Is Immunity Debt Real, or Should You Keep Kids in a Bubble?
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Children who aren’t exposed to germs on a regular basis have different microbiomes than those who are. The microbiome, in turn, plays a decisive role in how well one’s immune system works
Exposure to nonpathogenic microorganisms helps prevent immune-mediated chronic disorders, as they act as immunomodulatory signaling agents. They basically train your immune system to function normally and not react excessively or unnecessarily
There’s also evidence suggesting that certain childhood infections may reduce your risk of certain chronic illnesses. Measles infection, for example, could potentially lower your risk of cancer in the future
In August 2021, a French group of pediatric infectious disease experts warned that “immunity debt” caused by a lack of exposure to common viruses and bacteria during COVID lockdowns and school closures may predispose children to suffer more infections in the future
The potential benefits of natural infections have fallen by the wayside as the single-minded focus on vaccination has taken over. We now see the medical industry trying to erase knowledge about the lifelong benefits associated with infections, especially childhood infections.
Contact With Microbes Trains Your Immune System
The “hygiene hypothesis” was initially proposed by epidemiologist Dr. David Strachan in 1989.3,4,5 He believed the rising incidence of allergies was linked to reduced exposure to viruses and bacteria, thanks to smaller family sizes, which means fewer siblings from whom infants are exposed to germs and infections.
In 2003, Graham Rook refined the hypothesis, renaming it the “old friends” hypothesis6 (a name that never stuck). Rather than including both good and bad germs, Rook’s version of the hygiene hypothesis emphasized the importance of exposure to nonpathogenic (friendly) microorganisms in the building of robust immune function.
According to this narrowed view of the hygiene hypothesis, exposure to nonpathogenic microorganisms is an important way by which immune-mediated chronic disorders are prevented, as they act as immunomodulatory signaling agents,7 basically training your immune system to function normally and not react excessively or unnecessarily.
The video below reviews how feedback loops in the natural world, where X affects Y and Y affects X, help keep nature in balance and promote resilience in natural systems. The same kind of feedback loops exist within the human body, between microbes and various systems such as your immune system, and between your body and its environment.