I wonder to myself why this is happening, to us, in our generation.
Many people blame our diet, our stress, our society; or just advances in medicine that didn't recognize these problems earlier.
Maybe it is my background studying horticulture, my hippy tendencies, or just my experience that has led me to believe it is because of 3 main things.
3. Chemical Toxins (pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals) in us, our water and food.
The first is maybe the one I know the most about. What got me thinking about it was an article by Jeffery Smith for the Huffington Post. It studied genetically modified soy, and the effects of feeding it to hamsters. What they found scared them. In each generation the death rate of the babies (pups) rose significantly, and more than half the babies from GM fed mothers died by 2 weeks. By the third generation, the hamsters eating the GM soy had lost the ability to reproduce, among other strange genetic effects (like growing hair in the mouth).
Now, this article and others they quote would make everyone raise up their arms and shout "NO MORE GMO, NO MORE GMO". But wait.
Why is it that GMO's are causing this? GM corn and soy (and other crops) are modified so that when they grow they can be treated with Roundup, which 'kills anything green'. Roundup is a mixture of glyphosate and a surfactant (which helps the chemical enter plant (animal and human) cells. Roundup has been used since the 1970's and in 1985 started a double-digit climb as it was positioned as a cheap weed killer agriculturally and for residential consumers. With the introduction of GMO corn and soybeans in 1998, it's usage has tripled again.
Do we remember Vietnam? Does Agent Orange ring a bell? 2,4,5-T? Okay maybe not, but this chemical seems to be the only one blamed with any misdeeds. It was introduced in the 1940's and it wasn't until the 1970's that the public figured out how deadly it could be. (Eventhough the government was informed on this in 1952) Do we realize that 50% of that deadly chemical (2,4-D) is still used today as a broadleaf weed killer on corn, wheat, and rice crops? Not to mention added to home fertilizers to kill things like dandelions in our own backyards?
How much corn, wheat, rice and soy do you eat? Does it make up a bulk of your diet?
What is frustrating is how so many people believe that organic food is a hoax. That using pesticides is fine, because 'wouldn't the government stop them if it wasn't?'. The truth is, the government may or may not know if they are genetically harmful to humans. The chemical companies that produce the herbicides and pesticides may or may not know. If it takes 3 generations to see the devastating results of too much herbicide usage, they wouldn't be finding any significant human reactions... until... now?
But how could they trace it back to one or two things? They can't. Not in our world of chemical additives, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, petrochemicals, radiation, etc. The chemical companies are pretty much off the hook because no one can prove it is their doing.
2. The second issue is antibiotics, and, yes, I know. Antibiotics are a medical marvel, and save millions of lives each year.
My issue with antibiotics is the over-use, unnecessary use and the unconscious use of antibiotics (think beef, pork, poultry, all grown in confined spaces with disease), and their negative affect on our gut.
You know, your gut.
That friendly place between your mouth and your rectum also known as your digestive tract. People don't realize how important it is, how it functions, and what it affects.
In anatomy you learn the different organs and where they are and basically what they do, so I won't go into that.
What most people don't realize is how important the health of your gut is to your immune system, your hormonal system, and your metabolism (okay, maybe you kind of know how it affects your metabolism).
Antibiotics kill bad bacteria... and they kill good bacteria. It drastically can affect the balance of your gut flora (I highly recommend reading that Wikipedia link), which affects your digestion (duh), nutrient absorption, lymphatic system, immune system, thyroid, allergies, and metabolism (may be the real main cause of obesity in our country).
What we need to do is stop messing with the bacteria (flora, 'biotics') in our gut. When we need to use anti-biotics, make sure it is really what is needed. None of this giving antibiotics for a viral ear infection crap. (0ops, a little to passionate. Try not to get too personal here). When we do have to take them, we need to do our best to repopulate our intestines with good bacteria, using prebiotics (a good source is fermented foods), probiotics (a good source is fermented dairy) and nutritionally dense foods to help the body recover.
Number 3 might just be my category that covers everything else. Everyday toxins that accumulate in our livers, daily introduce estrogen-mimicking compounds into our systems that tax our health and manipulate our hormone balance by blocking our estrogen receptors, causing our bodies to produce more than we actually need, a vicious cycle.
I think I am too tired now. If I can formulate more words on this I will update my #3 at a later date.
What are your thoughts on why our generation is so sick?