By: Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, MD, M.Sc.
Over the past 27 plus years, natural health products (NHPs) have repeatedly come under attack as being dangerous and requiring ever more regulation by government. Yet Health Canada seems not to be in the least concerned about the 3 million deaths that were caused by legally prescribed “safe” drugs and vaccines during this same period of time.
Despite the fact that there have been zero recorded deaths from consumption of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbal remedies, or amino acid supplements, Health Canada continues a very aggressive approach to regulating NHPs, treating them as if they were the most toxic of all substances on the open market. At the same time, it conspicuously ignores the carnage created by prescription drugs and vaccines.
One blatant example of Health Canada’s modus operandi occurred most recently with the seizure of the anti-clotting enzyme nattokinase from the shelves of health food stores despite the fact that no deaths or side effects were ever reported (see Part One of this article in the December 2012 / January 2013 issue of Vitality). Nattokinase, in fact, has been on the shelves of health food stores for over a decade in Canada. Its increasing usage by Canadians most likely has drawn some attention from Health Canada and their bosses. Nonetheless, the product is now gone from store shelves and the explanation for why it was seized is not forthcoming from Health Canada. Are there any dead bodies I don’t know about as a result of using nattokinase?
Let’s discuss dead bodies further. Recent investigations by the UK-based Alliance for Natural Health International concluded that nutritional supplements and herbal remedies have an impeccable safety record. According to their statistics, you are 900 times more likely to die from food poisoning than from any NHP. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals are 62,000 times more likely to cause your death than any food supplement. You are 7,750 times more likely to be killed by pharmaceuticals than from any herbal supplement. The risk of death from any NHP is 1 in 10,000,000.
This reminds me of a lecture I once attended where Dr. Jonathan Wright was answering questions from the audience. One of the doctors attending asked Dr. Wright about vitamin B12 toxicity. Dr. Wright had developed a protocol of daily injections of over 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 for childhood asthmatic cases, and was getting some spectacular results. What Dr. Wright answered was that vitamin B12 could indeed be toxic if you filled up your bathtub with the injectable and drowned in it. To date, however, no one has reported such an event.
In all seriousness, the latest report (2010) from the U.S. National Poison Data System concludes that there were zero deaths attributable to vitamin and mineral supplements that year. Americans take over 60 billion doses of nutritional supplements each year, so this is indeed a remarkable statistic. Most of these health conscious individuals take more than one supplement and adverse reactions and interactions are rarely if ever reported. Contrast this to the dangers and deaths associated with drugs and vaccines. One wonders what the big fuss about NHP regulation is really all about.
Flu shot anyone? Dr. Robert Mendelsohn used to say that vaccines are one of the sacraments of the church of modern medicine. Due to much peer pressure, conventional doctors seldom, if ever, dare question the validity of providing vaccines to their patients. I’m not questioning anything here (God forbid) but I am just reporting some facts that are, at best, disturbing.
On January 25, 2013, the world-renowned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reported to have stated that the current influenza vaccine is largely ineffective at preventing the flu. Proof of this is the fact that widespread outbreaks of flu-like symptoms had been reported all across the U.S. in people who had received this year’s version of the flu shot. According to the medical journal The Lancet, the flu vaccine appears to have an effectiveness rate of only about 1.5%. This is hardly effective medicine, yet people (especially some health care workers) are threatened with job loss if they refuse the flu shot and governments are spending millions of dollars providing this ineffective remedy at taxpayer expense.
What’s more, the flu shot appears to cause people who receive it to develop what looks like the flu. One well documented example of this occurred when the famous Dr. Mehmet Oz injected CNN host Piers Morgan with this year’s hapless version of the flu shot. Within days, Morgan developed flu-like symptoms. This unfortunate publicity stunt came days after it was reported that the flu shot was the cause of 800 cases of narcolepsy in children. So, without overstating the obvious, the flu shot appears to be neither safe nor effective.
The flu shot is not the only vaccine capable of producing symptoms similar to the disease it’s trying to prevent. A report about the meningitis vaccine recently indicates that it caused paralysis in 38 African children just days after they received the vaccine.
Morgan is not the only victim of vaccine adverse reactions, although he may be one of the most famous to succumb to some of the harmful effects. Ordinary children appear to be the major victims. According to data compiled from the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, as many as 145,000 children or more have died over the past 20 years as a result of the multiple vaccine (30 vaccines) approach advocated and implemented by most conventional medical authorities.
This vaccine-related damage now seems to be more and more recognized by the courts in the U.S. The Huffington Post reported in late January 2013 that two children who developed autism following routine vaccinations (MMR vaccine) were awarded millions of dollars by the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to help pay for a lifetime of special medical care.
The ADHD Drug Scandal
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHD) is rarely, if ever, treated in the conventional medical world with anything other than prescription drugs that fall in the amphetamine (“speed”) category. Ritalin is the best known of these but several new Ritalin imposters (Adderall, Concerta, Strattera) have been appearing in increasing numbers on the prescription “speed” market for kids over the past two decades. Like heroin, morphine, hydromorphone, and other narcotics, these ADHD drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependence.
According to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, some of Ritalin’s side effects include stunting of growth, depression, insomnia, nervousness, psychosis, Tourette’s syndrome, bizarre behaviour, hallucinations, seizures, blood pressure, and pulse changes. Whatever the street version of speed (amphetamines) can produce, Ritalin will duplicate at the right dose. Ritalin and other currently prescribed ADHD drugs are all strong stimulants and their side effects are relatively the same.
In the fall of 2012, the Toronto Star ran a series of articles on the damaging effects of ADHD drugs as well as the fact that Health Canada kept this data secret from the public. Over 600 serious adverse reactions, including completed suicides, have been reported because of the use of these drugs in the past decade alone.
Here are some of the damaging effects of ADHD drugs uncovered by the Toronto Star:
• Four deaths that were not suicides, including an 18-year-old girl who died after a cerebral hemorrhage in 2011;
• Side effects on most parts of the body — the brain, respiratory system, several major organs, blood, skin, eyes, ears, and hair, including: 20 kids had psychotic disorders;
• More than 40 kids suffered depression. A doctor reported a 15-year-old patient felt “worthless.” This teen, made aggressive and depressed by two different, concurrent doses of Adderall XR, hurt himself and thought about killing himself;
• 24 convulsions, including a 7-year-old on Adderall XR in 2010;
• 48 hallucinations, including 11 cases of kids hearing voices. In the antiseptic language of adverse-reaction reporting, this side effect is labelled “auditory hallucination”;
• 20 overdoses, eight of those intentional, including a 10-year-old boy on Ritalin;
• Three strokes: an 11-year-old boy; a 16-year-old boy; and an 18-year-old girl also on birth control;
• 28 cases of heart problems, including irregular heartbeats, blood pressure spikes, chest pain, and one ventricular fibrillation (severely abnormal heart rhythm). An 8-year-old girl suffered a heart attack;
• 23 cases involving side effects on the liver, including a 6-year-old boy on two ADHD drugs with abnormal liver function, and a 12-year-old who died in 2007 after developing a liver tumour;
• Other side effects experienced by 7-year-olds include sleep terror, emotional disorder, moaning, convulsion, weight loss, chest pain, muscle twitching, intentional self-injury, depression, staring, and fecal incontinence.
Health Canada has done nothing to alert the public to the serious magnitude of these side effects. All Health Canada appears to be doing is collecting the data about these stimulants (when reported) but doing absolutely nothing about it except protecting drug company profits.
According to one Health Canada spokesperson: “It is primarily the (drug company’s) responsibility to monitor the safe use of their products.” Well, if that’s really true and Health Canada is treating Natural Health Products as drugs, why don’t they then ignore policing NHPs like they ignore policing toxic drugs? I suppose they’re far too busy removing safe nutritional supplements from the shelves of health food stores and haven’t given it enough thought.
Psychiatric Drug Scandals – School Shootings Linked To Antidepressants
Antidepressants, collectively known as the SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Cipralex, and others), work no better than placebo for most cases of mild to moderate depression. (See “Treating Depression Naturally” on Vitality’s website) In fact, placebo is superior to these drugs because at least placebo pills have no side effects.
Now comes word that these same SSRI drugs may be behind an increasingly common occurrence of gun violence in schools. Dr. David Healy, author of the recent book Pharmageddon, criticizes the manufacturers of SSRIs because these psychotropic drugs prescribed for school children cause violent behaviour. According to Healy, SSRIs can make children “aggressive and hostile.” Not only that but it is an established fact that SSRIs can make a child more suicidal. Healy contends that as a society we are conducting a vast experiment and no one really knows what the outcome of that will be. So far, just about every episode of the mass murder of innocent children and adults (e.g. Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT) can be traced back to SSRIs (see list of references at end). People blame the guns, but if SSRIs are involved in each and every case, why aren’t these being better scrutinized?
According to Healy, the more psychiatrists that are located in a specific region prescribing SSRIs, the more violent incidents occur in that area. Healy has been quoted as saying, “If school children are screened for mental illness problems, this presumably will lead more medical doctors to put more students on more pills. I would predict then the outcome of more school screenings for mental illness will be more mass killings, even if the guns are taken away and the mass killings are not done with guns.”
So, once again, Health Canada, where are you? With numerous reports of both ineffectiveness as well as serious toxicity concerns, why aren’t these products better regulated? How many more deaths will it take before Health Canada acts?
Health Canada Tactics
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in Communist Hungary in 1956 because the signs of government corruption and denial of freedom are all the same now as existed then.
The information you are about to read in the paragraphs below was provided to me for general broadcast by dedicated people involved in the NHP industry for over 7 decades. These are not members of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), and they wish to remain anonymous to avoid the usual harassment tactics perpetrated by Health Canada goons.
The CHFA has remained unusually silent about the shenanigans and disturbing behaviour of Health Canada and I invite them to comment on what follows. Based on my 35 years of experience in the natural health care field, I believe that what you read below to the end of this article is 100% accurate. “The natural health industry is rapidly approaching a crossroads that will irreversibly change life the way we know it in Canada. If we continue along the current path allowing Health Canada to misapply the synthetic pharmaceutical type regulations to specialty NHPs – we will invariably end up with a Big Pharma dominated marketplace similar to Europe and Australia where:
1) Under the influence of Big Pharma, government regulators have successfully outlawed common safe, efficacious, and cost effective NHPs using misapplied drug style regulations.
2) Traditional independent boutique health food stores are rapidly disappearing or already gone.
3) Multi-national pharmacies and mass-market retailers are the dominating source for a limited selection of overpriced and sub-therapeutic/diluted commodity type supplements (500mg/90tabs of vitamin C retails for approx. $45 in Germany and prescription omega-3 is currently over 10X more expensive via prescription compared with the equivalent over-the-counter product in your a health food store).
Health Canada disingenuously promotes the new NHP regulations as necessary to ensure safety, efficacy and quality. Let’s examine these three points:
Safety: a recent study shows the risk of mortality from taking Vitamin food supplements is actually far less than the chance of being struck by lightning. Safety is clearly not a real issue – but rather a scare tactic used by Big Pharma-influenced regulators to justify misapplication of suffocating drug style regulations. If Health Canada was sincerely concerned about protecting Canadians, they would start by addressing the 10,000 pharma deaths a year in Canada thought to occur outside hospitals due to the wrong drug, dosage errors, and adverse reactions.
Efficacy: Canadians are not stupid. If a product does not work or there is no reasonable evidence supporting its effectiveness – people will choose not to buy it. If Canadians learn the health benefits associated with oranges and want the physiological effect of vitamin C or fibre content – they currently have the personal freedom to make that choice. Similarly, if people want to consume nattokinase or any other natural product with an impeccable safety record – they should not be denied the personal freedom to make that choice – without the preapproval of pharma influenced bureaucrats at Health Canada (who often take taxpayer-funded early pension at 55 to go work as a consultant for Big Pharma. This consultancy is usually dedicated to “educating” their former co-workers on the latest synthetic miracle drug or mercury-laced vaccine). As you can imagine, this incestuous “wink and a nod” career path is well practised by civil servants but does not serve the interest (or safety) of regular Canadian citizens. For more details on the risks associated with this improper practice, please visit “Facts on prescription drug deaths and the drug industry” in Common Ground
Quality: quality (i.e.: ingredient identification, stability, heavy metal testing, microbiological testing, etc.) is already addressed via site licensing and good manufacturing practice regulations – therefore this is a non-issue.
Specialty Natural Health Products – False Presumption Of Guilt
From a safety perspective, pre-existing or unlicensed specialty NHPs in Canada are currently in “Natural Product Number (NPN) jail” with a false pre-declaration of guilt awaiting an uncertain acquittal from the judges at Natural Health Products Directorate kangaroo court. Further, NHPs with NPNs are merely “on probation” awaiting threats of recall or permanent incarceration via random Information Request Notices from Natural Health Products Directorate (as we recently experienced with oregano oil, digestive enzymes, and probiotics). Recognizing the irrefutable evidence that NHPs have decades of safe and effective use begs the question: why are we allowing government to pre-designate NHPs as dangerous and forcing suppliers to invest millions to prove otherwise – without the benefit of recouping the R&D investment with future patent protection (similar to the Big Pharma model)?
Tobacco and alcohol are known killers – why doesn’t Health Canada ban these products? How long will it be before we need Health Canada’s permission to eat grapefruit (more than 85 drugs, many of them highly prescribed for common medical conditions, are known to interact – sometimes fatally – with the pink fruit, according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal)?
More Taxpayer Dollars Wasted
When it comes to protecting the public, the NHP regulations are a greater demolition of taxpayer money than the “wasteful and ineffective” (according to Stephen Harper) failed $2.7 billion (yes billion) long gun registry – which was originally promised to protect taxpayers from gun violence at a mere $2 million cost.
Unlike guns, NHPs have an impeccable safety record. So again, it begs the question: why is government continuing to waste taxpayer money on suffocating regulations for products that receive no drug style government consumption or marketing subsidies? Further, recognizing that NHPs offer a net benefit to Canada’s overburdened public health care system – why is the government not marketing them in the same fashion they over-promote the flu, H1N1 or HPV vaccine?
Big Pharma Buying Up NHP industry
As you may have recently become aware, huge multinational companies such as Bayer, BASF (Schiff), Pfizer (EmergenC), P&G (New Chapter), Attrium (Swiss), and Valeant (Cold-FX) are systematically acquiring natural health food suppliers. Acquisition and consolidation is the first step towards market control and commoditization. These market activities will ultimately have a trickle-down effect – whereby only huge corporations will be allowed to “play” in the NHP manufacturing and retail space. To give you a comparison of the prescription Big Pharma business model versus the traditional health food store, please review the following data:
Big Pharma Health Food Store
Product Omega 3 fish oil softgel Omega 3 fish oil softgel
Dosage 840mg (465 EPA + 375 DHA) 900mg (600 EPA, 300 DHA)
Form Ethel Ester Ethel Ester
Brand Lovaza from GSK too numerous to list
Cost $2.33 / softgel $0.19 / softgel
Comparison To The U.S. GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) Style Regulations:
In the U.S., citizens are free to consume the NHPs of their choice without illogical and predatory government interference. Health Claims are addressed on each product’s packaging with a boilerplate disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” Why can’t we reduce our federal tax burden and cost of NHPs by adopting this regulatory model in Canada? Further, it is important to note that Americans have a greater access to NHP potency and variety. For example:
A. Vitamin D is limited to 1,000 IU per capsule in Canada. 5,000 IU per capsule is widely available in the U.S.
B. Red yeast rice extract (with naturally occurring Lovastatin) is widely available in the U.S. In Canada, red yeast rice extract is not allowed to contain any significant amount of naturally occurring Lovastatin – thus making it therapeutically ineffective.
C. Nattokinase has been widely available in the U.S. for over two decades. In Canada, NHPD recalled nattokinase from the market based on what appears to be theoretical safety concerns. In the absence of any Canadian adverse reaction report associated with nattokinase for the last 10 years, expert observers are dumbfounded to understand how Health Canada recalled a safe and effective natural product like nattokinase while simultaneously allowing known synthetic pharma killers like Pradax (to name only one) to remain in the market.
Geographic Revenue Leakage – Cost To The Canadian Economy
Why are Canadian suppliers and retailers currently being forced to lose business to U.S. internet sites offering all the products (and potencies) which are unavailable in Canada due to the misapplied regulations? Canadian revenue “leakage” to U.S. domiciled internet retailers will only increase in future years as Health Canada continues to increase its predatory stranglehold on NHPs. Further, how will Canadian retailers and suppliers quickly supply new products made popular in the U.S. by celebrities such as Dr. Oz when they do not have NPNs in Canada? By the time a NPN is (hopefully) received and put on the packaging – the peak demand for the product will have long passed – with all sales going the U.S. websites.
Injurious Effect On The Health Of Canadians
There is no public evidence that Health Canada has ever formerly studied or quantified the damaging effect of removing pre-existing NHPs from the market prior to doing so. Failure to comprehensively consider how the removal of pre-existing NHPs affects the future health of Canadians amounts to governmental gross negligence.
What You Can Do
Changes are badly needed at Health Canada to protect our freedom to choose the remedies we want to use. Why should we be forced to take drugs that poison us and vaccines that are both ineffective and potentially dangerous?
Firstly, send this article to as many people as you know and ask them to do the same. Politicians act when they realize it might cause them to lose your vote if they do not support freedom of choice in health care. If you want to avoid the loss of your favourite NHPs, please download and fill out and mail in the postcard to your local member of parliament (provided with the December 2012 / January 2013 article mentioned at the beginning or through local health food stores).
For more information and all references for this article please visit: vitalitymagazine.com