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What can the amazing beneficial bacteria Lactobacilus sakei treat? We know it can treat sinusitis (sinus infections) - based on the original Abreu et al (2012) research, personal experiences, and feedback from hundreds of people since I started this site in 2013. Can it treat bronchitis? Earaches? How about skin infections? L. sakei dominates over and inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Instead of using antibiotics - what else could L. sakei be used for?

I've been hearing interesting stories from people - a number of people have found that it (kimchi, sauerkraut with garlic, or a L. sakei product such as Lanto Sinus) works to treat coughs (bronchitis), or prevents upper respiratory infections from developing into serious sinus infections, gets rid of fungal balls in the sinuses, treats earaches, and even treats small skin infections. People have been using the various products in creative ways - all self-experimentation!

The experiences of some people contacting me, as well as family members (including myself) - is that it treated bronchitis and coughs for which they would have taken antibiotics in the past - by swishing L. sakei powder (such as Lanto Sinus) in the mouth (but not in the nose). For example, one person reported that she occasionally gets bronchitis, but never sinusitis - and she successfully used Lanto Sinus to treat the bronchitis by swishing it in the mouth. The first two days she used it 2 x per day, and after that once per day until she felt better, but not totally well - and when she stopped the bronchitis (cough, phlegm) came back. So she used the L. sakei again until she felt totally healthy - and this time the cough stayed away. Since I personally know this person (we take walks together) I was able to observe her progress - cough & phlegm, then improvement, then backwards slide, and then total health when she used the product again. Hmmm... Definitely wasn't an imaginary effect or wishful thinking (placebo effect).

Not wanting to dab kimchi juice in the nostrils (the usual way to use kimchi) some gargled with kimchi juice and also swished it in the mouth and then didn't eat or drink for a while - but I don't know how the results compare to the usual kimchi method. One person dabbed kimchi juice in the ear for an earache and thought it helped (see Sinusitis Success Stories). For skin infections some individuals mixed L. sakei with a little water and applied to infection - this has been reported for both frozen Bactoferm F-RM-52 and refrigerated Lanto Sinus. But at any rate, the reports from people of various ways to use a L. sakei product are interesting. Just remember - this is all self-experimentation - which means results can be positive, negative, or no effect. And please be cautious!

For ways people use the various Lactobacillus sakei products to treat sinus infections (both chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis) see the Sinusitis Treatment Summary page. The Best Probiotic For Sinus Infections gives an in-depth look at the different L. sakei products and results.

A recent study of microbiomes (microbial communities) of patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) found that they had rapid loss of normal, “health promoting” bacteria", which resulted in the "overgrowth of disease-promoting pathogenic bacteria (dysbiosis), which, in turn, makes patients susceptible to hospital-acquired infections, sepsis, and organ failure". In other words, serious illnesses disrupt human microbial communities, as do treatments, medicines, antibiotics, and lack of proper nutrition in intensive care units. Interestingly, they observed "large depletions of organisms previously thought to confer anti-inflammatory benefits, such as Faecalibacterium". Faecalibacterium prausznitzii has been discussed in other posts as an incredibly important beneficial bacteria for health, a keystone species in the gut (here and here).

The researchers, who took skin, oral, and fecal samples at two time points, expressed surprise over how rapidly the microbial communities changed, and suggested that possible treatments for the micobial communities being out-of-whack (dysbiosis) are "probiotics or with targeted, multimicrobe synthetic “stool pills” that restore a healthy microbiome in the ICU setting to improve patient outcomes." In other words, "restoration of a healthy gut microbiome may be important for improving outcomes in critically ill patients".  Of course.... From Science Daily:

ICU patients lose helpful gut bacteria within days of hospital admission

The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere. Researchers analyzing microbial taxa in ICU patients' guts, mouth and skin reported finding dysbiosis, or a bacterial imbalance, that worsened during a patient's stay in the hospital. Compared to healthy people, ICU patients had depleted populations of commensal, health-promoting microbes and higher counts of bacterial taxa with pathogenic strains -- leaving patients vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis, organ failure and potentially death

What makes a gut microbiome healthy or not remains poorly defined in the field. Nonetheless, researchers suspect that critical illness requiring a stay in the ICU is associated with the the loss of bacteria that help keep a person healthy. The new study, which prospectively monitored and tracked changes in bacterial makeup, delivers evidence for that hypothesis. "The results were what we feared them to be," says study leader Paul Wischmeyer, an anesthesiologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "We saw a massive depletion of normal, health-promoting species."

Wischmeyer, who will move to Duke University in the fall, runs a lab that focuses on nutrition-related interventions to improve outcomes for critically ill patients. He notes that treatments used in the ICU -- including courses of powerful antibiotics, medicines to sustain blood pressure, and lack of nutrition -- can reduce the population of known healthy bacteria. An understanding of how those changes affect patient outcomes could guide the development of targeted interventions to restore bacterial balance, which in turn could reduce the risk of infection by dangerous pathogens.

Previous studies have tracked microbiome changes in individual or small numbers of critically ill patients, but Wischmeyer and his collaborators analyzed skin, stool, and oral samples from 115 ICU patients across four hospitals in the United States and Canada. They analyzed bacterial populations in the samples twice -- once 48 hours after admission, and again after 10 days in the ICU (or when the patient was discharged). They also recorded what the patients ate, what treatments patients received, and what infections patients incurred.

The researchers compared their data to data collected from a healthy subset of people who participated in the American Gut project dataset. (American Gut is a crowd-sourced project aimed at characterizing the human microbiome by the Rob Knight Lab at the University of California San Diego.) They reported that samples from ICU patients showed lower levels of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria, two of the largest groups of microbes in the gut, and higher abundances of Proteobacteria, which include many pathogens.

Wischmeyer was surprised by how quickly the microbiome changed in the patients. "We saw the rapid rise of organisms clearly associated with disease," he says. "In some cases, those organisms became 95 percent of the entire gut flora -- all made up of one pathogenic taxa -- within days of admission to the ICU. That was really striking." Notably, the researchers reported that some of the patient microbiomes, even at the time of admission, resembled the microbiomes of corpses. "That happened in more people than we would like to have seen," he says.....In addition, now that researchers have begun to understand how the microbiome changes in the ICU, Wischmeyer says the next step is to use the data to identify therapies -- perhaps including probiotics -- to restore a healthy bacterial balance to patients.

Gimchi.jpg Could this be true? Eating fermented foods linked to fewer social anxiety symptoms? Fifteen years ago before the world of bacteria could be explored with state of the art genetic tests, this would have sounded too woo-woo. And now we say - could be. Next the researchers will test an experimental version of this study to see if they find causation. Right now all we can say they are linked or that we see an association. But note that exercise also reduced social anxiety (this was also a finding in other studies). From Science Daily:

Decreased social anxiety among young adults who eat fermented foods

A possible connection between fermented foods, which contain probiotics, and social anxiety symptoms, is the focus of recent study...The researchers found that young adults who eat more fermented foods have fewer social anxiety symptoms, with the effect being greatest among those at genetic risk for social anxiety disorder as measured by neuroticism. "It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety," said Hilimire. "I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind."

The researchers designed a questionnaire that was included in a mass testing tool administered in the university's Introduction to Psychology courses during the fall 2014 semester; about 700 students participated. The questionnaire asked students about the fermented foods over the previous 30 days; it also asked about exercise frequency and the average consumption of fruits and vegetables so that the researchers could control for healthy habits outside of fermented food intake, said Hilimire.

"The main finding was that individuals who had consumed more fermented foods had reduced social anxiety but that was qualified by an interaction by neuroticism. What that means is that that relationship was strongest amongst people that were high in neuroticism," Hilimire said.The secondary finding was that more exercise was related to reduced social anxiety

"However, if we rely on the animal models that have come before us and the human experimental work that has come before us in other anxiety and depression studies, it does seem that there is a causative mechanism," said Hilimire. "Assuming similar findings in the experimental follow-up, what it would suggest is that you could augment more traditional therapies (like medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two) with fermented foods -- dietary changes -- and exercise, as well."