Hand Sanitizer May Not Be as Handy as You Think

COVID-19 is not the world’s first pandemic, and it won’t be the last.

Remember the old days when we used to eat birthday cake after someone carefully blew all over it, releasing spit shrapnel and hot air in an effort to extinguish birthday candles? How about when the world didn’t look like a sea of ninja impersonators, with floral patterns and color-coated masks, and everyone didn’t apply hand sanitizer as often as they breathe?

The landscape in which we live is not the same as it was one year ago. Whether you are diving headfirst into every COVID-19 precaution available or resistant, there is no denying that both personal and professional spheres have been coronavirus-fied, dripping with temperature checks and symptom-watchers on high alert.

Antibacterial or Anti-Immune System?

Triclosan is an antimicrobial ingredient. It “is one of the most commonly used ingredients to kill off bacteria and fungus in the US.” It’s “found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, toys, medical devices, antibacterial soaps and body washes, deodorants, acne medications, mouthwashes, toothpastes, wound infection solutions, and cosmetics. Triclosan is found in 75 percent of liquid hand soaps.”

As antibacterial products fly off the shelf faster than the Cabbage Patch dolls of 1983, the Beanie Babies of 1995, and the Hatchimals of 2016, many expose themselves to exponentially more triclosan than ever before. Testing on the effects of this increased presence of triclosan is moving full-steam ahead because the strains of gut bacteria triclosan has already been tested against “are similar to those in our own intestines,” and those tests produced the following realizations:

  • “… the overuse of antibiotics… can lead to the rise of ‘superbugs.’”
  • “There are consequences to constantly trying to kill the bacteria in the world around us…”
  • “… scientists have linked an out-of-whack gut ecosystem, or ‘microbiome,’ to everything from our metabolism and weight, to cases of anxiety and depression.”

Triclosan Treats Your Body to More Than You Bargained For

In 2016, years before COVID-19 struck fear across the globe, an article entitled Antibacterial Ingredient Can Really Quickly Mess With Gut Bacteria, Study Finds surfaced expressing concern over the world’s increased obsession with antibacterial products. The piece points out that “triclosan can be easily absorbed through the skin and intestines,” can show “up in everything from breast milk to urine,” can “disrupt human hormones,” and “evidence in mice suggests it could increase the risk of liver cancer.” The article discusses Europe’s high regulation of triclosan and Minnesota’s ban on triclosan.

As Dr. Melissa Sonners says in an article entitled Maintaining Bacterial Balance in an Over Sanitized World, “We have ‘good’ bacteria and ‘bad’ bacteria and the symbiosis of both is essential for our health. Studies show that a healthy balance of bacteria is not only essential for our immune system but plays a major role in anxiety, depression, autism, cancer, and much more…. Over sanitizing and overusing antibiotics has wreaked havoc on our microbiome and gut flora and has caused major damage to our immune system.”

Dr. Sonners brings an important reality to light: Triclosan “contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.” This means hand sanitizers may put people at a higher risk of illness because the triclosan within it kills good bacteria, lowering your resistance to disease. She advises the use of soap and water instead of hand sanitizer but if you must use a hand sanitizer, pick one free of fragrance and free of triclosan.

A New Perspective on How to Build Your Virus Shield

Outside of the health community, many people are not aware of the intense connection between gut bacteria and the immune system. The healthier your microbiome, the trillions of bacteria and other organisms like viruses and fungi living in your gut and lining your entire digestive system, the healthier your immune system, as well as metabolism and mood. Instead of dousing yourself in chemically-laden antibacterial products, research suggests you should strongly consider focusing on your gut health to protect yourself and enhance your immune system.

Gut bacteria, on average, live 20 minutes. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, this is something to be excited about because gut bacteria’s brief lifespan allows people to improve their gut microbiome several times a day. She offers the following tips to help improve the body’s gut bacteria:

  • Eat the right foods.
    • “When you regularly eat a variety of healthy, non-processed foods, your microbiome becomes programmed to work for you. The more varied your diet, the more flexible your microbiome becomes, allowing for that occasional dessert.”
  • Take a high-quality probiotic.
    • “Probiotics help maintain your gut’s ecosystem as well as the ecosystem of your respiratory tract and urogenital tract.”
  • Support your digestion.
    • “Unless you know you have high stomach acid, stop taking antacids! Many people have low stomach acid but think they have too much and take antacids. Supplement with a digestive enzyme. This can help you digest your food better and get rid of symptoms, such as gas, bloating and heartburn.”
    • Glutamine, HCL, lemon water, water with 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar before each meal, and the impressive GreenBAC capsules offer powerful digestion support.
  • Get into a relaxed state.
    • “One of the most important factors to healing your gut is your own consciousness. Your gut is your second brain. If your microbiome is out of balance, you may feel anxious, depressed, or tired. You may also suffer from memory problems or brain fog. In addition to eating the right foods, try to get into a meditative state prior to eating. Do this by removing all stressors, including stressful people and conversations.”

The Wrapping Doesn’t Change What’s Underneath

This is not a conversation about whether antibacterial products have a place in the world. There are circumstances when the use of antibacterial products is not only acceptable, it’s incredibly wise. Instead, this is a conversation about the increasing quantity and consistency of antibacterial products used and whether people realize the consequence of wrapping their body in chemicals. Chemicals that are absorbed into the skin contribute to an unhealthy gut and by default, contribute to a penetrable immune system.

The wrapping doesn’t change what’s underneath. If your immune system is compromised by poor decisions, all the antibacterial products in the world aren’t going to seal the holes in your immune system’s shield. Take advantage of the most studied micronutrient in the world, EMPowerplus Advanced, help the digestive system stay strong with GreenBAC, and pay attention to what you place on your body because if it’s not sliding off your body after you apply it, then it’s seeping into your body and affecting your microbiome.

Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach