July 18, 2020
[00:01:28] Podcast Sponsors
[00:03:54] Guest Introduction
[00:07:30] Zach's Thoughts On The Global Reaction To The Coronavirus Pandemic
[00:09:56] Whether Or Not We Should Fear Viruses
[00:18:30] The Importance Of Viruses To Life As We Know It
[00:26:25] Changes In The Production Of Food In 1976 Led To The Current Pandemic
[00:29:41] Podcast Sponsors
[00:32:26] Cont. Changes In The Production Of Food In 1976 Led To The Current Pandemic
[00:53:48] Why COVID-19 Became A Global Pandemic
[01:03:00] An Informed And Rational Response To The Current COVID-19 Pandemic
[01:17:15] How Regenerative Farming Differs From Organic Farming
[01:22:57] What The Black Lives Matter Movement Can Teach Us About The Earth's Microbiome
[01:28:25] Closing the Podcast
[01:30:40] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Zach: Scientific orthodoxy that germ theory somehow applies to viruses, that somehow these antibodies are critical to our balance with this virus. And then, we know this just isn't intrinsically not true. The bloodstream of the human is full of viruses. We have a very huge misperception again that viruses are germs like bacteria. Biology is always looking for the next best adaptation and you are an extraordinary example of this, Ben, and I would say your whole audience is.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Alright, folks. You have been asking for him repeatedly and I now bring you, bated breath, my podcast guest today, Dr. Zach Bush. I love talking with this guy. He has a very unique perspective on the viral pandemic that we have been going through. And I've loved my interviews with him in the past. You are going to eat up the shownotes today. So, definitely go to the shownotes and listen to some of the other interviews and videos with him that I'll put in the shownotes. He's just a wealth of information. I love getting a chance to talk to Zach and I'm super happy to be able to bring this one to you. I think you're really going to dig this interview with the great Dr. Zach Bush.
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Alright, let's go talk to Zach.
Alright, folks. You've been asking for him. You've been asking for him a lot, actually, of late, the great Dr. Zach Bush, who's actually been on my podcast before. We had an episode some time back called “Why You Can't Get Away from The Toxic Glyphosate and What You Can Do About It.” And in that episode, we really delved into all things glyphosate, as the name implies. And I will link to that in the shownotes for today's show, which you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush, spelled with an “H”, Z-A-C-H, Bush. So, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush for all of the shownotes.
If you're not familiar with Dr. Bush, he is a very well-recognized educator and thought leader, particularly on the microbiome, but he is also involved with a lot of other projects, including the nonprofit Farmer's Footprint to develop solutions for human and ecological health. He's basically spearheading a lot of efforts to provide a really good path for consumers, for farmers, for mega-industries to work together for a healthy future, healthy people, and a healthy planet. And he's also been doing a lot of good podcasts and video appearances lately that I think you'd benefit a lot from viewing or listening to as an addition to the episode that you're about to hear today.
He has had four different interviews with my friend Rich Roll, which I think were all excellent, one called “Let Go of Your Story,” one called “The Science and Spirituality of Human and Planetary Transformation,” one called “Glyphosate and Healing the Gut,” and one called “The Pandemic of Possibility.” And I'm going to link to all of those in the shownotes as well. He also had a recent interview that I thought was pretty good about viruses, particularly with Del Bigtree of the HighWire. And I'm going to link to that as well. So, if you want a whole bunch more listening, if you don't absolutely hate Zach and his voice by the time this podcast ends, there's plenty more hours of additional podcasts that you can listen to with him. So, again, all that's going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush.
Zach, I haven't actually seen you since you and me and my wife had a bite to eat last time I was down at Cal Jam in California. So, how have you been, man?
Zach: I have been so well and what an interesting year it's been. And that memory of being with you and your wife at that restaurant and the hubbub of community around us and everything else actually just like triggered this nostalgia moment for me, just remembering how wonderful it is to be with friends and community out in public without masks and without the limitations of this sense of fear of one another that's been instilled in us recently. I hope it sparks our memory for all of us what it's like to be in the sound of conversations surrounded by hundreds of people in a large space that are joyful in finding one another and joyful sharing space and time with one another. And I hope we don't forget that. I hope we yearn back towards that.
Ben: Yeah. It certainly is more difficult to eat a good roasted chicken through an N95 facemask.
Ben: So, where have you been holed up during this whole pandemic, or have you been?
Zach: I have been blessed to be sequestered here in Oahu, Hawaii and a really interesting route back here. We were traveling internationally when all the lockdown started. We were in Mexico, then Australia, then Fiji, and I had to escape Fiji quickly as all the international airports went into a cascading effect in February. And so, it was fascinating to see just all these different economies and personalities of nations and cultures respond to this. And the effect of fear in each of those cultures had such unique aspects to it in a lot of ways, although fear always smells the same no matter where you are in a lot of ways. But I think that the history of people and their affluence and maybe lack of affluence really changes the tenor a lot, and Fiji was interesting as a developing nation to watch them move into this experience. There was a sense of, “The world is not going to care about us. The world is going to–if this turns into the disaster we're told it's going to turn into, we have no tertiary fancy hospital care system, we do not have ICUs equipped to handle anything like this, and people aren't going to care.”
So, there's this sense of, “We better take care of each other the best we can,” but there was no sense of like, “We need to rush and get massed or anything else.” It was more sense of like, “Well, here it comes,” and there was a sense of inevitability about it and a sense of awareness that nobody would really care what would happen to Fiji. And in a lot of ways, I think they were right and it was a sobering look at this situation where gazillion hours of attention were put on Northern Italy, and U.K., and the U.S., and Canada. And yet when you look at respiratory mortality around the world every single year, whatever happened with COVID pales in comparison to what happens in Africa every year with children who are undernourished and suffering from respiratory diseases that could be easily prevented and all the rest. And so, we put a huge PR campaign around a western perceived problem, and I think we lack the perspective of what chronic and acute disease looks like in the developing world.
Ben: Wow. Well, actually, I wanted to ask you a little bit about this whole concept of fear because it's obviously just something that seems to have gripped so many people, our entire planet. You specialize in internal medicine, in endocrinology, and in hospice care, and we got into your background quite a bit in our previous podcast episode and where you come from with regards to that. However, the first question I really wanted to ask you was just about viruses in general and whether we actually should be afraid at this point in time with this pandemic, with COVID. I mean, is this something that we actually should fear this concept of viruses in general? Because I think you have some really interesting thoughts on this.
Zach: It's an important question, especially in this time where we're making massive public health policy decisions that are affecting hundreds of millions of households. There's an estimated 250 million jobs have been lost in the last few months, 125 million of those were lost in the first four weeks of March and into April there. And so, it was just a devastating effect and we pinned this rationale on a virus. And I would argue that demonizing of this virus was not only inaccurate scientifically, it was also extremely harmful to our public response and our health response. And I believe actually it killed tens of thousands of people in that fear and demonizing of it rather than the virus itself, and it killed people by our mismanagement in the ICUs and the rest.
When we thought we were treating an infectious process, we made some really old and antiquated clinical decision making around ICU care. We were treating people as if they were coming in with this deadly infection. However, if you look at the publication that came out of New York, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, it showed that with 5,700 patients admitted to hospitals with acute COVID syndrome, the average temperature of that 5,700 patients presenting with illness had no fever, they had normal body temperature, they also had normal white blood cell count without what we call left shift suggesting infection. So, there was no signs of infection as would classically be considered that, and their chest x-rays were largely normal, CT scans of the chest would not become abnormal until three to five days into hospitalization.
And so, the evidence that's coming out of New York is that we had a mortality rate from this syndrome of 88%. There's nothing else in medicine that I've ever seen results in an 88% mortality rate. Nearly 9 out of 10 people dying from a single condition has never been seen. And so, I believe that what happened is we inadvertently, as a medical community, accelerated the mortality of these patients and severely missed an opportunity to mitigate that mortality by misclassifying this as an infectious process. So, that's kind of the clinical side. On the basic science side of this equation, we were completely wrong about viruses over the last 100 years and it's an antiquated belief that these are living organisms part of the microbiome as we've turned it.
And yet if you read any publication, either peer-reviewed science or even in the lay public, we tend to clump viruses into this description or discussion of the microbiome. The microbiome is two words, micro, meaning of course small, and biome, meaning, living creatures, living organisms. And viruses are inherently, by definition, not alive. They can't produce energy, they can't reproduce, they can't eat, they can't metabolize anything. There's literally no energetic exchange within a virus. A virus is a package of information at the genetic level that is transferred through the air, water, soil systems, and they are ubiquitous. This communication network of viruses is so abundant that it really defies human logic.
Ben: Now, before you go on and describe the communication network of viruses, I've seen it go back and forth. I believe it was Scientific American that–and they've actually published some interesting articles about the good side of viruses and the interplay between viruses and our microbiome and planetary health, which I know you're probably going to explain to folks. But I've also seen in some of these articles and elsewhere that viruses are still thought of, and there's some debate on whether they are actually living or non-living. So, it sounds to me like what you're saying is that viruses, based on the way that you understand them, are just simply not alive.
Zach: I think that's accurate. To say that they're alive, you would have to show some capacity for, in my definition of life, capacity to produce energy within them and reproduce. And so, if you can't do either of those, if you can't basically eat and produce energy for metabolic effect of enzyme work or other machinery repair, all that, then to call it living is starting to really bend our philosophy of life. And the same way if we're going to call viruses living, then we could start to classify complex carbon metabolites in soil as living organisms. Even though there's no genetic information in them or anything else, they certainly become unfolded into active proteins as soon as they're consumed by a bacteria or a living multicellular organism like a human. So, if we're going to consider something alive, by definition, that it starts to do biologic activity once it's integrated into a human cell, then we would have to really look a lot deeper into our definition of what's alive and what's not.
Ben: Yeah. I was going to say it depends on your definition of life. I mean, maybe you could define it as almost like borrowed life. I saw one parallel between a virus and a seed, where a seed might not be considered alive, but it has potential for life. And in that way, viruses might resemble seeds more than they do actual live cells. They have potential, but they don't necessarily have an autonomous state of life.
Zach: I'd even say we can't even call them a seed for the reason that a seed got all of the machinery within it to go into multicellular life form as soon as you add water, right? And so, germination of seed, you need no other external input to make that thing into a living life form. So, it's a full-blown living life form that has all of the genetic information to create an oak tree, for say. And so, you can grow an entire oak with all the genetic material and the enzyme workforce within that seed. In contrast, there is none of that enzymatic workforce, none of that genomic intelligence within a virus. A virus is a very, very tiny amount of genetic information. You're usually talking about a few genes at the most.
And so, one to three genes is a typical thing. With this COVID thing, there's three to six, depending on which coronavirus you're looking at. So, it's a very tiny amount of information genetically, and that's one of the reasons again that we need to not only reclassify it as probably a communication, genetic communication network rather than living organisms, we also need to reclassify their purpose. There's no way that a virus could come along and kill people individually. There's not enough genetic information for a virus to be lethal in and of itself. Maybe the one example that people tend to throw out there is Ebola. Well, what about Ebola? Doesn't that just move in and kill anybody it touches? And the answer is no. The mortality can be in the 15% to 30% range, which is huge mortality. But again, we had 88% mortality from ICU care in New York. And so, it was much more dangerous to be admitted to an ICU with this syndrome that we ended up calling COVID than it is to have Ebola. And so, we made lethal mistakes in our pharmaceutical and medical invasive decision making around these conditions that made this far more lethal in the ICUs than anything ever seen before.
Ben: Now, when I interrupted you asking about whether viruses were alive or not, you were getting into the impact of viruses in general on our planet, or on our microbiome, or some of the symbiosis between viral infected fungus and plants. I'm curious if you could explain to people the actual importance of viruses and their actual prevalence because I think there's a lot more of these viruses going around than most people are aware of.
Zach: Yeah. I mean, this really starts to give you a sense of the reality of how ludicrous it is that we would fear a coronavirus strain. So, in the air, we have somewhere around 10 to the 31 viruses, and the human brain does a really bad job of understanding zeros on the ends of ones. Ten to the 16 is [00:19:19] _____ double that would be 10 to the 32. We don't understand logarithmic growth. But to understand 10 to the 31, that is actually 10 million times more viruses than our stars in the entire universe. Okay? And so, that's just in the air. It turns out we have another 10 to the 31 viruses in the ocean, and we have another 10 to the 30 viruses in the soil. And then, you add all of those up and millions and millions and millions and millions times more than our matter in the universe starts to get out. This concept like, “Oh my gosh, these are numbers that you can't process on the biologic level in some ways.”
And so, if these viruses were against us, if it was possible that viruses would jump up and kill a human being, we would have never developed on the planet. Viruses predate us massively. The viruses start in the fossil record very consistently around 3.5 billion years ago. In the fossil record, we show up around 200,000 years ago. And so, by billions of years, these viruses predate multicellular life. And interestingly, they look to be extremely critical in the development of multicellular life on Earth to the tune of the human genome is now being shown to be at least 50% the result of direct viral insertion into the genetic code of multicellular organisms to allow us to be. Interestingly, if you just look at something like the retroviruses, which include things like HIV, which of course have been completely vilified right up there with the fear of cancer as HIV, and yet the retroviruses within that class have built more than 10% of the human genome, and they do critical things within our function. Without these retroviruses inserted into our genome, we would not have the ability to have a stem cell, which I find fascinating.
Ben: Yeah, or a placenta. I mean, the mammalian genes that are essential in the establishment of the placenta, those are retroviral genes that if we didn't have them, we could literally not give birth.
Zach: Yes. Isn't that fascinating? You start to get this sense of this beauty of life, which is a genomic adaptation process. And adaptation and biodiversity are the two codes of life on this planet. If you look through that entire four billion history of the planet, four billion-year history, what you see is there's a constant pressure within biology to create more life more abundant in its diversity and to create constant change. And there's no such thing as static biology. Biology is always in this morphology of transformation and it's always looking for the next best adaptation. And you are an extraordinary example of this, Ben, and I would say your whole audience is. You guys are literally biohacking into a future of a human body that probably hasn't existed before. You guys are looking for those key biologic flips that we can make to change the cellular structure, change the rate of repair, change the rate of stem cell expression and differentiation, and you're finding it.
And this gets me excited that we have consumers, not physicians and scientists and labs, but consumers now equipped with the tools to force biologic adaptation within their bodies through change in lifestyle, change in environment, change in ecosystem. And so, you guys are literally demonstrating the power of biology to morph. And we would not be able to do that if not for the intelligence of the viral kingdom within us and around us. The bloodstream of the human is full of viruses. We have a very huge misperception again that viruses are germs like bacteria. They don't behave like bacteria. They can't like overgrow an environment like bacteria can. Bacteria are always looking for food and niches within the ecosystem to get an advantage of growth.
Biodiversity within the bacterium and fungal community allows for balance of the ecosystem. In the same way, human cells are always looking for that balance of energy and balance of role within a complex system, and human cells make viruses. It's very important to remember that we have generated every single viral genetic package of information that has gone on to be involved in somebody's illness or be involved in somebody's hospitalization that then leads to a death. We produced those. Those were not made by some bat that's flying around. We literally are the generators of this viral information.
And interestingly, we have a huge misperception around the immune system and viruses because again, we clumped them in the category of microbiome. And so, we attributed not only the attributes of bacteria and fungi to them as a pseudo living life form and presumed that they had some sort of infectious capacity similar to bacteria and fungi. We made a deeper problem by believing that our immune system's response or our body's response and capacity to come into a homeostasis or balance with these viral genetic chunks of information would look like a bacterial infection. Meaning, we thought that antibodies to this virus would be the thing that would define whether or not that virus is going to hurt us or not hurt us.
And data over the last 30 years, especially in the HIV world, has demonstrated that we miss the boat on that belief system that human immune system has a necessary role through antibodies to control the genomic replication and proliferation of viral information. Well, it's there. Well, we can often measure a reaction of the immune system back towards these viruses. It's a very light finding event that you produce an antibody. You don't actually produce an antibody directly to a virus at all. What you do is you actually produce an antibody to a protein that is made after the virus has started to produce proteins from the genetic information that they hold. And they're doing that within your cells, and then your cell will take chunks of all the proteins that it's making it at any given time and put it on the surface of the cell. And it does that so that there can be immune surveillance of the system.
And so, if you form an antibody to COVID, it's not against the virus itself, it's actually just to a protein that's been made by that genetic information through your human cell genetic metabolism, if you will, or your genetic machinery of generation. And so, there's no way in the end that a virus can make you immune to that thing because it's not going to attack the virus itself when it comes into the body, it's only going to attack a cell that's already absorbed that virus and is now producing proteins.
Ben: So, why in your opinion then was coronavirus such an issue if viruses–if they proliferate our planet in the amount that you've described, 10 to the 31 in all sorts of different regions, why in your opinion was coronavirus such a big issue?
Zach: It's not just corona, but this is such a cool thing is that the viruses are actually engineered very specifically by the human body to have a specific target. And so, in the case of coronavirus, it builds a targeted system on the surface of the coronavirus to make sure that it binds to the ACE2 receptor within our lungs, within our vascular tissue, within our brains. And so, the ACE2 receptor is how the virus is supposed to find which tissues it's supposed to update. So, we're supposed to be getting these genomic updates at very specific regions within the body, and the virus is packaged in a smart delivery system that is going to target that specifically to lung tissue rather than the liver, or kidney, et cetera. And so, it's a very intelligent design in that viral packet of information that's gone out.
Now, biology has developed over billions of years as a whole on the planet. And in the human, we've got millions of years of multicellular organism development that would lead to the mammals. And then ultimately, in the last couple 100,000 years, we would see the emergence of human, homo sapiens sapiens as the subspecies within homo sapiens. And so, homo sapiens sapiens, which we have termed ourselves, which means the wise, wise ones, which we haven't achieved yet, but maybe someday we will be wise and wise. But the homo sapiens, as we developed, had to be in constant homeostasis or balance with all this viral information around us.
And so, when we created these smart packets of information that would deliver, they were designed to know how many receptors were in the lung that would normally be there. And the receptors of the lung would be there to absorb the right amount of viral information without tipping us into illness or dysfunction. And this is so exquisite. We've known for decades that a virus coming into the human system doesn't cause an illness ever unless it reaches a certain concentration that can overwhelm the intrinsic capacity for balance with that viral genomic update. And the way in which we do that is not again by an antibody. We do it through these enzymes that function as fancy scissors that will cut up the DNA of viruses as they enter our human cells if they're unneeded or are too much of an abundance.
So, we have all these scissors that sit inside of our cells to clip up this DNA. If we now look at over the last 50 years where we're starting to really understand how viruses can be adopted into a human cell, and then the human cell recruits all of its machinery for genomic replication, and then goes and makes the virus in massive amounts, it's a very interesting phenomenon, and that our relationship to viruses appeared to change fundamentally as an entire human population around 1976 to 1981. In that five-year period, we radically changed our relationship to our healthy relationship to the virum as a whole.
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What happened then?
Zach: Well, I'll give you some ideas as to what I think happened there, and it ties back to our food system, interestingly. But the evidence that we have that it changed was in the chronic infections of herpes viruses that have been in the human experience for thousands of years, things like coronavirus and influenza virus that have been around for hundreds of years. Coronaviruses can be tracked back in human pandemics that were very rare. They would happen every couple hundred years at most back in the day, and that was–the first one probably 1,200 years ago, but definitely, 760 years ago, there was a big coronavirus event. And so, they were happening with extreme rarity if you will with these events, but where we can really track this interestingly is in the human blood banks that we can track back 'til like 1967.
Zach: In 1967, there was already HIV in the human blood bank in the United States, and yet we didn't have our first case of AIDS until the early '80s. And so, it's very startling to find out that HIV has been around and yet we didn't have something called AIDS. And AIDS, of course, is a very complex multi-infectious process that's primarily caused by a lot of herpes viruses that are present in the body. They cause the weird lymphomas and leukemias that happen in the AIDS, they cause things like Kaposi's sarcoma, which is a solid tumor classic to the AIDS epidemic. It was actually the Kaposi's sarcoma of the skin and dermis that revealed the AIDS syndrome as we understood in the early '80s.
And then, if we look away from HIV and all the herpes viruses, we can look over to hepatitis C as a much different virus than the herpes and HIV viruses, much different than its structure, genomic code. And yet at the same time, 1976 to '81, we see this rapid increase in hepatitis C within the blood bank record of our country. Since 1976, we've seen 12,800 new “pandemics” of influenza and about 120 other common respiratory viruses that will continue to morph and change at this accelerated rate and cause disease at a rate that's never been seen before. So, something fundamentally changed in our environment to change our relationship.
And if you back up, and this gets just like–literally, every time I started to talk about this, I start to get goosebumps because it's so eloquent in our design that we need to be plugged into nature to be in a resilient and beneficial balance with that nature. If we start to separate ourselves from nature–and I would argue that we've been systematically separating ourselves from nature in every technology that we've developed in the Industrial Revolution for hundreds of years. But the gene that I can point to very clearly that is one of those scissor genes that cuts up the DNA of viruses, that I think was–it's an ApoE2 gene. It's got a very long code on it as to how we identify this gene, but it's a fascinating gene that's responsible for making one of these scissor-like enzymes that cuts up the viruses.
And this gene has actually been studied extensively in HIV for the reason that–we now know that there's hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions of people around the world that have something called HIV latency where they present with no symptoms of infection and can carry that virus within their red blood cells for literally decades with no signs of infection or disease. And so, in studying these people that seem to be completely resistant to any abnormal response to HIV, this gene has been studied extensively. And this gene is interesting and that it can be disrupted by changes in the shape of the protein.
And in 1976, we went into broad spraying of glyphosate or roundup, which you talked about at the beginning of the show in reference to our last podcast that we did together. And so, glyphosate turns out to be the most ubiquitous chemical on the planet. We are now spraying around four and a half billion pounds of glyphosate and roundup compounds into the soils of the Earth annually. That number tends to double every six years over the last 25 years or so. And we do that primarily by spreading the use of genetically modified roundup ready crops and seeds into the global agricultural system. In the United States, it's well-known that 85% of our corn and some 95% of our soybeans and much of our wheats and alfalfa and canola, all these crops are largely being genetically modified and sprayed directly with this chemical.
So, at four and a half billion pounds, and this chemical gets into our soils, but it's water-soluble, which means it gets into our river systems, our ocean. And ultimately, we can find in the United States some work from EWG and other NGOs have found 75% of our air, 75% of our rainfall are contaminated with this chemical. This chemical happens to have a backbone of glycine, which is a critical amino acid that builds proteins.
Ben: Right. So, something I take before bed every night because it seems to really help with sleep, too.
Zach: Well, you're taking glycine?
Ben: Yeah. I take about four grams of glycine there. It can decrease the body's core temperature, it keeps your appetite satiated at night, it's wonderful for repair and recovery in the evening. I make like a coconut water JELL-O with a little bit of a gelatin, which is chock-full of glycine, and then put it in the refrigerator and let it set and have a square of JELL-O every night before dinner to get glycine.
Zach: I like it. I like that exercise. I think I'm going to adopt that one. I'm intrigued. The glycine is interesting. It's one of the ubiquitous amino acids out there. There's only 22 amino acids, which seems like such a shortlist of building blocks for something as complex as a human being. But we build over 280,000 different proteins out of those 22 letters, if you will. And in those, we have nine essential amino acids. And so, the nine essential amino acids can't be produced by the human body. And so, we have to get them from bacteria, fungi, or plants that we eat. So, those essential amino acids are actually largely produced through just a few different enzyme pathways. One of which is the shikimate pathway that is blocked by roundup. And so, glyphosate or roundup blocks the shikimate pathway and we suddenly can't make phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, these critical amino acids for the endocrine system, for the immune system, and the like.
And so, in this, we can look for proteins that are built from different genes that are highly dependent on specific amino acid pathways. And one of these happens to be that gene that puts us in a resilient balance with the viruses. And so, isn't it interesting that we might put a chemical out there that disrupts the essential amino acids that would help to build the very scissors that put us in a balance with viruses and suddenly between '76 and '81 as we start to deplete those essential amino acids within the environment? And then, 1996, everything goes crazy with that. And again, it was actually 1992 we started spraying wheat. But without genetically modifying wheat, we were spraying it as a desiccant.
And if you look at hepatitis C specifically, there's a very rapid rise in hep C in 1992, and it continues at a very steep linear path of growth all the way to 2006, 2009, and then starts to plateau. And then, just in the last six years, we've seen it going back up again. But our relationship to hep C changed sometime between 1976 and 1981, debut again of roundup being 1976. From 1976, seems to be slow linear growth. Then 1992 hits, we start spraying crops directly, steep inflection point. And then, that inflection point finally levels out when we finally saturate the American ecosystem with GMO roundup ready corn and soybean. And so, we plateaued the amount of that that we can make in corn and soybean. Around that 2006 timeframe, we saw a balance.
What happened in the last six years, I think to accelerate this again, is there were so many roundup resistant weeds by 2014 in the Midwest and the like that we started adding multiple chemicals into a stew of toxins to kill these weeds. And so, we started adding dicamba, and 2,4-D, and atrazine into the same mix that we've got glyphosate. And so, we accelerated just this toxic stew that we're literally spraying on the food that we consume to kill weeds. And so, each time we've increased the pressure on the microbiome in our effort to kill everything, the viruses had to express themselves more frequently because again, they are the machinery of adaptation. And so, when extinction starts to emerge, the viruses go into a very rapid proliferation of variety because they're looking for adaptive mechanisms to escape danger.
This is why I think we have the wrong concept of this COVID virus is we are literally getting a genomic update from the environment with this that's updating something in our lungs and bloodstream as a response to the toxins that we're spraying in China. The most dense spraying that we do with glyphosate worldwide happens in —
Ben: Yeah, but what about like–of course a lot of people will say that they're able to eat more pasta and bread in Italy, for example, because apparently, glyphosate is not used as readily in Italy yet. Italy was hit really hard with the COVID-19 pandemic. And I believe Russia was as well, although Russia, from what I understand, doesn't use a lot of glyphosate. Am I misinformed or what's going on in those situations?
Zach: No, you're actually informed that Italy, as a whole, uses it less. However, if you look at the glyphosate spray map, which is readily available online, glyphosate spraying map of Europe, you'll see that the highest density of spraying in all of Europe is in Northern Italy, and it's 30x the amount used in Central and Southern Italy. And so, we created a hotspot of glyphosate in that space. We also use it still in Germany and other countries within that, and you'll find hotspots. But with COVID, it's not the–again, the expression of the virus, the stress in the microbiome and the ecosystem that's going to increase the rate of those expressions is important to Hubei where the virus really got its foothold within the human population. But from then on, it was humans that was producing the virus.
And so, while we need to look for damaged microecosystems to put us at a vulnerable immune state, because as we lose microbiome diversity within the human system, we become more immune vulnerable. So, anywhere we see high spraying of roundup and other pesticides and herbicides, we should see immune system dysfunction, chronic disease, and cancer, and that's what we see across the world. And it's no different in this acute situation where we change that vulnerability aspect. But there also has to be another change in the environment to induce high COVID mortality, and that happens to be clumping of the virus. As I said, there's an intelligent delivery system of, in the case of coronavirus, this ACE2 receptor and binding site on the surface of the virus to go and bind to our lung. The ACE2 receptors in the lung again have developed over hundreds of thousands a year to be in balance with respiratory viruses and other experiences within the environment.
We've changed something dramatically around that lung to induce a change in the relationship of ACE2 targeted viruses like corona and that lung surface. And the first thing that we do in this aspect is to put small carbon particulate into the atmosphere. And so, our transportation in energy sectors puts this small carbon material into the atmosphere that we call PM 2.5. It's particulate matter, smaller than 2.5 nanometers. And that tiny little carbon particulate matter binds viruses and causes them to clump.
Ben: Would this be related to glyphosate or is this just air pollution in general?
Zach: This is air pollution in general.
Zach: And so, now, what we can look at, and this is what I've got in that HighWire, I think we were able to show some of these on that. But my PowerPoint presentation on this, I can overlap those maps, and what you see is that it is Hubei Province is the overlap between the highest spraying in the world of glyphosate in concentration, as well as the highest antibiotic usage in pork production. And so, we have the most intense anti-microbial activity on the planet happening in Hubei. Coupled with the highest PM 2.5 in the world, as the pollution of Beijing pushes south from that city, it pushes right down into Hubei Province with the air pressure coming down from the north.
And so, we have this perfect opportunity to create a pandemic type relationship to a virus because we've created the pressure for shift through the herbicide, pesticide. So, we get all of this adaptation response from the genomics of both multicellular organisms, as well as bacteria and the like, and they're producing massive amounts of virus looking for adaptation advantages into the environment, then it binds to PM 2.5 and creates too much viral clumping in a very small particulate space. And then, that population has this lung that's going to absorb not just one virus, but could absorb dozens of viruses tied to one receptor into that body, into that single cell, and induce an overwhelm to those scissors that I described that are trying to keep us in balance with the viral intake, suddenly overwhelm the scissors. And simultaneous to that, if you have high glyphosate, the glyphosate is disrupting the very enzyme or the very proteins that would build the scissor system to clip it.
So, everywhere around the world, you're going to look for high glyphosate residues in the air and water system combined with high particulate matter of carbon in the atmosphere. And you know you're going to get high mortality from a virus that should have never caused any harm because it should have been in balance with us. And in fact, that's exactly what you see with coronavirus is the vast majority of people who are testing positive for coronavirus never got ill and/or had very minor symptoms. And so, the virus itself has no mortality. What has mortality is artificial chemical environments that are changing our relationship to this virus and inducing a toxic event. And it turns out that the toxic event, as mentioned at the very beginning of this description, was that these patients that are going to die from this condition aren't presenting with fever and elevated white blood cell count as if they're infected. They're actually presenting with hypoxia, a loss of oxygen-carrying capacity within the bloodstream.
When you get a hypoxic injury, the first things that happen is your lung will start to fill with fluid over the next few days from that hypoxic injury. At the same time, your entire body gets prone to blood clots from a deprivation of a number of proteins including like a HIF protein, which is a common one as a marker of hypoxia. And when HIF gets depleted, you'll go into this hypercoagulable state and you'll start causing microclots and go into multi-organ failure. What I just described is called histotoxic hypoxia. It is not an infection, it's actually a poisoning of the bloodstream by many different toxins possible. But the most common one to cause histotoxic hypoxia happens to be cyanide. And cyanide happens to be at an extremely high rate of carry in PM 2.5.
So, now imagine, we've shown coronavirus tags onto PM 2.5, and actually so does influenza. And so, you get these viruses tagging. In the case of coronavirus, you can then tag ACE2 receptor in the lung, you're going to absorb a high quantity of PM 2.5 tagged with cyanide into the bloodstream and cause hystotoxic hypoxia. And we're going to be told that that patient has an infection, so they're going to come in the hospital and we'll immediately treat them with antivirals and bizarrely antimicrobials like antiparasitics, like we were treating with the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine. We were treating with azithromycin, which is a common Z-Pak antibiotic. So, we're treating them as if they're infected, when in fact, they've had a poisoning of cyanide and other toxins within the PM 2.5 that's been carried in inadvertently by the virus. The virus itself causes no symptoms. Remember, the vast majority are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms as they come into contact with some of the PM 2.5.
The final thing that we have to look at to really decode the whole pandemic event is, who was dying from it? What risk factors can we identify? Certainly, age was one of them, and it turns out that as we age, especially if we are in areas of high pollution, we will get minor changes within the lung consistent with chronic bronchitis or emphysema that upregulate the ACE2 receptor beyond its normal biologic function. So, these patients who are individuals that live in toxic environments i.e. New York City, Northern Italy where we have high PM 2.5, Ecuador, high mortality within some of the cities of Ecuador where we have very high PM 2.5. And basically, everywhere you look, Russia and otherwise, you're going to be looking for high PM 2.5 at chronic exposure rates and you're going to find that in inner city and high agricultural environments.
And so, the PM 2.5 goes up, cyanide goes up, and then the ACE2 receptor goes up based on this [00:50:39] _____ change. But it wasn't actually lung patients, ACE2 that were–I'm sorry, it wasn't actually lung patients that were showing the highest mortality from COVID, it was actually people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, which sounds like three very different disease processes until you consider the pharmacy that we have to put those patients on. As physicians, we know there's two drug classes that we have to put all three of those disease processes on, and that's an ACE inhibitor, which is a version of a blood pressure medicine, and a statin drug to control or reduce the cholesterol level produced by the liver.
And so, both ACE inhibitors and the statin drug happened to pharmaceutically increase the amount of ACE receptors in our lung, and bloodstream and beyond. And so, fascinatingly, what we proved with this pandemic is that the pharmaceuticalization with ACE2 receptor increase combined with long-standing exposure to PM 2.5 and air pollution to upregulate these ACE2s combined with a virus that was just giving us an update and the whole purpose of coronavirus like all the other viruses update, the genome with the new adaptation process that is potentially life-giving to us. And we've seen this many times. If you get influenza, you're actually protected from many viruses if you get that genomic update.
And so, an important part of our genomic intelligence and our total immune system function relies on these genomic updates of viral syndromes. I'm very excited. I'm actually trying to put together a large multinational study right now looking at the long-term benefits of getting coronavirus. And I believe we're going to see less cancer, less autoimmune disease, and other things by people that went through that genetic update. And so, we're going to show those benefits over time. We can certainly show short-term benefits in other respiratory infections and stuff even within a year. Interestingly, we know that yet another risk factor for coronavirus and coronavirus mortality was influenza vaccination. It turns out that the influenza vaccine in 2017 in a military study in the U.S. was proven to increase the risk of six other respiratory viruses the following year, and one of those was coronavirus.
Zach: So, if we actually had a public health mission that was really concerned about the survival of our population and really concerned that there was a new “deadly coronavirus” out there, as soon as that news came out in December, we should have immediately shifted all of our elderly patients off of their statin drugs and off of their ACE inhibitors to other pharmaceutical management if necessary, but brilliant it would have been to put them on a plant-based diet and reverse those without a drug. Therefore, decreasing their ACE2 receptors in their lung, and we should have told everybody in the whole country we're going to postpone this year any influenza vaccination because there's a new coronavirus that looks to cause more deadly effects than the influenza virus this year. And so, we're more concerned about the coronavirus. So, we're not going to give you that name, but we did none of that. We continued to sell influenza vaccines, we continued knowing that that was going to increase the risk of corona infection and mortality.
Ben: Now, if I could summarize here, basically, what you've gotten to so far in the first 45 minutes of our discussion is that we know that viruses are crucial to life on the planet, they're crucial to our biome, they're crucial to plant life, they play a host of beneficial mechanisms. They've been all around us for all of humankind. And in this particular case with this virus, due to its affect from exposure to glyphosate inhibiting these protein scissor mechanisms, and then air pollution causing this viral clumping along with a few of the medications that many people are on that would increase the expression of these ACE receptors, this coronavirus that normally would not have caused as many issues as it caused during this pandemic. And in fact, as you're investigating now, may actually cause some amount of benefit to those who contract it turned out to be a big issue simply because we were not from almost like a planetary standpoint equipped to deal with it because of essentially what we were doing to our environment, both internal and external.
Zach: Precisely. That's great summary. Ultimately, we're dying from our own toxicity. Our toxicity is having all these downstream effects putting us in an artificial and disrupted relationship to the virum. Ten to the 31 viruses, if we lose our ability to be in balance with that, we will disappear very rapidly. And I believe that what we just saw, the amount of life that was lost, people died from complications of this virus again because the virus was carrying toxin and all this other stuff into the body. That was the tip of the iceberg. If we really did lose 200,000 people worldwide, that pales in comparison to the 250 million that we will lose over the next few years from just influenza.
We lose so many people to respiratory viruses every year and we pretend like it's the virus again and again that's causing this. And yet if you look at flu season as a whole, it only occurs during high environmental carbon exposure. This gets really interesting, actually. If you just google CO2 or greenhouse gas patterns in the atmosphere over the course of a year, by the time we hit September and October after a robust growing season in the northern hemisphere, there is almost no CO2 and methane left in the environment, and we've absorbed all of it through plant life and soil life pulling it down. There's only 4% of the 100% of the carbon that we produce over those months left in the atmosphere.
But then we go into fall and between November first and the third week of November, there's an explosion of CO2 and methane and other carbon particulate in the air as we go into fall. We suddenly lose that whole absorptive machinery of all the trees, and the greenery, and the soil. And then, we see in the third week of November, every single year, flu season starts, and we pretend like that's a virus causing that. It is absolutely biologically impossible that the third week of November every year sees a virus go pandemic. That's not what's happening. These viruses are ubiquitous all the time and yet our relationship to that virus suddenly changes every year in the third week of November because of the amount of carbon that we are producing that cannot be reabsorbed into that.
And so, the respiratory flu season is the result of huge amount of carbon, and the amount of it that's in the air by the time you hit March and April is insane. The whole northern hemisphere is bright red by satellite imaging there looking at CO2 concentration. You can't even see the continents through the coloration of the maps. And so, we have this toxic stew by March and April, which is exactly when we saw the highest mortality from COVID. And then, by June, right in the second week of June, you see all of that disappear as the explosion of greenery happens across the northern hemisphere, and we reverse that pattern. And of course, as of June, we see this huge decrease globally of the amount of coronavirus.
You need to be careful about what you're hearing on the news. On the news, they say, “Oh, there's been a spike in number of cases of coronavirus.” But if you look at the sheer number of daily cases in a “spike” right now, they are a fraction of what they were happening in April. And so, the total number of cases will keep going up because with time, more of us should be seeing this virus, we should go into a herd immunity, which doesn't mean that we're killing this virus, it means that we're now in a balanced genomic relationship to this virus over the next 12 to 18 months. We saw this with SARS, we saw this with MERS that within two years, there's no more of the virus causing any problem measurably anywhere in the world because the genomics of the population around the pockets where the virus occurred have developed that herd immunity.
And it's important that we realize that herd immunity doesn't need to be 94% of Americans or some 70% of Americans as we've been told by the CDC and stuff we need to vaccinate everybody so we can get to herd immunity. That's not how it works. Herd immunity only is necessary in the pockets where the virus is in high concentration in production and in binding to PM 2.5. So, really, all we need is 60% to 70% of the population having seen that virus in areas like New York City, Louisiana, Northern Italy. In those small pockets, we'll see that high concentration of exposure and then immune balance with that viral information, and then the syndrome will go away and nobody will ever die again of COVID. That's what happened with again SARS, MERS, which were two other coronaviruses nearly identical.
And so, we're spending literally billions of dollars to produce a vaccine for a virus that's going to be in a homeostasis balance within the next 12 months with our population. We don't need a vaccine to do that. Furthermore, we've tried to make RNA vaccines many, many times in the past, including with SARS and MERS, and we fail every time. RNA viruses are classically very disruptive to human biology and the immune system itself because it causes hyperreactivity. In fact, we saw just in the human study that just got put out, Dr. Fauci's company that he was invested in and all these billionaires invested in, they all jumped in on this one company that looked to be the most promising and they were the first to finish clinical trial in humans. And we saw a huge percentage of those developing this hyperreactivity capacity where they did fine with the vaccine. But if they see coronavirus next year, they are very likely to die from it because now they're hypersensitive to that stimulus.
And so, this has happened with RNA vaccine efforts over and over again. This one repeated it. And so, we have this ludicrous belief that viruses are bad for us, we have a ludicrous belief that our immune system relies on antibodies to prevent these infections, we have a ludicrous belief that vaccines are part of our balance with these things. So, we've just totally lost track of the last 30 years of science, just simply haven't impacted our current policy-making, drug development and the like. And that's not unusual. This isn't like a conspiracy theory. It actually consistently takes 20 to 30 years for new science to percolate into clinical care. And it doesn't matter if that's a breakthrough in science around cancer or immunity.
And so, what we're seeing is the slow creep of human knowledge because we are as resilient and adapted as we are. We are always dogmatic and orthodox in our belief systems. Even though we change over time, we love to hold on to orthodoxy. And the word scientific orthodoxy should never be able to appear in the same sentence and yet we see it every single day on the news. Scientific orthodoxy, that germ theory somehow applies to viruses that somehow these antibodies are critical to our balance with this virus. And then, we know this just isn't intrinsically not true with science that dates back to the 1980s.
And so, for nearly 40 years, we've known that this is erroneous, or at very best, very incomplete science that we're practicing in regards to this microbiome belief about the viruses. We will see a shift. We are going to change the science. The science does change with time. The Earth used to be thought to be flat. It became round, but it took hundreds of years. And in fact, we now find that we still have an enclave of humans in the flat Earth society that still believe that the flat is Earth and the Earth is flat. So, 2,000 years hasn't been enough to universally change that belief.
And so, we are slow to change our viewpoint, and I think that oftentimes, it's because we're so narcissistic. As a species that calls itself homo sapiens sapiens, we think we must be the center of life on Earth, we must be the most important biology on the Earth, which gives us a huge disadvantage to understanding how important the microbiome, and ultimately, the virum are to our existence, our resilience, and our adaptive capacity to deal with the toxic planet we now sit on.
Ben: So, what do we do, Zach? I mean, what's the actual recovery look like? Because I could imagine a scenario in which we enter this vicious cycle of damaging our planets or altering our personal environments to the extent to which we become increasingly susceptible to not just coronavirus, but other viruses and this simply rinsing, washing, and repeating over and over again. So, in your opinion, what are the actual things that we should be doing based on your model here of things like glyphosate, air pollution, certain pharmaceuticals, et cetera? Like, what do you think is the ideal solution to keep pandemics like this from occurring over and over again, or do you think that pandemics like this are just necessary to, and then I realize this is controversial, but to clean things up so to speak and induce some type of herd immunity?
Zach: I think right now, what we just saw is the tip of the iceberg of where we're going to get to with our lack of balance with not just viruses but bacteria as well. And so, most of the patients who died following exposure to coronavirus, they died of complications of bacterial pneumonia that they got in the hospital. Our hospitals are so full of very abnormal bacteria that have developed all of these mechanisms of super growth in the context of massive antibiotic exposure. So, we call these multi-drug resistant bacteria and the like and they only exist in these toxic spaces typically in high concentrations, in ICUs, and the like.
And so, we take somebody who's got already a damaged relationship to the environment, and then we shove them into an extremely isolated and horrifically sterile environment, meaning, they can't find microbiome balance. Bacteria help check the growth and proliferation of cells that are producing viruses. We call these bacteriophages that infect bacteria. Bacteria then can produce a bunch of viral information that will then check the growth of other viruses within the cells. And so, we have this really fascinating reality that the worst place to probably end up if you have any sort of infection is ultimately in ICU.
The ICUs of the future will look like prairies. We'll have these grasslands with tents set up and you'll be breathing real air and there'll be wildflowers blooming in your shade tent that your bed is under as you enjoy the smell of 10,000 different species of wildflower around you, let alone the grasses and the trees that are waving in the fresh breeze that's coming through. And we will completely change the course of chronic disease and our response to it in ICUs that look like that. When we realize the microbiome is the gift to prevent infection and to recover from infection, we'll stop trying to put ourselves in these sterile pockets where we have 88% mortality rates.
So, the future is going to look something like that in our hospitals, but a bigger question is, what is the rest of the world going to look like other than the ICUs? And then, the answer is going to be the same. We have to start to create cities that are integrated into agricultural settings, and this is happening. Our nonprofit Farmer's Footprint is working with a number of groups around the world now to start to map the world. We're starting with Hawaii because it's a Petri dish. But since the whole ecosystem is easily measured, you can see the immediate effects of soil, water, and air within a very small microcosm.
So, we're starting with why, and then going to ultimately map the world as our goal to show what the Earth looked like before we disrupted through agricultural practices. The topology, meaning, the slopes, and the valleys, and the hydrology, the way water mechanisms pump through the surface of the Earth, by restoring those slopes and creating agriculture that's in line with Mother Nature's original design, it's been shown again and again that we can have an explosion of flora and fauna. We can recover previously thought to be extinct species of plants and animal life into these spaces when we changed the topography and the hydrology, the water mechanisms through that topography back to its original state.
And so, our future is going to look like a regenerated planet where we have reversed the manifest destiny of we're going to flatten all of the irritable lands on the planet and turn it into farm fields. We're going to start to create farming that's vertical gardening on mountainsides, and hillsides, and on the sides of skyscrapers instead of being glass edifices that are these screaming fingerprints of the ingenuity and engineering of humanity. The skyscrapers of the future will look like towers of green life. It'll look like a jungle scene when you walk through New York in 200 years because we've learned to build an engineer within the context of life.
Ben: So, if we really do this, if we really begin to care for planetary health in this way, is it in your opinion sustainable? I mean, is this something that you think is a realistic adaptation? What do we need to do to actually make these type of things take place? I mean, I know you have your Farmer's Footprint initiative, but how can we actually accelerate the pace at which we are changing our environment to the extent to where we're returning to a healthy state of the viral interplay with the human presence on this planet?
Zach: The sobering answer to that is that at our current rate of change, it is not possible. It's not scalable, it's not possible for us to change quick enough. The scientists at Davos this past year again modified the trajectory of our current destruction of ecosystems as things keep accelerating. And so, the data from this past fall in Davos was that it would look like we have eight years left to fundamentally change the water systems that are going into the oceans and causing a massive acidification event that's underway now. And it's not warming of the oceans that are the real trigger, it's actually the amount of herbicide, pesticide, and destruction of microbiome that will then lead to that acidification, that will then lead to the warming of the oceans.
And so, we have eight years to fundamentally change our agricultural system globally. We do not have a history of systemic change of $2.7 trillion annual industries in an eight-year period. We are going to literally have to see the most explosive situation of awareness in innovation, engineering, and shift of mindset than has ever happened on the planet if we're going to survive. If we don't change in eight years, we will tip into a process of extinction within the oceans that will predict the extinction of all life on Earth. Over the next 80 to 100 years, we're likely to lose another 60% to 70% of life that's currently here. And then, over the couple 100 years following that, we can see the completion of this extinction event, which could get to anywhere between 87% and 97% of life on Earth to disappear.
We've had five other great extinction events on Earth and they have been in that 87% to 97% range of death, and it depends on which dies. If it's just the soil system that's killed i.e. an asteroid hits and covers the soil in a layer of dust choking out the topsoil, we get carbon dioxide and methane accumulate in the atmosphere due to inability of the–if that's just the soil system that dies and then allowed to recover quickly, we only lose 85%, 87%. That was the case with the dinosaur extinction 55 million years ago. Interestingly, in the couple of extinction events that have caused both death to topsoil and the oceans, you hit that 97% kind of threshold.
We are speeding towards the second one of those right now. We're losing a species to death and to extinction every 20 minutes right now. And so, we've seen a 10,000-fold increase in the extinction rate on the planet just over the last 35 years. So, it's just not sustainable. There's nothing possible to avert this thing with our current behavior, and we have a very poor track record of change of philosophy. Remember how long it's taken us to even start to change our mind about a virus, let alone how are we going to turn this whole ship around.
So, fortunately, I believe that we are in a point of human history where consciousness is rising in a way that what seemed impossible last year is possible right now. And I think that we've shown this both through the negative response and through the positive response of humanity over the last few months. This pandemic focused the world for the very first time on a single thing, and I think it was misplaced. I think that the world starting to fear something called COVID-19 misplaced, misunderstood, misvilified, blah, blah, blah. But it doesn't matter in the sense that for the first time, the world focused on one thing.
This is what we try to do in meditation all the time, right? When you're doing mindfulness and meditation, you're trying to get your mind to focus down to your breath alone. It doesn't matter if it's your breath you're focused on or the leaf of a tree you're meditating on. If you can bring your mind into focus over one thing, decrease all the other activity around that one thing, then you get to this opportunity to change your resonance, change your literal frequency of information coming in and out of your body, and you think differently, you behave differently, you become more spiritually aware. That's why mindfulness and meditation, prayer, spiritual song, all these things work. In the biohacking environment, it's very interesting that the woman who discovered telomerase, the enzyme that builds the telomeres on the end of our DNA, she has often traveled around now saying that the thing that she's found to best extend the telomeres on cells to accelerate telomerase activity is meditation, prayer, and spiritual song. And so, the very things that bring us into this meditative singular focus not only decrease stress, decrease awareness of other things, it increases the resilience and repair within the biology of our genome.
And so, it's a fascinating relationship to this last few months and that the world paused. We literally shut down all other activity out of our singular focus on this one perceived risk factor. And I find it fascinating that it wasn't the extinction of the planet in our own species over the next 60 to 80 years that stopped us. It was just this one story of a virus that might cause a pandemic that caused us all to stop. That is symptomatic of our narcissism for sure. We don't care about the planet, so we won't stop a global economy, but we do care about our own survival if it might be wiped out in the next few months. Even if it's just a very small sector of our population, like 0.0001% of the whole world that dies from this thing, we'll still stop the entire economy.
And so, I'm fascinated by that on one side, but hopeful on the sense that we just proved that if we all focused in on one thing, we could create immediate systemic and systematic change throughout all sectors that we've been told we couldn't change. We've been told we can't change fossil fuel dependence, we can't change air pollution, we can't change this because the global economy would stop and people would lose their jobs. What we did, we did stop it all in a matter of weeks and months and we showed we could let Mother Earth heal quickly. We saw that the concentration of air pollution within Hubei Province dropped below 40 parts per cubic meter. At a lower level, below 40 was lower than it had been in decades. And we did that in three weeks of lockdown in China. And so, there was a perception that lockdown decreased the mortality in China because people weren't near each other. No. It has nothing to do with it. The virus was already ubiquitous in them —
Ben: I think it's the drop in air pollution, huh.
Zach: It's the drop in air pollution. So, suddenly, our relationship to that virus changed. There was no more clumping in the atmosphere. And I believe that the other thing that happened is people couldn't get their refills for their medications. And so, we've seen this actually frequently happen. Every time we've had a mass protest of doctors where they'll go on strike, mortality goes down. Every time we strike, mortality goes down. And so, it's a fascinating phenomenon that has been published on a number of times, but I think we saw a little bit of that of when you stop running to the doctor, you can't get to that ICU where 88% mortality is happening perhaps. And you've now given your body a break for a couple weeks from the very drugs that were upregulating your receptors for that virus and the CO2 dropped in the atmosphere.
And so, does sequestration of people work? No. In fact, we know the opposite that if you get seven hugs a day from seven different people, you have a 30% drop in influenza in that season. And so, human contact looks to be very important to our resilience and our relationship to the virum, our resilience and relationship to the microbiome, and of course the mental health and psychological capacity that's tied into that as well. So, I believe we should always stay in community. But what we should do is every October, we should simply stop all non-public transport, we should stop driving, and we should all go into remote workspaces if possible or we should use public transportation that's done on trams or other non-car fossil fuel mechanisms. We should stop oil and gas, refinery production during those months, and use stockpiled oil, and then only use fossil fuel production when we know we're going to create PM 2.5 during the months where we know that the Earth and the atmosphere can handle it during those summer months.
And so, we could easily change our whole sector of energy and transportation to radically reduce the mortality every year that we see the millions of people that will die from respiratory disease each year. We can mitigate that changing the relationship to that environment through a simple observation of how are we impacting that carbon particulate. And seasonally, can we change that? And the answer is we absolutely could.
Ben: And you get into a lot of these type of concepts in the film Farmer's Footprint as well, right?
Zach: Yeah. That Farmer's Footprint, we're really looking at the large scale solution that's at hand, which is intelligent soil. And so, regenerative farming is different than organic farming. Organic farming is simply a list of don'ts. Don't spray this, don't do that. There's 30 checkboxes. And if you don't do all the bad things, then you get to be organic. But there's not a single one of those bullet points for becoming organic that says anything about soil nutrients. In fact, the word “soil” isn't even mentioned in there. The word “nutrient density” isn't mentioned in there. Earthworm populations aren't mentioned in there. So, none of the things that would actually induce healthy soil is mentioned in an organic certification.
And so, regenerative is a new movement afoot that has been going on in small pockets for the last 30 years. And it's so exciting that when farmers change their viewpoint and perspective to their mission from one of, “I need to get the highest yield of corn out of this acre,” to instead saying, “I need the highest health and resilience and soil building capacity of my soils,” their bottom line increases, their economic return can increase by 30% to 50% in the first year. It can improve three to fivefold, 300%, 500% improvements over five years if they will start to take care of the soil. And it's because they don't need all the inputs. They find out in year one that they don't need to spray all those herbicides and pesticide if the soil is coming back to health.
Healthy soil makes resilient plants that aren't prone to disease, and so they don't need the palliation of all these drugs and chemicals. So, the Farmer's Footprint is really trying to accelerate that awareness and change philosophy of farmers and consumers alike so that at eight years from today, we've radically changed our demand and relationship to that agricultural land that has been under a forced productivity mode to one of a co-creative, generative, and regenerative capacity with that soil. And we will see a completely different situation by 2030 where our childhood chronic disease epidemic will go away under the experience of diverse microbiomes returning to our air systems through our soil, through our water, and the like.
And so, I literally believe we could create one of the fastest changes in public health ever seen because I get to see it every day in clinic. And frankly, many of you biohacking out there have seen this in your own body. When you do the right thing to support the biology within your body, it recovers at least 12x that at which you diseased. And so, if you develop dysfunction disease, that takes years to accumulate that dysfunction. And if you do the right thing within days, weeks, and months, you can see the reversal of that process that took years to develop. The soil is the same way. When we find a farm that's been destroyed by over herbicide, pesticide, over tilling for generations, and you see completely dead soil, no earthworms to be found and acres and acres, no bees buzzing, no moths, no birds out there in these fields that are 10,000, 400,000 acres, you can't find wildlife because the whole ecosystem has collapsed. And the only thing producing a green plant is all these chemical inputs.
Now, suddenly, you change all of that. And if you just stop spraying for that one season, we see earthworms returning to that soil the very following spring. We see grubs and flies, and we start to see resilient reabsorption of carbon within that very next soil cycle. And so, we can take 30 to 50 years of damage and start to reverse that in 12 months if we do the right thing. Excitingly, we could reverse our entire carbon footprint on this planet if we would improve the soils of the Earth by 0.4% per year over the next decade. And the exciting thing is we cannot do 0.4%, we can actually do 400% improvements in carbon sequestration and cycling within those soils in five years.
And so, regenerative agriculture is not just a hope, it's a positive, absolutely, already victorious solution at hand that with scaling is going to solve the crisis of human health collapse, chronic disease, and the collapse of ecosystems and planets and extinction if we all can put our minds and hearts to this thing and help our farmers change more rapidly. So, we're also launching everything else we need around that because you need awareness. That's what our nonprofit's doing. But we need huge capital to build the infrastructure for a new agricultural system that's decentralized and supports smaller farms at higher quality of soil care and everything else.
And so, we're launching an impact investment fund to bring in the billions of dollars needed to rebuild that whole infrastructure. Literally, we're looking at all of the pieces that are going to be necessary, agtech down to organic and regenerative inputs and all the rest that are necessary. If we invest in those quickly over the next eight years, we can actually reorganize that $2.7 trillion agricultural economy in that short amount of time. We just need synergistic and strategic investments made across that and empower the extremely innovative minds of farmers. Farmers are excitingly the most innovative people I've ever hung out with. They're engineers in their own right, they are problem solvers of the nth degree, they have the capacity to reconnect spiritually to their land and really change the course of human history.
Ben: Yeah. And I'll link to that film, which is available to watch at farmersfootprint.us in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush.
Zach, in a little bit of time that we have left, are there any last words that you would like to leave people with? During this crazy era in human history, anything else that you would like to give to people in terms of parting words of advice or wisdom?
Zach: I think that we have to take a moment just to acknowledge the crisis we have right now around George Floyd's death. And it has ignited awareness on an extraordinary level, and this gives me again hope for the planet like we haven't paid attention to the death of the planet as we need to. We haven't changed. In the same way, for hundreds of years, we have subconsciously accepted the systemic and systematic suppression of black people within the United States. Slavery, of course, being the obvious one that marched on, but with the 13th Amendment, we re-enslaved black men in particular through the 13th Amendment when we said that we would take away their voting rights and all of their rights that we had given back to them after slavery if they were convicted of a crime. And so, through a loophole within the 13th Amendment, we created a re-enslavement of the black peoples within our country, and there has been systematic and systematic depreciation of their value and closing of doors very early in their life towards the opportunities that many other minorities even enjoy.
And so, I think that the lesson that we can take from this last hour of conversation around the microbiome is actually quite profound. The microbiome, meaning, the vast majority of life on Earth, bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoa, archaea, this huge kingdom of single cellular and diverse life forms, five million species of fungi, 30,000 species of bacteria, 300,000 species of parasites, the numbers go on and on, then you get into 10 to the 31 viruses in the air. Life around us has evolved because of its capacity. And in fact, written into its code, the need and desire for biodiversity. If we were to align our socioeconomics and politics and social behavior to that natural law of nature, which is biodiversity and communication are the two most important features of health, what would our society look like if we did communication and saw biodiversity as the highest order of function of a society?
We would not recognize success or GDP unless it was measured by how biodiverse is your land and how biodiverse are your peoples. That would create a different world for us. Black Lives Matter is an interesting take on what we're seeing with viruses. Black Lives Matter is basically stating, “Here's the most suppressed black male demographic within your nation for hundreds of years.” Pay attention here to your biggest mistake, your most grave misperception, and give back civil liberties and opportunity there. In the same way, we are going to need to adopt a virus, “The Viruses Matter” mindset. Viruses are our pathway to biodiversification just as the correction of our age-old, 200-year-old laws and legal structures, prison systems, police behavior. As soon as we change that behavior towards blacks, it will have an immediate ramification for Asians, Hispanics, women, children, all of the suppressed minorities. If we change our relationship in the same way to the viruses where we finally accept that these are not against us, they are actually for us, and we adopt a scientific and medical approach to embracing the viruses and finding a homeostasis balance with those viruses, it will inform a biodiversity where all the rest of the minorities within our mind, the bacteria, the fungi, and the rest will also enjoy new civil liberties within human biology.
And so, I think we see enormous opportunity to recognize that communication and biodiversity are the highest valuation on the planet, whether we look under a microscope or look across large socioeconomic systems. We have to embrace that biodiversity and we must do it in a fashion of speed of adoption, of transformation that has never been achieved before. We need a true metamorphosis, not change. Change isn't fast enough. We have proven again and again that we change slowly. We need a transformational mindset. We need a true metamorphosis of philosophy to realize that we are a very small piece of life on the planet, and we are only going to be valuable to this planet, and we will only be allowed to survive the next 70, 80 years if we find our role of biodiversity within us and around us.
Ben: Yeah. You had emailed me and I even written this down. You said if we continue to kill all that we perceive to be different or less valuable than ourselves, we lose our self-identity. And loss of identity breeds insecurity, paranoia, fear of others, people, viruses, orthodoxy, technology, and beyond. And I think those are wise words. In the end, this is a perfect place to wrap a ribbon on this episode is to embrace biodiversity in all aspects of life.
And Zach, you always have such interesting perspectives on a lot. I realize people are probably going to have questions or comments or feedback. And if you are listening in and you do, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush where you can go listen to the first episode that I recorded with Zach about glyphosate and about some of the things that can help to protect us against that. But then I'll also link to, again like I mentioned in the introduction, five additional interviews that I think are fantastic with Zach, four with Rich Roll, and one with the Del Bigtree of the HighWire. And I'll also link to the Farmer's Footprints initiative and pretty much everything else that Zach mentioned during this episode. So, that's all going to be over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush.
Zach, thanks so much for coming on the show, man. You're always just a wealth of information. Sometimes I don't feel like I get enough words in edgewise, but there's just so much you have to say that–I really appreciate it, man.
Zach: I appreciate your patience for my daily [01:29:23] _____ words. Alright, if I could give one more shout out just for the kids. If you could also link to my change.org petition, you can link to it through the Zach Bush MD website. But if you want to just put the direct link, there's a tag right at the top of my landing page that you could tag to and it takes you to change.org, and it's a petition for healthy childhood, immunity, and vaccination. We have 10,000 signatures so far. I'm looking to try to get 100,000 signatures on that. It's part of our international scientific symposium that we're putting together to try to help developing nations and other countries outside the United States develop their own scientific review board so that they're not prone to the CNN phenomenon of misinformation and all that that really misguided our world's response to this current pandemic. So, childhood health, and immunity, and vaccination would be a really great way to help support the mission. Thank you.
Ben: Cool. So, I'll just link to your change.org page for that.
Ben: Alright, cool. Well, Zach, thanks so much for coming on. And folks, again, you can access everything that we discussed over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/zachbush. And until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield with Dr. Zach Bush signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Zach Bush, MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice care, who first joined me for the episode “Why You Can’t Get Away From The Toxin Glyphosate (& What You Can Do About It).“
He is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Dr. Zach founded Seraphic Group and the non-profit Farmer’s Footprint to develop root-cause solutions for human and ecological health. His passion for education reaches across many disciplines, including topics such as the role of soil and water ecosystems in human genomics, immunity, and gut/brain health. His education has highlighted the need for a radical departure from chemical farming and pharmacy, and his ongoing efforts are providing a path for consumers, farmers, and mega-industries to work together for a healthy future for people and planet.
During this show, we get into the viral pandemic, the George Floyd crisis, how we can save our planet, your microbiome and how to treat it properly, and much, much more.
Hand-in-hand with this podcast, I highly, highly recommend you listen to the four interviews that my friend Rich Roll conducted with Dr. Zach Bush:
- “Let Go Of Your Story” (Definitely listen to this one by yourself, on a long hike in nature or when you can totally focus without interruption.)
- “The Science & Spirituality of Human & Planetary Transformation”
- “Glyphosate & Healing The Gut.”
- “A Pandemic Of Possibility.“
Zach also recently recorded an excellent interview about viruses with Del Bigtree of The Highwire, which you can listen to here.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-Zach's thoughts on the global reaction to the coronavirus pandemic…7:30
- The reaction in Fiji (where he was living) was on community
- Awareness that the focus was mostly on Italy, the U.S., China, etc. not on them
- The effects of COVID-19 pale in comparison with respiratory disease in developing nations
-Whether or not we should fear viruses…10:00
- The “demonization” of the current virus was inaccurate scientifically and extremely harmful to the response to it
- More were killed by the response than by the virus itself
- Viruses are incorrectly labeled as a part of the microbiome
- Microbiome = “small living organisms”
- Viruses are not “alive” like the microbiome is alive
- None of the genomic workforces, even found in seeds, are found in viruses
- A minuscule amount of genetic info is contained in a virus
- Viruses alone cannot kill people
- Much more dangerous to be admitted in an ICU with COVID than to have the Ebola virus
-The importance of viruses to life as we know it…18:30
- The number of viruses in the air (1031) is 10 million times the number of stars in the universe
- There's a similar number of viruses in the ocean, and the same number in the soil
- If viruses could kill human beings, we never would have proliferated as a species
- Viruses predate multicellular life by billions of years
- 50% of the human genome is shown to be the result of viral insertion
- Retroviruses perform critical functions to life
- Adaptation and biodiversity are the codes of life on the planet
- There's no such thing as static biology; always looking for the next best adaptation
- The biohacking community is forcing biological adaptations in the human body via change in lifestyle, environment, etc.
- Knowledge of the viral kingdom in and around us is crucial to understanding how we can foment these biological changes
- Viruses that affect humans originate in humans
- We do not produce antibodies to viruses; we produce antibodies to proteins made by genetic info held by viruses
-How dramatic changes in the production of food in 1976 led to the current pandemic…26:25
- Viruses are engineered by the human body to have a specific target
- A virus in the body doesn't cause sickness unless it reaches a concentration level that overwhelms the genomic data
- Between 1976-81, the understanding of viruses related to the human body changed
- Coronavirus events 1200 and 700 years ago
- Human blood banks contain HIV virus as far back as 1967; first case of AIDS wasn't until early 1980s
- 12,000+ pandemics worldwide since 1976 (influenza, flu, other viruses)
- We need to be plugged into nature in order to be resilient and balanced with nature
- We've been separating from nature via technology for hundreds of years
- Millions of people have HIV latency; carry the virus and show no symptoms
- Glyphosate is rampant via pesticides and herbicides; spreads genetically modified seeds throughout the agricultural ecosystem
- Essential amino acidscannot be produced by the body
- They are processed via the Shikimate pathway, which is blocked by Roundup; inhibits the production of other essential amino acids
- Rise in Hepatitis C cases in 1992, the same year wheat began to be sprayed in the U.S.
- A genomic update occurs as a result of genetic modification of food
- Map showing glyphosate use in the U.S. between 1992-2012
- COVID-19 hotspots are synonymous with high glyphosate spraying
- Clumping of the COVID virus leads to high mortality rates
- Hubei Province in China is the highest spray of glyphosate as well as the highest use of antibiotics in pork production in the world
- COVID-19 does not cause the illness; it is the dramatic changes in the environment that create toxicity when exposed to the virus
- Histotoxic hypoxia
- PM 2.5
- ACE2 receptor
- Changes in the lung as we age, which upregulate ACE2 receptors beyond normal functions
- People with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease are most susceptible; all 3 are treated with ACE inhibitor and statin drugs
- A more sensible approach would have been to promote a plant-based diet, remove statin drugs from seniors, and halt influenza vaccines
-Why COVID-19 became a global pandemic…53:49
- Viruses are crucial to life on the planet; have always been around us
- Glyphosate exposure inhibits scissor mechanisms in our genes
- Air pollution causes viral “clumping”
- Medications increase expression of ACE receptors
- COVID-19 became a much bigger issue than a typical coronavirus for all the reasons listed above
- “We're dying of our own toxicity”
- Flu season occurs during high carbon exposure (typically in mid-November after leaves fall off, harvest is completed, etc.)
- It's not the virus; it's the body's relationship to the virus in relation to the amount of carbon in the environment
- Coronavirus peaked in March-April, when carbon levels are at their highest globally
- Herd immunity = balanced genomic relationship to the virus (exposure to the coronavirus is a good thing)
- We don't need a vaccine; the human genome will be in balance with the coronavirus in due time (as with SARS, MERS, etc.)
- The reaction to the current pandemic is contradictory to what science has been revealing for the last ~30 years
-An informed and rational response to the current COVID-19 pandemic…1:03:00
- A sterile ICU is the worstplace to be after exposure to a coronavirus
- An ideal ICU: breathing natural air, allowing bacteria to proliferate, bringing the body into balance with nature
- The microbiome is a gift to prevent and treat infection
- Need to create cities that are integrated with agricultural settings
- Farmer's Footprint
- The future will be a regenerated planet; learn to build and engineer within the context of life
- A paradigm shift of perspective regarding human life and the environment is necessary for our survival
- Species are going extinct at alarming rates (10k fold increase in the last 35 years)
- Scientific orthodoxy is not prepared for the changes that need to occur for life on the planet to proliferate
- Consciousness is rising; evident through both the positive and negative responses
- The current pandemic caused the entire world to focus on one thing (similar to how meditation causes you to focus on one thing)
- Air pollution in Hubei Province (ground zero for coronavirus) went down to lowest levels in 40+ years due to a reduction in air pollution
- Mortality often goes down when access to pharmaceuticals or access to sterile ICU's is restricted
- Only use oil and fossil fuels when the earth can handle it (summer months)
-How regenerative farming differs from organic farming…1:17:15
- Organic farming is a list of “don'ts”
- Change in focus from the highest yield of product to highest quality and nutrient density in the soil
- Healthy soil makes healthy plants which don't need herbicides and pesticides
- Change demand and relationship between humans and the land where food is grown
- Taking care of biology can reverse years of dysfunction in a short time (days, weeks, months)
- Halting spraying of herbicides and pesticides can renew life in the soil as early as the next planting season
-What the Black Lives Matter movement can teach us about the earth's microbiome…1:23:00
- If we continue to kill all that we perceive to be different or less valuable than ourselves, we lose our self-identity.
- Loss of identity breeds insecurity, paranoia, fear of others, people, viruses, orthodoxy, technology, and beyond.
- org petition for Healthy Childhood Immunity and Vaccination
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
- Zach Bush's Change.org
- Farmer’s Footprint
- Regeneration: The Beginning – A film by the Farmer's Footprint that Zach helped to produce
- Seraphic Group
- Ben's podcast with Dr. Zach Bush about Glyphosate
- ION*BIOME(use code BENG1KC for 15% off )
- Podcasts with Rich Roll
- Interview on The Highwire with Del Bigtree
- org petition for Healthy Childhood Immunity and Vaccination
– Other resources:
- Shikimate pathway
- The Detox Project: Glyphosate Map of America – showing glyphosate use between 1992-2012
- Histotoxic Hypoxia
- PM 2.5
- ACE2 receptor
- Science Daily article: Viruses: You've heard the bad; here's the good
- Scientific American article: Are Viruses Alive?
- Air pollution linked with higher COVID-19 death rates
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