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Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients--and Natural Ways to Restore Them Paperback – February 15, 2011
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About the Author
Suzy Cohen, RPh, has been a licensed pharmacist for more than 20 years and writes the syndicated health column "Dear Pharmacist." She has made guest appearances as "America's Most Trusted Pharmacist" on many network shows, including The View and The Dr. Oz Show, and hosts a medical minute on the syndicated TV health show Know the Cause. Suzy is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine, American College for Advancement in Medicine, and the American Association of Anti-Aging Medicine.
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The book starts off by explaining that synthetic chemicals cure nothing and can leave you sicker as they deplete nutrients or make certain nutrients unusable by the body.
There are sections on most of the B vitamins as well as some of the minerals and other vitamins. They were quite detailed and made for interesting reading. A bit of information was included about the best forms of each nutrient which was good, and some brand recommendations were given for each nutrient. More sections including all the B vitamins and the minerals would have made the book a lot better and more complete. The dosages given seemed reasonable for most things and weren't those silly and out of date `2 mg of thiamine' type ones you still get in some recent books.
Newer concepts like the need for activated folate if you have an MTHFR polymorphism were included but in some parts they could have been a bit clearer. The information about how to test for MTHFR seemed out of date as the test is not expensive anymore. Synthetic folic acid is also recommended throughout the book which is no good if you have MTHFR and considering that many have MTHFR issues and do not know it is not ideal. Some good information about the benefits of activated folate was included however, even if it was quite basic. (I just heard a great interview with the author and Dr Ben Lynch, so I assume this issue will be fixed in future books!)
Some sections were a bit unclear on the details. In the CoQ10 section the benefits of ubiquinol (reduced CoQ10) over ubiquinone (CoQ10) were mentioned but then the dosage recommendations given didn't specify which type was being discussed. Later on the author mentions that 50 mg ubiquinol is the equivalent of 100 mg of ubiquinone which is helpful, although the 2x figure is quite different to others I have read (e.g. between 3 and 4x by cardiologist Dr Sinatra.) But even knowing that it's still not clear which form was referred to in the given dosages.
The term folic acid is used interchangeably with 5-MTHF at times and this is incorrect. To say that vitamin C causes kidney stones is also incorrect. Tofu is listed as a source of vitamin B12 but actually B12 experts say that plant foods such as tofu in fact contain B12 analogues which do not give the body any of the B12 it needs and also block the absorption of B12 from other sources. They mimic B12 in some ways but the body can't use them as B12. These foods should actually be avoided if B12 is low.
There is a bit of vegetarian bias in the book which was disappointing. Soy is listed as a food that significantly lowers thyroid hormone levels yet the recommendation is not to avoid soy, but to just take more thyroid hormone. That's pretty bad advice. Soy is not a health food! (See `The Whole Soy Story' book.) Beta carotene is listed as far better and safer to take than preformed vitamin A form animal foods, despite the fact many of us convert beta carotene to vitamin A very poorly. Getting some real vitamin A in foods such as liver is not dangerous and is in fact an extremely healthy choice. Liver is the real superfood.
Agave nectar is mentioned as a safer sweetener (?) and grape seed oil is mentioned as an oil to cook with and protein powders are listed as healthy foods. The nutritional information in this book is not great and the book would have been better if it were all omitted as this seems to be not the authors speciality. Some outdated and wrong information is included.
Probably the worst part is when the author talks about how stupid and mad you'd have to be to eat a high fat diet and so get your arteries `all clogged up' dangerously. The author really needs to do some more recent reading on this topic and why the saturated fat = heart disease hypothesis is junk science. Plus on why low carb or ketogenic diets can be very healthy as well and are in no way `as bad for you' as low fat diets as the author claims. Books like Primal Body, Primal Mind and The Great Cholesterol Con and Know Your Fats and many others explain these facts well.
I most liked the bits of the book where the author talked about the more cutting edge information on the superiority of activated forms of B2, B6 and B12 as well as folate. I took lots of notes. Almost nobody discusses who needs the active forms of each nutrient and why. Few experts even recommend coenzymated vitamins - especially B2. But if you have low thyroid levels, poor digestion, low stomach acid or gut flora issues then taking your B2 in the activated form is actually a very good idea as you may convert the standard form to the active form very poorly. The Thorne products which contain activated forms of the B vitamins were listed too, which is great. More people need to know about those high quality products.
Some of the general information about why drugs wont cure you was also very good, as were the sections on why the RDI of nutrients has nothing to do with the optimum level for each person, how much nutrient needs vary per person and stage of life, and why what is important is the optimum level of a nutrient - not merely the RDI. The RDIs for most nutrients are ridiculously low.
Overall this book is an essential read for anyone taking prescription medications. Hopefully it will help people cut down on drugs a lot and also make it safer to take those few that may remain. The information is not quite comprehensive enough to be a sole source of information about supplements and nutrients but it's a very good start. Recommended reading for anyone taking prescription or OTC drugs daily. 3.5 stars.
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
A family member who is a Pharm D. was initially skeptical. But after browsing the book during a week's stay with us, she seemed completely won over.