Are You a Good Host?

Living in rural areas, and having close contact with soil and plants is not only good for your stress level, but also your gut bacteria.  In a recent New York Times article, Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, Michael Pollan explores the results of destroying (beneficial) microbes on our skin and gut.

Our resident microbes are important for our immune systems, maintaining healthy weight, and manufacture of neurotransmitters, vitamins, and enzymes.  If we have an overgrowth of the wrong types of microbes, it plays havoc with our internal “ecosystem.”  Recently, I saw some information on “fecal transplants” for people who cannot seem to get their digestive system on track, no matter what the doctors have tried.  The donor has lots of beneficial bacteria, and not surprisingly, the transplants work.

Dr Martin Blaser was quoted as saying,”Farmers have been performing a great experiment for more than 60 years, by giving subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to their animals to make them gain weight.”  Think about what that means, if that’s true for humans also.

It would be impossible to eliminate microbes from everything, but we’ve been told to try, whether it’s cleaning solutions, soaps, hand sanitizers, etc.  And while I am not an advocate of being dirty, I accept that when I touch a menu, a ketchup bottle, or a salt shaker in a restaurant, I’m sharing a lot of bacteria.  When my food is delivered, the plate has been touched by someone else’s hands.  I’d hate to culture my billfold, with the money that’s touched hundreds of hands.  If you go to public places at all, you are exposed to all kinds of microbes.  Once you understand that you can’t sterilize your environment, nor would you want to, you realize the only logical thing is to have an immune system that’s as strong as possible, with as many different types of beneficial bacteria as possible.