The Rich Roll Podcast – Zach Bush, MD on The Science and Spirituality of Human and Planetary Transformation

Check out The Rich Roll Podcast Episode Page and Show Notes, as well as the Youtube video of the conversation

Key Takeaways

  • 1/3 of males in the U.S. are now sterile, and 1/4 of women in the U.S. are now infertile
  • In the 1960s, 4% of the entire US population (of all ages) carried a chronic disease diagnosis
    • In 2015 – 46% of children have a chronic disease
  • The autism rates have doubled in the last 6 years – 1 out of every 36 kids today have autism
    • Projections show that by 2030, 1 out of 3 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum
    • Even if this was the ONLY disease that existed, this would cripple the U.S. as a country financially
  • $3.5 trillion is spent per year in the U.S. on chronic disease management
    • It costs us 6-8% more every year to take care of the chronic disease in this country – fast forward 10 years, and we’ll be spending 2x what we are now
    • At this rate, by 2025, we’ll be spending somewhere around $5 trillion/year on healthcare 
  • Glyphosate is a chemical used in Roundup as a pesticide
  • Both Roundup and tilling (a farming method to keep the land looking nice) damage the soil in the same way:
    • They destroy the soil earthworm population
    • Why does this matter? – No earthworms means no air within the soil, which means you’ve lost the aerobic environment needed for the mycorrhiza
      • Mycorrhiza are hair like fibrils that grow up through the soil
        They’re almost like the coral reef of the soil – they provide the home for the bacteria, yeast etc. – it’s the scaffolding upon which they adhere
  • Glyphosate is largely responsible for the high rates of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity
  • Chemical farming is severely hurting the offspring of farmers (causing birth defects, brain malformations, ADHD, asthma, etc.)
  • Glyphosate is very pervasive
    • Why? – It’s a water soluble molecule
    • It’s found its way into our drinking water, as well as the rain – so your organic groceries, are not so organic
  • The single greatest contributor to global warming is methane gas
    • One of the biggest producers of methane is the decaying, slowly rotting, piles of sugar beet cane located throughout the south (aka piles of bagasse)
  • The earth is losing 1 species to the point of extinction every 20 minutes
    • We’ve lost 40% of the earth’s biodiversity in the last 50 years

Intro

  • Check out the Podcast Notes from Zach’s last appearance on The Rich Roll Podcast
    • It was the voted the #3 podcast of 2018 by us here at Podcast Notes
    • Definitely give these a read before the below (at least read our key takeaways)
  • Dr. Zach Bush (WebsiteTwitterFacebook) is a triple board certified physician, with training and certification in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, as well as in Hospice and Palliative Care

Some Shocking Stats to Kick Things Off

  • Infertility
    • “We’re losing the ability to procreate as a species, and on our current trajectory, we have about 70 years left of human life on earth”
      • 1/3 of males in the U.S. are now sterile
      • 1/4 of women in the U.S. are infertile
    • PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women in the U.S.
      • In 2008-2010, 1 out of 4 girls in America had PCOS
  • Everyone is suffering – autism, learning disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases don’t discriminate across socioeconomic status

“The chronological age of a human being, is not its biological age”

  • A 15 year old today, has the biology of a 60 year old in the 1950s
    • In the 1960s, 4% of the entire U.S. population (of all ages) carried a chronic disease diagnosis
    • In 2015 – 46% ofchildren have a chronic disease

A Powerful Quote

  • “We’re in the midst of this extraordinary period in history, where we’re seeing breakthroughs at a breakneck pace. At the same time, there are such strong, powerful, well-funded forces, working day and night to enforce the status quo, that is rapidly leading to the degradation of our environment, our planet, and human health, all for the sake of short term monetary goals. And who’s gonna win?” – Rich

More Mind Blowing Stats

  • 1 out of 3 men, and 1 out of 3 women, will suffer some form of cancer diagnosis during their lifetimes, not including skin cancer
  • The autism rates have doubled in the last 6 years – 1 out of every 36 kids today have autism
    • Projections show that by 2030, 1 out of 3 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum
    • Even if this was the ONLY disease that existed, this would cripple us as a country financially
      • It takes 2-3 people to provide for one disabled individual over the course of their life
  • Depression and anxiety are obviously ubiquitous
  • 46% of kids have a chronic health issue
  • $3.5 trillion is spent per year in the U.S. on chronic disease management
    • For comparison, the national military and defense budget is around $700 billion/year (so we spend 4-5x more on chronic disease!!)
    • It costs us 6-8% more every year to take care of the chronic disease in this country – fast forward 10 years, and we’ll be spending 2x what we are now
      • At this rate, by 2025, we’ll be spending somewhere around $5 trillion/year on healthcare 

Cancer and the Microbiome

  • By 2005, the “genome of the microbiome” had been sequenced – scientists had essentially snapshotted all genes, of all the different species of bacteria, fungi, and parasites and everything else living in our guts
    • By 2010, it became clear that every cancer that happens in the human body, can be correlated with missing some portion of that microbiome
    • “Here we are 15 years later, and nobody in the cancer realm is talking about replacing your microbiome to get rid of your cancer.”
      • Cancer treatments are pretty much the same as 50 years ago

The Dangers of Roundup and Tilling

  • A single application of Roundup in a field, will kill 50% of the earthworm population
    • AND fields are sprayed multiple times a year
    • Why does this matter? – No earthworms means no air within the soil, which means you’ve lost the aerobic environment needed for the mycorrhiza
      • Mycorrhiza are hair like fibrils that grow up through the soil
      • They’re almost like the coral reef of the soil – they provide the home for the bacteria, yeast etc. – it’s the scaffolding upon which they adhere
      • “It’s the ultra structure of life, right down in the soil”
  • Organic farms throughout the vast majority of the US, use tilling (non-organic farms do this as well)
    • Tilling is done mostly as an aesthetic (see how it looks here) – land owners (who often lease land to a farm) want to see the land looking nice
      • In a sense, a tilled field looks clean
    • But it damages the soil – Tilling (just like spraying Roundup) also destroys all the earthworms and mycorrhiza

Glyphosate and Monsanto

  • Throughout the 1950s, Monsanto was involved in the development of chemicals like agent orange, and others which were used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam so the U.S. could see the Viet Cong better, and expose the Ho Chi Minh trail etc.
  • In the 1970s, as the war in Vietnam was wrapping up, Monsanto was looking for more ways to make money
    • They purchased an old patent for a chemical which would eventually become glyphosate/Roundup (glyphosate is a chemical used in Roundup as a pesticide) created by a Japanese scientist
    • Originally, Monsanto was trying to use the chemical to unclog sewer lines and pipes, but it turned out that the chemical was killing life (in ponds etc.) once it came out of the pipes
      • This gave them the idea of using it as a weed killer
    • In the 1980s, Roundup was approved for direct to consumer sales
      • “This direct to consumer message, put a gallon of Roundup in every single garage in suburban America”
      • Roundup basically kills any plant you spray it on
      • BUT – What wasn’t mentioned in advertising, was that the main chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, was a water soluble toxin
        • Once you sprayed it, it washed into the gutter, which flows right into the municipal water system
        • So by the end of the 1980s, people were drinking Roundup, without having a clue that it was dangerous, or even present in the water supply

The Interplay Between Glyphosate and Gluten Sensitivitiy

  • In 1992, Roundup started to be used as a desiccant (or a drying agent) for wheat
    • Wheat is the only staple crop that you want dead, before you harvest it
    • Every single year since 1992, we’ve sprayed more and more acres of wheat with glyphosate
    • “Eventually, enough acerage was covered, so we started to eat glyphosate and gluten in the same bite”
      • This is when gluten sensitivity started to rise amoung the general population
      • As more acreage of wheat was sprayed with Roundup, celiac disease started to rise (which is an autoimmune disease)
  • Why is there a link between glyposate and gluten sensitivity?
    • Glyposate damages the gut lining by suppressing it of oxygen (this is called a hypoxic injury)
    • One of the results of this, is the over expression of CXCR3, a receptor to the gluten compound gliadin
      • Once this happens, gluten is broken down, and produces something called zonulin
      • Zonulin opens up the tight junctions of the gut, and then you get this “unzippering” of the whole gut lining….and now you have leaky gut
  • We’ve been able to have gluten in our diet for thousands of years without any measurable immune impact
    • Suddenly in the 1990s, 15-20% of the American population became gluten sensitive
    • Now, about 50-60% of the U.S. population has some form of gluten sensitivity
  • An interesting tidbit
    • This is why many people, who are gluten sensitive to U.S. food, go to Italy or France, eat pizza and pasta, and feel fine
    • Europe has done a good job of reducing the amount of Roundup sprayed in their countries

We Need Change

  • Russia plans to be a fully organic nation by 2025
  • “As an American, I feel like my highest duty that I have is to help this nation get to health security again. If we don’t, it doesn’t matter what we do with the military, or our international political relationships, or anything else. It just doesn’t matter. We can’t compete on an international level in 10 or 15 years because we’re going to be broke. We’re already the deepest in debt nation that exists.”

A Recent Trial Against Monsanto

  • There was recently a trial against Monsanto that resulted in a $280 million+ payment to a groundskeeper who developed non-hodgkin’s lyphoma
    • This is the most common cancer associated with the exposure to glyphosate (as well as leukemia)
  • There are about 8,000 lawsuits currently pending against Monsanto
  • Bayer recently purchased Monsanto for $63 billion
    • They are one of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world
    • This was much less than Monsanto was supposedly worth – they provide seed to 85-90% of our commodities in the U.S. (implying they’re worth way more than this)
      • So perhaps they saw the “writing on the wall”

Liberty Link

  • Bayer has recently developed a new GMO crop, called Liberty Link
    • Farmers in the U.S. are already growing it in the Midwest
      • This GMO modification can be used in corn, wheat, soybean etc.
    • Liberty Link has a genetic modification, which allows for a certain herbicide to be applied to the crop – this combination then blocks the enzyme that makes the amino acid glutamin
      • Glutamine is an essential part of many endocrine functions, and human fertility
      • In summary – This new crop treatment is blocking the ability of food to carry the essential amino acid glutamine into the food chain

Thought Provoking

  • “Our identity is so tangled up around the belief that we are the best food growers in the world. To dismantle that belief…the humility it takes to say, ‘We’re actually growing the worst food on the planet, with the least nutrient delivery of any food system in the world, perhaps. And the only other place we see worse outcomes nutritionally, is where people just can’t get access to food period.‘”
  • Long term chemical farming actually decreases crop yields, contrary to belief
    • This invalidates the argument that we have to use chemical farming to feed the growing population

Why don’t farmers just stop using Roundup?

  • Debt mostly – they’re locked in through debt structures (banks only give them loans if they agree to use GMO crops and Roundup etc.)
  • But farmers need to acknowledge that:
    • Crop yields are decreasing
    • Chemical farming is hurting the offspring of farmers (causing birth defects, brain malformations, ADHD, asthma, etc.)
      • “The most horrendous of diseases happen on these farms. The farmers’ families are so sick.”
      • Think about it – they spray Roundup all day, and then conceive the child with sperm/egg which are contaminated
  • They’ll be shunned by other farmers and the community
    • “By making that jump, you just made a judgement call on everyone else”
  • They can’t see a way out – it takes ~10 years to regenerate 0.5-1 centimeter of soil

No Till No Spray

  • As we learned, soil tilling is equally as damaging to the soil architecture as spraying Roundup
    • So to shift things – farmers need to stop tilling, and go organic – “No till, no spray. That is the promise land for how we get ourselves out of this situation.”
    • Zach has launched a nonprofit called Farmer’s Footprint to help farmers make the jump
      • They provide a financial safety net for farmer’s making the transition
  • Right now, with GMO crops, on average, farmers yield about $40/acre after they extract costs
    • A typical family farm grows ~300 acres of corn, soybean, or some mix thereof 
      • 300 x $40 = a bad annual income
    • SO….The incentive is there for them to switch to non GMO/organic farming, but they just need more support for the first 3-5 years
      • Farms that have switched to more non GMO/no Roundup farming methods over the last 15 years, are seeing returns of $500-900 per acre
      • Organic farming is so much more lucrative
  • Check out the book The World Without Us
    • It describes of how the ecosystem will recover once humans disappear

The Idea of “Grace” At the Cellular Level

  • To Zach, the word “grace” means “heal faster than you injure”
  • “I see people who have abused their bodies for decades. Just give a pause. Do a couple of short term fasts, give yourself a break, give the immune system a break, get away from chemicals, grow your own food, just make these simple little decisions. And suddenly decades of damage is reversed in hours, weeks, and months. That’s grace at the cellular level.”

The Pervasiveness of Chemical Spraying

  • “Even if you are an organic farmer, or if you’re a consumer buying organic, or you’re trying to live in a clean environment…glyphosate and various other chemicals are so pervasive. They’ve found there way into our drinking water, and it’s in the rain water raining down onto these organic farms. Despite trying to remove ourselves form this problem, it’s still something we have to contend with, even when we’re doing everything in our power to avoid it.” – Rich
    • This is partly why Zach moved to a remote location in Virginia, to find a pristine place to live and have a family
  • Why is glypohsate everywhere?
    • It’s the nature of the molecule
    • It has an amino acid backbone, with a phosphate group, and a carbon group on the other end – making it an “organophosphate”
      • Organophosphates are very water soluble
      • 70% of earth is water
      • 70% of your body is water
      • “We’ve put into play, a chemical that is water soluble, that can travel through all levels of the water ecosystem” 
  • ~80% of all Roundup sprayed in the country collects near the bottom of the Mississippi River (through run off, or rain fall etc.)
  • A wow fact
    • Most top soil in the US is dead and eroding away
    • The amount of monetary loss every year from the amount of top soil washing away, is equal to 11% of the GDP
      • Why? – There’s no root structure to keep the top soil in place
      • There’s no micorrhiza, mycellium, or fungal structures in the soil to keep the top soil where it needs to be
      • Every time it rains, the top soil is so hard that the rain can’t penetrate
        • Instead, it takes the top centimeter of the soil away, and washes it to the nearest gully, and out into the water system, which ends up in the Mississippi River
        • At the end of the Mississippi River, there’s a dead zone, larger than the state of Road Island, because there’s so much herbicide/pesticide and chemical fertilizer in that water

Zach’s New Documentary Series

  • The first part will be out in January 2019
  • “We need to stop damning the farmers first. The farmers are the biggest heroes I’ve ever met. I’ve never met a more resilient, courageous group of human beings.”
  • Check out more info. here
  • The farmers want to change – they just need a little bit of help from a community of like minded people

Methane is the #1 Enemy

  • If 5 million acres of land are converted to no spray/no till organic farming, greenhouse gas problems will be solved in North America – at this point we’d absorb more greenhouse gases than we’d produce
  • The single greatest contributor to the greenhouse gas problem is methane
    • Methane is 6x more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas
    • By cubic volume, methane only makes up ~15% of global greenhouse gas – but it’s so potent
    • So methane is enemy #1 against global warming
    • Methane is produced mostly by the agricultural industry through cattle farming, and poor management of the soil/crops
      • One of the biggest producers of methane is the decaying, slowly rotting, piles of sugar beet cane located throughout the south (aka piles of bagasse)
        • There are piles of bagasse in the billions of pounds in size
        • Sugar beet cane is not useful (nutrition wise) for humans at all
          • The most subsidized crop in the Farm Bill is the sugar beet
          • It’s gotten so dismal growing corn, and soybean in the north, that farmers in Minnesota are actually intentionally destroying/killing the soil, so they can get subsidized $100/acre to grow sugar beets (sugar beet likes to grow in poor soil)
        • “Every single structure that we have to support big agriculture in the U.S., is forcing the farmers into poor agriculture and biologic decisions”

Zach’s Main Message

  • It’s time to rebrand
    • “Become part of the most important American thing we’ll ever do. It’s time for us to rebrand, and we’ve done this many times as a country. We’ve been ‘land of the free’, ‘land of liberty’, we’ve had all these clever catch phrases that change every generation or two. How about ‘land of the healthy’?”
  • Russia is doing something similar – they’re aiming to be totally organic by 2025
    • If they do this, they’ll sure win the space war (they just have to wait a few years until the U.S. completely collapses itself with our tremendous health problems)
    • Russia said to themselves, “The most important thing for the national security of Russia is to go GMO free + organic, by 2025, and we’ll win the game”
      • “If we [the US] doesn’t step up, and meet that call, we’re going to lose the economic game”

China

  • “It’s horrendous in China. China makes more glyphosate than Monsanto ever did”
  • China has the highest rates of pre-diabetes and cancer in the world

Glyphosate and Bees

  • “We’re in the sixth great extinction on the planet right now”
    • There’s been 5 others – it’s been 60 million year since the last great one (the dinosaurs)
    • The earth is losing 1 species to the point of extinction every 20 minutes
      • We’ve lost 40% of the earth’s biodiversity in the last 50 years
  • “We’re pushing our bee population to the point of extinction”
    • Einstein is credited with saying “Humans will survive about three years after the bees are gone”

The Greatest Monologue You’ve Ever Heard (or read)

  • You might want to just listen to this if you can, this monologue was superb
  • “We’re looking at the last chapter of life on earth with our current course of action”
  • Zach was once a physician in the ICU, and had the privilege of being around multiple people towards the end of their lives
    • So here we are, facing the death of our species
    • The U.S. culture has a weird attitude to death – it’s allowed it to be defined as an end point, or a disappearance
      • We’re divorced from the death process, we don’t see it happen
    • Through Zach’s work, here’s what he has to say about death – “I’ve seen death to be a massive expansion of consciousness, of reality, of awareness, and ultimately of love”
    • After “bringing back” a number of patients throughout his career from events like cardiac arrest – Zach has noticed something…
      • “They all told such a similar story after being on the ‘other side’ of biologic life”
      • They’ll describe seeing white light, and often having experienced a sense of expansion
      • Most patients, will usually say something along the lines of , “Why did you bring me back?”
        • Patients will typically tell loved ones or doctors – “I went into this space, with bright white light everywhere. In that moment, I felt completely accepted for the first time in my life.”
  • What does Zach make of this? 
    • “I think we’re all walking around lonely as hell. Death is not an end point, it’s a transformation moment. It’s an expansion beyond the limits of this frail, biologic, shell that we carry around. The instant that we step out of that, we find out that the universe embraces us, in every single second of our existence, in complete acceptance of who we are. We are enough, in and of our own identity of ‘I am’ at every second, at every point, of our existence. It’s the disbelief of that, that’s keeping us locked in stupid conversations.”
      • Humans need to realize that we’re killing ourselves with the way we’re treating the environment
      • “But what if we need a death moment to transform completely, to let go of all the preconceived notions of what it means to be human?”
    • “We are beings of light, completely accepted in every moment”
      • “Let’s not beat each other up over this issue. Let’s not see this as a failure. Let’s see this as an obvious next step in our journey. Death is the inevitable thing marching at us, that’s going to say, ‘Are you going to wake up, and see the transformation at that moment, and say ‘Goodbye homo sapiens’ or are you going to do it the moment before that, in the body, before the doctor starts the reforestation?'”
      • “What if we all looked at each other, in wonder and awe, and said, ‘You’re enough, I accept you completely. I want to be with you. I want to live with you. I want to be alive period.'”
    • “What if we can transform before we die? Then there’s no reason to go to Mars. There’s no reason to go anywhere else, because we’ll be doing absolutely everything single thing differently, here on earth.”
      • Realize – “I am who I am. You are who you are. And that’s enough. And I accept you completely.”
    • “There’s enough energy. There’s enough food. There’s enough commodities. There’s enough resources for everybody on the planet to thrive at a level that’s never been experienced in human history.”
    • “If you are under the age of 18, you are the last generation that may live to the full extent of the human potential.”
    • Rich – “That was one of the best monologues I’ve ever heard in my life.”
    • “Three words. Humility. Then gratitude and love.”
      • If we can practice that at the scientific, technological, and all levels…
      • Think – “Thank you for what we’ve been given. Thank you for all we’ve gone through. Thank you mother nature, for all you do for us. The fact that humans are here, on this earth, right now is simply amazing. We are defying the odds. We are one billionth of the life on the planet – there are so many other forms of biologic life around us. Why haven’t we been wiped out yet?”
    • “The universe wants use here”

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