Super Immunity By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

by Jackie Wicks

A New Book That Looks At The Science Of Staying Healthy

A Six Second Summary Of Super Immunity:

Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Beans and Seeds.

There is a ton more in the book of course, but this is a concise summary of the foods that, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, will give one the biggest bang for the nutritional buck.

If you eat a combination of these each day and make it the focus of your diet, good things are going to happen.

Super Immunity” explains why by presenting a view of the research supporting consumption of those specific foods. This article takes a quick look at the research that Dr. Fuhrman uses to support his case.

He also backs up these claims through some dramatic success stories from his own patients, some who recovered from late stage cancer. In addition, the book has nearly 100 pages of meal plans and recipes that help to put this very simple nutrition plan into place.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Objective Is To “Change How Medicine Is Practiced”

Over the years, Dr. Fuhrman has built his case in his different books. His first major book, Eat To Live, outlined his general philosophy of adding micronutrient rich foods into the diet.

His second book, Eat For Health, began a direct dialogue with a skeptical medical community. In Super Immunity, Dr. Fuhrman begins to go on the offensive, in terms of challenging many things that doctors routinely do.

The book lays out the stark contrast between “preventive” and “symptomatic” care. As people in the health care industry know, the key to reducing cost and improving health is having people engage in preventive care. In order to do this, people need to know the correct steps needed to take to keep themselves healthy and avoid disease.

“Super Immunity” is a solid step towards establishing what these steps are, why, and how to put them into practice. For those of you who have been part of the PEERtrainer community for years, the basic message will not be new to you. We have shared his message directly with hundreds of thousands of people, and the results have been consistent and impressive. This has been particularly true with people tackling a big weight loss effort.

About This Review Of Super Immmunity

This book review and article will take a look at some of the key points that he is making. We will also be taking a look at the research, some old some new, that is helping to back his claim that a certain dietary protocol is overwhelmingly correlated with lower rates of disease and sickness. Where possible, we will be linking to the exact studies or sources that Dr. Fuhrman cites.

In keeping with his tradition Dr. Fuhrman makes many claims in his book that are likely to be deliberately calibrated to elicit the response of the medical establishment. For example, he asserts that more medical care is not the answer to our health care crisis at all:

“One-third of medical spending is devoted to services that don’t improve health or quality of care– and may make things worse! A lack of medical care is not the problem, and more medical care is certainly not the answer.”

-Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

This is a subject that Dr. Fuhrman is very passionate about. In recent years he has become a lot more vocal in this view. As the acceptance of his nutritional views have grown, so has his focus on giving doctors the proof they need to adjust how they care for their patients. At PEERtrainer, we have some leading medical professionals in our community, and have had the opportunity to facilitate some discussion in this area. We see that people are open, but need to be convinced.

The Link Between Breast Cancer and Antibiotics

In this book (and in person), Dr. Fuhrman is particularly passionate about the subject of breast cancer. He says it is a fast moving disease, yet there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk.

For example, Dr. Fuhrman points to evidence indicating that “our overuse of antibiotics and other medications may be a contributory factor in the development of cancer.”

He cites a study by the National Cancer Institute that showed the more anitbiotics the women in the study used, the higher their risk of breast cancer.

In this study, women who had more than 25 prescriptions over 17 years had twice the risk or breast cancer than women who hadn’t taken any antibiotics. Even women who had as few as one during that period had one and a half times the risk.

In stark contrast to this data, new research is showing that consumption of certain foods is correlated with dramatic reduction in breast cancer.

Note the careful use of the word “correlation.” No cause and effect can be established. However, as you will see here and read in Super Immunity, the correlations on both sides of the “equation” are too overwhelming to ignore.

An Updated Take On The Role Of Fat In The Diet:

One thing that we noted in the book was that Dr. Fuhrman cites new research that has shown that when fat is present in a meal, the most powerful micronutrients are absorbed more readily into the body. In other words, “fat itself is not a villain.” This is helpful because many of the other experts we work with at PEERtrainer highlight the role fat plays in giving people more energy.

At PEERtrainer, we are always looking for areas of broad agreement among the health experts. We are seeing broad agreement that consumpton of good fats is a helpful part of the diet. This is especially true among active people or people who find they are running low on energy.

Why Greens Reign Supreme

Dr Fuhrman writes that: “a review of more than 206 epidemiological studies shows that the consumption of green vegetables has the most consistent and powerful association with the reduction of cancer of all types, including stomach, pancreas, colon and breast.”

The big question people have when they read stuff like this is “ok, how much do I need?” From Fuhrman’s perspective, the objective is not adding more fruits, vegetables, beans nuts and seeds to the diet. Rather it is making these foods the main focus of the diet. (If you have done this please share your experience in the comments section below. We will add some of that commentary to this article.)

PEERtrainer members who have followed this general advice have seen some spectacular cases of disease reversal and dramatic weight loss.

It is interesting because one can argue, for example, that dairy or meat is good or is not good for you. Those debates are likely to remain unresolved and in our view highly contextual.

But nobody can argue the dramatically powerful effect of reorienting your diet towards this “focus.”

When you do this, you simply bring your diet into balance. Fuhrman does not state this outright, but it seems that the correct balanced diet is where adequate micronutrient intake is balanced relative to needed macronutrient intake.

A Look At How A Nutrient Dense Diet Can Boost The Immune System:

The main thrust of the book is obviously to help people boost their immune system. Here are a couple of interesting comments that stood out to us:

“A viral exposure that would cause a serious or even life threatening infection in a person eating the conventional diet would not even result in symptoms of illness in a nutritionally competent person”

“Numerous studies have shown that the transmission of the AIDS virus is significantly reduced..when the host’s nutrition is excellent”

Research has shown that the influenza virus also exhibits increased virulence in a nutritionally deficient host, allowing multiple changes in the viral genome.”

-Dr. Joel Fuhrman

We took a look at one of the studies cited by Dr. Fuhrman about the AIDS virus, which stated in the abstract that “Micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent in many HIV-infected populations, and numerous studies have reported that these deficiencies impair immune responses, weaken epithelial integrity, and are associated with accelerated HIV disease progression.”

If one has the time, there is a whole host of research that helps paint the same picture. One of the most interesting parts of the book is a section on the foods that help prevent cancer.

Foods That Help Fight Cancer:

Cruciferous vegetables

This is no surprise to people who have been around the nutritional conversation. Cruciferous vegetables have sulfur-containing compounds which when freed from the cell wall by blending, chopping or chewing convert into powerful immune boosters and cancer fighters.

This is another area where there is broad agreement among the health experts we work with. For example, JJ Virgin was talking about this on our recent call on detoxification (click here to download the call). She said that the “stinky foods” are a powerful part of the proper cleanse and detox processes.

Super Immunity has the complete detail, and is an interesting read. The emerging understanding of how these compounds work is fascinating. To simplify, these sulfur compounds work to both protect and repair your cells. If a damaged cell needs to be removed, these compounds help with that.

The health effects extend beyond cancer. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables is correlated with reductions in almost every disease and sickness. One of the more interesting recent studies that we have seen is the finding that lung cancer risk drops among smokers who regularly consume cruciferous vegetables.

Dr. Fuhrman recommends two servings of cruciferous veggies a day, one raw.

Mushrooms (Very Interesting)

According to Dr. Fuhrman, mushrooms are a “newcomer” to the disease prevention discussion. He say that the science is just starting to be understood.

Mushrooms help with autoimmune diseases, but the role they play in destroying abnormal cells is fascinating.

To simply Dr. Fuhrman’s argument compounds found in mushrooms help to identify damaged and abnormal cells and remove them. We did a quick search to back up this claim and found several very interesting studies. One in particular is titled “The Pharmacological Potential Of Mushrooms.”

That article states that “The medicinal use of mushrooms has a very long tradition in the Asian countries, whereas their use in the Western hemisphere has been slightly increasing only since the last decades.” It concludes by saying “The spectrum of detected pharmacological activities of mushrooms is very broad…. a rapid increase in the application of mushrooms for medicinal purposes can be expected.

Dr. Fuhrman explains that common mushrooms (the ones you get in the store) contain “lectins” which are proteins that bind only to abnormal cells, and marking them for death and making it impossible for these cells to replicate.

Dr. Fuhrman states that in “one recent study, women who ate at least 10 grams of mushrooms a day (equivalent to one small mushroom) had a 64 percent decrease in breast cancer.”

Cooking Tip: These compounds exist whether the mushroom is cooked or not. An excellent way of cooking all these great foods together is the PEERtrainer Energy Soup, which people have been enjoying for several years. It contains mushrooms, onions, greens, good fat in the form of cococnut milk.

Conclusion and Recommendation

There is a great deal of interesting material in this book, and it will be a great addition to your health and weight loss library. It is a good reference, and it will help to deepen your understanding of the role certain foods play in keeping us healthy.

For those of you who are Dr. Fuhrman fans, you will find that it is also a useful health manual. Many general diet and health questions are answered, and the recipes are particularly complete.

In addition, the book will help deepen the conversation that Dr. Fuhrman is having with his peers in the medical community.

We strongly recommend this book. The reality is, these are new concepts and most people are skeptical. But as you dig into this book, and start looking at the same “tea leaves” as Dr. Fuhrman, it will be hard for you to disagree with his basic conclusions.

PS: For those of you who have been part of PEERtrainer and have benefitted from his advice over the years, drop a comment below and share your experience!


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Answers To Common Questions:

What Does Dr. Fuhrman Say About Sea Salt?

This is interesting. Dr. Fuhrman first states that sodium is “an important mineral that is essential for proper functioning of the human body.” But he points out that for most of human history the human diet did not contain any added salt.

In terms of sea salt, Dr. Fuhrman states that “all salt originates from the sea- and so-called sea salts are still 98% sodium chloride.” While sea salts do contain trace minerals, “the amounts are insignificant compared to those in natural plant foods.”

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