How many of you would honestly say you let your kids play in the dirt? Or even encourage it? While we’ve known for decades that hand washing is important, for some reason, about a decade ago people started freaking out about dirt and started over sanitizing everything.


And that behavior has created another problem. By totally obliterating all the microbes in or on our kid’s bodies with hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, antibiotics they’re immune systems have taken a huge hit.

Marie-Claire Arrieta, co-author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World explains that we have raised our children in too clean an environment. In fact, we have overdone it so much that it’s contributing to a whole host of chronic conditions from allergies to obesity.


The microbiologist and assistant professor at the University of Calgary sat down and gave an interview to Brandie Weikle at The Star and you can read the entire interview HERE.

But, here’s a small taste…

“We’ve been hearing for some time that overusing antibiotics may lead to antibiotic-resistant hospital infections, something we may associate with the elderly and other immune-compromised people. But I gather the implications are much more immediate and individual than that. What’s the connection between microbes and the development of the immune system in childhood?

When we’re born we do not have any microbes. Our immune system is underdeveloped. But as soon as microbes come into the picture, they kick-start our immune system to work properly. Without microbes our immune system can’t fight infections well.

It’s not just the presence of these microbes but what they produce. They produce molecules and substances that directly interact with the cells of the lining in our guts, but also with the immune cells that are on the other side of the lining in our guts. They literally train them. It is only upon the encounter with these microbial substances that an immune cell obtains the information to do what they’re supposed to do. Then these cells in our gut have the ability to transport themselves to other parts of the body to do more training.” 1


You can also check out her TED talk on the same topic below…

Sources and References

  1. The Star, October 20, 2016.