The article below was originally published in the ZachBushMD.com newsletter.
Over the years, I’ve had many experiences with patients which led me to begin questioning the way Western medicine approaches illness and treatment. In the majority of cases, the goal has become managing a disease, rather than inducing health.
My questions led me to discover some uncomfortable and astonishing statistics.
Starting in the 1990’s, something alarming began to happen in the United States.
Diseases—in what seemed like completely different organ systems—were going epidemic, almost simultaneously.
- Dementia in women increased.
- Parkinson’s in men increased.
- Autoimmune diseases hit an all time high.
- Today, 1 in every 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer before they die.
- And 1 in 36 children are now diagnosed with autism, compared to a mere 1 in 5,000 in the 1970’s.
Why are so many diseases, in such unrelated parts of the body, increasing at such a rapid rate? What’s the relation?
The connecting factor is chronic inflammation.
And chronic inflammation is the root of all disease.
By definition, inflammation is actually a normal biological response to an injury. It’s the bodies reaction to tissue or cell damage caused by harmful pathogens or other stimuli.
Our gut has a very thin membrane that protects it’s cells from inflammatory causing compounds and bacteria.
If that thin membrane becomes permeable, our entire immune system feels the effects, and we experience inflammation.
We know our diet certainly plays a role in our gut health—but unfortunately, we can’t just throw out the snack cakes and start eating vegetables and hope our health takes a total turnaround. It may help, but as I found, it’s only a piece of the puzzle.
I have focused on holistic health and nutrient rich foods to heal disease for years at The M Clinic.
But initially, the statistics were not what I had hoped for.
About 30 % of my patients had a complete and miraculous turnaround of disease while implementing diet changes.
Another 30% saw some improvement.
But a surprising 40% saw zero improvement, or an actual worsening of symptoms with their new, health focused plans.
So then I asked, if the cause of disease is inflammation, what is causing our guts to be so affected, and our bodies to be so inflamed?
If the problem isn’t less sugar and more vegetables, then what is it?
To answer this question, we must first understand some of the history of our countries food sources and farm lands.
After World War II, the United States was left with an excess of petroleum that they no longer had use for. They found that petroleum could be used as a chemical fertilizer, and they marketed it as such.
For the first time in history, farmers ignored the generational wisdom of good crop practices. They stopped letting their soil rest, they stopped rotating their crops. They forgot the hard lessons of the 1930’s Dust Bowl.
The farmers became convinced that fertilizing crops with chemicals saved time, increased yield, and created healthier, greener plants.
The plants were greener, but they weren’t healthier—they were now weak and lacking major nutrients. (In fact, a tomato grown today has almost no lycopene left in it, compared to one grown in 1950.)
Weak plants are more subject to disease and pests, so the solution became to add more chemicals—this time in the form of pesticides (which are essentially an antibiotic)—to the soil, and ignore the failing biology just underneath the surface.
It was, and still is, an environmental version of exactly how we are treating disease in humans today.
The most widely used commercial pesticide is a glyphosate-based herbicide called Roundup. Today, Roundup’s use is so profuse, that it has become impossible to avoid its affects all together. In fact, 99.99% of Roundup never even hits a weed—instead, it’s found primarily in runoff, and ends up in the water we drink and the air we breathe. In the southern United States, 75% of the air and the rain are contaminated with glyphosates.
Before you even take a bite of food, you are being hit with an antibiotic every time you inhale.
So how, specifically, does this prolific chemical affect our health? Glyphosates increase the permeability of the gut membrane. This means that the side effects of Roundup are direct injury to the very protein structure that holds your gut together—and every macro membrane in your body is held together by the same tight junctions that the gut has.
Our environment has made us into leaky sieves, and the very blood vessels in our bodies that are supposed to be delivering an immune response or getting nutrients, are also leaking and affecting the blood/brain barrier, leading to an abundance of neuro disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and autism.
When we breathe, drink, eat, or stand in the rain, we are being subjected to antibiotics that are killing the healthy bacteria that we need to thrive. Our innate capacity to heal ourselves is being stripped away, because our biome has been obliterated by all of the glyphosate.
We have created a war in both our internal and external environment. So how do we rectify this bleak reality? Where do we even begin?
One good piece of news is that Monsanto (the distributors of Roundup) have leaked an encouraging statistic – if 16% of food in the United States was purchased organically, the chemical fertilizer industry would lose financial stability.
The truth is, if we stopped spraying Roundup tomorrow, it would take 50 years before we saw a drop in toxic levels.
But—there are bacteria and fungi in our soil that can digest the glyphosates. Our world, like our bodies, has an innate ability to heal itself. If we let it.
We have to begin to do things differently.
At the current rate of health decline, in the year 2035, 1 in 3 children will be diagnosed with autism. That statistic alone would send our country into total financial collapse.
A change needs to happen, and it can happen.
We, the consumers, are the solution.
So which actions do I recommend we take to help change things for our own health, and for society’s future?
Macro Ecosystem Shifts
Breathe as many different environments as you can. This means, get out of your house. Leave your immaculate lawn. Hike a mountain. Go sit by a waterfall. Read under a mossy tree. Visit a swamp. Get into as many different ecosystems as you can, and just breathe them for a few hours. Shifting your environment is one of the simplest ways to repopulate your microbiome (and rejuvenate your mental health).
Eat Fermented Foods
Before refrigeration, we used fermentation as a preservation method. As we have lost this need, we’ve also lost its benefits. Fermented foods contain immune boosting bacteria, and you only need to eat a few forkfuls of homemade sauerkraut to get your daily dose.
Buy Organic Food
This one is for your own health, of course, but it’s also for the betterment of the future. Remember – if only 16% of the population bought organic food, Monsanto would collapse. Organic food can be more expensive in some cases, but if we all found ways to make the sacrifice now, the price of chemical free foods would dramatically decrease once spraying ceased.
Share The Message
Get people thinking and talking about these issues and the various misconceptions. Listen to the latest interview with Rich Roll here and share with your friends, family and local farmers.
Human hope is contagious, and if a few of us can become more conscious of ourselves, our environment, and our communities, it has a ripple effect.
It can happen quick. And it has to. Do what you can, where you can, with what you have.
Zach Bush, MD is one of the few triple board-certified physicians in the country with expertise in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism, and hospice/palliative care. Learn more about his groundbreaking work at ZachBushMD.com, IntrinsicHealthSeries.com, and FarmersFootprint.us.
Watch Zach Bush interviewed by Rich Roll discussing GMOs, glyphosate, and gut health: