Biofilm, lactoferrin and polyphenolics

Introduction to Protomyxzoa Forums Protomyxzoa Discussion Biofilm, lactoferrin and polyphenolics

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    Dan S

    Biofilm is a slimy, jelly-like substance that bacteria and protozoa cover themselves with. it protects them from things that are harmful to them, like your immune system. An example of biofilm that everyone is familiar with is plaque on teeth. Plaque is biofilm that is loaded with bacteria. One of the reasons why protomyxzoa is difficult to eradicate is because it is a prolific biofilm former. It creates huge amounts of biofilm, which is a big barrier to clearing the infection. The biofilm exists in the blood, and it seems can adhere to different types of body tissues. The immune system has some mechanisms for clearing and dispersing biofilm (innate immunity), like lactoferrin. One of the mechanisms by which lactoferrin clears biofilm is by binding iron. When lactoferrin steals the iron from biofilm, it tends to fall apart more easily. Lactoferrin has other actions as well (such as direct antibacterial effects unrelated to iron binding). For example, lactoferrin apparently can stimulate mucosal tissues to cause biofilm to detach.

    Also, biofilm provides an environment for other pathogens to grow. If a lot of biofilm is present, it seems obvious that additional chronic infections can become established.

    I believe this is an important reason why chronic infectious diseases are difficult to clear, and why response to antibiotics is so variable, inconsistent and frustrating. Each time an antibiotic is taken, the ecology of biofilm communities changes-certain pathogens are inhibited, and others more resistant expand to take their place. its difficult to completely eradicate everything at the same time, which is what is required for a cure.

    So, a key aspect of curing “biofilm disease” is getting rid of the biofilm. There are some natural substances that can help the body do this. I already mentioned one: lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is present in all body fluids, and is especially highly concentrated in human milk. It is present in the sinuses, tears, gut, blood and other secretions. Everywhere it goes, it busts up biofilm, steals iron from bacteria and urges bacteria to keep moving. The evidence supporting lactoferrin is strong, IMO, but I have not noticed dramatic except on a few occasions I have taken high dosages with some antibiotics. Not enough of an effect to be sure about, but i think its likely helpful, perhaps when taken chronically over long periods.

    Polyphenolic compounds are also known to break up biofilm, and inhibit bacteria from forming biofilm. Polyphenolics are chemicals that plants use to protect themselves from pathogens, and they work for humans, too. “Polyphenolics” is a general term for many different compounds having phenol groups. Examples include EGCG from green tea, turmeric (curcumin), citrus bioflavonoids, grape seed extract, quercetin, cranberry extract, olive leaf extract, tannins, resveratrol and lychee fruit extract.There are dozens and dozens of them from many different types of plants.

    Some polyphenolic compounds are effective for malaria. Polyphenolic compounds are present in a number of traditional herbal remedies for malaria. Polyphenolic compounds commonly have various types of antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties. They are all variations on a chemical theme. Polyphenolic compounds include flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins and the like. These compounds are related in that they have many phenolic groups (a benzine ring with OH attached). Examples include EGCG from green tea, turmeric (curcumin), citrus bioflavonoids, grape seed extract, quercetin, cranberry extract, olive leaf extract, tannins and lychee fruit extract.

    BTW, artemisinin is not a polyphenolic and has a different mechanism of activity.

    Polyphenolic compounds also have substantial anti-biofilm activity. They inhibit the production of biofilm and disperse biofilm made by many microorganisms. There is a large body of scientific research on polyphenolics and biofilm, but not much on protozoal biofilm specifically. Still, I think its reasonable to assume that polyphenolics are a good idea. There are just so many papers published on the beneficial effects of polyphenolics on biofilm (and a few on polyphenols for malaria).

    Attached below are a bunch of papers on polyphenolics. I think I will upload the papers on lactoferrin on a different thread.

    The papers below are just a portion of whats been published on polyphenols and biofilm. There is another large cluster of papers on the effect of polyphenols on tooth biofilm. Lots of these papers were written by dental researchers. Polyphenols prevent cavities. This is one reason why fluoridated toothpaste is completely unnecessary (and F is dangerously toxic). Brush your teeth with polyphenols.

    In view of this science, I think it makes sense to supplement a wide variety of polyphenolic compounds.

    A note of caution is warranted, however. Polyphenolics generally have beneficial effects, but they can also have adverse effects, like endocrine disruption (e.g. hypothyroidism) or neurological effects like producing anxiety if taken in high doses. So be careful, and dont assume that more is always better.



    Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jan 14;326(2):472-4.
    Curcumin for malaria therapy.
    Reddy RC,

    Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI

    Malaria remains a major global health concern. New, inexpensive, and effective antimalarial agents are urgently needed. Here we show that curcumin, a polyphenolic organic molecule derived from turmeric, inhibits chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum growth in culture in a dose dependent manner with an IC(50) of approximately 5 microM. Additionally, oral administration of curcumin to mice infected with malaria parasite (Plasmodium berghei) reduces blood parasitemia by 80-90% and enhances their survival significantly. Thus, curcumin may represent a novel treatment for malarial infection.


    BMC Res Notes. 2008 Jun 18;1:26. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-1-26.
    Common dietary flavonoids inhibit the growth of the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite.
    Lehane AM, Saliba KJ.

    School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

    Flavonoids are abundant plant phenolic compounds. More than 6000 have been identified to date, and some have been shown to possess antiparasitic activity. Here we investigate the effects of a range of common dietary flavonoids on the growth of two strains of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    A chloroquine-sensitive (3D7) and a chloroquine-resistant (7G8) strain of P. falciparum were tested for in vitro susceptibility to a range of individual dietary flavonoids and flavonoid combinations. Parasite susceptibility was measured in 96-well plates over 96 h using a previously described [3H]hypoxanthine incorporation assay. Of the eleven flavonoids tested, eight showed antiplasmodial activity against the 3D7 strain (with IC50 values between 11 and 66 muM), and all showed activity against the 7G8 strain (with IC50 values between 12 and 76 muM). The most active compound against both strains was luteolin, with IC50 values of 11 +/- 1 muM and 12 +/- 1 muM for 3D7 and 7G8, respectively. Luteolin was found to prevent the progression of parasite growth beyond the young trophozoite stage, and did not affect parasite susceptibility to the antimalarial drugs chloroquine or artemisinin. Combining low concentrations of flavonoids was found to produce an apparent additive antiplasmodial effect.

    Certain common dietary flavonoids inhibit the intraerythrocytic growth of the 3D7 and 7G8 strains of P. falciparum. Flavonoid combinations warrant further investigation as antiplasmodial agents.

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