human microbiome

The Milk Moonshot - Lars Bode and Alan Daly

Top left: Lars Bode, associate professor of pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the newly launched  Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence . Bottom right: Alan Daly, chair and professor of the Department of Education studies at UCSD and a member of MoMI CoRE's scientific advisory board. Top right: Flickr CC image via  Summer

Top left: Lars Bode, associate professor of pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the newly launched Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence. Bottom right: Alan Daly, chair and professor of the Department of Education studies at UCSD and a member of MoMI CoRE's scientific advisory board. Top right: Flickr CC image via Summer

Let’s put it [this] way: We’ll never get to the point where formula will be even close to human milk.
— Lars Bode
We’ve got a lot of great science that’s taking place, but it isn’t moving its way out into the larger world. What’s going on here?
— Alan Daly

It is 2018. Scientists sent a man to the moon half a century ago, they mapped the human genome more than a decade ago, and yet we still have scant scientific understanding about breast milk -- the lifeblood that has sustained humankind for at least the past 7 million years. All of that is about to change, if my guests today have their way. Meet Lars Bode and Alan Daly, two of the scientist powerhouses behind the newly launched Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (LRF MoMI CoRE) at the University of California, San Diego—one of the first research centers in the world focused on unraveling the mystery of human milk. 

Lars, who serves as director of the new center, is a noted human milk researcher who is also the president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and an associate professor of pediatrics in UCSD's Division of Neonatology and Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition. (Some of you may recognize his name from my book, Unlatched, in which I visited his laboratory at UCSD and delved into his groundbreaking research on human milk oligosaccharides and the microbiome.) Alan, who serves on the scientific advisory board of MoMI CoRE, comes to human milk research from the social science side: He is the chair and professor of the Department of Education studies at UCSD, as well as executive editor of the journal Educational Neuroscience.

In short, these two guys are rockstars of the academic world (with the global travel schedules to match), and I was so thrilled to finally get the opportunity to sit down with them and talk about The Milk Moonshot, as we dubbed it; find out the full story of why breast milk is not a food, but a human tissue; and get two male scientists to weigh in on the "mommy wars." You won't want to miss this one! 

Show notes:

  • How two men became involved in human milk research

  • Guilt, shaming, and the "mommy wars": Two male scientists weigh in

  • Why is human milk so powerful? (And human milk as a human tissue, finally explained)

  • The mission of MoMI CoRE

  • The limited science guiding societal decisions on breastfeeding

  • The lack of training for doctors in breastfeeding and human lactation

  • Countering the billions of dollars in formula company messaging

  • The “benefits” of breastfeeding versus human milk as the human norm

  • The current attack on science in our post-truth world

  • The Milk Moonshot: The science in the works

  • Lars’s and Alan’s visions for the future

  • How to get involved in human milk research

You can read more about MoMI CoRE and the mission to unravel the complexity of human milk at milk.ucsd.edu. Want to get involved in the effort? Click here

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

GM Foods, Glyphosate and Gut Health - Dr. Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams

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These foods have caused these issues. It’s cause and effect. And I want to get that clear. It’s not like, ‘Gee, we have no idea.’ Actually, we do.
— Dr. Michelle Perro

If health is the measure by which we humans are equipped to survive in our current environment, then our children are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. One in 13 American children has a serious food allergy. Nearly one in 10 has asthma. One in five is obese. And one in 68 has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The rate at which these and other chronic conditions have become commonplace (read: epidemic) over the past few decades is equally stunning: childhood food allergies have increased 50 percent since 1997; celiac disease has more than quadrupled over the past half-century, with rates increasing particularly among children; and serious mental disorders, once rare, are now expected to afflict 20 percent of children over the course of their lifetime. So what the hell is going on?

My guests today, Dr. Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams, offer some stunning answers in their must-read new book What’s Making Our Children Sick? How Industrial Food Is Causing an Epidemic of Chronic Illness, and What Parents (and Doctors) Can Do About It. In it, they explore the connection between genetically modified foods, glyphosate (the world’s most widely used pesticide), and gut health, and make a damning case for the related rise in chronic childhood disorders since GM foods were introduced to the American public. 

GMOs have sparked endless controversy in the US, which is why it’s notable that Adams and Perro are far from the conspiracy-theory crowd: Vincanne is a professor and vice-chair of medical anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco, and Michelle is a pediatrician with over 35 years of experience in acute and integrative medicine (including as a former director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at New York’s Metropolitan Hospital). Here, they trace their own journeys from skeptics to activists and make a powerful case for why it's critical we move beyond the "GMOs aren't natural" argument. We also delve into Michelle's method for successfully treating children with chronic hard-to-diagnose health problems. So if you have a child with a chronic health issue (or if you yourself have a chronic health issue) and have been struggling to find answers, don't miss this episode!  

Here’s the breakdown of the show:

  • Medical anthropology, and Western medicine’s lack of focus on the health of our food

  • From skeptics to activists: The journeys that led Michelle and Vincanne to write this book

  • Tracing the path of microbiome impairment in the typical modern American child

  • What is making our children sick?

  • Moving beyond the “genetically modified food isn’t natural” argument

  • The shift to GMOs in the post-DDT era

  • Glyphosate, the shikimate pathway, and the human microbiome

  • The chronically ill patients Michelle sees, and her treatment protocol

  • How simple dietary changes can put the entire family on the path back to wellness

  • Why local food/“real” food and organic food are not one and the same

  • Spurring change in the mainstream medical community

  • What you can do to reduce your child’s toxicant load and reclaim your family’s gut health

Learn more about What's Making Our Children Sick? on the Chelsea Green website and Michelle's clinical practice on the Gordon Medical Practice website. Michelle also runs the website GMOscience.org. Michelle and Vincanne are on Facebook here and here. And check out the link to buy their book, below! 

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!