This essay contains medical information that might be construed as advice. It is not, but rather just long-winded opinion. Read it at your own risk.
Zombies on the Brain
In this piece I will proffer a novel thesis. And like every argument, I start from certain premises—things that one accepts without trying to prove.
I hold this truth to be self-evident: that the most awesome of all movie monsters ever are sword-wielding skeletons. I will drop anything to watch the scene from the 1963 classic Jason and the Argonauts in which the
Claymation Dynamation skeletons rise from the soil to attack Jason and his men. I also stipulate to the nearly equal awesomeness of CGI skeletons. [Edit: see comments below]
The other cinematic monsters leave me cold. Vampires? They suck. Werewolves? What’s the big hairy deal? Mummies? There’s more wick than wickedness about them. Godzilla and Rodan? Hardly rad to me. You can keep your demon-possessed dolls, your poltergeists, and your ghosts. The Terminator is alright, but just because under the ugly Arnold-skin is a bitchin’ metallic skeleton.
I hold another truth to be self-evident: zombies are the lamest of all horror-movie monsters. They are slow and stupid and easily dispatched. Their only strength is in swarming you.
Which leads me to the real issue: zombies aren’t supposed to swarm. The original zombie is a one-off production, a person under the spell of a witch doctor, not the victim of a virus. Real zombies don’t make other zombies. Real zombies don’t eat brains. Real zombies don’t have their body parts dropping off willy-nilly. Real zombies don’t shamble mindlessly in herds; they operate individually at the will of a sorcerer. All this neo-zombie junk is a subversion of a perfectly good monster into something more comical than terrifying. Modern zombieism is a joke.
A joke at whose expense, I ask?
Mockery tends toward the visual. What does a neo-zombie look like? He has pale skin covered with open sores, purplish spots on the skin; bullae; rotting, loose teeth in swollen gums that are bloody or black; patchy hair that falls out easily; sunken eyes; uncoordinated movements due to malfunctioning joints and spastic muscles; limbs that seem barely connected and are easily torn off; erratic, demented behavior; and an insatiable appetite for live flesh.
This is the modern zombie who is all the rage. Or so it seems … I doubt that any pop culture phenomenon is truly driven by customer demand, but rather is being pushed on the populace by the elites who run the entertainment industry. Either way, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you know that the Z-Poc—the “Zombie Apocalypse”—is near the forefront of our consciousness. It is the stuff of movies, television series, and even re-writes of classic literature. You can get Z-Poc bumper stickers, T-shirts, and caps. Zombies are big business.
Why is that? Why about zombies resonates in the zeitgeist? Carl Jung believed that one can analyze a society’s myths like one would analyze an individual’s dreams. Through the stories a culture tells itself, you can understand its fears, its motivations, and the truths about itself it holds below the level of consciousness. There are lots of different theories out there about the meaning of the zombie meme. The mindlessness of the masses crops up a lot in these analyses. Let’s start there …
In a Pissing Match with Big Medicine
I know I encounter a lot of inexplicable mindlessness every day. Even where you might expect to find rationality, scientific curiosity, and openness to new ways of looking at things, you meet up with dullardliness.
Case in point … I go to the dentist every six months religiously. I noticed a pattern in my cleanings. Every other time the hygienist would have to scrape and scrape to remove the tartar, even though I brush and floss like a champion. The hygienist said that some folks have a lot of minerals in their saliva, which contributes to plaque formation, and I just must be one of those people. But why then was the visit in the fall relatively easy, while the one in the spring required so much extra plaque removal? What made the difference?
Could it be my levels of Vitamin D? I live in a northern tier state, and I avail myself of as much sunlight as I can in the summer, but I turn as pale as a ghost in the winter. I was therefore getting more sun before my fall checkup than before the spring one. Sunshine on the skin causes the body to form its own Vitamin D, and Vitamin D helps the body with the absorption and retention of calcium. (If you want to develop osteoporosis, stay out of the sun and do not eat foods supplements with Vitamin D.)
I discussed this hypothesis with the hygienist and she was intrigued. I told her that I would start taking Vitamin D supplements and we would compare the results at my next checkup in April. I mentioned my hypothesis to the dentist, too. His response was an amused smile, nothing more.
I don’t usually look forward to visiting the dentist, but I almost leapt into the exam chair that next April. I could feel for myself that there had been far less buildup on my teeth than in the past, and the hygienist gleefully confirmed it. Six months later, the results were even better. And half a year after that, at my latest checkup, the pattern continued: since I started supplementing with Vitamin D, the ministrations of the hygienist have been minimal.
So when the dentist came in, we told him about our findings. He was utterly incurious and uninterested. Mindlessly he checked the x-rays and pronounced my teeth healthy.
We are given to believe that medical personnel are trained people of science, and as such they entertain a fearless curiosity about the world. I regret to tell you that in my experience, my dentist is the rule and not the exception. (Don’t get me wrong: he is otherwise a wonderful professional.) I was braced for this very reaction. I had seen it before in my doctor.
For a while my cholesterol numbers were in the range where statins would normally be prescribed. My doctor told me that some people are genetically disposed to have high cholesterol, and I might be one of them, so drugs might be the only remedy. But I avoid medications generally, and I especially wanted to avoid statins, having seen the side effects they wreaked on family members. I told the doctor to give me some time to get the bad cholesterol down via lifestyles changes. He agreed. At my next checkup, and in every one since, my count has been great. Fantastic, even. Doctor couldn’t be happier.
Don’t you think it strange, then, that he never asked what lifestyle change I had made?
I hadn’t lost any weight.
I hadn’t started a new exercise regime.
I hadn’t changed my diet.
What I did was simply to start taking Vitamin B3 supplements at bedtime. That’s it. Nothing more. Niacin straightened out my cholesterol problem with zero side effects. And it also acts as a nifty sleep aid for the chronically overworked, I discovered.
After these experiences, I started looking more and more into what vitamin supplementation might accomplish medically. It is simply stunning. You cannot believe the range of chronic illnesses that can be reversed by upping one’s intake of the basic vitamins.
You would think that men and women who had taken the Hippocratic Oath would have some desire to learn more about the healing effects of supplementation. On the contrary, they shun the idea. Any native curiosity was beaten out of them in their medical training. Their stock response to the idea of taking vitamins is: “All you accomplish is to make your pee more expensive.”
This is an interesting claim. In effect, Big Med is telling us that if a compound gets excreted in the urine, it had no benefit to the body. Despite this belief, Big Med keeps prescribing more and more psychotropic drugs, which—it turns out—are ending up in the water supply. Patients take their meds, pee them into the toilet, flush them to the water treatment plant, where the Xanax® and the Haldol® and their ilk get recycled back into your drinking water. (How are you feeling, by the way?) So, all these people with mood disorders and anxiety attacks—are they also accomplishing nothing more than making their pee expensive? Must be not, because the doctors keep writing scripts for whatever Big Pharma has to sell us.
[Little sidenote: Back in WWII, penicillin was administered to fight infections. Because there was only a limited supply of this amazing life-saving invention, soldiers being treated had their urine collected so that the penicillin could be recycled and administered to more patients. True story. By the lights of modern medicine, though, I guess the penicillin served no purpose except to make their pee more expensive …]
Strategy Number Two of Big Med’s war on vitamins is to cry danger. This is done in roundabout ways. First, by lumping vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids with the fly-by-night “supplements” for weight loss or muscle building or male enhancement. It is a clear discredit-by-association tactic. Because some horny old goat got a heart attack from overdoing it with the yohimbe, we are all to be discouraged from taking any supplement (like Vitamin D), lest we hurt ourselves. It matters not that in the annals of medicine there have been no deaths from the responsible ingestion of vitamins: mindless fear-mongering shall be enforced by Big Med, regardless.
(Twenty years ago my best friend died from acetaminophen poisoning. It was a slow, gruesome death by liver failure. I’ve never seen even one-tenth of the warnings about the dangers of Tylenol® that I have seen about vitamins.)
The other prong of this fear-inducing strategy takes place in pop culture, where vitamin supplementation is portrayed as at best pointless and at worst harmful. I still remember the one and only episode of the popular TV show Head of the Class that I saw back in 1990. Billy the Scottish teacher was losing his hair due to hypervitaminosis: he had taken a liking to Flintstone vitamins and was popping them like candy.¹ I am ashamed to say that this single exposure to anti-vitamin propaganda had its intended effect: for years I scoffed at the idea that one could not get adequate amounts of the necessary vitamins from healthy eating. It was only after I learned that the nutritional content of our foods has been steadily dropping in America for decades, as I related in a previous post.
Strategy Number Three in the war on vitamins is to run tests on the efficacy of supplementing, but to foreordain a negative result by either (i) testing with a low-quality form of the supplement; or (ii) testing with a dosage below the level known to have a clinical effect; or (iii) make sure that the tests are run by doctors who are in the pocket of Big Pharma (which is most of them). After all, if the maker of a statin drug is providing ample grant money for your research, how likely are you to find niacin equally effective and safe for lowering cholesterol? Or is it just possible that you might play up every conceivable negative outcome and play down the good results of the vitamin? If you still have a few boat payments to make, the question answers itself … don’t it, Doc?
We’re Coming Unglued
And so, because Big Medicine dances to the tune of Big Pharma, citizens of the First World countries are beginning more and more to suffer from some of the old diseases of malnutrition: rickets, gout, nyctalopia, and the like.
And above all, we are experiencing the resurgence of the ailment that some have claimed to be the deadliest in all history. I speak, of course, of “the Despicable Disease”: Scurvy.
Every month I travel to a distant city for work, and while there I visit an aging friend in the nursing home. What I see among the residents is more than just a bad case of old: their pale skin that is so thin and so easily bruised; all the purple blotches on their hands and arms and legs; the teeth rotting out in their sickly gums; the hair loss; the bedsores; the failing knees and hip joints and shoulder sockets; the sunken eyes; the dementia …
… Wait a second … Are you having deja vous, too? …
Scurvy is due to the lack of adequate Vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial for the synthesis of collagen in the human body. Collagen (from Greek roots meaning “cause to stick”) is a protein crucial for holding the body together from the cellular level and up. In a case of scurvy, the body starts to come apart at every seam, big and small. The end result is a horrible, painful death.
Scurvy is making a comeback in our old-age homes and hospitals. Medical science is slow to recognize it but cannot ignore it completely. If you have any sense of the scurvy’s symptoms, you will see it immediately. You want to cry out, “Nurse, get that man a lemonade, stat!”
I’m sure, though, that the staff dietician will disagree with you. He or she will assure you that the
inmates residents are getting a properly planned diet with the full Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of every nutrient, including their 60 milligrams per day of Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid, from the Greek roots for “non-scurvy”).
But is 60 mg/day enough? Really?
I have been a student of health and wellness for four decades, after a mysterious infection in childhood nearly killed me. I paid the closest attention to mainstream medical advice and read up on diet and exercise and healthy habits, all in hopes of never going through that again. In all those years of self-directed study in the mainstream, I never once got exposed to a most curious fact. To wit, most of the creatures on God’s green earth manufacture their Vitamin C needs from inside their own bodies. It is only humans, gorillas, some monkeys, guinea pigs, and a few other mammals that have lost this capability. Did you know that? Kind of important, isn’t it? Odd that mainstream health writing fails to mention it so regularly, huh?
Time for some math … An adult gorilla in the wild, eating his wonted diet of (uncooked, of course) vegetation, ingests about 4.5 grams of ascorbic acid each day. That would be 4500 milligrams, you understand. That’s 75 times more than the RDA of 60 milligrams. Humans and female gorillas are about the same weight. Does that entail that the RDA for Vitamin C should be 4000-5000 milligrams?
Dogs manufacture their own ascorbic acid. A 28-pound dog will produce about 500 milligrams per day. Under stress, the dog needs much more Vitamin C, which he will produce for himself if he is healthy; if not, he will start to show signs of scurvy. The weight of the average human adult is 166 pounds, almost six times more than that 28-pound dog. If humans made their own Vitamin C, these figures suggest that the average adult would produce 6 times 500 milligrams or 3000 milligrams per day. That’s 50 times more than the current RDA.
So is that dietician correct? Are those old people, under the stress of being warehoused in a nursing home and fed diets lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables, getting enough Vitamin C to stave off the scurvy? Or are they succumbing to the scourge of seafarers right there in their adjustable beds? Go pay them a visit and take a look for yourself. They’re coming unglued from the inside out. Just like the modern zombies …
Your Z-Pak for the Z-Poc
And, gentle reader, what about you? Is it possible that you are not getting as much Vitamin C as a mammal of your size needs? And—crucially—how would you know … short of coming down with a full-blown case of the scurvy? Suppose one were deficient in ascorbic acid, but getting just enough to keep the most obvious signs at bay. What if one were suffering from chronic sub-clinical scurvy (i.e. long-term scurvy below the level of severity that a doctor would readily notice—and the key word is “readily”)?
Suppose you were coming unglued, but only in little ways. Your symptoms might be worn-out joints that need titanium replacements. Or autoimmune disorders like celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity. Or asthma or arthritis or other kinds of chronic inflammations. Or the deterioration of disks in your spine. Or varicose veins. Hemorrhoids. Hardening of the arteries. Cardiovascular disease. Kidney dysfunction. Depression. Anxiety. Cataracts. Hearing problems. Eye problems. Foot problems. Susceptibility to colds. Allergies. Low energy. Receding hairline.
In other words, anywhere where the body needs collagen to hold things together—and that’s everywhere—is a place you might manifest the signs of your hidden scurvy.
How much Vitamin C are you getting, anyway? 4000 milligrams? 400?
Maybe 200 milligrams? Big Medicine and Big Pharma will tell you that even that small amount is too much—perhaps dangerously too much, as you might suffer from loose bowels, perish the thought. (And in the meantime, reach for the Dulcolax®, of course.) No, Big Pharma doesn’t make big money off Vitamin C supplements. Whereas the drugs to treat all your chronic subclinical scurvy symptoms make them richer than Croesus.
Let me be perfectly frank. They know that Vitamin C can heal many ailments. They suppress that knowledge. They want you to come unglued at the cellular level, because then they can make their millions off your misery. And they are laughing at us all the way to the bank.
Who are the Zombies of modern moviedom? You and me, amigo.
You and me.
That’s why the elites are pushing the neo-zombie meme so hard. Those poor ugly bastards, falling apart as they shuffle through the streets looking for human flesh (because, don’t you know, raw meat can be a source of Vitamin C?)—they are a parody of all of us who have been denied the knowledge of our actual dietary needs, scared off from trying supplementation, and sold a slop bucket of processed foods low in Vitamins A and B and C and D and E and K, etc., all the while suffering as Big Agro sells us produce with diminishing nutrient levels as well.
Zombies are a joke, alright. A joke at your expense, you (subclinically) scurvy dog.
To that realization, I say, friends and neighbors: Avast! Meaning, “Cease and desist!” Don’t go along with it anymore.
I am not going to give advice here. I am not going to get into the questions of natural vs. synthetic vitamins, or bioavailability, or the advantages of liposomal C or chelated forms or any of that. I will just tell you what I have done.
I go to the health food store and buy vitamins and essential amino acids. The quality ones, though not necessarily the most expensive. Then I take the vitamins. And especially Vitamin C. Not at Linus Pauling levels, to be sure, but still way above the measly RDA. Before they drag me to that nursing home to get full-blown scurvy, I am going to fight it with every nutrient at my disposal. And unlike the vast majority of Americans in their mid-fifties, my doctor can’t yet find a reason to put me on one of his prescription drugs. Thank you, Vitamin C.
So I say: To hell with the elites. To hell with their zombie humor. To hell with their prison diet. And to hell with their flunkies in the AMA and the pharmaceutical industry.
And pass the limeade, won’t you, matey?
¹At the time I assumed the anti-vitamin episode was a public service, raising awareness for parents about the product on their breakfast table. There were reports of a few children dying from eating the candy-like vitamins and many more being rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped. In the light of all we know now about psyops and fakery, I wonder if those vitamin poisonings really happened and whether the stomach pumpings were truly necessary. I also now wonder if the putative Tylenol® poisonings of 1982 were not actually an attempt to cover up real cases of acetaminophen toxicity.