I've added this book review to my ongoing list of ME/CFS-related book reviews. For the full book review page,click here.
I recently finished Dr. Amy Yasko's latest book Feel Good Nutrigenomics. It was the second book I've read by Dr. Yasko, the other being Autism: Pathways to Recovery.
If you've ever known a true scientist, you know they often struggle to explain their expertise to lay people. Dr. Yasko doesn't seem to have that problem. At this point, she's sitting on at least a decade of experience in explaining nutrigenomics and the "methylation cycle" to lay people. With this book, we see the evolution of Dr. Yasko's theories and her educational style. She is becoming more adept at simplifying this subject with each passing year. The improvement is noticeable over Pathways to Recovery, which was published in 2004.
In Feel Good Nutrigenomics (FGN), Dr. Yasko makes her strongest case yet that "multifactorial" diseases (like Autism, ME/CFS, Parkinsons, etc.) can be attributed, in part, to faulty gene expression. She makes an equally strong case that it is possible to manipulate these genes into expressing themselves 'correctly' again, thus regaining health. This is done by using specific, targeted supplements and diet based on one's genetic profile.
The problem with FGN is that it only addresses the "what" and "why" of nutrigenomics, not the all-important "how." In that sense, it's a regression from Pathways to Recovery. It's almost as if FGN was meant to be the first in a two part series, but there's no mention of another part. So the book leaves the reader frustrated and wanting more. Dr. Yasko gets the reader "charged up" to use her program, and then fails to give so much as a hint as to what the program actually is. If she intended to leave the "how's" of nutrigenomics out of the book, she should have at least briefly offered the reader a guideline for further reading. The book lacks a single sentence addressing the obvious question: "So where do I start?"
For those that have read Pathways to Recovery or some of Yasko's other writings, it's interesting to note the evolution of Dr. Yasko's theories. For instance, the book contains virtually no reference to the role of RNA in the methylation cycle, or to Dr. Yasko's RNA supplements. RNA and RNA supplements were a huge aspect of Dr. Yasko's protocol as of Pathways to Recovery. It makes me wonder if she has discovered something that led her to quietly de-emphasize that aspect of her protocol.
Overall, Feel Good Nutrigenomics would be great for anyone who can't decide if methylation protocols are worth pursuing. But the problem is that most people who have gone as far as purchasing and reading a book on nutrigenomics probably don't need further convincing. They need guidance on how to do it. FGN does nothing for those who want to understand the protocol itself. Ultimately, the promise of a "roadmap" never materializes, rather, the reader is left with a vague sense that a roadmap exists... somewhere.
I still think Dr. Yasko is a brilliant scientist and that her motivations are in the right place. She is at the forefront of a very young science that will continue to increase in importance and popularity throughout all of our lifetimes. Moreover, she seems to be a good person. To her credit, she addresses, head on, those who may have concerns about her motivations and financial incentives, in the last chapter. I respect her for that, and I think she handled the situation well. I believe her.
Here's hoping Dr. Yasko's next book is like FGN in that if further simplifies topics from her past writings, but that it actually covers the "how" of her methylation protocol. Right now, her protocol is spread out across several of her books and literally thousands of posts on her online forum. This needs to be consolidated, updated, and further simplified in one place. (★½)