Will sanitizer affect your gut health?

By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count – so here’s the low down with my science hat on.


Ultimately, it’s SO important to keep washing your hands right now – so please don’t let any fears of impacting your gut stop you. The pros of keeping #covid19 at bay far outweigh any risks of being ‘too clean’!


Unless you’re eating it, it’s very unlikely to significantly affect your gut bacteria ( obviously do NOT swallow disinfectant despite what powerful people say…!)


So where do the claims about excessive cleaning and anti-bac impacting our gut health come from?

Studies behind the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ state that having extremely clean environments, particularly for children, means you’re exposed to fewer microbes and so your GM diversity (the number of different types of gut microbes you have) decreases. It’s this diversity that’s typically used as a marker of good gut (and overall) health – the more diversity, the merrier!


A less diverse mix of microbes means the ‘coaching’ of your immune system is also reduced.


Here’s my take:


It’s about choosing WHEN to sanitize. If you’re out and about, going into shops and crossing paths with others (don’t forget your face mask), then it’s a good idea to wash your hands regularly.


But if you’re staying safe at home just with those in your household, then there’s little need to constantly spray disinfectant everywhere. Just keep to your usual cleaning routine and wash your hands if you go out.


Where you can safely, get outside and go for a walk in the park (forests or farm land are even better!) – not only for your gut health, but mental and physical health too.


Let your kids (and your inner child!) play in the dirt and breathe in those different microbes.


Focus on looking after your gut health with plenty of diverse plant goodness too – aiming for your 30 plant points a week to nourish your gut microbes. Alongside trying for 7-9 hours of sleep every night and managing your stress levels.


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