Here is the full transcript of nutritionist Tom Malterre’s TEDx Talk: Broccoli – the DNA whisperer at TEDxBellingham Conference. Tom Malterre is a functional medicine-trained nutritionist with over 10 years of clinical experience working with nutrient deficiencies, chemical exposures, and the gut microbiome, and is the writer of the book: The Elimination Diet.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Broccoli – the DNA whisperer by Tom Malterre at TEDxBellingham
So, I am a father of five beautiful children. And every night that I am telling them stories and they’re telling me stories, I have to say, my heart swells. And I get this ‘papa bear’ instinct where I want to wrap my arms around them and just keep them safe.
But I’m seeing in today’s day and age that’s becoming harder and harder. My primary job is to evaluate medical scientific literature, and instruct physicians on nutritional biochemistry. And what I’m seeing in that data is a little disconcerting.
Take air pollution for example. The medical journal, Lancet, just this month told us that air pollution is upgraded to a Grade 1 carcinogen. What does this mean? This means the particulate that’s coming up from fossil fuels, diesel exhaust, is getting into our cells, into our bodies, irritating our cells, changing their shape and behavior to make them cancerous. And all these reports we’re hearing from Beijing of this terrible air pollution that you’re hoping stays in China, doesn’t stay there.
NASA has been tracking a phenomenon called ‘the brown cloud.’ Those pollutants get up in the jet stream and within seven days time deposit themselves on the Western seaboard of the United States, on my children’s home.
If that’s not enough, look at some of the data on pesticides. There are hundreds of millions of pounds of these substances applied on planet Earth every single year. Some of these are known neurotoxins. And we’re seeing them in the umbilical cord blood of unborn children. As the levels of these chemicals go up, the IQ scores go down.
So, I literally leave my office some days, I’ll go outside, and I’ll look up at the sky and I’ll say, like “Oh my gosh, isn’t there somebody out there who can help us?” As if I’m half expecting Superman to swoop down and (blows) blow away all the air pollution and pesticides.
But thankfully, when I run back to my office and I get on the phone with world-renowned researchers, and I read thousands of papers, I see hope in desperation. I see we have superheroes right here, right now. And some of them are in your fridge. You might have even had them last night for dinner. It turns out that super broccoli can do amazing things.
And broccoli has a chemical in it called sulforaphane, and this chemical will get into each and every one of your cells, and whisper to your DNA. You see, the biohazards that come in through pollution will get into your cells and irritate them. And sulforaphane from broccoli will migrate in, seep into your cells, bind to a substance in your cells that releases a magical DNA-reading compound called Nrf2. This whispers to your DNA and it says, “Hey, you can do more. You can be more!” And next thing you know, you start producing antioxidant proteins that combat all these biohazards.