Found this on Dr Art Ayers Cooling Inflammation blog in his response comments to one of his readers.
Probiotics are a quick fix for about 10% of the lacking bacterial species. Most of the lacking bacteria must be acquired by eating fresh vegetables with clinging live bacteria. Many bacteria are also recruited for the gut from contact with people and animals. Thus, hand washing is OK for decreasing exposure to flu viruses, but it also stops the spread of healthy bacteria needed for normal immune system development.
Cleanliness is next to sickliness. Start composting and have your whole family get involved in gardening and mud fights. You also would benefit from having a dog that spends time digging up bones. Kissing is also very healthy.
Maybe our ancestors rarely got sick in the caves. Maybe washing up in the local stream or nearby lake/ocean was sufficient.
Are we too clean?
Update: Have a look at the newest article in the link below from Dr Ayers. While I understand that being "metro" clean could be excessive, I'm not sure I'm ready to buy into the idea that it's healthy to just cruise around in life with filthy hands. But he reiterates again his points about how eating certain foods can cure lactose intolerance because of the new bacteria that can digest the lactose. Some people on PaleoHacks strongly contested this based upon their own personal experience, but I doubt that Dr Dyers is just typing this stuff up for kicks and giggles. I'm certainly not arguing with anyone's personal experience. How can I? But has anyone successfully become lactose tolerant after being intolerant?
Waaaaay too clean! There are so many more good and helpful bacteria than there are bad ones.
As a society I think we Lysol away so much good stuff.
Don't get me wrong - at our house we do wash our hands before eating (especially our toddler - goodness only knows where those hands have been all day); but I think that kids need to eat a good amount of mud pies. It's good for the immune system.
Bacteria - Man's best Friends http://www.greenworldrec.org/TextPage.asp?TxtID=87&SubMenuItemID=153&MenuItemID=52
Humans have 10x more bacterial cells than human cells in their bodies: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603085914.htm
"Drink Listerine brush my teeth with amphetamine / So I can sound fresh and say dope things in between"
I'm undecided on this topic. Should I eat dirt or not ? More bacteria, sadly, doesn't equal good bacteria. Pathogens are bacteria too.
The most recent issue of Nature discussed a study of kids raised on farms vs. the suburbs and their lower rates of asthma due to their exposure to MORE dirt, dust and microbes.
Previous work showed that children raised on farms are protected from childhood asthma and a class of allergic reactions called 'atopy'. Now, Markus Ege of the University Children's Hospital Munich in Germany and his colleagues have analysed the microbial populations in dust collected from 933 children's rooms. They found that bacteria and fungi were more numerous and widespread in samples collected for children who live on farms. They also found that the risk of asthma and atopy decreased as the number of microbial taxa increased. In particular, fungi from two genera, Eurotium and Penicillium, were tightly associated with reduced asthma risk.
I would not mind dirt from nature. I would, however, take a bath in Purell after being in many public restrooms.
The thought of giving up modern sanitation reminds me of the Life Cereal commercials..."I'm not going to try it, YOU try it!"
Me personally think we need to get rid of all antibacterials because eventually the unintended consequences of use is worse than what we tried to solve. Triclosan has been used as a liquid disinfectant in hospitals for 45 years, but it wasn't until the mid-'80s that a company called Microban developed a way to imbed triclosan in plastics. Flooding the world with antibacterial agents like triclosan might eventually give rise to more resistant strains of bacteria, as has already occurred from the overuse of oral antibiotics. Dr. Stuart Levy, who studies resistant bacteria at Tufts University, has found triclosan-resistant "superbugs" in the laboratory and now in our homes.
take a look here:
There is actually a fair amount of evidence that a little bit of a "bad" thing is actually good for you. The name for this is hormesis
Low doses of radon actually decrease lung cancer risk. "The authors suggest that at low doses, radiation may help repair damaged DNA..."
Matanoski GM. published an article titled "Health effects of low-level radiation in shipyard workers", an excerpt:
“In the 1980`s the U.S. Department of Energy commisioned a study on the impacts of sustained radiation exposure. They compared two groups of nuclear shipyard workers from Baltimore who had similar jobs except for a single key difference: one group was exposed to very low levels of radiation from the materials they handled, and the other was not. The DOE tracked workers between 1990-1988, and what they found shocked everyone involved. Radiation made them healthier. The 28,000 workers exposed to radiation had a 24% lower mortality rate than their 32,000 counterparts who were not exposed to radiation. Somehow, the toxins that everyone assumed and feared were ruining the workers were doing just the opposite. Radiation is a stress in that it damages cells, and at high levels it kills them and can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer. In this case, the radiation dose was apparently low enough that instead of killing the cells of the exposed workers, it made them stronger. Neuroscientists call this phenomenon stress innoculation.”
I also wonder about other aspects of this. Like I suspect that completely avoiding the sun (including heavy use of sunscreen) is actually bad for you (less vitamin D, higher susceptibility to burn when you do get exposed). The sun is basically a source of low-dose radiation, after all.
I also wonder if high cholesterol fits into this category -- your body adapts in ways that scientists don't understand and it is actually good for you.
We have a lot to learn.
I think it's important to realize that the correction of various micronutrient/vitamin d deficiencies that often occurs with paleo results in an immune system that is far more robust than we have ever had in our lives. What once made us sick may not anymore. Many of us have seen this with the infrequency with which we are struck down by viruses, so it stands to reason that this would occur with other pathogens.
That being said, the only real way to ingest the anaerobic species of bacteria that are helpfully colonizing our guts is to eat feces. I think I'll pass.
Our society as a whole is germaphobic. I personally don't wash my cast iron pan from meal to meal. I don't find it necessary to bleach a dish after I let the dog lick off of it. IMO, hand sanitizers are hurting more than they're helping and I won't buy antibacterial soap. Heck, I don't even use soap when I shower. I don't make my kids wash their hands immediately after they handle an animal every time(we have goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses, lizards) and I still have soil in the back of my suv from when some potted plants fell over......Oh and we live in a trailer. LOL. Not really....well....sort of.
I'm not an OCD type of clean freak - However, there is something psychological that occurs when I have to go into a Walmart. When I leave there I have to use some Germ-X or Purell, I just feel gross and infected with I don't know what. I will say that after quitting smoking 9 years ago, aside from pollen allergy issues I cannot remember catching a cold or flu, stomach bug or anything. Not even in the last year and I've been to Disneyworld at least 10 times in the last year - that's exposure to all kinds of germs!