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- Our Town
Medical maverick will give lecture in Cranbrook
Canada's most renowned medical journalist — and a maverick in his own right — is coming to Canada with a revolutionary message.
Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, whose newspaper column "The Doctor Game" has appeared in newspapers across the country, including the Daily Townsman, will be speaking about cardiovascular health at his March 25 appearance at the Prestige Inn, and how certain natural substances — in particular Vitamin C and Lysine — go a long way to not only preventing the hardening of our arteries as we age, but actually reversing that condition — atherosclerosis.
What makes this idea revolutionary, Gifford-Jones says, is not only its simplicity, but the unwillingness of the "medical establishment" to accept it as therapy.
"I've never been in Cranbrook, so I'm looking forward to talking to people there," Gifford-Jones told the Townsman before setting out on his tour, which is following on the release of his latest book, "What I Learned As A Medical Journalist" (a collection of columns).
"I'll be talking about cardiovascular disease, and, basically, that we can not only prevent it, but we can reverse it once it starts.
"Which is really a revolutionary, monumental idea."
The basis of this revolutionary idea is simple Vitamin C. Research conducted by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling (1901-1994) showed that Vitamin C is required to manufacture healthy collagen, the glue that holds coronary cells together, just like mortar is needed for bricks. When Vitamin C is combined with the amino acid Lysine (which like steel rods in concrete, makes collagen stronger), the result is a reversing affect on atherosclerosis.
"Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is really the rust we develop in our arteries as we age. The more we get, the greater the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems."
Gifford-Jones went on to say how an English optometrist, Sydney Bush, later provided photographic evidence of the so-called "Pauling Therapy."
"Dr. Bush carried out an interesting experiment with his optometry patients who were getting infections under their contact lenses, and out of the blue decided to see if the infections could be decreased with (daily dosages of) 5,000 milligrams of Vitamin C," Gifford-Jones said.
"He found that it worked. But he also did one important thing, which was to take before and after pictures of the back part of the eye — the retina — which is the only part of the body where you can see arteries and veins. Not only did he find that they weren't getting any infections, but there was reversal of the atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. Since the head is connected to the body, what's going on in the retinal eye arteries is also going on in the coronary arteries, and the arteries throughout the body.
"And we have 60,000 of them."
Gifford-Jones described these before-and-after photos of people who have been treated with Vitamin C. "There's just a dramatic difference," he said. "The arteries are wider, there's greater flow to the retina and other parts of the body, they just look a lot healthier. You don't have to be a doctor to see what's going on."
But, as both Linus Pauling and Sydney Bush have found, Gifford-Jones has seen this evidence of Vitamin C's ability to reverse hardening of the arteries met with a wall of silence and indifference — almost suppression — from the medical establishment.
For which, he says, there are several reasons.
"Most things that are too good to be true are too good to be true," Gifford-Jones said. "But in this case, it really is true. Unlike many things, where we're talking about theory, in this case we can see it with our own eyes.
"We've been criticized by the medical establishment that we haven't done double blind studies — etc, etc — but nobody's going to pay for them. You can't patent Vitamin C and lysine.
"The other problem is that we have a situation where 'Marketing 101' is awful hard to beat."
Throughout his career as medical journalist, Gifford-Jones has been critical of the hold pharmaceutical companies have on the medical industry. The suppression of the Pauling Therapy is another example of this, he says.
"I've been saying for years that we've developed a society where we all have 'pill-itis.' We're in a state in North America where we want a pill for every ache and pain. There are times when obviously we need medication — diabetics need insulin, for example — but we literally have become dependent upon looking to the pharmaceutical industry to ease us of every ache and pain we ever have.
"One pharmaceutical company last year made $22 billion selling Lipitor (a cholestrol-reducing drug)," he said. "When you've got a product that's making you $22 billion, you damn well can spend a few hundred million looking after it. It's really hard to fight."
He added that many doctors often don't accept "revolutionary" ideas. "They have really been brainwashed by the advertising of the pharmaceutical companies, and the public has been brainwashed too," he said. "It's even more unfortunate that cardiologists have been brainwashed — they think (Lipitor) is the be-all and end-all to treating coronary and artery disease. And if you start criticizing it, it's like criticizing motherhood and apple pie."
Gifford-Jones saw further evidence of a studied lack of interest in the Pauling Therapy while writing about it for the Globe and Mail newspaper, and got no feedback at all — not one comment from anyone in the "medical establishment" about his columns on the powerful positive affects of Vitamin C.
"In other words, the medical establishment isn't listening," he said. "The interesting thing is, the consumers are listening.
"They've really invented a new disease — cholestero-phobia," Gifford-Jones continued. "You think the consumer would be the last person to come around to thinking that this might not be a bad idea — you would think the doctors would be the first to take a look at the photos, notice the dramatic difference, and say 'something's going on.' And yet it's not happening.
"It's interesting for me, because normally when I've talked about controversial issues in the past — euthanasia or abortion — I usually get criticized like hell by my colleagues. It isn't happening this time. There is silence. Believe me, I've analyzed this situation for hours and hours, because the last thing I want to do is give out information that isn't correct. But I can't find any flaws in my argument, and I don't think they can either."
Gifford-Jones mused that one reason there may not be the negative feedback to the idea of Vitamin C's ability to stop and reverse atherosclerosis is because it originated with Linus Pauling, considered (according to Wikipedia) one of the most influential chemists in history and among the most important scientists of the 20th century — a two-time winner of the Nobel Prize.
Gifford-Jones said he interviewed Pauling about 25 years ago. "A wonderful man, a real gentleman — and he told me that the one thing that was different between animals and man was that animals all make Vitamin C, with the exception of the guinea pig. We don't; we lost that ability eons and eons ago.
"If you own a dog, your dog more than likely is producing 5,000 milligrams a day, on its own. If your dog became injured, or developed an infection, your dog is going to produce 50,000 or 100,000 milligrams a day. There's a biological mechanism that sets in, that says, 'I'm ill, I have to up my intake of Vitamin C.' That's the message to humans also. If I feel a cold coming on, I take a thousand milligrams of Vitamin C every couple of hours. I very rarely get a cold."
The simplest thing for humans to do, of course, would be to up one's Vitamin C intake in one's diet, but as Gifford-Jones said, "there are only so many oranges you can eat.
"You have to use supplements, available at any health food store. You only need 10 milligrams of Vitamin C to prevent scurvy — one sixth of an orange. But you need thousands of milligrams to prevent heart attack."
Gifford-Jones added that most people don't realize that Vitamin C, in high intravenous doses, not oral doses, "can literally wipe out some viral diseases — not to mention counteract the effects of snakebite.
"Say you're up in the Okanagan Valley, and you're bitten by a rattlesnake," he said, "and you have someone with you who could give you 100,000 milligrams of Vitamin C intravenously, it would counteract the poison."
Dr. W. Gifford-Jones' visit to Cranbrook bodes to be one of the more interesting public medical discussions we've had here in a while.
"I've had a reputation for writing about controversial issues, so the medical establishment doesn't really like me," he said. "So I'll never be elected into the medical hall of fame."
W. Gifford-Jones will be in Cranbrook on March 25 and will give a free public lecture that evening at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort. The lecture is at 7 p.m. and no pre-registration is required.