The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) is fighting for the recognition of M.E.,
and for patients to be accorded the same basic human rights as those with similar
disabling and potentially fatal neurological diseases such as M.S.

Useful books on health, nutrition, supplements and vitamins

The Useful books on health, nutrition, supplements and vitamins section includes:
 
General books:

Books on vitamin C:

Books on vitamin D:

Books on vitamin E:

Books on toxins and detoxification:

Books on cardiac health:

Books on magnesium:

Qigong books

Other special subject books:

Outdated or problematic books:

  • The vitamin guide : the complete guide to vitamins and minerals and how they are best used to promote health and well being by Nicola Reavley
  • The Fourfold Path to Healing 
  • Creating Health ... Yourself by Ross Taylor
  • Environmental Medicine: A Practical, Participatory Course/Textbook by Natalie Golos
  • Evolving Health: The Origins of Illness and How the Modern World Is Making Us Sick by Noel Thomas Boaz 
  • Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies by C. Norman Shealy

 

Note that NONE of these books has a section on M.E. Their sections on 'CFS' most often refer to patients with PVFSs, depression or candida. Information given on 'CFS' in these books should be ignored as it relates to no distinct patient group and certainly not M.E.

It is often most helpful to read the section on diseases similar to M.E. such as M.S.


Before reading the information given in the book reviews and books below, please be aware of the following facts:

1. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ are not synonymous terms. The overwhelming majority of research on ‘CFS’ or ‘CFIDS’ or ‘ME/CFS’ or ‘CFS/ME’ or ‘ICD-CFS’ does not involve M.E. patients and is not relevant in any way to M.E. patients. If the M.E. community were to reject all ‘CFS’ labelled research as ‘only relating to ‘CFS’ patients’ (including research which describes those abnormalities/characteristics unique to M.E. patients), however, this would seem to support the myth that ‘CFS’ is just a ‘watered down’ definition of M.E. and that M.E. and ‘CFS’ are virtually the same thing and share many characteristics.

A very small number of ‘CFS’ studies refer in part to people with M.E. but it may not always be clear which parts refer to M.E. The
A warning on ‘CFS’ and ‘ME/CFS’ research and advocacy paper is recommended reading and includes a checklist to help readers assess the relevance of individual ‘CFS’ studies to M.E. (if any) and explains some of the problems with this heterogeneous and skewed research.

In future, it is essential that M.E. research again be conducted using only M.E. defined patients and using only the term M.E. The bogus, financially-motivated disease category of ‘CFS’ must be abandoned.

2. The research referred to on this website varies considerably in quality. Some is of a high scientific standard and relates wholly to M.E. and uses the correct terminology. Other studies are included which may only have partial or minor possible relevance to M.E., use unscientific terms/concepts such as ‘CFS,’ ‘ME/CFS,’ ‘CFS/ME,’ ‘CFIDS’ or Myalgic ‘Encephalopathy’ and also include a significant amount of misinformation. Before reading this research it is also essential that the reader be aware of the most commonly used ‘CFS’ propaganda, as explained in A warning on ‘CFS’ and ‘ME/CFS’ research and advocacy and in more detail in Putting research and articles on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis into context.

Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs by Robert C. Atkins

This book is one of the best, or maybe even the best, out there on this topic. I very highly recommend it. I have read maybe 2 or 3 dozen vitamin books which claim to be the best or the 'only guide you'd ever need' and all of them put together are not as good as this one book.

 

The information given on each of the major vitamins and how much and what forms to take is very good and many times more detailed than in most books.

 

Don't be swayed by whether or not you agree with Atkins' dietary advice. (I don't 100%, far from it although I feel he had some parts of the theory right). This is an excellent book on vitamins and other supplements and I highly recommend it.

 

(As with all health books what he says about 'CFS' is ridiculous and silly and should be ignored fully by everyone, no matter their diagnosis. 'CFS' is a wastebasket term and not a distinct disease. Patients need a real diagnosis and real help, not to be fobbed off with this unhelpful MISdiagnosis!)

 

It talks about how to reduce your cancer risk, what vitamins are in what foods and how much of each vitamin you need and why, and so on. It contains very extensive information on each vitamin and mineral etc. including adverse reactions if any, dosage recommendations to maintain health and for different diseases, drug interactions and so on.

 

This is one of the few books with enough technical info for doctors, but that also includes a large amount of practical advice and tips for patients on managing their own health and their own vitamin and nutrient regime. It includes a lot of the practical information lacking in some other books which focus solely on looking at studies proving the benefits of each supplement instead. This book does both. It is also very easy to read.

 

What is so great about this book is that it devotes a whole section to each vitamin etc. (and tells you what it can do and which diseases it may help with and why) rather than just giving you a list of things to take for disease x, y or z. (Although it briefly does that as well.) That sort of superficial approach is just not helpful when you are trying to learn as much as you can about each vitamin and what it does and how to take it safely and effectively, and when your disease is NEVER one of the diseases listed (as with M.E.)

 

The dosages given are not super-conservative as they are in so many books either. Some of us need higher dosages with some diseases and when we are very ill and Dr Atkins recognises this.

 

The political information in this book is also excellent. The whole 10 pages or so on that topic is all quotable. It is very well done and compelling.

 

This is the number one book I would recommend people buy to learn about vitamins and how best to take them. If you can afford or read only one book on vitamins, make it this one. It's so good. The authors passion for this topic is obvious and I'm so grateful to Dr Atkins for writing this book. It deserves to be far more well-known than it is. It is also one of the best books I know of to give to doctors.

 

I'd give this book a 9 ½/10.

 

My only criticisms of the book would be that the inclusion of solid dietary advice would also have been useful (diet is only mentioned occasionally, and always in relation to the Atkins diet).

 

I'm also sure Dr Atkins would have updated this book had he still been alive today. A few sections are outdated somewhat, such as the section on vitamin D for example.

 

Atkins should have been famous for this great book, rather than his diet books in my opinion, it's a real shame the negative and ignorant hype over his diet books obscured his extensive knowledge of orthomolecular medicine and the information in this book that needs so much to become public knowledge.

 

If you are seriously ill and want to read as much as possible about how to heal then this book is essential.

 

If you combine it with excellent books on diet such as Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and books on reducing your total load and detoxification and so on such as 'Detoxify or Die' by Dr Sherry Rogers and the book on sauna use by Dr Lawrence Wilson you will have information that can really help you and that is just not included in the vast majority of 'nutrition by numbers' books out there.

 

I have read hundreds of health books, it has become a sort of hobby. These 4 books have helped me the most and are probably all you need, or at least a wonderful starting point.

 

Used copies are often available for just a few dollars.

The New Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford

This book provides an easy to read overview on nutrition and vitamins.

This book explains how antioxidants work together, how to lower your homocysteine levels, how to reduce cancer risk, the safe limits of each vitamin and mineral (even if the numbers given are quite conservative and so perhaps not very useful) and which foods they are in, plus has sections on detoxing and digestion, lots of information on diet, and lists which foods are highest in antioxidants and much more.

Most information is aimed more at maintaining health rather than treating serious disease, so this book is mostly for wlel people that want to stay well.

But even so, this book is still very useful for educating yourself about how the body works in many ways as part of a wider health reading program.

The sections on diet are poor and the author recommends a diet still too carb heavy for many of us, and too low in healthy fats and which excludes many very important traditional foods probably due to a vegetarian bias. Yes vegetables and fruit are important but what about how important meat is, or eggs, or raw cultured vegetables, or kefir, or homemade 24 hour yogurt made with unprocessed milk, or organ meats? Vegetables are not the only important health foods!

This book is best combined with really excellent books on diet such as Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and books on reducing your total load and detoxification and so on such as 'Detoxify or Die' by Dr Sherry Rogers and the book on sauna use by Dr Lawrence Wilson as well as Dr Atkin's Vita-Nutrient Solution book.

(As with almost all health books what he says about 'CFS' (and even M.E., appallingly) is ridiculous and should be ignored fully by everyone, no matter their diagnosis, but overall this book is very useful. 'CFS' is a wastebasket term and not a distinct disease. Patients need a real diagnosis and real help, not to be fobbed off with this unhelpful MISdiagnosis! M.E. is not the same as 'CFS')

I'd give this book a 6 or 7/10.

Orthomolecular Medicine For Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians by Abram Hoffer

This book provides an excellent overview of high dose vitamin therapy. It is very suitable to give to doctors.

The information is very technical in parts and the focus is more on proving the worth and value of nutritional treatments rather than on giving practical advice for those wanting to start their own regime of nutrients.

For that reason, it may be best to read this book together with Dr Atkins' 'Vita-Nutrient Solution' and 'Detoxify or Die' by Dr Sherry Rogers.

This book may be too heavy-going for those with severe diseases such as M.E. as it isn't broken up into many smaller parts as well as many other books. But for those with a real interest in this topic, and healthy enough to read fairly well, this book is an essential addition to your health library.

Highly recommended, especially for doctors.

I just wish I had paid a bit more and gotten a paper copy as I am too ill to read my electronic copy again.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D.,

The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

This useful book is available for free online, click here.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

"Vitamin C should be given to the patient while the doctors ponder the diagnosis." Dr. Frederick Klenner, M.D.

Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C by Dr. Hickey and Dr. Roberts

Reviews and publciher comments:

Dare I say, the most important development in the history of vitamin C? -- John Ely, University of Washington, June 22, 2004

The theory proposed, the Dynamic Flow Model, is the most important development in the history of vitamin C. -- The Vitamin C Foundation, June 27, 2004

Vitamin C could cut the health service budget in half. ...well written, insightful and at the forefront of scientific literature. -- Mike Mesham, June 10, 2004. lulu.com/content/53926

Well done, a truly fantastic book... -- Dr Selva Kumar M.D., Lulu Review, June 8, 2004

Well done, a truly fantastic book... I pay tribute to Prof Linus Pauling (on) the 10th anniversary of his death. -- Selva Kumar M.D. June 8, 2004. lulu.com/content/55277

Product Description

This book examines the idea that vitamin C can be used to prevent and treat some of the most serious illnesses of the modern world. Its shocking conclusion is that there is ample preliminary support for the suggestion, but the medical and pharmaceutical industries have failed to replicate the early work. The consequence of this failure could be huge, both in terms of financial costs to health services, as well as widespread suffering and premature death.

The relationship between vitamin C and health has been controversial for decades. Influential scientists, including double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, have argued that ascorbate could prevent or cure heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections. Conventional experts disagreed, disparaging supplements in favour of fruits and vegetables. This book examines the evidence and shows that the establishment mistrust of vitamin C supplementation is unfounded. The frequently quoted advice, that supplements are redundant if the person consumes five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, is scientifically weak.

The book explores the facts behind the controversy in detail. It describes the history of vitamin C, starting with James Lind’s classic 1747 experiment on scurvy. This simple experiment, in which Lind showed that citrus fruit could cure scurvy, was a turning point in the application of science to medicine. It is used here to illustrate and explain the scientific method, which is based on formulating a hypothesis or testable idea, attempting to refute it, and showing that the results can be repeated reliably. The modern medical establishment, with its emphasis on expensive, large-scale trials, has unfortunately come to value pathological science more highly than solid, replicable experiments. Large-scale trials have their uses in searching for rare or weak effects, but if we are looking for a powerful new treatment, then repeated small-scale experiments will find it more quickly. Using only a few scurvy sailors, Lind showed that something in citrus fruit cured them sufficient! ly to be able to work. Anyone who did not believe the results could simply repeat the experiment.

For over half a century, research into vitamin C has been hindered by failure to understand how the vitamin is used by the body. For this reason, a lot of money and effort has been poured into carrying out experiments that were almost guaranteed to fail, because they used doses that were too infrequent and too small. This book re-evaluates the evidence and presents a new model for the action of ascorbate: the dynamic flow model. This extends the ideas of Klenner, Cathcart, Pauling, Stone and other pioneering scientists. The model explains the experiments that have shown beneficial effects of vitamin C, as well as those that have failed to show such effects. In the light of the new model, the long-standing controversy is resolved. At first sight, claims that vitamin C might prevent or cure heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections such as polio, AIDS and SARS, appear unbelievable. However, the claimed benefits have a scientific basis and demand to be considered seriously. This innocuous vitamin could well offer effective treatments that are far cheaper than current methods: something our overloaded health services desperately need. The book concludes with a list of hypotheses that urgently need testing, to restore scientific respectability to the evaluation of ascorbate. If even a few of these suggestions are confirmed, readers will understand why Linus Pauling was prepared to stake his outstanding scientific reputation on vitamin C.


This book has a great section on ‘the scientific method’ and how to think for yourself and use logic, rarher than just accepting that what is well-known and accepted is always accurarte and unbiased. It should be essential reading for all doctors!

This is a great book but seems more suitable for doctors than patients, as it has a quite formal writing style and is far more heavy going to read. While the creation of this book is admirable, there is little in this book that is not covered just as well or better in ‘Vitamin C: The real story' and it is this book I would recommend of the two, although the books are very similar in content and quality.

This is still a very solid book however, of a very high quality. The sections on scientific method and the bias and illogicality of our medical system are just wonderful.


The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease by Irwin Stone

With forewords by Nobel Prizewinners Dr. Linus Pauling and Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
 

The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

This useful book is available for free online, click here.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

VITAMIN C, TITRATING TO BOWEL TOLERANCE, ANASCORBEMIA, AND ACUTE INDUCED SCURVY Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D.

The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

This useful book is available for free online, click here.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

The Ascorbate Effect in Infectious and Autoimmune Diseases by Robert F. Cathcart, M.D.

The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

This useful book is available for free online, click here.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

Fire Your Doctor! How to Be Independently Healthy by Andrew W. Saul

Natural healing is not about avoiding doctors; it is about not needing to go to doctors. The idea is to be well. Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own wellness, and we should consider all options in our search for better health. We get out of our bodies what we put into them; Our Bodies will respond to efforts to improve our health. The biggest deception ever perpetrated upon the American people is the myth that improving health with vitamins and natural living is somehow difficult or dangerous. Better health is not difficult, and it is conventional drug treatments for disease that are dangerous. The effective use of nutritional supplements and natural diet saves money, pain, and lives. The good news is that therapeutic nutrition is inexpensive, simple, effective, and safe. It comes down to this: Living healthfully is prevention and cure for most chronic killer diseases. That is indeed simple: it is also true and it works. "Fire Your Doctor!" provides information on: Nutritional therapy for more than eighty health conditions; How to improve one's health through changes to diet and lifestyle; Practical tips on juicing and growing a vegetable garden; The latest scientifically validated supplement recommendations. Mostly, "Fire Your Doctor!" is about asserting ourselves. For nearly thirty years Dr. Saul has worked with people who have been transformed from being a fear-filled patient to being their own self-reliant, naturally healthy self. It can be done, and anyone who reads this book can do it.
 
Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., has taught clinical nutrition at the New York Chiropractic College and health science and biology at the State University of New York. He has been in practice as a natural therapeutics consultant for nearly thirty years. Dr. Saul publishes the "Doctor Yourself" newsletter and is the author of "Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing that Works". He is also a contributing editor for the "Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine". His website is an important orthomolecular nutrition resource on the Internet.
 

 
The introduction and conclusion were wonderful, and the general information about basic supplements.

Books such as 'Vita-Nutrient solution' and 'Orthomolecular medicine for everyone' had far more detailed information, and would be better choices for those new to the topic, but this book was still great.  I really liked this doctors enthusiasm and explanations of the political problems and erronous belief systems that are holding back orthomolecular medicine form being mainstream, as it needs to be.

I'm not convinced however by the argument we all need to be almost vegetarian. This sort of diet just does not agree with me. It might if I could eat a lot of, or any, eggs, soy or dairy, but if you can't and you have a disease that means you deal with high carb foods very very poorly... I feel this advice is not helpful, or perhaps not detailed enough. None of the problems with eating dairy, wheat and nightshades such as postatoes are even mentioned, it's a stange omission.

But overall, I agree with the authors ideas about medicine and our responsibility for our own health very much. Supplements such as ubiquinol, carnitine and others have made a very significant difference to my quality of life. (I have the severe neurological disease Myalgic Encepahlomyelitis). I've found this book very helpful in writing a 'Quick start guide' to treating M.E. with supplements and vitamins.

Recommended, though not as a sole resource as it skims over how to treat many common diseases and the information given on each disease is very brief. It's just a good introductory text for those very interested in this topic.  Having said that however, I did also find several very interesting facts in this book that were not even mentioned in the dozen or so other books I have read on this topic, such as the topical application of vitamin C in a paste to treat rashes and lesions.
 
Check your local library for a copy, at the very least.

Some parts of the book were so good I felt compelled to go to the (for me) enormous effort to type them up as quotes, to use in my 'Quick start guide.' I hope the author wont mind my reposting them here, they really to deserve to be read as widely as possible as they get right to the heart of the matter as it were, I think.

Quotes:

'In newspapers, magazines and on television, the public has been warned off the very vitamins and other supplements that have been repeatedly proven to reduce illness in practically every instance. The effective use of food supplements and natural diet saves money, pain and lives... and you have been told not to do it. If you want something done right you have to do it yourself. This especially includes your healthcare. One of the most common questions about vitamin therapy is, are huge doses safe? This book will help answer that question once and for all, and while we are at it, here’s the answer in advance. Yes. Megadoses of vitamins are very safe. Vitamins do not cause even one death per year. Pharmaceutical drugs, taken as directed, cause over 100 000 deaths annually. Still it is granted that we need access to all the tools that medicine and technology can provide, when used with caution. We must also fully use our natural resources of therapeutic nutrition and vitamins. To limit ourselves to pharmaceutical medicine is like going into the ring to fight the champ with one hand tied behind our backs.'

 

'Most people’s fear of self-care centres on three common fallacies.

1. You are not educated enough to treat yourself, that is what doctors are for

2. Natural therapies are not powerful enough to cure real diseases

3. Megavitamin therapy is dangerous

These are not facts, these are beliefs, and they are all unfounded. Jazz musician Eubie Blake  said it best “It is not what we don’t know that harms us, but what we do know that ain’t so”. If your doctor does not believe in using vitamins, not only is that doctor behind the times, that doctor is not being scientific. Therapeutic nutrition is not a matter of belief; it is a matter of confirmed clinical experience. Belief systems can be wrong.'

 

'Modern drug based medicine is as incomplete as a novel written with three vowels. As discordant as a symphony constructed using only some of the notes. High dose nutritional therapy is the much needed missing part of our vocabulary of healthcare. The fight against disease needs all the help it can get.'

 

'Modern medicine is not scientific, it is full of prejudice, illogic and susceptible to advertising. Doctors are not taught to reason, they are programmed to believe in whatever their medical schools teach them and the leading doctors tell them. Over the past 20 years the drug companies, with their enormous wealth, have taken medicine over and now control its research, what is taught and the information released to the public.' Abram Hoffer MD

 

'There are absolutely times when we need professional help, but we can act to greatly reduce the frequency of those times and far beyond what we have been told. Time in front of a computer screen can teach us a lot more than time in front of a movie screen. But hasn’t health information on the internet been described as the mother lode of all quackery? Of course it has, but as you learned in kindergarten, calling names does not make it so. There is a practical alternative to blind trust, use your noodle and see for yourself. Be your own doctor; manage your own case, live healthier today.'

 

'Good nutrition and vitamins do not directly cure disease, the body does. You provide the raw materials and the inborn wisdom of your body makes the repairs. Someday healthcare without megavitamin therapy will be seen as we today see childbirth without sanitation or surgery without anaesthetic.'

 

'There is virtually no funding for pharmaceutical companies to fund vitamin research. Why is that? Because there is no money for them in a cheap, non-prescription cure which already exists and cannot be patented. For decades, nutritionists and dieticians have preached tat vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed if you just eat a balanced diet. It is a nice story, but it is only a story. Daily supplements are the only way Americans can possible get the 800 IU of vitamin e per day, the amount that prevents most cardiovascular disease. Daily supplements are the only way to get several thousands milligrams of vitamin C per day, the amount that is protective against many forms of cancer. Nutritional deficiency is the rule not the exception in America. It is simply not enough to keep cholesterol and saturated fat out of your diet, you have to put something good in.'

 

'When pharmaceuticals are versatile, they are called ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘wonder drugs.’ When vitamins are versatile, they are called ‘faddish’ and ‘cures in search of a disease.’ Such a double standard needs to be exposed and opposed at every turn. People often ask, ‘if vitamin therapy is so good, why hasn’t my doctor told me about it?’ I do not know the answer to that question. Quite frankly, over time, I have grown to be less and less fired-up about even wanting to know. Theer are too many sick people that need positive help.'

 

'Vitamin C is the world’s best natural antibiotic, antiviral, antitoxin and antihistamine. This book’s recurring emphasis on vitamin C might suggest that I am offering a song with only one verse. Not so. As English literature concentrates on Shakespeare, so orthomolecular (megavitamin) therapy concentrates on vitamin C. Let the greats be given their due. The importance of vitamin C cannot be overemphasised.'

Doctor yourself : natural healing that works by Andrew W. Saul

This book was quite a disappointment. It is nowhere near as good as 'Fire your doctor.'

Instead of quoting studies, this book relies far too heavily on case studies of single patients.

In the section at the back which makes up most of the book, different diseases are each given a section on treatment.

Some of these sections were okay, but many did nothing more than relate a single case study which was almost always completely resolved following the use of high dose vitamin C or similar. What was lacking was information on how typical such results were and what could be done if the remedies listed did not work. At the very least, it would have been better to include at least a few case studies rather than just one.

This book, as with 'Fire your doctor' just does not have enough information about chronic diseases, and long-term illness. There is little talk of how much high dose C's effectiveness is limited by years of damage caused by the disease, and how long to keep C at bowel tolerance if your disease is long term, and some case studies of what can happen in long-term disease with orthomolecular medicine. This is a problem I have found with most books on this topic, so little is written about long-term illness. I suppose it's just not as 'sexy' as writing about getting amazing and very quick results treating a serious infection in its first few weeks.

I'd highly recommend 'Fire your doctor' but couldn't recommend this book in the same way. If your library has a copy and you are well enough to read a lot, it's probably worth your while to check it out. But you'd be much better off with 'Fire your doctor' or 'Orthomolecular medicine for everyone' or 'Dr Atkins' Vita-nutrient solution' or even 'The optimum nutrition bible.'

To be clear, I very strongly support the basic message of in this book and am convinced by the benefits of orthomolecular medicine, I just think that this book does nowheer near as good a job as others in presenting this information to the reader, it's far too simplistic and vague.

Biochemical Individuality by Roger John Williams

This book is a classic and an essential read for all doctors, and also patients, if possible.

Biochemical individuality is the concept that the nutritional and chemical make-up of each person is unique and that dietary and other needs therefore vary from person to person. People have unique biochemical profiles based upon their own genetic structure, nutrition, and environment. Some of these variables can also change over time.

The book `Biochemical Individuality' was first published by Dr. Roger J. Williams in 1956. Jeffrey S. Bland Ph.D., who writes the introduction for the 1988 reissue of the book, explains that Dr. Williams was the first to recognize all humans differ biochemically from others, and to recognize that nutritional status can influence the expression of genetic characteristics.

Jeffrey Bland Ph.D. writes,

"Aberrant genes do not, in and of themselves, cause disease. By and large their impact on an individual's health is minimal until the person is plunged into a harmful environment. . . . The list of common diseases which has its roots in this genetic soil is growing almost daily. . . . How many human ills will be added to the list is unknown, although some contend that almost every disorder compromising a full and healthy four score and ten years of life can be traced in one way or another to this genetic variability.
The first major breakthrough that resulted in this revolutionary change in thinking about the origin of disease was the recognition that we are much more different biochemically than was previously acknowledged.[2] Dr. Williams in Biochemical Individuality pioneered this revolution in thinking forty years ago. Genetic polymorphism is the term which has emerged in the past decade to describe this variation in function surrounding a specific genetic trait.
The second major breakthrough in thinking made by Dr. Williams is the recognition that nutritional status can influence the expression of genetic characteristics.[3] Once again Dr. Williams foresaw this important concept in Biochemical Individuality and set in motion research and discoveries over the past four decades that have transformed medicine. It is now well recognized that our genotype gets transformed into our phenotype as a consequence of nutritional, lifestyle and environmental factors which are important in determining our health patterns.
He pointed out that even identical twins could be different in their needs for optimal function based upon the fact that they developed in different environments in utero. Although identical twins share the same genes, their differing nutrition and developmental environments can result in different expression of the genes as they grow older."

The Weston A. Price Foundation explain,

""Biochemical individuality" is a subject worth clarifying. Coined by nutritional biochemist Roger Williams, PhD, the term refers to the fact that different people require different nutrients based on their unique genetic make-up. Ethnic and racial background figure in this concept as well. A diet that works for one may not work as well for someone else. As a practitioner, I've seen several clients following a vegetarian diet with severe health problems: obesity, candidiasis, hypothyroidism, cancer, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, anemia and chronic fatigue. Because of the widespread rhetoric that a vegetarian diet is "always healthier" than a diet that includes meat or animal products, these people saw no reason to change their diet, even though that was the cause of their problems. What these people actually needed for optimal health was more animal foods and fats and fewer carbohydrates.
Further, due to peculiarities in genetics and individual biochemistry, some people simply cannot do a vegetarian diet because of such things as lectin intolerance and desaturating enzyme deficiencies. Lectins present in legumes, a prominent feature of vegetarian diets, are not tolerated by many people. Others have grain sensitivities, especially to gluten, or to grain proteins in general. Again, since grains are a major feature of vegetarian diets, such people cannot thrive on them."

People have different anatomy from one another: hearts and stomachs vary in size, shape, and physical location from person to person, for example.

(The images in the book of all the different shapes and sizes of stomachs are amazing to see!)

Drugs affect people in different ways due to differences in body chemistry. The differences between individuals can be quite large, and affect many different areas. When an individual's specific needs are not met, diseases may arise.

For a person to get ill from a bacterial or viral infection, the book explains, there must be a susceptibility in the host as well as an encounter with the particular bacteria or virus. Neither the health of the host nor the infective agent is `everything.'

Hereditary diseases are mostly not hereditary at all and what is inherited is a susceptibility for a certain disease. This means that we are not stuck with an unchangeable fate and can potentially limit our susceptibility by using a genetotrophic approach. (Making sure the body has all the raw materials it needs to function properly, and that higher than usual needs for certain nutrients are met.)

Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling explained that biochemical individuality, molecular disease, or environmental stress may increase the need for certain micronutrients, such as vitamin C, considerably above the RDA recommendation.

Jeffrey Bland Ph.D. explains,

"Molecular medicine was a term used by two-time Nobel laureate in chemistry and peace Linus Pauling, Ph.D., in his landmark article on the mechanism of production of sickle cell anemia published in 1949. [1] It defined a new perspective on the origin of disease based upon the recognition that specific mutations of the genes can create an altered "molecular environment" and therefore the modified physiological function associated with specific diseases.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) which were developed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council to establish the nutritional needs of "practically all healthy people" were not based upon the more recent information concerning the range of biochemical individuality among individuals. The RDAs that describe "normal" nutritional needs have questionable relevancy to the concept of optimal nutrition based upon individual needs. The contributions of Dr. Williams have opened the door for personally tailored nutritional and medical interventions that take biochemical individuality into account."

The concept of biochemical individuality seriously calls into question the logic of setting a single RDA for various vitamins and minerals for all people when the need for a certain nutrient may differ from one person to the next by 10, 30 or even 100 fold, or more.

Dr Williams' book explains that for a person to have all their lab values and other statistics in the `normal' range is itself abnormal and that we all have metabolic peculiarities, and probably more than a few.

Dr Williams writes that biochemical individuality explains why:
* Some of us are better at detoxifying drugs and chemicals
* The harmful amino acid homocysteine may or may not cause heart disease
* Cancer genes respond in different ways to diet and environment
* Some people are alcoholics or diabetics
* Low fat diets cause some people to gain weight
* One person needs higher levels of a nutrient than another to be healthy

Orthomolecular medicine expert Dr Abram Hoffer writes,

"There are many people whose diets are relatively good, but they still need extra nutrients due to biochemical individuality and many other factors, such as genetics or chronic deficiency. Orthomolecular and naturopathic therapists use optimum doses, which may be small or large. The important characteristic of the dose is not its size, but its efficacy - whether it is doing the job it is supposed to do to make the patient well."

The concept of biochemical individuality provides solid support for the notion that the most accurate test for some nutrients - such as magnesium or vitamin B12, for example - is the challenge test, rather than traditional blood tests. Watching how the body responds to a nutrient can tell a skilled practitioner far more about that person's need for a particular nutrient than a standard test which merely compares the patient's levels of a nutrient with what is considered `normal' for an average person. As this book explains, levels of B12 in healthy people can vary by 16 or 19 fold! More of certain nutrients is also needed during illness.

Extensive nutritional testing is also supported by the concept of biochemical individuality. Books such as Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers list some of the cutting edge tests which are currently available and how they should be interpreted and the information acted upon, to improve health.

This book was fascinating to read.

I found it overall quite easy to read as well though I must admit I skipped some of the scientifically dense paragraphs that went into specifics about particular abnormalities.

The message that the patient - doctor relationship and the doctor listening to the patient and treating them as an individual is of primary importance in good health care, is just as timely today as when this book was first published, if not far more so. A 'one size fits all' approach is not very helpful and nor is slavishly adhering to the importance of 'normal' lab values and ignoring all other evidence.

Good Health in the 21st Century by Carole Hungerford

An extract:

This book is written as a direct response to the questions my patients ask:

  • `Why is a good diet not enough?'

  • `Why are so many diseases - cancer, allergies, depression - on the rise?'

  • `Why do I need medication to stay healthy?'

  • `Why are there so many new diseases like autism, SARS and AIDS?'

My patients want to know the science that underpins a medical model based on health. Naturopaths, dieticians, herbalists seem to have a good grasp of what it is to be healthy - does this natural medicine have scientific merit?

If you arrive at the doctor's surgery saying `I feel great and I'd like a few tips on how to stay that way,' you will probably be met with bemusement. Your doctor would be likely to have a better idea what to do with you if you turn up with a disease. Doctors find it challenging to cure disease, but they tend to forget about health. The simple restoration of health may require only that we give the `good guys' - vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and others - a chance to do their health-giving work.

As a general practitioner I was often torn between received wisdom and a biochemical approach to my patients' problems. I sought professional training in `alternative' fields, although it grates that the scientific basis of nutritional biochemistry is labelled `alternative'. In grappling with my patients' questions, I had to challenge many of the things that I had been taught. As mainstream medicine becomes ever more dogmatic, its self-belief strengthened by the doctrine of evidence-based medicine, the voices of my patients begin to sound like the chorus in a Greek drama, sowing seeds of challenge and discontent.

Western nations are worrying about the problems of an ageing population. But current longevity predictions are based on a population born between World War I and World War II, for whom sugar, fat and motor vehicles were luxuries. By the time junk food came into being, their eating habits were well established. Pesticides did not permeate the food chain, and good husbandry prevailed in farming and horticulture. If we take into account the health trends in younger generations - the rising incidence of asthma, depression, obesity, and younger diagnoses of many cancers - we arrive at a frightening prediction: for the first time in human history, we have produced a generation which is not expected to outlive its parents.

Doctors throughout the developed world are beginning to question a health industry based on a model of `curing disease'. The role of the pharmaceutical companies in this `health' industry causes increased disquiet. This book is dedicated to my patients, to the doctors whom I have the privilege to teach, and other patients and doctors like them.

CHAPTER ONE: Medicine and Progress (extract 1)

The doctors of today prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure disease of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know almost nothing. - Voltaire

Progress is all very well, but it has gone on long enough. - Ogden Nash

THE WAITING ROOM

It is Monday morning in the waiting room of an imaginary general practice on the outskirts of the inner city. The patients include students from the nearby university, factory workers, shift workers, business people. Many ethnic groups are represented. Let us suppose that I work in this busy practice with four or five other doctors. We all get on well together and often discuss difficult cases with each other. All of us have areas of special interest in medicine, and we have a wide range of outside interests. Mine is a hobby farm in a bushland environment a few hours out of the city. These various interests form the subject matter of many of our lunchtime conversations.

In the waiting room on this busy morning are a group of typical patients who could be in any city, any suburb. Some have cuts or sprains from weekend sporting activities or need a routine check, but most have chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, depression, menstrual disorders, headaches.

My colleagues and I have recently been to courses on nutritional and `alternative' medicine. We felt that it was time we learnt about the safety of the things our patients are taking. Lately they have been asking us about treatments such as St John's wort and glucosamine. One of us has a pregnant wife who is taking vitamin supplements. Does my colleague know that this is safe? She eats well, why would she need them? Is there any scientific evidence?

My first patient of the day is Mary, 28 years old. She has come to see me because of chronic low-grade depression and a feeling of `just not being well'. She has a job which she enjoys and good friends. A two-year relationship ended amicably a few months ago, and she currently does not have partner. She says she wants her own space for a while. She eats reasonably well, although she admits to a sweet tooth and perhaps more coffee than she ought. She drinks a fair bit of tap water because she has heard that this will help to keep her bowels regular. She drinks alcohol within a safe range and is a non-smoker. She gets some exercise, although admits she hasn't had a lot of energy lately.

Her medical history includes mild asthma with seasonal exacerbations, for which she has a range of puffers. She uses at least one of these most days, but regards her asthma as fairly easy to control. Her bowels are usually okay, but if she's not careful she can become constipated. She is on the oral contraceptive pill although she has no current need for contraception. She has been on the pill on and off since she was 16 and says she is scared to come off it because she will have heavy cramping periods and her skin will break out. When she first went on the pill she was still at school and did not need contraception. The doctor she was seeing at the time said it would be the best thing for the cramps that were keeping her away from school one or two days a month, and it would also help her troublesome acne. At the time of commencement she had never had a migraine. She has had three or four migraines since, but the doctor thought that it was okay for her to take the low-dose pill.

Her blood pressure went up a bit on the pill, but as it is in the normal range she and I have agreed just to keep an eye on it. We plan to do this regularly, because I am also treating her mother for mild hypertension. Mostly the pill controls Mary's painful periods but sometimes she has to take an anti-inflammatory. She is totally dependent on these when she is giving the pill a `rest'. At those times, she often has to take antibiotics for her skin as well. She gets mood swings around the time of her period, and thinks these are a bit better on the pill, although she suspects that her overall well-being is reduced. She has discussed with me her lack of interest in the things which used to give her pleasure. We have talked about an anti-depressant, but she is not keen to take that path yet.

There is probably a Mary in every doctor's waiting room every morning of the week, and few doctors would argue with the treatments she is on. After all, one in four Australians now has a lifetime expectancy of asthma, and although this is one of the highest rates in the world, other developed nations are not far behind. And it's known that certain illnesses such as asthma, migraine, depression, dysmenorrhoea and irritable bowel cluster together - in individuals, in families and in cultural groups.

So it's common for these conditions to occur together, and we've also come to accept it as normal. But have we accepted Mary's symptoms too readily? When we see whole families of asthmatics and migraineurs we think of shared genes, but how can such conditions be shared by whole cultures?

If we look at Mary, and the thousands like her, from the perspective of a hundred years ago, or of a rural dweller from the rapidly vanishing tribal peoples of the world, her diagnoses and treatments are nothing short of astonishing. Here she is, still in her 20s, a healthy individual, and yet she has been, or is, taking:

  • a beta adrenergic bronchodilator

  • oral or inhaled corticosteroids

  • synthetic oestrogen and progesterone

  • long-term antibiotics

  • a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killer

  • a specific anti-prostaglandins medication.

As if this is not enough, an antidepressant could soon be added if things don't look up. Most of her medications require a prescription, or at least dispensation by a trained pharmacist, in Western countries. A look at the associated list of side effects, precautions, drug interactions and warnings of use in pregnancy soon explains why. These medications are not to be taken lightly.

If we look at the various treatments Mary has had, there is no underlying pharmacological consistency. Each has targeted a specific problem. The bronchodilator she takes for her asthma is unlikely to do much for her mood swings or her tendency to constipation. If these conditions tend to cluster, it seems intuitive to expect that a treatment for one might have a favourable effect on the others - assuming that the relationship between the conditions is at least partly causal, which commonsense seems to dictate.

But Mary's medications lack logical connection with each other. Some are potentially incompatible. This incompatibility may be pharmacological - that is, the drugs themselves interact in a negative way - or it may be to do with the symptoms. The action of the steroid medication could well worsen the depression. If Mary is among the 20 per cent of asthmatics who are sensitive to aspirin, the medications she takes for her period pain may make her asthma worse. If she were a severe asthmatic this would rapidly become apparent, but as she is usually well controlled the overall deterioration over time may not be connected to her intermittent use of aspirin-like painkillers.

Even a few decades ago, patients like Mary would have had a much narrower range of medications at their disposal. There might have been something for her asthma, and some aspirin or paracetamol for her pain. Under the age of 40 or 50, only an unusually sick patient would have been taking more than a couple of prescription medications on a regular basis.

What is so bad in the human design that one in four now needs drugs in order to breathe normally? What is so maladaptive about a menstrual cycle that it regularly puts a significant number of women to bed once a month? Mary has not got asthma because she has a Ventolin deficiency, and menstrual cramps are not caused by Ponstan deficiency. Why does she - like thousands of others - have such a constellation of medical problems, and such a galaxy of pharmaceutical solutions to them?

These are the questions that we are beginning to debate in our lunchroom at work. To begin to answer them, we have to start a long way back, at the moment when some humans decided that hunting and gathering was too hard.

....

CHAPTER ONE: Medicine and Progress (extract 2)

WHAT CAN DOCTORS LEARN FROM VETS?

When I was in medical school, it was a standing joke that veterinary science was much easier than medicine because you could shoot your mistakes. Later, when farming brought me into contact with some rural vets, I wondered what it would be like to deal with owners whose livelihood depended on the health of their animals. Animals have kidneys, livers, hearts, like humans. What would you do if half of your cows needed blood pressure tablets and cholesterol-lowering agents? Would you mix them in the feed or put them in the drinking water?

It is not usually apparent that the health of the soil has a direct impact on the health of the humans and pets that are sustained by plants grown in it. On the farm this relationship is inescapable.

The importance of diet

Doctors who sit in with vets will notice one big difference between human medicine and veterinary medicine. Whether it is a sick household pet or an ailing stud bull, one of the first questions is always `What are you feeding this animal?' Although a `good diet' was discussed in medical school, we were never taught that this line of enquiry might help us when a child came in with his fourth middle-ear infection for the winter, or recurrent abdominal pain, or chronic constipation.

Would we confess to the vet that Rover had had Coco Pops for breakfast or routinely finished lunch with an iced donut? Zoos are bedecked with signs saying: `Do not feed the animals'. The zoo vet fears that we will give the animals the same junk food that our kids are eating on their day out.

....

CHAPTER TWO: The Politics of Health (extract 1)

CANCER

It is almost 30 years since President Nixon famously declared war on cancer. Since then, billions of dollars, much of it wasted, have been spent around the world in almost every arena of the cancer drama. `Research', `screening' and `treatment' all receive funding and media attention. The exception is `prevention', the one area most likely to make a difference. Blame for the rising incidence of many cancers can be sheeted home to environmental and lifestyle factors. Few politicians are prepared to confront such influential forces.

War bulletins or propaganda?

It is hard to tell whether the cancer war is being won or lost. British epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll represents the optimists, claiming that cancer rates are steady and will fall as lifestyles become healthier. By contrast, the American epidemiologist Samuel Epstein claims that the cancer rate has escalated in recent decades to the extent that Americans now face close to a 50 per cent lifetime risk of developing cancer.

There are several reasons for such disparate views. One is the long delay between the events that initiate a cancer, and the cancer developing to a diagnosable stage. Any prediction made on previous trends by definition fails to take into account new factors. Also the parameters by which victory is judged vary. They can include:

  • reduction in the diagnosed rate of a common cancer

  • rise or fall in the rate of a previously uncommon cancer

  • an increase in the survival rate of people diagnosed with any given cancer.

When the war is going badly, should we add a positive spin to maintain morale? Or should we tell it like it is, and run the risk of losing public confidence?

Here are some of the factors shaping cancer bulletins:

  • An increase in the survival rate is often presented as a win, but it may just reflect earlier diagnosis.

  • Cure rates may rise, but if the rate of that particular cancer is also rising that `win' is a dubious advance. Cures for lymphomas and childhood leukaemias have improved spectacularly in recent decades, but the rates of these cancers are also increasing.

  • Causes may be found, such as cigarettes and lung cancer. However, city living is now regarded as the equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes a day. It is hard to see such findings as a win.

  • Terms such as `five-year survival' are often regarded as indicating a cure, but they may only signify a delay in time of death. If much of the extra time has been spent sick and debilitated from the treatment, the value of such a `win' is questionable.

  • By using the tactics discussed in the section on clinical trials, real increases in survivor time are often represented by the more favourable relative values. The media too, prefers relative values. Everyone gets the cosy feeling that a cure is just around the corner.

CHAPTER TWO: The Politics of Health (extract 2)

Problems in Hormone Heaven

Then other evidence began to appear. Environmental scientists noted that in sites contaminated with the degradation products of plastics and pesticides, male animals were turning into females or having difficulty reproducing due to underdeveloped genitalia. The epidemiologists realised that in populations in which breast cancer was uncommon, women did not experience menopausal symptoms when their periods stopped. The Japanese famously did not have a term for the event. Soy products suddenly became popular in the West.

Early research had indicated that HRT was protective against heart disease, but now it looked as though HRT might be useful for people who already had heart disease but might increase the risk of those who did not. Further studies seemed to indicate that actually nobody benefited.

And then in July 2002 came the headlines about a halt in a major US study of HRT, because it appeared to cause a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.

The trial, involving 16,608 women aged between 50 and 79, was described as one of the biggest and best yet conducted. Interestingly, it was carried out not by a drug company but by a group called the Women's Health Initiative. The trial showed that for every 10,000 women taking HRT, eight more would develop invasive breast cancer, seven more would have a heart attack, eight more would have a stroke and 18 more would suffer from blood clots, than the women not receiving such treatment. This represented a figure of one woman in 250 having a life-threatening event in a five-year period as a result of treatment. These were ailments that HRT was supposed to be benefiting.

The trial was halted as soon as the risk for breast cancer was established. In fairness to HRT, it should be noted that there was a reduction in the number of cases of osteoporotic fractures and bowel cancer in the treatment group. The latter may be due to the mildly laxative effect of high levels of the hormone, as constipation is often linked with bowel cancer.

The advocates swung into damage control and reassurances came thick and fast. Ageing celebrities were dragged from their Botox appointments to endorse HRT. But the news was not good. With one-third of all of the women on HRT in Britain taking this particular Preparation, 1200 deaths or life-threatening events were assumed already to have occurred as a result of this `safe' elixir of youth.

CHAPTER SIX: A Systematic Approach to Disease (extract )

Our only health is the Disease,
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please,
But to remind of our and Adam's Curse
And that to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

T. S. ELIOT, Four Quartets

Sir Dennis Burkitt, who gave his name to the disease Burkitt's lymphoma, once famously declared that doctors were involved in a disease profession, not a health profession. He referred to hospitals as `disease palaces' and claimed that the size of the British medical budget could be halved by doubling the size of the British stool.

Perhaps Burkitt was oversimplifying, but we could argue that it was not by much. We can approach disease by looking either at the end result, or at the multiple processes that may have contributed to the end result - either symptoms or systems. By drawing attention to something that most people would prefer not to think about, Burkitt was dramatically highlighting the contribution of dietary choice to the national disease burden.

In this chapter I discuss the benefits of a systematic approach to disease. Later chapters examine various `end-point' or `fixed-name' diseases, demonstrating the benefits of the systematic approach. By looking for system designs, `alternative' medicine challenges evidence-based medicine. Many of us remember sitting in school trying to disprove the obvious - drawing diagrams to show that Pythagoras was wrong or that the shortest distance between two points was not a straight line. When we got it right, it was because we had discerned the natural order, the natural `laws'.

KISS: Keep it simple, stupid

Sometimes the simple is as far as we need to go. A solution is not better just because it is ingenious. The absurdity of ingenuity is represented by these examples:.

  • The rise in conditions such as asthma and peanut allergy is thought to be a result of lack of germ exposure in infancy. We have already discussed the idea that that when the immune system is unable to hone its skills on everyday germs, it develops those skills by reacting to pollens, animal hair or food (Chapter 3). One solution is to pass Junior around a bit more, allow him to be coughed on by siblings, worry less about Mogsy's furtive visits to his cot. But it has been seriously proposed that a vaccine could be developed to do the same job.

  • Scientists have discovered the mechanism by which `bad' cholesterol is converted into `good' during exercise. With a link established, you would think that people would be told to hop on their bikes and leave the car at home. But no - the good men and women of science `are working on a drug that could perform the same function'.

  • In 2003 the introduction of a `polypill' was proposed. This drug would break new ground in that it would be prescribed for healthy people. It would combine a number of prescription medications in a single pill intended to prevent diseases largely caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. As one cardiologist remarked: `When I first heard about it, I thought it was a joke!'

CHAPTER SEVEN: Some Fixed-Name Diseases (extract )

When we identify a disease by a name such as `asthma' or `hypertension', we risk the problem of semantic determinism. That is to say, the naming process itself presumes a cause. If we doctors were to apply the Burkitt approach instead, and tell patients to increase their stool size, what would happen? The addition of fibre, fruit and vegetables to the diet is the only effective way to increase stool size, and many diseases respond to such an intervention.

Once a fixed name has been given to a disease we tend to feel the name somehow explains the condition. Even today, there is no satisfactory explanation for the phenomenon of gravity, yet most of us are happy to accept that it is the reason we don't float off into space. The name is enough.

Most illnesses were named before we had any true understanding of causality. That the illness was a separate entity became embedded into the consciousness of lay people and doctors alike. Each disease was assumed to have a distinct cause, and consequently a specific treatment. Overlap between illnesses was a matter of curiosity. If such conditions co-existed frequently, then they became a `syndrome'.

`Syndrome X' is a good example of this. This term is shorthand for saying `junk food makes us sick all over'. Instead of this, we have a new disease. And to go with it, a whole new class of drugs.

For instance, I might send my patient Mary (Chapters 1, 4) to a psychiatrist for her depression, an asthma specialist for her asthma, and a gynaecologist for her heavy, painful periods. But what if these specialties no longer existed? If we were to reshuffle the pack of cards which constitutes the various medical disciplines, would we in the 21st century come up with the same nomenclature? Maybe we would have an essential-fatty-acid specialist who had been trained in the psychiatric, asthma and gynaecology wards to look at the manifestations of EFA deficiency. But this specialist would also need to know about magnesium, selenium and a whole host of other operatives, because all of these might be contributing to Mary's medical problems. Somehow the various disciplines would have to be approached as if in a grid. A deficiency in EFAs may contribute to each of 10 or 15 medical problems, but it will not be the sole cause of any of them.

Mary's treatment remains compartmentalised. As we tack through the illnesses which follow, let us observe how many different specialists Mary and her family might end up visiting just for the lack of a systematic approach.

CHAPTER NINE: Mental Health and Neurological Disorders (extract )

If the doctors of today do not become the nutritionists of tomorrow, then the nutritionists of today will become the doctors of tomorrow. - Anon.

As mental illness asserts itself as one of the main concerns of Western medicine, it takes on the problems of the fixed-name approach to disease. The international standard text, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is now in its fourth edition, known as DSM IV. Over time, DSM has certainly has served a purpose, but its approach highlights the pitfalls of semantic determinism.

For example, if `depression' appears to respond to an anti-depressant, and that anti-depressant happens to raise levels of serotonin, then depression becomes a serotonin-deficiency disorder. Doctors note the effects of Prozac and other SSRI medications but this reductionist approach bypasses the complex workings of the brain. The following trenchant commentary by Californian philosopher Dominic Murphy applies to physical medicine as much as to psychiatric medicine:

The DSM is designed to be atheoretical. It doesn't talk about causal theories of particular disorders. It doesn't say that there isn't a theory of what a mental disorder is, but it is designed to avoid causal theories. People sometimes use the phrase `Chinese-menu approach' to characterise the DSM: to meet a certain diagnosis, you have to have two out of four from list A, three out of six from list B plus either C or D, and so on. I think that philosophy of science suggests that you really can't have a satisfactory classification without it being based on some causal understanding of what you're classifying ...These false distinctions result from the divorce between psychiatry and neuroscience [my italics].

CHAPTER TEN: Some Conclusions (extract 1)

I am a little world made cunningly

Of elements, and an angelic sprite.

- John Donne

How wisely Nature did decree,
With the same Eyes to weep and see,
That, having view'd the object vain,
They might be ready to complain.

- Andrew Marvell

The metaphysical poets of the late 16th century, of whom Andrew Marvell and John Donne are representative, had an intensely spiritual view of the natural world. Of particular interest was the way in which Nature mirrored itself at every level. Indeed, the image of the mirror was central to their poetry. So too was the idea of the universe as an infinity which could be contained (mirrored) within a drop of dew or a teardrop.

It is unlikely then that these metaphysicists would have had difficulty with the concept of themselves as a coral reef (Chapter 6: The Gut). In fact, this is an intensely metaphysical concept. Startling though the image may be, it is a way of saying that we provide a habitat for the many micro-organisms which live on and within us, and in turn we depend on them for health. Just as we see ourselves as a species within a larger ecosystem, so another species may live within us, our bodies constituting their habitat. Infinity expands inwards as well as outwards.

Even more confronting than sharing our bodies with gut and other bacteria is the fact that the very cells of our body, our DNA, host the remnants of the viruses that once invaded our ancestors and are now part of our own genetic makeup. Infinity stretches outwards and inwards in space, forwards and backwards in time.

This is both metaphor and reality, whether metaphysics or particle physics. We do not simply live in our environment, past, present and future - we are part of it, and it is part of us.

Since the term metaphysics is often used to denigrate something which is not adequately `scientific', perhaps it is an unfortunate framework for this discussion. After all, nutritional and environmental medicine is often criticised for its lack of `science'. But it is the thesis of this book that we spend a lot of time finding good `scientific' answers to the wrong questions. Perhaps there is something to be learned from these 17th-century metaphysicists who saw all life as connected, not only to other life forms, but to the soils, the oceans, the planets and even to a drop of dew. Now, through human ingenuity, even that drop of dew, a symbol of pristine purity, may have a molecule of PCB in it.

The extension of human exploration into outer space and into the deepest of ocean canyons encourages fallacious conclusions: if we can conquer these physical barriers, surely a cancer cure must be just around the corner. But to pursue a cure for cancer while we release more and more carcinogens into the environment is worse than bad science: it is no science at all.

CHAPTER TEN: Some Conclusions (extract 2)

IN CONCLUSION

The foods and natural medicines discussed in the last few pages strike at the core market of the pharmaceutical bestsellers. These natural medicines surround us in abundance. They are products whose evolution has taken place alongside our own: the local product is wondrously fitted to the local problems. In the Darwinian struggle, plants and animals only co-survived when there was mutual benefit.

This book argues that we have right in front of us solutions to the pressing health problems of our age - both of the affluent world and of developing countries. It is not the lack of a magic bullet which keeps us in poor health, nor the lack of scientific breakthroughs. Current scientific understanding enables us, more than any previous generation, to learn from nature. Such thinking is alive with possibility.


This book is highly recommended. To those with M.E., patients with any serious illness and to parents of small children or those about to start a family. Everyone could benefit from reading this book.

The title says it all. This book is full of useful advice. Admirably, it in no way promises anything even remotely resembling easy or mircale cures for any disease.

This would be a great book to give to your doctor.

I can't say enough good things about this book, although I would note for those that are very ill that it is somewhat heavy going and complex in parts. It also provides more of an overview, as its quite vague about concrete recommendations in some areas. It needs some good editing badly. It could really do with a solid summary section at the end of each chapter.

Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis by Dr Lawrence Wilson

Explains how to use hair mineral testing to asess thyroid and adrenal function. Some of the information is also available on his website.

This is a novel approach that fitted my already diagnosed low thyroid and adrenal output diagnoses. The dietary appraches recommended also suit me just about perfectly. The book was spot-on in many ways, for me at least.

I didn't know whether to be pleased that most of my ratios put me in the most severe 'at huge and imminent risk for cardiac events and cancer' - as it is always good to get very severely abnormal and scary test results when you are in fact, very scarily ill and ridiculously severely disabled - or scared.

(I'm housebound and 99% bedbound, and very restricted with speech and tasks of daily living, and have severe cardiac insufficiency, etc. as part of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or M.E.)

But either way, I appreciated having the information and would recommend this book to others with severe or chronic illness. This is a really interesting read and the book is well designed and organised.

• The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book, 4th edition: The Definitive Guide to Designing Your Personal Supplement Program by Nancy Bruning

The supplementation recommendations in this book are excellent and not based on outdated information as they are in some other books. The amounts of each vitamin and mineral recommended in this book are not needlessly low and they tally reasonably well with what the best authors of health books recommend.

The author recommends for the average reader:

Vitamin A: 5000 - 25 000 IU
B1: 100 - 500 mg
B2: 100 - 300mg (500 mg for some)
B3/niacin: 500 - 1000 mg
B5: 100 - 500 mg (900 mg pantethine in cardiovascular diseases, and even larger doses for Lupus upwards of 2 g)
B6: 25 - 300 mg (500 mg for some)
C: 5 - 10 g (for healthy people)
Folate: 1 - 5 mg (the higher amounts in cardiovascular disease)
Manganese: 15 - 30 mg
Chromium: 200 - 600 mcg
Selenium: 200 - 600 mcg
Zinc: 50 mg
Boron: 3 - 6 mg

(These figures are from my own messy handwritten notes and so some errors may possibly exist. Please do not take these figures for fact, do your own reading first! This is also not a complete list.)

I would disagree with the claim that this book is the definitive guide to supplements as I found the information in the books
Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs and also books by Abram Hoffer such as Orthomolecular Medicine For Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians to be vastly superior, and the same is true of books on supplementation and detoxification aimed more at those battling serious illness by the brilliant Dr Sherry Rogers and Dr Lawrence Wilson. But perhaps this is just down to personal preference.

I also disagreed with the author's recommendation of a low fat food pyramid, the high dose of calcium recommended, and the recommendation to eat low fat dairy foods (which are full of skim milk powder containing oxidised cholesterol and also possibly whey protein) instead of full fat ones.

(One other quibble: I wish that all the comments about 'CFS' in this book (and almost every book on diet and health, it must be said!) could have been omitted, as every diagnosis of 'CFS' is a misdiagnosis and talking about 'CFS' as if it has a distinct cause and reaction to treatment is unhelpful and potentially harmful to patients who need instead to be given correct diagnoses and treatments appropriate to whichever of any number of hundreds of different diseases they actually have. This book recommends EXERCISE for 'CFS' which is just so dangerous and potentially life destroying for some of the 'CFS' misdiagnosed group. See Dr Hyde's book
Missed Diagnoses Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Second Edition for more information on this issue.)

The advice to minimise grains, eat two moderate protein serves daily, plus eat 6 cups of vegetables daily and two serves of fruit was very good. This book contains only basic information on diet and further reading on this topic is a good idea if you're very committed to health.

Those books listed previously are my supplement 'bibles' that I go back to again and again, while this book I am content to have just read once and to have taken a few pages of notes from. But overall this book does a great job in giving people a good guide in how much to take of each vitamin and mineral to maintain or improve health as well as what makes up a healthy diet, and so I do recommend it. It is far better than the vast majority of books available on this topic.

• Curing the Incurable With Holistic Medicine by George John Georgiou

This book contains a massive amount of information on holistic medicine.

This book discusses the importance of a doctor taking a full medical history, and why looking at causative factors for your symptoms is far more important than your mere disease label. What happened just before you became ill? What factors make your symptoms worse? What is the patient's diet like, what is their vaccination and chemical exposure history, what is their treatment history, what is their family health history and their stress profile? And so on.

A full list of the major causative factor of all diseases is given.

Also discussed is iridology, muscle testing, heart-rate variability testing, thermography testing, metabolic typing and the importance of knowing whether or not you are a fast or slow oxidiser, and whether you are a protein type or a carb type, hair testing, avoiding chemicals in our environment and in food, the importance of drinking filtered water, skin brushing, coffee enemas, salt and ACV baths, FIR sauna use and other forms of detoxification and much more.

The book also contains a fascinating section on cancer. The section on ridding the body of parasites and the one on flushing out gallstones are also very extensive and helpful.

The author unfortunately makes a number of ignorant comments about Myalgic Encepahlomyelitis. (A very common occurence in health books, sadly.) M.E. is an infectious neurological disease that is similar in a number of ways to MS and polio. It is severely disabling and can be fatal and occurs in epidemic and sporadic forms. Over 60 outbreaks have been recorded worldwide since 1934. M.E. is not even remotely 'new' as the author claims and it is certainly not 'related to chronic fatigue.'

The author seems to be confusing M.E. with 'CFS' but M.E. and 'CFS' are NOT synonymous terms. The author is directed to information from Dr Byron Hyde such as
Missed Diagnoses Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Second Edition and Dr Elizabeth Dowsett and other M.E. experts (all available on the HFME site). What a shame the author couldn't enlighten readers about the truth behind the myths about M.E. as well as those about how best to treat disease. M.E. is a distinct and testable disease. The 'CFS' label is a wastebasket diagnosis that helps nobody.

(These unfortunate comments are very brief in the book however and so it could be worse at least, so I'll stick with the 5 stars, especially considering this is the first review!)

I came to this book after reading many other excellent books on this topic, including the series of books by Dr Sherry Rogers (including
Detoxify or Die and books by Dr Lawrence Wilson (such as Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing).

This book is yet another fine addition to the genre, but if I had to choose just a few books from a few authors I have to say that I would choose the books by the two authors listed above, before this one.

The reason for that is while all 3 authors have a ton of useful information in their books that can be used by the ill person by themselves and also (ideally) in partnership with a qualified medical professional, a lot of the information in this book seemed to be available only at this particular doctor's clinic. As I cannot attend this clinic this information was not of practical use to me, although it was interesting to read about.

It is of course fine to include information in a book that will be only accessible to a few, and for a doctor to want to describe in detail their own individual treatment regimes and so on. This book is not primarily a self-help book as such (as the above listed books are) but really a manifesto of this doctors overall approach to treating illness, in all its intricacies, and so such information is entirely appropriate.

This information may well be of particular interest to other doctors in this field, and aimed at these doctors reading the book rather than mere patients such as myself. Again this is more than fair enough but I'm reviewing the book as a patient, rather than a medical professional.

On the other hand, it's also possible that you'll find information in this book that is useful and also not contained in those other books. Although I had read a lot on this topic previously I still managed to make 6 full A4 pages of handwritten notes from this book, which is far more than with most health books I read, although I haven't changed anything I am doing with my health regime as yet as a result of anything I read as I was kind of doing almost everything I could already.

So it all depends on how much time and ability you have to read and what your book buying budget is like I guess. What is important is that you read as much as you can about this type of medicine if you are ill as it really is the only way to really get yourself as well as you can be, and to prevent further problems arising.

I thank the author for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive and informative book and I hope it is widely read.

• What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You by Ray D. Strand M.D.

This book is excellent and provides information that we all need about our health, and how and why vested interest groups are negatively affecting our health in various ways.

It also explains why the information on health and treatments by the media and government is not all that it seems.

This book is a great introduction to the topic of nutrition, health and supplements for the beginner. It is well written and well put together and provides a great basic overview of many vitamins and other nutrients and their role in maintaining health and preventing disease.

There is a lot of focus on getting lots of antioxidants and a wide variety of antioxidants in this book. Dr Strand also explains that the high cholesterol = heart disease hypothesis is scientifically wrong.

I did have a few quibbles with this book, almost entirely relating to the fact that many of the supplement dosage recommendations were way too low. For example, coenzyme Q10 at a dose of 20 - 30 mg is too small to make much difference at all. The dosages given for MS and Parkinson's' are also about half what is often given in modern books. There are also advantages (which this book doesn't mention, probably because it is a few years old now and slightly out of date) in taking the new form of reduced Q10, ubiquinol, as opposed to ubiquinone.

The recommendation given to limit vitamin D intake to 1500 IU is not backed up by many of the recent articles and books on vitamin D such as
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin and The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems. It is safe for most of us, especially if we have testing of vitamin D and calcium levels, to take 5000 - 10 000 IU and some of us need these amounts to be healthy. Dosage levels should be determined through testing and not limited to 1500 IU arbitrarily as this book suggests.

20 - 30 mg of vitamin B1 is also way too low, all the B vitamin recommendations were. It was as if this book were much older than it was, as these sorts of much lower recommendations are something you usually see in older books. These dosages are too low for healthy people and they really are inadequate for those that are very ill.

Vitamin C has many benefits at doses higher than the paltry 1 - 2 grams daily this author suggests. The more ill people are, the more they need too. This is explained in books such as
Vitamin C: The Real Story, the Remarkable and Controversial Healing Factor, Fire Your Doctor! How to Be Independently Healthy and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins (3rd EDITION) and many others. Vitamin C is so important and this cannot be overemphasised.

Probably two thirds of the dosage recommendations were far lower than you might expect having read many books on this topic. It should be noted too that the dosages I am talking about that are a bit higher are not even remotely near any type of toxic range or a range is in any way unsafe; they are still very conservative.

Readers may want to check the recommended dosage for supplements given in this book, with other books which have more up to date recommendations. I'd very much recommend this. This would include
Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians and Fire Your Doctor! How to Be Independently Healthy. It is always a good idea to get several opinions on dosages anyway.

If you are taking prescription drugs, Ray Strand's other book
Death By Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation is highly recommended. Another good choice is Is Your Cardiologist Killing You or Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers.

Ray Strand also has several good articles on this topic available online. That is how I first heard his name and knew to search my library for this book of his. This book is a very good beginners guide, although I recommend reading other books on this topic as well if at all possible.

Dr Strand writes,

"In the past year alone, I have examined more than thirteen hundred peer reviewed medical studies involving nutritional supplements and how they affect chronic degenerative diseases. These studies are double blind, placebo-controlled medical studies, the kind that physicians love. The overwhelming majority of these studies show a significant health benefit to those patients who take nutrients at optimal levels, which are significantly higher than the RDA levels."

Dr Strand is not selling vitamins but is genuinely motivated to help people get well and stay well. This is made very clear in the way he writes. Do not believe anyone who gives you that old line about expensive urine, they are just ignorant and need to do a lot more reading.

Any doctor you see that doesn't think nutrition and having the optimal amount of each nutrient in your system is vitally important, and wont read any new information on this topic, is best replaced by someone more educated.

• The Patient's Book of Natural Healing by Jonathan V. Wright and Alan Gaby

This book contains lots of good advice about nutrition and supplements. The authors say that supplements are NOT a replacement for a poor diet, and that supplement programs work best when accompanied by a nutrient dense diet.

As the authors write at the start of this book, 'health comes from the farm, not the pharmacy.'

The idea of having a book written by two experts where one gives their opinion on a topic and this is then followed by comments by the other which explain why they disagree or agree with this advice (and also possibly outline extra ideas and treatments) is a very good one.

Good parts of this book include their focus on the need for IV or injected vitamins in some cases; where the gut function is very poor for example. This is such a crucial point that many other books ignore. Oral supplements are not enough for some of the most ill patients. I highly recommend Gaby's excellent article on the Myer Protocol for IV vitamins if you haven't read it, too.

The section on the possible need for Betaine HCl in order to digest meals properly was also excellent and very helpful, as was the section on the need for drinking distilled water and the possible need for pancreatic enzymes and adrenal supports such as whole adrenal extract (which they suggest is better than taking cortisone).

The warnings about dairy foods and that 6 months may have to pass before symptoms caused by this food are resolved was very well done, although the differences with raw dairy foods were not discussed.

This book also contains a good section on nutrition and supplementation in pregnancy. It explains that it is only supplemental forms of vitamin A that have been shown to cause problems, that the science of vitamin A in pregnancy is far from definitive and that low vitamin A can also cause serious problems.

Food allergies and the need for an elimination diet are also discussed, and the book provides a complete elimination diet food plan.

I disagree with the authors' recommendation of 'low fat' animal foods only and the suggestion that for all of us, vegetarianism may be best. I also disagree with the way too low vitamin C dosages of only 2 grams recommended as well as the recommendation of 800 IU of alpha tocopherol daily. Vitamin E is best taken in all 8 of its forms not just the one form, but this recommendation may be more to do with the 12 year age of this book than anything else, to be fair.

If you're a fan of other books by these authors you'll probably also get something out of this one. This book is of a better quality than most books in this field.

VITAMIN C: The Real Story by Steve Hickey, PhD and Andrew Saul

This books starts with a really wonderful introductory text by the 90 year old Abram Hoffer M.D. PhD., a man that has taken large amounts of vitamin C for 50 years with many positive effects and given it to a vast number of patients with many positive effects. The only problem as he points out is that as a doctor, it isn’t great for you in soem ways if your patients all become too well because your treatment works so well!

The publisher’s description of this book is as follows:


Research into vitamin C is progressing rapidly despite a lack of funding from conventional medicine into its clinical applications. Orthomolecular medicine, which uses nutrients in large doses to treat disease, is regarded as highly controversial by the medical establishment. This rejection of the orthomolecular approach has little basis in science and reflects a bias at the heart of the status quo.

This book tells the story of how the controversy about vitamin C has grown and continues while the increasing evidence demonstrates the value of the orthomolecular approach. The story of vitamin C is an exciting journey into the workings of science and medicine, the intrigues of political economic influences, and the evolutionary history of humankind. Someday, medicine without vitamin C therapy will be compared to childbirth without sanitation or surgery without anesthetic.

- You’ll see that mega doses of vitamin C have proven to be an effective antibiotic, a nontoxic anticancer agent, and also a treatment for heart disease.
- We’ll explain the real reasons behind conventional medicine’s rejection of vitamin C therapy.
- You’ll meet the pioneers of vitamin C research, who often faced great resistance in their advocacy for the health benefits of this nutrient.

Vitamin C is a simple molecule with powerful effects. If you want to be healthy, you should take enough vitamin C. After reading this book, you will know why and how much.

Steve Hickey has a B.A. (math and science) from the Open University, membership of the Institute of Biology by examination in pharmacology, and is a chartered biologist and a former member of the British Compute Society. He did research into ultra-high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) body scanning, leading the physics team in Europe_s first clinical magnetic resonance (MR) imaging unit at Manchester Medical School. He has over 100 scientific publications, covering a variety of disciplines. Currently, he is a member of the biology department of Staffordshire University.

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., has over thirty years of experience in natural health education. He is chairman of the Independent Vitamn Safety Review Panel, editor of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, and assistant editor of the ;Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. He is the author of "Doctor Yourself: Nautral Healing that Works. and Fire Your Doctor! How to Be Independently Healthy. His popular, peer-reviewed, non-commercial natural healing website is DoctorYourself.com.


Long story short, if you have cancer or any type of viral or bacterial disease, or any chronic disease or you want to avoid disease and live a longer and healthier life, you need to read this book – or at least understand the basics of orthomolecular medicine and the importance and effectiveness of high dose vitamin C taken daily.

As this book explains ‘Just about everything doctors have been telling us about vitamin C is wrong’

One of the most important messages of the book is that, if a doctor is unsure of the diagnosis, high dose vitamin C should always be given while the correct diagnosis is pondered.

The book also includes great information about Pauling, Cathcart, Klenner and Stone and other orthomolecular medicine pioneers.

This is an excellent book for doctors, as it explains why the facts about vitamin C are twisted and ignored in mainstream medicine as well as providing a mountain of solid evidence for the effectiveness of vitamin C. The book is also very easy to read for patients and members of the public.

This is a great book for laying out the facts of vitamin C therapy and why it is so important, however very little practical information is given. To be clear, it isn’t very complex and only a small amount of information is needed. But this book did not explain at all how to buffer plain ascorbic acid with bicarb soda, or the benefits of IV vitamin C over oral vitamin C and so on. All it says is that ascorbic acid is the best form, and that you do not need to worry about buying expensive ‘vitamin C complexes with bioflavonoids’ and little else.

Articles from some of the authors listed above are far better sources of practical information on how to take high dose vitamin C, but this book is rock solid in amassing so much credible and important information on this topic in one place. The authors are to be congratulated on this important book that needs to be widely read by doctors and members of the public. This book will change your mind about vitamin C and could even have a big impact on your life and health.

This book is very similar to Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C, but if I had to choose between the two I'd choose this one, as it's so much more reader-friendly and simpler.


The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

Primal Panacea by Dr T. Levy

I wasn't sure if I should buy this new book of Dr Levy's as I had only read his book Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins fairly recently. But I am so glad I did.

 

This book is not just an updated edition of this previous book, but a new book on vitamin C by this author in its own right. It is easily the best book on vitamin C there is, bar none.

 

Vitamin C is a genuine exception to the 'too good to be true' rule. A panacea is a wide-ranging cure-all. Vitamin C is the way nature designed us to deal with stress and disease, as can be seen when we look at animals that still produce their own vitamin C in their livers. Vitamin C helps diseases of all varieties as well as all oxidative stress. Due to a genetic error of metabolism the vast majority of us no longer produce this panacea in our livers, and this makes us far more vulnerable to many different chronic and acute diseases and infections than we would otherwise be.

 

Dr Levy talks about his early days with vitamin C treatment, when he was very surprised to see how well it worked but wasn't sure why, and also explains in detail what he has now learned about HOW it works. It is fascinating stuff and quite exciting.

 

The whole book is wonderfully simplified and easy to read - without ever being remotely condescending. The first half of the book (135 or so pages) makes the main points in a simple but compelling way and uses lots of bullet pointed lists and summaries of what was just said. The complexity is there in the second half of the book if you want to read more deeply about any of the main topics too. The book is very cleverly put together to suit just about any reader.

 

This book busts the following myths:

 

1. There are no studies on vitamin C

2. There is no proof that vitamin C works

3. Vitamin C is not safe

4. Vitamin C causes kidney stones

5. Our need for vitamin C is met by diet

6. Vitamin C just makes expensive urine

7. If vitamin C really worked we would all be using it

 

What also makes this book superior to many other excellent books on vitamin C is that it is the only one, aside form Levy's previous book, which discusses liposomal vitamin C. Liposomal vitamin C gives a clinical response similar to vitamin C given by IV, or even superior to it in some cases - and it is vastly more affordable and accessible. Vitamin C books which do not advise on liposomal vitamin C just cannot be considered complete. Dr Levy writes:

 

"Comparing the bioavailability of all other oral vitamin C delivery with your oral liposomal delivery is like comparing a squirt gun to a fire hose. Not only am I convinced that the efficacy of Lypo-Spheric(tm) Vitamin C far surpasses any traditional oral vitamin C supplement, but my recent personal experience with it suggests that it may sometimes be better than IV injection."

 

Further C reading of classics such as Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D., Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C by Dr. Hickey and Dr. Roberts, The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease by Irwin Stone, VITAMIN C, TITRATING TO BOWEL TOLERANCE, ANASCORBEMIA, AND ACUTE INDUCED SCURVY Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D., The Ascorbate Effect in Infectious and Autoimmune Diseases by Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., and VITAMIN C: The Real Story by Steve Hickey, PhD and Andrew Saul, plus books and articles by Linus Pauling, is also highly beneficial though, if at all possible - especially if you have a serious disease or are medically treating very serious disease with high dose vitamin C. Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins is also very good. It contains many more case studies than this book.

 

Dr Levy explains that 6 grams of vitamin C daily in divided doses (or 2 grams of liposomal vitamin C) is a good starting point for a healthy adult but that as we each have different needs for vitamin C which change over time, ideally we should each start by working out our bowel tolerance dose of vitamin C using sodium ascorbate power. (Liposomal vitamin C doesn't cause loose stools, as almost all of it is absorbed by the body. So this form of vitamin C is not helpful in determining the bowel tolerance dose of vitamin C; the dose our body needs at any one time.)

 

Dr Levy recommends working out your bowel tolerance dose monthly or even weekly (if you are very ill or your illness is unstable). He also recommends paying close attention to how you feel and letting this be a guide to how appropriate your current dosage is. If you feel good at a certain dosage of vitamin C, then you raise it a little more and find no increased benefit, then you are probably taking as much as your body can use. When you have worked out your necessary dosage, you can take it as sodium ascorbate or liposomal vitamin C or a combination of the two. 1 gram of liposomal C = 3-4 grams of sodium ascorbate powder, 2 grams = 9-10 grams of power, 3 grams = 12-18 grams of power, says Levy.

 

(A brief aside: It is only briefly mentioned in the book, but if you are long-term ill and easily made ill by lots of different supplements, it is so so important to start taking extra vitamin C very slowly. If you don't you will likely be hit with a pretty huge and unpleasant and disabling detox reaction or healing reaction. I had a series of 25 gram C IVs years ago and was made so ill by it I had to stop treatment and I was also floored for days by even having a teaspoon of vitamin C (5g) in water one day, a few years later. Incredibly ill. But by taking my dose up slowly as a rate of just a gram extra a week at first, I suffered no ill effects at all and have now worked up to taking over 30 grams a day, plus 4 or more liposomal C sachets, a sachet of liposomal GSH, and feeling absolutely wonderful whenever I have 50 gram vitamin C IVs! If you are a sensitive type due to your illness, go slow! Do start though, and don't mistake a healing reaction for an intolerance to vitamin C. A healing reaction means it is doing what it is supposed to, just a bit too fast.)

 

What Levy is discussing here is not just any old vitamin C dosage. Dosages must be appropriate to how much stress you are under and given regularly and for a long enough duration. The more stress your body is under, the more it will need. 6 grams daily is an absolute minimum effective dose and many of us need far more. Dosages as high as 200 - 300 grams may be necessary for a period of time when used to fight acute infections or toxic exposures.

 

Dr Levy says in the book that the amount of water needed to but out a blaze, depends on the size of the fire - and so it is with vitamin C. The dose is everything with vitamin C. Taking small amounts just will not have the same effect as taking the appropriate dose.

 

Properly dosed vitamin C is essential. But Dr Levy also explains that taking broad spectrum antioxidants with it is a very good idea, as they all work together in a synergistic way. Liposomal GSH is particularly important. A basic supplement regime focusing on the major vitamins and minerals (A, Bs, D, E, magnesium, etc.) is also important long-term and will help ensure you get the most from your vitamin C regime etc. Toxic exposures must also be reduced as much as possible. For those serious about improving their health extra detoxification methods such as the use of FIR saunas are also essential, Dr Levy explained in a recent video.

 

Some conditions can be cured with high dose vitamin C, if enough is given, early enough. This includes polio and glandular fever/mono and hepatitis. Others can be put into a stable state by high dose vitamin C - such as AIDS. Vitamin C can also prevent many diseases. At the very least, high dose vitamin C will improve symptoms and quality of life. High blood levels of vitamin C reduces mortality form ALL causes. Vitamin C is man's primary defence against toxins, pathogens and oxidative stress.

 

Treating the causes of disease is so much more effective than just blindly drugging symptoms. The real causes of disease are pathogens, toxins (both of which cause massive oxidative stress) and nutrient deficiencies.

 

The claims in the book are supported by more than 1000 published peer reviewed studies.

 

The research on vitamin C is convincing and like anyone that has tried high dose vitamin C at at least a bowel tolerance level, I have also seen it make a noticeable difference in my own life and the lives of those of my friends that have tried it. We are brainwashed to always be excited about and focused on the newest and sexiest and most exotic new drugs and other treatments, but in reality it is the boring unsexy stuff like making sure you have enough of all the major vitamins and minerals it needs which really gets the big results!

 

The book brilliantly and clearly describes the political barriers to high dose vitamin C becoming more commonly used. High dose vitamin C doesn't fit the current lucrative 'treat but don't cure' model of medicine, so patients must push for it. The fight has to start with us.

 

As Dr Levy eloquently explains, government and the traditional medicine industry are looking for cures about as diligently as crack dealers are searching for a non-addictive form of cocaine! The commonly help belief that drug companies and governments are focused on trying to cure all sorts of diseases is called into question by this book, and rightly so. This book talks about the massive conflict of interests at work in medicine and research, and provides some absolutely shocking facts and figures.

 

We need to push for high dose vitamin C to become more commonly accepted and also just for it to stay LEGAL! This book is an excellent weapon in this fight and a great book to give to your doctor, and anyone else you think may read it.

 

If you are ill you NEED to read this book, or one like it, and to start getting your levels of vitamin C optimised. It can't help but help, no matter what diagnosis you have or even if you don't yet have a correct diagnosis. It is inexpensive to try too with ascorbic acid costing just 3 cents a gram and not at all risky either, or difficult. Vitamin C is one of the safest substances to take there is.

 

Reading Primal Panacea (for the vitamin C information), plus Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life (for information on what to eat and how to work out a basic supplement regime) plus Detoxify or Die (for information on how to test for and treat nutritional deficiencies and detoxification problems, and how to safely start a more intensive detoxification program using FIR saunas) is about the best start you could get in treating any disease. These books are like gold if you are ill, in my opinion. There are dozen of oyher good bokks, but these 3 books cover all the basics so well and they don't cost very much either.

 

I wish so much I had had this information early on in my disease, rather than coming to it more than 10 years in. Healing is so much easier the earlier you start it.

 

Best wishes for future health to anyone still reading this far! I'm sorry this is so long. The last word is for the brilliant Dr Levy, who summarises his book with the following quote:

 

"Man's body was designed to function best with high blood and cellular levels of vitamin C - synthesised as needed by the liver. Due to an inborn error of metabolism, the vast majority of us no longer have the ability to make it, but that does not lessen our need for vitamin C or the benefits derived form it."

Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins by Thomas E. Levy

This book (or Primal Panacea) is ESSENTIAL for all doctors and for anyone with a serious health issue or that wants to avoid having one in the future.

 

It is very detailed and yet easy to read for patients and for doctors, it contains excellent historical and up-to-date information, has over 1200 scientific references and is also the only vitamin C book I am aware of that talks in depth about the new liposomal vitamin C products as well as all the other forms.

 

This last point is key, as Dr Levy explains that the best option for acute infections is a combination of liposomal vitamin C and vitamin C by IV and that given a choice of only one or the other, the better choice is liposomal vitamin C. The fourth best option is ascorbic acid taken orally and the fifth best option is sodium ascorbate taken orally.

 

I recommend this book, and saturation dose vitamin C by liposomal or IV delivery, or both, very highly.

 

I'm immensely grateful to Dr Levy (and all the other world leading vitamin C experts, past and present) for his work in this area and for this book - and to the very kind John Appleton of New Zealand who sent me a copy of this book with my recent Lypo-C order!

 


For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

How to live longer and feel better by Linus Pauling

This is a great book. I came away from reading it with a lot of respect and admiration for Linus Pauling and his work. The world would be a far better place with more people like him in it.

At the start of the book, Pauling gives a simple guide to how to live a healthier life. It’s so simple, practical and inexpensive and makes so much sense. One wonders how much disease could have been prevented, and could be prevented now, if more of us followed these simple guidelines. My guess is A HUGE AMOUNT!

(Looking at M.E. specifically, one wonders how many of us could have avoided becoming severely ill by following this guide both pre- and post-illness...I wish so much I had had this guide in the early days of my illness, or before I became ill. I strongly suspect I would not be anywhere near as ill as I am now and I am mad that this basic advice about vitamins is so seldom given by the mainstream media or by doctors. WHY? When it’s so safe, cheap and effective?? It’s such a waste.)

This is a slightly paraphrased version of Pauling’s basic regimen for a healthy life:

·       Take 6 – 18 g of vitamin C daily

·       Take 400 IU, 800 IU or 1600 IU of natural vitamin E daily

·       Take 1 – 2 B vitamin supplements daily

·       Take 25 000 IU of vitamin A daily

·       Take a multimineral tablet daily

·       Keep your intake of sugar low

·       Eat what you like in moderation, but avoid sugar. Meat and eggs are good, and fruit and vegetables are good. Don’t eat too much of any one food and don’t eat so much that you become overweight.

·       Drink plenty of water

·       Keep active, but do not severely overexert yourself physically.

·       Drink alcohol in moderation only

·       DO NOT SMOKE CIGARETTES

·       Avoid stress, work at a job you like, be happy with your family.

This is just such a great and simple list, I had to type it out for those who can’t read/afford the book. (Note that Pauling comments that the amounts given for supplements are for healthy people, and that those suffering serious illness may need higher doses of some of these, including vitamin C to bowel tolerance.)

It’s appalling that more than 20 years after this book was published, the same old scaremongering (ie. lying!) about the safety of vitamins and their effectiveness is still going on, and people are still being told vitamins are not safe, helpful or necessary and that all that is needed is a balanced diet. (A nice story, but one that isn’t based on fact.) Sadly, the same old nonsense that Pauling describes, where vitamin studies are set up to fail by those who want to prove that vitamins don’t work, is still happening; doses much smaller than would be effective are used, the time periods are too short to allow the vitamin to actually work, and so on.

Pauling had high hopes that all this was about to start changing and that soon vitamins would become far more accepted and used in mainstream medicine. To some extent that has happened, but for the most part little has really changed. It’s quite depressing.

The first few chapters of the book are the best, they talk about this simple regimen and also about the dangers inherent in mainstream medicine and why any consult or procedure should be carefully evaluated, as they each carry significant risk. (Mainstream medicine practices being the 10th biggest killer in countries such as the USA!) The rest of the book talks in detail about what evidence we have to support the use of high dose vitamin C and E and niacin, and how negative reports on these vitamins have twisted the facts and are not motivated by science. Many different studies are quoted in a lot of detail, thus Pauling’s arguments are very convincing.

Many other books provide more detailed overviews and practical advice about treating specific diseases and the role of many different vitamins such as ‘The vita-nutrient solution’ and ‘Orthomolecular medicine for everyone’ and so on. But this book is highly recommended for those who are very interested in this topic and would like to do some extra reading on top of these more basic texts, and to learn more about Linus Pauling and the history of mega-vitamin therapy advocacy and research.

The importance of vitamin C in M.E. cannot be overemphasised.

For a summary of the role of vitamin C and M.E. please see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

Why animals don't get heart attacks but people do by Matthias Rath M.D.

This is a very interesting book and well worth reading if you can get your hands on a copy.

It isn't an essential vitamin C book/article like some of the big general ones, such as:

Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, M.D.
Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C by Dr. Hickey and Dr. Roberts
The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease by Irwin Stone
VITAMIN C, TITRATING TO BOWEL TOLERANCE, ANASCORBEMIA, AND ACUTE INDUCED SCURVY Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D.
The Ascorbate Effect in Infectious and Autoimmune Diseases by Robert F. Cathcart, M.D.
VITAMIN C: The Real Story by Steve Hickey, PhD and Andrew Saul

But it is still a very good book with an intriguing premise.

The importance of vitamin C for M.E. patients, as well as those with other serious diseases, cannot be overstated. For more information see: High-dose vitamin C and M.E.

The Brainpower Plan: 21 Days to Better Brain Health by Jordan K. Davis

Some useful information in this book, but it'd probably not worth buying. I'd recommend checking your local library for it, as I did.

Much of the information in this book is included in: Treating M.E. - The Basics 

This book is available from Amazon.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition by James F. Balch

Book review coming soon.

Alternative cures : the most effective natural home remedies for 160 health problems by Bill Gottlieb

I read this book after I saw it recommended by an Amazon reviewer. After reading it, I really couldn't imagine wanting to recommend this book to anyone myself, unfortunately.

For one thing the sections in the book were mainly geared towards minor conditions such as dry hair, warts, foot odour and so on. Where more serious diseases were mentioned, often very simplistic advice was given, perhaps one or two vitamin or herb recommendations and then advice on relaxation and visualisation exercises. Many important recommendations for diseases that are in just about every other book, were left out entirely making this book a very poor choice as a sole source of treatment advice.

Of course it may help if you have a simple condition and no knowledge at all of vitamin therapies and so on... but you are missing out by not getting the full picture you would with a better book that had more concrete medical information based on studies and facts. There are lots of them!

My second and much larger problem with the book was the huge focus on mumbo jumbo, not just any old sort but `blame the victim' mumbo jumbo. That books can just make such absurd and stupid statements and claims with no factual basis whatsoever is appalling. The claims made are like...more like fairytales than anything to do with science.

The milder side of this is where for example, visualisation exercises are recommended to get rid of warts. Mostly that is just silly, but it's probably not going to do you any harm...or any good!

But I think that for example where it is claimed that thyroid disorders can be caused by a person harming their throat chakra by `not speaking their mind and bottling up emotions and thoughts' is very different. That is incredibly offensive and could be harmful. Patients with thyroid disorders should not ever be blamed as causing them themselves through their personality or behaviour, or just as bad, told that changing their behaviour can change the condition. It's potentially harmful, and abusive.

I'm an advocate for people with M.E., most of whom have thyroid problems as part of the disease; a disease caused by a virus that can affect anyone. To imply that these (or anyone else's) thyroid problems could be caused by personality, or even that everyone with M.E. or thyroid problems has the same personality is silly in the extreme. (And some of us are very very big talkers!)

To help patients relax and meditate and reduce stress in their lives in order to promote healing is fine, but why sully this very good advice with fairytale nonsense that helps nobody and unfairly blames ill people for their predicament. In this day and age there is no excuse for it.

Relation techniques and mediation are wonderful things, its such a shame when they are tied to a dodgy new age `the mind causes most of the body's illnesses' agenda. An agenda that seems to be about people being able to feel superior to those that are ill, or safe from illness themselves due to their `superior' thinking style. It may also put people off these very important and scientifically valid therapies.

What I did like about the book were the imaginative sections on how to cope with grief and how to cope with nightmares. I thought these sections were very good and may even be quite helpful. The idea that nightmares were often positive as they were helping you to solve problems in your life, and that it can be a good idea to write them down and analyse them, and even to work out/imagine what you could have done, or made happen differently and how they could have ended more positively was good.

I was also relieved to find the section on `CFS' while stupid and factually incorrect, at least wouldn't be likely to cause harm as only very safe supplements were recommended (eg. CoQ10). As `CFS' is made up of those with many hundreds of different conditions it would be unlikely to get to the root cause of almost any of them either and can only delay proper diagnosis and treatment ('CFS' is always a misdiagnosis, a wastebasket diagnosis), but at least doing no harm is better than most books manage! It's a relief every time when exercise is NOT recommended, as this can ruin the lives of M.E. patients, many of whom are sadly misdiagnosed with `CFS.' Unfortunately Dr Teitelbaum provided this information, and any book which supports this problematic doctor and his generally misleading and harmful information on `CFS' does not inspire a lot of trust or respect.

Overall though, I couldn't recommend this book. I'd recommend `The vita-nutrient solution' and `Orthomolecular medicine for everyone' and `The optimum nutrition bible' instead, if you want the solid facts and more useable and thorough information, free of mumbo jumbo!

The vitamin D cure by James Dowd

I read lots of books and websites on vitamin D some months ago, in order to write a paper about vitamin D and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patients. This was one of the best.

This is a very solid book on vitamin D, and I recommend that patient's check to see if they can order it through their library or even buy a copy. Vitamin D testing and making sure your levels are optimal is absolutely ESSENTIAL if you have M.E. (or any other serious disease).

To buy this book on Amazon.com click on the link

To read more about vitamin D and M.E., see the HFME paper on the topic: Vitamin D and M.E.

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin by Zoltan Rona M.D.

At under 100 pages, this is a very short book. It also contains only basic practical information for those wanting to supplement vitamin D, although the information given is well referenced. Most of the book is taken up with sections on different conditions and how vitamin D can be useful in treating them.

I don't think I'd have been totally convinced about the importance of vitamin D testing and supplementation if this had been the first book I read on the topic. It was just too brief for me... but then that may be just the kind of book some people want; brief and to the point. So each to their own I guess! I preferred the much more detailed 'The Vitamin D Cure.'

I read lots of books and websites on vitamin D some months ago, in order to write a paper about vitamin D and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patients. This book to ages to arrive from the library I ordered it in from, so mostly I was just looking at what Rona had to say that was different to what other experts had said, and what his stance was on the basic issues such as the optimum levels of vitamin D on testing etc. These are my notes:

- Always test ionised calcium levels when vitamin D is taken

- Vitamin D supplementation helps pain form ALL causes

- Statin drugs can lower vitamin D levels significantly, and so testing is recommended for these patients

- Low vitamin D levels can cause insomnia

- Vitamin D supplementation will usually show positive effects in 3 - 4 months, but sometimes effects are seen much earlier or much later

- Most sunscreens contain carcinogenic chemicals and should be avoided

- 10 - 20 minutes of sun a day is adequate, never allow yourself to burn

- 10 000 IU of vitamin D daily through supplementation is recommended for everyone so long as they have 3 monthly calcium and vitamin D tests. Rona comments that none of his patients have had problems with this protocol for the 30 years he has been prescribing it.

- Rona recommends 4000 IU of vitamin D daily as the bare minimum dose.

- Rona talks about Shealy and his recommendation of doses of 50 000 IU of vitamin D for diseases such as cancer, MS, autoimmune conditions and allergies etc.), and claims that this dosage can control cancer, cure MS and improve allergies in some patients etc. It is noted that patients must weigh at least 140 pounds to follow this protocol, and take NO calcium supplements whatsoever.

- Rona does not recommend the flu shot and explains why it is only 20% effective (and that it contains ingredients which are carcinogenic), and why vitamin D is a far better option.

According to Rona, vitamin D from supplements is just as effective and as safe as vitamin D from the sun, and vitamin D2 is just as safe and effective as taking vitamin D3. This is different to what most experts say on these issues.

Rona's opinion on optimal vitamin D levels on testing is fairly standard. He recommends levels of 40 - 100 ng/ml.

Like almost every book on nutritional medicine, of course the author claims that his protocol can cure 'CFS' - yawn! Never mind that 'CFS' is a wastebasket diagnosis and those with the diagnosis do not have any one distinct disease, but instead any one of hundreds of different diseases - some of which may respond in some way to vitamin D treatment and some which will not. False hope and misinformation of this kind is NOT helpful!

The best part of this book, for me, was his two page section talking about the unscientific nature of the 'Marshall Protocol.' (This dangerous protocol is sometimes tried by desperate patients given a diagnosis...or rather MISdiagnosis... of 'CFS' - unfortunately.) Zoltan Rona M.D. writes, 'I have witnessed a lot of crazy treatments over the past 30 years, but none are as abusive as the Marshall Protocol. This protocol is not only illogical but also downright dangerous. At best, it can be labelled as a pretence of scientific thought.' Rona goes on to talk about the fact that 'Dr' Marshall is in fact NOT a medical doctor, but is an electrical engineer! He explains that the protocol, which promotes attaining very, very low vitamin D levels and taking antibiotic drugs long-term, is 'damaging to one's health and can lead to death.' He advises anyone that is currently following this dangerous and illogical protocol to 'get off it immediately.'

I was very happy to read this section on the Marshall Protocol scam. It has given so many very ill patients false hope and left them even sicker than when they began it, and also risked their lives. So three cheers to Rona for including some serious warnings about it in his book. I hope so much they will be heeded by those following the protocol and those aggressively promoting it to others.

In short, this is a good first/brief book on vitamin D, and I recommend that patients check to see if they can order it through their library. Vitamin D testing and making sure your levels are optimal is absolutely ESSENTIAL if you have M.E. (or any other serious disease).

To buy this book on Amazon.com click on the link.

To read more about vitamin D and M.E., see the HFME paper on the topic: Vitamin D and M.E.

The Vitamin E Factor

Excellent. My only criticism is that the book refers you to the author's website for updated on vitamin D recommendations, which he promises will be kept updated, yet this website is not currently even available.

Detoxify or Die (and other books by) by Dr Sherry Rogers

For anyone dealing with a serious illness, or that wants to avoid a serious illness, the books by Dr Sherry Rogers are absolutely essential reading.

Her books explain in a very easy to understand manner how to deal with the causes of disease using cutting edge medical knowledge, technology and testing, and not just how to mask symptoms with drugs and other superficial treatments (which lead to worsening problems in other areas of health).

As Dr Sherry Rogers writes in `Detoxify or Die',

`I have to laugh when people ask me if I do alternative, herbal, acupuncture or holistic medicine. 'No,' I reply. 'We do state-of-the-art medicine. In other words, we find the biochemical, nutritional and environmental causes and cures rather than blindly drugging everything. Sure, herbs are gentler, safer and more physiologic than drugs and holistic medicine attempts to incorporate many diverse modalities, etc. But there is no substitute for finding the underlying biochemical causes and cures. This is real medicine. This is where medicine should and would have been decades ago, if it had not been abducted by the pharmaceutical industry.'

The question is not whether you should read a book by Dr Rogers, but WHICH book of hers you should start with! Choosing which books to start with can be difficult and a bit overwhelming, as there are quite a few. My opinion, is as follows:

1. For healthy people that want to stay well, healthy older people who want to avoid degenerative diseases as they get older, or parents who want to keep themselves and their kids well, then the book you need is `Detoxify or Die.' This one book will probably contain everything you need to know as prevention is so much easier than cure!

After reading this book and acting on the advice it gives, you may then like to subscribe to Dr Rogers' monthly newsletter, to stay up to date with new developments - if your budget allows for this.

2. For those dealing with serious illness, you need both `Detoxify or Die' and `No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days-Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders.' Almost all serious illness involve poor gut health and so poor food and nutrient absorption and one cannot improve with these diseases until the gut issues are dealt with.

As Dr Sherry Rogers explains, `The road to good health is paved with good intestines!'

It is very important that you heal you gut problems as much as possible, and treat any serious nutrient deficiencies before beginning any type of detoxification program as these types of programs use up a lot of nutrients and place additional stress on the body. Once you've worked on healing your gut, and your nutrient deficiencies, you can then move onto the information in `Detoxify or Die.'

These books will be helpful no matter what disease label you have, or even if you don't yet have a correct diagnosis. They explain how to heal the body, and how to identify via testing the individual factors that affect your health and so they do not provide disease specific information, generally speaking. (With some exceptions.) This is very good news for those that don't have a correct diagnosis, or that have a disease where very little or no specific research into your disease and how to treat it is taking place.

There are 3 basic principles of this type of medicine:

A. Get the good stuff in. Give your body the fuel and tools it needs to work at an optimum level. Good food, nutrients and all the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you aren't deficient in any of the major nutrients as the different nutrients all work together.

B. Get the bad stuff out. Make sure your body can detoxify out all the toxic substances and toxic by-products of bodily processes properly. Stop as many toxins from getting in in the first place, and do a detoxification program to get rid of the ones you have. Stop doing or eating the things which cause inflammation and have a pro-oxidant effect, and so on.

C. Reduce your body's total load. The total load concept is that lessening the body's overall burden/work and stress level in one area, will improve health generally and improve the body's ability to heal because the body's total load (or burden) is lessened. Fixing one problem frees up bodily resources that can be then be used to help other parts of the body function getter or to heal. In other words, you need to look at the body as a whole in order to heal, and not just the one part of the body that is generating the most symptoms.

Dr Sherry Rogers explains that with treating the causes of disease, 'A life sentence to medications that block physiologic pathways is avoided.' She continues,

`Bear in mind that since medications do not fix anything, they allow the underlying problem to continue uncorrected and actually accelerate. Meanwhile, new symptoms and new seemingly unrelated diseases are the inevitable consequence of this biochemical faux pas. Furthermore, drug side effects are the leading cause of death. NSAIDs as an example of only one group of medications, are fatally toxic to thousands of people each year by damaging joints, lungs, kidneys, eyes, hearts, and intestines. And they are covered by insurance.

You and your doctor have been screwed into believing every symptom is a deficiency of some drug or surgery. You've been led to believe you have no control, when in truth you're the one who must take control. Unfortunately, the modus operandi in medicine is to find a drug to turn off the damaged part that is producing symptoms. A simple example is the prescription of calcium channel blockers, the number one drug used by cardiologists for angina, hypertension, congestive heart failure, or arrhythmia. But as with any drug, this does not fix anything that is broken. It merely poisons normal physiological pathways, thereby forcing the chemistry in a direction that attenuates symptoms.

Since nothing has been done in terms of getting rid of the underlying cause, the disease continues. In addition the missing fatty acids and minerals in the cell membranes that house and calcium channels are not identified and repaired. Nor are the sequestered membrane chemicals that caused the damage, like unavoidable PCBs and Mercury, gotten rid of. If this were not enough perpetuation and acceleration of damage, the side effects of drugs are not innocuous. For example, calcium channel blockers have been shown by MRI to cause definitive shrinkage of the brain and loss of brain function, a side effect rarely mentioned by clinicians or news media.

It should not come as a shock that this type of information is ignored, since studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association document how the practice guidelines for American medicine are made by physicians who receive compensation from the drug industry. (Choudhry, JAMA 2002; 287: 612-617). In addition so is the FDA, the very government regulatory body that approves drugs, riddled with advisers with financial ties to (and is heavily lobbied by) the very drug industry that is seeking its approval. And as the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association warm, even the hired clinical investigators for new drugs may have their price. '

If after following the advice in `Detoxify or Die' (and using your FIR sauna daily or every second day etc.) for a year or two, your progress stalls, then you need to follow a more intensive plan. The book `The High Blood Pressure Hoax' is the Part 2 to `Detoxify or Die' and shows you where to go from there to start making progress again with healing. Part 3 is called `The Cholesterol Hoax' and again this book is recommended only if after following the advice in Part 2, your progress stalls.

After reading a couple of Dr Rogers' books, you may also then like to subscribe to Dr Rogers' monthly newsletter, to stay up to date with new developments - if your budget allows for this.

3. Doctors are recommended to read `Detoxify or Die.' The book `Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?' is also recommended if they commonly prescribe statins, beta blockers, Coumadin and other cardiac drugs.

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Information on each of Dr Sherry Rogers' books:

1. Detoxify or Die (2002) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This book is excellent. It is also very easy to read and understand. It talks about the importance of treating the causes of disease and the most important chemicals to avoid in food and in cleaning and personal care products, the impact of each of the major chemical types on the body, tests which can be used to determine your toxic load (as well as your nutrients levels and how well your detoxification pathways are functioning etc.), the problems with many common prescribed drugs, the benefits of a daily detox cocktail, the benefits of juicing and enemas, the benefits and safety of regular FIR sauna use, how to use the sauna safely and what to expect when doing a sauna program, and so much more. There is also a great little summary of the parts of the book on FIR saunas that is available as a free PDF online which is exceptionally good. (Google the relevant terms to find it.)

2. No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders (2000) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This book is excellent (even if the title is NOT!). It is also very easy to read and understand. It talks about the importance of treating the causes of disease and why healing the gut is an essential first part of any healing program - whether you feel like you have any gut issues or not. It discusses food allergies and intolerances, low stomach acid, dysbiosis, the problems with many prescription and over the counter medications (such as NSAIDs, aspirin and ibuprofen) on gut health, rotation diets, Candida, enemas, and leaky gut syndrome and the tests which can be used to determine which gut issues you have.

It also discusses the importance of detoxification enemas and other detoxification regimes and the all-important concept of the `total load.'

3. Pain Free in 6 Weeks (2001) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This book may be useful if you are generally in good health, but suffer with chronic pain. If chronic pain is part of a serious disease complex then you'll be treating the pain along with all of your other symptoms by following the advice given in the books on gut health and detoxification and so this book probably wont be necessary. Several supplements which can help with chronic pain are discussed in this book as well as a nightshade-free diet, improving gut health and lowering your toxic load and detoxification enemas for pain relief.

4. Wellness Against All Odds (1994) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

In most of Dr Rogers' books the only diet recommended is the macrobiotic diet, although every now and again there were also comments about how not every diet works for everyone and that some people may not do well on the macrobiotic diet and should read `Wellness Against All Odds' for more information about other diets. This book explains that while the macrobiotic diet suits a large percentage of ill people, some of us need far more protein and fat in our diets and do much better when our food is cooked rather than raw. Dr Rogers explains that some of us may need a raw food macro diet to heal, and others a cooked diet with lots of animal protein and fat or something between these two extremes, and that as we heal we'll all likely move more into the middle and eat some raw food, some cooked food and a balance of plant and animal foods. What is most important is eating whole foods and making sure to find the diet that works best for us at this point in time.

As well as discussing different diets, this book also contains excellent information on enemas, detoxifying salt baths, the liver and gallbladder flush, the castor oil and olive oil body rub and the use of systemic enzymes to treat cancer and other diseases. It's an interesting read and probably essential extra reading if you have cancer.

5. The High Blood Pressure Hoax (2008) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

Part 2 to `Detoxify or Die.' Also contains useful information on how to treat and how not to treat high blood pressure.

6. The Cholesterol Hoax (2008) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

Part 3 to `Detoxify or Die.' Also contains useful information on why the `cholesterol hypothesis' is dead and why statin drugs are hazardous to your health.

7. Is Your Cardiologist Killing You? by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This book is absolutely essential reading for anyone taking statin drugs, daily aspirin, Coumadin, NSAIDs, beta blockers or calcium channel blockers etc. The information given on these drugs and the problems they cause was frightening.

Overall, this book is very easy to read and well organised and very clear in its message and with its references. If you're taking some of the above drugs, this book really is essential. It not only warns you of the dangers of these drugs but tell you how to safely get off them. (Very gradually!) If you aren't taking any of these drugs, you are much better off with 'Detoxify or Die' instead as it contains much more detailed treatment information for those of us with heart problems.

This book is highly recommended for any doctor that commonly prescribes the above drugs as well.

7. Depression: Cured At Last? by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This (very long) book is kind of an early version of `Detoxify or Die' although it does contain a small amount of material that isn't in any of the other books. While I took 8 pages of handwritten notes from `DOD' I still managed to write 2 pages of notes on the new information in this book that was of interest. Most of it was information about the specific role of each vitamin and mineral. This book looks at how nutrient deficiencies and toxic overload are the root causes of disease, using depression as an example. It makes a strong case for the use of environmental medicine in treating all disease, including mental illnesses. This book is an interesting read if you're able to get a copy, and read such a large amount of text. It is probably essential reading if you have depression, anxiety or disorders such as schizophrenia or OCD and so on.

8. Chemical Sensitivity (1998), The EI Syndrome Revised (1995) and Tired or Toxic? A Blueprint for Health (1990) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

So far I have chosen not to buy these books as a) They are older compared to `Detoxify or Die' b) I have read a huge amount about chemical sensitivity and its associated problems already and c) The book `Detoxify or Die' seems to be an updated version of all of these books, to a large extent. They are recommended reading if you are very new to the subject of chemical sensitivities and would like to know more about this problem and what symptoms it causes and so on.

9. The Scientific Basis for Selected Environmental Medicine Techniques (1994) by Sherry A. Rogers M.D.

This book is designed to be given to doctors and perhaps also insurance companies. It contains summarised information about the basic principles of environmental medicine, along with lots of reference lists. Unfortunately, as this book is now almost 20 years old, most doctors would probably see it as outdated and you may be far better off using books such as `Detoxify or Die' to try and get relevant information to doctors and other professionals. This book is not necessary for patients to buy for themselves and it doesn't contain any information that isn't given in far more detail in `Detoxify or Die.'

10. Macro Mellow : Recipes for Macrobiotic Cooking (1993) by Shirley Gallinger and Sherry A. Rogers

This is one of three books on macrobiotic cooking by Dr Rogers. I need to eat in a way quite opposite to the macrobiotic diet and so I haven't bought any of these books. These books are highly recommended if the macrobiotic diet works for you however.

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General comments on Dr Rogers' books:

1. There is a bit of repetition in some of the books, as some reviewers have noted. But overall it isn't a big problem and it does help you remember all the major points she is making.

2. There are some typographical errors in some of the books, but please don't let that put you off. These books aren't produced for massive profits and are written by someone who never planned to be an author, isn't in it for the money and doesn't advertise her books, instead relying on word of mouth sales. There may be a few typographical errors and some books may have somewhat of a `homemade' feel to them in parts, but the information in the books and their references are spot on and that is what is important. The books are very well written and extremely well referenced.

3. The books almost always give recommendations for actual brand name products, as Dr Rogers notes that the quality of supplements varies widely and she only feels comfortable recommending trusted brands and long-term tested products. This is helpful as it gives you a starting point in your research of which products to buy, whether you end up buying those exact brands or not. Note that Dr Rogers has no financial ties with ANY of these companies.

4. All of the recommendations in the books can seem overwhelming, but all you need to do is start small. Do one small thing at a time and make gradual changes. The worst thing you could do, especially if you are very ill, is jump into taking and doing lots of different things all at once anyway.

(Actually, the need to start some supplements very slow is something I feel Dr Rogers could have given more attention to. Some of us would get (even more) extremely ill taking the amounts of reduced alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, reduced GSH and garlic etc. she recommends if we didn't raise the doses very gradually over 1 - 3 months or more. Perhaps this is just an issue for people like me who have M.E., that almost all have to be especially slow in introducing new supplements of this kind, but perhaps it relates to at least a small group other patients as well, which is why I am mentioning it. I can now take her recommended daily detox cocktail with no problems at all, but the first time I took 5 g of vitamin C, and even 100 mg of ALA daily, it really knocked me around. It was awful and very severe.)

5. Dr Rogers books are to some extent `do-it-yourself' health books but ideally Dr Rogers recommends that you get well with the help of a qualified practitioner that will be able to order the appropriate tests for you, and also help you interpret them.

6. One extra thing I feel I have to mention in relation to Dr Rogers' books is the amount of religious material some of them contain. In books such as the one on gut health and `Detoxify or Die' it is fairly minimal, but in books such as `Depression: Cured At last?' and `Wellness Against All Odds; and others it is quite extreme. Topics are mentioned such as the need for prayer in schools, what a terrible idea it is to teach kids about homosexuality and condoms at a young age, evolution is mocked as unscientific and the theory of intelligent design and creationism is discussed, evidence is given for biblical events/artifacts such as the Ark and the moral decay caused by more people rejecting religion. The push for readers to embrace religion and Christianity is very full-on and a very hard-sell.

I really hope that readers that have big problems with this type of information, or just with its appearing in a scientific textbook, will be able to take the mountain of very good information on health in these books and perhaps just skip over the religious parts (which are generally focused on one chapter towards the end of the book) and agree to disagree with the author on this topic. It would be such a loss for anyone to miss out on these books because of the religious content, I hope nobody does. It is also important that you know these books have this content if you are going to give them to others, so that you can also mention it to them beforehand, this avoiding or minimising any upset on their behalf as well (or a very unfortunate blanket rejection of all the health information in them).

7. You will often be referred to other books while you're reading one of Dr Rogers' books. I think I actually would really rather pay more and have the one BIG book (or set of 3 books) with everything in it and all up to date, rather than keep being referred to other books when reading. I'm ill and get easily overwhelmed, as I know many others do too. I'd rather not buy an extra whole book just for a few pages of relevant information in it too, but I realise the one big book idea may be too difficult to do for a whole host of reasons. (Sorry Dr Rogers, I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I'm a big fan. This is just a suggestion.)

8. In addition to books by Dr Sherry Rogers I'd also recommend books by Dr Lawrence Wilson (and his website), Dr Abram Hoffer, Andrew Saul, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (most especially `Eat Fat, Lose Fat' and `Know Your Fats) and any and all of the vitamin C experts such as Linus Pauling and Dr Thomas Levy. Other excellent books include `Good Calories, Bad Calories' and `Deep Nutrition' as well as books on the SCD eating plan and the GAPS diet for the treatment of dysbiosis and a diet-based plan to heal the gut.

That's it!

BTW I'm writing all this as someone that subscribes to Dr Rogers' monthly newsletter and owns most of her books, and that is slowly improving month by month from a very severe neurological disease - thanks in part to the work of Dr Rogers, and others like her - that has left me housebound and almost entirely bedbound for many years. I wish so much I had had this information early on in my disease, rather than coming to it more than 10 years in. Healing is so much easier the earlier you start it.

Best wishes for future health to anyone still reading this far! And a big thank you to Dr Sherry Rogers for sharing all this valuable information!

(Patients with M.E. may wish to also read the summary paper 'Food as medicine in M.E.' and 'FIR saunas and M.E.'on the HFME website, for more information.)

Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing by Dr Lawrence Wilson

I'd recommend this book very highly to anyone with M.E. or any other severe chronic disease. It is essential for anyone trying sauna therapy also, whether FIR or near-infrared as Wilson recommends.

(I've gone for the FIR, not the NIR for various reasons and I feel this is undoubtedly the right choice for me, but even so, this book is very useful.)

You can also read a lot (maybe 1/3) of the information in the book on Lawrence Wilson's excellent website, which I would also highly recommend. It also has a lot of good information on diet and enemas for detoxification and treating the cause of diseases rather than just treating symptoms etc. To find it just google his name and the word 'sauna' and you should find it. Some of the most important articles on that site are:

1. DETOXIFICATION PROTOCOLS

2.
DEEP HEALING VERSUS SYMPTOM REMOVAL
3. Coffee Enemas
4. INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY


I also applaud Dr Wilson for including a section on how to do sauna therapy if you are bedbound. So few authors even make any mention of what to do if you are in this situation, which is terrible as surely those of us who are bedbound (or more than 95% bedbound) need MORE help than those less severely affected and not less!

I wish so much I had had this book many years ago. It's excellent. This book and 'Detoxify or Die' are great read together and together tell you just about all you need to know about infrared sauna therapy. I'm very excited to start my sauna program after reading both of these books.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to read the summary paper 'FIR saunas and M.E.' on the HFME website, for more information.)

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call by Doris J. Rapp

I wish this book could be read by everyone that has children or is considering having children, particularly in the USA. The author paints a scary picture, but I don't think she is in the least alarmist in this book, she is just giving is the facts in a non-nonsense tone that lets the facts speak for themselves.

The book is very specific to the USA, but is still a useful read for non-US readers.

I realise it'd be a big task and outside the author's field of knowledge and maybe interest, but I would have liked a bit of information added about how the situation in the US compares with countries such as Australia, NZ, Canada and the UK etc. I know we don't have it anywhere near as bad as in the US, but I'd really like to know how we all compare.

The book contains good and detailed information on which chemicals to avoid and where they lurk, as well as what the signs are of chemical exposures and some of the ways they can be treated and how the political situation in the US has allowed chemical companies to place their profits so far above above the safety of the public.

(This last issue has particular relevance to M.E. patients, as they are already being denied their basic rights due to vested interest groups putting money making above human rights, with the full knowledge and support of government. The quotes below are all just as relevant to M.E. and the 'CFS' bogus disease category as to issues about chemicals.)

The author should be congratulated on writing such an excellent book. I hope it gets the wide readership it deserves, and not just amongst those of us that react badly to common chemicals already due to illness (such as M.E. and M.S. patients etc.). If these issues of corruption keep being ignored then the future of people all over the world is looking fairly grim.

My favourite quotes form the book:

"We must live by a higher than ordinary standard of principles if our world is to survive. I believe we all have to take off the blinders"

"It is everyone's responsibility to become more aware of what can happen, and whenever possible, to take action to protect those who are in danger. It could happen to you."

"We have some clever creative scientists and greedy executives and lawyers working in industries who care more about their personal economics than the future of the human race."

(From the book 'The Politics of Cancer, quoted in this book), "The pattern of industry-sponsored fraudulent scientific research, supported by bribed public officials and corporate controlled mass-media is so common that it can be considered 'business as usual' in the US."

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

The Detox Book: How to Detoxify Your Body to Improve Your Health, Stop Disease, and Reverse Aging, 2nd Edition by Bruce Fife

There are 3 basic principles of the type of medicine discussed by Fife and others in this same field:

A. Get the good stuff in. Give your body the fuel and tools it needs to work at an optimum level. Good food, nutrients and all the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you aren't deficient in any of the major nutrients as the different nutrients all work together.

B. Get the bad stuff out. Make sure your body can detoxify out all the toxic substances and toxic by-products of bodily processes properly. Stop as many toxins from getting in in the first place, and do a detoxification program to get rid of the ones you have. Stop doing or eating the things which cause inflammation and have a pro-oxidant effect, and so on.

C. Reduce your body's total load. The total load concept is that lessening the body's overall burden/work and stress level in one area, will improve health generally and improve the body's ability to heal because the body's total load (or burden) is lessened. Fixing one problem frees up bodily resources that can be then be used to help other parts of the body function getter or to heal. In other words, you need to look at the body as a whole in order to heal, and not just the one part of the body that is generating the most symptoms.

This book discusses subjects such as environmental pollution, nutrition, fasting, juicing, oxygen therapy and sauna therapy, enemas, exercise, and kidney and liver cleansing.

This book is helpful to some extent and quite good in parts, and of course the theories it talks about have a lot of merit and are very important to read about, but I found it nowhere near as detailed and thorough as the books and websites listed below. It was good in parts but nowhere near the best book available on this topic, in my opinion. It provides a very brief and simplified overview of the topic that may be and probably is very useful for newbies, but for those serious about this topic and dealing with serious disease it lacks depth and breadth.

It also lacks documentation to some extent.

To get good information on healing reactions and detoxification for free online, check out the website of Dr Lawrence Wilson. To read books on this topic see books by Dr Lawrence Wilson (the book on hair mineral analysis and the one titled
Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing) and Dr Sherry Rogers (most especially Detoxify or Die).

These books contain not just far more detailed information on detoxification programs and sauna use, but also far more cautions and information on avoiding problems - which this book very much lacks.

This book also lacks any type of serious discussion of nutritional supplements and testing and the importance of correcting serious nutritional deficiencies BEFORE putting the body under the stress of a detoxification regime. This is a very serious oversight. Just eating well is not enough, especially if you have gut issues affecting nutrient absorption as most ill people do and especially if you have had these issues for many years, as many people have. This book needs a lot more focus on 'getting the good things in' through diet and also through supplements. Supplements are necessary where illness is long-term and severe and so this information is vital. Detoxification will not be very helpful and may even be dangerous if these gut issues and nutrient deficiencies aren't dealt with first.

(I also disagreed with Fife's opinion on the superiority of vegetarian diets, the 'dangers' of saturated fat and the recommendation of a high carbohydrate and lower calorie diet and comments about how eating sugar wont make you fat, but eating fat will. For more information on these topics I highly recommend
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) and Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol. It turns out that 'calories in, calories out' is just plain wrong!)

Highlights in this book were the section on how nutritional deficiencies during different stages of pregnancy affect different organs in the foetus, the discussion of life expectancy vs. lifespan and how we have been misled on this issue, and why we need to boost our immune systems to beat super-bugs rather than focus on developing new drugs that the bugs can become resistant to. The 'real age tests' section was also interesting, as were the comments on healing reactions and the importance of healing fevers, and why homogenisation of milk is even more harmful than the pasteurisation of milk.

Fife writes, 'True life expectancy hasn't changed for 3000 years. People didn't die of old age at 45. Sanitation and less early childhood deaths has raised our life expectancy, but not our lifespan.'

This book is an excellent beginners guide and may do very well for those that are healthy and want to stay that way but it should not be the sole source of information for someone that is seriously ill and trying to regain their health as it lacks certain elements that are vitally important.

Far better Fife books to buy are his book on coconut oil
The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil) and his book on healing reactions titled The Healing Crisis, both of which are excellent.

BTW I'm writing all this as someone that that is slowly improving month by month from a very severe neurological disease - thanks in part to the work of Dr Rogers and Dr Wilson and others like them - that has left me housebound and almost entirely bedbound for many years. I wish so much I had had this information early on in my disease, rather than coming to it more than 10 years in. Healing is so much easier the earlier you start it.

Whether you choose this book or others on the topic what is important is that you read as much as you can about this type of medicine if you are ill as it really is the only way to really get yourself as well as you can be, and to prevent further problems arising.

The Healing Crisis by Bruce Fife

It is true that the information in this book is available for free online to some extent, but this book is still a little gem. However you get this information, learning about how feeling worse does NOT always mean that you should stop doing what you are doing with your nutritional healing or detoxification program is absolutely vital if you are trying to improve a serious disease.

This is some information on healing reactions that I wrote in a recent article on the topic:

-----

The idea that you would try a lot of different treatments one by one, discarding those that make you feel more ill and continuing with those which decrease symptoms or disability, seems like a 'no brainer.'

Unfortunately, due to something known as a 'healing reaction' the problem is not at all that simple.

Many different nutrients and therapies can cause problematic symptoms and side effects which are an indication that the treatment is not a good fit for you and should be discontinued. However, some supplements and therapies may also provoke symptoms which are not merely annoying side-effects but instead healing reactions that are a very good indication that the nutrient or therapy is working and doing what it is supposed to.

It may seem counter-intuitive but this means that feeling somewhat worse after starting a new treatment is not always a bad sign. Sometimes, it is a very good sign and even an essential sign that deep healing is occurring.

In his must-read (free) online article 'Deep Healing Versus Symptom Removal' Dr Lawrence Wilson writes,

'Deep healing is quite different from symptom removal. Symptom removal is the type of doctoring offered by the medical profession and by most holistic doctors as well. Symptoms are the focus, by and large, and the goal is to make them go away. The problem is that symptoms often point to deeper imbalances that are not usually not addressed. Deep healing is a much more profound process. It has to do with restoring the body to its former state of health. This means restoring its energy production system, its oxidation rate, its minerals ratios and much more. Symptom removal occurs as a "side effect" of these programs. Healing therefore usually takes longer and involves lifestyle changes as well. It is more work for both the client and the practitioner. Lifestyle, in fact, is always central and this is a good way to tell if your doctor is focused on symptoms or on deeper healing. In the long run, however, it saves time and lots of money, and may save your life as well.'

It is important that the symptoms from healing reactions remain at a level that the patient can handle however. Very intense healing reactions can be more than your body can cope with and can even be dangerous and potentially fatal in some cases. Patients with diseases such as M.E. patients in particular must go very slowly when it comes to treatments causing healing reactions. Slow and steady progress is the goal.

Healing reactions can be caused by treatments which boost antioxidant status, promote detoxification, the clearing of infections or which allow various enzyme reactions to take place which were not possible before or by anything that helps the body to function better and so to heal.

This includes high-dose vitamin C, iodine, magnesium, FIR sauna use, garlic (and other strongly antiviral substances), the anti-Candida diet, lymphatic drainage massage, probiotics, a vegetable juice regime and the supplementation of any important or essential nutrient that was previously at a very low level.

The symptoms of healing reactions can include muscle cramps and spasms, aches and pains, rashes, strange odours and tastes, heart palpitations and blood pressure changes, tiredness, gastrointestinal or bowel changes, foggy thinking, headache and nausea, or a worsening of the illness generally.

There are 3 basic principles in this type of medicine:

1. Get the good stuff in. Give your body the fuel and tools it needs to work at an optimum level. Good food, nutrients and all the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you aren't deficient in anything important as the different nutrients all work together.

2. Get the bad stuff out. Make sure your body can detoxify out all the toxic substances and toxic by-products of bodily processes properly. Stop as many toxins from getting in in the first place, and do a detoxification program to get rid of the ones you have. Stop doing or eating the things which cause inflammation and have a pro-oxidant effect, and so on.

3. Reduce your body's total load. The total load concept is that lessening the body's overall burden/work and stress level in one area, will improve health generally and improve the body's ability to heal because the body's total load (or burden) is lessened. Fixing one problem frees up bodily resources that can be then be used to help other parts of the body function getter or to heal.

As Andrew Saul PhD explains,

'Good nutrition and vitamins do not directly cure disease, the body does. You provide the raw materials and the inborn wisdom of your body makes the repairs. Someday healthcare without megavitamin therapy will be seen as we today see childbirth without sanitation or surgery without anaesthetic.'

It is a myth that orthomolecular, holistic and environmental medicine rejects science, is not backed up by evidence and research and is not scientific. Orthomolecular expert Abram Hoffer MD explains that it is in fact mainstream medicine, as it is most often practiced, that is not scientific. He writes,

'Modern medicine is not scientific, it is full of prejudice, illogic and susceptible to advertising. Doctors are not taught to reason, they are programmed to believe in whatever their medical schools teach them and the leading doctors tell them. Over the past 20 years the drug companies, with their enormous wealth, have taken medicine over and now control its research, what is taught and the information released to the public.'

In Detoxify or Die, Dr Sherry Rogers writes,

'I have to laugh when people ask me if I do alternative, herbal, acupuncture or holistic medicine. 'No,' I reply. 'We do state-of-the-art medicine. In other words, we find the biochemical, nutritional and environmental causes and cures rather than blindly drugging everything. Sure, herbs are gentler, safer and more physiologic than drugs and holistic medicine attempts to incorporate many diverse modalities, etc. But there is no substitute for finding the underlying biochemical causes and cures. This is real medicine. This is where medicine should and would have been decades ago, if it had not been abducted by the pharmaceutical industry.'

Drugs are essential for turning off certain bodily systems in emergencies, pain medications are essential for some patients, but they don't actually fix anything. They don't get to the cause. This type of medicine is well suited to emergency use to a large extent, but the same approach just isn't appropriate for chronic health problems and disease prevention.

To use a car analogy, all drugs do is turn off the 'no petrol/gas' light (the symptom) they do nothing whatsoever to actually GET more petrol etc. (the cause of the problem). As Dr Sherry Rogers writes,

'Drugs do not cure anything, they merely turn off poisoned and malfunctioning pathways. That is why their classifications are anti-inflammatory, ant-acid, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin inhibitors or ACE inhibitors, HMG COA a reductase inhibitors (cholesterol-lowering drugs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI, etc. And by not fixing the underlying problem, they allow it to worsen as the innocent patient accumulates side effects from the drug as well.'

The best news about this type of medicine is that much of the treatment is not disease specific, so you don't necessarily need to have doctors expert in your disease to help you make real progress with it.


-----

It is important to note that what this book does not do is provide information on how to heal disease and how to get your healing reactions going. It really is just attempting to explain why healing reactions are an essential part of healing, how to cope with them, and why it is important not to suppress the symptoms of a healing reaction, and so on.

Fife does have a book on detoxification out and it is helpful to some extent, but I found it nowhere near as detailed and thorough as the books and websites listed below. It was good in parts but nowhere near the best book available on this topic, in my opinion.

To get good information on healing reactions for free online, check out the website of Dr Lawrence Wilson. To read books on this topic see books by Dr Lawrence Wilson, Dr Sherry Rogers and also books on the Gerson dietary plan for cancer and other diseases.

While it is true this book contains little new information than that contained in the above listed books and articles, having the information in a handy short book format seems very helpful - especially for patients that are are unwilling or unable to read large amounts of text. Understanding the basic principles of healing reactions is so important if you are very ill and as this book makes doing that just a little bit easier, I think it is a little gem!

Healing Ourselves by Dr Lawrence D. Wilson

Along with Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Lawrence Wilson is one of the most important authors to read if you are battling any type of chronic or life-threatening illness.

Note that many of the articles in this book are available for free on his website.

In his must-read article 'Deep Healing Versus Symptom Removal' Dr Lawrence Wilson writes,

"Deep healing is quite different from symptom removal. Symptom removal is the type of doctoring offered by the medical profession and by most holistic doctors as well. Symptoms are the focus, by and large, and the goal is to make them go away. The problem is that symptoms often point to deeper imbalances that are not usually not addressed.

Deep healing is a much more profound process. It has to do with restoring the body to its former state of health. This means restoring its energy production system, its oxidation rate, its minerals ratios and much more. Symptom removal occurs as a "side effect" of these programs.

Healing therefore usually takes longer and involves lifestyle changes as well. It is more work for both the client and the practitioner. Lifestyle, in fact, is always central and this is a good way to tell if your doctor is focused on symptoms or on deeper healing. In the long run, however, it saves time and lots of money, and may save your life as well."

In his excellent article 'Deep Healing Versus Symptom Removal' Dr Lawrence Wilson explains that symptomatic approaches are so popular because:

"1. They appear simple. This means they are largely superficial and easily understood by doctors and patients alike. Balancing methods are much more difficult to comprehend and to practice, as well.

2. Doctors, drug companies and hospitals love them. This is sadly the case because the patients never really get well. They always come back with the next symptom or problem, so it is good for business. Even the socialized medical systems of Europe, Canada and elsewhere continue this stupid and costly methods of drug medicine. Most holistic physicians are still recommending symptomatic treatments, in my estimation. Many are still interested in having the patient come back many times. Many feel they simply cannot stay in business if they truly healed people. Therefore, no matter what they profess, they are less interested in deeper balancing methods that actually heal the patient at deep levels. However, overall they are much better than conventional medical doctors I have met.

3. Symptomatic approaches ask very little of the patient in most cases. The person is allowed to keep eating junk food, skip adequate rest and sleep and ignore the problems in their lives. "

If you only read one article of Dr Wilson's make it this one!

Dr Wilson's book on sauna use is also excellent. You can buy the 2007 version of this text through the author's website, along with the 2010 version of his hair mineral analysis book.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide

This book is absolutely essential for anyone with MCS, and especially those new to having MCS.

What it does best is explores the emotional and social issues surrounding having a 'non-legitimised' disease, and a disease that one cannot keep private or keep from affecting others around you. It does this especially well.

I would also recommend it to my fellow M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) patients, as they face many of the same emotional, legal and social issues, as well as having symptoms of chemical sensitivity to a mild-severe extent (along with equally bad or most often far worse - compared to our level of chemical sensitivities, which is most often far less than someone with severe primary MCS - neurological, cognitive and cardiac problems exacerbated by exercise or even mild activity, being upright, thinking, noise and light and so on).

Nowhere have I read such an excellent explanation of the issues that come up when you are forced through your illness to have to ask those around you to modify their behaviour in some way, how to survive one has to both accept the disease and also never stop actively looking for improvements and treatment - and many other issues.

I applaud the author wholeheartedly for putting together such an amazing book, of such a high quality.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to also read the summary paper 'FIR saunas and M.E.' and 'Enemas for detoxification in M.E.'on the HFME website, for more information on the treatment of symptoms of chemical sensitivity.)

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

Sauna Detoxification Therapy: A Guide for the Chemically Sensitive

If I were reading this book in 1997, I'd probably give it 4 or 5 stars. This is a book designed to help fellow patients and very genuine.

It contains information on buying a sauna, and a basic list of things to avoid if you have chemical sensitivies although very little discussion of supportive supplements and basic advice for beginning a safe sauna regime.

For 2010 and beyond however, this book is very outdated and I could not recommend it. For one thing, we now have FIR saunas which are far more appropriate for very ill patients, and this changes everything. There are also other very complete books on sauna therapy such as 'Detoxify or Die' and Dr Lawrence's book on sauna therapy.

However, I applaud the author for trying to share what she has learned (through bitter experience) with others and her very obviously genuine desire to help others in the same situation she is in. Her kindness and compassion shines through every page of this book.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to read the summary paper 'FIR saunas and M.E.' on the HFME website, for more information.)

Jodi Bassett, HFME

Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life

While I am not a fan of the slightly bubbly and over-enthusiastic tone of voice used in parts of this book (nothing wrong with it, just not my personal preference) the content was quite solid, and so I would happily recommend it to others.

I'd also refer the author to the HFME website, which discusses many of the facts and fallacies about 'CFS'!

That issue aside, the information on how to do a gallbladder flush was useful, as was the information on how each part of the body's detoxification systems and organs works and the charts at the end about how much of each vitamin was in each vegetable and fruit etc. were good too. Most of the cleansing diets and programs mentioned involved a lot of fasting, however, which is really impossible and inadvisable for many patients including those with M.E., which is a real shame. It'd have been great if some alternatives had been included for those of us too ill to fast.

This is an useful though not essential book for those with M.E.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to read the summary paper 'FIR saunas and M.E.' and 'Fruit and vegetable juicing and M.E.'on the HFME website, for more information.)

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

Live Organic (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Lynn Huggins-Cooper

This book contains a lot of useful information on why we need to choose organic as much as possible and also explains which products are the most important to buy in organic versions, and why.

The book is set out in a very easy to read format, with a brief introduction and short sections on each of the 52 topics.

This book explains why it is particularly important to choose organic chocolate and coffee, why it is best to ignore aromatherapy lists of which oil is for what and just go with what you like (love that!), why no VOC paints are best, why food grade silicon kitchen utensils are a safe choice, and so much more.

Unfortunately this book is very anti-eating meat (despite the fact it is what we evolved to eat and what our bodies are perfectly designed to eat), and very pro-eating soy and wheat. Two highly processed foods which many of us are allergic to and which should not at all be considered health foods. This book also claims that eating raw vegetables makes them easier to digest, which isn't true. (See
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats among many others.)

Despite these very small imperfections this book is very solid and well researched and I would recommend it to everyone, especially those that are facing illness or that have children. Reducing the amount of toxic gunk you take in is vital in avoiding illness and in recovering from it - along with getting lots of good nutrients in. Both are essential and often overlooked or their importance is understated.

There are wonderful alternatives now to lots of the more commonly used and quite toxic cleaners, personal care products and everything else. There is no need to accept lower quality products just by choosing non-toxic alternatives, almost always the products smell nicer, are nicer to use and work better too. You may in some cases pay a bit more money for some of the products, but it is worth it for the benefits to your health.

Prescription for drug alternatives : all-natural options for better health without the side effects / James F. Balch, Mark Stengler, Robin Young Balch.

Quite good. A good choice if you've read several of the other general books on vitamins etc. and now want to get as many different opinions as you can.

L carnitine and the heart and The CoQ10 phenomenon and The Sinatra Solution by Dr Stephen T. Sinatra

I bought L carnitine and the heart, The CoQ10 phenomenon and The Sinatra Solution by Dr Stephen T. Sinatra all at once.

I was very impressed by Sinatra's ideas and the way his books are put together. They are very easy to read for laypeople, but also contain very complex and detailed information for those that would like it. There is also a lot of useful information given on dosages and types of supplements and how they differ and which are best and the information is all well referenced.

As it turned out, my buying of the first 2 books was unnecessary, as 'The Sinatra Solution' book is a summary of both of them and also slightly more up to date.

The information in this book is ESSENTIAL for anyone that has M.E., or any other mitochondrial or cardiac or neurological disorder. (As is explained in the HFME paper 'CoQ10 (ubiquinol), L carnitine, D ribose and M.E.). I can't recommend L carnitine, magnesium and ubiquinol more. I hope patients will look into them and read the facts rather than just rejecting them because they are not yet totally 'mainstream.' This has far more to do with substances like carnitine being unpatentable than any lack of scientific support for these supplements!

'The Sinatra Solution' is an ideal book for patients and also for patients to give to their doctors. I highly recommend it.

M.E. patients are advised to read the HFME paper 'CoQ10 (ubiquinol), L carnitine, D ribose and M.E. before starting any new supplements.

 

The Magnesium Miracle by Dr Carolyn Dean

Magnesium is so important for general health and doubly so when you have a serious disease (such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). It plays important roles in heart health, muscle function, neurological function and so much more.

This book talks a lot about how magnesium can help in many different conditions. This book contains little practical information about supplementation however. There is not much in detail information about the use of magnesium oil or doses of magnesium over 400 - 600 mg being needed by many ill people. Carolyn Deans website is an excellent source of this information though, and so much more, and it is regularly updated and so very up-to-date. (Magnesium oil is recommended on the site, among other forms including stromium.)

This book is worth reading, but to fully educate yourself about this topic you really do need to view Dean's website as well. I also like her free e-newsletter.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to also read the summary paper
'Magnesium and M.E.' on the HFME website, for more information.)

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

Transdermal Magnesium Therapy by Mark Sircus

Magnesium is so important for general health and doubly so when you have a serious disease (such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). It plays important roles in heart health, muscle function, neurological function and so much more.

This book talks a lot about how magnesium can help in many different conditions and gives lots of examples and case studies.

Overall, this is a book I wiould recommend to others, and I certainly agree with the author's message that magnesium is often deficient and that magnesium oil is one of the best ways to boost your levels. However, the book could really have done with more information on applying magnesium oil, as another Amazon reviewer has also said.

I preferred the way the magnesium information was set out on Sircus's website, rather than in this book....but this is still an excellent book! All you really need to know though is to try some magnesium oil (starting at a low dose and working up, depending on how you feel) and see what it does for you.

I'm using it daily and my dad says it has worked wonders for his muscle pain and headaches too.

(Patients with M.E. may wish to also read the summary paper
'Magnesium and M.E.' on the HFME website, for more information.)

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

Depression: Cured at Last! by Sherry Rogers MD

This book looks at the cause of all diseases, using depression as an example.

If you buy just one or two books from Dr Rogers I'd recommend the much more recent 'Detoxify or Die'or her book on gut issues, but this book was still interesting additional reading. I took pages of notes from it, although I do have to say that after doing that it isn't a book I would probably use again to look up anything.

Probably this book is essential only if you do have actual depression. Otherwise, I'd recommend the two books of hers mentioned above which are simply excellent and which can benefit people with almost any disease. Dr Sherry Rogers is to applauded for all her work to get to the root causes of diseases and to help patients do the same!

Qigong for Multiple Sclerosis: Finding Your Feet Again

This book offers a very basic introduction to Qigong for those with M.S. What this means is that it is aimed at patients that may be able to sit but not stand, may not do well putting pressure on or twisting their knees, not be able to be active for long periods of time and may have problems with balance and complex movements or instructions.

I have a disease with some similarities to M.S. (Myalgic Encepahalomyelitis, or M.E.) I'm housebound and 98% bedbound and as I know some M.S. patients are also bedbound, I hoped this book might give some instructions on how to do Qigong lying down. Sadly with the exception of maybe a breathing exercise at the start, all there were were exercises that you could do sitting, and for me sitting is even more impossible than standing for very long. (Due to low blood pressure and reduced circulating blood volume and POTS.)

But I did find a few simple exercise that I might be able to do while standing, using up up to 5 minutes of my 30 or so minutes a day I can be upright. This is right on the cusp of what I am able to do, so I am not sure if I can do it yet but I am going to give it a try very soon and am looking forward to it.

My disease is very slowly improving and even these simple exercises would have been impossible a year ago or even 6 months ago. Despite what some people say, Qigong is not something even in a very simplified version that everyone that is ill will be able to do. It is demanding to do if you are very ill (as is meditation) and should not be done until you feel you can cope with it without causing yourself any type of relapse.

I've made a note to try the exercises on pages 52, 54, 55, 56, 84 and 102. These look the most possible for me at this time.

I also really liked how this book talked about patients with neurological diseases often leading with their upper body and dragging their legs behind them when they walk, and the need for such patients to try to walk like a 'majestic tiger' (!) and make sure the heel hits the ground first when you walk. I keep forgetting to do this a lot of the time, but am finding this advice really helpful and am going to keep trying. It can be so easy to get stuck in a 'rushing around' mode when you can only be upright a few minutes at a time, you try and get things done as fast as possible. It is understandable to act this way but it is no good for healing, as this book explains.

It makes sense to me that improving circulation, and so Qi, can be helpful when you are treating disease. If there is no blood flow to an area, it can't heal.

Being very inactive and bedbound means you really need to improve your circulation if at all possible, as anyone bedbound will know!

I'm not a fan of Qigong or similar as the only or primary treatment for serious disease though - as if you have nutrient deficiencies and toxin overload which has lead to your disease then you need to correct those things and no amount of Qigoing is going to do that. If you are low in vitamin B6 or magnesium then you need those things and nothing else will do! But Qigong may well have an important role to play in improving circulation, lowering the body's stress levels and promoting a relaxed and healing central nervous system state as part of a larger program encompassing a nutrient dense diet, intelligent supplementation and various detoxification protocols - if you are well enough to do it.

Combing meditation and/or Qigong with great books that talk about genuine healing and treating the causes of disease such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Detoxify or Die, Minding My Mitochondria 2nd Edition: How I overcame secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and got out of my wheelchair and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins can only help your health improve, depending on how much damage done is permanent.

The first 40 something pages of this just over 100 page book talks about research that was conducted regarding Qigong in patients with MS. It is very dry and is something patients will probably get little if anything out of reading once and would certainly never read a second time. It would have been better hugely summarised.

The parts of the book which talked about energy fields and the need to avoid microwaves and EMFs were okay, if very brief. People who want to read more practical advice on how to minimise these issues may want to read books such as Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? and Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution.

I got 4 very well reviewed books on Qigong out from my local library and read them all over a two week period:

1. Qigong illustrated
2. Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind
3. Qigong for multiple sclerosis : finding your feet again
4. Dragon and tiger medical qigong : health and energy in seven simple movements

This book was the one that was the most simple and non-demanding and the most suited for an ill person. The first two books were also very good though and did contain at least some simple standing exercises. I liked them both so much that I ended up buying my own copies to work from. The fourth book was completely inappropriate for me and featured exercises way too advanced and difficult for anyone that is seriously or even moderately ill in my opinion.

If you need very simple exercises that don't require you to have good balance and exercises that can be done while sitting, then this book is a very good choice. Once you have mastered the exercises in this book you might want to then move on to Qigong illustrated and Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind - so you can get some more variety in your exercises, maybe. Those 2 books are very well done and not quite as basic as this one.

I recommend seeing if your library has any of these three books before buying them to check that they suit your abilities.

Heal Yourself with Qigong: Gentle Practices to Increase Energy, Restore Health, and Relax the Mind

This book offers a really good basic introduction to Qigong aimed at the average Qigong novice or even people that have various limitations due to illness. For anyone not sure what Qigong is, it could maybe very loosely be described as super-gentle and simple Tai Chi combined with some breathing exercises, visualisations and sometimes some simple meditation techniques.

It makes sense to me that improving circulation, and so Qi (or Chi), can be helpful when you are treating disease. If there is no blood flow to an area, it can't heal. Qigong can also improve respiratory and digestive function, and give you a calmer and less cluttered mind. Keeping your body out of 'adrenaline mode' as much as possible also facilitates healing, as healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from Sympathetic to Parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode).

I have a disease with some similarities to M.S. (Myalgic Encepahalomyelitis, or M.E.) I'm housebound and 98% bedbound. Being very inactive and bedbound means you really need to improve your circulation if at all possible, as anyone bedbound will know! Using up up to 5 minutes of my 30 - 60 or so minutes a day I can be upright on Qigong seems a reasonable idea to me. This is right on the cusp of what I am able to do, so I am not sure if I can do it yet but I am going to give it a try very soon and am looking forward to it.

My disease is very slowly improving and even these simple exercises would have been impossible a year ago or even 6 months ago. Despite what some people say, Qigong is not something even in a very simplified version that everyone that is ill will be able to do. It is demanding to do if you are very ill (as is meditation) and should not be done until you feel you can cope with it without causing yourself any type of relapse.

I'm not a fan of Qigong or similar as the only or primary treatment for serious disease though - as if you have nutrient deficiencies and toxin overload which has lead to your disease then you need to correct those things and no amount of Qigoing is going to do that. If you are low in vitamin B6 or magnesium then you need those things and nothing else will do! But Qigong may well have an important role to play in improving circulation, lowering the body's stress levels and promoting a relaxed and healing central nervous system state as part of a larger program encompassing a nutrient dense diet, intelligent supplementation and various detoxification protocols - if you are well enough to do it.

Combing meditation and/or Qigong with great books that talk about genuine healing and treating the causes of disease such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Detoxify or Die, and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins can only help your health improve, depending on how much damage done is permanent.

I got 4 very well reviewed books on Qigong out from my local library and read them all over a two week period:

1. Qigong illustrated
2. Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind
3. Qigong for multiple sclerosis : finding your feet again
4. Dragon and tiger medical qigong : health and energy in seven simple movements

The MS book was the one that was the most simple and non-demanding and the most suited for an ill person - even though it didn't really have any lying down exercises as I had hoped. The fourth book was completely inappropriate for me and featured exercises way too advanced and difficult for anyone that is seriously or even moderately ill in my opinion. The first two books were very good and had lots of simple standing exercises. I liked them both so much that I ended up buying my own copies to work from.

Qigong illustrated wasn't quite as good as Heal yourself with qigong, so if I had to choose just one of the two books I'd definitely go with the latter. The introductory text was of a far higher quality and very well done, I preferred the illustrations being in line drawing format rather than photos (which can be less clear), and there was a greater variety of exercises given that didn't look very difficult. It contains exercises on breathing, sending chi to your heart, or liver, or kidneys plus exercises to help undo the shoulder issues of being on a computer for too long and lots more.

Even if you are ill, or not that fit, or not that co-ordinated or good with balance or meditation, this book offers a really good non-overwhelming starting point, and is very well done. I recommend it. If you are ill I also recommend seeing if your library has any of these three books before buying them to check that they suit your abilities, if you can.

This author also has a Qigong website and videos available.

Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong

This book was a weird one. The introductory text was just wonderful but it didn't really match up well with the practical sections.

The author gave great explanations of Qigong and his own life experiences with it. He seemed to really understand the need for some of us battling illness to take it really slow and easy and not to push ourselves to more than 70% of our capacity. He also talked about the need to do some of the exercises lying down if you were seriously ill. This made me really excited, as what he was saying seemed to be just what I needed. After I had read the introduction I was really looking forward to getting started.

I have a disease with some similarities to M.S. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or M.E.) I'm housebound and 98% bedbound and so I really hoped this book might give some instructions on how to do Qigong lying down or some up to 5 minute simple and gentle standing ones - seeing as how the author had said how important not overexerting was.

But sadly with the exception of maybe a breathing exercise at the start, all there were were exercises that you needed to do standing and which also required far FAR FAR more balance, flexibility, strength and physical and mental stamina and ability than I have. Despite the opening text going on and on about how the author understood physical limitations and the need to lie down to do some exercises to start with, the exercises all seemed to be aimed at elite athletes or professional dancers.

I got 4 very well reviewed books on Qigong out from my local library and read them all over a two week period:

1. Qigong illustrated
2. Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind
3. Qigong for multiple sclerosis : finding your feet again
4. Dragon and tiger medical qigong : health and energy in seven simple movements

The M.S. book was the one that was the most simple and non-demanding and the most suited for an ill person. The first two books were also very good though and did contain at least some simple standing exercises. I liked them both so much that I ended up buying my own copies to work from.

This fourth book was completely inappropriate for me and featured exercises way too advanced and difficult for anyone that is seriously or even moderately ill in my opinion. At the end of the book the exercises are described as being challenging even for a professional athlete!

Considering that I don't understand why this book is marketed as slowing 'simple' examples of Qigong when this is just not even remotely the case. The Qigong in this book is very complex and involved and would take a large investment of time to master even to an adequate level. You'd almost certainly need a DVD of the moves too. Apparently there is a double DVD set which goes with this book, which makes a lot of sense.

I'd recommend this book only for those that have a fair bit of natural balance and flexibility and also the ability to be active and follow very complex instructions. Even better if you have some athletic or dance or martial arts experience. If you have those attributes and lots of free time to practice Qigong this book could be a great choice for you. If I were well enough to try all the exercises in it I'd be so excited to do so (perhaps with the help of a teacher!), the book is really inspiring. It does seem to be aimed at preventing illness than actually treating it though, despite the introductory and cover text.

This is a great book, I have no doubt of that, but I think it is completely inappropriate for moderately-seriously ill people and should not really described as 'simple' or easy for the average person either. It is very advanced.

Qigong Illustrated

For anyone not sure what Qigong is, it could maybe very loosely be described as super-gentle and simple Tai Chi combined with some breathing exercises, visualisations and sometimes some simple meditation techniques.

This book offers a good basic introduction to Qigong aimed at the average Qigong novice or even people that have various limitations due to illness.

It makes sense to me that improving circulation, and so Qi (or Chi), can be helpful when you are treating disease. If there is no blood flow to an area, it can't heal. Qigong can also improve respiratory and digestive function, and give you a calmer and less cluttered mind. Keeping your body out of 'adrenaline mode' as much as possible also facilitates healing, as healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from Sympathetic to Parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode).

I have a disease with some similarities to M.S. (Myalgic Encepahalomyelitis, or M.E.) I'm housebound and 98% bedbound. Being very inactive and bedbound means you really need to improve your circulation if at all possible, as anyone bedbound will know! Using up up to 5 minutes of my 30 - 60 or so minutes a day I can be upright on Qigong seems a reasonable idea to me. This is right on the cusp of what I am able to do, so I am not sure if I can do it yet but I am going to give it a try very soon and am looking forward to it.

My disease is very slowly improving and even these simple exercises would have been impossible a year ago or even 6 months ago. Despite what some people say, Qigong is not something even in a very simplified version that everyone that is ill will be able to do. It is demanding to do if you are very ill (as is meditation) and should not be done until you feel you can cope with it without causing yourself any type of relapse.

I'm not a fan of Qigong or similar as the only or primary treatment for serious disease though - as if you have nutrient deficiencies and toxin overload which has lead to your disease then you need to correct those things and no amount of Qigoing is going to do that. If you are low in vitamin B6 or magnesium then you need those things and nothing else will do! But Qigong may well have an important role to play in improving circulation, lowering the body's stress levels and promoting a relaxed and healing central nervous system state as part of a larger program encompassing a nutrient dense diet, intelligent supplementation and various detoxification protocols - if you are well enough to do it.

Combing meditation and/or Qigong with great books that talk about genuine healing and treating the causes of disease such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Detoxify or Die, and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins can only help your health improve, depending on how much damage done is permanent.

I got 4 very well reviewed books on Qigong out from my local library and read them all over a two week period:

1. Qigong illustrated
2. Heal yourself with qigong : gentle practices to increase energy, restore health, and relax the mind
3. Qigong for multiple sclerosis : finding your feet again
4. Dragon and tiger medical qigong : health and energy in seven simple movements

The MS book was the one that was the most simple and non-demanding and the most suited for an ill person - even though it didn't really have any lying down exercises as I had hoped. The fourth book was completely inappropriate for me and featured exercises way too advanced and difficult for anyone that is seriously or even moderately ill in my opinion. The first two books were very good and had lots of simple standing exercises. I liked them both so much that I ended up buying my own copies to work from.

Qigong illustrated wasn't quite as good as Heal yourself with qigong, so if I had to choose just one of the two books I'd definitely go with the latter. The introductory text was of a far higher quality and very well done, I preferred the illustrations being in line drawing format rather than photos (which can be less clear), and there was a greater variety of exercises given that didn't look very difficult. It contains exercises on breathing, sending chi to your heart, or liver, or kidneys plus exercises to help undo the shoulder issues of being on a computer for too long and lots more.

Qigong illustrated still had its own charms though, hence why I bought it with the other book. The opening and closing exercises look great, plus the 'trembling horse' and water exercises and facial exercises too. The introduction was also good and explained the basics of Qigong well.

Even if you are ill, or not that fit, or not that co-ordinated or good with balance or meditation, this book offers a good non-overwhelming starting point, and is quite well done. I recommend it. If you are ill I also recommend seeing if your library has any of these three books before buying them to check that they suit your abilities, if you can.

Earthing: The most important health discover ever? by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, Martin Zucker

When I first heard about this concept I was very sceptical. I am a big supporter of orthomolecular and nutritional medicine and the not-very-popular idea of treating the causes of disease and not just suppressing symptoms with drugs...but earthing just sounds so completely eye-rollingly nuts at first!

 

After watching a half dozen videos on the subject made by experts and reading about the same number of articles on earthing, I was quite intrigued but still far from convinced of its scientific merits.

 

So I came to this book with an open but very sceptical mind and with the attitude that I would have to see a lot of impressive evidence and solid logic to be convinced that this concept was worth bothering with and worth supporting.

 

Long story short, this book did convince me. I went out and spent $50 on a grounding mat before I had even got to the end of it.

 

Any book can provide lots of testimonial claiming all sorts of health benefits (dubious and genuine) for just about anything, and this book is no different in that respect. There are a LOT of testimonials in this book and I must say I had little interest in most of them. What impressed me about this book was the story of how the grounding concept was discovered (which has an undeniable ring of truth to it), the solid logic of the concept and the studies done so far on grounding.

 

People cut off from the electrical current of the earth for long periods of time develop all sorts of problems which are reversed by grounding, and studies have show the positive effects it has on sleep and also on red blood cells. The red blood cell before and after photos in the book are amazing as are the thermography images. At least some of the studies done were double blind as well. I'm still too ill to go into all the science and theory here, and you really need to read the whole book to fully understand it all anyway, but this is a brief sample of what the book contains.

 

The fact that trying grounding is either free or very inexpensive, very easy to do, low risk in regards to side effects (low-level healing reactions are possible but that is about it) and potentially mildly or very helpful for those battling illness and pain also helps.

 

The main benefits described by the book from grounding are pain relief, reduced inflammation, a reset sleep-wake cycle, feeling calmer and a dampening down of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenaline surges, resynchronisation of cortisol release, protection from EMF radiation and the problems it can cause, relief of muscle tension and headaches plus speeded healing and prevention of bedsores. It can also help you cope with jet-lag.

 

This book explains:

 

"Exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in the body. It's needed for health. Exposure to the ground provides an electrical `nutrient' in the form of electrons. Think of these electrons as vitamin G--G for ground. Just like vitamin D, you need vitamin G for your health as well."

 

FWIW the effects of grounding myself using a small grounding mat day and night for the last 2 months have been noticeable and definitely worthwhile but not astounding, sadly. I feel a significantly blunted adrenaline response (which is great as adrenaline surges are part of my disease and very detrimental to my long-term health) which has led to me feeling calmer and more able to cope with stress and I have also noticed a normalisation of my sleep-wake cycle (which is also a part of my disease) and possibly better sleep quality.

 

The book mentions MS patients (MS is very similar to the disease I have) having their illness reversed through grounding, but I am not at all sure that this is something that could be said to be a 'usual' effect of grounding and suspect the benefits for many or most of us may be more subtle. It would be easy to read the many testimonials in the book and to expect far too much and be disappointed. I was a little bit, I have to say.

 

The effects I felt were fairly immediate and as I have said, worthwhile, but I'm still very ill and mostly bedbound of course. The effect grounding had on me wasn't quite life changing, just life improving. (I wonder if this could be due to the fact I was already very electron boosted through taking high dose vitamin C and GSH? More on this below.)

 

The mats are okay to use and only mildly annoying on occasion, such as when I scrunch them up in my sleep, but most of the time I don't even notice they are there. The prices are pretty good for grounding products although I do have some concern about how you know when they need to be replaced in years to come.

 

My dad has said to me that I should do my own trial on the mats and that he could disconnect the grounding wire from the wall for me without my knowing about it on random days or weeks. I may well take him up on that in a few months! I'd be very interested to see the results. For now I'm hoping that more benefits will appear form grounding over time. After 6 months or so I may begin my tests though.

 

Author Dr Sinatra's son had a near-lethal electropollution illness for 6 years, which was slowly improved through grounding. If nothing else this book is absolutely *essential* reading for anyone suffering with severe EMF health issues. This book explains that when we are grounded our bodies don't have to cope with so much electrical 'noise' and that all our interconnected electrical systems (such as the heart) can then function better. Studies have backed up the reduction of EMF radiation with grounding. I don't see why anyone with severe EMF issues wouldn't at least try this and/or read more about it, as there is so little to lose and a lot to gain, potentially, when you are really ill in this awful way. For this issue in particular grounding seems very promising and makes a lot of sense.

 

If you are ill, read this book if you can and make up your own mind I say. See if your library has a copy at least, like mine did, and then your initial risk is minuscule. Remember too that the results from grounding may not be immediate and that it is very 'dose' dependent.

 

Grounding isn't the whole answer to regaining health or preventing illness but it does seem like one very important or even essential part of the bigger picture. It should not be ignored or dismissed out of hand without proper open-minded investigation, particularly as the risk and cost is so very low. Please actually read this book before making up your mind.

 

Thanks to the authors of this book for writing it, doing all the research and doing such a great job with both. I look forward to reading about the new grounding studies being done in the near future.

 

I'd love to learn more about how grounding and the electrons it gives compare to the electrons given by vitamin C and glutathione. Some crossover research would be great too.

 

As vitamin C experts Dr Levy explains, Vitamin C is the premier extracellular antioxidant and glutathione is the premier intracellular antioxidant. Vitamin C and glutathione are powerful and important antioxidants taken alone and have an even more powerful synergistic effect when they are taken together. They both give the body the `rapid and profound influx of electrons' needed to fight disease and to support heart, lung and brain health and immunity says Dr Levy, who also adds that `Virtually all diseases and toxins/poisons cause sickness and death through their electron stealing activity.'

 

In the book GSH: Master Defender Against Disease, Toxins and Ageing ' Dr Levy continues,

 

"Since no one has ever seen an electron, for most people it remains a theoretical entity. It is this invisibility that makes it so difficult to accept them as real entities that reliably treat diseases more effectively than antibiotics or prescription drugs. Yet this is precisely the case.

Even though it is not possible to give a teaspoon of electrons to a sick child, one can administer medications and/or nutrients that are extremely rich in their electron content. Once a sufficient quantity of electrons is delivered to the body, it brings what can only be described as fantastic clinical results when compared to traditional medical therapies. And, this has already been shown to be true for a wide variety of medical conditions."

 

It seems grounding should be added to this electron boosting list, at the very least!

Zapped by Louise Gittleman

This book provides a reasonable introduction to the idea of reducing the amount of EMFs we are exposed to each day, and how to go about doing so without giving up your computer and your phone and so on. It gives you lots and lots of useful tips on how to reposition electrical items, the best types of items to buy and what to avoid as well as how to use simple devices to measure the radiation in your own home.

 

This book is well researched and referenced. The first 37 pages outline the theory and science really well and forms a sort of mini-book all in itself.

 

Many excellent health books briefly mention the potential problems that EMFs can cause and how to minimise them, but the most thorough book I have read on this topic by far is 'Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?; This book talks about the problems of EMF exposure, provides some brief tips for how to minimise your exposure and then focuses on 'grounding' as the best way to minimise any problems caused by high levels of EMFs.

 

Zapped was the opposite. It gives lots and lots of tips about minimising your exposure, but only mentioned grounding for a page or two and didn't seem to give it even remotely the level of importance that the 'Earthing' book did. It didn't come across as at all essential or hugely helpful, which was just strange when the author of Zapped had read the book and should have known how well supported grounding is as a treatment for those with EMF sensitivities and others.

 

For that reason I'd very much recommend the 'Earthing' book before this one.

 

When I first heard about the concept of earthing or grounding I was very sceptical. I am a big supporter of orthomolecular and nutritional medicine and the not-very-popular idea of treating the causes of disease and not just suppressing symptoms with drugs...but earthing just sounds so completely eye-rollingly nuts at first! I came to the book with an open but very sceptical mind and with the attitude that I would have to see a lot of impressive evidence and solid logic to be convinced that this concept was worth bothering with and worth supporting. Long story short, this book did convince me. I went out and spent $50 on a grounding mat before I had even got to the end of it.

 

People cut off from the electrical current of the earth for long periods of time develop all sorts of problems which are reversed by grounding, and studies have show the positive effects it has on sleep and also on red blood cells. The red blood cell before and after photos in the book are amazing as are the thermography images. At least some of the studies done were double blind as well.

 

The fact that trying grounding is either free or very inexpensive, very easy to do, low risk in regards to side effects (low-level healing reactions are possible but that is about it) and potentially mildly or very helpful for those battling illness and pain also helps. The main benefits described by the book from grounding are pain relief, reduced inflammation, a reset sleep-wake cycle, feeling calmer and a dampening down of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenaline surges, resynchronisation of cortisol release, protection from EMF radiation and the problems it can cause, relief of muscle tension and headaches plus speeded healing and prevention of bedsores. It can also help you cope with jet-lag.

 

This book explains: "Exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in the body. It's needed for health. Exposure to the ground provides an electrical `nutrient' in the form of electrons. Think of these electrons as vitamin G--G for ground. Just like vitamin D, you need vitamin G for your health as well."

 

'Earthing' author Dr Sinatra's son had a near-lethal electropollution illness for 6 years, which was slowly improved through grounding. If nothing else this book is absolutely *essential* reading for anyone suffering with severe EMF health issues. This book explains that when we are grounded our bodies don't have to cope with so much electrical 'noise' and that all our interconnected electrical systems (such as the heart) can then function better. Studies have backed up the reduction of EMF radiation with grounding. For this issue in particular grounding seems very promising and makes a lot of sense. If you are ill, read this book if you can and make up your own mind I say. See if your library has a copy at least, like mine did, and then your initial risk is minuscule. Remember too that the results from grounding may not be immediate and that it is very 'dose' dependent.

 

Although it is not something I can discern in myself, for years I have had a number of friends and acquaintances tell me that they suffer severely after high levels of EMF exposure. It seems like sensitivity to EMFs is a bit like multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. If you have one prolonged or very big exposure it can sensitise you to 'normal' amounts for a long time or for the rest of your life, and some people are more sensitive to the effects of chemicals and EMFs and can become ill at levels which for most people would be unnoticeable.

 

It makes sense that we have all sorts of sensitivities to these stressors, just like people have very different tolerances to drugs and alcohol. The fact that everyone isn't made ill by low level EMF exposures is not proof that some people can't be made ill by these same exposures. People vary enormously due to biochemical individuality, and illness also greatly lowers your ability to withstand previously well-tolerated stressors. Like many poeple, I never experienced chemical sensitivities at all until I became severely ill.

 

I would like to remind people that there are huge financial vested interests at work in declaring various chemicals and EMF exposures as 'safe' and at turning the problem around to a 'blame the victim' mentality. Research is skewed, hidden and nowhere near enough studies are done. So you can't believe everything that you read, and should think twice before ever assuming that someone who says they have chemical or EMF sensitivities is 'making it up' or imagining it. There is no 'secondary gain' in having these problems, there really isn't, and the idea that these things could easily cause problems and do cause problems is backed up by some very solid research too.

 

Back to this book. The section on an anti-radiation diet and supplement plan wasn't great. It is very very hard to take seriously any type of anti-radiation or anti-oxidant plan that doesn't even include ONE MEASLY GRAM of vitamin C, let alone the multi-gram dose that would be appropriate. This is a huge omission, if you know anything at all about the impossible to overstate importance of vitamin C.

 

I would also disagree that whey supplements are good for you (real food is better!), tinned beans and cherry juice concentrate are superfoods, storebought yogurt is good for you, saturated fat causes heart disease (this is a myth), olive oil is the only and best oil to cook with, and that the way to boost glutathione in the body is to take GSH precursors. The best way to boost GSH is to take a liposomal GSH product - this form of GSH isn't broken down into its parts as soon as it reaches the body and is many times more effective than just taking GSH precursors. The book also doesn't specify that unrefined sea salt must be used instead of refined salt and heavily promotes all sorts of expensive so-called superfoods such as acia berries, noni and mangostein - when in reality we need all the different types of fruits and especially vegetables and variety is important than a small number of very expensive so-called superfoods. It is slightly faddish in this respect, unfortunately. I would advice readers to skip the diet and supplement advice in this book as while it isn't at all the worst out there it is far form the best as well.

 

I bought an EMF measuring device and was surprised at how little my appliances emitted compared to what the book suggested as estimates. Maybe this is because my house is less than 10 years old? For example my clock radio only emitted outward at a high level for far less than one foot, and so it wasn't at all necessary for me to have it 3 feet away from my head as the book suggested. This was good news as being too far away from all your switches and devices creates real practical problems when you are quite ill (as I am). So if moving all your things seems really impractical you might want to take some readings first to make sure you aren't making things more difficult for yourself than you need to. I bought my measuring device for under $50.

 

But overall, making the changes suggested in the book really is not very difficult. Grounding and reducing EMF exposures isn't the whole answer to regaining health or preventing illness but it does seem like one very important or even essential part of the bigger picture. For some people it is also the main cause or trigger for their symptoms, it seems. It should not be ignored or dismissed out of hand without proper open-minded investigation, particularly as the risk and cost of grounding or minimising EMFs is so very low.

 

All in all this book is not the last word on the subject but provides a pretty solid overview of the problems of EMFs and how to minimise them.

Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease by Sharon Moalem, Jonathan Prince

This book is an interesting read. The idea that our bodies and genes are so much more complex and clever than we give them credit for, and do things for reasons we don't always understand but which are done for good reasons nonetheless, is really important.

 

Media articles always push the view that modern drug-based medicine and testing is wonderful and so advanced and complex while the human body is highly flawed and often does things (such as causing symptoms) for 'stupid' reasons or just randomly. But when you look at the human body and its complexities and ability to heal and to adapt to and cope with all sorts of things, it is the human body which is truly impressive.

 

It just makes so much sense to come at the problem of treating and preventing disease by working with the complexity of the human machine rather than just blindly drugging everything and blocking all sorts of pathways and protective mechanisms and assuming that modern drugs and technology will always be superior. The human body can heal from so many things if just given the right supports.

 

As the author says, if we don't ask we'll never find out and the more we know about the body and our genes the more we can understand about how to prevent and treat disease.

 

Some of the scientific information in this book has been dumbed down to the point it has become inaccurate, as some other reviewers have explained, which is a worry. Mostly I appreciated how easy this book was to read and just ignored the rare cheesy line in the book. It did seem to lack depth though, and be quite light on for references and scientific support in parts. The justifications the author gave for coming to certain conclusions just didn't feel complete, very often. It sometimes had the feel of someone coming up with a speculative theory and then finding a few bits and pieces of evidence to back up the idea later on. There are also very few examples given.

 

This book also missed a good opportunity to talk about the role of nutrition and how eating the foods we evolved to eat can affect our health and the health of our offspring. Books which do a great job of discussing this important issue along with reasons why some diseases appear due to epigenetics, plus provide information on how to safeguard your own health through nutrition, include: Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and others.

 

The concepts in this book were not discovered by the author and many of them I had already read about in other books (such as those listed above) so the 'maverick' comment on the cover would have been better avoided, probably. The author also seemed unaware of the concept and research done into biochemical individuality and some reading in this area would likely have improved the book.

 

This book is very interesting and also slightly frustrating as it seemed to have the potential to go a lot deeper into this topic as it did and to be a bit more convincing with its research information. But maybe this is unfair as this book really only aims to provide an introduction to this topic, and to stimulate discussion and new ways of thinking about disease, and it does do these things very well, and presents them in a very accessible way.

 

This book does a good job of introducing to what many people is a paradigm shift in thinking about the role of disease. It isn't perfect but is well worth a read and is an enjoyable read.

 

A quote from the book: "The entire universe is geared towards disorder. Given all the forces pulling for disorder, it's a wonder we live at all, and as long and as well as most of us do. Which is why, instead of taking our health for granted, we should appreciate it with the reverence it deserves."

Fluoride: Drinking Ourselves To Death? by Barry Groves

This book is essential reading if you drink fluoridated water without a fluoride removing water filter.

 

Barry Groves one by one refutes every single argument made by the dental establishment and others in favour of fluoridation.

 

He also very convincingly lays out all the health problems that are caused or made worse by drinking fluoridated water.

 

In short, fluoride is a cumulatively toxic substance that is more toxic than lead, does not reduce the rate of dental decay, and a high intake can lead to osteoporosis and cancer and is particularly problematic for babies in-utero, small children, those with kidney, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases and the elderly. It can cause low IQ in children, kidney damage, thyroid gland suppression, contributes to many cancer deaths and no safe level has been determined. Fluoride also makes teeth more brittle and likely to shatter, and so dentists make more money where water is fluoridated, the author explains. Fluoridation of water supplies is also expensive.

 

Fluoride in water is toxic industrial waste. Early research proving fluoride benefits was seriously flawed and the US paid other countries to fluoridate their water supplies. There is enough fluoride in a tube of toothpaste to kill a small child and deaths from fluoride in small children are not isolated incidents. Dosing water with fluoride indiscriminately is unethical and scientifically unsupportable.

 

Where it is possible to openly discuss and debate fluoridated water the practice is banned, this book explains, and adds that the fluoridation of our water supplies is one of the biggest medical scams. Most people do not want fluoridated water and the long list of professionals that have taken a firm stand against fluoride is impressive and includes 16 Nobel prize winners.

 

The book also discusses about supplements you can take to minimise the damage caused by fluoride, how fluoride toxicity can be tested for and the other high-fluoride foods and drinks to avoid.

 

The book is very easy to read, very well researched and referenced and very compelling and convincing. Even if you have read a lot about fluoride in chapters of books before, this book is still a worthwhile read as it really goes into depth on the subject and so you are sure to learn something new.

 

I learned an enormous amount by reading this book and recommend it to others. It's so well done and all of us really need to know this information.

 

Until sanity prevails and none of our water supplies are medicated with fluoride without our consent, we each need to do what we can to minimise our exposure. That starts with buying a fluoride removing water filter. They aren't cheap, but better pay a bit of money for a decent fluoride removing filter (reverse osmosis or a distiller with an attached carbon filter) than letting your body be the filter and ending up with worsened health problems that may be irreversible.

Stop the Thyroid Madness

The bottom line is that Thyroxine doesn't even remotely have the same effect and make you feel the same, as Armour Thyroid. Standard blood tests for thyroid levels are also woefully inaccurate.

(Although mine have always tested very low since I became ill, this isn't the case for many).

As the `Stop the thyroid madness' website explains,

"The theory was that T4 would convert to the T3 needed for the body. But in nearly ALL patients on T4 meds, the T4 does NOT convert into an adequate amount of T3, leaving you with symptoms that neither you OR your uninformed doctor realize are related to inadequate treatment. In other words, healthy thyroids are NOT meant to rely solely on T4-to-T3 conversion!

But there's even more to the problem: it's called the TSH lab. Around 1973, the TSH lab test was developed. Based on a sampling of several volunteers, a so-called "normal" range was established--.5 to 5.0 (recently lowered to 3.0). But volunteers with a history of family hypothyroid were NOT excluded, leaving us with a range that leans towards being hypothyroid! In fact, the TSH RARELY corresponds to how a patient feels. There is a large majority of patients who have a "normal" TSH, even in the "one" area of the range, and have a myriad of hypothyroid symptoms.

So what's the solution? Patients and their wise doctors are returning to a medication that was successfully used from the late 1800's onward: natural desiccated thyroid hormones, more commonly known as Naturethroid, Erfa's Canadian "thyroid", Armour, etc. They are made from pig glands, meet the stringent guidelines of the US Pharmacopoeia, and gives patients EXACTLY what their own thyroids give them--T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin.

Additionally, patients who are working with certain wise doctors are not dosing by the TSH. Instead, they raise their desiccated thyroid according to three criteria (and not in any particular order): 1) the elimination of symptoms 2) getting a mid-afternoon temp of 98.6 using a mercury thermometer, while maintaining a normal, healthy heart rate, and 3) getting their free T3 towards the top of the range (in the presence of healthy adrenal function).

On a T4-only medication, we have noted that the majority of patients have a less-than-optimal free T3, a mid-afternoon temp lower than 98.6, and/or the continuation of some hypothyroid symptoms for the rest of your life, no matter how high your doctor raises it."

The information given on how low thyroid output and low adrenal output relate to each other is also very helpful.

As the `Stop the thyroid madness' website and book explains,

"Cortisol is needed to distribute thyroid hormones to your cells, and if you are not making enough cortisol from sluggish adrenals, your blood will be high in thyroid hormones, producing the above symptoms. Adrenal support is used to give back to your body what your adrenals are not, which in turn allows the thyroid hormones to get to your cells."

This author has done such a brilliant job explaining these issues to patients. I can't recommend her website or book more highly and I thank her for taking the time to put this book together to help others.

In addition to this book I'd also recommend reading Dr David Brownstein's book
Iodine: Why you need it, Why you can't live without it if you have any type of thyroid problems. (Iodine is an essential element. Although its main function is in the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland, other organs in the body have a need for iodine in order to function normally. When thyroid levels have been shown to be low, this may be an indication that an iodine loading test may be a good idea.) Vitamin D testing is also an essential part of any thyroid treatment program, as the new version of this book explains.

If you'd like to read a bit more about some of the causes of thyroid problems and how these can be worked on in order to reduce or stop your thyroid problems then the book by Dr Sherry Rogers titled
Detoxify or Die is also essential reading.

Dr Sherry Rogers explains that there are environmental, nutritional and metabolic causes of thyroid problems.

Environmental: Food allergies, chemical and mould toxicities, goitrogens from soy and other foods, and high levels of fluoride (especially in drugs such as Prozac), heavy metal and chemical contamination from things such as cadmium, mercury, PCBs, dioxins and phthalates (plasticisers). Cadmium can lower T3 but not raise TSH. It can lower thyroid function in a way that leaves the TSH test completely normal.

Nutritional: Low levels of the nutrients needed to make thyroid hormone such as selenium, zinc and iodine. Poor cell membrane function can cause thyroid problems as can high levels of trans fats.

Metabolic: Candida overgrowth and the use of NSAIDs (Celebrex and ibuprofen), can lead to a `leaky gut.' This in turn triggers the body to make antibodies that attack and destroy its own thyroid gland. This can be tested for using a thyroid antibodies test.

Other causes include virally caused damage to mitochondria, pituitary gland problems and chronic infections.

Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Edward Howell

I agree with this book when it says that digestive enzyme supplements improve digestive health, improve food intolerance and support the pancreas and the heart (by saving them the significant efforts needed to digest food) which improves general well being and physical functioning. Having lots of digestive enzymes available leaves your body with more energy and bodily resources free to do other jobs, such as healing the body from disease.

But I don't agree that the evidence (or simple logic) supports some of the other claims and recommendations in this book.

For example, this book talks about the importance of an enzyme rich diet. It then points out that foods which have a higher caloric value have a lot more enzymes in them; so foods such as meat, milk and eggs eaten raw (or lightly cooked in the case of meat and eggs) are high in enzymes and foods such as raw vegetables and fruits are very very low in enzymes.

Yet the book then goes on to talk about a diet very high in raw fruits and vegetables (75% is the figure quoted I think) being the most important thing for enzyme levels. How does that make any sense at all?

Wouldn't one wanting to follow this guideline do best making sure to eat the high enzyme foods raw such as meat, milk, honey and eggs eaten raw (or lightly cooked in the case of meat and eggs) and to make sure that intake of these high enzyme foods is adequate - as well as adding some extra high enzyme fermented foods to the diet too? Foods like fermented fish, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and so on. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is important to health of course but these other foods are far more important when it comes to taking in enzymes, and should at the very least be given equal billing as the fruits and vegetables, surely.

A diet that is 75% or more made up of raw fruits and vegetables is in fact a low enzyme diet, compared to a diet made up of lots of high enzyme foods like raw milk, kefir, and so on, as well as just cooked or raw vegetables. The book also says that the enzymes in enzyme capsules are far stronger than food enzymes. This is yet another reason a 75% raw fruit and vegetable diet without enzyme capsules is in fact a very low enzyme diet.

This book says that pigs that eat cooked potatoes fatten faster than those fed raw potatoes and that this must be because the lack of enzymes in the cooked potato. But surely the fact that starchy foods are well known to have more of an impact on blood sugar levels etc. when they are cooked would be a far more likely explanation? Pasta cooked al dente has less of an impact on blood sugar levels than pasta that is cooked until it is really soft, for example. Perhaps this fact wasn't known in 1946, I am not sure. The book advocates a diet high in carbohydrates, despite the fact that so many of us do very poorly on such a diet.

The book points to a study that showed that rats lived longer where they ate raw foods as compared to a processed 'chow' and claims that the only reason for this must be the lack of enzymes in the non-raw diet. But again, of course a diet with real food in it will be far healthier than a diet of highly processed food with a few added synthetic vitamins and minerals. It doesn't at all follow that this must be due to lack of enzymes. Again, there are other far bigger variables at play here. It is also a bit weird comparing the effects of cooked foods on animals and then on humans when only in humans was this something done by them for a long time, starting a long time ago. Rats are not well known for enjoying barbecues and cooking.

The book points to a study that showed that raw food was superior to tinned food. It is claimed that this can't possibly be due to a lack of vitamins in the tinned food, which is ridiculous as tinned foods are well known to have far lower vitamin levels and also to contain toxic compounds which act as anti-nutrients and so further deplete our nutrient stores. Again, there are other far bigger variables at play here. The author seems to know nothing at all of the mountains research done on nutrition and the role of vitamins and minerals in preventing and treating diseases. He writes off this whole topic fairly superficially. Of course foods with synthetic vitamins and minerals added will not have the same effect as real food, we don't even know all the different helpful compounds that make up each food and all the cofactors of each vitamin and so on, but this doesn't mean some supplements aren't immensely helpful and necessary.

One part of the book talks about a study that compared cooked food to raw food and found that raw food is superior. The raw food was a sprouted food of some sort and the cooked food was ....bread! Of course sprouts - one of the healthiest and most high-nutrient foods there is and entirely unprocessed - is going to be healthier than a highly processed and low-nutrient food like bread. There are so many more variables at play in this study than just raw versus cooked foods.

This book claims that because Eskimos eating a traditional diet doesn't get scurvy, and those eating tinned foods and other highly processed foods do, that this must be primarily due to lack of enzymes in processed foods. But it could be just as easily to do with a lack of vitamin C. The traditional Eskimo diet is high in vitamin C (from eating the adrenal glands and some other high vitamin C parts of animals) and the more carbohydrate you eat, the more vitamin C you need. So of course eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low in vitamin C would give you scurvy.

This book seems to be confusing the raw food issue with issues about unprocessed foods being healthier. Of course whole real foods are better for you than anything highly processed, but it doesn't follow that the sole or even main reason for this is lack of enzymes. There are many reasons why this is so.

I also disagree that raw vegetables are easier to digest than cooked ones. Some groups claim that the more foods we eat raw the healthier we will be, while other dispute this, and explain that humans have been heating for a very long time and that in fact cooking food makes many of the vitamins etc. more available to the body, lets us eat far more vegetables as cooking makes vegetables more compact and take less time to chew and so all vegetables we eat should be cooked. Healing expert Dr Lawrence Wilson writes:

"Many people advocate eating raw foods to obtain the "food enzymes" they contain. My experience is that this is not important. It is true that all foods contain certain enzymes that are damaged or destroyed by most cooking. Gentle steaming preserves a few of them. However, food enzymes are not the same as the digestive enzymes that are required to digest your food. It is not true that foods contain the enzymes needed to digest the food. Your body, not the food, must supply the bulk of the enzymes needed to digest the food. This is the important point. The only foods that I suggest people eat raw is certified or good quality raw dairy products and some other oils such as olive, flaxseed, and hempseed oils."

This tallies with my own experience. It is also backed up by books on gut health and digestion such as the GAPS diet and others. The book 'Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human' also has some good evidence on cooked vegetables being easier to digest than raw ones in the healthy stomach.

For me and for many other ill friends, eating raw vegetables is agony. They don't digest and just sit in the stomach like a rock, while cooked vegetables digest very easily. The idea that vegetables eaten raw are easier to digest is a myth that seems to never die. For many of us with severe digestion problems the difference between raw and cooked foods is like night and day.

Raw vegetables will often be very difficult for ill people to digest and may need to be avoided completely or almost completely until and unless digestion improves. Juices are usually an exception and easy to digest in a raw form due to the lack of fibre. Sometimes just lightly steaming vegetables will be enough, while others may need more moderate cooking to be digested well. Fruit may also be better tolerated if it is lightly cooked or even stewed first. Eating foods that you can digest easily, as opposed to foods that your stomach has problems with, means that your body has to expend less energy digesting your meals. Cooked foods may be digested more easily than raw foods, soaked and dried nuts and seeds are digested more easily than raw nuts, meats that are not overcooked are easier to digest than overcooked meats that have become tough, and so on.

I persevered for ages trying to eat a few of my vegetables raw, because I kept reading that the enzymes in these foods were important. When I started reading about how this information was wrong and switching almost entirely to cooked vegetables and even fruit...I felt such a big difference right away! So I really want to let others know about this if I can. The idea of raw vegetables being easier to digest is sadly written about as if it is a set in stone fact in dozens of otherwise very good health books I have been reading lately.

Eating cooked vegetables is also much more pleasant! They are easier to eat and taste far better too. Cooked strawberries are delicious and cooking stone fruit makes them taste amazing, even if the fruit wasn't the tastiest to begin with. Adding enzyme capsules and delicious homemade fermented foods such as sauerkraut made my stomach feel so much better too! Sauerkraut is easier to digest than a salad any day! You can feel the difference.

I agree with the author that cooking at very high heats isn't the best way to cook vegetables though, or anything else. Primitive man cooked food far less rigorously than we often do today.

Part of this book was written in 1946 I think, and parts of it perhaps in the 80s and 90s. So critiquing it in 2012 may be unfair. It is quite technical in parts, and not really aimed at a reader who just wants some simple tips to improve their health. It was interesting to read in parts though I thought.

Taking proteolytic enzymes systemically is something worth considering for every illness. Taken on an empty stomach these enzymes free up bodily energy and enzyme making ability for other healing related tasks. Taken with meals they can aid digestion too. There is good information on enzymes and dosages in book by Dr Sherry Rogers and books on the Gerson program, and many others.

 

• Everything You Need to Know About Enzymes: A Simple Guide to Using Enzymes to Treat Everything from Digestive Problems and Allergies to Migraines and Arthritis by Tom Bohager

The author is affiliated with the Enzymedica company, but I disagree that this makes the book totally worthless, for the following reasons:

- Only general recommendations for enzymes are given, NOT just links to products and brand names from the author's company and so it is entirely possible to read this book and buy enzymes from other manufacturers as the author makes this especially easy to do.
- The author recommends animal enzymes for some patients, or mixed animal and plant enzymes, this despite the fact that Enzymedica only makes plant enzyme products.
- The author helpfully lists other enzyme product brands, for those that choose not to buy Enzymedica products.

This is not just a sales pitch masquerading as a book, as books by some affiliated authors are. (I'm looking at you, Garden of Life!)

The author does not have an excessively heavy hand with promoting his own company, although the book does promote his company to some extent. But as the author is very passionate about enzymes and the company he is involved with focuses on enzymes, is it really such a big stretch to say that maybe the company does produce some of the best enzyme products out there?

(The iHerb reviews of their products would suggest that this in fact is the case, and these reviews are freely given by customers.)

This book contains good information about enzymes that will be helpful to those with many different diseases. The author explains that while enzymes taken to help digest meals, and reduce the metabolic load of the body, are the most important that extra enzymes taken on an empty stomach (so they work systemically) can also be helpful in many diseases.

Systemic enzymes can give the body more energy for healing, increase circulation, help make healthy white blood cells, help the body deal with heavy metal toxicity, help removed damaged cells form the body, saves the body from using up certain nutrients in digesting food and much more.

I disagreed with the author on a few minor points.

I disagree that low or high pH is best treated with pH specific products when they can far better be treated by diet and supplemental mineral adjustments. Such products seem to me to be a waste of money and to be missing the point of the pH issue which is having the body balanced and in good health. If your pH is off, maybe you need more magnesium in your diet or more magnesium supplementation, not just a general pH pill.

As with almost all books, the information on 'CFS' in this book is unhelpful and not factual and relates to vague and mild 'chronic fatigue' patients rather than all those (mis)diagnosed with 'CFS' as a whole. (See the HFME site for more information on this issue and why every 'CFS' diagnosis is a misdiagnosis. People given this misdiagnosis need proper diagnosis and care finally! 'CFS' must be abandoned.)

I also disagree that fasting and calorie restriction is healthy for some patients, and that raw vegetables are easy to digest due to a high enzyme content. A mostly raw and vegetarian diet is NOT suited to everyone and many of us digest cooked meats and vegetables far better than raw. I'm also a fan of animal enzymes rather than plant enzymes due to comments by other authors (such as Dr Sherry Rogers) on the superiority of animal enzymes.

Overall, this book is a brief but useful read if you can get a copy either from the library or buy a copy cheaply online. (I got mine for $2.95 from iHerb.) After taking enzymes with meals for some time, I am now also going to try systemic enzymes as well to try and give my body more metabolic energy to heal.

Outdated or non-recommended books

The vitamin guide : the complete guide to vitamins and minerals and how they are best used to promote health and well being by Nicola Reavley

Completely outdated and not recommended.


The Fourfold Path to Healing

'm a big fan of the Weston A Price website, as well as Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon.

But this book... was not even remotely in the same calibre.

For every useful fact on diet there was so many more very ignorant, simplistic and even offensive bits of nonsense, and airy fairy silliness. (About which planet is linked with which metal, and which bodily organ, and how this affects which homeopathic remedies you need, for example.)

The information on vitamin C was of an appalling standard and extremely ignorant and just plain wrong. All the masses of information showing the enourmous benefits of vitamin C were omitted entirely as well.

As for the suggestion that traditional peoples had fewer allergies because they 'took the long view' rather than thinking short term, and the case study of two kids with ear infections where one got well and the other with the same treatment didn't because they had an 'anxious mother' - these were not just silly, but very concerning.

People are abused with this type of 'blame the victim' nonsense all the time, and it is so unfair and can have a devastating impact on the patient, who is just asking to be treated for what is physically wrong with them! In the wrong hands this overemphasis of the mind-body link can be cruel. It is also completely unscientific.

(Sorry if this seems a bit of a rant but just about everyone I know that is ill has had a shocking encounter with a naturopath etc. who loftily expoused these same views and then blamed the victim again when they didn't help, rather than offering any real physical help.)

I'm so so glad I bought Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat but got this one from the LIBRARY! I can't take it back fast enough. It was just not for me.

The above mentioned books plus any of the books by Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Abram Hoffer, Andrew Saul or Dr Thomas Levy are such better choices for anyone concerned with their health and diet. These books take a genuinely scientific approach to health and diet and disease causation and treatment; an approach largely lacking in this book, for me. This book made me realise how good the other books I have been reading are. How logical, sensible and well referenced and reserched. (Plus they are working for me, and actually improving my very severe health problems, slowly but steadily.)

If you loved this book, then that is your prerogative of course and I wish you all the best with it. We are all different and have different opinions and views and I can also see that the author clearly has good motivations too. I'd never claim otherwise.

But this book was just not for me at all and I could in no way recommend it.

Best wishes to everyone with improving your health in whichever ways you choose, however!


Creating Health ... Yourself by Ross Taylor

 

Just awful. Full of so much incorrect information and terrible dietary advice. Avoid at all costs.

 


 

Environmental Medicine: A Practical, Participatory Course/Textbook by Natalie Golos

 

This book is very outdated and really contains not much more than detailed instructions on how to conduct pulse tests for food allergies and intolerances. I was directed to buy this book after asking a large Environmental Medicine group which would be the best book to buy to learn about this type of medicine. In my opinion a far better read on this topic would be any of the books by Dr Sherry Rogers or Dr Lawrence Wilson.

 


Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies by C. Norman Shealy

 

Some people are big fans of this book, and that is fine, but it just wasn't for me and so I plan to resell my copy online.

More than anything else, I don't see the point of putting so much effort into buying and taking herbal, aromatherapy, homeopathic and folk remedies when nutritional deficiencies are rampant and are the major cause (along with a high toxic load) of most diseases. These therapies can be useful, possibly, but surely it is far more important to correct actual deficiencies of nutrients that the body needs to function, before taking extra herbs and things that cannot really help very much anyway, while the major nutrient defiencies remain.

They are just band-aid solutions and don't get to the real heart of the matter at all.

I disagree very much with these therapies being listed in a way that gives them equal importance with basic nutritional and orthomolecular medicine. They are not as important and are secondary treatments at best rather than primary.

I could also have done with far fewer pictures and a lot more detailed information. Even serious diseases were given such little amounts of text explaining how to treat them. The information is therefore very superficial. It may well be exciting and helpful if this is one of the first books you have ever read on this topic, but if you're already quite well read, there is nothing here you wont have read before, and in far more complexity and detail, in many other books. Some of the information in the book was also very outdated and much of it disagreed with other experts in the points being discussed. (The very poor section on vitamin C for example.)

I bought this book after being impressed with parts of Dr Shealy's website, as well as a prompt and very helpful answer to a question I asked via the website, but I found the book nowhere near as good as the website, unfortunately. I'd instead recommend books by Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Lawrence Wilson, Dr Abram Hoffer and Andrew Saul, among others.

Evolving Health: The Origins of Illness and How the Modern World Is Making Us Sick by Noel Thomas Boaz

I'm a very big supporter of the ideas behind evolutionary medicine, but this book was very poorly done and offered poor quality advice as well. There are far better books on this topic out there.

There is no depth to be had in this book, and much of the claims and content were dubious or plain wrong. At first the book seemed okay, then I thought it was okay except for a few wrong bits of information but by about halfway through I knew the book had far more poor information than good and was quite unimpressed with it.

There is so much speculation based on very flimsy evidence and little useful advice. The author seems to be just sharing his own opinions and than finding things to back them up later on, maybe.

A low fat diet is recommended, as well as a high-protein and low carb diet - this despite the fact many books explain that a high-protein diet is not what we are suited for and that safe low carb diets need to contain ample fat and in fact be high fat. We need healthy fats for our cells to work properly and our whole bodies. The author is also wrong when he says saturated fat is bad for the heart. We evolved to eat lots of saturated animal fat! It is the unnatural vegetables oils so common today in processed foods which are the problem, not the fats we have evolved to eat and have been eating for thousands of years.

20% of calories from fat is just not enough for many of us to be healthy, and 45 - 50% carbs is way too much. This is the type of diet that has caused the problems, for many of us.

Unrefined sea salt is also part of a healthy diet, as other books on evolutionary medicine explain. Salt doesn't cause heart disease. The author also supports the use of diuretics and cardiac drugs in passing, which is concerning, as is his claim that we have no need at all of supplements if we eat a healthy diet. He then goes on to make some appallingly and embarrassingly ignorant comments about vitamin C and Linus Pauling.

Dr Abram Hoffer explains that we need about 45 different nutrients in optimal quantities. He also explains that no nutrient works alone, and that an enzyme reaction that needs three different nutrients to take place, requires all three nutrients and so no one nutrient should be considered more important than the other.

Some nutrients can be obtained in reasonable amounts in food, while others will sometimes or always require the use of supplements to ensure optimal levels. It is not true as some claim that the optimum levels of all nutrients can be obtained through diet alone.

Supplements are necessary, for the following reasons:

1. The soils used to grow our food are often very depleted.
2. The levels and types of toxic pollution and toxic chemicals we are exposed to are vastly higher now than they were in the past (which requires far higher levels of nutrients than were necessary in the past, to deal with them).
3. Many nutrients in food are fragile and only remain fully intact when food is picked and then eaten immediately. 4. Storing foods for long times and heavily processing foods can dramatically lower nutrient levels in the food and may destroy some nutrients entirely; for example, oranges have been found to contain between 100 mg of vitamin C and 0 mg of vitamin C, each.
5. The high levels of sugar in the diet of many people is also problematic as sugar is an anti-nutrient.

Supplements are necessary and eating well is also important. As Dr Sherry Rogers writes, 'What you eat has more power over disease than any medication your doctor can prescribe. Food is awesomely powerful.'

The importance of vitamin C in any healing or disease prevention regime cannot be overstated, and the substance is one of the safest to take that we have. (See any of the books by the vitamin C experts such as Levy, Cathcart, Pauling etc. for details and full references.)

So the dietary and supplement advice in this book is very average, to say the least. People battling serious illness need more thorough and better researched advice than this if they are to heal. It is essential.

Far better books include: Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life and Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, among several others.