Is time running out? Can nothing stop biofilm-producing microbes?
“This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.”–T.S. Eliot
It could be a sequel to Andromeda Strain: biofilm-producing bacteria that talk, move, hide, and touch. Their mission? To destroy us. But it’s not fiction. It’s real. With improved technology, researchers are delving deeper into this enigmatic intracellular world of “intelligent” microbial lifeforms that are resistant to antibiotics. What they’re learning is both amazing and terrifying.
Bacterial biofilms are microorganisms that stick together and form a slimy mass. They are everywhere in nature: on rocks, in streams, on trees, our teeth (plaque), even in our kitchen drains. Inside our bodies they are produced by a group of pathogenic bacteria that use the sticky, gelatinous biofilms as protection from both antibiotics and our own immune system. This makes them especially difficult to eradicate and potentially lethal.
Biofilm bacteria have now been linked to dozens of diseases including Lyme, pneumonia, chronic fatigue syndrome, ADHD, inner ear infections, kidney stones, endocarditis, fibromyalgia, urinary tract infections, and multiple sclerosis. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 65 to 80 percent of all microbial infections are now caused by biofilm-producing bacteria.
New research indicates that biofilm-producing bacteria move freely in the blood system until they come in contact with a solid surface. It’s this ability to “feel” something solid that converts mobile bacteria to a stationary form that essentially finds a place to camp and produce the bacterial biofilm shield. Biofilm-anchored bacteria show much greater resistance to antibiotics (as much as a 1000 times more) than their free-moving more vulnerable counterparts. As the bacteria community grows inside the mucous-like mass, individual cells chemically talk to each other (quorum sensing) regarding the presence of antibiotics. When the antibiotics are no longer a threat, the bacteria break off a piece of the bacterial biofilm and ride in it like a spaceship to other areas in order to spread the infection.
So what are we dealing with, an extraterrestrial presence or are biofilm-producing bacteria an evolutionary product of our own making from overuse of antibiotics?
Probably Not Aliens
“As much as an extraterrestrial presence would be a phenomenal finding, I’m afraid the evidence is more boring,” says Dr. Eugene Gamble, a UK trained specialist periodontal surgeon with a microbiology background. “Biofilm-producing bacteria have evolved this way to counter immune systems and survive harsh environments.”
Herbs And Supplements
“Herbs like garlic, cilantro, and turmeric have a positive effect on unhealthy biofilms,” says Mentore. “Short chain fatty acids have beneficial effects as well such as capric and lauric acid found in coconut oil.”
According to Rogers, peppermint essential oils “can blast” a bacterial biofilm.
Moriarty says that botanically, species of the Sida plant (common wireweed, rock sida, country-mallow, etc.) are useful. “They increase glutathione levels in the blood, along with greater celandine, which is a biofilm inhibitor that also possesses anti-bacterial activity against a wide range of common biofilm-forming bacteria.” She also recommends Cis-2 decenoic acid (C2DA), which is naturally occurring in a bee secretion known as royal jelly. “It disperses bacterial biofilm in many strains of microorganisms.”
Molecular hydrogen is an antioxidant supplement that is anti-inflammatory in nature. Mentore believes that any inflammatory type bacterial biofilm “could be counteracted by molecular hydrogen.” The smallness of molecular hydrogen makes it an ideal bacterial foe. It is possibly the only antioxidant molecule that can reach inside the mitochondria (power generators) of a cell.
Molecular Hydrogen Foundation founder Tyler LeBaron says, “While H2 cannot directly breakup bacterial biofilms, hydrogen can support healthy immune function” to help battle bacterial infections.