Your Gut under threat!

It’s now established that Gut is the first brain, the brain being only the second.

It’s now established that Gut is the first brain, the brain being only the second.
It’s now established that Gut is the first brain, the brain being only the second.

The Gut is sort of a consultant and advisor to the brain in many matters; immunity, emotions, disease control.

There are terror molecules hiding in your Gut like sleeper cells, which may get activated anytime. Your Gut is corrupted and compromised. Without knowing this, we are happily going about fighting these scourges outside us, in the society. The Gut must be laughing its gut out!

Even the so-called organic fruits and vegetables come from such depleted soils and lack nutrients.

Before we go into details, let’s understand the situation a little more.

Gut research is recent, maybe in the last five years. Before that, we knew that the Gut is an important part of any body. Digestion is associated with Gut and the bacteria inside the Gut are responsible for proper health. All ideas were generic. But now it’s established that Gut is the first brain, the brain being only the second. Both are connected by the vagus nerve. The Gut is sort of a consultant and advisor to the brain in many matters; immunity, emotions, disease control, to name a few. We say someone has the ‘Guts’ to do a thing. When fear grips, we feel butterflies in our stomach.

Okay, coming to the point, the first thing is about food. Food has long been industrialized. The land fell a victim first to this process. It lost nutrients of the soil. Rotation of crops has been abandoned for single crop cultivation for profits. To compensate for this the Industrialized Food Manufacturers (IFM) Started using chemical fertilizers. These two factors combined invited pests. Good for the IFM! Next come the use of pesticides, fungicides etc. Not enough profits? The answer was Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), which further vitiated the quality of the food, in addition to bringing a host of diseases for the consumers.

Next in line for the IFM are the animals, for meat, dairy etc. they needed to raze forests to make grazing lands. Not enough and no time to allow the cows to graze, then put them in unhygienic sheds, feed them with grains (raised as above), and grain chaff, antibiotic injections to prevent infections and low levels of antibiotics to artificially fatten the animal for better quantities of meat etc. For milk, industrialized methods include milk from several farms all mixed together, additives included such as milk solids and chemicals like emulsifiers for giving it consistency and shelf-life. Even the so-called organic fruits and vegetables come from such depleted soils and lack nutrients.

The next step is packaging. One of the worst offenders when it comes to contaminating the contents. Plastics and BPA are known culprits. The IFM found a way to circumvent some of the evils they created; such as ‘BPA free’. What they hide is the fact that the particular container or contents is BPA free but contains BPS which is not very different from the former, but not with as bad a reputation.

This is our state of affairs as far as our food is concerned. Let’s look at baby food. Babies need breastfeeding for many reasons; nourishment, immunity and Gut development. This practice is being given up in favor of formula food, fortified with vitamin and mineral extracts, not very helpful in isolated forms.

Optimists say we have eradicated a lot of diseases due to scientific advancement. It’s true, the infectious diseases have been reduced. But, chronic ailments due to our lifestyle changes have increased manifold.

Before this the birth itself is rigged. C-Section has robbed many children from the advantage of traveling down the vaginal canal, where it can pick up positive microbiota to survive. Added to this is the formula food. Because of C-Section procedure antibiotics are given in abundance to prevent infection. The antibiotic kills the whatever good bacteria the baby inherited from the mother. Many nascent and positive strains of bacteria get eliminated. For instance, the most helpful strain called B- Infantin is reported to be extinct. This strain helps the baby fight infections. Even if a mother has a natural birth and is willing to breastfeed, she can’t give the baby this microbe. The only way now is to inoculate, with all the attendant dangers. Not only this, the formula food set up the baby for future consumption of junk food, together with obesity, insulin resistance and other ailments.

Then comes cooking, a vanishing art. Eating out is the order of the day. We get food delivered during the week and eat out on weekends. Questionable ingredients like vegetable oils, less nutrient fruits and vegetables, enormous amounts of sugar and salts, preservatives, emulsifiers and so many additives. Out of season foods made available by long distance ferrying, long shelf-lives, and preservatives; all put together it is a heady mix we put inside our Guts in the name of food.

Is there any authority which questions these practices? Hardly any. In the US, the FDA, EPA etc are said to leave quite a lot of responsibility on the manufacturers and sellers to ensure quality. In India, even that’s not there to a satisfactory extent. The common excuse given is that these chemicals do no harm in little quantities. The truth is, many harms done in smaller quantities too. In addition, the combined effects of so many harmful additives are not studied. As a result, we consume a combined large volume of harmful substances in a day to the detriment of our Gut.

Optimists say we have eradicated a lot of diseases due to scientific advancement. It’s true, the infectious diseases have been reduced. But, chronic ailments due to our lifestyle changes have increased manifold. Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and the like, kill more people than infectious diseases all put together. We may live longer than before, but with chronic diseases eating our Guts, making life not worth living.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Dr. V R Sampath

Dr. V R Sampath served in the Indian Police Service for 25 years before leaving it for the Private Sector. He is currently pursuing his second Doctorate degree.

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