Hand Sanitizer

It seems innocuous, yet adding a glop of hand sanitizer to your daily cleansing rituals kills millions of bacterial colonies (the ones that are good for you too!) Scientific studies have shown that these alcohol-based sanitizers may increase the risk for outbreaks of highly contagious viruses, like the norovirus.

Chlorinated Showers / Pool Water

Our bodies are teeming with bacteria – everywhere! Beyond the internal organs, good bacteria is breeding on the surface of our skin too. A typical hop in the shower conflicts with the balance of the skin’s acid mantle because chlorine contaminants destroy the good bacteria and can become a major skin irritant. (Pro-tip: Finding a showerhead filter is easy and inexpensive – it will save you money on your gut health too.)

Aspirin

Popping an aspirin pill is as commonplace as our obsessive hand sanitizing habits. But at what cost? The influence of aspirin on our gut is detrimental and can even lead to erosions and ulcers in our intestinal lining.

Antibacterial Hand Soap

Similarly to the hand sanitization epidemic is the mass consumption of antibacterial soaps. Our hands have their own ecology, one that requires a fair balance of beneficial bacteria. Destroying all of it does more harm than good and in turn creates a hand version of antibiotic resistance.

Mouthwash

Yes, even our mouths have a microbiome! Our oral ecology is one of the most powerful influencers of great bacterial wealth. Digestion begins the minute we open our mouths to take a bite. When we swish toxic chemicals like triclosan and overly astringent alcohol, we disrupt our probiotic harmony, leaving our mouths unarmed with the beneficial bacteria that protect against infections.

Big Brand Beauty Products

Living probiotically means rethinking and questioning all product consumption, especially the most popular ones. For ladies in particular, the beauty product industry is ladened with ingredients that horribly disrupt the microbiome and really uproot hormonal health. Face cleansers, toners, and even famous fragrances contribute to the detriment of the skin microbiota. Your favorite red lipstick, for example, could be ladened with hazardous amounts of aluminum, chromium,or manganese. Metals in cosmetics is not a pretty look, yet it’s completely commonplace. Another blatant offender in the most common beauty brands is Formaldehyde, which is often found in blush, mascara, and lip products. While the talk of parabens has ushered the quick cover up label of “paraben-free”, be on the lookout for synthetic scents which are listed as “parfum” or “fragrance” on the package. Such added aroma aggravators have been shown to combat with healthy estrogen levels in women.

OTC Drugs

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs absolutely wrecks and lowers the biodiversity of our microbiome. They have have even been found to have more aggressive effects on the biome than ibuprofen! Beyond messing with the biome, reaching for a dose of Nyquil or Robitussin for your cold symptoms can cause heart palpitations, blurred vision, and breathing problems. All too common NSAID drugs like Naproxen (aka Aleve) have been linked to the risk of heart failure admission. Even popping an Bayer Aspirin for your aches and pains can lead to long term problems, particularly in the digestive region. It’s especially known for causing gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. In the end, reaching for any OTC drug (cough syrups, laxatives, and allergy medications and all) is simply a risky business for better biomes.

Prescription Drugs

Flipping on the television would make you think that prescription drugs are perfectly fine for your overall health. Soft, lighthearted commercials showcasing the latest drugs seem overlook the deadly side effects that are blurted out at high speed. Pain medications such as OxyContin are both deadly and addictive which can result in respiratory depression due to extended overuse. Its powerful effects at numbing pain are on a par with morphine, heroin, and cocaine which explain its recreation and abuse patterns. Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are often prescribed to children for ADHD, yet it can cause insomnia, anorexia, abdominal issues, and extreme irritability. Sadly, there has even been an association made between the use of these stimulants in children and adolescents and a rare, sudden death. One of the strangest aspects of prescription drugs is that many of them have the side effect of suicidal thoughts. Taking an antidepressant like Zoloft, for instance contains a warning label that it can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Yes, there are instances when medications can save lives. Ultimately, it is worth seeking out nature’s finest alternatives before signing up for the latest prescription.

Commercial Dairy

It sounds like a riddle, yet if we are what we eat, then we are what they ate too. In its pure form, raw dairy products can offer a probiotic boost. Yet, we live in a mass consumer culture that demands our cows be pumped up with antibiotics. Even if you are not literally popping antibiotic pills, simply ingesting foods that have trace elements of it can create a resistance over time.

Factory Meats

Just like the dairy industry, the market for factory meats is riddled with antibiotic overuse. The same principle applies: we become what the animals consumed (and even how they were treated in the process.) Awareness opens the door to better biome health. Find healthy, ethical farms that are antibiotic-free and grass-finished.

Bathroom Cleaners

The germ theory of disease has become an overplayed mantra. Over-sterilization and obsessive sanitation hamper the human microbiota. Scrubbing the tub with Soft Scrub does more than just destroy good and bad bacteria, these harsh cleaning chemicals also leave residues that are detrimental to skin, eyes, and respiratory functions. Look out for scary ingredient lists like ammonium hydroxide, mipa-borate, and petroleum gases which are found in your standard bottle of disinfectant spray such as Lysol.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168661/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21885333
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26482265
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00594867
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/10/04-1276_article
https://jb.asm.org/content/192/19/5002
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768418/ https://www.bio-rad-antibodies.com/blog/good-bacteria-protect-against-infection. html