The Dirty Truth About Antibacterial Soaps

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soapThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

Fact: Washing your hands with soap and water is a great way to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Doctors and nurses discovered this decades ago when they found that by simply washing their hands in between patients, the incidence of infections in hospitals was greatly reduced.

Fiction: Using antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and common household cleaners to kill germs is a good way to protect yourself and your family from illnesses such as the flu and common cold.

In what I consider one of the biggest marketing coups of the last decade, antibacterial products have become ubiquitous in our society and have spread faster than the germs they supposedly protect us from. These days, antibacterial dispensers are located in office buildings, schools, restaurants, airports — you name it. But in reality, they may do more harm than good.

Our society has been brainwashed into believing that the more sterile we are able to make things, the better. This could not be farther from the truth. And unfortunately, we’ve become a nation of germophobes, afraid to touch innocuous objects and afraid to touch each other. Worse yet, we’re indoctrinating our children into thinking the same thing — slathering them with antibacterial everything, and making them afraid to touch anything “dirty.” It would be one thing if this behavior was making us healthier, but guess what — it’s not!

Certainly, basic sanitation practices are essential to preventing the spread of infectious disease, but that’s where it ends.

According to a University of Michigan study, use of soaps containing triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial products, are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms or reducing bacteria on the hands. Triclosan is a known toxin that has been linked to impaired muscle function and heart problems. The Michigan reseachers concluded that using antibacterial products can actually make you sicker, by creating bacteria resistant germs and by rendering antibiotics less effective. The results of this study don’t surprise me at all.

Mainstream medicine is founded on a faulty concept known as the “germ theory of disease,” which supposes that microorganisms (germs) are the cause of all infectious disease. But there is a gaping hole in this theory. The germ theory makes the assumption that a healthy human body is completely sterile, or germ-free. But we now know that a healthy human body is actually brimming with microorganisms, which are absolutely essential to digestion, nutrient assimilation and immune function. So to try to quarantine yourself from germs that your body has adapted to and may even depend upon makes no sense.

Well, enough is enough. We don’t need to spend the extra money and expose ourselves to toxins to “protect” ourselves. Of course, advertisers will continue to promote antibacterial products as a godsend for health and safety, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen.

By all means, wash your hands frequently. But instead of using antibacterial hand soap, use a natural cleanser like castile soap. Instead of using toxic household cleaning products, opt for any of the many eco-friendly brands out there. And perhaps most importantly, learn how to boost your immune system naturally with fermented foods and probiotics, vitamin D, mushrooms and other healing foods and supplements — so you can fight off the bad germs without killing off the good ones!

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