- While it’s important to understand the potential risks of bacteria and pathogens, it’s equally necessary to recognize the essential role microorganisms play in our health and environment.
- Overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial products like hand sanitizer is driving microbial resistance and impairing our microbiome at the same time. Eventually, our immune systems feel the effects of this shift, making it more difficult for us to fight off illnesses.
- You can support your microbiome by eating a healthy diet, eliminating unnecessary antibacterial products, and by spending more time outdoors.
Understanding The Unseen World
Antibacterial wipes, antibiotics, antimicrobial face wash… the list of microbe-killing products in our everyday lives goes on.
The fear surrounding microbes in our contemporary society is constant, widespread, and driven by the “all or nothing” mentality Western medicine has sold to us when it comes to dealing with potential infection. Health enthusiasts may be surprised to discover that many of the microbes we come in contact with every day are completely harmless. And even more are actually good for you.
The reason we deal with things like acne, leaky gut, and immune system dysfunction might come down to the imbalance of microbes in our gut — and that could be caused by an environment that’s too sterile.
There will always be times when antibiotics and antibacterial soaps are necessary to save someone’s life and prevent easily transmissible infections. But how often does it actually benefit us to kill 99.9% of bacteria? Not as often as you might think.
Microbes Are All Around Us — And That’s a Good Thing
Microbes are everywhere. On your skin, in your digestive system, in your brain, in nature, and in the air you breathe. So why do we fear them?
Microbes can be the cause of severe illnesses, contagious viruses, fungi, and even parasites (hello — we all just witnessed how an unhealthy microbe totally altered our society for years). These unhealthy bacteria — aka, pathogens — deserve a healthy level of respect and caution.
But the reality is that most microbes are either working in our favor, or they’re harmless travelers passing through our bodies.
Microbes are an inherent part of our environment — they even outnumber our cells ten to one. When harmful pathogens do trigger the immune system, healthy microbes in our gut, skin, and even the brain are the first line of defense, alerting our immune systems to unwelcome visitors. We still don’t know much about these microbial alarm raisers or how they work, but we know they’re on our side.
Many scientists and holistic health professionals agree that the future of medicine lies not in antimicrobials, but in harnessing the power of healthy microbes.
How Microbes Benefit Our Health
Microbes are powering your body right now… and you might not even know it. When healthy microbes are doing their job, here are some ways you’ll benefit:
- A healthy gut. Easy BM’s, minimal gas, and a well-functioning immune system.
- Clear skin. When your microbiome is out of whack, you might notice increased skin issues like acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
- Bladder health. UTIs are usually caused by a microbial imbalance (too much of the bad stuff, not enough of the good!)
- Vaginal health. Did you know? Your vagina is carefully balanced with healthy microbes that protect and clean your most sensitive areas.
- Weight control. Numerous studies have connected a healthy microbiome with both weight gain and loss.
- Disease prevention. When a pathogen enters your system, your native microbes are the first to know about it. They send out warning signals to the immune system with information on where that pathogen is located. Fascinating, right?
- Improved mood. The gut accounts for 95% of serotonin production. A healthy microbiome is part of this production and can help stabilize your mood.
Fast Facts About the Microbiome
Learn more about the trillions of microbes hanging out in your gut and your environment. These fast facts will blow your mind.
- According to new research, the gut microbiome is now being considered a separate organ with distinct metabolic and immune activity. It definitely deserves our attention for maintaining health and wellbeing!
- Exposure to new microbes is essential to the maintenance of the immune system. Every time a new bacterial strain, virus, or spore enters the body, the immune system has to check to ensure it’s not a threat. New exposure keeps the immune system vigilant and ready to fight when a real threat emerges.
- The CDC estimates that up to 50% (!) of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriately prescribed.
- Infants born vaginally have a much higher concentration of healthy bacteria (they pick it up through the birth canal!). They’ll also continue to gain healthy microbes through nursing during the first months of life.
- Exposure to pets (especially in developmental years) can benefit the microbiome and even decrease the risk of allergies.
5 Simple Ways to Support Your Microbiome From the Outside In
Luckily, supporting your microbiome isn’t too difficult. The natural world is full of healthy microbes and ready to support you along your journey.
1. Stop Using Chemical Disinfectants at Home
Disinfectants are ubiquitous in hospital environments and are absolutely necessary in a surgical setting. But they aren’t essential for everyday use in your home. Whenever you use a chemical disinfectant, remember that you’re eliminating both the bad and the good bacteria at the same time. Use carefully!
A great alternative to harsh disinfectants is hypochlorous acid, a natural compound made by the immune system to fight infections. We like this solution for home disinfecting and this spray as an alternative to hand sanitizer and even as a toner!
2. Close the Toilet Seat Before You Flush
If you’re really worried about the spread of dangerous pathogens, you should spend more time closing your toilet seat and less time using disinfectant wipes. When a toilet is flushed, all kinds of bacteria can fly into the air and cover every surface — including your toothbrush. Closing your toilet seat (and teaching your kids to do so) is an easy way to ensure the bad bacteria stays out of your home and out of you.
3. Get Outside
Plant a garden, take nature hikes, or walk barefoot to your mailbox… All of these methods are great ways to expose yourself to a healthy dose of microbes. Soil doesn’t just feed plants and provide us nutrients through fruits and veggies. It can also feed our microbiome — just by touch. Studies show that rural tribes have much healthier and more developed microbiomes than we do in the Western world. This is likely because they live in tune and direct contact with nature.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Microbes are everywhere… including in your food. Conventional and GMO foods treated with pesticides and herbicides are more likely to throw your microbiome out of whack, leading to disease in the long run. It’s best to stick with organically grown and regenerative foods when possible.
You can and should still wash your fresh produce to reduce the possibility of a pathogen making its way to your gut, but chemical disinfectants aren’t necessary. A bath in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water works well to clear off dirt and bugs. Oh, and when you’re done, be sure to compost to give back to the microbes that gave your food its nutrients!
5. Use Gut+ to Feed and Cleanse Your Microbiome
Gut+ is our newest gut health supplement that incorporates all of the latest microbiome research to cleanse your gut of pathogens and feed the healthy microbes. Butyrate is consumed by healthy microbes so they can continue to populate and protect the gut, while Preforpro bacteriophage prebiotics work to gently remove any bad bacteria that may be causing unwanted symptoms.
Don’t Fear Microbes, Coexist With Them
Our new gut health supplement Gut+ is specifically formulated to create balance within the microbiome. While feeding the healthy bacteria with tributyrin butyrate, it gently cleanses bad bacteria out of your body with Preforpro bacteriophage technology.
Appleton J. (2018). The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 17(4), 28–32.
Ferranti, E. P., Dunbar, S. B., Dunlop, A. L., & Corwin, E. J. (2014). 20 things you didn't know about the human gut microbiome. The Journal of cardiovascular nursing, 29(6), 479–481. https://doi.org/10.1097/JCN.0000000000000166
John, G. K., Wang, L., Nanavati, J., Twose, C., Singh, R., & Mullin, G. (2018). Dietary Alteration of the Gut Microbiome and Its Impact on Weight and Fat Mass: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Genes, 9(3), 167. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9030167
Krishnan, Kiran (2020). On the Immune Health, Herd Immunity, Viral Exposure, Microbiome, Gut Health, and More. https://www.peak-human.com/post/kiran-krishnan-on-the-immune-health-herd-immunity-viral-exposure-microbiome-gut-health-and-more