept involves three profoundly complex interactions. First, we the consumer, the patient, the client –whatever term you use – consults an expert. That expert, caregiver, physician – whatever title you use – has traditionally been in charge of the patient’s health and body (our body). Third, the pharmaceutical industry influences the interaction between patient and physician. Let us explore these interactions more closely.
The perception of illness places us in a position of weakness, of requiring an outside authority to heal us. Since we see the physician as the caregiver and ourselves as the receiver, the concept that one of us is in charge, usually the physician, is established. That places the patient or the client in the position of passivity, having very little or no participation in the dance of health. That perpetuates the physician as the authority figure, forever precluding a cooperative venture.
I see so many women every day intimidated by the God-like stature of the doctor. They feel shy and foolish to speak of such intimate and vital topics such as sexuality, or urine loss, or profound depression. Yet, these conditions are the fabric of many lives, and in a most important way, affect a person’s self-esteem. If we give power to another person when it comes to health issues, we also can give away chunks of self-esteem.
Furthermore, this position of passivity keeps us entrenched in old thinking: I am ill; my doctor will fix me. Therefore, I have no responsibility in my health. And since most interactions involve receiving a prescription, the well-known cycle is complete. The patient gets a quick fix, the doctor can get to see more patients, and the pharmaceutical industry can continue rewarding its CEOs with tremendous salaries.
Now, may I joggle your complacency – your familiarity gene – for a moment while I present another paradigm. In this paradigm, we are the ones in charge of our minds and bodies. When a patient comes to me, one who is well-informed and in-tune with hr body, I, the physician, am forced out of my complacency of being in charge, and pushed into a fascinating dialogue with this fellow traveler. We share philosophies of healthcare, and even may share painful life events that can serve to reinforce our connectedness. We are in partnership.
Being in charge of oneself converts that passive, needy self into an active participant, the very catalyst required to mobilize our self-healing. Now, gentle readers, do not for one moment assume that that this is an easy task: this is hard work. It incorporates many principles that I will address in future columns, such as taking time for yourself every day for exercise, paying attention to the food you consume, planning ahead for meals, and feeding your spiritual life. This major paradigm shift is a challenge for patient and practitioner alike. But it is worth working on, worth working for, worth changing for – and all in the name of health and wellness.
The following is an annotated bibliography of articles found mainly in mainstream
conventional literature which, in many cases, refutes party line beliefs. It is a humbling
reminder that we are often more connected to a more expansive paradigm than we think.
There is no conclusive evidence of dietary fat or cholesterol as causes for coronary artery
disease. There is stronger evidence as sucrose as a cause; in 30% of men, an
experimental increase in dietary sucrose provides all the typical increases in cholesterol
and lipids. uric acid, insulin, insulin resistance, platelet adhesiveness, and a decrease in
J. Royal Soc. Med August, 1992; 85(8): 515-6.
For 4.1 years, 2760 postmenopausal, non-hysterectomized women with established
coronary arty disease, mean age 67, took either a placebo or Prempro .625/2.5 in a single
tablet daily. In spite ofan 11% lower LDL-C and 10% higher nean HDL-C in the
hormone group, no significant differences emerged in the incidence of cardiovascular
death or MI.
Hully, S., Grady D., Bush, T., et al; Randomized Trial 0/ Estrogen Plus Progestin/or
Secondary Prevention 0/ Coronary Heart Disease in Women, JAMA, August 19, 1998;
• At least one-third of 150 million prescriptions written in the u.s. per year are
• 50% of antibiotics manufactured go into animal feed;
The Hygiene Hypothesis:
Exposure to soil based organisms (mycobacteria and fungi) early in life enhances cellmediated
immunity and down regulates allergic and auto-immune responses.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Germs, ” Rook, G.A. W. and Stan/ord,J.L., Immunity Today,
19(3) 114-116, 1998.
Black cohosh, an herb that has multiple benefits for the menopausal woman, (reliefofhot
flashes, improvement in the weepy feelings associated with menopause, relieves joint
pains, and when used in tincture form, serves as a bitter herb which improves digestion)
has been called a “phytoestrogen” and warnings have been issued to not use this
substance in women with hormone-dependent tumors. David Zava, Ph.D., biochemist
and cancer researcher, has demonstrated that when using black cohosh to determine
estrogenic activity, it reveals very little, ifany. He can be reached for comment at his
laboratory that performs salivary hormone levels, ZRT Labs in Portland Oregon at (503)
Oral contraceptive pills inhibit the absorption of the B vitamins, folic acid and B-6, two
essential nutrients proven to prevent neural tube defects and cervical dysplasia (folic
acid), and to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and PMS (vitamin B-6).
The 1988 Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health concluded that 15 out of
every 21 deaths (more than 2/3) in the United States involve nutrition.
The following studies have been sent to me by my mentor and friend, Dr. John R. Lee,
MD, the man responsible for natural progesterone transdermal cream becoming a vital
component in the treatment of hormone imbalance.
For years, conventional medicine believed that estrogen would be good treatment for
women with Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
trial finds that it is no better than placebo.
Mulnard, RA, Colman, Cw, Kawas, C, van Dyck, CH, et aI, Estrogen replacement
therapy for treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA 2000; 283: 1007-
Conventional medicine assures women that tubal ligation does not alter their hormone
status. A 1979 study found that midluteal mean serum progesterone level in normal
women in whom unstimulated conception occurred is 18.6 ng/mI and all above lOng/mI.
In normal women after bilateral tubal ligation, the mid luteal mean serum progesterone is
only 9.4 ng/mI (50% less).
Radwanska, E, Berger, GS, Hammond, J. Luteal deficiency among women with normal
menstrual cycles, requesting reversal of tubal ligation. Obstet. & Gyn. 1979; 54: 189-92.
Conventional medicine believes that hot flushes signify estrogen deficiency. New
research finds that, in peri- and recently menopausal women, low-dose topical
progesterone is very effective in relieving hot flushes, compared to placebo. During
those years, estrogen production may be variable but doesnot become inadequate for
bodily need. In progesterone deficient women, estrogen receptors are down-regulated.
Restoring progesterone restores estrogen receptor sensitivity, and therby prevents hot
Leonetti, HB, Longo, S, & Anasti, IN. Transdermal progesterone cream for vasomotor
symptoms and postmenopausal bone loss. Obstet. & Gyn 1999; 94: 225-228
Conventional medicine believes that tamoxifen has been proven to prevent breast cancer.
The evidence is that breast cancer recurrence or incidence is unchanged by tamoxifen.
Verones, U, Maisonneuve, P, Costa, A, Sacchini, V, et al. Prevention of breast cancer
with tamoxifen: preliminary findings from the Italian randomized trial among
hysterectomised women. Lancet, July 11,1998;352: 93-97.
Powles, T, Eeles, R, Ashley, S, Easton, D. Interim analysis of the incidence of breast
cancer in the Royal Marsden Hospital tamoxifen randomized chemoprevention trial.
Lancet, 11, July, 1998; 352: 98-101.
The FDA, on 2 September 1998, decided not to allow Zeneca to market tamoxifen for
prevention of breast cancer. NOTE: The NEJM, 26 November 1998, printed a major
review article on “Drug therapy: tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer”that never
mentioned any of the above.
Conventional medicine believes that testosterone causes prostate cancer. The evidence is
that estradiol causes prostate cancer, an opinion shared by the NCI. My (John Lee, MD)
hypothesis is that progesterone decreases in aging men, leading to a fall in testosterone
levels. Also, testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the action of5-
alpha-reductase, an enzyme normally inhibited by progesterone. As testosterone levels
fall, estradiol effect increases. Estradiol promotes the oncogene, Bcl-2, whereas
progesterone promotes the protective suppressor gene, p53. The evidence is that prostate
hypertrophy and prostate cancer are correlated with estradiol dominance, i.e., the ratio of
estradioVtestosterone is increased in men with these problems.
Unpublished study by Prof Bent Formby at UC/ Santa Barbara. Li, S, Hu, L, Zheng, X,
Wang, J, Zhang, G, Tian, B, Yang, Z, Wang, H Serum sex hormone profiles in patients
with benign hypertrophy and carcinoma of the prostate. Hubei Yike Daxue Xuebao,
1998, 19(3): 241-242, 247 (China).
Conventional medicine believes that serum cholesterol levels are the result of dietary fat.
The evidence is that the glycemic index of the diet (sugars and refined starches) is a
stronger predictor than dietary fat or serum HDL-cholesterol concentration.
Frost, G, Leeds, AA, Dore CJ, Madeiros, S, et al. Glycemic index as a determinant of
serum HDL-cholesterol concentration. Lancet 1999; 353:1045-48.
Conventional medicine fails to recognize that progesterone is thermogenic.
Premenopausal women presenting with low basal body temperature are likely to be
progesterone-deficient, rather than thyroid-deficient.
Simpson, HW, Griffiths, K, McArdle, C, Pauson, A W, et al. The luteal heat cycle of the
breast in health. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. (Netherlands) 1993; 27(3): 239-245.