The Future (And Past) of Health Care
This post is not about politics, or pharmaceuticals or Western vs. Eastern medicine. I want to think even further into the future than most of the articles and interviews I’ve seen over the past few years. Or, maybe it’s not such a far-off future, after all. Research in epi-genetics and microbiology is turning up all sorts of interesting stuff even as we speak; and lots of that research is actually taking us backwards in some ways.
I’m not trying to be cryptic, honestly. I’m talking about something I’ve mentioned already many times on this blog, and in my private consultations with clients: gut health and micro-flora. Many of us have come to realize that one of the biggest medical breakthroughs of all time, antibiotics, has caused problems, too. This is partly because antibiotics kill bacteria- both the good and the bad. What if, in the future, we found out how to proliferate the good bacteria, until they could defend our bodies against the pathogenic microbes?
For years, we’ve been encouraged to eat yogurt as a way to proliferate the friendly bacteria inside our guts. Recent research has shown, however, that this eating-of-yogurt alone is only a drop in the bucket of the massive amount of micro-organisms that necessarily abide in our intestines. A decent yogurt (that is, when you can find one that’s not loaded with sugar and that actually contains live bacteria) may contain a few different strains of healthy bacteria. But, there are more- many, many more!
Did you know that 95% of the serotonin in your body is produced and stored in your gut? Serotonin is quite important, as it is a neuro-transmitter that helps us feel happy and emotionally well. And here’s something else that helps to “shed light” on our gut health: by number, your body contains about 90% microbial cells- not human cells. The human cells are in the great minority (about 10%). One more fun fact: about 8 million DNA exist in the human body that are microbial; only about 22,000 are human!
This area has long held special interest for me. This is partly because of my own issues with digestive disorders. But more than that, I have come to believe that most people could reclaim their health from the most prevalent modern ailments, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, if they were able to restore the health of their guts in a timely fashion. And, I am not alone in this belief!
There is another reason all this interests me, and it has to do with my favorite foods. I love great food- eating it, preparing it for myself and others, and helping other folks learn to prepare and eat delicious and healthy foods. I’m actually working on a book about all the wonderful foods that contain healthful micro-organisms. (Okay, maybe not all, since there are thousands!) I hope to be able to offer it in about 6 months from now. (Click here for the recipe for above-pictured beets.) Until then, here are some great links to get you started learning about the future of health care as I see it.
Article about transplanting of gut micro-flora from MIT Technology Review
Article from Dr. John Douillard about gut health (and a couple of short videos)
Healthy gut article and Jumpstart Cleanse from Dr.Oz’s site