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From the Townsend Letter
June 2009

Book Review
A New Classic on Nutrition
review by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

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Food and Nutrients in Disease Management
edited by Ingrid Kohlstadt, MD, MPH
CRC Press;
©2009; Hardcover; $149.95; 740 pp.

There are some books that have "classic" written all over them, destined to take up a permanent position within arm's reach in the library of every writer, researcher, and clinician concerned with holistic health. These are the books that make you wonder how you ever lived without them – Murray's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine comes to mind, as does the NIH's Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements and the Institute for Functional Medicine's Textbook of Functional Medicine.

Food and Nutrients in Disease Management is such a book.

Edited by regular
Townsend Letter columnist Ingrid Kohlstadt, MD, MPH (who also contributed an excellent chapter on obesity), the book brings together some of the best and brightest thinkers in integrative medicine, each of whom contributes an article on a specific disorder. It consists of 43 chapters arranged in nine well-conceived sections: (1) Disorders of the Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat, (2) Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases, (3) Gastrointestinal Diseases, (4) Endocrine and Dermatologic Disorders, (5) Renal Disease, (6) Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders, 7) Musculoskeletal and Soft Tissue Disorders, (8) Neoplasms, and (9) Reproductive Health.

Within each section are several chapters, each on a different condition. The conditions include all those you might expect – dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, asthma, ADHD, autism, diabetes, obesity, acne, irritable bowel, depression, Parkinson's – and quite a few that you might not (chemosensory disorders, rhinosinusitis, seizures, and renal calculi). Each article presents basic information about the disease itself, followed by an excellent and concise accounting of the traditional pharmaceutical research that pertains to it, and then gives a fair and unbiased reading of the evidence for the effects of nutritional factors, food, and supplements on each disease. In fact, it is the fair-mindedness and lack of agenda that will make this book acceptable to even traditional, conservative, nutrition-shunning medical doctors. Because it is so evidence based, it should go a long way towards winning over even the most conventional practitioners to the idea of the usefulness of dietary and nutritional interventions in treatment protocols.

While each contributor organizes his or her material slightly differently, most chapters follow a similar outline. The excellent chapter "Dyslipidemia and Atherosclerosis" by Douglas Triffon, MD, and Erminia Guarneri, MD, for example, begins with an introduction, then is followed by a brief section on epidemiology; a section on patient evaluation and risk assessment; and in-depth discussions of LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, apo B, Lp(a), high-sensitivity CRP, lipid ratios, and homocysteine. Each section is brief, to the point, and copiously annotated, providing an excellent summary of the most important and relevant research findings. The research on several nutrients important for the condition being discussed – in this case, vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids – is then summarized, followed by a section on drug-nutrient interactions and one on diet.

Brilliant authors and clinicians whose work rarely appears together in one volume fill this book. Nearly every reader will have his or her favorites – mine include Mark Houston's definitive chapter on hypertension, Steve Sinatra's on congestive heart failure, Mark Hyman's on gastroesophageal reflux disease, Russell Jaffe's on food reactivities, Patricia Kane and colleagues on autistic spectrum disorder, David Perlmutter on Parkinson's disease, Jacob Teitelbaum on fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue, and Dr. Kohlstadt's own chapter on obesity. You'll probably have your own favorites, but there's not a dud in the lot of them.

Virtually every chapter in this brilliant volume can serve as a basic reference article on the disease being discussed, as well as providing a treasure trove of research summaries of the relevant effects of various foods, dietary strategies, and nutritional supplements. Highly recommended.

Dr. Bowden is a board-certified nutritionist and the author of several best-selling books, including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. See his website at


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