7 things that we use often that might be compromising our overall quality of health.

7 things that we use often that might be compromising our overall quality of health.

Our gut challenge participants got a much more detailed, scary lesson in all the things available to us for common consumption that are in fact doing more harm than good.   For a much more detailed breakdown of this, check out Dr. Stephen Gundry’s Plant Paradox.   Here’s a quick breakdown of the scary truth:

  1. Broad Spectrum Antibiotics  - Those antibiotics have done an amazing job saving lives, we have taken a medical miracle and made it a medical nightmare.  Improper use of broad-spectrum antibiotics because “I don’t have time to go to the doctor and I need to get rid of this infection” mentalities have led to doctors using broad spectrum anti-biotics as a general cure-all.  The problem is that these antibiotics bulldoze the bad (sometimes) and the good bacteria all at the same time, leaving you with a compromised immune system and at risk for other infections.  For kids, the tale is even more grim, repeated use of antibiotics in kids puts them at increased risk of developing auto-immune conditions like Crohn's, asthma, or becoming obese.   Even worse, its not just humans that get antibiotics, cows, chickens, and pigs wind up getting heavy doses when one animal in the confine gets sick.  So even if you aren’t taking antibiotics, if you’re eating meat from animals treated with antibiotics, you’re taking small daily doses of antibiotics.

  2. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs  - Common to every household medicine cabinet, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), Celebrex, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been commonplace as a “gateway painkiller” to the more powerful painkiller since the 1970s.  NSAIDs were introduced as an alternative to aspirin which got a bad reputation because of the damage it was inflicting on the lining of the stomach.   What we know now is is that NSAIDs do equal damage to the mucosal barrier of the small intestine and colon, increasing inflammation and permeability.  

  3. Stomach-Acid Blockers -As the American diet became more and more acidic and our overall health has subsequently gotten worse, there has become an increased need for drugs acid-blocking drugs like Zantac, Prilosec, and Nexium.   The problem with stomach acid blockers is four-fold:

    1. Stomach acid is there for a reason.   One of the big reasons is the fact that the buck stops in the stomach, i.e. most of the bad bacteria you swallow never make it out alive.  An oxygen-free, low acid environment is where most bacteria thrive.  If you create that environment in your stomach, these pathogenic bacteria can thrive.

    2. Prilosec and Nexium can also kill of your mitochondria’s ability to produce energy in your body via because mitochondria use proton pumps and these stomach acid blocker are proton pump inhibitors.  

    3. The new population of intestinal bugs allowed to reside in your body due to the hospidable low stomach acid environment, increase your likelihood of getting pneumonia.

    4. Because stomach acid is necessary to break down protein into amino acids before getting absorbed in your gut,  you may be ingesting protein but not absorbing it, putting especially our geriatric population at risk for muscle wasting.

  4. Hormone Disruptors - Estrogen-like agents are widespread, diverse and found in things we use everyday, in a lot of cases, to protect us from something else.  These chemicals are found in most plastics, scented cosmetics, preservatives, sunscreens, and cash register receipts.  The Endocrine Society’s statement on endocrine disruptors :  “Exposure to these powerful agents has been found to affect individuals and test animals (as well as their descendants) in multiple ways, some of which may not show up for years.”    Here are just two of a few:

    1. tBHQ - in things like processed bread

    2. BPA - in plastic lined cans, recipt paper, store bougth water bottles, plastic storage containers (It’s been banned by the FDA as of 2016, to be removed from products in the near future)

  5. Artificial Sweeteners - Products like sucralose, saccarin, and aspartame alter the gut, killing good bacteria and allowing overgrowth of bad ones.  A 2008 study from Duke published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, showed that a single packet of Splenda kills 50 percent of normal intestinal flora!   The irony: when the good gut guys die of and the bad gut guys take over, ironically you are significantly more at risk to weight gain and obesity. Instead, try these products in moderation:  Stevia, Just like sugar, xylitol (though beware of this one around your pets!!!), erythritol, yacon syrup, and inulin.  

  6. GMO and Round-up - The herbicides Roundup, made by Monsanto and Enlist, made by Dow Chemical both contain 2,4-D and glyphosate. A growing number of scientists are risking attack by the biotech industry by releasing studies that link glyphosate to cancer, kidney and liver failure, birth defects, infertility, digestive issues, and increased risk of allergies.  Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a lab through genetic engineering.  This process creates combinations of plants that do not occur in nature or though traditional cross breeding methods.  The objective of GMOs was to make the plant either produce more of its own insecticides or produce resistance to Roundup.  In theory, a field with GMO plants could be treated with roundup and the weeds around the plants would be killed leaving the GMO plant unharmed.   The only way to guarantee that a product is non-GMO is to buy organic or look for Non-GMO on the label. Today there are 9 genetically modified food crops on the market in the US: Soy, Corn, Cotton / cottonseed oil, Canola oil, Sugar from sugar beets, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Papaya, Alfalfa

  7. Constant Exposure to Blue Light -  Our lives are now dominated by blue light, creating an unnatural and practically non stop exposure.  Televisions, cell phones, tablets, energy saving light bulbs, and other electronic devices emit light in the blue range of the spectrum, which is known to interfere with sleep.  Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep, and sleep deprivation is associated with obesity. Blue light also stimulates ghrelin and cortisol, which are, your “hunger” and “awake” hormones.  Make sense that a late night tv session usually comes hand in hand with a trip to the kitchen, or why most people cannot go to the movies without first stopping by the concession stand for popcorn and candy?


Dr. Steven Gundry

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