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Down for the Count… the bacterial count

You hate bacteria, right?

Commercial product advertisers have done a really good job of convincing us that bacteria are bad.  Good grief!  Those awful little horrors are going to destroy humanity if we don’t fight them with chemicals, alcohol, sanitizer gels, and antibiotics.

The truth however is that we actually have a huge resident population of bacteria cells in our bodies that outnumber our own cells by an average of 30% (30 trillion human vs. 39 trillion bacterial).

In fact, 90% of all bacteria are either harmless or good for us.  Only about 10% of bacteria are actually harmful.  The bacteria that live in our gut are an integral part of our immune system; they battle the bad bacteria that we encounter when we eat.  They also prevent colon bacteria (which we need) from traveling the wrong way and coming back into the gut.

As you can see in the picture, there’s a possibility that some of those bad bacteria can get into our water supply.  Even municipal water is vulnerable if it is insufficiently chlorinated as it travels to you.  

Those potentially toxic bacteria are the ones we want to control and destroy in our shower water.  Many of us rinse our mouths, noses, ears, or nether regions while we’re having a shower and all of those paths can provide routes by which bacteria can invade.

How did it happen that we acquired such a large load of bacterial passengers?  First, you should be rest assured that most of our cells are hundreds of times larger than bacterial cells, so there is physically more of us than them, but they are there, and we need them.

History

There’s an old expression that “every child must eat its pound of dirt” which has been with us since English became a language.  You see, back when we were evolving from small furry lemur-like creatures into humans, food didn’t come sterilized, clean, or wrapped in nice polyethylene packaging.  

It was fruit and leaves that was picked off a tree, often with traces of insect and bird poop, and airborne bacteria, pollen, yeast, and dead skin cells from other animals.  Whatever was in the environment was inevitably intertwined with our diet.  If that wasn’t enough, we lived in jungles, walking barefoot over moist ground, climbing trees, and all the while getting cuts and scratches, inviting whatever was outside our bodies to come inside.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

When you are literally awash in billions of bacteria, throughout every moment of your life, you simply cannot win an exclusionary battle like that.  Instead we evolved to include a welcoming space for the bacteria that did us the most good, or did us the least harm, so that the less desirable bacteria couldn’t find space to live.  This is called the "Old Friends Hypothesis".

A related concept is the “Hygiene Hypothesis”.  It says that with regular garbage collection, improved standards of personal hygiene, potable water, and enhanced public health measures from the 19th and 20th centuries onwards, we have also reduced our exposure to familiar beneficial microbes from our evolutionary past.  

Without them, the hypothesis states, our immune systems don’t develop as fully as they used to and, in some cases, even malfunction.  A corresponding relationship has actually been drawn between the increase of autoimmune diseases and cancer in children around the world.  Some evidence has also tied aspects of autism (such as certain cytokines) to how overly-clean we are now.

So, Bacteria Are Good?

Oh yes, indeed.  If you stop and think about it you probably already know that without bacteria we wouldn’t have cheese (not a world I want to live in).  But the real list is quite extensive, including:

 

  • Chocolate
  • Vinegar
  • Beer
  • fruits & vegetables
  • coffee
  • tea
  • miso
  • sake
  • soy sauce
  • dairy products
  • sourdough bread
  • meat
  • wine
  • cider
  • kefir
  • rum
  • kimchi
  • sausage
  • ham
  • pulque
  • fish

More importantly however we have between 500 and 1,000 species living in our guts, producing enzymes to digest food that we are not capable of producing ourselves; they also create or synthesize vitamins that we need to stay alive.

The Bad Guys

Of the 10% that remain, some might make us feel a little off; others can make us sick, and the worst can actually kill us, if our immune system isn’t up to par.  These leftovers are the ones that we want to avoid.  

If the chlorine didn’t do its job before our shower filter removed it, any remaining bacteria will be destroyed as it passes through the filter.  The KDF 55 ionizer disrupts the cellular membrane of living things within the filter itself, killing bacteria, protozoans, and other nastiness.  Once the water leaves the filter it is completely harmless.

The Takeaway

We’re happy to tell you about the science behind our filters.  We make no false claims and give you the real story because an informed consumer is a smart shopper.  As we’ve said before, we are big fans of real science here.  

We don’t need to scare you to make you use our products; and we don’t need to deceive you so that you don’t use someone else’s product.  We just tell you the truth, because we believe you are smart enough to make your own good decision!

If you live in an area with over-chlorinated water and other undesirable contaminants (as most of us do), please feel free to look over our exceptional selection of high quality filtration products.  We’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.  Just click here to go directly to our online contact form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!


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