Cover of Undoctored book, with an apple with a prescription pasted on it

I have to confess I feel a bit like a middle-aged groupie, but I just can’t stop telling people about William Davis’ new book, “Undoctored.” Dr. Davis is a Milwaukee cardiologist known for his New York Times bestselling “Wheat Belly” books.

And in case I’ve already lost you or am at risk of doing so, let me just quickly share this:

“Excess fat melts away effortlessly, joint pain and skin rashes recede, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms reverse within days, fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis begin a powerful retreat.”

This is what he witnessed, as more or less unexpected side effects, after he’d convinced his patients to give up wheat for 30 days for their heart health. Imagine if these were the side effects you or someone close to you experienced from something the doctor or, more likely the physician’s assistant, had prescribed.

The health benefits were so dramatic, and his book so successful, it launched a new career for him: from cog-in-the (broken)-system cardiologist to personal health empowerment crusader.

By combining the power of crowd-sourcing, the Direct-To-Consumer availability of blood, stool and saliva testing, and the multitude of detailed and credible information on just about anything via the internet, Davis argues that the time is ripe to eject the (unhelpfully incentivized) middle man (and, yeah, probably those nasty insurance companies too while we’re at it) and seize control of our everyday health for ourselves. Doctors and medical centers retain their place for what they truly excel at: trauma, infectious disease and emergency medicine.

  A complete list of conditions Davis witnessed dramatically improving or resolving entirely during his Wheat Belly days appears on pages 16-18 of his book. Autoimmunity, ADHD, asthma, even autism immediately caught my eye, particularly because they seem to effect an ever growing number of people and are chronic conditions for which really no decent treatments exist. How many patients, for example, just can’t bear another day of feeling lousy from Remicade or Otezla? And then too there’s dermatology. How liberating to learn that the solution to your skin problems might not be steroids and salves but instead your gut flora and diet?

Yes, we’ve heard promises like this before, but the only thing this guy’s selling (well, besides maybe his online health courses) is a break-up. Okay, two break-ups: one between you and wheat (or, more precisely, the 42-chromosome, high yield, 18-inch dwarf mutant that passes for wheat in the USA these days thanks to Big Agra); the other, between you and the ravenous health care system that sees you only as a profit stream.

For me it was something of a hallelujah moment.

Not only have I witnessed, through my patients, the collateral damage of an out-of-control health care system over the years – a patient who developed diabetes on an anti-cholesterol drug she had no business taking in the first place; another patient who came to me with a Parkinson’s diagnosis when the real cause of her tremors was a severe magnesium deficiency she developed because the proton pump inhibitor she had been prescribed for her acid reflux greatly reduced her ability to absorb magnesium. Interestingly, both acid reflux and magnesium deficiencies quickly resolve once wheat is eliminated from the diet, according to Davis.

But I also witnessed the medical issues of my family members – ill-advised calcium supplementation, or worse, bisphosphonates for bone health when neither is effective and both in fact harmful; life-threatening long-term consequences from low fat and low cal health advice; a procedure driven solution to atrial fibrillation that caused more problems down the road (Is it true that docs get kick backs on pacemaker and defibrillator orders? And quarterly bonuses based on how many expensive intra-hospital consults they chart?); the list goes on and on, as it does for way too many families who at the time believe they’re doing what’s best for their loved one.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one ready for our new “Undoctored” future. And if you think about it, it’s probably high time we learned a little bit about our bodies – not to mention what’s in our food. Davis, of course, is not the only one out there goading us down this path. And I recently launched a book discussion group to explore not only his but other leading voices in this direction: Mark Hyman, David Perlmutter, Gary Taubes, Jeffrey Bland. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

After 20 years in clinical research and drug development at St. Vincent’s Hospital & Medical Center in New York, Michael Barr trained as an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist. He recently returned to his native Ohio and has an office at the Center for Alternative Medicine in Columbus. He can be reached at


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