Some Probiotics Make Bad Neighbors


The science of the gut microbiome exploded in recent years. More and more connections arise from lab experiments at a dizzying pace. This time we learn that certain Bacillus and Staphylococcus aureus don’t get along in the neighborhood. Staph aureus makes headlines as a nasty bug, even at times a superbug resistant to multiple antibiotics, incurring major illness in its victims. Researchers frantically search for methods of controlling its effects on our health.

Bacillus subtilis would seem unassuming and mild mannered, but researchers discovered that it has a secret weapon hindering the growth of Staph aureus.

Bacillus subtilis are listed in many probiotic products. They produce spores that can even survive stomach acid as they ride vegetables into our intestines. In a group of Thai volunteers, researchers discovered that none of these volunteers who had Bacillus subtilis grew out Staph aureus. After further study, they uncovered the secret weapon, fengycins. These lipopeptides (fat and protein combinations) even prevented the worst staph infections from MRSA (multiple antibiotic resistant Staph aureus).

Next they plan to evaluate whether this probiotic could treat staph infections in patients. At the very least, there is suggestion that this probiotic may hold promise for benefiting patients with staph infections. Given all that we are learning about the effects of the gut microbiome on our immune system, this is no surprise. What does surprise me is that some still claim probiotics have no benefit for human health. I just don’t get it. Regardless, Sanctuary will keep guiding patients back to a healthier more abundant life, sometimes with probiotics. In the meantime, maybe I will send out some invitations to some Bacilli to move into the neighborhood and run off the Staph aureus.

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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