We've been told to wash our hands more for obvious reasons. But could this be harming our health? According to a recent study from UCSD School of Medicine, it's possible. An additive in antimicrobial soap called Triclosan was shown to worsen symptoms of fatty liver disease in mice.
Triclosan is a common additive used in a lot of soaps and household cleaning products. There have been many studies linking it to various dangers. This was the first one that linked it to fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease used to be seen only in those who consumed a lot of alcohol. However, we've seen quite a rise of fatty liver disease in non-alcoholic populations recently, including children.
If you're using products that contain triclosan and you're eating a diet high in refined fats and simple carbohydrates, you're extra susceptible to fatty liver disease. You do not need to be consuming any alcohol to make this disease worse.
Luckily, fatty liver disease can be reduced. The best way to reduce it is to clean up your diet. Consume healthy fats and complex carbohydrates instead of their unhealthy counterparts. And, according to this study, choose a soap and other household cleaning products that don't contain triclosan.
A 2016 ruling declared that triclosan has not been proven to be safe for human use. So most companies are phasing out products that contain triclosan. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be reading labels to assure you're not using this potential toxicant. It's good to be aware of all the effects of triclosan and other common additives that we use to combat viruses and bacteria. I've often questioned the long-term safety of these chemicals. I'm glad that scientists are looking into this as well.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects around 100 million people in the United States. This includes a large number of children. So keep that in mind when you're asking your kids to wash their hands or squirt on hand sanitizer. Asking people to wash their hands is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it may be possible that we're overdoing it. Just some food for thought.