ATLANTA HEAL NEWSLETTER
the Atlanta Chapter of the Human Ecology Action League (HEAL),
P.O. Box 28116, Atlanta, GA
..., First Vice President, Program Chairman: Sydna Fisher,
Second Vice President,
Membership: Joyce Taylor,, Secretary: Joyce Taylor, Treasurer:
Ian Greenberg, Newsletter: Sydna Fisher
Our May 18th meeting will be in honor of MCS awareness month
and the Jennifer Parker Foundation. The Dunwoody Nature
Center seemed perfect for our meeting, but the grounds
are covered with a lot of fresh aromatic mulch, so we
have decided to meet instead at the Liane Levitan Park
at Brook Run. Directions from I-285 East: Take exit 30.
At the top of the ramp go straight on the access road.
The first light (after Chamblee Dunwoody) is N.
Shallowford. The second light is N. Peachtree. Turn
left, go under 285 and follow N. Peachtree .8 of a mile
(you’ll pass two schools and go through two lights) and
turn left into the park. Directions from I-285 West:
Take exit 30. Go to the bottom of the ramp and turn
right on N. Peachtree. Go .8 of a mile (you’ll pass two
schools and go through two lights) and turn left into
the park. Turn at the fifth street on the left. Straight
ahead up a walkway is a brown gazebo with benches for
seating. If the pavilion is clear at 1 pm we will have
the option of moving there. Restrooms are located in the
playground area. We’ll meet at our usual time of 1 pm.
Bring whatever you want to eat and drink. It is not
necessary to have a t-shirt, but there is still time to
order if you do want one. Let’s hope for some beautiful
REPORT OF APRIL MEETING
The main focus of our
April meeting was to discuss the results of our
member survey. The meeting (we ended up outside)
emphasized the need to find a carpet-free room with
good air circulation. Other desirable features are
an unscented bathroom, privacy, and low mold. Places
to consider are churches, professional offices,
health food stores and markets, recreation centers,
and members’ homes. Do you know of any possible
meeting places? Outdoor options can be just as
challenging to find. Important considerations are an
accessible unscented bathroom, some privacy, a
covered pavilion or structure in case of rain,
limited or no herbicide and pesticide use, limited
use of mulch, and a combination of sun and shade.
Seating is optional as members can bring a chair or
towel. Can you recommend a park?
In the survey it was
suggested that we rotate meeting locations. This is
a great idea, but to make this a reality, members
need to find meeting places in their area or step up
and host meetings. Let’s work together to make this
Continuing on the
subject of meetings, it was suggested that we rotate
speakers, sharing sessions, and social events and
that we allow a little time at the end of speaker meetings for visiting.
In the past we have had two social events, a picnic
in the summer and a potluck in December. Rotation
would mean about two more per year. Each member is
invited and encouraged to make suggestions and
participate in creating social events, but we need a
volunteer to be our social event coordinator.
participation and connection, we will implement two
new ways to keep in touch. It was suggested in the
survey that we try one or two conference calls per
month. This would be especially valuable for those
not able to come to meetings. We will try this over
the summer as a pilot. The second project is an
e-list for members to use for getting out
information on events or EI concerns. If you have an
email on file, Leah Spitzer will send you an
invitation to join in the next few days. The e-list
can be used for sharing information, questions on
resources, or to include HEAL members in your
outside interests and activities between meetings.
Another thing that came
up in the survey is the need for a list of
resources. To do this, we need your input, so
included in a newsletter this later year will be a
questionnaire on resources in preparation for a
sharing session on the subject. Perhaps in this
process we could make a list of people to call with
particular skills or knowledge. The November 2010
newsletter included doctors recommended by members.
The doctors’ names were not given, but the idea was
for members to call the person making the
recommendation to discuss if the doctor might be
right for them. As we all know, no doctor is right
for everyone. Eventually, we will repeat the doctor
Another request that
came up in the survey was the desire for emotional
support and sharing on the emotional level. While
this takes place on a one-to-one basis, we have not
dealt with this in a meeting except for a sharing
session on emotional survival in May 2010. Please
contact me with your ideas.
More sharing in the
newsletter was also suggested. I am happy to include
your input in the newsletter, but I need to hear
from you. The same thing goes for member news.
If you want to help get
the word out on Atlanta HEAL please give our HEAL
brochure to anyone who might encounter EIs. Leah has
plenty of them in stock and you can download them
from our website: www.atlantaheal.org.
Linda K will create a flier to put on store bulletin
boards, etc. Other suggestions given in the survey
were advertising in free health food store
publications, neighborhood newspapers, and Facebook.
This was easier to do when we had a HEAL telephone
number, but perhaps we can find a different way to
It was also suggested
that we state our purpose/mission. So far this is
what we have: To facilitate fellowship and support
among members and to encourage information exchange
relevant to environmental illness. Each individual
must take personal responsibility and decide what is
best for him/her self.
If I left anything out,
I hope the calling committee and you will let me
know. Thank you to Andrew B for coordinating the
survey and to Linda K, Leah Spitzer, and Joyce
Taylor for their participation.
THE ORTHOMOLECULAR APPROACH TO ANXIETY
In his book Anxiety: Orthomolecular Diagnosis and
Treatment, Jonathan Prousky says that orthomolecular
medicine, after ruling out pathological causes of
anxiety, seeks to identify causes due to nutrient
deficiencies, nutrient dependencies, cerebral allergies,
or hypoglycemia. Each of these factors alone, or in
combination, can cause dysfunction in the brain.
With nutrient deficiency, the minimal necessary amount is not obtained
due to inadequate diet. A nutrient dependency indicates an increased metabolic need for a
particular nutrient, probably stemming from
environmental/genetic stresses that impair biochemical
processes dependent upon a constant supply of the
nutrient. Cerebral allergy is a sensitivity to a
substance or chemical in food or beverages which targets
vulnerable brain tissue and alters brain function.
Hypoglycemia should be considered when anxiety or other
psychological symptoms occur after fasting, late at
night, first thing in the morning, or when it is somehow
related to a meal or the content of a meal (reactive
Many causes of anxiety are
probably the result of nutrient dependencies, especially
B3 (niacin or niacinimide), B12, other B vitamins such as inositol, specific
amino acids, minerals such as calcium and magnesium, or
omega-3 essential fatty acids.
The most common use of B3 is for the treatment of pellagra. The earliest
symptoms of sub-clinical pellagra manifest as modern
mood disorders like anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Adult symptoms of niacin deficiency include feeling
tense, not being able to relax, feeling impatient and
irritable, feeling of impending trouble, and not being
able to shake worries. There may be normal
concentrations in blood and lymph, but a low level of B3 in the cerebrospinal fluid causes a localized
deficiency disease. Niacin works in two ways, making up
for enzymatic defects and producing therapeutic effects
which can be comparable to the benzodiazepines. Both
niacin and niacinimide have some sedative and muscle
relaxing activity. An optimal dose can increase
production of serotonin by increasing the conversion of
dietary L-tryptophan to serotonin. B3 can also reduce levels of lactate which has
been linked to anxiety.
Borderline deficiency of B12 will cause anxiety in individuals who are not
ordinarily anxious. As with B3, it is possible to have normal serum levels of
B12 but deficient levels in the cerebrospinal
fluid. B12 is involved in the synthesis of serotonin. B12 deficiency is common, especially among those
with atrophic gastritis, bacterial overgrowth of the
small intestine, or pernicious anemia.
Chronic borderline thiamine
deficiency (B1) may be associated with a heightened experience
of anxiety, possibly the result of increased production
of lactate, which can be reduced with the vitamin. B6 has three functions that probably help people
who suffer from anxiety. It plays a role in converting
tryptophan to serotonin, as a coenzyme that facilitates
the conversion of glutamic acid to GABA which plays a
role in the modulation of anxiety, and it is involved in
reducing the amount of lactate produced. Inositol has been shown to have an anti-anxiety
effect comparable to Librium.
D. O. Rudin has proposed
that an omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency may lead
to “substrate pellagra” even when the diet contains
adequate amounts of tryptophan, B3, and other vitamins.
An adequate intake of
selenium has been correlated with a general elevation of
mood and less anxiety. A combination of calcium,
magnesium, and potassium has been promoted as an
effective alternative to benzodiazepine medications.
These three minerals have a regulating effect on the
electrophysical processes of the nervous system through
the neuronal cell membranes and myelin sheaths.
Glycine works in a similar
way to the benzodiazepines. Receptors for glycine are
found in the central nervous system, spinal cord, and
brain stems with highest concentrations found in the thalamus, amygdala,
substantia nigra, putamen, and globus pallidus.
Sub-lingual glycine is best and is recommended for acute
periods of anxiety, not for daily use. GABA may be used
for acute anxiety or may be taken daily for chronic
anxiety. L-tryptophan and 5 hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)
appear to have favorable effects on anxiety when used
with B6 but should be avoided if adrenal insufficiency
or lupus are present. L-tryptophan and 5HTP are good
add-on treatments but are not that effective when used
by themselves for treatment of anxiety disorders.
Any substance can
potentially disrupt brain function and cause any form of
neurosis, psychosis, or behavioral disorder. Symptoms of
cerebral allergies may be immediate with the main
culprits being caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, or reactions
to beverages or foods such as wheat, milk, eggs, or corn
may be delayed for hours or days. Caffeine has been
shown to cause both anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Even one cup of coffee can be a problem for people with
anxiety disorders and caffeine withdrawal can also cause
symptoms that mimic anxiety. Alcohol use or discontinued
use can also cause or aggravate anxiety. Sugar appears
to increase lactate levels which causes anxiety in
sensitive people. Some other common food allergies which
can provoke symptoms are dairy, chocolate, tea, yeast,
soy, citrus fruits, pork, rye, beef, tomato, peanuts,
barley, nuts, and seafood.
To deal with hypoglycemia,
the author gives two main diet options. The first option
involves moderately high protein and fat and the second
is a diet high in complex carbohydrates such as lentils,
whole grains, winter squash, and potatoes with little or
no dairy and fruit. Chromium supplements are helpful.
In conclusion, the purpose
of the orthomolecular approach is to correct underlying
imbalances and deficiencies, thus dampening the
autonomic nervous system for 6 to 12 months so that the
neural circuitry of the brain can undergo positive
changes and get out of the habitual pattern of anxiety.
Orthomolecular compounds are naturally found in the
body, are less toxic, and nourish the central nervous
system. That being said, when higher than normal levels
of these nutrients are used, there can be side effects.
Dr. Jonathan Prousky includes these in his book with
everything presented here and more.
UNNECESSARY TESTS IN HOSPITALS
In his long
article “Why Medical Bills are Killing Us” Stephen
Brill wrote that about 60% of tests ordered during a
prolonged hospital stay are not necessary. He said
that when doctors are trained, they are taught to
order “morning labs” not because they are necessary,
but because it gives them something to talk about when
they go on rounds. Tests become a routine daily cash
generator. Labs are increasingly being maintained by
doctors and these labs account for a rapidly growing
share of testing revenue. Not only do doctors have an
incentive to order more tests because they’re the ones
profiting, but these labs can charge more because they
have a captive consumer base in the hospital or group
practice. Adding to the problem is that hospitalists
(physicians trained in inpatient medical care) are
increasingly assuming care of people admitted to the
hospital, so good luck finding the chance to complain
to your doctor.
Your Medical Mind
Our April meeting started out in our usual room
at the Emory Student Center but we soon moved to the top
floor of the parking deck across the street. To be ready
for this type situation, it would be a good idea for all
of us to purchase a portable chair or something to sit
on. If you find suitable products, let’s put the
recommendation in the newsletter.
 June: Sunnye Martin 8th, Barbara Schwartz (no date)
 July: no birthdays
 August: Hilda Tatom 10th, Jerry Heltzer 12th, Shirley Kukla 26th, Jan Hensley 28th.
 We have not had a
webmaster since Ian’s ES symptoms have limited his
computer use to personal business. Mark Fisher is
investigating the possibility of taking on the
 The updated
membership list will be sent out in June. If you
want to be on the list and haven’t paid your 2013
dues, please get your check or money order in
Thank you to Mark Fisher for his assistance in
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but
while we are here we might as well dance.
newsletter is meant for information only. It is not
meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition and
is not a substitute for professional advice.
SOME OF OUR MEMBERS
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