Modernosis – The Worst Disease of All Time
Modernosis is a term you want to be familiar with but it’s probably one that you’ve never heard of. When we look at a word like modernosis, this O-S-I-S on the end means there is a condition or a state of. Essentially as it relates to modernosis, it’s a state of ill health related to the modern world around us. Why should you be concerned about this? Quite simply, the modern world around you is not going anywhere. If anything, it’s going to become more technologically advanced. This means that our modern society is going to continue to drift further away from the natural world of which we all used to be a part of, but which we have seemingly become disconnected from.
Another term that can be used for modernosis is Paleo-deficit disorder. When you look at the Paleo Deficit Disorder, it’s just what it sounds like it is. It’s a disorder that has arisen as a result of a deficit from not being in our normal Paleo environment and interacting through our normal Paleo habits.
What I want to share and emphasize and a couple of key points that really can help you understand how modernosis develops and further, how modernosis can lead into a chronic disease. At the end of the day, if you are not addressing modernosis, then you’re not taking steps towards improving your health. So let’s start by taking a look at the different ways we are affected.
Light and Dark are Backwards in a Modern World
What is the natural environment? The natural environment in part is light and dark. As a part of our modern world, we’ve taken a turn and flipped this backwards. That means that we are exposing ourselves to more artificial light like lighting in our homes and our work spaces. On the opposite side of that, we’ve also decreased the amount of dark time that we have. What we’re doing during the night is extending the day time by using artificial light. During the night time when it should be dark, we’re using light. During the day time we are inside and not getting natural exposure to daylight. The problem with this is that when we don’t get exposure to natural blue light outside from the sunlight, that’s not giving adequate stimulation to our brains for full activity. It’s not completely allowing for the function of our pineal gland. The pineal gland is important because it has a direct regulation on our sleep/wake cycles. If we’re not getting full sleep or if we’re not stimulating our brain as fully as it should be from exposure to blue light outside, or if we’re not getting our brain completely shut down and suppressed because we’re getting light input that’s inhibiting the activity of our pineal gland and not allowing for full melatonin secretion, then we’re not going to rest as adequately as we should. That’s important because it also means that you’re probably not going to be healing and recovering and just simply producing some of the natural healing hormones that you should through the night time hours. Sleep is obviously important. We know individuals that don’t have good sleep are more prone to not just being overweight, but they’re also more prone to chronic diseases, even cancer which is evidenced now.
Lose of Touch, Sight and Sound from the Natural World
The second way modernosis affects our health is that we don’t have as much touch and visual stimulation and sense stimulation from the natural world around us. Why is this important? When I was thinking of an example to give you, music came to mind. I’ll give you two extremes. When you think about heavy metal music, it is very intense. It’s very stimulating. It amps the body up, right? On the opposite side, if you have something like jazz or classical music that is very lulling and soothing to the body, it puts us in a more relaxed, calm state. The same thing is true of the natural world around us. Think about a bird or crickets chirping. Think about taking a walk on the beach and hearing the waves breaking or the wind rustling through trees. Those things are all very soothing and calming to our brains. If our brains are chronically stimulated over and over and we don’t give it downtime, that is just as damaging to our brain as not giving it any stimulation. We have to have a middle ground, being in contact and having calming activities, calming visual stimulation. These ultimately allow our moods to be more balanced.
I want you to think for a minute. Just picture in your mind a building, a picture of a city full of lights, full of activity and then picture a beautiful, scenic mountain area. Which of those two has a more calming and relaxing sensation to your body? For just about all of us, it’s going to be the scenic mountain view. That is having a direct input on balancing the excitatory and inhibitory activity of your nervous system. Again, if we are chronically stimulated, that’s degenerating our health and we don’t get into a relaxed, healing phase. We need down time and the visual and physical cues around use help establish that.
The Need for Microbes in a Modern World
The next thing I want to discuss and point 3 on the topic of modernosis is microbes. There is far more attention than there has been in the past. Microbes, or our probiotics, we well know now because of commercials on TV or ads that we see in various places promoting the benefits of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. One of the things that is less appreciated about these bacteria, especially the ones in the gastrointestinal tract, is that they are influenced by other microorganisms in our environment. For example, if you touch a tree or let’s say you’re a gardener and you touch soil, you’re coming into contact with different types of microorganisms. There are different organisms on the tree; there are different organisms in the ground. The more contact you can have with different plants, different vegetation, different soils in the natural world, the more exposure you have to different types of microorganisms.
We certainly recognize now that microorganism colonies are different in different parts of the body. What’s important about that is that they all further enhance diversity. The more diversity we have from the natural world around us and the more species of beneficial microbes that we come in contact with, the more impact that is going to have in the diversity in our gastrointestinal tract. At the end of the day, the gastrointestinal tract is where so much matters. Not to minimize the impact that the microbes on our skin have, but the microbes in our gastrointestinal we’ve come to recognize as extremely important.
If we’re working in a concrete jungle, if you will, that concrete jungle is not an environment that is an ideal habitat for microbes to function in. When I say microbes, I’m talking commensal microbes, not harmful or pathogenic organisms. These are organisms that support our natural health. We do things for them, especially when they are in our gastrointestinal tract, and then in turn, they provide benefits for us like production of vitamins. They also produce calming chemicals such as GABA that tune down our brain and takes the edge out of our emotions. Microbe exposure from the natural world is extremely important from the top to bottom, or stated differently, brain to gut.
You Need the Right Spark in Your Life to Avoid the Effects of Modernosis
Negatively charged ions are the fourth point to understand when battling the onset of this health-robbing condition. Lack of negatively charged ion is just another reason individuals are more prone to what I’ve termed modernosis. Negatively charged ions are something that we encounter relatively often and in abundance in our environment. What we find is that city environments that are away from the natural world tend to have a greater concentration of positive ions, sometimes called cations, which are not overly promoting of health. Negative ions, otherwise termed anions, are promoting of health. We find this in the natural world, from things like waterfalls or water crashing down, lifting those negative ions up into the air. They can also be found around thunderstorms. These are just two examples that increase the production of negative ions.
Some of the benefits that have been shown with negative ions are they tend to have a direct improvement on our mood, tending to put us in a more relaxed, calming disposition. They also tend to enhance our respiratory, or breathing, function. Last but not least, they are also going to have anti-bacterial properties. When we talk about inhibition of some of these organisms that are not promoting our overall health, negative ions can shift that in a positive direction. They inhibit the growth of organisms that don’t work for us but do not negatively affect the commensal bacteria that have a mutually beneficial relationship with us.
The Worst Offender and Fastest Accelerator of Modernosis
The last point here and one of the things that probably has the biggest push towards driving individuals into a condition of modernosis is our food supply. Our food supply is laden with processed foods and a lack of phytochemicals. From the old saying that food is medicine, food literally is medicine. I tend to tell my patients that food is not inert. Food is either working for you and promoting your health or is working against you and deteriorating and robbing your health. When we look at most foods that are part of the standard American diet, the standard American diet is laden with foods that have very low nutritional value, that are highly processed, that are going to be now genetically modified more so than ever, that are going to have a higher degree of allergen potential because of manipulation and are going to overly stimulate the immune system thereby driving the promotion of not only immune dysregulation and auto-immune conditions but almost every chronic disease that we tend to be concerned about: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer. The big scary diseases are now going to be in part, if not to a very large extent, the result of refined and processed foods.
The other part about this is the lack of phytochemicals. Phytochemical are also plant nutrients / chemicals that are healthy. When you process food, you strip phytochemicals out. Even more so, the animals that we consume, when they don’t get the nourishment that they need, they in turn don’t give us back that nourishment. These phytochemicals, for example, are going to be things that are mood-modulating, have anti-inflammatory benefits, have anti-carcinogenic effects and anti-bacterial effects. As you can see, the list is long in the benefits that we get from these foods. When we say food is medicine, food literally is medicine in every shape and form. So, it is either working for you or it is working against you. If you are not exposed to phytochemicals routinely, then you are slipping into modernosis.
Should You Really Be Concerned about Modernosis?
When we talk about modernosis, is modernosis real? Modernosis is absolutely real. If you’re not taking steps against modernosis, if you’re not doing things that at least acknowledge, that you live in a modern world and that modern world has detrimental effects to your health, if you don’t take steps to work against that, then you’re going to succumb to the effects of modernosis. Modernosis will lead to chronic disease. What your chronic disease ends up being is a result of your overall state of health environmental triggers and your genetics, but it will lead you there. This is not something that you have to succumb to. You can take action against modernosis by these 5 points:
- Moderating your light/dark. When it’s daylight, be outside. When it’s night, shut it down and go to sleep.
- Being out in nature, having calming input into the brain by listening, touching and seeing nature firsthand.
- Being in contact with microbes from the natural world that are going to be nourishing and commensal to our body and promote health.
- Coming into contact with negatively charged ions, even if you have to have a negative ion generator or a salt lamp at your home. Whatever it takes to get you more exposure to negative ions, you should do. Getting out in nature is a great way to do it. Plants by themselves increase negative ions.
- Eating a true Paleo diet. You can’t replace diet. Diet is either working for you or it’s working against you. Simply the choice is yours to make.
Take modernosis seriously because you’re going to end up facing it.