Jodie Bruning: Independent Researcher of Health, especially Children’s Wellbeing in New Zealand

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Jodie Bruning: Independent Researcher of Health, especially Children’s Wellbeing in New Zealand

Jodie is a Trustee for Physicians Scientists for Global Responsibility, an organisation that has been around for about 20 years.

Its focus is on independent science information in the public interest, and the public’s right to be independently informed on issues concerning both ecosystem and human health.

https://www.psgr.org.nz/about-us

Jodie also founded the organisation www.Rite-Demands.org to draw attention to the problems of inadequate chemical regulation, that currently is too outdated and too dependent on private industry produced science to protect public health.

However, she stresses that this interview is not on behalf of PSGR. This interview reflects her independent research on what is happening in NZ.

The challenges today are how to promote wellbeing in the population and protect NZ's future generations. Though at heart it is very simple – it is about good nutrition, clean food and water, and transparency and accountability in Government. But when you delve into it, it is very complex, because we deal with each issue separately – we put health issues in silos, but when people tip into one illness, they frequently tip into more.

The Data is Telling The data increasingly demonstrates that the nation’s health is being unduly affected by a combination of poor nutrition and toxicity that we are finding in the growing list of illnesses that we see in our population today. New Zealand doesn’t do much research to understand this, but this shouldn’t keep us from understanding the international science that indicates nutritional parameters are presently at very low levels.

These can cause disease and depressive symptoms, as well as chemical exposures in the general public, thus creating long-term damaging stress to our body biology, that also sets the stage for increasing even more disease.

The increases in population level illnesses are alarming. But, especially in children.

Comorbidity

Jodie wants everyone to know what the word ‘comorbidity’ means – because when you become ill - you frequently do not become ill with just one affliction.

For example, the science literature shows that people with irritable bowel or a functional disturbance of the intestines - that about 60% of people are likely to also suffer from depression as well.

Comorbidity is common. With obesity - there is a massive overlap with type 2 diabetes and depressive disorder - that is an issue and these have been increasing dramatically over just the last 5 years.

Then heart disease risk, cancer risk, osteoporosis can be added in etc. Yet, we do not see budgeting in the public sector to talk about this cumulative cost of comorbidity.

Overlapping illnesses with other illnesses

So if you are not taking in healthy food (chemical free, with appropriate, bio-available fibre), then down-stream, you may experience bowel issues - that is where we absorb nutrients.

We are now having issues with bone density or we have rheumatoid arthritis - or we can’t properly concentrate at school, and it’s affecting our IQ and our ability to learn, cope and have resilience. All of these may be impaired as well. But, what is shown is that you just don’t have eczema or Crohn’s disease and fatigue - what you are experiencing can be an overlap of many ailments.

Why is this Happening? The question that is being asked is why is this happening? Science tells us that we can have a genetic connection, but frequently a genetic disposition is a secondary factor, - it is the environment, the combination of dietary and inflammatory stress that tips us into disease that we are genetically predisposed to. (Of course some people will express clearly inherited traits in every generation.) This is why 50 to 80 years ago we did not have the huge numbers of problems that we have now.

Endocrinologists are noticing the problemsHormone mimicking chemicals harm us at parts per billion and parts per trillion, lower than the levels chemical regulators look at. So what are the endocrinologists saying - like Dr. Leo Trasande - he’s looking at the plastics in our diet - pesticides, air pollution, personal care products, household products and that they are adding up.

Dr Trasande said in the book ‘Sicker, Fatter, Poorer’ that the problems of hormone damage directly relate to the pressures from all these chemicals – ‘Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are the second greatest environmental challenge of our time.’ Second to Climate Change. This is how serious things are becoming.

Jodie, says we are affected from conception - a baby foetus inside its mother can be exposed to between 200 to 300 plus different chemicals.

A young child is worryingly more exposed. For example you give a toddler a glass of milk and then give an adult a glass of milk - the toddler will have 3 to 5 times the exposure of the adult because of the size of the drink to body weight - so when you do a urine test or a blood serum test for that toddler it has a far greater exposure rate with high urinary or blood germ concentrations.

This means that the toddler is being exposed to far more challenges than any adult – but there are no science resources in New Zealand to understand how this is harming our children.

This is not really being considered by regulators. - please listen

Just like a young mother putting on sunscreen to protect their child from the intensity of UV, yet the creams are now considered to have ingredients that are toxic as well.

Once NZ had an Independent Scientific Government Department - called the DSIR. Need for Independent Science Research Jodie sees the importance to not only have authorities check food for safety but also we critically need funding to protect and regenerate our soil health so that our crops and our animals are healthier and more resilient to pests.

The science is there. We need to inform and resource farmers via old fashioned but really effective extension services. Where once NZ had a very robust Government Department called the DSIR - the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, which had top quality research scientists who were free of any commercial interests and could check out and publish research on all aspects of nature - the food chain, and any other industrial purpose, having especially a deep focus on biology, but this has nearly all been lost.

This came about, when the 4th Labour Government found themselves selling off a large percentage of NZ's State Owned Enterprises, the Crown Jewels of Government - and the DSIR was off loaded as well. Thus we lost an independent body of scientists who at one level were also public health watch dogs.

Lack of Robust NZ Media.So the precautionary approach today has in many ways a very small voice - as the media, the Fourth Estate rarely puts out an article that for example, reflects who paid for the science, or what the ethical implications might be.

The importance of ‘basic’ science – science silos can’t address comorbidity

New Zealand pays people to do ‘applied’ ‘silo-like’ science – zero in on one little issues. But the important ‘basic’ science that can look across issues and see big problems is comparatively rare.

The importance of Epidemiologists Epidemiologists in NZ are so now very critical, as like Grant A Schofield, Boyd Swinburn and Alister Woodward - that we have very few areas in public health science where people are focusing on this multi-disciplinary problem - this comorbidity - that is not being looked at as either an economic problem or a ‘wellbeing' perspective.

NZ is not paying people to research this area - just like Jodie, she is a volunteer and not being paid. So we have a vacuum in this field and it is important for the NZ public to address this yawning horrible gap in public health and in our general awareness.

NZ Revolutionary ‘Wellbeing’ - Budget did not cover food or diet.

Boyd Swinburn in referring to the NZ’s Government’s ‘Revolutionary’ Wellbeing Budget’ said no mention was made of food or diet - so this is a huge dropout by both treasury and the health department - because we all have to eat 3 times a day.

Jul 2, 2019 - Boyd Swinburn: Drastic change in our food systems needed. Our future food systems must continue to add to our wellbeing.

In asking about who else is speaking out about health and wellbeing …she said there are a lot of science based experts in NZ talking on the need for healthy nutrition, diet and the importance of micronutrients - but they are not getting any traction in Government Policy – their idea of ‘treatment’ involves drugs, not nutrition.

So Jodie says we just have to look further up the command chain within Government. In particular if public servants are really making rules and policies that are consistent with the purpose or function or intention of the Act - that then actually gives them the power to make decisions and rules. Everything the Government (our elected servants) does should be in the public interest, and there is a wide body of administrative law supporting this.

NZ Health Act 1956

What is it under the Act that our Government Departments are working for? For example - Jodie is talking with young Mums with two year olds that are home - she says - go to your computer and Search - Legislation NZ Health Act 1956 and then search up the function of the Ministry in relationship to public health and this shows you in Section A … the Ministry shall have the function of improving, promoting and protecting public health’.

Note: ‘Protecting Public Health.’

Education for our children – connecting nutrition with biology

We do not have home economics of food science - that actually look at nutrition - as food science is slanted towards food technology.

So teenagers are taught to prepare food for the market - Let's produces something suitable that can be sold on the market – but they don’t understand how cabbage or broccoli work in the gut to prevent disease and reduce mental illness. Preferably organic.

They are not taught that magnesium comes from plant chlorophyll that many thousands of years ago, prior to starting to become an agricultural society we were eating so many dark green leafy plants - and now the food we eat today is being denuded of the magnesium that we need in our diet.

A Better Green Healthy Diet improves Wellbeing.Due to our present diet, our body physiology that requires magnesium is devoid of this important mineral. Children are lacking this element that is in need to give them deep quality sleep at night. Current diets don’t provide the broad variety bioavailable fibre that the microbiome needs (the intestines) i.e to feed beneficial bacteria and fungi - that not only assist for better sleep, but better skin, plus they might not be so irritable and actually doing better in school tests, too.

Education is Needed!Our education system should be teaching our kids that a good healthy gut synthesises hormones, as well as makes neurotransmitters. The population of New Zealand thinks that mental health is only in the brain. Mental health is directly connected to stress and trauma – but critically – nutrition and toxicity (and the ability of the microbiome to deal with that toxicity).

They may not be so 'jumping up and down' - they might also not be so sad …

Deficiency In Our DietAnother example Jodie mentions - If we look up the B vitamins - Vitamin D and Vitamin C and magnesium and you look up the symptoms of deficiency - then come from the other end - look at depression and anxiety and look at the somatic symptoms the physiological body symptoms of depression and anxiety - and if every young mother did this and connected the dots as to where these deficiency symptoms that we are seeing in mental health - that this is why it's so debilitating to our youth or in Jodie’s words it’s actually trashing our young people.

Obligations of the Ministry of HealthConsider the obligation of the Ministry of Health – that they should have the ‘function of improving, promoting and protecting public health.’ - and we are given prescriptions of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety - she says they have their place - but they do not heal. Add on the other drugs for the frequently comorbid conditions…

The Ministry has the ‘function of improving, promoting and protecting public health.’

We have to clean up our diet and clean up all food additives going all the way back through the food chain to our soil and water.

This interview covers so many points affecting our health - within our body - but also the soil and waterways of NZ.

It is important that you take the time to download this interview into your computer as it is only 20 megabytes and that is the equivalent of around 7 photographs. - Tim

Extra Data

This below is the 25th Australian dietary survey, It’s important as the North Island receives most of its wheat from Australia, these cereals have many different sprays of agrichemicals, so the mixture of chemicals (some of which probably cause cancer) on cereals is eye opening.

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/publications/Pages/25th-Australian-Total-Diet-Study.aspx

Recommended reading:

Sir Geoffrey Palmer & Andrew Butler’s critically important 2018 book ‘Towards Democratic Renewal’ draws attention to the problems of democracy in New Zealand, with recommendations moving forward. Members at PSGR’s annual AGM stressed members read ‘Towards Democratic Renewal’ (ISBN: 9781776561834). The content provides an assessment of problematic governance and the requirement for greater transparency and accountability within the public sector. This book is a great gift for the younger generation, it is useful for understanding the machinery of government, while providing a hopeful and logical pathway to a new era of governance-direction and human rights for New Zealand.

  • Professor Catherine Iorns’ insightful paper on New Zealand’s outdated environmental chemical (pesticides) regulation standards ‘Permitting Poison’ – draws attention to the complexity of biological systems and risk and how the precautionary principle should operate at a 'meta-level' in decision-making.
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  • Professor Jonathan Boston produced a 2017 book on governance titled ‘Safeguarding the Future’. He wrote ‘Part of the solution must be to embed a concern for the future within day-to-day policy-making frameworks & processes rather than treating it as an optional extra or expendable luxury.’
  • Max Rashbrooke’s positive 2018 book encouraging participatory democracy ‘Government for the Public Good’.

An extract from a 2014 paper:

JA Tainter & TG Taylor: Complexity, problem-solving, sustainability and resilience: ‘Increasing complexity, effective at first, seems inexorably to accumulate and to evolve to diminishing returns, undermining the ability to solve future problems’.

‘Complexity is a basic problem-solving tool. Confronted with problems, societies often respond by developing more complex technologies, establishing new institutions, adding more specialists or bureaucratic levels to an institution, increasing organization or regulation, or gathering and processing more information. While societies usually prefer not to bear the cost of complexity, problem-solving efforts are powerful complexity generators. All that is needed for the growth of complexity is a problem that requires it. Since problems continually arise, there is persistent pressure for complexity to increase’. P.169

In human societies that are hierarchical, the benefits of complexity often accrue at the top of a hierarchy, while the costs are paid at lower levels. Since benefits and costs do not connect, the cost of complexity often cannot constrain its growth. P.170

A diagram from Costanza 2017 Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?


This interview via a mobile phone - has sound challenges - however it is a must for all NZers concerned with both their own health and that of their family. Tim

 


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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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