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Dirt! Dirt Helps to Make Children Healthy l!

Dr Ignatius O. Onah.

 Culled from "Dirt, Germs, and Other Friendly Filth", By Dr Mary Ruebush ,PhD.

 Excepts only :


 *"... For decades, we’ve been a culture obsessed with avoiding germs, convinced that getting dirty is dangerous. But some health professionals insist that exposure to a range of bacteria is not only safe, it’s essential to human health and immunity.

 *... Hand sanitizer dispensers are everywhere these days — in schools, gyms, and offices of all kinds. Most parents feel compelled to carry a bottle of the stuff on their person or risk appearing irresponsible.

 * Antibacterial substances are added to children’s toys and adult workout clothes.

 * ..."...Yet, from my point of view as an immunologist and microbiologist, this growing fear of microorganisms is unnecessary and alarming.

 * In fact, my research has led me to believe that what we need today isn’t LESS dirt — it’s MORE!!

 * Because of some common misunderstandings about how illness works, we’ve begun to mistake any and all microbes for public enemy No. 1.

  But if bacteria itself were the problem, we’d all be long gone by now.

          More Good Microbes than Human!

 "... The healthy human body harbors some 90 trillion microbes, outnumbering cells by about 10 to one.

  The majority of these organisms are beneficial; they compete with harmful microbes for space, aid in the function of the digestive system, and even produce factors to clot blood after an injury.

  Their presence keeps the immune system tuned and strong (a process I will explain later).

 * Our societal obsession with destroying them is counterproductive to our well-being.

   Problems with the war on bacteria were first identified in the 1980s by medical professionals who noticed a surge in the number of children diagnosed with asthma and food allergies. They hypothesized that the modern obsession with cleanliness, along with an increasing tendency to stay indoors in germ- and parasite-free environments, was leading to weaker immune systems and an increase in autoimmune disorders.

  My Remarks: "Clean" environment breeds Asthma, Food allergies, and other autoimmune diseases,

   Enter the "Hygiene Hypothesis "

  "... The formal name for this line of thinking is “the hygiene hypothesis.”

   I’ve spent 30 years teaching students about its scientific underpinnings, and demonstrating how reasonable exposure to dirt and germs is the shortest route to immune strength for just about everyone, but especially children...."

    Like An Athlete in Training!

"... The immune system is like an athlete: To become strong and adept, it needs training and practice. Hyper-sanitized environments deny it that opportunity and keep it sedentary and out of shape. The best way to protect our health is to stabilize its foundations. And building a robust immune system is a whole lot easier than trying to kill every last germ.

   Here’s what you need to know to keep the right germs on your side, and to stop worrying about the dirt that won’t hurt you:


  Dismayed first-time parents often watch their crawling youngsters roll through life like little vacuum cleaners, sampling every piece of debris they can find. Much of this behavior is teething related, but its other, more critical role is to help stimulate development of the naive immune system. Immune development starts in the thymus, a large gland located between the heart and the sternum of the child where “T” cells are produced. (This gland shrinks and largely disappears by puberty, which is why early immune training is so critical.) The first thing young T-cells learn is to differentiate between those tissues that belong to the body and those that don’t. It’s as if the T-cells are learning to identify the uniform of the home team. The harmless organisms that find their way into the child’s system through those taste-testing forays provide recognizable examples of “away” team uniforms, thereby helping the system learn which cells to protect and which to vanquish. This “self/nonself” discrimination is the basis for a well- trained immune system, one that does not attack its own cells.

   The absence of this ability is “autoimmune” disease, or “self-immunity,” where the body goes after its own tissues. Upon recognition of an invader, T-cells multiply wildly. If all goes well, the invader is wiped out and the immune guardians go back to their original surveillance role, a little wiser for the next invasion.

    Since every exposure provokes the multiplication of T- cells, the more frequent the exposure, the more powerful the standing immunological army, and the larger our immunological reserve. Over a lifetime of this challenge- and-response dynamic, a healthy person’s immune system grows so well-trained that it can knock out invasion attempts before a single symptom becomes noticeable.

      My Remarks /Emphasis : "... the more frequent the exposure, the more powerful the standing immunological army, and the larger our immunological reserve..." Yes, the Child who eats the most dirt, wins! Period!


 Modest illnesses help build the immune system; this is not true of allergies . In fact, allergies don’t protect us from anything; they just make us miserable. It can be helpful to recognize that allergies are simply a good immune response gone awry, a response that dates to a time when all humans were exposed to parasites on a regular basis. The body has a set of reserve weapons for large invaders like parasites. Because a worm is too big to be wiped out by immune cells, Mother Nature’s compromise is the IgE cell (for “immunoglobulin E”), also known as the “flamethrower” cell: It fires caustic chemicals on a parasite to encourage it to move elsewhere. The flamethrower is a powerful weapon but not especially precise, and it damages surrounding cells. This is acceptable when the body is trying to rid itself of life- sucking parasites and has no alternatives, but when the IgE response is mounted against harmless substances like dust and pollen, the damage is unnecessary and unpleasant. If you’re prone to allergies, it means you’re adept at the IgE response and would be at a strong selective advantage in environments where parasites are common. Unfortunately, in a relatively parasite-free society like the one most of us live in today, that advantage becomes a decided disadvantage.

 One 2010 University of Nottingham study found that children infected with intestinal parasites are less likely to develop allergies. Of course, this is no reason to go in search of a tapeworm, but it does illustrate the connection I’m describing. In fact, other studies have successfully used parasites as a treatment for allergies.

It’s also known that children raised in rural and farm environments tend to have fewer allergies, even though (or perhaps because) their exposure to potential allergens like pollen, dust and animals is greater than that of children who grow up in urban environments. What all of this suggests is that reasonable exposure to normal outdoor environments is likely to keep the immune system exercised and occupied. Giving it the opportunity to practice on largely harmless targets like dirt, dust, pollen and animal dander can help you avoid the risk that immune cells will become bored and start making mischief.

   My Remarks /Emphasis : "What all of this suggests is that reasonable exposure to normal outdoor environments is likely to keep the immune system exercised and occupied."


 When healthy, our skin, hair and mucous membranes are normally covered with bacteria, and our bodies need a lot of this healthy flora to function properly. The good bugs compete with dangerous bugs for space and nutrients. That’s why a body with a good balance of natural flora makes a poor host for pathogens. And it’s why overzealously sanitizing our bodies and environments can be dangerous: It leaves pathogenic organisms no competition, and they grow. ... Antibacterial soaps (or toys, or mattresses, or any of the other places triclosan is found) have no effect whatsoever on the viruses that cause colds, flu and many intestinal upsets. Such products don’t slow the spread of such illnesses and do contribute to the problem of drug resistance. Bacteria reproduce very rapidly, and they evolve quickly to adapt to their environment. We can kill some of them, but the ones that are left will be those that have the skill to resist our efforts. That’s why hand washing with simple soap and water is a better strategy for avoiding illness..."

    My Remarks : Avoid ALL disinfectant (antibacterial) soaps /liquids since they only kill the harmless indigenes while permitting invaders to cause real havoc.

RULE 4: LET MINOR ILLNESS RUN ITS COURSE Let’s face it: Illness is not fun, but it’s usually best to let small health challenges play themselves out. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs: rest and fluids. Employing a quick pharmaceutical fix that masks symptoms and allows you to carry on as normal (if a little more miserably) simply increases the likelihood of spreading the illness to others. It also delays your ability to mount a protective immune response. Most of the unpleasant symptoms of an illness are the body’s way of evicting invaders.

 * Signs of inflammation like swelling, redness, heat and pain indicate that the body has called in white blood cells to fight infection.

 * Coughing, sneezing and runny noses mechanically expel disease agents from the respiratory tract.

 * Similarly, diarrhea and vomiting quickly clear the digestive tract of germs and toxins before they’re absorbed by your system at large.

 * Suppressing these natural defenses with over-the-counter medications can actually slow the speed of recovery.

 * The immune system can take care of most bugs on its own as long as it has the raw materials to do so: lots of rest,

plenty of fluids, and appropriate nutrition.

That’s why, if you’re sick, one of the best things you can do is stay home and take care of yourself. Nature has given you an incredibly elaborate and powerful immune system, but you have to train it well and exercise it often — with a lifetime of exposure to plenty of dirt and even the occasional bout of illness..."

     My Remarks : Hasty symptomatic (drug?) management does more harm than good. That you "don't understand" your body does not mean that your body does not understand itself! Give your body a break! Haba!

    A Savings Account?

 .."A healthy immune system is like a savings account for a healthy retirement. If you constantly make withdrawals and live with an overdrawn balance due to too much stress, too little rest, and too few nutrients, you’ll arrive at a point where you won’t have any reserves for a rainy day. But when you’ve built up a good balance in your health account with plenty of quality food, rest, exercise and play (preferably outside!), you’ll be ready for whatever is to come..."

... ANTIBIOTICS RUNNING INTO RESISTANCE Remember the old adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?

This is true for both humans and microbes. If you allow your immune system to do its job without chemical intervention, you’re far more likely to reach a point where you get sick rarely, if ever. My research has led me to believe that antibiotic therapy SHOULD BE AVOIDED UNLESS a condition is life threatening. This may sound extreme, but remember, every time the body mounts an immune response, it develops immunological memory and gets stronger....."

  My Remarks : Allow the body to open it's own defence window by deploying its own indigenous soldiers - the bacteria, which these unneeded , "carpet -bombing" antibiotics decimate! ...."

      About Dr MARY RUEBUSH PhD .

. Mary Ruebush, PhD, is an award-winning professor of immunology and microbiology at Kaplan Medical in Bozeman, Mont. She is the author of "Why Dirt Is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends"


 For more information on the hygiene hypothesis, check out the following book and articles:

 # Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World , by Jessica Snyder Sachs (Hill and Wang, 2008) — A well-researched argument about the need for healthy microbial communities.

 # “The Peanut Puzzle ,” The New Yorker , February 2011, — A closer look at allergies and exposure.

  # “His Parasite Theory Stirs a Revolution,” The Boston Globe , December 2007, — About the studies that have used parasites for treatment.

  About the Editor. .

      Dr(Pharm) IGNATIUS O. ONAH(68), is a Pharmacist , Nutritionist, and Naturopathic Doctor.

    A 1979 pharmacy graduate of the University of Nsukka, Dr Onah is also an alumnus of both Medicina Alternativa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Ontario, Canada.

  Pastor Onah, who was ordained a minister with Living Faith Church Worldwide in January, 2004, also, anchors regular Health/Nutrition programs on many media stations in Nigeria, including Wazobia, Ray Power, Precious FM,etc..

  Call: 07065744004(Whatsap),08052007107.



  Stop Press : The enclosed photos were taken in front of my house today (26/5/19). They showcase my two granddaughters playing with -- in fact, literally EATING - Dirts! That has been their lot since birth!

  A Nigeria philosopher, David Abioye, says that "If you know better, your prayer points will reduce ". Simple and short!

    And what are the rewards?

  Answer : No one remembers when last any of them has EVER taken ANY drugs!

    And, COC is now 31 Months, while UJU is almost 19 Months!.

    To God alone be all the Glory!

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