Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
July 11, 2016
We may be irreversibly damaging our gut microbiome, and we may not know it. The fact is that we need our gut bacteria. We could not survive without our microbial partners, which outnumber human cells by as much as 10:1 (100 trillion microbial cells to about 10 trillion human cells).
So, What’s Up With Our Food?
A chemical, which is being sprayed on most crops that are grown conventionally on the farm, is getting into our food supply. Then, we eat it. Although this poison may not damage our human cells, it does destroy some important functions of our gut bacteria. Damage to our gut microbiome makes us more susceptible to a host of chronic diseases. We become the victims without knowing what hit us. A bigger problem is that chronic diseases may not raise their ugly heads until decades after we have continuously ingested this toxic substance.
The chemical is glyphosate – better known by its brand name of Round Up, which is manufactured by Monsanto. Everyone knows about Round Up; we use it to kill those pesky weeds that make our yards look ugly. Everyone knows about Monsanto; it’s a company whose goal is sustainable agriculture to meet the needs of a growing global population. All good causes. But, the outcome of Round Up on our food supply is fostering disaster in our bodies by way of damaging our healthy gut bacteria and disrupting our normal digestion. Unfortunately, the full extent of damage that glyphosate might be creating in our bodies is still unknown.
The danger of glyphosate residue on the chemistry necessary for our gut bacteria to function has been known for almost 40 years. Here are two published studies in 1980 that detail the exact biological pathway that describes how glyphosate destroys bacteria. HERE. HERE. The shikimate pathway, which was referenced in both articles I cited, is not part of human cellular function. But, read this next sentence very carefully. This pathway is critical for our gut bacteria to perform its numerous necessary functions for us to survive.
Damaged gut bacteria affects our entire body including the health of our mouths. All our brushing and flossing will not offset the damage that could occur if unhealthy and infectious bacteria overtook the healthy balance of bacteria in our mouth. There are many published research papers that prove how the state of our gut bacteria affects the state of our mouth bacteria. Here are just two: HERE. HERE.
What To Do?
I often ask my patients, “If you knew a train were coming at you, would you get off the tracks?” In my opinion, the prudent action is to be proactive. Prevention is so much easier and cheaper than treatment later on. Eat foods that are organic. Avoid all processed foods that include any artificial additives. A nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory diet, which is a Paleo-type diet, is an ideal choice. Since chronic disease is the result of cumulative effects over the course of years or decades, the sooner we start a proactive approach, the better.