Book Review: TOXIC Heal Your Body by Neil Nathan, MD-Victory Belt Publishing Inc. 2018
As a physician treating multi-symptom chronic, complex illness (CCI) caused by environmental illness arising from the cumulative exposure to a wide variety of environmental toxins, I have been finding Neil Nathan’s book, TOXIC, to be a very useful resource for patients and practitioners alike. It is a valuable message of hope and healing.
Dr. Nathan has been treating this rapidly enlarging group of patients for a handful of years longer than I have, and he has created a toolbox and approach to treatment that has proven extraordinarily successful. Many of my diagnostic and treatment protocols align closely with those of Dr. Nathan; in fact he has been a mentor to me over the past few years.
” In my experience, the two major causes of overwhelming sensitivity are mold toxicity and Lyme disease (with its co-infections). Neil Nathan, MD
In the introduction of Part 2, he admits that of all the environmental toxins that contribute to chronic illness in his patients, he finds the worst to be indoor mold toxins and infection with Bartonella bacteria. This is probably surprising to some who might have assumed Borrelia spirochete infection (Lyme disease) to be at the top.
Dr. Nathan makes a clear distinction between the direct toxicity effect of environmental toxins and the sensitivity effect of the body to toxins which he ascribes to the nervous system. I would include the body’s immune system as a source of this sensitivity effect, as well.
In the midsection of his book (chapters 8-20) Dr. Nathan lays out strategies for “rebooting the system”. He chose this computer metaphor as an apt comparison of how in CCI it is often necessary to reboot various body systems before a state of wellness can return.
Dr. Nathan clearly explains the role of mast cells (a component of the immune system) in perpetuating many of the chronic symptoms of this complex illness as he explains Mast Cell Activation Syndrome which is getting lots of attention nowadays.
Dr. Nathan helps the reader understand the critical role played by the digestive system in CCI and the intimate connection between the digestive system and the nervous system (gut-brain connection) mediated in part by the important vagus nerve.
“Getting the intestines to work well again is an integral part of treatment, but this outcome may be difficult to achieve until the primary causes of illness have been adequately addressed.” Neil Nathan, MD
Dr. Nathan has had a close academic relationship over the years with Dr. Robert Naviaux. In chapter 8, he summarizes beautifully the concept of the Cell Danger Response, as developed by Dr. Naviaux and the team of scientists with whom he is associated. Although the science gets a bit “deep”, I really recommend this to patients and providers as well.
Dr. Nathan reaches upon his 47 years of treating patients with chronic illness to present in a very tender way that this illness is very real and that the prospect of total recovery is absolutely achievable. I honestly believe that many folks suffering from illness as well as their family and friends will be able to use his narrative to achieve a deep level of understanding and renewed optimism for the future.
“Because I have seen this process work for hundreds of patients, this is also a book of hope-realistic hope for really, really sensitive and sick patients.” Neil Nathan, MD
In the Afterword Dr. Nathan offers a message that is very close to my heart and one that I know many of my patients will relate to. I think the best way for me to share this is to offer a direct quote from the author. “Mother Earth is looking more and more like my chronically ill and sensitive patients. If I were to apply the paradigm expressed in this book to her, I would immediately find the specific chemical toxins that were making her sick, remove her from those exposures (how I do not know), and detoxify her. I would find ways to reboot those systems that are not functioning properly so that she could thrive again. … We must come together to do this. We must reach out, talk with one another, and reestablish real connections to begin this process of neurological rebooting on a planetary level.”
He sprinkles in helpful case studies to illustrate many of his points for emphasis.
In my opinion, Dr. Nathan’s book, TOXIC, will prove to be a paradigm changer for those affected by and attempting to treat chronic complex illness. I can’t recommend it highly enough.