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The Youth Prescription lies somewhere between a historical narrative, a textbook, and a comic.

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Most importantly, it is a discussion that spans the realms of psychology, alternative health, and modern medicine that investigates our culture’s obsession with youth. The author immediately suggests that this is not the obsession we should have- instead, we should focus on health, and turn our quest for the fountain of youth, to the journey to healthier bodies, which, in turn, age more gracefully.

The work then focuses on the connection between health and appearance, and the ways that youthfulness can be restored through healthier habits- whether focusing on the skin, or what lies beneath the epidermis. Treatments from magnets, to yogurt, to what the author hails as the holy grail of healthy supplements- bovine colostrum- are explored, and the author investigates the benefits of each of these supplements in layman’s terms. The descriptions are accessible to any audience, written in clear language (or as clear as writing about bifidobacterium infantis can possibly be). Yet what is lost in translation from scientific knowledge written in peer-reviewed papers to easily understandable terminology is important information. The common issue with diluting scientific research into summaries absorbable by those without understanding of the terminology, is that key points, and important ideas are lost. Generalizations, that can be loosely interpreted, and therefore have the possibility to be misleading, take the place of specific caveats that apply to research. Therefore, the written warning while reading The Youth Prescription is that outside research might be necessary- consult the original papers regarding the treatments prescribed by the author, along with a doctor’s approval.

Dr. Geissel successfully navigates the challenge of dumping products onto the page. She describes the ideas behind each of the remedies that she writes about, alone with personal experiences, and how the health benefits of each supplement, mask, and pill are connected to the anti-aging benefits. This results in a holistic view of aging that our society seems to be lacking. Instead of stressing picking up a needle and injecting poisonous botox into a forehead to eliminate wrinkles, Dr. Geissel takes the pages to describe how the effects on cells of medicines translate into aesthetic benefits. It is a look beyond the superficial interest in beauty of our society, and towards the wellbeing that we should strive to achieve.

Included in each chapter are cartoons, which, in many ways, seem to echo the irony of the subject that Dr. Geissel writes about. These tiny black and white snapshot portrayals are dispersed throughout the work; they are humorous reminders of the absurdity of the emphasis that our society places on aesthetics- and not the functioning body beneath our skins.

Therefore, The Youth Prescription should be treated as less than a prescription, and more of an anthology, an encyclopedic collection of possible remedies that target different issues associated with aging (or, as the author strives to connect- the health that indirectly affects the appearance of aging). It is a valuable resource of ideas, but is in no ways the magic pill to conquer aging once and for all. Read it for what it is: a well-researched description of the far reaches that our society is willing to take to conquer our obsessions with beauty. With that in mind, many of the treatments are expensive. They require a slew of pills taken in the morning, of careful dosages and doctor’s appointments.

While the book may be written in terms that are easily accessible, many of the treatments are not. This is in no way a flaw of the author, but is important to note that the audience may be able to internalize the ideas behind the research- but may not be able to reach out onto the shelves and use these ideas.

Therefore, what The Youth Prescription is lacking is a stronger analysis of the psychological factors that are more applicable to readers who do not wish to spend money on supplements, creams, and other treatments that may prove to be ineffective. A deeper conversation on ways to end the negative self-talk that allows people, including Dr. Geissel to become incredibly nervous when noticing a single age spot, would be a helpful supplement to the rest of the text. How can we end these perceptions as a society? How can we end them on a personal level?

The Youth Prescription is worth reading as an introduction to the ideas behind anti-aging. It is most certainly focused more towards middle-aged women who are the brunt of the aging crisis in our society, but can be a valuable resource to anyone interested in the connection between overall health and appearance. It is not a cure-all, but it is a good first appointment, with the treatment left in the hands of the patient.

Number of pages: 235

Recommended for: women facing their first aging crisis, students

Enjoy it with: a bottle of body lotion, a cup of yogurt, and a capsule of colostrum

Best place to buy it: http://www.amazon.com/The-Youth-Prescription-Anti-aging-Sourcebook-ebook/dp/B00HX3RMTY

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