Thursday, August 23, 2012
Probiotics for Dummies Book Review by ChristineMM
Title: Probiotics for Dummies
Author: Shekhr K. Challa M.D.
Summary Statement: Great for Beginners and Up to Date Medical Information – Book Written by a Medical Doctor
My Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5 = I Like It
This is the first Dummies book I have ever read. I have been insulted by the Dummies title and stayed away from them until now. In the past I had difficult time finding up to date information about probiotics and figured I’d give PROBIOTICS FOR DUMMIES a try.
My first question is who is the author and are they credible? I know (so called) alternative medical providers such as homeopathic doctors have been recommending probiotics for years, is this an alternative book (or is this a quack book)? To find out, I read who the author is, and I was confused and am disappointed in the editor and publisher for using the incorrect format for writing a medical doctor’s name on the cover and in the book. Challa is a medical doctor, a gastroenterologist, so it should say Shekhar K. Challa M.D. (or MD). Using Dr. in front of the name only implies the person is a PhD. On the interior title page it says Dr. Shekhar K. Challa M.D. (perhaps someone at Wiley needs to read about editing procedures). Well my point is, the author is a gastroenterologist M.D. and perhaps for you, this lends the author credibility.
Onward to the content: I learned that the entire Dummies series is set up so that you can use the index to find a small topic and read only that section. If more info pertains they cross-reference it elsewhere. The book series is not designed to be read cover-to-cover, just read the narrow part you want to know about is their goal.
I found this written in a very easy to read format and things are explained in very plain and simple language so as to appeal to the layperson and so they can really understand this medical information, which is good for beginners. For those with an intermediate or higher level of knowledge, you may be annoyed a bit at the dumbed down nature of the writing or reading what you already know, but I balance that out with the other pro this book has: being published in 2012 it has the most up to date information that older books or other sources you already read or heard about do not have.
Since probiotics are (finally) getting more attention by the mainstream western medical community this book is full of references to studies or it explains where studies are lacking. This is a pro of the book.
For an intermediate or advanced level knowledge reader this book may have some flaws. For example the section for cooking and eating food for probiotics is culled from parts of other sources which you may already own or have already read and are already using. This chapter’s material comes from: Wild Fermentation by Katz, Probiotic and Prebiotic Recipes for Health by Gensler, and from the website of Donna Gates on her website bodyecology.com.
There is a listing of products with probiotics, such as the store bought drink kombucha but I was disappointed to see the largest kombucha company in the USA was not listed and instead just one company was listed, a product I have never heard of or seen for sale anywhere. I therefore question how deeply the products section was researched. Perhaps in this case with the author being a medical doctor, the strength is in the medical writings and this is just a weak area of little interest to the writer, and may have been quickly stuck in at the publisher’s request? It’s just a guess on my part.
Lastly, there are ads at the back for probiotics supplements which bugged me. I am not used to nonfiction medical books either promoting one brand of product and am confused by that.
Overall the book is helpful, fresh and has new information, and is an approachable book for the layperson and beginners, so I like the book and rate it 4 stars = I Like It.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the Amazon.com Vine program. I was not paid to write this review. I was under no obligation to review it favorably or to blog the review. See the full disclosure statement near the top of my blog's sidebar.