April 15, 2013 – I had the privilege of presenting an overview of Functional Medicine at the 8th annual Nutra India Summit in Mumbai, India, a few weeks ago, some of which is available on YouTube.
It was an amazing experience. I was impressed with the level of scholarship and scientific inquiry. Very compelling research was presented on oligosaccharides (prebiotics), probiotics and fermented foods. There were meetings on integrating pharma and nutra. And it all took place against this wonderful backdrop that is Ayurveda, India’s 5000 year old system of medicine.
Dr. V. Prakash, chairman of Nutra Summit, reminded the audience that the safety studies of today are sorely inadequate when compared to the rules of Ayurveda, where safety and efficacy of a compound require no less than a century of proof before it may enter circulation. Seems hard to believe; but if the system itself is 5K years old, those substances both safe and efficacious will indeed reveal themselves.
Unfortunately, along with India’s meteoric economic development comes the dark shadow of rising chronic disease, which has supplanted infectious disease as the top cause of mortality in India.
India has one of the highest rates of diabetes world-wide (and it cuts across economic lines). In fact, data from Mumbai showed that a full 95% of its inhabitants had a least one metabolic syndrome biomarker, and about 80% of Mumbaikars are overweight. Food is more plentiful now, especially the fast, fried, simple carbohydrate variety…. I was pleased to see the same calling towards wellness, however, in my colleagues at the Nutra Summit. Everyone,it seems, is deeply committed to shifting the medical paradigm.
I will return to India in June to present a day-long Introduction to Functional Medicine: Focus on Case Studies. Dr. Fitzgerald plans to return to India in June.