Which Probiotics Are The Best for Sinuses?
Published Dec 21, 2020
Chronic sinusitis is one of the most prevalent illnesses in the United States. About 30 million Americans currently suffer from this condition, and that number doesn’t seem to be going down anytime soon. Despite how widespread it is, current medical practices and treatments fail to address its underlying cause. In this article, we’ll be discussing how probiotics might just be what you need for healthy sinuses.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses. When healthy, your sinuses are hollow and filled with air. However, when inflamed, this can cause an unwanted buildup of mucus to form within them. Typical symptoms of sinusitis include:
- An overall feeling of congestion throughout your face and head
- Facial pain or pressure
- Runny or discolored postnasal discharge (back of the throat)
- Stuffy nose
- Reduced sense of taste and smell
Also called chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), this condition can be brought about by an infection, growths in your sinuses, and sinus blockage. Conventionally, experts believed that CRS arises due to the presence of particular harmful bacteria or pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis.
However, results from a recent study coming from the University of California conclude otherwise. In their study, the researchers found something consistent in patients with CRS: sinus microbiota. They discovered that no one particular pathogenic species was consistently present in their sinuses, but they found all these patients to have less diverse microbiomes compared to those without CRS.
For many years, mainstream treatments of sinus infections were limited to over-the-counter medications (antihistamines and decongestants), corticosteroids and nasal corticosteroid sprays, nasal irrigation, and antibiotics. However, these medications only provide a temporary, short-term solution to chronic problems. Antibiotic treatment can actually result in a level of resistance in the bacteria. Additionally, antibiotics don’t just kill the harmful bacteria, but they wipe out some of the beneficial ones too.
In 30% of cases, guideline therapy showed little to no improvement in CRS patients’ symptoms. Consequently, if these medications still prove ineffective, doctors would recommend surgery to address the problem. Another paper even called for a re-design of the current guidelines with more of an emphasis on measurable and treatable traits in CRS patients.
So how do probiotics help sinusitis?
The body is a truly fascinating system of interconnected subsystems that work together to ensure you’re functioning well. The microbiome is a significant contributor to our overall health, as it comprises all the microorganisms in our body, both good and bad. However, when people think about microbiomes, the first body part that comes to mind is the gut. A common misconception is that the gut is the only part of a microbiome when, in fact, they exist all over the body, from your skin to your sinuses.
Many microbiota-related studies have been conducted to help us understand how our body’s bacteria affect our health. While more research has gone into studying the gut microbiota, there is a fair share of studies that have come out examining their effects on the respiratory tract. One particular study found a common bacterium within the sinuses of healthy people called Lactobacillus sakei. This bacterium seemed to have a positive effect in warding off sinusitis. The researchers experimented on rats by inoculating them with this bacterium, which proved effective against the condition.
What is Lactobacillus sakei? And where can I get more of it?
Lactobacillus sakei is a bacterium species of the genus Lactobacillus. Its fermentation abilities are widely used in Europe in many traditional dry sausage recipes as a starter and in preserving meat. If you want to increase the population of Lactobacillus sakei, we suggest grabbing a large serving of kimchi.
Kimchi is Korea’s trademark dish, served with nearly every meal. It is a spicy fermented cabbage dish with other delicious spices as well. According to several hundred anecdotal statements, the topical application of kimchi juice in the sinuses led to surprisingly positive results.
While the results look overwhelmingly positive, more scientific research is needed to fully understand the relationship between bacteria and sinus health.
For continued reading on this topic check out the best probiotics according to science.
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