Mounting Data Suggests Antibacterial Soaps Do More Harm Than Good

Whether you’re coming home from an airport fluttering with international germs, a daycare full of sticky-fingered toddlers, or just a grimy office building, scrubbing your hands with bacteria-busting soap seems like a great idea. But the data that have washed up on the cleansers in recent years suggest that they actually do more harm than good—for you, those around you, and the environment.

Scientists report that common antibacterial compounds found in those soaps, namely triclosan and triclocarban, may increase the risk of infections, alter the gut microbiome, and spur bacteria to become resistant to prescription antibiotics. Meanwhile, proof of the soaps’ benefits is slim.

Source: Mounting data suggest antibacterial soaps do more harm than good

I’m OK: I’ve been using homeopathic soap 😉

Antibacterial soaps don’t make any sense anyway – any regular old soap will remove greater than 99% of the bacterial that lives on dirt and oils in your skin. Why use antibacterial? What does it gain that it might remove 99.99999% of bacteria instead of 99.9999%?

We’re living in way too antiseptic of a world.

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Cohabitation—Or Maybe Parenthood—Shapes Our Immune System

The immune system of an adult is shaped by both genetic factors and every microbe we’ve ever been in contact with. The result is a unique set of things we can recognize, called an immunorepertoire. Environmental influences—things like infections and age—are thought to account for at least half of the differences in our individual immunorepertoires.

Source: Cohabitation—or maybe parenthood—shapes our immune system

“Netflix and chill” just got replaced with “Have kids! It’s (?) for your health.”?  Good for your health, bad for your wealth 😉

Yogurt Isn’t Always the Best Source of Probiotic Bacteria

As a parent with a background in science, I usually feel comfortable in the drugstore medicine aisle. I’ll stand there for 15 minutes comparing ingredients and prices, getting in every other parent’s way, and I’ll walk out feeling confident that what I have bought is a good value and will make my wee one feel at least a little bit better. Not so when I found myself faced with a daunting aisle of probiotics—live microorganisms that can confer health benefits—at my local health food store recently. I wanted to find some good bacteria to repopulate the gut of my toddler daughter, who was finishing up what seemed like her 80th dose of antibiotics in three months. I couldn’t even understand the labels, let alone fathom what I should buy. Did I want Lactobacillus GG? Bifidobacterium lactis? Lactobacillus acidophilus? What the hell were Lactobacillus anyway, and why does one small tub of them cost $28?

Source: Should Your Kids Take Probiotics?

Some aren’t aware that probiotics don’t take up residence, even in the best-case scenario. When you stop taking them, you stop getting whatever benefits they provided.

Your Colon May Be Home to an Entirely New Form of Life

A new genetic analysis of human gut bacteria is turning up some really weird critters—so weird, in fact, that some biologists are speculating we’ve found an entirely new domain of life. We should take that possibility with a healthy dose of skepticism. But here’s why it’s even being discussed.

Source: Your Colon May Be Home to an Entirely New Form of Life

Yeah, about that…

Pretty sure I’ve seen this movie…

New Moms: Maybe Don’t Eat Your Placenta

Should new mothers be eating their afterbirth? Many — including a growing subset of celebrity moms — say yes, praising potential health benefits like improvement in mood, nutritional fortitude, increased energy and better milk production. But according to a new paper examining all previous studies on the subject, there isn’t any real evidence to support those benefits. Perhaps more importantly, there’s no research on what the potential risks of consuming a human placenta might be.

Source: Hold up, new moms: Before eating your placenta, consider this new study

I figure animals consume their placenta because it’s easier than foraging to find something.

Genetically-Engineered Bacteria Can Keep Mice From Getting Fat

Genetically engineered bacteria can prevent mice offered a high-fat diet from overeating. The beneficial effects of the bacteria last for about four to six weeks, suggesting that they temporarily take up residence in the gut.

Researchers developed the anti-obesity therapy to test a new way of treating chronic diseases. Sean Davies, a pharmacologist at Vanderbilt University, is modifying bacteria that live in and on the body—known collectively as a person’s microbiome. The hope is that engineered microbes could secrete drugs to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions over the long term, eliminating the need to remember to take a pill. Another benefit is that many drugs—including the one tested by the Vanderbilt group—cannot be administered orally because they wouldn’t survive digestion. Bacteria could make it easier to administer such drugs.

Source: Microbes Engineered to Prevent Obesity

The concept is interesting, but this is the first mice trial – meaning, nowhere near prime time.

While most know E. coli from the scares in the recent years, we have E. coli in our intestines.

Common Food Emulsifiers May be Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

Emulsifiers are used in processed foods, drugs, vitamins, vaccines, soaps, and cosmetics. They hold ingredients that generally don’t like to be together, like oil and water, in a stable union. They are found in everyday products ranging from mouthwash to ice cream to salad dressing and barbecue sauce.

When emulsifiers first came into vogue, they were classified by the government as GRAS—”generally regarded as safe”—because in animal studies designed to detect acute toxicity and/or carcinogenic properties, they exhibited neither. But their consumption in the Western world has risen dramatically over the late twentieth century, largely in tandem with inflammatory disorders like colitis and metabolic syndrome, a collective suite of obesity-associated diseases. That connection has prompted more refined safety studies on emulsifiers and other food additives.

The results of some of this new work were published in Nature, implicating two specific emulsifiers in the development of colitis and metabolic syndrome in mice. The emulsifiers exert these effects by disturbing a mouse’s microbial community.

Source: Common food emulsifiers may be linked to metabolic syndrome

Through natural cooking, compounds are formed and released which we are entirely ignorant of, we have no idea what we’re putting into our mouths or the larger effects of consuming things routinely, and that’s without adding in synthesized preservatives, coloring’s and additives.

It holds no surprise that artificial emulsifiers are terrible for your digestive tract and overall well being, that being said, its far more convenient and “legal” to go to a store and buy mayonnaise than it is to actually make it. Some are less than keen on fresh mayo, simply because they fear eating raw yolks…
A minuscule chance of salmonella is far more frightening than gorging on less than tested additives to your average consumer.

The industry is slowly changing.  It began with vegetarianism becoming mainstream… Gluten free has gotten more traction than lactose intolerance, but there are non-dairy alternatives available on the shelves now.