From “theory” to accepted truth (and back again)
Cleanliness coupled with the germ theory, has indeed since saved many lives and prevented the spread of infection and disease in hospitals, in homes, in communities, and in agriculture. I share this history with you about Pasteur, Beauchamp, Bernard, and Semmelweis’ however because I believe it is important to realize that what seems like a “unsubstantiated” or “unscientific” thinking in one day and age, is often proved correct only a few short decades later.
On his deathbed Pasteur, who once said that germs created illness and that the human body is sterile – basically a blank slate free of germs, then made his final statements admitting and condemning his “Germ Theory” and said, “Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing; the milieu is everything.”
Where does this leave us?
Up until just a few years ago a condition known as ‘leaky gut’ (where intestinal imbalance weakens the gut wall allows particles to pass through the wall into the blood stream) was scoffed at by many within the medical industry. Similarly, despite hundreds of research journal publications on the gut-brain-axis, some still consider it simply “a notion” that intestinal microbiota can influence brain function and state of mind.
It is therefore vitally important we all seek our own understanding of the facets of health. One of these, perhaps the most fundamental of all health principles is good digestive balance, and while cleanliness and avoiding major pathogens is important, most of us have taken the “hygiene hypothesis” too far. Theories such as “too clean for our own good” were ridiculed 10 years ago are now supported by irrefutable research that the body requires constant exposure to milder microbes for power and strength.
There’s much more to consider, and in the next few posts we will discuss which lifestyle factors effect gut balance and increase the passage of foreign particles across the gut wall (including introducing solid foods before this barrier is adequately formed), allergenic foods, a number of drugs (including NSAIDs, antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, cocaine) and how bacterial overgrowth can all cause increased permeability.9
A few points to consider in the meantime…
- In our own homes, among our own family, we want to build up our immune systems. That’s why letting children crawl on the floor is fine, having family pets is encouraged and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
- Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing and using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
- Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria, and strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
- Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your terrain. How strong is your digestive balance, digestive power?
- Learn how to strengthen your digestive power through decreasing your reliance on antibiotics and other types of drugs, through decreasing the stress in your life and your sugar intake.
- Learn how you may be able to strengthen your digestive power through eating wholesome organic fruits and vegetables and probiotic rich foods (including fermented and cultured foods) and supplementing with probiotics, glutamine, fish oil, quercetin, ginkgo and other flavonoid antioxidants.10
- Discover the health benefits that regular chiropractic adjustments may offer your digestive and immune system and the support and guidance holistic practitioners can offer you and your family.
…And keep your own terrain strong.
Yours in Health,
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani