CyberHealth #8

CyberHealth #8

January 6 1998

CyberHealth Index


  1. More on DHEA’s prevention of osteoporosis
  2. From CH readers: hormones and the brain
  3. More on breast feeding and lymphatic breast massage
  4. “If all bread left the face of the earth”
  5. Can olive oil help keep you slender?
  6. One woman overcomes fat phobia
  7. Greed as a substitute for love and meaning

More follow-up on DHEA’s Prevention of Osteoporosis:Should Women use DHEA as Sole Hormone Replacement?

Jorge from Brazil has directed my attention to a recent study on DHEA, published in the October 1997 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. One of the interesting features of this study was the use of DERMAL DHEA, in the form of a 10% cream applied to the thighs.

Fourteen women aged 60-70 were followed up for a year. At the end of the study, bone mineral density in the hips was found to be increased by an average of 2%, with a smaller, statistically nonsignificant increase in spinal bone density. There was also an increase in serum levels of osteocalcin (a protein involved in bone formation).

In addition, 11 of the 14 women showed an increase in vaginal cell maturation index, without any impact on the endometrium. Initially, 10 of the women had atrophic vaginal smear (zero maturation index value). Of these, 8 reached normal-range maturation index values. In other words, there was apparently enough local conversion of DHEA to estrogens to stimulate the maturation of vaginal cells.

There was a trend toward lower fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, and a slight, statistically non-significant trend toward lower total cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. It’s possible that with a larger sample the effect would be statistically significant. (The same trend was obtained in the well-known 1994 study by Morales and Yen, using 50 mg of oral DHEA; that study also found a statistically significant decrease in HDL levels in women.)

Also, probably because the dermal DHEA avoids the first-pass liver metabolism, the increase in testosterone levels was only 50%, as opposed to the doubling of T levels reported when women take oral DHEA. The androgenic impact of DHEA was seen in 66 to 79% more sebum (skin oil) secretion. Two women developed more facial hair, and two other women developed acne (in the Morales/Yen study, 2 women out of 17 reported increased facial hair).

(Anecdotally, the numerous reports of DHEA-caused acne in women make me feel that this is the main and most objectionable side effect. I’ve also had reports of increased body odor, definitely an androgenic side effect.)

Yet another androgenic effect was a decrease in sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), meaning that more free (biologically active) steroids became available (estradiol increases the levels of SHBG).

Eighty percent of the women reported increased well-being, including more ability to cope with stress.

The authors appear to be enthusiastic about the use of DHEA instead of the mainstream HRT. But let us try to see this study in perspective.

There is no question at this point that DHEA is effective in preserving bone mass. In CH #7 we discussed two likely mechanisms: the conversion of DHEA to estrone by the osteoblasts, and the inhibition of bone-destroying inflammatory cytokines. But the fact that DHEA considerably increases women’s serum testosterone levels may also be significant.

Osteoblasts (bone-building cells) have four types of receptors: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors (the administration of estrogens increases the density of progesterone receptors in bone cells), androgen receptors, and glucocorticoid receptors (glucocorticoids are adrenal stress hormones such as cortisol). Acting through the androgen receptor, testosterone no doubt plays a role in bone building in women as well as men. One example of this is hyperandrogenic women, who are known to have thick, strong bones in spite of low estradiol levels.

Nevertheless, is DHEA alone the OPTIMAL hormone replacement when it comes to bone health?

For comparison, let us consider a study of bone density which used estradiol and testosterone implants. Serum E2 increased from around 20 pg to an average of 125 pg. After a year, the researchers found an 8.3% increase in spinal bone density, and 2.8% increase in density in the hip region.

Preserving spinal bone mass is especially important if the woman is to avoid the loss of height, spinal deformation (“dowager’s hump,” an irreversible curvature caused by bone collapse), and osteoporotic backaches. The authors of the implant study concluded: “The percentage increase of vertebral bone density was not related to age, number of years past the menopause, pretreatment bone density, or serum testosterone levels, but a significant correlation was found between the percentage increase in bone density at the spine and the serum estradiol level.”

In the PEPI study, the continuous combined regimen of .625 mg Premarin and 2.5mg Provera yielded 5% increase in the spine and 1.7% in the hip (3-year follow-up).

Let us also take a look at the results of a European-type hormone replacement. In one German study, women were given 2mg estradiol, 1mg estriol, and 1 mg norethisterone/day (continuous regimen). After two years, there was a 17% increase in overall bone density.

Another issue is the problem of DHEA’s androgenic side effects. Some women I know have stopped using oral DHEA because even small doses resulted in acne. I too suffer from this unpleasant side effect, but have largely managed to suppress it through the use of a topical lotion and, above all, sufficient doses of female hormones. Still, there is no getting around the unpleasant fact that the oil glands convert DHEA to DHT (the strong form of testosterone), and DHT is the bad guy implicated in acne, facial hair, and baldness.

More disquieting is the decrease in HDLs seen when oral DHEA is used in the absence of estrogens (high HDLs levels are arguably the best index of female longevity). Even with dermal administration, HDLs went down by 8%. True, the HDL/Cholesterol ratio remained the same, leading the authors to conclude that DHEA has “no deleterious effects on serum lipids.” This may be so, but isn’t it better to raise the HDLs while lowering the LDLs — the main reason why cardiologists worship estrogens?

Nor is DHEA the hormone of choice when it comes to reversing vaginal atrophy and restoring vaginal tissue to premenopausal thickness. Estriol cream is considered the most reliable.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not against DHEA (I use it myself), only against using it as mono-hormone replacement. In a nutshell, the problem is this: POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN ARE ALREADY ANDROGEN-DOMINANT. DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE TO MAKE THEM EVEN MORE SO?

DHEA as part of a comprehensive natural hormone replacement, DHEA acting in a basically estrogenic milieu, now that’s the use of DHEA that makes sense in terms of restoring (more or less) youthful hormonal environment.

We badly need similar studies using pregnenolone and progesterone, hormones known to be more “woman-friendly.” Progesterone in particular deserves more study. We know, for instance, that the levels of osteocalcin are higher during the luteal phase, indicating more bone-building activity.

Finally, growth hormone also holds great promise for reversing osteoporosis (as well as muscle atrophy).

Osteoporosis is a huge health problem whose annual cost is over $10 billion in the United States. All women need to be educated about it, not just postmenopausal women. We particularly need to educate younger women, starting in adolescence, about achieving better bone density before menopause.


  • Labrie F et al. Effect of 12-month dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy on bone, vagina, and endometrium in postmenopausal women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1997: 82 [October]: 3498-3505;
  • Morales A et al. Effects of replacement dose of DHEA in men and women of advancing age. J Clin Endo Metab 1994, 78: 1360-67;
  • Studd J et al. The relationship between plasma estradiol and the increase in bone density in postmenopausal women after treatment with subcutaneous hormone implants. Am J Obst Gynecol 1990; 163: 1474-79;
  • Doren M. Superior compliance and efficacy of continuous oral estrogen-progestogen replacement in postmenopausal women. Am J Obst Gynecol 1995; 173: 1446-51;
  • PEPI Writing Group. Effects of hormone replacement therapy on bone mineral density: results from the PEPI trial. JAMA 1996; 2276 (17): 1389-96)



Miranda writes:

I’ve noticed some good things with pregnenolone, 15 mg x 2 pd. It may have some slightly androgenic effects on me but nothing outrageous — I do feel more mentally alert since I started on it. This cognitive stuff is fascinating. I never knew before that menopause made you stupid — and I can’t say I’ve noticed the major brain fog and memory deficits some women report. But I have had a terrible time with hypersomnia (greatly helped by flaxseed oil, which I assume my body can convert to whatever, or it wouldn’t work) and with a sort of mental malaise that I label LACK OF MENTAL ENERGY. Maybe we should call it the Edith Bunker Syndrome. I still know how to think, and can do so when necessary, but it’s too much trouble and I’d rather not…

This is getting fixed, and about time. I’ve lost a frightening amount of productivity in the last few years. Now I know why, and what to do. Praise God.

Ivy replies:

And praise the manufacturers and compounders of natural human hormones for having made this blessing available to us.

I like to take 20 mg sublingual pregnenolone (from Source Naturals). Within an hour or so, I begin to feel slightly sharper and more cheerful. My perception seems more keen. If I read something, I grasp it with greater ease. The brain does indeed seem to be revved up.

The effects of pregnenolone can be unpredictable, though. My mother has reported that most of the time it seems to bring on a cheerful mood, but once in a while she becomes sleepy instead. Both Lynne and her husband experienced enormous sleepiness after using pregnenolone cream. I just enjoy its moisturizing effect. I can’t explain these differences except through appealing to the principle of biochemical individuality.

The neurotransmitter status of the brain at the time when pregnenolone arrives may also matter. Possibly, if neurotransmitters are low, pregnenolone is basically excitatory. But if for any reason certain neurotransmitters are high, then pregnenolone might be converted into sedative hormones. I am only speculating; this is a very under-researched hormone.

As for lack of mental energy, it may be related to low dopamine. Dopamine is our motivating get-up-and-do-something neurotransmitter, and it is strongly affected by testosterone. When T drops after menopause, many women note less ambition, less zest, less creativity.

While estrogens have been connected chiefly with higher levels of serotonin, because of their ability to inhibit the monoamine oxidase enzyme, the levels of ALL neurotransmitters rise when the brain is rich in estrogens. As one eighty-year-old woman described her experience with estrogen replacement, “Your eyes get brighter and your mind gets sharper.”

A younger woman who switched from 1mg Estrace to 2 mg and felt the almost immediate impact on brain function later commented, “I think I now understand why my mother has lost her former interests and why her life is so empty.”

I know that some of you probably take offense at Miranda’s remark, “I never knew before that menopause made you stupid.” “Stupid” is a harsh word, but sometimes we need harsh words to wake up from the myths propagated by various “reassuring” books on menopause. You know the kind: they tell you that menopause does not REALLY affect your sex drive or looks or urinary continence or memory, that these are just “menopause myths” and old wives’ tales. You are supposed to think positive and carry a small portable fan in your purse to help you with the minor discomfort of hot flashes (I am not kidding; that’s precisely the suggestion I found in one of the “naturist” books; for the rapid drying out and deterioration of the skin, this book said, “Drink more water.”).

Such books are written by authors who appear to be well-meaning but completely ignorant of the basics of physiology, namely the fact that no matter which physiological function you look at — memory, bone formation, muscle formation, wound healing, blood formation, immune function, skin oil secretion, tear-gland function, saliva production, and on and on — all this is largely under hormonal control.

A woman can’t suddenly lose 90% of her estradiol, virtually all of her detectable serum progesterone, and much of the ovarian-source testosterone and DHEA, and not suffer from a whole progressive cascade of physiological deterioration. In terms of the brain, we see a dramatic drop in blood flow to the brain, a sharp decrease in neurotransmitters, increased loss of neurons and synapses, and loss of neurotransmitter receptors. Some of these changes are reversible when hormones are replaced (especially cerebral blood circulation and neurotransmitter levels); some appear to be irreversible.

For me the benefits for the brain, including the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, are the main reason for using NHRT. And it doesn’t surprise me that it’s mainly professional women who use postmenopausal hormones. We need to stay sharp. We can’t afford the cognitive dysfunction that comes with a hormone-deficient brain. We can’t afford the blahs and the blues, the loss of creativity and intellectual passion.

For me, that felt like losing the very essence of myself. The definition of aging as a gradual loss of self really hit home. Except that the most acute loss wasn’t gradual; it was relatively sudden, and came as a shock. It seemed that almost overnight I lost half of my IQ, and went from having exceptionally good memory to not being able to recall Shakespeare’s first name.

As for writing, I couldn’t motivate myself to continue such a difficult, exhausting activity. Suddenly it felt like doing math. I just didn’t see any point. I had enough brain power only to read self-help books filled with simplistic New Age psychobabble.

This seems funny now, but it wasn’t funny back then. I felt frightened. Nobody had told me that hormone deprivation would mean that I was no longer bright and creative. The cheer-up menopause books and alternative health magazine articles had lied. They left out the most devastating effect.

Just as bone cells start dying after estrogen withdrawal, think of the neuronal die-off in your brain.

Remember: the brain needs estradiol. It thrives on estradiol. There is simply no substitute. Estriol does not appear to work very well, and neither does raloxifene. The most direct way to insure sufficient levels of brain estradiol is to take at least 2mg of Estrace or equivalent, preferably in the context of comprehensive multi-hormone replacement.

Hormones are not the only factor in maintaining good brain function and brain health; nutrition is obviously enormously important (I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the right fats). Interestingly, one of the best predictors of longevity is high IQ, pointing to the importance of what might be loosely termed “mental exercise” or the “use it or lose it” factor. Stress reduction must not be forgotten either, since stress injures neurons and even kills them.



Caroline writes:

The new Rx Tri-Est is on the way, and meanwhile I’ve already begun to increase my current dose upwards from the 2.5mg, noticing an almost immediate improvement in my fatigue (I awaken feeling more rested).

And also the “depression” – which is really more like an *attitude* problem than depression – is improved. Interesting. Now if I can just get rid of these cold hands and feet and sometimes headaches <sigh>

I’ve also restored the daily DHEA and pregnenolone doses to that of last summer – to 12 mg DHEA and approx 50mg oral preg/20mg sublingual (I’d cut back 1/2: to 6mg DHEA and was only taking the oral preg). Do you think this cutback was what radically affected my estradiol and progesterone, both of which took a nose-dive in a short (3-mo) time frame? Actually so did my testosterone (take a nose-dive). In fact, every hormone, including DHEA, crashed in that 3 mo time. Bizarre, no?

Ivy replies:

The current consensus (based on only a handful of small-sample studies, however) seems to be that when a woman takes DHEA, both her serum DHEA and her serum testosterone go up (men’s serum T is unaffected by DHEA, except at extremely high doses). When a woman takes pregnenolone, her serum pregnenolone goes up and her serum DHEA may go up, possibly cascading into more testosterone down the line. If her body is indeed using the extraneous DHEA for its DHEA needs, then THEORETICALLY at least more pregnenolone is left over for the production of progesterone and, down the line, estradiol. Thus: no, it’s not bizarre that DHEA, pregnenolone, and testosterone all took a nose-dive when you cut back on pregnenolone and DHEA. I am less certain in regard to progesterone and estradiol.

One problem is the notorious unreliability of blood tests unless you take frequent samplings over time, backed up by the picture we get from metabolites in the urine.

I am not sure if in Caroline’s case the decrease in estradiol (in spite of taking the same dose of tri-est) had something to do with her lower dosages of pregnenolone and DHEA, or if we have here just random testing error. Here again it’s time to quote the wisdom of Peter Huesemann, formerly a pharmacist at Bajamar: “Don’t go by the blood tests. Go by how you feel.”

If you feel better when you increase your estradiol or tri-est dose and restore DHEA and pregnenolone to your previous levels, and there are no side effects, then you have obviously moved in the right direction. It IS possible to feel just as sharp, lively, and zestful as you ever felt before menopause! The secret is using optimal rather than minimal doses (don’t be so timid! Think of the levels you used to have before menopause!), and orchestrating the hormones just right. ALL the sex steroids have a profound influence on brain function, producing the right balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.

By the way, it’s common for women to report a very pleasant difference in energy, motivation, mental sharpness and so on when they switch from suboptimal estradiol dose such as 1mg Estrace to a dose that finally gets them to 100 pg (typically 2mg Estrace). Then they say, “Hey, the lights are going back on in my brain.” (If you think that 2mg is a “high dose,” remember that in Europe it’s merely the starting dose, the beginning of what is considered the effective dose. 4mg is not uncommon.)

For one thing, adequate estradiol dramatically increases blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients for the brain cells, and better detoxification. Also, estrogens serve as antioxidants, protecting neurons from free-radical damage. Estradiol increases the production of serotonin and acetylcholine, but it seems that the levels of all the major neurotransmitters rise in the presence of adequate estradiol (perhaps because estradiol mildly inhibits monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters). And estradiol appears to increase the density of synaptic connections, and of serotonin and dopamine receptors.

As for the male brain, it meets its estradiol needs by converting some testosterone to estradiol (DHEA and pregnenolone can also serve as prohormones for estradiol production). Thus an elderly man may have better brain function than a woman of comparable age, and greater resistance to Alzheimer’s disease (which is three times as common in women), as long as he has enough testosterone.

Estrogen-rich premenopausal women, however, do have a better cerebral blood flow than men of comparable age.

Cold hands and frequent headaches (especially the kind of morning headache that one wakes up with) are among the symptoms of thyroid deficiency. In older individuals, these symptoms may exist in spite of thyroid hormones being “in the normal range” according to the blood test. The problem is that our conversion of thyroxin (T4) into the more active T3 gets less efficient with age. Inadequate T3 means that we become hypometabolic: sluggish, cold, depressed. For an in-depth explanation of this condition, and suggestions on how to treat it, please read Regelson’s chapter on the thyroid in “The SuperHormone Promise.”



Manon has contributed this:


(Source: UB NEWS SERVICES, 12/2/97)

Breast-feeding for at least 20 months during their lifetime appears to offer women some protection against developing breast cancer later in life, a study by epidemiologists at the University of Buffalo has found.

Results of their case-control study involving 1,313 women showed that premenopausal women had a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer if they had breast-fed for at least 20 months, compared to women who had at least one baby and had not breast-fed. “This is one of a number of studies now that show a decreased risk of breast cancer with breast-feeding,” said Jo L. Freudenheim, Ph.D., UB associate professor of social and preventive medicine and primary researcher on the study.

Ivy comments:

With premenopausal breast cancer on the rise, it is important to make sure that women know about the benefits of breast feeding not only for the baby (improved immune system and better brain development; as a friend of mine says, “cow milk builds bones, human milk builds brains”), but also for themselves.

Apparently breast feeding gets rids of a lot of toxins that tend to accumulate in the breasts, including organochlorine pesticides.

Organochlorine pesticides are suspected of adversely affecting estrogen metabolism, creating an excess of 16-hydroxy-estrone. Breast cancer patients and their first-degree relatives tend to have higher levels of 16-hydroxy-estrone, a strongly estrogenic metabolite that can lead to cellular hyperproliferation. Exercise, genistein, and indoles (compounds found in cabbage-family vegetables) promote more production of 2-hydroxy-estrone, a weak estrogen that functions as a strong antioxidant and a tumor fighter.

You may say, OK, the woman is getting rid of her pesticide residues, but she’s feeding them to the baby. There is no denying that that is a problem, but the consensus is that the benefits of breast-feeding to the baby still outweigh this disadvantage.

Now, when it comes to the closest thing we have to imitating breast-feeding, namely nipple stimulation and lymphatic breast massage, I am not sure that it can get rid of those extremely persistent toxins. But the oxytocin-caused contractions do get “toxic wastes” out of the tissue, and an overall cleansing takes place.

Exercise is also helpful in speeding up lymph circulation and thus cleansing the tissues. But that’s the type of information you can read in any health book or magazine. CyberHealth tries to make you aware of things that are sometimes obvious, but for some reason rarely discussed. What could be more obvious that breasts were designed to be touched, gently squeezed, and otherwise pleasantly stimulated?

Can we talk? While partner-assisted breast massage is wonderful, having a partner is obviously not a requirement for maintaining healthy breast tissue. There is no need for celibate women to resign themselves to being at a higher breast cancer risk. Daily breast massage (or do it as often as you feel like it) should join daily progesterone, high-fiber low-glycemic diet, and daily exercise in your cancer prevention regimen.

Enjoy, and rejoice in the knowledge that it’s good for you.


Gail comments re: “human milk builds brains”:

This is timely, just saw a story today about the positive effect of breastfeeding on children’s IQ and school performance.


“If all bread left the face of the earth, we would have a much healthier planet.”

Time Magazine, December 15, 1997, p. 85

This from an article entitled “Against the Grain.” I sigh when I think how bread used to be a health food the way our ancestors prepared it — it was essentially a fermented (“leavened”) food. Not so in modern times: most mass-produced bread is loaded with yeast rather than produced through the time-consuming traditional “leavening” process. It’s high-glycemic, fattening junk food.

Speaking of high-glycemic, there is another type of food to steer clear of if you are trying to stay slender. There is hardly anything as fattening as white Russet potatoes.

Have you ever wondered how women in countries such as Russia or Lithuania get so obese? (Lithuania holds the world record.) Not by eating out in gourmet restaurants, you can be sure of that. Very simply, there are two staples in their diet: white potatoes and white bread.

If you work hard all day in the fields, you can afford to eat high-glycemic carbohydrates. But if you live in the city and have a sedentary job, you can’t consume a diet heavy on bread and potatoes and expect to stay slender. The only people who can get away with it are male teenagers and young men (due to high levels of testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone) and those who are genetically “string beans” (very tall and bony).

If you are a typical middle-aged person, however, lots of bread and white potatoes, especially if combined with a low fat intake, and especially if the bread is white and the potatoes mashed, is a super-fattening diet. (No, it’s not the gravy on the mashed potatoes: it’s the mashed potatoes that are fattening because they of what they do to blood sugar and insulin.)

Solution: double or triple your portion of vegetables (use a variety of vegetables each time, like the Chinese; personally I favor a mix of root vegetables with low-glycemic leafy vegetables, and mushrooms for their treasure of nucleic acids), and eat lots of delicious salads — generously drizzled with olive oil, of course.

Speaking of olive oil, if life without bread is unimaginable for you, try limiting yourself to just one slice, and put some olive oil on it, just as you might use butter (messy but tasty). Olive oil will make the bread LESS fattening by making it less glycemic, i.e. by slowing down the rate at which it releases glucose and causes that fattening insulin surge. And you’ll be perfectly satisfied with just one slice. The destructive cycle of processed carbohydrate food creating more carbohydrate craving will be prevented.

Can you imagine how much degenerative disease would be eliminated if people stopped consuming processed carbohydrates and processed fats (margarine, commercial vegetable oils)?



A CH correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous has recently sent a fascinating bit of information about yet another health-giving property of olive oil.

It seems that oleic acid (the main fatty acid found in olive oil) inhibits the formation of Malonyl Coenzyme A and stimulates the oxidation of fat. Malonyl-CoA prevents fat oxidation by inhibiting the enzyme carnitine palmityl transferase (CPT).

CPT carries fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they are “burned” for energy. You do want to have fully functional fat-transport enzymes, and oleic acid from olive oil is your ally.

No references were available, but it does sound plausible.

Another obvious way in which olive oil helps keeps you slender is by slowing down insulin release.

The worst thing a dieter could do is to cut down on beneficial fats such as olive oil and eat plenty of carbohydrates instead.

Some people take carnitine in order to facilitate fatty acid metabolism. Carnitine is an amino acid that is present in meat (hence the name, from the “carn-” root for meat); our bodies can also synthesize carnitine, though the production is likely to suffer as we grow older.

Acetyl-l-carnitine is considered to be especially powerful in its health benefits, including improvement in the function of the heart and the brain. It is especially recommended for the elderly.

But back to olive oil. It’s good for the blood lipids (lowers LDLs and raises HDLs), it contains antioxidant polyphenols, keeps insulin low, appears to be good for the liver, and is likely to improve your fat metabolism and help keep you slender.

Good fats help you stay slender simply by suppressing appetite. Nothing eliminates hunger and squelches those deadly high-carb between-meal munchies as effectively as the right percentage of fat in the diet (30-40% of calories seems to work best, though the Cretan diet tends to more; possibly the reason the Cretans get away with it is precisely because most of their fat is olive oil).

Another thing most women don’t know is that FATS ARE NECESSARY FOR BONE FORMATION.

A reminder: buy only Extra Virgin olive oil. Buy it in glass containers, in small quantities, and use it fast. Don’t use for frying at high temperatures (but why would with any respect for health anyone want to do fry anything anyway?)

Other fats proven to help you burn body fat: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil). CLA found chiefly in melted Cheddar cheese, and to a lesser extent in butter and cream, beef and lamb (it used to be present in greater abundance when cattle grazed naturally, before feed lots). MTC oil is found exclusively in health food stores. Body builders love what it does for their muscle definition (you can’t show off muscles if they are covered with fat).

MTC oil is not, strictly speaking, “natural,” though it is derived from tropical oils. Many, including myself, have found that it works for lowering body fat. “Small pox is natural; the vaccine ain’t”– that’s my Ogden Nash quotation in reply to “naturists.”

Goat milk is somewhat similar to MTC oil in that, like human milk, it contains chiefly short- and medium-chain fatty acids. These are readily used for energy production rather than turned into body fat.

Among those easy-to-digest short-chain fatty acids, CAPRYLIC ACID is particularly valuable, since it also kills Candida and other yeast.

Some people object to goat milk because it’s not low-fat. How is that for being brain-washed and missing the whole point?


Gail comments:

There is a quote in the Wash Post Sunday magazine from a restaurant owner who said that they use the EV olive oil except for cooking, because it burns at a low temperature. They use a standard type for cooking purposes.

Ivy replies:

I do use EV for all purposes, including cooking. But then I never use more than medium heat. I’ve never had a burning or smoking problem with EV olive oil.

Sometimes I use grapeseed oil too. We’ll discuss grapeseed oil in a future issue of CH. This, by the way, is another topic I could use help with researching. Grapeseed is another oil that has its own antioxidants and has also been found to lower LDLs and raise HDLs.

Gail comments on dipping bread in olive oil:

I’ve been doing this but still prefer good old butter!


I don’t blame you. Butter tastes delicious, and is easy to digest. But olive oil is better for our gallbladders, and probably for our cardiovascular system too (although now, after the discovery of antioxidant properties of CLA, butter doesn’t look so bad). And then there is the finding about protection against breast cancer.

Used in moderation, butter is probably pretty good for us. No one has to be 100% olive-oil person, or 100% butter person. Let’s enjoy the pleasure and blessings of a wide variety of foods.


Kay writes:

I have decided to consume just about as much fat as I feel like for a Change (HAH!) and to h*** with cholesterol. Probably need more of it right now anyway. So, I am eating all the butter, organically produced non-preserved bacon, smoked salmon, almonds, low-sugar and non-dairy chocolate, goat feta cheese (you are SO RIGHT about goat dairy), flaxseeds, etc., that I want. I noticed that, for the first time in my life, my fingernails look happy and the cuticles are not cracking. I think that the bad fats not only kill people, they don’t do any good-fat stuff either. Maybe it’s all that lard in fast-food French Fries (never eat them) that is keeping our fellow citizens alive.

Reminds me that when I went on a drastic low-fat diet in my twenties, not only did my periods stop for 2 years, leading to immune meltdown, but my previously abundant hair dried up and stood on end.

Ivy replies:

So many people are unaware that there is such a thing as ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS. Essential means that your body needs them to survive, and it can’t manufacture them; they must come from the diet.

We simply can’t function well without sufficient fat in the diet. In the long run, we can’t survive without it. What happens to the skin and hair due to fat deficiency is minor next to what is happening INSIDE — including bone loss.

I too lost my periods when I went on a low-fat vegetarian diet — and aging started happening fast, very fast. And — aren’t women funny — likewise it was the pathetic, white-spotted appearance of my nails that more than anything (well, a wise article on vegetarianism and malnutrition helped too) made me return to the kinds of food my grandmother considered health-giving, including butter and eggs.

What is dangerous is not cholesterol as such, but only oxidized cholesterol. This is where antioxidants come in (including the antioxidant hormones: estrogens, DHEA, and melatonin).

I must protest, however, against the absence of olive oil in Kay’s fat menu. True, she eats almonds for those magnificent monos, but olive oil also has polyphenols. On the other hand, almonds provide magnesium. Let’s enjoy plenty of both!

I am not happy with the choice of smoked salmon. Smoking creates carcinogenic compounds. The best kind of salmon is minimally processed (just frozen), and caught in the wild. Farm-grown salmon is not fed its natural marine food, and thus doesn’t contain much EPA/DHA.

If this last statement makes you wonder about the differences in human milk between mothers who eat a lot of seafood and other healthy fats compared with mothers who eat junk food, you are on the right track.

As for goat milk, when I first open the refrigerator in the morning and look at that expensive little carton, every cell in my body seems to be shouting, Gimme, gimme, gimme . . . So I give myself permission, thinking, “Well, I’m still recovering from recent stress” or “This is still the flu season.”

I bet children who grow up on goat milk have the most fabulously healthy bones and teeth, and a superior immune system (goat milk raises glutathione levels, among its many benefits). Not only is there lots of calcium in goat milk (more than in cow milk), but also the right fats to go with it — fats similar to those found in human milk.

I’d like to amend the saying, “Children raised on goat milk grow like weeds” to “Children raised on goat milk grow like wild flowers”– beautiful to look at with their straight teeth, rosy skin, and lack of allergies.

Since the superiority of goat milk over cow milk has been known for countless centuries, it makes you wonder whether we really value our health and our children’s health.

The fact that most fat-containing foods taste delicious to us is probably a biological adaptation, expressing the body’s extreme dependence on essential fatty acids.

A warning on french fries: never, never touch them. To my knowledge, they are fried not in lard (which would be safer; I think that’s how they were originally prepared), but in highly rancid corn oil. French fries are so carcinogenic that they remind me of a cartoon in which a fast-food clerk asks a customer: “Would you like chemotherapy with that?”

* * * * CARE OF THE SOUL* * * *

Jackie has contributed a poem which reminds us that the spirit of Christmas should not be lost in the strident materialism which is threatening to destroy the spiritual meaning of the holiday. I would like to quote the first three stanzas.

From my pew in the choir, I watched a father lay his infant son across his shoulder. The baby lifted his wobbling head and looked around; his hands slipped down into his father’s jacket and were caught there, and the baby’s head wobbled into his father’s neck. Trapped by suit and shoulder, he lay still, peacefully hiccupping.

I should have, I know, been at my prayers, but the sermon of this father and child transfixed me. I thought: all the baby has is a shoulder, and it is all he needs, and all any of us needs…

I remembered then another infant with another parent I had seen in a toy store at Christmas time.

This baby was asleep in her blankets in a shopping cart, being pushed by her mother, who was at the same time pulling along a second cart piled high with toys for the infant, who, warmed by her soft blankets, lay oblivious to the encrustating snail house of plastic and metal her mother had begun building for her.

The clutter of the world finds its way to us, I thought, recalling also that on a day near Christmas I saw in a shopping mall a girl sitting on Santa’s lap. As I walked past I overheard only the words, “I want–“

Thank you, Jackie, for reminding us of the difference between wants and needs, and addressing the commercial perversion of Christmas. Christmas certainly isn’t supposed to be about greed, or about the kind of enforced generosity that makes us buy things that others don’t really need and already have too much of — what Jackie calls “the clutter of the world.”

Greed becomes most rampant when people have no higher purpose in life. When people don’t have any passionate interests, anything to live for, to feed their soul, they tend to develop addictions such as compulsive shopping or pack-rat collecting. They are trying to use things to hide spiritual and emotional poverty.

The mindless accumulation of things can also be a cover-up for a lack of love.

Through words, through touch and smile, we can always give the priceless gift of love. When we send someone the signal, “You are of great value; you are precious to me,” every cell in his/her body begins to thrive.

Jackie’s poem made me remember a homeless man at a trolley station in downtown San Diego. I thought he was about to ask me for spare change, but instead he asked, “Hey lady, got a spare smile?”

California Age Management Institute ©