Bacteria & Viruses

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JOHN PETROZZI:   Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSHUA HARPER:      I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI:   This show is about you. It’s about health, wellness, and everything in between. You will learn how to improve your health, you will listen in on inspirational interviews, and it may even change the way you live your life. But by no means are we a substitute for your medical advice. So, listen up and get healthier.

JOSHUA HARPER:      With this show being all about you, we’d love to hear your suggestions, questions, and comments accessed via the ‘Contact Us’ page.

What’s on the show today, John?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Josh, today, we’re going to talk about bacteria and viruses.

JOSHUA HARPER:      All right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Probably a good topic to cover because they’re all around us. They live with us, we live with them, and it would be nice just to get to know them a little bit just so we can have a bit more of a nice lifestyle together.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Great. How they develop and how they change and all that.

JOHN PETROZZI:   All those sorts of things. Yeah. Also, how they can also overtake our body and cause symptoms and disease. It’s always nice to be able to prevent these things as well as treat them.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Yeah, definitely. So first of all, what is a virus and what is a bacteria?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Viruses – they actually had difficulty in the past classifying them as either being living or nonliving matter, because a virus is really a piece of polypeptide protein, which is basically a living matter. But it’s encased within a sheath, and that sheath is basically its transportation, kind of like a car transporting it around. But it can’t live on its own and it can’t reproduce on its own.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Viruses are everywhere. They’ll be on furniture, they’ll be on pens, on paper. Everything around you will have some sort of virus on it. It needs a host to be able to reproduce and develop and grow, unlike a bacteria.

A bacteria is a living thing. It’s actually one of the most basic living things there is. They say that millions of years ago, the first form of life was actually one of these very small cells, unicellular cells called “bacteria.”

Actually, I got a statistic here: There’s typically about 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Forty million.

JOHN PETROZZI:    Forty million.

JOSHUA HARPER:      But what does that mean though? How much bacteria makes us sick?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, I’ll go through another statistic later on, but most of the body weight is actually bacteria.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Really?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. So, we do live with them. They are part of us, and without them, we really wouldn’t be able to live healthily. Bacteria are those things that can reproduce on their own. One will make millions very, very quickly in some stages; whereas, a virus can’t reproduce itself unless it infects you.

So let’s look at the flu virus, for instance. What it does is it needs to find a host. So, let’s say someone coughs and sneezes or you have exchanged glasses and you had a drink from someone else’s glass who has a flu virus, that virus has got an easy entrance point into your body. It can come in and as soon as it finds a cell inside your system that it finds to be a nice home and a nice sort of reproductive vessel, what it does is it attaches to it because it’s got receptors on the actual virus. What it does is it basically throws down its contents of proteins and nucleic acids right down into the cell.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right. And then, it spreads everywhere.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. Then, what happens is basically because a virus doesn’t have its own enzymes and its own sort of basic core thing to reproduce, it actually hijacks the cell and uses all of that system inside the cell to reproduce itself. So inside the cell (either a human cell, animal cell, or even plant cell), you’ve got a nucleus, which houses the DNA matter. That’s basically the blueprint for that cell to reproduce itself. Around that nucleus, you’ve got a whole lot of things which basically allow that cell to reproduce. You’ve got chemistry, chemicals, hormones, vitamins, minerals, cofactors a whole lot of things inside that cell that allow that particular cell to reproduce.

But as soon as a virus sticks its nose in there, it basically uses all that factory to reproduce itself. From one little strand of sort of genetic material, it produces millions inside this one cell until the cell bursts. In the process, it actually basically told that cell to produce a whole lot of envelopes, which is a virus sheath to reproduce as well. Then, as soon as that cell explodes and bursts, you’ve got a whole lot of (or millions) of viruses in the body now, which can go and attack other cells.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right. How long does that process takes to happen?

JOHN PETROZZI:   It depends on the health of the body. It depends on how good the person’s immune system is. But it can happen very, very quickly.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right. Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI:   In previous sessions, we’ve spoken about health involves having a good, healthy physical body, being mentally healthy, and also chemically healthy as well. Without those three things in balance, the body is more susceptible to being infected.

JOSHUA HARPER:      John, what are bacteria?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, bacteria are one of those cells that are very, very primitive. They’ve generally unicellular; they’re basically just made up of one cell. But within them, they can actually take over the world. I’ve got a stat here: basically half of the world’s biomass is made out of bacteria.

JOSHUA HARPER:      What’s biomass?

JOHN PETROZZI:   If you’re going to take the weight, if you’re going to take a sort of scales and weigh the world, half of it is bacteria.


JOHN PETROZZI:   Of the biomass – so anything that was living.


JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. So, it’s all around us, it’s in soil, it’s on our skin, it’s within our digestive system, in the crust of the earth. Like, you go get some molten matter from the center of the earth, and there’s bacteria in there. The North and South Pole in the depth of the ice, there’s bacteria in there as well. It’s everywhere.

The reason why it is everywhere is because it is a very ancient cell. Also, it can move and it’s got the ability to actually move on its own; whereas, a virus needs to be transmitted generally through touch and those sorts of things. But a bacteria is actually- some of them got tails and they can actually whip around and move through water or air, just so they could transport themselves around.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Oh, really?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. That’s part of the reason why they are everywhere. Because they can move and they can sort of spin in a little propeller and move on like a little helicopter and land wherever they really need to – wherever there’s nutrients and enough sort of opportunity for them to reproduce and take over an area.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Do they live like viruses and depend on other living organisms?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Not necessarily – no. They can live on their own as long as there’s food around. If there’s food, they’ll live. They’ll live happily. They don’t necessarily need to infect anything; whereas, a virus does need to infect something to reproduce, because the virus actually got DNA inside it.

JOSHUA HARPER:      The virus?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. So they really don’t know how these things produce in the first place but there’s a bit of DNA inside the virus. DNA really is a blueprint. It’s kind of like a textbook or a manual to tell the cell how to reproduce. For instance, with eye color, if you got blue eyes, then your DNA is programmed to produce blue eyes, brown hair, or whatever it is.

The virus has got its own little script of DNA that sometimes, when it injects itself into the cell, only produces that DNA in large quantities. And if that quantity is too much, it starts to produce an infection. But some viruses are really tricky. What they do, they’ll inject their DNA into a cell and they’ll actually constitute that DNA inside the DNA of the human, the animal, or the plant. And then, you’re in trouble.

JOSHUA HARPER:      What does that mean?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, what it means is basically every single time a healthy cell starts to reproduce, if that healthy cell has got the DNA inserted into it, that means every single time that human cell, animal cell, or plant cell reproduces, it’s basically reproducing the virus all the time.


JOHN PETROZZI:   Kind of like a computer virus, I suppose.


JOHN PETROZZI:   This thing just reproduces all the time. In terms of human genetic material, they’ve mapped out a whole series of different loci on the gene or on the chromosomes to tell them what they are for. But they’ve sort of come to the conclusion that probably about half of it, they don’t know what it does. In the past, they sort of put it down to useless- we call them “useless turned-off genes.” But probably, just thinking about it, a lot of that would probably be a lot of viral material inserted inside the gene there over the years.

But in terms of bacteria, bacteria breaks down soil to produce compost. Bacteria sits on our skin to protect us from other invaders. They’re kind of like a defense system inside our gut as well. So, you’ve heard of “normal flora” inside our stomach?


JOHN PETROZZI:   Normal flora would be things like acidophilus. It’s a certain bacteria that lives inside our stomach to produce a healthy environment.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Is that bacteria?

JOHN PETROZZI:   It’s bacteria, yep – acidophilus.

Cows have got a certain amount of bacteria inside their gut (actually, a lot of bacteria) to break down cellulose. So, every time the eat leaves and grass, we can’t particularly break those things down because we don’t have the enzymes for it, nor do we have the bacteria for it. They’ve got a set of stomachs (I think two or three) to basically break down their food stuff and they use bacteria a lot to break these things down.

Bacteria can get infected by viruses, too. Viruses attack anything. Anything that’s living, they’ll squeeze in their DNA so that if they’ve got a healthy host cell, they can reproduce them.

In terms of viruses, a lot of viruses will actually attack certain parts of the body and certain cells. For instance, the AIDS virus prefers to attack T-cells.

JOSHUA HARPER:      What are they?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, T-cells are part of the immune system. They are a cell that is produced to basically kill off infections and things. So, someone who is being infected with the AIDS virus at a state where the immune system is quite low, that means every single time that a simple sort of bug comes into their system, like a common cold or a little tummy bug or all those sorts of things, something that would be very, very sort of inconsequential for a healthy person, someone who’s got a suppressed immune system because of the AIDS virus, it means that they actually can’t actually fight off these things.

All I want to say was that viruses do attack certain cells depending on their receptors and their preference as well.

JOSHUA HARPER:      In terms of bacteria, do they make us sick?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, in big doses, they will because they’ll produce toxic elements that our body can’t eliminate quickly enough. Once they start to change the PH of the blood and also the chemistry of the body, you can’t fight off the infection anymore, and the infection takes over obviously, until something happens. Generally, what would happen is you’d have to sort of do a couple of things: 1) Rest the body so the body can heal itself. 2) Improve your diet, for instance, drink lots of water, and those sorts of things. You can take medicines as well.

In terms of medicines for viruses, there aren’t a lot out there. They’ve developed vaccines against certain viruses but the thing is that viruses tend to mutate very quickly. So, the common flu that was around four years ago now wouldn’t exist but it’s mutated to a different variety. Even the common flu from last year would have mutated to a different variety this year.

So, whenever they come up with a new vaccine, that vaccine is specific for that year. They’ll also try through computer programs, I suppose mathematics, to try and project into the future what that virus may have mutated into and actually produce a vaccine for two years down the track.

In terms of other anti-virals, there aren’t a lot out there. Also, in terms of cleaning the surface, if you’re going to clean the bench top in the kitchen with an antibacterial, that’ll kill the bacteria but it won’t touch the viruses. Nor will, for instance, methyl spirits or bleach, those sorts of things would tend to really kill off bacteria because it breaks the cell wall and destroys the cells but it won’t touch viruses.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So they’re quite immune to a lot of things.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, they are because they look almost like a little UFO with a bit of DNA inside them. They’re almost impenetrable.

JOSHUA HARPER:      That’s the sheath.

JOHN PETROZZI:   That’s the sheath – yeah, the protein sheath around them. Some viruses have got a fatty protective layer around them as well. The reason for the fatty protective layer is so that they can travel through the air without dying and breaking down.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   When an infection happens and if your immune system is low, it’s going to infect you very quickly because under optimal conditions, a bacteria can double its population every 9.8 minutes.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Wow, that’s a lot!

JOHN PETROZZI:   That’s very, very, very quickly. So then I suppose they’re not immune themselves to damage because some of them do have a fatty sheath around them to help transport them through barriers in the body. But some of them don’t.

JOSHUA HARPER:      John, how do we prevent and treat these things?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, with bacteria for instance, just keep in mind, they reproduce really quickly. If any of you have seen those sci-fi movies or any of those documentaries, where they show, as they view through a high-powered microscope looking at a petri dish, they show the cells actually reproducing.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Is that when the cells split in two?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Mitosis. Yeah, it splits in two and then basically produces two cells, then two cells produce four, eight, sixteen, and all the way until millions under really, really healthy environments.

JOSHUA HARPER:    Healthy for the-

JOHN PETROZZI:    Healthy for the bacteria. Optimal conditions, yeah. So these things spread very and grow very, very quickly.

JOSHUA HARPER:      In an ideal world, if you’re very healthy, can viruses and bacteria just sort of develop anyway?

JOHN PETROZZI:   They will but they’ll be under closed guard from the immune system.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   The immune system is basically your defense system. Your first line of defense is your skin and mucus membranes. Your second line of defense would be your immune cells inside you. So, for instance, if a bacteria comes in that’s a bit crazy, it wants to reproduce very, very quickly and harm your body, you will develop B-cells and T-cells, which are parts of your immune system. They come and identify the source of infection or bacteria that’s going a bit crazy. What it’ll do is attach around it various sort of indicators, and then these killer cells will come in and basically hammer these things to death, get rid of them, and get them out of the system.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So they sort of identify that it’s a foreign thing and just get it out?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, exactly.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   It does the same thing with viruses as well, but viruses are very cheeky because they’ll come in and attach onto their preferred cell. Very, very invisibly, they’ll basically inject their DNA inside the cell, and before long, you’ve got the cell basically becoming enslaved to the virus and basically becoming a factory for that virus in reproducing itself many times over.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Before we talk about treatment, how do we prevent this?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, prevention is really, really important. You prevent them through having a healthy lifestyle. First thing, in terms of I suppose stopping the spread of bacteria or a virus, if you’ve got a cold and a flu, when you sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue. Don’t reuse that tissue; probably just throw that in the bin, because the tissue has become contagious or basically has become a little vehicle for transmission.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Carrier?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, carrier. So, just put that into the bin. Wash your hands because viruses and bacteria, particularly when you’re infectious, will be transmitted through touch. All it takes is basically to shake someone’s hand and you put it onto your face. If your immune system is strong and you’re healthy, you won’t be affected at all. But if your immune system is a little bit low and you’re feeling a bit weak, then you touch your face and more than likely, you’ll be infected as well.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So, it doesn’t really take that much if you’re not healthy?

JOHN PETROZZI:   No – exactly. Health is really the main crux of what I like to talk about. It’s just so important because if you remain healthy now, it’s going to sort of get you through not just enjoying the moment now but also for your health in the future.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Yeah, definitely.

JOHN PETROZZI:   In terms of treatment for bacteria, there are lots of antibiotics out there, but antibiotics won’t affect the virus. If you’ve got a viral infection or a flu and you take antibiotics, it’s not going to touch the virus because it’s not going to recognize it, so it doesn’t know what to do with it.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Is it easy to tell between the two?


JOSHUA HARPER:      Oh, okay.

JOHN PETROZZI:   That’s the hard bit because when you go and see your doc, they’ll sort of listen to your symptoms and those two differential diagnoses will always come into their head, “Is it a bacteria or is it a virus?”


JOHN PETROZZI:   Then, they’ll sort of put a few things together and they’ll think, “Okay, well, let’s go with maybe it’s more likely to be a virus. Let’s try rest and water.” Or “This thing is more likely to be a bacterial infection” and they’ll try an antibiotic.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So, that’s why sometimes, they don’t give you antibiotics?

JOHN PETROZZI:   That’s right. Yeah. Also, they really can’t because in the past, antibiotics have been used, probably overused. What’s actually happened – particularly, you’ll see that in hospital systems – is that they’ve basically grown super bugs inside the hospitals.

There’s one bacteria called “golden staff.”

JOSHUA HARPER:      Golden staff?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah. That stuff can kill you. It’s all over the place but you’ll find it mostly in hospitals.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Is that because they’ve developed an immunity to antibiotics?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, exactly. Antibiotics have been used so much. Wipes on tables have been used a lot, sterilization. But this bacteria reproduce so quickly. The statistic we used before was they double every 9.8 minutes in a good environment. They’ll continually be modifying their own DNA and genetic material, basically mutating to adapt to their external environment. By doing that, it means that the antibacterial or antibiotic that was used before doesn’t work anymore.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So, we’re continually developing antibiotics as well?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Researchers?


JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, they always are. I’m really thankful that they are because outbreaks do happen, particularly in I suppose [one-day] society, we all live fairly close together and we lead stressful lives as well with probably not enough sleep and not enough good nutrition, which means the body becomes susceptible to disease and ill health.

Also, treatment for a viral infection – there are antiviral drugs out there. A lot of research has been done towards AIDS because it’s very prevalent. It was in the past and it’s a lot more under control these days. But they developed a whole lot of antivirals towards that, which seem to have worked okay. But again, there’s no cure.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Is that once you develop the AIDS?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah, once the AIDS virus has actually taken over the body. So really, it’s all about prevention. We need to live with these things because half of the world’s biomass is bacteria. They’re not our enemy at all. Our real enemy is becoming run down. In saying that, it means that you need to look after your health and nutrition. Make sure the foods you eat are at a high quality that contain all the nutrition, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that your body needs, to extract all the goodness from the foods so that your body can have all the minerals and vitamins and energy that it needs, because that’s really the fuel source. It’s going to drive the body to getting rid of ill health and also becoming stronger and healthier for the next day.

Sleep is a really important one, too, and we’ve spoken about that in the past. Sleep allows your body to regenerate and repair. Without it, your body will become more run down. Do you remember the times when you don’t have enough sleep?


JOHN PETROZZI:   You get tired and also run down. You become more susceptible to colds and flus.

Then, you’ve got exercise. Exercise is super important because exercise is a way of moving the body and allowing the body to detoxify itself and eliminate toxins and stool from the body and sweat as well.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Right.

JOHN PETROZZI:   And throw all those elements. Through urination, defecation, and through sweating, and even through respiration, your body is getting rid of old metabolites and toxins, allowing the body to clear itself so that it’s got a great energy source inside.

JOSHUA HARPER:      Do these take the bacteria with it when you sweat and release the-

JOHN PETROZZI:   They’ll tend to, yeah, because every time you sweat, you change the PH of your skin, so it levels all those sorts of things. Excrement and elimination of bowels and urination changes PH of the blood and the body in general.

So the environment of the body can either work for you or against you. If you’re doing things in your lifestyle that are pulling your health down, you become more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

The other thing is the nervous system. The nervous system controls every single cell in the body, either directly or indirectly. Your brain knows exactly how your body system should be in homeostasis and balance. It’ll send those messages down through the spinal cord and then out to all parts of the body.

JOSHUA HARPER:      How can you take care of this?

JOHN PETROZZI:   Well, you need to look after your spine. Again, my background’s a chiropractor and chiropractic, and our specialty is looking after, adjusting, and aligning someone’s spine so that there isn’t any pressure on the nervous system and the nerves can work properly.

But I think there’s a really big sort of problem out there at the moment that people sit down at the computer for too long. What I’m recommending is people get up every half an hour, regardless of how they feel. Even if you’re feeling good after half an hour of using the computer, get up and have a walk around; because what that’s doing, if you’re sitting there for longer than half an hour – I know some people sit there for one hour or two hours at a time, even longer, without having a break – what happens is the muscles around the spine start to become weak and fatigued and they lose their supporting characteristics.

What happens after a while of fatigue is those bones basically misalign themselves. They’ll get stuck and jammed. If it’s been long enough, they’ll really freeze up and you will have some irritation around nerve supply, which means nerves to your heart won’t work as well, to your liver, to your kidneys, and to your muscles. Overtime, if it’s to your muscles, you’ll become fatigued and you’ll get pain. But if it’s to an internal organ, it reduces your innate ability to heal your body.

JOSHUA HARPER:      So, the nervous system, even just getting up from the computer helps your immune system?

JOHN PETROZZI:   It does – yeah. I can’t say enough about spine and nervous system, because it encases your life force. Without it, your body won’t work optimally.

The other thing that’s really important with health is having a positive attitude towards yourself, towards others, and towards health, because I found that having a positive attitude in life will also improve your outlook on things. They make correlations with improved outlook and improved immunity.


JOHN PETROZZI:   The more positive you are about your situation, they more likely you are to have a stronger immune system and a better defense system to viruses and bacteria.

JOSHUA HARPER:      It makes sense though. If you’re constantly depressed and run down, your body’s going to feel the same.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Yeah – exactly right. So, if you’re feeling a bit down right now, take in a deep breath and smile. It’ll make you feel a whole lot better. Every time you do that, it’s going to improve your immune system as well. Also, you’ll fight against these bacteria and viruses whenever they do become a problem.

Don’t be scared of bacteria and viruses because you are in control. Just make sure that you keep a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body and mind and you’ll have your best defense system up at all times.

Thanks for joining us. You’ve been listening to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSHUA HARPER:      I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI:   Until next time, stay well and stay happy.