FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Miraculous Resurrection of Dr. John Lee

by FRED GARDNER

Merchandising -the most powerful force in the universe, according to Mel Brooks- can even restore the dead to life. On August 22 the New York Times carried an ad for a new book published by a division of Time Warner, Inc., called “Dr. John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple.” The ad says the book features “up-to-date information about symptoms and their causes.” It includes a boldface plug from Dr. Christine Northrup: “John Lee has pioneered work in women’s health that has greatly influenced and enhanced the way I practice medicine.” John Lee died three years ago. The actual author of “Dr. Lee’s Hormone Balance” is medical writer Virginia Hopkins.

John Lee was an honest, brave doctor who warned women that hormone replacement therapy was dangerous long before the National Institutes of Health came to that conclusion. As a family practitioner in Mill Valley, he’d been unwilling to prescribe the drug companies’ synthetic estrogen to women with osteoporosis because he’d observed that it had serious detrimental effects (promotion of endometrial cancer among them). Lee began recommending progesterone made from plants, “And lo and behold it helped their osteoporosis,” he found.

Lee retired in 1989, after practicing medicine for 34 years, to write up and disseminate his ideas, which added up to a wide-ranging critique of how medicine is practiced in this country. He moved to an old farmhouse in Sebastopol. His first book, “Natural Progesterone: The Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone,” was written with doctors in mind and brought out in 1993 by Ajalon Press, a small local publisher. It soon built up an underground reputation among women seeking to educate themselves on menopause and hormone balance; the edition of 5,000 copies sold out. In May, 1996, Warners published a version for the lay reader (written with Virginia Hopkins), “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause.” When I interviewed Lee that October the book was in its third or fourth printing (without the stimulus of advertising), and he was getting phone calls and faxes every day, many from doctors whose patients had turned them on to the book. The ob/gyn establishment, however, continued to insist that the unwanted consequences of menopause are best treated by estrogen supplements.

Lee tried to tell the world that progesterone, which is produced by the body in connection with ovulation and serves to modulate the effects of estrogen, is the hormone most significantly lacking in menopausal women (as a result of poisons, including unnatural estrogens, in the food, air and water, plus the sedentary lifestyle forced on most of us in the name of progress).

Lee emphasized the distinction between natural progesterone and the various synthetic progestins (such as Wyeth’s Premarin) given to millions of women who opt for hormone replacement therapy. As a result of systematic miseducation by the pharmaceutical companies, he said, “Most doctors think the synthetics are actual progesterone… Doctors should recall that ‘synthetic’ means that it’s not found in nature -there’s no plant, no tree, no animal that makes it, it’s a compound foreign to the body- whereas real progesterone is a natural compound that’s synthesized in the body from cholesterol.”

Natural progesterone can also be obtained from Mexican yams in a form identical to the molecule found in the body; the pharmaceutical companies produce large supplies to use as the base material to make their synthetics. “The pharmaceutical companies prefer the synthetic versions for the simple and obvious reason that they are patentable,” Lee said. Natural progesterone has been on the market as a cream sold over-the-counter since 1936. Most doctors don’t advocate its use because, according to Lee, “It would diminish their control over their patients: no prescription is required.”

In 2002 the National Institutes of Health terminated a study of 16,000 women who had been taking an estrogen-progestin combination for “menopausal symptoms” because the drug(s) increased the incidence of breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. On July 10, 2002, the New York Times ran a front-page story by Gina Kolata headlined: “Hormone Replacement Study A Shock to the Medical System” -as if Dr. Lee had never issued his well-documented warning and published a book read by hundreds of thousands of women. The head of the North American Menopause Society, a male doctor named Wulf Utian, called the study results “a bombshell” -which is like Claude Rains in Casablanca claiming to be “shocked, shocked that there’s gambling going on here!”

Alexander Cockburn has observed that a story doesn’t have real impact in this country until it appears prominently in the New York Times. When it comes to science, the NIH is the official arbiter of truth and importance. Findings by the most observant and humane doctors are dismissed as mere anecdotal evidence -and of course the drug companies don’t invite and pay them to conduct studies that would generate data leading to publication in “the literature.” In reporting the cancellation of the HRT study, Gina Kolata was able to overlook the warnings issued by John Lee, MD; his book may have been read by more than half a million women and men, but it didn’t rate as “scientific literature.” Thus the scientific and journalistic establishments re-enforce one another.

FRED GARDNER is the editor of O’Shaughnessy’s Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group. He can be reached at: fred@plebesite.com

 

 

Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail