Troubling signs about the future of healthcare in this country show the urgent need to embrace regenerative health solutions.
A new analysis found that US life expectancy has dropped for the second year in a row, by about six months in 2021, after falling by two years in 2020. This has driven overall US life expectancy to 76.99 years, its lowest point in 25 years. This should spur a moment of reflection among policymakers and public health experts.
A report from the National Center for Health Statistics broke down the drop in life expectancy by state. New York saw the biggest drop, where life expectancy fell by three years; eight states and Washington, DC saw life expectancy drop by more than two years (New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico, and Arizona). Hawaii experienced the smallest drop at just 0.2 years.
Experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid overdose epidemic are the main drivers of this startling drop in life expectancy. These explanations aren’t wrong, but they obscure deeper truths about what is really going on here.
For starters, the government’s response to the pandemic cost hundreds of thousands of lives. In the early days, government health authorities ignored, censored, and attacked any treatment for COVID-19; all the focus was on self-isolating, masking, hand washing, and waiting for a vaccine to be developed. Some estimate that 85 percent of COVID deaths could have been prevented had early treatment with repurposed drugs combined with supplements been widely adopted.
But the real reason so many Americans died from COVID is that we are a profoundly sick nation. Half the population has at least one chronic condition, and almost a third have multiple chronic illnesses. There are many causes of the chronic disease epidemic:
- The way we grow our food means it is less nutritious than it once was, making us deficient in key nutrients and priming us to develop chronic diseases;
- Federal agencies like the EPA allow all sorts of toxic chemicals onto the market. We’re exposed to these toxins in the air, in our water, in consumer products, and in our food. The accumulation of these exposures is making us sick.
- Rather than treating the root cause of illness by addressing diet and lifestyle, mainstream medicine relies on pharmaceutical drugs which are expensive and often dangerous.
Which brings us to the opioid epidemic. This is a case study in how broken our health system is. We previously detailed the sordid history of how the FDA aided and abetted the maker of OxyContin in their reckless marketing of the drug to millions of Americans. This is emblematic of our crippling reliance on dangerous, expensive, and startlingly ineffective pharmaceutical drugs to solve our health issues rather than utilizing natural therapies that are far less expensive, safer, and more effective. Consider that more than 15 million people take prescription drugs for heartburn, but Nexium, one of the more popular medications, works for 1 in 25 people. And even for the small percentage of people for whom it works, Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors come with a host of nasty side effects like pneumonia, kidney disease, increased heart attack and dementia risk, and inhibiting energy production and detoxification. Does this look like a health system that works?
Importantly, all these trends, including the drop in life expectancy, disproportionately impact communities of color. This is unacceptable.
The status quo is clearly not working; in an age of incredible scientific advancement, our health is regressing. It’s time to embrace regenerative health for humans and the planet. This means reducing toxic inputs into our soil, water and air, and increasing the availability of nutrient-dense foods. We need healthy soil for healthy food, which means fewer chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Healthy food can support a regenerative approach to healthcare where diet, proper supplementation, and the avoidance of toxins and pollutants address key sources of our chronic disease epidemic. Until we make this transition, we will continue to pay more and more for healthcare that doesn’t optimize our health.