Prescription for Nutritional Healing: the A to Z Guide to Supplements by Phyllis A. Balch
Reviewed By: Elena Potrykus, Community Health Education Center Intern
The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A to Z Guide to Supplements, by author Phyllis A. Balch, is described to the reader as, “everything you need to know about selecting and using vitamins, minerals, herbs, and more.” This book can be read for pleasure or used as a quick reference guide for supplements. Balch’s writing style is fairly straight forward, making this book an easy read. The book is split up into chapters: nutrition and wellness, vitamins, minerals, air, water, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, natural food supplements, herbs, and drug interactions – making it easy for readers to skip ahead to the category they would like to reference.
The book seems more like a guide and less like a novel, allowing the reader to jump from chapter to chapter or skip to certain sections without feeling like they lost any information. The opening of the book gives a nice overview on healthy eating and wellness with tips and advice on the basics of nutrition, health, and wellness. The sections on vitamins and minerals give an A to Z overview of the latest vitamins and minerals that are in our systems and also those that can be found in a drugstore to be used as a supplement. Balch breaks each vitamin and mineral down with a description of what it is and does, sources of where this supplement can be found, and any additional information that might be important to know about it. The breakdown of each vitamin and mineral is a great way for the reader to not only understand it but also learn where the supplements come from naturally. Balch also explains that some people may want a supplement because they think they are lacking something in their diet or bodily makeup, but they first need to talk to a medical professional before going out and buying them. Since most of the vitamins and minerals can be found in food we eat, a simple change in diet can restore the body of the common deficiencies.
Although the book focuses on supplements, it is important to point out the section about herbs. The author talks about the use of herbs, precautions, and where someone can buy them. Instead of describing each herb, she puts them all into an easy to read chart. This chart is in alphabetical order, allowing the reader to easily find the exact herb they are interested in. These herbs described in Balch’s book are not the ones an individual may cook with, or rather, she does not focus on use of cooking with the herbs. The herbs are described in terms of nutritional and wellness use, and ultimately how they can benefit an individual’s body without the need for prescription drugs. Again, it is always good to obtain a professional’s opinion before ingesting an unfamiliar product.
The last section of the book gets into drug interactions, but only briefly. There is a little paragraph about drug interactions with herbs, minerals, vitamins, and food. This section is good to include because individuals who buy their own supplements, but also take a prescription drug, often do not inform their medical professional about the additional supplement. They may then be unaware of what kinds of interactions may be occurring between their prescription and their supplements.
By the end of this book the reader should have a great overview of vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and more as they pertain to health and wellness. Phyllis Balch is a certified nutritional consultant making the information found in the book a credible source. For those who have a background in nutrition, vitamins, and minerals, this book is a great reference. Those who pick it up for the first time may find some of the information daunting but can always use outside sources to work around misunderstandings. Knowing that this information is credible means it is a great reference source. Phyllis Balch also has other books on nutrition, health, and wellness for readers who are interested in learning more.