Pasteur Versus Béchamp: The History of Germ Theory
This is may be one of the most important articles and views of history you will read about how to stay healthy.
Almost all of us have been sold a “simple” story about germs.
It generally goes something like this: French biologist Louis Pasteur discovered that microorganisms or “germs” caused disease. According to the resulting “germ theory” he championed, we “catch” bacteria, colds, viruses and they should be prevented through drugs, vaccines, and other means. We were taught to be afraid of these germs and out of fear try to “kill” them with drugs rather than generating good environments in our bodies (the beneficial microorganisms and healthy immune balance, healthy PH levels, etc.).
Most people don’t know that a) Pasteur is accused of plagiarism, stealing his ideas from several earlier scientists and b) his theory received opposition from numerous scientists including Antoine Béchamp, a French researcher and biologist (who also happened to be Pasteur’s rival with the exact opposite view of germs).
In contrast to the idea that bacteria would enter a healthy host and create disease on their own, Béchamp proposed that living entities called “microzymes” created bacteria in response to host and environmental factors; this is called “host theory.”
In host theory, people don’t “catch” germs that give them diseases. Instead disease-causing germs are actually opportunistic, thriving in people whose bodies have a weakness or imbalance internally. They are a byproduct of the disease, not a cause of the disease. You see, you have MRSA, cancer, viruses, and bacteria in you and on you all the time, every day! A healthy balance of beneficial bacteria and healthy body environments keeps the unhealthy stuff out and in balance. If you wipe out everything by using antibacterial soaps all the time or using antibiotics for every little cold, then you aren’t just destroying the bad bacteria, you’re radically wiping out all the beneficial balance too, leaving you even more susceptible to new diseases in the long run.
Unlike Pasteur, who spawned a mentality of fearfully killing germs to prevent disease, Béchamp essentially understood the balance of and the importance of the environments we create with foods that our internal systems either support or don’t support disease.
Béchamp theorized that germs were actually the chemical byproducts and the degenerative aspects of the unbalanced state of a body. For disease to take hold there already had to be cellular dysfunction, dead tissue, and things in the body already “disease-ing” (if I can create a word). That’s when the germ or bacteria shows and sets up shop because the body or an area of the body was in a state that lets them thrive and gives them a home. This cellular dysfunction or dead tissue is caused by malnutrition or exposure to toxins.
As you can see, host theory and germ theory are two radically different views of how people acquire disease.
Pasteur was a stronger debater, a better salesman for his point of view and his theory won out, becoming the standard theory used by the modern Western medical community today and the foundation of our mainstream understanding of germs.
Germ theory’s downfall is that it attempts to treat chronic diseases with drugs. It does not treat the whole body. When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, it spawned a focus on fighting germs and disease with antibiotics and drugs, leaving food in the dust.
“When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer,” Fleming would later say, “But I suppose that was exactly what I did.”
You can never have true, lasting health through drug protocols. There are side effects to every drug! That alone should raise red flags for you. Humans shouldn’t have to depend on a drug that has never been here before. The foreign, often “quick-fix” reliance on drugs has created the super bugs and drug-resistance strains we have to fight today. Instead of drugs, we need to turn to food first.
But instead, our future doctors are learning about drug interactions and not about healthy eating and medicinal foods. The whole medical community has turned and flipped on its head and the real science of how the body works has been eliminated. The profit center and the wide eyes of pharmaceutical industries were created. There is profit in fighting and treating the symptoms of disease with drugs. But there is no profit in growing your own food and nourishing and healing your body through nutritional choices.
Germ theory does not acknowledge how powerful your diet can be for preventing and treating diseases (especially chronic diseases or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc.)
Some drugs are needed for infectious diseases, which is a completely different category. Infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, and tropical diseases are easily spread through personal contact, water, air, and even mosquitoes and flies. But even these are looking for a more opportunistic host — someone with a compromised immune system or area of internal weakness to exploit.
Here’s a crazy stat: By 2020, NCDs are expected to account for 7 of every 10 deaths in the world, as they already do in the U.S. And worldwide, the World Health Organization reports NCDs are responsible for 63% of deaths worldwide, double the number of deaths from infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined. The stats don’t lie.
Chronic disease is the biggest killer we are facing and it is largely treatable through our food and health habits. Addressing every disease with drugs — and promoting the abuse of drugs is not working and has never worked to attain health.
The way you approach food can change your health for the rest of your life – and it is totally in your control! Food is medicine and can prevent disease and increase health by creating a healthy internal state in your body.
Very intelligent men throughout history have admitted the extraordinary necessity of treating the whole body and starting with food.
Traditional Chinese medicine, which dates back more than 2,500 years, treats the whole body instead of the symptoms of illness.
Even Hippocrates, considered “the father of medicine” observed 2400 years ago to “leave your drugs in the chemist’s pots if you can cure your patient with food.”
Thousands of years later, Thomas Jefferson advised, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” And yet, we can’t regain the deep truth that the right, whole, nutritious food can nourish an internal state of health that puts out a “Do Not Disturb” sign for most chronic diseases.
Pasteur was a great orator and won the debate back in the late 1800s, which is unfortunate as the research is disproving “germ theory” and supporting Béchamp’s work that we can create an internal environment that supports health and discourages disease by the food choices we make. The food we eat can help create a healthy, disease-free life — a SuperLife.
A Note from Darin Olien: This article is NOT intended to argue the necessity for all prescription medications and drugs. Nor is it intended to discourage the use of prescription medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Its intention is to encourage and to enlighten everyone on the understanding that food is medicine and can prevent disease and increase health by creating a healthy internal state in the body. Read my book, SuperLife, for more on preventing disease states in the body and how to eat foods that leave you fit, healthy, and eternally awesome! It’s medicinal, healing wisdom I’ve gathered from cultures around the world, and it hasn’t been cooked up in a pharmaceutical lab.
Also, this article was originally written to correct my misattribution of Louis Pasteur as the inventor of penicillin on the podcast with Rich Roll. I do know penicillin was discovered by Alex Flemming. In my enthusiasm to talk about germ theory with medicine versus host theory with food, I got distracted, and didn’t complete the thought accurately! I can’t go back and fix it, but hopefully this blog helps illuminate the topic more fully.
Darin Olien’s health and wellness company, SuperLife, headquartered in Malibu, CA, shares resources and breaking research that demystify health, fitness, nutrition, and longevity into simple daily actions. Olien’s fad-free, super simple rules of healthy eating and living create life-long wellness and the opportunity to live a SuperLife – the greatest expression of life possible!
About Darin Olien:
Nicknamed “The Indiana Jones of Superfoods,” Darin Olien is a widely recognized exotic superfoods hunter, supplement formulator, and environmental activist who travels the planet discovering new and underutilized medicinal plants. He works closely with thousands of international farmers, growers, and manufacturers to get high-quality, fair-trade superfood and herbal commodities out to market. Since 2005 he has sourced more than 300 foods and ingredients from around the world, working directly with the people of Peru, Bhutan, the Amazon region, the Himalayas, the South Pacific, and many other countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Olien is a renowned authority on nutrition, hydration, and the potency of foods and herbs, which he writes about in his new book, SuperLife: The 5 Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome. The book offers resources for simple lifestyle changes that create long term-health. It is a fad-free, myth-busting, individualized approach to health developed from Olien’s 20+ years of travel and research around the world.