Body, Bath & Beauty Blog

Can Germs Prevent Arthritis?

Posted on: February 12, 2009

I came across and interesting article from Arthritis Today titled “Can Germs Prevent Arthritis?” The article discusses the “cleanliness theory.” This is the theory that protecting ourselves from germs makes life too easy for our immune systems, setting ourselves up for serious health problems down the road. The theory suggests that if the body’s immune system doesn’t have germs to attack, it will attack various parts of the body instead, creating an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS) or type 1 diabetes. However, this comes at a time when the is “increasing evidence germs can trigger autoimmune diseases.”

So the resulting question is, “what’s a health-conscious person to do – steer clear of germs or let nature take its course?”

Well, in support of the cleanliness theory, autoimmune diseases have been on the rise as evidence of infectious disease has gone down. 

“A growing group of researchers say that when it comes to cleanliness, we’ve gone too far – sanitizing our laundry and dishes with automatic washers and antibacterial detergents, constantly vacuuming and disinfecting our homes…”

The article continues, saying there is evidence that suggests that “people who have more infections in childhood may be less likely to develop autoimmune disease as adults.” However, for several conditions, Lyme disease for example, infection has been identified as a cause. Learning more about the immune system and the cleanliness theory is starting to presents clues though.

Click here to read the article


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