Microbes Control Illness & Aging
“Our world is awash in microbes.”(source)
Microbes thrive anywhere and everywhere we look. So can they live in — and affect — our body’s health?
Absolutely. In fact, many scientists believe aging should be considered a disease — with pathogens playing a main role. Why?
Microbes are found in neonatal blood and tissues even before birth. Yet, in the age of antibiotics — with fewer deaths due to acute infection — we’ve lost sight that we live in a microbial world.
Surprisingly, there’s a wide variation in total microbial load inside each person.
Some people have three times (or more) the bacterial DNA circulating in the body as others.
Thus, one person to the next, we all have vastly different pathogenic burdens for our immune system to deal with.
A higher pathogenic load means more:
Pathogenic load also increases as we age: Rising levels of bacterial toxins in bloodstream and tissues are found in the elderly.
When our microbiome isn’t healthy, pathogens directly suppress the immune system in order to survive.
A suppressed immune system tends to fall further and further behind, less and less able to stay on top of the pathogenic load — and the body, over time, becomes weaker and weaker.
Unless! Something is done to change the course.
Table of Contents
It’s our environment, our habits, and immune system that determine the health of our microbiomes.
Microbes appear in every corner of human life, and microbes affect every aspect of human life.
Let’s explore microbes! How they function in our world, how they shape our delicate microbiome, and how we can use this awareness to optimize our health, longevity, and recovery.
The entire earth is one, big ‘biome’ (community of flora and fauna) — teeming with microscopic microbes in virtually every square centimeter, above and deep into the ground.
And that microbial life changes drastically from location to location.
In fact, mere inches apart, vastly different microbes will live and thrive based on:
- nutrient availability
A Self-Regulating Biome
Bacteria, fungus, and viruses are predominant microbes — but they never grow unimpeded in nature.
The outdoor microbiome is regulated via the following natural elements.
How Nature Competes With Microbes
Nature keeps microbial life in check in many ways.
Microbial diversity prevents any single species from dominating an environment, as microbes compete, fight, and attack each other for territory.
UV light sterilizes exposed surfaces. Daily sunlight continually reduces the microbial count across the ground.
Ozone is known as “nature’s sterilizer.” It’s created by oxygen and light and kills microbes on contact.
Rainfall rinses surfaces and then evaporates or runs downhill, preventing stagnation.
Visible & Infrared Light
Visible light and infrared kill or inhibit the growth of microbes. Microbes usually prefer darkness and comfortable, moderate temperatures.
Even in spite of all these natural self-cleaning mechanisms, microbial life yet thrives on and under the earth’s surface.
And as a result, Earth’s microscopic microbes directly impact every human body, every single day.
In the next section, let’s explore how.
Microbially, indoor environments are very different than outdoor environments.
Buildings do not have these natural elements — light, ozone, rainfall, microbial competition — to keep them clean.
Instead, buildings rely entirely on humans to maintain them.
The Indoor Microbiome
All Buildings Have Microbes
Researchers have discovered that there are similar numbers of microbial species 1) on indoor furniture and 2) in the Amazon rainforest.
So, microbial species are absolutely present indoors.
A Moist Building is a Sick Building
Microbes only need one basic thing to thrive in our buildings: Moisture.
Modern building materials provide ample food for microbes — Just add moisture.
A Dry Building is a Healthy Building
In theory, clean, dry indoor habitats won’t let microbes grow.
Sure, microbes still abound indoors. They shouldn’t be thriving, but they’re absolutely still there — so it’s paramount that a building always be dry.
Moisture is Everywhere
Water is everywhere we look in buildings.
Water enters buildings via: plumbing pipes, air conditioners, sinks, drains, and washing machines.
Rainfall searches for a way inside: through roofs, gutters, windows, fireplaces, and at the foundation level.
Even elevated humidity — above 50-55% — causes microbes to grow rapidly.
Even Hospitals Aren’t (Remotely) Sterile
Hospitals employ rigorous steps to filter air and kill pathogens — yet microbes were everywhere researchers looked.
A separate study found that shower heads were also populated by opportunistic potential pathogens that are significantly different from microbes found elsewhere in patient rooms. These bacteria tend to form biofilms, persistent colonies of microbes… and can be next to impossible to kill.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080534/
Sterile Rooms Aren’t Even Sterile
Even in labs designed to be sterile — “sterile rooms” — we find that sterility is nearly impossible.
Microbes are stubborn and hardy. It can be challenging to completely kill them.
‘“It’s very hard to clear out all of the microbes from a particular ecosystem,” Eisen says. …Simply put, sterility doesn’t exist.’Rethinking Sterile — The Hospital Microbiome