Prescription for Nutritional Healing by nutritionist Phyllis A. Balch and James F. Balch, M.D., has long been considered one of the most trusted, comprehensive sources on the mind-boggling array of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other dietary supplements now available. Working from the premise that a good diet promotes good health, this third edition of PNH still starts with the basics: consume fresh produce, grains, and lean meats; avoid foods that are processed or high in saturated fat; cook using glass, stainless steel, or iron--never aluminum; and drink filtered water. The authors also stand by their claim that the government-prescribed recommended daily allowances are ridiculously low, and that the book's optimal daily intake for nutrients should be followed instead.
So what's new in the third edition? Along with now-accepted remedies, like zinc and echinacea for the common cold, the Balches also explore many of the newer supplements to hit the market: SAMe (recommended for depression and joint pain), phosphatidyl serine (mental acuity), red yeast rice (cholesterol), and 5-HTP (weight loss, insomnia, depression). You'll also find an expanded chapter on alternative therapies that encompasses Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, along with a hefty section on pain control that offers a grab bag of options such as acupuncture, biofeedback, guided imagery, chiropractic care, and massage.
Still, the bulk of the book remains the more than 250 health conditions--from everyday problems such as insect bites and bad breath to serious diseases including bulimia, cancer, and AIDS--and the nutritional protocols the Balches recommend for treatment. Since any number of supplements can be taken for the same condition, the Balches make sifting through the glut of information a little easier by separating their nutrient recommendations into four categories: essential, very important, important, and helpful. And they take a lot of the guesswork out of buying supplements by listing the brands they know and trust. Once again, the authors have squeezed in an impressive amount of information, including valuable sidebars on topics such as the dangers of aspartame; how to choose a calcium supplement; common heart problems and procedures; cancer risk factors, diagnosis, and treatments; and sports nutrition. This is not relaxing reading, but it's enormously useful. While the material can be dense, the authors still manage to present it in a straightforward manner that's understandable even for readers without a medical degree. --Norine Dworkin [via]