Someone recently asked me “what is Syphilis?” There are a few ways to answer that.
Most broadly, it is a diagnostic label. Specifically, it is a famous type sexually-transmitted disease. Besides through sex, syphilis can also be passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy.
Also, syphilis can refer to a physical substance (the bacteria “treponema pallidum”). People who are applying for permission to get married (for a marriage license) may be required to have their blood tested. One of the substances that will be looked for in the blood is syphilis. The blood is tested so that before a man and a woman get married and have sexual intercourse and conceive a baby, there will be an awareness of whether they are carrying the syphilis bacteria, but without symptoms. The bacteria can be “dormant” or inactive (causing no harm) for long periods of time. Why is that?
English: Chancres on the penile shaft due to a primary syphilitic infection caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore called a chancre. The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This brings us to the issue of pro-biotics, anti-biotics, and biology in general. From a pro-biotic (life-promoting) perspective, the presence of bacteria is recognized as valuable in digestion and immune function (promoting health, eliminating toxins, speeding healing, etc.…).
In contrast, the anti-biotic perspective is to suppress the function of the immune system. In many cases, that suppression is considered valuable because it allows for an interruption to detoxifications that might otherwise interfere with work schedules or a soldier’s capacity to effectively participate in campaigns of violence. Long-term health is sometimes compromised to interrupt short-term debilitating detoxifications (like a fever or diarrhea).
“WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU, GET A BLOOD TEST FOR SYPHILIS”. – NARA – 516134 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Biology includes bacteria. All bacteria are present to perform some role within nature and evolution. Biology did not “make a mistake” with the existence of bacteria. Mitochondria are a type of bacteria that is so important to animals that the bacteria are essential to producing energy (cellular metabolism). We simply cannot take all the bacteria out of an animal and expect that to have anything but disastrous results. It is like suggesting that people would be better offer without bones or without blood. However, certain ecological and economic conditions may result in humans intentionally reducing the functionality of bacteria within their body. An organism filled with various kinds of toxicity will be extremely sensitive to substances which promote the efficient (rapid) elimination of toxins- substances like all bacteria.
What are some common toxins? Certain amounts of alcohol can be toxic. Certain amounts of gasoline fumes or smoke can be toxic. Mercury (like in dental fillings, some seafood, and in the materials used by hat-makers) is famously toxic. The “Mad Hatter” is an element of folklore because so many hat-makers went insane after years of exposure to toxic levels of mercury.
Adenosine triphosphate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Structure of adenosine triphosphate, a central intermediate in energy metabolism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many substances can promote the removal of toxins, such as many kinds of bacteria. Broadly, a bacterium is an organism that is similar to an enzyme, for bacteria convert certain chemicals into other compounds, like the mitochondria bacteria assist in the conversion of a kind of sugar called glucose in to something else called Adenosine Triphosphate (abbreviated ATP), which is the form of energy used by humans and other animals. Mitochondria perform “aerobic” conversion, which is several times as efficient as anaerobic conversion. That is the most famous function of mitochondria, but there is more than one kind of mitochondria, like some mitochondria convert cholesterol to pregnenolone.
Depression-era poster urging syphilis treatment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This presentation is getting to the edge of my own knowledge of bio-chemistry, so I won’t go much further in that direction. Just note that the basic difference between how plants convert sugar molecules into energy and how animals convert the exact same sugar molecules into far more energy… is because of a category of bacteria called mitochondria. In other words, without bacteria, there would only be plants.
Help to Control Syphilis (Photo credit: Vintaga Posters)
Now, we focus back to syphilis. Syphilis is a bacteria. However, most people do not really know what the word bacteria means. So, many people talk about bad bacteria and good bacteria, which to me is like talking about a bad tree and a good tree or a bad leaf and a good leaf or a bad number and a good number.
Why is one number good and another bad? Relating to something as good or bad is not in the thing itself, but in how we relate to it (label it).
So, people who have certain biochemical imbalances (like way too much sugar) can “develop” or “grow” huge colonies of bacteria to relieve the toxic levels of sugar. Because their body is so toxic, they may be desperately interested in interfering with bacteria because the bacteria are part of the immune system and bacteria will spark rapid detoxing, such as inflammation, rash, vomiting, and diarrhea. If people interfere with the bacterial method of eliminating toxic levels of sugar, then the organism turns to even more severe methods, such as candida yeast.
The yeast cannot live without sugar. The yeast is only present (or only at problem levels) when there is an excess of sugar.
Yeast is like garbage collectors and too much sugar is like the garbage. The garbage collectors did not cause the garbage to be there. They came to dispose of the garbage.
Yeast is like buzzards that gather around unhealthy organisms. The buzzards do not attack healthy organisms. Yeast colonies do not multiply without the presence of a certain specific kind of fuel to grow the yeast. Likewise, bacteria do not proliferate without the nutrients (the balance of chemicals) that proliferate that particular kind of bacteria.
The great crippler – syphilis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the Middle Ages, there were plagues sparked by bacteria, but some people had strong immune systems and did not develop symptoms of detox from exposure to plague bacteria because they did not need the bacteria to remove toxins. The bacteria are not the problem, but one possible solution to biochemical toxicity and so on.
People who are terrified of bacteria have a certain perspective on bacteria. Can people die from the detoxification sparked by bacteria? Yes, but only if their body is already filled with toxins. The toxicity is the primary issue.
Just like there are toxic levels of alcohol that can kill someone of blood poisoning, the same is true of sugar. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for too much sugar.
Back to fuel, it is like putting the wrong kind of fuel into an airplane and then complaining that gravity and the wind is keeping the plane from flying well. No, a type of fuel that is not a good fit for the plane’s engine will lead to engine failure.
So hyperglycemia is actually too much sugar in the blood stream. To avoid death from sugar poisoning, the body will dump a hormone called insulin into the bloodstream to force the glucose (the sugar) into the fat cells where the sugar is not dangerously toxic.
It is all of that sugar inside of the fat cells that makes fat people so fat. Diabetes is simply an excess of sugar, especially sucrose.
When the body is unable to keep up with producing enough insulin to protect itself from all of the poisonous sugar being dumped into it, that is the basic formula for what is labeled diabetes. It can lead to things like blindness and numbness eventually, which is because the body is pretty good at handling all the excess sugar, so people do not just die suddenly like they can with alcohol poisoning. By ignoring the basic design of the body, people who eat too much sugar (including complex carbohydrates like potatoes or bread, which are made into sugar by your cells), can eventually produce such severe imbalances of the hormone insulin that they die of blood sugar imbalance- either too much sugar in the blood stream (hyperglycemia shock) or too little sugar in the bloodstream (hypoglycemic shock).
Hypoglycemic shock is only an issue when people do not have sufficient energy from metabolizing fat, which is the type of fuel that the human body is most efficient at using. Any animal in starvation conditions will even convert the protein of it’s own muscles into sugar (fuel).
Why can some humans operate for several minutes without oxygen (like underwater)? Because only aerobic conversion of sugar into energy requires oxygen. Conversion of fat into energy (ketosis) does not require oxygen. An organism whose primary fuel source is not sugar but fat will easily live for several minutes longer than an organism which is not conditioned to operate on fat, but only on sugar.
“[The] primary theoretical benefit of fat over glucose is its energy density – it yields more ATP and therefore energy per unit than glucose. This fact also affects the oxygen part of the equation. Since it’s more energy-efficient, it’s more oxygen-efficient, because more energy is produced per unit of oxygen.” - http://www.lowcarbforhealth.com/2010/04/athletic-performance-on-ketogenic-diet.html