Body of Wonder Podcast

Episode #3 Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D. - Brain Health & Broad-Spectrum Micronutrients

What happens when your body isn't absorbing the nutrients it needs from your daily food intake? What about long-term depletion?

Access to a diverse variety of food products has never been easier for many households. With so much variety at our fingertips how is it possible that we are lower in necessary vitamins and minerals and missing nutrient-dense foods in our diet?

Today we talk with researcher, Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D. about what she calls "nutrition above the neck" or brain health. Bonnie has been at the forefront of nutritional research for decades. Her studies have focused on brain development, ADHD, and behavioral disorders in adolescences. She shares what years of research is telling us about the impact of broad-spectrum nutrients on brain health.

Body of Wonder is hosted by Dr. Victoria Maizes and Dr. Weil and produced by the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Learn more about this and other topics by going to Connect with us on Twitter: @BodyofWonder, Instagram: BodyofWonderPodcast, or Facebook/BodyofWonder

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.


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Guest Bio

Bonnie Kaplan , PhD

Bonnie J Kaplan, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She has published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health ? particularly, the contribution of nutrition to mental health. Her efforts to include nutrition knowledge in the care of people with mental health challenges has earned her a variety of awards, including the Dr. Rogers Prize in September 2019; selection in 2017 as one of 150 Canadian Difference Makers in Mental Health, in honour of Canada?s 150th birthday. In 2021 she was chosen as one of the top ?7 Over 70? in Calgary, partly for her book The Better Brain, written with Professor Julia Rucklidge and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (now Harper Collins), as well as her two charitable funds supporting research by junior colleagues who study nutrition and mental health (over $1 million CAD). Her primary goal is to influence the way mental health treatment is delivered.

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Brain Health & Broad-Spectrum Micronutrients with Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D

Victoria: Hi, Andy. 

Dr. Weil: Hi, Victoria. 

Victoria: I am thrilled that we're going to be having Bonnie Kaplan to speak with us today about nutrition and brain health. 

Dr. Weil: She's come all the way from Calgary in the far North to talk to us.

Victoria: Yes. And she's really one of the favorite, speakers to our fellows and our medical students and residents in our, Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine training programs. So, I'm delighted that we get to bring her to this more general audience. 

Dr. Weil: I think her work on the relationship between micronutrients and mental health is, is just wonderful and that's something that more people need to know about, 

Victoria: Especially since so many people are struggling with mental health issues these days 

Dr. Weil: And our conventional methods, or so, ineffective as well as productive of harm.

Victoria: So I know you've written, several books on, the vast array of things one can do to improve mental health, but today we'll really be focused on nutrition and also on micronutrients, which are minerals and vitamins that you could take as supplements. 

Dr. Weil: And I think we'll hear Bonnie say that micronutrient deficiency is widespread in our population 

Victoria: And fixable.

Dr. Weil: And fixable.




Victoria: Hello. It is my pleasure to introduce our guests today, Dr. Bonnie Kaplan. She is a professor emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and she has published really widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health, especially the contribution of nutrition to brain development. and brain function. I think we have to acknowledge that Bonnie just won a major prize, the Dr. Rogers prize for excellence in complementary and alternative medicine. Welcome, Bonnie. 

Bonnie: Thank you.


Victoria: Bonnie, we're so delighted that you have been teaching our fellows and our nurses and medical students and residents for a long time, but I don't know if I've ever asked you what first drew you to this interest in nutrition and mental health.

Bonnie: That's actually a little hard for me to answer. I can tell you that when I was in training getting a PhD in experimental psychology, I knew that I didn't want to be a clinician and I was interested in experimental and everything that I did seem to take me toward biochemistry. So, if I had to write a paper about learning and memory, I wrote it on the biochemical basis of learning and memory.

And so I knew that I was physiologically oriented. And biochemistry leads you to the role of nutrients in the brain. So from an early time, I knew the importance of minerals and vitamins in brain metabolism. And from there I did a postdoc in neurophysiology and thought that's not very interesting to go back and do research with human beings. And that led me back into nutrition again. 

Victoria: And you're passionate about the importance of nutrition for brain health and also really deeply concerned about the way a lot of us are depleted. How'd you get there? 

Bonnie: Well, first of all, the passion is seeing lives transformed. You know, I, there was a time when I thought that minerals and vitamins could have just, well, they're not very sexy talking about minerals and vitamins, right? They're just not, they're never trendy. They're so foundational, so fundamental. And there was a time when I thought, oh, they could have minimal effect on mental health, but in the right formulations combined together in a broad spectrum, you can transform a human being.

And I've seen it time and time again, not every one of them, cause there's no magic out there, you know? But when you see lives transformed, you think, well, why. Aren't people paying attention to this? We have a huge problem with mental health. 

Bonnie: Where my research really has shown transformative effects and, with broad spectrum and fast, sometimes in 24 hours is with explosive, what have you want to call it…explosive rage, the real emotional dysregulation. And that's what the Maddie trial that is being run out of Oregon Health Sciences right now is focusing on that in ADHD children. 

 And I'm not talking about an occasional temper tantrum, but the kids who have meltdowns day after day, multiple times a day, and when they're given a broad-spectrum formula, very often when they get up to therapeutic levels, it, they simply stop in a day, two days because it's a very dynamic process. It's not like I kind of picture omega 3’s getting in there and building cell walls, which is very important and very structural and also being relevant to mitochondrial function and so forth. But these minerals and vitamins are taken up right away and they're used in metabolic status 

Dr. Weil: That’s really fast.

Victoria: I seem to remember you telling a story about, a young boy who was. Just dramatically helped. And I'm wondering if you could briefly tell that story. 

Bonnie: Sure. I'll tell you about a story, about a child. A man who, my husband and I knew, but only casually came to our home to drop off some papers for something unrelated to our work or anything, on, on nutrition.

And, he looks a little tired. I think you want to come in for a cup of coffee. And we're sitting around talking and I said, you look kind of, I mean, he really looked ragged, stressing out, and I said, what's going on and do you want to share? And he told us the story of his six-year-old son who was a darling little boy and doing so well in school, and everybody loved him, and the teacher said he was so sweet, but he would come home and have meltdown after meltdown. Now, what kind of setup is that? That's a setup for thinking. Oh, parenting skills. Right? So these responsible parents went through parenting classes, child management, family therapy, you name it. Nothing was helping. 

And just as an aside, I think that this is characteristics we know it's characteristic of tics and Tourette's and so forth. They can kind of hold it in when they're in school and they come home and the parents, you know, they're in a safe place and they let it out. Anyway, his life was hell.

It was really very, very stressful. And they didn't know what to do anymore. So, I told him about my research, which he didn't, wouldn't have known about, and I said, this is the kind of child where I really think we can have an impact very quickly. Would you be interested? We have safety and toxicity data.

And by the way, you're not in a study and there are no consent forms, you know. Telling you what the research is, and of course, he wanted to try them on his son. One problem. He couldn't swallow pills, he'd never swallow pills. So I said, well, I have a training video on the internet, but that takes a couple of weeks or more.

So in the meantime here's what I would do. Go to a health food store and get a liquid mineral formula because we think the minerals are, I don't want, I don't ever want to say that minerals are more important than vitamins. They aren't, but we think they are very important and very deficient in our soil and in our diet.

And so just give a liquid mineral formula and I'll give you only one guideline. Go with whatever, brand I don't know the brands I there, none of them are studied, so I can't recommend any go with one where you can get a very small bottle so you're not wasting your money if you have no effect. This was an October of 2017 two years and two months ago, and he said, he's a data guy. He said, “I'll set up a spreadsheet. I'll keep track. How many meltdowns.” Well, they started him on the, on the minerals, and he hasn't had a meltdown in two years and two months. I'm not surprised at all the next morning and it wasn't instantaneous. One of the things they reported, I hear it from parents a lot. They could see him kind of working up to it and then he would get control and now he just doesn't have them. And as quickly as I could, I got him onto vitamins and minerals because I believe we should have all of them. 

Victoria: That's a wonderful story, Bonnie. 

Dr. Weil: Bonnie, let me ask you, how widespread do you think, micronutrient deficiency is in the North American population?

Bonnie: Well, we have some data on that, and it's certainly over 70% and you see if someone's deficient in one micronutrient, and by the way, we'll use micronutrients mostly to refer to minerals and vitamins, not like Omega three fatty acids, et cetera. But no one is ever deficient in only one, they, because they're correlated, they go together and food. 

Bonnie: The latest research from the United States from 2012 the N. Hain survey shows that about 62% of the food intake of Americans is from ultra-processed food. Now, you probably know, and many of your listeners know the different levels of processing. Sometimes, like the world health organization I think uses three.

Some researchers use four. At the top is the best, and that's whole foods, that's what we want people to eat. And then there is slightly processed and then maybe a little more process. But once you get down to ultra-processed. There are just no nutrients there. And so I'm going to give you a slightly long answer to this because I want to tie it back to some research from the 1950s. If 62% roughly of the nutrient intake, it's probably higher now since 2012 of the nutrient intake is gone from the, the diets of Americans then it's beginning to look like the starvation experiments from the University of Minnesota where they showed that 50% drop in nutrient and caloric intake for six months caused depression, anxiety, and ADHD. So what are we doing as a society if we're really not getting the nutrients in the food supply? 

Dr. Weil: See this correlating with affluence in society? Is it lopsided in the poor population? 

Bonnie: It's certainly a, there's always an SES, variable that is relevant.

 Victoria: An “SES”?

Bonnie: A socioeconomic status variable, which is relevant, but you know, it, it's not a perfect correlation. There are people who have lots of money who think food comes in packages. 

Dr. Weil: Yeah. 

Victoria: Andy, would you say something about your concern about ultra-processed food? Cause I know, often when people wrestle with all of the different diets out there, you give some very particular recommendations. 

Dr. Weil: Well, you know, I am a proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet that I developed and I constantly tell people that the first rule of that is to avoid refined, processed, and manufactured food and to eat foods as close to the way nature produces them as possible. So simple rule.

Victoria: Wonderful. Do you think that you can get all of the micronutrients you need, all the minerals and vitamins from eating that healthy anti-inflammatory diet.

Dr. Weil: Well if you eat a variety of good quality, fruits and vegetables and other foods, and if those foods have the balance of micronutrients that nature provides.

Victoria: And the soil's healthy. 

Dr. Weil: Well, that's, yes, exactly. 

Bonnie: Yeah. May I add one more qualifier?

 Victoria: Yes. 

Bonnie: And if you are not in a family with an inherited predisposition to need more micronutrients than other people. We have roughly 50 examples of this in physical health, but no one has studied it yet in mental health. Maybe someone listening will examples they were put together in an article by Bruce Aims in 2002. 

In every one of those cases of inborn errors of metabolism, people needed an unusually large amount of vitamins. They weren't even looking at minerals for certain metabolic steps to happen. And just by feeding those people, vitamins at the end point, you're able to totally control the symptoms. Someone's got to look at mental health in the same way because probably it's true there too. 

Victoria: Well, I'm hopeful that as the field of nutrigenomics develop, we will be able to more easily identify the people who are outliers, who on one hand, maybe whatever they eat, they live a long, healthy life. And on the other hand, people who desperately need supplementation. 

Dr. Weil: I think it was Bruce Aimes who said that one of the most effective public health strategies that we could do is to supply school children free of charge with a multi nutrient supplement. 

Bonnie: That's right. He wrote about that quite a bit. 

Victoria: One thing I have to say here, we are taping this in Tucson, Arizona, is I'm proud that the state of Arizona actually does provide free multi nutrients to all women of childbearing age. There is a website it's “AZtome” and it's a way for anyone, any woman of childbearing age, which is an especially important time to supplement.

Bonnie: Very much. True. Yeah. 

Dr. Weil: Bonnie, I have a question. I encounter more and more these days and anti-supplement bias. On the part of physicians, the general public. I recently gave a talk on supplements to an audience that had a lot of Europeans in it, and a number of the Europeans said that, you know, we don't use supplements and, you know, we're told that you can get everything you need from food [there have been more and more articles coming out and the medical press and in the popular press saying that supplements are dangerous. But they're more likely to do harm than good. And then there's a contingent of people who are very vocal in saying that we have to get everything we need from food, and that it's a mistake to take supplements. I wonder how you respond to that and how you feel about that. 

Bonnie: Well, I totally agree with you that it's best to get it all from food because mother nature knows how to package it, and if the soil is of good quality, you get not only the roughly 30 vitamins and minerals, but you get what, 1,000 or 2,000 phytonutrients, most of which haven't been named, defined, studied, et cetera.

Food first. Absolutely. But, if you live in North America where 97% or more of our food is grown with glyphosate, Roundup, which sequesters minerals and make them less accessible to our consumption. The European so far. You know, and unless the Brits change things, they're saying they might, they don't permit glyphosate on their land.

I don't think you can be sure that you will in fact, be able to get all the nutrients we need. In Canada. I have some data, I think I presented it at the last conference. I can't recall a distribution of 40 soil samples right. I was appalled because that was across 30% of the Canadian arable land, the four Western provinces, and all I did was, chart them the way we do blood tests, you know, who was kind of at the minimal level and, and with all of the nutrients, all, all of the minerals that should have been in the soil, not a single one.

Magnesium came close in like 30 out of 40 of the samples. It was almost okay. But the other minerals were not. So we have a problem. 


Victoria:  Andy, one of the things that. I've heard you say many times, and sometimes in the context when studies come out negative, is that it's really the synergism of this complexity of vitamins and minerals. And that when someone studies one vitamin or one mineral says it doesn't work on some level, you're not surprised. 

Dr. Weil: Well, I have often talked about and written about the difference between the complex productions of nature and the reductionistic use of single compounds. You know, you look at something like vitamin E, there are eight isomers that are produced in nature, and often only one of them is in supplement form, and only one of them has been studied.

Same saying with the carotenoids. No, there was a time when I told people who were smokers to take beta carotene to reduce risk of lung cancer. It turns out that increases risk of lung cancer, although we know that fruits and vegetables containing an array of carotenoids is cancer protective. So, I think that's a general principle is that, and this is one reason that supplements are not substitutes for the whole foods that contain them because at best, they're partial representations of these complexes that nature produces. 

Bonnie: That's a brilliant comment. And I’ll just say the same thing from the research perspective. We who are trained in the scientific method of our generations and who go onto NIH review boards, are so directed toward the idea that you change one independent variable at a time, that every single proposal, even by very experienced clinical trial is to study a broad-spectrum approach has been rejected. One was sent back specifically saying, we love the team. We love the proposal. This is very competent. Absolutely. Would you please resubmit it with one nutrient? I mean, they don't get the idea of how biology works.

Victoria: I think we have a problem too. I want our listeners to get some practical recommendations from both of you. So Bonnie, from that perspective of find the healthiest food first. How do people do that? 

Bonnie: Well, if you have a lot of money, it's not hard. You go to Whole foods or, or, what's the other one you have here? 

Dr. Weil: We have Sprouts and we have Trader Joe's 

Bonnie: And trader Joe's, and yeah, Western Canada, we don't have any of those. Right. But we do have some natural groceries, but, so if you have lots of money and you eat less of whatever lobster, whatever, you get what you need, as best you can.

But to me, there is a hidden gem, that shouldn't be so hidden for people who are on a budget. And that is, and I think every mental health clinic should be teaching this. And that is how to cook from dried beans, legums, lentils, because there are, you can, you can Google like, white bean recipes and the, I think 3.6 million recipes pop up in about two seconds.

And you can, I'm not suggesting you do this, but you could live on $5 worth of beans in a week. Right? And we have people, where I live who have helped, parents actually calculate how they're saving money when they switched to a whole foods cooking from dried beans and legumes kind of diet and they're amazed. But, you know, chips cost a lot. 

Dr. Weil: I think it's a great mistake that the extreme paleo people and keto people make is to exclude beans from the diet. 

Bonnie: Yeah, I agree. 

Dr. Weil: And then there's another crowd that says that beans have lectins in them with interfere with the digestion and so they're not the good foods, but you know, I think they're excellent foods.

Bonnie: I think they are too. 

Victoria: So Andy, beyond beans, what would you suggest to our listeners from that food first perspective, how do you get the minerals, the vitamins, the other phytochemicals that are of value? 

Dr. Weil: Well, I think one suggestion is to eat across the color spectrum and one day, because each day.

Color category of produce has different micronutrients and phytonutrients that are useful to us. Another is to use a variety of herbs and spices, which are also sources of unique, phyto-protective compounds as well as good quality beverages. So I think there's variety fresh. Natural. You know those are the whole foods. Those are the qualities you look for. 

Victoria: Now, neither of you have mentioned organic, which is interesting to me because I often think of organic as a strategy, one to reduce pesticides and herbicides and fungicides, but also maybe there is some evidence to suggest slightly higher levels of antioxidant vitamins cause the plant may be more stressed. Now

Dr. Weil: Having fresh is that the literature is very contradictory there that you have study saying yes, study saying no, but what there is no argument about is that there are lower levels of agrochemicals, which can't be good for us. You know, and the only question is how bad they are and probably not good.

Bonnie: Probably not. Yeah. I wish the people who were looking at how good or bad they were with stop focusing only on cancer. And that bugs me. People say, Oh, there isn't clear evidence that life has say causes cancer. Although some courts have disagreed.

Dr. Weil: [Laughing] How about neurological disease? 

Bonnie: Exactly. Think about our brains.

Victoria: So thinking about our brains, are there any foods that you would especially recommend, to help people who are struggling with either anxiety or depression.

Bonnie: I don't think there are specific foods 

Dr. Weil: Well what about Omega 3 sources? 

Bonnie: Sure. 

Dr. Weil:  We know that they're protective against depression and you know many people are deficient in them. In our population. You said that it was not really strictly a micronutrient. Wow. But that's very essential fats and you know, you get them mostly from fish sources. There are plants that versus that are not quite as good, but I think that's one that I would focus on certainly in the other B vitamins, which you've talked about a lot.

Bonnie: Right? But you see, I guess I saw the question a little differently. There is no one food for B vitamins. There is no one source for Omega threes. But of course, for omega 3s. Yes. 

Dr. Weil: How about the old adage that fish is a brain food? 

Bonnie: Oh, it's true. It's true. Absolutely. But for B vitamins, if you know, especially green leafy vegetables and, you know, the research that I've, you've heard me present on B vitamins, helping with resilience in the face of stress.

Victoria: Well, we can talk maybe about specific supplements, but I was thinking about, a colleague, Dr. Felice Jacka, who’s work that, shows Mediterranean diet, which is one food. It's a group of foods, helps reduce depression. 

Bonnie: Right. There are now three all from Australia Felice Jacka. Natalie Partlet and somebody, Francis, I don't think I know the first name, three independent scientists, three independent groups that have all done whole diet treatment studies that are just knock your socks off.

And they've all basically been Mediterranean type, whole food diet, lots of color and everything that Andy has been saying, et cetera. And the latest one, they showed a significant drop in depression in three weeks, three weeks!

Victoria: Yeah, that's faster than many antidepressants. 

Bonnie: Of course. Yeah. Well, with supplements, we see a change sometimes in a day or two.

Victoria: So let's talk about supplements. If you're thinking specifically about anxiety, are there supplements that you would recommend. 

Dr. Weil: I can think of botanicals that I would certainly recommend like kava, but I don't know about supplements for anxiety.

Bonnie: So the integrative psychiatrists that I know best who work with anxiety all tell me it's a little bit harder to treat than depression or certainly than mood dysregulation.

They start out with a broad-spectrum micronutrient formula. But then they often are adding for anxiety. They have residual anxiety they had inositol a lot of the time. Broad spectrum amino acids, that type of thing. As a non-clinician, I don't have an opinion as to what is really best. I just know the research on an ansatall is pretty good. 

Victoria: And you could use it even in children. 

Bonnie: Oh, yes. It's neat. Yes. 

Victoria: How about for depression? Any particular supplements you'd recommend there. 

Dr. Weil: Well there, there's, I think a lot, I mean, certainly the B vitamins, but some interesting research on vitamin D and correlations with depression So, I think for, and I may, it three supplementations certainly. 

Bonnie: Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I think there is some data from New Zealand showing, I don't remember the percentage right now, but, I think close to 50% drop in depression with people given a broad spectrum for formula, but we don't have, that was the secondary finding we don't have a study of a broad spectrum formula on people selected for depression that has to be funded in the future when we find scientists who will do it. 

Dr. Weil: Bonnie, I was fascinated by some research I saw, that showed a high level of schizophrenia in migrant workers from Africa to Scandinavian countries, which was associated with vitamin D deficiency and dark skin people who came to the far North and unusual rates of psychosis I mean, an interesting correlation there. 

Bonnie: Yeah. It's not surprising to me. I have a friend who's a retired psychiatrist in Stockholm who specialized in treating a lot of the women who came from Arab countries and were covered completely, and she couldn't convince them to let the sun shine on their skin. Right. and she used a lot of vitamin D, but it was very, very hard. Very hard to treat. 

Victoria: I have a question that I like to ask our guests what about a guilty pleasure? Here we are talking about healthy food and nutrition and, living a healthy life, what's your guilty pleasure in that realm?

Bonnie: Well, I always say life is not living with worth living without an occasional chocolate chip cookie. And I tell people, a lot of the public lectures like you have, I'm urging mental health clinics to be teaching about nutrition and what nutrients do in the brain. Because where I live anyway, even physicians say that vitamins and minerals are not important for brain function because they weren't taught about brain metabolism. So, and then they want to know practically what should you do. And I always say step by step. So start with one thing per week, maybe getting off of soda and off the carbonated water, because a lot of people get used to carbonation and they can't just go to water and whatever you're doing, one item by one item, you know, 80 -20, if you're eating right, according to your ideals, 80% of the time have your chocolate chip cookie. 

Victoria: Great. So practical tip number one was get off the soda and you could try  carbonated water seltzer, instead, Andy have a tip number two. 

Dr. Weil: Well, I'd say normally soda sweetened, sweetened liquids in general. I think it's all sweet liquids. It's energy drinks. It's putting sugar in tea and coffee. It's fruit juice. You know all of that. If we get people to stop drinking sweet liquids, we'd be well ahead of the curve.

Bonnie: Absolutely.

Victoria: And what do you think about the 80-20 rule? 

Dr. Weil: Sure. It's a good ideal to strive for. 

Bonnie: Is that how you live or are you 100% 

Dr. Weil: No, I'm certainly not 100%. 

Victoria: Would you like to share with our listeners one guilty food pleasure that you have? 

Dr. Weil: Well, I love good pizza, which I think of is one of the essential food groups, but it has to be very good.

Victoria: So wondering whether, Bonnie, you have a question for one of us or Andy, if you have an additional question. 

Dr. Weil: Well, I, you know, as I talked about this anti supplement bias, and I'm running into more and more, you know, there, there have been headlines in the, one was in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago, that taking a multivitamin will kill you.

And in the wake of that, a number of my colleagues that I'm going to stop taking a multi nutrient, I'm going to tell all my patients to stop taking them. And I wonder where this is coming from. I mean, how much of it is, you know, is it coming from the medical pharmaceutical establishment, which is threatened by people having direct access to products that work? Is it ignorance of this from lack of education about it? You know, all of these things.

Bonnie: Yeah. I have a great slide, actually. Julia Rucklidge made it up and it's all New Zealand articles. Headline after headline. There are about 12 of them. “Is your vitamin killing you?” Well, don’t take your vitamins and all that kind of thing.

It's as usual. It's a matter of education. I have noticed in Canada with our, the national paper that I read, which is called the Globe and Mail. I've noticed that a lot of these articles come altogether, like in one month, don't be a whole series of articles from different people, and then you don't read anything.

And I think it's an infusion of pharmaceutical money and it must be because it's just not distributed in, in a normal way or triggered by anything. But it's, may I just add that the one way I think to really educate people. I can tell you that, in Canada, and I'm sorry, I don't know the American stats that since health Canada, that's like our FDA, began keeping track, in 1967, there has never been a fatality from a natural health product, like a vitamin or a mineral. [00:22:09] Never one reported. You just compare that to the stats on medications, you know, and that's what you have to teach people. 

Bonnie: Lately I've been hanging out with a lot of agricultural folks and I've been learning a lot about the soil and getting invited to a lot of interesting conferences where people are working so hard to try to change the way we think in North America about the soil and to start valuing it. And they love hearing from me because I, to them, I'm kind of closing the loop and showing why they need to keep caring about this soil because it's a public health issue. And I wondered if the two of you have started attending or getting involved with any of the agricultural groups that are working on soil.

Dr. Weil: Well, we have some connections with the agricultural groups here in Arizona and through the University of Arizona. And a number of our graduates are very interested in this issue. I'd say we're starting to put attention on it. 

Victoria: And I think one of the exciting changes that is a change for the good is, the interest in gardening, which of course is an interest in soil. So, in Tucson we have. An amazing, set of community gardens. They're linked to our community food bank. They're linked to our public schools. They're linked to our college of public health. And so you see this whole interconnected network that is again, teaching people how to garden and hopefully create healthier food.

So thank you so much, Bonnie, for coming and being our guest on body of wonder and thank our listeners. We are eager to have your questions and we have set up a phone number. It is in the United States 1-(520)-621-3950. If you have questions, you can leave them and we will attempt to include them in our future podcasts.

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