Enzyme therapy's effect on health

Healthy reading

March 31, 2006|By MARY BETH REGAN | MARY BETH REGAN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Micro Miracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes

By Ellen W. Cutler, D.C., and Jeremy E. Kaslow, M.D.

Rodale Books/$15.95

A few weeks ago, food allergy experts were in an uproar because McDonald's disclosed that the oil it used to cook french fries had allergens - derivatives of dairy, wheat and gluten - even though the fast-food chain had billed them as allergy-free.

One critic was Ellen Cutler, author of three books on the prevention of allergies. "Even the slightest hint of wheat can cause highly allergic symptoms," she said. "Sometimes even a little bit of dairy can cause asthma, severe digestive symptoms and anaphylactic reaction."

Cutler's latest book, Micro Miracles, with Dr. Jeremy E. Kaslow, moves from allergies to the use of enzyme therapy to treat a variety of conditions from dry skin to cancer. While there's no doubt that it's important to determine whether you or your family members are sensitive to particular foods, this book should raise red flags among skeptical readers.

For one, it skips over the medical debate about whether enzyme therapy works. One of the few concessions is in a passage that reads, "Many of our colleagues [in mainstream medicine] insist that supplements can't survive in stomach acid."

Second, Cutler draws almost exclusively from experiences in the BioSET Clinic Institute in Mill Valley, Calif., a facility she developed. Finally, there's an issue of her credentials. Cutler's degree is in chiropractic techniques from the Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore. Her medical training was obtained overseas.

That said, Micro Miracles provides an interesting overview of the digestive system. And there's probably much of value in Cutler's argument. Unfortunately, like most books on the subject, this one is written by people who have a financial interest in convincing us to use their products.

A good neutral source of online allergy information is the nonprofit Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network at foodallergy.org.

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