3

votes

Are we too clean? Wanna get DIRTY?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 15, 2011 at 5:32 PM

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?

Contagious Health

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on June 04, 2011
at 02:49 AM

(after googling (I don't have access to an academic db right now)- this is a quite nice report from AU: http://www.nicnas.gov.au/publications/car/pec/pec30/pec_30_full_report_pdf.pdf. and triclosan is no more effective for killing germs than a proper handwashing with soap.)

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on June 04, 2011
at 02:32 AM

If I'm remembering correctly, Triclosan doesn't really degrade- at least in the short amount of time it has, going from soap pump through the sanitary sewer to our waterways- and has been shown to have negative effects upon amphibian populations. (of course, it's been about a year since I looked at that stuff... brb, gonna go google.)

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on June 03, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Yeah - if it's dry, i'll pick it up and eat it nooo problem. However, if it's wet...well, we have three cats at home and carpet. Picking up a wet morsel of food off our floor is like picking up a kitten.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:39 AM

Indeed, one reason why I looooved microbiology. XD

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on March 18, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I caught all kinds of hell about drinking rainwater....

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on March 18, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I'm pretty sure there are no pretzels from 1998 in my couch, but behind the fridge is another matter.

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on March 16, 2011
at 08:32 AM

I read an article a while back that studies showed that germs/bacteria didn't start to grow on dry foods that fell on the ground upwards of half an hour or so. Less, if the food was moist.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:44 AM

Scott, are you not worried about the gluten in the pretzel...?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:07 AM

My daughter once set her cheese on the toilet when she was two, then she pulled up her pants and ate the cheese! LOL. I just kind of rolled my eyes when I realized what she'd done.

1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

(1600)

on March 15, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I'm not going to freak out that my couch CONTAINS pretzels from 1998,among the old toys and half chewed shin bone bits the dog likes to hide.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on March 15, 2011
at 09:49 PM

I like it. Way to play Jack! ;)

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Ayers recommends "dirty veggies" but still we're looking at fractions of the total gut bacteria. Fecal is THE way.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:15 PM

you're the best! hopefully my new one is ok.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 15, 2011
at 08:10 PM

THIS! I think people are way way too obsessed with cleanliness. I am especially squicked out with those women who *wash their newborns* and bathe babies and toddlers every day! Obscene! My five kids weren't bathed in a tub of water until they were 2 or so. I cleaned bum and genitals, wiped faces and went on about my business. To this day the kids and I bathe only 2 maybe 3 times a week (not counting getting covered in mud or something!) My kids are the healthiest kids in their elementary school. Oh, and we live on a farm! ;)

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:09 PM

The thing I always wondered about that survey, that I never saw answered. Do children raised on farms really have less asthma, or did they die off early because of their allergies...

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 15, 2011
at 07:51 PM

I think the types of bacteria that would be most useful to us exist primarily in the guts and feces of other humans. There may be some kind of hormesis benefit in battling various types of pathogens to give our immune systems a workout, so to speak, but I don't think the things he describes will result in significant positive colonization.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 15, 2011
at 07:41 PM

OK, come up with a title that's a question and I'll let it stand.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Travis, that's true for me too. I never get sick anymore. I can be in the same house with a bunch of sick people and not catch so much as a sniffle. It's like I'm immune to everything. But hey aside from eating poop, what about Dr Ayers suggestions? What about bacteria on veggies and mudfights and kissing?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 06:48 PM

hey, how bout we strike a compromise and just take off the Katy Perry reference? had to ask :)

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 06:47 PM

dernit melissa. i got love for ya 'n all but my original question was so much more fun. oh well.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 06:20 PM

automatic upvote for first person to get the katy perry reference.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:49 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kaej4Wjkj1Q

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:49 PM

Dirrty is a Christina Aguilera song!

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:48 PM

You are thinking ODB.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:47 PM

I think you're thinking of Ke$ha.

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15 Answers

3
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:43 PM

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

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on March 15, 2011
at 08:10 PM

THIS! I think people are way way too obsessed with cleanliness. I am especially squicked out with those women who *wash their newborns* and bathe babies and toddlers every day! Obscene! My five kids weren't bathed in a tub of water until they were 2 or so. I cleaned bum and genitals, wiped faces and went on about my business. To this day the kids and I bathe only 2 maybe 3 times a week (not counting getting covered in mud or something!) My kids are the healthiest kids in their elementary school. Oh, and we live on a farm! ;)

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:39 AM

Indeed, one reason why I looooved microbiology. XD

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 03, 2011
at 03:49 PM

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

Farm-raised kids are less prone to asthma, perhaps because the increased exposure to dirt/bacteria better calibrates the immune system. This is related to the hygiene hypothesis.

Low doses of radon actually decrease lung cancer risk. "The authors suggest that at low doses, radiation may help repair damaged DNA..."

Radiation increased the longevity of British radiologists

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.

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 16, 2011
at 12:15 AM

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:

http://www.med.upenn.edu/penncert/Projects/major.html

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on June 04, 2011
at 02:49 AM

(after googling (I don't have access to an academic db right now)- this is a quite nice report from AU: http://www.nicnas.gov.au/publications/car/pec/pec30/pec_30_full_report_pdf.pdf. and triclosan is no more effective for killing germs than a proper handwashing with soap.)

Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on June 04, 2011
at 02:32 AM

If I'm remembering correctly, Triclosan doesn't really degrade- at least in the short amount of time it has, going from soap pump through the sanitary sewer to our waterways- and has been shown to have negative effects upon amphibian populations. (of course, it's been about a year since I looked at that stuff... brb, gonna go google.)

2
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on March 15, 2011
at 07:27 PM

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!"

2
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on March 15, 2011
at 06:22 PM

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.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v471/n7336/full/471009b.html

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.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:09 PM

The thing I always wondered about that survey, that I never saw answered. Do children raised on farms really have less asthma, or did they die off early because of their allergies...

2
84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 15, 2011
at 05:53 PM

"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.

1
Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on March 16, 2011
at 05:54 AM

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.

1
64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on March 15, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I for one am not gonna freak out when my kid eats a pretzel he finds in the couch from 1998.

1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

(1600)

on March 15, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I'm not going to freak out that my couch CONTAINS pretzels from 1998,among the old toys and half chewed shin bone bits the dog likes to hide.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:44 AM

Scott, are you not worried about the gluten in the pretzel...?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:07 AM

My daughter once set her cheese on the toilet when she was two, then she pulled up her pants and ate the cheese! LOL. I just kind of rolled my eyes when I realized what she'd done.

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on March 18, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I'm pretty sure there are no pretzels from 1998 in my couch, but behind the fridge is another matter.

1
Medium avatar

on March 15, 2011
at 07:31 PM

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.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Ayers recommends "dirty veggies" but still we're looking at fractions of the total gut bacteria. Fecal is THE way.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 15, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Travis, that's true for me too. I never get sick anymore. I can be in the same house with a bunch of sick people and not catch so much as a sniffle. It's like I'm immune to everything. But hey aside from eating poop, what about Dr Ayers suggestions? What about bacteria on veggies and mudfights and kissing?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 15, 2011
at 07:51 PM

I think the types of bacteria that would be most useful to us exist primarily in the guts and feces of other humans. There may be some kind of hormesis benefit in battling various types of pathogens to give our immune systems a workout, so to speak, but I don't think the things he describes will result in significant positive colonization.

0
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 16, 2011
at 08:05 AM

Funny, but my two sons (age 3.5 and 20 months) like to eat soil. When playing in the garden, they often eat it (in small portions), their mouths being dirty and brown. If I ask if they like it, they say yes. I just let it happen. We don't use pesticides in our garden.

We don't wash hands, unless really visibly dirty, and unless they have to go somewhere.

And they are doing fine. A few weeks ago we ran into our MD. 'Long time no seeing' she said. 'Yep', I said, 'isn't that a good thing. The kids are never sick, just sometimes a very tiny bit. Of course, that's not to say that it is because of the dirt eating.

0
462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on March 16, 2011
at 05:14 AM

The only time I use antibacterial anything is after having played with my cousins little kids. Seriously! They're down low where adults never are, they suck and lick and pick and rub their hands all over their body and face, and their little kid immune systems seem to take a normal disease and mutate it into something that can wipe me out. The worst sickness I've ever had was from them, but I was also eating SAD at the time. I don't want to take any chances from those "bags of disease", so, once I leave, I break out some Purel and rub my hands down.

Other than that, I'm not too worried about it. Dirt and germs are okay... I like to think of it like a workout for my immune system!

0
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on March 16, 2011
at 01:08 AM

I know I kind of gross people out sometimes, but I just don't worry about germs. I haven't been sick in YEARS. I don't usually wash my hand unless I've been cooking. I don't wash off my fruit/vegetables. I don't use anti-bacterial anything. I just don't worry about it.

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on March 18, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I caught all kinds of hell about drinking rainwater....

0
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on March 15, 2011
at 10:07 PM

I go for the "5 second rule" as does my daughter. Meaning if it hasn't been on the floor for more than 5 seconds it's OK.

Dust and dirt never hurt anyone in fact, the very normal intelligent human behavior in the first year of life is to stick everything in the mouth...why?

I read that the body was designed this way to bring bacteria to the body in order to build up antibodies. Also those same antibodies supposedly do not form as rapidly after 1 yr.

I agree on the house pets leading to fewer allergies Very,very interesting and rather eerie the theory of eating feces. Guess I'll have to read up on that when I run out of other curiosities.

Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on March 16, 2011
at 08:32 AM

I read an article a while back that studies showed that germs/bacteria didn't start to grow on dry foods that fell on the ground upwards of half an hour or so. Less, if the food was moist.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on June 03, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Yeah - if it's dry, i'll pick it up and eat it nooo problem. However, if it's wet...well, we have three cats at home and carpet. Picking up a wet morsel of food off our floor is like picking up a kitten.

0
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on March 15, 2011
at 10:06 PM

My daughter chews her fingernails and NEVER EVER is sick. She is 14 now, and has never missed a day of school due to illness. My two other kids get their occasional colds and/or stomach bugs. I used to cringe when she got off the bus, my first thought was GO WASH your hands! (not worried anymore)

I always tell people that I think she is continually exposing herself to small amounts of bacteria making her immune system stronger.

When I get my veggies from the CSA farm (organic of course), the carrots, I just eat without washing..they were picked that day and so fresh and yummy, I can't wait to get home! I think I am getting some beneficial dirt that way.

0
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on March 15, 2011
at 10:01 PM

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!

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