The theory of self-poisoning

Here are three quotes from the legacy of a world-renowned scientist, winner of the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, discoverer of phagocytosis and intracellular digestion, and Creator of the phagocytic theory of immunity.

Quote one: “when Pasteur in 1857 made his great discovery of the lactic acid fermentation microbe, he noticed at the time that this organism, although it produces lactic acid itself, suffers from an excess of it. So that the fermentation could end, it was necessary to add chalk to neutralize the acid. If the action of lactic acid is too long, then not only does the fermentation stop, but the microbes themselves die… the Conversion of sugar into lactic acid is the main function of the microbe, which is closely related to its organization. Therefore, the stoppage of fermentation and the final death of the fermenter under the above conditions can be attributed to natural death. The latter occurs as a result of self-poisoning, i.e. poisoning by the products of physiological activity of the microbe itself.

The fact that this death occurs when the environment still contains enough sugar to feed the microbe clearly shows that it, death, does not depend on exhaustion.

The example of lactic acid brodil is not the only one… it is possible to significantly postpone natural death, despite the fact that it depends on internal causes.”

Remember the last phrase. Death can be postponed, delayed!

The second quote, which is no longer about microbes, but about people: “Although it is not yet possible to speak about the nature of the substance that accumulates during the activity of organs and causes fatigue and sleep, nevertheless, it becomes highly likely that it exists and that sleep really depends on a certain kind of self-poisoning of the body… the Analogy between sleep and natural death suggests that the latter also occurs due to self-poisoning. It is much deeper and more serious than that which causes sleep.”

Natural death occurs as a result of self-poisoning! Let’s also remember this and move on to the third quote.

“In addition to microbes entering the body from the outside, there is a large source of harm that comes from the presence of microbes in our body itself. The first place between them belongs to such a rich and diverse intestinal flora. Intestinal microbes are most abundant in the large intestine. This organ, which is indisputably useful in mammals that feed on coarse plant food or that need a large reservoir for food residues, is completely useless for humans… the Slight development or absence of a colon in many vertebrates confirms this conclusion.”

Down with the colon and its harmful microflora! This is how the credo of Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, the author of the three quotes, could be formulated.

Mechnikov? A great scientist? Father of Russian Microbiology, and at the same time – and immunology? Really?

If anyone thinks that quotes are falsifications, they can find them in Mechnikov’s work “Studies of optimism”, dedicated to the issues of aging. In addition to all other achievements, Ilya Ilyich is also the founder of scientific gerontology, both domestic and foreign.

It doesn’t really fit in with what we discussed in the previous chapters. Is the colon an unnecessary organ? Intestinal microbes are not our friends-helpers, but pests-destroyers? Come on, microbes, but what do you want to do with the absorption of water that occurs in the “useless” colon? If it weren’t for the colon, you and I (sorry Moi for such unappetizing details) would have runny stools seven or eight times a day. Throughout life. Can you imagine how uncomfortable, if not exhausting, it is?

Inconvenient, but let’s not find fault with genius. First, Mechnikov was not a doctor, but a biologist and did not pay attention to such physiological nuances as water absorption. Secondly, like many other geniuses, he was a great original and often struck others with the unconventionality of his judgments. For example, Prime Minister Sergei Witte (and not only him) was advised by Mechnikov that a non-standard way to fight the revolutionaries was to give Petersburg, Moscow, or a province into their hands for a few months, so that they could show themselves in all their revolutionary “glory”, and then besiege them, take them and shoot them all. Ilya Ilyich believed that if the population had the opportunity to see the “bright revolutionary future” in reality, the revolution would be immediately put an end to. Agree that there was a rational grain in Mechnikov’s proposal.

But let’s go back to our microbes, or rather to the myth of harm (deadly harm!) intestinal microflora, which is known as ” the theory of self-poisoning of the body.” By the middle of the last century, this theory, or in essence, not a theory, but a hypothesis, was safely forgotten, but in our time it was remembered. And not as a scientific curiosity, but as a guide to action. Another great myth extracted from my grandmother’s chest…

Those who want to get acquainted with the material in detail can read “Etudes of optimism”. Just don’t be fooled by the name – there is about as much optimism in this work as there is snow in the desert. It would be more logical for Mechnikov to call this work “Studies of pessimism”. But the work is interesting, giving a detailed view of the scientific views of the late XIX – early XX century, as well as containing many interesting examples.

For those who are not going to read “Etudes of optimism”, we will briefly state the essence of the theory-Mechnikov’s hypothesis.

Mechnikov claimed that many diseases, aging itself, and death are caused by toxic substances that are produced in the colon by putrid bacteria. These” bad “putrid bacteria, that is, in fact – almost the entire intestinal microflora, are opposed by” good ” lactic acid bacteria. “Good” bacteria secrete substances that kill ” bad ” bacteria. If you want to get sick less and live longer, then use more fermented milk products – kefir, koumiss and others. And best of all – drink simple sour milk (so in Mechnikov’s time was called curdled milk), because it contains only useful bacteria of lactic acid fermentation and there are no such that cause unnecessary alcohol. “Kefir is the result of successive fermentations – lactic acid and alcohol,” Mechnikov wrote. – It contains up to one percent alcohol, which is why daily use of it for many years is undesirable. The yeast that produces it can acclimatize in the human gut and there have a beneficial effect on infectious microbes, such as typhoid and cholera bacteria. Another disadvantage of kefir is too much variety of its flora, the effect of which is not well known. That is why it has not yet been possible to properly prepare kefir from pure cultures of microbes, and yet this would be a very important condition for continued use of this drink. When preparing kefir with fermentation (leaven. – A. S.) we run the risk of introducing harmful microbes that can cause abnormal fermentation.”

But meat and other animal products that are subject to rot and harmful oil-acid fermentation, it is better to eat less. And you should also refrain from “similar” plant products. In short, you need to eat what turns sour, not what rots. Pickles-marinades are also suitable for feeding potential centenarians, since acetic acid protects them from rotting. Bread and kvass, which are products of fermentation, form the basis of the diet.

Mechnikov cites in his” Studies “many examples of the beneficial use of fermented milk products, and in conclusion concludes:” If the theory that premature and painful old age depends on poisoning our tissues with poisons coming mainly from our intestines and produced mainly by intestinal microbes, it is obvious that everything that prevents intestinal rot, at the same time should improve and delay old age. This logical conclusion is confirmed by examples of the longevity of peoples who live mainly on sour milk.”

As a scientist, Mechnikov further says that his theoretical conclusions must be supported by direct facts, which he did not have at the time of writing the “Studies”. But for some reason, supporters of the Mechnikov theory do not notice this clarification. Or maybe they think that everything has been proven and confirmed for a long time?

A little biochemistry for the idea of lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid fermentation is the process of anaerobic (that is, without the participation of free diatomic oxygen) oxidation of carbohydrates, the final product of which is lactic acid. Lactic acid bacteria get the oxygen necessary for the oxidation of carbohydrates from chemical compounds, such as water.

C12H22O11 + H2O = 4C3H6O3

lactose water lactic acid

(milk sugar)

Lactic acid, by the way, is formed in the cells of our body during the oxidation of another sugar-glucose.

It was already mentioned above that not all adults can drink milk without unpleasant consequences, because their body does not form lactase – an enzyme that breaks down lactose. So the main benefit of lactic acid fermentation is that it turns hard-to-digest milk into an easily digestible fermented milk product.

Lactic acid does not reach the colon – it is digested on the way…

Lactic acid bacteria do not reach the colon – they die on the way…

Microorganisms that live in the large intestine do not poison us or kill us, but rather try to do something useful for us to the best of their modest capabilities…

Mechnikov himself wrote that his logical conclusions need to be confirmed…

But nevertheless, the theory of self-poisoning of the body is actively exploited in our time by manufacturers of products (primarily yogurt) containing “live bacteria”.

See how well everything works out.

First, the public is influenced by the authority of the great scientist Mechnikov. The fact that any scientist, along with achievements, there are also “misses”, that is, hypotheses that have not been confirmed, people rarely remember. Few people know that Mechnikov was a biologist, not a doctor. The research Institute for vaccines and serums was named after him? Named! So he’s a doctor! This is an important nuance, since the recommendations of outstanding doctors in the national consciousness “weigh” more than the recommendations of outstanding biologists.

Secondly, the usefulness of lactic acid bacteria living in our colon is scientifically proven and there is no doubt about it.

Should we then look for evidence of Mechnikov’s theory? Yes, actually, you can not go into the theory, the main thing is to drink more yogurt and eat less meat! And, of course, choose dairy products that contain live bacteria.

Dairy products, whether they contain live bacteria in their composition, or only mention it on the label, will not cause harm to your body by themselves. Provided, of course, that they are not spoiled. The wallet can be hit, because the “live” product is more expensive than the “non-living” analog, but not much, you can survive.

The same can be said about various biological additives “with live bacteria”. If you like the taste of food flavored with this seasoning, then enjoy it to your health. This is your business and your right.

But in two cases, blindly and thoughtlessly following the recommendations of Mechnikov and his followers can cause significant harm to your body.

Mechnikov writes: “the Usual contents of the intestinal canal in a person can not be considered “normal”at all. In many uncultured or semi-civilized peoples, worms are constantly or almost always present in the contents of the intestinal canal. This finding corresponds to the” living conditions ” of savages, because they do not observe the most basic rules of hygiene and live in unimaginable dirt. But to conclude from here about the harmlessness of worms is not the slightest possibility. The same applies to harmful bacteria in the intestinal flora. They live in our gut channel because people eat raw food and drink raw drinks without following proper safety rules. We must hope that in time, when people learn to live more hygienic, harmful bacteria will become as rare in them as worms are now in people who observe some neatness and cleanliness.”

Will harmful bacteria become rare?

Yes, easily! With the modern development of the pharmaceutical industry with its wide range of antibiotics, it is not difficult to destroy this supposedly harmful intestinal microflora. We destroy harmful microbes, populate the intestines with useful ones and enjoy long years of healthy life…

You can enjoy all this luxury only theoretically, because in practice the death of the intestinal microflora will lead to a number of diseases, but Amateurs do not know this. But they believe what the authorities say. Even if it was a hypothesis put forward more than a hundred years ago and not confirmed.

Colonize the intestines with lactic acid bacteria, too, will not work. First, when taken by mouth, they will reach the colon in very small quantities and in addition in a depressed state. And they are not able to exist in the large intestine in proud solitude, they need neighbors. But until all this wisdom (real wisdom, not hypothetical) reaches the swordsman’s adept, the adept will have time to seriously shake, or even completely shake his health. Our body is a balanced system that can be compared to a house of cards. You only need to knock out one card, disrupt the work of one organ, as all the others will begin to suffer. And the microflora of the large intestine, by its significance, can be considered our additional organ. Unlike our microsymbionts that live in other places. That’s why we pay so much attention to it.

Not to destroy the microflora of the colon, but to care for it, cherish it and provide regular nutrition-this is the choice of a reasonable person [32].

A milder or, if you like, less harmful way of health disorders “according to Mechnikov” is an excessive passion for fermented milk products. The word “excessive” means that these products become the basis of your diet. For example, for Breakfast-cottage cheese with curd on even days or curd with curd on odd days, for lunch-Apple salad with yogurt, soup with kefir, cottage cheese cutlets and fermented baked milk, for afternoon tea-kefir, for dinner-suzma with dried apricots, and for night snacks – sour cream. Will you say that this does not happen? Even as it happens! And even worse.

What is the result?

First, an excess of food rich in organic acids can cause the development of chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of the digestive tract – gastritis, duodenitis, colitis. These diseases are unpleasant in themselves, and in addition are fraught with complications. The inflammation can turn into an ulcer, and the ulcer can turn into a malignant tumor. Complications do not always develop, but this does not mean that they should not be taken into account. Excess acid in the diet can cause serious damage to the digestive system.

And an excess of protein – this is the second-will add to this harm “their five cents”. Yes, there are some “two cents”?! As much as a hundred rubles will add and on top-another fifty!

In our enlightened age, people are happy to be seduced by the imaginary benefits of protein, carbohydrate, fish, cereals and other fashionable diets, forgetting about the Golden (without exaggeration) rule that the ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in our diet, that is, in the diet of an adult healthy person, should be equal to 1:1:4. One part protein, one part fat, four parts carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight, you can reduce the amount of higher-calorie carbohydrates and increase the amount of lower-calorie proteins. But more than half of the diet of proteins should not be. Otherwise, problems with digestion will begin, because our digestion is “programmed” for a ratio of 1:1:4 or close to it. This proportion is the most favorable for our metabolism-metabolism and energy.

In short, over-indulgence in dairy products will hit your digestive system “on both sides.” Abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation, and all that sort of stuff will not brighten your life at all and will not prolong it.

Let’s debunk something else along the way, since we are talking about an excess of protein in the diet.

There is a myth that excess protein in the diet leads to kidney disease, but this is not true. This myth is based on the fact that for a number of kidney diseases, the amount of protein in the diet is significantly limited. But this is for diseases! As already mentioned, the opposite is not always true. Restriction of protein in the diet for kidney diseases does not mean that excess protein in the diet can lead to kidney disease.

If you have healthy kidneys, then excess protein in the diet will not harm them. Just like your liver, which applied mythology predicts great problems with over-indulgence in protein foods. In the “worst” case of no assimilation of the excess protein will just be excreted from the body with feces.

Yes, here’s another thing-no “slags” from excess protein in our intestines are formed, because there are no” slags ” in the body at all, they were invented by charlatans in order to profit from getting rid of trusting people from what they never had. Getting rid of something that doesn’t exist guarantees an absolute result in any case. It’s just wonderful!

In conclusion – a drop of optimism from Ilya Mechnikov’s pessimistic “Etudes”: “We cannot comprehend the unknown, its plans and intentions. Let us leave nature aside and do only what is available to our mind. The latter tells us that man is capable of great things; that is why it is to be desired that he should modify human nature and turn its disharmonies into harmonies. The will of man alone can achieve this ideal.”

Turning disharmonies into harmonies is the best thing in the world.

By the way, this is what we are doing, debunking myths.

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