You are a Superorganism – Part Four

In last month’s blog we discussed the six prime factors that cause noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), the four pillars of NCDs, the role of precision medicine and analyzing the microbiome. You may read last month’s article here. This month I will discuss what I believe are the major contributors to the skyrocketing rate of NCDs and how to achieve a better microbiome balance.

Since the 1970s the US has seen an alarming increase in the rate of NCDs.  The major contributors are antibiotics (human and animal feed), glyphosate, vaccines and the sharp increase in cesarean birth deliveries.  There are many other contributing factors. NCDs are now the cause of 68% of all deaths and are the number one cause of disabilities. The population of students with physiological disabilities doubled between 1980 and 2005. Obesity prevalence has doubled since 1976. One in three seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or dementia. In the 1960’s the prevalence for autism spectrum disorders was 1 in 2500.  In 2002 it was 1 in 150.  The current estimate is 1 in 35.  Given that the upcoming generation is challenged with serious NCD issues for which many require continual care, and that the aging baby boomer population is developing their own set of NCD issues for which they will also need continual care, the question is who will be left as the caretakers when we reach the tipping point?  What will the care cost be?

Balancing our microbiome can have profound health benefits. There is evidence that supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics can reduce systemic inflammation, improve brain function, improve the immune system, reduce anxiety, reduce stress, improve infant health, and support the gut-brain axis.  Probiotics supply good bacteria to the gut.  Antibiotics kill bad bacteria but also kill beneficial bacteria.  In simple terms the goal is for the ‘good’ guys to outnumber the ‘bad’ guys in the gut.  Another major contributor to balancing the microbiome is your food choice.  Fermented foods are an excellent source of live cultures that contain probiotic bacteria.  Options are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh and kvass.  Exercise will also contribute to a balanced microbiome.  In the future, more individual or specific bacterium will be available to balance the microbiome and address specific NCDs.

I recommend viewing the film Microbiota on Prime Video or watch Your Microbiome and Your Health with Zach Bush on YouTube to learn more fascinating research on the microbiome.

The Human Superorganism by Rodney Dietert, PhD is the outstanding book referenced in all four parts of the Rick’s Desk blog articles. Please direct questions to


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