If We Bathe Less Often, Will We Be Healthier?

WHAT?!?! I know, it sounds way off track… but the answer is not as simple as it sounds. Western society (well, American society) stresses taking at least one bath per day, then using anti-bacterial soaps, reducing exposure to bacteria and germs, and use of deodorants. What if the lack of daily exposure to germs and bacteria weakens our immune system, since it doesn’t have to “face” the bacteria? What if the chemicals and additives in the soaps further reduce our immune system’s capabilities? And, finally, what if the deodorants have heavy metals and chemicals that actually promote disease? Some of these possible outcomes are being studied now:

Wild vs. lab rodent comparison supports hygiene hypothesis

“In a study comparing wild rodents with their laboratory counterparts, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found evidence that may help to explain why people in industrialized societies that greatly stress hygiene have higher rates of allergy and autoimmune diseases than do people in less developed societies in which hygiene is harder to achieve or considered less critical. The prevailing hypothesis concerning the development of allergy and probably autoimmune disease is the “hygiene hypothesis,” which states that people in “hygienic” societies have higher rates of allergy and perhaps autoimmune disease because they — and hence their immune systems — have not been as challenged during everyday life by the host of microbes commonly found in the environment. The study suggests that an overly hygienic environment could simultaneously increase the tendency to have allergic reactions and the tendency to acquire autoimmune disease, despite the fact that these two reactions represent two different types of immune responses.”

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