The Human Microbiome Plays a Major Role in Health

At a recent medical conference I attended at Harvard University, I learned about the bacteria that live within us might influence everything from our weight to our cancer susceptibility – namely the human “microbiome.” We’ve known for more than one hundred years that we are colonized by bacteria. Some bacteria actually benefit our health by synthesizing important vitamins and amino acids, degrading toxins, and helping digest food. Heretofore, we’ve assumed that most species of bacteria that live on or within us don’t affect our health, or our weight. An explosion of research is changing this view radically. It is now known that our 13 trillion cells coexist with 130 trillion bacterial cells. And, our 20,000 human genes coexist with about 6 million bacterial genes – what is called the “microbiome” or the “second human genome.”

A healthy microbiome requires healthy food, fiber, bacteria (stop using the hand sanitizer), and probiotics. Even though most people rarely take antibiotics unless they are being treated for a bacterial infection — we are full of antibiotics because 70% of the world’s supply of antibiotics is in our food supply. Antibiotics kill everything, the good bacteria, the bad bacteria, resulting in a probiotic poor microbiome. Hence, we are seeing a growing number of new diseases labeled as autoimmune disorders. Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and many other diseases we didn’t hear about until the 1990s, are now thought to have an autoimmune component.

Patients at my beach practice in Ventnor, NJ don’t have access to purchasing organic foods at Wegman’s, Whole Foods, or Trader Joes. But, an option would be to purchase your meat, chicken, etc. online at freshdirect.com.

In Europe, many of the antibiotics, hormones, GMO grains and corn used in American food are banned. Kerry Gold butter is Irish butter from free range cows, which means they were grass fed and they didn’t eat GMO grain and corn, antibiotics or hormones. Perhaps the European ban on unhealthy additives to food is a small part of the explanation for the fact that Europeans aren’t as overweight or obese as Americans.

Here are some things you need to know about buying organic food. Organic butter doesn’t contain hormones or antibiotics…but it may still contain grain and corn (both of which are GMOs). GMOs are genetically modified organisms which deplete neurotransmitters and degrade enzymes vital for digestion. GMOs are a known carcinogen with FDA approval.

Regular beef is intentionally fattened quickly so it can be sold at market in 14 weeks. To quickly fatten cattle, GMO corn and grains, synthetic estrogens, Bovine growth hormone, herbicides, insecticides are added. Hence, you’re eating an obese cow full of toxins which will enhance weight gain. Organic beef is grass fed and takes two years to get to market. When you eat organic beef, you are eating food that is devoid of toxins, and lean.

Buying kosher meats and chicken doesn’t necessarily mean the food is organic. Kosher meat and chicken simply refers to the fact that more humane treatment and processing was done to prepare the animal’s preparation for sale. However, it is possible to buy organic kosher foods.

Foods You Should Always Buy Organic

The following foods have the highest pesticide load, so buy organic if possible:
Apples
Strawberries, Blueberries
Grapes
Celery
Peaches
Spinach
Sweet bell peppers, Hot peppers
Nectarines (imported)
Cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Snap peas (imported)
Potatoes

Foods You Don’t Have to Buy Organic

The following foods have the lowest pesticide load, so it’s OK not to buy organic:

Avocados
Sweet corn
Pineapples
Cabbage
Sweet peas (frozen)
Onions
Asparagus
Mangoes
Papayas
Kiwi
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Cantaloupe (domestic)
Cauliflower
Sweet potatoes

Label reading can be a daunting task. Let me simplify it by telling you three things:
divide the number of carbohydrates by 5 and that will tell you how many teaspoons of
sugar you’re eating, look at the portion size, and if there are more than five ingredients
you’re eating lots of chemicals and sugar.

Get a One Touch Blood Sugar monitor. Then take your blood sugar when you
return home from the dinner you had with your husband. How high is your blood
sugar after you ate an appetizer,the bread, dinner, wine, dessert, and perhaps an
after dinner drink?

If your blood sugar is over 140-150, you ate too much, you have insulin resistance
or diabetes. Get your insulin level and HgbA1C that will tell you your average blood
sugar over three months, you ate too much, you have insulin resistance, or diabetes.

Have your doctor measure your midriff and your belly button (you can suck in
your belly because you can suck in muscle but you can’t suck in fat). Then, keep the
numbers in your bathroom beside your tape measure. When you start to expand, do
your own lap band surgery by wearing a tight dress or belt. By the fourth bite, you’ll
be so uncomfortable that you’ll start eating slowly, with consciousness.

December 4, 2014