(Natural News) Are you one of those people who obsessively washes their hands with anti-germ handwash and sprays the countertops repeatedly with hygiene cleaners? If so, it may come as a surprise to know that some scientists believe that this kind of obsessive cleaning could actually be making you sicker.
It may sound counterintuitive, but as reported by Science Daily, a group of researchers from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have warned in an article published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution that rigorous cleaning interferes with the diversity of microorganisms in our bodies, potentially weakening immunity. (Related: Do you know that some of the most common endocrine disruptors are found in your kitchen?)
>More cleaning = fewer germs = more sickness?
The iDiv researchers noted that ecosystems with high levels of biodiversity, such as forests and grasslands, are far more resistant to invasive species and other disturbances than lower diversity ecosystems. When these high levels of diversity are somehow diminished, the ecosystem is weakened, and functionality is reduced. This has been proven hundreds of times in animal and plant studies.
The iDiv team believes that much the same could be true of the high levels of biodiversity in the human body.
“We influence this micro-biodiversity on a daily basis, especially by combating it with, for example disinfectants and antibiotics — actually with the aim of promoting good health,” warned ecologist Robert Dunn, a professor associated with North Carolina State University and the University of Copenhagen.
In other words, in pursuing cleanliness and hygiene with the goal of improving health, we are actually interfering with the body’s self-regulating micro-biodiversity, creating exactly what we’re trying to avoid: poor health.
“This interference in microbial species compositions could impede the natural containment of pathogens,” explained Nico Eisenhauer, the paper’s co-author. (Related: Recent study finds that household cleaning chemicals decrease lung function over time.)…