Disease by Disinfectant: An Unexpected and Understated Consequence of COVID-19

A few years back, I came across an interesting study about excessive cleaning products and their link to obesity in childhood. In fact, I even wrote up a short blog post that you can read here.

It seemed that the world was finally starting to understand the consequences of our over clean, under germed, lifestyle.

And then came COVID.

When the COVID crisis started, you couldn't find any hand sanitizer and wipes in stores.

Prices on the internet were outrageous, due to price gougers and unscrupulous opportunists.

And even if you ordered hand sanitizer online, there was no guarantee that you would even get it in a reasonable time.

As a side note: I knew of someone who ordered masks in March and didn't receive them until well into May (but that's another story altogether).

The world, caught in the clutches of this new and deadly virus, forgot about that revealing 2018 Canadian study as gut health became less important than survival.

When COVID was first introduced to the world, we all saw it as the scary monster, the medical boogey man, the foretold pandemic, and the unknown virus that would ravage the world.

Four months later, we are starting to get used to a "new normal" of hand sanitizing, masks, and disinfecting everything we touch.

While many would say that this is a good thing, I'm not so sure that I would agree.

After all, humanity has faced viruses of pandemic proportions before and we survived, albeit at great cost.

So why would not using hand sanitizer after everything you touch be a good idea?

It all comes down to our gut.

As research gives us a deeper understanding of our own physiology, it has become increasingly evident that our gut microbiome plays a crucial role in overall health.

A healthy gut microbiome is needed for digestion and breakdown of otherwise indigestible substances like fiber to create short chain fatty acids as an energy source for our gut mucosa.

A healthy gut microbiome is needed for protection against nosocomial (hospital acquired) infections like Clostridium difficile induced diarrhea.

A healthy gut microbiome is needed for a healthy liver and protection against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is common in people with Down syndrome [1].

A healthy gut microbiome is needed to maintain a healthy mood [2].

A healthy gut microbiome is even now being studied for cardiovascular health with focus on bacteria found in the stool of vegans that prevented a plaque depositing metabolite from forming from dietary phosphatidylcholine intake, for goodness sakes [3]!