Must be a bad writer.

A couple of months ago I spent a while trying to get this piece into mainstream media. I tried New Zealand’s National Radio, Listener, Stuff, NZ Herald.

I guess a) no one’s interested in this topic and b) I am a rubbish writer. And yes – of course there is competition for content. But look at the content…. and look at people affected by gut related illness. Fair proportion of the population I would guess.

PRESS RELEASE:  Kiwis have a gut-full of illness.

Increasing medical costs related to leaky gut unsustainable.     July 3, 2014.

TAURANGA NZ:  Mother and researcher, Jodie Bruning, believes the NZ health system needs a sharper focus on research regarding diseases and disorders connected to a permeable bowel (intestinal permeability), known commonly as leaky gut and IBS.

‘This is an election year, it’s time to focus on a really important area of illness that affects a huge amount of Kiwi families.

‘Among the top twenty medicines on our Pharmac list are many medicines for illness or disorders with a common factor. This is a weakened or damaged gut wall and an inability to process nutrients effectively.  Allergies, autoimmune disease, diabetes and asthma – even depression – has this common element which should be investigated, and considered a potential cause.   We’re talking about a huge proportion of the New Zealand population.’

‘Our biggest single drug expense is for an autoimmune drug. Humira (adalimumab) outstrips everything else on the Pharmac list. New Zealand doesn’t even keep an autoimmune register to track the exploding range of autoimmune related illness – and the subsequent cost to our taxpayer load.  But we pay these exploding bills’.

Autoimmunity results from an immune dysfunction and is often an ‘unseen’ illness.  We are all susceptible to immune stress, which can lay dormant for many years. However, autoimmune disease, encompassing more than 80 illnesses globally, is almost always triggered by external influences and it can be life threatening. The disease affects women disproportionally.

Pharmac cost gut permeability Top 20 Medicines ex manufacturer cost 2010-2013Bruning believes the growth in taxpayer cost for these medicines is unsustainable, and that by not researching the environmental triggers, the NZ government is failing in its duty of care.

‘We have always had a base level of these particular illnesses in the New Zealand population – but today the figures are increasing at an astounding rate. We need to ask ‘why’ these diseases weren’t so prevalent 25 years ago, and question why so many of these diseases have gut disorder as a common theme. It’s not just better diagnostics’.

Whilst funding has been directed towards genetic traits and behaviours, there has been little focus on our diets and our physical environment, and how dramatically this has changed in the last 20-30 years.

‘We blame the death of a relative for bringing on, for example, Crohn’s disease, where in previous generations the experience would have been stressful, but not resulted in autoimmune disorder.  When you have a weakened gut wall it doesn’t take much to descend into an exhausting and debilitating lifetime illness or allergy. ‘ In most cases, increased permeability precedes disease’. [1]  It’s time to ‘see the forest for the trees.’

‘We need a responsible, wide ranging conversation and investigation about this from an independent source. Most health practitioners are focussed on one area of health and can’t stretch easily into other illness sectors.  We need dedicated inquiry into the environmental triggers that tip our digestive system and then our bodies into illness. Funding that will put the health of Kiwi’s first.’

Hippocrates advised us 2400 years ago that ‘all disease begins in the gut’, it’s time to take some old fashioned medical advice.

[1] ‘In most cases, increased permeability precedes disease’.

 Intracellular tight junctions:    Zonulin and Its Regulation of Intestinal Barrier Function: The Biological Door to Inflammation, Autoimmunity, and Cancer.  IV. INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY AND DISEASE.  A. Fasano. Physiological ReviewsPublished 1 January 2011Vol. 91no. 151-175 DOI: 10.1152/ physrev. 00003.2008.

Hippocrates 400BC :  Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is quoted as saying, “bad digestion is at the root of all evil” and “death sits in the bowels.”

About Jodie

It is only by questioning and discussing and attempting to view the world our childrens children will live in, that we start to understand that life isn't a linear process - it is a room of dominoes falling. Our world has a lot of special interests and stakeholders that by default, keep science undone, and economics hooked in the 1920's - resulting in governments that don't address the complexity that is challenging our world. From pollution to mental health (and the cost of food) to the health of our freshwater - it's complex and dynamic. What equilibrium do we want to reach - a healthy vital one or a suffering one?
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