Digestive health is not only a serious health issue, it’s a serious financial issue too. The direct medical costs associated with treating digestive health diseases (including GERD, diverticulitis and viral and intestinal cancers and infections) are astronomical.
But before we get to that…I want to introduce you to someone important in history. Elie Metchnikoff. He’s the scientist who discovered probiotics in the late 1800′s. He is well known for pioneering research in the field of immunology, and his theory summed up into one sentence… “Aging is caused by toxic bacteria in the gut and that lactic acid could prolong life”. Of course, he knew this more than 150 years most of us did, and his legendary research became the foundation for what we now call probiotics.
Rightfully so. Health begins in the gut.
And these costs together don’t even take into related and other indirect costs either. Further, NIDDK also reports that “The total indirect cost of digestive diseases in the United States in 2004 was estimated at $44.0 billion. Almost three-quarters of this cost was due to mortality, and one-fourth was from work loss due to medical care or illness.”
At the very least, digestive health problems cost Americans $71 billion every year. It’s probably double that…but let’s just stick to the facts. But, what the fu…!!!
To be fair, the probiotics market has also grown exponentially in the past 10 years. As more people (like us) seek to improve health conditions or overall health, we turn to nature’s helpers. Currently, people in the United States are spending a mere $764 million every year on probiotics. The market is currently valued at $764 million, about one hundredth of the value of the digestive health medical market. Given that ratio, and to put that in “pocketbook” terms…
Paying for health care related digestive diseases (including prescriptions, over the counter and doctor visits) = Avg $52,000 p/yr
Making your own probiotics at home = Priceless! (Avg. $3 p/wk + 10 minutes) $156 p/yr.
It may or may not cure your ails, but at the very least, you’ll be giving your body some good bacteria to help ward off some of the destructive bacteria. I’ve researched (and have loved) probiotics for years and shared some insights in one of my posts here. Thanks to Elie Metchnikoff, we can work individually and collectively to improve our digestive health issues and financial situation.
I could get into a total diatribe on the financials of this stinky problem, but I’ll spare you for now. Instead of complaining about the problem, let’s talk about an EASY alternative you can try in the next 48 hours to start saving your hard earned cash and take control of your own digestive health. You can make kefir, kombucha, fermented salsa and even raw kraut. Check out some “gut friendly” recipes in my Adding Raw Is Easy book that you can make at home for a couple of bucks. Do good for your money and your health!
The big takeaway here is, supplements like probiotics are expensive but the opportunity cost of NOT taking advantage of Elie Metchnikoff’s great discovery will likely cost you at least 100 times more in the long run.
That said, my kefir is done and I’m off to strain it and make myself a delicious smoothie. I’ll share the recipe soon!