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Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life — A Book Review

Without a doubt, Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, by the eminent neurosurgeon, nutritionist and associate editor of the Medical Sentinel Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., is a brilliant and compelling tour de force that will reverberate in the field of health and nutrition for years to come.(1)

From the Dedication to the Afterword, this is a beautifully written and brilliantly composed tome — definitely a welcomed addition to his previous opus, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (1994).(2) Readers may be shocked by some of the content of Health and Nutrition Secrets, particularly the number of substances that Dr. Blaylock has found to be highly toxic, or disagree with some of the conclusions drawn from his research — but no one can deny that a cornucopia of knowledge and information has been gathered, researched and carefully compiled in the formulation of this book.

It is no wonder that it has taken so many years of study by a prominent neuroscientist of the stature of Dr. Blaylock, with such a vast amount of knowledge in so many fields of endeavor — neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, pathology, embryology, biochemistry, pharmacology and nutrition, not to mention writing and artistic skills (he even draws his own illustrations) — to be able to process all of this potentially life-saving information and present it to the reader in a cogent, clear and precise fashion.

As will be seen by readers of his book, it also takes courage, moral courage, on the part of Dr. Blaylock to write such a powerful tome, exposing so many inimical health practices such as the ongoing but needless addition of dangerous chemicals to foods (e.g., monosodium glutamate, aspartame, carrageenan) and water supplies (e.g., fluoride), thereby endangering our health for decades.

Dr. Blaylock offers one of the best and most complete discussions on the pathophysiology of free radical formation and the damage it causes the various cells and tissues of the human body, particularly the central nervous system. His description of the cellular injury that follows the processes of mitochondrial, DNA, RNA and protein damage (oxidation), inhibition of energy production, and lipid-peroxidation by free radicals is clear and persuasive.

So is his explanation for the clinical protection, seen in both human and experimental animal studies, provided by proper nutrition and the human antioxidant network including vitamins (particularly C and E), enzymes, and other powerful antioxidant agents, such as glutathione and alpha lipoic acid.

And yet, Dr. Blaylock has only honestly gathered material and drawn medical conclusions that, although reflecting the most advanced state of medical knowledge, cannot be written in stone. Further progress will be made as additional pieces are assembled and others discarded in the construction of the edifice of scientific and medical knowledge. As with any medical textbook on the cutting edge of science, a word of caution should be offered for the uninitiated, whether health enthusiast or unwary clinician.

First, we must be cognizant of the fact that the absolute amount at which any substance becomes toxic is difficult to estimate from animal studies. Moreover, animals are not people. High pharmacologic doses used in animal experiments should not be extrapolated to clinical observations in humans associated with natural, physiological amounts of these substances.

Moreover, researchers James T. Bennett and Thomas J. DiLorenzo have noted that figures frequently provided by the EPA, the FDA, and other government agencies are often arrived at in less than good faith in pursuing a political agenda.(3) And sometimes government bureaucrats arrive at what is the considered toxic level of a chemical in collusion with private entities that may have a vested financial interest in having certain higher or lower values placed for regulatory purposes, as has been described by others including Dr. Blaylock.

One thing that becomes crystal clear is that we cannot always trust and depend on the designated “experts” to tell us the truth about toxic substances, and we must increasingly be prepared to look after our own health if we are to preserve it.

Clinicians and enthusiasts must also take into account the phenomenon of hormesis, the long-known pharmacologic truism stating that “the dose makes the poison.”(4) While some substances are deadly toxic at infinitesimal doses (e.g., lead), most other natural substances and chemicals become harmful only in higher doses.

For example, while a substance like iron may become toxic at high levels, accumulating in the body in harmful quantities, it is an essential element for many body functions, particularly oxygenation, and it is absolutely required at physiologic doses throughout the life of an individual. The same may be said about even such antioxidants as selenium or zinc: protective functions at low (or normal) doses, toxicity at excessive doses.

Second, the clinician must also be aware of not falling into the trap of post hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of it”). In other words, does a high level of a toxic substance cause a disease, or does it merely accumulate as the result of the disease process itself?

Thus, while Dr. Blaylock points toward a particular agent such as mercury as a highly toxic agent responsible for damage to many areas of the brain, he is careful to note that nutrition, state of health, genetic susceptibility and levels of antioxidant protection (i.e., together, not a single factor) play a role in causing disease at a certain level in a specific individual.

This fallacy of applying post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning may also refer to life processes themselves. In his excellent discussion on aging, Dr. Blaylock thus carefully notes: “While it is true that many people’s endocrine systems begin to fail with age, it is more likely that progressive endocrine failure is a product of the aging process itself, rather than its cause.”

Dr. Blaylock’s latest magnum opus is arranged in two major sections (either one alone more than worth the price of the book!) consisting of 16 chapters, endnotes, three appendices and an excellent index. Superb chapters run the gamut of topics covering essentially every aspect in the field of health and nutrition, and brain and body protection against toxins, injury, disease and even defense against bioterrorism.

The chapters in Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life cover the following specific topics:

Chapter 1: The causes of degenerative diseases, incorporating explanations of the maleficent nature of free radicals and the beneficent effects of certain minerals, vitamins and other even more powerful anti-oxidants

Chapter 2: Nutrition, genes and genetic switche

Chapters 3-5: The danger of mercury (from dental amalgam fillings and other sources), fluoride (from drinking water, toothpaste and other sources) and other toxic metals that should be avoided

Chapter 6: The hazards of widespread vaccination

Chapter 7: Toxic food additives and how to avoid them

Chapter 8: Pesticides and other harmful chemicals

Chapters 9-11: Causes of atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attacks, and other diseases of aging and how to prevent them

His discussion on “Protecting Your Brain” (Chapter 12), is, like Chapter 1, a particularly outstanding read; pertinent discussions conclude the final entries of this book (Chapters 13-16), and needless to say, extremely timely is Chapter 16, “Surviving a Terrorist Attack.”

Throughout the book, Dr. Blaylock uses cogent arguments and provides scientific details underscoring the fact that although individuals have genetic predisposition for certain diseases, there is much that healthy living and proper nutrition can do to prevent the activation of genetic switches linked to the degenerative diseases of aging.

Moreover, he affirms that all of the degenerative diseases of the brain share a common etiological process, whether initiated by trauma, exposure to toxins, or a lifetime of poor nutritional habits and/or related stress. Such illnesses ultimately may manifest themselves as one of a number of disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, or atherosclerosis and stroke, depending on the individual medical history and genetic predisposition.

Dr. Blaylock also provides compelling evidence that numerous fitness and diet regimens cause more harm than good. And he dispels the notion that aerobic or strenuous exercising is good for most segments of the population. Indeed, he argues that exercise may be quite harmful for the middle-aged and elderly, inducing physical damage and placing harmful metabolic demands on the body.

Instead, for these age groups he recommends walking and gentler isometric exercises to supplement essential nutritional needs for better health. Furthermore, characteristically, he warns “couch potatoes” that “those who exercise their minds possess more mitrochondria [for energy production] in their brain neurons than people who sit and watch sitcoms all day.”

Finally, Dr. Blaylock encourages readers to take a more active role in their medical care and maintaining their own health.

Health libraries won’t be complete without, and practicing nutritionists should all possess on their shelves, within easy access, this authoritative tome. Health and Nutrition Secrets is destined to be among the most treasured of books in the fields of preventive medicine and nutritional medicine — not to mention geriatrics.

This book is not only for the health professionals, including nurses, medical students and practicing physicians, but also for ordinary persons who not only want to preserve their health but also enhance and prolong their lives during this most fleeting moment of existence on our cherished planet Earth.

If you seek better health and longevity and are willing to go on an exciting quest for the fountain of youth, this book is a good place to start. But I warn you, whether a patient or physician, you will have to decide for yourself and your family how much of this medical knowledge you will put to good use: The more the better. Begin this quest by ordering this book!


1. Blaylock, RL. Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Albuquerque, New Mexico, Health Press, 2002.

2. Blaylock RL. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Albuquerque, New Mexico, Health Press, 1994. 

3. Faria MA Jr. Public health — From science to politics. Medical Sentinel 2001;6(2):46-48. Review of Bennett JT, DiLorenzo TJ, From Pathology to Politics: Public Health in America. New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers, 2000. 

4. Faria MA Jr. Vandals at the Gates of Medicine: Historic Perspectives on the Battle Over Health Care Reform. Macon, Georgia, Hacienda Publishing, Inc., 1995, pp. 336, 347-349.

Reviewed by Dr. Miguel Faria

Dr. Faria is a former professor of surgery (neurosurgery, ret.) and adjunct professor of medical history (ret.) at Mercer University School of Medicine, editor emeritus of the Medical Sentinel, and author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995) and Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997). His latest book is Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

(Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Russell L. Blaylock, MD. Health Press, 2002, $29.95, ISBN: 0-929173-42-2).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life — A Book Review., February 14, 2003. Available from:–a-book-review/.

Copyright ©2003 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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