Book Review of Current Publications for the Naturopathic Industry

 In Book Reviews

Node Smith, ND


Statin Nation

Furthering the documentary work already done through his films Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover-Up and Statin Nation II: What Really Causes Heart Disease, author Justin Smith, in his book Statin Nation, provides a misled public with a concise rationale to question taking statin pharmaceuticals – one of the most commonly prescribed cardiovascular medication in America. Without hyperbole, Smith presents a textual guide through the myriad of factors that contribute to heart disease. The intention of the book, as stated by Smith, is to show that “heart disease is caused by [a] complex interaction of a large number of factors, and therefore, an individual person’s risk of heart attack cannot be reduced to a simple risk calculator.” Nor should it be treated, he emphasizes, with a single drug.

This well-constructed book is incredibly well researched and cited

Smith is not a doctor; however, this well-constructed book is incredibly well researched and cited. His knowledge of how research is conducted, the interactions between industry and prescription trends, and current statistics is well informed and presented in good taste. This is by no means a moralistic or emotional rant, but rather a well-thought-out and open invitation to take the information at hand and make an informed decision about one’s health. He presents research both favorable and unfavorable to statin use, and even explains some of the important discrepancies in some of that research, such as relative risk versus absolute risk, and the methodology for pre-screening research participants.

“The Real Causes of Heart Disease”

The Table of Contents page of this short 158-page book provides a very accurate account of what to expect. With 3 short chapters elucidating cholesterol’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry positioned between 2 chapters on heart disease (one entitled “The Real Causes of Heart Disease”), and a substantive chapter on nutrition, it is clear to the reader that he or she is about to be guided through a different perspective of heart disease. The final chapter, “What to Do,” is an obvious indication that this book is designed to help the public take more of their health into their own hands.

Explanation of physiological function is also incredibly accurate

The explanation of physiological function is also incredibly accurate, and Smith does a wonderful job of thoroughly describing how multiple physiological organ systems interact with one another, without getting lost in the milieu of details or overuse of medical jargon. As a physician, I was able to read through his account of the various theories of vascular remodeling and plaque formation and say “check, check, yep,” without feeling that crucial aspects were missing or misexplained. It is presented in a way that a physician might explain many aspects of cardiovascular health to an intelligent and well-informed patient.

Smith does a superb job of dovetailing nutrition with the physiology in a practical and accessible manner

The nutritional aspects of cardiovascular health overviewed in the book are fundamental, and, again, Smith does a superb job of dovetailing nutrition with the physiology in a practical and accessible manner. He addresses many of the nutritional considerations related to cardiovascular health –  , and CoQ10, and vitamin C – with a predominant focus on magnesium. He also includes adequate commentary on , smoking, and hydration status as they relate to the cardiovascular system. He reminds the reader that this is a guidebook, not a textbook, while still providing a solid basis of understanding and practical knowledge.

Emphasis on the strong association between cardiovascular disease and stress

The most inspiring aspect of Smith’s book may be his emphasis on the strong association between cardiovascular disease and stress. Clearly passionate about facilitating awareness in this area, he specifically references many studies that correlate increases in mental/emotional stress with increases in heart disease. The discussion is both powerful and brief. Smith doesn’t overlabor his points; rather, he supplies the information and, for the most part, allows the reader to decide if it’s worthy of an emotional response.

I would recommend this book as a powerful tool for educating the public

In short, I would recommend this book as a powerful tool for educating the public. It is certainly meant for a lay audience, though an audience with at least a basic knowledge of physiology and nutrition as well as a yearning for self-study. This book is not written for an uneducated population. For a naturopathic physician, this book literally outlines exactly what is needed for patients to know about their heart health, and could be used as an invaluable resource for the more educated patient.

Just the Facts

  • Title: Statin Nation
  • Author: Justin Smith
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Available from: All major book sellers
  • Pages: 158
  • Style: Trade Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017
  • MSRP: $19.95

Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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