12 Fun Facts About Your Sinuses
Our sinuses are a vital part of our bodies and do many amazing things. Here are some fun facts we wanted to share!
1) We normally have 4 pairs of sinuses, but some people never develop a pair (usually the frontal sinuses). Scientists don’t know why. 2) The sinuses are spaces within the skull and facial bones, and so they serve as a “crumple zone” when there is trauma to the face. This protects the brain from injury. 3) The sinuses have a lining, and this lining secretes mucus and has cilia. The cilia steadily beat at about 700 to 800 times per minute and this moves mucous into the nasal cavity. 4) The cilia in the sinuses normally move a very, very thin layer of mucus (10-15 micron thick) at approximately 9 mm per minute toward the nasal cavity. 5) A baby is born with only two tiny pairs of sinuses (ethmoidal and maxillary), and the other 2 sinus pairs develop by age six. 6) The sinuses grow in size from birth until the end of the teenage years. The greatest sinus growth occurs when a child’s permanent teeth erupt and during puberty. 7) The largest sinuses are about an inch in diameter in adults, and the others are much smaller. 8) When we talk about the sinuses, we are actually referring to the paranasal sinuses. 9) We also have other sinuses in the body, for example in the brain and kidneys. 10) For many years it was thought that the sinuses were sterile, but now we know that millions of microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses) live in the mucus lining of the sinuses. 11) People with chronic sinusitis can have altered taste – less sensitive to bitter tastes, and more sensitive to sweet. 12) Dogs and cats also have sinuses, and they can develop sinus infections.
Why Lactobacillus sakei?
There has been a tremendous amount of interest in Lactobacillus sakei in the last few years. This is because of the discovery that Lactobacillus sakei, which is a beneficial bacteria (probiotic), can successfully treat sinusitis, even in people who have suffered with sinus problems for decades.
Sinusitis or sinus infections afflict millions of people, with many persons enduring repeated infections. Thus the possibility of using a nonprescription Lactobacillus sakei probiotic, such as Lanto Sinus, to easily treat sinusitis symptoms is very exciting. It can feel miraculous when it works as a treatment, frequently within days, especially for those with chronic sinusitis.
Using a probiotic is a new and different approach to sinusitis treatment, which traditionally has consisted of medical treatments such as antibiotics, cortisone sprays, and even sinus surgeries. Instead of killing bacteria with antibiotics, this new approach introduces beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus sakei into the body (e.g. by swishing it in the mouth), and these bacteria then travel to the sinuses and suppress or kill off the harmful (pathogenic) bacteria.
What kind of bacteria is Lactobacillus sakei?
Lactobacillus sakei is a species of Lactobacillus bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria are generally viewed as beneficial bacteria and are thought to have various health benefits, which is why some species are added to foods or used in probiotic supplements. A number of Lactobacillus species are found in the microbial communities in and on our bodies (the human microbiome).
Lactobacillus sakei has antibacterial properties and works to suppress or kill the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, which are implicated in sinus infections. Researchers consider Lactobacillus sakei “antibacterial, bacteriostatic, and bactericidal against many species of bacteria”. Antibacterial means destructive to or killing bacteria or suppressing their growth, bacteriostatic means that it prevents the growth and reproduction of bacteria, and bactericidal means it kills bacteria. The food industry has studied and used Lactobacillus sakei (e.g. as a sausage culture starter) for years because of its effectiveness against harmful bacteria, such as Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus.
Where is Lactobacillus sakei found?
Lactobacillus sakei is found throughout the world. It is commonly found on meat, fish, flours, vegetables, and in fermented foods such as kimchi and some sauerkraut. Currently there are over 230 strains of Lactobacillus sakei, which were collected from all over the world. The bacteria was first isolated years ago from sake or rice wine, which is why it is named Lactobacillus sakei. Studies from Korea have found it during certain stages of fermentation in most brands of Korean kimchi. One study found that the Lactobacillus sakei found in kimchi is mainly from the raw garlic used in kimchi recipes.
Studies have found Lactobacillus sakei in the human gut and sinuses. Researchers Abreu and colleagues found Lactobacillus sakei in healthy humans (those without sinusitis), but diminished or absent in those with chronic sinusitis. A recent study found that patients with ischemic strokes had decreased numbers of Lactobacillus sakei in the gut (as compared to healthy individuals who did not have a stroke). It appears that Lactobacillus sakei enters our body from the foods we eat, passes through the gut, and is then excreted in our feces.
What is Lactobacillus sakei doing in the sinuses?
Our bodies have communities of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) living within us and on us. This is called the human microbiome or human microbiota. In our sinuses, we also have communities of different types of microbes, and this is the sinus microbiome. Lactobacillus sakei is one of the many microbes found in healthy sinuses. It has been called a “keystone bacteria” for its beneficial effects in the sinus microbiome. It is thought that Lactobacillus sakei may provide a protective effect by inhibiting or killing harmful bacteria.
Sometimes, perhaps due to illnesses, allergies, environmental toxins, or antibiotics, the sinus microbial community becomes disrupted and imbalanced. This microbial community imbalance, which is called dysbiosis, can cause a sinus infection or sinusitis.
Studies using modern state of the art methods (such as genetic sequencing) have found that people with chronic sinusitis have a somewhat different sinus microbiome than healthy people without sinusitis. They have fewer of some bacterial species or “depletion”, and an increase or “abundance” of some other species. In other words, the communities of microbes are a little different.
In a ground-breaking study, researchers Abreu et al found that people with chronic sinusitis had less Lactobacillus sakei in their sinuses and more of other microbes. They did further a further experiment with mice and found that Lactobacillus sakei was protective against sinusitis. This was an amazing finding and led people to start experimenting (self-experimentation) with probiotics containing Lactobacillus sakei as a treatment for sinusitis.
Is Lactobacillus sakei helping people?
People report success in treating sinusitis with Lactobacillus sakei. The blog Lacto Bacto describes the results of hundreds of people contacting Dr. Mara Silgailis about their experiences experimenting with different Lactobacillus sakei products (including kimchi and Lanto Sinus), as well as the different ways they used them. She found that Lactobacillus sakei helped most people with sinus symptoms or sinusitis, frequently very rapidly (within days). Sinus symptoms such as post nasal drip, mucus, sore throats, clogged ears, bad breath, sinus related coughs, sinus headaches, either improved or went away totally!
She also found that it was best to only use Lactobacillus sakei products when there are some sinus symptoms, such as increased mucus, and not when one feels healthy. In other words, no boosters needed!
Unlike probiotics for the gut which are just swallowed, Lactobacillus sakei needs to travel throughout the respiratory system and to the sinuses to be effective (e.g., by swishing refrigerated powder in the mouth or swabbing a little kimchi in the nostrils).
Everyone has a different sinus microbiome, so people do report some variation in results. (Unfortunately, people reported that other probiotic species helped only rarely in treating sinusitis. Medical studies also report this same lack of effect from other Lactobacillus species.)
Are there any other uses for Lactobacillus sakei?
There is some exciting research showing that Lactobacillus sakei supplements may benefit certain skin conditions such as atopic eczema-dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) and atopic dermatitis, both in humans and dogs.
More uses for this amazing probiotic are now being explored. Currently it is rarely found in probiotics because it doesn’t like oxygen (therefore not easy to keep alive), and usually it is only available in frozen form. One exception is Lanto Sinus, which only needs refrigeration. It will be interesting to see what future developments are for this beneficial bacteria.
Abreu, N. A., Nagalingam, N. A., Song, Y., Roediger, F. C., Pletcher, S. D., Goldberg, A. N., & Lynch, S. V. (2012). Sinus Microbiome Diversity Depletion and Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum Enrichment Mediates Rhinosinusitis. Science Translational Medicine, 4(151), 151ra124. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786373/
Chaillou S., Lucquin I., Najjari A., Zagorec M., Champomier-Vergès M-C. (2013). Population Genetics of Lactobacillus sakei Reveals Three Lineages with Distinct Evolutionary Histories. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73253. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0073253
Cope, E. K., Goldberg, A. N., Pletcher, S. D., & Lynch, S. V. (2017). Compositionally and functionally distinct sinus microbiota in chronic rhinosinusitis patients have immunological and clinically divergent consequences. Microbiome, 5(1), 53. doi:10.1186/s40168-017-0266-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427582/
Kim H., Rather IA, Kim H, Kim S, Kim T, Jang J, Seo J, Lim J, Park YHA (2015) Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled-Trial of a Probiotic Strain Lactobacillus sakei Probio-65 for the Prevention of Canine Atopic Dermatitis. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol.2015 ; 25(11): 1966-9. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1506.06065. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26282691
Kwon, M. S., Lim, S. K., Jang, J. Y., Lee, J., Park, H. K., Kim, N., Choi, H. J. (2018). Lactobacillus sakei WIKIM30 Ameliorates Atopic Dermatitis-Like Skin Lesions by Inducing Regulatory T Cells and Altering Gut Microbiota Structure in Mice. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1905. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.01905 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6102352/
Lee SH, Jung JY, Jeon CO. Source Tracking and Succession of Kimchi Lactic Acid Bacteria during Fermentation. J Food Sci. 2015 Aug;80(8):M1871-7. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12948. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26133985
Mahdavinia M, Keshavarzian A, Tobin MC, Landay AL, Schleimer RP. (2016) A comprehensive review of the nasal microbiome in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Clinical and experimental allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 46(1), 21–41. doi:10.1111/cea.12666. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715613/
Yamashiro, K., Tanaka, R., Urabe, T., Ueno, Y., Yamashiro, Y., Nomoto, K., Hattori, N. (2017). Gut dysbiosis is associated with metabolism and systemic inflammation in patients with ischemic stroke. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171521
Woo, Sung-Il et al. (2010). Effect of Lactobacillus sakei supplementation in children with atopic eczema–dermatitis syndrome. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Volume 104 , Issue 4 , 343 – 348. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1081120610002036
Zagorec M, Champomier-Verges M-C (2017). Lactobacillus sakei: A Starter for Sausage Fermentation, a Protective Culture for Meat Products. Microorganisms, 5(3), 56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5620647/