Household disinfectants have become almost indispensable, especially in homes with children. But a blockbuster new study shows that eliminating germs may have a boomerang effect that actually makes us less healthy and fat.
Researchers from Canada recently conducted a study to see if there was a connection between the use of household disinfectants by mothers and the weight of their children. They found that when mothers used household disinfectants, most commonly multi-surface cleaners, antibacterial hand soap and spray air fresheners, their children were more likely to be overweight or obese at age 3!
By examining the stool samples from the children when they were infants, they found that this increased risk of weight gain seemed to be related to a change in the bacteria in the digestive tract. The kids whose mother used fewer disinfectant products had healthier bacteria in their gut.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, when moms used disinfectants there were obviously fewer bacteria in the house. That means that the children who spent a lot of time indoors, were exposed to fewer bacteria and had less of a chance to grow the healthy bacteria in their digestive system that is beneficial and actually should be living in the gut.
That’s why experts recommend that we should be less aggressive in sanitizing our environment and use fewer disinfectants. “It may also be time to rethink our cleaning products,” says Claire McCarthy, M.D., faculty editor of Harvard Health Publishing.
Here are her tips:
*Avoid anything that says antibacterial on the label
*Look for natural cleaning products. Not only are they less likely to kill healthy bacteria, they have fewer dangerous chemicals. The Environmental Working Group has an excellent guide to healthy cleaning products.
*Wash your hands — and your children’s hands — with plain soap and water.
*Consider making your own cleaning products with things like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and plain old soap! There are lots of web sites with recipes for inexpensive, effect, safe and bacteria-sparing cleaning products.
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