Are we causing allergies and illness by our habits of over-disinfection? Research shows that through repeated exposure to disinfectant products and anti-bacterial substances that are designed to “kill germs”, we are contributing to both allergenic responses in the body and resistance to deadly bacteria.
The picture of anti-bacterial soap is a well-known brand used by millions of people to “disinfect” their hands and environment. Our culture is obsessed with sanitation and cleanliness to keep ourselves healthy.
But in our efforts to wipe things out, we are destroying a very diverse landscape of helpful and useful bacteria that actually benefit our bodies and the planet. Those bacteria are responsible for building natural immunity to disease and illness, as well as supplying our soil, water, and air with microorganisms that create healthy immune response and support the growth of valuable nutrients that maintain health.
Last Friday I wrote about the topic of allergies and allergic reactions as they relate to food, diet, and the environment. Today I am focusing on how the way our bodies react in an allergic way is connected to artificial and chemical substances created to kill germs and bacteria. Although the intention of these products and substances is to create a healthier environment, the end result is often that human and environmental health is compromised even more.
Allergic reactions are an expression generated by the auto-immune system. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, all vaccines are immune-depressing. “Vaccines clog our lymphatic system and lymph nodes with large protein molecules which have not been adequately broken down by our digestive processes, since vaccines by pass digestion with injections. This is why vaccines are linked to allergies, because they contain large proteins which as circulating immune complexes (CICs) or “klinkers” which cause our body to become allergic.”
Our immune system is designed to allow the human body to co-exist with the outside environment. Our bodies contain trillions and trillions of cells, many of which are foreign and remain without problem because of our immune system’s function. When the immune system becomes overwhelmed with an abundance of foreign bacteria, however, and friendly bacteria are not allowed to thrive or are killed by anti-bacterial substances, the result is disease and illness – and allergies.
Chronic health issues such as asthma, allergies, eczema, and many auto-immune disorders like multiple-sclerosis, lupus, and fibromyalgia are becoming more and more common and have risen exponentially over the last several decades. Children are especially vulnerable and have shown the highest increase in these incidences as they have quadrupled over the last two decades.
What factors contribute to a failing immune system?
As well as because of the over-use of antibiotics, use of anti-bacterial gels, hand lotions, soaps, and other toxic personal care products increase the chance of the body being unable to defend itself from powerful bacteria that can get into the body and cause illness and death. Children who are exposed to bacteria are believed to have stronger immune system response and therefore stand a much better chance of naturally being able to fight off infection than those who have less exposure and would have lower immune system function. When your child becomes sick with a cold or flu, use of these substances does not necessarily allow quicker recovery from illness – and in fact can allow the illness to go on longer or return.
In 2000, a study conducted observed 61 infants between 9 and 24 months of age revealed that the more dust the child was exposed to, the less likely an allergic response was to appear. In 2002, The American Medical Association reported that “despite the recent substantial increase in the use of antimicrobial ingredients in consumer products, the effects of this practice have not been studied extensively. No data support the efficacy or necessity of antimicrobial agents in such products, and a growing number of studies suggest increasing acquired bacterial resistance to them. Studies also suggest that acquired resistance to the antimicrobial agents used in consumer products may predispose bacteria to resistance against therapeutic antibiotics, but further research is needed. Considering available data and the critical nature of the antibiotic-resistance problem, it is prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products.”
The CDC released a report in 2000 stating that the overuse of antibiotics and anti-bacterial agents can cause resistant-strain bacteria. Despite this knowledge, medical personnel continue to prescribe antibiotics on a too-frequent basis to patients, and products containing antibacterial agents are ubiquitous in many environments – stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, prisons, and private residences.
Processed and industrially-produced foods
Other reasons related to these issues also stem from the fact that so much processed, packaged foods are readily available and are consumed, versus real whole foods which support the immune system and health in general. Processed foods do not contain nutrients and antioxidants necessary for life, so when these types of eating habits are coupled with continued use of dangerous disinfectant and anti-bacterial chemicals, the stage is set for disaster in health. Many processed foods are available, and in particular, marketed to children and families.
Consumption of these foods contributes to an increase of Omega 6 fatty acids and a decrease in Omega 3 fatty acids. Too much Omega 6s actually suppress immune system function while Omega 3s build up immunity and reduce inflammation in the body. The majority of processed foods contain levels of Omega 6s which are too high for healthy consumption.
Examples of processed foods include industrial oils such as corn, canola, cottonseed, soy, safflower, sunflower, and peanut oils – which are found in many grain products, cereals, cookies, chips, crackers, pretzels, “food” bars, desserts, fried foods, and many other processed items.
Omega 3s are found in saturated fat foods from animals and birds on pasture – eggs, beef, poultry/turkey/duck meat, pork, bacon, fish meat and cod liver oil from cold water fatty fish – especially salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. Although plant sources like hemp, walnut, and flaxseed oils do contain Omega 3s, these are not the most potent type. It is important to give young children and infants adequate amounts of fish oil, as this type of Omega 3 is the best source in offering protection against the development of allergies and asthma.
Vaccinations are now being suspected as a cause of immune system failure. As most childhood diseases are viruses, they do not respond to antibiotics. This discovery lead to the development of vaccines. When a vaccine is injected directly into the bloodstream, it is granted access to all major tissues and organs without the benefit of the body’s total immune response. What results is partial immunity, and then children are required to periodically receive “booster” shots.
Because vaccines stimulate a humoral response, their ingredients are never released from the body. The opposite occurs when diseases are contracted naturally. Because these contents do not vacate the body, the body’s reaction is one of chronic over-sensitization. Vaccinations have been linked to the increased incidence in asthma – in a study of 448 children, 243 received whooping cough vaccines. Ten percent developed asthma in comparison to the 2% of 205 children in a non-vaccinated group.
Here are some of the ingredients present in vaccines which can cause allergic reactions in humans, ranging from mild to severe (source, The New Homemaker):
Thimerosal a mercury-based preservative. Most commonly known for its presence in eye care products, it is also used for many dead-virus vaccines. While it usually causes only a mild irritation to eyes (redness and slight burning), as an injection it can cause nausea, vomiting, even shock in extreme cases. In 1998, the use of thimerosol was banned by the FDA in over-the-counter drugs because “safety and efficacy have not been established for the ingredients” which are used to create it. It is, however, still present in many vaccines, including DTP, DTaP, Hib, Varicella, and IPV.
Gelatin used as an inert stabilizer in several vaccines, including MMR and Varicella. In addition to being an animal product (and therefore probably not wanted by vegetarians), it can also, in cases of extreme (and extremely rare) allergic reaction, cause an anaphylactic reaction.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to several vaccines as a stabilizer. Adverse reactions include headaches, nausea, and vomiting. While there are no officially recorded adverse reactions that can be traced specifically to the MSG component of vaccines, anyone who is sensitive to MSG in food should watch for reactions. MSG is present in the Varicella vaccine.
Neomycin an antibiotic, is added to vaccine cultures to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. Most neomycin reactions are skin irritations; however, hypersensitivity could cause a response of anaphylactic shock. Neomycin is present in the Varicella and MMR vaccines. (NOTE: other antibiotics, which may cause similar reactions, are also present in other vaccines. If any family member has a known allergy to antibiotics (including penicillin, which is no longer used in any vaccines), this should be noted before administering any dosage.)
Egg proteins are present in miniscule amounts in vaccines which are prepared using chicken embryos. While those with mild reactions to eggs are unlikely to react to their presence in vaccines, anyone with a history of anaphylactic response to egg or egg protein has a greater chance of adverse reactions. In 1998, the recommendation that people with egg sensitivities not receive the MMR shot was changed; however, the method of developing the vaccine was not, so egg proteins may still appear in any MMR dose.
Formaldehyde yes, the same formaldehyde used to preserve pigs and other animals for biology class, used for the same purpose as well: to inactivate or kill unwanted viruses that might be found in the cultures used to produce vaccines, and acts as a preservative for dead virus vaccines. It is found in some formulations of Hib.
Sulfite is used as a stabilizer in several vaccines; its main purpose is to prevent the vaccine from being altered by changes in environment. Sulfite is also found in many foods and alcoholic beverages, and is often an irritant for people who suffer migraines. Can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and severe cramps. Sulfites are present in some flu vaccines.
For more information on anti-bacterial substances and how they can adversely affect health, visit Chet Day’s site and read this article by Dr. Ben Kim, Potential Health Dangers in Antibacterial Soap.
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