We are made of over 50 trillion cells. Bacteria outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1. Is it a good idea to try and kill all of those cells with antibiotics, antibacterial soap, and antimicrobials?
I know your doctor thinks it is a good idea, but before you make up your own mind, let’s think about why we would naturally be walking around with all of those nasty bugs that turns out are vital for our existence.
We have 25,000 genes in our human chromosomes. That is very impressive until you discover that so does a mouse. The slimy earthworm has 24,000 genes. While 25,000 genes would seem like enough to do everything, it falls pitifully short. The bacteria in our biome, combined have 3.3 million genes in their DNA. Luckily for us they attach to our DNA, they communicate on the level of the basic chemistry of life. This is our ecosystem, and up until lately, medicine declared all out war on it. Most of this sharing of genetic information occurs in our guts. This gives us a level of functionality that could not be achieved otherwise.
Said another way, our DNA does not code for the functions that these bacteria so kindly provide for us. An example is species, Bacteroides Fragilis. It helps regulate our immune system. It speaks to our DNA. It helps us produce the regulatory cells that you probably have heard of, T Cells, which help decrease the inflammation response which is related to our immune response.
I hear you say, hey, don’t we have a surge of autoimmune conditions? Why yes we do. Today children are deficient in these bacteria. In turn, they don’t get their benefits of immune suppression and they are plagued with things like allergies, diabetes, MS, thyroid disease to name a few.
Let’s focus on childhood diabetes for a moment. In the 50’s it barely existed in medical textbooks. Now we have a nation of diabetics. A stem cell is a cell that can become anything. Without our bacteria, a stem cell has an inclination to become a fat cell. We see a lot of obesity, which is a precursor for diabetes. By not having the bacteria that we are afraid of, that we try and kill with antibacterial soaps, wipes, and antibiotics, these bacteria that we need to keep us healthy, well our incessant preoccupation with killing them is killing us. We cannot live without these bacteria.
Even killing the bad bacteria has surprising results. Helicobacter pylori cause stomach ulcers. Kill them with antibiotics and you get rid of your ulcers. But they found that afterwards, people started gaining weight. Maybe it’s just because they can now eat more without it hurting? Maybe not??
What’s the solution? Well one is to eat more dirt and be less cleanly. Another is eating pre and probiotics. You can Google what they are and which foods have a high content of the good bacteria that you want.