Your gastrointestinal tract is filled with bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and fungi called the “gut microbiome.” Although this sounds strange and even a little unhealthy, your gut microbiome lives throughout your intestinal tract to keep you healthy. Interestingly, a recent study has tied the health of the gut microbiome in children to common chemicals found in their homes. (1)
Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome Study
Gut microbes assist with essential functions ranging from nutrient absorption to immunity. An unhealthy microbiome can contribute to diseases such as obesity, asthma, and dementia, according to the study’s lead author, Courtney Gardner, assistant professor in the Washington State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The study found that children with higher chemicals in their bloodstream also showed differences in their gut microbiome. (1)
Researchers measured toddlers’ and preschoolers’ blood and urine to test levels of “ubiquitous semi-organic compounds.” These compounds included phthalates and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found in household items like detergents and personal care products, carpets, furniture, and non-stick cooking products. They then used fecal samples to study the children’s gut microbiomes. (1)
Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome
The children with higher levels of PFASs in their blood had lower amounts and less diversity in their bacteria. For those with increased levels of phthalates, there was a reduction in fungi populations. According to Gardner, this correlation between the chemicals and less abundant bacterial organisms is concerning. (1)
“These microbes are perhaps not the main drivers and may have more subtle roles in our biology, but it might be the case that one of these microbes does have a unique function, and decreasing its levels may have significant health impacts,” she says. (1)
Household Chemical Exposure
Our air and dust are full of these chemicals, so we all come into contact with them every day. Young children are more susceptible to the chemicals because they put things in their mouths, play, and crawl on the floor. (1)
Household Chemicals And The Adapting Gut Microbiome
Children who had a lot of chemical compounds in their blood had a lot of different kinds of bacteria in their guts that were used to clean them up. Dehalogenation bacteria are not typically found in the human gut but instead are used for “bioremediation .”This process degrades persistent halogenated chemicals like dry-cleaning solvents from the environment. (1)
“Finding the increased levels of these types of bacteria in the gut means that, potentially, the gut microbiome is trying to correct itself,” says Gardner. He hopes the study will provide an essential diagnostic tool. She also hopes her team’s research can shed light that contributes to developing probiotic interventions that will lead to improved health outcomes. (1)
Household Chemicals And Gut Microbiome Health
“While these data do not denote causation, they indicate the types of organisms that may be impacted by exposure to these compounds and provide a springboard for future research,” she says. “Gaining a more holistic understanding of the interactions between human-made chemicals, the gut microbiome, and human health is a critical step in advancing public health.” (1)
My Personal RX for a healthy household:
1. Empower yourself with knowledge about toxic ingredients by accessing my Toxic Ingredient Guide. This informative resource will educate you about the harmful substances to avoid in household products and help you make informed choices for a safer environment. Take control of your family’s health and safety.
2. Practice proper food storage and meal preparation techniques to prevent food contamination and reduce exposure to harmful substances. Store food in safe containers, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly and follow safe cooking practices to safeguard your family’s health.
3. Invest in the Detox Bundle, a powerful combination of Liver Support and Fiber Complete. These supplements provide comprehensive support for essential detoxification processes in the body, promoting overall health and well-being for you and your family. Elevate your family’s health today.
4. Improve indoor air quality by regularly ventilating your home and using air purifiers or indoor plants known for their air-purifying properties. This helps reduce the presence of harmful pollutants and allergens.