A debut self-help guide surveys the ways in which diet and metabolism may affect patients with chronic infection.
This manual arose from Young’s five years of research into chronic Lyme disease and Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome. Her own Lyme disease was only diagnosed after she’d endured years of extensive testing at the hands of many doctors. Noting that hypothyroidism is common in Lyme patients, she believes that metabolism rather than antibiotics is the key to keeping chronic infection at bay. Lyme disease slows the metabolism and leads to chronic stress, which in turn weakens the immune system, she explains. The book tackles the science behind chronic infection in a “for dummies” format that covers the basics without being opaque or condescending. Along with solid general advice—limit caffeine, get good sleep, and consume more calories to make up for the nutrients that infections leach—Young compares fad diets and picks out their commonalities in one of the most useful chapters. “If diet fads were countries they would all be at war. Diet is just one of those things on which we will never all agree,” she wryly observes. She tried out various options including juice fasting and a paleo diet before deciding the low-carbohydrate lifestyle was actually making her symptoms worse. Indeed, she contends that extreme restriction diets can easily backfire and make patients sicker. Nowadays, the author’s magic bullet is five tablespoons per day of Manuka honey, which increases her energy and may have antimicrobial properties. Although Young chronicles her own health decisions here, she emphasizes that fellow chronic infection patients should be flexible and experiment with their diets until they find out what works for them. Headings in bold, bullet-pointed lists and the “In Summary” or “Chapter Takeaways” sections ending many chapters are reader-friendly strategies that make the book’s information easily digestible. A helpful final “Remedies” section functions as a glossary as well as a list of suggested supplements, etc. to try. But the informal style—“Lyme disease is friggin’ complex,” and “I think we can all agree that drugs are frakkin awesome!”—grates.
Useful science for the layperson.