Is the Hygiene Hypothesis Responsible for the Increase in Autoimmune Diseases?

Autoimmune diseases seem to be on the rise in shocking numbers, especially in developed countries. There are some that believe that it has to do with our being too careful and to clean. So, is the hygiene hypothesis responsible for the increase in autoimmune diseases?

The point made with hygiene hypothesis is that there is little exposure to different infectious agents in early childhood. This lack of exposure could result in immune tolerance.

Remember the Old Friends Hypothesis

Does this old friends hypothesis come to mind? Consider back in the day when one child got the chickenpox, parents sent their children off to that home so that their children will also become infected. Those were things done in the past. Today, if someone is sick, they are completely isolated, and no friends are sent over.

How about the overuse of and sanitation products? We are continuously over sanitizing and that is not necessarily a good thing. The more infectious agents in larger families, the less eczema existed, according to an article published in the British Medical Journal. That’s just one example.

Hygiene hypothesis

The Hygiene Hypothesis May Be to Blame

Chronic inflammatory diseases and allergies largely developed in the last hundred years. It is possible that the hygiene revolution is to blame. Certainly, and thankfully in many cases, there have been improvements in hygiene with regards to sewer systems, toilets, and cleaner foods. All this cleanup began in the last 200 years. At this point, infectious diseases declined, which is of course, a very good thing.

So what’s changed that has turned all this around and more people are affected with chronic diseases and increased allergies? The culprit could very well be the manner in which we conduct ourselves with regards to hygiene and sanitation. Read more about this here. Perhaps it’s all got to do with too much hand washing or directly related to anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizing products, and the like.