In an article from our friends at Medical Express, Giulia Menichetti, an associate research scientist at Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research was interviewed. I thought what he said was worth noting even though it was background information to his main topic. He was talking about his team starting a database for all nutrients and how complicated that would be. among the factors involved:
- The USDA tracks about 150 nutrients. They have estimated there are 20,000 to 30,000 different chemicals in our food. A daunting task.
- Using garlic as an example, they identified 5,676 existing scientific papers that might hold information about the chemical composition of raw garlic. They refined this list down to 299 chemicals. From the article: “They found 1,426 chemical measurements pertaining to garlic’s composition, including new information for 170 compounds that aren’t linked to garlic in current databases. Overall, garlic has more than 2,000 chemical compounds. Four hundred and eighty five of them have potential health effects, but their concentration in garlic remains unknown.”
- They further expound on how garlic interacts with red meat. This adds a whole new level of complexity.
- The knowledge of genetics is exploding. How chemicals we eat and other factors influence our genes is called epigenetics. This is another major level of complexity.
- “We want to map everything,” Menichetti says. “That’s the challenge. We want to have a high chemical understanding of what we are eating every day.”
How to deal with nutrient complexity
How can you sort out the incredibly complex science of nutrition and how it affects you. Here are some guidelines.
- Eat whole organic foods whenever possible. Adding man-made chemicals from processing can only complicate matters in a negative way.
- Eliminate as much as possible extra chemicals from the environment. Filter your drinking water. Don’t drink from plastic containers.
- Food allergy testing can help sort out epigenetic sources of inflammation for individual patients.
- Low grade chronic infections such as yeast infections or bad bacteria such as Clostridia, can generate chemicals that affect your health. Have a comprehensive stool analysis the regain gut heath.
- Eliminate processed food and increase greens, veggies and high grade protein sources.
There are answers to your chronic health problems. Functional Medicine can help provide those answers.