Part 2: Public Enemy No. 1 – An Interview with Dr. Zach Bush

Part 2: Public Enemy No. 1 – An Interview with Dr. Zach Bush

“When you lose reproduction and raise the chronic disease and disorder to the levels that we’ve seen today, let alone where we’re heading, it’s clear that we are near the end of our species record on earth.” – Dr. Zach Bush

Over the last 40 years, human health has taken a turn for the worse. In America, one in three adults is obese, and we’re seeing an explosion of prediabetes worldwide. In the States, recent insurance surveys show that 52% of children under 18 have some sort of chronic diseases or disorder; this can be compared to 4% of the total population in the 1960’s. On top of this, sperm counts have dropped by 52% over the last 40 years. 

There’s no doubt that these statistics are alarming. But what is causing these high levels of chronic disease and disorder? And what can be done about it?

In our previous blog post, we explained how Dr. Zach Bush began his journey towards prescribing food as medicine to treat chronic diseases. Yet despite his efforts to promote healthier diets among his patients, Dr. Bush soon realised that it was the quality of the food that was an issue. In this blog post, we discuss his findings on the links between soil health and nutrient density in the foods we eat. 

When he first started his clinic in 2010, Dr. Bush was convinced that the science backed up his beliefs about the potential healing properties of food: “I was reading some of the best science about plant medicine out there. There has been this track record of 30 years of data around plants, so I just set out and assumed that it must all be true and started applying that to my patients in a pretty aggressive form. I was forcing my patients with chronic diseases in severe forms to juice as much as two pounds of kale a day. I was going all out to get nutrient density and nutrient impact on their bodies. But there was a full third of patients that were actually getting worse, not better, on those kinds of regimens.” 

Although Dr. Bush’s patients were kale-juicing, going through a wholefood, plant-based approach, “I unknowingly was exposing them to high amounts of chemicals. I didn’t know that I needed to demand of them to eat organic.” 

This realisation led Dr. Bush to question what could be missing from the food, or what is now in the food, that wasn’t there in the 70’s and 80’s when all the science debuted. With soil health as the foundation of nutrient density in plants, Dr. Bush started to dive into soil science, and he and his team found a whitepaper that found a molecule that looked a lot like the chemotherapy he used to develop. 

Dr. Bush exclaimed: “Oh my gosh, what if there was medicine in soil? And how could we translate that into a medicinal quality within the plant and impact human biology?”

Dr. Bush said: “That started a closed loop of some of the correlations we had made in science which were showing us that we could start to predict which type of cancer a human could get from the changes in the microbiome in the soil and in their gut.”

And what is one of the main inputs changing the microbiome in the soil (and thus in the gut)? What Dr. Bush calls “Public Enemy Number 1”: Glyphosatethe herbicide that was brought to market for agricultural use in 1974 under the trade name Roundup. 

In our next blog post (Part 3), we take a look at how we have arrived at a food system that’s not producing nutritious food, and the impact of glyphosate on our health. 

The role of soil health in human health

Dr. Bush believes that the health of our soil microbiome is the single most potent factor determining how healthy, or unhealthy we are. At Zylem, we know that soil health is the foundation for healthy, nutritious foods. Contact us today to find out more about our products and services that promote soil health and sustainable agriculture:

Interested in listening to the full podcast? 

Search for “Tractor Time Episode 37: Dr. Zach Bush on Farming, Glyphosate and Human Health” wherever you get your podcasts.

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