Book Review: Immunity Unlocked

Immunity Unlocked:  Releasing The Healing Potential Of Sterol 117:  The Plant Sterol Solution, by Jack Davidson and Alan Fergusson

It is hard to be fair to a book like this.  If one has ever been a music journalist, for example, and has been in the position of viewing an electronic press kit, one understands the sort of situation that a reviewer is in when it comes to reviewing this kind of book.  The authors want the credibility of writing a book, but are so entrenched in wanting to sell a product to people who can then promote the product to the general public that the end results comes off as some sort of unholy hybrid between a health and nutrition book on the one hand, with all the ambivalence that entails on the part of a cynical audience, and a press kit that is attempting to promote a particular solution.  As a reader, one has to discount the claims of the authors from the hyperbolic tone that the authors use to make it appear as if this Sterol 117 is some sort of panacea for reducing the problems of inflammation in the body to a more reasonable level, and then to determine if this is indeed the sort of supplement that one should want to try for oneself.

The book as a whole is a bit more than 150 pages and is divided into three parts with various supplementary material.  There is a foreword, acknowledgments, and a discussion from some doctor about the importance of plant sterols in a toxic world.  After that the first four chapters serve as an introductory section that seeks to provoke the reader into a sense of negativity about the contemporary state of the environment (1), the supposed fragility of the body’s immune systems (2), stress and the mind/body connection (3), and what is in Sterol 117 (4).  The next nine chapters look at research that attempts to show Sterol 117 as being useful in the treatment of allergies and asthma (5), chronic inflammation (6), colds and flu (7), diabetes mellitus and hyperglycemia (8), fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue (9), heart disease (10), prostate problems (11), psoriasis and eczema (12) and rheumatoid arthritis (13).  After that the third part of the book looks at lifestyle issues such as diet (14), exercise and health (15), and the suggested use of Sterol 117 (16), after which the book ends with two appendices on a study abstract from the University of Guelf (i) in Canada and a research review (ii) of Sterol 117 and its advantages over statins when it comes to lowering inflammation.

When dealing with a book like this, the biggest hurdle to deal with is whether the claims of the authors can be believed.  After having read this book I remain highly skeptical about that, not least because the authors sabotage their credibility in talking about health by promoting a patented and trademarked artificial supplement that, if based on natural plants that might be healthy (if eaten in large quantities), is itself as artificial as the sort of contemporary diets that the authors criticize.  The authors’ discussions about how contemporary life has seemed to increase the problems of inflammatory response in many people does not jive with the fact that this particular supplement itself is an example of the same sort of contemporary tendencies to attempt to sidetrack the body’s natural defenses in dealing with material that comes from the outside world.  The author’s attempts to denigrate taking medicine and the fact that this particular supplement uses the same sort of coating that medicines use in order to avoid being digested too early to have the maximum potency is more than a little bit hypocritical.  Nevertheless, the use of plants to lower inflammation is itself something that is well worth considering, and as someone who struggles with various problems related to inflammation (namely gout), what the authors have to say is of at least some personal interest, even if they cannot entirely be believed at face value.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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