GERMS ARE GOOD FOR YOU!

  • At left, undated handout image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a clump of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria (green) in the extracellular matrix, which connects cells and tissue, taken with a scanning electron microscope, showing. At right, undated handout image provided by the Agriculture Department showing the bacterium, Enterococcus faecalis, which lives in the human gut, is just one type of microbe that will be studied as part of NIH's Human Microbiome Project. They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut _ enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds. Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes. (AP Photo/NIAID, Agriculture Department)( Note how the germ on the right resembles a typical pill….!)

WASHINGTON (AP) — They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut — enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds.

Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes.

Don’t say “eeew” just yet. Many of these organisms work to keep humans healthy, and results reported Wednesday from the government’s Human Microbiome Project define what’s normal in this mysterious netherworld.”

Commentary: this is being touted as a breakthrough discovery. Well it is if it penetrates into mainstream medicine and understanding but really it’s old news. The big point here, I think, is that finally the mainstream is willing to discuss microbial entities, aka ‘germs’ as other than purely evil and pathogenic. This will pave the way not only for more intelligent medicine (perhaps), but hopefully more intelligent food regulations, especially those controlling local producers in Farmer’s Markets.

For example one local producer I know, who makes excellent pickled, or ‘cultured’ vegetables, is being forced by the local Food Inspector to add various chemicals to it. Essentially this means that the government is pro-actively disallowing an authentic, organic process, moreover one that has been used for thousands of years and which to this day is one of the single best ways for maintaining a healthy gut, get high quality living, as opposed to artificial, vitamins and so forth.

This is wrong. On many levels it is OUTRAGEOUS what they do, but in the context of this article, it is because most of the officers involved simplistically – and sincerely – believe that basically all germs are bad, and so a germ-free terrain, or a product that has killed all germs, is the norm, and anything with germs is to be avoided at all costs.

There is enough truth to this to justify their existence, since high concentrations of certain germs are indeed dangerous. But there are also many, many beneficial germs, moreover as this article points out, it’s not the individual microbes (germs) themselves, but how they are interacting with zillions of others, so really we are getting more into balancing various things rather than focusing on individual elements.

This is getting closer to the daoist medical/theoretical approach with yin/yang, or polarity dynamics, at the heart of it.

Anyway, this sort of article makes me feel even better about making and offering organically fermented sourdough breads!

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