The hygiene hypothesis: what is it & what you can do

By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope
Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty… for your gut microbes and overall health!
Ever heard of the ‘hygiene hypothesis? It’s the idea from the ’80s that being too clean, especially in childhood, means you’re exposed to fewer microbes – and so the diversity of microbes you have is lower.
And we want as much GM diversity as possible! Diversity of microbes = better health and happiness.
The result: your immune system’s skills may also be reduced, because your microbes train your immune system from birth.
This is thought to be one reason for why rates of allergy and autoimmune conditions are reaching epidemic levels in the Western world…
BUT hygiene is still super important. This ‘hygiene hypothesis’ is evolving into *targeted hygiene* in the home – it’s not about exposing kids to harmful germs, so keep washing those hands! 
Exposure to ‘good bacteria’ in early life is key to building a healthy diverse gut microbiome 
It’s about making the most of your microbes, getting out in nature and not being afraid to get a little dirty. Time to embrace human, animal and natural environments for good gut health!
Here’s what you can do…
–  Spend more time outdoors in nature for exposure to diverse natural microbes. Your kids have my permission to jump in the mud…
–  Get a furry pet, it’s been linked with better immunity. If you’re not up for it, play with a friend’s pup!
– Cultivate connections as reduced interaction with siblings is linked with reduced microbe exposure. Social distancing allowing…start with your family and household
–  Avoid overusing antibiotics where you might not need them


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