Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent poisons on Earth—less than a millionth of a gram in your bloodstream would kill you—and is perhaps also the most lucrative. It generates over $3 billion in revenue every year for the pharmaceutical industry, where it goes by the name botox.
The supplement aisles of most grocery stores and pharmacies in the United States are bursting with probiotics. These billions of bacteria stuffed into once-a-day capsules claim to provide digestive relief, among other benefits. They're extremely popular, with sales of $36.6 billion in 2015. And for good reason. For many people, various gastrointestinal issues come and go pretty much forever, causing chronic discomfort or worse. But according to gastroenterologists and other scientists, these tiny bugs might not be doing the jobs they claim to do.
Let's start with the gross stuff: up to ten grams of poop can wash off a little kid's butt in a pool. Ten grams is a pretty small amount, but now multiply that by the number of children in your average public pool. Think about how much poop that is. And now think about the last time you got an infection from swimming in a pool.
Imagine: You're a sperm cell just trying to complete your life's greatest seminal work—fertilizing an egg cell. You're swimming up a reproductive track, your lil tail steadily swishing back and forth as you finally approach your target. Now it's time to push through the final stretch.
Here's an excerpt from Miracle Cure: The creation of antibiotics and the birth of modern medicine. by William Rosen, about how antibiotics began to save the world...
BO is a nearly universal human experience. As such, we as a species put a lot of time, money, and effort into finding ways to eliminate unpleasant natural stenches. But most of us put less time, if any, into understanding what actually causes our malodorous condition. But understanding the processes that create b.o. is the first step to creating a less smelly future.