By Dr. Mercola
In recent years, science has come to realize your gut microbiome is a significant factor driving genetic expression and supporting your immune system. Your body has nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria living in it and on it, as well as millions of viruses. Each of these organisms perform a multitude of functions, and need to be properly balanced and cared for in order to maintain good health.1
Research has linked the variety and makeup of your gut microbiome to specific health benefits and health conditions, including the elimination of chemical toxins, mental health,2 obesity,3 Types 1 and 2 diabetes4 and brain diseases. The microbes in your gut may influence your immune response to a number of environmental pathogens as well as pharmaceutical drugs, including vaccinations.
One of the easiest ways to support or decimate your microbiome is through your diet. Research supports eating fermented foods5 and fiber6 to promote a healthy gut microbiome. Now, recent research has found an association between feeding infants formula and a change in gut microbiome that may lead to obesity.7
As you may have suspected, and research has confirmed, the food children eat impacts their gut microbiome and consequently their immune system and risk for obesity. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics8 looked at how bacteria in an infant’s digestive system affects the burning and storage of fat, and how the infant body uses energy.
Researchers gathered data from the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, focusing on the first year for more than 1,000 infants at four different sites.9 Mothers reported the amount of breastfeeding, when formula was introduced and when solid food was introduced to the infant. Confounding factors such as gender, birth weight, antibiotics, maternal smoking and more, were included. Stool samples collected from the infants at 3 to 4 months and again at 12 months were tested for a variety of gut bacteria.
By Dr. Mercola
Eating fresh produce is essential to staying healthy and warding off chronic disease, but if you purchase conventional varieties, you’re probably getting some pesticide residues along with many of your bites.
The health effects of these residues are being debated, but considering the many health risks linked to pesticides — from infertility and birth defects to endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer1 — there’s good reason to keep your exposure as low as possible, including opting for organic produce as much as possible.
According to the latest pesticide residue report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which used 2015 data and was released in November 2016, about 85 percent of the more than 10,000 samples they tested contained pesticide residues.2 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also compiled an annual pesticide residue report using 2015 data, which was released in November 2017.3 It, too, showed the majority of U.S. fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticide residues.
The FDA’s sampling of nearly 6,000 foods revealed that fruits and vegetables are most frequently contaminated with pesticide residues. Notably, 82 percent of domestic fruits and 62 percent of domestic vegetables had such residues, including:4
Among imported fruits and vegetables, 57 percent and 47 percent contained residues, respectively, and the imported varieties were more likely to contain illegal levels of pesticide residues compared to the domestic samples. Raising red flags is the fact that the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos was the fourth most-prevalent chemical in the samples out of the more than 200 pesticides detected.5
The chemical, known to disrupt brain development and cause brain damage, neurological abnormalities, reduced IQ and aggressiveness in children, has a half-life on food of several weeks, making nonorganic foods a major source of exposure. The FDA was quick to point out that “over 98 percent of domestic and 90 percent of imported foods were compliant with federal standards,” but this isn’t saying much if the federal standards are too lax to protect public health.
Former EPA senior scientist and director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Tracey Woodruff, told Environmental Health News, “Risk assessment practices at federal agencies have not been updated for modern scientific principles, including accounting for the fact that people are exposed to multiple chemicals and that certain groups, such as genetically susceptible, the very young and old can be at greater risk of exposure.”6