Bacteria that Produces Antibiotic Found in the Nose
Many scientists have assumed the trillions of bacteria colonies that live in our body do not produce antibiotics. They have assumed the only sources for antibiotics are pharmaceutical companies.
Well, that’s just not true. Many of today’s pharmaceutical antibiotics were derived from bacteria found in the soil and other elements of nature. Yet these and many other soil-based and natural bacteria can also become part of our own microbiome – essentially one of our body’s probiotics. They find their way to our skin, our oral cavities, our noses, guts and other body parts when our bodies are young.
Once there, they set up shop and begin to protect their territory. How do they do that? By producing biochemical substances that repel other species of bacteria. Some of these biochemicals are, quite simply, natural antibiotics.
Antibiotic probiotic found in healthy noses
Researchers just found one of these bacteria species hidden within the sinus cavities of healthy noses. The species is Staphylococcus lugdunensis. Yes, that’s right – a Staphylococcus species. Many Staphylococcus species are pathogenic and can cause lethal infections. This includes Staphylococcus aureas – which can produce gangrene on the skin, and liver failure and sepsis when it invades the bloodstream.
When Staphylococcus aureus becomes resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics, they are called multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus – or MRSA. These bacteria have killed millions of people around the world.
But Staphylococcus lugdunensis is quite different. It is a partner to the body, having been passed on between human family members for many generations.
That is, unless it is killed off by doses of pharmaceutical antibiotics.
In fact, Staphylococcus lugdunensis can help save lives. Researchers from Germany’s University of Tübingen, along with Germany’s Center for Infection Research (DZIF) found that Staphylococcus lugdunensis colonizing the nose of healthy persons produces an antibiotic not found before.
Laboratory tests have shown the antibiotic substance, named Lugdunin, fights superbugs that have developed a resistance to many other antibiotics.
According to the research, which was published in the journal Nature, Staphylococcus aureus is repelled when Staphylococcus lugdunensis is colonizing within the nose. The research was headed up by Dr. Bernhard Krismer, Alexander Zipperer and Professor Andreas Peschel from the Interfaculty Institute for Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT).
Laboratory scientists analyzed the molecular structure of Lugdunin and found it consists of a previously unknown ring structure of protein blocks. This allowed them to establish a new classification for the molecule.
The nightmare of pharmaceutical antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a nightmare for Western medicine. Dr. Bernhard Krismer highlights the urgency:
“There are estimates which suggests that more people will die from resistant bacteria in the coming decades than cancer. The improper use of antibiotics strengthens this alarming development.”
Another antibiotic found by screening uncultured bacteria in 2015 is Teixobactin. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the researchers from Northeastern University and Germany’s University of Bonn stated the current situation with increased clarity:
“Antibiotic resistance is spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice, causing a public health crisis. Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was overmined by the 1960s. Synthetic approaches to produce antibiotics have been unable to replace this platform.”
Can our body’s bacteria make the difference?
The concept that the human body maintains colonies of bacteria that produce antibiotics might sound surprising to some. But one simply has to consider that humans and their ancestors have been inhabiting the earth for millions of years. Our bodies are constantly fighting and repelling bacterial and viral infections. How?
Yes, our immune system can fight off some of these pathogens. But not all of them. Others have been defeated over the centuries by our body’s probiotic bacteria – our microbiota like Staphylococcus lugdunensis – which produce antibiotic substances to defend their territories.
The researchers stated in their paper:
“Moreover, human microbiota should be considered as a source for new antibiotics.”
But this sets up another disaster that the pharmaceutical industry very well may launch upon us with such a strategy. Consider what would happen: They “farm” our current probiotics for their antibiotics. Then those antibiotics are isolated and mass produced and given in concentrated form to people and farm animals.
This is what Western medicine has been doing over the past half century, producing uncountable species of superbug antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What would happen in such a scenario is the pathogenic bacteria would learn how to counteract these antibiotic chemicals too. This would weaken our body’s probiotics against these drug-resistant bacteria. This would result in a mass loss of our body’s probiotics, as these resistant superbugs kill off our body’s natural defenses.
Yes, our probiotic bacteria may at some point develop new methods of counteracting drug-resistant bacteria. But this would take time. In the meantime, our probiotics – which serve to help digest our foods and moderate our immune system – could be decimated.
Pharmaceutical companies need to take caution and tread softly in their war against nature. They have already produced legions of lethal superbugs through their mass-produced concentrated pharmaceutical antibiotics.
The answer is to work with nature – not continue to isolate and proliferate selected parts of it.
Zipperer A, Konnerth MC, Laux C, Berscheid A, Janek D, Weidenmaier C, Burian M, Schilling NA, Slavetinsky C, Marschal M, Willmann M, Kalbacher H, Schittek B, Brötz-Oesterhelt H, Grond S, Peschel A, Krismer B. Human commensals producing a novel antibiotic impair pathogen colonization. Nature. 2016 Jul 27;535(7613):511-6. doi: 10.1038/nature18634
University of Turbingen. A potential lifesaver lies unrecognized in the human body. 27.07.2016.
Ling LL, Schneider T, Peoples AJ, Spoering AL, Engels I, Conlon BP, Mueller A, Schäberle TF, Hughes DE, Epstein S, Jones M, Lazarides L, Steadman VA, Cohen DR, Felix CR, Fetterman KA, Millett WP, Nitti AG, Zullo AM, Chen C, Lewis K. A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature. 2015 Jan 22;517(7535):455-9. doi: 10.1038/nature14098.
Adams C. Probiotics – Protection Against Infection. Logical Books, 2014
Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”