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Too Clean!

Finally mainstream science is looking at balance i.e. we need germs.

According to Science News, vol. 156, There is now growing support for a theory called the "Hygiene Theory". This theory holds that by keeping things too clean and germ free that we create new health problems. One of the things that is believed to happen, living in antiseptic surroundings, is it increases asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. One possible reason for an increase of these illnesses is that child’s immune systems do not get the practice they need in fighting off germs.

It appears that we have two varieties of white blood cells. One is called Th1 and the other is Th2. It seems that infants and young children depend primary on Th2. If Th2 does not get used or get lots of practice fighting off germs then when Th1 "comes on line", so to speak, Th2 cannot hold it in check or keep a balance between Th1 and Th2. If Th1 then becomes out of balance it starts attacking toxins in the environment too vigorously i.e. asthma and allergies. Or it attacks its own body i.e. autoimmune diseases.

There are also many beneficial germs that have been ignored because most medical researchers did not see how important they are to our health. There is even a study that shows that an occasional bite of a blood-sucking fly may fine-tune the immune system and prevent Leishmania, (a tropical disease carried by sand flies).

In a separate article, in the December 1999 Discover magazine, some researchers have found that parasitic worms common in undeveloped countries can be very beneficial. It seems that the researchers noticed that people in undeveloped counties rarely get inflammatory bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis. So they persuaded six of their patients with these diseases to quaff a brew of worm eggs.

Within three weeks 5 of the 6 patients went into complete remission and stayed so for five months. The sixth patient had already had permanent bowel damage but still improved significantly. Here again the researchers believe that the worms help suppress Th1 and enhance Th2 bringing them into better balance.

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copyright 2005 O.Frank