The germ theory of life

By Darrel Crain, D.C.

I received some startling news the other day and now I’m bugged. “You’re going to just stand there and tell me that 90 percent of my body is made up of microbes?” I gasped.

“Get over yourself,” my friend the microbe expert said offhandedly, surprised I didn’t know this already. “We humans are only 10 percent human and the rest teeming, thriving microorganisms along for the ride.”

She pulled out a 2004 report from the American Academy of Microbiology and read, “Microbes enable efficient digestion in our guts, synthesize essential nutrients, and maintain benign or even beneficial relationships with the body’s organs. The presence of these organisms influences our physical and mental health.”

cartoon microbes I had to sit down immediately. I mean “we” had to sit down, my microbes and I. Why had I never understood this before? What significance does it hold that the human aspect is only one tenth of the story of the human body? Who controls the 90 percent of us that is not us? What does this mean for all the healthcare professions? At the very least, I realized, we needed to rewrite the Germ Theory.

Of course, there always have been a few bugs in the Germ Theory of Disease. First off, if germs really did cause disease, none of us would be left standing here to discuss the theory’s finer points. Obviously there is something else at work, perhaps our ability to maintain resistance and develop immunity.

Louis Pasteur himself found it necessary to falsify his records and fudge the results of certain experiments to make the Germ Theory work, according to historian Gerald Geison in a New York Times article in 1995. Geison was one of the first scholars to study Pasteur’s personal notes following the family’s long awaited release of the research. I imagine this new story describing Pasteur’s fraud and deception did not go over too well with many French people, who have erected beautiful statues in his image and named venerable public institutions after him.

Pasteur worked hard to garner credit for developing the Germ Theory during his lifetime, although scientists had already been kicking the idea around for a hundred years before he showed up. As an old man though, Pasteur reportedly dropped the entire theory and sided with his contemporary, Claude Bernard. Bernard was the doctor who once gathered a group of colleagues around himself and downed a glass of cholera-filled water and exclaimed, “The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing.”

Many Germ Theory enthusiasts find it intolerable that Pasteur might have abandoned his pet theory in old age. They dismiss his 180-degree change of heart as the incoherent ravings of a dying man. Perhaps they should instead give him credit for publicly changing his mind when he concluded the evidence supported a different story.

At least the Germ Theory rescued us from the Evil Spirits Theory, the dominant disease theory of the day. This is regarded as a giant step forward for science because the cures for casting out evil spirits were harsh treatments that killed significant numbers of patients needlessly. I am told this in no way resembles modern medicine’s incessant war against microbes, whose treatments kill staggering numbers of patients unintentionally.

Considering that microorganisms help us digest our food, create vital nutrients for us and protect us from opportunistic infections, is it any wonder that antibiotics and vaccines are linked to so many terrible health disorders, complications and chronic diseases?

If microbes could talk, they would say, “Poison to one is poison to all!” In a democracy, the microbes in your body would hold an election, and the majority would vote to avoid pharmaceutical attack whenever possible.

Which brings us back to the task at hand, rewriting the Germ Theory of Disease. Since we are made mostly of germs, it follows that our good health depends on the good health of our resident microbes. We need to make our microbes feel at home, happy, safe and healthy. In short, we need to make peace with our microbes, love our microbes, and ask our microbes what they want for dinner.

The new dominant theory shall be called the Germ Theory of Life. The transition period requires that we exercise patience and understanding. Medical practitioners will face certain difficulties at first, trained as they are primarily to conduct warfare against germs. But these folks tend to have a good heart and they will naturally excel in the new system. Indeed, many have already taken up the new banner with gusto.

But the Big Pharma Drug Cartel will not stand down easily. It is the greatest and most powerful economic force in the entire history of mankind. In order to justify continued all-out war to achieve germ genocide, the Cartel needs the Germ Theory and clings to it as tenaciously as the Catholic Church once clung to the Earth is the Center of the Universe Theory.

Nevertheless, in the forward march of scientific progress, theories come and theories go. The Germ Theory of Disease has always urged us to be bug slayers. The new Germ Theory of Life says the key is to nurture the bugs we live with and raise the healthiest bugs we possibly can. The new theory accounts for the fact that we humans are part of the stream of nature and our health ultimately depends on the health of our environment. When you come right down to it, we are the environment.

Not surprisingly, the practices needed to ensure the health of our microbes are identical to the practices for ensuring the health of our human cells. I call these the usual wellness suspects: Eat well, think well, exercise well, rest well, love well and be well.

We do not need any prescriptions, permission, or physicians to choose to live a lifestyle that creates good health. But since these practices are neither dangerous nor costly, don’t be bugged if your medical insurance refuses to pay for it.


Dr. Darrel Crain is a Family Chiropractor and Natural Health Writer practicing in San Diego, California. He is the President of the CCA San Diego County District and can be reached at 619-445-0100

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