Archive for the 'Health' Category

RATIONING MEDICAL CARE

July 12, 2010

RATIONING MEDICAL CARE

Our resources are limited. We have to make choices, to get the things we want most with our limited resources. That is rationing. Individually, we must make these choices within our individual resources.

With insurance, we pool our risks with others to provide for occasional extreme expenses. We pay regular premiums, spreading out the cost of major calamities over time and among a group of people within the same insurance program.

Back in the 1930s, medical insurance was rare, if it existed at all. When a medical emergency arose, we went to the County Hospital, supported by local taxes. The quality of care was not the best. I have a stiff elbow to show for it.

I take a dim view of any involvement of government in medical insurance. At the very least, it will add a level of bureaucratic inefficiency to the costs of medical care. At the worst, it will just reduce even more of whatever freedom is left in the medical care market. Say what they may, government involvement means medical care rationing driven by political considerations.

I believe the greatest problem with our medical care is the monopoly (granted by government) which enables the AMA to limit the supply of doctors, and to set rules by which doctors must treat patients. The result is not health care but rather medical care, suppressing symptoms by prescribing drugs. Prevention and cure are not part of the system.

A secondary problem is the close relationship of the AMA, the drug companies, and the FDA, which results in millions of routine prescriptions for expensive, ineffective, unsafe drugs. Prime examples are bisphosphonates, statins, and coumadin.

Providing by law for universal health care insurance will automatically assure that only AMA approved procedures will be covered by insurance. All existing health insurance already does that, but universal health insurance will even eliminate the option to pay as you go for your own health care. Of course, the automatic result of any socialist scheme like universal medical care is to reduce our freedom.

Insurance is an obvious solution to protect yourself from huge occasional unforeseen medical bills. On the other hand, insuring to cover routine office visits and checkups simply adds bookkeeping costs and red tape to your medical expense.

Pay as you go for health care forces you to make economic choices. The result is that you would spend less than you do under full medical insurance. You do your own rationing, according to your own priorities. Doctors and insurance companies prefer the full medical coverage; they earn more that way, and you and I pay for it.

Britain has its own version of universal health care. Through the years the government has tried many ways to limit the ballooning cost. Ultimately, as in Canada, the most effective rationing is the waiting list. When I lived in Britain, in 1999, I needed a knee replacement. The waiting list for that was 20 months. Fortunately, I had private health insurance and had it done immediately.

I feel that total medical insurance coverage, plus the conviction that “doctor knows best”, plus the conviction that the USA has the best health care system in the world, relieves us of responsibility for our own health. We fall in with the medical notion that sickness just happens, regardless of nutrition and lifestyle, and only an M.D. can fix it.

Take charge of your health. Invest some time and effort to learn about, and get, good nutrition. Get up from your couch and TV long enough to get some healthy exercise. Find one of those rare doctors who offer real health care and can see beyond their prescription pad. If you take out medical insurance, take the plan with the maximum deductible and co-pay to keep the incentive to look after your own health.

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THE MEDICAL PARADIGM

July 8, 2010

THE MEDICAL PARADIGM

Medical Doctors leave medical school prepared to treat the ills of mankind. They are not taught how to prevent them or to cure them. Essentially they learn how to suppress symptoms. The “diseases” they deal with are usually no more than symptoms of a malfunctioning system. They are taught which drug will suppress which symptom. If your blood pressure is above what is currently considered “normal” your doctor will prescribe a drug to reduce your blood pressure, with no further investigation to find and cure the cause of the high blood pressure.

The paradigm, the basic attitude in the medical world is that disease just happens, like a rainstorm or a lightning bolt or an earthquake. Their job is to repair the damage. They make no attempt to trace the cause so as to prevent a recurrence. They are not taught about nutrition or lifestyle. If you ask them about vitamins or minerals or any aspect of nutrition, they try to assure you that these things don’t matter.

Drugs are the primary tool of Medical Doctors. The textbooks in medical school are written by drug companies. Continuing education comes from pamphlets, samples, and drug salesmen. The dangerous side effects of drugs are minimized in this education. The minute an old drug is replaced by a new one, the new one is advanced as a great improvement over the old one. Only then are doctors made conscious of any shortcomings of the old drug.

From ancient times, diagnosis depended on questioning and examining the patient. That method has largely been replaced by tests. Numbers rule. Your blood pressure numbers almost automatically call for a drug. Your pulse and temperature provide more numbers.

More and more blood “workups” are required for diagnosis. Measurements of all sorts of things indicate what drugs to take. Blood tests can indicate all sorts of unseen problems. However, the determination of “normal” readings is much influenced by the drug companies in order to push their drugs. Blood tests are convenient for doctors, but are often less reliable than other methods which they find less convenient.

My own experience bears this out. I have been hypothyroid for as long as I can remember, but it was never identified until I was 29. I had all the symptoms: always cold, tired, and sleepy. At that time the standard test of basal metabolism (energy consumed while resting) was determined by measuring my oxygen consumption. My metabolism was very low. I was prescribed, and started taking, thyroid hormone.

My prescription was renewed for 10 years. Then a new test for thyroid condition came out- a blood test called PBI. I was declared normal and the prescription was withdrawn. At 39, I was once again cold, tired, and sleepy.

At the age of 82, I tried again to get my thyroid adjusted. A new blood test called TSH, said I was normal. Case closed? No, I found a holistic doctor who examined me and agreed that I was hypothyroid. He took more elaborate blood tests which confirmed the diagnosis. After a 33 year gap, I am once again taking thyroid hormone. For all other doctors I encountered during that gap, the currently “approved” blood test was the final word.

The shocking thing about the American medical system is the drugs that doctors routinely prescribe. Coumadin is the medical version of warfarin, a blood thinner long used as a rat poison. It is so dangerous that it has been banned for medical use in Japan and the European Union. Yet American doctors routinely prescribe it for lifetime use for people with cardiovascular problems and after various surgeries.

Coumadin dosage is so critical that patients should have daily blood tests to monitor blood clotting rate. Many foods interact with the Coumadin, either increasing or reducing the effect. Therefore, patients on Coumadin are forbidden to eat a healthy diet.

A Japanese enzyme, Nattokinase, is equally or more effective at preventing unwanted blood clots, and far safer. Certain foods (like fish oil) are usually sufficient to do the job with complete safety.

Blood tests to monitor cholesterol are routine. If your total cholesterol exceeds 200, doctors automatically prescribe statin drugs. They treat cholesterol as if it were some kind of toxic waste that must be reduced as low as possible. Quite the contrary, research indicates that a healthy level of total cholesterol is between 200 and 300. The doctors are dead wrong about cholesterol so their patients end up dead.

Cholesterol is an essential part of body metabolism. It is a basic building block your body uses in building nerves and brain cells, and is the source material for creating all or your many hormones. You need it. That’s why your liver makes it.

Statin Drugs reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme which is also essential for production of Coenzyme Q-10. Co-Q10 is essential for muscle strength, and is crucial for the most important muscle in your body – your heart. Statin drugs cause heart failure! The cholesterol scare is a scam dreamed up by the drug companies. Statins are one of their most profitable drug families.

Cancer is a prime example of the medical paradigm. Until the 20th century, cancer was relatively rare. An epidemic of cancer began when our foods started to become industrialized. It is now neck-and-neck with cardiovascular disease as our number one killer, which is also a product of malnutrition. Doctors believe that cancer just happens.

The American medical mainstream can’t cure cancer. Doctors have just 3 options, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. On average, none of these treatments extends life significantly, and they all make the remainder of life miserable. And they are very expensive.

Cancer can be cured. President Reagan went on the Q.T to Germany for a cure. Folks in California go to Tijuana, Mexico to be cured. The cures available there are forbidden in the USA.

Cancer can be prevented. A bit of advice I read recently was: “Eat like your great-great grandmother ate”. My formula is more accessible; a low carbohydrate diet and interval training exercise.

The moral of the story is this: Take charge of your own health. Doctors give the impression that they have all the answers, but they don’t. Above all learn about what you can do, by way of nutrition and lifestyle, to stay healthy to a ripe old age. For more information on health, check my other Blogs under the “HEALTH” category.

FAKE FOOD IS SAD (STANDARD AMERICAN DIET)

June 28, 2010

FAKE FOOD IS SAD (STANDARD AMERICAN DIET)

No, I’m not complaining about fast food, whatever that means. The thing that makes the standard American Diet so sad has mainly to do with shelf life: foods sitting on the supermarket shelf with an expiration date 5 years hence. That means that in 5 years, it will still be nearly as nutritious as it was when shipped from the food factory.

How can that be? Well, most of the nutrition is already gone when it was shipped from the food factory.

First, canned foods; if you cook something in a can until you’re absolutely certain there’s not a single surviving bacteria, you have also destroyed much of the nutrition that initially went into the can.

Second, refined foods; refined sugar doesn’t spoil. It is so rich that it kills bacteria on contact. It takes a bit longer to kill us, but it will, eventually. Refined grains, similarly, are almost pure starch, which converts into sugar as you chew that delicious bread or white rice. It’s equivalent to eating candy. Think diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. That’s worse than no nutrition at all

Your supermarket offers a wide variety of vegetable oils, all refined with the single exception of extra virgin olive oil. The rest of them come mostly from seeds with a balance of two oils, called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are classed as essential fatty acids, meaning that we must have them in our diet; our bodies cannot make them from other materials.

The important thing about these 2 fats is that they should be balanced in roughly equal proportions for our health. Omega-6 fatty acids alone cause inflammation, as in cardiovascular disease. So guess which oil is removed in the refining process. Right, they remove the omega 3 fatty acid, leaving pure omega 6. The fact is that the vast majority of Americans suffer from a serious deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids.

That’s the principal culprit behind our #1 killer- Cardiovascular disease. But the refined vegetable oil can sit on the shelf for many months without spoiling, because the omega-3 fatty acid, which spoils quickly, has been removed.

Third, packaged foods; Read the label: 5 or 10 or 20 ingredients, mostly sounding very technical, some unpronounceable. What purpose do they serve?: Long shelf life, attractive appearance, convenient texture, quick preparation. Many of these foods contain some form of glutamate. (Remember MSG; a deadly brain toxin). These come, disguised under a dozen names, to “enhance flavor”. Doesn’t “natural flavoring” sound innocent? Avoid them all like the plague they cause.

In summary, these foods retain what nutrition they have because they have very little real nutrition to begin with.

So let’s move through the supermarket to the stuff that’s refrigerated. Perhaps that will be closer to nature and more nutritious. Milk, long touted as the best nutrition for growing children and everybody. Away back in the 1800s, Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization – for wine, or was it for beer? Anyway it stopped the fermentation process and provided longer shelf life. Just a little heat to kill most of whatever provided the fermentation.

But when you do this with milk, the heat will ruin its nutritional value. Some people can digest it and some can’t. Millions of colicky bottle babies live in misery until they start on solid foods. Pasteurization is required by law. It extends shelf life, and permits dairy farmers to be a bit careless about hygiene, but it isn’t nutritious for most of us. Raw, unpasteurized milk, even after it sours, is better food than pasteurized milk.

Now surely the meat we buy fresh in the market is as nature made it? No, it isn’t. For perhaps a million years our ancestors hunted animals, mostly ruminants: cattle of all kinds. Ruminants have a complicated digestive designed to digest grass and various green leaves.

Ruminants can even survive on the brown stubble, hay or straw, when the growing season ends. But they were not designed to eat anything as rich as grain. Fed on grain, beef cattle get fat and produce tender, juicy beef, but it makes them unhealthy. And the meat isn’t nutritious.

I’ll guess that 95% of the beef produced in America comes from feed lots. Cattle spend their first 18 months eating green grass and the next 18 months in a feedlot, where they grow to a size which would take 3 years in a pasture. They are fed growth hormones to speed growth, grain that fattens them quickly, and antibiotics to prevent the epidemics that would naturally sweep through a herd of unhealthy cattle, crammed together in a feedlot. The cattle are unhealthy because of their unnatural diet.

Because of the antibiotics, feedlots are a source of trillions of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which move on, airborne or in water supplies, to infect us. That is a growing epidemic today- infections which won’t yield to the usual antibiotics and are progressively becoming resistant to more and more of the newer antibiotics.

But back to nutrition. Grass-fed beef provides the animal versions of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, in an ideal balance. Grain-fed cattle provide only the omega-6 fatty acids, which, without the omega-3 Fatty acids in balance, cause inflammation in the cardiovascular system.

OK, so the beef is unsafe. Surely the answer is fish, right? Well, wild fish do provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. But there aren’t enough fish in the sea to feed 7 billion people. The fish from fish-farms, fed on grains, lack the all-important omega-3 oils. There’s another hazard with fish- they accumulate highly toxic mercury. Bigger fish, eating smaller fish, concentrate the mercury. Smaller, wild, cold water fish are your safest source of omega-3 fatty acids with the least mercury. Wild salmon is a good source, and sardines, despite being canned and cooked are a good, cheap source.

My solution? I get grass-fed meats, shipped frozen, from http://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com. I eat canned sardines and frozen wild salmon, and fresh and frozen organic vegetables and fruits. Will I live to 120? I’ll let you know when I get there.

PATENTS

June 4, 2010

PATENTS
In a brief economics course many years ago, I learned that monopolies are bad, with one exception. A patent is a grant of monopoly by government to encourage invention and technical progress. That sounded good to me.

In my work designing electronics, I occasionally came up with a design idea which I thought might be patentable. I tried doing my own searches to see if the idea was already patented.

I soon got lost in a maze of legal and technical language and unfamiliar technologies and gave up. What I learned from that was that patents made such broad claims that it would be easy to infringe on a patent without knowing it, and I couldn’t guess whether my idea had already been patented.

I consulted my company’s legal department. The answer shocked me. If I file a patent, my idea becomes public and anyone can steal it and beat my employer to the market. The cost of a lawsuit to defend my patent would be more than it would be worth.

On the other hand, if we use the idea without patenting it, we could have a competitive advantage at least for a few years, until somebody else managed to steal the idea. Even then, they could not patent the idea and block our competition, if we could simply show that we had put the idea to practical use before their patent application.

In time I learned the other costs of obtaining the patent. To prove first conception, trial, and confirmation of the idea required detailed records of progress in development, dated and witnessed daily. The keeping of such records can slow development to a snail’s pace. Then, writing up a proper patent application is a major chore. A patent search to see if the idea is already patented is another major chore for a specialist.

I also learned that some inventors collected patents like trophies to display, rather than to produce a product.

There are companies that don’t invent or patent or produce anything, but buy up patents simply to collect royalties from companies that infringe their patents.

I have already described the effects of the patent system on the Drug industry in an earlier post, “Incentives and Bureaucracy” posted April 11, 2010. The effects of drug patents in our health system have probably caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and untold misery.

All in all, my conclusion is that patents impede progress more than they encourage it, and like all government grants of monopoly, impede our economic progress in order to transfer wealth to a favored few. In practice, patents are not a good thing.

Problem solving is necessary to progress and prosperity. There are millions like me who enjoy solving problems and will go on doing it regardless of monetary reward or special recognition. Business success will favor the most innovative producers, and technology will improve rapidly, unimpeded by the burden of qualifying for patents.

GOOD FOODS, BAD FOODS, AND ALLERGIES

May 19, 2010

GOOD FOODS, BAD FOODS, AND ALLERGIES

On May 12th I wrote about Nutrition, good foods, and bad foods. Actually, good nutrition is even more complicated than that. Good nutrition has to be individualized. We are all born different. And as we grow up, we become even more different. Classifying foods as good and bad is still valuable; it spells out a long list of foods that no human should eat.
So how do we find the right diet for each person? When we’ve thoroughly deciphered the human genome, and when profiling each individual genome becomes cheap, we may have an answer. I don’t expect this to happen in my lifetime, or even in this century. But we are learning other ways already.
You might say that we each suffer our own personal food allergies, but that gets into an ongoing controversy over terminology and the very nature of allergy. Some very bad reactions to certain foods are very common; allergies are by definition uncommon.
There are various theories about food types. Blood type is an unreliable predictor. Classification as Carbohydrate Type or Protein type probably changes with your eating habits. You can switch from sugar burning to fat burning through diet and exercise.
Here is my personal experience with allergy/food intolerance/food sensitivity. I had arthritis in my back from my teen years. By the age of 40 it was crippling me. I lived with this until I retired at 65, by which time the arthritis had spread to my hips and knees.
A few years before retirement, I read a book, “Arthritis, the Allergy Connection, by Dr John Mansfield. After I retired, I followed the instructions in the book for the elimination diet to find and eliminate my food allergies. It took time, but it worked. I was sensitive to about 17 foods, but the chief culprits were wheat and sugar (both very common dietary troublemakers).
I avoided all 17 foods for a year and then found that I could tolerate all but wheat and sugar. My arthritis wasn’t totally gone, but the inflammation and pain were reduced by 95%. I still avoid wheat and sugar and all inflammation and pain are now gone. The elimination diet was a chore for 10 or 12 weeks, but well worth the result. I passed this information on to many people but few felt the benefit would be worth the effort.
So think about allergies and food intolerances in choosing your foods. Watch your body’s responses for clues. For example, I can’t eat the white meat from poultry. It literally sticks in my throat; I can’t get it down. If a food upsets your stomach or gives you flatulence, avoid it. These foods may be healthy for others, but they are toxic for you. Many people live for years, suffering with arthritis, asthma, skin eruptions, irritable bowel, and other chronic ailments, caused by intolerance to foods that they probably eat daily.
Common culprits are wheat, sugar, milk products, eggs, and potatoes, but there are many less common culprits. There are several methods of identifying your food intolerances, but none of them very reliable. The elimination diet is the best so far. As I say, few people think it worth the bother. If you care to try it, say so in a comment to this blog entry. If I get enough requests, I’ll write up a summary in a future blog entry.
On the other hand you might prefer to find an allergy specialist. If you find one who practices allergy neutralization, I believe it can really end many allergic reactions. The reaction to wheat, however, is more likely an intolerance of gluten, which is genetic and never goes away.
So when you consider what’s good to eat and what’s bad to eat, remember, you are unique and your best foods and worst foods are an individual matter. There is no ideal diet for everyone.

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH: NUTRITION

May 12, 2010

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH: NUTRITION
If you want to live a long, healthy life, take charge of your health. That means simply good nutrition, exercise, and life style. Your MD probably can’t give you any good advice on nutrition. That’s not included in his education. Government bureaus give bad nutrition advice; their advice is more concerned with the welfare of the farm lobby and the food industry than with your health. This is because they are lobbied and infiltrated by the farm lobby, the foods industry, the drug companies, and the AMA.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend you search the shelves of your local book store. Most of them are diet fads. There may be some good guidance there, but which is best? By the time you’ve done enough research on your own to choose the best book, you won’t need the book. Anyway, our knowledge of nutrition is increasing so rapidly that these books are out-of-date by the time they appear in the bookstore.
I subscribe to monthly newsletters from several of what I call “health gurus”. They’re mostly MDs, mavericks who have ventured beyond what their medical education taught them, and seek real cures for disease, and ways to maintain real health. Some have an active medical practice, some are researchers, and some are both. Here’s a list of the ones I trust, particularly the first four:
Dr Frank Shallenberger: http://www.realcuresletter.com/
Dr Jonathan Wright: http://wrightnewsletter.com/
Dr David G Williams: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/Default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Cancer Defeated http://cancerdefeatednewsletter.com/signup.html
Jon Barron http://www.jonbarron.org/barron_reports.php
Dr Julian Whitaker: http://www.drwhitaker.com/default.aspx
Dr Russell I Blaylock: http://w3.newsmax.com/newsletters/blaylock/issues/
Dr Robert J Rowan: http://www.secondopinionnewsletter.com/
Dr David Brownstein: http://w3.newsmax.com/newsletters/brownstein/issues/
You can Google them on the internet. If you subscribe to their newsletters, most of them give you access to their archives with a wealth of information. Each one has a different slant on what’s most important in both cures and prevention.
Here’s a very brief digest of all I have learned about nutrition from them:
Nearly all of the diseases of mankind can be cured and prevented. That includes Cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks & strokes). For most of them, your immune system is the key. Many drugs and foods compromise your immune system. For example, any antibiotic taken aurally indiscriminately kills the bacteria in your intestines. There goes half of your immune system down the drain. Sugar suppresses your immune system for several hours.
It is just as important to remove the bad food from your diet as it is to add the best food.
Most of the food in our food chain in America has had much of the nutrition removed and preservatives added. The purpose is to improve shelf life. If these foods have a shelf life of months or years, then they can’t nourish microbes that would spoil them, and they can’t nourish you, either.
When you shop for food, go straight to the produce department. Fresh vegetables & fruits are your best friends for health. Second best is frozen veggies. The nutrition is still there, but important digestive enzymes have been destroyed, to improve shelf life.
Mainstream meat is bad nutrition, It has an inflammatory balance of fats (think atherosclerosis) because it was fattened on grain, and is loaded with hormones (to speed growth) and antibiotics (to prevent the epidemics which would naturally rage through herds of unhealthy cattle crowded together in feeding pens. Go to the internet to find grass- fed meats. I trust Slanker’s grass-fed meat. http://www.texasgrassfed beef.com, 1866-752-6537.
Sugar is your enemy. Refined carbohydrates like white bread and most baked goods are just as bad because your body converts them very quickly into sugar. The glycemic index is your best guide to avoiding sugar overload.
All commercial vegetable oils are inflammatory, because they have the essential omega-3 fatty acids (oils) removed to lengthen shelf life. The only exceptions I know of are extra-virgin olive oil and extra-virgin coconut oil. Almost all commercial salad dressings and mayonnaise use the unhealthy oils. Make your own salad dressing.
All carbonated drinks contain a dangerous preservative and either sugar or a brain-toxic sweetener.
Commercial fruit juices are too sugary to be healthy. Eat the whole, fresh fruit.
Most fish are a good source of the all-important omega-3 fatty acids. So, too, are grass-fed meats. Farmed fish are not. (They too are fed grain and antibiotics.) The bigger wild fish, unfortunately, are toxic with mercury. For fish I stick to wild frozen salmon and canned sardines.
Good sources of vegetable omega-3 oils are nuts, flaxseed, and Chia seed. Your body should be able to convert the vegetable version into the animal versions, but don’t depend on it as you get older.
Broiled meats and any charred food are highly toxic. Most fried foods are bad because most frying fats oxidize. To avoid this fry only with lard, coconut oil, or palm oil. Yes, these are healthy fats!
Butter and eggs are good nutrition. From grass-fed cows and free range chickens is best.
Pasteurized milk is a non-food with vital proteins, enzymes, and bacteria destroyed. Raw milk is healthy food, even after it turns sour. For babies, mother’s milk is far superior to any baby formula.
Soy beans are not healthy food, unless they are fermented. They are loaded with plant estrogens, which upset the hormone balance of both males & females. The Japanese eat lots of soybeans, but only after fermentation.
The healthiest diet is a low carbohydrate diet. Carbs are fattening. Refined carbs are deadly, and addictive. Good fats are not fattening. They satisfy and are not addictive.
Cancer loves sugar. It struggles to survive on fats, and so, fed on fats, it can’t spread. Cancer hates oxygen. Eat a low-carb diet, get plenty of oxygen (exercise) and nourish your immune system, and you won’t get cancer. Your healthy body cells on the other hand get sick on sugar overload (type 2 diabetes) but are healthiest burning fats and getting lots of oxygen.
The fluoride added to our drinking water (mandated in many states) is a waste product of the production of aluminum. It is so toxic that it can’t legally be dumped in waste dumps or any body of water. It displaces iodine in our bodies, damaging many of our glands, especially the thyroid. Chlorine in our drinking water and bromine in many products have the same effect. Avoid them all, or crowd them out with big doses of iodine/iodide, as in Iodoral (tablets) and IoSOL (liquid).
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) enhances flavors. It also enhances all of your sensations by over-stimulating brain cells. The result is slow brain death. Unfortunately, MSG has many names, many related chemicals and many disguises. Learn what they are and avoid them all.
Humans are one of the few animals that cannot produce vitamin C, essential for good health. If you’re healthy, you can get by with a few hundred milligrams per day from foods. If you are under attack by microbes, viruses, inflammatory foods, or a toxic environment, you need much more. A good rule is to take vitamin C “to bowel tolerance” (just enough to avoid diarrhea). That is usually about 1000 to 3000 milligrams daily, in divided doses. When you are sick your vitamin C is rapidly used up, and you will find that you can tolerate much more. Use lots of it to get well quickly.
Even the best of organic produce can be poor nutrition because of depleted farm soil. I recommend a complete multi designed by one of the doctors listed above. One-a-Day multi vitamin tablets are not enough. A good multi will mean about 16 capsules daily and will cost about $50 a month. I’ve settled on the multi from Dr David Williams.

Incentives and Bureaucracy

April 11, 2010

Incentives and Bureaucracy

Bureaucrats have very different incentives from politicians. They have no need to get elected, but once hired, they have a secure job, good pay, early retirement with a good pension, and power to interfere with the hapless taxpayers.

In fact, harassing us is the object of their job, as they must be seen to be doing something in order to advance in the bureaucracy.

The usual route to promotion in bureaucracy is empire building. Expand your activities beyond your capacity to handle, and build a department to take over the job. If the people in your department do the same, you become a manager of several departments. The only limit to expansion is your ability to justify your expanding activities. The incentives throughout bureaucracy are heavily tilted to activism and expansion.

Most bureaus were created to regulate some specific industry or activity. The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) was created to regulate the production, quality, and safety of foods and drugs, as well as medical equipment and procedures.

Even before the bill was passed to create the FDA, the food and drug industries had an incentive to try to control the shape of the bill to suit their interests. They succeeded. The FDA has been controlled from the start, especially by the biggest drug companies.

The FDA hires experts from the drug companies. After serving their real masters, the drug companies for years while employed by the FDA, they “retire” to a cushy position back in the drug company they originally came from. The FDA foolishly assumes that loyalties of their employees to their former and future employers will not prejudice their performance while employed by the FDA.

In recent years, most of the funding of the FDA has come from fees paid by the drug companies, but only if their drugs are approved. This leaves little incentive for the FDA to reject an application for approval.

Acceptance or rejection is based on research funded by the drug companies. There is no requirement to reveal any research which might cause a rejection.

The rules governing application and acceptance make it very expensive to apply for approval. This effectively prevents new or small companies, unless backed by lots of money, to get started and compete with the entrenched big boys in the business.

In practice, drugs are not seriously tested (on people) for safety before approval. After approval, we become the guinea pigs for testing the safety of the newly approved drug. A very ineffective system for reporting adverse reactions means that thousands must die before enough “adverse events” are reported and a drug is withdrawn from the market.

The patent system (another government bureau), when applied to drugs, creates a perverse incentive for the drug companies to push ineffectual, dangerous drugs. There are many substances which occur in nature which have proven safe and effective remedies for a thousand years. They are not patentable. To get a patent, drug companies must create chemicals which don’t occur in nature. Mostly, they imitate the natural remedies, almost always with inferior results and safety.

However, with approval by the FDA, and lots of hype to sell their product to the AMA, to the doctors who prescribe them, and to the public, they make literally billions of dollars out of the patent monopoly on their overpriced synthetic drugs.

Apparently, this is what happens in all government regulatory bodies. The people they are supposed to regulate gain control and use the regulator to suit their own purposes. This is simply human action, people reacting to their situation to achieve their wants. The fundamental cause is the power of government and the incentives this creates.