A compelling look at men’s health
Book: An Ounce of Prevention: Mainly for Men and the Ladies Who Care for Them
Author: Dr Anthony Vendryes
Reviewer: Dr Glenville Ashby
An Ounce of Prevention: Mainly for Men and the Ladies Who Care for Them is an exhaustive, voluminous and well-researched undertaking. In this, the sequel to An Ounce of Prevention that addressed women's health, Dr Vendryes again proves his salt as a holistic practitioner, unchallenged, in a field rife with authors jockeying for recognition. Unburdened, stripped of scientific and medical jargon, this body of work is lucidly articulated, and markedly broad in appeal. Dr Vendryes cuts to the chase covering a wide spectrum of health issues with enviable fluidity and authority. He does not aim to reinvent the wheel and arguably, his work falls well short of being unique. However, he captures the attention of readers, especially in debunking some commonly held beliefs. Of fatty foods, he writes, "... not all fatty foods are bad. In fact, some types of fats, the essential fatty foods (EFAs) are essential for good health ... . Based on their chemical structure the main EFAs are classified as Omega-3."
He argues that we are suffering from a tremendous imbalance of this ingredient, the absence of which increases the chances of "heart disease, cancer, stroke, asthma, allergies and many circulatory and painful disorder".
The benefits of supplements, conscious breathing, exercise, skin care and lymphatic cleanse are detailed. Dr Vendryes also addresses obesity, hypertension and diabetes that are prevalent in Caribbean societies. And of foods abundant in that region he touts the medicinal properties of coconuts and challenges data that ackee can lead to prostate cancer.
Dr Vendryes soars in his uncanny ability to encapsulate an infinite and complex subject into a comprehensible thesis. He is eclectic but uniformed; overly detailed, but well structured. It is an approach seldom travelled, but it works. He is proactive, mindful of the psychological and financial drain wrought by sickness and disease. It is through this prism that Dr Vendryes throws down his medical gavel. Prevention, he argues, is the key to longevity and a fulfilling existence. It is the very elixir of life.
An Ounce of Prevention is spirited and optimistic. It speaks to readers, especially men, some of whom are culturally resistant to visiting doctors. Here, Dr Vendryes' offering proves reassuring. It is hopeful and pedantic; its pedagogical worth undeniable.
In health matters particular to men, Dr Vendryes is most authoritative, his sagacity seemingly limitless. Of balding, he approves the standard treatment of Rogaine use that "increases blood flow to the follicles," but advises that stress management, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet will prevent or retard its onset.
On the sensitive subject of erectile dysfunction, he notes that it's a symptom that is treatable, and may be the result of diabetes or heart disease. He encourages men to exercise regularly, fight obesity, monitor their testosterone, and use medically prescribed L-arginine, noted for increasing blood flow.
VITAMIN C HELPFUL
Of herpes, he pens, Vitamin C is very helpful in fighting acute viral infection like the flu. However, when it is taken consistently for a year or more, it helps to build an immune system that can effectively combat stubborn infections like herpes.
He also recommends the synthetic food preservative, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), found in cereal, peanut butter, baked goods and sausages ... ," and trivalent oxygen, a treatment used in Europe.
And of male infertility, he examines the role of hormonal disruptors and obesity. Hormonal Replacement Therapy, lifestyle changes and "specific vitamins and herbs like aloe vera, milk thistle and probiotics", he notes, are useful in the treatment and prevention of this complex problem.
In identifying early signs of prostate disorder, he advises Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing and the use of green tea, pomegranate, turmeric, and broccoli as "protective benefits to the prostate gland".
Interestingly, Dr Vendryes forays into spirituality and health, citing a 1988 study at San Francisco Hospital that advanced the thesis that prayer and meditation are vital tools in the convalescing process. He also refers to a 1999 study in distance healing conducted on coronary patients at St Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. The results were startling. Dr Vendreys writes, "The study found that those who were prayed for fared better than those who got conventional care alone. It is important to note that these patients did not know they were being prayed for, and, therefore, their recovery could not be explained away as a placebo effect."
He cements his position with the endorsement of Dr Larry Dossey's Prayer is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer, and subsequently echoes the words of Dr Jullian Whitaker: "If you are very ill (or a family member is), pray for recovery and encourage others to do likewise."
General hospitals, burdened by bureaucracy, shortage of medical personnel and their inability to meet the overwhelming demands have taxed governments to the limit. Conversely, private hospitals have turned the Hippocratic Oath on its head, bleeding those seeking an alternative to government-managed institutions. The result is a health system that subverts the basis upon which it was created.
Dr Vendryes' work responds to this daunting scenario. Its relevance has never been more exigent.
An Ounce of Prevention goes a step or two beyond mere information. It is judiciously and authentically presented; an ouvere, no less, that leaves no stones unturned in pursuing the proverbial Philosopher's Stone.
We are counselled that our body is the temple of God. Indeed, Dr Vendryes charges us with this sacrosanct responsibility.