I (Farris) read hundreds of health-related books while working on The Potbelly Syndrome, and I listed the best of them at the ends of relevant chapters. A few of those books are listed again, below, with others that I like.
These are books that are likely to contribute to your health directly. I don't agree with everything written in any of them, but I think they are worth reading if you have chronic health problems.
Beating the Supergerms. Richard Huemer, M.D., and Jack Challem. Describes natural ways to build our resistance to germs. I wish I had followed this book's advice more closely after I read it the first time.
The Exercise Myth. Henry Solomon, M.D. While working on The Potbelly Syndrome, I found lots of evidence that exercise could not prevent or cure obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. When I read Dr. Solomon's excellent book, I learned that exercise was not only useless for treating diseases, it could be dangerous. Dr. Solomon points out that fitness and health are not identical. People in good health can improve their fitness by exercising, but there is little chance that people in poor health will improve their health by exercising.
The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet. Nicholas Perricone, M.D. Dr. Perricone has written a series of books that focus on fighting inflammation. Reducing inflammation helps fight both heart disease and potbelly syndrome. Unfortunately, reducing inflammation doesn't kill germs, and without killing germs, inflammation cannot be reduced very much. You are not likely to lose much weight after reading this book, but it may help you to look and feel better.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection. Katherine Poehlmann, Ph.D. In this excellent book, Dr. Poehlmann explains how germs trigger the so-called autoimmune diseases where our immune systems seem to be attacking us. She focuses on rheumatoid arthritis, but her book also covers related illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, reactive arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Rheumatoid Arthritis discusses many pathogens, especially cell-wall deficient bacteria such as Mycoplasma. An appendix written by Dr. Joseph Mercola describes a protocol for eradicating the germs associated with rheumatic diseases. Other appendices discuss supplements, nutrition for patients with chronic illnesses, and websites where more information can be found.
If I have a complaint about Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is that there is so much good information in it that I had to highlight or dog-ear nearly every page in my copy. Dr. Poehlmann's website is: ⁄⁄www.ra-infection-connection.com⁄
The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology. Stephen Sinatra, M.D. Describes the metabolic requirements of the heart, and lists supplements that help the heart recover from infection and injury. Three supplements described at length in this book–CoQ10, L-carnitine, and D-ribose–have helped me to cope with my atrial fibrillations and congestive heart failure. This is a very important book for anyone with heart problems.
Since I read Dr. Sinatra's book, I have seen his name associated with many dubious products. That being said, I still recommend The Sinatra Solution to anyone with chronic heart problems.
Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance. Jack Challem et al. This book contains practical advice for dealing with insulin resistance, but the authors overlooked the role of infections in causing it.
I think being sane lowers cortisol levels. Here are some books that might help.
A Mind of Its Own. Cordelia Fine, Ph.D. Describes the many ways we deceive ourselves. A little self-deceit seems to help us cope with life, but too much leads to unhappiness and stress. Stress, of course, contributes to heart disease and potbelly syndrome.
Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D. Another book that describes the many ways we deceive ourselves.
The True Believer. Eric Hoffer. This classic book explains how people become locked to an idea and cling to it against all reason. Hoffer focused on fanatical adherence to religious and political ideas, but he could have written a very similar book about adherence to medical ideas.
The first time I read this book I saw immediately how it applied to other people; I had to read it a few more times to see how it applied to me.
These are books that will be of interest to researchers and science buffs.
Microbe Hunters. Paul de Kruif. A classic book about the early days of microbiology. There was a copy of this book in our barn. I read it the first time when I was about ten, and I have read it with pleasure several times since then.
New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People. Robert Desowitz, Ph.D. This is one of Dr. Desowitz' fascinating books on the interactions between parasites and their hosts. I highly recommend all of his books to anyone who wants to be a biologist or a physician.
Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures. Carl Zimmer. Examines the never-ending war between parasites and their hosts. Incredible pictures.
Plague Time: How Stealth Infections Cause Cancers, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments. Paul Ewald, Ph.D. Explains why most diseases must be caused by infections. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read.
The Selfish Gene. Richard Dawkins, Ph.D. Describes human existence from the perspective of genes. It explains human virtues and follies in evolutionary terms. I think it will come to be seen as one of the most important books of the Twentieth Century.
Syndrome X: Overcoming the Silent Killer that Can Give You a Heart Attack. Gerald Reaven, M.D., et al. This is the book that made household words out of “Syndrome X” and “insulin resistance”. It was very important to me when I was researching The Potbelly Syndrome.
Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine. Randolph Nesse, M.D. and George Williams, Ph.D. Explains how our evolutionary past affects our health today. Part of the book is devoted to the war between germs and people. An important book for anyone interested in the real causes of illness.