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Which Probiotic Treatment is Best For Sinusitis?


We now know that antibiotics, especially repeated courses of antibiotics, kills off bacteria and alters the microbial community in the sinuses (sinus biome). Research by Abreu et al (in 2012) showed that it is Lactobacillus sakei that is missing in chronic sinusitis sufferers, and that Lactobacillus sakei successfully treats sinusitis. From this research it is clear that Lactobacillus sakei is a  beneficial bacteria that can be used as a probiotic to cure sinustis.

It turns out that many brands of live fermented kimchi contain Lactobacillus sakei, and this is what my family used to treat and cure ourselves of chronic sinusitis (and acute sinusitis). So yes, kimchi can be probiotics for sinusitis. It is now over 85 weeks since I've been off all antibiotics and feeling great!

Until now I avoided naming the kimchi brand we used on this site because I believe that many brands of fermented kimchi (with cabbage) contain Lactobacillus sakei, and should be effective in curing sinusitis (this is by dabbing or smearing it in the nostrils - see Sinusitis Treatment Summary link for the METHOD and details).


The brand I use is Sunja's Kimchi (from Vermont). We originally were successful with the Medium Spicy Cabbage Kimchi and when that stopped being fully effective last winter (from overuse? recipe change?), we switched to Sunja's Medium Spicy Cucumber Kimchi (fermented at least 14 days and the jar opened less than 1 week).

Recently I heard from a woman in Nevada who wrote me stating that smearing/dabbing Sinto Gourmet Mild White Napa Cabbage Kimchi into her nostrils was successfully treating her chronic sinusitis (using the method described in the Sinusitis Treatment page)

One person wrote that he successfully cured chronic and acute sinusitis with a fermented sausage starter from Chr. Hansen containing L. sakei and another bacteria. He used it after mixing very small amounts in his  Neti pot - initially used it 1 x per day until cured, and then sparingly only as needed (after a cold) or as a maintenance booster once every 3 or 4 months (see his comment in the Contact page for more details). (UPDATE: one name for this product is Bactoferm F-RM-52, which contains Lactobacillus sakei and Staphylococcus carnosus  . See 1/12/15 post for more, including my experience with it.)

Eating kimchi does not seem to treat sinusitis, even though it may be good for the gut. Only smearing or dabbing it in the nostrils works.

Several people have reported that using sauerkraut has not helped their sinusitis, and scientific studies report that sauerkraut contains minimal L.sakei, if at all.

Others have also mentioned thinking about using lactic acid starter cultures containing L. sakei , whether using it alone or making kimchi with it, but I don't know how it went.

Finally, I would like feedback from you: 1) What brands of kimchi have worked for you in treating or curing sinusitis?     2) What other products containing Lactobacillus sakei have worked successfully for you? And how did you use it?   3) What other bacteria have worked for you in curing sinusitis?

Please let me know by commenting in the comments section or writing me an email. This way I can update this list.  The goal is to find ways to improve the beneficial bacteria in the sinuses and so treat, cure, and eventually prevent sinusitis.   Thanks!

[PLEASE NOTE THAT AN UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST WITH NEW INFORMATION WAS PUBLISHED IN MAY 2018: The One Probiotic That Treats SinusitisComments can be posted there.]

4 thoughts on “Which Probiotic Treatment is Best For Sinusitis?

  1. Julian

    I have found that eating only meat (chicken, beef, fish, lamb), veggies and healthy oils has reduced my sinus problems. The problems go away on this diet. However, it is really hard to survive eating these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am trying fermented cabbage juice drops in my sinuses every two hours or so and it is painful. Hope this works. I ordered the Korean probiotics and didn't work for me at all. My main problem is a terrible cough that won't just go away and it is fed by sugars and carbs. I am really hoping to find a cure because mine is life-damaging and I don't know how much longer I can stand this. Please, if anyone has found a solution let me know:

  2. KR

    Yesterday, I started to dab a Q-tip soaked with Kimchi juice into my nostril. I am worried if i would get sinus infection from this. I am not sure if this would help, but i will trust you, Sima, and will try this at least one week.
    I also did the Q-tip with Probiotics of Men's Raw from GOL. Even tried to insert several drops in the distilled water into my nose, while i lied on the back.

    My main symtom from the chronic allergic rhinosinusitis of more than 7 years is continuous, suffocating, sticky Post nasal drips. I don't cough from PND, just it suffocates me, with continuous sticky mucouse generated from my sinus and throats too.

    I have variety of home-made Kimchi made by a friend of mine; freshly made or several weeks old. So, i will see.

    Today, my left upper throat near tonsil had been irritated for some reason, i felt my throat swollen or ubular enlarged. Not sure if this is caused by this new experiment. When i feel really bad, i take Zyrtec and Allegra for some (maybe 10%)relief, and chew apples, which i did today. Eating apples help my PND situation some especially while driving.

    Please let me know if you ever got a sinus infection during this experiment.
    My sinus had been infected all the times for 2 yrs 6 yrs ago and i was on antibiotics constantly at that time, then i was sick and tired of antibiotics, so i stopped taking antibiotics, and stopped to see doctors who were not helpful at all. Allergy shots for more than 6 months did not help me either. Since then, i have never had any yellow discharge from my nose, but white sticky PND never disappeared and got worse over time.

    1. Sima

      Thanks for the update. It does not sound like it is going well with what you are trying.
      Based on my family's experiences, if the product we are trying contains Lactobacillus sakei, then we felt the same or better within 1 day. Never worse.
      There are 2 possibilities that come to mind: you may have a virus that is resulting in the swelling, or there is no Lactobacillus sakei in the products you are trying. Another 3rd possibility is that your mucus/phlegm problem is not due to sinusitis.
      There have been times over the past 2 years when we tried a new jar of kimchi (or one that has been opened over a week) where we felt worse the next day - and more phlegmy and mucusy. We immediately stopped using that kimchi jar (but it could still be eaten).
      I too have tried other probiotics (with other strains of bacteria) - especially those found in yogurts, but none have helped me. Only L. sakei has helped.
      The last product that we've tried that definitely has Lactobacillus sakei in it and that worked for us (and others) is a sausage starter culture called Bactoferm F-RM-52 (L. sakei and Staphylococcus carnosus) which is produced by the Danish manufacturer Chr. Hansen and sold by sausage making suppliers here in the USA. My post "The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis" (Jan. 12, 2015) and the Sinusitis Treatment Summary page describes how we used it. Some people in the USA have reported ordering the product from
      Hope you feel better soon!

  3. KR

    Thanks for the reply.

    According to this link;

    There are at least 3 causes for sinusitis, 1)virus 2) bacteria 3) fungus or mold.
    Kimchi may contain L. sakei, but it may contain fungus too.
    Some fungus might irritate my nose and throat. Who knows? At this moment, i stooped dabbing Kimchi soup into my nostrils. Still can not sleep well...
    I wake up every one or one and half hour, and can not sleep longer than 5 hours in total because of constant severe PND. This winter seems especially the worst among last 6 or 7 years' suffering. I really need a supernatural miracle healing to keep going on like this.
    I can not fuction normal daily living stuffs...working, shopping, etc. even driving because of this PND. I am sure my PND's cause is allergic chronic rhinosinusitis. It is not from Acid reflux, nor structual deform of nose. Dealing with allergy is tough. And, its symptom of PND is really tough. Who would think PND could be a life-threatening issue? Almost nobody seems to understand the suffering i am going through. Even my family members keep bugging me to go to doctors or try medicines as if i never visited doctors or not tried any of allergy medicines. They really think that doctors would cure this. They do not understand.
    I just do repeat the ways i tried before...just because i can not quit, and i have to do something; all the antihistamins, decongestants, sprays, essential oils, herbs,...probiotics, salt,...etc...with some blind hope that this time it may work.

    I wonder how the research team of 2012 with mice got their L. Sakei.

    I may try Kimchi experiment again in the future. But, still worry about fungus in the Fermented Kimchi. Even fresh vegetables have fungus, i heard so.

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