Probiotics For Sinus Issues - A New Solution | Chris Kresser
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Chronic Sinus Problems: Another Role for Probiotics?

by Chris Kresser

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Almost 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. Unfortunately, most conventional treatments are not effective and don’t address the underlying cause. Find out why probiotics may represent the future of treating chronic sinus problems.

Chronic sinusitis (also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, or CRS) is one of the most common human diseases, affecting 1 in 7 American adults. And like many other modern, chronic conditions, its prevalence appears to be increasing.

CRS is a debilitating and often intractable disease. Over 20 percent of patients are unresponsive to drug therapy, and up to 40 percent of patients do not respond to surgery.

The conventional viewpoint is that CRS is caused by the presence of certain harmful species of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. (1) In other cases, CRS may result from an immunologic reaction to fungi that colonize the sinuses. (2) Fungal species associated with this syndrome include Bipolaris specifera and Aspergillus, Curvularia, and Fusarium.

However, in a recent paper out of the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Susan Lynch demonstrated that the primary difference between patients with CRS and control subjects was not the presence of any particular pathogenic species (which both groups had in similar amounts), but the overall diversity of the sinus microbiome. (3)

This discovery has important implications for how we can successfully treat CRS, and I will come back to it later in the article. But first, let’s take a step back and discuss the sinus microbiome—since this may be the first time you’ve heard about it.

The microbiome: it’s not just about the gut!

If you’ve been following this blog, listening to my podcast, or have read my book, you’ll know that the gut microbiome is one of my favorite topics.

But I’m not alone. Even mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and FOX News have done major stories on the gut microbiome and its importance in health and disease. It’s no longer an exotic concept that only scientists and health care professionals discuss; it’s now a household term.

Could probiotics be the answer to chronic sinusitis and nasal congestion?

Yet while it’s true that the majority of microbes that comprise our microbiome live in the gut, it’s also true that we have microbes in other areas of our bodies that play similarly important roles in maintaining health and preventing disease. These areas include the skin, vagina, penis, mouth, respiratory tract, and—you guessed it—the sinus cavity.

Prior to the development of DNA/PCR technology, our ability to determine the composition of microorganisms in these various areas was extremely limited. But thanks to recent advances in technology, we now have a much better idea of what “normal” and “abnormal” microbiomes look like—not only in the gut, but also on the skin and the penis and in the mouth, respiratory tract, and sinuses.

This understanding has profound implications for how we view the pathogenesis of diseases like CRS, and in turn, what treatment options might be available to patients in the future.

It’s the forest that’s important, not the trees

As I was reading Dr. Lynch’s seminal paper, I came across the following quote, which summarizes the importance of these recent discoveries and how they will change our approach to treating conditions that are microbial in their origin:

Because of extensive use of conventional laboratory culture approaches to detect microbial species, we have been conditioned to view chronic or acute infections as exclusively due to a single pathogenic species. However, recent studies have demonstrated that the composition of the resident microbiota in a given niche can strongly influence the behavior of specific species, particularly pathogens, and, as such, represents an important contributory factor to disease etiology.

The idea here is that it isn’t the presence of a particular pathogen that matters most, but rather the environment in which the pathogen is present. If you extend this idea to thinking about treatment approaches, it follows that focusing on eradicating a particular pathogen or species may be misguided, and that a better approach is restoring microbial diversity.

This has already become evident with the gut microbiome. Clostridium difficile is a virulent infection that still kills almost 30,000 people in the U.S. each year. We’ve thrown every antibiotic we have at it, but they are often ineffective in the most severe cases.

Yet fecal microbiota transplants—which are essentially massive infusions of human probiotics—are over 90 percent effective, even in cases where patients have failed multiple courses of antibiotics. (4)

If we apply this same reasoning to the treatment of CRS, it suggests that probiotics—rather than antibiotics—may be a better solution. Antibiotics may kill harmful species of bacteria, but they are likely to further reduce microbial diversity, which would be expected to worsen CRS over time if Dr. Lynch’s theory is correct.

With this in mind, let’s see what the research has to say about probiotics and sinus problems.

Probiotics for chronic sinus problems

As it turns out, there are several published studies suggesting that probiotics may be an effective treatment for chronic sinus problems.

One review in the Journal of Allergy found that “an emerging number of publications demonstrate beneficial effects using probiotics in clinical double-blind placebo-controlled trials in allergic rhinitis (AR).” (5) Although data on probiotics and non-allergic CRS are lacking, there are several lines of evidence to suggest that probiotics may be effective in these cases.

First, probiotics have been shown to disrupt biofilms, which are present in CRS and difficult to eradicate through other means. (6)

Second, both human and animal studies have shown that oral probiotics reduce colonization of the nose and upper respiratory tract by pathogenic bacteria (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and β-hemolytic streptococci). (7, 8)

Third, upper respiratory tract infections often precede the development of CRS, and probiotics have been shown to be effective in preventing them. (9)

Finally, although this is certainly not peer-reviewed evidence, I can tell you anecdotally from my work with patients that many CRS sufferers do seem to improve with strategies aimed at restoring the microbiome—such as eating more fermentable fiber and fermented foods, and/or taking prebiotics and probiotics.

Future directions: nasal probiotic sprays for repopulating the sinus microbiome?

So far we’ve been talking about the role of oral probiotics in treating CRS. But if a disruption of the sinus microbiome is the true underlying cause of CRS, wouldn’t it make more sense to address that more directly?

Dr. Lynch found that most patients with CRS are lacking in a particular species of bacteria called Lactobacillus sakei. This bacteria is a natural, protective species in our nose, but (as the name implies) it is also used to make certain fermented beverages and foods like sake and kimchi.

One might suspect that Dr. Lynch and her peers are developing a nasal spray that contains Lactobacillus sakei to be used in the treatment of CRS. Of course such a treatment will have to be developed and tested for safety and effectiveness in human clinical trials.

Given that this may take several years, some folks have decided to take matters into their own hands, er, noses.

A blog called Lacto Bacto, which is written by CRS sufferer Mara Silgailis, describes a DIY approach that appears to have helped many people with CRS. It involves putting small amounts of kimchi juice directly into the nostrils. According to Mara, she has essentially cured herself and her family of their long-term CRS, and they have been antibiotic-free for more than two years.

Along the same lines, I’ve heard anecdotal reports from patients and people online who have created DIY nasal probiotic sprays and even crushed up probiotic tablets and sniffed them, achieving somewhat miraculous results.

Of course I can’t recommend or endorse these procedures, because they haven’t been tested for safety or efficacy. It would seem that the risk is relatively low, but it’s at least possible that some of the other microbes in kimchi or other oral probiotics may not be beneficial for the sinus microbiome. We’re really just starting to scratch the surface in this area of research, and there’s still a lot that we don’t understand. So if you decide to perform these experiments at home, proceed at your own risk!

Okay, now I’d like to hear from you. Do you suffer from CRS? Have you tried oral probiotics? If so, with what result? What other treatments have you found to be effective? Please let us know in the comments section.

254 Comments

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  1. Hey there everyone! So I was diagnosed with Marcons about a year ago. Been doing the standard BEG and silver/edta sprays without much success. Since Marcons ruins everything from VEGF to ADH, androgens to thyroid…….whatever you can do to get rid of it you want to try. So after reading this and going on to Lactobacto and then to Lacto Sinus I tried the nasal L. Sakei. On three different occasions of trying it I woke up in almost a static shock state barely being able to move, being very dizzy, etc. As I assumed my BP was in the toilet. This morning it was down to 96/48…..hence feeling horrible. As lots of Marcons die off can lower VEGF I am assuming the L Sakei is working so well it is doing the same thing. So just proceed with caution. Low BP can be a bit scarey. Not sure if I will continue it but it is stirring the pot!

  2. I have suffered from cronic sinus infections for years. I usually end up in the doctors office 1-2 times a year and prescribed antibiotics. I also have constant drainage. I started using probiotics about 3 weeks ago for a completely different issue and I noticed my nasal issues have stopped (which is why I googled if probiotics can benefit the sinuses and ended up here). I will continue to use them, but the changes I have already noticed are great!

  3. I’d be careful with snorting probiotics. I read a study published by NPR about probiotics to clear up nasal infection, and proceeded to try it DIY. I made it a lot worse. I think the bacteria that are beneficial to your gut are not the same as the ones beneficial to your nose. 🙂 Inhaling steamed vapors of essential oils like tea tree and oregano are very helpful to me in controlling nasal infections. I even cleared up the self-inflicted probiotic infection with oils!

    • Hey Gregor,

      How often are you ingesting your fermented veg and for how long until you saw results? Very interested in trying it out!

  4. I find it interesting that an article whose main point that it’s not so much the presence of individual pathogenic microbial strains which causes problems in the sinus cavities (but rather the overall lack of a diversity of microbial species in the sinuses), should end with the following warning:

    “Of course I can’t recommend or endorse these procedures, because they haven’t been tested for safety or efficacy [….] it’s at least possible that some of the other microbes in kimchi or other oral probiotics may not be beneficial for the sinus microbiome.”

    Hello! Didn’t we just learn the profound lesson that the presence of “un-beneficial” strains DOSEN’T MATTER like this?
    So why are we then advised to be complacent for fear of unknown “un-beneficial” strains being placed into the sinus cavities? We are being warned against creating a diversity of unknown microbial strains in our sinus cavities, right after being told that the greater the diversity of microbial strains leads to increased health. I guess we really *are* conditioned to the old ways of scientific thinking!

    • Because many of the old ways of scientific thinking are still extremely useful and relevant. The human body is so amazingly complex — you can’t apply general principles and expect them to hold across the board, since there are too many variables. It’s not enough that arguments ring true. Everything must be tested against . Otherwise we might as well be just dealing with truthiness, post-truth, or “alternative facts.” The internet is full of unsubstantiated nutritional and health advice.

  5. I’ve read quite a bit of different research on this over the past few years and I think that our gut bacteria is the key to all problems to be honest, so I think it is 100% plausible that our sinuses and everything else are the same way.
    I am 25 F, I am physically very healthy, I exercise and I eat as healthy as I can. I live in FL. I have PMDD, Gastroparisis, GERD, ADHD, some anxiety and panic attacks, I have had to take Allegra D since I was a teen, had to stop because it was making me crazier, switched to Allegra and was fine for a while and then it just stopped working and I could even function, I cannot take any corticosteroids, they also make me crazier. I tried every drug on the market, as of now I take Allegra everyday and singular as it helps a little with post nasal drip. Without regular Allegra I get very itchy all over and that’s one reson why I was started on it in the first place. I had a test done, I’m allergic to Bioparis sorokiniani and Bermuda grass pollen. I feel best being outside. I lost my job because of all this and I can now only work outside. I found that many of my problems are slightly better when we have raw milk to drink, it also helps with my BF’s bi polar. I take the strongest prescription on the market for my stomach problems (Dexilant), which I believe they don’t full know what I have and just gave me two conditions that for the most part sum up what’s wrong. I still struggle with my stomach everyday and my sinus problems make it worse and my stomach makes my sinus problems worse, it’s never ending. I love to drink kombucha and kefir too, I do feel they help, but of course everything that I need is expensive, and we can barely pay our bills. I am so miserable all the time, it can really wear on me and get me down, especially because of my other problems. I feel like I need to be studied or something, I want to be cured and I feel like at least if I have to suffer like this it should help science and possibly my condition someday. I am going to try to add more probiotics and probiotics to my massive regiment, just have to find the money.

    • Hi, me too. Seriously.

      4 things that really help me with the worst of it – Finding out I have silent reflux! Literally can not eat acidic foods anymore or I get throat, ear, sinus and stomach problems. Also, Neti sinus rinse every day, Dr. D’Adamo’s blood type diet and Acupuncture every other week during allergy season. The neti and the acupuncture can be quite cheap. I get community acupuncture. Blood type diet is also cheap to get started and it’s not that expensive to remove highly suspect food stuffs from your diet.

      We do really need personalized medicine through genetic typing. It’s coming, but not fast enough. In the meantime, I try everything that seems to help people and keep only what works for me. Haven’t tried sinus or oral pro-biotics but am looking into it.

      Also, some people are just more sensitive to environmental pollution and have a harder time metabolizing/not absorbing all the junk that is being thrown into the air and water. Also can not take any prescribed or otc for severe allergies that keep me hiding inside and/or wearing face mask outdoors for all of spring/summer in the Pacific Northwest. (And it’s only here that I have the worst allergies!) My reactions to the doctor meds are worse than the allergies sometimes.

      Good look and keep at it!

    • Have you heard of MCAS? It may explain some of your prproblems. I agree, many of our issues stem from gut dysbiosis, but there may be some other issues at play. Hope you find some answers or relief soon. I may try FMT.

      • Ms. Owen please look into getting on a probiotic immediately ( I use renew life 30 billion) . Im also a believer that healthy gut bacteria is the key to healthy sinuses. I moved to FL when i was 18 and developed horrible nasal allergies out of nowhere and even visiting my home state of RI I had terrible sinus congestion. Had surgery for a deviated septum which helped aleviate the allergies some more then I became immune to Claratin D from taking it for so long, years down the road. All of the sudden NO drugs worked and it was hell. Was turned on to oregano oil as an antibacerial and anti fungal and probiotics. It takes a month or two for the probiotics to build up in your gut but once they do its amazing and have cured my horrible nasal congestion due to sinus allergies.

    • Ms. Owen,
      I suffered from sinus infections for many years until 2015 when I started taking an approach to heal my gut. I believe that the key to optimal health stems from your gut. I can honestly say that I have not had a sinus infection in over 2 years. If you would like more info let me know I would love to share what has helped me.
      Jean

  6. I just got diagnosed with AERD after two years of the generic “chronic sinusitis” diagnosis from multiple doctors, and recommend that anyone with nasal polyps take a look at this website to see if this could be your problem: http://aerd.partners.org/. Brigham Women’s Hospital seems to be the foremost expert on this area and this website is fabulous. I’d love to have Chris bring a researcher on AERD onto the show (and I’d love to hear if they think there could be any link between the microbiome and AERD, since all research seems to be looking at diet but not explicitly calling out the potential role of microbes in this).

    • I also have Samters Triad (AERD) and believe the unbalanced microbe in the nasal cavities and respiratory system (including lungs) is the problem. If anyone can let me know if some probiotic products which I can try to sniff, I’d be grateful. I’m happy to experiment. Surely though, probiotics for the intestines contain different bacteria than those for the nasal and lungs?

    • Please look at the post The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis at the site Lacto Bacto.
      It has brands and products that my family and people have written in as working – as well as some other probiotics (besides L. sakei) that may (or may not) work.
      It’s like an experiment in progress to get reader feedback over what works and doesn’t…

  7. I was a chronic sinus infection sufferer, on the other hand my wife never gets anything when she gets a cold, no sinus infections, no strep throat, no bronchitis. So one day when she was taking a hot shower I had her swab the inside of her nose with a q tip. I then put that in my nose. That was five years ago and I haven’t had a sinus infection since, after having horrible ones for forty years.

  8. I was looking for information to support my own findings and found this article. My nine year old son and I have been using a homemade yogurt based sinus spray for over two years now with amazing results. Before this the doctors were talking about surgery for my son’s chronic sinus issues. Now he has little to know sinus problems. As an added benefit the sinus spray has reduced my own asthma issues by about 90%.

  9. I can report on my n=1 trial I did last year in which I filled an empty nasal spray bottle with kimchi juice and squirted it up my nose each night for a week. After I tilted my head to the side so the juice would drip into the sinus.

    Amazingly this cleared up a chronic sinus infection that had been bothering me for months before.

    I can only caution against the risks associated with such crazy experiments, which Chris mentioned in the article, but I was certainly pleased with the results. I would recommend finding a variety of kimchi made without chilli though, as I was unable to, and the chilli hurt like hell….hah! Still pleased though. A couple of months ago I got a nasty cold which has left me with a blockage and constant drip from my left sinus long afterward, so I’m going to be trying it again soon!

    • I’m glad the kimchi spray worked, but it is not necessary to spray it up the nostrils – just try dabbing or smearing a little (no more than 1/2″ in) into the nostrils like a really “messy eater”. The L. sakei, if the kimchi has it, travels up to the sinuses on its own.
      My family has been doing this successfully (when needed) for 4 years now – I described the method and various L. sakei sources at my site Lacto Bacto (especially see the post “The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis”). This post also has information on what people have told me about L. sakei products.

      • I read all your articles. They gave me hope. I have had chronic sinus infection for over a year. I just did the kimch this morning and night ….rubbed the juice 2 inches up nostril and then sniffed in gently. How many days did it take to cure it?
        What did your Ent say when you found this miracle cure ?

        • We only smear/dab it about 1/2″ into the nostrils. (see Sinusitis Treatment Summary page for details).
          If the kimchi has Lactobacillus sakei in it, then we start feeling better within a day. If we’re really sick (acute sinusitis) then first it stops getting worse, then drains, then improves (just like with antibiotics).
          We were 100% normal/healthy in less than 3 weeks initially.
          If using a stronger Lactobacillus sakei product, the initial response may be quicker.

          Whether or not a kimchi jar has L. sakei in it varies – trying it out is the only way to know. There are other beneficial microbes in kimchi also – some of which are antifungal and antibiofilm. I suspect L. sakei is not only anti-bacterial, but also anti-fungal and anti-biofilm.
          Unfortunately the L. sakei does not stick around in the sinuses (doesn’t colonize) so we have do do another treatment when we get sick. Getting back to normal is a much faster process now., so there probably have been sinus microbial changes over the last few years.

          By the way, none of us has seen an ENT in 4 years – why would we go if we’re fine?

          • Thank you Mara ! You are a God send to me.
            I asked you about the ENT reaction because I’ve heard many other comments that the medical establishment gets mad at the natural cure ect..
            Sooo glad to hear that you and your family don’t need them anymore !
            My family and I have juiced vegetables for 20 years and never see doctors, except for physicals. I consult many times with our natural doctor who has been right about everything! This Cronic sinus infection came because of a failed tooth bone graft for a tooth implant. I have been suffering for 2 years with it. I was forced to go to ENT and devastated when he said I need surgery.
            Need so badly for this natural cure to work.
            I’m using Micro mamma kimchi 2x a day. Several applications 1/2 inch into nostril like you said. Using for 4 days now. Can’t tell if it’s working.
            May I ask you what is the kimchi you use?
            I’m in Massachusetts.
            My husband is so tired of this he said he wants
            The natural healing first but if I don’t get healed by April he wants me to do surgery.
            I am praying to God that he will heal me through this by then and save me from surgery.
            Thank you to you and Lacto baco and Susan lynch for the study in science translational medicine !

            • Right now we’re using Sunja’s white kimchi (at Whole Foods or Fairway Market) or Sunja’s medium cucumber kimchi. Whether the kimchi works or doesn’t work depends on if there is Lactobacillus sakei in that batch.
              There should be some improvement within a few days if the jar contains L. sakei.

              • Thank you for all your support.
                I would love to do a probiotic net pot. Is that what you use the Bactoform F- RM-52 for ? Also where to you get this ?
                On your website Lacto baco, Sima said she got great results from this.

                • We use Bactoferm F-RM-52 in a similar way as kimchi by dabbing/smearing a little in each nostril, or can spoon in a little bit into each nostril (but first mix a little with bottled water). I have never used a neti pot with any product.
                  Many people have reported positive results with Bactoferm F-RM-52.
                  It has to be ordered from a sausage making supplier- because it’s used as a sausage starter (the L. sakei in it are anti-pathogenic).
                  Only use when needed.

                • I have any ther question with regard to Bactoferm F-RM-52 . Do you buy he freeze dried? How do you mix it to apply to nostril? Thank you

                • If research by Dr. Lynch has shown that most patients with CRS are lacking L. Sakei. Yet above Mara Silgailis says:
                  “Unfortunately the L. sakei does not stick around in the sinuses (doesn’t colonize) so we have do do another treatment when we get sick”.
                  Does it not then stand to reason that the lack of L. Sakei should be characteristic to everybody and not just CRS sufferers?
                  I am confused. What am I missing here?

      • I have read all your articles. I have had chronic sinus infection for over a year and desperate. I put the kimchi in this morn and night 2 inches up nostril and sniffed.
        How many days did it take to cure ?
        What was your ENTs reaction ?

  10. Found a sausage starter culture with the same bacterial cultures as f-rm-52. It’ll probably arrive tomorrow. I’m on pretty heavy anti inflammatory drugs now, but I guess this is not going to cure me. Fingers crossed, and I’ll keep you folks posted.

  11. Love it! Properly researched and lots of great info for us lay people.

    “First, probiotics have been shown to disrupt biofilms, which are present in CRS and difficult to eradicate through other means.”

    I’m on the hunt for more info regarding biofilms – do you have any tips as to where I can find more info on them, Chris?

    • Regarding biofilms they certainly can protect harmful cultures from being eradicated through conventional and holistic medicines. I have read to help probiotics in breaking down biofilms it can be helpful to use enzymes such as serrapeptase.

  12. Hi there!
    Finding your website has changed my life!!!
    Really! I am in my late fifties, Irish and working in the Middle East where dust is constantly in the atmosphere. Over the past two years I have been suffering from chronic sinusitis. I began thinking that feeling low in energy and basically no enthusiasm for anything was because I was pushing sixty! I had taken several courses of antibiotics which cleared the symptoms sometimes for a week or so only to return yet again. I was at the end of my tether…. Then while researching on the net I came across this website.
    I bought Ultimate Flora, crushed a tablet in my saline solution on two occasions and then took one a day orally. After one week the infection cleared up and i am anew woman. Full of energy with no wish to retire which was a daily thought before.
    Thanks so much!
    Touch wood!
    Geraldine

    • Thank you for sharing this Geraldine! I am an American 40 yr old woman of Irish descent and have had three major sinus surgeries. I am tired of taking antibiotics and steroids all the time and refuse to have another surgery. I’m on day two of opening a probiotic capsule and putting it into my NeilMed Sinus Rinse. I’m so happy to have read people are having good results with this. I have reached the point of desperation and am praying this works

      • Hi, can you let us have an update on how this is working for you? I’d be surprised if it works, as the flora in the nasal passages is different to the flora in the gut. However, I’d be so happy to be proved wrong!

    • Do you remember which ultimate flora you broke up to put in neti pot ?and did your sinus take it ok or were you sore ?
      Thank you !
      And yes finding this website has also changed my life !
      Thank you Chris.

  13. I started taking a probiotic years ago to prepare for a trip to Mexico. When I escaped Montezuma’s revenge and my husband did not, I knew I had a new supplement for life. Finally a great side effect…it also took care of my spring and fall sinus infections! I had been getting them for years and finally, FINALLY, they ceased! I completely contribute them to my daily use of probiotics. My kids have had the same result and I am so thrilled to be rid of that annoying chronic illness!

  14. I have opened up a capsule and poured it on the back of my tongue and let it dissolve. It stopped the sinus drainage and pain in the back of my throat in minutes. This makes so much sence to add good bacteria to overtake the bad. I have suffered with migraines and need to keep my sinuses clear to prevent the migraines so……this is a life saver.

  15. I confess. I have snorted kimchee. It is the most uncomfortable experience I have ever loved outside of having babies. I’m curious as to what role the actual peppers have in helping clear a sinus infection since putting Tabasco or another hot sauce on my food helps temporarily by reducing the congestion. I wish we could use another probiotic but unfortunately I think the pepper is important as well. I wish I’d read this article before my daughter chose her science fair project!

    • Studies suggest that the garlic, and also ginger and leek (and perhaps other seasonings) are the source of the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus sakei in kimchi that treats sinusitis.
      Over the course of fermentation the L. sakei multiplies with some studies suggesting (and my experiences) from about day 14 to about 2 1/2 or 3 months. And then dies down. (the study is discussed more at the Lacto Bacto site).
      This is why sauerkraut doesn’t work to treat sinusitis – no spices, no garlic, no seasonings – and no L. sakei.

  16. My only concern with instilling probiotics nasally is the cellulose that is in with the cultures. Wouldn’t this cause a problem? I REALLY want to do this, but need some reassurance that it will not cause a problem.

    • One would inhale a few droplets of the liquid per nostril when using kimchee. I can’t imagine inhaling a crushed tablet is a great idea because of the cello lose or whatever might be added to the tablet. A spray would be the way to go.

  17. Hi Chris,
    Can’t believe I found this blog! I’m dealing with the ‘remnants’ of severe sensitivities due to long standing non-allergic rhinitis ( age 7) that , due to work in questionable school environments, seemed to snowball after working in ( and most likely being anxious about) a ‘water infused’ school building . I still have issues with mold, dust, occasional bleach, cigarette smoke ( even on clothes) . Soooo much better after mindfulness training, natural heavy metal detox , etc ( also I probably had 140 courses at least of antibiotics over many years until three years ago when I went off all medications and replaced with amazing essential oils and a natural sinus regime and a much healthier diet with some fermented foods, drinks, etc).These issues are presently limiting me from finding per diem jobs because you can never find the perfect environment ( I’m an SLP) My doctors have been talking about probiotics for several years, but never explaining their benefits and I was always too busy or sick to feel like looking up what probiotics could do for you. My natural path and reflexologist are now saying that probiotics could really decrease my sinus issues/nasal reactivity. I’m ready and praying! Just curious about your insight.
    Thanks very much,
    Cindy

    • Probiotics used intranasally are magnificient. Please take some precautions:
      1.- google Nasal irrigation – adverse effects – wikipedia
      2.- google biofilms – nih…..then on the search engine….biofilms for the complete picture…..This is the real reason probiotics in the nasal cavities can not adhere at ounce and for all…you have to get rid of biofilms…research is still fresh….but colloidal silver ionic 50/50 with colloidal silver nano will almost get rid of biofilms, ionic silver will take care of bacteria and silver nano of fungi/mold/yeast. Some other component will aid colloidal silver to compleately eliminate biofilms. Research is being underway with fantastic results….but for the time being silver is more than enough till the probiotics enter in the batle…
      Best regards,
      tito

    • I’m a speech therapist with health issues also including chronic sinusitis. It’s impossible to find a good work environment like you stated so I’ve had to seek lots of medical care so that I can tolerate the terrible working conditions we have in our public schools. I recently did a nasal swab test that was only $150 and discovered I have a staph infection in my sinuses. I’m treating with silver and compounded antibiotics that I run through a nasal nebulizer. It’s the only way that the medicine gets into my sinuses. The sprays never worked for me. Anyways, just wanted to say I feel you sister trying to work in the school setting!

  18. I have read the mentioned article and used kimchi juice to colonise my sinuses with the b sakei and my chronic sinusitis for 35 yrs has vastly improved. I first of all used a saline nasal rinse combined with two drops of oregano oil ( strong antimicrobial and antibiotic) for a few days and then started using the kimchi juice (home made was best) to recolonise my sinuses. I first did this a few months ago and recently noticed my sinuses we reverting back and re-dosed them again with the kimchi juice – I have been amazed at how effective it has been

  19. I’m taking liquid probiotics ‘BIO-K’ and i’ve seen improvements in my sinuses, even my hearing has improved.

      • You can get bio-k at whole foods and I’ve even seen it at my local CVS in the pharmacy. It’s refrigerated. I gargle with a bit before bed when I have a cold and think it has made a difference, though hard to say as I take a ton of supplements and medications. However, it absolutely has worked like a dream with digestive upset and when every one else in my family had the stomach flu.

  20. This makes a lot of sense and also corresponds to how people with reflux (poor digestion and gut issues) get a lot of sinus problems.

  21. Probiotics have changed my life. I wlways thought they were for stomach issues but then heard about the research for sinus problems. Like many of the folks here I suffered with sinus infections and terrible colds all of the time. I started using Udo’s Super 8 (42b) and within a month it made a huge difference. No more Flonase, rarely do I take sudafed anymore! My husband and daughter started taking them too. My 6 yo hasn’t been sick since–and she’s been exposed to every cold at school! My husband has been sick once. When we feel something coming on we take more–up to 3 a day. I’ve been known to take 2 at a time and that seems to kick most things out right away.

    I finally caught my first bad cold in over a year and tried adding my probiotic to my sinus cleanser machine–think neti pot but electric. I actually had to pull the machine out of the cupboard since I hadn’t used it. Anyway, adding the probiotic seemed to make a difference for sure. Not out of the woods just yet.
    I would highly recommend taking a strong probiotic if you get sinus infections and colds. I do think you need to give it a month because you may not see results right away. I was about to schedule sinus surgery but was so lucky this worked. I think Udo’s is great. I’ve also taken VSL after a colonoscopy per my nurse practitioner and I thought it worked great as well.

    Good luck!!

  22. Stop eating dairy! You’ll start seeing a difference after 3 days. I stopped coughing after 2 weeks of no dairy. Plus you’re doing your body a favor as dairy is cancerous.

  23. I saw a ‘medical intuitive’ this last Sunday (yes, I had never heard of such a person before…my friend had an event with this woman who read each of us in a separate room). She pinpointed all of my physical issues within a few minutes, one being sinus inflammation. She recommended sniffing/snorting a very small amount of probiotic powder from a capsule and yes, I tried it and yes, it makes a huge difference. I breathe much better and it took away the puffiness/darkness underneath my eyes. Only do this after cleansing the sinuses with a neti pot.

    • Hilary —

      Thank you for sharing. I read your post, The power of patient reported feedback: Part 1, but did not see any mention to your comment here regarding whether or not we know what we are doing with probiotics (though I found your post to be very interesting and helpful). I have been suffering from CFS/ME for a very long time and am desperately trying to find help.

      Recently, I have become fascinated by the gut microbiome because a round of antibiotics has drastically altered it and worsened my CFS which was manageable for many years.

      Would you mind elaborating on your comment?

  24. Any suggestions for sudden-onset seasonal allergies? I was eating Paleo, doing really well, off of Zyrtec for five months, and then BOOM: post-nasal drip filling my lungs every night, messing with my sleep. Is there a Paleo version of Zyrtec? Neti pot did nothing. Thank you!

  25. I am currently taking floxacillin for a sinus infection that won’t go away. The pharmacist told me to take a probiotic with the medication because the antibiotics kill the bacteria in the gut which leads to diarrhea. The probiotic is supposed to prevent the diarrhea but oddly enough I found that after taking the probiotic, my sinuses cleared up and I could breathe fantastic. I’m going in for a CT scan in a couple weeks so I’m hoping the infection is gone and I can just use the probiotic moving forward!

    • Which probiotic did you take that cleared up your sinusitis? I take organic apple cider vinegar. It takes away the pain and cogestion, but I get very itchy eyes instead. I think I need an effective probiotic.

      • Is it possible you’re sensitive to the apple itself somehow? Apples are high in salicylates. Salicylates cause a lot of problems in salicylate sensitive people, especially mood and behavior problems. Also, is it organic acv? Apples are notorious for containing pesticide residues because insects love to eat them as they’re developing on the tree. Maybe your having trouble with a pesticide. Also, know that you don’t have to be clinically allergic to get itchy eyes or another seemingly allergic reaction from something.

    • Doug:
      Quit antibiotics as soon as possible since you are killing the bad bacteria as well as the rest of the good bacteria, if there is any left in your gut and organs, specially your nasal cavities. Use colloidal ionic/nano intranasally for 3 days along with probiotics intranasally as well as a potent probiotic supplement orally.
      Continue intranasally for 7 days, stop for a week and restart for another week, and then stop for good. In the case of the oral supplementation continue for at least 3 months until you learn how to treat biofilms in the digestive track. Probiotics in the digestive track in the presence of biofilms just pass by aiding only in digestive issues and is still unknown if it adheres to the intestinal menbranes. It is a hot isse at this time in medicine…..but the near future is fantastic news. Until you deal with intestinal biofilms, reduce the dose a 1/3 of the potent dose, and I warn you Doug, DO NOT EVER TAKE PROBIOTICS ORALLY UNLESS YOU FEED THE BILLIONS OF NEW GOOD BACTERIA YOU ARE ADDING TO YOUR FLORA AND THE BILLIOMS THAT THEY REPRODUCE DAILY!!!! Fiber,fiber,,fiber…ONLY FROM FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND ROOT VEGETABLES……NEVERRRRRRRR from grains and legumes since lectins in grains, whole or refined, legumes prepared or not, will destroy your intestinal lining and destroy your inmune system with unknown outcomes.
      People are crazy after probiotics supplements and for the best of all reasons….HEALTH, but most MDs do not tell them that starved bacteria increasing by the billions daily will end up eating the food that is supposed to be for the body and eventually eat glucose, proteins and others that are in the tissues and eventually acting as carnivores. They will migrate to the small colon searching for food and creating inmense damage to the digestive system, they can even end up in the stomack destroying th liver,pancreas and the rest is history…..
      Best wishes for you….
      Tito
      Best wishes for you…….

      Note: It is my greatest desire that Chriss could evaluate these tips that NOOOOO site in the net addreses. Hope He be the first to take them into account.

      • Hi, very interested in your comment. When you mention taking probiotics intranasally, could you give us some advice around which probiotics you advise and how to take them intranasally? Thanks

      • What do you mean? I took antibiotics with probiotics with my surgery because of dirraarr also the nurse told me too. That’s how I started taking probicticis. Is that what makes the biofilm?? I’m worried now, I’ve been taking probicticis since August 8th 2016 I eat a lot but I don’t go to the bathroom everyday Iike I did after surgery. Please explain to me why you told Doug not to take probiotics till he got the biofilm out. I’m new to this I have a sinus infection also but I’m worried now if there is biofilm in my gut. I have a lot of stomach pain. Please explain this to me. Thank you so much.

  26. I have had chronic sinus problems since I was a child but recently I was dealing with an infection that wouldn’t go away and I happened to accidentally sniff up a bunch of sea water. The next day I felt much better. I have used the Neil med with the packets but now I create a super hypertonic solution and rinse my sinuses but then inhale it deeply into the cavity while titling my head to the various areas I feel pressure and it works like a charm. It does burn but I think doing this occasionally when everyone else in my family is sick and I can feel it (taste it) coming on is probably ok. I hope this helps others as I can’t believe I didn’t discover this hypertonic rinse idea until now. Oh yes, and right before going to bed I gargle with a very salty mixture and then don’t drink anything. I feel like the virus or bacteria is prevented from infecting my tonsils like the salt acts as a natural barrier. Hope this helps.

  27. One thing that has helped me greatly and may help others is a regular (2 x per week) bath with added Tea Tree oil. It was prescribed by my Chiropractor/Kinisiologist when I was having sinus problems from mold/fungus. I add 12 drops to a warm bath as it is filling. I spend about 15 minutes in the tub. The oil gets in the steam enters the sinuses that way. Some of it also enters the sinus by way of the bath water. It is very gentle! (Using Tea Tree in a more direct way can be very damaging to the mucous membranes.) It is a simple remedy that leaves me feeling super refreshed all over and clears my sinuses completely.

    • “Using Tea Tree in a more direct way can be very damaging to the mucous membranes.”

      Jessica’s statement would appear to imply that the advice I have given here could be harmful, as an emulsion of *several* (even up to 15 or so) drops of essential oils, including tea tree oil in 500ml of warm water is indeed a more direct application, certainly, than the vapors from an oiled bath.

      So, let me make this clear: that implication is quite incorrect, and could scare some people away from the strength of treatment that they may NEED. If an oil-infused bath works for you, fine! but where’s the evidence that the dilute emulsion treatment I suggested (being that it is indeed “more direct”) is “very damaging” to the sinus tissues? Certainly, a non-diluted application of tea tree oil, or any other essential oil for that matter, is very ill-advised…but no one has advised that, of course. You know IS very damaging to the sinus tissues? Chronic infection.

  28. Mara (and any other interested parties), please see the reply I just made to Ricketyrack today. It has update. Also, while I’m feeling normal as far as the infection goes, I do not know if my left maxillary sinus is still occluded, just not infected. After about a month more of doing the protocol I have described, I am going to get another sinus scan and see if the sinus is clear (as well as not feeling infected, as it does not now seem to be.) I will let you all know. In any event, at a minimum, I feel confident about clearing a sinus infection to the point of no pain & appearing open for me to breathe easily.

      • Chris, Yes, I am better–the terrible pain, all over the left side of my face and head, including what felt like a toothache, evaporated within minutes of my sniffing about 13B probiotic in my left nostril. I can breathe easily. I only sniffed the pro b in my left nostril because I knew, through 2 cat scans, that it was my left maxillary sinus that has been occluded for at least 8 years. However, when I visited my naturopath about a week later, she said I should sniff it up both nostrils before I go to bed (and I leave it in all night). She also instructed me to neti a capsule in each nostril earlier in the day, and to ingest the same pro b after a meal. I do all of this, and more. I have also been researching sinus biofilm eradication, which is almost certainly an issue here, and I will write more about my findings later today or in the next few days. If you are going to sniff the Pure encapsulations pro b, it is Essential to buy it from an entity that has kept it Refrigerated. (Unfortunately Amazon does not keep it refrigerated.) Otherwise, there may not be enough potent bac to do the job. I really do not know if all the other stuff I am doing is necessary. It was about 1/4 capsule of the pro b that cleared the pain n a few minutes, and I only used even less than that for about a week subsequently, with no return of pain, until I had my naturopath visit, and she instructed the major increase, as well as some other things. PS I have NO financial association to Pure encapsulations. I have more to say, but time pressures force me to stop now.

        • Thx, Carol. I sniffed a refrigerated Jarrow probiotics and boy did that hurt. I just noticed it had a list of other ingredients. I have an Ultimate Flora 50 billion that I might try. It only has vegetable cellulose added. I’m waiting to get the l. Sakai in the mail to try. The kimchi I tried didn’t seem to help. There is a wash called Alkalol with a blend of oils. It might help break up biofilms but it also would kill any good bacteria so I am wondering if I should be using it. I was overdoing it with tea tree because I could feel my mucous membranes break down. Most importantly I am praying because that worked for me last year when I woke up healed and had a whole year healed. Thx for your comment.

            • Carol, I tried probiotics and apple cider vinegar up my nose and I got dramatically worse. So please be careful experimenting, folks. My jaw and teeth started hurting. Don’t know which thing it was that did it but it felt like my head was getting taken over by bacteria.

              • Hi Chris,

                All probiotics are not created equal. Most I would not put up my nose. It is only the Pure Encapsulations 50B probiotic that one has picked up from an doc office where it has been chilled during delivery and kept chilled in office refrigerator, and you keep it chilled on the drive home, and then into your refrig. Then it has the live bacteria you may need. (I have no connection to this company; my naturopath rec’d this. Also, since I was feeling better, I stopped using the probiotic and only neti potted in the eve. After about a month I felt the tooth ache feeling that for me presages a sinus infection. Hoping it would go away on its own, I waited until one night when I was awakened by toothache pain I could not ignore. I ran to the frig and sniffed 1/4 capsule of the Pure Encapsulations probiotic, and again within 5 minutes, I was fine, and went back to sleep. So now I am sniffing 1/4 capsule of the Pure Enc. probiotic every night. Also, since I apparently still have a biofilm issue, my naturopath has me taking Interfase Plus 2X day as well as Lysine, and on this coming Mon. she is going to do some special essential oil up the nose treatment that I will then have to subsequently do at home myself to break up the biofilm. But, importantly, I am not in any pain or discomfort. Still I want the biofilm gone, even if I can not feel it. (It showed up on x-ray as a still occluded left maxillary sinus–even though I was essentially symptom free.)

  29. I had horrible sinus infections multiple times per year for a decade or so and it was only getting worse and I was reaching a place of true despair. I knew that regular oral antibiotics ravaged the normal healthy microbe ecology so I would try to do without but I would be so sick that I’d give in, again and again, just to get better THAT time. I read Dr Grossan’s articles (an ebook on sinus issues), bought his sinus irrigator machine, and figured that the obvious best route to deliver antibiotics to the relatively avascular sinus tissues was NOT through the blood stream but the DIRECT route: flood the sinus cavities. But, what antibiotics? That’s easy: essential oils! Changed my life. This method quickly gets rid of sinus infections! I haven’t really had one for years…I have felt one or two coming on, but they didn’t get a chance. See, because my immune system has had a chance to heal. It took me a few years with the irrigator / essential oils method before I stopped getting the infections. In other words, for those few years I would get the infection but it would be much less severe. Now, I started out using thyme, clove stem, cinnamon leaf and then I later added eucalyptus but now after tons of experience if I had to recommend just one oil it would be, hands down, tea tree for it’s soothing anti-inflammatory properties, along with the antimicrobial. How, exactly? That’s easy! Your warm saline solution emulsifies the oils well enough, so just add a few drops, and rinse away. If you have a really bad infection, then go heavier on the oils. ..add more drops. It may burn some, but it’s temporary and sometimes you need to “go nuclear”…I found that out the hard way once. I was in despair because I thought my remedy had stopped working, as a particularly nasty infection wasn’t responding. Then it hit me: everything is about dosage, no reason it should be any different with this method. So I put like 3x the amount of oils, and man did it burn! (that was back when I was using cinnamon leaf) But it was a good burn…I quickly got better, I swear I was feeling better almost right away, and within the hour I was like a different person. So now I just tell anyone who will listen, I know how SICK and MISERABLE sinus infections can make a person…but there’s a solution. Now, I drink homemade kefir everyday and am enjoying my “new” immune system…totally sinus infect free.

    • Hi Ricketyrack,

      Thank you for your post–very interesting and useful. I want to mention that while tea tree oil is wonderful for many issues, the only oil that I know of that has been shown to kill pseudomonas, which is what my nose culture reflected, is basil oil. My naturopath has me applying basil oil (with carrier oil) as deep as I comfortably can up into my sinuses in the morn 2 or 3 times, and then in the late afternoon doing 2 neti pots of my probiotic, eating one capsule of the same probiotic after the late afternoon/eve meal, and then sniffing 20B (each nostril) of the same probiotic right before I go to bed, leaving the probiotic in the nostrils overnight. I am continuing to improve, and the facial/head pain has not returned since I started this procedure. The pain and fatigue I experienced before doing this probiotic sniffing was very bad. (I also take a lot of immune boosting supplements & others & eat a rigorously healthy diet–veggies, mushrooms, beans, fruits, seeds, no meat, 2 small servings of omega 3 fish/wk, and exercise 6 days/wk.) I am very lean and fit. While I have only had 3 (terrible) sinus infections in 2 years, a CAT scan done for a skiing accident 8 years ago also showed a completely occluded left maxillary sinus. But, as I said, I did not have any sinus infection until the first one 2 years ago. Non holistic ent’s I at first sought help from all (3 of them) said I would have to have sinus surgery; however, my naturopath thinks I can do this (heal) w/o the surgery–and I think she is right.

      • Hi Carol,
        Thanks for your appreciation. You are right, pseudomonas resist being killed by tea tree oil. One definitely must to be ready to try different oils and/or read up on which microbes are best killed by which oils. Personally, I viewed using 3-5 different oils at once as a “broad spectrum antibiotic” approach. I never had a culture taken to see what kind of microbes I was fighting. Maybe I should have left out the “if I had to pick one” recommendation, as this might be a specious one that misleads people into thinking that will surely be all need. Wrong…maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I’ll rephrase it: Now that I seldom get full -blown sinus infections, it seems like a little tee tree oil saline rinse is all I need to fend off early signs of one. This happened in the summer of 2014, we were camping in the redwoods of N Cali. I started getting early signs of getting sick. I thought “oh, shoot!”, but made sure we got to a health food store ASAP which wasn’t hard, we hit a great one in Eureka. There I bought the highest quality tea tree oil I had ever had…it was really special, just potent and fresh beyond belief. Anyway, I had no paraphernalia, so I just eyeballed a pinch of sea salt, warm water and some goodly drops of the oil into an empty water bottle, stuck it to my nostril on one side and put my head down while half standing/crouching and inhaled the warm saline rinse into my sinuses. Switch sides, repeat. Yeah…I git better, FAST. I was so freaking relieved, too, because we were on vaca, across the continent from home, visiting a good friend we rarely see…being sick THEN would have been extra miserable and inconvenient.

        Anyway, re: picking the oils. As I think I mentioned, tee tree should be considered not just for the antimicrobial property, but also for the anti-inflammatory, which is very powerful. It is a “soothing” oil. This is very important in most sinus conditions, as there will be significant inflammation and the faster you can get things calmed down, the faster the healing. In fact, a lot of people get sinus infection that arise primarily from an allergic reaction…I was one of these. I had some allergies that affection my sinuses that would then “spark” a sinus infection. The tissues become inflamed, the sinus spaces get occluded, no air no drainage…boom. Bad news. Same thing when colds and flus are the initial cause. Everything that caused my sinuses to inflame would cause a subsequent nasty infection. Now that I have “healed all up”, even my allergies seem to have pretty much gone away, knock on wood.

        Having a crush injury that causes occlusion to the sinus space is very worrisome, for the reasons I just pointed out. My advice, and I’m sure your naturopath would probably concur, is to get strong anti-inflam action right up into the tissues. Because of that occlusion your maxillary sinuses need all the “breathing room” they can get, and can’t afford to be swollen. You should definitely look into a Grossan HydroPulse irrigator to make sure you get maximum delivery of the medicinal oils, and optimized mechanical pulse action to the cilia…and please consider tee tree oil for it’s “soothing” property. It may not be right for you, but it won’t hurt to try it, either…that’s the really nice thing about it.

        • The problem with tea tree oil is it’s very astringent, which can be too drying to the sinuses. I’d recommend coconut oil instead.

        • tea tree can be so strong drying reactive, and cause inflammation, but you are right that a lot times sinus inflammation rages on and gets the turbinites to close. Mast cell histamine allergen can be there causing issues and people try blast sinus with things that cause more histamine response. calming inflammation should be number 1 thing to do.

    • Mara, thanks so much for the info. I’m on my fouth antibiotic for a current infection and am desperate for alternatives. Ricketyrack, do you find water gets stuck in your head with the nasal irrigators? I’m concerned about water being forced up there. How many drops and how frequently do you use oils in your irrigators? I’m hoping to irrigate and alternate with kimchi.

      • Hi Chris. The saline solution doesn’t get “stuck” in your sinuses…but I have had it happen, once in a while, that I’d bend over after having recently rinsed, and a good tablespoon of water would suddenly drain from my nose…this could be embarrassing in the wrong situation! But, there is a path for the water into the sinuses, so there is a path out. This “leftover water” is not a problem and if you just bend over on purpose a few times to drain it after rinsing you’ll probably avoid any “inconvenient” draining later on.
        As far as drop dosage, start with a couple-few and see how it goes. If you are using several oils together then you can probably stay with just a few drops each. If you are using just one oil, you could go up. I’ve easily had 10 to 15 drops total in a 500 ml rinse, on a “heavy” day. I hope you’ve read my earlier comment about dosage. Don’t be afraid to go nuclear if you have to. More oils may cause a burning sensation, will make your eyes red…this is very short-lived, though.
        Frequency: depends on the severity of the illness. Part of “going nuclear” in a very severe case will be to use the oils more often. If I was really sick I would rinse with heavy doses of oil 3 times per day. If I was on the mend, I would dial back the oils, maybe switching to no oils just rinsing, or tea tree ONLY to calm the inflammation. Some of the antibiotic oils may be a little irritating, so you don’t want to keep using them longer than necessary. Tea tree, in my experience, is an anti-inflammatory topical.

        • I have to disagree somewhat about saline solutions ‘getting stuck’. Saline rinses can indeed dry out already dry sinuses, so in a way, could get ‘stuck’ there.

          A mixture of sodium and potassium bicarbonate is probably a better solution. And then it’s important to restore the microbiome as mentioned as well…

    • I also swear by steaming with essential oils! When I feel a sinus infection or cold coming on, I steam over a pot of oil of Oragano , tea tree and Olbus oils. Hurts like crazy, but works every time. I’ve avoided antibiotics this way for years now, and I used to get infections about 3x per year. The antibiotics destroyed my gut and now I have an autoimmune condition I’m fighting. Wish steaming could get that under control!

  30. This is really intriguing. And it connects to something I really, really, really wish you would write an article about. (Hint hint).

    I am a treatment free sustainable beekeeper. And after starting to keep bees I learned to my surprise that honey is not “antibacterial” as commonly believed. Rather it’s a very powerful live fermented food that contains several lactobacilli not found anywhere else except in bees’ honey crops. Bees go through an elaborate process of fermenting and dehydrating honey before sealing it in the honeycomb.

    I’d love to see someone who really understands this stuff write a serious article about the probiotics in honey. There is very little information out there, even in specialized beekeeping literature, about the specific lactobacilli bees produce or whether there is any overlap between them and human gut flora. But beekeepers generally agree that the old wives’ tale is true: feeding someone a teaspoon of local honey every day really does cure seasonal allergies. I always assumed this was because you were basically innoculating them with tiny doses of pollen with the honey.

    But maybe it’s the lactobacilli after all?

    I also can’t help wondering about the real role of honey in Paleo diets. There are cave paintings going back to the Paleolithic of honey hunts. And most traditional cultures consider honey a powerful medicinal product quite apart from its sweet taste.

    Let’s call it a gut feeling but I wonder sometimes if honey might have been honey was the first probiotic supplement? There’s certainly no doubt that gorging on raw stolen honey a few times a year would certainly have been a powerful reset for paleolithic hunters’ gut flora!

    Anyway … hopefully I’ve piqued your interest and I might get to read more about this on the website sometime???

  31. Nice article. As was discussed, the key ingredient in treating chronic sinusitis is Lactobacillus sakei because it dominates over other microbes.
    My family and people writing to me at lactobacto.com have reported it in some kimchis, one sausage starter culture, and the product Lactopy (from Korea). When it’s in a product, the results seem miraculous.
    We’ve had excellent results, but it is self-experimentation.
    I would love to hear from people if they have found other products that also contain L. sakei.
    Or other probiotics that successfully treat chronic sinusitis.

    • Mara, Please see my comments on Aug 23 & 24. My probiotic does not contain L.sakei, but was, for me, “miraculous” within a few minutes. My naturopath has worked out a daily routine for me, also including basil essential oil (because Dr. Tieraona Low Dog says this kills some strains of pseudomonas, which is what my nasal culture reflected). My naturopath also has me taking a lot of other supplements, and I eat a rigorously healthy diet, and exercise a LOT. But what stopped the pain (it has not returned) was immediately upon sniffing the probiotic up my nose. I had just read Chris’ article
      and was desperate. I know you affect a lot of people, and I want others to know this may make a big difference for them.

      • Carol: This is great to hear! Yes, when the right bacteria get up in the sinuses, the improvement can feel miraculous!
        I would like to know when you feel the sinusitis is fully successfully treated. How many weeks? And what happens when you finally stop using the probiotic in the nose? Do the sinuses continue feeling fine or will it relapse?
        Also, do you put the probiotic into the nostrils dry or dilute in nonchlorinated or bottled water?

        The original L. sakei researchers (Abreu et al) said chronic sinusitis sufferers have less diversity of microbes in their sinuses, as well as lacking L. sakei (which they view as a “keystone species”).
        So it seems that one or more of these bacteria in the probiotic may be some of the “missing community of species”.
        By the way, this is interesting because I, and a number of people writing me, have tried smearing various probiotics in the nostrils and nothing has worked so far.
        Please give a progress report either here or on the lactobacto.com web-site.
        I will wait to write about it until a little more is known about your progress with it.
        And I will definitely order the probiotic to try it out.

        Another possibility is combining treatments to get a community up in the sinuses. Recently two family members successfully did that – first a kimchi treatment, followed by a Bactoferm F-RM-52 (mixed with bottled water) treatment several hours later. It worked great – only had to do that 3 days in a row to be successfully treated. (We only get sinusitis after a virus these days – and it’s no longer severe like it was years ago).
        Yes, we’re still doing self-experimentation.

        • Mara, I will write more when I have a little time. I am writing now to make sure you (& others) know that the probiotic I use (Pure encapsulations 50B) MUST be refrigerated to be effective. While you can buy it online, like at Amazon, this would be a waste of money because they do NOT refrigerate it. Buy it from some naturopath office or the like where they keep it refrigerated. (I bring a chilled container to drive home with it.) And I break apart the capsule and sniff it up my nose with about a 2″ straw. It burns a little at first, but I’m used to it and that, for me, is a small price to pay. If you go to FB and message me, I will send you my phone #, and we can talk. It takes a long time to write out everything relevant. I am the Carol Hemingway in Santa Barbara, CA.

          • Carol, I went to Pure’s website and there are many choices of probiotics there. I want to see what the bottle looks like that you are using before I go out looking to buy it in Reno, NV in a refrigerated condition. Can you show me the link to the actual product you use from this website, please?
            Thanks!
            http://www.pureprescriptions.com/pure-encapsulations/m111?gclid=Cj0KEQiA_MK0BRDQsf_bsZS-_OIBEiQADPf–qwS8LEH6v9s6LrNHf-JqbX-hVsbX2VU6ni-N7IasWcaAslt8P8HAQ

          • Hi Carol, Thanks for your message on board regarding probiotics internasally. I am dealing with chronic sinus issues. Have done a couple rounds of bioxin with prednazone with really helped first time but recently not effective. I just feel blah with little energy at 62. I have read about Bactofin FRM52 along with a good probiotic.(ie BioK; Udo Super 8-42b; oe colloidal ionic/nano nasal sprays. But many have strongly advocated Sunjai White Kimichi too. Pls help 🙂 Thx

            • Paul:
              Research finds that the microbial community is out of whack (dysbiosis) in sinusitis. Antibiotics kill off bacteria, but using Bactoferm F-RM-52 is adding bacteria (Lactobacillus sakei).
              Using that alone (mixed a little with bottled water), OR kimchi alone (dab/smear a little of the juice in nostrils) may get you back to feeling normal.
              Try a local kimchi first to see if that works (cheaper and easier than ordering).

              There is no evidence that swallowing probiotics gets the desired bacteria to the sinuses. But swishing dissolved probiotic bacteria in the mouth (and then not eating drinking for a while) may help. People have tried this with various multi-strain probiotic supplements (self-experimentation).

              But…do not use baby shampoo, xylitol, antibiotics, or anything that kills bacteria when trying a L. sakei product (the Bactoferm F-RM-52, kimchi). It beats the whole purpose of adding bacteria to the nostrils (they then travel up to the sinuses).

        • Mara

          I suffer from chronic sinusitis for the past 16 years. I do daily nasal rinses and it seems help. But I still keep getting sinus infection. Where can I buy the Kimchi? I make homemade Kimchi and not sure if it has the appropriate strain.

          Where can I buy the correct Kimchi or Lactopy?

          Thx, Tessy

          • I recently posted an update to a post with kimchi brands that have worked for people, sausage starter culture Bactoferm F-RM-52, and Lactopy information. http://lactobacto.com/2015/01/12/the-one-probiotic-that-cures-sinusitis/
            I personally would try kimchi brands (to see if one brand works) that are locally available (e.g., Whole Foods) because that is the easiest to do and I know the product has been refrigerated since it was produced.
            Lactobacillus sakei can be killed off during shipping – so I always get 2 day shipping for either kimchi or the Bactoferm F-RM-52.
            I order the Bactoferm from sausagemaker.com because that is the closest supplier to me – and then I put it in the freezer.
            Please look at my Sinusitis Treatment Summary page to see how we used the products.
            Lactopy can be ordered through the dj-prostore site, but they don’t ship to all locations.

            The amazing part is that getting the probiotic L. sakei in our nostrils/sinuses has meant being successfully treated without having to do anything else at all – no other supplements, no oils, no dietary changes, no antibiotics, etc.

  32. Very interesting! I suffered from allergies my whole life but started getting chronic sinus infections about 5 years ago. I started immunotherapy and daily sinus rinses which improved my symptoms but I still kept reacting to the injections and made frustratingly slow progress. After going AIP and including fermented foods I got to my maintenance dose and only had 3 infections the first year. At the beginning of this year I started daily oral probiotics and have continued the daily sinus rinses and have only had 1 infection! I was able to stop all of my medication over the winter. My doctor and I are working on tweaking my immunotherapy formula so that I can reduce or get completely off my meds year-round.

  33. Matt, These are the strains in the probiotic I am sniffing: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium longum, 50 billion CFU, brand Pure encapsulations.

  34. After reading this article, and having painfully endured a pseudomonas infection in my occluded left maxillary sinus for over 3 weeks, I decided to try sniffing 1/4 capsule of my probiotic into my left sinus. It was 9Pm at night and I was just about to take my nightly Motrin so the pain would not prevent me from sleeping. Within 3 minutes, I noticed notable improvement and within 15 minutes, all pain evaporated! I have been inserting the probiotic every 12 hours or so, and the terrible pain has not returned. (I am using much less than 1/4 capsule subsequent to the first night; that much might not have been necessary; I really don’t know.) The sinus infection is not completely cured yet, but it appears to be going steadily in the right direction. Before doing this probiotic in my nose, I had religiously been doing neti pot with echinaccea and all sorts of other holistic remedies my wonderful naturopath doctor suggested, eventually even including a fungus prescription, and then subsequently an antibiotic–neither had any effect. I could say a lot more, but I want to convey that sniffing the probiotic in the nose was dramatic improvement and still holding.

  35. Hi Chris – thank you so much for your insights into so many health issues. You have given me hope and I am now embarked on a journey of discovery and hope to overcome chronic sinusitis, bronchiectasis and Hashimotos, rather than just stay on medication as prescribed. I have started on LDN. I also bought a little nebuliser, and have been nebulising colloidal silver into my sinus and lungs over the past few weeks. It certainly hits infection on the head.

  36. I’ve used grapefruit seed extract, oregano, salt, and other things in nasal sprays.

    I’ve also used probiotics. They help!

    I think that having a chornic nasal infection can result in a systemic infection, as you are constantly swallowing the infection into your body. It is an important thing to tackle.

  37. I have success with difflucan and eliminating mucus causing grains (rice, wheat), veg (okra, yams) some lentills. IMHO externally applied remedies must be used in conjunction with internaly taken remedies since it is a systematic problem.

    • Hi Zakaria!.What dosage did you use and how long did you take the Difflucan for systemic infection of candida/fungi ? Can you detail please ? Thanks a lot!

  38. Wow, Chris! Thank you for this information! I have suffered from CRS most of my life. It has improved since I’ve improved and changed my diet these past few years, but I was recently under tremendous stress and pressure and voila, I became sick again. Nice to have healthier options. I was also interested in essential oils as a treatment…, have you any advice or information on that approach? Thanks again! Cheers!

  39. For ten years I have been using a neti pot, which has made a huge difference in my sinus symptoms. When i first started, i had to use it 3x per day, then went to 2x per day, then to 1x. I’m sure restoring the microbiome would be a good idea at some point, but until i get all my many chronic and autoimmune symptoms under control and improve my terrain, the neti pot is a simple inexpensive and effective quick fix. By doing this and oilpulling I feel i am greatly reducing the load on my poor overworked immune system.

  40. Chris, I have had for five years what I refer to allergies. I blame it on living in AZ with all the dust from lack of rain. The first 30 years living here, I had no problems. The ENT says I have rhinitis/allergies and gave me sprays which do not work that well. My sinuses drain down my throat and I am constantly spitting to clear it which probably is giving me a sore throat most of the time. My ear canals itch and hurt and when it really gets bad, my nose runs like a river besides draining in my throat. Allegra and zyrtek give me gas and bloating and constipation after a few days. Claritan-D affects my neurotransmitters and my whole body feels like a raw nerve after two days. I take many vitamins and supplements for years and among them are pre and probiotics. So much for that. Any other suggestions?

    • Have you tried Xyzal? It’s a third generation antihistamine. It works really well for me, I hadn’t been able to find an antihistamine before this one. I take it at night and it helps me to relax and sleep. I just take 1/2, otherwise it makes me really groggy in the morning.

  41. This is a really interesting conversation that give hope! I have Chronic Fungal Rhinitis which I have been told is “untreatable” outside of the use of regular steriods. I have had it now longer than I can remember, with nasal polyps and hence I have virutally no sense of smell or taste. I have found that dealing with my raging Candida infection helped emensely with mucos production and would encourage anyone who hasn’t looked into that to take a look. But still not much difference on the smell front. I will be interested to look into this some more as I have tried “everything” over the years.

  42. I wonder if there’s any study on this for the perennial allergic rhinitis (unidentified allergen) that I suffer from? Google Scholaring right away!

  43. I dont know if this is what I am plagued with since you didnt mention any symptoms, alls I know is I use a spray to unclog my nose but not all the time

  44. I had sinus problems all my life. But a few months ago I decided to change my diet. As part of my diet I began making my own yogurt from Liberte goal yogurt with probiotics as a starter and goat milk,

    I noticed that my runny, snuffled nose seem to disappear over night. I could easily go through half dozen handkerchiefs a day, when I would suddenly get this drip, drip. Then at times I would also end up with blood on my handkerchief. Very thankful for my new me.

  45. I began a course of 80,000iu Serrapeptase capsules, 6 a day for a week, tapering down to 3 a day now, a few weeks ago and my constant sinusitis has almost completely gone. I used to have sudden, painful pains and aches, in my sinuses during the day, and now hardly get them at all. Serrapeptase claims to remove scar tissue, in fact any dead matter, including chronic sinus problems.

    I plan to stay on about 2 capsules daily when I taper down to that, and watch what happens. I’ve had chronic sinus pains for years up until this recent experience with Serrapeptase.

    • I get recurring Sinus Infections and Sinusitus and I am sick and tired of these illnesses! Can I impose upon you to tell me where you purchase this item, e.g. Walmart or a Website, please? Eugene, [email protected].

    • I second the use of serrapeptase. I recently underwent major surgery and serrapeptase was recommended as an adjunct to promote wound healing/minimize scar formation. I have had sinus/asthma issues for 25+ years and both improved radically within 2 weeks of use. I ran out and have been waiting a week for an online order, and my nasal congestion has returned. I’ll be sticking with the serrapeptase in future!

  46. I have been using a treatment for candida for the last 3 months and am vastly improved in my sinus condition supplementing with probiotics and free dairy, yeast and sugar…amazed at results after sffering cronic s for over10 years

    • Hi Di Eagle! Can you please help me with some advice regarding treatment of candida? What have you used for treat candida in the last 3-4 months and do you think it helped you in this improvement? What kind of treatment and what suppliments did you use? Thanks

  47. Chris,I have really enjoyed the article because I have been a sufferer of sinus problems for years. I use Xlear every morning and before bed and have for about four years now. What a difference it has made. However, I am interested in a good brand of probiotics to buy because I have not been taking them for my gut or my sinuses so I really hoping maybe you can recommend a brand. One that has a good quality of what is required that a person needs. That’s hard to figure out when there’s so many on the market and you just don’t know which one to buy! I would be so very grateful for your recommendation!!! Thanks

  48. I have had sinusitis throughout my 56 years, even as a child. I am able to manage it via Claritin. I stay on Claritin almost daily, but do try and wean myself from it periodically but usually come running back when I feel symptoms returning. I hate taking maintenance medicine and would love to be Claritin Free. Does this meet the CRS criterial?

    • Cheryl, I took Claritin-D and then Allegra-D for maybe 15 years before a cardiologist told me to lay off the Sudafed since it was likely the cause of my occasional heart palpitations. (Family doctor prescribed allergy meds plus decongestants without ever testing me for allergies…). I stayed on plain allergy medicine for another 10 years and finally underwent allergy testing and then immunotherapy, which has helped a lot. They have been helped further by fixing up my diet (which is what Chris’s books and blog and dietary programs are all about). I’ve begun getting acupuncture and herbal treatments as well, which help open my sinuses and heal my gut.

      So, there are many many things you can try to get off the allergy medicine! Try eliminating foods like Chris or other paleo nutritionists recommend, and immunotherapy too.

  49. Not sure what to do but did hear sinus problems and sinus polyps are due to fungal issues. Son has constant blocked nostril and realized there are polyps growing in there. Of course the Doctor type cure was drugs, i.e. Prednisone, which does get rid of them but they come back. Since then read that fungus/yeast issue could be the cause. If he takes probiotics which type should be used and should a person follow a ‘candida’ diet to eliminate yeast. Sure hope there is some type of procedure because his condition is pretty bad and constant all year round (and of course, naturopaths are too expensive for him to go to. Sure hope there’s help out there.

  50. Check out this biotech company finally dealing with the microbiome. Seres Therapeutics. Kind of exciting mainstream is finally catching up.

  51. After years of five kids suffering CRS, I decided to try Sarah Pope’s method a try. At bedtime, after teeth are brushed and the last drink of water has been drunk, take one bio-kult capsule and empty it on the tongue. Swish around the mouth for one minute and swallow, then to bed. The kids wake up with clearer heads in the morning and it takes between 4-6 days to completely alleviate the symptoms.

  52. Had bronchitis over the winter. Did not take antibiotics, but used natural remedies. A month later, developed a sinus infection. I’d never had one before. (pain in upper molars which turned out to not be teeth related, pain when leaning over, sinus headache, etc). I took antibiotics for 10 days. I rarely take them, but decided to when sinus rinsing and other remedies didn’t work.

    The sinus symptoms went away with the antibiotics, then returned a month later. Doing salt water rinses, which used to feel great, started causing more pain.

    Realizing I can’t live on antibiotics, I tried grating fresh garlic and sniffing the fumes at least 4 times a day, crushing or grating each time to release fumes (especially in early morning and before bed). It worked immediately and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s also done wonders for my elderly mom who was suffering from vasomotor rhinitis, which was driving her crazy.

    I was concerned the garlic fumes would be irritating, but for my mom and I, they were not.

    I realize this is not getting way down to the root cause, but it totally keeps the symptoms at bay without resorting to drugs.
    Maybe this could help someone else.

    • Thanks for your post; My story is very similar to yours. I have been eating raw garlic, but, after reading your post, I just put a pea sized chunk in my nostril, which goes to the infected (pseudomonas) & occluded sinus. Among other things my naturopath has me taking a good probiotic 2X/day–I think it helps, along with a LOT of other things she’s got me doing!

      I am trying to clear this without resorting to the Cipro that is waiting for me at the pharmacy 🙂

  53. I’ve had three sinus surgeries and the last one seemed to do the trick, at least for awhile. Eventually, and for the past 2 years, I’ve had a constant runny nose, post-nasal drip, etc. The most curious thing that happens, however, is whenever I eliminate (#2 – and I mean EVERY time) my nose runs and sometimes I even feel nauseous. Usually I sneeze. This article brings a little inkling of light to what it could possibly be but my doctor simply shrugs her shoulders. Huh. A good friend who is totally homeopathic suggested it might be the vagus nerve. Ever the mysteries … thanks for the article.

  54. Amy,
    When you started eating Paelo did you give up dairy? My son had chronic sinititus for years . A care giver suggested trying giving up dairy for a month. When he did his sinisus cleared for the first time in 4 years. Unfortunately he decided he’d rather be stuffed up than give up dairy. So for the last 15 years he has been stuffed up, always. He’ll stay away from dairy to clear up when he has a gig coming up where he needs to sing, then go right back to dairy, mostly cheese, after.

    • Debra … Just wonder if your son might benefit from switching to A2 dairy? This has made a huge difference to me as I too didn’t want to stop dairy altogether … But A2 milk and cream and switched to goats cheese and coconut yogurt don’t seem to give me the same sinus problems

      • Deb R,
        Excuse my ignorance, but I’ve never heard of A2milk and cream, what is it?
        Does goats milk cheese taste as bad as goats milk?

        • Hi,

          I’m sorry for witting this comment here but I keep on reading how bad Goat milk is and just the other day I got myself some Goat milk from Walmart and it actually taste very similar to regular milk. It was very expensive. Now, I have not tasted goat cheese or know what a2 milk is. ;-(

  55. All my family suffer from sinus infection. We are positive for Staphylococcus aureus in our eyes, noses and mouth. We tried antibiotics, xclear, probiotics, grapefruit seed extract and some of that was helpful but nothing really solved the problem. The best result was after xclear but when we stopped everything started again. It seems like all of that can control infection but does not solve it. Now I am going to try honey.

    • My husband has tested positive for Staphylococcus. He only has the pimples on his face and scalp. We haven’t tried the xclear, how did you like it?

    • Hi

      We had success with a probiotic called saccharomyces boulardii. It turned out that my child born by Caesar section suffered lowered immunity, sleep aponea and terrible upper respiratory tract infections, one after the other, was also insulin sensitive due to tremendous stress in the womb, caused by my elevated cortisol levels, during pregnancy, which affected his growth hormones and have him insulin sensitivity. It seems both can be treated by this probiotic, so after giving him a broad spectrum children’s probiotic, with great success with regard to curing his recurring ear infections and improving his general immunity. His sleep aponea remained. So I tried the afore mentioned probiotic and his upper respiratory infections went, as did his sleep aponea and sinus problems. He is now a happy little boy and sleeps through the night. It has taken us from hell to heaven, in one very easy step. I hope this helps you.

      Kindest regards

  56. After three decades of near-constant sinus infections, paleo eating cured me. No idea why. And my sinuses are my early warning signal, if I get too liberal with the diet, I get excess mucus in my sinuses.

    • After sinus infections my whole life along with IBS problems, going gluten free solved all the issues. I do have to stay away from certain FODMAPs (sorbitol, stone fruits, onions, etc.) but a small price to pay for feeling well for the last 2 years! Plus, lost 15-20 lbs of extra weight I could never get rid of. I do eat sauerkraut once in awhile and various probiotics but not daily. None of these things helped: sinus surgery, 3-4 doses a year of antibiotics, horrid prescription sprays for asthma which I didn’t have. Got so bad I ended up with pneumonia.

      • Hi Beth, I know you wrote a while ago, but I am just seeing this. I had the same experience going gluten free. I had very severe sinus problems some which improved when a spur was removed, but the infections continued. It seemed that my sinuses woudl not heal well. And now, within a couple of weeks of going gluten-free, my sinuses healed themselves without any medications, neti-pot or otherwise. I am still eating grains, just not gluten-containing ones. If this improvement is because of celiac disease I wonder if the extracellular matrix of the nasal passages could have been leaky due to autoantibodies against the transglutaminase. This might make it easier for bugs to take hold. Anyway, I don’t know what the mechanisms is, but it is making all the difference for me!

    • Paleo works wonders for many people because all grains are very high in sugar and therefore inflammatory. Get off the treat foods, avoid added sugar to natural food (nothing packaged or processed) and consume healthy fats, primarily olive oil, first cold press, extra virgin and consider coconut oil. Best wishes.

  57. I used to get regualer sinus infections and would snort garlic powder to get rid of them so I would think kimchi wouldn’t be any worse and would help more. Though I haven’t had a sinus infection since I started consuming more fermented foods and drinks. I believe in fermented foods and have some simple recipes for making your own in my book found on my website. I regularly make and eat kimchi, kombucha, and beet kvass all for pennies on the dollar compared to store bought options.

  58. My husband suffered from chronic sinus infections for years. His turned out to be caused by an allergy to his contact lens solution. Once he went to glasses he stopped getting them. Maybe this might help someone. I also read recently that we have a biome on our eyes and that contact lenses damage that. It contributes to chronic dry eye which I have – haven’t been able to wear contact lenses for 10 years. I’d be happy to put probiotics in my eye if that would help but I imagine they are different strains than the ones in your gut.

  59. I’ve never had a sinus infection but have been stuffed up for my entire life. One allergist remarked that it was amazing I could even breathe through my nose.
    I’ve been on a grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet for over a decade. I’ve also been taking probiotics for longer than that. Furthermore, I’ve been seeing a Naturopath for the past 5 years. There has been no improvement in my stuffiness from anything I’ve tried other than OTC decongestants such as Sudafed.
    I guess I’ll have to try snorting probiotic powder, even though I find the idea of snorting anything revolting.

  60. I suffered much most of my life from sinus. Nothing helped except humidity. Air conditioners added to my misery. Then a in the last couple of years the pain is all gone. I am 76 and retired 3 years ago after 50+ years driving trucks. I suppose the cab air conditioners exasperated the problem, but that doesn’t explain why I had the problem for many years before we had A/C

  61. I use a probiotic called Flora-Sinus from Nutri-Health supplements it helps me throughout the entire year. I also use eucalyptus oil (5-10 drops) in a small metal bowl full of hot water. Put a small towel over your head to keep the steam in and breathe deeply over the eucalypuis and hot water for about 15 minute once or twice a day.
    hope this is a help to someone.

  62. I have had sinus issues for many years, I started taking an oral probiotic about 4 months ago and all of my sinus issues as well as other gut issues are gone.

  63. I have the same sinus problem from time to time and
    I read it somewhere that sesame oil is very helpful. Twice or three times a day apply into the nose. I use this method and it helps a lot! The other helpful method is hot steam with sea salt and water. 10- 20 minutes under a towel and it clears up the sinus infection in a few days! Garlic and onion are very good to eat and honey. So far these are my remedies! You can try them and see which one helps! Apple sider vinegar is a good idea! I will try that, as well!

  64. Hi,

    I was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis 2 years ago. Never really had any symptoms until 2 years ago. I also was diagnosed with HBP, High Cholesterol and reflux/gasritis. The day after I started to take medication for all 4 of these conditions including antibiotics and nasal spray my belly got really hard and it remained like that until I started to read and look for answers on the internet because Docs after doing MRI’s, Endoscopy and Colonoscopy did not have an answer. My GI said it was IBS so she also game me medication for this. Well, sinus still the same and Belly still the same so I started to take probiotics because I read antibiotics kills the good ones and I needed to replace it with probiotics Yes, 75% of the pain and the pressure on my abdomen, belly area was gone. Yes, it helped right away. Now, as for my chronic sinusitis problem it did continue but much better than before. What actually did the final trick for me besides the probiotic which I take every single day was a product called Simple Saline which is cheap and very easy to use. Now, I still use the nasal spray and sometimes the medication for the congestion just in case but not on a daily basis. I actually think I don’t need it . As for my HBP, IBS, High Cholesterol and reflux/gastritis I started to eat better and now I don’t have HBP, IBS or High Cholesterol and have been medication free for these 3 conditions for 6 months or more. btw, they also said I had nerve damage on hands and feet and put me on medication for 4 months, 1 year ago I stopped taking them because I had a reaction to one of them and have not used any medication for this and is like I never had nerve damage. Yes, a Neuro Doc did all the test and said I had these nerve damages conditions. Now I have no burning on my arms and legs and no numbness on hands and feet as well. So if you ask me, for sure probiotics will help and in many ways so giving it a try won’t hurt. Sure, I have not tried to use it on the nose and for now I will stay with the regular pill until further study is done. But yes, buy and get some is for sure a miracle pill. 😉 Sorry if I violated any terms by adding the name of a product. Please remove if I did. 😉

  65. Interesting concepts that you and the others, here, have mentioned. Thank you for sharing! For many years I have had chronic sinusitis, nightly accumulation of nasal congestion, as well as an all-day, every day chronic cough / mucous problem. I have tried a lot of things, including inhalers, prednisone, antibiotics, many herbal combinations meant for lung health, probiotics, raw onion, various vitamins / herbs, digestive enzymes, neti-pot, air purifiers / ionizers, getting rid of old carpeting in my house, and improving what I eat. Although, I must admit I have yet to make it through an elimination diet process. I have tried XClear, and not only did it not give me any relief, but it burns my nasal passages. I stopped using it. I also tried making my own fermented veges, and it didn’t help me, either. I have not gotten much benefit from anything but eating raw onion, eg on salad — hard to eat it straight, and the digestive enzymes, but they only mildly relieve some of it. I’ve tried Braggs apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t notice any relief, and I couldn’t stick with it. So I might just try breaking open a probiotics cap and adding it to my nasal wash bottle, or the P2 that someone mentioned. Thanks for the input, everyone !

    • Have you ever heard of ‘fire cider’? Rosemary Gladstone, well known herbalist has videos online on how to make it, and we’ve found it helpful for both sinus issues and just as an all around tonic during the winter months. It sounds disgusting, made with ginger, onions, garlic, horseradish, and various other herbs as you wish, but it actually is palatable once you get used to it. (mixed w/ honey before use).
      If you don’t wish to try making this, even just grated horseradish held in the side of your cheek for a few minutes can promote sinus drainage and at least help with the discomfort temporarily.

    • I’m wondering the same thing. Instead of sniffing up the powder contents of a pro-biotic capsule, why not mix the pro-biotic powder with water, salt and baking soda for use with a neti pot or nasal rinse squeeze bottle? Has anyone tried this?

  66. I had chronic sinusitis since I was a small child. I never went to doctors for this as I thought it was just “normal”. The headaches were rare but i had continuing–all day–all night– post-nasal drip. Once I switched to raw goat milk and raw goat milk kefir, the problem disappeared. I was shocked since the reason I started raw dairy was for digestive issues. These cleared up too.

  67. I began to suffer from Sinus congestion when I turned 50 and found a wonderful nasal spray made from grapefruit seed extract. It is absolutely amazing and worked wonders for me and my children. I use it as soon as I feel a sinus headache or any congestion. Here is a link if you want to check it out http://www.amazon.com/Nutribiotic-Nasal-Spray-Fluid-Ounce/dp/B00012NGHG
    One thing to be aware with Grapefruit of course is its interaction with other medicines http://www.drugs.com/article/grapefruit-drug-interactions.html So please be aware of that if you are on other medications. Hope this helps!

  68. Kimchi juice up the nose sounds… painful. Very painful. Question though, is it normal to always have one nostril plugged? I can breathe fine and have no other difficulties.

    • I was like this through adolescence and early adulthood until I elected to have a turbinate reduction surgery. The right side of my sinuses was so constricted (and my sinuses in general are small to begin with) that stuff would just get trapped up there even though nothing else was wrong. If the air was dry or I was even slightly dehydrated, I could only breathe out of the left side, and my colds lasted far, far longer than anyone else I know. Just an idea…it’s a little costly but if you have the ability it might be worth it, as it was for me to reduce number and severity of colds 🙂

    • No, it’s not normal to always have one nostril plugged. I thought it was for most of my life and 3 days after starting paleo I could breathe freely through both nostrils. That was a great feeling.

    • No, that is not normal. Have you had your nose scoped to see if there is a physical reason for the blockage of one side of your nose. There are times I am fully impacted on one side of my head/nose, and feel I can breathe fine too but know I have a sinus infection.

  69. The *only* time I’ve **not** had to use otc nasal spray (Afrin, etc) is when I was in ketosis for a few months. Menopause and (?) have made it nigh unto impossible to get back into much less sustain.

    Totally agree with this article’s direction.

    • Hi Monica,

      Sounds like you’re pretty miserable with your sinus symptoms!

      Afrin nasal spray should not be used for more than two-three days and then, only occasionally. One of the problems is that it creates what is known as rebound congestion which basically means the sinus passages will be remain congested as a result of chronic use of the Afrin, and you will feel like you need to use the spray all the time in order to breath. Not a good situation.

      I love this article because I have felt that probiotics are essential to break any cycle of recurring infection and recurring sinus infections are something I see all the time in my practice.

      I also think it is important to be on a highly nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet. If anything, stop all dairy for awhile to see if that helps.

      I have also seen that the xylitol spray, Xlear, seems to be helpful and is safe – definitely a better option than Afrin!

      Good luck,
      Dawn

      • Many thanks Dawn. In total agreement. One complication besides menopause is simultaneously being treated for chronic lyme-silver, samento, banderol-all of which purportedly destroy gut flora.
        I’m looking upon this as a temporary situation-definitely will work on getting my gut right. Stool test showed cryptosporidium which entailed anti-parasitic supps. Trying to get to the root of the issues vs the symptoms. This will take time-appreciate you taking the time to offer counsel. 🙂
        Many thanks 🙂

    • Most OTC nasal sprays have a terrible rebound effect – the more you use them, the more stuffed up you get. Takes days of being unable to breathe at all to get over the rebound congestion. For some, like me, only one day of use can trigger this. You might want to see your doctor to get off of them. You may find that you no longer have a problem. And if it disappears in ketosis, maybe it involves an overgrowth of fungal organisms. That’s been my experience.

      • You’re right Amy. Not happy with our family’s current situation. I’ve got 2-3 kids who use the Afrin too. 🙁 Just ordered 3 bottles of Xclear and hopefully we can get off it. I did use Oregaspray which is quite effective-need to keep on it and watch the intake of sugars. Thanks for your concern. In Total Agreement.

  70. Chris, I wonder how effective xylitol nasal spray would be as it’s also a biofilm distrupter. I imagine it would be easy to obtain and possibly provide some relief along with oral probiotics?

      • Chris-
        Please look into oregano oil for your readers. It has CHANGED my life!!! I was told by my allergist because I was a woman, because I developed allergies later in life, – that I would never grow out of it. That I would just have to deal with always having at least 2 severe sinus infections a year. Maybe the balloon inflation surgery might help.
        I was at my wits end. And constantly being prescribed antibiotics for my sinus infections – and never feeling well because of the antibiotic gut imbalance. Oregano oil has changed my life. I have been allergy free for 4 years now. And I only take oregano oil when I feel a bit phemy or have that feel a bit of allergy signs coming on. Which is almost never.

      • xlcear just created more inflammation, Its way more ideal to get the right anti-iflammation speices of mircobes in the sinus, L-rhamonous, casei, etc

    • But you have to then get the right critters in once the film is cleared out. Perhaps, do Xlear for a period of time and then try this kimchi approach. Plus, as with everything, a healthy probiotic rich diet containing some or all of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha should be a daily routine. When junk foods (refined sugars in particular) are not consumed, along with adding in fermented foods and plenty of fibers, it’s probable beneficial bacteria and yeasts automatically start to repopulate the gut and other areas as well.

  71. For almost four years now I’m struggling with this problem. I even tried the Neti-pot, but it only gave me a splitting headache extra. The AIP diet helped a lot, but not all the way. Yesterday I went to see the specialist for the result of a scan and he had two options: a combination of something like prednison and anti biotics. If that wouldn’t do the trick he suggested operation. prefer the probiotics approach. 🙂

    • Hi Margot,

      The options you were given are pretty standard in conventional medicine and pretty risky. I too would prefer to give probiotics a try.

      Follow a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet and consider complete elimination of dairy for awhile and see how it goes.

      Best wishes.

      Dawn

  72. Hi Chris,

    Articles like these give me hope! Now I find it somewhat difficult to believe that a single strain of lactobacillus would really be the end all be all. I’m going to experiment with some home made kefir, even if it doesn’t contain L. sakei

    Best, Palva

  73. My wife suffered from sinus infections for years, overtime she went in the ocean it would re-occur. As the owner of windsurfing business this was problematic. Anyway, since she solved the problem, we have been rec. others to use Apple Cider Vinegar – spoonful orally each day – very strong taste and I have not idea why this seams to work. Brags is the brand I think. Hope it helps… and would like to know why is seams to work.

    • Apple cider vinegar is made from a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast similar in process to brewing Kombucha Tea. The below article on how to brew Kombucha makes it easy to understand how apple cider vinegar is made. I am not trying to promote Kombucha. Just found this article which by chance answered the same question I’d also had for a long time about how is apple cider vinegar made.
      “What Is Kombucha Tea?
      Kombucha starts out as a sugary tea, which is then fermented with the help of a scoby. “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” It’s very close cousins to the mother used to make vinegar. Sounds like a plausible reason why it’s helping your chronic sinus problems. 🙂 Here’s the article: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-173858
      Probiotics whether capsules, apple cider vinegar, kombucha seem to be one positive solution to a complex situation towards wellness.

  74. I have not been formally diagnosed with CRS but i have the symptoms since several years and they are not recurring but are constant. CT and MRIs have indicated nasal polyps and inflammations, but my ENTs haven’t yet given any solution.

    I had not ever got this thought of what Chris is pointing at. It seems very interesting and i don’t see any harm in it.

    In India, recently i see advertising of Nasal drops which are made as per age old Ayurved science. The drops mainly contain ‘cow ghee’ (ghee is clarified butter, but should be made only by principles well laid since thousands of years, otherwise it doesn’t give medicinal effects)
    This drops are fortified with medicinal herbs and they directly address the site of discomfort, i.e. Nasal passage, sinuses, brain.. There is one Dr. Santosh Jalukar who claims to have fantastic results from this ancient remedy.
    Cow ghee from various breeds in US or Europe is not recommended bcoz of hybridization and use of hormones. Only Indian organic fed breed’s product have the claimed medical values, specially the ‘GIR’ cows whose milk is proven to have similar composition as human breast milk.

    There are various things available in world other than the chemical pharma products, time has come to explore the ancient wisdom.

    • Throughout the article you’ll see numbers at the end of sentences that link to references. They look like this: (3).

  75. I have been suffering for almost 5 years now with swelling in my nose and sinus. I’ve had to mouth breath so many times for so long and it’s caused secondary emotional stress. is there ANYbody out there that can direct me to someone who can run any tests that could help nail down the problem?? my nose is extremely sensitive …and on good days I only have one open nostril. I live in fear of colds and flu because of how complicated things get when this happens. Please direct me to help…thank you!

    • I have extremely stuffed sinuses all winter…which sounds a lot like what you are going through. I need help also as I do not want surgery. I do take probiotics, but it doesn’t seem to help the sinus. I believe mine come from extremely dry air and I can’t get enough moisture in the air in the winter, even with 3 humidifiers. Help! 🙂

    • Hi Emily,

      You may want to see a functional medicine practitioner who can help you get to the root of why you’ve been having so many problems with your sinuses.

      Our sinuses are very sensitive tissues and will let us know if we are dealing with excess inflammation.

      Meanwhile, I think this article is right on and that taking a good probiotic may be very helpful. I would also recommend a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet, and eliminating dairy for a month or two and see how you feel.

      Good luck,
      Dawn

    • Emily, I’m so sorry you are having this problem. I’m taking an on-line class right now that I think will help you. Chris K knows the team leader, Christa O. Everyone is having great results. If you go to the info site: http://www.gutthrivein5.com you will read a huge amount of information. As of last night’s webinar. They are opening a new class THIS year in October, instead of waiting until until Spring 2016. You do not have to do lab tests bc Dr. jack Tips’ developmental research. Dr. Tom O’Bryan is on the team, also. The class and the supplements cost about $1000, and I did buy about $100 extra items from Amazon and mountainroseherbs.com. I’ve been sick for 20 years and it has helped me greatly. You get lifetime access with updates, lifetime access to the staff to ask questions with a 72 hour turn around. Lifetime access to the Private Forums who are/have been I the program. This 10 week class has been the most thorough, methodical, comprehensive approach out there. You can also see Christa O. On her website at http://www.thewholejourney.com. Lots of good info there too. Blessings. Janice

    • Emily,
      Google: functional health practitioner + where you live. They can run tests to check all of you & find out what’s stuffing you up. Best of luck.
      PS I had very similar symptoms to yours since I was a teen, so about 25+yrs. I got complete relief by simply dropping grains from my diet (which I had done for digestive issues). Took about 1 week.

  76. I appreciate the anecdotal information about kimchi. You never know what may help someone else. Is there a commercially available spray that contains whatever kimchi is made from?

  77. Hi,

    I used to suffer from sinus infections at least twice a year, usually with changes in the weather. I live in the humid South, in Alabama. They were terrible to go through. Headaches, constant mucous, etc. I could not sleep or sit directly in front of a fan without getting one of these infections. They were always bacterial, according to the doctor, not viral, but antibiotics never really helped. I was still fighting the infections, usually for 2-3 weeks.

    About two years ago, I started making my own sauerkraut, simply because I love it, and thought it would be good for me. It soon became apparent that I was no longer getting these sinus infections like I used to. I eat sauerkraut, Bulgarian yogurt, or kim-chi almost ever day, and usually at least a half a cup or more.

    I read about how gut health could affect other problems in the body, and I’ve wondered for a while if the fermented/pro-biotic foods I was eating had anything to do with it. I now believe that they do. I have been sleeping with a fan blowing on me at night this summer, and although there have been a couple of times where it felt like I had an infection coming on, it never manifested itself and the familiar feelings dissipated by the next day.

    I realize this is just anecdotal evidence, but this seems to support in theory what Chris is saying here.

    • Joseph,

      It’s so good to hear of your success!

      I agree with this article and think probiotics can be very helpful. Great to hear it’s worked for you.

      Take care,

      Dawn

  78. As a lifetime allergy sufferer with sinus and upper-respiratory infection patterns, I was thrilled to be rid of a sinus infection in less than 24 hours on a recent international trip. I attribute the rapid healing to assistance from sniffed Bio-Kult probiotic powder removed from the gel-cap it came in. All symptoms(splitting headache, nasal congestion, sore-throat, fatigue) were eliminated with two applications; they were 4 hours apart and each consisted of half the contents of one gel-cap split between both nostrils. Thank you for continuing to share your knowledge and understanding, Chris. Much LOVE

  79. We use an aerosol spray product from P2 Probiotics called I Help You Breathe. I don’t know what strains of bacteria they use, but it has significantly helped the respiratory symptoms in one family member with multiple allergies.

    • Erin – I am thinking about ordering this spray product you mentioned and wondered if your family member uses it sprayed directly in his/her nose/mouth. I can’t find a lot of reviews about the product, and am not sure if it is worth the price, etc. Do you think it has made a significant difference? Have you sprayed it in your nose during a cold to see if it helps as well? Thanks for any info!

      • It is a very fine mist, so we just spray it in the air and inhale. The affected family member was getting symptoms at night (itchy/runny/stuffy nose, itchy/watery eyes, lots of sneezing). I suspect she may be allergic to dust mites so perhaps the spray breaks down the allergen. She notices a big difference when she goes without the spray. I have not been sick since starting to use it so I can’t say if it’s effective during a cold or not.

        P2 has periodic sales, so check their Facebook page or sign up for their emails to save some money.

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