The Germ Theory past and present!
We have all inherited ‘epigenetically,’ (that which is above the genome) a set of belief systems. One major belief system widely accepted today is the germ theory! We have had it drilled into our brains that germs are bad and they are ‘out there’ waiting to invade both ourselves and our beloved companion animals!
We all believe through our acquired belief systems that we must take great precautions to keep the germ enemies at bay. Granted, proper hygiene has done much to improve our health but could this belief system have now been carried too far? We all have been taught to wash our hands frequently, to sneeze or cough into a tissue, to quickly snatch something off the floor within the requisite 30 seconds of landing time, before putting it in our mouths or our pets mouthes! But just where did this ‘germ theory’ come from and could there be another side to this coin, if we trace its roots?
Enter the Microscope!
A man named Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, was born in 1632. At 16, he served as an apprentice to a fabric merchant. At 21, he accepted a job as city hall janitor but also set up his own fabric business.
He had no university degree and lived out his entire life of 70 years in his hometown of Delft, Holland. In 1666, he read a book by Robert Hooke, entitled, Micrographia, detailing the first discoveries made with a recently invented microscope by a Dutch lensmaker named Zacharias Janssen. Janssen had invented a microscope, which was called the compound microscope, because it used more than one lens, circa 1590.
Hooke had experimented with the microscope and was the first scientist to use the term “cells,” which he used to describe small pieces of cork which appeared when he viewed a bit of cork under the microscope.
There had been problems building these first microscopes, and the instruments could only magnify objects to about 20 times their natural size. Hooke’s book inspired Leeuwenhoek to learn how to grind lenses and make his own microscopes, and a new field of biology was born out of the genius of a humble janitor with no credentials after his name!
The Germ Theory Debate!
It was during the late 1800s and early 1900s that we find that there were several prominent scientists debating the ‘germ theory’ at that time, but there is only one name we remember today and that is, Louis Pasteur. However, he had two contemporaries we don’t hear about, namely Claude Bernard and Antoine Béchamp, who were staunch critics of the work being done by Pasteur. It was Claude Bernard, a physiologist whom at the time was heralded as the Father of Experimental Medicine—and it was he who made a now, long forgotten statement to a whole cadre of eminent doctors and scientists, in French which translates,
“The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing!”
This statement was and remains today, a direct challenge to Pasteur’s 150-year-old ‘germ theory’ premise. And here we might be able to better understand what Bernard offered up, and that is, that health relies on the condition of the body, which he refered to as the “terrain,” or its “soil.” Only when the immune system’s ‘soil’ is disrupted and contaminated can pathogens propagate.
His view was shared by many and it simply meant that germs are attracted to dis-eased tissues; but are not necessarily the cause of dis-ease.
We all evolved in a world teeming with germs and arrived at this precise moment in time as the remnants of a once very strong and hardy species. One might say we all won the genetic lottery by our being here today. But what has happened over the last several decades that caused so many of us the world over to now be diagnosed with so many chronic dis-eases? Let’s explore this notion a bit and review a statement made by Dr. Rudolph Virchow, credited as the Father of Modern Pathology, who said,
“If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat—diseased tissue—rather than being the cause of dead [diseased] tissue.”
Lets get real here and open our minds; flies don’t buzz a clean garbage can, mosquitoes don’t seek out clean water, they are both attracted to dirty garbage cans and stagnant water but these conditions are not the cause of the can being dirty or the water becoming stagnant. Get the picture? We can never outrun germs, the more we do the faster and stronger they become, perhaps we are creating an actual exercise that is good for them because they just keep getting tougher, don’t they? And we don’t achieve anything by declaring war on them any more than we achieve when we declare war on anything…it’s just the spoils that remain and the wars we declare with modern medicine equates to something like dropping nuclear weapons on ant hills. By re-examining the ‘germ theory,’ perhaps we all might be able to learn to create a new belief system to override the old one and that is the idea that living in harmony with germs rather that jumping the gun too quickly and moving at the first symptom to declaring war on them is the end all and be all. This action or over-reaction stems from our belief system in the ‘germ theory’ which is built entirely on fear. And fear is a stressful state to be in all the time. This fear state in turn causes its own pathology; chronic inflammation due to stress. Whilst our ancestors certainly knew what living with a primed ‘fight or flight’ response was all about because we all had real life threatening situations to deal with. Living with stress today keeps us on guard and in that dangerous fight or flight mode, 24/7!
The symptoms we see from acute onset diseases such as the human cold or flu and or it much worse kissing cousin, pneumonia are evidenced by a high fever which is the way the body quite naturally tries to burn off an infection, and is often accompanied by chills, a natural response to try and cool the body down. If all is going well and the patients own healthy immune system is properly supported, the fever breaks and recovery can occur naturally supported with fluids. In both humans and even in our dogs and cats we may see the same symptoms with flu as our example, such as a cough and mucous. However these again are usually secondary illnesses, to the first problem, the unhealthy ‘terrain.’ We get an acute dis-ease because of loss of health in the underlying tissues. Bernard postulated that dis-ease began in and with the terrain or put simply, the body is moved out of balance (homeostasis) by our unhealthy lifestyle. diet, stress and even those, so-called preventative measures, such as vaccines along with the toxins we all encounter, in our day to day life. These are the stressors that serve to overload our immune systems thereby making them vulnerable to opportunistic viruses and bacteria. Once we recognize that we all can become overloaded by heavy metals, processed food, preservatives, which renders us too acidic and then disease is likely to occur. This overly acidic ‘terrain’ is where ‘germs’ or pathogens happily live and replicate!
It has been recounted, but is not well known, that Louis Pasteur himself had his own doubts about his prized ‘germ theory,’ because just before he died he made the statement in French, which when translated means, “Bernard was right. The germ is nothing; the soil [terrain] is everything.”
Our bodies both human and animal, need the ‘terrain’ nourished, nurtured and loved, in order to maintain health. When in optimum health, our friendly and so-called unfriendly microbes co-exist with us and function within their own system of checks and balances. Sadly, by the time of Pasteur’s death, the ‘germ theory’, that became the ‘gold standard’ for the human and veterinary medical paradigm today was already so profitable that there was no way the powers that be, neither then nor now, would ever dream of killing their ‘cash cow!’ And thus, modern medicine dismissed Pasteur’s last words as ramblings from a dying man.
The Immune System Explained
To better understand how the bodies of both ourselves and our animals can heal themselves we need to understand how the immune system works because it works with a complex interaction between white blood cells, antibodies, hormones, proteins, enzymes, and inflammatory molecules called cytokines. They all act in silent synchrony to maintain our health. There are billions of microbes on our skin, in our mouthes, in our digestive tract, and on everything we and our companion animals come in contact with. These microbes that coexist with each species are called symbionts—organisms that each species have a beneficial relationship with, and are considered to be part of, for example of our own normal flora as well as our animals.
Our immune systems can easily recognize non-symbionts and effectively eliminates them. This process occurs thousands of times per day. But it is not the “invasion” of external microbes that leads to symptoms known as infection; it is the compromise of the immune system due to the contamination of the ‘terrain’ that allows this to occur.
What benefits do we get from bacteria?
We are indeed on the forefront of all whole new paradigm and for some excellent reading please see this article for what is coming. Besides branching off on a discussion about the good the bad and the ugly bacteria or even the benefits of probiotics (friendly bacteria), which we will have in a future blog and step outside that proverbial ‘germ theory’ box we all find ourselves, as a result of fixed ideas, being stuck in; we can clearly see that the very job profile for bacteria and virus when they find the proper ‘terrain,’ is to induce an inflammatory response, a low-level and modified cytokine rampage, is what we often hear referred to as ‘good inflammation,’ that which is designed to help the body rid itself of toxins and heal itself. Might it be that the body uses a ‘flu type mechanism’ or any infection will do, as a pathway to dispose of the very substances that cause the ‘terrain’ to become vulnerable in the first place, such as heavy metals or other substances that do not belong in our bodies. It would be very interesting to test the secretions of subjects from time to time, that are expelled during a bout of flu or other infection and check them for environmental toxins, chemicals and heavy metals. Might we look at these episodes of colds or flu as a kind of cleansing mechanism for the body and in that case they can be considered beneficial?
The problem in medicine today that we see so often because of the ‘germ theory’ is the fear of pathogens, for example I am an advocate of raw meat and raw bones for both dogs and cats and even ferrets. In the preparation of a homemade, natural diet for dogs, which was for 40,000,000 years, fresh raw prey, the raw meat and raw bone diet these animals would eat in the wild, and then in modern times, replacing their species specific food with dead, lifeless, kibble (dry food is about as far from a cat and dog’s natural food as one can get). Now throw in the chemical assault on the immune system with vaccines, heartworm medications, topical flea and tick products, chemicals in the water and toxins all around us all, we consequently find that our cats and dogs are too weak to create a healthy response to infection that could serve to expel the accumulated debris that has built up and needs to be released. Then when disease is one of acute onset the current standard of care demands that more chemicals be added to suppress the symptoms the body is dealing with which they must muster in order to heal themselves. Now we will see the drugs prescribed such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and steroids. When the body is assaulted in this fashion it is interrupted from its detoxification processes, and a toxic overload occurs. Once the virus invades the cell membranes we create a perfect ‘terrain’ for bacteria, to set up housekeeping. These opportunistic bacteria live, reproduce and feed on what the virus expels thereby causing further inflammation. Hit the body with the antiobiotics and the sheer number of bacteria that die off create endotoxins (the toxins expelled from the ‘die off’ effect), which often create further complications. Indeed antibiotics have saved many lives during both accidents and acute diseases, however the problem remains that the immune system was just deprived of its ability to clean out the waste products that caused the ‘terrain’ to be vulnerable in the first place. And we see this same thing in our children who are assaulted with toxic chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury (via vaccines) from the day they are born.
If we take the approach that these ‘microbes’ have been around from the dawn of creation, in their various incarnations, we might alter our belief systems and make room for the possibility that what Mother Nature has put in place (our immune system) is here for a very specific purpose. We can then look at symptoms of acute disease such as flu, and other diseases and infections that affect both ourselves, our children and our animals, including diarrhea that work to expel a toxic overload through the bodies various channels of detoxification and look at an acute onset as perhaps a long overdue house cleaning. If we therefore view the disease process in a more positive light and support the body through it rather try and palliate every symptom that occurs we might see its benefits we get from these occurrences and then shake the ‘germ theory’ belief system a bit and therefore embrace other systems that support our healthy lifestyle choices as well as methods to eliminate toxins before they overwhelm the system (the terrain). Such as those that work more with the body such as homeopathy, herbs, (both Western and Chinese) instead of heading straight to Western Medicines suppressive and palliative protocols. Might we then be able to look at viruses and bacteria as ‘helpers’ that act as janitors to clean up that which needs to be expelled through the bodies natural elimination pathways? We could therefore have a more symbiotic relationship with all the microbes on the planet which have evolved along with us!
Questioning the validity of Pasteur’s ‘germ theory’ today always elicits hostility and is deemed heretical by both doctors and veterinarians. Even laypersons will challenge this sacrosanct medical model, and extol the virtues of vaccines in the face of dreaded epidemics. But will there always be that suspicion lurking right behind the fact the finding the right drug for each germ—will always keep us chained to this theory and be the driving force behind Big Pharma’s empire? There are some 400 new vaccines in the works including one for obesity. When will we learn to take back control of our health and do what must be done to keep the ‘terrain’ in optimum health? Of course this won’t mean we will never get sick but perhaps what does come our way can be beneficial as we have discussed here and be simply a good ‘cleansing’ mechanism.
It is unfortunate that Pasteur’s ‘germ theory’ became the golden rule in medicine and was accepted to the exclusion of all others, especially homeopathy which deserves a rightful and respected spot in serving to heal rather than palliate symptoms.
We think its time we give all of us living things immune system’s more credit and dispel its frailty as a medical myth. We don’t have to choose sides in the ‘germ theory’ debate. We can simply expand our belief systems to allow for a better understanding of the relationship between all living things and microbes. After all they are here to stay.
My husband Nazim and I have put together what we feel are some wonderful protocols under our banner of the Art of Wellness Collection to help protect our natural defenses and honor our immune system (for both people and our Celestial Pets. Please also explore the benefits of MOXXOR for your anti-inflammatory Omega-3 needs, Prtoandim to help reduce oxidative stress by up to 40% and BEMER to help improve microcirculation and delivery of your good nutrition, supplements and the bodies own oxygen.