Another reason to skip Triclosan – Microbes play a crucial role in human health?

I read a compelling article in the Washington Post discussing the advances in microbial research and human health. The article started with a sentence designed to make you reach for a hand sanitizer – of the average person’s 100 trillion cells, only about 1 in 10 is human. It then went on to talk about the unique microbial ecosystems that help us live and may well explain why one person suffers from any number of diseases and another does not.

The article discusses how our microbial systems – acquired beginning at birth – may help “steer normal development, molding immune sysetms and calibrating fundamental metabolic functions such as energy storage and consumption.” These systems may explain why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t.

Yet, we don’t understand these systems yet. And, our rush to use antibiotics, antibacterials, and heavy cleaning chemicals and even electric Caesarean delivery of babies may be disrupting nature’s balance, leading to a host of disease.

So, I was really struck by that the article just gives one more reason why not to use an unneccessary antibacterial such as Triclosan.

And I was also struck by the suggestive evidence that the use of antibiotics during pregnancy, as children and in our food may be leading to obesity. The research suggest that antibiotics may be killing off the bacteria needed to regulate the hormones which are key players in regulating metabolism, hunger and a sense of fullness.

And, I was also struck by the statement that one finding from the recent research is that babies born through Caesarean sections apparently miss out on acquiring their mothers’ microbiota. This may lead to certain diseases, such as perhaps asthma. This should be fodder for those women fighting for vaginal delivery after a Caesarean, and should at least be considered by those considering elective Caesarean delivery.

But I guess what mostly struck me is that you really can’t monkey around with Mother Nature.

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