Effective Then, Effective Now: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

We humans have had the same bodies and body chemistry (with of course unique individual variation) for the last two or three hundred thousand years. Some real experts say even longer! So if any human health problem could be safely and successfully improved or eliminated in the past, it’s very likely that the same human health problem can be eliminated today using the same treatment.
That’s what Effective Then, Effective Now is all about. This month we’ll focus (as the title says) on eliminating nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, a problem that’s very likely been around for millennia, although some might say it’s been more common with changes in diet and environmental pollution. But no matter how long this problem has existed, it’s possible to eliminate it within a few days for the large majority of women suffering from it.
In 1979 this safe and effective treatment was mentioned in my Book of Nutritional Therapy.[i] In 1984, Guide to Healing with Nutrition expanded this mention (and footnote reference) to a nine-page case history and discussion.[ii] The original publication[iii]—published in 1952 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, no less—reported that sixty-four of seventy (91.4%) women suffering from nausea and vomiting of pregnancy were completely relieved of all nausea and vomiting within seventy-two hours…that’s three days! (Hang in there, exact details below!) Three of seventy (4.2%) were relieved of vomiting but were still nauseated, and the other three (4.2%) had no relief.
Since the late 1970s (when my practice included helping women with their home births) the percentages of women helped by this treatment have remained at approximately nine out of ten. So why doesn’t every practicing “Ob/Gyn” physician recommend this treatment? You very likely know the answer: it’s all natural, unpatentable, can’t be sold at an inflated price, and isn’t “approved” by los federales.
In 2010—fifty-eight years after first publication of this very safe, successful treatment—the New England Journal of Medicine published an article reviewing treatments for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, which concluded there was no reliably effective treatment. So I wrote them the following two-hundred-and-fifteen-word letter and received the response below:
October 25, 2010
Editor, New England Journal of Medicine:
Thank you for the comprehensive review of treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NEJM 2010:363;1544-50).
From the 1970s to the present, I have found the treatment with vitamins K3 and C described by Merkel in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1952;64:416-418) to be safe and effective in the very large majority of nauseated, vomiting, pregnant women.
In 70 such women, Merkel used 5 milligrams of vitamin K3 (menadione) and 25 milligrams vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) given simultaneously orally, reporting that 64 of 70 had complete remission within 72 hours. Three were relieved of vomiting, but nausea persisted, and three did not respond to this treatment.
Merkel emphasized that simultaneous administration is necessary for this treatment to be successful.
As 25 milligram tablets or capsules of vitamin C have not been available for years, I have used 500 milligrams with 5 milligrams of vitamin K3 with the same degree of success. I have also observed that the occasional treatment failure can frequently be “reversed” with simultaneous injections (instead of continued oral administration) of the same vitamins.
—Jonathan V. Wright, MD
[Tahoma Clinic, www.tahomaclinic.com]
November 5, 2010
Dear Dr. Wright:
I am sorry that we will not be able to print your recent letter to the editor regarding the Niebyl article of 14-Oct-2010. The space available for correspondence is very limited, and we must use our judgment to present a representative selection of the material received. Many worthwhile
communications must be declined for lack of space.
Thank you for your interest in the Journal.
Caren G. Solomon, M.D.
Deputy Editor, New England Journal of Medicine
10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115
(617) 734-9800 fax: (617) 739-9864
Right! The New England Journal had just printed that there’s no effective remedy, so why let anyone—especially nauseated, vomiting women—know that the possibility of a safe and effective treatment (published in a very respectable medical journal) might exist?
One other detail: Vitamin K3 is no longer available in anything but a homeopathic form. And—as noted in the letter above—vitamin C is no longer available in a 25 milligram size. So my current recommendations are a combination of vitamins K1 and vitamins K2 as MK-4 and MK-7 (all available in combination in one capsule; usually two capsules are needed to make five milligrams total vitamin K) along with vitamin C 500 milligrams, taken (as Dr. Merkel emphasized) at the same time once daily.
And unlike patent medicines, these are safe during pregnancy. Tens of thousands of newborn infants were given vitamin K injections to prevent what was until relatively recently termed “hemorraghic disease of the newborn.”
Effective then, effective now!
Other Articles In This Edition of Green Medicine

[i] Book of Nutritional Therapy 1979, p. 415. Published by Rodale Press. Available through Tahoma Clinic Dispensary, www.tahomadispensary.com, 1-888-893-6878
[ii] “A Case of Severe Pregnancy Nausea,” in Guide to Healing with Nutrition, pp. 457-469. Published by Rodale Press, 1984. Available through Tahoma Clinic Dispensary, www.tahomadispensary.com, 1-888-893-6878
[iii] Merkel RL. The use of Menadione Bisulfite and Ascorbic Acid in the Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1952;64:416-418