Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Evolution, Nutrition, and God: My Thoughts by Marion (Meg) Smart DVM, PhD

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Why would I link nutrition to Evolution and God? What I mean by God is not the secular view but a universal one. God is responsible only for evolution and sustainability of life on earth. Once accomplished; how we conduct our lives is up to us. All life from the simplest one cell organisms to complex mammals are linked by Evolution and God.
The article is written for you to think about the evolution of life over billions of years and how all life forms are linked intimately together. I do not give references for this theory on the evolution of life but through understanding and a political will we may help preserve and stabilize the health of our planet , thus our own survival.

 Watching the “Voyage of Continents” inspired me. In the beginning our planet, a molten sea of lava, with the beginnings of sea water and an atmosphere of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and methane toxic to any organisms requiring oxygen. Over time continents started to form when some of the lava came to the surface of these shallow oceans and solidified providing a nidus for the formation of iron fixing microorganisms to develop. These microorganisms   flourished in this environment eventually forming a more hospitable atmosphere of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The next step in the evolutionary ladder was the formation of soft bodied multicellular organism as life adapted to the changing environments. The organisms became more complex physiologically but the individual cell although specialized in function still contained important cellular and genetic materials from their past necessary for survival. Fast forward over a billion years of evolution to life on the planet in 2015, with each life form carrying with it this ancient innate code for survival.
Wikipedia’ definition of this ancient innate code is  linked to the immune system “The innate immune system, also known as the nonspecific immune system...The cells of the innate system recognize and respond to pathogens in a generic way, but, unlike the adaptive immune system (which is found only in vertebrates), it does not confer long-lasting or protective immunity to the host.  The Innate immune systems provide immediate defense against infection, and are found in all classes of plant and animal life. They include both humoral immunity components and cell-mediated immunity components.
The innate immune system is an evolutionary older defense strategy, and is the dominant immune system found in plants, fungi, insects, and primitive multi cellular organisms. The major functions of the vertebrate innate immune system include:
  • Recruiting immune cells to sites of infection, through the production of chemical factors, including specialized chemical mediators, called cytokines
  • Activation of the complement cascade to identify bacteria, activate cells, and promote clearance of antibody complexes or dead cells
  • The identification and removal of foreign substances present in organs, tissues, the blood and lymph, by specialised white blood cells
  • Activation of the adaptive immune system through a process known as antigen presentation
  • Acting as a physical and chemical barrier to infectious agents.”
My theory is that because of this ancient innate code, a complex system of communication has been established among the immune, the endocrine systems and the beneficial but vulnerable ( to yeast overgrowth , antibiotics) microorganisms that protect our internal and external exposed surfaces of our bodies. When all these work well the ultimate in health ensues.

What role does nutrition play? Nutrition is a significant trigger!  Good nutrition did not start with the advent of nutritional requirements and governmental food guides. That is likely when poor nutrition started. Overly processed foods, the use of artificial preservatives, and the use of chemicals generally recognized as safe are permitted so long as the food was balanced to a nutritional standard. The modern diet tends to focus on the nutrients present rather than the quality and completeness of the food. In processed foods any deficiencies are made up by the addition of single or multiple vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplements. The evolutionary diet consisted of whole foods that either brought with them the triggers or the precursor’s to activate this ancient code. 

Modern nutrition accepts that “if it looks like a tomato it must be a tomato” .Modern advances in food production are related to man’s intervention through the use of herbicides, insecticides, and genetic modification and chemically balanced fertilizers. The ancient innate code benefited all living organisms while the modern code benefits those selected life forms deemed by man to be useful. A conflict is created. 

 For over one billion years life relied on nutrients derived from carbon, nitrogen and oxygen to provide energy, protein, vitamins, minerals to sustain them Plants as they evolved relied on the soil to provide nutrients and the soil relied on the death of plants and the microorganisms responsible for decay to replenish the soil’s fertility and vitality. Only nature intervened not man.  The picture is much more complicated than this as many factors such as climate, the origin of the soils, the   amount of rain and atmospheric gases, and the changing seasons also were involved in types of animals and plants which would survive.

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