Kriben Govender: Hey, you guys. Kriben Govender from the Gut Health Gurus Podcast. I've got a background in food science. My colleague, James Shadrach, has got a background in psychology. We have got a guest for you today, Dr. Zach Bush, MD, coming live from the US. Zach, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Zach Bush: What a pleasure to be on with you guys. Thank you, everybody listening, for your time and attention and interest in this subject. We're really going to be knocking on some of the most important foundations of the human health, human epidemics of disease around the world, and really the financial wellness of our nations going forward. So excited to have all you guys present. Thank you for being so kind to have me here as a guest.
Kriben Govender: Our pleasure. Zach, what we like to do is, just to set the scene for the audience, who is Dr. Zach Bush, MD?
Zach Bush: You're making it sound very mysterious there. But, yeah, I think I'm on a lifelong journey to figure that out as well. I think that's part of why we're here. It's to figure out who we are and why we're here and where we're heading.
Zach Bush: I am, I think, a reformed or continuously reforming medical doctor. I spent 17 years in the academic experience of becoming a doctor and going through all my postdoctoral training. I became triple board-certified first in internal medicine. I went on in internal medicine in the hospital environment to be chief resident and teach residents and students and faculty at University of Virginia.
Zach Bush: Then went on to a fellowship training in endocrinology and metabolism, which is the study of hormones and how they regulate everything from the brain to a neurologic function to organ systems, things like the thyroid, reproduction, different aspects. It was then on faculty in endocrinology at the University of Virginia.
Zach Bush: Decided to leave my research in 2010. My research was in chemotherapy development in cancer and how it related to nutrition ultimately, like how does metabolism or the fueling of the machine have to do with cancer cells. That was my niche was finding chemotherapeutic nutritional agents, vitamin A compounds and the like, that could disrupt cancer metabolism at the mitochondrial level.
Zach Bush: I left all of that in 2010 to start a nutrition center in a poverty-stricken area of Virginia, a little town of 550 people, serving about 40,000 rural people who really were in a food desert; no grocery stores of any quality, et cetera.
Zach Bush: In that journey, I had to continuously be deconstructing my understanding of not just being a doctor in human health, but really deconstructing my understanding of biology itself. What does it mean to be biologically human? That has a lot to do with things like inflammation, immune function, all these general topics. But, interestingly, excited be on your show because you tie in the psychology so well.
Zach Bush: The psychology and mental health turns out to be very tied into nutrition now. We know that have turned over the last decade to this whole gut-brain axis as a huge new understanding of human physiology, and that makes it sound like the human gut is tied to the human brain. While that is true, and every day more true, the new science over the last three or four years that's really pointing to the microbiome, the ecosystem outside of the human is actually regulating the gut which is regulating the brain.
Zach Bush: In a very interesting fashion, we can say that the first brain, from my perspective, is now the microbiome. The second brain is the gut and how it deals with the information of the microbiome. Then the third brain, the central processing unit, and nothing more than that, is the human brain.
Zach Bush: We have to stop thinking of this as the cognitive center of human experience. Start to understand it's only our relationship to nature itself that would initiate the opportunity for self-identity in a world of consciousness, for the initial thought, for the maintenance of healthy brain function.
Zach Bush: 90% of the serotonin made in the body is made in the gut lining, the [inaudible 00:04:19] cells. 50% of the dopamine is made in the gut lining and another 40% of the total body is made in the kidneys. So 90% of dopamine, 90% of serotonin. That's a whole new world for understanding neuropathologies, neuro health, all of this.
Zach Bush: Who is Zach Bush is starting to become really I am a product of my environment, and my environment is certainly my microbiome at the individual level. I'm starting to understand myself better and better in relationship to I'm only as healthy as the ecosystem that I live within.
Zach Bush: If I limit my experience to drywall boxes that we call houses, plastic off-gassing cars, and a carpeted, artificially-infused office space, if that's my environment, I can't actually be Zach Busch. I will be some sort of diminishing version of Zach Bush, but I won't be the full self-identity, self-encapsulated, self- purposed machine that I should be.
Zach Bush: That's at the individual level. But what I'm finding in my own life is my spiritual wellness and my own psychological conception of cognition is starting to rise as I get more and more integrated into the macro community as well. It's only through interacting with beautiful people like yourselves that I really get to see myself in its fullest measure.
Zach Bush: This is the phenomenon and the beauty of community and my one excitement about technology. In general, I think the information technology age has threatened human health on many, many levels. But the one silver lining is connection. The ability for us to sit here and look at each other ... You're at 3:00 a.m. there, so it's kind of you guys to be up in the middle night for me, I'm mid-morning here in Virginia, and yet we're having a real communion together through this technological thing.
Zach Bush: We can celebrate the opportunity we have to become a global community outside of the manipulation of the third parties that has historically determined who your network is, who is your sphere of influence who can help you move to your next level. That's now become freely accessible to the vast majority of humans. Carry a cell phone, you're connected to the world.
Zach Bush: I am excited that while we continue to understand the extraordinary relationship and opportunity we have in the microbiome, that's our micro-ecosystem. Our macro-ecosystem should mirror that in opportunity. That's a long answer that I'm starting to think lays the foundation for the rest of our conversation.
Kriben Govender: Absolutely. Zach, what does it mean to be human?
Zach Bush: Wow! Such a cool question. I think this is something that's always been batted around by the spiritual world, religion giving us some constructs over the last 5,000 years, no matter if it's in the pre-Christian world where we have the Roman and Greek mythologies predated by the Persian mythologies and going back in time. The spiritual religious realms have been batted around. What is it to be human? What are gods? What is outside of human consciousness? Where's all this coming from?
Zach Bush: That, of course, went into conflict in some ways with the scientific realm as the Persians developed the science. Then that matured through the brilliance of the Greek philosophy and starting to really wrap systematic thought processes and philosophical structures around the science. We're good 3,000, 4,000 years into collision of religion and science in regard to this question of was is it to be human.
Zach Bush: My [inaudible 00:08:04] about being alive right this moment and in the part of my career that I'm in right now is I feel like, for the first time in 180,000 years of human existence, we're knocking on this moment now where religion and spiritual belief systems are cross-secting scientific evidence. We're starting at what is the fabric of being human? But it has a lot of structures that haven't been preached to or understood in the spiritual realm.
Zach Bush: What is it to be human, you are ultimately made of the same fabric that the stars are made of, that the planet itself is made of, bizarrely, even the vacuum space out there between the planets. You're made of the same fabric, and that fabric is a combination of atoms and their system. An atom is the building block for what would be an element in the periodic chart. The periodic chart becomes the building blocks for a molecule. A molecule becomes a building block for a cell. A cell becomes the building block for a human organ. Human organs become the building blocks for a whole 70 trillion-celled organism that we would call human.
Zach Bush: But one thing that we have to hold on to, because right now if you go into a doctor, they're going to do maybe a CT scan or an MRI and take pictures of all your organs, and they're going to convince you that you're an organ system creature and you're built up of two kidneys and a liver and a brain and the neurologic system and two lungs and heart. It's a rudimentary belief system about who you are and what you are physically.
Zach Bush: What's been lacking in modern medicine, which is anything but modern when you start to consider the physics of the situation, the modern medicine continues to look at the solid part of you. The problem with that is that only 0.001% of you is actually solid. 99.999% of you is actually vacuumed space.
Zach Bush: That is truth based on the structure again of the atom. The atoms that make up the entire universe are inherently a tiny, tiny bit solid. There's a tiny little solid core made up of protons and neutrons, which, bizarrely, actually have the same structure. A proton has the same structure as the black hole that's in the center of our galaxy. It's a double tetrahedron.
Zach Bush: Bizarrely, that double tetrahedron is the three-dimensional Star of David or the star on the Muslim flag or it is the two dimension ... If you project the three-dimensional structure, which is called a 64 double tetrahedron, down into a two-dimensional structure, it's actually the flower of life.
Zach Bush: That two-dimensional design of the flower of life, if you haven't seen this thing, just Google flower of life and you'll see a million different depictions of this, and you'll find out that that depiction was actually etched with some sort of laser technology. We don't know what it was, but predating the Egyptians, whoever built the pyramids 10,000 years ago, etched this flower of life into the structures, into the blocks of many other pyramids.
Zach Bush: All the way back 10,000 years, somehow they knew that this was the secret to life itself. This was the structure that was the fabric of everything. To find out now in just the last few years that that flower of life, when popped into a three-dimensional structure, is a 64 double tetrahedron, which was the structure of our proton, which is the structure of a black hole, you start to realize what is it to be human? To be human is simply to be yet another face, another pixel version of the expression of the universe itself.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: That sounds very heady and very grandiose on some level, and yet we have some very interesting concrete proof that this actually plays out at the macro level of being human and being in the human experience. These experiments were done on college campuses.
Zach Bush: Before I tell you what the study was, I need to explain to you that a black hole, whether out in a galaxy or representing the structure of a single proton in one of your atoms, is a structure called a double torus in regard to its motion. It's a gravitational field that pulls everything inside of it. People are familiar with the black hole concept, right? It's such a powerful gravitational force. It even pulls light into it.
Zach Bush: Well, part of that thing that's getting sucked in at the proton level is actually the electron itself. We think that the electron is being sucked right inside the proton into the black hole and then spitting back out, and it's cycling in and out of there in an extraordinarily fast millionths of a second speed of rate.
Zach Bush: The black holes out in the universe also are taking in and spitting out electrical data. Stephen Hawking, the famous astrophysicists who passed away recently, Stephen Hawking became famous for discovering these particles that are coming out of this information stream, out of black holes in the universe, and so they got named Hawking particles. He held that that was this random information flowing out of black holes.
Zach Bush: It turns out that many other physicists, and including himself in the end, would agree that there seemed to be structure to that information, meaning that there's some sort of data or knowledge that's flowing in and out of black holes. He and other physicists have proved that all the black holes are connected through wormholes or some other phenomenon in the astrophysics quantum world, such that any black hole putting in and out information would have the same information exchanged across all the black holes in the whole galaxy, and then in the whole universe [inaudible 00:13:59] .
Zach Bush: As such, every single proton within every single atom within every single molecule within every self, we have complete singularity of access to information as well. How did they even start to look at this as a possibility of really being the fabric of reality we live in, because this sounds super weird?
Zach Bush: What they do is they take two groups of students and they put them on opposite sides of the campus. They gave both groups a very complicated crossword puzzle. They asked the first group to start and they time the length at which they could finish this crossword puzzle. No communication, physically or otherwise, to the other group. The other group had to sit and wait for this team to finish.
Zach Bush: They finish at 48 minutes. As soon as they finish, they wait I think it was five minutes or 10 minutes. They waited some number of minutes. Then they start the second group to solve the same crossword puzzle. They've done this many times now across different environments and always the second group finishes a few minutes faster than the first group.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: Meaning that there's an exchange of knowledge, there's an exchange of information through the experience of the first group traveling through vacuum space in connection to all of those black holes within each of those individuals.
Zach Bush: That's a test environment on a university campus, but as an entrepreneur who has started a bunch of companies now, I get to bump into a bunch of entrepreneurs and thought leaders around the world now, and I see this happening actually on the macro, macro level, which is once an idea comes up through an inventor, as a new revelation happens, within a few months, I find out that somebody else over there on the other side of the world had the same thought within the same few-week period, and over there there was somebody else that almost had the same thought over there.
Zach Bush: Knowledge is literally percolating up to the fabric of humanity, which is very hopeful to me, because if we look around, we have a complete desire in regard to our species in that every technological leap forward we have made has accelerated our consumptive behavior. We consume resources faster and faster and faster as a species and we're literally gobbling up the world's resources in regard to food, mineral resources, oil and gas, air itself, fresh water, you name it. We're using up the precious resources on earth and don't have a way to recycle that energy. If we don't change and if we don't break out of the behaviors and technologies that we currently depend on, then we're going to be extinct within roughly the next 60 to 70 years.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: That's a daunting and sad scenario. How do we know that? It's because of the current rate of extinction that we have on the planet. We're losing one species to extinction every 20 minutes. Even in this short podcast, we're going to lose two species that may have been even unnamed and undiscovered will disappear from the planet. Over the last 50 years, we've lost 40% of the biodiversity on the planet. We're nearly halfway done with the complete extinction of biology on the planet at the macro level. In [inaudible 00:17:10] years, we expect to collapse completely to the point where human existence becomes unviable on this planet.
Zach Bush: It's not too much of a coincidence, I believe, that the billionaires around us who built this consumptive environment, the Amazons, the Facebooks, and all the advertisers out there that have built our consumer behavior and capitalized that, they are working on space travel. They're trying to figure out their exit strategy off a planet that is literally collapsing. They are trying to build their own lifeboats to jump off the Titanic because the Titanic already hit the iceberg.
Zach Bush: Everybody who can see at this macro level because of their, level of influence or whatever it is, can see that everything is not viable. There's not a single sustainable company on the planet right now. With this understanding, they start looking for lifeboats off the planet.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: That's another long conversation to a short question of what does it mean to be human? To be human right now is a very, very big opportunity and a very, very big purpose. You showed up here right now. If you're on earth at the moment, you chose to show up. When I say you chose, I believe your soul jumped on into your body and animated you for a purpose at this tipping point of human history.
Zach Bush: We've been here by the fossil record for 180,000 years and we got 60 years left, and you showed up right now, which means you showed up at the moment that you would have the potential to either be aware and awake and conscious to learn as much as you can and we can from the decline and ultimate disappearance of our species, so that perhaps in the universe we raise consciousness through this awful experience of extinction so that perhaps somewhere out there, life is being created on another planet or otherwise and with the knowledge and experience we have.
Zach Bush: Either you're here to be conscious and awake to add to the experience of all of the mistakes we've had or you're here with me and everybody else to transform, to transcend, to rise consciousness to the point where we actually can reinvent our relationship to nature, so that we become a synergist, regenerative species rather than a consumptive species. We do have the opportunity to do that together, and I believe it's through the connection like we have here tonight. With the opportunity for human connection unperturbed by advertisers and all the other third-party manipulators, we can solve every problem on the planet by looking straight to nature for the templates of how life happens.
Kriben Govender: That's giving me goosebumps, Dr. Zach. I'm mind-blown. Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful monologue. It was amazing. Now I just wanted to go to sideways a little bit on why are we getting sicker?
Zach Bush: Yes. This is the perfect next step in some ways because now we've painted the goal: we need to transform. To understand how we're going to get there, we need to understand where we are right at the moment. Over the last 30 years, we've seen the most rapid collapse never imagined. Never imagined.
Zach Bush: I mean I've talked to a lot of the health experts that built the American healthcare system as it stands today back in the 1970s, and they predicted a lot of things in 1976 about the year 2000. They predicted oil and gas changes. They actually predicted the Internet and, in some ways, they predicted a lot of the technologies that would come along, and they prepared for that in their modeling of how human health in a healthcare system might be supported.
Zach Bush: What they failed to imagine was the possibility that our total chronic disease burden in this country of the United States would move from 4% to 46% of our children with a chronic disease. 4% of the entire population in the late '60s had a chronic disease. Now 46% of just our children have a chronic disease.
Zach Bush: There was nobody who could have imagined that level of collapse and there's nobody who prepared for the possibility of that financially or otherwise for our country to prepare us for that. We are now in free fall around the effort to support this.
Zach Bush: Our entire military budget in the United States is at $680 billion a year roughly. An insane amount of money to spend on defense and trying to kill other people and all kinds of stupid stuff, but it pales in comparison as a number to the $3 trillion a year that we're spending five times more on trying to manage chronic disease, because remember we don't spend much money at all on prevention or health itself. We're spending all of that on disease management. $3 trillion, if you add it all up, we're upwards of $4 trillion between defense and human disease.
Zach Bush: We're looking at an enormous portion of our gross domestic product going to non-productive aspects of human support. You create jobs, but you don't create productivity through a disease. That reality that we're in right now is being depicted because of this rise of chronic disease.
Zach Bush: When did that start? It really took off in the 1990s. In 1992, we started to get a few echoes of it in the US. But it wasn't until '96, '98 where we see this extremely rapid rise in neurologic degenerative conditions. In our children, it was attention deficit and autism disorders. In our adults, in the males, it was Parkinson's. In the females, it was Alzheimer's, dementia. All of those conditions, children, women and men in the geriatric phase all started taking off with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's in the late '90s.
Zach Bush: By the late 2000s, 2008, 2010, we had reached catastrophic levels of autism, for example. We had moved from one in 5,000 children with autism to one in 88 children with autism by 2012. In the next three years, between 2012 and 2015, we would again be one in 46 or one in 48 kids. Then one year later, our current numbers that just came out is one in 36 kids with autism. Just one year later.
Zach Bush: We're on track right now in the United States to have one in three children on the autism spectrum by 2035. Just 16 years out. The next 16 years is going to determine if we can turn the boat around in this country. If we fail to change the fabric of human health in this country over those 16 years and we continue on our current trajectory, the US will no longer be a global power. It is literally impossible for us to keep up with expenses because the productivity is going to be dropping so fast.
Zach Bush: If one in three children in a single generation have an autistic condition that's limiting their ability to engage on a productive physical level, then it's going to take two of that generation to take care of that one, just in their health care, just in the maintenance of that, their support and everything else. A whole generation is going to be spending all their money on one disease process, ignore that 80% of the adult population will have cancer by that time, not to mention all the mental health disorders, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, you name all the rest of it. Now you start to see that there will not be a productive society by the mid-2030s in this country.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: What's our opportunity? Let's say, worst-case scenario, the US becomes the poster child on what not to do. You guys in Australia have an opportunity to very, very rapidly learn from what we've done and do it differently. We better quickly figure out how did the US manage to create chronic disease epidemics across the brain, across the immune system, across the liver, across the kidneys? How did all of the diseases take off at the same time in the mid-1990s?
Zach Bush: That, of course, comes down to the smoking G** that my group in my lab had been working on for the last six years, which is ... It's 2019 now, for the last seven years. For the last seven [inaudible 00:25:30] been working on this molecule glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup that's used worldwide on the genetically modified crops, so GMO corn and soybean grown in Australia, alfalfa, canola. All of these crops are now GMO. They've been genetically modified to be able to be sprayed directly with this chemical glyphosate.
Zach Bush: Glyphosate started its spraying on crops in 1992 in the US with the application on wheat. Within a couple of years of that, we had an epidemic of wheat allergies called celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. We invented gluten-sensitivity out of the application of glyphosate or Roundup to this gluten-containing wheat.
Zach Bush: We now spray many of our staple crops, the legumes, the lentils, the beans. So many other things are being sprayed now just like the wheat, not to kill weeds but to actually dry the crop quicker. We use them as a desiccant. That desiccating process means that we're spraying the crop hours or days before harvest, which means that the individual is going to get very high residues of those chemicals.
Zach Bush: Those aren't genetically modified compounds. In fact, they're trying to kill the plant faster and dry it out. Those aren't GMO'ed. They're simply heirloom grain or a hybridized grain that's being sprayed directly or, in case of the legumes, the same thing. Then there's the genetically modified compounds, the corn, soybean, and everything else that's being sprayed directly with the herbicides.
Zach Bush: What's happened is water-soluble toxic called glyphosate at such high volumes around the planet, currently 5.5 billion pounds a year being sprayed, all of that being sprayed onto the soils of the planet. Water-soluble means that it doesn't stay on the surface of anything. It immediately gets intercalated or brought into the fruit or the vegetable in all its water content. Your typical fruit or vegetable is 60% to 70% water, just like the human body. It then goes into the water system, gets pulled into the river [inaudible 00:27:30] the oceans.
Zach Bush: In the United States, we have the Mississippi River. It runs from north to south. The last 90 miles of the Mississippi River are between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. That is now called cancer alley. It has the highest rates of cancer in the entire developed world in the last 90 miles of the Mississippi River.
Zach Bush: Why is that? I believe it's because 85% to 90% of all the glyphosate sprayed in our rich farmlands is ending up in one water system concentrating throughout the whole system of the Mississippi into that last 90 miles, and it's killing life starting at the microbial level.
Zach Bush: Glyphosate, as it turns out, has not been patented as a weed-killer. It's been actually patented as an antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal, you name it. As that compound hits the microbiome of the soil or the water or the air, we could lose microbiome. As you lose microbiome, you lose the ability to grow larger things, plants, animals, humans, et cetera.
Zach Bush: With a water-soluble molecule on this planet, it turns out it doesn't stay put in the river or the ocean that it's pouring into. It goes into the air itself. Through evaporation, we end up with 75% of the air around the Mississippi also contaminated with Roundup. We're breathing this compound. It turns out that that ends up in a cloud and now we have 75% of our rainfall contaminated with Roundup.
Zach Bush: You're starting to get the picture that we're living it, we're breathing it, we're drinking it, we're eating it. One molecule all over the planet. We can follow the chronic diseases around the world in their progression with their adoption of glyphosate and Roundup and GMO cropping and the death of their soils.
Zach Bush: For you guys in Australia, you were about 15 years behind us. We really took off in the US really aggressively with the spraying of this in early 1992, but it's really '96 that everything really launched.
Zach Bush: Glyphosate as a compound came off patent in 2007 for taking over the vast majority of the production of generic glyphosate and dumping that into the global marketplace. Unfortunately, it had an extremely adverse effect on Australia because you guys had a free trade agreement with China that continues today, which means you were pennies on the dollar of glyphosate, which could be sprayed around your lands all over the place.
Zach Bush: It wasn't just your farmers. Your homeowners are spraying it in their yards. Your municipal systems, if you're anything like [inaudible 00:29:59] along our roadways, along our utility lines, we're using it as a broad-spectrum killer of weeds all over the place, schoolyards. You go on down the list.
Zach Bush: What do we see happening on the public health level, in the United States we have one in 10 children now with asthma, which we can track directly back to a small intestine injury from Roundup as it does its damage along the gut lining. If we look at in comparison, you guys had a very low level of childhood asthma right up until 2008, 2009, and then started rising.
Zach Bush: You guys are actually seeing a faster rise in your children than even in the United States, and you're now one in four children with asthma. You guys are having a chronic disease epidemic that's going to be even probably out of proportion to the US if things don't change. Over the next 20 years, it's not going to be asthma that's going to cripple your economy. It's actually going to be the cancer and the degenerative neurologic conditions in your adult population that are going to cripple your economy.
Zach Bush: You guys have a national healthcare system which is going to be paying every dollar of expense to manage this chronic disease epidemic as it takes off. If I were within your government or an advisor to your government, I would simply take all of our public health data and its trajectories, match you guys up there, and say, "Okay. Now we can predict what's going to happen five years out, 10 years out, and 20 years out if we don't change things in Australia."
Zach Bush: One of the very fortunate things that you guys have, I think, is there is an intrepidness about the Australian people that is in conflict right now with the extreme bureaucratic tendencies of the government. The Australian government is even more bureaucratic than the US government in regard to things like drug oversights and a lot of health oversight and regulations around doctors and medical care and all of that. You guys are bumping into an intense regulatory, bureaucratic environment.
Zach Bush: What I'd do is I'd work with Australian farmers and everything else. I'm just more and more convinced that you guys have, at the people level, an extreme tenacity and extreme tendency to have a revolutionary mindset. I think that that could really change technology fast in the farming industry quickly.
Zach Bush: We're trying to step this up. Every dollar that we make out of my biotech company that's made by Restore, which is the [inaudible 00:32:28] from soil that we might talk about, every dollar there, we're flowing back into other companies, including we've started a non-profit now called Planet Earth Home, and Planet Earth Home is really working to show farmers that they really are the foundation for the future of our species.
Zach Bush: If they change behavior and they start working synergistically to create a regenerative farm and soil management system, they can be the ones to revolutionize American or Australian health rather than the doctors who are always going to be just throwing Band-Aids on the problem. That's our excitement is, yeah, we have a lot of science that has flowed out of understanding human health out of our Restore products, but now we can reapply that science to the farming industry to educate those farmers why they may need to make this very rapid transition to regenerative agriculture.
Kriben Govender: [inaudible 00:33:17] pause for a minute just to dig in a little bit deeper. If there's any Australian farmers listening to this podcast, what are some of the practices they could be adopting to address this problem that we're facing in the world?
Zach Bush: In a nutshell, I mean there's a very long answer that I'll try to avoid for that, just because I don't want to take up the next three hours for that response. I've got links at the end to our nonprofit where they can get more information. But the short answer is carbon. Farmers are trained to augment their soils and plant growth with nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium.
Zach Bush: NPK fertilizers really started in the 1960s, coming out of the war environment. Post-World War II, there was a glut of oil. They were looking for other ways in which to use the oil and petroleum industry, and so they redirected from fuel to oil-based or petroleum-based fertilizers for soils, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Zach Bush: They're so effective at creating a green plant that this movement of NPK fertilizers became known as the Green Revolution. We were still coming out of the Dust Bowl where we had killed all of our topsoil in the US, and so we were having huge loss of topsoil across the whole country from the 1930s onward. By the 1950s, we were starting to reverse that by getting a lot more plants growing because of NPK fertilizers.
Zach Bush: The thing that we didn't understand then, and to this day farmers are not taught, is that if you pour nitrogen into soil without an adequate offset of carbon, you actually speed the depletion of carbon molecules out of the soil. With the [inaudible 00:34:59] , you actually lose the fabric of the integrity of the plant. You lose its immune system, you lose the integrity of its root system. You get a very vulnerable plant, which means it's maybe prone to pests. Both weeds and bugs are likely to start to attack that crop.
Zach Bush: Over and over again, we see that invasive weed species and all of this are coming in in an effort to increase carbon content in the soil, and yet the farmer's been trained to either kill that weed or stop it before it can get there by overtilling their ground, and in so doing, they're blocking the ability of Mother Nature to get the carbon to offset all of this nitrogen that they're pouring into the soil, and by so doing, they're literally killing their soil.
Zach Bush: In a nutshell, you need to stop spraying nitrogen. You need to start to rely on your weeds and your intelligent ecosystems to start bringing an equal balance of nitrogen and phosphorus and carbon back in. You need to stop tilling the ground. Tilling kills the microbiome and, importantly, the mycorrhizae and the mycology of the soil, which, of course, blocks the ability of the soil to bring carbon out of the air.
Zach Bush: Both by eliminating the weeds and killing the ability to reabsorb carbon through the mycelial bed, we eliminate the recycling capacity of the planet and we start to lose topsoil very quickly. As a farmer, you need to stop tilling. Instead of tilling the soil to get rid of weeds, you're going to start rolling.
Zach Bush: There's a very simple implement. It's called a crimper roller. Very cheap compared to a combine or a disker. The small ones are about $4,000 to $6,000, used. The larger ones, especially brand new, can be up to a couple hundred thousand dollars. But per size of the equipment for the scale of your land, you're looking at very much less than you would for an equivalent disker or tilling equipment. Cheaper to implement and much more safe for the mycology. You actually preserve the soil architecture with a roller crimper. Instead of trying to disk the soil or till it all up to kill the weeds, you simply roll the weeds.
Zach Bush: This creates an armor on top of the soil so that when it rains, you don't wash your topsoil off, and it creates all that carbon content on top of the soil that will be reintegrated into the matrix, so that your soil can handle the nitrogen that will come from those beneficial weeds and the rest.
Zach Bush: There are such a thing as beneficial weeds. I would say every single weed on your property is there on purpose. It's trying to serve some part of nature to help recover your farmland.
Zach Bush: Let the weeds be there. If you let them do their whole cycle, roll them and crimp them at the end of their life cycle, you'll find out the very next year you have fewer weeds and they're different character of weeds. They're now doing their purpose in their restorative capacity, and you roll those the next year.
Zach Bush: If you do this repetitively, you're going to start growing seeds that are going to come up out of the seed bank that's already in your fossilized aspects of your soil. 200, 300, 400-year old seeds are going to start to grow again, which means you're going to recover prairie land that is completely devoid of anything we would think of as an invasive weed. It's actually bringing extremely rich topsoil-building capacity back to your farm.
Zach Bush: You're going to start rotating, of course, your pack animals. Whether you're using cattle or sheep ... In Western Australia, obviously most of it is sheep, but you'll use the sheep or the hoofed animal as your processing plant that moves from paddock to paddock around your land, and it will start with regenerating the seed bank and working with this.
Zach Bush: We usually will use a combination of allow the weeds and put in a cover crop. We want about 16 species minimum as your cover crop. You don't want to do a monoculture with your cover crop. Seed 16 to 30 species of good, diverse cover crop and let the weeds grow up within that as needed. Then roll and crimp that. You can have a seed drill running right behind.
Zach Bush: If you push your roller crimper on your tractor, you can pull your seed drill on the back and, with one pass, you'll wipe out seeds and you'll get your crop in the ground. It'll come up within 14 days, and you've got yourself a one-pass system. You've saved yourself fuel, you haven't disrupted the soil, and you've sprayed zero chemicals.
Zach Bush: This is the process that we're teaching now is a regenerative agriculture process based around rapid transition of livestock, if you're utilizing livestock in your environment. If there is no livestock, then its roller crimping. If you have good livestock management, you don't even need a roller crimper. The animals will do it for you. Livestock, roller crimpers, multi-species cover crops, and then seed drills behind that. That's your [inaudible 00:39:38] .
Kriben Govender: That's wonderful, Dr. Bush. I think that'll be very insightful for farmers. What we will do is we'll put some links into the show notes to direct people to your organizations, where they can find more information. Really appreciate you sharing that. Now let's talk about leaky gut. What is leaky gut and how do we fix it?
Zach Bush: Very good. I was pointing to the year 1992, with the advent of glyphosate spraying on wheat, and 1996 on all of our staple crops. How did that correlate with chronic disease? Two forms. Number one, we kill the microbiome. It's an antibiotic. You start to kill the microbiome. If you lose the microbiome, you become vulnerable at the gut layer and the immune system that sits right behind that, there are lots of different diseases.
Zach Bush: What is the process of that or the mechanism by which that vulnerability happens is what we uncovered in 2012. In 2012, in my nutrition center, I was seeing people get worse on health food. I couldn't figure out why kale and Brussels sprouts and all these superfoods were actually making people more inflamed and sicker.
Zach Bush: It turns out that they had this thing called leaky gut. With leaky gut, you lose the integrity of the gatekeepers or the barrier system of your immune system to the outside world. Your body is made up of 70 trillion cells, and many billions of those cells are the epithelial lining that runs from your nasal sinuses, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum. That whole gut environment covers more than two tennis courts in surface area. Massive, massive exposure to the outside world.
Zach Bush: That's your most important ground zero of your exposure, your self-identity as a human. What does it mean to be human? An intact, intelligent barrier system of the gut. The skin, in comparison, is only one and a half square meters. One and a half square meters versus two tennis courts, you can see how much more, 85% to 90% more surface area in your gut than your skin.
Zach Bush: Who is human is that which is wrapped within this intelligent barrier system. The billions of cells that make up those two tennis courts in surface area are called epithelial cells. They're all bonded together by these little proteins that look like Velcro. It's called tight junctions. As the glyphosate hits the gut membrane, the tight junctions fall apart and dissolves the tight Junction.
Zach Bush: It's not the first time in history that humans have been creating the opportunity for gut leak. It turns out that the oldest medicine on earth, I would argue, is alcohol. That medicine has obviously been used as a drug, both medically as well as recreationally. But it turns out alcohol was probably our first leaky gut injury. We damage tight junctions with alcohol.
Zach Bush: Alcohol and glyphosate and other pharmaceutical compounds like ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, all of the constipation medicines, they all damage tight junctions to create leaky gut. Once you've damaged all the Velcro, you no longer have an intelligent barrier that keep that stuff out, bring this stuff in, this should come this way. We need water, we need nutrients, but we don't need insoluble fibers. We don't need plastic. We don't need all the junk in our food, and so that intelligent barrier starts to break apart.
Zach Bush: There's many herbicides and pesticides out there. For example, the typical red wine made in the United States has 64 different chemicals that are pesticides and herbicides. Glyphosate is far from our only problem.
Zach Bush: Why do I spend so much time saying this is our biggest problem? Because it is the one chemical that has that direct effect of breaking apart the front barrier system. Sorry for the vibrational noise.
Zach Bush: The opportunity there for the glyphosate to open up the tight junctions in the gut, that is what then is, I would say, the gatekeeper drug, if you will, that then opens up the toxicity of all the other chemicals that are going to come behind it, because you no longer have an intelligent barrier system. I think glyphosate really is public enemy number one here globally because of its ability to erode this barrier system, cause the leaky gut.
Zach Bush: Now that's horrible news. That's bad news chemical right there. But it's important to point out that, as we were talking earlier about consciousness and psychology, it turns out that the gut barrier is not the only thing held together with tight junctions. The same proteins hold together your entire blood vessel tree. All of the capillaries, the blood vessels are made of endothelial cells held together by the same tight junctions. Your kidney tubules that are responsible for detoxing your body, held together by the same tight junctions.
Zach Bush: Then, very importantly, your blood-brain barrier. That barrier that would protect your central and peripheral nervous system as the holy of holies is also made of the same tight junctions. We have just now proved this out. We're talking about this for years, but we've just proved it in our labs by growing blood-brain barrier in conjunction with gut epithelial, that if you injure the gut with a glyphosate injury, you immediately get a loss of the blood-brain barrier as well. With one fell swoop, you're grading leaky gut, leaky blood vessels, leaky kidneys, and leaky brain.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: It's one chemical right now that's eroding not just human self-identity, but the self- identity of these different organ compartments that are supposed to be carefully regulated. What's in your bloodstream should not be what's in your brain.
Zach Bush: If it does become unregulated, your brain is going to start to have a lot more chronic inflammation, the central nervous system, immune system gets easily overwhelmed by a bunch of stuff it should have never dealt with, and you start to get chronic inflammatory changes in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. You develop chronic fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep quality, sex drive collapses, and endocrine dysregulation, low testosterone, low estrogen levels, you get premature menopause, you get premature pubarche or puberty in the children. Instead of going through it at 13, these girls are going through puberty at six years old now.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: We have this complete breakdown in the endocrine system because the blood-brain barrier has also dissolved. It's a terrifying situation that we decided to create a food chain around a single chemical that would destroy self-identity and organ identity throughout the system.
Kriben Govender: Wow! It's definitely a huge concern. Let's say, going on to Terrahydrite ... Did I say that correctly?
Zach Bush: Uh-huh.
Kriben Govender: What is it and how did you discover it? Why is it potentially a benefit?
Zach Bush: Perfect. Terrahydrite is a word that we've coined. We've termed in 'Terra', meaning earth there in Latin there. You've got earth and an interaction between oxygen and hydrogen. My discovery in 2012 in the soil science was that we found a bunch of molecules that looked similar to the chemotherapy I used to make.
Zach Bush: Since 4,000-year-old Chinese medicine, we've been looking to herbs and plants as our medicinal source. Suddenly, in a single few minutes in my clinic, when somebody brought in the soil science paper and is flipping through it and found this molecule, the idea that there could be medicine in soil was a revolution in my mind.
Zach Bush: But most importantly, when we found out that molecule was being made by bacteria and fungi, it finally closed the loop on my cancer research, and UCSF, UCSD, many universities around the world, that we're starting to find out that if you're missing certain bacteria, you get prone to cancer of this type. If you miss these bacteria, you get breast cancer. You lose these bacteria, you get colon cancer. You lose these bacteria, you get prostate cancer.
Zach Bush: We knew these correlations, but we couldn't figure out why or how the bacteria could possibly be affecting in such a predictable fashion the outcomes of the big human organism. The discovery of these molecules suddenly answered that because each species of bacteria and fungi makes a subset, different subset, of these carbon molecules, each one looking different with different function.
Zach Bush: We call them carbon snowflakes. Everybody is relatively familiar with the concept that each snowflake looks different at the crystal level and everything else, all H2O, but organized in different three-dimensional structures, they have different features. The carbon snowflakes made by the bacteria and fungi, each species contributing to this fluent communication [inaudible 00:48:00] , if you lose communication here in this aspect of Terrahydrite, then we start to become prone to dysfunction over here.
Zach Bush: That's the journey into Terrahydrite. Terrahydrite is a term for a large family, many millions of different variants of carbon snowflakes made by bacteria and fungi, and that's the active ingredient that would go on to become our supplement line called Restore. What you're taking in Restore is literally a supplement that intends to do nothing to your body. It's the first supplement, I think, that really tries to do nothing.
Zach Bush: The reason why it's trying to do nothing is because it's much different than a vitamin A or alpha-lipoic acid or curcumin or any of these other compounds that we think of as having medicinal features. All of those go on to bind to some sort of receptor, and a receptor that goes on to change genetic behavior of the thing. It might be an anti-inflammatory, it may up-regulate antioxidants, it may have all kinds of important medicinal features.
Zach Bush: Restore is much different. It has no molecule within it that's trying to bind a cell receptor. Instead, it's working with this oxygen, hydrogen, this hydrite component of the carbon molecule that's exchanging information over distances. You can think of Restore as a liquid circuit board, a liquid circuit board that spreads across the cellular environment to take information from one cell and passage it to a distant cell.
Zach Bush: In this way it functions as the wireless communication network of the whole body. When you take Restore, you might experience many different things. If you're super healthy, you may not notice much because you're going to simply start aging a little slower. What does it feel like to age slower? It feels a lot like you did yesterday, and that's the goal. If you keep feeling like yesterday, you're not going to age.
Zach Bush: Sometimes the best way to find out is Terrahydrite working or not is take it for three or six months and then stop it, because you're going to suddenly catch up with your aging process and you're really like, "Oh, I did feel six months younger in that six months. I just didn't notice it because it felt a lot like yesterday." It can be interesting to watch that slowing of the aging process.
Zach Bush: That's a heady thing to say, we figured out how to slow aging. In fact, aging is not complicated. Aging is literally 50% of it is dehydration inside the cell, which results from leaky gut, leaky blood vessels, leaky kidneys, and the second 50% of the aging process is a loss of this communication across cell structures.
Zach Bush: With one compound made by bacteria and fungi, you're fixing the leak, improving hydration, and bringing the communication network back into play. That's, in a nutshell, what is Terrahydrite and what is Restore.
Kriben Govender: That's awesome. We're pretty much coming up to time, but we've got a couple of questions from our community. We have a community, a Facebook group of about ... It's approaching 10,000 people now. Our post says, " [inaudible 00:50:59] we've got Dr. Bush coming on. Send me your questions." We'll just rapid-fire these questions.
Kriben Govender: There was a question specifically, and I think you might have tackled this during the discussion, but why are we seeing a rise in autoimmune disease? That's the part one to the question. Part two is why is that once you get autoimmune disease, you tend to have [crosstalk 00:51:31] -
Zach Bush: [crosstalk 00:51:31] .
Kriben Govender: ... on top of it?
Zach Bush: Great question. We talked about leaky gut. 60% to 70% of your immune system by volume and 80% of the antibody production that's done in your whole body is done in the one or two millimeters behind the gut membrane. I'd mentioned this as your frontline of defense. You have two tennis courts. You start to very get leaky gut, your immune system lining behind that is now getting exposed to the whole world.
Zach Bush: Autoimmune disease develops when you've overwhelmed the immune system and stimulated it with a bunch of foreign material. For every single fiber, protein molecule that's foreign to your body that flows through that leaky gut, your immune system has to mount a response, and it begins with a T-cell, which is a type of white blood cell, responding to that protein or that foreign material.
Zach Bush: The T-cell, once activated, recognizing a foreign material, will call in a B-cell, another type of immune cell. The B-cell becomes the manufacturing plant for the antibody needed to attack that foreign material. The B-cells start cranking out throughout the whole gut lining to attack the outside world that's flowing through this unregulated barrier system.
Zach Bush: What happens with an autoimmune disease is that sooner or later it's literally a roulette wheel: you make enough antibodies to enough different protein structure. Sooner or later, one of the proteins in your body is going to be close enough in structure to that foreign material that the antibodies from your B-cell is going to cross-react with your own tissue.
Zach Bush: In rheumatoid arthritis, you're attacking the supportive joint space, the surfaces of the joints. In the case of Hashimoto's or thyroid disease, which is the number one most common autoimmune disease right now in the world, it's the thyroid that cross-reacts. Type I diabetes, it's a specific cell within the pancreas. Adrenal insufficiency is a specific adrenal cell getting knocked out. Celiac disease, a specific protein within the gut lining. All of these proteins start to cross-react with the B-cell manufacturing system; you end up with autoimmune disease.
Zach Bush: Because the pathophysiology of one autoimmune disease is caused by all this overwhelm and it's a roulette wheel, sooner or later you're going to get one, now you're just as likely to get two or three or four autoimmune diseases over time because, again, the same pathophysiology is there for the thyroid disease versus type I diabetes versus all the rest. It's an open gate. The leaky gut is the beginning of an autoimmune process. Chronic stimulation of those B-cells is the conclusion of it.
Kriben Govender: That's awesome. That's an amazing explanation to why we're facing these epidemic of this [inaudible 00:54:13] inflammatory situation. The next question is from what I've read ... In fact, correct me if I'm wrong ... that you're very much driven by your children and I guess wanting to have a better future for the children, better health outcomes. How do you manage your household in terms of eating habits? How do you instill those values in your children so that they can take that on to life as they turn into adults?
Zach Bush: I am very blessed in that way. I feel like my children have almost led the charge on that lifestyle in the home. Back 12 years ago or something like that, my family watched Food Incorporated, a great documentary on the animal protein production systems around the world. My daughter, who's a huge animal lover, as soon as the movie was over, she was like, "I'm never eating meat again in my life." She, as an eight-year-old kid, immediately could see that this was, a, a humanitarian disaster, ethical disaster and, b, an insanely toxic thing to expose her body to.
Zach Bush: We were already kind of moving towards a vegetarian, plant-based diet long before that, but as soon as this movie hit, it was like done in our family. That was easy. My son became a very avid ... A plant-based avid kid and has maintained that, in some ways, more vigorously than anybody else in the family.
Zach Bush: My son now is 21, my daughter is 18, and they're really in their young adulthood here, living out lifestyles that I think really parallel my own ideal and what I'm always preaching to my patients, which is have a low footprint on the planet. The lower you eat on the food chain, the smaller your footprint. You eat high on the food chain, big animals and the rest, you're going to consume a lot of fresh water in that meat consumption and you're going to demand a lot of herbicides, pesticides, and crop production to create that one pound of beef or whatever it is.
Zach Bush: One pound of beef, by the way, consumes somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 gallons of fresh water. One pound of beef. If you avoid buying a pound of beef for your family, you'll save more water for the planet than stopping your showers for six months.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: The amount of water consumption alone in an animal protein-based diet is completely unsustainable for the planet. You multiply out that pound of beef in that 5,000 gallons of fresh water times seven billion people, you start to clearly see in a week if everybody was eating a pound of beef, we would have no fresh water left on the planet. We would suck the fossil aquifers right out of the ground and we'd have an empty resource there. We'd have contaminated brackish rivers and lakes with Roundup and everything else sitting in it as our only source of fresh water.
Zach Bush: We are currently in the United States pumping 17 trillion gallons out of our fossil aquifers that have been there for billions of years, 1.2 billion or whatever it's been, sucking that fresh water out of our fossil reservoir tanks. 17 trillion a year just to feed cattle.
Kriben Govender: Wow!
Zach Bush: It's just a really unsustainable process. Stupid, stupid use of precious resources. All of those things have played into a plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to be strictly vegan. It doesn't mean you can't have any fish or whatever. It means that you need to radically reduce the amount of animal proteins in the diet.
Zach Bush: Personally, I think that dairy is a disaster to human health. We were never cows. Dairy milk was designed for calves. Remember that the calf stops drinking that milk at six months and never drinks it again in its life. We're the only species that drinks milk beyond infancy. We're certainly the only species that drinks some other species' milk. We made the mistake of picking that species as our milk source as a ruminant, which has a totally different gut than a human does. Not only is it not our species, it's not even the right architecture of a gut to put the right milk into.
Zach Bush: [inaudible 00:58:29] on dairy. Milk is the number one problem. Cheese is a huge problem. Really highly fermented dairy products are less of a problem, but not to the point of inflammatory capacity. Of course, you have the additional problem that most dairy is highly contaminated herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals as well as hormones that those animals are given and everything else.
Zach Bush: [inaudible 00:58:55] the industry is toxic now. Then they have to heat-pasteurize the milk which breaks the structure of the oils, makes it more carcinogenic and all this. In a nutshell, go plant-based, eliminate dairy, go as low as possible on animal proteins in the home, and you'll really move yourself towards a nutritional opportunity.
Zach Bush: Eat organic as much as possible, not because organic farming is sustainable. It's not. We don't organic farm in a regenerative fashion. We need to revolutionize organic farming.
Zach Bush: But with every dollar that you spend on organic food, it is yet another step away from chemical farming. I think we have to vote with our dollars right now and eat as organic as we possibly can, demand change in the industry, which is happening. More and more organic farmers every single year, and that's exciting. We need to teach them to go beyond organic and become regenerative, but that's an easier jump than going chemical to organic.
Zach Bush: Buy organic, eat organic, and ultimately grow your own food. If you grow your own [inaudible 00:59:52] really taking control of food independence. If you can't grow your own food, then know your farmer. Farmers' markets, CSAs, the like are great opportunities for you to really be in touch with the food system in a more responsible way.
Kriben Govender: Wonderful. We're pretty much coming up to time, but the final question I like to ask my guests is if there's one thing you could do to improve your gut health, what would it be, Dr. Zach?
Zach Bush: One thing would be grow your own food, I guess. The most powerful single thing you could do would be to be so in touch with your nature that you're little eating from your yard, down to the level that you might not even pick the fruits and vegetables. You would eat them off the vine just like the rest of the animal kingdom does. When you pick a fruit or vegetable, it changes a lot of the stuff in there. You're better off grazing on your own plants as if you were an animal still in the kingdom.
Zach Bush: That would be the one most powerful thing you can do is get so back in touch with nature that you would be like the deer and the other large mammals out there that graze on the nutrients and the gifts of Mother Earth.
Kriben Govender: Right. Dr. Zach Bush, I just want to say thank you. A huge amount of gratitude and respect for what you're doing to enlighten the world, transform the world, and set up a better future for our children, for our grandchildren. Hopefully we can reverse the trends that you talked about and really come ahead as a species and not have to leave the planet. Let's hope for that. Thank you so much.
Zach Bush: Very glad.
Kriben Govender: God bless.
Zach Bush: Thank you all so much for your wisdom and your efforts.
Kriben Govender: Thank you.
Restore Mineral Supplements available here:
Author: Kriben Govender
Food Scientist and Founder of Nourishme Organics
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kribengovender/