Think Before You Drink

children at the wellBy: Grainne Rhuad

Remember watching Wild Kingdom or something like it as a kid and being amazed or maybe even disturbed by the animals that lived in harmony with parasites?  When was it that you discovered you were one of these animals; that there were parasites in you?

Maybe it freaks you out and keeps you up at night but the fact of the matter is we need our parasites as much as sharks need those little cleaner fish.   There is a huge industry built up around making sure we kill as many parasites in our environment as we can, things like cleaners, filters, ultra violet wands.  We have gotten very good at it, eradicating little bugs that give us the heebie geebies if we know about them; however we are doing ourselves a disservice

Case in point; evidence suggests that it is the absence of parasites in our bellies and guts that is the cause of Chrohn’s Disease.  This bowel irritating cluster of problems seems to be caused by our clean water.  Our body has evolved and was designed to deal with parasites, and in this case our immune system finds itself with nothing to do when our water is clean so it attacks  everything,  because surely( it reasons) the only reason it can’t detect the parasites that must be there is that they have changed.  What follows is agonizing pain for the person with uber clean water sources.

This theory which is not altogether supported by the medical community came about through information and observation.  Chrohn’s was first notices in 1930’s when members of wealthy families in New York City got it.  They also got cleaner water than anyone else.  As cleaner water spread through the west so did this disease, jumping its pattern from mostly wealthy and mostly Jewish families; and no I’m not being racist, it is theorized the Kosher practices kept more of their food and drink a bit cleaner than most.

Chrohn’s landed on its world tour in Japan in 1980, just when the Japanese were beginning to get rich and drink a lot of bottled water.  It is on the rise in nearly every country with a reasonable economy and infrastructure.  However it is completely absent in third world countries.  The truly poor never get it.  People bath daily in the river Ganges which is one of the most polluted rivers in the world and they don’t get it.  Water is drunk from sand by the Maasai, they even drink blood and they don’t get it.

While attending a charity event for an agency that helps bring clean wells to third world countries the thought came to my mind, “Are we really helping them?”  Undoubtedly the water is full of all kinds of really bad stuff, but are we also passing along the seeds to our own global evolutionary destruction?

Chrohn’s disease is an interesting study, but it is not the only place where we are neglecting our own immune systems.  With the recent Swine Flu scare schools around the nation and public buildings have put up hand sanitizers at every turn.  In fact, we are so germaphobic that at a recent visit to an aquarium I noted that hand sanitization was set up by petting tanks, not for the benefit of the animals being touched by human children, but for the human’s to use afterwards.  These captive and cared for sea creatures are probably the cleanest fish and water in the world.  It was odd.

I grew up in a time when the school of thought was you caught something, you got through it and you never had to worry about it again.  This ideal seems to have flown out the window.  Children are now required to get Chicken Pox shots to enter school; or you may sign an affidavit and home school your child every time there is a chicken pox outbreak.  The problem with the Chicken Pox vaccine is it doesn’t last; it has to be updated for the rest of your life.

This leads to another interesting thought.  If you have to take something for the rest of your life, isn’t that a pretty good gig for a company producing that thing?  Nobody wants to get Chicken Pox as an adult; it is much harder and has more complications.  The generation of school children who are in school right now are either going to risk serious side effects like blindness or death or they are going to be having shots every 10 years forever.

There are a lot of good things to say about medical intervention, vaccinations and antibiotics.   A lot of very bad diseases have been curbed and pretty much eradicated due to our interventions.  But why should we intervene if it is unnecessary and maybe even causes more problems?

In recent years humans have been swarming doctors for antibiotics to treat everything from the common cold to using it prophylactically for things like dentistry, bladder infections, and cuts.  This is problematic for two reasons:

1.  Most of the time you will recover on your own making your immune system stronger.  Once your immune system has worked out the code on something it is a much easier fix the next time around.

2. Antibiotics are not working as well anymore.  People are using them too much and the bacteria itself has changed in order to get into your body and cause havoc.  In fact recent studies at the Harvard School of medicine show that some bacteria actually thrive on antibiotics.  It has become their food.  This was discovered by accident when scientists were trying to create bacteria that converted waste.  To set up a control group that wouldn’t grow they bathed the bacteria in antibiotics.  The control group surprised the researchers by flourishing.

Imagine an opposing army that has trained its members to fit in and subvert while looking like regular citizens.  Bacteria has evolved so it can do this, while at the same time, our immune systems are becoming fat, drooling Homer Simpson wannabes.

When we build a clean water system we take bacteria out, both harmful and beneficial, this is why we see more digestion based health problems in countries and areas with a better standard of living.  Yes we can take probiotics in order to put what we need back in, however in the mean time our body is freaking out.  It’s set to do a certain thing. Also keep in mind that probiotics are not regulated, prescribed or taught in depth to those in medical schools.  Invariably people will have to play around with supplements to get the right kind of probiotic.  This too throws off our naturally functioning system.

It is interesting that in treating bacterial imbalance, what is prescribed by doctors is not a probiotic to address the problem, but rather medications that addresses the symptoms. And here there be dragons, because it seems to be becoming increasingly clear that drug companies don’t want us to get better, it would ruin their business model.  A well person doesn’t need them and they lose customers and lobbying power.

What this all comes down to is yes we should be helping to make better water accessible to people who need it.  But let’s not go overboard killing every single bug we see under the microscope.  Some of those bugs are essential to us.  It is easy enough to stick to filtration that has stood the test of time, like sand,plants or if you want to go a step above, use an iodine straw which costs about $3.50 ( U.S. currency) and kills the things that would harm you while keeping the beneficial bugs in.

Probiotics for Chrohn’s



Short list of ailments caused by bacteria