Guest Columnist #67 - Zanne

    I have my own personal beef with the medical industry, it started consciously around the time I turned 15, eventually all the situations I went through led me to find other paths and made me ultimately become much more aware of my body, how it works, and how to take care of it. I started studying natural medicine 5 or 6 years ago on my own, and have been working at a really quirky independent health food stores for over two years, all that time in the supplement/nutrition department soaking up as much knowledge about natural medicine as possible. I thought all the dirty dealings I had experienced with doctors myself throughout high school was enough to make me angry and want to help others, but the more I learned and the more involved I became, the more overwhelming it got, the more shit I uncovered, and the angrier I became. Most people (in the punk community anyway)know that the medical industry is more about politics and profit then actually helping people, or trying to find cures for diseases, but there is so much the mainstream has not quite uncovered that is enough to give anyone chills and make their blood run cold.
  I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.. a.k.a. Prozac city. They say Prozac is in the water down there. I believe it, I know it. Eli Lily, one of the major pharmaceutical corporations, is located in Indianapolis. They just so happen to be the manufacturer of Prozac. Prozac was introduced into the mainstream market around December of 1987, as a 'cure' for depression, among other things. It was approved for use by the FDA even though evidence
showed that it may actually increase the level of 'psychotic' episodes in people taking it. Just one of the many side effects you WILL find listed for Prozac, in any prescription information book, is Depression, the very thing it is supposed to help cure. By 1993, over 1,000 suicides had actually been directly linked to the use of this drug. That's just a little bit of frightening information for you to digest, now let me back up a little bit and focus on the natural health field...
  An over the counter dietary supplement called L- Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, had been used and proven to be completely safe for over 25 years in the use of treating depression, insomnia and other such disorders, until in 1989 over 5,000 people taking tryptophan became extremely ill with a rare disease called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). The contaminated batch was traced back to a manufacturing company in
Japan by the name of Showa Denka, and it was found that the tryptophan from this manufacturer was contaminated only because in the quest to make a superior and more concentrated batch, a gene was inserted into large bacteria colonies which were producing the amino acid desired, but also produced unknowingly(?) a toxic by product which was causing EMS syndrome. Basically, this batch of L-Tryptophan had been genetically engineered. And the story goes deeper.
  On march 22, 1990 the FDA banned the public sale of tryptophan all together because of the contamination, which had already been isolated to one specific batch and manufacturer only, and how ironic that that only FOUR DAYS LATER, on March 26, 1990,  Newsweek magazine featured a leading article entitled "Prozac: A breakthrough for depression", claiming Prozac to be the new wonder drug, guaranteed to put an eternal blank stare and fake smiles on people everywhere.
   For 12 years tryptophan has officially been unavailable for public sale in the U.S. even though it has been proven that the contaminated batch of this supplement was traced back only to one specific manufacturing plant in Japan at that time. Not only that, but tryptophan has been and is still widely used against depression in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, England and Germany (Germany has some of the highest dietary supplement
standards in the world) without side effects, or any problems whatsoever.
  In 1995, L-tryptophan was allowed to be sold on the market again, only as a PRESCRIPTION drug, and at 5 times higher than the price of what it was sold for as an over the counter supplement.  As of 1995 the United States department of agriculture was still sanctioning the legal sale and use of tryptophan for use in bulk feed and for nutritional purposes for livestock, and is also available for veterinarians to use for horses and other pets. In 1993 a United States government patent was approved for the use of L-Tryptophan to treat EMS syndrome, the very disease which had supposedly made the FDA take it off the market for public use in 1990.
  Obviously there was some special interest in this particular supplement, not because it was killing people (perhaps that was a conspiracy in itself to help the pharmaceutical industry accomplish it's goal?) but because it was helping people. Too many people, too effectively and too inexpensively.
  To be honest, I'm not sure what the updates with these facts are as of right this very moment but I do know that tryptophan is still not available for sale or consumption over the counter in the U.S...If anyone knows of any extra or updated information on this subject please let me know, but in the mean time, I might as well state that some natural sources of
tryptophan are bananas, beans and nuts, especially lentils and peanuts, brown rice, cooked
peas, and yes..just as an example, many meat and dairy products are high in tryptophan also, including turkey. (tryptophan is what makes so many people feel extremely lethargic after "thanksgiving", the reason tryptophan is also so helpful in treating things like insomnia)
  The story of the FDA, the medical industry, and how they manipulate the public goes on forever. I have seen references sourcing that people working for pharmaceutical companies, have frequently switched jobs to work for the FDA, and vice versa. You couldn't ask for an easier way to get your drug onto the market, and to get rid of possible 'competition', could you?
   If anyone wants to know anymore information about this subject, or anything else related to natural health or the medical  industry, feel free to contact me, and I'll do my best to help you out. I have much more in depth information than what is included here. And just to mention, this is all easily accessible information you could find through the sources below or researching it  through typical means. (library, magazines, internet, whatever..)

  References for this column and reading material to investigate would
include:
• Social Policy magazine, vol. 26, No. 2, winter 1995. "FDA ban of L-Tryptophan: Politics, Profits and Prozac." written by Dean Wolfe Manders, M.D.
• The Anti Aging Manual by James B. Marion,
• National Summit on the Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods - panelist statements (specifically Gary P. Kaplan, M.D.) this should be available from the Natural Law Party.

-Zanne