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Are We Over-Cleaning Our Skin?

In these current times, the topic of under and over-cleaning our skin and home environment is discussed more than ever. There have always been debates about how often we should clean and which soaps or cleansers to choose. But with the pandemic, everyone is more concerned and possibly more confused as well.

Undoubtedly, in the past several months, there’s been a steady stream of antibacterial and alcohol-based soaps being marketed to the general public. And while these have great success in killing and washing viruses from our hands, we need to consider how often and where to use them.

Should we be using antibacterial soaps for whole body cleansing? How often should we shower versus washing our hands? What’s the best way to avoid skin allergies, acne, or dry skin when choosing a cleansing routine? How clean is too clean? This article will address all of these questions and more.

Washing Our Hands in The Time of Coronavirus

We know that handwashing is the best prevention for the coronavirus. However, before the pandemic, many people weren’t educated about proper handwashing to prevent disease spread.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have always recommended regular handwashing for infection prevention. They provide researched education about how and when to wash our hands. The recommendations back in 2001 lightly supported the use of antibacterial soap. They cautioned that it may increase the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and negatively alter the skin flora (1,2).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have always recommended regular handwashing for infection prevention. They provide researched education about how and when to wash our hands. The recommendations back in 2001 lightly… Click To Tweet

In 2020, the CDC now supports the use of soap and water as the gold standard for infection prevention and control. A search of CDC handwashing guidelines shows that they recommend only alcohol-based hand washing when soap and water aren’t possible (1,2).

As for antimicrobial soaps, the CDC no longer discusses using them at all. The reason is simple, antimicrobial soaps may do more harm than good.

What’s The Deal With Antimicrobial Soaps?

In recent years, several studies show that antimicrobial soaps may cause cracks and irritation to the skin. This creates more susceptibility to bacterial colonization. And as we know, the use of antimicrobial soaps may have a hand in creating superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics (2,3,4).

But unfortunately, antimicrobial soaps mess with our skin microbiome. Each area of the body has its own microbial balance, which maintains our health and prevents infection and disease. This balance can be disturbed by many factors which we are learning more about in modern times (3,5).

For example, in the book “The Whole Body Microbiome,” Dr. Brett Finlay and contributing scientists discuss microbiome balance issues in all areas of the body. With regard to the skin, they talk about how a simple problem like acne could be related to microbial imbalance on the surface of the skin (5).

For instance, a bacteria called Cutibacterium Acnes actually helps break down our oily skin secretions. This process creates an acidic environment that prevents the growth of Staphylococcus Aureus known for causing acne and other infections (5).

Who would have thought that one bacteria can prevent another worse bacteria from growing? But this is the case in almost all of our body microbiomes. Bacteria often compete and edge each other out, which keeps infections low and improves our well being. They also create enzymes and other by-products that contribute to the healthy function of our body (5,6,7).

For all these reasons, we don’t want to use antimicrobial soaps that kill off all the beneficial bacteria that are actually helping us.

Why Should We Avoid Over-Cleaning Our Skin?

In the Whole Body Microbiome, the authors discuss research and studies showing one glaring truth. When it comes to the skin, less clean is better. Areas of the body such as hands, feet, genitals, and armpits should be washed daily with regular soap and water. But as for other areas like the face and rest of the body, it’s not necessary to scrub them daily (5).

Over-cleaning and using overly hot water can also damage our skin microbiome and cause more problems for our health. Many people don’t know that our skin and body microbiome plays a role in developing illnesses like asthma, eczema, autoimmune disease, and allergic reactions (5,7).

For instance, some studies show that eczema is related to higher levels of Staphylococcus Aureus. Without a balanced skin microbiome, these harmful bacteria are allowed to grow, causing the classic inflammatory skin lesions found in eczema (5,7).

Other studies show that exposure to beneficial skin microbes helps develop our immune system, thus preventing skin and systemic illnesses from developing later in life (5,6,8),.

Lastly, over-cleaning may cause cracks and open sores, which can increase infection risk. One study shows that damaged skin from over-cleaning is more likely to be colonized with several harmful microbes. Not only does this increase skin inflammation, but it may also perpetuate the spread of contagious infections (3,5).

So while it may be hard not to over-clean our hands during the pandemic, we can find a better balance for the rest of our body. Daily washing of feet, groin, hands, and armpits is good enough. But other parts of the body really don’t need to be over-cleaned.

For areas like the face, arms, legs, and hair, it seems the best skincare routine is to wash less frequently with plain soap and lukewarm water. This routine will also help prevent things like acne, wrinkles, dry skin, and other infections. Lastly, using a mild natural moisturizer can keep the skin supple without destroying the microbiome (1,2,5).

Conclusion

There’s never been a better time for more discussion and education around cleaning. Until now, most of us weren’t always sure how often we should wash our hands and clean our skin. With the push towards more frequent handwashing and the use of alcohol and antimicrobial soaps, it’s essential to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Frequent handwashing is critical in these trying times. And yes, we need to wash our dirtiest parts like feet, groin, and armpits. But surprisingly, we don’t need to over-clean other areas of our skin. And we should definitely stop the use of antimicrobial soaps. Pure soap and water is the best way to clean our hands and bodies.

Moreover, people may not understand how important our skin microbiome is for our health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, by over-cleaning and using hot water and antimicrobial soaps, we may be damaging our skin microbiome’s delicate balance. This has confirmed repercussions in the development of infections, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

We also recommend learning about over-cleaning your home.


References

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/7/2/70-0225_article

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(98)70025-2/fulltext

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/478930

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/336/6080/489

https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(13)01564-9/fulltext

https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1508749

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Mold Exposure and Lyme Disease: The Hidden Link

There is a clear connection between mold exposure and Lyme disease. Disruptions to your immune system resulting from exposure to mold can make you more likely to both contract Lyme disease and have medical complications with it. Beyond the typical precautions against tick bites, you can also help avoid it with simple household actions: Prevent mold exposure and Lyme disease risks are reduced.

Mold Exposure Can Make You More Susceptible to Lyme Disease

May is National Lyme Disease month, which means that many clinicians, advocates, and researchers will be sharing facts to help increase awareness. Lyme disease affects approximately 30,000 Americans each year. Although it’s a highly treatable disease, it has a high potential to become chronic for many people 1. Also, Lyme disease often occurs in combination with other immune compromising conditions such as autoimmune disorders, allergies, celiac disease, Epstein Barr virus, and other infections 2.

However, did you know that mold toxicity is also an important issue for people with Lyme disease? Unfortunately, the immune-compromising effects of mold toxicity can make you more susceptible to contracting Lyme disease. Also, once infected with the Lyme bacteria, mold illness can make you more likely to have chronic issues with Lyme disease.

Mold growthHow Mold Affects the Immune System

The most common household mold species are Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium. But there are thousands of other different kinds of mold species. Although many of them are not harmful in most situations, some can cause serious illness 3. The problem with certain mold species is that they produce substances called mycotoxins which are harmful to human health.

The symptoms of mold illness range from mild to severe depending on the health status, immune system, and genetic factors of different people.

At the very least, the effects of mycotoxins on human tissues can cause mild allergic symptoms. But sometimes it can lead to more severe respiratory or other systemic problems that can cause chronic illness and even death 3,4,5. The main problem with mold and human health is that it causes severe disruptions in the immune system resulting in either an over-reaction or under-reaction 6.

The main problem with mold and human health is that it causes severe disruptions in the immune system resulting in either an over-reaction or under-reaction Click To Tweet

What this means is that mold may be a factor in the development of autoimmune issues as well as immune-deficiency problems. Either of these conditions can make it difficult for a human body to deal with other infections, such as Lyme disease 4,5,6.

Several studies have shown that people living in damp and moldy environments are more prone to inflammatory illnesses or infections that result from immune deficiency. This is especially true if their living environments lack surrounding biodiversity that is void of other helpful microbes 5,6,7,8,9. This is the reason why people with mysterious inflammatory issues and other chronic health problems often test with high levels of mycotoxins.

Further tests often reveal other infections such as Lyme disease. This is no coincidence. Instead, it reveals immune systems that are unable to cope, and mold toxicity may be a massive piece of the puzzle.

How Lyme Disease Affects the Human Body

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete bacteria that is transmitted through tick bites. A tick needs to be attached to the human body for at least 24 hours to transmit the disease. This is why most health education is aimed at early prevention by instructing people how to quickly and adequately remove a tick 1,2. The problem is that many people are under the impression that they can prevent Lyme disease since a tick is easy to find. Tick bites are relatively irritating to the skin. Also, the tick swells, which may make it easy to detect. Therefore, people feel that they can remove it before 24 hours are up.

Unfortunately, most people don’t remove ticks properly. Instead, they pull it out and leave the mouthparts behind. The problem is that those mouthparts stay embedded in the skin where they can continue to transmit the Lyme spirochete 1,2.

Lyme disease initially causes fever, skin rash, joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches. If treated rapidly, a person can make a full recovery. However, Lyme disease has been known to turn chronic, especially if early treatment wasn’t initiated. And even with early treatment, many people still go on to develop chronic Lyme disease symptoms 1,2,10.

Lyme disease initially causes fever, skin rash, joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches. If treated rapidly, a person can make a full recovery. However, Lyme disease has been known to turn chronic, especially if early treatment wasn't… Click To Tweet

What’s interesting is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are very similar to the signs of mold toxicity. Also, chronic Lyme symptoms are similar to many diseases of the immune system. When this occurs, the clinical picture can become confusing to both the patient and doctors 4,10,11. Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease range from digestive issues, neurological problems, heart damage, and severe musculoskeletal pain 1,2.

Indeed, many people who present with multiple and chronic health issues are often investigated for co-morbid and related conditions such as mold illness and Lyme disease.

The Connection Between Mold & Lyme Disease

As discussed above, the main problem with mold is that it renders our immune system less capable of coping with other infections. Indeed, many people exposed to tick bites don’t actually get sick. And if they do, the illness is short-lived and doesn’t turn chronic.

However, the problem lies when a person gets bit by a Lyme infected tick, and their immune system is already preoccupied with fighting off mold toxicity. Unfortunately, they may be unable to fight off this new infection 11,12,13,14.

Also, even with antibiotic treatment, an immunocompromised host may still go on to develop chronic Lyme-related health issues.

Many people with co-occurring Lyme and mold issues develop something called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). This syndrome is difficult to treat and can wreak havoc on the health, finances, and quality of life of those affected. Furthermore, people with Lyme disease are less likely to clear toxins from their bodies. Likewise, mold toxicity makes Lyme disease treatment less likely to work. Thus it becomes a vicious cycle causing crippling symptoms that are difficult to treat 11,12,13,14.

Many people with co-occurring Lyme and mold issues develop something called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). This syndrome is difficult to treat and can wreak havoc on the health, finances, and quality of life of those… Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Since these two conditions create a perfect storm for inflammatory illness, the obvious solution is to work on both prevention and proper diagnosis for both. Preventing mold illness by properly cleaning and treating moldy environments is paramount. By doing so, the people living in those environments will maintain a healthy immune system. And as we know, a healthy and balanced immune system can fight off other infections like Lyme disease.

Preventing mold illness by properly cleaning and treating moldy environments is paramount. By doing so, the people living in those environments will maintain a healthy immune system. And as we know, a healthy and balanced immune system… Click To Tweet

However, many people don’t even know they have mold illness until they become sick with Lyme disease, which then becomes chronic. Often, it takes a long time with much frustration before a person learns that they’re actually dealing with two chronic illnesses that are exacerbating each other. Since we know that mold illness increases susceptibility to other infections, it makes sense to raise awareness so that people can take action to prevent mold now.

By taking steps to decrease mold problems, people will have a more robust immune system, which will prevent chronic Lyme disease from taking hold. More so, a stronger immune system means fewer chances of developing Lyme disease in the first place.


REFERENCES

1. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/index.html
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3542482/
3. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm
4. https://www.prohealth.com/library/overview-lyme-disease-mold-illness-91639
5. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5377931/
7. http://robdunnlab.com/science-portfolio/never-home-alone/
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5108756/
9. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?journal=Arch+Environ+Health&title=Mixed+mold+mycotoxicosis:+immunological+changes+in+humans+following+exposure+in+water-damaged+buildings&author=MR+Gray&author=JD+Thrasher&author=R+Crago&author=RA+Madison&author=L+Arnold&volume=58&publication_year=2003&pages=410-20&pmid=15143854&
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986024/
11. http://www.gordonmedical.com/unravelling-complex-chronic-illness/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Townsend-Letter-Mold-Article-1.pdf
12. https://www.betterhealthguy.com/topics/mold
13. https://drjaydavidson.com/toxic-mold-lyme/
14. http://www.lymecompass.net/mold-intolerence.html

 

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Gut Biome & Home Biome: How Are They Related?

In the past decade, the importance of a healthy gut biome has been discussed between scientists, medical professionals, and health consumers. By now, most people know that bacteria reside in our guts and that they’re essential to our health. These bacteria are, together, what create the biome. However, many people still don’t understand why having diverse bacteria is important. More importantly, most people don’t understand the similarities and relationship between our home biome and the gut biome. We need the biome in our guts and our homes to be healthy and diverse at the same time.

Why Does Biome Balance Matter?

As living organisms, we’re connected to our living environments, so if one biome is unbalanced, chances are the other is too. Also, by understanding the similarities between the gut and home biome, we can make better decisions for how to improve and maintain them. However, many of us may not understand that the home biome is similar to the one in our gut. Therefore, people may not realize how to create balance in our home biome.

First let’s define both the gut and home biomes and look at their similarities. Then we can discuss the importance of both biomes for the health of our bodies and living environments.

What is The Gut Biome?

The evidence is clear that having healthy and diverse microbes in the gut is essential for the development, functioning, and maintenance of our overall physical health. Gut microbes impact the digestive system, our immune system, our neurochemicals, and many other systems in our body 1,2,3.

For example, gut microbes are needed to help digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat. This helps sustain the immune system, which is also connected to the nerves, brain, blood vessels, and other vital organs 1,2,3,4. Research shows that a gut biome that lacks diverse and healthy bacteria may be a root cause of health problems like diabetes, obesity, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune issues 3,4,5,6.

We’re all born with a sterile gut that becomes populated by essential microbes in infancy. The particular distribution of microbes is unique to each individual even though we share many microbial species between humans 1-6. Many issues can cause us to lose the diversity of our gut microbes. Things like illness, antibiotics, chemicals, food additives, and stress can all cause a shift in the balance of bacteria in our guts. This imbalance is called dysbiosis 5,6. Dysbiosis refers to both the loss of our gut microbes as well as an overgrowth of harmful microbes.

Why Are Healthy Gut Microbes Important?

A gut without enough microbes means that we may not have the ability to digest enough nutrients. Also, if one microbe is allowed to grow too much, this can lead to other health issues as well. An example of an overgrowth of harmful microbes is in a common condition known as candidiasis. This is an overgrowth of Candida yeast in the gut known to cause bloating, headaches, brain fog, and other health problems. Yet another example is a bacteria known as c. difficile, which is known to cause severe diarrhea 3-6.

In recent years, many health professionals are advocating for the use of pre and probiotics to help control dysbiosis. There’s also been much discussion of the overuse of antibiotics as they are known to kill healthy gut microbes. Lastly, we know that things like maintaining a healthy diet or decreasing stress can also help retain the microbe balance in our guts 1-6.

In recent years, many health professionals are advocating for the use of pre and probiotics to help control dysbiosis. There's also been much discussion of the overuse of antibiotics as they are known to kill healthy gut microbes.… Click To Tweet

The goal is to create an environment in our guts where diverse microbes can grow in healthy amounts. This healthy diversity not only contributes to the proper functioning of our bodies, but it prevents unhealthy microbes from growing in large numbers.

When it comes to the health of our guts, we need lots of healthy and diverse microbes that live well together and in balance.

What is The Home Biome?

Now that we understand the gut biome, let’s look at the home biome. Our homes also have a biome that is unique and essential in maintaining the health of our living environment. Just like our guts, our homes get colonized with a variety of diverse microbes, some of which are required to maintain balance and health. If our home biome is lacking in microbes, such as often happens when we overclean and create a sterile environment, then problems can arise 7,8.

Also, if we clear out a few key species of microbes that help maintain balance, we may see an overgrowth of other more harmful species. For example, microbes like mold, yeast, and salmonella can grow unchecked in a home environment that lacks sufficient diverse, healthy microbes 7,8.

So, we also need to consider ways to enhance the growth of healthy bacteria, the same as we would do for our guts. Just as we take probiotics for our gut health, we can also use probiotics for our home. Products like Homebiotic contain healthy soil-based microbes that help maintain the home biome. Also, just as we work to prevent a sterile gut, we want to avoid a sterile home environment. This means we don’t over-clean our homes with harsh chemical cleaners too frequently 7,8.

Just as we take probiotics for our gut health, we can also use probiotics for our home. Products like Homebiotic contain healthy soil-based microbes that help maintain the home biome. Click To Tweet

How Are The Gut & Home Biome Related?

Since we are biodiverse beings that are dependent on our environments, it makes sense that our gut and home biome co-exist. Of course, the microbial population in our guts and our homes will be somewhat different. But, studies show that homes are colonized by bacteria found in humans and pets that live in the house 8.

Interestingly, some microbes that are unique to the home and the immediate outdoor environment also live in our bodies. We know that this relationship creates a diverse biome, and this diversity is fundamental to our well-being as a whole. So obviously, if there is dysbiosis in the home, then there may be dysbiosis in the human biome as well 7,8,9,10.

Interestingly, some microbes that are unique to the home and the immediate outdoor environment also live in our bodies. We know that this relationship creates a diverse biome, and this diversity is fundamental to our well-being as a… Click To Tweet

Indeed, in recent years, research shows how the use of chemicals to clean our bodies and living environments can also affect the human biome 7. Also, we know that homes surrounded by diverse soil-based microbes such as farms or homes with a lot of green space are known to create healthier immune systems in children. This suggests that a direct connection to our environment is what actually creates robust body systems 9,10,11,12.

Lastly, a home that is lacking in diverse microbes is likely to have an overgrowth of harmful microbes like mold. In recent decades, mold illness in the form of allergies, asthma, and other related health issues are on the rise. So we know that our home biome has an effect on our health and well-being 11,12.

Why is This Important To Know?

The more we understand the connection between our gut and home biome, the more we know how to maintain health in both areas. As living beings, we are symbiotically connected to our environments. People are becoming more educated about the importance of healthy and diverse gut microbes. Still, they have yet to see the connection between their gut and their home biome.

The more we understand the importance of having diverse microbes in our guts and in our homes, the more we will take care not to create a dysbiosis in either. As we try to enhance our physical health to ensure the diversity of microbes in our gut, we can also do the same thing for our homes. It just makes sense to look after both so we can improve our overall health.


REFERENCES:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667473/
2. https://letthemeatdirt.com
3. https://www.jillcarnahan.com/2013/01/03/healthy-gut-healthy-you/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425030/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089/
6. https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/354902
7. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
8. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139
9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/all.13002
10. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/7/9/287
11. https://www.pnas.org/content/110/46/18360?etoc=
12. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1508749

 

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Can Mold Exposure Increase Your Coronavirus Risk?

The coronavirus pandemic has many of us gripped with stress and worry over the health of our families. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and people are naturally concerned about how to protect themselves and their home environments. And now that many of us are confined to our homes, we’re wondering how to make them as safe and healthy as possible. So we have to ask: can mold exposure increase your coronavirus risk?

One thing to consider is mold growth and how it may affect us in our homes. With more people spending time at home, mold may become a problem as we are eating, cooking, showering, and cleaning more. And for those who are already prone to asthma and allergies, mold can be a more serious issue. Particularly when it comes to infections like coronavirus and its complications.

One thing to consider is mold growth and how it may affect us in our homes. With more people spending time at home, mold may become a problem as we are eating, cooking, showering, and cleaning more. And for those who are already prone… Click To Tweet

The Effects Of Mold On The Immune System

Most people know that anyone with a compromised immune system can become very ill when exposed to mold. This is because they don’t have the right amount of immune cells in their blood to fight off a systemic fungal infection 1,2,3.

However, people with otherwise healthy immune systems can also be affected by the toxins that mold secretes. To be clear, mold on its own does not cause illness. Instead, it’s the mycotoxins that mold emits that can impair the immune system and cause illness. In other words, people who are sensitive to mold may also be slightly immunocompromised 3.

Research has shown that these mycotoxins can confuse and impair the white blood cells in our immune system, making them less able to protect the individual. Furthermore, confused white blood cells have a tendency to overreact, which accounts for many allergic reactions 1,2.

Mold & Its Role In Asthma & Allergies

Unfortunately, asthma and allergies have increased exponentially over the past many decades 4. Also, mold growth has increased, particularly within modern homes 5.

Experts have shown clear connections between household mold and increased allergic illness and asthma attacks 3,4,5. The mycotoxins in mold have been shown to both cause and exacerbate allergies and asthma.

The concerning part is that conditions like asthma and allergies reveal an already impaired immune system. This means that people with allergies and asthma are also more susceptible to secondary infections from bacteria and viruses 6.

germsDoes Mold Make Us More Susceptible To Viruses?

It’s possible that mold exposure can make us more susceptible to pathogens like the coronavirus. This is especially problematic for people who have asthma and allergies related to mold sensitivity.

Since many of us will be home more, household exposure to mold can become a problem. And if a family member has increased asthma or allergies related to mold, they are likely to have their immune system compromised 1,2,3,4. And of course, this makes them prone to develop other infections like the coronavirus.

Since many of us will be home more, household exposure to mold can become a problem. And if a family member has increased asthma or allergies related to mold, they are likely to have their immune system compromised Click To Tweet

Also, people with asthma and allergies tend to touch their faces more through sneezing and wiping their nose or eyes. They’re also likely to cough more, which means they can also be exposing other family members to illness as well 6.

This means that while we’re at home in isolation, we need to be more thoughtful about household mold and what it may be doing to the health of our family members.

Mold growth

What Can We Do To Control Mold Growth?

What can we do to prevent mold at home to keep us better protected against illnesses like coronavirus?

The following are some practical steps you can take now:

Decrease moisture build-up in your home.

Mold growth depends on moisture, so be sure to turn on fans, open windows, and fix any water leaks in your home. Decreasing moisture build-up through air ventilation and reducing water issues will go a long way to keeping your home mold-free 3,7.

Be careful with your cleaning practices.

Cleaning requires water, but be sure not to dump large amounts of water while you clean the kitchen, bathroom, and other household surfaces. When you’re finished cleaning, make sure all surfaces have been wiped dry 3,7,8.

Also, be careful not to use large amounts of bleach or other bactericidal cleaning agents. While we may need to disinfect certain areas during the current coronavirus pandemic, we need to be careful not to overdo it. This is especially important if no one in the home is currently sick. Too much of these harsh chemicals can clear out helpful bacteria while providing free real estate for mold to grow 3,7,8.

Take preventative measures.

Besides moisture, mold loves to eat cellulose-containing products such as paper, drywall, and wood fiber. Make sure you clean up any clutter that may contain these products around water faucets or potentially damp areas of your home 3.

When in doubt, do a mold test to find out if your home contains mold. If you know for sure if your home has a mold problem, then you can take appropriate actions to remove it.

Soil-based microbes are known to balance out the flora in a home environment and help keep fungi from growing unchecked. These microbes usually come in through dirt on our shoes and from being outside. So don’t be afraid to get outdoors and allow some dirt to come into your home 7.

Lastly, you can add good microbes to your home to balance out the biome of your home. Homebiotic’s home probiotic spray adds beneficial soil-based microbes to your home. These microbes naturally eliminate the cause of musty odors.

Conclusion

There are simple and clear actions we can take to prevent mold growth while isolated at home during this coronavirus pandemic. People should understand how mold can impact our immune system, especially those with asthma and allergies. And unfortunately, mold illness can increase susceptibility to other pathogens like the coronavirus.

Mold decreases and confuses the immune response of specific white blood cells, which causes illnesses like asthma and allergies. And for immunocompromised people, mold can be more hazardous.

As we spend more time at home and in the company of our immediate family, you may want to consider some practices to help decrease mold. This includes minimizing moisture build-up, monitoring cleaning practices, and implementing mold prevention strategies. In this way, we can protect our vulnerable family members and keep our immune systems healthy.


REFERENCES:

1. https://www.cell.com/cell-chemical-biology/fulltext/S2451-9456(19)30001-7?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2451945619300017%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444319/
3. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28608416
5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935115000304
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4122981/
7. https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
8. https://letthemeatdirt.com

 

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The “Farm Effect” & How It Can Create A Healthy Home

Some people will read the title of this article and wonder, “what do farms have to do with the health of my home?” Don’t worry, no one is saying we need to live on farms. Unless, of course, we’re interested in being a farmer. However, a little education about the “farm effect” can have huge benefits to the health of our homes and the people who live in them.

WHAT IS “FARM EFFECT”?

The “farm effect” was founded by researcher Dr. Erika Von Mutius after doing several studies on children raised on farms. The results showed that these children have less incidence of asthma, allergies, and other illnesses. It appears that infants and children are protected from certain allergic and autoimmune diseases when they live close to animals, farm dust, and soil1,2,3.

The “farm effect” was founded by researcher Dr. Erika Von Mutius after doing several studies on children raised on farms. The results showed that these children have less incidence of asthma, allergies, and other illnesses. Click To Tweet

So the “farm effect” refers to the positive health outcomes of living on a farm. The results of these studies are undeniable, and many scholars and regular people are wondering how we can use this information to enhance our modern lives.

No doubt, most of us live in closed-off urban homes that barely resemble a farm environment. So how can we replicate these positive health outcomes so that modern humans can have these health benefits without living on a farm? First, let’s look at how the “farm effect” actually works.

HOW DOES THE “FARM EFFECT” WORK?

The most important thing to know is that it’s not the farm itself that creates the “farm effect,” it’s the microbes. It appears that living amongst many diverse bacteria, such as those found on a farm, has an enhancing effect on the immune systems of growing children. What that means is that microbes help train their budding immune systems to respond to allergens and bacteria in a healthy way2,3.

The repeated exposures to soil, animals, and other farm microbes help to develop specific white blood cells and other immune factors involved in inflammation and allergic reactions. In essence, the more the immune system is trained, the less it reacts to allergens.

It also means that the more developed the immune system is, the less inflammation will be present in the body. And as we are learning more and more, inflammation may be at the root of many common illnesses and conditions2,3,4.

The repeated exposures to soil, animals, and other farm microbes help to develop specific white blood cells and other immune factors involved in inflammation and allergic reactions. Click To Tweet

Knowing all of this, we can make different choices about how to take care of ourselves and our environment, including the place we spend the most time in – our homes. In short, we want to replicate the “farm effect” in our homes.

WHY DO I WANT TO REPLICATE THE “FARM EFFECT” IN MY HOME?

As much as possible, we want to improve the diversity of microbes in our homes so they resemble the microbes you would find on farms. These are called soil-based microbes, or bacteria, and they benefit us on many levels. Not only do they help improve our health and immune systems, but they balance out mold and bacteria that may grow unchecked in our homes2,4,5,6.

It may be confusing to read that you need more bacteria when trying to reduce unwanted bacteria, but this is an actual fact. Soil-based bacteria naturally compete with other pathogens creating a healthy balance7.

Replicating the “farm effect” in our homes means bringing in more soil-based microbes. It may sound complicated, but it’s easier than you would think. It involves a few changes and making decisions about which products we buy to clean and protect our homes.

Soil-based microbes in our home can help us achieve a kind of “farm effect.” And this will help improve our immune systems while providing a balance against pathogens like mold and harmful bacteria.

HOW CAN I BRING THE BENEFITS OF THE “FARM EFFECT” INTO MY HOME?

First, we need to have an environment that’s welcoming to soil-based microbes.

If our homes have an unwelcoming environment, then the healthy bacteria will be killed off before they have a chance to do their work. This means that we need to make decisions about cleaning products.

Research has shown that over-cleaning and using toxic chemicals can decimate both good and bad microbes8,9. So maybe we can relax a bit on how clean we need our homes to be. That’s not to say that we let dirt and grime build-up, instead, we just go a little lighter on our cleaning efforts. This has a positive side-effect of decreasing stress too.

Also, go easy on the harsh and toxic cleaners that contain antimicrobial agents.

Instead, opt for more enviro-friendly cleaners or go with good old vinegar and water mixed with essential oils. Harsh cleaning products have been shown to cause respiratory, skin, and eye problems as well as increasing bacterial resistance to these chemicals.

Next, we need to bring in more soil-based microbes, and there are a few ways that are not only fun but easy.

We can simply start by going outside more and having a hands-on experience with nature. We can let ourselves, our children and our pets play in the mud; roll in leaves, sit down on the grass, or whatever helps us get more intimate with nature2,4.

We may not live on farms, but we can access a similar environment by just spending more time outside and being less afraid of the outside coming in. Having said that, we can open our windows more and maybe adopt some plants that can add more green to our environment. Plants can bring in soil-based microbes, but they also have other properties that help develop our immune systems and decrease dangerous pathogens as well2,4.

Lastly, products like Homebiotic are made specifically to help replicate the “farm effect” in our homes.

The spray contains diverse soil-based microbes that act as a probiotic for your home. Once you clean with a natural, non-toxic cleaner, you can spray Homebiotic in all corners of your home.

Homebiotic spray can help create a balanced ecosystem in your home that resembles the “farm effect.” It may be easier than we think to replicate the “farm effect” in our homes; all we have to do is get educated, then take action.

 


REFERENCES

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21060319
2.https://letthemeatdirt.com
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31401285
4.https://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062433640/eat-dirt/
5.https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
6.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022
7.https://escholarship.org/content/qt68c2j665/qt68c2j665.pdf
8.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
9.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/478930

 

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Got Dirty Kids? Great!

Modern society tends to favor clean, perfectly kept children, but do dirty kids make healthier kids? There’s been some talk recently about the benefits of kids playing in dirt and that it may actually benefit their health. The discussion was sparked by research that showed how kids brought up on farms had healthier immune systems than those that had no exposure. It seems that exposure to farm animals, and the dust and dirt that comes with them, actually helps protect and build kids immune systems1.

It seems that exposure to farm animals, and the dust and dirt that comes with them, actually helps protect and build kids immune systems Click To Tweet

It makes sense that parents might then ask, “So, does this mean I should let my kids get covered in dirt or even eat dirt?” The question is valid and perhaps meant with some playful sarcasm; the answer, though, may surprise you. While it may be absurd to have your kids make a lunch out of dirt, having some healthy exposure to it may be a good thing.

WHAT IS HEALTHY DIRT?

When we speak of dirt, we’re really talking about outside soil. Many parents may get concerned about their kid’s health when playing in dirt. What they don’t know is that it contains some specific ingredients that can be healthy for us – microbes.

Outside soil contains microbes that are necessary for the health and wellbeing of all living things that depend on the soil for survival. The main essential microbes to consider are bacteria and fungi, and healthy soil requires balanced and diverse species of these microbes. Human beings, and the environments we live in depend on healthy soil to live well2,3.

WHY DOES A SOIL-BASED MICROBIOME MATTER?

The interaction of all the microbes in the outside soil is called a microbiome. It consists of microbes that co-exist as well as microbes that help or harm each other. Bacteria and fungi compete, help, and eat each other in a quest to find balance4,5.

Balance is essential because a microbiome that lacks balance will have microbes that have either decreased in numbers or and have over-grown. An unbalanced microbiome is called dysbiosis and can cause a range of health or environmental issues5,6.

We also have a similar internal microbiome in our digestive tract, skin, and reproductive organs. We know that the more diverse the microbiome is, the more balanced it is, and the healthier we are as a result5.

All living things are connected and need to live in balance. Although that may sound like a new age cliche, it happens to be a scientific fact. Studies show that external soil also affects the microbiome in our homes and within our bodies6,7. In a sense, microbes are always searching for a way to balance things out and survive.

Microbes within the home reflect the individuals living there as well as plants and food choices. Also, soil-based microbes outside of the house can be found inside depending on the movement of inhabitants and cleaning practices7,8,9.

What experts now understand is that the presence of diverse soil-based microbes inside the home can have a balancing effect against the causes of musty odors 7,8,9. Again, this is the essence of a healthy balance, which also parallels what we know about our internal microbiome. The more diverse our microbes are in our guts, the better our immune system and overall health will be.

HOW CAN MY FAMILY HAVE A HEALTHY EXPOSURE TO A SOIL-BASED MICROBIOME?

None of us want a pile of dirt in our homes nor do we want our kids to eat dirt, but we can begin to shift our ideas and take actions to help include soil-based microbes in our home. By making some changes, we can actually improve the overall health and balance in our home microbiome.

Here are some tips on how to promote a healthy exposure to soil microbes in your home:

Dogs are a big help with bringing in soil-based microbes.

This doesn’t mean you should get a dog if you don’t want one or can’t care for it properly. But if you have one, then you’ve already taken a step in the right direction. Research has shown that homes with dogs have more diverse microbes, and many of them are soil-based7,9.

Encourage your kids to play outside more often.

A good exposure to the outdoors is helpful in so many ways. It promotes exercise, knowledge of nature, vitamin D exposure, and relaxation to name a few. Also, having your kids play outside can help introduce soil-based microbes into the home. Of course, you wouldn’t want to encourage them to bring in piles of it, but natural outdoor play may bring in small amounts that can be a help.

Adults can play outside too.

While we’re talking about kids, let’s not forget that adults need time in the outdoors for their health and stress relief as well. The more we can enjoy nature, the more we want to protect it and learn about it. And of course, we can also improve the soil-based microbiome in our homes by spending time outside.

Be careful with overuse of harsh cleaning products.

Research has shown that household areas cleaned with harsh detergents can obliterate the soil-based microbes. This may cause mold and bacteria to grow in more significant numbers than what you would want7,10. In fact, even environmentally friendly products can also cause trouble if used in excess.

Research has shown that household areas cleaned with harsh detergents can obliterate the soil-based microbes. This may cause mold and bacteria to grow in more significant numbers than what you would want Click To Tweet

Use Homebiotic spray to put natural soil-based microbes into your home.

This product is natural, easy to apply, and is the most effective solution since you get all the benefits of soil microbes without bringing the outside in.

 

CONCLUSION

So, should your kids eat dirt? Well, not exactly, but there’s a definite benefit for encouraging exposure to dirt for sure. By allowing a relationship to happen between soil-based microbes and your home, you can help improve the microbiome in the place you live, eat, sleep, and interact with your family.

There are several ways you can promote and encourage exposure to soil-based microbes. Having a dog and playing outside with your kids is a fun and easy way to bring in the soil without a lot of dirt. Also, being mindful of cleaning products and the frequency of cleaning can help ensure a balance. Lastly, using homebiotic spray can quickly bring the benefits of soil-based microbes into your home, without the dirt.


REFERENCES

1.https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
2.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132316303419#bib5
3.https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139
4.https://escholarship.org/content/qt68c2j665/qt68c2j665.pdf
5.https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/29/579747917/the-cheese-does-not-stand-alone-how-fungi-and-bacteria-team-up-for-a-tastier-rin
7.https://draxe.com/health/gut-health/microbiome/
8.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
9.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966842X1630021X
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25707017
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631814/