You can find the article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35350886
Written by Dr. Mark
Well of course they are, that’s why I have one! I came across this article and was interested to see what they had to say. According to the research referenced in this article they may actually help prevent infection.
In the initial study, faces of over 400 hospital workers were swabbed and compared.
They had good reasons for doing so. We know that hospital-acquired infections are a major cause of disease and death in hospitals, with many patients acquiring an infection they didn’t have when they went in. Hands, white coats, ties and equipment have all been blamed, but what about beards?
Well, the researchers were surprised to find that it was the clean-shaven staff, and not the beardies, who were more likely to be carrying something unpleasant on their faces.
So what’s going on? The researchers suggested that shaving might cause micro-abrasions in the skin “which may support bacterial colonisation and proliferation”.
Perhaps. But there was another more plausible explanation staring them in the face. That beards fight infection.
So to test this thought they went on to swab an assortment of beards. Researchers were able to grow over 100 different bacteria from the beards.
In a few of the petri dishes he noticed that something was clearly killing the other bacteria. The most obvious suspect was a fellow microbe.
The researched was able to identify a specific bacteria of the species called Staphylococcus epidermidis. When this was tested against a drug-resistant strain of E.coli, they killed with abandon.
I found the whole article pretty interesting, so obviously we should all go out and grow beards to help prevent infection right? Well, what can we all take away from this?
The thing that strikes me from this is the simple fact that bacteria are our friends. They help us. We need them to function and they will help us stay healthy. They are essential in digestion, which is why there are literally pounds of them in our gut. They are on our skin, as the article says, fighting for food, aka killing off other microbes that may try to get in before our immune system even needs to work. Its just another thing to cause you to lean back and be in awe of the amazing creator of this system, with so much depending on something else, yet it all being balanced.
The problem arises when we throw off that balance and we purposely or inadvertently kill off that bacteria that help us in so many ways. Prime example the unnecessary use of antibiotics. Yes there will come a time you may need these, but be certain it is necessary before taking that step. And if you do take an antibiotic be sure to supplement and aid in the re-growth of more of those good bacteria with the probiotics. You should really be doing this all the time, and more so while on and after being on antibiotics. We sell amasi, which is a very probiotic rich drink, and tastes great too. There are plenty of other options as well that most grocery stores carry, just be careful that the sugar content isn’t too high. With those drinks I tend to only get the ones with 2 grams of sugar and 4 grams of carbs, no higher.
If you can’t do any of that, you can always just grow a beard.