Professor Tissier, of Paris, well known as one of the leading savants of the renowned Pasteur Institute, many years ago made a profound study of the bacteria of the intestine and established the fact, which had been previously observed by Es-cherich and others, that the intestine of a new born babe is absolutely free from bacteria. Tissier made an extended research of the manner of the invasion of the intestine of the young child by bacteria. He found that within about seven hours in summer time, and twenty hours in winter time, when bacteria are less abundant in the air, the intestine of the recently born child is found to be swarming with bacteria, many of which are of the putrefactive sort. Within a few days, however, the putrefactive bacteria disappear, and a peculiarly shaped acid-forming microbe, to which Professor Tissier gave the name Bacillus bifidus, takes their place.
This observation was of the greatest importance. It reveals the beneficent plan of Nature, by which the young infant is protected from the deadly effects of putrefactive organisms. So long as the Bacillus bifidus continues to hold its place as the dominant microbe of the child's intestine, the stools are slightly acid and the little one enjoys perfect health. The child's intestine may be compared to a flower garden which is so completely occupied by flowers that there is no room for the growth of noxious weeds.
As the child becomes older, and is fed upon cow's milk, meat, and other foodstuffs which contain putrefactive organisms, and is no longer nursed at the breast, the Bacillus bifidus becomes less prominent in the stools, putrefactive bacteria make their appearance, the child becomes subject to constipation and diarrhoeas, and the troubles of life begin. The stools, instead of being acid, acquire a foul odor. In many instances, such symptoms of chronic autointoxication, as rickets, scurvy, arrested growth, emaciation, decay of the teeth, nasal catarrh, and other evidences of physical weakness make their appearance.
Infantile convulsions, night terrors, grinding the teeth during sleep, fitfulness, feverishness, and numerous other symptoms of nervous disturbance in infants, are directly due to poisoning as the result of constipation, with intestinal putrefaction. So long as the stool remains normally acid, constipation does not occur, but when putrefaction and foul-smelling feces occur then constipation appears with a great variety of nervous and other symptoms which are a natural consequence.
A few years ago Massol, of Geneva, in studying certain Bulgarian milk preparations discovered a new lactic-acid-forming ferment. In testing its properties he discovered that it possessed the faculty of producing lactic acid in far greater quantities than any other known ferment. The eminent Professor Metchnikoff, of the Pasteur Institute, at once recognized the value of this new discovery, and after a careful study of the ferment, did not hesitate to recommend it as a most important means of combating many of the gravest forms of chronic disease, and especially that most inveterate of all human maladies, old age.
Professor Metchnikoff has long held the theory that old age, as well as many common chronic disorders, is due to poisons absorbed from the intestines. These poisons are formed by certain germs known as anaerobes. Some of these germs are found in such great quantities in butcher's meat that Herter has given to them the name "meat bacteria." By the use of meat these germs are introduced into the intestine in great numbers. The poisons formed by these germs are extremely virulent, and when taken into the body, gradually break down the liver, kidneys, and other defensive organs, and so give rise to a large number of very common and very serious diseases. This chronic poisoning first makes its appearance in acute attacks, such as sick headache, nervous headache, loss of appetite, coated tongue, bilious attacks, irregular action of the bowels, diarrhea, appendicitis, febrile attacks resembling malaria, and insomnia.
The led color indicates species which produce putrefaction and give rile to toxins; the blue color, acid-forming organisms which are friendly. A. Stool from a child suffering from intestinal toxemia. B. Same case ten days later after flora was changed by a change of diet and other measures.
As the system becomes more and more saturated with these poisons through the gradual failure of the liver and kidneys and the constant multiplication of the bacteria, other more chronic symptoms appear, such as constant headache, mental confusion, neurasthenia, nervous exhaustion, gall-stones, hemorrhoids, emaciation, browning of the skin, particularly about the eyes, various skin diseases, especially acne, eczema, psoriasis and urticaria, neuralgia, pain and stiffness of the joints. After a time still worse conditions make their appearance, such as Bright's disease, sclerosis or hardening of the liver, dropsy, chronic rheumatism, and rheumatic gout.
Chronic autointoxication is unquestionably a factor in nearly all chronic disorders, and lays the foundation for tuberculosis, cancer of the stomach, ulcer of the stomach, and other gastric disorders. Many women supposed to be suffering from disorders peculiar to their sex, are really suffering only from autointoxication, which is the natural result of prolapse of the viscera, colitis, and inattention to the hygiene of the bowels.
It has long been known that the conditions above mentioned may be greatly relieved by the use of buttermilk and kumyss, but these remedies have never gained very great confidence for the reason that, while they have seemed to succeed remarkably in certain cases, in the majority of cases the relief obtained has been very temporary, and often their use has been attended by complete failure. The reason for this was the fact that the lactic ferment of kumyss and buttermilk is not able to live in the large intestine. This is the particular part of the alimentary canal in which the poison-forming anaerobes are found in largest numbers, especially in the cecum.