There is a lot of mounting evidence for the role of bacterial biofilms in the persistence of chronic infections and the associated conditions that they cause or exacerbate. Bacteria are becoming increasing resistant to antibiotics and attack by your immune system. The reason for this is that bacteria are evolving to thwart efforts to kill them.
Many bacteria will lose their cell membranes – making them impermeable to certain antibiotics. Perhaps an even more effective defense is that of biofilms – where the bacteria group together, sometimes with other types of bacteria and create a natural biofilm – a cover made from proteins that very effectively protect the bacteria from attack.
Within this biofilm, bacteria are safe from attack from your immune system and any herbal or medical antibiotic therapy. This can lead to very slow progress for the patient and a long drawn out treatment time, if they are able to get on top of it at all.
What conditions are biofilms associated with?
This is not a complete list – nearly any bacterial infection has the potential for biofilm creation.
- Lyme Disease – The spiral bacteria Borellia is difficult to eradicate due to the presence of biofilms.
- Chronic Sinusitis – some studies have shown up to 80% of patients with surgery due to chronic sinusitis have evidence of bacteria within biofilms.
- Mouth and teeth problems – plaque is a biofilm, harboring bacteria, which can lead to cavities and gingivitis
- Chronic wounds – bacterial biofilms in wounds can prevent wounds from healing.
- Cystic fibrosis – Individuals with cystic fibrosis have bacteria colonizing in the lungs from a young age. Early on Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza can form biofilms but in later stages Pseudomonas aeruginosa is more virulent. P. aeruginosa is associated with mortality in cystic fibrosis.
- Recurring urinary tract infections – recurring UTIs may be due to the presence of biofilm on the bladder wall, preventing effective treatment of the infection.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia – CFS and FM can be associated with many different bacterial infections, many of which can remain virulent with biofilms.
How do you treat biofilms?
Treatment to breakdown biofilms is essential in and disease which involves chronic infection. In my patients I use a biofilm breakdown protocol which can involve the use of specific enzyme therapy to ‘digest’ the film, along with specific herbs which have been shown to be effective in targeting biofilms.
Fortunately, herbal antibacterials and antifungals do not have the same problems as antibiotics around bacterial resistance, and a targeted biofilm attack protocol along with specific antibacterial or antifungal treatments is usually very effective in bringing down levels of overgrown or infectious pathogens.
This is a great video about biofilms with some imagery on how they work…