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Sinusitis Treatment Summary

A QUICK SUMMARY OF SINUSITIS TREATMENT METHODS using kimchi, refrigerated, and frozen probiotics. **For info. on brands and products containing L. sakei, as well as what others have reported regarding these productsgo to The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis. The background story of the kimchi treatment is in the Sinusitis Treatment Story page.

The successful and easy do-it-yourself sinusitis treatment came about after I read about the sinusitis research done by N. Abreu et al (from Sept. 2012 in Sci.Transl.Med.). They discussed that not only is the sinus microbial community out-of-whack (dysbiosis), but also the probiotic (beneficial bacteria)  Lactobacillus sakei is missing in chronic sinusitis sufferers and that L.sakei would work as a sinusitis treatment if put into the nostrils. I looked for a natural source of L.sakei and found it in kimchi. Since dabbing the kimchi juice (or other L. sakei product) in our nostrils as needed, all 4 of us are free of chronic sinusitis and off all antibiotics for over 5 years. We now only treat with a Lactobacillus sakei product as needed, for example, after we get sick with a virus and develop acute sinusitis. [People keep asking what I'm now using - it's Lacto Sinus.]

All these treatments are self-experimentation - effects can vary, and be positive, negative, or no effect. Also, at this time, the FDA only allows probiotics to be sold as a "dietary supplement" in the US and not as a medical treatment.

20131201_101300 KIMCHI TREATMENT - When treating sinusitis with kimchi, we  use live (fermented and not pasteurized) vegan (no seafood added)  kimchi. Choosing vegan kimchi is a personal preference. Our experience has been that Lactobacillus sakei is found in kimchi from about 2 weeks after being made (some brands earlier) to about 2 1/2 months after being made. If the kimchi is too young, we keep it in the refrigerator unopened until day 14 and then try using it. L. sakei can be found in many brands of kimchi, but not all brands.

TREATMENT METHOD USING KIMCHI: 1) Wash hands, and then use a clean teaspoon to put a little juice from the kimchi jar into a small clean bowl. 2) Dip finger in the kimchi juice and dab it or smear it along the insides of one nostril (about 1/2" into the nostril)3) Dip finger in kimchi juice again and repeat in other nostril4) Do this several times. If I needed to blow my nose at this point I would, and afterwards I would put more kimchi juice up each nostril (again repeating the procedure) and then not blow my nose for at least a few minutes (I try for 1/2 hour). 5) Afterwards, any unused kimchi in the little bowl was thrown out and not replaced in the main kimchi jar. [Note: Put the main kimchi jar back in the refrigerator. Also, once opened, take kimchi juice from it for no more than 6 days because the L. sakei will die out within a week (due to oxygen getting in). We found that kimchi has L. sakei in it from about 2 weeks after being made (some brands earlier) to about 2 1/2 months after being made.]

My rationale was that I was inhaling the bacteria this way and that they would travel up the nasal passages on their own to my sinuses. And they do! I did this regimen once or twice a day initially until I started feeling better, then started doing it less frequently, and eventually only as needed.

REFRIGERATED PROBIOTIC TREATMENT METHOD - We use either option with a refrigerated Lactobacillus sakei product (e.g. Lacto Sinus) to treat chronic sinusitis, acute sinusitis, or if we're "sliding toward" sinusitis or sinuses feel "off". This comes as a powder, and should be stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, the L. sakei is most effective for 3 to 4 months. Lately we like Option 2 better - but perhaps this is because after several years we only need minimal treatments. Generally we've used it once a day as needed.

TREATMENT METHOD USING REFRIGERATED PROBIOTIC - OPTION 1: 1) Spoon a little of the powder (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) into a small clean bowl, and add a little bottled, distilled, or boiled water (1/8 to 1/4 cup) to make a mixture. 2) Stir, can let it sit for a minute or two. 3) Then dab or smear (going about 1/2" into each nostril) or spoon a little into each nostril. Can repeat  once or twice. Try not to blow the nose for about 30 minutes. ... OR ...  OPTION 2) Just swish about 1/4 teaspoon of the dry powder in the mouth, and then swallow it (after all, it is a dietary supplement). But then we don't eat or drink anything else for at least 1/2 hour (to give it a chance to travel to the sinuses and throughout the respiratory tract).

NOTE: We also use OPTION 2 if we ever use a multistrain probiotic (not containing L. sakei) when feeling a little imbalanced or off - perhaps a cough, or some other minor symptom. Or we've used some other product for a while and want to introduce other microbes into the mouth and sinuses.

FROZEN PROBIOTIC TREATMENT METHOD - We used this method for frozen products containing L. sakei (e.g. sausage starter culture Bactoferm F-RM-52, which contains Lactobacillus sakei and Staphylococcus Carnosus). These come as freeze-dried powders in a packet, and should be stored in the freezer. They successfully treat both chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis. Once opened, the L. sakei only stays alive at most a few months (it may feel weaker in as little as 8 times of use), even though the package is put back in the freezer. This is because L. sakei is anaerobic (dies off when exposed to oxygen).

TREATMENT METHOD USING FROZEN PROBIOTIC: 1) Take package out of freezer and put small amount (about 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon) of bacteria powder and mix with 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water (distilled, boiled, or bottled water). (Note: Put remaining bacteria package back into freezer). 2) Mix and let the bacteria-water mixture sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to "wake it up". 3) Wash hands. Dip finger into bacteria mixture and smear it along the insides of one nostril (about 1/2" into the nostril) and repeat procedure in other nostril. OR...Can slosh a little of the mixture into the nostrils with a little spoon (because it is very watery) and inhale deeply. 4) Repeat a few times if dabbing/smearing, but maybe only one more time (for a total of 2 times maximum in each nostril) if sloshing a little with a spoon into the nostril. Try not to blow the nose for a few minutes.  (Note: The mixing of the bacteria powder and water are based on the directions that came with starter culture bacteria.) Every time we do a treatment we make a new L. sakei and bottled water mixture to use.

NOTE: Use once a day when needed, perhaps for only 3 or 4 days in a row, then we wait a day or 2 or 3 to see if more is needed, because it has a lot of L. sakei in it (therefore strong). If too much is used at one time (many times in each nostril - such as 5 times in each nostril), then the throat and sinuses may feel very dry, perhaps even a feeling of light-headedness or a feeling of "too much probiotics" for a few hours up to a day. That is why it is better to use less, not more at once. As I've said many times, what we've done is self-experimentation with these sinusitis treatments.

20131201_101300COMBINATION OF TREATMENT METHODS IN 1 DAY: We rarely do this. First a kimchi (in the nose) or multistrain probiotic treatment (dry in the mouth), and then several hours later a L. sakei  treatment. (Remember: this is self-experimentation and results can be positive or negative). The only reason we did it was to see if we could increase the variety of species of bacteria in our sinuses after only using one form of treatment for many months (not every day - just when needed). We would not do a combination treatment if we were just tryng out a L. sakei treatment for the first time - it is better to experiment with one method at a time to see if it works.

ANOTHER OPTION: To increase bacterial diversity after months of only one kind of treatment (which was used only when needed) or feeling we've overused a product, we may try one new thing: a multi-strain probiotic (dry powder in the mouth) or new brand or type of kimchi or new L. sakei product, and see if we feel more "balanced" or better. After all, there are whole communities of microbes in the sinuses, the nasal passages, the mouth, etc. - and when they are out-of-whack, there are symptoms. It's all self-experimentation!

FINAL NOTE: Some of the beneficial bacteria we looked for in a (refrigerated) multistrain probiotic was: Lactobacillus acidophilusLactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus casei. Other Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium bacteria may also be beneficial. We occasionally use this interspersed in-between other L. sakei treatments or even sometimes when the sinuses seem a little "off" (e.g., phlegmy, or perhaps the sense that have to keep clearing the throat).

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FOR DETAILS ON WHERE WE AND OTHERS FOUND L.Sakei (BRANDS, PRODUCTS, etc.) AND SOME OTHER PROBIOTIC POSSIBILITIES: THE ONE PROBIOTIC THAT TREATS SINUSITIS . (Lots of valuable information.)

THE SINUSITIS TREATMENT STORY PAGE TELLS OUR BACKGROUND STORY IN DEPTH.

There are also a number of other sinusitis posts on this web-site - click on the category SINUSITISSome of the posts are about the latest sinusitis research - whether biofilms, the value of saline irrigation, the future of probiotics in treatment, phage therapy, etc).

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor and cannot give medical advice. I am only sharing my family's story and what others have reported to me.

200 thoughts on “Sinusitis Treatment Summary

  1. silvan

    i would like to know where i can buy some l sakei it is very important that i get some. if you have any idea where i can please contact me as soon as possible

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Please look at the January post that addresses this issue: The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis
      There are many brands of live fermented kimchi and they can be found in many grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Fairway, but not all kimchi brands have L. sakei in them.Through self-experimentation we (my family) decided that Sunja's kimchi has varying levels in their different types, and L. sakei is generally present from about day 14 to about 2 1/2 to 3 months of fermentation, and only for the first 6 days after opening a jar. Sausage making suppliers such as sausagemaker.com sell a starter culture with L. sakei (Bactoferm F-RM-52) in the USA. Remember that we are describing what we and others have done through self-experimentation.

      Reply
  2. Soren

    Hi Sima,

    first of all. Thank you for sharing this information and taking the risks upon you of self-experiementing. I had a phase of trying the kimchi between last year and this year and symptoms improved. I then stopped and got sick again and had troubles finding a good supply of kimchi. However, I realize now, after reading through your page again, that I did not change Kimchi frequently enough, didn't let it ferment long enough and used the same batch for way too long. I am moving to South America and afraid I might have troubles finding kimchi there too. This leads me to my first question:
    1) Have you ever tried making kimchi yourselves and has it worked for you?

    My other question is:
    2) You say you cured yourself and your family of chronic sinusitis. However you still seem to develop sinusitis various times a year? Could you elaborate please.

    And my third comment isn't much of a question, but I read the patent of Susan Lynch (https://encrypted.google.com/patents/WO2013155370A1?cl=en) for the diagnosis and treatment of sinusitis. Have you read it and what do you think of it? I wonder if there is a way of resetting a person suffering from chronic sinusitis to a completely healthy status, i.e. not per se developing a sinusitis when catching a cold, as still seems to be the case with you and your family and what I imagine would happen using Lynch's method, as it basically suggests a similar procedure. Admittedly assessing and inserting a more personalized bacterial diversity, but similar nonetheless.

    thanks for your thoughs and please keep up the great page. it gives hope to us sufferers.

    Soren

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Thanks for the comments. No, I have never made kimchi because I've been fortunate to have so many brands available in local stores. I would be happy to post a kimchi recipe that someone feels worked for them in treating sinusitis (contains L. sakei) if it is sent to me. Unfortunately not every kimchi brand contains L. sakei, which probably means not every recipe will produce L. sakei (and I don't know why).

      We no longer have chronic sinusitis (and all the symptoms that go with it), but we do develop acute sinusitis after a cold or upper respiratory illness. However, all 4 of us have successfully treated it every time (without antibiotics) with either kimchi or the starter culture Bactoferm F-RM-52. After the first year we noticed that we get fewer illnesses than ever (and our sinuses feel better than in 20 years), but the fact that we still occasionally get sinusitis means that our sinus microbial community is still not as complete as it should be. L.sakei predominates over pathogenic bacteria, but it's not a complete microbial community. I do think the longer we're off antibiotics and eating lots of healthy foods, the better it is for our microbial communities, including those in the sinus microbiome. But after years of antibiotics, it is unknown if and how all the normal bacteria can be replaced.

      Yes, Susan Lynch's patent for a nasal spray will attempt to give the user a complete microbial community, including L. sakei. She explains her thoughts on the role of L. sakei as a keystone bacteria, but that one needs a complete microbial community for sinus health (see post Probiotics and Sinusitis). Based on our experiences, I totally agree.

      Reply
  3. Sima

    The Abreu et al study (2012) pinpointed Lactobacillus sakei as the dominant bacteria in treating sinusitis (and which was missing in the sinuses of sinusitis sufferers, probably due to repeated antibiotics).
    And my family and readers of this blog have found 3 products so far that work in treating chronic and acute sinusitis, all containing L. sakei: some kimchi brands (at certain times in fermentation), Bactoferm F-RM-52, and Lactopy. The Bactoferm F-RM-52 and Lactopy only contain species of bacteria (and no spices or garlic) and yet they are just as effective as the kimchi. So it seems that L. sakei is the important species (a "keystone" species) rather than something else.

    Reply
  4. jane

    Oh, I know so many people that could benefit from this. Myself, I somehow contracted MRSA. Most likely it was via my father, who I work with after he got it during a surgery. Since MRSA likes to cavort in nasal passages, I've been curious about the best way to overcome it and I find this real interesting. Otherwise, I did get way ahead of it (or I say "cure" but you never get away from microbes of any kind) by simply taking massive amounts of probiotics, ie, if the bottle said take 1, I'd take 15. And taking many different strains of probiotics. Whilst I still believe in eating our way to health, some of us are so compromised by antibiotics I think we'll always have to supplement with pills and extra care.

    So thrilled to have found this!! Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Hi, thanks for writing this, I'm giving it a shot now. One thing though - how do you know when the kimchi was made? I got some Sunja's at my local Whole Foods but it only has a "best by" date, not a production date. So I tried it today but am just guessing that it might already be old enough...

    Reply
    1. Sima

      The folks at Sunja's kimchi told me that they date the "best by __" label about 5 months going forward. So count backwards from the date. But please note that which type of Sunja's kimchi works may vary.

      Reply
  6. Chris

    I've tried several different kimchis and Bactoferm and I'm not improving. I would like to try a probiotics capsule and was wondering if you know if all the Lacto and Bifido strains of bacteria are safe? Also thought about fermented apple cider vinegar...

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I'm so sorry to hear that. I know that not all kimchis have L. sakei, but I'm surprised about the Bactoferm F-RM-52. I wonder if the L. sakei in it survived shipping? Out of the 4 times we've ordered it, 3 batches were good, but one time it had zero effect (which meant the L. sakei had died).
      I recently heard from a woman who tried using a Pure Encapsulations Probiotic 50 B in her nostrils and she had major improvement. I assume she used it like the Bactoferm F-RM-52 (mixed with bottled water). She stressed that the probiotic was one that has to be refrigerated (thus better chances of bacteria being alive) and the bacteria in it are: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium lactis.
      Sinusitis sufferers have a loss of bacteria diversity (according to reserarch), so adding more beneficial bacteria may (or may not) help.
      By the way, a few years ago I tried drinking fermented apple cider daily and nope, it did not help my sinusitis.
      Hope this helps. It comes down to self-experimentation.

      Reply
    1. Sima

      We only dab or smear some of the kimchi juice into the nostrils, so it has felt OK. Surprisingly, the spices in the juice typically act as a decongestant for a few hours. If I found it too uncomfortable (due to open wounds or cracked skin), I might try a Bactoferm F-RM-52 with bottled water mixture.

      Reply
  7. Irina Ivon

    Hello, thank you so much for providing this information. I have a question : when you say the Bactoferm F-RM-52 works, but is not as gentle as the kimchi, could you please elaborate ? Could you explain what you mean by "gentle" ? Thank you !

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Hard to explain because both work well, but the Bactoferm F-RM-52 has so much L. sakei in it that it may take only a few times using it to treat sinusitis successfully - it's a quicker effect. Also see the first comment (by Greg) on the CONTACT page.

      Reply
  8. Gretchen

    I purchased a package of Bactoferm F RM 52 today. When I opened the package it said that this has selected strains of Lactobacillus curvatus and Staphylococcus carnosus. There was no mention of L. sakei. It is from Chr Hansen, and I'm hoping it is the same as your product of the same name. Has there been a change in it's formulation? Do you know of any reason why we should not try using this package in the same way as you described using yours? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Oh no - perhaps Chr Hansen has made recent product changes or there was a mix-up.
      I personally would look for another supplier that carries Bactoferm F-RM-52 and that clearly says their product has L. sakei in it. Sausagemaker.com and meatprocessingproducts.com both advertise on their site that they carry Bactoferm F-RM-52 with Lactobacillus sakei in it.
      I personally would try to get Lactobacillus sakei - because that is the one bacteria the researchers (Abreu et al) in their 2012 study found to be missing in sinusitis sufferers and also because that is the one bacteria that we know works.

      NOVEMBER 16, 2015 UPDATE: I contacted Chr Hansen today and they said that Bactoferm F-RM-52 is still made up of the bacteria Latobacillus sakei and Staphylococcus carnosus.
      DECEMBER 7, 2015 UPDATE : Gretchen reordered Bactoferm F-RM-52, it did contain L. sakei, and it was effective in treating chronic sinusitis.

      Reply
  9. Robin Wu

    Hi there - thanks for sharing all your information and experiments, here's hoping it can help sufferers!

    I am about to give it a go using some home made ferments - kimchi, sauerkraut ad beetroot kvass. I am mixing a little juice from all of them.

    I have a couple of questions that you may or may not be able to help with - I have just started a program of sinus irrigation adding johnsons baby shampoo as a surfactant to break up biofilms. Whats your thoughts on doing this in conjunction with the probiotic nasal rubs? Do you think it would wash away the potential new colonies of welcome bacteria or disrupt existing biofilms allowing them a place to establish. Also what about sinus irrigation without just saline?

    Any thoughts gratefully received.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I would not try a kimchi treatment until you have stopped the baby shampoo sinus irrigation.
      The baby shampoo is meant to kill off, and the point of kimchi, Bactoferm F-RM-52, or Lactopy is to add bacteria, especially Lactobacillus sakei.
      Based on my reading, I suspect that the L. sakei that appears in kimchi starting about day 14 is due to the presence of red pepper, garlic, and perhaps the other traditional spices. This may explain why sauerkraut rarely contains L. sakei.
      Plain saline nasal irrigation seems to be OK with sinus treatments, but we always made sure that over 1 hour had passed from a kimchi, etc treatment until saline nasal irrigation.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  10. Evan Worthington

    Hi Sima,
    Thank you for your blog, it is fascinating! I've tried the kimchi (3 different brands) but didn't seem to have an effect. Maybe I didn't use it long enough? I thought in your post you said you guys usually felt better within a day or 2?
    Now I'm deciding between probiotics in my Neti pot, or ordering the bactoferm. I guess I'm a little nervous about the bactoferm -- has anyone done an analysis of it? Could it have anything dangerous in it?

    Thanks!
    Evan

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Too bad that the kimchi didn't work for you. Yes, with kimchi we always started feeling better within a day or two, but like with antibiotics there may be a day or two of sinuses draining where we don't know at first how it's working. But kimchi is tricky because one doesn't know if the L. sakei is there or not.

      I could not find anything negative in the literature about the second bacteria in Bactoferm F-RM-52, and so far no one has reported negative effects from it. The good news is that it is considered "food grade" - safe in foods.
      But as I've said before, I'm very cautious about bacteria, and so I (and my family) use the Bactoferm F-RM-52 as a "messy eater" - smearing it (mixed with bottled water) in my nostrils and letting the bacteria travel up to the sinuses on their own.
      Just remember that L. sakei is fragile and can die off easily during shipping.

      Reply
  11. Joseph Flajole

    Hi, I am about to order some F-RM-52 Bactoferm and I have a question about if it needs a Prebiotic fermentable sugar (such as Dextrose) to feed the newly awaken cultures. See: http://www.alliedkenco.com/pdf/502597_f-rm-52.pdf
    I am also considering putting the mixture (minus the Dextrose that could be sprayed into the sinuses separately) into a spray bottle to spray the cultures up into the sinuses. Do you have any thoughts or information for or against this approach?
    Thanks,
    Joe

    Reply
    1. Sima

      We (and others) have never used anything with the Bactoferm F-RM-52 except bottled water and it works great. We followed the manufacturer's/sausage making supplier's instructions on proportions of water and culture (bacteria) and how to "wake it up" - mix it with room temperature bottled water and let it sit for about 20 minutes. We mix it again before using.

      Interestingly my package direction never had "add a sugar to the dry ingredients" comment in it that your link said. Those directions are for those actually making sausages - that to keep the bacteria alive for a much longer time in the mixture need to add sugar to feed it. These sausage making directions do not apply to sinusitis treatment.

      Yes, this mixture could be put into a spray bottle and used that way. After all, the original L. sakei researchers are working on a nasal spray that will contain a mix of beneficial bacteria (including L. sakei).

      Reply
  12. Mo

    Hi, I find your research amazing and wish you the very best in finding a marketable product that can be easily consumed/applied for people with sinus problems.

    I have suffered from nasal polyps for 20 years. After 3 operations I stopped. I've had to just live with all sinus cavities full of nasal polyps. I'm always on the search for a treatment. I read about your L.Sakei research and wondered if you have had anyone write to you about a successful application to reduce polyps?

    The polyps block anything from going in to the sinus (yes mine are bad and you can see them inside the nose). Nasal polyps is a huge problem and one that causes untold misery for suffers. Careers are ruined, relationships suffer and quality of life is seriously hampered. If you have any advice or theories, please do let me know. In the meantime I will try the Kimchi route by dabbing in the nose. But if you think the bacteria goes in the sinus when you breath, then I'm not sure it will work for me. I can't breath from my nose. I've thought about taking a short course of Prednisolone to reduce the polyps before starting the Kimchi treatment. What do you think? Is this counter-productive?

    Keep up the fantastic work!!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      My understanding is that nasal polyps can be due to chronic inflammation from allergies and recurring infections such as chronic sinusitis, and that drugs such as corticosteroid nasal sprays can reduce them. I don't know if you should try a course of corticosteroid nasal sprays before trying a L. sakei treatment - this is all self experimentation because we know so little at this point and everyone is different. I have not seen any studies about what the nasal sprays do to the sinus microbiome.

      However, since we started using L. sakei treatments - our chronic nasal inflammation totally disappeared.
      If I were concerned with the L. sakei being able to get into the sinuses - then I would also swish a mouthful or gargle with a mouthful.
      Similarly, one woman wrote about using Lactopy (which contains L. sakei) to treat her chronic sinusitis successfully by "poured the powder on my tongue and rubbed it into the roof of my mouth".

      The Bactoferm F-RM-52 mixture is more powerful than the kimchi and more reliable in that we know it always contains L. sakei. (But it can easily die, so we use 2 day shipping).
      Please let me know how it all works out for you.

      Reply
  13. Lauren Withelder

    Hi, Your experiments and research is fascinating! Hopefully one day this will be prescribed and everyone will have heard of this!

    I am currently on amoxicillin for an ear infection and in the meantime I also have a sinus infection...which I get every time I catch a cold....I presume from two deviated septums. I just purchased Sunja's kimchi and I was wondering if you think I can start it now even though I am still on this antibiotic? The doctor also put me on Flonase and Dimetapp cold and allergy to help drain the ear. What are your thoughts if any on taking these meds while doing the kimchi treatments?

    Thanks for sharing all of this valuable information!!!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Unfortunately antibiotics kill Lactobacillus sakei - which is why chronic sinusitis sufferers (who frequently take antibiotics) are missing Lactobacillus sakei and their sinus microbiomes are out of whack (according to studies). So I wouldn't take antibiotics and a L. sakei product at the same time.
      The best time to test a L. sakei product (kimchi, Bactoferm F-RM-52, Lactopy) is when there are sinusitis symptoms.
      Just please note that when opening a new jar of kimchi, it is unknown whether that particular jar or brand has L. sakei in it.
      By the way, many sinusitis sufferers find some relief from thick phlegm and improve mucus drainage by taking non-prescription 12 hour Mucinex Maximum Strength (1200 mg Guaifenesin) once a day, typically at night.
      L. sakei works for chronic sinusitis even in people with deviated septums (myself included).
      And remember that it's all self-experimentation to find what works for a person.

      Reply
      1. Lauren Withelder

        Thanks so much for your quick reply! Unfortunately I came across this information after I already was taking the antibiotic. I purchased the Sunja's medium spicy cucumber kimchi as you had mentioned...The best by date is 8/15/16. Any idea if the timing on this would be beneficial?

        Also, even after my symptoms clear up (from antibiotic) would you recommend starting kimchi right away to replenish microbes killed off by antibiotic? Or wait until next symptoms of sinusitis? Thanks so much!

        Reply
        1. Sima

          I think the Sunja's kimchi is very fresh - they must have just made it so it probably will have L. sakei for about 2 months more.
          Personally, if you feel OK after stopping antibiotics, then don't do any L. sakei treatments. Because the next time you get a cold, you'll probably slide into sinusitis again - whether or not you treat with L. sakei (kimchi) now. That's the experience of my family and others.

          Reply
    1. Sima

      The best is probably to find sausage making suppliers who carry Bactoferm F-RM-52 (it's used as a sausage starter culture). It is manufactured by Chr Hansen, and they have sites throughout Europe (headquarters are in Denmark).
      Someone in Germany wrote that Bactoferm F RM-52 product (containing L. sakei) can be ordered in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) through: Willy Arnold GmbH (http://www.willyarnold.de) Tel. +49 (0)40 671022-0
      Lactopy is ordered on the internet from Korea, but they stopped shipping to some countries during 2015, including the USA.
      UPDATE: I've been told that in Germany Bactoferm F-RM-52 can also be ordered from http://www.ehlert-express.de/starterkultur-frm-52.html They do "require you to confirm that you are acting in a professional capacity", and that they only ship within Germany.

      Reply
  14. Lynn

    Thankyou for the information and your testing selves with kimchi. Rarely get colds or flus and this year started w a cold then sinutsitis. Its almost gone but sometimes feels like would be good to bath in some probiotics (espec when eyes get so irritated).
    Someone told me that sinusitis can be caused by reacting to salicylates (food colors preservatives, and also natura forms in foods) , can also cause polyps.
    Wonder if you ever have done the salt nasal rinse and gargle and if it helped.

    Mold in the house from pipe or roof leak that increases sinusitis.
    Have notice when eat sugar that have more problems. Helped to have head of bed higher. Wonder if compress/poultice on ears with herbs would help.
    Also tried sniffing essential oils or steaming herbs(these both have salicicylates for those very sensitive).

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Yes, anything that causes inflammation of the sinuses (e.g., allergies, viruses) can result in sinusitis. Nasal polyps are currently viewed as being from allergies or constant sinusitis (both causing inflammation), but not everybody gets them.
      We did nasal saline irrigation for many years - they helped but it never prevented or treated our sinusitis.

      Reply
  15. Les

    Hi Mara,
    I've been fighting chronic sinusitus with alergic rhinitus for 33 years now. I've been reading your blog with interest. After searching far and wide via the internet, I came across this probiotic product that contains L. sakei and several other probiotic bacteria that studies claim to be beneficial in repopulating and maintaining the sinus micrbiome. http://innovixlabs.com/products/multi-strain-probiotic/ . It also contains other species of beneficial sinus bacteria that are mentioned in this patent. http://www.google.com/patents/WO2013155370A1?cl=en . I have no connection with either InnovixLabs or the patent holders. I just wanted to share the info.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Thanks. Great to hear. However, I have some concerns with the multi-strain probiotic: 1) the product doesn't need refrigeration, but L. sakei products typically need refrigeration or freezing (or the L. sakei dies off within 2 weeks); and 2) L. sakei dies off when exposed to air (anaerobic bacteria). I'm sure the manufacturers added live L. sakei when making the product, but is it alive weeks or months later? Feedback from users is needed.

      Reply
  16. Tom

    Hey there,

    I have a question related to the storage of Bactoferm F-RM-52. I have tried two batches now and noticed that the effect is quite impressive, when I first use it in my neti pot (mucus production stops instantly), but I am not able to reproduce it with the same batch. I have put the opened package in the freezer right away, but was thinking if there is perhaps another more efficient way to make sure the bacteria stay alive for a couple of days or so. E.g. in a glucose solution? I guess it would be prone to contamination, but perhaps somebody here can advise?

    Also, perhaps I am little overeager, but I want to make extra-sure that it gets where I should and this is why I used the neti pot. I also saw the other successful example (first comment above here). Am I missing some downsides?

    Thanks al lot!
    Tom

    My background: I have had chronic sinusitis for 10 years and underwent surgery in 2010. The problem persisted on the right side and I have a constant inflammation + post nasal drop that also affects my bronchias on the right side.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I have noticed that if the Bactoferm F-RM-52 is an older batch, then it doesn't hold up well once opened. But if it is a newer batch (e.g.,within 6 to 8 months of production) then it lasts for at least one month in the freezer after opening, and we can take out some product about 7 to 8 times before the L. sakei weakens. I always immediately fold over the package edge and clip it shut so that oxygen doesn't get into it, and then back into the freezer. Even though the manufacturer gives a lengthy expiration date after production, it is best to have a batch under a year old.
      UPDATE: After being very ill (flu + sinusitis) the Bactoferm F-RM-52 I used weakened considerably after about 7 uses (one week), and so I had to open a new package which also only lasted me a week. So what happened to you also happened to me.

      Reply
  17. Jop

    Hi Sima,

    Thanks for your effort to publicise this approach to sinus problems. CHR Hansen actually has a L. Sakei only culture, it's just called B-2 and is part of their SafePro range. It's a bioprotective culture for meat.

    I've tried it and the bactoferm and much prefer the B-2. Just a small pinch in the neilmed bottle then leave it 20min after mixing with water before using it. B-2 seemed less irritating and more effective to me.

    Someone in the US has asked me where they could buy some B-2 from. CHR Hansen told him their minimum order is $500. Retail stockists of CHR Hansen products in the US might be prepared to stock B-2 as well as their other lines.

    Have you thought about retailing something like this product yourself, to make it easier for people who want to join in the sinus experiment?

    Best,
    Jop

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Thanks for the information! This is the first I've heard of B-2, but having a product with only L. sakei does sound better. I'll be looking into it.

      Reply
        1. Person

          Hi. I am considering buying this but its a really long shipment around the globe, so even with ice I will not know if it survives the five days or more (maybe even over a week?) it would take to ship.

          So I wonder how long your shipment took, what service did you use, and if they used ice.

          Thanks.

          Reply
          1. Nat

            Seemed to survive when we ordered it, nz to UK 9 days ( u can get it sent quicker) ice oacjed , once open push sir out of pack put tape over hole put back in freezer.

            Reply
        2. Nat

          Richard my partner is having a terrible time, has used kimchi which helped and had brought b-2 but inhaling it (after adding water and waiting 15-20mins) and adding it to a mask seems the only thing that helps. He asked though if anyone can describe the sensations u get as it is obv strong, and certain areas seem to have cleated whereas other areas seem to improve but he is so run down and as it is his head he says it can be hard to tell, he also wonders,if ppl who are affected more take longer to clear as he has reacted to (we believe) a mold environment. He has also taken bio kult pro biotics which seem to have helped (he also had chest infections now gone). Any advice on what feelings tell you his is on the right track wld help. Thanks to everyone who is contributing to this site ppl are desperate, I know I've not seen my partner in this sort of pain b4 (yes he's seen specialists, had MRIs etc). Thanks in advance from desperate missus Natalie

          Reply
          1. Nat

            Sima same question to you about sensations in yr head from the l sakei (using b-2) basically want to ensure he is doing it right. Has felt improvements but years of headaches means he says he us finding it hard to tell, but feels above his ears has stopped hurting following a sort of burning / odd sensation thanks any descriptions welcome

            Reply
            1. Sima

              Sorry to hear about Richard's suffering. My first thought is: if he is still in a mold environment (at work or home) then he really needs to get out of that environment - it'll just make him constantly sick.
              Re: B-2 Hopefully it is still alive after traveling from NZ for so long. We and others found that there may be a delay in any L. sakei product effects when using it if the person is really sick - just like when taking antibiotics - first it stops getting worse, then there is draining, and then improvement. B-2 is strong, so if it is used one day, then definitely can wait a day or two to see if one keeps improving without using it again.

              Another good L. sakei product is Lactopy Prime that can be ordered from Korea through Gmarket. They ship internationally, including the UK. It doesn't have to be frozen, but must be refrigerated once it is received. It can be dabbed/smeared, swished in the mouth, and then eaten.

              Not all regular probiotics help people with sinusitis and some bacteria actually make symptoms worse in some people (like S. salivarius K12). Check ingredient lists.
              My one suggestion would be to only try one product at a time if dabbing in the nostrils or swishing in the mouth to see what works and what doesn't.
              Swallowing a product doesn't seem to help in treating sinusitis.
              And finally - this is all self-experimentation so what works and doesn't work varies from person to person.

              Reply
          2. Nat

            Thanks for responding Sima really appteciate u taking the time, we've expetimented with quite a few probiotics and understand some fobt help, the onrs i mentioned helped his chrst which was aldo bad. On the b-2 he's tried diff applications but as he is wearing a mask and changing it frequently (as unable to get out of mold environment at home for several mths (i have no s ymptoms) he has also tried putting the b-2 on his mask, after putting in water and waiting 20mins, and inhaling seemed to work, but did hurt a little in his head. Csn I ask bearing in mind he has had MRIs etc. And no help from specialists if anyone else as well has pain in their forehead, but also on the top and back of their head and like a band of pain round their head as he also has this, whether using kimchi or since using b-2, kimchi helps the pain but doesn't seem to stop the pain long term, and b-2 feels like it is attacking the pain, but now he is so fatigued and it has gone on do long it as I said is diff to tell if improvements, but I'd b interested to know if anyone else had the symptoms he had in his head with extremely severe headaches. Thanks again Sima and all who are trying to break new ground!

            Reply
            1. Sima

              If the headaches started once probiotics, etc were tried - then I would stop using the products. If a product works, then a person feels better, not worse. And perhaps if he is so sensitive to mold, then there won't be improvement until he is out of the mold environment.

              Reply
  18. csforest

    Any suggestions on how to find Sunja's kimchi? I have not found any in the local stores. The 2 brands I have tried (Rejuvenative Foods and Pickled Planet) have not helped. Of course, that doesn't mean those brands are bad. I could have just used them at the wrong time, when they were too old or too new. I have no idea how to determine if a jar of kimchi is at its peak viability. So, with so many variables, I figure it's better to start with a known winner such as Sunja's. But haven't found it. I looked online but the 2-day shipping was over $60 for a $4 bottle of kimchi! Yikes. Even the cheapest shipping was expensive, and it's not likely to be viable if it takes 10 days to get here. So I need to find a better way. We have a Whole Foods but they didn't have that brand. In what other stores have you found it?

    Reply
  19. Karrie

    Thank you for publishing so much information here! I have recently tried both kimchi (a locally made "Krazy Kraut Krazy Kim Chee") and Bactoferm. When I started with the kimchi, I was on my last day of a 14-day round of antibiotics for a sinus infection, but didn't feel that I was getting much better. (In the past, I typically required at least 21 days of the strongest antibiotics.) On day 14, I was still experiencing a cough, yellow drainage, headaches, and fatigue. I started feeling better with the kimchi, with less coughing and fewer headaches, but still not 100%. A week later, I received the Bactoferm and added that to my "treatment". I have been doing some of my own experimentation, hoping that I can actually cure the infection rather than getting another round of antibiotics. It has now been 2 weeks since going off antibiotics, and I'm currently doing the following:
    Morning - mix Bactoferm with bottled water and wait 20 mins, separately mix sea salt with warm water (100 degrees), then mix the two together a Neilmed Sinus Rinse bottle (but setting aside a small amount of the Bactoferm mix) and immediately flush my sinuses. I let my sinuses drain for a couple minutes and then use an eye dropper to put the remaining Bactoferm mix that I had set aside into my nostrils.
    Late afternoon - rub Kimchi juice inside my nostrils with a Qtip.
    Evening - repeat morning
    I have a couple questions - Do you think that adding the sea salt and warm water to the Bactoferm could kill the bacteria that quickly, or should it still be effective? Has it been your experience that the Bactoferm can kill/eliminate an active sinus infection? Do you have any other suggestions for application? (I find it too uncomfortable to use just the Bactoferm/water alone as a sinus rinse.)
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      My (and others) experience has been that the acute sinus infection should have been cured by now and only using a treatment once a day.
      I have never used the Bactoferm F-RM-52 as a sinus rinse, but only spoon/snort a little (perhaps 3 times) into each nostril - and this feels OK.
      My thoughts are that perhaps the Bactoferm F-RM-52 weakened very quickly once the package was opened.
      After being very ill recently (flu + sinusitis), I realized that after 7 days of Bactoferm F-RM-52 treatments that the L.sakei had weakened, and I opened a new package to use. Thus I used 2 new packages over an 18 day period (and always storing it in the freezer) - and I'm totally fine now.
      Also, after a week of daily Bactoferm F-RM-52 treatments I would start skipping a day or 2 to see if the improvement continued on its own - and it might/should.

      I don't know if the saline solution is interfering with the L. sakei.
      Remember, the L. sakei in a kimchi jar is only good for about 6 days. At this point I would try only one or the other type of treatment - one possibility is that perhaps there is not enough L. sakei in the kimchi and this is interfering with the Bactoferm F-RM-52. ???
      The problem is that L. sakei is fairly fragile and is easily killed off by exposure to oxygen (it's anaerobic), so it can be tricky. Good luck!

      Reply
  20. Tellico00

    I'm confused about the L. Sakei and it being fragile. I read in one post that the maximum effect in kimchi was 14 days from finished product although in your last post you say the "L Sakei in a kimchi jar is only good for about 6 days." Would you elaborate to eliminate my confusion?

    My other question is, L Sakei dies in the presence of oxygen. When introduced into the sinuses will it remain alive?

    Thank you in advance. I've followed your blog and I'm hopeful this will elevate my problem.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Lactobacillus sakei appears in some kimchi during the process of fermentation from about day 14 to about 2 1/2 months (from the day it is made). After about 2 1/2 months other microbes predominate in the kimchi and L.sakei dies off (this is from our experiences and also some Korean kimchi research).

      However, once you open a kimchi jar - oxygen gets in - and the fermentation process is interrupted and stops. If the jar that was just opened contains L. sakei, then that L. sakei is alive for about 6 days. It starts to die off once the jar is opened.
      This is why I consider it fairly fragile - it dies off from oxygen exposure (it is anaerobic), and also from too long shipping (L. sakei products such as Bactoferm F-RM-52, B-2, and Lactopy need to be refrigerated to keep it alive).

      The second question is one that puzzles us also. Because we (family members and people writing in) have to treat again with L. sakei after a cold or other virus, then it means that the L. sakei for some unknown reason is not sticking around long-term. I personally think it's because the sinus microbiome is still not right (due to past years of taking antibiotics) - that there are still some crucial microbes missing from the sinus community.

      Recent research mentions some species such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii found in healthy 4 to 7 year old children "depleted" in those children with sinusitis history.The researchers state:"In addition to Lactobacillus, many other bacterial taxa including Akkermansia, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium, Prevotella, and Streptococcus species were depleted in relative abundance among children with a prior history of acute sinusitis.
      Interestingly, F. prausnitzii is a keynote species in the gut - one considered very beneficial, but one that can be wiped out by antibiotics. It also is anaerobic, lives only for a few minutes when exposed to air, and so it can not be purchased as a supplement at this time.

      This is why I am always looking for research on ways to improve the microbes in the sinuses.

      Reply
  21. Katka

    Hi, I came across your website and immediately got very excited. I find it very informative and helpful. I suffer from chronic sinusitis for over 10 years. I had a sinus surgery, which didn't work. I had polyps removed but they grew back. I have managed my condition with a diet (no dairy, no gluten, no yeast and limited sugar) for a while, but I still feel like I have a sinus infection pretty much all the time. I have started taking probiotics, which contain strains you have recommended and have done few nights of sinus rinse also with probiotics. I have 2 questions please: 1. Have you found that nasal inhalation has eased your symptoms? I have been doing this for 3 weeks, with Friar's balsam and separately with White Flower Oil (chinese medicinal oil) but still feel blocked. 2. I bought the B-2 mixture and would like to start using it. I have however been warned by pharmacist not to put any bacteria directly into my nose as risk of meningitis is high, should the fragile membrane in sinusis get damaged along the way. Has anyone mentioned this before? It will be interesting to know how many people use these bacteria mixtures directly into nose and whether it really is risky. Thank you so much

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I'm not sure I understand your question about "nasal inhalation". You are the first person to mention Friar's balsam and White Flower Oil, and I don't know anything about them.
      L. sakei is a bacteria that is normally found in healthy sinuses according to the Abreu et al study (2012). L. sakei products are typically dabbed into the nostrils like a "really messy eater" (think how a toddler gets a little food into their nose) - and the bacteria travel up to the sinuses on their own. Most people either dab or smear a little into the nostrils, or spoon a little to get the L. sakei into their nostrils, or they make a paste (with water) and swish it around in their mouth, or rub it into the roof of their mouth (see the first comment by Kim after the post The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis).

      If the L. sakei works, then there should be improvement within a day or 2, and all sinusitis symptoms (including inflammation, sinus drip) go away within 1 to 3 weeks.
      We have never used any other herbs, supplements, oils, etc.
      The other probiotics that I discuss may or may not help. I do not know how many people have tried these treatment methods because this is all self-experimentation, and typically only some people write comments (either privately or on web-site). All reported side-effects are mentioned in the post.

      Reply
      1. Katka

        Hi Sima, thanks for your reply.
        Inhaling Friar's balsam or Chinese White Flower Oil means just adding few drops of either into hot water and inhaling the steam. I heard from various people that either works as both have antibacterial and antifungal properties. I am trying whatever I can to make my sinusis better.
        Will see =) I am trying now your recommendation of dabbing probiotics into my nostrils and yet to open my B-2 culture and start that process.
        In my email I was asking whether you ever considered meningitis risk with putting things like that up your nose in high doses? Also I am told by the manufacturer that the starter cultures contain lots of sugar as fillers.. this makes me little nervous as bacteria feeds of sugar. I guess this is all process of trial and error. Your website is a very informative and helpful and I hope I get results similar to yours. thank you

        Reply
        1. Sima

          If Friar's balsam and Chinese White Flower Oil are anti-fungal or anti-bacterial, then they may be killing any beneficial bacteria that you are also using. The point of using beneficial bacteria is to add to the sinus microbial community, not to kill it off further. People with chronic sinusitis have depleted microbial communities - thus the need to improve them. This is probably (definitely?) the future of sinusitis treatment.
          The starter cultures have just enough sugar added to keep the microbes alive - they are actually very pure products.
          As I've mentioned before, two groups of researchers are currently developing nasal probiotics in a nasal spray (including L. sakei), which means human clinical trials.
          You should never do anything that you're not comfortable with - this is all self-experimentation with results unknown.

          Reply
  22. Katka

    Got it thank you. I see what you mean with the inhalation. Antiseptic properties are not what we after to treat sinusitis then? thank you for your input. I will be giving the B-2 a go.

    Reply
  23. Lori

    I cleared up my chronic sinusitis with kimchi juice, I dabbed just the juice in my nostrils and actually sinus rinsed directly after because I realized I had used non-vegan kimchi. I used Mother in Law's from Whole Foods.

    I had total sinus healing. But 2 months after developed Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. I now have ears that will not unclog. I do not think it is related to the Kimchi experiment because it developed a long time after.

    No sinus issues to speak of still. Just allergies.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Glad to hear that the kimchi juice helped the sinuses.
      I wonder if the blocked Eustachian tubes are from allergies - that seems to be a major cause and you mention allergies.
      For those reading this that don't know what Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is, this paragraph is from the Stanford Ear Institute (http://med.stanford.edu/):
      Chronic blockage of the Eustachian tube is called Eustachian tube dysfunction. This can occur when the lining of the nose becomes irritated and inflamed, narrowing the Eustachian tube opening or its passageway. Illnesses like the common cold or influenza are often to blame. Pollution and cigarette smoke can also cause Eustachian tube dysfunction. In many areas of the country, nasal allergy (allergic rhinitis) is the major cause of Eustachian tube dysfunction. For reasons which are unclear, the incidence of allergies is increasing in the United States. Obesity can also predispose a patient to Eustachian tube dysfunction because of excess fatty deposits around the passageway of the Eustachian tube. Rarely, Eustachian tube blockage may be the sign of a more serious problem such as nasal polyps, a cleft palate...

      Reply
      1. Lori

        Like a week. I haven't had sinus issues until now, due to long term cold. Hoping it passes or I may have to use kimchi again.

        Lori

        Reply
  24. Lori

    Yes, likely allergies but I tested negative for every allergen. But of course the testing cannot be exhaustive in every way.

    Hoping to find relief from Eustachian tube issues with different vitamins and steam therapy, its been a month with no help from Flonase.

    Reply
  25. Ella Burke-Gaffney

    Hi, after having sinusitis for 2 months finding this website was so exciting! I ordered the B-2 from Gerald (such a nice man) and actually picked it up from his house to insure it remained cold. I have used it 3x a day for 3 days now and no results. Perhaps this satchet is a dud? Would you have any suggestions? I really had high hopes! Very warm regards,
    Ella

    Reply
    1. Sima

      There are some possibilities - it might be a dud package. Or too old/just a few months from expiration.
      Or perhaps some other microbes are "out of whack" in your sinuses, and not L. sakei.
      Are you perhaps taking other medicines (antibiotics) or using other products for the nose that may be killing off beneficial bacteria and so negating the L. sakei effects? For example, BLIS K12 (see post), essential oils, or silver.
      Research suggests that sinusitis plus nasal polyps adds extra inflammation that also has to be dealt with. Another possibility is that even though L. sakei "dominates over and inhibits pathogenic bacteria" such as S. aureus, perhaps it doesn't work for the microbes causing your sinusitis.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  26. Thomas Gentil

    Hello,

    I would like to know whoever wrote this article if your sinus issues are completely cured? Or do you have to keep using kimchi to maintain them well?

    Also, have you used probiotics that contain L . Sakei as nose rinse?

    Thanks,
    Thomas

    Reply
    1. Sima

      It's now over 3 1/2 years since we started and Lactobacillus sakei still works to treat sinusitis - and it doesn't seem to matter what L. sakei product is used (kimchi, Lactopy, etc). Unfortunately, L. sakei from these products does not seem to colonize in the sinuses so we (and everyone else) has to use a L. sakei product whenever we get sinusitis again from a cold, virus, etc. The rest of the time we feel totally fine, so we only treat when needed.
      We are very cautious so we have not used L. sakei as a nose rinse - we've only used it as described in the posts and pages.

      Reply
      1. Thomas Gentil

        Thank you for the answer!

        When you refer to chronic sinusitis, do you mean chornic runny nose, post-nasal drip? in my case, that's what I have. someitmes ill feel pressure on the sinsues, but day to day its just a constant runny nose and post-nasal drip. would L. kasei help with this as well?
        Also, is there a difference between L.Casei and L. Kasei? I have a probtioci called PB8 which contains L.Casei and was wondering if it would work?
        Thanks again

        Youve been great help

        Reply
          1. Sima

            Chronic sinusitis can have different symptoms for everyone, from minor symptoms to very severe, but yes - typically there is a problem with postnasal drip, with frequent gagging (and perhaps coughing or throat clearing) with mucus and phlegm. Lactobacillus sakei definitely clears up all the symptoms you mention.

            Reply
  27. Thomas Gentil

    Hello, its me again.
    You mention that "kimchi has L. sakei in it from about 2 weeks after being made to about 2 1/2 months after being made. )"- does this mean if I buy my Kimchi I should not open it for 2 weeks just to make sure? Or if I open it then it will no longer be good ?

    You also say: "My rationale was that I was inhaling the bacteria this way and that it would travel up the nasal passages on their own to my sinuses. I did this regimen once or twice a day initially until I started feeling better, then started doing it less frequently, and eventually only as needed.""

    You did this once or twice a day for how long until you started feeling better?
    Also, the Kimchi I ordered is homemade from a korean family but they put sugar and pepper in it- is this ok?

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I would call up the place the kimchi came from and ask when it was made (they can tell you when it was made based on the "use by" date).
      We went through many , many jars of kimchi experimenting and seeing what works for us.
      If the kimchi works for a person, the person just uses it until they feel good (could be more than a week, perhaps 2 or so). But improvement should be within a few days.
      It appears that many different kimchi recipes work, so sugar and pepper should be OK. And hopefully there is garlic and other spices too. I suspect that these are all important.
      Just make sure the kimchi is NOT pasteurized - that would kill off any bacteria, including L.sakei. The product should be live,fermented (thus needing refrigeration).
      Just remember - it's all self-experimentation in finding what works and what doesn't.

      Reply
  28. Cathy

    Hi, thanks for all of your information. I'm trying kimchi after a round of antibiotics for one week (which I'm finished with) and manuka honey/xylitol rinses. My sinuses seem clear but I have some pressure and a lot of body aches and fatigue. I'm waiting after the rinse at least an hour. My Sunja Medium Spicy Kimchi which I purchased at Whole Foods has a best by date of 6/15/2017 so it was made on 1/15/2017 ( if I count back the 5 months as mentioned in a previous post)? But today is only 12/31/17. Do you think maybe it was made on 12/15/17? I'm wondering if I can use it now or should I wait. I know it was mentioned Sunja Kimchi not working in the past but I don't have a lot of options locally so I thought I would give it a try.

    I am hoping to try another one from a place called the Brinery made locally, if Sunja's does not work and I've also purchased a package of Bactoferm F-RM-52. For the Bactoferm you have mentioned to not have anything older than a year. I'm curious about some dates they have on the package. It says Date of manufacture 09.2016 and Best Before date 03.2016. So do I need to use it before 03.2016 or it's okay to use till 09.2017 but may lose some potency? Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I would not use manuka honey/xylitol rinses at the same time as trying a L. sakei product. The honey/xylitol products are meant to kill bacteria, while the goal of kimchi, etc is to add a bacteria (L. sakei) to the sinuses. L. sakei is a beneficial bacteria that is also anti-pathogenic bacteria, and probably anti-biofilm.
      The kimchi June date should be good - the newest Sunja's kimchi in the stores is now "best by 7/15/17" (thus produced within the last few weeks). I think they've now extended the best by date to 6 months. We are still using Sunja's kimchi - but we expriment with the different types.
      I'm surprised at the short Bactoferm F-RM-52 expiration date - the one I just bought was made in 2016 and is good till early 2018.
      Whether or not L. sakei is still alive can only be determined by self-experimentation.

      Reply
      1. Cathy

        Wow, thank you so much for answering so quickly. I had to look closer on the date. I stand corrected the Bactoferm says "Best by date of 03.2018" so it is actually 1.5 years! There is a note on the back that says "Storage: When not in use keep culture sealed and frozen. Shelf life of frozen culture is 6 months, while unfrozen culture will last a matter of" than its blank...assuming it meant days. So it looks like it could last for 1.5 years but maybe most powerful for 6 months?
        That makes sense about the extension of Sunna's kimchi date.

        Yes I am definitely stopping the honey/xylitol rinse before using the kimchi. Is an hour enough or should I stop for a few days first before trying it? Have you ever used Kimchi when you are primarily just fatigued and achy after a sinus infection? My left sinus feels a little pressure/pain but drainage and congestion is very minimal. Just don't want to "waste" my precious kimchi :). I'm ready to give it a go!

        Thank you for your very educational website and all of your hardwork.
        Happy New Year to you and your family!

        Reply
        1. Sima

          I personally would wait at least 24 hours after stopping honey/xylitol. (personal opinion)
          I have used Lactobacillus sakei products (including kimchi) when I am sick with a virus, after a virus, and whenever I feel "off". I use it until I feel "normal" again.
          Just remember that in kimchi every batch (and even jar) is different in L. sakei levels, and even if it has it.

          Reply
          1. Cathy

            Hello, I was wondering if you would typically feel immediately or would it take awhile to feel any progress with the Kimchi? I've tried it for about 1.5 days and still feel a lot of achy, fatigue. Not sure if I feel hugely different maybe slightly. Thinking of trying a different brand of Kimchi. I'm trying the local "The Brinery" kimchi, may head into the Sunja brand and than next the Bactoferm. Self experimentation:) My husband thinks I'm crazy lol but I do believe the data you've shown with the lack of L Sakei in the nasal passages. Thank you and have a great evening!

            Reply
  29. Ted Riecken

    I am yet another "n" that you can add to the growing evidentiary base of the success of the the Lactobacillus sakei treatment for sinusitis. I came across this site while searching for information on chronic sinus infections which I have battled intermittently for years. Having a deviated septum means that even a simple cold will sometimes develop into a lingering sinus infection and I have learned the hard way that multiple courses of antibiotics have little or no effect. In early December, three weeks into yet another sinus infection I tried the Kimchi treatment and within two days I could feel a difference. The infection is now gone, and it has left more quickly than with any other treatment such as antibiotics, decongestants, nasal spray and the like. What an amazing discovery, and even better contributions to health you are making through this site. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  30. Shara Pisowicz

    I started with the bactoferm on Saturday and have done AWESOME, close to miraculous. Until Wednesday evening, I took a couple steps back. Today is Friday and I have green drainage. Not sure what to think or do. Any insight or direction would be great.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Hmmm.... Don't know, but some possibilities come to mind: Could this be old, old mucus deep down in your sinuses coming out? If you feel fine otherwise, that may be a possibility.
      Another: Is the Bactoferm F-RM-52 on the old side (over a year old) and perhaps has lost its effectiveness (the L. sakei died off after the few times the package was opened)? (A few people have mentioned this happening. I've had that happen once - got only one week out of one package.)
      Also, a fresh batch for treatment must be made every time you want to use it - can't just make some and keep it in the refrigerator.
      Another possibility is to just stop using it and see what happens - since the stuff is strong, typically we would keep improving (for at least a day or 2) even without using it for a day or two. It depends how sick we were when we started treatment - sometimes we only need to treat once or twice, and sometimes it goes on for days.

      Reply
      1. Shelley Martin

        I am currently in Levofloxacin 500mg day 6 of ten. I am taking Ultra 25 probiotic complex to counteract. If I wanted to stop the antibiotic and start the kimchee, how should I do it? I'm about three weeks into the sickness.

        Reply
          1. Sima

            I wouldn't bother with any L. sakei treatment, including kimchi, until the antibiotic course is done. Then one can experiment.

            Reply
    1. Sima

      No. Because there is no guarantee that L. sakei or other probiotic products will work for a person. It's self-experimentation.

      Reply
  31. Shelley Martin

    Thank you for all of your information. I understand that I'm asking questions you may feel uncomfortable answering.

    Reply
  32. JOSEPH SQUITIERI

    I have been suffering with sinusitis for years. Last year has been the worst. I have tried many things, correction, I TRIED EVERYTHING. I tried Mama O''s Premium today February 26, 2017 @ 3:30pm coming off full blown sinus infection. My nose was plugged for days and slowly getting better. First treatment I felt a warm tingling in my sinus cavity and my nose opened up by the hour there was improvement that was nothing short of miracle like power. Just did my last treatment at around 9:30pm for the night. So in total I did 2 treatments today.

    Reply
  33. isla

    i'm going for the kimchi method again, tried it about a year ago and I thought it really helped a 'backdrip' caused by sinus infections, and made a horrible taste in my mouth all the time. Also felt my sinus infections went away for a long time after that but forgot to take notes.
    May i just point out the chemical differences between manganese and manganese sulfate monohydrate. They are completely different molecules, and they do not behave in the same way in the body. So you will not be getting a beneficial effect from eating manganese sulfate monohydrate, it is harmful to the body. Pointing out that manganese is an essential mineral for the body is misleading. That's like saying soduim is the same as sodium sulphate or that carbon is the same as carbon dioxide.
    Thankyou for this amazing wesbite and article,
    isla

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Glad that kimchi worked for you.
      Yes, I realize there are differences between the two forms of manganese. However, the link I gave for manganese points out that it can also be known as manganese sulfate monohydrate, and other sites point out that manganese can come in a variety of forms, including the one I discuss. It is a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substance.
      As usual, it is best to get vitamins and minerals from food sources rather than a supplement.

      Reply
  34. Patrick

    Hi, I've been looking for Bactoferm F-RM-52 here in Canada, and have not been successful. However, I did find BITEC Starter LS 25, which contains Staphylococcus carnosus and Lactobacillus sakei (sold by the Tronoto branch of Canada Compound , a butcher supply company). It doesn't say the proportions on the data sheet, but I'm hopeful that it is similar. Has anyone tried it?

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I've only heard from one person in Denmark who liked the product, but still had some ongoing problems with sinusitis, so it is unclear how good a product it is (as compared to Bactoferm F-RM-52).

      Reply
  35. Marti

    Just got my Bactofrm F-RM-52 in the mail yesterday and used it last night. I am crossing my fingers that this works since surgery, antibiotics, steroids, various sinus rinses, essential oils, vitamin supplements, and other treatments have not helped. I've had non-stop sinus problems for 3 year and I'm ready for it to end!! When I woke up this morning, I felt better than normal and I didn't have a sneeze attack until an hour later. I usually have one within 5 or 10 minutes of waking. I'm hoping that's a good sign and not just a coincidence.

    Reply
    1. Marti

      Day 2... I've been using the Bactiferm 4 times per day and have noticed that the mucus is now yellowish instead of clear or white. Is this normal? I had a rough time last night and was completely blocked up for a few hours. I was using an antibiotic ointment in my saline rinse but stopped when I started using the bactoferm. Should I continue to use saline rinses? How about xylitol rinses? I really want this to work and I don't want to do anything that will reduce the impact that the bactoferm has.

      Reply
      1. Sima

        Whoa...please stop using it! Based on your symptoms getting worse, I suspect that there is no live L. sakei in the product. Perhaps it died in shipping? Too old? By day 2 there should have been improvement with that product, and since you used it so many times - also a drying of the sinuses. I've never used more than 2 times a day because it is very drying.

        Reply
        1. Marti

          Ok. No more of that batch for me. Maybe I should try the kimchi. Which brand and how do I know if it's in the right zone for having the L. sakei? Does it have a date when it was made on it or just a sell by date? I've seen a bunch of places on the East Coast where they make it but I live in the Los Angeles area. Do you have a place where you get yours online? I really am desperate to get rid of this problem... where can I get the right probiotics to fix it?

          Reply
            1. Marti

              Got my kimchi today from an Asian market near me. They only had one brand and it's made in Los Angeles. I dabbed some juice in my nose and I'm waiting for the magic to begin.

              Reply
              1. Marti

                I've been using kimchi for 5 days now. I thought I might be having a reaction to it on the second day and stopped using it for a day but then I realized it was a reaction to something else and started using it again. I still have junk in my sinuses but it is WAY better than it has been over the last few months. I started using it on a Friday, had a really bad sinus day on Saturday, and then felt really good on Sunday and every day since. I am reluctant to say it's working since I haven't even used it for a full week yet, but I will say that the last time my sinuses felt this clear was the day my ENT sucked all the packing out of them after my surgery. That was over 6 months ago. I'm on my second jar of kimchi now and have a 3rd jar in the fridge waiting to go next week. Ive got my fingers crossed that this is not a coincidence and that it really is working.

              2. A.K

                Marti
                Could you keep us updated with your progress? I had the same issues with the b-2/bactoferm and was wondering if some kimchi juice might help me out.
                Thanks

              3. Sima

                A number of people report trying one L. sakei product (including different kimchis) after another until they find what works best. Some people are reporting that kimchi, with many different microbes in it, can also be anti-fungal in its effects.

  36. Marti

    Hi A.K,

    It's been 11 days since my first kimchi use. I have noticed a huge improvment but I still have problems with swollen turbinates especially on the left side. Every few hours my left side closes up (apparently this is a normal function of the nose/sinuses called the nasal cycle) and I feel horribly blocked on that side. Most people don't notice their nasal cycles but since my turbinates are enlarged, it is uncomfortable for me. I feel a tingling in my left nostril that feels like a bug in my nose. It seems to happen when my nostril is closing up. I still have mucous issues but only after my nasal cycle opens one side or the other but I can blow my nose and get it all out, which hasn't been the case in a very long time. I also feel a little dry in my nose about 1/2 inch up from my left nostril. Other than that, it feels pretty darn good up there. I really have to thank Sima for this article because I am convinced now that the kimchi worked for me. I am going to hold off on using that 3rd jar to see if my turbinates will go back to normal. I know the kimchi didn't cause the swelling but the spice in it might be contributing to keeping them inflamed. I really hope you find some relief too. It's been three years of this for me and I really feel like the kimchi is a miracle treatment. I have an appointment with my allergist next month. I'm wondering what he'll say about it.

    Reply
    1. Marti

      Update: After 2 day of rest from the kimchi, I woke up to violent sneezing and a nose full of mucus. My sinuses were almost completely blocked. I took a hot shower, which helped a little, then opened my 3rd jar of kimchi. It's been about 5 hours and my sinuses feel like they are starting to clear up. I guess I'll stick to the kimchi for a while. Sima, how long does one need to use kimchi to be rid of an infection? I'm sure it's different for each person but can you give me a ball park estimate?

      Reply
      1. Sima

        The very first time we used kimchi, we used it about 3 weeks straight (we varied). Now we may need to use it only a few times (or more). One can even taper off by using it every other day or so. We're relaxed about it nowadays - only do it as needed.

        Reply
  37. Monique

    Any info on where i can find any of these things in Australia?
    I found Bactoferm F-RM-7 which contains Lactobacillus sakei, Staphylococcus carnosus, Staph.xylosus bacteria. Would that be ok?

    Reply
  38. Marti

    It's been 25 days since I started using kimchi and I feel so much better than I did before. I am still using it once or twice per day and I can totally tell when the l. Sakei has died in my kimchi jar... I start getting congested again. When this happens, I pop open a new jar and within 5 or 6 hours I feel my sinuses start to clear. I'm not sure how long I will have to use this stuff but even if I have to use it every day for the rest of my life, I will. I told my alerigist what I was doing and I was very surprised when he said "well if it's working then keep doing it". I really thought he was going to say something negative about it. I still have some inflammation going on up there but I can breathe out of both nostrils and for now, that's good enough.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Good to hear that the kimchi is working.
      Too bad we still don't know which microbes are critical in maintaining a healthy sinus microbiome (besides L. sakei, that is). Research finds biofilms in both healthy people and those with chronic sinusitis (here and here). Research just starting of "snot transplants" will hopefully also answer some questions.

      Reply
  39. Alicia

    Hi there,

    Really wanted to try Bactoferm F-RM-52.
    Contacted a couple of US companies and they said they only ship inside US and not internationally - namely, United Kingdom.

    Considered the other product but the Korean websites seem to only be interested if you're a company as they ask for that in their registration forms?

    Advice please,
    Thanks

    Reply
      1. Sima

        It would be great to know if these probiotics help. Unfortunately, no one has reported that swallowing supplements has helped the sinuses.

        Some products are available in the UK, including at least one kimchi brand and perhaps some of the starter cultures made in Europe (see post). Chr Hansen has a facility in the UK so perhaps they supply Bactoferm F-RM-52 or B-2 to sausage supply retailers in the UK. Chr Hansen does not sell directly to the public.

        Reply
        1. Alicia

          Hi Sima,

          I've finally got a hold of distributor for Chr. Hansen.
          They sell B2.
          But the ingredients are:
          Sucrose, Culture, Silicon dioxide E551
          ('Culture' being Lactobacillus Sakei) - I'm cautious about putting sucrose and silicon dioxide up my nose...?

          They can sell one sachet (25g) for £11.13 + VAT, and post it for £5 + VAT.

          Thanks

          Reply
          1. Sima

            My understanding is that the other ingredients are to feed the bacteria (sucrose) and keep the ingredients from sticking together (silicon dioxide).
            We have always used products cautiously: just dab or smear a little of the L. sakei mixture (with distilled or bottled water) in nose (like a messy toddler eating), and the L. sakei travels up the nostrils to sinuses on its own.

            Reply
            1. Alicia

              Hi Sima,

              Would I just use 1/8tsp initially with filtered water and put the rest thats unused in the freezer in its original packet?

              Thanks

              Reply
              1. Alicia

                Would I keep doing this daily until my sinuses clear up or until it stops working?

                What are the signs that I should stop?

                Is there any possibility of having adverse consequences to doing this?

                If I was to have a packet posted and it didn't work - would that mean I would need to buy another packet in case the first one had dead L. sakei ?

                Thanks

              2. Sima

                Alicia: This is all self-experimentation.
                I would only use as needed, and no more. See for overall results so far.

          2. Rio

            Hi Alicia,

            I’m trying to find a distributor for Bactoferm in the UK, can you share where I can buy get this?

            Reply
          3. Debbie

            Hi Alicia could you give me the contact details for the distributor and did the b2 work.
            Thanks Debbie.

            Reply
  40. Steven

    Why not put the probiotic in a nasal pot and rinse your sinus with it? Is that not more effective than just rubbing it in your nose? Please explain.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I initially followed the protocol used in the Abreu et al study which did exactly that to mice - because I was being very cautious, but this method worked great. The L. sakei bacteria travel up on their own to the sinuses - no matter how it is done - dabbing, smearing, snorting, etc.
      Kimchi should only be dabbed or smeared in the sinuses because otherwise it would be absolutely too irritating. How one uses other L. sakei products is all self-experimentation.

      Reply
  41. Steven

    Well last night I emptied a probiotic capsule in my neti pot and rinsed my sinuses. I woke up this morning with a slight fever and coughing up green mucus.. I hope this is a good thing.

    Reply
      1. Sima

        Please don't try that probiotic anymore! Apparently the types of bacteria in that probiotic are not effective against sinusitis, or they may be dead. When a probiotic works, the person feels better by the next day - not worse. This is another reason to be cautious when trying out a new product - just dabbing a smearing a little in the nostrils will tell you if the effects are beneficial or not (or no effect).

        Reply
        1. Steven

          I tried the recommened Sunja's Kimchi from Wholefoods and I did not feel anything at all...Maybe a bad bottle?

          Reply
          1. Sima

            Several possibilities: maybe too old or too new. Whole Foods just started carrying a 12/15/17 date (so wait 2 weeks). Which means probably Oct and Nov date is OK. Some types of kimchi may work better than others - perhaps try Sunja's white kimchi. Or another brand altogether (just make sure it has garlic in it). It's all self-experimentation.

            Reply
              1. Sima

                People have reported using kimchi with and without seafood in it without negative effects. However, no study has been done. I wrote about this issue (vegan vs seafood kimchi) a while back.
                I personally have never tried anything but a vegan kimchi, so I don't know if there are any differences in results.

  42. Marti

    It's been about 2 months since I've been using kimchi and even though I still sneeze a lot and have to blow my nose frequently, I have not had a sinus infection. I reduced the kimchi use from every day to once every week or two. I still have issues, especially in he morning right after I wake up but it's nothing like it used to be. I found another product that seems to work and I can eat what I don't put in my nose... LOL. It is a sauerkraut with garlic that is carried by Costco. I prefer sauerkraut to kimchi any day so this was a good find for me. It seems to work just as well and I don't have to feel guilty about throwing the full jar away after I've used the juice for a week. I still have tickling and vibrating in my nose but I feel like that was caused by my surgery. I wish the l. Sakei could fix that too but maybe over time, it will go back to normal.

    Reply
  43. Ben

    Has anyone read the ASM paper on the metagenomic analysis of Kimchi? It notes several bacteria that are responsible for the fermentation of Kimchi. And I wonder what effects these other bacteria have on the sinuses. “bacteria isolated and purified from kimchi fermenting cultures have shown that lactic acid bacteria (LAB), including the Leuconostoc species Le. mesenteroides, Le. kimchii, Le. citreum, Le. gasicomitatum, and Le. gelidum, the Lactobacillus species Lb. brevis, Lb. curvatus, Lb. plantarum, and Lb. sakei, Lactococcus lactis, Pediococcus pentosaceus, Weissella confusa, Weissella kimchii, and Weissella koreensis, are likely to be key players responsible for kimchi fermentation”. Also I thought this was interesting... “kimchi fermentation was governed by the distinct population dynamics of three genera, Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Weissella. Among them, the genus Leuconostoc was most abundant during the kimchi fermentation, followed by Lactobacillus and Weissella. Leuconostoc dominated at the beginning stages of kimchi fermentation, but as the fermentation progressed, the abundance of Lactobacillus and Weissella increased. After the middle stages of fermentation, Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Weissella became the predominant bacterial groups in the microbial community, and their cumulative abundance reached approximately 80% after day 23 (sample J23), and when the unclassified phylotypic groups were excluded from analysis, the three predominant bacterial groups constituted more than 98% of all bacterial groups. However, after day 23, the abundance of Leuconostoc increased again, and that of Lactobacillus and Weissella gradually decreased.”

    Here is the paper: http://aem.asm.org/content/77/7/2264.full

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Yes, that's a good paper. They analyzed one specific brand of kimchi in that study. Other studies have compared different kimchi brands and found that not all brands contain Lactobacillus sakei during fermentation. Also, when L. sakei appears and disappears during fermentation varies among brands, and probably among batches.

      Reply
  44. liz

    Hi,
    did you notice that you're cognitive function was better after treating your sinuses with l sakei? I have chronic sinusitis and gut problems, and I'm trying to improve both in order to fix multiple health problems...fatigue, joint pain, and all the other problems that go along w chronic gut/sinus issues.. However, the brain fog drives me crazy, and it's the most stubborn symptom. I have trouble concentrating and organizing, but when my sinuses are good, my head is clear, so I'm hoping that I can fix sinuses and brain fog for good.

    2nd - Did fixing your sinuses with l sakei make them more resilient, less sensitive?
    I'm hyper sensitive to any kind of particulate matter - whether it's pollen, dust or pollution... Anything that's dry & flies through the air... I've tested negative for allergies, but i'm miserable during allergy season. My doc says it's an overreaction to particles - not allergies (an IgE reaction). I have MCAS, however, which is I believe a result of my oversensitive system due to a bad microbiome

    thanks so much for all the good info!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      If L. sakei works for a person, then all sinusitis symptoms disappear (including inflammation). So the answer to both #1 and #2 is yes.

      Reply
  45. Diego

    Dear Mara

    Many thanks for sharing your insights. However, it does not seem to work for me. I tried several packages of Chongga kimchi which is well known for having L.sakei. I also ordered Lactopy Prime and Lactoby kimchi and tried that. I also used other probiotics such as Ultimate Flora.

    Furthermore, I also tried Beth's approach several times with just a bit of success. The litte success was that some mucus (green and sometimes yellow) came out. But my major state remains the same. Now, I am running out of ideas since I tried almost everything I found on the web. Do you have any ideas what could help?

    Best wishes,
    Diego

    Reply
    1. Sima

      It is unfortunate that nothing has worked so far. Since all the research now finds that people with chronic sinusitis have dysbiosis (sinus microbial community is out of whack) - then the answer probably lies there. It is thought by Dr. Susan Lynch that Lactobacillus sakei is a keystone species (necessary for sinus health), but perhaps there are other keystone species out there that you are missing?
      One possibility is to try swishing other probiotics (with multistrain species) around in the mouth (perhaps mixed with some bottled water) and see if there is a probiotic out there that helps (and then don't eat or drink for a little while). This way it's being much more cautious than swabbing or smearing it in the nostrils. Lactobacillus species are generally considered beneficial.
      It would be self-experimentation.
      Also, make sure that you are not taking any anti-bacterial or anti-microbial product (silver, tea tree oil, xylitol, etc) when trying beneficial bacteria.

      By the way, I just looked up Chongga kimchi on Amazon- it says it is pasteurized (heated to kill bacteria), so it would not contain any beneficial bacteria when you got it.
      Perhaps there is live fermented kimchi that you can purchase locally? - Just make sure it has garlic (very important for L. sakei growth) in it.

      Reply
      1. Diego

        Thanks. Where have you seen that it's pasteurized on Amazon? I have now bought an new one (again Chongga) where it explicitly states probiotics and will test that (and keep you posted). I'm sure it contains L.sakei

        I tried the multistrain already with Ultimate Flora. Maybe, it does not work because I still use the neti pot with salt only. So, I will also stop that for a while as well.

        Reply
        1. Sima

          It states it in the question and answer section. Products can initially have microbes, but then when they're pasteurized, the microbes die.

          Reply
  46. Castmore

    After reading most of this information, I have to advise that the folks with nasal polyposis, chronic sinusitis, and asthma be tested for AERD (Aspirin Exacerbated Respritory disease) Also known as Sampters Triad. I noticed 2 posts regarding this condition but there were no responses I could find. I was diagnosed with AERD about a year ago and have spent 10 years to have it diagnosed. I just had sinus surgery on july31 and the debulking opened up the breathing airways wonderfully. However, with this disease, there are few options and non of them cure the disease. Not much to look forward to other than upcoming inflammation and swelling as soon as the prednisone wares off. Ive been on oral probiotics for 10 years since this all began. I would really be interested in any additional information that supports the theory of diverse bacterial supplementation to heal sinusitis and perhaps AERD. Im also curious whether the biofilms are eliminated from the debulking process. Thanks for all of your posts/replies. Im encouraged that there may be hope. God Bless

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Yes, biofilms are eliminated with Lactobacillus sakei, including kimchi containing L. sakei.
      It is widely accepted now that chronic sinusitis is due to the microbial community being out of whack (dysbiosis). I have numerous posts on research documenting this, including here, here, here, and here. Check category SINUSITIS for more and related posts.

      Reply
    1. Sima

      Some anaerobic bacteria die off within minutes of oxygen exposure, while others take longer. L. sakei seems to take several days to die off.

      Reply
  47. Jacqui

    So glad I found this site! Have been struggling with chronic sinus and gut issues go over 20 years after several rounds of antibiotics.

    Immediately after reading thru this I put a dab of Kimchi juice up
    each nostril ( had some on hand, as I eat a lot of fermented veggies). I could tell almost immediately that something was happening. Almost felt as if there was a duel going on in my
    sinuses between the kimchi probiotics and the nasties in my sinuses. Had some stuffiness and stiff neck but went to bed and slept great last night and
    woke up this morning with clearer sinuses and feeling better!

    So, I bought some Sunja's Kimchi this morning and will continue with that.

    One question: I read on here that L. Sakei doesn't colonize in your sinuses but that L. Sakei is found in healthy sinuses?

    Anyway, thank you for putting this site together and I'm hopeful for continued improvement.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Research shows that probiotic supplements seem to have the problem of not sticking around, yet they somehow have beneficial effects (see post).
      I don't know why the L. sakei doesn't colonize in the sinuses - perhaps other microbes are also missing that would enable that to occur? After all, the sinus microbiome (microbial community) is out-of-whack (dysbiosis) in chronic sinusitis.

      Reply
      1. Diego

        Could it be that it takes more time? It is said that to colonize in the gut it takes several weeks to several months of treatment.

        Reply
        1. Sima

          While advertising makes it sound like probiotics stay around in the gut and "repopulate it" with the microbial species in the probiotic, studies show that the ingested probiotics don't stay around (even when taken for weeks) - they're gone about a week after the probiotic is discontinued.

          Reply
  48. Lana

    Hello, Sima!
    Thank you for what you do for all of us.
    I wanted to argue .. where can I buy Bactoferm F-RM-52, Lactopy, L.Saki in Cyprus?
    I really hope that your experience will help me.
    Life with sinusitis is unbearable!
    thanks for the help

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I would search for sausage-maker suppliers in Cyprus - some may carry sausage-starter cultures that contain Lactobacillus sakei - such as Bactoferm F-RM-52, B-2, PRIMAL SK natur 50, and BITEC LS-25.

      Reply
  49. Sima

    I see you worked it out. That is, that sausage makers use Lactobacillus sakei in sausage starter cultures because it kills pathogenic (bad) bacteria.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I looked at the product ingredients, and the bacteria in it is Enterococcus faecalis. Various Enterococci species (such as E. faecalis and E. faecium) are normally found in small amounts (only up to 1%) in the human small and large intestine.
      Since the use of these species in probiotics are controversial (can be beneficial and at times harmful), I would follow the package instructions and NOT use them in the nose.

      Reply
  50. Laura Mae

    Probiotics products made for the nose? I recently came across these products for sinus health. Has anyone tried them? ProbioMaxENT (chewable tablets); Probiotic ENT Defend (chewable tablets); and Restore nasal spray. Some of them list Streptococcus Salivarius as an active probiotic in them. It says they are freeze-dried and encapsulated to avoid damage to the probiotic bacteria. Any one tried these?
    Thanks to Sima and everyone who contributes to this website!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Research suggests S. salivarius is an immune booster, that it is good for oral health, and it lowers the incidence of upper respiratory infections. However, some people with chronic sinusitis have reported that taking it brought on sinusitis symptoms. So it may not agree with some microbial communities - only self-experimentation will answer that.

      Reply
  51. Mina

    Hello!
    What do you think about this offer of a german company? They are selling a freeze-dried mix of bacteria also including the sakei!
    Lactopia's Probio Sinumed
    They say it can be also used for cold inhalation with isotonic sodium chloride Solution but not with ultrasound inhalation machines because of its sensitivity.

    Maybe a good source for European Patients...

    Thanks for all your work and Information on this page!

    Reply
      1. Kosta

        Hi,
        I'm from Germany. I'm trying this product but so far I can not really say that I not significantly improved.

        Still not sure how to use it. Indeed i can not even tell that the bacteria lives.
        Does someone knows maybe a way to check if the bacteria is really working?

        Reply
        1. Sima

          Unfortunately, the only way to know that it is alive and actually works for a person is if there is an improvement in symptoms.
          No improvement can mean it's dead or that specific bacteria does not work for that specific person.

          Reply
        2. Marti

          Hi Kosta... I used the bactofrm with no positive results. I switched to kimchee and was amazed at how quickly it stared working. I had to use it 2 or 3 times per day for about 4 months before my sinus infection stopped coming back. It has been quite a few months and I am just now starting to develop another infection. I started using the kimchee again today. I hope it works quickly again!!

          Reply
  52. Wendy D

    I just ordered this for not to high a price considering I live in Canada and they are mailing it. apothexhealth.co/products/nasobiotex-l-sakei-powder I am going to add it to aloe vera and swab my nose with it. In the mean time I have also done the same with Culturelle probiotic and added a capsule to a teaspoon of aloe vera. I have only done this for 2 days now so I will see how this goes. I have been suffering with post nasal drip and coughing crap in the morning for weeks now.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Did you try this sakei powder? I just started using the kimchee juice (about 15 minutes ago, and my nose is clearing right up! I’m really very excited so far!), but if it doesn’t work for me completely, I think I may try this powder.

      Reply
  53. Connie

    Hi Sima,
    Thank you for posting all this information. This past week I did a google search of "sugar and sinus issues" and was amazed to find a good bit of information regarding "candida overgrowth" in the sinuses. I had my first sinus infection in '94 and was given antibiotics for my sinus issues for about 10 years ('94 - '04). In '04, I started getting these horrendous migraine like headaches about once a month and could not figure out what the cause was. Fast forward to this year when consuming sugar (not part of my daily diet, but it happened when I was on vacation) and queue the sinus infection and headaches which lead to my google search above. The idea is the same in that the candida/yeast is not regulated by the good bacteria so I have my fingers crossed that L. sakei will also address the candida overgrowth. I wanted to share my story in case others have the same issue. I did a search for "candida" on your pages and I don't see anything about "candida overgrowth". I just ordered Bactoferm F-RM-52 for the first time and if it works, 2018 will be the best year for my health in a long, long time! Thank you again for all your research and sharing this information.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Studies find that in sinusitis there is a microbial imbalance of many species, not just one species (here and here). And repeated antibiotics kills off beneficial microbes (including the keystone bacteria L. sakei) and leads to chronic sinusitis. Only modern genetic sequencing can see these microbial differences, not ordinary cultures (which is what one gets at a doctor's office).
      Many people have reported success in treating sinusitis with the use of probiotics (whether L. sakei, other probiotics, or kimchi) without changing anything else in their life, including diet. Hopefully this will also be true for you.

      Reply
  54. Hani

    Thank you for this powerful information. I had runny nose and post nasal drip for over 6 months after suffering from a bad cold while overseas. I tried saline and xylitol nasal rinses for about two weeks which only helped for a few hours after the rinse. I then tried the 1% baby shampoo solution saline rinse used by the Baylor head of ENT department. I used the shampoo rinse for only two days and did see dramatic improvement for a couple of days but then the runny nose returned. I then came across lactobacto. I agree with your hypothesis that the shampoo surfacants may in the long run make the sinusitus worse by killing beneficial bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. After about 5 days of Kim-chi juice application to my nostrils, the 6+ months of runny nose, with nose blowing about 25 times daily, has dramatically improved. It has been about two weeks of 90% reduced runny nose. However I still have post nasal drip, like I've always had for years but to a higher degree. Mucous accumulates in the back of the nose and I have to swallow more regularly than is probably healthy. Do you think further application of Kim-chi will help with post nasal drip? Also, has anyone else experienced discomfort when swallowing probably caused from months of sinusitis? My ENT's ignore most of what I tell them and just prescribe nasal steroids. Really a useless profession. Thanks for your help

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Postnasal drip is a huge problem in people with chronic sinusitis, and typically results in sore throats (especially when waking in the morning). One can feel like they're gagging on phlegm, and perhaps always coughing from it.
      That said, it makes me suspect that the kimchi you used did not have enough L. sakei in it to properly treat the sinusitis. I have had that also occur, and then I open a new jar of kimchi (the same or a new type) or try a different source of L. sakei or a different probiotic. Because if something works - there is improvement in all symptoms within a few days, including phlegm. If one is really sick (acute sinusitis), then one can drain initially (just like if one takes antibiotics), but then after that there should be improvement in all symptoms.
      Also, many people report taking plain Maximum Strength 12 hour Mucinex (Guaifenesin 1200 mg) at night to "thin" phlegm if it's thick - but only as needed.

      Reply
  55. Marti

    Has anyone tried freezing kimchee juice with any success? I feel like I am wasting the juice I don’t use within 6 days and I would love to be able to freeze smaller, individual “servings” so I’m not having to buy kimchee every week.

    Reply
  56. Tuna

    Hi Sima,

    Would swimming in a chlorinated pool 2x3 a week affect my sinus biome? Would the strong chemicals that kill bacteria in the pool water also kill healthy bacteria on my skin and sinus passages?

    Any advice would be great!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      That is a very good question! I have not seen any research about this issue regarding the nasal and sinus passages, but there has been research about all the things we do and the products we use (soap, shampoo, essential oils, deodorant, etc.) disrupting our skin microbial communities (viruses, bacteria, fungi, archaea).
      However, research also shows the skin microbial communities are amazingly numerous: "Studies show that at least one million microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, etc.) occupy each square centimeter of skin. Humans shed over one million biological particles per hour."
      Some research also suggests that our personal skin microbiome is surprisingly stable over time.

      Reply
  57. Jonelle

    Hi Sima,
    Thank you so much for this information. It is helping restore my faith with the idea that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My husband just starting sneezing one day back in Dec 2011 and life hasn't been the same since. He had surgery once, multiple rounds of antibotics, prednisone, Fluconazole for 30 days with a no sugar diet to clear the gut ( he lost 19lbs, he is a personal trainer), Psuedomonas and Staph epidermis in the nasal canal and intermittent facial paralysis to the right side x3-4 episodes (lasts a few hours and goes away on its own) Neuro has run every test but found nothing. ENT thinks it a one of the cranial nerves being effected in that area due to so much inflammation in sinus cavity. Now he suffers from constant post nasal drip with severe SOB, wheezing, coughing, gagging, clearing of the throat, loss of smell and taste. It has affected every aspect of our life. I even had him squirt Braggs ACV up his nose... sigh... I called the sausagemaker company based out of New York to get more info on the Bactoferm and how to use it. They no clue about what I was referring to when I mentioned using it for sinus purposes, lol. Do you just pinch off a small piece (how much approx) and dissolve it in your neil med bottle? Add it to the saline rinse? The Sunja's Kimchi $84 is that the correct price? We have a Whole Foods near us, is there a brand that you recommend of kimchi that has L. Sakei? Any probiotic brand you recommend? Should we be opening the probiotic capsules and making a spray? Sorry to overwhelm, just feeling desperate. I am grateful for any assistance or guidance. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      People generally try one thing at a time (for at least a few days) to see what works for them - it's all self-experimentation. The amounts and how to use are in the post above.
      Please also look at the post The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis for more information.
      Re kimchi: The cheapest, easiest, and what most people do is to try refrigerated kimchi brands available locally.
      I personally have not put anything into a Neilmed bottle - I'm much too cautious, and there is absolutely no need to do so.

      Reply
  58. Gill Stewart

    I am a long term sinus sufferer for about 7 years. Mine was triggered by illhealth in pregnancy. I have tried a LOT of remedies over the years and my sinuses are hugely helped by a better diet/fermented foods/sorting my gut. But the nasal inflammation remains (and I avoid surgery).

    Anyway, I was very excited to read your reports and they make complete sense to me. I tried some kimchi (I'm in the UK) but found it quite spicy for my nose and then tried a brand of sauerkraut which had been fermented with turmeric root (no garlic!). It has actually worked really well. Even if my sinuses get no better from here (still have congestion and a little pain) they are hugely improved from 5 days ago when I started. Hugely. I wonder if the turmeric root fermented contains similar bacteria to the garlic?

    I suspect in a decade or so there will be wonderful nasal sprays with probiotics especially geared up for the sinuses.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Wow! You are the first to mention turmeric. I have not seen any studies looking at beneficial microbes growing in the presence of turmeric. Would love to hear how it all turns out.

      Reply
  59. Tom

    I ‘ve been suffering from chronic sinusitis more than five years .I tried irrigation with baby shampoo ,xylitol , betadine but nothing helped. After having read your blog and some articles about microbiome of healthy sinuses I decided to try L. sakei directly into my nose and maxillary sinuses. I was able to buy BITEC LS 25-2 a starter culture with L. sakei and S. carnosus . First I smeared inside of my nose with dissolved bacteria and next day my snot was dark brown but after a few days nothing more happened. So I decided to put the bacteria directly into my maxillary sinuses because I have augmented maxillary sinus ostia after FESS surgery. Next day the snot coming out of my sinuses was dark brown with a little bit of blood and I felt more pain. I don’t know what caused such reaction but I was afraid to continue. The one thing that helps me a little is virgin coconut oil also put directly into my sinuses.
    I found a page with a new product. I wonder if this may be effective. https:// probiorinse.com

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Good thing you stopped using it when it didn't help.
      Researchers agree that the sinus microbiome (microbial community) is out-of-whack in sinusitis. But what microbes work as a treatment for people appears to vary - most people are helped by L. sakei, but not all.
      The probiotic in the product you mention is Lactococcus lactis. Unknown if it helps. Their directions concerns me - sounds like too much in several ways.

      Reply
  60. Anonymous

    Hi Sima,

    A couple of comments/questions:

    1) Have you ever considered that people's experiences may be the result of placebo? You talk a lot about "double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial" on your site. Shouldn't the same rigor be applied to the l sakei method?

    2) What does N. Abreu think of all this - has she ever commented on the validity of these recommendations?

    3) Not to criticize in anyway, but I find it incredible the success rate reported by users. What percentage of individuals would you say have had little/no success or even a negative experience using this method? I have never encountered a therapy purported to work so effectively.

    Thanks for the information,
    An intrigued (but concerned) reader

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Abreu et al are doing clinical trials, as well as other researchers (to develop nasal sprays). Their original research in 2012 showed success with Lactobacillus sakei. One study is looking at "snot transplants".
      When people are very sick, are not responding to antibiotics anymore, and then have amazing success (improvement within hours or days) with a probiotic treatment without anything else (e.g. antibiotics) - it is not a placebo effect. But for each person it is self-experimentation at this point (N=1). My family is N=4, and we've had success for more than 5 years.
      People typically know within a few days if the bacteria is alive and working for them.
      Others, on other web-sites, have described similar miraculous results after reading about it on this site and trying it on their own (using kimchi, or a Lactobacillus sakei product, etc.). Based on people contacting me or commenting on this site, I would say the majority of people have success - but I don't have the funds to run a clinical trial, so I can't give numbers.
      If interested, click on the category SINUSITIS and/or PROBIOTICS for posts about research in those areas.

      Reply
  61. Lauren

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this! You've clearly put in so much work into ensuring that people have access to this information so folks can self-experiment with some confidence.

    A couple of questions. I'm curious if folks with chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps have written to you about their experiences with L Sakei experimentation being successful or not? I understand that nasal polyps are related to underlying chronic inflammation, often from pervasive allergies and chronic sinusitis, and it seems promising that the L Sakei would be helpful.

    I've been dealing with nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis myself for about ten years, having had surgery 5 years ago, and I mostly deal with flareups from late fall through early spring. The polyps trap mucous that occurs from allergies, virus, or infection, and then often worsen whatever infection is occurring as the mucous cannot drain, which leads to even MORE inflamed polyps in a vicious cycle. I had tried a few bottles and brands of kimchi as suggested on this site and while there were some improvements at first I eventually became MORE inflamed in my polyps, which may have been a reaction to the spices or something else in the fermentation, or possibly something unrelated like a virus or spring allergies, I'm not sure. I just started on a small dose of prednisone to reduce inflammation that has been so bad that an entire nostril has been blocked, and I just started administering Nasobiotex fluid in the nostrils hoping as the polyps reduce that the L Sakei can make it into the parts of my sinuses that it needs to reach. We'll see!

    Last question, with the possible drying effects of these treatments, I'm curious if you have suggestions for keeping nasal passageways moisturized with something that doesn't jeopardize the probiotics? I live in the high desert and dryness definitely impacts my sinus comfort and inflammation, and I usually use a xylitol saline spray but I'm aware that would likely kill of the probiotics while in treatment.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      Nasal polyps are tough. Only some people have written about their nasal polyp experiences - some have had problems finding something that works (have problems getting probiotics past the polyps), while others say L. sakei helps.
      Yes, L. sakei is drying - but most of the drying is in the sinuses (stops the phlegm drip or having to blow the nose constantly).
      A good product for dry nasal passages is Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Mist (water, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate)- a sterile saline solution that can be used daily.

      Reply
  62. Jessica

    Sima, thank you so much for sharing your research and findings with others who are desperate for help.

    1. What was your schedule for taking Lacto Sinus - How many times per day and what time of the day (first thing in the morning, after a meal, before bed, etc)?

    2. How many days before you saw improvement and how many days before complete relief from symptoms?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  63. Jessica

    Hello again, Is it preferable to take in an empty stomach or will it have difficulty surviving on an empty stomach?

    Reply
    1. Sima

      The point of any Lactobacillus sakei product is to get it up into the sinuses (local application) - which is why people dab/smear/spoon a little into the nose (like a "messy eater") or swish the powder dry in the mouth (or perhaps mixed with a little water) and then not eating or drinking for a while. It's so it has a chance to get up into the sinuses and throughout the respiratory tract, and not be washed away immediately. No research has found just plain ingesting a probiotic helps the sinuses.
      We usually did it once a day (whenever we felt like it), max twice (if very ill). It's all self experimentation what works, how long it takes, etc.
      (more details).

      Reply
  64. Robert B

    Over the past month I tried 3 different brands of Kimchi. I followed the recommended criteria: unpasteurized, long expiry date, used within 6 days of opening, and garlic in ingredients. But the overall results were a mild improvement that was barely noticeable after a couple of days , so I stopped.
    This morning, the shipment of frozen Bactoferm B-2 (L.sakei) just arrived from NZ. I followed the recommended procedure, but also decided to gargle some in my throat, and then swallowed it (which caused a mild tummy ache a few minutes later, so won't do that again). It has been 3 hours now and my sinus has cleared about 25%. I will update this post with my observations for the next few days.
    My history: I'm 42, and have sinus issues my whole life. Blocked nose almost every day, barely ever breathe through my nose, and ALWAYS sleep with my mouth open. I've had one nose operation to correct a deviated septum, which was a complete and utter waste of time, and has left my nose somewhat fagile and more crooked than it was before. I'd have to say my nose and my breathing is the biggest health issue I've had in my life. It's got to the point that I find it difficult having long conversations with friends, because I find it tiring after a while talking with a chronic blocked nose. And I never seem to have a good nights sleep.

    Reply
  65. Hummer

    Please explain why the Lacto supplement you sell is mixed with water. Wouldn’t normal saline be a better choice. It is at the ph of the body and so would not irritate the nose like water could.

    Reply
    1. Sima

      All L. sakei powder products can be mixed with water (bottled or boiled) when used.
      When self-experimenting (using it by dabbing, smearing, or spooning just a little in the nose) - there is no irritation in the nose at all, because it's at the base of the nostrils (like a messy eater).
      I have never ever used it as a saline rinse (in a syringe or neti pot) - there is no need for that, and one can get much too big a dose.

      Please note: All probiotics sold in the US can only be sold as a dietary supplement. The FDA has not approved any probiotics to be sold as a medical treatment at this time. Which is why Lacto Health sells Lacto Sinus as a supplement - to be taken by mouth either with water or plain powder.

      Any other use is self-experimentation - which has been discussed on this site for years (since 2013!).

      Reply
  66. Hummer

    So just to be clear, none of the product actually enters the nares, just the rim of the nose. I plan on experimenting with this product and want to have greatest possible rate of success. If none enters the nares then how do the bacteria travel up the nose to the sinuses

    Reply
    1. Sima

      One can try it that way, or can self-experiment with dabbing/smearing about 1/2" into each nostril.
      Can try swishing in the mouth (but then don't put food or liquids in the mouth for a while). The bacteria then travel on their own up to the sinuses.
      What works varies from person to person (self-experimentation!).

      Reply
  67. George

    I tried the Lacto Sinus and my sinuses feel much better.
    I tried it two ways. I put it raw on a spoon, put it in my mouth, and let it dissolve. And I mixed it with water and dabbed it into my nose several times.
    After a few days my sinuses felt better than they have in years.

    Reply
  68. Alex

    Hi!
    I have tried the kimchi method a few times, and my sinuses seem to improve a bit each time. However, my nose also gets very, very dry after doing it for a week or so, to the point where I have to stop. Any ideas why this happens?

    I have used a Swedish brand called Tistelvind.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Sima

      I do know that the spices in kimchi have a temporary decongestant effect - lasts about 6 or more hours.
      Lactobacillus sakei products can have drying effect in the mouth and sinuses on the day it's used, and maybe the next day (if a lot is used).
      However, kimchi typically doesn't have this effect - it's usually gentle in its effects.
      I looked at the ingredients on the Tistelvind kimchi - they look good.
      Perhaps try using it only once a day, or once every other day or every few days - and only as needed. Maybe every day is too much.

      Reply

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