Autoimmune disease treatment with the Paleo Diet

February 17, 2014

Autoimmune disease means a disease that is caused by a the immune system behaving wrongly and attacking the body. The proper role of the immune system is to attack viruses and bacterial disease etc.. When the immune system turns on us it is abnormal and this is the cause of many diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and hypothyroidism. “Officially” the root cause of most autoimmune disease is not known (like most diseases), however there is a large body of scientific literature which indicates that diet can play a critical role in the cause of these diseases.

This has been recognised for many years, as fasting and elemental diets (very purified diets mainly used in research) sometimes cause reductions in many autoimmune diseases. It is now strongly proven in some cases, as people with Coeliac disease are completely better if they are on a gluten free diet, and people with Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis can often be cured if they are on yeast free diet (particularly if their blood tests showed positive ASCA yeast antibodies). Please note that traditional hunter gatherer diets do not contain the wholesale amounts of yeast found in standard western diets, they only contain the odd small amount of yeast on the outside of certain fruits, like grapes.

Autoimmune disease is very common in modern man, yet very rare in hunter gatherers (whose diet is the basis of the Paleo diet). Research indicates this might be due to differences in diet and lifestyle. Researchers have pinned down many factors in food which affect immunity, and it appears the Paleo diet is low in factors that cause autoimmune disease.

Around 80% of the immune system resides in the gut in order to protect us against infections from our food and water, which until recent years was a major health problem in all countries, and still is a major problem in most of the world. The spleen is the largest immune organ in the body and blood from the spleen is mixed with blood from the gut which then travels to the liver for processing, so the immune system is intimately mingled with everything we eat.

It is also now apparent that immune system is programmed in the gut by a range of factors working together:
– genetic background
– diet (many different effects from diet)(possibly particularly bad effects from wheat, other cereals, potatoes (substitute cassava, sweet potatoes), sugar, possibly other cereals, legumes.)
– the presence of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO= small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
– the type of bacteria in the large intestine
– whether your gut leaks and how much (leaky gut- particularly small intestine and also large intestine)
– medications
– toxins
– vitamin D status and omega 3 status
– vitamin A (retinol) status- this was recognised long before the effect of vitamin D
– chronic infections such as glandular fever (Epstein-Barr Virus EBV) which permanently infect the T-cells that control the immune system. (EBV infection in turn is strongly suppressed by retinol).
– EVERYTHING that affects the gut or diet has implications for the immune system.

So when your immune system malfunctions, there is reason to believe that the malfunction has occurred in your gut, and attention to the above factors may help improve the immune system. Paleo diet addresses several of the factors- dietary proteins, the types of bacteria, SIBO and leaky gut can all be improved.

The Paleo diet has very little in the way of factors that upset the immune system. Whereas modern foods (the Neolithic diet) such as dairy and grains, beans, and potatoes do upset the immune system very directly. Neolithic foods contains toxins such as lectins which can make immune cells malfunction in bizarre ways. It also contains many proteins that were never present during the long evolution of our immune system.

SIBO means small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The small intestine is supposed to have little or no bacteria, but it has been found that many people have quite a lot of bacteria. This can contribute to autoimmune and other disease. Neolithic food toxins such as lectins and protease inhibitors increase SIBO. The large intestine is the last part of the gut where the faeces is found and it is supposed to be full of bacteria as the large intestine has a different role to the small intestine.

Leaky gut means that there is leakage of gut contents into the gut’s bloodstream through tiny abnormal breaks and holes in the lining of the gut. This occurs in the small intestine in response to many factors (such as gluten, lectins, saponins and other toxins, and to casein) and can also occur to some degree in the large intestine. I also remind people that “leaky gut starts in the mouth” and it is well known that autoimmune disorders have a bad effect on oral health, and conversely oral disease aggravates autoimmune disorders, all types of inflammation and is also a significant risk factor for heart disease. There can be variations in the leakiness of the large intestine which can be improved by diets with more soluble fibre and resistant starch (this increases large intestine butyrate production which reduces the leak in the large intestine).

For abnormal immune cells to cause real problems they need to be stimulated by proteins that resemble our own tissues. Such proteins are found in Neolithic foods, and in  some bacteria in our gut. This is then amplified greatly if the gut leaks as the proteins can come in direct contact with the immune cells, in wholesale amounts. If the gut is not leaky then there is little opportunity for these proteins to come in contact with the immune cells in the blood stream. The leaked proteins can stimulate the immune system to malfunction both by increasing the general degree of inflammation (the amount of activation of the immune system) or by activating specific squads of immune cells that will attack a particular tissue such as bowel, joint or brain to cause a specific autoimmune disease.

High levels of vitamin D and long chain omega 3 “tune up” the immune system to make autoimmune reactions less common and less severe. Long chain omega 3 comes from animal sources such as fish oil and has many benefits, whereas short chain omega 3 comes from such as flax seed oil. It is not recommended to take flax seed oil as it comes with significant amounts of omega 6 fats which are pro-inflammatory and have negative effects on metabolism.

When food upsets the immune system, there are “two sides of the coin”- disease can occur in the gut itself (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), or it can occur outside of the gut (such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis). However in both cases the illness has been programmed within the gut.

Once it goes wrong, the immune system is very sensitive to tiny amounts of food. This is already well known as people who have food allergies can react to tiny amounts of peanut or egg for example. Any every exposure to the wrong food can increase the effect, every single time. This is probably true with autoimmune disease- for example in patients with severe Coeliac disease, a tiny 1/100 of a slice of bread will reactivate it. Therefore if one is to treat the disease with diet, it can only work with strict avoidance of the suspect food. This requires one to follow what is called a “Paleo diet automimmune protocol”.

Epstein-Barr Virus can be knocked out by retinol, the animal form of vitamin A. Plant forms such as beta-carotene can be converted to retinol but this is very inefficient. Retinol is found in high amounts in liver, kidneys and cod liver oil.

Unfortunately what can be done cannot always be undone, therefore there is no guarantee of success with diet. However, remember that we all have to eat, so why not eat the best possible diet? Also to remember that you can combine the Paleo Diet with your normal medical treatment, so they work together as a club, not in competition with each other. If you do respond to dietary therapy, there is good reason to believe that it will give you many additional health benefits as well as treating the disease you are focusing on.

Paleo food based antibiotics, SIBO and gut health

January 19, 2014

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut(LG) and insulin resistance(IR) are all hot topics these days.

Robb Wolf brilliantly connected SIBO/LG to IR.

It is also well known that the antibiotic metronidazole reduces leaky gut, thus showing that SIBO and LG overlap/ interact/feed each other. It’s also clear to me that these issues get a life of their own and gradually deteriorate.

I’ve long been aware of the potent antimicrobial effects and broad spectrum of spices (esp cinnamon, cassia and cloves), and of citrus peel extracts (both pith and the essential oils). (NB citrus and spice essential oils may have some toxicity, just saying). Good references for spice antibiotic effects below, and also see enteric coated peppermint oil . And then there are the peels and skins of fruits and vegetables, and these are all full of antimicrobials. This google search shows they are potent broad spectrum antimicrobials. Don’t forget that birds and animals can’t or don’t peel their fruit and vegetables. I found this paper interesting. Abstract pasted below .

Our forebears (and wild primates) used to eat loads of fruit and vegetable peels and skins, and local spices and barks etc. So they used to eat a bunch of natural antibiotics every day, sweeping their small intestines clear of bacteria. So they did not need neomycin or rifaximin or metronidazole or other pharmacological antibiotics. They naturally suppressed the SIBO to keep the small intestine near sterile. The foods in question are then digested and break down somewhat, before appearing in the large intestine where their breakdown products interact with the microbiome there in an ancient cycle. This is in contrast to the pharmacological antibiotics which continue unchanged through the gut (rifaximin and neomycin which are not absorbed nor broken down) or go through the entire body (metronidazole) and destroy large intestinal bacteria en masse.

Even a cursory look at the antimicrobial spectrum of herbs spices peels and skins shows that they are potent antibiotics, with a broad spectrum. There can be no doubt that they must impact the level and type of bacteria in the small intestine, and there is an obvious possibility that they might alter the composition of the large intestinal microbiome.

Allison Seibecker lists a range of antibiotic herbs, on her SIBOinfo website, but I’m just wondering if it might be as simple as not peeling your carrots and citrus, and choosing some herbs and spices etc. Conversely current high levels of SIBO might relate to low dietary levels of these natural antibiotics. So wash 4 oranges then put them through your juicer, throw out the juice and eat the pith!

Abstract (NB streptomycin is a potent antibiotic with a similar antibiotic spectrum to Neomycin): Extracts of ripe, unripe and leaves of guava (psidium guajava); ripe, unripe and leaves of starfruit (Averrhoa carambola); ripe and unripe banana (Musa sapientum variety Montel); ripe and unripe papaya (Carica papaya); passionfruit (passiflora edulis F. Flavicarpa) peel; two varieties of Lansium domesticum peel (langsat and duku); rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) peel and rambai (Baccaurea motleyana) peel were evaluated for antimicrobial activity against gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria, yeast and fungi (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus; E. coli, Proteus vulgaricus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonelli typhi; Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida lypolytica; Rhizopus spp., Aspergillus niger, and Chlamydomucor spp). The antimicrobial activities were tested using both the filter paper disc diffusion and tube dilution assays. Extracts from ripe starfruit, guava leaves and rambai peel showed strong activity against all the bacteria tested, in most cases with activity stronger than 50ug streptomycin. Passion fruit peel, ripe and unripe guava showed activity against all the bacteria tested except E. coli. Rambutan peel too showed activity against all the bacteria tested except towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Most of the fruit wastes showed some activity towards bacteria but poor activity against yeast or fungi. Extracts from bananas, papayas, passion fruit peel, Lansium domesticum peels and rambutan peels showed activity against Candida lypolytica while extracts from guava showed strong activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Other than guava, ripe starfruit, rambai peel and rambutan peel showed potential for use against bacteria.

Disclaimer: do not implement changes in your diet based on the above information without firstly taking the advice of your officially registered healthcare professional.

Paleo Diet Fights Back- response to US News Health & Wellness rating Paleo diet last.

January 12, 2014

As The Paleo Diet has continued to grow exponentially every year, it is now creating some jealousy and detractors. Its growth is driven by the fact that it is a strong science, whereas most other diets have a weak scientific basis. Due to its strong science, The Paleo Diet works much better than other diets. The latest criticism has been from US NEWS Health and Wellness. Prof Loren Cordain has written a rebuttal to their comments which you can read here. And below is what I have to say on the topic.

The Paleo Diet is not just some diet that some guy wrote one weekend (unlike some diet books). It is a major international scientific movement involving thousands of scientists- doctors, dentists, dietitians, biochemists, physiologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, and other dedicated scientists..  It is the most evidence based and sound diet ever developed, and the only one that is 2 million years old. Because it is a SCIENCE, it can be IMproved but scarcely DISproved. Similarly you cannot disprove chemistry but you can improve it.

Because it is a science, Paleo diet gladly embraces all scientific research. Paleo diet concepts have steadily improved for the past 60 years or so, to the point where it is the most healthful diet known, and unlikely to make major changes in its recommendations.

One of the main tenets of Paleo diet, is that any deviation from the mainstream diet has consequences. We don’t need to go back 10,000 years to prove that changing our diet has consequences- even changes in our food supply in the past 50 years have been disastrous! Consider that in the past 50 years:
-the gluten content of wheat has increased several fold due to selective breeding and other factors. We now have an epidemic of gluten related disease- coeliac disease (1% of the populaton), gluten intolerance (5 to 6% of the population).
-our sun exposure has dropped (a major change in lifestyle from the Paleolithic era) vitamin D deficiency now affects around 50% of the population
-the iodine content of dairy products, added entirely by processing, has dropped 80% and iodine deficiency (around 50% of the population despite recent changes). Authorities now recommend all pregnant and breast feeding women take an iodine supplement unless there is a medical reason not to do so. (reference).
– the increased intake of salty industrial food has contributed to many diseases, particularly hypertension. (reference)
– the flooding of the diet with polyunsaturates has been implicated as the cause of the epidemics of depression, asthma and arthritis. (reference).
–  reductions in choline intake (in conjunction with insulin resistance) have led to an epidemic of fatty liver disease. (reference)

All of these points add up to prove that every change that we make to our diet and lifestyle has consequences, and most are harmful, and the best diet is found by rolling back all the changes to our original diet. This diet already contains everything that all dietitians agree is good for us- more vitamins, more minerals, more fibre, more omega 3, less trans fats, low GI, low salt, high potassium, low in toxins (yes a plethora of toxins have been scientifically identified in many commons foods) the list goes on. No other diet can provide everything in one package- I challenge you to find another diet that does! Similarly when you go over the Paleo Diet, you will find all these questions have been answered.

Sadly The Paleo Diet has some detractors, just as Galileo was opposed in thinking that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and many physicists thought Einstein was wrong. While healthy scepticism is good in science, being a Luddite is not acceptable. Most detractors have a poor knowledge of the science of Paleo Diet or are over-interpreting studies which Paleo Diet scientists are already aware of. Unfortunately most people either “get it” or “don’t get it” immediately, and I have written about why before (click here). If you really want to get “under the hood” of the science, then have a look at research by the 2 leading lights in the Paleo world- Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Or have a look at the books and websites of Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Then come back and tell me you’re not convinced LOL!

Blue Paleo- the new Black?

January 16, 2013

I’ve come up with a new shade of Paleo- Blue Paleo! This is the safer way for people who want to get the benefits of raw Paleo without the ickiness of raw. Indeed you can even get sashimi cooked blue now- see below.

Robb Wolf’s blog post of 7 Shades of Paleo is a great list of the most common forms of Paleo diets. Of course, we all know that the ultimate for purists must be the Raw Paleo diet, though few of us would care to venture there. While we all eat fruit raw, and are comfortable eating most Paleo vegetables raw, it is a different matter when it comes to meat (using meat broadly to include meat, offal, fish, chicken etc). We like the security of cooking our meat as it zaps those little nuisances called bacteria, and perhaps we feel it is a little icky from years of social conditioning. Indeed in many countries it is essential to cook your meat and there is nothing you can do about it. Some countries even have tapeworms or pork trichinosis and it is essential not only to cook the meat but to make sure it is well done. However, many of us live in countries like Australia with strong government supervision of food safety where we can be more liberal.

Many of us have eaten raw meats such as sashimi, carpaccio, steak Tartare, oysters, clams and fish eggs. Perhaps you are eating more raw meat than you realised. The French are renowned for eating their steaks barely cooked, perhaps even quivering, but few are bold enough to venture down the hairy-chested road of full raw meat. I have toyed with the idea off and on for years. Indeed I have met some esteemed colleagues who eat raw Paleo (and who follow anapsology in France). These raw Paleo devotees rave about the health benefits and how wonderful they feel, and they look very healthy and energetic.

Scientific discussion of cooking focuses on its effects on bacteria count, digestibility etc, and doesn’t really make a great case for raw. Certainly scientists reject out of hand the notion that we need active enzymes etc in our food as they feel they are generally destroyed by our digestive processes. The most startling evidence in favour of a raw diet was Dr Francis Pottenger Jnr’s Cat experiment- he studied groups of cats fed cod liver oil, meat and milk. If either the meat or the milk were cooked, there were massive health consequences to the cats and their progeny that progressed each generation. Even plants did not grow well on their droppings!

But I keep being drawn back to the concept of raw meat, and here is why: At stages of our evolution we ate completely raw meats, followed by a period where we ate a mixture of raw and cooked meats, and eventually we ate only cooked meats (in many cultures and religions, always cooked well done). Rather than look for research to show that raw has benefits, I would like to reverse the question and ask “what are the consequences of cooking our food, particularly on our metabolism, immune system and our gut?” We don’t really know the answer to that so why not give it a try in planned and safe way.

With this in mind, I had planned to start trying some meat cooked blue- which is less cooked than rare- basically the outside is cooked (sterilised) and the inside is totally uncooked and still cool. The inside of meat should be sterile (however in some countries this cannot be guaranteed particularly for chicken), provided it is not minced or skewered (both unsuitable for blue cooking).

Cooking your meat blue:

  1. Kills bacteria on the outside of the meat
  2. Gives it the same look and colour as fully cooked meat
  3. Has a great mouth feel as it is very tender
  4. Tastes as good or better than fully cooked meat
  5. Will have 100% of the vitamin content without any degradation
  6. Will digest more slowly- both the protein and the fat, as cooking “externalises” some of the digestive process. This explains the observation that many people make that raw meat makes their appetite go away and that weight control happens automatically.

Recently I got to try a blue form of sashimi, called New Style Sashimi invented by famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa at his Nobu restaurant in Waikiki. He has a number of these restaurants and his partners include Robert de Niro. You can see how it is made here. Basically the fresh salmon sashimi (raw fish) is sliced thinly, dressed with various garnishes, and then he heats a mixture of sesame and olive oil, and spoons this over the food to cook its outside on the plate. I can tell you the taste is astonishing, as were the other dishes that my wife Sandra and I ate at Nobu!

Now that I am back in Sydney, the wonderful Nobu taste sensation has spurred me on to finally start on a Blue Paleo diet- so this week it has been all blue meat, mainly lamb, and a few vegetables and a small amount of fruit. I also went low salt for the first time (I should have done so years ago, apologies to my friend the late great Dr Trevor Beard ). Where has my appetite gone? I’ve been mainly cooking in a fry pan, with olive oil, to ensure coating of the meat- such as diced lamb, lamb cutlets, or beef steak. Once the outside has been browned, that’s it. You can look at Google for more on blue steak.

I can only say that if you have been tempted to try raw, just go Blue!

Disclaimer: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness, particularly in the elderly, in children and those with immunosuppression or chronic diseases such as gut diseases, diabetes or renal impairment. The risk may be worse in certain countries. If you are unsure, consult your doctor prior to changing your eating habits.

The Lord of the Diets

July 31, 2012

My poetry has been favourably compared to Vogon poetry, so I thought I would rewrite the Lord of the Rings Epigraph as an ode to Paleo.

Paleo, The Lord of the Diets:
Omega 3 for everything under the sky
Vitamins minerals fibre for body and bone
Saving mortal men doomed to die
One free of dark toxins to gut and immune
From the land of the past where our ancestors lie.
One Diet to rule them all, One Diet to find them,
One Diet to unify them all and from the darkness free them
From the land of the past where our ancestors lie.

Ben Balzer



“Epigraph”, The Lord of the Rings:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

J. R. R. Tolkien



And The Winner Is………. Paleo!!!

July 31, 2012

With Google Insights you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. I compared a range of popular diets, and the winner is??? Paleo!!!






Paleo gets the gold medal on Google Insights! Google Insights gives us some interesting information on diet trends. The end of year holiday season/ New Years Resolution peak is a perennial cracker. It appears that Paleo has eclipsed the competition!!!!

Vegetarian diet is similar but a little less than vegan. I was surprised at how sturdy Atkins support remains. Paleo seems to be going up maybe 2.5 times per annum give or take. Also it doesn’t have the January through December collapse, it is still trending up. I would model that with the logistic function (not logistic regression) which would indicate a long way to go.

Depression, evolution and inflammation. Back to the diet.

March 14, 2012

There is a great blog on Evolutionary Psychiatry Dr Emily Deans click here. Emily’s post on depression and inflammation, genetics and evolution is very interesting and links to a paper on this topic full free text here. Like all GP’s I get to see a lot of depression and it is a challenging condition, even with the most dedicated specialist treatment, and total patient cooperation.

My interest in  the ideal neuro-developmental diet dates back to my days when I was involved in a community group preventing lead poisoning . Lead has profound effects on the brain, causing reduced IQ, and ADHD and sociopathy. And lead poisoning was almost universal in the USA until 1990. This made it clear to me that the brain is affected by things other than genetics. Later when I became interested in the Paleolithic diet I eventually discovered that it is the ideal neuro-developmental diet and some interesting work has already gone on, including the Ghent conference where Cunnane gave this interesting appraisal including his own original theory. Prof Michael Crawford in London does some ground breaking work in this field.

The brain is the biggest loser in the Neolithic Diet. It is no coincidence that the diet of our Paleolithic forebears was associated with an explosion in brain size. Every modification of our diet since, has had a negative impact on the brain.

To understand the issue we need to forget about the complexities of the brain and focus on 2 general issues- wiring and firing. Wiring is the structure of the brain, size and position of nuclei (clusters of neurons) and the interconnections (synapses) made by axons and dendrites. Firing describes the release of neurotransmitters- where 2 nerves connect, they communicate when an electrical impulse arrives, not by sharing the impulse, but by the first nerve releasing chemicals (neurotransmitters) into the connection (synapse).

The modern diet is low in long chain omega 3. (Ultimate Reference Book= The Omega Diet by Simopoulos and Robinson) Bad for wiring as the synapses are made of omega 3. Bad for firing as neurotransmitters are packaged into “synaptic vesicles” using omega 3. This is why fish oil helps depression.

Next problem, let us go past folic acid which is a vitamin needed for the methyl cycle, and remember that it is just one of 4 methyl amigos. The 4 methyl amigos are folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and Choline (the forgotten one). We all know that folic acid or B12 deficiency affect cell migration in the embryo (this deficiency may cause spina bifida). Let us also remember that methyl vitamins are needed to produce serotonin, and I think also dopamine and norepinephrine (don’t quote me).  So stress on this system can reduce production of these neurotransmitters, which is of course central to depression.

Wind back to CHOLINE. Now this only became a vitamin in 1999, and is needed to make Acetyl Choline, one of the main neurotransmitters, and the target of many Alzheimers drugs (But no papers on Alzheimers and simple supplements of choline as they are too cheap). Now 70% of the population are deficient in choline. Whoopsy. Back to square one.

The deficiency of choline makes it likely that our brains are structurally disorganised due to poor cell migration. It would also contribute to reduced production of neurotransmitters to make matters worse. Increased homocysteine makes it worse again.

Agreed that brain inflammation is undesirable and there are many avenues cited in Loren Cordain’s epic paper Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword. The seminal single reference on paleolithic diet and health and disease. See also and .

And on it goes. Neolithic life is also associated with very high risk of lead poisoning (though Americans born after 1990 might be low in lead, which is why their IQ is higher). And a few other issues such as iodine deficiency (though unusual in USA and Canada but common in Australia and Europe).

If the incidence of depression has increased in recent decades, then the increased inflammation may not be entirely evolutionary (as the time frame is decades rather than millenia). Since the early 1900’s (detoxified cottonseed oil) there has been an increased intake of short chain omega 6 oil (pro inflammatory) which became a flood in the late 1960’s with the widespread recommendation of safflower and sunflower oil consumption. These oil have physiological effects on our bodies, which is to say they are drugs. It was made worse again by adding lots of trans fats to solidify them to mimic butter or give processed foods a good “mouth feel” or extend shelf life etc.

This highly inflammatory diet change has been associated with asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression, ADHD, macular degeneration to name a few diseases.

The Pathos-D paper makes the unwarranted assumption that depression is a genetic illness simply because of the association of some alleles with depression. There is a simple reason why dietary diseases look like genetic diseases which I have posted about before. If everyone smoked we would think lung cancer was genetic. Similarly everyone eats a harmful Neolithic diet, so we think that dietary diseases are genetic. Everyone eats a lot of salt so we might once have thought that hypertension was largely genetic, but everyone knows it is largely due to the massive amounts of salt added by food companies.

I used to confuse phenotype (our health or illness or other character) with genotype (the architect’s plans), but have fortunately downgraded the status of the gene in comparison to diet (with the exception of the small but important number of true genetic diseases). We can upgrade to the GDE model- genes diet and exercise cause most variations in PHENOTYPE. An analogy is that if your house falls down- who do you blame? The architect (genes), the building materials (diet) or the workmanship (exercise). Anyone who has built of renovated a home knows that the work of the architect is generally superior but there are often problems with the materials or workmanship.

Weston Price’s classical text Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1939, details his world journeys looking at the links of diet and dental disease and other disease. He is perhaps the second Darwin, the Darwin of food. He did not encounter any cases of depression. The one case of suicide was due to intractable dental pain, due to cavities from introduced Western foods such as flour and sugar.

The Omega Diet tells us that more recent investigators in Japanese fishing villages found not one case of depression when surveying elderly people.

Dethrone King Gene. The Phenotype is King and is mostly determined by diet and exercise (otherwise we might as well give up). If everything is genetic then what point is there in diet and exercise? None at all. However we all have seen and felt and know that diet and exercise is critical. Don’t be sold down the river by the gene.

What is the psychology of the widespread acceptance of genetic explanations?
I would venture that they are overly accepted because they are esoteric, doctors themselves are bit confused. Doctors and scientists rather like genetic explanations as they are intelligent, and if intelligence is primarily genetic (which I dispute) then it makes them fundamentally and naturally superior (and their families and offspring) so there is an appeal to the ego. And genetic studies get a good percentage of research funding grants. Genetics always promises that all the answers are just around the corner, just like the magic software program that doesn’t actually work, the share investment system that never beats the index funds, and anything else that is sold heavily but doesn’t deliver. Yes, it’s time to deliver some healthy skepticism to the geneticists and ask “where are your results?”. Obviously DNA has delivered a range of excellent PCR pathology tests, and recombination DNA protein products, but for the man is the street, genetic testing might pick a handful of useful results. And for the man with depression, how many have been helped?