The Autoimmune Epidemic Info

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Hailed by Mark Hyman, MD, as “a ray of light and
hope” for autoimmune sufferers, this groundbreaking book provides
research and solutions for those affected by autoimmune disorders
including Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis,
and more.

In the first book of its kind, journalist Donna Jackson
Nakazawa examines nearly 100 debilitating autoimmune
diseases—such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease,
type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis—that cause the body to
destroy itself, mistakenly attacking healthy cells as the immune system
fights off bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. As Nakazawa share the
vivid, heartbreaking stories, including her own, of people living with
these mysterious, chronic, and often hard-to-diagnose illnesses, she
explores the alarming and unexpected connection between this deadly
crisis and the countless environmental triggers we’re exposed to
every day: heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, viruses, chemicals in the
foods we eat, and more.

With the help of leading experts,
Nakazawa explores revolutionary preventions, treatments, and cures
emerging around the world and offers practical advice for protecting
your immune system and reducing your risk of autoimmune disease in the

Average Ratings and Reviews


631 Ratings






Ratings and Reviews From Market

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Reviews for The Autoimmune Epidemic:


April 17, 2012

more of a conspiracy theory type of book
I was not fond of this book. I did not like how it was written. It told a lot of stories about various people but the solutions or conclusions were not clear and left me more puzzled than anything. The discussion on toxins was also more of a conspiracy theory without real conclusive information. Many of the information about toxic chemicals and tests was not written for the average Joe and just left me guessing if these toxins are to blame or not. I was wondering that BEFORE I read the book so it really was just a waste of time with no answers. One story that really annoyed me was about a lady who goes about her every day and how the bus fumes, the cleaning solutions she uses, etc are all around her. The story was time consuming and had no definitive conclusion it merely was a suggestion to reflect the chemicals around us that we overlook. But rather than just phrasing it that or clearly the author takes a tremendous amount of time to demonstrate a point rather than expressing it in a professional and objective way. She had to make it into a story which I did not find entertaining-I wanted answers-not more questions and entertaining stories.

I would not recommend this book to people looking for answers!

November 29, 2014

Reviewed by Samuel Franklin, author of "Primal Estate: The Candidate Species"
The description of this book seems to promise that it will provide some kind of solution. What it lacks in solutions it makes up for in confusion. It includes so many possible causes of autoimmunity that it creates an exercise in frustration.

She gets close. She describes leaky gut in her book well past the half-way point then doesn't follow up with the remedy. The book suffers from the absence of recent research that proves the mechanisms of leaky gut (Fasano, University of Maryland). It is unfortunate because she describes the process, even labeling it as a cause. Then during this limited section on diet she both states the fact that doctors are not well educated about nutrition, then advises the reader to consult their doctor for nutritional advice. If she were to go back and look at more recent research, amend her book and put out a second edition, she should be commended.

Toward the end of the book there is a case study and interview with a gastroenterologist who previously thought diet had nothing to do with autoimmunity until it was the only thing that helped his MS. This seemed to not even raise an eyebrow. She lists one mechanism after another that is not within the control of the reader and almost completely ignores what the reader can control, and what truly is the pivotal factor, the environment created within the digestive system, heart of the immune system.

Misleading and alarmist, Nakazawa does a disservice to those of us with autoimmunity by perpetuating the concept that we are victims of circumstance, and have almost no control of our destiny. If you want to know what causes autoimmunity, ask those who have healed themselves. Perhaps thousands can tell you. I know I can. And none of us got healed from a pill or by moving to the mountains. Look at the way humans should be eating as a species, an almost completely ignored concept in this book.

The work contains oodles of information about things that are bad for you and stories of people suffering without recourse. But as for providing a solution to a problem, it is useful only to keep your trailer from rolling downhill on the most gentle of slopes. Just fold it in half and put it under the tire. When people are suffering and the solution exists but is not provided, a book that deals with the issue can be only a five star or a one star. It either does or it doesn't.

April 10, 2014

If you are stressed out about auto immune then avoid this book
If you or a loved one is stricken with an autoimmune disease and are fatigued and stressed out then avoid this book and seek other books that will set you on a path towards a solution. Yes, I understand that there is an epidemic. This book is filled with alarmist anecdote after anecdote and repetitive. You will be more stressed when reading this and this will do you no good.

April 16, 2010

There's a reason you can get this book for $.01
No new information, boring and "technical" without offering any help to those who suffer. If you're writing a paper about the overall epidemic (ie, that these diseases could be caused by toxins, etc) this is your book. Otherwise, Stick to books on your specific disease for information and help. Even better, research the net for people who say they were "cured" or found things that helped their condition & try their tips. I have found people with the actual health conditions to be more helpful with effective treatments than any doctor or book. Suggested Google search "My experience + the name of your health condition" to find real people's tips.

There is a reason you can get this book for a penny. You get what you pay for.

October 8, 2010

Less than objective
The author's personal connection to the topic may make her less than objective on the facts she reports. The examples and studies she cites are startling, however, she presents no opposing viewpoints. As a health care professional who also experiences autoimmune issues, I found this book to be informative but also a bit alarmist.

May 21, 2014

Not for ostriches, the arrogant, or the faint of heart
The Autoimmune Epidemic is by far the best book I've read to date on how autoimmune diseases have become the scourge that they are. As someone who has a very rare autoimmune disease and needs to know as much as possible in order to be comfortable with my new normal, I am thankful to Ms. Nakazawa for her dedication to finding the best people to talk to...scientists, activists, and patients. If you truly want to know about autoimmune diseases and what the world of science knows about their origin and growth, then be sure to read this book. I did not get the idea that the author was accusing anyone of a conspiracy; rather, I feel she was simply putting forth the astronomical changes in the world (especially the United States) that came with the post-WWII era. The evolution of the chemical industry was something accepted by most people as progress. Seeing its affects now and knowing how horrendous they are is not accusing anyone of conspiracies. It is simply accepting that many chemicals and industrial practices led to a virulent environment for many of us. Where blame does come in is when these cesspools of waste are not cleaned up when it is clear that they are causing great harm. If you have questions about the author's research regarding her subject, read through her resource notes and take note of to whom she went for information.

Finally, to those who are too faint of heart to hear the alarm sounded. If you don't want to know the horrendous truth about autoimmune diseases, don't read any books about them. There is no way to sugar coat what has happened to our immune systems as a result of genetics and a polluted environment. One caveat, however...we can only fight what we understand and Donna Jackson Nakazawa has provided a service above and beyond by telling us as much as is known about this 21st century epidemic in words that are both authoritative and readable.

To those who do not want to face what the autoimmune epidemic is and how it is affecting more people every year should not read this book. Those who won't read the reference notes

August 31, 2013

Convincingly links autoimmune diseases to modern toxicity (but Kindle edition has mangled endnotes as of 2013-08))
D.J. Nakazawa presents in easy-reading style lots of useful scientific information from reading and from interviewing specialists. She likes to introduce her topics with real life stories; but, soon enough, the anecdote subsides and the material gets really informative. As good popularizing books do, this one saves the reader lots of research time and offers a platform from which one can go further: Web links, journal articles, etc. Plenty of specifics are documented. (As to links, be prepared for obsolete ones that have been modified or even no longer exist.)

The average reader saves more than just time scouring journals or the Internet. As a journalist with access to good sources, Nakazawa also interviewed proeminent authorities at the forefront of their science circa 2007-9, thereby collecting some of the latest informed intuitions that had not appeared in journals or books yet. This would have taken a L O N G time for the "average Joe" to accomplish, contrary to what some overly dismissive reviews would lead you to believe.

For years, I have read about ubiquitous air, water, and soil pollution. For years I have also read about the suboptimal nature of processed food. Yet this read fostered a sharper awareness about autoimmunity disorders together with the role that the modern world plays in causing such diseases. For instance, when I studied about T-cells years ago in elective biology, I don't think there was any knowledge differentiating ordinary T-cells from supervisory T-cells. Now I am aware of events that can lessen the numbers of those supervisors, causing ordinary T-cells to do a less good job at distinguishing actual antigens from host tissues. Nor was I aware of the ability of some industrial substances to occupy -- or partly occupy -- hormone receptors if those foreign bodies have enough of a chemical resemblence to the particular hormone. When this happens, the flow of normal hormonal signals is distorted. If so, it then becomes plausible that hormonal mis-sgnaling may derail the immune system.

Neither up-to-date T-cell understanding nor endocrine disruption are a revelation to whomever keeps current on immunity, but they were new to me. Not too long ago, plenty else in this book was new even to the specialists, for science upturns things continuously. In fact, she explains how the specialists themselves labored for at least 50 years under the theory that the immune system could not turn against its host -- a theory called "horror autotoxicus". She recounts that a serendipitous discovery in the 1950s began to contradict the established assumption. She got the story firsthand from the scientist who made the initial discovery. It took another 15 years to convince the medical community that its learned belief, horror autotoxicus, was wrong.

All of that package of discoveries plus historical context were quite exciting. So, after reading a few chapters from a public library copy, I decided to buy. There were many useful things to highlight and to return to later for memory refreshment.

However, Kindle readers should know that the endnotes section was mangled.

In the hardback, the endnotes are presented in the following way:

page number on the left, [space], a short italicized verbatim blurb from that page, [space], then the note itself concerning the part of the main text around that blurb.

But the Kindle edition (as of 2013/08) omits the page number, the space, and obscures the first character (or first two characters) of every endnote. This degrades the usefulness of the Kindle endnotes section, especially due to the absence of the page number.

[By the way, that way of presenting endnotes is inefficient, even though it's well executed in the hardback. Researching information under that method takes more time than under the traditional numbered-note method. That ill-inspired method is even worse in electronic books. A well designed e-book allows the user to move at once from main text to note by just clicking on or touching the note number from the main text. Then, as quickly, the user can then fling back to the main text. **Again, this is the traditional mumbering system at work in well designed e-book,** However, in e-books that follow the traditional numbering system, the note number may not be LINKED to the corresponding endnote at the end of the book, making quick and precise back-and-forth movements impossible. The endnote referencing flaws that I described in The Autoimmune Epidemic, Kindle edition, thwart movement even more.]

September 1, 2009

You Need to Know About This!
Autoimmune diseases are proliferating like crazy and as a society we are horribly uninformed. This affects us in several ways.

I have been diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, which are generally incurable. Rarely do I encounter someone who doesn't tell me, "Hope you're all better by _______." No one knows what autoimmunity is, much less Sjogren's or Addison's diseases. So when I continue to be ill, I am written off as lazy. But these diseases cost society and my family a bundle in lost wages, medical spending, etc

Even though most of my friends are well educated, many of them don't know that autoimmune diseases are not the same as AIDS. Who will vote for funding for desperately needed autoimmunity research, when most of us think the studies already have been completed with AIDS funds? It's not even close to the same problem.

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mis-identifies a part of the body as foreign, i.e. a flu virus, and then attacks destroying a needed part of your body. Autoimmune research currently receives a tiny fraction of medical research dollars, which is way out of proportion to the number of patients with one or more of the 100+ autoimmune diseases.

This book is fantastic and it's not only for patients. The author presents verifiable information, citing trustworthy sources, about the dangers in our food chain, cleaning products, environmental toxins and much more. You will learn why and how to keep yourself healthy--or to help your doctors if one of these nasty diseases has gotten hold of you. The reading is easy, but I learned so much.

February 17, 2013

The Autoimmune Epidemic is a Bombshell of a book!
This book is riveting. I'm only part way thru it, but it's difficult to put down, even to take notes. It is also shocking and frightening. We eat organic most of the time. Now I know why. 77,000 chemicals have been created and released into the environment since 1900. Only 550 have been tested. Where are they? In the air, in the soil, on and in your food, in the water, even the water you drink, and in your body and in your blood, including the blood of newborns. Great way to start out life!
I got this book because my wife has hemolytic anemia. The antigens are attacking the red blood cells. Where do these antigens come from? The hemotologist doesn't have a clue. Not surprising. But with The Autoimmune Epidemic we have more than a clue, we have a direction, and good reason to be very careful about what we allow in our homes, what we wear, and what we eat. The jungle has morphed, but it's as deadly as ever. This book is explosive and should be mandatory reading for politicians, the law makers who've been doing a pretty poor job regulating the chemical industries happy go lucky attitude.
Donna Jackson Nabakazawa does a very nice job describing the autoimmune diseases and what they can do to us. It's an eye opener for one who thought his eyes were open. I highly recommend this book.

March 22, 2013

wordy book
.Found it hard to read . Lots of words but not a lot of useful substance that you could use.

Mar 27, 2008

I highly recommend this book for anyone w/autoimmune disorders OR anyone who is interested in the impact of our world becoming increasingly toxic and chemical. . . In fact, I'd recommend this to anyone who has food or other allergies, asthma or anyone who has KIDS . . . . or anyone interested in medical mysteries. Thoroughly researched and documented . . . a very interesting read.

August 30, 2016

Pandemic Arrested
One of the best books on a pandemic that is so tied to the destruction of our planet that it has been ignored. It opened my eyes to the nature and I would say cause of autoimmune disease. Over a hundred kinds of AD, with very common roots and yet all treated separately most of the time. Treated meaning symptom management and drugs, lots of drugs. Outcome? People stay sick pharmaceutical companies continue to get richer and richer. Supply and Demand. The book offers a solution, one we can only hope is followed.

April 27, 2017

This should be manditory reading for every human on this planet.
i would and will recommend and buy this vook for first and foremost to all the people i know suffering from an autoimmune disease. i will recommend it everyone else. every human on this planet should read it. well written and awe informative. thank you donna for the time and devotion you put in to educating us.

May 31, 2009

The Autooimmune Epidemic
The Autoimmune Epidemic
A must read for anyone who has experienced an autoimmune disease, either first-hand, or as family member, or friend. This book makes some thought provoking observations about the current state of our environment and draws parallels to the changes in our water, air, soil and food sources with the alarming rise in various autoimmune diseases.

This is a meticulously researched work that balances good journalism with sound science. The author dedicates a chapter to a day in the life of a typical American family and uncovers the various pollutants and carcinogens that it is exposed to as a matter of course. To further illustrate, there is a fascinating (and maddening) case study of one community's epidemic of Lupus and the chemical contamination that may have caused it.

The message of this book is clear, there is a huge rise in the incidence of autoimmune disease and it is likely to become a public health emergency. Yet since autoimmune diseases are not one disease but many, each is seen separately and the epidemic has largely gone unnoticed.

The book ends on a somewhat optimistic note, documenting current research that shows how modern science is hot on the trail of the causes and cures of some of the more well known autoimmune diseases.

July 28, 2015

Not the best read on the subject
I didn't find this book particularly insightful and it doesn't really give much in terms of solutions, apart from common sense (use organic bedding, eat organic, drive a hybrid- yes thank you, what about those people who can't afford to?). Most of this information is available on a good 'alternative' health blog (such as Dr Mercola, or Chris Kresser). Also I didn't find this book particularly well researched- the whole chapter on vaccines misquotes history by repeating what we are always told, which does not match up to what historical medical literature depicts. If a journalist decides to tackle this complex issue, particularly outlining the dangers for those who are prone to an auto-immune disease, then she should not put inaccurate remarks about the history of vaccines. Still, it's important to have a book that describes the auto-immune phenomena as an epidemic, because I don't think many people are paying enough attention to what is happening

Jul 12, 2012

Living with Crohn's Disease and awaiting a possible Lupus diagnosis, Nakazawa's The Autoimmune Epidemic proved to be both enlightening in its evidence based argument of the environmental causes and pathophysiology of autoimmune disease as well as shocking in its presentation of heartbreaking anecdotes and expose of the hidden killers that are pervasive in our everyday lives. Readers with and even those without autoimmune diseases will undoubtedly rethink the way we approach diet and lifestyle Living with Crohn's Disease and awaiting a possible Lupus diagnosis, Nakazawa's The Autoimmune Epidemic proved to be both enlightening in its evidence based argument of the environmental causes and pathophysiology of autoimmune disease as well as shocking in its presentation of heartbreaking anecdotes and expose of the hidden killers that are pervasive in our everyday lives. Readers with and even those without autoimmune diseases will undoubtedly rethink the way we approach diet and lifestyle after reading this book. In the final chapter, Ms. Nakazawa presents a guideline of basic changes we can make in an attempt to avoid or reduce the symptoms of already-present autoimmune diseases. As the incidence rates and diagnoses of these disease continue to increase at an exponential rate, we can no longer afford to ignore the growing body of evidence, put forth clearly by the Autoimmune Epidemic, that ties genetics, diet, environment and lifestyle with autoimmune disease.

Of special interest to me was the evidence presented on the proven connection of the modern Western diet, filled with processed and preserved foods, refined sugar, saturated fat and gluten proteins with the onset and progression of these diseases. I am a gluten-free blogger, based in Atlanta, and hope all of my devoted fans will pick up a copy of The Autoimmune Epidemic!

This is a must-read! ...more

Dec 27, 2010

I read it because I have an autoimmune disease, but everyone would benefit from a quick read.
The number of people in the USA who have an autoimmune disease outnumber Cancer patients, or Heart disease patients. Research has confirmed that chemicals - industrial, man-made chemicals - are causing many if not all autoimmunity. I worked around a solvent that (as I found out later), that has been shown to trigger my disease.
A co-worker has the same disease (Maybe more, I'm not in touch).
But this I read it because I have an autoimmune disease, but everyone would benefit from a quick read.
The number of people in the USA who have an autoimmune disease outnumber Cancer patients, or Heart disease patients. Research has confirmed that chemicals - industrial, man-made chemicals - are causing many if not all autoimmunity. I worked around a solvent that (as I found out later), that has been shown to trigger my disease.
A co-worker has the same disease (Maybe more, I'm not in touch).
But this same stuff is in ground-water. You drink it, breath it when you take a hot shower.
Other nasty stuff is in our food. Nothing changes overnight - but the book does give some hope, and
ideas to avoid much of the chemicals we now are exposed to in our diets. ...more

Jul 13, 2008

Scary stuff... Throw away all your furniture and plastic and stay away from processed foods.

This book needs editing, but contains some good facts. I wouldn't call it light reading, because the subject matter is not light... I recommend for people who don't mind overuse of bad metaphors, but want a very superficial understanding of autoimmune disease.

I fear its emphasis on medical research, especially genetics, detracts from the larger message that we have created a world full of plastic and Scary stuff... Throw away all your furniture and plastic and stay away from processed foods.

This book needs editing, but contains some good facts. I wouldn't call it light reading, because the subject matter is not light... I recommend for people who don't mind overuse of bad metaphors, but want a very superficial understanding of autoimmune disease.

I fear its emphasis on medical research, especially genetics, detracts from the larger message that we have created a world full of plastic and chemicals that are killing us. I'd rather see us clean up the world that is poisoning our bodies. ...more

December 1, 2018

Did not like the book
I absolutely appreciate personal stories, and the personal stories were well written. But, I just did not learn anything new. I think this book would be great for people with many of these common illnesses, that are unaware of their conditions. I believe this book would help them understand a basic idea of the what is happening to them and the public, in regards to their sickness.And it would definitely show them that they are not alone. But, I personally, did not like the book.

May 30, 2010

Fantastic Book - Made me understand why I have more than one of these diseases and how I got them
This book was delivered as promised via I could not put the book down for a few days until I read it. It told me everything I wanted to know about Autoimmune diseases and more, and gave me much more appreciation for my Rheumatologists Doctors Philip Sedrish and Marielisa Sedrish at Gulfcoast Rheumatology at Slidell Memorial Hospital. They have been doing everything like clock work with me and I have been a very trying case for especially for Dr Philip Sedrish. These doctors are definitely experts in Rheumatology and all the other Auto-Immune Neuromuscular and Skin Diseases such as (RA, PM, DM, IBM, Sjogrens, Scleroderma, Lupus, ALS, etc...) that go along with their specialty. They referred me to the best specialists: Dermatology - Dr Eric Tabor; Cardiology - Dr Ignatius Thomas; Pulmonology - Doctor Dennis Dale and Doctor Janine Parker; Opthamology- Dr David Slagle; Gastroenternology - Dr Anthony Albright. These doctors all work well with each other and me to address all my symptoms associated with Dermatomyositis, Sjogrens, and Psoriasis. Thanks to these doctors, I have not had to drive 100 miles a trip to the MDA Clinic at Children'sHospital in New Orleans or even further as may others end up doing.

Thank you to the authors of this book and my friends from The Myositis Association, Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis forum.

I recommend this book to anyone diagnosed with a Auto-Immune Disease and associated Cancer.

Bill Morell
Diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, Sjogrens Syndrome, and Psoriasis.

July 2, 2014

If you actually want real information do not waste your time
This book is clearly written by a journalist and not a scientist wanting to inform the public with relatable information. It is entirely overdramatized and should be considered a novel. There are literally no citations from any information used (they are all simply listed in the end of the book for you to guess what **significant** information she might be referring to throughout her story). I skipped through the majority of the beginning of the book because I was so annoyed by her stigmatization of scientists not caring and completely ignoring any and all information that she had realized 30-60 years after them. THIS IS NOT A BOOK WITH REAL INFORMATION AND STATISTICS. THIS IS A BOOK FOR HOUSEWIVES/HOUSEHUSBANDS WHO LIKE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT WITHOUT HAVING REAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT IT.

I do support the fact that there are far too many toxic substances around us but this book made it very annoying to try and learn about them. Also, if you start half of your sentences with 'but', 'because', and 'and', no one should take you that seriously.

Don't waste your money; wikipedia can tell you all of this and not waste your time.

December 7, 2013

Ok I guess
Was OK read but wanted more about a solution than social theory. If you're interested more in treating this issue, look for another book

November 2, 2013

A thorough gloss
For decades there have been numerous studies published in medical and bio-molecular journals linking a variety of autoimmune disorders to certain strains of mycoplasma, most notably one created by our own bio-weapons engineers who began this effort in 1942) and released into our environment intentionally in the Eighties via the TX DoC prisoners, and otherwise. About half of all GWS cases were shown to have been caused by this strain which features a good bit of brucella DNA (possibly pimped up even worse with a bit of of the HIV molecule) which may have been transmitted through the anthrax vaccines administered our troops. AND YET, as others have pointed out, there is no mention of the word " mycoplasma" at all in this book nor has a newer edition been released to remedy this "oversight." Read the book for all its worth, but know that there is more info out there that could help explain so much of this mystery epidemic, and, yes, there is indeed an epidemic. Similar comment could be made re LDN treatment. If you have read this far, you know how to do your own research and think for yourself.

Mar 15, 2013

This book was one of the highly educational ones that I have read. Recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and I did not know how or why it happened. But as I read this book it helped to explain what was going on and why. Also, it helped to realize that while there is no cure there are ways to live green and to keep a person safe while being treated with this disorder.

November 11, 2009

Excellent book
As a person who has autoimmune disease, I can honestly say that after decades of personal research into all sorts of reasons "why," I think that this book comes the closest to providing that answer. Most other theories are just that. But this author provides substantial, accepted-as-research studies to back up her claims. It unfortunately all makes good sense to me.

If her theories turn out to be true, you have to wonder how it is that the USA has allowed itself to be the world's guinea pig. It seems that any company can put out any chemical to test on the public, or pollute as much as it can get away with, at will. It's shameful. If this is all true, the tobacco industry debacle will, in hindsight, seem miniscule.

So, yes. If you or someone you know has autoimmune disease, you should definitely read this book and then lend it out or buy one for that person. If you don't have autoimmune disease, you should definitely read this book so you can do everything possible not to unwittingly join the vast numbers of those of us who do.

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