Book Summary and Analysis |

Health, Nutrition, Fitness



A Summary and Critique of

David Perlmutter’s

Brain Maker

What Scientists Say About The Power of Gut Microbes

to Heal and Protect Your Brain

by M.B. Levenbrook

Copyright©2015 M.B. Levenbrook. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.

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In his book, Perlmutter discusses seven essential strategies for keeping your gut healthy.

1. Avoid a Caesarian Section

Women should avoid a Caesarian section. Delivering a child via Caesarian section doubles the risk for autism and triples the risk for ADHD in the child. It also increases the chances that the child will suffer from allergies, obesity and type 1 diabetes.

2. Choose Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides the child with the most appropriate nutrients. It also influences the child’s microbiome by means of bacterial transfer from skin contact.

3. Avoid Unnecessary Use of Antibiotics

Today, antibiotics are significantly overused in medical treatments. Antibiotics have a huge impact on the health and diversity of the microbiome, and might well explain some of the significant trends in illness, in obesity and in autism, that we see today. According to the extensive data published in the American Journal of Medicine, there’s a correlation between antibiotics taken by women and a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Because the microbiome is important in detoxification and immune system processes, researchers relate the elevated risk of developing breast cancer to the changes in the microbiome caused by antibiotics.

Take antibiotics only when it is absolutely necessary. Antibiotics may permanently wipe out the body’s good bacteria and favor the growth of bacteria such as Firmicutes, contributing to weight gain. For example, some studies show that when mice are given antibiotics, they gain 15 percent more fat than other mice. Farmers know about this effect and feed antibiotics to livestock to make animals fatter.

Good bacteria in the gut also help to manufacture vitamins and boost the immune system. Hence, antibiotics may contribute to obesity, asthma and cancer.

Disinfectant products like antibacterial soaps and hand gels should also be avoided as much as possible.

4. Avoid Refined Sugar and Processed Fructose

Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) increase the growth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and yeast that can cause various diseases. It is important to limit the consumption of refined and processed sugars in order to keep the gut healthy. Studies indicate, for example, that fructose consumption may increase levels of LPS, indicating that your gut is leaking. Fructose can also cause glycation of protein that is linked to the leaky gut. (Glycation is a reaction that occurs when simple sugar molecules become attached to lipid fats or proteins without the moderation of an enzyme.)

5. Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods and Pesticides

According Dr. Perlmutter, genetically modified food may be bad for our gut bacteria because it is different from the food that the gut bacteria have been consuming for a couple of million years.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approves genetically modified foods, has not analyzed the effects of genetically modified food on the human microbiome. Additionally, glyphosate, which can alter the human microbiome, is generously used on genetically engineered crops, making genetically engineered foods even more harmful for gut bacteria.

You should choose organic wherever possible.

6. Eat Probiotic Foods

Make an effort to regularly eat probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha (a fermented drink) and kefir. Taking a broad-spectrum probiotic supplements can be helpful, especially to those people who are taking a course of antibiotics.

Probiotics are good bacteria that help keeping the digestive system healthy by preventing growth of harmful bacteria. Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics because it has such good bacteria as lactobacillus or bifidobacteria. Sauerkraut, miso soup, fermented, soft cheeses (e.g., Gouda), and sourdough bread are good sources of probiotics thanks to fermentation.

7. Eat Prebiotic Fiber

Prebiotics are carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest. Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Asparagus, legumes, bananas, Mexican yam, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, dandelion greens and oatmeal are good sources of prebiotics. There is no food that contains both prebiotics and probiotics. However, some supplements contain probiotics and prebiotics.

Onions and leeks can also help the gut bacteria flourish.

8. Diet for a Healthy Gut

 Always remember to consult your doctor before starting a new diet.

Vegetables should make 2/3 of an ideal meal combined with approximately 3 to 4 ounces of protein.

A list of healthy foods includes:

  • Leafy greens, such as Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, garlic, jimica and ginger;
  • Low-sugar fruits, such as avocado, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, tomato, lemons and limes;
  • Healthy fat found in extra-virgin olive oil, almond milk, olives, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil and organic butter;
  • Protein found in whole eggs, shellfish, wild fish, grass-fed meat, poultry and fowl;
  • Herbs, seasoning and condiments (gluten and wheat free, free of soy or sugars), such as horseradish, mustard, salsa;
  • Foods rich in prebiotics such as raw asparagus, acacia gum, raw Chicory root, raw Jerusalem Artichoke, raw leek, raw dandelion green, raw garlic, raw onion.

The diet recommended by Perlmutter in his book claims to reduce the risks for various diseases and disorders.

Go to Part III A Critique and References

Go Back to Part I A Summary of Research

Go Back to Table of Contents   

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