Hidden Infections

Good, healthy biofilms contain beneficial bacteria that are healthy and necessary for proper bodily function. Bad, pathogenic biofilms can contain hidden microbes that could be infecting your body and causing issues such as peptic ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, or even depression.

What Is A Biofilm?

Microbes prefer to live in biofilms. These are collaborative communities of multiple microorganisms from several different species. They live in a self-produced matrix which is considered to be an independent organism in the body. They communicate via what is known as quorum sensing which is mediated by certain hormone-like molecules. Biofilms can be either beneficial or pathogenic, depending on the microorganisms they host.

Living in a biofilm helps protects the resident microbes from:

  • Dislodgment
  • Toxins
  • Predators
  • Antimicrobials
  • Immune responses
  • Competitors
Biofilms are beneficial to the microbes living inside.Benefits of a Biofilm

While housed safely inside, microbes can transfer genes to one another, assimilate external DNA, maintain specialized cells to promote continued growth and reproductive fitness, sense the status of the host (metabolic state, stress, etc.) and ensure adequate nutrient utilization. The biofilm is, in essence, the key to their survival.

Biofilms in the Gut

In the gut, the microbiome is host to the largest number of biofilms, whose metabolic activity rivals the liver. Their collective weight is estimated to be 1.5kG. They can survive in a wide variety of environments and thrive along the mucosal layer where food particles are abundant. When any one of the multitude of microbial species becomes overgrown or imbalanced along the GI tract, the protective gut microbiota can be disrupted, which can cause a number of unwanted effects:

  • A biofilm is where helpful or pathogenic microbes thrive.Increased gut permeability
  • Altered immune responses
  • Increased susceptibility to pathogens
  • Impaired motility and function
  • Increased proinflammatory cytokines
  • Reduced toxin clearance
  • Reduced phytonutrient availability
  • Decreased omega-3 availability

Biofilm-Related Dysfunctions

Many of the conditions commonly seen in a clinical setting exist because of pathogenic biofilms. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Candidiasis,
  • Gastritis
  • Vaginosis, vaginitis
  • H. pylori overgrowth
  • Clostridium difficile infections
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Depression

Returning the Gut to Normal

Disrupting these biofilms requires a targeted approach including dissolving the pathogenic biofilms along with normalizing and rebuilding healthy intestinal bacteria. Specific enzyme combinations along with pro/prebiotics and fermented foods have been shown to help reduce the number of pathogenic biofilms and encourage growth of the beneficial Pre- and probiotics can help eliminate pathogenic biofilms and help facilitate the growth of healthy ones.ones.

Next week, I’ll continue this discussion and review how to eliminate the unwanted biofilms and normalize and strengthen the beneficial ones. In the meantime, using a high-quality probiotic along with a prebiotic is a great start for patients with disrupted gut microbiota.

Thanks for embarking on this journey with me. I love to hear about your successes (and failures) as all of us continue to understand how incredibly wonderful the human body is and how we can best encourage optimal health.

– Dr. Aaron Chapa, D.C.

Helping you to live the life you have always wanted and to make your body great again are our desires for you this year. You can create change, and you can get better results.

Living Well Clinical Nutrition Center

815 East Main St., Suite A
League City, TX 77573

Phone: 281-554-8600
Fax: 281-554-8669