Pasteur wrong, Bechamp wright?

A friend of mine insists that someone named Antoine Bechamp, a rival of Louis Pasteur, came up with a theory of diseases that was suppressed by pro-Pasteur agencies to protect their own vested interests. Ranther than try to summarize his points, I have inluded the relevant text, with his permission. This all sounds very fishy to me, but I don’t know much about medecine or medical history. Could Pasteur’s theory be flawed as much as he claims? Could Bechamp’s theories have any merit?

Guy “under the microscope” Hoyle

> For example: in the late 1800’s Louis Pasteur
> developed the germ theory and wrote a journal on it
> which was passed through the peer review process and
> accepted as medical fact. but here’s what happened
> behind the scenes.
> The french silk industry was suffering a terrible
> blight as many of their worm farms were being
> devastated by disease. They offered a reward to anyone
> who could help them. Louis Pasteur showed up and began
> a treatment based on his then new theory of Germ
> infestation. Another man named Antoine Bechamp also
> showed up and began a treatment based on a different
> theory of ‘Environment’. Antoine’s treatment was
> wildly successful with vastly more worm farms saved
> due to it than to Pasteurs treatment.
> Pasteur was related to members of the French
> aristocracy, he pulled some strings and got honored as
> the savior of the silk industry. He wrote a journal
> describing his theory. Antoine, a poor chemist wrote a
> journal about his theory of environment. It was
> relagated to the dustbins (thankfully, not before a
> copy found it’s way to the Library of Congress).
> In the meantime the pharmaceutical industry is
> starting to go into high gear in America. They fund an
> organization of doctors and call it the American
> Medical Association (AMA). They start producing
> products based on the Germ theory of disease.
> Louis Pasteur, in his twilight years admits the wrongs
> he did to Antoine and writes a medical journal
> denouncing the germ theory and stating that Antoine’s
> theory of environment is far more accurate a
> description of disease. This journal gets published in
> France but is not allowed to be published in America
> by order of the AMA.
> In the late 1970’s an american doctor Robert Young,
> Begins to study live blood samples. His work leads him
> to find and study Antoine Bechamps journals. And after
> two decades of tireless pursuit he is finally being
> heard. More and more doctors are beginning to apply
> treatments based on the environment theory than on the
> germ theory.
> Had Louis Pasteur not valued his own ego and
> pocketbook over truth we would be at least a century
> ahead of where we are now.
> Had the AMA (which is still funded by pharmaceutical
> companies) not valued their profit margin above the
> truth. We would be at least a century ahead right now.

M. Bechamp believed that there were, inside every cell, microscopic “seeds”. When a person got sick, those seeds would develop into bacteria or virii. Bechamp never really developed a mechanism on how this change is carried out, or what causes the change. The best refutation of Bechamp’s belief is that it’s possible to grow bacteria outside the body, and that they come from other bacteria.


However, there certainly is a good deal of literature supporting the notion of vaccine efficacy.

To be charitable, one could say that Bechamp’s ideas are reflected in the modern notion of host resistance to infection. Not his formal mechanisms, but the gist of what he was saying anyway. An immune system malfunctioning due to malnutrition or disease(read: polluted environment) creates a host that is permissive to infection. This does not fly in the face of the germ theory. Instead, it highlights the notion that infectious disease is a complex interaction between a microbe and a host.

More charity. Many of the infections we die from are caused by organisms that normally colonize us in a passive manner. It is only when some host resistance barrier breaks down that they cause disease. I heard Vincent Fishetti speak on Monday. He mentioned that pneumococcal pneumonia has been linked to formerly passively colonizing organisms. Again, this supports the disease from within notion, but without refuting the germ theory. AIDS is yet another example where a host defect (immunodeficiency) creates a permissive environment for disease. And again, in many instances, the pathological organisms in AIDS formerly were harmless colonizers (IIRC Toxoplasma gondii is one example).

In summary, we do not deny the disease from within notion. We don’t need to. But we don’t deny the germ theory either. Together, they are the basis of modern immunology. Whether he got a lot of play in the papers or not, the idea advanced by Bechamp, that internal host factors are integral to the development of infectious disease, is embraced by every physician and immunologist I ever met.