I was happy to read and review Fortify Your Life by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., as she has been on my radar for a number of years. My personal doctor has referenced continuing education pieces that she has taken advantage of written by Dr. Low Dog for medical doctors.
Before addressing the highlights of this book, I want to point out that during every section, and every chapter (she has one specificly called “Why Supplements Matter”!!!), I kept saying to myself “this is exactly the book I would write”. I felt proud that so much of what she was writing is exactly what I share with my friends, family, and clients, everyday. Not to mention, we have written many articles here on Society Wellness that echo her exact philosophies and science.
Why Supplements Matter
First off, she points out that as a trained physician it is easy for her to see why most of her peers often overlook nutrition and supplements. Most doctors enter their practice with the belief that most people get what they need from the food they eat, and that when something goes wrong in the body, medication or surgery will fix it. Dr. Low Dog disagrees.
Here is what she believes: If you make a genuine effort to eat well, manage stress, get quality rest, exercise, and maintain healthy relationships, then just like wearing a seatbelt, supplements can add an extra layer of protection. Use supplements to fortify your life!
One of the key points Dr. Low Dog mentions is how common prescriptions and over the counter drugstore remedies create nutritional deficiencies over time. For example, Nexium and Prilosec, used to treat acid reflux, will impair your ability to absorb/utilize key nutrients including iron, calcium, magnesium, and B12. These drugs carry black box warnings that they can increase your risk for bone fractures and cause your magnesium levels to drop dangerously low. Dr. Low Dog devotes an entire chapter, with a chart, listing common prescription drugs and nutritional interactions, including nutrients depleted. This is so important! Doctors and patients don’t spend enough time looking at this closely enough.
Dr. Low Dog also discusses exactly what we write about regarding supplement labels and ingredients: how to determine the quality, and recognize “fluff” ingredients! We at Society Wellness get very frustrated when we have to defend or debunk the latest news article on supplements, and Dr. Low Dog gives us 10 great questions to ask in order to understand the latest news.
- Do the findings contradict other studies?
- Why is this news?
- Does the story or health claim pass the common-sense test? (OMG someone points out using common sense!)
- Was the latest study a meta-analysis of existing studies?
- How similar to me are the participants in the study?
- What nutrient was (really) being studied?
- Was it a longitudinal study?
- Consider the unique challenges for vitamin research.
- Who paid for the research?
- Who is reporting the research?
An instant classic
Many individual nutrients/supplements have sections devoted to them. I was really impressed with the up to date information she presented on melatonin, and was inspired by the information she provided on iodine. The next post SW does on Iodine will definitely include credit to Dr. Low Dog!
If you don’t own any of the classic books on supplements like the Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch, or Earl Mindell’s Vitamin Bible(s), then Fortify Your Life by Tieraona Low Dog is a must for your library. If you are already a supplement geek like me, you will love having this book in your collection! Go buy this book, or enter to win a copy by leaving a comment below!