A Unique Look Between Old World and New World Medicine
This post was guest written by a gout sufferer that reached out to me via email regarding his experience with gout which explains his experiment and how he believes that bacteria in our gut may be the culprit. Very interesting theory that Barry Davis brings up and there may be some truth in this theory but more research needs to be done. Hopefully, some medical researchers read this post and take a closer look into gout and a possible connection with bacteria in our gut.
Enter Barry Davis
Now let me explain a little of my background, I’m an Australian, but I have worked in Central Asia and China for the last 20 years as a scientist, I’m actually a geologist. Currently I’m working and living in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a beautiful unique city at the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, and a easy city to live especially if you like snow sports.
I have had gout on and off since I was 40, I’m now 59, sometimes it hasn’t been a problem but about 5 years ago when I left China it became very bad, resulting in a whole rethink about myself and what I’m doing, and major changes in my diet and lifestyle, including no beer for 3 years, taking on Yoga and Tai Chi for exercise, and losing 10 kg. This has resulted in my liver re-building itself thus reducing the effects of gout, plus other lifestyle diseases have gone. Currently my cholesterol is down to 3.4,from 5, a normal level and blood pressure normal and libido is up. All my understanding of gout was self-taught until I came across Spiro’s website GoutandYou.com, which confirmed many things I was already practicing, and have adopted some changes suggested in Spiro’s cookbook.
The reality is when you actually live in 3rd world countries, there is no safety net, so you are forced to look carefully at yourself and take responsibility for your own body and health, there is no running to the doctor whenever you get an infection to get advice, BUT thank God there is the internet these days! What I’m actually trying to point out is that the successful health schemes in 1st world countries, like in Europe, US, Canada, Australia or NZ and some parts of Asia now, should take some blame for creating populations which are completely reliant on them and hence don’t take responsibility for their own health, “the doc will fix everything” attitude, they are been clogged up with ever increasing costs because of their own success, promoted of course by big business.
Also living in places like Kazakhstan you are exposed to many interesting natural remedies very cheaply at your local pharmacy, like ground milk-thistle seeds for $2 a packet, which I add to my home made muesli and its excellent for rebuilding the liver, and is the basis of most liver tonics. So all this is included in my lifestyle changes, as I learn more about preventive medicine.
In my work and travels I have travelled the whole Ancient Silk Road from the ancient Chinese capital at Xian, via Urumqi, Korla, around the Taklimakan Desert (Sea of Death) to the ancient trading city of Kasha. Then across the Tian Shan mountains, to the beautiful Lake Issyk Kul and Bishkek, then into the flat plains country of Central Asia and Russia to the ancient centres of civilization like the beautiful Samarkand in Uzbekistan, finally to Istanbul and Moscow.
I have seen some amazing diverse and beautiful places in the world, form the high altitude deserts of the Hindu Kush, and Kunlun Mountains, on the northern side of the Tibet Plateau, to the amazing beautiful Tian Shan mountains around Swan Lake in central Xinijang, to beautiful mud walled ancient cities, dating back 4,000 years, where the co-axial cable loops between the mud houses for satellite connection to the Internet, all over a 18 year period.
This has also exposed me to some amazing ancient people and their health practices, like how the Chinese have traditionally used blind people to practice acupuncture, because their finger tips are much more sensitive, it’s very effective from my personal experience, and traditional doctors who don’t charge any money, just a donation of food because of their Buddhist beliefs.
The whole health business in this part of the world is far more regionalised to local villages and traditional plants medicines, which the Chinese call TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and they still have whole hospitals practicing it, even in Russia the medical students are taught traditional medicine together with modern medicine.
In both Russia, the FSU and China there is still a balance in their medical approach, between modern and traditional methods, they are trying to bring the best of both approaches together, it’s the Ying and Yang approach, which we have lost in the West, since WW2, with the emergence of health as a multi billion-dollar industry.
During this time, I also had a 7.5-hectare farm in Australia, for 12 years where we raised 3 beautiful children, a winery actually, producing Merlot, Shiraz, and Sauvignon Blanc wine, fish, cattle, fruit, olives, and eggs all run on a permaculture approach, what a beautiful place to show children how nature actually works.
Now as a scientist I’m trained to look at evidence objectively and sitting in Kazakhstan allows you to do this, as you are not exposed to the “emotional media clap trap” which saturates the West. Now getting back to gout, I have been thinking about this for some time, and I have a strong suspicion that it’s caused by bacteria in our stomach or the lack of a particular bacteria that gout sufferers might have to break down protein.
Or maybe an increase of a particular bacteria which may be causing an increase of uric acid, somewhere there is an imbalance. Similar to how many Asian peoples get “red faced” when drinking alcohol, they are missing a particular bacteria which breaks down the alcohol; this is inherited, as European people tend to have this bacteria and don’t have this problem.
How does anyone know if there has been any research along these lines? As I have had stomach problems recently, cramps, gas, irregular stools, etc., which the doctors in Kazakhstan didn’t understand, but it was causing an increase in uric acid. Now I have had these in the past, and it is why I boil water before drinking here in Kazakhstan in case it’s giardia.
Now on a recent holiday to Turkey, I discussed this problem with a pharmacist in Antalya, who recommends 2 board spectrum antibiotics, which kill parasite bacteria in the stomach and intestines. . The antibiotics I used were Ornidazol (Biteral 500mg) and Metronidazol (Flagyl 500mg), nothing special, as they have been around a long time and are cheap; the 1-week course cost me only $10.
But the difference this has made to my life has been staggering, it has obviously fixed my stomach problems, but also has increased my energy levels, reduced uric acid to normal, and increased my libido significantly. Now I’m a lean, fit, strong 59-year-old, full of energy and I’m not a small person, as the photo shows, I still weigh around 95kg and I don’t go to any gym BUT I do stick to my daily yoga and Tai Chi exercises.
So this has confirmed to me at least, that uric acid levels are related to particular types of bacteria, which for various reason become happy inside us, and cause particular problems when we eat food, they particularly like, i.e. proteins. It may be worth putting this idea out there to other gout sufferers and see if there is any feed back on this idea, I may be wrong, but it may lead to another step in understanding and remedy this very strange disease which we have.
In conclusion I believe we have to get back to the a more balanced way of applying medicine to our daily lives, allowing it to be effective with little side effects, using the old and new, but most importantly it’s up to the individual person to take responsibility for their own body and health issues and start fixing them up, the knowledge is all available, my father used to say, “Nothing is difficult, if you know how”. Unfortunately, today’s modern health systems are not sustainable, governments around the world can’t just keep printing money to pay the bills, but that’s another story for another time.
Barry Davis BSc MAusIMM, MAIG