Probiotics for the Nose!?
Written By: Sue
February 19, 2013
Sinus Health and Probiotics
Probiotics are a common topic of discussion as of late, mostly related to intestinal health. Now there is research suggesting the use of probiotics can alleviate sinus infections. According to Susan Lynch, Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, chronic sinus sufferers have less biodiversity in their noses than healthy individuals. The nasal cavities, like our intestines, need a variety of bacteria to maintain a healthy environment. If these bacteria are compromised by antibiotic use, antimicrobial nasal sprays or a weakened immune system, for example, the biodiversity is reduced. Remember not all bacteria are bad; if you take an antibiotic, it can’t differentiate between the bacteria that benefit your body and the ones that don’t.
Lynch, who was interviewed on NPR last Fall, studied the effects of inhaling probiotics into the nasal cavities. Her team studied mice induced with a sinus infection. This created a situation where the biodiversity in their noses was compromised. After inhaling lactobacillus, a species of bacteria naturally found in our bodies and often used in oral probiotics, the mices sinuses returned to normal.
In addition, Lynch spoke of a study involving 300 children who had rhinorrhea and/or upper respiratory problems. After being given an oral lactobacillus or bifidobacterium (both ‘probiotics’), their symptoms were reduced.
What does this all mean if you suffer from ongoing sinus problems? Unfortunately current regulations do not allow for probiotics to be marketed for inhalant use, but you might think of getting it to your nose through your gut. It’s worth a try. We have to remember, our bodies aren’t isolated parts put together. If you are unclear about how your digestive tract interacts with your nose, check out this blog written on GERD.
In addition, here’s another great article on the subject.