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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Comments

  1. This makes so much sense to me, starting with the microbial systems that inhabit our gut and how healthy bacteria protect us from pathogens and help us digest our food so that nutrients are better absorbed.

    In our Waldorf school, the children are encouraged to come in contact with dirt in their daily outdoor play. There are no sanitizers and when one of them gets a “boo-boo” they wash with soap and warm water.

  2. This is further proof that nature has a plan that, when left alone, is usually a pretty good plan. We just keep getting in our own way…

Trackbacks

  1. […] 4)      Triclosan: It seems this anti-microbial is popping up everywhere these days, even mattresses! Why is that a problem? “Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. Low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical. Triclosan ends up in lakes, rivers and water sources, where it is very toxic to aquatic life.” (source: EWG.org). And what’s more, studies are now showing that those microbes (that the anti-microbials like Triclosan are going after) actually “play a critical role in human health” so all that effort to avoid them may not even pay off! (source: TheSmartMama.com) […]

  2. […] 4)      Triclosan: It seems this anti-microbial is popping up everywhere these days, even mattresses! Why is that a problem? “Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. Low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical. Triclosan ends up in lakes, rivers and water sources, where it is very toxic to aquatic life.” (source: EWG.org). And what’s more, studies are now showing that those microbes (that the anti-microbials like Triclosan are going after) actually “play a critical role in human health” so all that effort to avoid them may not even pay off! (source: TheSmartMama.com) […]

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