The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor’s 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease

Susan Blum with Michele Bender. Scribner, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4516-9497-0
For people with autoimmune diseases who have been told that managing symptoms with powerful immunosuppressive drugs is their only option, functional medicine pioneer Blum asserts that reversing these chronic illnesses—when the body becomes its own enemy, affecting about 24 million people—is not only possible but that improvement can happen as soon as they begin her program; her claim might raise equal parts relief and doubt. In this insightful book, Blum, who suffered with thyroid disease, notes that the priority of functional medicine, which uses food as medicine, is to create conditions for self-healing: calming inflammation and the immune response. Medical evidence, she contends, supports her belief that all people with autoimmune diseases have damaged digestive systems (“leaky gut”), and she places primary emphasis on diet as the first step. The other parts of her program aim to reduce stress through self-care (exercise, mindfulness practices, adrenal supplementation, etc.); repair ailing guts by eliminating gluten, sugar, and carbonated beverages, and adding good bacteria; and detoxifying metals and other toxic substances from the liver with herbs, supplements, and professional therapies like chelation. For each step, Blum provides detailed explanations for how the immune system works, tests needed for diagnosis, questionnaires, and personalized treatment plans, as well as recipes. By cycling back to the nonnegotiable role of food (for example, Blum expresses frustration with people who think low-calorie packaged snacks are healthy and states that most people are guilty of “food amnesia”) and examining the effects of infections on specific conditions, Blum encourages readers to play detective, find the root causes of their problem, and take control of recovery. Agent, Janis Donnaud. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 04/02/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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