Ep.89: Fire in the Belly with Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby joins us today to discuss gut health and allergies. He started the first successful Food and Environmental Allergy Clinic in 1979. By 1990, the press were calling him “Britain’s Number One Allergy Detective”. Scott-Mumby has published several books in this field and been interviewed by the BBC and TV and radio stations worldwide, as a recognized expert in alternative health paradigms. Scott-Mumby has written 18 books and now writes and lectures internationally on the themes of energetic medicine and the new anti-ageing science.
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Robyn: Hey everyone. It’s Robyn Openshaw, and welcome back to Vibe. Today I want to introduce to you a guest who is coming to us from across the pond. It is one of my favorite things from working in the online space, that I can talk to amazing experts about things that you want to learn about from anywhere in the world. And today I have Dr Keith Scott Mumby. He does not want me to call him Dr Mumby. He wants me to call him Dr Keith.
He’s an MD from Manchester, United Kingdom. And he’s been around for a really long time. He’s been researching for decades. He has been publishing books for decades. He’s one of the big names out there; if you talk to anybody else who’s a wellness, health, nutrition author, we all know his name. In 1990, he was being called Britain’s number one allergy detective. And he has a lot to say about the meteoric rise in food sensitivities or allergies. Maybe we will get into what exactly the difference is.
So, 35 years of medical knowledge and clinical experience. He’s published 18 books. Welcome to the show Dr. Keith.
Dr. Mumby: Hello Robyn. Great to be here. And great to talk with you. And I should like to return the flattery by saying, I think you’re doing a fantastic job of educating folks as well.
Robyn: Well, we try. And that is our mission around here. It’s what keeps us going. It’s our fire in the belly. I know that’s something you talk a lot about, is fire in the belly. And I think that gut health is on so many people’s minds. I don’t feel like 30 years ago we had anywhere near the level of conversation about it or the level of gut disease. So will you talk a little about what you mean by fire in the belly?
Dr. Mumby: Well, it’s an inflammatory process, to sum it up quite simply. And this goes back a long time Robyn, it’s got a long history. You know, Hippocrates, whoever he was, we’re not really sure who Hippocrates was, but he said: “All disease starts in the gut.” And he was not wrong. And Phillipe Pinel, a French psychiatrist, a 150 years ago, he spotted that foods and the things that you ate were quite capable of disturbing other parts of the body, particularly mind and brain. So the idea in principle has been around a long time.
But, I think it took until about the mid 20th Century to realize it was a big phenomenon going on here. And pioneers in the movement, me and a few others – in the seventies and eighties, there were less than a dozen of us doing this as a full time career – we began to see quite astonishing changes just by modifying a person’s diet; to the point, Robyn, where I began to evolve a whole different view of nutrition.
Traditionally you’re taught, “Well it’s what you’re not getting, and you need to supplement,” you know, that’s the big deal in nutrition. I actually began to realize you can get far more case gained and recovery from what you don’t eat. So taking things out of your diet actually has a far more powerful effect then adding in things that are missing.
Of course, you need both, as you know. But if you have a milk allergy and migraines forever and you stopped drinking milk, and the migraine goes away, that’s a result. Whereas you can take endless supplements and not necessarily hit on anything that would help a migraine.
So, you know, that’s where we got to by the seventies and eighties. And then pretty soon we began to look at things like dysbiosis. A very famous paper by Orian Truss, published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry, he called it the missing diagnosis. You know, he realized that people had systemic dysbiosis, Candida in particular, and that was affecting them and messing them up. And then we got onto leaky gut. You probably know the stages of evolution. It all began to open up for us in the last 30 or 40 years. And it’s been a very exciting discovery. Because actually, it comes down to the fact you can heal almost anything by just changing what you’re doing with your gut. It’s marvelous.
Robyn: Do you think that just by removing the foods that you’re sensitive to, do you think your body can do the repair work and heal from it just by removing it? Because you know, there’s all these diets like AIP popping up, where you know, if the practitioner putting somebody on the autoimmune protocol, where they’re stripping out a bunch of the higher allergen foods, they don’t always explain to the patient that this diet is not necessarily your sustainable longevity improving diet for the long term. We are just removing these triggers in these things that are causing gut inflammation for a season while we heal.
Is removing it the actual key to healing it? Or do you have to do additional work? And also, when people get off the food, do they usually have to stay off of it for life? Like that’s a permanent allergy for them? Or can they come back to it after their gut heals?
Dr. Mumby: Oh my goodness. That’s a big question with lots of answers Robyn. I’ll do my best to be quick.
You’re absolutely right, that of course it’s paramount to tell a patient that this is a test diet. An elimination program is a trial. It’s a test. And even if you feel terrific and your arthritis goes away, wonderful, but we never say to the patient: “Stay on that diet.” It’s too restricting. We need to follow through and find out which foods were the trouble. You know if you give up 20 foods, and your asthma goes away or your eczema, that’s great. But you want to know surely which food? It won’t be all 20. So you reintroduce them one at a time. This is what we call challenge testing.
There are other ways of course, to get the information, you know, blood tests and things. But there’s nothing quite like asking your own body: “Do you like this food or not?” And if your body goes: “Yuck!” and gives you a shocking pain or you feel so tired, you have to lie down, that’s your body saying, “I don’t like this food.” So what happens is the long term exclusions are often quite limited, you know, one or two or three things that you’d be best to avoid long term.
But the kind of food allergy, or food intolerance phenomenon I’m talking about, isn’t the kind of severe kind. You know, where the person has to rush to the ER and if they have just another crumb of peanuts, they’ll be in big trouble. The way to think of it is more like settling it down to glowing embers. If you throw fuel on it, which means eating a lot more of the food, it’ll blaze up again. But if you just have the food once in a while, you don’t need to avoid it completely and strictly.
In fact, it’s a Scott-Mumby saying: “You know what you do wrong now and again isn’t really the problem. It’s what you do wrong on a daily basis that causes the trouble.” And yes, you do tend to recover tolerance of the food, you know, most of these kinds of reactions anyway. If you avoid milk, or whatever it might be that you want to avoid for a year or more, it’s worth testing it again. Try and introduce it to your diet and you’ll probably find it’s settled down, and that it’s okay. But of course if you go back to a quart of milk a day, that whole phenomenon will come back, and you’ll begin to react again.
So the important thing is not to push any one food, but of course that’s what we do, you know, in our diets. Wheat for example: people eat too much of wheat because it’s in bread, cakes, biscuits, pastas, pastries, cookies. It’s just about everywhere. So you have to be cautious of that kind of repetitious eating. That’s one of the important principles. In fact, the opposite of that is what we call a rotatory diversified diet. And that’s what nature had for us, Robyn.
You know, before we became farmers, we used to wander around in the forest and the fields. And we would just kind of eat what was growing. And it would come and go seasonally. So we always rotated our foods, and that wasn’t a problem. But now if you go to the supermarket today, you can have tomatoes every single day of the year, even though traditionally it’s been a seasonal food for us.
So it’s a big answer, it’s a long answer. But you know, if you understand the rules, it’s like a game you can win. But if you don’t know the rules, you get yourself into a mess. But once you understand the rules, you can play with foods, and you can bring them in and put them away and rotate them, or mix and match them in ways that suit you.
Oh yes, and that’s the one important principle I haven’t mentioned that I should have said. There are no standard set diet patterns for anybody. Everyone’s tolerances are different. We are unique genetic creatures. And you know what you can tolerate, and what’s good for your body might not suit somebody else.
So it’s very important that people work out what their body likes. And if your body loves to avoid meat, that’s great. And you know, that’s what you should do. Other people may have to avoid a certain vegetable family, for example, called the night shades: potatoes, peppers and eggplant, and things like that. It just depends on that person. “Everyone is different” is my unique message, and you’ve got to figure it out for yourself. What does your body like?
Robyn: I have heard you say that quote that you say gets often attributed to you. It reminds me of what my grandmother said. It makes me wonder if my grandmother got it from you, because you would have been contemporaries when she was going through metastatic cancer. She chose not to do chemotherapy and radiation. Instead she did the Gerson protocol, and totally cleaned up her lifestyle and didn’t eat any sugar or animal products.
She really got rid of all the toxicity and healed of cancer and lived another 20 something years even though she was told she’d be dead within a year. She used to say to me, and it stuck in my head even though I was in high school when she was going through her cancer treatment and now I’m a mother of four adult children, so there’s a lot of decades in there, but she said: “It’s not what you do once in awhile that will kill you. It’s what you do every day.”
Has your work been influenced by the, what is it called… The human microbiome project? I mean, this is pretty new stuff and it probably corroborates a lot of what you were saying decades before.
Dr. Mumby: Well, it certainly does. But it’s a whole new perspective, really. This has been an interesting evolution. Robyn, like I said, you know, 40 years ago we were using the word food allergy. We just meant, if you eat beef, you feel sick, or if you eat dairy you feel sick. It seemed as good a term as any.
Orthodox colleagues who play around with immunity, and that kind of allergy phenomena, got very uptight about this, and so we started calling it food intolerance. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, if it’s just something you can show the person should or shouldn’t eat. But what we’ve come to realize now is that a lot of this is based on micro genetics.
You know, the human microbiome was discovered, or unraveled as it were, a couple of decades ago. But the interesting thing is that no human being alive actually has that microbiome. We’ve all got little tweaks and variations that are called single nucleotide polymorphisms. I’m sorry for that horrible word, but we shorten it to snips, snps or snips.
What it means is there’s some tiny little genetic variation, you know, a flick in one of the small groupings of molecules in your DNA. It doesn’t mean you’ll grow two heads, but it might mean you can’t tolerate eggs or you can’t tolerate bananas, where as everybody else can.
So that seems to me the more fundamental explanation, that explains most of what’s going on. And that really leads back to what I’ve just said with the previous question, that everyone is different. We’re all unique. Nobody has the actual microbiome. So you’ve got to figure out what your particular body is tuned into and what it’s tuned out of. And that’s a most important journey. I think every human being should do that once in awhile. It’s well worth the trouble.
Robyn: So you’ve mentioned that you feel that our genetics, these snips, that make us unique from other people are what leads to reactivity to specific foods, maybe even foods most of us think of as healthy foods, that we’ve been taught are healthy foods.
Do you feel like our exposure to antibiotics… I have a hard time finding anybody who hasn’t been on an antibiotic in the last 20 years, and also our weird glutens and hybridized grains and Roundup they spray on our food and GMOs and all this chemical exposure – do you think that this is part of, too, why we are reactive to foods at really high rates these days?
Dr. Mumby: Oh, I think unquestionably. It’s an overload or a burden phenomenon. You know, that plus that plus that. It’s all just getting to be too much. Even before the GMO story came along. You know, we were having foods that were loaded with pesticides and pollutants and manufactured foods that’s officiated, meaning it’s weakened and loses all it’s nutritional work. And the kind of weird concoction that came to be normal eating in the sixties and seventies. I mean, not many people were questioning it at that time. But all of this is inflammatory to the bowel. It will set your bowel on fire. So with or without antibiotics, you’re going to run into this trouble pretty quickly.
If you add in the antibiotic story… as you know, taking antibiotics for your tonsils or a tooth abscess is not really the problem. The problem is that farmers, the agricultural business, are loading animals with antibiotics. These are getting into the food chain. And even if you’re eating plants, chickens can be fed, well, they are fed on something called Roxarsone, which has arsenic in it, that appears in the chicken feces. And also if the chickens have been fed on antibiotics, that gets into their feces, which are often used then as fertilizers for products that are claimed to be organic, but certainly wouldn’t be considered Vegetarian and Vegan foods. And are nevertheless contaminated.
So this whole contamination story is what I and a bunch of colleagues began to unravel in the seventies, and it just got worse and worse. And of course, instead of being corrected, it’s gone on to be 100 times as bad as it was. But realizing what is happening does help some people; you know, you have to try and source from uncontaminated sources. It is very difficult. I’ve got to say I’m very gloomy Robyn, about trying to eat organic. You know, you can have stuff that is certified organic, but what does that mean?
You know, Chinese power stations are releasing emissions that you can see now drifting across the Pacific. You can actually see it on satellite photographs. It’s called Brown Aerosol. And it’s landing not just on the American West, they are finding it as far inland as Payson, Arizona. There are birds and trees covered in junk and muck from Chinese power stations. It’s almost like a fingerprint thing, you know, they can tell which power stations. So every time it rains, all this stuff drops from the sky and onto your beautifully certified organic food. Where do we go with this?
You know, Eskimos (well, I should say the native populations in the far north), their mothers now are breastfeeding children, which is all good, we all approve, as you know, but the breast milk is just loaded with pesticides. It’s coming to them, it’s a planet wide phenomenon. The only way you can be truly organic, I think, is just grow all your crops in a greenhouse using hydroponics and that’s kind of tough going.
So like I say, I’m rather gloomy. I mean I’m not saying to your people that they shouldn’t try. You should! Anything that helps. A step in the right direction. If you can reduce the burden by 40 percent, that’s great. If you wouldn’t use by 80 percent, that’s better. But where do you run to? There’s nowhere to hide from what I call a blizzard of chemicals that we’re being subjected to. It’s everywhere on planet earth, the remotest lakes, the farthest north in Antartica. You can’t escape.
Robyn: Now we have newborns being born with over 200 carcinogenic chemicals in their umbilical cords. And that’s why. But I do want people to realize that buying organic is still the right thing to do. We are still sending a message to the marketplace that we want foods that didn’t get sprayed. And we can’t necessarily solve the chem trails problem, and the over spraying issues. But, you can massively reduce the amount of pesticide and herbicide in your blood in a matter of days just by changing to an organic diet. So I still want people to feel hopeful and like there’s a lot they can do.
Dr. Mumby: Well, yeah, maybe I was too gloomy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do anything. You should. Anything you can do to reduce this burden will statistically mean you’ve got a chance of living longer with less disease and so on. I totally approve.
Robyn: I think that you could probably connect the dots for us between inflammation and autoimmune disease. So many of our readers talk to us about their autoimmune diagnoses and gut health. Can you kind of put those together for us?
Dr. Mumby: Let’s start with the autoimmune. Because that was the very next big thing that surfaced after we were looking at food allergies. Like I said, we did call it allergy, meaning some kind of immune response. What happened, partly with bad diets and chemical pollutions, is our immune systems got messed up and muddled; and then along came, you know, mass vaccination, which is definitely dumping on the immune system.
And the immune system just doesn’t know how to handle this, so it begins to go a bit skewy. The immune system then starts attacking inappropriate things; well you know, it’s not particularly appropriate having an allergic or immune reaction to bananas, you know, it’s not a pathogen; or lettuce and all these other kinds of foods, so that’s not appropriate.
But it got even more out of hand when we began to immunologically attack our own tissues. And this is what the word autoimmune means. It means your body has decided it’s allergic to your joints, so you get inflammatory arthritis, or Eczema, asthma. And one of the most important issues (I better introduce this term) is Target Organs. The disease doesn’t matter so much what is attacking it, the disease is mostly characterized by what organ is affected. So if you’re allergic to milk and it attacks your lungs, you’re going to get asthma. If it attacks your skin, you’re likely to end up with Eczema. And colitis if it’s bowel, and so on.
And I mentioned migraine; I have a very outstanding memory of a migraine lady who had it horribly, every week for 63 years. I found that it was milk, and it was only milk. So after she stopped doing that, she had no more migraines. You’d think that she was real happy about that. But actually she wasn’t. She was in a fury. She was really angry that nobody had told her this for over 60 years, that it could be a simple food that was inflaming part of her body.
So yeah, auto immunity and this food intolerance reactivity go hand in hand. It’s worsened and it’s ranked up actually by the vaccination programs, which are disturbing and confusing the Immune system in a most bizarre way. I mean, there’s no question what’s happening. You know, there’s a direct parallel between the number of vaccines a child is subjected to and what we call atopic disease. That’s allergic disease. Eczema, Asthma, you know, those kind of inflammatory things. It’s directly in proportion. There’s no argument. It’s just being swept under the carpet. Of course we know about all that. That’s politics. We don’t want to start on that or we’ll be here all afternoon.
But the reaction is clearly documented, that if you interfere too much with the immune system, it goes haywire. It will attack you, or it will attack foods that are not really harming us, you know, they’re not pathogens. The immune system is supposed to attack pathogens. Well, it just so happens that the main area, the main battle field as it were, is in your guts.
Our skin does a good job of protecting us against outside forces. Even if pollen falls on your skin, you know, you’re not necessarily going to get hay fever, but if it goes into your body, you will. Well with foods, what we’re doing is taking large amounts.
Think about it. You know, we’re taking one or two pounds worth of food into our bodies every day. If just a tiny little smidge of pollen on the breeze can give you all those horrible hay fever symptoms, imagine what a couple of pounds of potential allergens can do. So that’s where most of the rumpus seems to take place, is in the gut. And that leads to my term “fire in the belly”, Robyn.
Inflammation is like a fire. For a start, it’s characterized by hot conditions. In fact, there are four main things that take place where inflammation is present. There’s pain. There’s swelling. There’s redness. And there’s heat. And if you actually hold somebody’s arthritic joint, you can feel it’s hotter to them than the rest of their body. So it is very much like a fire, and it will consume good tissues.
One of the core things about aging is that you will burn up your good tissues in a kind of imitation fire, as it were. And it’s very serious, and you need to quench inflammation in your body. No matter how, you’ve got to quiet it down because you will die very quickly if you can’t.
There are ways to do that, as I say, avoiding allergens and things like that is probably more valuable. But you should still take your Omega3’s and Curcumin and all these things. And plant antioxidants, especially the bright colored plants. We know all of these have powerful antioxidant properties which will quench inflammation. And it’s vital that people learn to do that for themselves, very important in looking after the body.
Robyn: Okay, so Omega 3 fatty acids, that would be your fish oil. I feel like there’s a lot of problems with sourcing of fish oil, for the vegans listening, we…
Dr. Mumby: Listen, there’s nothing wrong with flax oil pathways. Just one or two people, mostly north Europeans, don’t have the right genetic makeup to really fully process plant oils. Borage and Evening-Primrose, and Flaxseed. That’s what I take. I don’t use Krill oil. I just prefer the plant oil process, and it works for me. Again, everybody’s body is different, but I’m perfectly happy with cold pressed flax seed oil.
Robyn: Yeah, Krill oil is, I think, an improvement on the fish oil; we’ve so overfished some waterways in the world, and is causing a lot of ecological problems. But here at Green Smoothie Girl we make a sprouted flaxseed and also a sprouted Broccoli, Chia, Flax seed. And you can get in the habit of just putting a couple tablespoons in your green smoothie. We try to get you to always be making a quart of green smoothie a day. And putting that in it is an inflammation tamer for me. Every year I get my CRP, c-reactive protein, in a blood panel that you can get inexpensively, and I’m always below one.
Dr. Mumby: Great. Well done.
Robyn: Yep, and I think it has everything to do with the various things that we talk about here on the podcast.
Just so everybody knows, and I want Dr Mumby to pipe up with anything I’ve missed here, my ways are, you mentioned Curcumin, which is an extract of turmeric – I put the actual turmeric root in my green smoothie. I put ginger in there. I do lots of green smoothies. I do green and vegetable juicing. Let me think if there’s something I missed. I like the sprouted flax seed, or Broccoli, Chia, flaxseed. I don’t do the fish oils. I just don’t like some of the implications there, and some of the sourcing issues with the heavy metals from various waterways of the world.
But, what else have I missed? What other good inflammation tamers?
Dr. Mumby: I think that’s a pretty good way of describing it, you know you’re spot on Robyn. The only thing I’d add is to say, do take the trouble to work through, to take some serious approach or plan to figure out, good or bad foods for you. Because if you avoid foods that essentially are inflaming your body, whether you call it an allergy or an intolerance or a snip or a genetic disorder or whatever, it’s just that your body doesn’t like it.
You need to figure it out, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it. You know, just giving up something may not work. You may not see any results. This is from what a friend of mine, Dr Doris Rapp calls “The Eight Nails in the Shoe Track.” If you’ve got eight nails sticking up in the sole of your shoe, you’re going to limp; it hurts, right? And as she points out, if you pull one of the nails out, you’re still going to limp, even though it was a painful nail. You need to get all eight nails out.
And that’s where the elimination diet comes from. Anyway, there are lots of texts telling you how to do this and it’s well worth it; even a person already voluntarily restricting their intake, it’s still worth the time and trouble, it’s only a week or ten days at the most.
And going back to what we said at the beginning, a test diet is not a maintenance diet. So however tough the tests, and listen, the toughest test, is a fast, isn’t it? Just don’t eat at all for a few days. If all your ills and your woes clear up, than it clearly is a food, but it doesn’t mean all foods. You just reintroduce them one at a time, and see if you can figure it out which are the ones that actually caused the trouble. Most of the inflammation, in my experience, really comes from that.
The only other phenomenon that plays a strong part, I know you know about it, is leaky gut syndrome. Where things get into the bloodstream that shouldn’t be there, that are probably quite well tolerated in the gut. We do have some very strong barriers in the gut. 80 percent of our immune system is down there. And we can generally tolerate stuff in our gut. But if it leaks out into the blood, that’s when mayhem breaks out, and we call that leaky gut.
Well, you know, 30 years ago, Robyn, our model was that aging, you know, like wear and tear and inflammation, are gradually breaking down the lining of the gut so that it leaked. Well, we now know that’s completely not true.
The gut does leak, but it’s actually controlled electrically by the nervous system that’s in the gut. The so-called enteric nervous system, or the second brain in the gut. We might get a minute to talk about that. But that actually works like a nervous system. And it snaps the gaps in the gut, through which these things leak, it snaps them shut, like with a clack, you know, just like it’s a door. It’s a split second thing. Whack! And the door closes. So you know, it’s not a wear and tear phenomenon at all. It’s been a very, very interesting discovery there.
Robyn: Is that the biggest myth out there, in what you hear people talking about with all the talk, with a lot of practitioners and researchers, about gut health, is what leaky gut really is? Or are there others?
Dr. Mumby: Certainly, and even in well-educated and well-established holistic practitioners and healers and people that know the story. This has been very strange; it sort of sticks, you know, people cling to this, they love it. But in fact, it’s just a mistake. You know, it’s a nervous control mechanism using the gut nervous system, which as you know, is very big now, it’s very powerful. We’re even calling it the second brain.
But no; to answer your question, in one sense, the actual Number One myth about food and health is that it doesn’t matter that much. I can’t believe the number of doctors and practitioners who just won’t consider that what the person is eating is terribly, terribly important to health. It’s infuriating to me. It exasperates me. Doctors can actually teach a cancer patient: “No, it doesn’t matter what you eat. Forget it. Just take the chemo and that’s all that matters.” This degree of ignorance is terrible.
Anyway, of course, I’m speaking with a group who are in the know. But yes, your listeners and followers probably will be delighted to know there is actually a well-established mechanism for this. There is actually yet another hormone, Zonulin, that we know is involved in this process. And it’s no longer a sort of myth. Well myth is the wrong word…a legend, started by holistic practitioners.
It’s actually now mainstream science, Robyn, which I think is very encouraging actually. They’re still with Celiac disease, you know, they won’t look at it bit wider and see, well could tomatoes do that, could kale do that perhaps and other things? They will only look at gluten foods, but at least they’re getting there, which is good.
Robyn: Mainstream medicine seems to be 10 or 20 years behind what functional medicine; or biological medicine over there in Europe, whatever you want to call it, has been on top of for a long time. And so at least they’re recognizing multiple chemical sensitivities now. At least they’re recognizing celiac now, but there’s lots more that they are ignorant of and it’s, you know, because they’re not being trained in the medical schools. Medical schools are way behind, because they’re so busy chasing every single new little supposedly-forward progress in Pharmacopia, and surgery, and that keeps them very busy,
Dr. Mumby: That keeps them real busy so they don’t actually learn anything. *Laughter*. I don’t know why I’m laughing Robyn, as you know, it’s an appalling problem.
Robyn: It’s terrible.
Dr. Mumby: We’re taken over by a murderously incompetent medical system. And it’s not only bad and doesn’t do the job, but there’s increasing resistance to people being allowed to choose for themselves and do what they want personally. That’s the sinister part. Even if somebody wants to go and pop pills, that’s a freedom they should be allowed. But by the same token, we should be allowed the freedom to not vaccinate our children if we don’t accept the story.
Robyn: Yeah, and I think that you and I are coming at it from the angle that it needs to be addressed, which is educate the consumer, the patient, in what’s missing when they go to the doctor’s office. Because as they become more dissatisfied with their standard of care treatment in the doctor’s office where it’s all drugs all the time, then they demand other answers, and they become disillusioned and they go somewhere else, and they find practitioners who will dig into root cause.
And I think that’s a more effective strategy because then it’s market driven rather than, you know, beat the doctors over the head and say: “Why are you so focused on drugs and surgery? There’s more, there’s so much more.” As the consumer demands it, they are slowly responding to it.
Dr. Mumby: I made a conscious choice back in the late seventies, Robyn, because I was experimenting and getting these amazing results with changing people’s diets and stuff. And I made a conscious decision. I just couldn’t be bothered trying to get this across to doctors. They were so resistant. In fact, food allergies were called “Mumby jumbo” in my time, back in the eighties. They were all laughing up their sleeves.
But by the end of the nineties, not only had it become established, but Britain’s National Health Service is buying anti-allergy and food allergy medications from me. So I went from being a quack and being laughed at, to being a respectable source of therapy and treatments in medicine in less than 20 years. Now in medicine, that’s pretty lightning change. You probably know, it takes a long time to change the entrenched view in medicine.
Robyn: It does. And you were an early adopter and you were out there getting mocked. And thank you for doing that, and standing your ground, because now it really is making inroads.
So talk a little about the second brain. What’s the finding that we became aware of, where now so many practitioners are finally aware that there’s a second brain in our guts?
Dr. Mumby: Well, partly it rests on the tissue. I mean I did my anatomy way back when, I better not tell you, you wouldn’t believe how old I am. *Laughter*.
Anyway, early sixties, shall we say. And you could see these nerve plexuses in the gut system. But the realization that it was actually a separate, functioning neurological system, has been very slow coming. In fact, it’s only in about the last 15, 20 years at most.
There are some surprising aspects to this. For example, I think everybody pretty well has heard of Serotonin, you know the supposed happy hormone. It’s not that simple by any means, but most people would be stunned to realize that 95 percent of the body’s Serotonin is in the gut. It’s not in the brain.
And so, an interesting spin off from that, which is SSRI’s, which are given out for depression, and supposedly the person is short of Serotonin. The whole story leaks like a colander sieve. It’s nonsense, in fact. But that’s the kind of story they put together. But if I had one fact that most doctors don’t know, it’s that the SSRI, like Prozac and those kind of drugs, are actually anti-inflammatories. And in my view, that’s probably why they work. They quail inflammation in the gut where most of the Serotonin is stored and needed anyway. And it has almost nothing to do with the brain like psychiatrists think it does.
I’m used to sticking my neck out, and most times Robyn, I’ve been found to be correct in the end, even if it takes 10 or 20 years. But you know, watch this one, because that could ultimately turn out to be the ultimate pathway why. In other words, we don’t need SSRI’s, we just need jolly good anti-inflammatories to calm down an awful lot of suffering.
But it does work like a brain; there are more, or at least as many neurons anyway, a hundred trillion, I think it is, as there are in the spinal cord. You know, a neuron is a nerve cell that has a long lead running off that connects with other nerve cells. Well, there’s more of those in the gut than there is in the spine that are connected to the brain. So that tells you something; it tells you it’s a serious full-on immune system.
So there are really three parts now. We used to talk about the autonomic nervous system being the sympathetic and parasympathetic, but now we have to add the enteric system as well.
And science has suddenly got very interested in this. You know, there are hundreds of papers coming out every year looking at this aspect of health. And it’s shocking what’s being missed by orthodoxy. But for doctor’s like me, and pioneers, it’s been wonderful to see that it’s backing up what we found in some way intuitively. In some cases, we got the right answer for the wrong explanation, but it didn’t matter, the patient got well. That was all that mattered. And then 30 years later we come up with a better explanation? Well, that’s fine, I’m okay with that.
Robyn: Fascinating. So, second brain in our guts. How about the overuse of antibiotics? I mean 20 years ago you were probably out there saying: “Hey everyone, if you keep using antibiotics like this, we’re going to get these super bugs.” Well, now we have them. Now we have people getting MRSA in really alarmingly high rates and in hospitals. But, what should we do about it? What should the consumer know about this and do about it?
Dr. Mumby: Well, that’s a whole interview in itself in a way, Robyn. I mean, first of all, don’t take them unless it’s desperate. Now obviously, if the person has a pathogen which is proven to be sensitive to cephalosporin or a broad spectrum penicillin, and it’s pneumonia, and the patient is threatened with death, give them the antibiotics! Of course you would. What is troubling is the waste, and the useless, pointless intervention with antibiotics when it can’t do any good and it’s just going to cause problems.
For example, a sore throat: over 90 percent of sore throats are viral so you can take penicillin till the cows come home, it’s not going to influence it. All you’re going to do is set up a resistant immune population that are resistant to that particular substance.
So doctors are being told repeatedly to dial back on this, but I don’t see much sign of that. But the patient or the individual in society has control over their own body and their kids and family and saying: “Now look, we just don’t want to do that.” But there are many alternatives to antibiotics in the natural field. Essential oils, herbs and mushrooms, all kinds of things. I wrote a whole book about this actually Robyn, I don’t know if you came across that one. But it’s How to Survive in a World without Antibiotics.
Because one of my sayings now is: “The golden age of antibiotics is over.” It just about parallels my lifetime. I was one of the first kids in our village as a child in 1949 to have antibiotics. The first in the village. And then 60 years later, the game’s over almost, I mean, you can still get some mileage out of antibiotics, but as everyone knows, the rise of these resistant beasties is practically taking us back to where we were.
So it was kind of a 60 year window that I’ve called the golden age of antibiotics, and there’s been nothing like it in history. Just amazing.
But you know, what happened was that they were so effective Robyn, so quick and easy and cheap. I mean, within a couple of years, Penicillin was cheap. It was like gummies. There was no cost at all to save lives and heal people. What actually happened is that people got to believe in this. And I understand why. I know, I was in that era. It’s not a stupid mistake that you thought, well, “Fancy putting all your faith in these antibiotics.” They were wonderful. No question.
But what happened, as they began to lose their fire and their power and impetus, already people had long forgotten the old traditional remedies. And they do work. Some of them are actually extremely effective and free.
I’ll give you an example. A USDA, US Department of Agriculture study, tested a whole bunch of herbal type substances against Vancomycin. It’s a pretty powerful antibiotic, Vancomycin. Do you know what beat it? You won’t. So I’ll tell you. White tea.
White tea was more effective against pathogens than Vancomycin. So it really just needs a new mindset, where people are willing to go out there and look for possible alternatives that would work, that are not toxic in their own right. And there’s plenty of them. I assembled several hundred. And by the way it doesn’t just have to be substances, you know; blue light is quite sterilizing.
There’s a whole system that’s called phage viruses. These are the kind of viruses that prey on bacteria. So the medicine is to swallow a mouth full of phages, which will then go out and track down the streptococcus, and they will kill the strep but not attack the person. In fact, they’re very precise. The one that kills strep, won’t touch staphylococcus, or haemophilus, or any of those. They are very specific. So you have to test which phage is the one you want.
That’s been going for all of the 20th Century in Russia. They kept the torch alive, while the rest of the world just forgot about all those old traditional things that really, really do work.
So you know, don’t give up hope. It’s not scary. I mean it’s scary if you get a resistant bacteria, and you end up in Orthodox hands because they don’t know what to do. But I’m sure you’ve come across Frederick Klenner’s work, have you, Robyn? You know, the guy that infused massive doses of Vitamin C into people who were at death’s door with pneumonia and septicemia and things like that. When I say massive doses, I’m talking 100 grams, 200 grams, huge amounts – but they actually recovered. Vitamin C is quite remarkable. It works as a vitamin in the dose of about 100 milligrams, and yet if you take 100 grams, that’s 10,000 times the dose, it’s not toxic. So it’s really quite amazing.
Robyn: I am so glad to hear you say this, and endorse what people have known for thousands of years, but we sort of have lost it ever since, the Golden Age of antibiotics. My most watched video has had millions of views and tens of thousands of shares, and if you ask for it on the Vibe, by Robyn Openshaw, Facebook page we’ll link you to it.
It’s where I talk about how my daughter got very, very sick two summers ago, and so sick that I would have considered putting her on an antibiotic, even though, and I want to make this point, I’ve raised four children to adulthood without a single dose of antibiotics. And yes, I fed them better and I know a lot about keeping the immune system strong, but you know, they got sick here and there. I think they were less likely to get the serious stuff like I did when I was a kid. I was on antibiotics constantly as a child, which is partly why I’m so motivated to keep my children off of it.
But, in this video I say, “Here’s what the supplements are that I use, that are highly effective against viruses and bacterial infections,” and that’s the thing. Antibiotics don’t touch viruses, they only kill bacteria, and most of the time when a doctor prescribes an antibiotic, they’re throwing an antibiotic at a virus and it can’t even can’t even touch it. But these natural substances don’t devastate the microbiome. Would you back that up?
Dr. Mumby: Yes, absolutely. It’s the worst thing you can do. Antibiotics don’t choose: “Oh, these are the bad guys, I’ll kill those. And I’ll leave the good guys alone”. Antibiotics can’t use that thinking process, so they just attack everything. Good guys and bad guys.
Robyn: Well, you are a wealth of knowledge and I’m so glad we finally got together. I know we’ve been trying for months. I’d love for you to share with my listeners what a few of your favorite books are of your huge body of work, and tell everyone where they can learn more from you.
Dr. Mumby: Okay, well, a good starting place is my website: http://alternative-doctor.com/ and you can find pretty much anything via there. Some of the books have their own individual websites. But as I was talking about having a person figure out their own perfect diet, I’d like to suggest my book Diet Wise. It’s the best sort of self-help book on that particular thing. Because you know, I know all the rules of food allergy. If you’d like, I’ve got 40 years of experience in that. That will be a good one to start with.
We’ve been talking about “Fire in the Belly” of course, which is full of all sorts of fascinating information that hasn’t come up in this talk yet. And anyone that’s troubled in health and other values, that has any degree of mental health issues, even if it’s just not feeling good, depressed or something more extreme, then I bring out a new book, Robyn, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I’m going to send you a copy actually. The Real Secrets to Transforming Mental Health. It’s a sort of holistic psychiatry book, if you like. And my view is that almost nobody’s psychiatrically ill. They don’t need drugs, they don’t need all that stuff that gets pumped into them. They need someone to find out what’s physically wrong.
Because most people, it’s vitamin deficiency, it’s food allergy, it’s heavy metal poisoning, it’s hormonal imbalance, which every gal knows that’s important. These things need to be worked out and explored. And I’ve done a whole compendium on that. It doesn’t have its own website, I don’t believe, so you’d have to go via the website to find that book. But it’s a huge book. It’s 450 pages. I’ve got 16 pages of citations. So everything I said, because I knew it was going to be contentious, everything I’ve said is backed up by scientific references. Facts. Truth, in other words.
Robyn: Well, anything else that you want to share with my audience while we’re on the subject of the second brain, and guts, and antibiotics, and all the insults to gut health, and anything that you didn’t get to talk about?
Dr. Mumby: Well, I suppose; it’s kinda one of the funny, lighthearted things, but you know, the second brain is kind of in our language, isn’t it? You know, when you say, “I feel it in my gut” or “butterflies in the stomach”. Emotions are down there. We are actually thinking.
“I had a gut feeling” or “It sat like lead in my stomach”. All of these kind of things, it’s in our language. We are well aware of how powerful an effect this is and how much it affects our thinking. But I didn’t get a chance to say that. And I thought it was kind of important. That has been there hidden in the language all the time. But now the truth is out, and it’s marvelous to realize how much health and healing is available.
The only other thing to share is lots of love with you guys; you’re doing the right thing in taking care of yourself and taking care of those around you. This is the way it’s got to go. We cannot trust a chemicalized medical profession, or a ruthless and dishonest chemical profession, meaning the pharmaceutical industry.
A friend of mine was a dentist; he has passed unfortunately, but he came up with this very cute expression: “Farmerceutical” like in farming or agriculture, you know, f ,a, r, m, e, r , farmerceutical, on the grounds that they were kind of cultivating a sick people so that they could harvest us for profits. It’s a bit cynical, but I thought it was very funny, and very much to the point. You would suspect sometimes that we are being harvested, aren’t we? The only way to stay out of the clutches of these people, is take care of yourself. Knowledge is the key to that. Knowledge and self-knowledge. Good luck.
Robyn: Well that was a very interesting way to end, thinking about the farmerceutical. Let’s not be the farmed.
So thank you so much for your amazing work in the world, Dr Mumby. Keep on keeping on, and everybody go pick up his book if you’re concerned about gut health. And go through the elimination diet protocol so you can figure out what’s been bothering you.
Dr. Mumby: Thanks Robyn. It’s been nice to talk.