It’s never been easier to keep our homes and ourselves clean and germ-free, even during a pandemic. All of that antimicrobial/antibacterial “power” comes a great cost, however, creating overly sterilized home environments that are too clean for own good gut health. Gut-harming chemicals can hide in places you’d never think to look, like yoga mats and even the walls of your home.
But, what about other chemicals that find their way into other products our families come in contact with every day, like shampoos, detergents, cosmetics and water-repellant fabrics?
These substances — semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) — can be just as harmful to human gut health, especially to the youngest of us.
Unhealthy tradeoffs for convenience
A group of scientists examined how the impact of SVOCs in everyday environments affected gut health by measuring their levels in blood, urine and fecal samples taken from 69 young children (from toddlers to preschoolers).
In those samples, scientists detected levels of SVOCs commonly found in raincoats, shower curtains, soaps, shampoos and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) used to coat non-stick cookware, fast food packaging, carpets and furniture.
What’s more, children with higher levels of PFASs in their bloodstreams experienced reductions in the diversity and amounts of bacteria in their guts.
Here’s how resourceful and remarkable the human gut is: Children who had higher levels of these chemicals in their blood also had several kinds of bacteria in their guts that clean up toxic materials.
Unfortunately, these unique strains of bacteria aren’t usually found in the human gut. In fact, they are often used to clean up harmful chemical residues (think dry cleaning solvents) from the environment.
“Finding the increased levels of these bacteria in the gut means that, potentially, the gut microbiome is trying to correct itself,” says lead researcher Dr. Courtney Gardner.
“Gaining a more holistic understanding of the interactions between man-made chemicals, the gut microbiome and human health is a critical step in advancing public health.”
The probiotic solution
If exposure to these chemicals that persist in our environment is a constant problem for all of us, the best and healthiest solution for protecting our gut health is a simple one.
Taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that mirrors and enhances the diversity of your gut microbiome is critical.
The 10 tried-and-true strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic along with the prebiotic (FOS) can make a very big difference in balancing your gut microbiome and promoting better immune health too.
- Washington State University
- Environmental Science and Technology Letters
- Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Scientific Findings Resource Bank
- Environmental Working Group
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry