Should We Be Afraid of Germs?
I’ve been seeking the answer to this question for a number of years and even asked immunologists a while back (they didn’t have an answer).
If you’re 21 and under, being exposed to germs has its benefits and risks.
For all of our history, we’ve been exposed to other people’s germs. However, we also lived in smaller communities. We weren’t exposed to the variety of pathogens we are today and since we lived in smaller communities our exposure to new pathogens ceased after our childhood.
When you touch a door knob and put your hand in your mouth, you can be getting a pathogen from someone who touched that door that came from a different state or country.
If your genes are such that you’re predisposed to Th1 or Th2 dominance, then I would be more cautious.
Some pathogens such as bacteria can make us Th1 dominant, while others – usually viral infections – can make us more Th2 dominant.
Given that the vast majority of our society has one dominance or another, we can be exacerbating our genetic predispositions.
I do think it’s wise, especially if you’re a kid, to be exposed to the pathogens that nature has to offer (rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt). But our urban lifestyles make this impossible for most.
Given the role of pathogens in causing all kinds of inflammation, I recommend staying away from them. If we get a viral infection, it’s permanent. If we get a bacterial infection, we often need antibiotics, which involves harming our microbiota and also causing oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage.
The bottom line: If I had a kid who was under 13 I would let them do as they please. Over 13, I would tell them to stay away from germs – as a general rule.
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:
- Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
- SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics