Here are a selection of recommended books on various health topics with special emphasis placed on improving food and lifestyle choices.

Healthful Eating and Lifestyles

”Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life”

If you had to get just one book to understand how the typical American diet is toxic and ruins your body and mind and what to do about it, this is the one. After borrowing this from the library and earnestly reading it cover-to-cover, I found it was wide-ranging and yet packed with details and practical information. So I bought myself a copy for future re-reading and reference.

Nora Gedgaudas is a nutritionist and neurofeedback specialist who has figured out that many mental health problems, including her own past decades of depression, sometimes do not respond to therapy and neurofeedback because they are driven by nutritional deficiencies and toxin excesses.

The writing has an entertaining and even amusing nature, particularly it if you enjoy a bit of dry humor and pointed cartoons interspersed with the main text.

The author’s position is that many health problems today are not primarily because of slow-changing genetics but because of how our genes didn’t develop in an environment much like the one we have today. Agriculture is only about 10,000 years old. Our genes are not much different from those of humans from way back then, yet we now have to contend with piles of new problems that evolution hasn’t had enough time to solve for us:

  • Estrogen-like chemicals leaking out of plastic (clothes, packaging, water bottles, etc.) into our bodies
  • Fire retardants in our clothes and food (bromine) that block the essential nutrient iodine
  • Artificial sweeteners that are brain excitotoxins
  • Grains that have been manipulated by breeding and genetic engineering to create unique kinds of proteins that never existed in the past and therefore can’t be digested by the human body
  • Plants with strong anti-predator defenses (soy) that harm health so much that even animals would not eat much until they were forced to do so by farmers
  • Mercury. aluminum, and other toxins in our medicines and vaccines

The diet she advocates is a Paleo/Primal style diet that is low carbohydrate but includes adequate slow digesting carbohydrates via vegetables.

If there’s a weak point in this book, it is that Gedgaudas is light on the explanation of gut bacteria and how they contribute to health. There is one chapter with some mention on this and the ties to autoimmunity, but it could stand to be about 10 times longer. However, this book was written before a lot of information on the gut biome became well known. This shortcoming is one that almost all healthy diet books have, but in a few more years that may change.

Bacterial foods sources are essential to maintaining a good gut biome. If you miss out on them such as by using a low carb diet that omits them, you will almost certainly regret it when your health improvements in the early stages turn around and you have a big mess of problems involving digestion and possibly allergies and autoimmunity. Healthy gut bacteria process fibers and hard to digest carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids needed to keep the large intestine healthy. Miss either the bacteria or the food they need and you create many problems for yourself. More than a few VLC (very low carb) ketogenic diet advocates have experienced this if they didn’t take the advice to pump up the low-carb veggies seriously. Ironically, the typical American who eats heaps of bread and pasta but not enough veggies actually lucks out a bit on the potential damage because grains do have some fiber and so some of the gut bacteria get enough to eat which is better than most or all of them starving.

Perhaps in a future revision, Gedgaudas could add a special section on gut biome maintenance hazards like these. Many of the people who made mistakes in this area read her book but somehow got so fixated on cutting back on the carbs that they ate barely any vegetables and relied instead on nutrient-rich animal foods that by themselves don’t feed the gut bacteria well enough.

Included are very good chapters on understanding the basics of the major flaws in the American diet and lifestyle and how they are connected with many diseases, including leaky gut, celiac, and digestive problems, adrenal exhaustion, and autoimmune diseases that afflict a large portion of the population these days.

The chapter on the digestive system is a great introduction to how it works, common problems, and things that are likely to help such as stomach acid supplements and digestive enzymes.

The chapters on fats help you understand that the human body is really good at fat and if you don’t have enough cholesterol you will be sick because it is the fat used to make many hormones needed for good health and is even incorporated into cell membranes throughout the body. She discusses how most people do not get enough omega-3 fats but do get way too many omega-6 fats and why the usual industrial cooking oils used in restaurants and processed foods wreck your cell membranes and contribute to development of all sorts of common epidemics such as diabetes and obesity.

If you’re a diabetic or live with one, the sections on controlling diabetes and weight are a great introduction to the main ideas and how to apply them.

There’s a condition called pyroluria which involves a genetic problem with the use of zinc, GLA (gamma linoleic acid), and vitamin B6 which can cause many symptoms that overlap with chronic illness and mental health conditions. This book is one of the few that discuss the problem, how to test for it, and how to use supplements to overcome it.

There is even a chapter on the harm caused by artificial EMF (electromagnetic fields), likening it to the harm caused by tobacco use. However, EMF is even worse. Most people cannot escape from high levels of EMF unless they can afford to move to the middle of nowhere and/or install Faraday cages and other filtering and screening devices to create safe zones. Even then, it has so permeated the entire Earth’s environment that you will be exposed to it at lower levels. She explains easy ways to cut back on exposure such as shutting off your Wi-Fi router at night, not putting cell phones up to your head and using speakerphone mode, avoiding Bluetooth headsets entirely, and other steps.

There is also a section containing sample menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks so you can see better how to apply the concepts to your own diet.

If you happen to suffer from chronic exhaustion and low energy levels, do yourself a favor and take a look at the author’s latest book, ”RETHINKING FATIGUE: What Your Adrenals Are Really Telling You And What You Can Do About It”. In this title, she shows that adrenal exhaustion is often not caused by problems in the adrenal glands but nutritional deficiencies and problems with the brain and pituitary gland and suggests what you can do about it. For one, she does not agree with the 1950’s science view of adrenal problems that is used by most of the naturopathic and alternative health community. (Note that she has pointed out that mainstream doctors are about a century behind those folks, so don’t think you’re going to get much help from them.) The ideas and evidence she cites for this are convincing, and many of the suggested steps to take are affordable and are things you should be trying anyway even if you are not totally exhausted.

”Epi-paleo Rx: The Prescription for Disease Reversal and Optimal Health”

Neurosurgeon Jack Kruse, MD, discusses how he lost 140 pounds and healed his health problems by using foods and lifestyle changes. The steps he suggested yield epigenetic effects on the body. For instance, cutting far back on carbohydrates, eating plenty of safe fats, and eating a big protein rich breakfast helps turn off insulin and leptin resistance and turn on fat burning and tissue synthesis and repair mechanisms.

The diet recommendations are much like a ketogenic flavor of the Paleo/Primal diets. However, stronger than usual emphasis is put on eating seafood (shellfish, fish, sea vegetables) because of the human need for iodine and DHA for building and repairing the entire nervous system from brain to peripheral nerves.

Supplementation is used to cover nutritional gaps that can’t be easily fixed via improved diet alone, but he emphasizes food over pills by far.

Kruse’s lifestyle recommendations include using circadian biology such as light color variations by time of day (blue light from sunrise to sunset, no blue light but instead red light from sunset to sunrise) and the use of cold to trigger the use of fat as a primary fuel and increase the rate of repair processes. Following the daily light cycle by getting lots of blue light in the mornings and avoiding blue light exposure at night is crucial because it helps the body run the right biological processes so you can sleep and heal well and are not hungry all the time. Likewise, he reasons that following the seasonal hot/cold cycles helps the body figure out when it is time to burn off fats (fall and especially winter) and when it can tolerate eating a little more fruit and starches (spring and summer).

Kruse is very controversial with his opinions on “cold thermogenesis” and the helpful and harmful effects of EMF (electromagnetic fields). His thinking in these areas is based upon solid research done by many others, particularly biophysics researchers. How he has integrated these ideas shows he really understands a wide range of issues affecting health and can stretch to come up with new ways to apply this understanding.

Part of the problem some have with Kruse is that his writing is rather stream of consciousness at times and could use an independent editor to fix silly spelling mistakes. But don’t let that roughness detract from the depth and breadth of the information he discusses.

The proof of these ideas is in the results. He and others following these strategies have shown it is possible to achieve rapid weight loss and muscle and cognition building even in many people with diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and many other epidemic chronic health care problems such as leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue.

This information and much more is available mostly for free on Kruse’s website, but you will spend far more time finding and understanding the basics on the website than if you learn it assembled into this book. However, even if you get the book, you’ll also want to keep up to date with his latest writing as he regularly adds interesting content to the website that goes well beyond what is covered in the book.

”The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine”

Terry Wahls, MD, developed multiple sclerosis that progressively got so bad that she could not walk and even had trouble sitting in a chair. Her disease got worse despite being a doctor who knew where to go for the most “advanced” treatments for MS at the “best” clinics. Eventually, she realized that conventional medicine was not going to fix her problems. She dove into learning all she could about functional medicine and nutrition and developed a diet and supplement protocol that has reversed her MS and has profoundly helped other MS patients, too.

Her diet recommendations are very similar to autoimmune protocol versions of Paleo/Primal diets. More specifically, the diet and recommended supplements are very much like the recommendations of neurosurgeon Jack Kruse. If two bright people have similar ideas that have been shown to work, surely they are on to something.

Other areas Wahls covers are stress management techniques such as meditation and the use of electrostimulated exercise. Using supplemental electrical currents can help rebuild myelin sheathing around nerves that are frequently so badly damaged in MS patients that they can barely carry a signal.

Be sure to click through to the Amazon reviews for this book to see what actual MS patients think of it. Many of the readers are folks suffering from multiple sclerosis who have seen dramatic improvements in their energy, pain, and ability to move by applying Wahls’ advice.

Even if you don’t have MS, consider reading this book. The advice is applicable to essentially everybody who is interested in better health. In particular, it is likely to help anybody with chronic diseases and especially autoimmune diseases.

”The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life”

Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet is another flavor of Paleo/Primal autoimmune protocol diet with heavy similarities to the diet recommendations of Terry Wahls, MD, and Jack Kruse, MD. The difference is that Asprey isn’t interested in just great health, he also aims to attain supercharged brain functionality. For example, by using ketogenic MCT fats derived from coconut in his enhanced coffee (Bulletproof Coffee), he shows how you can provide your brain with a much better fuel than the glucose to which most people’s brains are accustomed.

Like Jack Kruse, Asprey has shared most all of this information for free on his website. His podcasts are fantastic, very educational and sure to keep you busy listening for hundreds of hours. Asprey goes way beyond diet. He uses a variety of techniques to improve brain function and sleep from simple ones anybody can do cheaply (controlling colored light exposure to match the day/night cycle) to moderately priced ones like heart rate variability training devices and special light filtering glasses for blocking light frequencies that cause brain stress to really expensive techniques that few can afford such as training camps using EEG equipment to learn how to meditate. This book is a great introduction to his ideas, but be sure to follow his podcast and website for far more information.

”The Better Baby Book: How to Have a Healthier, Smarter, Happier Baby”

Before Dave Asprey became famous for ”The Bulletproof Diet”, he and his wife Dr. Lana Asprey wrote a book on how to have a healthy baby. Most of the core concepts for the diet advice in this book are similar to the ”The Bulletproof Diet”, but this title includes extensive advice on how to become healthier prior to conception and what to do during pregnancy and after birth to increase the health of your baby. There is special focus on women who have had difficulty becoming pregnant due to PCOS or similar problems that is based upon the challenges the Aspreys overcame to have their two healthy kids.

”The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings–Naturally”
Julia Ross runs a tremendously successful treatment program for people with eating disorders, excess weight, substance abuse, and mood and anxiety problems. She has found that nutrition and supplements can make a dramatic difference for people struggling to overcome such challenges. In ”The Diet Cure”, Ross details protocols she uses to help her many patients who have unsuccessfully tried many more traditional approaches such as psychotherapy and fad diets. Because this book covers so many common problems such as poor mood, low energy due to thyroid problems, weight gain, cravings for sugars and carbs, and yeast overgrowth, it is almost certainly going to offer something of benefit to you if you are in anything less than perfect health.

America’s Broken Healthcare System

”Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine”

Former family doctor and current Harvard professor John Abramson explains why he thinks the American healthcare system is a huge failure. Coming from a doctor who gave up his practice after seeing there is less and less a doctor can do to actually help patients, this is a scathing indictment of the healthcare industry and government.

The way the US healthcare system functions is to do everything possible to sell drugs, devices, and procedures regardless of whether they work any better than older options and regardless of how much more deadly they may be. Patients see drug company advertising that makes it look like some new drug is the answer to all their problems and go to their doctor insisting on getting the drug. The doctor may tell them that it costs 10 times as much, has no better results than the cheaper older drugs, and has some serious side effects. But no, these patients MUST have their drugs or they will fire their doctor and find another. And that is why John Abramson, family doctor, quit and became a professor.

Major areas covered:

  • Doctors are given incentives to be drug pushers for their pharmaceutical company reps. If you as a doctor don’t agree to be a drug pusher, you won’t be invited to conferences and dinners and educational seminars any longer.
  • Prescription drug advertising misleads consumers
  • Frequent failure to communicate serious side effects or to play them down, going so far as to send unintelligible warning notices to doctors fashioned and delivered in such a way that they will be unlikely to read them and understand there is a big problem with a drug
  • Most new drugs are little better than far less expensive older drugs
  • Drug study fraud, including methods used to commit the fraud such as excluding unfavorable data and rigging study populations and control treatments to show unrealisticly favorable results to support marketing of a new drug
  • Academic institutions are essentially owned by industry as they willing to bias their opinions in exchange for donations and research grants
  • Medical school training is largely controlled by the healthcare industry and so is used to indoctrinate new doctors to push treatments that are often more expensive, more dangerous, and more profitable than older treatments
  • Medical journals refuse to publish credible information that goes against pharmaceutical company financial interests, even if people will die because this information is not known by doctors
  • FDA is toothless at enforcement
  • FDA brass has ordered all enforcement letters to go through FDA legal counsel, therefore cutting them down to a fraction of what they were before
  • When an FDA employee actually tries to do his/her job protecting the public from harm, the upper brass at FDA will silence the employee with threat of job loss if a big company doesn’t like what the FDA staff found about a drug or device
  • US President and high level politicians interfere with drug and device approvals and court cases, even threatening employees with being fired if they respond to legitimate public inquiries into drug and device study data
  • Change standards such as cholesterol guidelines to use as marketing and brainwashing propaganda to push the public and doctors into treating low-risk blood test abnormalities with pricey drugs that have severe risk of their own
  • US healthcare is more about improving profits for big companies than improving people’s health

The book includes many detailed examples of the above abusive conduct. It covers Merck’s Vioxx drug and the collusion with the FDA to keep the drug on the market for four years despite strong evidence it was causing serious harm to patients and had no significant advantages, aside from being more profitable, versus older arthritis painkiller drugs.

Vioxx is not unique. Celebrex and Bextra are similar examples. So is the entire realm of female hormone replacement therapy with drugs like the horse urine derived Premarin that likely contributed to the deaths of many yet stayed on the market far longer than it should have because the FDA would do nothing to protect the public. The same pattern of covering up adverse effects to enable billions of dollars in more sales while people are dying from the drugs is repeated over and over again for many of the best-selling drugs on the market today. These the billion-dollar blockbusters such as statins, antidepressants, and painkillers. They are the kinds of drugs that tens of millions of people are using every day.

The result of all this biased and even criminal activity is that US healthcare is hugely expensive and doesn’t actually do much to improve the health of anything but the corporate profit margin. In 2004, Abramson estimated that fixing the above problems could save $500 billion per year on healthcare spending and do so with better results for patients.

The weak points in this book are primarily due to the author being part of the conventional medical profession. Even though he is obviously very bright and well-intentioned, the sort of doctor you hope all doctors would be more like, he unfortunately is still a product of this broken system. The book is very much lacking in information on using diet and lifestyle to prevent most costly health problems in the first place. There is no information on the promise of functional medicine and alternative medical practices such as orthomolecular medicine that work by identifying root causes of illnesses and then using nutrients and detoxification treatments to fix them.

What you will get out of this book is that you as a person are nothing but a dupe to defraud and harm and that your purpose in life is to get sick, buy drugs and devices and surgeries that will not actually heal you, and die when you are out of money to keep paying the fraudsters who run this system. Your friendly mainstream doctor is likely so brainwashed that he or she doesn’t even know this is how the system works. That is exactly why you should be looking to avoid this entire system except for the few bright points it has, like patching up somebody from a GSW (gun shot wound) or car crash. Mainstream medicine is fairly good at that, likely because it is a lot like patching up soldiers to go send them out to do some more killing for their government and corporate masters. But mainstream medicine is an abysmal failure at curing any chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Why should they want to cure these diseases? It is against their own financial interests because they would lose sales and profits. Much better to keep people sick with more and more diseases until their bodies are so wrecked they can’t function at all and they (and their families) run out of money to keep paying for this profitable abuse.

Bottom line, read this book because you need to understand how destructive the US healthcare system is to patients everywhere. Abramson has done a stellar job on this task.

Don’t read this book expecting you’re going to learn how to manage your own health because you will be disappointed. The author was simply not of that mindset, and therefore you will have to get that information elsewhere. Look to many of the other books on this recommendation list for such information.

Functional Medicine

”Feel Good Nutrigenomics: Your Roadmap to Health”

Dr. Amy Yasko is famous for helping countless kids (and their families) suffering from autism. Yasko’s key insights into autism and many other neurological diseases include the role of nutritional deficits, exposures to excessive toxins, and how genetic variations affect these.

Certain gene variations, such as the very common methylation gene variants found in something like half the population, cause a need for higher or lower levels or even certain forms of certain nutrients. For example, if you have certain variations then the form of folate (folic acid) found by law in most breads and baked goods plus also in most common prenatal supplements and multivitamins is actually toxic to you. You would need another form of it such as methylfolate, and you would need to cut out the foods, drinks, and supplements containing the toxic form.

Gene variations can also impair or speed up specific detoxification pathways. This can make you more vulnerable to harm from infections or dental fillings and can drive the need for higher or lower levels of nutrients such as sulfur in order to keep those detox pathways running at a safe rate.

If all this sounds complex, this might be the book for you because it is intended to introduce these concepts to the average person who is not familiar with how food and toxins interact with genetics. The book does not have enough information to figure out exactly what to do in terms of change in your supplements, diet, and lifestyle, however. For that, you’ll have to rely on other books such as Yasko’s ”Autism: Pathways to Recovery” which can also be downloaded as a free PDF. Other good resources for such information are the website of Dr. Sarah Myhill and many of the healthy eating and lifestyle books listed above.

Chronic Fatigue and Pain

”The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, Made Easy!”

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s second book is an easier-to-read guide to understanding what is happening inside the bodies of people with chronic fatigue and pain. He includes recommendations on improving nutrition using supplements, getting more sleep, fighting infections, fixing hormones, and medical tests you may need to figure out what to do and whether it is working for you.

His first book, ”From Fatigued to Fantastic: A Clinically Proven Program to Regain Vibrant Health and Overcome Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia New, revised third edition” has more detailed information but because it more technical and longer (at 450 pages!) it might be too much for somebody who is extremely tired and in pain to read.

”Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: it’s mitochondria, not hypochondria!”

Dr. Sarah Myhill is a UK clinician who has specialized in treating difficult illnesses involving chronic fatigue and pain such a ME/CFS. Her book outlines the mitochondrial theory of these diseases. Even if you do not suffer from a chronic fatigue or pain condition, this information may interest you because in all likelihood, problems with mitochondria are a significant factor (in some cases even the primary factor) in many other illnesses including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

Much of this information is also available on Dr. Sarah Myhill’s website.

Nervous System

Treating the Brain: What the Best Doctors Know

”Treating the Brain: What the Best Doctors Know”

In today’s world, neurological problems such as Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s are rapidly increasing in prevalence compared to ages past. Dr. Walter G. Bradley, MD, is an editor for one of the textbooks used to train neurologists, doctors who specialize in the brain and nervous system. In this title, Bradley outlines the current mainstream medical understanding of the basic function and organization of the brain. He then proceeds to discuss most of the better known neurological problems including Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s Disease, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries including paralysis, brain cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), migraines and headaches, and problems in the peripheral nervous system including carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

Bradley does an excellent job of providing a useful level of detail in a way that non-technical interested readers can understand it. After reading this book, you’ll have a basic understanding of the symptoms, identified biological mechanisms behind the conditions, and conventional treatments for the conditions listed. You’ll also have a better understanding of the brain in the human head, but alas not much is covered about the enteric nervous system, the brain in your gut, that is often involved in common human illnesses such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Notably, the enteric brain may also be involved in many diseases considered to be primarily focused on the brain in the head. For more on the enteric nervous system, see the book ”The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine”.

The biggest downside of this book is that it does not include alternative treatments that in many cases can work as well or better than the conventional treatments. In particular, nothing is said about the use of improved diets to deal with nervous system problems.

For example, nothing is said about the use of ketogenic diets to reduce or eliminate epileptic seizures. They are well known to be effective in many patients who are willing to switch to a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carbohydrate diet using foods that allow the body to maintain a high level of ketones, small fat molecules that the brain can use for fuel besides the glucose provided by conventional high-carbohydrate diets.

Ketogenic diets can be tweaked to avoid protein sources that provide high levels of amino acids that cancer cells can use to live and grow. Such low-protein ketogenic diets may be a great option to help slow down the spread of cancer, or even to reverse it. They may not be enough on their own to fully heal cancer, but the work of biomedical researcher Thomas Seyfriend PhD shows that there is a realistic mechanism to explain how they can help starve out cancer cells so that the human immune system can mop up the mess faster than the cancer can grow. Watch the video AHS12 Thomas Seyfried PhD —Targeting Energy Metabolism in Brain Cancer for more information.

Similar types of high-fat low-carb diets focused on reducing toxins and increasing nutrition are also known to help with other conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Terry Wahls, MD, is known for her nutritional approach she developed to reverse her own severe MS and has been using in clinical studies with MS patients. See her book ”The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine” for more information. Also be sure to watch her video AHS12 Terry Wahls, MD — Minding My Mitochondria.

The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine

”The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine”

Michael Gershon, MD, provides a fascinating look into both his research and that of collaborators into the nature of the “enteric brain”, the portion of the human nervous system that is populated with more neurons than the spinal cord and capable of running the digestive system from stomach on down without much involvement from the brain in one’s head.

Much of the book is a section by section guided tour of how the digestive system works, starting from the mouth and ending with the anus. It is amazing just how much of the work is done without the involvement of the cranial brain. If that’s the only thing you read, it is alone quite worthwhile.

The books includes many interesting discussions of disease mechanisms involving serotonin production in the gut and interactions with cholera, IBS, and other digestive disorders as well as with SSRI antidepressants. Gershon explains why antidepressants often cause digestive problems such as diarrhea and poor digestion because of how they can increase gut serotonin which triggers overly rapid movement of food through the small intestines.

Humorous and personally revealing comments abound. The author’s account of his own research struggles offers insights into the political and combative nature of scientific research community. Anybody who suffered the delusion that scientists are unemotional and dedicated to finding the truth will be jerked back to reality by many examples of years or even decades spent arguing over theories trying to explain evidence where it turns out that much of the dispute was more about emotions, reputations, and biases than scientific facts.

The biggest weakness in this book is the absence of information on the gut biome, the community of trillions of microorganisms that are essential to digestion and health. This is understandable given that so much of the basic research in this area was done years after Gershon’s book. To address this weakness, you’ll need to read another title. One promising tome is ”Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues”, briefly discussed below.

Digestive System

”Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues”
Martin J. Blaser’s title includes extensive information on the harm of antibiotics, C-section births, failure to breastfeed infants, and avoiding contact with good sources of healthy bacteria such as eating fermented foods or spending time around animals. With the wrong gut bacteria and yeasts, you can expect to develop autoimmune conditions such as asthma, ulcerative colitis, and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). If you manage to evade autoimmunity, there are many other common problems such chronic ear and sinus infections, obesity, diabetes, acid reflux such as GERD, and even cardiovascular disease that are being tied to problems with too little good bacteria in your body.

Even mental health care conditions such as depression may be tied to gut bacteria as they are one of the major producers of the important neurotransmitter serotonin. A superior treatment for depression might include steps to restore devastated populations of beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and production of important biological compounds.

A health gut biome requires variety and balance. Blaser discusses the example of Helicobacter pylori. Overgrowth of this in the stomach can cause ulcers. But wiping it out with antibiotics is not a great solution. That same bacteria helps prevent other infections and may be tied to how the body using the fat and energy sensing and appetite influencing hormones leptin and ghrelin, and the antibiotics will wipe out many other beneficial bacteria.

Blaser also covers the problems of overuse of antibiotics in farming. They are used to fatten up animals, much as they do to humans. Along the way, they help create new bacterial variants that can resist antibiotics and become even more dangerous threats to animal and human health then the susceptible forms were.

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