Did you know that regular contact with soil in your garden or flowerpots/troughs can boost your immune system, and keep you healthier, by increasing your exposure to a variety of beneficial microbes? Read on …
Dirt is Good for You!
Modern lifestyles mean that many people have less contact with these microbes which in turn is leading to an increase in autoimmune conditions such as asthma and allergies. Due to the overuse of antibiotics, eating pasteurized food, and children playing less outdoors, we are no longer exposed to the same range and quantity of microbes. As long as targeted hygiene is observed such as wearing gloves if you have scratches or cuts or are not sure of the soil content, plus hand washing after bathroom visits, you will build up a healthy microbiome from exposure to good bacteria. See below.
There a significant number of these microbes which are key to our health. Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are among the most numerous microbes and can cause illness. Fungi and algae are more beneficial. The most famous fungus comes from Penicillim, found in the soil, and from this came the antibiotic, penicillin, whereas Vancomycin, is an antibiotic made from soil bacteria.
Our human system works rather like computer software that needs to be fed data to work effectively. This ‘data’ is in the form of diverse microbes that help the immune system what is a threat to the body and what is beneficial. Humans have literally trillions of microbes living in or on them – a phenomenon known as the human microbiome.
Interestingly soil research offers hope for a new antibiotic, Teixobactin, which comes from bacterium called Eleftheria terrae. This has been proven to be effective against drug- resistant bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)’ responsible against many human diseases, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.
Many scientists show a clear link between childhood exposure to microbes in the soil and food and higher rates of immunity rates as adults- giving us the perfect excuse to go outdoors and get digging with the kids!
Meanwhile here at Charterhouse Physiotherapy we wish you happy digging, planting bulbs and generally enjoying the outside.