The Doctor's Farmacy with Dr. Zach Bush

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Episode 138
The Doctor's Farmacy

How To Activate Nature’s Healing Potential

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

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The microbiome has now come to be seen as the foundation for our overall health. The gut microbiome contributes to our digestive, immune, and emotional health, so it plays a vital role in overall well-being.

Soil, like our gut, has its own microbiome, which supports the health of the plants growing in it. And just as our consumption of highly processed foods and overuse of antibiotics have destroyed key microbes in the human gut, we have also carelessly damaged the soil microbiome through overuse of chemical herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides, heavy plowing and tillage, and the failure to add organic matter back into the soil.

On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was happy to sit down and talk with Dr. Zach Bush about why the health of our soil microbiome is the single most potent factor determining how healthy—or unhealthy—we are. We discuss why we need to acknowledge soil as a major influence on the food system and our health, and most importantly what we can do to change soil composition for the better.

Dr. Zach and I discuss the relationship between intensive farming practices and the rise of environmental degradation and chronic disease, and the steps we can take now to move from chemical farming toward regenerative agriculture, and from a culture of dis-ease toward one of healing. 

We also discuss the challenging problem of glyphosate, and why Dr. Zach views it as ground zero of the chronic disease epidemic of the last few decades. Dr. Zach explains that there is an epidemic of autoimmune and neurological disorders that can be attributed to glyphosate. Research conducted on mice shows cumulative epigenetic effects from glyphosate. When a first-generation is exposed to Roundup (the glyphosate-based herbicide), disorders, immune dysfunction, and a shortened lifespan can be found in the second generation, even without direct exposure.  The third generation of mice in the study experienced cancers and stillbirths, again without direct exposure. Chronic diseases in children have been increasing exponentially in our population, and Dr. Zach expects that trend to continue according to the models developed from this research, which is why he’s working to create a new paradigm of health based on nature’s guidance.

Soil health is arguably the most important element impacting our health, the health of future generations, and the health of this planet we call home. 

This episode is brought to you by Joovv and ButcherBox.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. The pivotal moment in which Zach came to understand that we need to work with nature to create health
  2. Zach’s post-academia journey to connect the dots between the microbiome, nutrition, and soil
  3. How Zach’s chemotherapy research led to his understanding of how nutrition, the microbiome, and soil are interconnected
  4. Uncovering soil’s medicinal qualities
  5. What research on the gut lining, and the rise of glyphosate (Round-Up) use, illustrated about the link between soil science and human health
  6. The depletion of 97% of our soil and its impact on human health
  7. Regulatory resistance to looking at the scientific demonstration of the harmful effects of glyphosate (Round-Up)
  8. Engineering the future that we want by catalyzing exponential rates of transformation
  9. Surrendering to nature’s healing principles
  10. Zach’s work with the nonprofit coalition, Farmer’s Footprint


Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

Dr. Zach Bush

Dr. Zach is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice care. 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 the planet.

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Zach Bush (00:00:00):
It’s interesting that the farmer and the physician have been trained by the same chemical companies. So we have been indoctrinated into the same pharmaceutical co-dependence and worldview whether we be farmer or physician.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:14):
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. A place for conversations that matter. And if you ever wondered about why the soil and our own microbiome are both important and connected and how we need to rethink healthcare and agriculture, our guest today Zach Bush is going to provide a lot of insight about that. And it’s worth listening to.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:37):
Zach is a physician. He’s a specialist in many things, and even things that he’s not specialized in, including internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice care. He caught my attention because there are very few of us doctors out there who understand the intersection between the soil and the soil health and the microbiome of the soil, the human microbiome and our own health, and agriculture and all these intersecting pieces that are really going to determine the future of our species and the future of the planet. So it is probably the central thing that’s most important that seems kind of geeky but actually is something that we’re not hearing that much about.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:14):
So when I started paying attention to what Zach was doing, I was like, “I got to talk to this guy because he somehow connected the dots. And I’ve connected the dots. So we got to connect our dots together.” He’s a educator and a thought leader on the microbiome as it connects to health, disease, and food systems. He’s found this Seraphic Group and the nonprofit Farmer’s Footprint to help develop root cause solutions for both human and ecological health. He educates people all over the place. I see him bringing his wisdom everywhere. He’s really helping us understand the role of soil and water ecosystems and how it connects to our genetics, our immune system, our gut and brain health. He is really shifted away from chemical medicine and chemical agriculture and pharmacy to understanding a new path for farmers, consumers, and big industries to work together to create a healthier future for us people on the planet and the planet.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:04):
So welcome, Zach.

Zach Bush (00:02:06):
Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Mark, to be here with you. It’s a real honor.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:11):
So you’ve really told your story many times, and I want to really dive into the moment when you really began to understand the intersection of the microbiome, the soil, human health, ecological health, planetary health because most doctors don’t think like that. You had training in traditional specialties, critical care, hospice, internal medicine. And you really had a traditional training, but you kind of moved into this new framework. And I’m just curious, what was the epiphany moment for you when you were like, “Wait a minute, I’m missing something here.”

Zach Bush (00:02:47):
So many of them. Fortunately life is not linear, and fortunately we can not write our own lives because they’d be very boring in the end I think. So the nonlinear pathway that I followed in that kind of beginning of the aha moments came around my chemotherapy development. I was doing research and development for novel chemotherapies at the University of Virginia, and my focus was on mechanisms of apoptosis, which is program cell suicide within cancer cells so that we could perhaps develop technologies and medications that would allow us to inspire cancer cells to kill themselves rather than trying to poison them or rather than trying to cut them out or whatnot and/or rely on an immune system to go find each and one of those last cells. So the idea that we could turn on this cell suicide process was exciting new chapter. This was kind of 2005, 2010 era.

Zach Bush (00:03:42):
So my research was really focused on vitamin A in the end, and I was working with vitamin A compounds that were capable of turning on this apoptosis in tumor cells. And it was my aha moment a couple years into that that vitamin A is rich in things like carrots. So the possibility that, “Wow, what if…”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:04:00):
It didn’t just come in a lab in a pill, right?

Zach Bush (00:04:02):
That’s right. I really thought that in the first couple years. I was calling them retinoids. And we had all these pharmaceuticalized names that we were using for these compounds, but in the end they were extracted from vitamin A. So that was my beginning aha moment.

Zach Bush (00:04:15):
But one of the poignant ones came through a really challenging evening where I was trying to give one of my patients who had been enrolled in my early clinical trial for this first time retinoid, and every fiber in your body seemed to be telling her not to put this pill in her mouth. And I knew it was safe. I told her it was safe. Took her through all the science of why it was safe, why it wasn’t going to hurt her. And then that not being effective, I then took her into why her cancer was likely to kill her if we didn’t do anything about it and blah, blah, blah. There’s no existing therapies that would work, and blah, blah, blah. And used a fear paradigm. And finally, after 45 minutes, she swallowed that thing.

Zach Bush (00:04:52):
And in the end, I succeeded as a clinical trialist that day but I failed as a physician that day because I really broke this woman’s intuitive will and her intuitive knowingness about what she needed or what would be her best path. And that was a really destructive moment for my paradigm because in the couple days that I recovered from that emotional journey, realized that there had never been a case of cancer in the history of mankind that had been caused by lack of chemotherapy. So in that moment, suddenly realized that no matter how good I got at doing my trade, no matter how inventive I got in my chemotherapy, I was always going to be going down a wrong pathway or a very ineffective pathway that was getting at a symptom rather than a cause of something deeper.

Zach Bush (00:05:38):
So that was the beginning of my big 180 after 17 years of academic training in medicine and practice and teaching and chief residency and faculty and all the indoctrination that happens at all those levels is quite profound. So it’s taken me 12 years since that time to kind of re-engineer all of my learning into a different world view or philosophy around the fact that nature knows how to do this thing that we call health, and we have an opportunity to participate in that as physicians.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:06:06):
That’s powerful. So that was a big epiphany of really trying to understand that you really couldn’t work against nature, that you had to work with nature in this patient, and she knew herself intuitively. But given your training and all that we’re taught, we kind of can be bullies as doctors sometimes. We know the right way. We’re going to tell you what to do, and we’re going to give you this medicine. This is going to work. But the truth is most of health doesn’t really occur by odd deficiency of a medication. It occurs because we actually are not providing the right supports for our ecosystem of our health, and I think you’re an ecosystem doctor. I’ve become an ecosystem doctor, and I think that’s a very rare breed.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:06:49):
I think you seem to take that insight that you had, and you brought it into connecting somehow to the microbiome and nutrition. And then that led you to the soil. So take us on the journey of how you connected all those dots.

Zach Bush (00:07:03):
Yeah. I left academia after I spent a year trying to start my clinic in the academic center of the University of Virginia, and there were so many bureaucratic barriers. And the biggest barrier to starting a nutrition center for university client disease happened to be the dieticians. The dieticians just could not handle the idea of a plant-based clinic being introduced because they were so steeped in understanding and science around the food pyramid and the importance for animal proteins and all of this in the diet. It was really sad to see an inability to have conversation with our dieticians.

Zach Bush (00:07:40):
Ultimately at one poignant moment, I had the head dieticians who led the whole diabetes education platform, really brilliant, been in academia for 20 years. She was literally crawling over the table screaming at me in my face about this desire to start this clinic, and that was the moment where I was just like [crosstalk 00:08:00]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:00):
I’m done.

Zach Bush (00:08:01):
… take this. And so went through a short period where I thought maybe I just couldn’t do it at all, and then this was now 2009 and suddenly the bottom fell out of academia. Universities were losing funding rapidly as the recession moved through in this time. So it became obvious that there was an opportunity to really transition my career out of academia and started a nutrition center in rural Virginia in a food desert in a town of 550 people with the idea that if I could find a nutritional curriculum of education, I would be able to really change the disease epidemic, the chronic disease epidemic of the country. [crosstalk 00:08:40]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:40):
And Virginia’s close to ground zero, right.

Zach Bush (00:08:43):
Central Virginia is the obesity and the diabetes rampant. You can definitely meet 40 year olds with end stage peripheral vascular disease from diabetes and the metabolic collapse of our food system and everything else. So definitely was in ground zero, and for the first time I was a real physician. I was suddenly 24/7 a lone doctor out in a rural community, and I was suddenly doing everything. I was suturing people up, which I hadn’t done in years. I was taking care of major depression and psychologic disorders and schizophrenia, stuff that you would never have to see as an endocrinologist in the hospital system was suddenly coming through my door. So I think I learned how to be a physician in those first few years in that rural community.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:09:26):
I actually spent four years in Idaho similar town, an old logging town. Four years just really being the family doctor, and there were no other doctors. And you were it. There was a few other family doctors, but there was a drunk surgeon. And we had to deal with everything. It really is humbling, and you learn a lot about medicine that way.

Zach Bush (00:09:46):
You do, and I think our patients end up becoming my best faculty. They taught me so much in those years as I started to have the time where my initial business were two and a half hours long because I didn’t have any patients. I was [crosstalk 00:10:02]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:01):
Come on, sit down. Let’s chat.

Zach Bush (00:10:05):
So for the first time, I listened to patients for hours at a time, and I just learned so much from that journey. I started to really understand the path of physiology of disease much better because I could start to really ask, “Well, what was the very first time you felt unwell? And now take me to the time where now you have metastatic breast cancer.” And you see a 20 year journey unfolding. I think I really learned the path of physiology much more effectively than these snapshots of like lots of scans and tests and everything else. “Oh, you have stage four breast cancer, blah, blah, blah. Let me show you want you need.”

Zach Bush (00:10:34):
Instead, if you listen long enough, the patient will 95% of the time tell you not only what kind of disease they have, will tell you where it came from and how they could change that trajectory by going upstream to some of those catastrophic injuries that began the process. And oftentimes, they’re not even nutritional, they’re emotional traumas or heartbreaks or abandonment or these catastrophic events that lead to a lack of self care, that lead to economic collapse or whatever it is that then leads to this cascade of lack of self care, lack of access to good information and the rest.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:08):
Yeah. It’s absolutely true, man. Functional medicine is really focused on this timeline. You go back to even pre-birth and what their inter utero environment was like and what their family history is, and you take them all the way through their childhood. And you literally can map out a person’s story. It’s not random how they got to where they are. You can usually trace it back to some or multiple various factors or insults or traumas or exposures that actually led them to have what they’re having right now. That’s really an important piece that we miss in medicine. We’re just so focused on the singular reductionist view of disease. And somehow you were able to shift that and understand this ecosystem model.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:44):
Tell me about the moment you began to connect the nutrition piece and then the microbiome. Because you really have gone deep into these areas, far more than more physicians.

Zach Bush (00:11:55):
Yeah, that’s actually tied into my cancer research quite a bit. So my research was focused on mitochondria, which are element within the microbiome. These are archaea. Archaea are the precursor to modern bacteria. So somewhere around four billion years ago, three and a half billion years ago on planet Earth, we see the emergence of the archaea, and then within half a billion years afterwards, we start to see more modern versions of the bacteria that thrive and create most of the biodiversity. But one of those archaea bacteria were absorbed into a more complex methane producing bacteria some billions of years ago it seems in the fossil record to create the first mitochondria. And at the moment that we had a functional mitochondria, it changed the way that energy was produced in the cell.

Zach Bush (00:12:40):
So my research in chemotherapy was around maximizing the signaling system out of mitochondria. So how do these ancient bacteria that live and thrive within our human cells create all of the energy for our cells and create a network of communication within our cells? How do they communicate back to something as complex as our genome or our pathways of enzymatic function? So that was my area of research. And I didn’t think of them as microbiome. I thought of them very much and I think I was really trained to believe that they were part of the human cell, and they were just like this little organelle inside the human cell. Nobody told me they were microbiome. Nobody told me [crosstalk 00:13:15]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:13:15):
Well, they look like bacteria. If you look at them under a microscope, they look like little bacteria. And they’re actually-

Zach Bush (00:13:18):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:13:20):
… they’re different DNA actually then [crosstalk 00:13:22]-

Zach Bush (00:13:22):
Yeah, but they’re a genome, which isn’t taught to us either. We’re not taught. I hope that med school students today are, but certainly in my generation of physicians, we were not taught at all the fact that mitochondria have their own genome and that their archaea makes them very unique. The new stuff around genomics is fascinating around this, but I don’t want to go down that route with this.

Zach Bush (00:13:43):
But this was the entry point to when I started a nutrition center and started seeing people not responding to health food regimes that had been proven out for 40 years from the likes of Colin Campbell and Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic. I was applying masters level information that these guys had produced over the years to my patients and seeing them fail. I was seeing them actually get worse, not better on things like kale. So I was trying to figure out why kale could call an inflammatory reaction, and it took me a while to believe that the patient was actually eating the kale. I thought, “Well, maybe they ran out and ate a Twinkie at the same time.” I really blamed the patient for a long time before I developed enough relationship to find out I really trusted them and actually came to realize they were eating healthier than I was.

Zach Bush (00:14:29):
So in that journey, we had to start asking really tough questions about what is kale look like today to find out that it’s devoid of alkaloids, the medicine within the food; to find out that it’s actually got an abnormal ratio of soluble and insoluble fibers compared to kale 20 years ago; to find out that it’s laced with a chemical called glyphosate or RoundUp was a bit aha moment for me. And so that was the journey into realizing that we were going to have to look deeper than just a nutrition protocol and start asking tough questions about the food, which immediately took us into soil. [crosstalk 00:15:00]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:14:59):
Wait a minute, that’s powerful. I just got to unpack that. So you’re basically saying that you realized that your patients were eating what you thought was good food. They weren’t responding to it. So you traced back to what the quality of the food was and what it was missing compared to decades ago and we had better soil. And that it had lower levels of fiber and lower levels of nutrients. It had lower levels of other compounds. It even had higher levels of compounds like glyphosate, which I really want to get into with you about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:27):
So you just sort of connected the dots, and that is a moment when I guess you realized that you can’t just go to the grocery store. You have to go to the farm.

Zach Bush (00:15:35):
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. At that moment, this was like 2012. We were starting to study soil, and we found a family of molecules that are vast in variety. Each species of bacteria and fungi are capable of making 10 to 15 variants of these carbon molecules. And they happen to look a lot like the chemotherapy I used to develop that was disrupting and changing mitochondrial metabolism. And so I suddenly realized that the soil could potentially hold highly intelligent medicinal qualities to it, which that ultimately really proved that not only did we have issues with our farm industry in regards to its productive quality. We had perhaps a deficiency at the soil level of medicines that had never been discovered before.

Zach Bush (00:16:20):
And I always had this vision, and I was dealing with plant medicine. I was doing vitamin A extractions and all of that. Then fast forward in my clinic and I’m trying to use herbal extracts, and I was investigating homeopathy. I was investigating herbal medicine and all this stuff. So I was starting to really welcome in all this stuff only to find out that 4000 years of looking at the plants for medicine might have missed a deeper story that the microbiome of the soil is more capable of producing even a more higher level of intelligence within the cellular systems of communication, nutrient delivery, and the likes. So that was the closing point of where I really pivoted to that point, and I started a biotech lab at that moment to start studying soil and the possibility of a whole medicinal capacity to soil. So that’s what we do now. We produce out of Virginia soil compounds that carry these carbon molecules.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:17):
Okay. This is a really radical idea. I just want to pause and emphasize this because we know about the rain forest, and we hear about the medicinal plants and all the medicines that come out of the rain forest. And nobody thinks of dirt or soil being a reservoir of compounds that have utility in human health. And yet we know there are a lot of things in soil that have produced medicines. A lot of medicines do come from the soil, and what we’re finding is that we’re driving the extinction of our soil. So we don’t think about, “Oh, the destruction of the rain forest, the destruction of the soil.” We’re not really talking about that. There are few people like us, but it’s really not out there in people’s consciousness that soil is actually so critical for human life on the planet, not just to produce food but as a reservoir all these compounds.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:18:05):
So take us down that road and tell us what kinds of things specifically you find in the soil that people don’t know about that are so beneficial and helpful that we discovered.

Zach Bush (00:18:16):
Yeah. We could spend hours on that in a lot of different directions, but to focus it in on these carbon molecules for a moment because I think it’s profound new concept of medicine in general. Not only is it a novel source, coming from soil, but it totally changed my whole perspective on what we should be doing as physicians or as a pharmaceutical industry, which is instead of trying to micromanage a single pathway. So something like NRF2 is commonly talked about.

Zach Bush (00:18:42):
So NRF2 is a pathway that regulates a bunch of our oxygen, antioxidant relationship to the world around us, and inflammation cascades can be really disruptive when NRF2 is effected and things like this. So we align with that as a pharmaceutical industry and say, “Okay. We want to find things about regulator dairy NRF2,” and we try to find manmade chemicals that we can patent and change that pathway.

Zach Bush (00:19:06):
From the nutraceutical world and dietary supplement world, we say, “Okay. We want to find a bunch of plant things or natural compounds that effect NRF2.” And in this way, I think that while we’re moving in the right direction obviously with functional medicine and innovative medicine, we have a tendency to kick the allopathic medicine and mindset off the stool, and then sit right back up on the same stool and simply offer a different toolbox to do the same reductive effort towards changing biology or micromanaging the NRF2 pathway with this beet extract instead of with that pharmaceutical drug. But in the end, we’re failing to realize the NRF2 pathways perturbed for a reason upstream. So we tend to be very reductionist in our mindsets, and we tend to focus on symptoms as the problem rather than an upstream phenomenon.
Speaker 3 (00:19:54):
Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from
Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company Farmacy, and their first product The 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:20:04):
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Speaker 3 (00:21:11):
Now back to this week’s episode.

Zach Bush (00:21:13):
And so these carbon molecules when I saw them were very unique because I had studied extensively redox chemistry in mitochondrion, which are oxygen based compounds that allow for the release and exchange of hydrogen and therefore electrons. So redox chemistry intercellularly is mainly produced by the mitochondria and they allow for trafficking of information. So it literally works as a circuit board inside your cell system to coordinate cellular behavior at complex levels. And that redox chemistry is a wireless communication network between the systems, between cells even. They have to go through gap junctions because they can’t go into the extracellular space because the extracellular space is too variable and it’s odd in [inaudible 00:21:59], it’s pH. It’s all of these different things that can destroy that domino effect of the oxygen based, redox chemistry. What I found [crosstalk 00:22:07]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:07):
Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Before you go to the next thing, I just want to unpack that for people because it was a mouthful. So what you’re basically saying is there inside your cells a balance between antioxidants and things that are free radicals or oxidants. And that balance is critical to health. And when it’s out of balance, it changes all the chemicals signaling in your body that can lead towards disease. Did I get that right?

Zach Bush (00:22:31):
Spot on. Yeah, so redox is a reduction of words of reduction and oxidation. So oxidation is the pulling away of an electron from the environment, and reduction is the addition of an electron. And so by moving electrons between reductants and oxidants, you can get a stream of electricity. So to create a wireless network of communication at the cellular level, you want to pass electrons. And the oxygen molecules that are produced by the mitochondria when they produce a single molecule of ATP, which is kind of the fuel that we’re reportedly running on, the ATP production and its byproducts is producing a bunch of 15 different variants of this oxygen compounds. They’re things like ozone, hydrogen peroxide, OTH, which is kind of the opposite of H2O, and all of this. So very unique oxygen containing molecules.

Zach Bush (00:23:20):
The issue or the limitations of intercellular mitochondrial based redox chemistry is that every one of those oxygen based molecules only last for about a millionth of a second, and so they are down in the quantum physics realm of communication. If you try to take that quantum environment outside of the cell into a soil system or into your gut lining, you lose the capacity of that domino effect or electron potential because you can’t maintain a consistent current. So what we found in soil was these large carbon molecules with the right side of the molecule looking a lot like the redox chemistry that I used for my chemotherapy.

Zach Bush (00:23:59):
So the idea that this big carbon backbone would be produced by bacteria and fungi to stabilize redox chemistry in extracellular environments was super exciting. It was just massive goosebump moment. When my colleague and I were going through this white paper on dirt, I didn’t know anybody knew anything about dirt, let alone a 90 page white paper on soil science. I was blown away paging through this thing. This molecule goosebump moment of not only is there medicine in the soil, it could be so much more stable and deliverable as a medicinal effect than our oxygen compounds and those that would effect it.

Zach Bush (00:24:36):
The exciting thing about redox chemistry again is it resets our concept of a medicinal. Instead of trying to effect a single pathway, in fact, instead of trying to do anything to a human body, for example, all you’re trying to do is reconnect the communication system so that the cells can communicate. And when cells have uninterrupted information, they became healing machines. They know how to mobilize stem cells if they’re too damaged to repair. They know how to repair themselves at a faster rate. They know which proteins are missing. So that was the excitement.

Zach Bush (00:25:04):
And as we started putting this into cancer cells and neurons and proximal renal tubules in our lab, we were immediately seeing things we had never seen before. And this was a cumulative experience over 120 years between scientists that were involved and everything else of basic science, looking under microscopes. John Gilday, PhD, UVAs, master of microscopy and cell biology. He was seeing things that had never happened before under the microscope, and it was because for the very first time, we were not treating human cells and health and disease as if it was an isolated event. We were bringing in a biologic compound of communication network made by bacteria and fungi and introducing it to a petri dish.

Zach Bush (00:25:47):
For the first time, we were watching biology happen in the context of an ecosystem. And the last 10 years, our journey has just been mind blowing to find out how powerful we are as healing machines when endowed with a communication network that stopped running.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:02):
So how are you using the soil science that you learned and these microbes in the soil that actually regulate these pathways? How is that linked up to human health directly?

Zach Bush (00:26:13):
Yeah. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:13):
Make it a little practical. How do we actually see this in real life?

Zach Bush (00:26:17):
So the first thing that we did was study gut winding because we had come… John Gilday had done a lot of work around a deep reading and understanding of glyphosate, which is the RoundUp active compound herbicide. Most ubiquitous chemical that we spray in the world. Over four billion pounds a year, now into our soil systems, water system around the world. So this molecule was ever present in his mind, and one of the main things that this molecule was becoming recognized to be capable of was destroying barriers. So it could break down the gut barrier. It could break down the blood brain barrier, kidney tubules, and this would lead to a leaky sieve event and the chronic inflammation in the population.

Zach Bush (00:26:55):
So of course the debut in 1976 and then the spray directly of wheat in 1992 and then the GMO crop of RoundUp Ready genetic modification 1996, you can see that the uptick in chronic disease, autoimmune disease, inflammatory conditions of neurologic, degenerative conditions, all of these upticking with every introduction. And the ground zero seemed to be in this protein destruction of the tight junctions. These are the velcro-like proteins.

Zach Bush (00:27:20):
As soon as we put this [crosstalk 00:27:22]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:21):
That’s what people call leaky gut, right?

Zach Bush (00:27:23):
Leaky gut, leaky brain, leaky kidneys. And the symptoms tend to be bloating, core digestive, core energy level, fatigue after meals, cravings, poor sex drive, poor sleep quality, brain fog, short term memory lose, and then the inflammatory conditions of vascular disease, diabetes, metabolic collapse, obesity, all of that is set up by the break down of the single protein, which is so interesting. That ground zero is like boil down this simply.

Zach Bush (00:27:53):
The velcro that holds all of those cells together is called tight junctions, and as soon as we put this communication network back in, we still had something extraordinary happening, which was cells knew how to lace themselves back together. So we could destroy a gut membrane, small intestine, or colon immediately. Within six minutes of RoundUp, you’ve got massive leaky going on. But if you gave it back a wireless communication network made by the microbiome, those cells would lace themselves right back up into a cohesive, coherent, highly protected barrier.

Zach Bush (00:28:22):
Subsequently, we’ve shown this on the blood brain barrier. We’ve shown that the relationship between the gut and the brain injury is very interlaced. If you give RoundUp and gluten, for example, to the brain barrier directly, it doesn’t do much. But if you first give gluten and RoundUp to the gut lining, then the blood brain barrier blows apart. So it’s so interesting to see how this cascade of putting this chemical RoundUp into our food system set us up for this breakdown in these different barrier systems. And it’s so beautiful that here is the chemical that we’re destroying planet Earth’s soils with, and yet she planted as an antidote to this chemical, these compounds within her soil 60 million years ago. And that’s how we extract these carbon molecules.

Zach Bush (00:29:04):
We go to a fossil layer of soil in the Southwest United States, and we then bring that to our labs. We crush that into nano particles, and we go through a multi-stage process to liberate small carbon molecules to get hydrogen to bound to the oxygens again and get a redox effect. And when that system of communication from fossil soils goes back in to a modern human experience, it’s unbelievable what can happen. And again, it’s not because the compounds doing anything. It’s because the human cell is capable of that when it’s grounded in the intelligence of soil, when it’s grounded in the intelligence of nature. So that’s been the journey towards this extraordinary realization that if we don’t fix the agricultural industry, we’re going to fail.

Zach Bush (00:29:46):
So now our biotech company with all of its supplements are channeling all of our profits back into root cause solutions, and one of those being our nonprofit, which is an awareness and education effort to allow chemical farmers to realize that they’re actually the most potent members of change for the transformation of human health. And this is poignant because they are facing the highest levels of chronic disease in the world. For the last 90 miles of the Mississippi River that collects some 80% of the RoundUp in our environment is cancer allies. We see farmers with third time, fifth time cancers of different organ systems. Their children are affected by ADHD and autism and brain defects, and I’ve seen just the most horrific stories of tragic human health on these farms as we’ve been filming over the years in these environments. So you can only imagine how devastating it is too.

Zach Bush (00:30:38):
I give these talks out with PowerPoint presentations literally in farm fields. So it’ll go dark while I’m showing a part, and these farm families are just riveted sitting around on bales of hay listening to this story realizing that their children’s diseases that they’re treating and their own cancer is coming from the very chemicals they have to handle [crosstalk 00:30:56]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:56):
That’s unbelievable. Well you just said so much, and I’m just literally blown away and in awe because this is such an untold story that within the soil itself is the answer to the damage that we’ve done to the soil in ourself through the chemicals we used in our agricultural system. So glyphosate, RoundUp, like you said, is four billion, upward six billion pounds. It’s the most abundant agriculture chemical that’s been used in the world. It is used on 70% of crops. It’s abundant in things that we wouldn’t even think of. The top two sources of glyphosate in our diet are hummus, garbanzo beans and lentils, which you think of, “Oh, those are healthy. That’s a plant-based diet.” But unless they’re grown organically, it’s not just the GMO soybeans.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:44):
And it has vast effects on the soil, which I want you to get into, including alkylating all the minerals so plants get their minerals. It destroys the mycorrhiza fungi, which are this network of fungi in the soil that are necessary for the plants to extract the nutrients. It’s just so complex.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:00):
But what you’re saying is that when you looked at this ancient soil, you were able to extract compounds that then you can use to fix the damage that’s done to humans from the glyphosate, which is just mind blowing when you think about it. And [crosstalk 00:32:14]-

Zach Bush (00:32:13):
It’s mind blowing.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:14):
And I think when you’re talking about leaky gut and the gut permeability and tight junctions, this is really the foundation of functional medicine, which is looking at the gut and how the gut has lead to so many chronic illnesses. So when you look at the microbiome, it’s linked to everything from depression to cancer to heart disease to diabetes to obesity to Alzheimer’s to autism to ADD to you name it, autoimmune diseases, allergic disorders, and a lot of it has to do with leaky gut. And it’s not the only reason, but glyphosate clearly is a factor in driving this and so many broad reach implications for how we treat our cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:49):
And what’s so striking is that, and I’ve heard you talk about this, is that now there’s this change that happened around glyphosate where Monsanto was bought by Bayer, and now they’re trying to shut down glyphosate. They’re paying billions of dollars in settlements, and they’re putting in this new chemical, Liberty something I think you’ve talked about, that I think is actually maybe worse. So how do we then begin to shift the agricultural system to the one that actually gets rid of these chemicals, that actually helps to restore soil, that helps to solve some of these problems at the root, and actually deals with human health problems by fixing the soil?

Zach Bush (00:33:32):
Yeah. Beautiful. Yeah. I think to begin with, the mind blowing part. The reason we’re going to 60 million year old soil for our source is because again the more biodiversity you have in the bacteria and fungi in a soil system, the more diverse you have of these carbon molecules. And the importance of that is that in different pHs, in different osmoalities, in different changing environments throughout your own gut or throughout organism systems as they change, there’s different carbon molecules that are going to be more available, more bio-available, and more bio-functional at those different environments. So the more biodiverse you can get in that communication network, the more effective you’re going to be at wasting all of this together.

Zach Bush (00:34:09):
And the striking thing is just how little soil is left on the planet. We are now calculating that 97% of the world’s soils are severely depleted. It’s just jaw dropping how much damage we’ve done in such a short period of time with chemical agriculture as we scale that globally. And so it’s really a 50 year story of chemicals but interestingly it was over plowing that destroyed the soil infrastructure before the chemicals came.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:39):
Yeah. Right. Tilling.

Zach Bush (00:34:41):
The tilling is really damaging to the, you mentions mycorrhiza, which are totally bizarre structure. But the mycelium is the root system of the fungal world, and then in this bizarre quantum relationship with root fibrils, they inspire this totally new structure called the mycorrhiza to appear, and nobody understands what mycorrhiza. Nobody knows how mycorrhiza knows how to be mycorrhiza because it doesn’t exist as an anti if you have lots of mycelium around. It doesn’t exist if you have lots of plants around with root fibrils. You have to have the combination of the fungal world with the complex, multicellular plant world before you can get mycorrhiza to form. So it’s some bizarre exudate or hyper intelligence between these species systems that will create this new structure that interestingly is a biophotonic structure.

Zach Bush (00:35:33):
So what’s really happening when we talk about plants or soil or humans or corn is we’re talking about a biophotonic phenomenon where you have solar radiation coming in with all of its energy potential hitting the surface of the Earth and its plant life or microbial life within the soils, and then there’s an intelligent process in which that biophotonic energy is transmuted to ATP or in the plant, its different little things like chlorophyll and all of the phosphorous and plasmids that create energy within the plant. Biomutated event, biotransmuting, the biophotonic energy is sun into soil energy, and the soil energy is picked up by this interesting mix of microbiome between bacteria and fungi that’s then passed into this electrophotonic transfer mechanism of the mycorrhiza that then go into the root system of the plant, take that back into the plant, that will then go into an animal consumer, human or otherwise.

Zach Bush (00:36:37):
So that’s this beautiful complex system. Then you take RoundUp, and it functions as an antimicrobial at every level. So it’s been patented as an antibiotic. It’s been patented as an antifungal, antiparasite, and so it starts to come into this beautiful array of biophotonic transformation through all of these species interaction. It starts breaking the cycles. And so what we’ve achieved through a very short period of time is a soil that’s devoid of the nutrient and energy density, the little biophotonic energy that gets in the sun because it’s lost its workforce. And that workforce can no longer translate that information into something like a plant. And so we grow through petroleum inputs green plants that are devoid not only [crosstalk 00:37:17]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:16):
Nitrogen fertilizer.

Zach Bush (00:37:18):
Yeah, nitrogen, NPKs because nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. So the NPK fertilizer used to create green plants that grow fast and have high yield. But they’re lacking that intelligence of that whole system that we just described. And so not only are our soils depleted, they’ve lost the mechanisms by passing energy on through from sun to plant to human. And so this is why I believe we look like we do as a society right now where recent Medicaid screens are showing 52% of our children with a chronic disorder or disease by the time they’re 16. That’s compared to 1.2% in the 1960s right before we debuted these chemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:57):
Wait, wait, wait. You just said one in two kids have a chronic disease.

Zach Bush (00:38:01):
Chronic disorder or disease. So some we don’t call diseases but we call asthma or eczema or immune sensitivity to their food or the air they breath or whatnot. So about 50% of our [crosstalk 00:38:14]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:13):
That’s staggering. Staggering. One in two kids.

Zach Bush (00:38:16):
Yeah. And at first when you say that statistic, you’re like, “That can’t be right,” until you walk into an elementary school and take a look around the room and you can immediately see kids not only with eczema, you can see kids with full blown psoriasis in elementary school now. So the amount of gut disruption that you need to develop an autoimmune condition, psoriasis is devastating. Then you see this explosion of leukemia, lymphomas, and weird sarcomas in children that used to appear in 80 year olds are showing up in children under the age of two now. And so we’re showing this just decimation of biological youth or regenerative capacity within human biology in this most recent generation.

Zach Bush (00:38:58):
The scary thing is right now we’re looking at generation number two of RoundUp babies. In our rodent studies that we just reviewed for the EPA, the third generation is where the devastation really gets out of control. [crosstalk 00:39:12]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:11):
Yeah, I saw that.

Zach Bush (00:39:12):
… never seen that generation.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:13):
It’s epigenetics effects, which generation three. So if the grandmother gets exposed, the mother may or may not get sick, but the little grand rat gets sick.

Zach Bush (00:39:23):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:23):
They get kidney disease and cancer and all sorts of hormonal disruptions and endocrine things, which is kind of scary. And they’ve never been exposed. So it’s these transgenerational effects that actually have consequences in things that we can’t even imagine in our children. And I think that these dots are not getting connected. Why do you think there’s so much resistance to actually looking at the science around this because there seems to be ample science. I mean, the EPA has said it’s safe. Trump said to the makers of RoundUp, “Don’t worry. We got your back,” during these lawsuits. How do we break through and get people to really understand the impact of glyphosate as one of the most noxious compounds that’s ever been invented?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:40:06):
And by the way, it came from the same people that brought you Agent Orange, dioxin, PCBs, and DDT. So they’re in good company.

Zach Bush (00:40:13):
Yeah, they’ve been masters at toxins. They know their industry well. So they’re masters of their trade.

Zach Bush (00:40:20):
I think I’ve given up with the EPA. With this last cycle, just in November, me and a team, it’s nonprofit and scientists showed up and we just reviewed 96 scientific studies done in universities and private labs around the world over the last few years showing the extreme toxicity of RoundUp. And at the end of that, the director of the EPA panel that we were presenting to stood up and said, “Everything that you’ve just presented is irrelevant to us. We’re regulators, not scientists. You haven’t filled out any forms to suggest how this is relevant to us.” And furthermore, we were really hammering on this generational toxicity as the most scary piece of data out there, and she said, “And by the way, there’s a piece of legislation passed two and a half years ago that makes it illegal for the EPA to consider generational toxicity data. So your argument is irrelevant to us.” So that was the end of that. About an hour and a half of effort of science demonstration.

Zach Bush (00:41:20):
So at that moment, I was like, “Okay. Change cannot come through these regulatory environments. It’s never going to be fast enough, and there’s too much special interest mounted against change in this industry that drives billions and billions and billions of dollars.” It really pales in comparison to Monsanto sold for $66 billion, and that was pennies on the dollar because they had all this pint up court system taxation that they are bought with it. So Bayer just settled for $6 billion, which is only 10% of the purchase price of Monsanto, and now they own 85-90% of the seed industry for 70% of the land around us and everything else. So it’s just an insane amount of ownership that this German company now has over the world. And they’re the ones that of course put out Liberty Link, as you mentioned.

Zach Bush (00:42:06):
So Liberty Link is another GMO that was approved by European Union and US and Canadian regulators just a year before they made the move to buy Monsanto. So they got their own GMO approval, and now you can see the smart business decision. Like, “Okay. We want to get this new thing on the market, but Monsanto has the whole corner on the market. The only thing we can do to really move Liberty Link in in a meaningful way is to buy Monsanto. And yeah, they got a bad press, everybody hates Monsanto now. And yeah, they got all this 10,000 cases,” and now it’s over 30,000 cases in the court system that are trying to sue them for their cancer developed RoundUp. “What we’ll do is we can buy that up. We can then sell the hell out of RoundUp the next few years while the court system slog along, and then we can sweep in as the white knight perhaps.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:42:56):

Zach Bush (00:42:56):
“And savior, and say, ‘Oh, we’re taking glyphosate off the market. You’re a stupid American company, hid all this data from you that they knew was causing cancer. They’re just evil people, but we’re good people. We’re going to pull it off the market and we brought you Liberty Link.'” And Liberty Link unfortunately is already growing throughout the whole Midwest United States. It’s already very prevalent GMO crop, and scarily, it’s sprayed with a chemical that it’s genetically modified to handle, which instead of disrupting the glycine amino acid pathway that glyphosate does, it disrupts glucosephosphate and some of these other amino acids that are critical for human reproduction.

Zach Bush (00:43:36):
So the mix of having this residual of RoundUp in our systems for another 50 years combined with this new toxin getting integrated, we can really start to map out the extinction of humankind over the next few decades.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:43:49):
And then glyphosate lasts for up to 20 years in the soil, right?

Zach Bush (00:43:52):
Yeah, and they vary between six hours if you listen to Monsanto, and out to 50 years depending on which science you’re looking at.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:00):
I heard a scary fact that alkylates minerals. So it literally binds to minerals and it sticks on them like glue. And so you’re whole wheat, which has more minerals because it’s whole, has 40 times the glyphosate as white flour, which you think you’re doing something good for yourself, but you’re not.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:19):
So this is a lot of stuff that people have to think about, the connection between their health and the soil health and the chemicals we’re using and the need for a new form of agriculture and the broad implications for our society as a whole. But it seems like there is a place of hope right now happening as I see it. There’s this massive movement, and you’re part of it. Soil Health Academy, Rodale Institute. You’ve got policymakers starting to advocate for regenerative agriculture. The governor of Pennsylvania just put forth $22 million to help transform all the local farmers into regenerative agriculture who wanted to do it. So there’s really movement in this direction.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:00):
How do you see that getting out there in a meaningful way and being catalyzed? Because it’s still fringe, it’s still on the margins, but it seems like we’re in this almost tipping point moment. So how do you see things happening in the business world, in the science world, in the policy world that are moving us in this direction?

Zach Bush (00:45:22):
For me and my group, we’ve decided not to focus any attention or put any energy into conflict with the current status quo. We see the current status quo as self destructive. It’s a totally unsustainable model for agriculture. Same way for allopathic medicine, we have a completely sustainable model of disease care in this country that’s going to bankrupt the nation over the next few years. So we don’t need to fight against that. We don’t need to argue with them. My choice is to let them actually be on their happy way and make a few more trillion dollars in the journey of their demise. While we need to start to really engineer the new future that we all want. So we’re putting all of our energy into that new pathway rather than trying to be adversarial conflict with the status quo.

Zach Bush (00:46:10):
So in that journey, it takes a multifaceted approach. So everything from big philanthropic funds that we’re working with to channel energy and science towards understanding our relationship to viruses and the microbiomes so we can change the wasteful trillions of dollars that have been dumped into trying to kill a virus that’s not even alive to begin with. All of this kind of misinformation that’s shutting down global economies and everything else with this pandemic is just showing the lack of science.

Zach Bush (00:46:37):
So everything from kind of reeducating and confusing large capital into science that’s being done correctly to show that viruses are a critical part of human biology and their interaction is that of marrying the microbiome to the human biology and vice versa through genetic swapping that’s critical for not only biodiversity to occur but also adaptation within a species to occur.

Zach Bush (00:47:01):
So trafficking money through those philanthropic environments, and then we’re working on the organization of a big for-profit impact fund as well because we see the need to bring very large capital in. And there’s huge rationale for this. We have a $1.7 trillion American agricultural system that’s going to pivot over the next 20 years. We know it is because the old system is dying. Soils are dying so fast now, and anybody’s doing chemical farming in 10 years has a nonviable system.

Zach Bush (00:47:31):
So we just need to make sure that we’ve invested probably such that universal adoption of these practices when it becomes necessary is easy to do and quick to adopt. We can’t stand for an organic, slow, linear process of change. We need to catalyze true exponential rates of transformation, which is going to mean investing in land certainly so that we can help speed up the land management practiceships but also investment in Ag tech where we start to see innovations in hardware and software platforms to allow for a distributed distribution system, a distributed food system. We have too much of a centralized food system, and this is making us vulnerable in these times. So those are some of the broad strokes that we’re tackling.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:17):
That makes sense. You have to create the new and let the old just die out and show there’s a better way because we’ve had many, many, many people on the podcast who have talked about. It’s not just a noble idea that’s morally right or scientifically right but is economically the best choice. It’s the best choice for our health. It’s the best choice for reviving rural communities and helping and supporting farmers and providing a solution to the chronic disease epidemic that we see globally. So this is a win-win-win-win-win-win-win solution that does disrupt people. I mean, there are people who are going to be losers. I mean, there will be the big seed and Ag companies and chem companies and the banks that aren’t going to like who aren’t providing low loans to the farmers anymore to buy all those chemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:59):
I think we’re going to see some changes, but I do think that there’s a moment happening where there’s an increasing awareness of the need to change both how we grow food and what food we eat and actually make them both regenerative. I think that if we can reimagine healthcare to be regenerative healthcare and reimagine agriculture to be regenerative agriculture, understand how they’re related and how important and connected they are, then I think we have some hope.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:28):
So despite the fact that it is a really tough time, not just COVID-19 but just the amount of economic disparities, the social inequities, the amounts of disease, the struggles that people have and the destruction of our environment and climate. I do see this as a hopeful moment where there could be redemption through an embracing understanding of these principles, and essentially it’s what you’re basically saying is let’s learn from nature. Let’s adopt nature’s principles both in terms of how the body heals and how the Earth heals, and let’s just apply those concepts because it works.

Zach Bush (00:50:02):
Yeah. Yeah. So much so that we’ve decided that the intelligence of nature is the brand. You have to completely surrender the idea that as humans we’re going to somehow come up with some technological innovation to get us out of our scenario. The technology that we’ve developed as humans has taken us away from that intelligence of nature. So starting to surrender ourselves as physicians to realize that microbiology is teaching us something important, which is communications is the hard healing, and the biology is always striving for biodiversity and adaptation. And if we’re failing to support communication, biodiversity and adaptation in our microbiome or our human experience at any level, we’re going to undermine our state of thrive, our state of capacity for regeneration whether we’re humans, a soil system, or beyond.

Zach Bush (00:50:49):
So there’s some deep lessons in our socioeconomics, our sociopolitics around when does communication become the focus again instead of adversity or adversarial interactions. So there’s an opportunity here for us to really learn from nature to become co creators in our relationships as humans and as members of this spectacular nature that we were born into. So I hope that we are in that transformative moment. I think the pandemic has given us an opportunity.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:51:17):
Yeah. I feel like we’ve got a global timeout. That God’s given us a timeout. Go to our rooms, think about all the crap you’ve done to screw up the world, and come out when you’re ready to deal with it.

Zach Bush (00:51:29):
I like that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:51:29):
I feel like that’s what’s happening in this moment. And I just want to close by having you share a little bit about the work you doing at Farmer’s Footprint because it’s a really a profound thing. There are a lot of similar things around Kiss The Ground and the Rodale Institute, but everybody’s working towards the same goal, which is to bring light to these issues. And Farmer’s Footprint is a nonprofit coalition of farmers, educators, doctors, scientists, business leaders that are hoping to expose the harmful effects on humans and the environment of chemical farming and pesticide reliance and chemical agriculture and providing a new direction around regenerative agriculture practices that help build diversity and reverse climate change.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:12):
So tell us more about how this is being executed and what you actually are doing and just some hopeful stories that we can end with about this sort of reimagining of healthcare and reimagining of agriculture. Sort of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Zach Bush (00:52:28):
Yeah. I mean, the stories that come out of these farms are so exhilarating because what we get to see is that these families that finally decide because their back is against the ropes. They’re about to lose the family farm. They become so desperate that they’re willing to make a huge leap in faith towards this as like their last ditch effort to save the family farm. So they stop plowing for the first time in 1000 years that land. So they stop plowing, and then they stop spraying the chemicals or whatnot. So these are environments like Australia, the US, Europe, ancient history of farming, and the plow was invented in 900 AD. So we’ve been doing the wrong thing since the beginning of civilization, as we call Western civilization.

Zach Bush (00:53:11):
And to see these families transform in a single year their land to a point of verdant capacity that they are now growing crops that have no weed infestation at all because there is such vitality within their soil and plant life diversity in their multi-species cover crops and just this pure biophotonic potential within these plants are pressing out pest and weeds by their own vitality rather than having to be codependent on some sort of pharmaceutical approach to knock back it. It’s a huge beautiful lesson to us as humans is if we connect back into soil through a vibrant food system, we’re going to become so biophotonically active that we will press disease out of our cells and we will become a healthy and resilient people.

Zach Bush (00:53:56):
And really my greatest hope is for this third generation of RoundUp children, let’s not let them be the most diseased humans point in history. Let’s let them realize the potential for healing that will reverse out of that that epigenetic doom that we’ve set for them. Let them find a pathway into a new epigenetic hope through their reconnection to real food, real soils, and a real healthy soil water ecosystem of the planet.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:54:22):
So I see you getting to the farmers, and they are clearly in a pain point right now because their incomes are declining, their yields are going down, their farms are struggling, and they’re facing increasing climate instability and weather changes that are threatening their farms. And they’re desperate. And they’re in a moment of being ready to change. But how do you change doctors? How do you bring them into the mix? Because Farmer’s Footprint is also about bringing in doctors and people who are in a healthcare profession. So how do you help them understand this because they’re still pretty tied into the medical industrial complex and the pharmaceutical and surgical fields. And listen, there are places for that. You and I both know that thank God for modern medicine for so many reasons. But it isn’t a solution for chronic disease, and that’s what we’re trying to do is apply a model of care that was developed for acute illness to chronic illness and it’s failing.

Zach Bush (00:55:19):
Yeah. It’s a challenging journey for sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:23):
But I want to know because I’m trying to do it, and I’m like if you have any ideas, I want to know what they are.

Zach Bush (00:55:28):
That’s right. It’s certainly a challenge, but I think that in the end it’s interesting that the farmer and the physician have been trained by the same chemical companies. So we have been indoctrinated into the same pharmaceutical co-dependence and worldview whether we be farmer of physician. So that’s an important jump. So whatever your experiencing as a physician and feeling trapped in your paradigm, know the farmer is experiencing the same sense of failure to communicate, failure to connect the potential. And the solution for both farmer and physician is the same, which is new community.

Zach Bush (00:55:57):
So when we start to surround each other by like-minded intention for a new reality, our speed of innovation is dumbfounding. Imagine reapplying the trillions of dollars of medical education that’s gone into today’s modern medical doctor field, to rearrange that into a planet-centric, nature-centric philosophy, the innovations that we will come up with in regards to the way that we think about imaging or therapies or whatnot is going to radically shift. And we are smart, intentional human beings that can when in reorienting our north star, totally transform the industry of nearly overnight, and that’s what we see farmers doing for sure on the ground. And I really have seen in my own life.

Zach Bush (00:56:38):
Every time I surrender the sense of need for an antidepressant or an antibiotic or whatever the drug is that I’m reaching for, surrender the belief of the need of that and start to look for the root cause solution within my patient. How do I connect them back to nature so they find that vitality that they are naturally born with the capacity to realize, and that’s where we’re going to find that innovative spark. I can do it as an individual and make these tiny little progresses with my little team. But we’re much more excited to engage the entire world of farmer, physician and the like to generate a rate of change and a rate of innovation that’s only spoken to in paradigm shifts. So what happens [crosstalk 00:57:15]-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:18):
You get the light bulbs go off in the doctors. Can you get the light bulbs to go off in the doctors’ brains when you’re talking about this?

Zach Bush (00:57:21):
For sure. Because we’re all in it. When you’re on the front lines, you can see how ineffective it is. I don’t care if you’re in an ER, at an ICU, you can see how ineffective our system is. So the darkness is there. So turning on the light in the darkness is very powerful. I see this over and over again when I give a lecture around this stuff or do a podcast, by and large the two sentiments are, “Oh my gosh, my mind is blown,” and, “I already knew all of that.” So there’s this wonderful cross section of like, “Why didn’t those dots get put together before? And I already knew all of that stuff.” It should be intuitive whether you’re a consumer, a farmer, or a physician.

Zach Bush (00:57:58):
The reality of nature is obvious at every turning point of our experience. And ultimately if we look to our experiential knowledge instead of our book knowledge, we’re going to find out there’s a huge disconnect between those two, and what we’ve been experiencing in the hospitals and in our clinics and in the fields of our farms is not what they taught us in the chemical industry’s education little box. It’s perhaps not surprising that it’s the same chemical companies teaching the farmer that are teaching us as physicians. So we just have a very limited worldview that when we’re giving each other permission to blow that up, the amount of synergy, the amount of co creative innovations that we’re going to be capable of is going to be astounding.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:39):
That’s just so amazing, Zach. You’re laying out a vision of healthcare and agriculture and a future that while very depression at moments is actually very hopeful and connects the dots to things that really few people have connected. And I’m just so grateful for your work, and can’t wait to see what happens with the Farmer’s Footprint and your biotech company that’s bringing the ancient soil medicines to humanity. Listen, if we can figure out a solution for a leaky gut, boy, that is just tremendous because it’s a lot of work to heal a gut. And using these ancient soil microorganisms and the compounds they produce to solve some of these big crises in health we have now is just such a great vision.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:59:17):
So I’m on your team. I’m excited for what you’re doing. I think that more of us out there talking about this is going to make the change, and I do think we have to start bringing together healthcare and agriculture in maybe virtual conferences next because we can’t be in person. But we need to start to get farmers and doctors and agricultural scientists and human scientists together to really solve these issues because there is a solution. It’s not like, “Oh, shoot. We screwed everything up and there’s nothing we can do.” There’s actually a path forward, and it’s actually pretty hopeful. But you kind of have to look at what’s really gone on to understand we’re in this crisis moment.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:59:53):
In some moments I go, “Well, maybe we’re just not going to survive. Humanity might not survive the planet. It’ll be fine. It’ll recover.” I watched this David Attenborough nature movie one time, and there was this great show on Chernobyl. And it showed how all the humans left, and nature took over. And all the plants came back, and all the animals came back. It’s like, “Aren’t they all radioactive?” But somehow nature’s just so smart and thriving, and we just have to get out of the way. So I just appreciate your work, Zach.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:24):
For people who want to learn more, they can go to your website They can follow you on social media Zach Bush</strong MD, and check out I’d encourage you to watch the movie because it’s a really short little movie, but it explains a lot about regenerative agriculture, shows real farmers with real issues that have found solutions. And can learn more about ion biome at ion*

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:48):
So I love your work, Zach. Keep up the good work, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep this conversation going when you make more discoveries and tell the story in a more hopeful way. So if you love this podcast, please share it with your friends and family on social media. Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you. And please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

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