This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
In this correlation of germs with the chemic medium we see the different points of view of the good involved and evolved by each element.
The influence of bacteria is good when it helps the enzymes to perfect digestion; then we see the same germ causing the breaking-down and liquefying of the surplus food, the purpose being to get it out of the bowels. Before a toleration to this irritation--toxin poisoning--is developed, diarrhea, carrying off the fermenting food, is developed. But enervation follows if the habit of overeating is continued, and the diarrhea--which is a conservative effort to rid the body of offending debris--is abandoned as a conservative measure; and such affections as gastritis, duodenitis, pancreatitis, jaundice, inflammation of the gall-bladder, liver insufficiency causing diabetes, and other affections, such as pelvic inflammation, ulcerations, etc., are developed.
These so-called diseases (affections is a better word) are caused by the toxins generated from the action of bacteria setting up fermentation in carbohydrate foods. The constant acidulation from toxin absorption builds every catarrhal disease known.
At first the acid stimulates nerve resistance--over-stimulates--and an extra secretion of enzymes, which are alkaline, to combat the toxin, which is acid poisoning. This overwork causes enervation and inhibition of secretions and excretions, which total autotoxernia. Before a toleration evolves, we see the toxins eliminated by an exanthematous process--a diarrhea or an eruptive fever. The evolution of this entire phenomenon starts with indigestion, which develops acid. The local effect of the acid is to irritate the mucous membrane, causing an inflow of secretion to neutralize the acid or cause a diarrhea, coryza, bronchorrhea; or, instead of elimination by the mucous membrane, the toxin may be thrown out by the skin in the form of eczema or eruptive fevers. When elimination takes place through the mucous membrane, it is called catarrh. In these cases the throat and nose may become inflamed, the tonsils enlarge, and adenoids develop. Any of the mucous membranes may become involved in this elimination. In the developing of these affections, the influence of germs may be said to be bad; but even the feeble-minded should see that the evil resulting from the influence of the bacteria is the result of an overworked good.
When the same bacteria cause putrefaction of the nitrogenous foods, when those foods are taken in larger quantities than can be digested, offensive gases are given off, which irritate the mucous membrane, causing a resistance to absorption similar to that which we see resulting from the fermentation of the carbohydrates. But when the conservative effort fails, and the toxins are absorbed, they cause inflammation of the lymphatic glands; and, as these glands are everywhere, all parts of the body are more or less affected. It is the special function of these glands to arrest the toxins of acetous or of putrefactive fermentation, and neutralize their effects; but where the cause of infection is kept in operation for a great length of time, the body's conservative defenses are overcome, and we see those of the tuberculous diathesis developing pulmonary tuberculosis, or tubercular inflammations of other parts of the body; those of the gouty diathesis building rheumatism, arthritis, stone in those organs where stone is usually formed, limy deposits in the heart and arteries, and old-age diseases, such as arteriosclerosis, cancer, etc.; and those of the nervous diathesis building neurasthenia, tabes dorsalis, and other cerebro-spinal affections. Organic diathesis will be manifesting in the giving-down of vulnerable organs.
All influences that break down resistance become allies of the first and primary cause of inflammations- namely, bacterial fermentation of the food taken in excess of digestive power.
What is the real part played by bacteria? That of auxiliaries to the unorganized ferments--enzymes. The time must come when the germ, which is now believed by most of the profession to be the cause of disease, will be recognized as necessary to the perfect action of the enzymes; and when bacteria appear to be the cause of disease, it is when, through enervation, the digestive ferments fail to be generated in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements. The simplest form in which I can state the truth about this question is this: Germs act as pollen to the various enzymes of the body, aiding digestion and assimilation--cell-building; when there are not enough bacteria, tissue renewal is slow and imperfect; when there are too many, tissue retrogression is too rapid. Cooked food favors bacterial, or organized, ferment preponderance, because cooking kills the unorganized and organized ferments, and both are needed to carry on the body's digestion. Raw foods--fruit and vegetables--favor unorganized-ferment digestion, because these foods carry vitamins, which are unorganized ferments--enzymes.
In states of enervation, enzymic secretions run low, and, as a result, so-called bacterial fermentation and infection take place. What is bacterial infection? Poisoning by absorption of the toxins of putrefaction, set up in animal foods by the bacteria of fermentation. Bacteriology declares that infection is caused by germs through the toxins they secrete. But this is as impossible as producing something out of nothing. How can yeast raise dough? It cannot. Yeast causes fermentation of starch; as a result of fermentation, gas is formed, and the gas lifts the dough; the bacteria do not lift; the starch cannot lift; but a third element, which is liberated by the combining of the two principal elements, can and does lift the dough.